The Stars Are Ours

The Musings of a Dreamer

Allegories of the Tarot Author Interview and Giveaway!

Allegories of the Tarot Badass Marketing Blog TourGet to know Matthew Bryan, one of the 22 contributors to the recently-released†Allegories of the Tarot†Anthology (which is already trailblazing its way up the fantasy anthology charts on Amazon!). Lon wrote his tale,†Path of Sacrifice, based on The Hanged Man card. You can read an excerpt of†his story below.†

Get the†Allegories of the Tarot†Anthology in on†Amazon,†Smashwords, Kobo, and everywhere else e-books are sold.†Add the†Allegories of the Tarot†Anthology†to your Goodreads to-read shelf!

About Matthew

Matthew BryanMatthew has been obsessed with reading (and writing) since he could walk. Coming home on†the first day of kindergarten mad because he couldn't read was just the first sign. It has just†steadily got worse and the fascination with creating worlds with words finally exploded. This†spring saw his first book, In Heaven's Shadow, in print. Edited by the fantastic Annetta†Ribken, he is quite excited to share it with the world. He lives in the Great White North...no not as far as Edmontonóin Calgary, Alberta Canada. Born and raised (notice the avoidance of the phrase grew up...) in a small town the move to the†big city was a bit of a shock. He's traveled around a bit and that has helped broaden his†experience. All of which comes out in his writing. You can find Matthew here: authorsnotes.ca

Just a few questions...

What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card?†Reading through the description and details this statement jumped out: ìThe Hanged Man is a willing victim, someone who has chosen the path of sacrifice to accomplish a higher goal.î It immediately called to me. A character in my first book is the epitome of the Hanged Man. He puts his entire existence at risk for the greater good, to save the world. Why did you decide to get roped into this project? Partly because Annetta bullied me into it but also because it gave me a chance to delve into the sacrifice he made and reveal it for the world to see. Plus it was fun! Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before? My mother worked with Tarot years ago and I found it fascinating. What other projects do you have planned?†Book two of my Citizen Soldier series. Hanged Man share photoHow did you decide what to write about?†Looking through the tarot cards and their meanings, the Hanged Man jumped out at me. It was absolutely perfect for my character Mkai. He's the epitome of self-sacrificing, he put his whole existence at risk to save the world. How literal did you want to get with your card?†I wasn't sure how literal I would be able to get - as it turns out it's a very broad definition. Or at least that's how it feels to me. Is your story a part of something you've written about previously?†The story I contributed to the anthology is based on a series I'm currently working on, Citizen Soldier. I published book one, In Heaven's Shadow, in may 2013. Path of Sacrifice gives some background to, the lead up to book one. Would you like to have written about any other card? Which card? Why?†Honestly I'm not sure which other card I could have worked with, I don't think any would have felt as perfect as this one. From what I understand, each author picked a unique card, all of us, no one choose the same card. Fate you could say delivered the cards best suited for each of us. If you could have the power to divine the future, would you or would you not and why?†If I could know or read the future.. hmmmm In the broadest strokes maybe. I think I would rather not though. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for the reason, even if that reason sometimes takes time to find. I guess knowing large scale things like if the zombie apocalypse ever happens etc - things like that - so I'd know whether to keep preparing for it or not LOL.

An excerpt from†Path of Sacrifice

He licked his lips nervously, the forked tip appearing for a flash before disappearing behind jagged fangs. †Sweat beaded on scaled skin as Fsol fidgeted in his seat before sliding to the edge to lean even closer to Mkai.

"She is planning war. †War with Heaven. †She is determined to succeed where Samael failed."

Mkai's heart thudded hard in his chest as he fell back in his chair.

"War with Heaven? †Is she insane?" he said, instinct keeping his voice low as he spoke words of treason. "Samael didn't even war directly and look at the result. †Even those, like us, who didn't side directly with him were thrown from His Grace. †What does she hope to accomplish?"

"That is what sent me running here old friend." Fsol said, excitement stealing over his face. "She has a plan, and I think it might work."

Samael had a plan as well.

"What's her plan? †How does she expect to succeed where Samael failed so drastically?"

"The souls. †She will build an army of the Damned and with them, invade Heaven. †She will tear down the Gates of Heaven and bring us unto His Light, with the souls of His favorites to lead the way." Read the rest of Path of Sacrifice†in the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology!

