Tuesday, December 23, 2014



Enjoy this special opportunity to get these wonderful titles for only $0.99 each Dec 26-Jan 1. Beyond the Reach of Judgement is included. Click above for the link for further details.

Please share. Thank you for the support.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Writing: Why I Love Being Indie

Why I Love Being Indie

It comes down to one thing - control. I wanted to maintain complete control of each part of the process of creating my novel, from first draft to final product. I did my own research, did my first preliminary edits, found my wonderfully insightful beta-readers, auditioned and hired my own quick and thorough editor, selected my own amazing cover designer and final beautiful cover design, found a formatter who quickly and effectively formatted my novel in unique EPUB, MOBI, and CreateSpace ready formats, and sought out my first generous reviewers.

By maintaining control then I know if I am successful, I deserve the credit, and if things don't work out the way I would like, I only have myself to blame. I will not worry about others' decisions interfering with my vision, and as someone who writes primarily for the joy of having a creative outlet, I wouldn't want it any other way, 

Read more thoughts about Being Indie at A Spark in the Dark:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Reviews: Birdman

Warning, minor spoilers ahead.

Birdman (the unexpected virtue of ignorance)

Riggan Thomas (played by Michael Keaton) was once a major celebrity as the start of a major Hollywood Blockbuster Superhero Trilogy, Birdman. His films grossed millions at the box office and became part of a multi-billion dollar franchise that could have made several more films and billions of more dollars had he chosen to continue, but feeling type cast and stuck in a he turns down the opportunity to do Birdman 4. The film finds him twenty years later, in a world where relevancy seems to be judged on social media likes and viral videos hits, than talent so Riggan turns to the Broadway stage to find himself. He writes, directs, stars, and seemingly personally finances a play based on a short story written by Raymond Carver "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love."

The plot continues in a strange dark comedy featuring Riggan's recovery drug addict daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), his girlfriend and fellow actress Laura (Andrea Riseborough),  his lawyer/producer/best-friend, Jake (Zach Galifianakus) the insecure ingenue Lesley (Naomi Watts), and bad-boy Broadway veteran Mike (Edward Norton). The twist of this film is an art imitating life imitating art imitating life sort of moment as the reality of everything starts to become clear - or does it? Just when you think you've got everyone figured out, you are left with a sense of doubt and then it's over.

Overall, I found this film to be intriguing and tongue-in-cheek look at the world of Hollywood and the ever changing idea of fame, stardom, celebrity and true talent. An authentic chemistry existed amongst the entire cast drawing you into their crazy, raw, complicated world. I found the casting of a former Batman, to be especially clever given the plot and Emma Stone's performance as his daughter to be strangely perfect. I'd recommend this film and expect it to see some buzz in the upcoming award season.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014!

It's that time of year again. It's time to forget your hobbies, your family, your pets, and to wish you could forget your job. It's time to write over 1000 words a day and still feel like inadequate. It's time to become so engrossed in your writing, that all other goals get set aside. It is time for National Novel Writing Month.

This year I really want to win. While I've participated three years in the past and accomplished a lot of worthwhile writing, I've never technically "won" by achieving the 50K words that is the goal. This year, I want that to change. So I've plotted and thought and planned and done just about everything short of starting my project.

What is my project? If all goes as planned, I will be working on a sequel to Beyond the Reach of Judgement. Of course, anyone who has done NaNoWriMo in the past knows that things don't always go as planned. Sometimes things take on a life of their own in November, but as of this moment my current project looks something like this: (SPOILER ALERT for those who haven't read Beyond the Reach of Judgement)

"...the story of Ruth 25 years after the loss of Julien, as she comes to grips with her new life and new role in the world and of Agent Wolf as she nears retirement from the Department of Homeland Security's paranormal unit. Wolf is assigned to one final mission and discovers a strange sense of déjà vu after she finds herself again in Kansas City, MO dealing with dead prostitutes and chasing vampires, and Ruth seeks answers to her draw back to the city where she and Julien first met."


Sunday, October 12, 2014

My Favorites: Amazon Prime

Hello Again. Today's post is all about my love for my Amazon Prime Membership. So, if you already have Amazon Prime, you can stop reading because you already know how awesome the 2 Day Free Shipping, instant view TV and movies, instant listen music catalog, and free Kindle downloads are. If you don't have Amazon Prime, however, (are there still some of you out there?), let me continue to tell you why you should consider it.

