September is Suicide Prevention Month–It’s definitely worth a conversation.

September is Suicide Prevention Month.
When I got online to do some research for this post I was astonished when I looked at the statistics for suicide. It is #2 cause of deaths in those 10-19 years of age, second only to accidents.

My “day-job” is in healthcare. I’ve been a nurse practitioner for 18+ years, and I’ve treated everything from diabetes, hypertension, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C, and HIV and a slew of other medical diseases, including depression.

Depression is not a weakness or a failing on the part of an individual, and yet I hear patients tell me ALL THE TIME that they are “fine” or “managing” when they are presenting to my office with gastrointestinal symptoms secondary to the biochemistry of depression.

I remember sitting in my pharmacology class in grad school and hearing a psychiatrist tell us that if we worked in gastroenterology that more than 70% of what we’d see would be secondary to depression and anxiety. I remember thinking WHAT? He was right.

But the conversation I want to have today is about how we TALK about depression.

If you, or someone you loved, had the flu, or hypothyroidism, or diabetes, or—heaven forbid—cancer, you would NEVER tell them “be stronger”, or “work through it”, or “fake it til you make it”.

Now, disclaimer, I’m not talking about dysphoria here which is a depressed mood or bad day (or two).
I’m talking depression which has gone on for weeks and is bad enough to affect activities of daily living. I’m talking depression that has altered your weight, changed your appetite, affected your sleep, robbed you of the pleasure of things you normally love (anhedonia), and makes you feel like you’re worthless. I’m talking about depression—that will change the chemicals in your brain such that harming yourself seems reasonable, desirable, or even a mercy to you and/or your loved ones. In medicine we call this suicidal ideation. When depression is evaluated the provider should always ask if there is suicidal ideation and if yes, if the patient has a plan, and if yes, if the patient has the intent to move forward on the plan. Suicidal ideation—with plan and intent—is a medical emergency, just like diabetic coma. I have called 911 for suicidal ideation more times than I care to count.

Depression is no more under an individual’s control than ANY other disease. Are there things you can do for it—absolutely. And not all treatments are drugs. But just like you would tell an individual with diabetes to take their insulin, or a person with hypothyroidism to take their synthroid (levothyroxine), an individual with depression is MISSING a VITAL chemical messenger in their body. And just like the previous mentioned diseases, the individual needs to be willing to adhere to treatment. But in the case of depression, there is a double whammy—because their cognitive ability is affected.
And depression can be a symptom as well as problem in its own right. We know chronic disease increases the risk for depression. Depression is a symptom of hypothyroidism. Chronic steroid use often induces depression, as does stress (probably because chronic stress forces our adrenal glands to pump out cortisol-a steroid).

It’s too late to make this a short post—but I don’t believe a short post could’ve said everything I wanted to anyway.

If you, or someone you love, is suffering with depression, please seek help.

I would say the same thing about ANY medical disease—and the healthcare profession has spent too many years talking about “mental” health as if it were separate, instead of embracing the fact that physical health encompasses mental health—it is all part of the “whole” health of an individual.

Take care of you. Take care of those you love—reach out, be honest, ask questions, and if you know someone needs help—please help.

But at the end of the day, I remind myself, I can only control me, and hence I am only responsible for the decisions I’ve made. You can’t force someone to adhere to their medication, their exercise, their diet, or anything else—so don’t beat up on yourself for the choices of others—and since you can’t change the past, don’t bother with beating up on yourself either. If you need better coping skills, see a counselor—that’s their job: to teach YOU or your loved ones better skills.

Disclaimer: this post is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition, but is merely my opinion.

If you or someone you love is suffering with depression, please seek professional help.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide: https://www.sptsusa.org/not-my-kid/
The Trevor Project: Crisis Counseling for LGBTQI+ youth: https://www.thetrevorproject.org

Welcome to the kingdom of Qralî

Dark fantasy. Slow-burn romance. Unexpected twists you won’t see coming.