About Allegories of the Tarot

Allegories of the TarotOnce upon a time, there was an editor with a fascination for the Tarot. She was struck one day by a crazy idea. ìHey,î she said. ìWhat if twenty-two writers each wrote a story about the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot and were fashioned into an anthology?î The idea would not leave her alone. And thus, the Allegories of the Tarot was born. Crowdfunded by a campaign on Indiegogo with the help and support of an amazing group of writers, twenty-two stories were crafted around the mysteries of the Tarot. The group includes a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Pulp Ark nominee, a former Bigfoot researcher, a journalist, an award-winning YA author, and a Rhysling Award winner. Professional writers, new talent, and a range of genres boggling the mind: Horror, Speculative Fiction, Bizarro Fiction, Erotica, Mystery, Humor, Paranormal, Epic Fantasy, Literary, Romance, and Historical Fantasy. What has emerged is an outstanding collection of fiction, unique and mysterious. Stories that will make you cry, make you laugh, and make you think. Stories that make you feel the touch of the Universe. Dare to step through the portal to shadowy realms and emotional journeys.

Get the book!

Allegories of the Tarot†is available in e-book and paperback format†on Amazon, Kobo, and in multiple e-book formats†on Smashwords. Donít forget to†add†Allegories of the Tarotto your to-read shelf on Goodreads. Connect with the†Allegories of the Tarot†Anthology on its†website,†Facebook, and†Twitter.


HALLOWED INK PRESS ARRIVES
The brand new publishing company that pre-published and debut
Authors have been waiting for is HERE!
Open to Submissions, Hallowed Ink Press is a traditional publishing house looking for ‘fresh,’ innovative voices in both the YA and New Adult genres.
The incredible ‘team’ behind Hallowed Ink Press bring experience and skill to the table in a wealth of areas, including; writing, cover design and editing. Most importantly, however, these industry professionals are on a mission to find and work with artists who have ideas that will break through the stereotypical literature and bring back exciting, inventive tales to the eager reader. From stand-alone fiction to poetry to anthology projects, Hallowed Ink Press will focus on finding the best and brightest in the literary realm.



Find out more about

Allegories of the Tarot Badass Marketing Blog Tour

Get the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology in on Amazon and Smashwords. Add the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology to your Goodreads to-read shelf!

Swing by the Allegories of the Tarot Facebook page and enter the release-day giveaway of a custom Tarot box--complete with Tarot deck!

Allegories of the Tarot Who hasn't been fascinated by the mysterious Tarot, writer and reader alike? For centuries, fortune-telling by the Tarot has caught many an imagination, but nothing like what will be presented here. 22 cards... each an individual splinter of the human psyche. 22 writers... honing each splinter into a story of triumph and decay, arrogance and humility. Stories of the brightest lights and the darkest corners of the weirdest minds. 22 cross-genre worlds. 22 portals into the Universal. Only one way to get there. Come with us. Cross the portals. The Universal awaits.

About the book

Once upon a time, there was an editor with a fascination for the Tarot.�She was struck one day by a crazy idea. "Hey," she said. "What if twenty-two writers each wrote a story about the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot and were fashioned into an anthology?" The idea would not leave her alone. And thus, the Allegories of the Tarot was born. Crowdfunded by a campaign on Indiegogo with the help and support of an amazing group of writers, twenty-two stories were crafted around the mysteries of the Tarot. The group includes a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Pulp Ark nominee, a former Bigfoot researcher, a journalist, an award-winning YA author, and a Rhysling Award winner. Professional writers, new talent, and a range of genres boggling the mind:�Horror, Speculative Fiction, Bizarro Fiction, Erotica, Mystery, Humor, Paranormal, Epic Fantasy, Literary, Romance, and Historical Fantasy. What has emerged is an outstanding collection of fiction, unique and mysterious. Stories that will make you cry, make you laugh, and make you think. Stories that make you feel the touch of the Universe. Dare to step through the portal to shadowy realms and emotional journeys.

Early readers have fallen in love with the�Allegories of the Tarot

"Allegories of the Tarot Anthology is a magical book. Magic that will keep you turning the pages. There are muses, demons, �psychics,�evil,and more! I shivered, I laughed and I even cried. Magic, I tell you. Magic." -Julie Affleck "Reviewing an anthology is slightly more difficult than discussing a book or comic because the tone varies from author to author. However, Allegories somehow flowed together as a well-matched whole. The project ended up feeling like several beads strung together to form a beautiful necklace that were more amazing for being paired together." -Jodi Scaife "All twenty-two stories in this volume are, in a word,�superb. I found myself scouring the Internet as I read it; every story made me want to go find more work by its author.�The ultimate compliment I can give�Allegories�is to say that when I finished it, I thought how I envy those who haven�t read it yet." -Lisa Millraney

Get the book!