My husband and I have moved three times in the last six years. As those of you whom have moved recently know, with each move comes different wants and "needs" for the new home and often as limited budget in which to obtain those needs, especially early on. Sometimes these are minor things like picture frames and wall hangings, and sometimes these are larger, more prominent things like shelving, end tables, etc. What is great about my Prime Membership is that it doesn't matter it I am ordering dust cloths or a vacuum cleaner, it ships for free in two days (sometimes even less). Because of this, I often find myself price comparing and reading reviews of products I find locally, on Amazon before I commit to a purchase. If I find the deal better locally, and the reviews don't hate it, I feel good with my purchase. If not, since I prefer to shop/spend locally when possible, I mention the Amazon price to the local retailer. Some retailers will attempt to price match or at least come closer to the Amazon price. I've got some incredible deals this way and gotten to keep my money local which I love.

Sometimes, despite trying my best to find what I want locally, it just isn't possible. These are the times when I especially love my Prime Membership. So many times, after hours of hunting in stores, I log on the Amazon and find exactly what I am seeking at a great price AND it will ship to me for free. I have purchases so many things this way - specialty shampoos, skin care and makeup products, artwork, poster frames, end tables, bar stools, bedding, bed frame, cat toys/supplies, green cleaning supplies, shelving, closet storage/organizers, a grill, an electric lawnmower, hard to find BluRays, and music.

Personally, I don't use the instant video often, but I have used it for things like work-out videos and those times when I just "have-to" see a certain movie that I don't own. I love that I can watch on my big screen TV, computer, tablet, and phone. I've also started to enjoy the Music benefit. My work-out music library is growing steadily thanks to Amazon Prime Music. Now, if only my gym membership had a Prime discount...

Finally, as an Indie Author, I find the benefit of the Kindle Lending Library to be amazing. I can support other Indie Authors, and find great reads on my Kindle for Free!

Shop Amazon - Give the Gift of Amazon Prime

Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies & TV Shows Anytime; Get 2 Day Free Shipping on products you Love; and so much more - Start Free Trial Now

Friday, October 3, 2014

My Favorites: My Mattress

My Favorites: Saatva Luxury Firm Mattress

Several months ago, my husband and I decided to upgrade to a king size mattress to complete our master suite retreat. Our previous mattress was a Keetsa Pillow Plus with which we were happy, and at the time we purchased it, it was the perfect choice based on price, ease of shipping and set up. We chose it also because compared to most mattresses, they more eco-friendly and compared to most organic mattresses, they were much more affordable. We bought the Pillow Plus.

This year, when we decided it was time to upgrade, we stumbled upon the Saatva company while research made in USA, eco-friendly mattresses. We've had this mattress for five months now and are extremely happy. The Luxury firm is the best of all worlds. A soft topper with a firm support beneath. Great for back sleeping, side sleeping, and stomach sleeping (from personal experience with all of the above) If you do the research, you will find this mattress is the best reviewed on Google, and has rave reviews on many mattress related blogs, websites, and consumer sites. And they deliver it not just to your door, but to you bedroom!

From their website:

"The standard comfort level used in the finest hotels in the world, where their goal is to ensure every guest gets a great night sleep. "Luxury Firm" offers the perfect balance of "cushion firm and contouring support". This assures proper spinal alignment with our premium foam cushion layers for the ultimate and most comfortable sleep experience. Whether you sleep on your side, back or stomach, you will be very happy with this comfort level. It is a true medium firm. It's not too hard or too soft. The "Luxury Firm", is rated the "#1 comfort choice" in the ultra premium mattress classification.

Choose Luxury Firm:

  • If you prefer to sleep on your side, back or stomach.
  • It’s the perfect mattress for couples with different sleep needs.
  • If you are looking for the Goldilocks bed. Not too firm. Not too soft.
  • If you switch sleeping positions often in the night.
  • If you are looking for the luxury hotel experience at home."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Time for some changes

After much thought and research, I've decided to take this blog in a bit of a different direction. As most people, I have a wide variety of interests and aspirations. Therefore, this blog will become a focal point of those interests and goals. It will not only be a place for me to post updates on my writing, but a place for me to share other things I enjoy, my travels, and other projects I undertake.