My memory is lost. Gone. I can’t remember my name or magîk. I don’t know what happened to our ruler or why the jungle is changing. Who is the guard and why is he so angry? And why do I feel safe with a deadly panthera?

When I arrive in Pûleêr, I hope to find relief among the magî and, hopefully, answers. Instead, the laws of nature change before my eyes, and the dangers of the jungle are nothing compared to this twisted utopia.

Then the panthera leaves, and a new magî joins the outpost. I know he has answers. But what if all my questions are wrong? As the jungle vines converge and tighten, I begin to wonder . . . Was my memory truly lost—or was it stolen?

Welcome to the kingdom of Qralî where magic, romance, and mystery tangle amidst the lush fauna and deadly predators of the jungle. If you enjoy fantasy books with unique stories, plot twists that will keep you guessing, and dangerous risks—all in the name of love, be prepared to fall hard.

Better clear your schedule first.

**Release Date: Feb. 25th 2019**

Preorder link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N8KRC15

*Due to thematic elements, STOLEN is recommended for upper YA/adults.*

Life is a grand adventure!

Life is a grand adventure—Through the forest of Cytri, the jungle of Qirali, and the Vegas Strip.
It’s time for an update… In fact, it’s waaayy past time. And while the pictures will make it look like I’ve been dialed into shenanigans (which is true), I’ve also been getting some words in.Curse of the Cytri
Book ThreeMagic of Deceit and Beauty is back from the editor. Rita and I are also working on book 4, Magic of Ash and Bone. First the bad news . . . Anticipated release date for book 3 is tentatively early 2019 (Jan/Feb). While I would love to hurry it up and get it out into the world, neither Rita or I are willing to put out an unpolished story. The good news is book 4 should be released within 1-2 months of book 3. We’re also working on new covers—hopefully, for the last time. 😉

Darkness Rising
Book 1- Stolen
Several months ago I took a deep breath and asked for a story concept as layered as Blood Oath, dark fantasy, romance, and a shifter. I wanted a story better than Blood Oath (Impossible, I hear you scream!). I’m pretty sure I was washing my hair when the idea hit—and it’s a doozy. I was so excited, I went ballistic and wrote like a fiend. After a few chats with Krystal, the plot came together, and I’m giddy with excitement.


Here’s the blurb:


Something is wrong . . .

Consciousness hits me with a vicious shake— and I’m in the middle fo the jungle, fighting for my life. Right now, nothing else matters, for I know if he wins, I’ll die.

But in the following quiet I discover . . . that’s all I know.
I can’t remember my name, my magik, or even which outpost I live in. I don’t know who the guard dressed in red is, or why he’ so angry.
And I definitely don’t understand why I feel safe with the black jaguar, an Apex predator who could kill me with one bite.
The more I learn—the less I understand in this realm of Qirali.
What would you do if the laws of nature were destroyed, and only chaos reigned?
Finally, what would life be without a bit of fun?
I had the opportunity to hang out with some of my besties and make a few more besties in the process. Here’s some pictures from Penned Con in St. Louis and 20BooksVegas. Incidentally, the pictures don’t do either even justice as for the fun factor.

Black Crown- The EPIC finale to The Darkest Drae series


There are no words… I have loved almost every single second of this series, and I still get excited about the story. The idea that Kelly and I have finished Ryn and Tyrrik’s story leaves me a little . . . bewildered. Not that I don’t have more stories to tell… but well, sometimes there just aren’t words.

If you haven’t started the series, you can binge it all. If you like dark fantasy, dragons, and romance, The Darkest Drae might be your favorite read this year.

Spoilery Highlights From Blood Oath and (eep) Drae translations!


If you’ve already read Kelly’s post, then you know I’m way behind the eight-ball! Yikes.

I have to admit, I do love spying what quotes readers love best. So this challenge was super-fun! Here are the top ten most popular quotes from Blood Oath. And I’ve even included the Drae translations. 😉


First rule of torture club, don’t talk about torture club. – Chapter 12

You are strong, he said in my mind. You haven’t betrayed anyone. You are still kind and good. Don’t confuse humanity for weakness. – Chapter 13

“I hate sunlight.”