Allegories of the Tarot is available in e-book and paperback format on Amazon, and in multiple e-book formats on Smashwords. Don't forget to add�Allegories of the Tarotto your to-read shelf on Goodreads. Connect with the�Allegories of the Tarot�Anthology on its�website,�Facebook, and�Twitter.

Happy Release Day for Mari Arden's One!


HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

Title: ONE
Author: Mari Arden
Genre: New Adult
Release Day: September 4th 2013
Blitz Host:  HYPERLINK "http://ambersupernaturalandya.blogspot.com/p/lady-amber-tours.html" Lady Amber's Tours



Blurb:
Jules Hendricks has had a string of bad "firsts."
 Embarrassing first kiss. Traumatic first date. An obsessive first boyfriend she can't understand. 
It's taken her years but she's finally able to leave her small town life behind for a new start as a freshmen at UW- Madison. For Jules this chance to be independent and rebuild her life is an opportunity she won't ever let anyone take from her again. She's determined to make something of herself without a man by her side, in front, behind or anywhere near her. 
Reid "Pax" Paxton is the star quarterback for the UW Badgers. His brush with death makes him understand how precious life is, and how important it is to take life by the horns, unafraid. Jules knows he's dangerous for her. Dark hair. Smoldering eyes. Killer smile. That dimple. That body. Those arms. Pax is everything she's trying to run away from, but she can't help coming back for more. Slowly he begins to show a life together can be more than just a dream. It can be their reality. The truth about reality is it's not always sunshine and butterflies.
Sometimes it's a wasteland. 
Sometimes secrets can't stay buried.
Sometimes your past will find a way to hunt you down. 







Excerpt:
**Warning: the contents of this book are intended for readers 18+ and older due to explicit adult situations.

"Do I make you nervous?" His husky drawl drips like chocolate covering a ripe, round strawberry. Does he make me nervous? Does a simmering volcano make an ant nervous?
I swallow. "Nervous? I'm not nervous," I babble, refusing to look at him. I'm in physical pain. What's that thing I do where I take in air, and then let it out? Oh yeah, breathing. I need to do that. 
Like right now. 
I make a strangled sound and inhale through my nostrils, taking in the smoky air like a ravenous puppy finding milk. Instantly I feel Pax's heat next to me. Soon I'll be immersed in it, wrapped in it. 
Wrapped around him
So does that make me nervous? Only a hundred kinds of nervous.
"Time to begin!" Cade yells, as he jogs back to Pax and I, flashing his pearly whites. He pounds Pax on the back. "Don't drop the ball," he grins. 
"As if I ever do."
Cade turns to me. I see the second he registers my cleavage is exposed to the world. His eyes appraise me slowly. He gives me an appreciative grin. "Well, hello there."
"Hi," I reply. "Um, should we start now?" I don't mean to be rude, but I'm a second away from vomiting every cell inside me, and call me crazy, but I'd prefer not to start off my year known as the Vomiter. 
"Yes," Pax glares at Cade. "Let's start." He inserts himself between us, blocking Cade's view of me. His firm, half naked body is next to my face. Pax's musky cologne combined with a sweaty scent unique to him assails my nostrils until my senses are reeling out of control. 
Cade chuckles, looking amused. I want to glare at him. I don't find anything amusing about this. "Ready when you are."
Pax turns to me, his emerald eyes dark pools in the sunlight. This close I see every glorious inch of him, from the tiny stubbles of black hair covering the lower part of his face to the rippling six pack decorating his stomach like a tattoo. I don't dare look any lower. My pulse skitters. I forget to breathe. Something hard and hot unfurls in my belly. Unable to tear my gaze from him I watch helpless as his mouth drifts closer, until he' so close his breath mingles with mine.
"Ride me."

Excerpt copyright 2013 Mari Arden





Author Bio:
I'm Mari Arden (Mari rhymes with safari). Teacher by day, author by night. When I'm not living my double life I like to hike, take zumba classes, and try foods from all over the world. I write to soothe my soul and to, hopefully, entertain YOU. I write YA and NA including the YA series, "Fireborn". 

Adventurous? Come join my double life!