Stay tuned for:
-My Favorites
-My Travels
-My Writing
-My Reviews
-My Ramblings
-My Recipes
-My Hauls


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BookCrossing Adventure

Hello Friends. Sorry for the silence. It's been a busy couple of weeks. The blog tour went well, and I thank all of those who participated and supported me.

I recently decided to release some of my paperback books "into the wild" in hopes that some folks may stumble upon them and perhaps enjoy and share. Iowa City, being a very literary city, just so happens to have a multitude of little free libraries (http://littlefreelibrary.org/). I decided these would be an ideal place to release a few copies. With the help of IDs from BookCrossing (http://www.bookcrossing.com/), I hope to be able to track them on their adventures. Hopefully, everyone will play along and log the books if they pick them up.

Time will tell.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Upcoming Blog Tour 6/30-7/07

Please join me for a one week online blog tour featuring interviews, guest blogs, reviews, spotlight stops, and a Giveaway. Thank you for the support.

June 30 Interview
A Writer's Mind

June 30 Spotlight
Shut Up & Read

July 1 Guest blog
Aly @ Aly's Miscellany

July 2 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.

July 3 Review
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

July 4 Spotlight
Tattooed Book Review

July 7 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

July 7 Spotlight
Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Excerpt of "Curse of an Angel"

Hello - today I would like to share a recently written (yet unedited and rough draft) excerpt from my new urban fantasy project - Curse of an Angel.

Before she could do anything to interfere, the man stood tall on the base of the statue stretching his body to its full length to reach his lips up to the face of the Angel. "Nooo!" She screamed but the man's body collapsed onto the stone slab. Running as fast as she could towards him, she pulled back her mask and rolled up her sleeves. She climbed onto the slab and reached for the man's neck. "No pulse. Dammit," she whispered. After glancing around  the darkness and finding nothing but the tombstones, she reached down and positioned herself over the man's chest. She started chest compressions as she prayed.
Even thoough her mind begged her not to, her eyes drifted to the lifeless face of the man beneath her. She paused as recognition flashed through her. "Ivan? What the hell?"
Reminding herself he would die if she stopped, she resumed her desperate compressions. "Why? Why?" Tears built behind her eyes even though she had only met the boy once. She'd never had to encounter a familiar face during her work before. "You will not die on me, Ivan. I demand it. Wake up, you fool."
As her arms began to burn and tremble, she heard a gasp as she felt resistance in the lungs inflated beneath her palms. As she pulled back, his hands grasped hers. With eyes wide and wild, he sat up peering blankly into the darkness.
"Oh thank God."
"I...knew...it," Ivan mumbled.
"Knew what?"
"You are..." He pointed between the statue and her.
"I have no idea what you are talking about."
"Don't be...don't lie."
"You should go to the hospital. I'm calling an ambulance."
"No. No, I'm fine."
"A minute ago you were dead. You are not fine."
"I'm alive now. Thank you." He gave her a weak seeming half smile.
"What the hell did you think you were doing anyway."
"I didn't think anything would happen. I don't.. I mean, I didn't believe any of it. I was only hoping to find you."
She pulled her hands free from his. "You really are a fool." 
He grabbed his chest and gasped. "Argh."
"Oh, God, I'm so sorry." She moved away.
"No. Don't go yet. I'm fine."
"You keep saying that like I will eventually believe you. I won't." She frowned.
"Who are you?"
"I can't tell you."
"Can't or won't" His smile faded.
"Both. It is better you don't know."
"Then I will just have to repeat this performance every night until you change your mind."
"If you are that crazy, you deserve what comes to you, then."
"We shall see," he moved to stand, eyes locked on the bronze face above them.
"Alright. Ingrid, my name is Ingrid. Please don't!"
"Okay, Ingrid. It is nice to meet you. Why is it that you spend so much time in the cemetary?"
"I don't. You just happened to find me here."
"Three times."
"Yes. Three times. Thankfully for you. I almost did not come out tonight."
"So you do spend many nights here, then?"
She cursed herself under her breath. "No. Just recently."
"Because it's that time of year."
"What time of year." He shifted closer.
"The time of year idiots like you pull stunts like this." She moved back.
"I see. So why is that any of your concern."
"Because unlike you, I believe the legends."
"Fair enough. So you just hang out and wait to rescue poor souls like myself every night?"
"Not exactly." She looked away.
"What then?"
"Let's just say I have no choice."
"Why not?"
"Because when you know what I know, it's hard to stand by and let it happen, okay."
"I don't understand."
She stood. "I really have to go now, Ivan. Please don't do anything else stupid. Okay?" She turned and stepped off the stone.
"Until next time?" Ivan bowed.
"That's not funny."
"Then meet me tomorrow."
"I can't."
"We will talk about anything but Her." He nodded to towards the statue. "I promise. Just meet me."
"Comon. I'll buy you lunch."
"You just saved my life, it's the least I can do." He smiled down at her as his hand patted his chest.
"Okay. But only because I want to make sure you're still breathing."
"How about Hamburg Inn?"
"See you at 1?"
"It's a date then."
"No. It's a lunch meeting."
"Sure. Whatever." He laughed.
Feeling her cheecks flush, she turned and pulled her mask over her face.
"Good night, Ingrid."
She did not respond as she grabbed her things and left the cemetary. What have you done? she thought.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Paperback Edition now Available!