It hates you right back, nightmare man. – Chapter 19

“You’re the worst kind of fool. Tako mi je žao.” -Chapter 20

I batted my eyes at him. “Oh, do go on. I love when you talk Drae to me.” – Chapter 23

I reached up in the darkness to touch his face, to caress his cheek, and to touch his lips again.  “Tako mi je žao,” he whispered. – Chapter 24

Khosana, his voice echoed in my mind, heavy with pain, I am so sorry. Please forgive me. – Chapter 28

The Drae pursed his lips and gave a curt nod. “Toliko vam volim kraljicu.” – Chapter 29

“Don’t be sad,” I said, choking on the words. I would be in the stars with Mum and Arnik in the blink of an eye. “I’ll be free.”

Už ti nikdy neubližujem,” Irrik said, shaking his head. – Chapter 31

Ticho teraz, moja láska. Ste v bezpečí,” the Drae said in his language. Then he placed his hand on my arm, and in my mind Tyr spoke, I will always keep you safe, my love. -Chapter 32

Drae Translations:

Khosana – Princess

Tako mi je žao. – I’m so sorry.

Toliko vam volim kraljicu. – I love you so much, my queen.

Už ti nikdy neubližujem.- I will never hurt you again.

Ticho teraz, moja láska. Ste v bezpečí. – Hush now, my love. You are safe.


Have you pre-ordered Black Crown yet? You can HERE



Blood Oath: The Darkest Drae Book 1

Dragons. Dark Fantasy. Intrigue. Romance.

Ooo, I love this book. I love these characters. I love this story!!

There is so much I could say in this post. But instead of talking about Ryn, Irrik, Dyter, Irdelron, Ty, and Tyr (and so many more!!) I’ll tell you how Blood Oath came to be.

I was complaining to my husband about shifter stories and how I couldn’t seem to come up with the plot for one. It seemed like all the authors I knew who were making good money were writing shifter romance. As my friend, Ednah would say, Le sigh.

And the next day I had an idea. A brilliant idea about a dragon shifter fantasy!

I jotted down notes and talked with my editor (Krystal Wade) who told me she wouldn’t even look at the manuscript until I finished writing The Sphinx Series. I grumbled for a bit and sat on the dragon story while I finished battling Olympians and monsters.

I’d written about 25k words of the first draft when Kelly St. Clare came to Nashville for Utopia in June. She stayed at my house and we visited. I’d already read several of her books and was a bit of a fan (big fan, actually). Utopia was a blast and during the conference I decided I wanted to co-write with Kelly. I thought about her fabulous world building and her talent for romantic tension. She is great at developing characters, too. So I cornered her and told her my story about a girl (Ryn) caught by the Drae (Irrik) who’d sworn a blood oath to the wicked king of Verald.

She seemed interested, but when I asked if she wanted to help me write it, she didn’t immediately jump at the chance. Instead, she asked to read the manuscript (she later said it was to see if she could insert her Kelly flair). I thought she was having a looksee to assess the quality of the story.

She messaged me right after she landed that she wanted in. I had a celebratory dance (in my kitchen by myself) and we started the process of co-writing. She edited and added to the 25k until it was 35k, and that was after she cut out a couple torture scenes (I wrote the disgusting bug-scene, yes) and added world-building and the aforementioned Kelly-flair. After that we alternated writing chapters. Each of us touched every scene of the entire book.

I know not all co-writing goes that way, but Blood Oath and Shadow Wings have been written by both of us, and we’ll do the same for Black Crown. It’s been a pleasure to write with Kelly. I’m going to have to corner her again about another story idea… Shh. Don’t tell her.

Have you read Blood Oath? If so, what did you think?

Fates and Furies

Fates and Furies is the fourth and final book in The Sphinx series. I have thoroughly loved writing Hope’s story, and I’ve had a few surprises along the way. There are a couple of characters that have firmly let me know that even though Hope’s issue with Apollo is resolved, their story still needs to be told. And I have to admit, I’m not ready to close my door on this world.