Links: www.mariarden.blogspot.com


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mari-Arden-author/493749174011347


http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6897452.Mari_Arden
  

www.twitter.com/mariarden



Cover Reveal! Breaking Angelina & Taking Chances





Title: Paranormal Investigation Series (Breaking Angelina 1.5 & Taking Chances 2)
Author: Rita & TJ Webb
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Cover Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours






Blurb:
Powerless to silence the voices in her head, Angelina obeys their every command, even if it means ruining her college career, swindling money from her friends, or kidnapping and killing a siren so she can brew a love potion to ensnare the man she's crushed on since childhood.

The Hunter, a man-wolf-hawk chimera, drowns the memories of his murdered family in liquor. A tracker for hire, an honorable man who has misplaced his honor, a twisted soul with no heart left to care.

…until Angelina hires the Hunter to help her track down a siren and wakes him from his drunken stupor. What will it take to set them both free?



Blurb:
Someone — or something — vandalized Jason's new shop. Smashed windows, a broken cash register, damaged merchandise are strewn across the floor, but the culprit left the money.

The evidence: bloody bear prints larger than any bear Jason's seen, black ooze that can eat the flesh from bones, and a missing employee.

Bears don't wander into busy shopping districts, turn off security alarms, and break into stores. When more people go missing, Jason and Emma realize the cops aren't up to handling the situation.

Something’s going wrong in the paranormal world. Can Jason and Emma fix things before someone else gets hurt?



Links:
Blog:  HYPERLINK "http://afantasyfiction.blogspot.com"http://afantasyfiction.blogspot.com 
Goodreads:  HYPERLINK "http://www.goodreads.com/ritawebb"http://www.goodreads.com/ritawebb
Twitter:  HYPERLINK "http://www.twitter.com/ritajwebb"http://www.twitter.com/ritajwebb
Facebook: HYPERLINK "http://www.facebook.com/RitaJWebb"http://www.facebook.com/RitaJWebb 



Summer Kindle Giveaway!


That's right! Some amazing authors got together and are offering a fabulous giveaway for our readers!

What is being offered? **big grin**


Oh yeah, baby! Is that sexy or what?!

And guess what! It doesn't end there! All the authors are offering their novels for just .99!!!



*****SWOOONS***** I don't know about you, but I am going to be snatching up quite a few of those titles!

Oh and look in that corner.... what is that? Hmmm, could it be my book baby ASHES AND ICE?! Why yes! :) For the month of June, Ashes and Ice will be .99!


Buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Want a teaser?

Here you go:



Show some love and Snag a banner! All done by the AMAZING Mae I Design!




Aren't they puuurrrty!? :)

Would you like to win some swag???

Share the ASHES AND ICE sale on FACEBOOK here. One lucky SHARER will win a signed ASHES AND ICE bookmark :)

**************DRUM ROLL***********

Now onto the AWESOME giveaway!

First off, are you scrambling to find all of the Scavenger hunt words? Hmmm, I love to wear
  NAIL POLISH in the summer!

Be sure to check out the AWESOME Shanora Williams blog out for tomorrow's post! 






Happy Release Day to Melissa Andrea and her New Book Baby *The Edge of Darkness*




Title: The Edge of Darkness
Author: Melissa Andrea
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Day: May 31, 2013
Blitz Host:  HYPERLINK "http://ambersupernaturalandya.blogspot.com/p/lady-amber-tours.html" Lady Amber's Tours



Synopsis:

After a tragic accident, Araya Noelle is left with a constant reminder that nothing is forever.

Instead of dwelling over her loss, she plays the hand she's been dealt without complaint. In a world as black as hers, there's no room for bitterness, no time for regret. Sheltered from the outside world, Araya has become suffocated by a life she has no control over. Until Ryland Dare comes crashing into her life.

You don’t know true darkness until you've felt the light…
Like a firecracker, showering her with colorful sparks of freedom, Ryland quickly sweeps Araya away from her dark existence. For the first time since the accident, living in darkness is no longer something Araya wants to do willingly. Unleashed by the shadows of her reminder, being with Ryland, Araya touches light. Together they will learn what it’s like to be alive for the first time.

At the edge of darkness, a ray of light, will dare them both to live.



Author Bio:



Melissa started reading in high school when she found her mom's romance book collection and has been hooked on books every since. She became a complete book-a-holic, starting her own collection and improving her reading skills. Most of the time she could finish a book walking around the store, while her mom shopped.

She wrote her first short story in high school for a competition in her writing class. It was a child's book called 'Arnold' - it was about an ant who believed he could do anything. Oh by the way, she won!

She has written many stories since then, but this will be her first YA paranormal/fantasy and the first book she will have published.