For those of you that love the feel of a book in your hands, the smell of the ink on the pages, and enjoyment of turning an actual paper page, you are in luck! Beyond the Reach of Judgement is now available in paperback.

Also, check back for details on the upcoming Blog Tour, planned June 30-July 4 complete with Giveaways!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kitchen Adventure: Home Made Crunchwraps (Mexigons? WTF?)

For my latest kitchen experiment I attempted to make one of my restaurant favorites, the Crunchwrap Supreme. (Did you know the first considered name was the Mexigon? Glad that fell through.) This is a vegetarian and slightly healthier version for those of you looking for something tasty and healthy.

-large tortillas
-plain Greek yogurt
-refried beans
-shredded cheese
-pico de gallo
-shredded lettuce


-Lay out tortilla and spread pre-heated beans in the center.

-sprinkle cheese over beans

 -Place tostado over cheese and beans

-Cover tostado with yogurt
-Place lettuce and pico de gallo over yogurt

 -Fold tortilla edges over top


-This trial was cooked using table-top George Foreman Grill. Wrap turned 90 degrees (not flipped) half-way through cooking. Total cook time ~ 5 minutes.


Friday, May 2, 2014

New Project

As my first project as now been released; it is time to start moving forward. My new project is something I've been thinking about for years and finally feel ready to take it on. It is based on a fascinating burial marker that exists in Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City, IA - The Black Angel. This monument was erected in 1913 by Theresa Dolezal Feldwert to honor her second husband and her second son. She would later also be buried beneath the mysterious bronze angel. Because of its unusual color and posture, the angel statue has led to many urban legends and ghost stories which only grow with each passing year. While much is known about Theresa, much is still unknown making her a perfect inspiration for my next project.

Working title: Curse of An Angel
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Ingrid Musil seems like your average 20-something by all who may encounter her during the day, but she has a dark secret that few know. For reasons unknown to her or her family, she is the most recent in a 100 year history of her ancestors to receive premonitory dreams or awful things to come to those who disrespect The Black Angel. Her unwelcome knowledge forces her to spend many nights, and some days, attempting to save those future victims from their curse. She thought her secret was safe until she starts to feel someone watching her.

Ivan Cerny is an Art History student struggling to complete his thesis project. He's chosen the mysterious Black Angel monument of Oakland Cemetery as his subject but can't seem to find the proper focus for his analysis. He spends days in the Cemetery staring up at the statue with notebook in hand waiting for inspiration. Then on Halloween Night, after watching countless groups tempt the wrath of the Angel, he finds the angle for which he's been searching, but also something more. Is there really truth behind the legends?

Cara Dempster believes in the paranormal so much that she has become a paranormal investigator. She participates in investigations all over the Midwest, but her favorite spot remains that of  Oakland Cemetery in her hometown of Iowa City, as it was here she had her first paranormal experience and it was here that inspired her to pursue other experiences. She never imagined that it would be here, however, that she would find her best friends. Together, they seek answers to a mystery over 100 years in the making.

If you want well researched information on this monument and the fascinating woman behind it I recommend this book: The Black Angel: a centennial history 1913-2013 by Timothy Parrott

As you can see, the internet LOVES the Black Angel - here are some links I have used in my research if you are interested in learning more.