So here’s what’s in the works:

When I wrote my first draft of Curse of the Sphinx (later became Cursed by the Gods), I wrote a 55k word story of Phaidra, Leto’s mother, the original Sphinx. Since then the first part has been updated, and I’ll be updating my free offer over the weekend so you can get the first of Phaidra’s stories free by signing up for my newsletter. I’ll also send a link to all my subscribers as soon as it goes live on the site. There will be a total of four stories, one from each of the following: Egypt, Thebes, London, and The States. The tentative title for the collection is Shades of Flight.

I’m also working on two new series, (already outlined and currently writing), another series that’s been outlined but writing hasn’t yet commenced. And then there are these…

**SPOILER WARNING** If you haven’t read Fates and Furies stop reading now! Then come back after you’ve finished to read the rest…

Dahlia will be getting her own book(s). Her story path veered very clearly once they got in the Underworld, and she’s got some unfinished business with Roan and Hecate!

Xan will also be getting his own book(s). I’ll be talking about this in my read along event on Saturday, but Xan was never meant to end up with Hope. He’s been constant and faithful to her the entire series, but his character arc is only beginning to be challenged. I’m so *freaking* excited to delve into his story.

So, to answer questions of WHEN!?!? At this point… I don’t have any firm dates. But I’ll definitely keep you posted.



Sphinx Series Finale… Come read the series with me!!

Hey there visitor!!

Do you like reading? Do you LOVE it?? Are you a fan of Hope? Are you #teamAthan or #teamXan?

Have you ever finished a book and thought… I’d love to ask the author a question or two?

I’ve got giddy tingles of nervous anticipation because my team and I are trying something new. Like, I dreamt up a doozy, and my fingers are crossed that it’s going to be as fabulous as what I have in my head!! I think it is. And I think you’re going to love it!

I’m hosting a series read-along on Facebook, and I convinced my team to help me put together an event like I’ve never seen before.

We’ve got daily games, giveaways, contests (seriously those are all different), read along questions, scavenger hunts, and live author chats with me (inside info and all your questions answered). I’ve got close to a dozen authors that will be doing takeovers (with more giveaways), and an insider look at Utopiacon, too. AND (because that’s not enough), one of my favorite authors from Australia is in town, so we’ve got some extra crazy fun planned with Kelly St. Clare!! Woot!

HERE is the link to join the event. We kick off on Saturday, June 17th and wrap up the series July 1st.

I can’t wait for all the shenanigans. It’s going to be a blast! I hope you’ll join me!!

Oh, and if you haven’t started the series yet (perfect), Cursed by the Gods and Demigods and Monsters will be on major discount from 6/14-6/18.

Pretty Girls and Pretty Covers…

There seems to be a theme in YA covers as of late, and I’m not afraid to say there is something about pretty that pulls our attention and sucks it in. I’ve toyed with doing a remake of my covers for a few months, and I’ll be honest, I LOVE my white covers. I didn’t want to remake them. Especially as I was getting ready to finish the series.

But I’m also a big believer in trying new things. So this is an experiment of sorts. I’ve had book one re-covered, and I’m going to give it a couple of weeks to see if it matters? Do sales increase? Do more KU people click and read? Do more readers finish the available books?

Covers are marketing, just one more lesson in this journey of indie-publishing. It is a cover that pulls enough emotional response from a reader to get them to read the blurb. That whole – a picture is worth a thousand words – takes on a whole new meaning because the cover IS those first thousand words. So, in this type of sales, the packaging makes a lot of difference.

Or so I’m told. I’ll know more in a couple of weeks.

Here’s to hoping that a pretty girl in a pretty dress hooks more readers for Hope’s story.

Personally, I like the innocence of this image of Hope. I think it portrays who she is at the very beginning of the story… innocent and naïve. I also really like the woman she becomes. I can’t wait for that cover! 😉

Happy reading!