She lived in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of six years, and her 3 beautiful daughters. 

30 Day Love-My-Body-Health Challenge




Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to weight less. 50lbs ago I felt fat and insecure. Now I curse myself for not adoring my tiny waist and thick, muscular legs. Not gonna lie, ya'll, I am flab-a-licious. Rolls galore. I was so ashamed of my weight gain for a long time, but after my recent epiphany, I decided that my body needs to be celebrated--regardless of my imperfections, because each "flaw" is mine. Beauty cannot be defined by a particular body type. We cannot compare ourselves to the ladies on TV, magazines, plastered across our Facebook pages. Saying we are NOT beautiful is not setting an example to our daughters, nieces, or loved ones. We have to look in the mirror and accept who we are and what the mirror reflects.

So, guess what?! I'm beautiful. I may not look like a Victoria Secret model, but this body is mine and I need to celebrate how far it has brought me.

Now, this doesn't mean that I will CHOOSE to treat it poorly. I have… for a while (sorry, body!). But my shift in perspective and self-love demands me to re-evaluate how I treat my body. Since my weight gain, I have terrible feet pain, more fatigue, increase in light-headedness, shortness of breath, back/neck pain. All in all, I am falling apart. 

BODY! YOU DESERVE BETTER! 

So, I need to make some changes. Increase the veggies, decrease the sugar. Increase the water, decrease the soda. Increase the lean protein, decrease the starchy carbs. Work my ass off (well, not really, I **and my hubs** kind of like my bubble butt) at the gym. My goal is to be healthy and strong. 

Eventually, I would like to get involved with dance and martial arts. 

Here is my plan:

30 Day Challenge



10 Glasses of Water Per Day
5 Workouts a Week
4 Cups of Veggies a Day
No Starchy Carbs after 3pm
No Food after 7pm
TRY for 7.5 Hours of Sleep per night (2hr Increase)
No Soda

*whew! That sounds semi-terrifying! But, in 30 days I will report my journey--the ups/downs and results… even if I fall off the wagon. 

So here I go :)

Are you on your own body-love journey? Have you lost weight? Or have a success story? Please share! We are all in this together!



One by Mari Arden Cover Reveal!

Here is the BEAUTIFUL full wrap for Mari Arden's ONE!



This cover was done by the amazing Regina at Mae I Design!

Book Blurb:


Jules Hendricks has had a string of bad "firsts."
 Embarrassing first kiss. Traumatic first date. An obsessive first boyfriend she can't understand. 
It's taken her years but she's finally able to leave her small town life behind for a new start as a freshmen at UW- Madison. For Jules this chance to be independent and rebuild her life is an opportunity she won't ever let anyone take from her again. She's determined to make something of herself without a man by her side, in front, behind or anywhere near her. 
Reid "Pax" Paxton is the star quarterback for the UW Badgers. His brush with death makes him understand how precious life is, and how important it is to take life by the horns, unafraid. Jules knows he's dangerous for her. Dark hair. Smoldering eyes. Killer smile. That dimple. That body. Those arms. Pax is everything she's trying to run away from, but she can't help coming back for more. Slowly he begins to show a life together can be more than just a dream. It can be their reality. The truth about reality is it's not always sunshine and butterflies.
Sometimes it's a wasteland. 
Sometimes secrets can't stay buried.
Sometimes your past will find a way to hunt you down. 

Book Excerpt:

ONE

**Warning: the contents of this book are intended for readers 18+ and older due to explicit adult situations.

"Do I make you nervous?" His husky drawl drips like chocolate covering a ripe, round strawberry. Does he make me nervous? Does a simmering volcano make an ant nervous?
I swallow. "Nervous? I'm not nervous," I babble, refusing to look at him. I'm in physical pain. What's that thing I do where I take in air, and then let it out? Oh yeah, breathing. I need to do that. 
Like right now. 
I make a strangled sound and inhale through my nostrils, taking in the smoky air like a ravenous puppy finding milk. Instantly I feel Pax's heat next to me. Soon I'll be immersed in it, wrapped in it. 
Wrapped around him
So does that make me nervous? Only a hundred kinds of nervous.
"Time to begin!" Cade yells, as he jogs back to Pax and I, flashing his pearly whites. He pounds Pax on the back. "Don't drop the ball," he grins. 
"As if I ever do."
Cade turns to me. I see the second he registers my cleavage is exposed to the world. His eyes appraise me slowly. He gives me an appreciative grin. "Well, hello there."
"Hi," I reply. "Um, should we start now?" I don't mean to be rude, but I'm a second away from vomiting every cell inside me, and call me crazy, but I'd prefer not to start off my year known as the Vomiter. 
"Yes," Pax glares at Cade. "Let's start." He inserts himself between us, blocking Cade's view of me. His firm, half naked body is next to my face. Pax's musky cologne combined with a sweaty scent unique to him assails my nostrils until my senses are reeling out of control. 
Cade chuckles, looking amused. I want to glare at him. I don't find anything amusing about this. "Ready when you are."
Pax turns to me, his emerald eyes dark pools in the sunlight. This close I see every glorious inch of him, from the tiny stubbles of black hair covering the lower part of his face to the rippling six pack decorating his stomach like a tattoo. I don't dare look any lower. My pulse skitters. I forget to breathe. Something hard and hot unfurls in my belly. Unable to tear my gaze from him I watch helpless as his mouth drifts closer, until he' so close his breath mingles with mine.
"Ride me."

Excerpt copyright 2013 Mari Arden




Mari Arden's BIO: 

I'm Mari Arden (Mari rhymes with safari). Teacher by day, author by night. When I'm not living my double life I like to hike and try foods from all over the world. Up until recently, I used to be scared of dogs. Even puppies. True story. Now I'm just afraid of anything with more than six legs. I write to soothe my soul and to, hopefully, entertain YOU. 

Adventurous? Come join my double life!

Mari Arden
Author of the "Fireborn" series
www.mariarden.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mari-Arden-author/493749174011347
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6897452.Mari_Arden
www.twitter.com/mariarden

Check out this Giveaway!

Bitch-slapped into Awesomeness



First off, before I share my story little story, I want to tell you...



Alright, my lovelies, in a mere 72 hours, I have changed, rocked, bitch-slapped myself into awesomeness. No, I didn't win the lottery, my face isn't plastered on billboards, I didn't solve world peace. It isn't as fancy as all of that. It is all inside, a very quiet, but brutal battle finally won. 

I have wrestled with debilitatingly low self esteem for years. I was always very good at painting on my mask or even finding and building up other people, but I was quick to criticize myself. I always felt that I could love me "when I____." It was the lie that I fed myself over and over again that even when I accomplished something on that *when I* list, I couldn't enjoy it fully. My gaze just shifted to the next thing, and then the next thing… in the big ol' pyramid of shame and disappointment that I had built up for myself. 

Now, there have been times, that I knew rationally that this self-loathing was ridiculous. Rationally, I knew the steps I needed to take to healing. I wanted to take them, I tried. In the end though, I was easily broken. I didn't believe it. It was a dead mantra in my head. A hollow set of words that I recited to myself. 

Through all of this, I have tried to remain joyful and generous with love and praise for others. As a behavioral therapist, you see any progress as success in a client, as something to be celebrated. Set backs are just issues to be thought out and planned better for, a learning experience, a lesson in how not to do something. But as long as you are breathing, you have the opportunity to try again. As long as you are alive, you are a gift to this world. 

I am a gift. I am special. Beautiful. Even when people told me so, I didn't believe them.

What are things I have been ashamed of? Beauty was always a major one. I always wanted to be more beautiful and thinner (even when I was 40+lbs lighter than I am now). And now, that I am in my mid-twenties with 40+lbs more than ever before (except when I was pregnant), stretch marks on my belly, circles under my eyes, hair falling out (paintin' a pretty picture aren't I?) I had gotten to an all-time low. I have tried over and over to lose weight, only to fall off the wagon. Not fall. Flung. I flung myself off the wagon, and then waited for the damn thing to roll over me. I hated the process because I felt like I was being punished or judged or forced to deprive myself. I was trying to lose weight so that I could be perfect for *other* people and that made me angry, bitter, sad. AND, I knew that I couldn't be perfect… so the whole endeavor seemed pointless.

Some days were better than others and I really tried to work at all of these internal feelings, because I didn't want my daughter to grow up with a mother like that. Through it all, I have stuck to my guns with other personal goals. I have an amazing little family, and am a good behavioral therapist. In short, I was good at the external stuff. The stuff that I *did* or the people I helped…I put my heart into it. Behavioral therapy is focused on our choices… the thousands of choices that we make every day, in the blink of an eye and working to mastering responses and actions that are the most positive and fulfilling. I love this job. I like seeing people succeed and grow and change. I worked to help others see their strengths, the beauty in themselves, the reasons that they should feel proud of who they are and who they aim to become. 

I wanted to grow this into a business. A behavioral life coaching business. It was something that I had set in the future as a dream. I wanted to work on myself, save up, quit my normal job, and build slowly.

Then something happened. I was faced with a pretty big surprise at work and then, after the shock, I realized that I was going to be free and unattached sooner than I thought. I sat down with it, and the little bitch critic inside me listed all of the reasons why I couldn't, shouldn't focus on this dream of mine. 

And for the first time, I didn't listen. 

She was actually pissing me off.

So, I thought about it. Was she saying anything that was at all relevant? 

The truth was, I wasn't ugly or weak or incapable. This little, manipulative, gremlin of a bitch was. 

For some reason, that is what hit me. My goal with life coaching would be to help women discover the absolute awesomeness that dwells *within* them. That even when they are stripped down to nothing, that was is left is beautiful, powerful, and unique and something to celebrate. Now, how would I be able to do that if I couldn't do that for myself?

It was that simple. It was this bitch-slap, that knocked the NegativitySlut right out of me. For real, ya'll. She stumbled out looking all ridiculous and wide-eyed. I didn't need her anymore. 



I was free. I remember smiling and thinking, wow. I am happy. With me. 

I stood in front of the mirror--naked! I never, ever do that--and I looked at the scars, the extra flub, the imperfections and I thought wow, I am quite a lovely lady. Not because I was perfect… but because every inch of me was mine and deserved to be loved. My stretch marks were a gift from my daughter. My daughter is the light of my life so any gift from her should be treasured. My cellulite was a gift from delicious meals out with friends and family. My gut was a gift of watching TV and cuddling with my husband instead of going to the gym. The dark circles under my eyes were a gift of many sleepless nights from writing, finishing and publishing my first novel, or late nights with people I love, or moments with my daughter when she woke up from nightmares. There are some wonderful moments mixed in with those imperfections… things that I would never have given up. And so, these imperfections are not only mine, but beautiful. 


So, one of the many consequences of this fabulous realization? Now, I know that my weight loss journey has been going poorly because 1) I wanted it to be fast and be rid of this body faster than a sneeze and 2) how could I ever change a body that I hated? How could I invest the type of love, energy, and work into a body necessary for weight loss when I loathed it so completely? Time to change the mindset. I want to lose weight for my health and to reclaim the body I had when I was younger… although it will never quite be like that and that's okay. I want to be strong. Confident. That will take time. Change takes time. This isn't a race, it's a transformation. So in the mean time, I have to love this skin of mine--even the extra bits--because it has gotten me this far. 



I am proud and happy to say that for the first time in my life--at least from what I can remember--that I got alota love for me right now. Love without conditions… there are no "when"s involved. I love me--NOW. Every imperfect little bit of me inside and out. 

And even when the world seems to be falling apart (and it has felt that way for the past year or so), if I can love myself as-is and can recognize the people who love me for me… What is there to complain about? Because, when all is ripped away from you, in the end, that is what matters most. 

Do you have a nagging, evil wench in your head trying to beat you up or wrestle you into submitting to a life that is less than what you hoped for?

Yes? **rocky glares at evil wench**

Knock that bitch out. Trust me. She's just trying to block your view from the awesomeness that is waiting for you. 

Today is yours. Rock it! 







Cover Reveal! A Shard of Ice by Alivia Anders

Alivia Anders is all sorts of fabulousness! Today is her birthday AND is the cover reveal for one of her many projects. I have been excited about this for a loooooooong time! Readers actually helped Alivia pick this cover (which, ehem, SHE DESIGNED, I know... so much talent shouldn't be bottled up in one person!) and I looooved this one. SWOONS.



*****************

Title: A Shard of Ice
Series: Black Symphony Saga
Publisher: Red Alice Press
Release Date: April 14th, 2014

Synopsis:

THEIR SOULS, REAWAKENED
When 13-year-old Lilix Morgan is found alive and floating on a bed of ice at sea, everyone counts it a miracle. Kidnapped nearly four weeks earlier, she remembers nothing of her mysterious abduction. When she tries to remember what happened, she hears only a melody – a faint and delicate set of notes, strung together in a tune she doesn’t understand.
THEIR POWER, UNMATCHED
A year later and desperate to put the lingering nightmares of her past behind her, Lilix crosses the country to enroll at Baelmorte Academy, aiming to become the violinist she once dreamt of. Things seem to be finally going well, and Lilix settles into a routine of sheet music and inspiration among new friends.
Then the dreams start.
The melody and night terrors she thought she’d left behind return with a vengeance, threatening to ruin her fragile version of normalcy. Then an unlikely ally tells her that she isn’t alone. That there are others just like her, fighting to hide their own shocking truths from coming to light. That they know who she is, and what she’s been through. Now, accompanied by four other girls, Lilix discovers her nightmares are larger than a single trauma; they’re a window to a hidden part of her soul, a place of immense power with a destiny that cannot be ignored.
THEIR BATTLE, IS ONLY BEGINNING
With this knowledge comes a new and frightening reality. For Lilix has been reawakened to stop an age-old enemy, one thought to have been destroyed centuries ago. Trapped by her destiny, Lilix is torn between what feels right and what she remembers. Her memories tell her of a star-crossed love waiting to be reunited, of friendships and trust broken in the past. But can she save that love when reality brings her an enemy, and an evil that will be the undoing of them all if they don’t destroy it?

Spectacular? Yes, I think so. I can't wait to snatch this up!!!! 
Want to stalk Alivia? 

Want to buy her books???
Go check out them out on her author page on Amazon.

New Project with some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G People! Donate, share, GET EXCITED!

So, my editor, Annetta Ribken, sent me an email about a week ago.

Here is what that looked like--

I check my inbox.
See a message from my editor. Smile. Click to open.
Read.
Read again.
FLAIL AROUND AND DOES HAPPY DANCE.

What did this lovely message contain?

Well, let me tell you... it was EPIC.

Netta has gathered a huuuuge crew of seasoned and newbie authors to work on a fabulously original and exciting project.

THE ALLEGORIES OF THE TAROT

Each of the 22 (yes, 22!) authors will contribute a story based on one card from the Tarot Deck.

How did Netta know I was itching to do a story just like this?? I dunno. She's just awesome like that.

Want more info? Watch the video she made...



*giggles in pure glee*

Can you tell that I am jumping up an down??

Who will be working on this project?

Check out these writing ninjas (and their cards!)


The Fool-- Peter Giglio
The Magician--Lon Prater
The High Priestess--Billie Sue Mosiman
The Empress--Spike Marlowe
The Emperor--Kris Austen Radcliffe
The Hierophant--Jessica McHugh
The Lovers--Eden Baylee
The Chariot--Annetta Ribken
Strength--Rochelle Maya Callen ***********************There I am!!! WOOT WOOT!*********************
The Hermit--Red Tash
The Wheel of Fortune--Joseph Paul Haines
Justice--Catie Rhodes
The Hanged Man--Matthew Bryan
Death--Timothy Smith
Temperance--Anne Chaconas
The Devil--Patti Larsen
The Tower--Jordan L. Hawk
The Star--Samantha Henderson
The Moon--Janet Sked
The Sun--Tristan J. Tarwater
Judgment--Jennifer Wingard
The World--Laura Eno

I am giddy being on that list with so many cool and talented writers. I am honored that Netta asked me.

NOW... here is where YOU come in. Time to spread the word! A-N-D help us fund this gorgeous project. There are so many perks and rewards for donating! Check it out and don't drool too much. 

I did. Made a mess :-/

Go here to the campaign page to see all the fabulousness! What's up for grabs? Books, swag, copyediting, developmental editing, marketing consultations and MORE! 

Here is my card:

STRENGTH



LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.
IT!


Hello, you sexy/fabulous little Blog Post! Oh my, first one, are you? No wonder you sparkle...


Now that is some badass sparkles if you ask me! Writing Ninja. BOOYAH!

Well, this is my very first blog post on this shiny new blog. I have to warn you. I suck. Seriously, I am an epic fail at blogging. I've tried. **don't laugh you person that has seen my blog FAILS** I would like this blog to focus on DREAMS. 

Many of my dreams have revolved around my family, my health, my adventures, my career. Some of you know that I recently published my FIRST NOVEL. A YA Dark Fantasy. This was a dream of mine for years. Check that baby off the bucket list! I am working on other projects now :)

I love reading, writing, and dreaming. I also love dancing Bachata with my hubby, singing in the shower, drinking coffee with those I love most, and pretending to be a super hero with my three year old daughter. 

I will keep readers informed about my life, but also about the dreams and accomplishments of my dear friends. 

We all have dreams--sometimes they are buried deep within us. Search for them, dust them off, and look to the stars to see them sparkle. Reach for them. 

Reach for the stars, ya'll. The Stars Are Ours.



And that's until next time (love & miss you pops--he used to sign off every letter this way:),

Rocky
XOXO