Saturday, April 26, 2014

Thank you!

For all of those who supported me on my release week for Beyond the Reach of Judgement. It has been an exciting ride so far. The blog tour went well. If you haven't already, check out the links in the previous post for the participating blogs to enter for a free e-copy. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, here are the links:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog Blitz 4/19-25

Join me for my Release Week celebration - a chance to win a free ebook copy of Beyond the Reach of Judgement at each stop. 

April 19:

April 20:

April 21:
For Whom The Books Toll: forwhomthebookstoll.blogspot.com

April 23:

April 24:

April 25:

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's almost Release Day!

I can hardly believe the day is almost here. After almost two years of work on Beyond the Reach of Judgement, my Release Day is only five days away! The book has been professionally edited and formatted. The video book trailer has been created and uploaded. A playlist is complete. The blog blitz with Xpresso Book Tours has been arranged. Review copies have been sent. Goodreads and Facebook events have been created. Ads have been ordered. Now we sit back and wait with bated breath for the big moment.

Won't you join me?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Beyond The Reach of Judgement - Book Trailer

Please tell me what you think!

Excerpt 4: Beyond the Reach of Judgement

“Ruth, let’s go for a walk. You’ve been stuck inside for far longer than is healthy,” Julien offered his arm as the setting sun darkened the great room. “This part of the city can be quite peaceful in the evenings. Let me show you.”
    Ruth stood as she wondered at his motivations. Was this it? Had he finally grown tired of her and planned to be rid of her?  She searched his eyes for evidence of such motivations but she found none of the hunger and desperation she had met during their first encounter.
    “Unless you would rather not?” Julien stepped back and lowered his arm as he appeared to study her with equal intensity.
She swallowed and took a deep breath. “No. I’m sorry. I would enjoy a walk. I was just wondering what you did with all your time. I mean, before coming to the City I could barely imagine what it must be like to not to have to spend eight to twelve hours working a day and barely have enough free time to shower after trying to get a good night’s rest in. You don’t work, don’t sleep, and your showers are so short.”
    “I think.”
    “All the time?” She took his arm as the elevator doors opened to the lobby.
    “Not exactly. I probably spend most of my time trying not to think, to be honest. That is how I came to enjoy these evening walks when my hunger allows such things.”
    Ruth shivered. As soon as her mind seemed to escape the fact that he needed to feed from humans to survive, he found a way to remind her. “How is your hunger now?”
    “Tolerable. You needn’t worry. I will not risk your safety again.” His other hand reached over to squeeze her arm where it rested over his, but he did not look at her.
    “I’m not worried for myself. I just hate to think of you doing something uncomfortable for my sake.”
    “You are an interesting person, Ruth. It seems rare in this current age to find someone quite as selfless as you.” Julien led them down the street.
    “Um, thanks, I think.” She shrugged and considered asking him how many people from this age he actually knew.
    “So the architecture in this area is different from anywhere else in the city. This area was once home to the most prominent citizens of the city in its infancy. Many of these buildings are in their original Art Deco style that was popular at the time.” He pointed upwards toward the towering buildings that surrounded them. “That building there was the tallest in the state for nearly 50 years and was designed by the same architect that designed the building in which I currently reside. They are some of the oldest still standing in this area.”
    “So you like architecture then?” She questioned.
“I find it intriguing how it reflects the current culture and technology and mentality of the time, yes. But mostly, it just seems to remind me of how old I am. To think this entire area did not even exist as more than just prairie and forests when I was born.” He looked away from her. “There are some lovely churches in this city as well. Maybe another night I will take you to see them.”
“I would like that.” Ruth smiled when she caught his glance returning to her as they continued their stroll.
“But the strangest thing I’ve ever encountered anywhere on my travels is coming up here.” He pointed to an alcove between buildings. “It is called Putto 2x2x4.”
As they approached, Ruth stared in confusion at the odd piece of sculpture settled amongst the garden in the alcove. It seemed about twenty feet tall and depicted some strange headless, two-bodied creature with six limbs appearing as human fingers and two limbs appearing as short fat baby-like legs, four limbs on either half. On the screen behind the metal beast played a video of the creature clumsily dancing around as its two bodies fought for control. “It makes no sense.”
“Apparently it is modern art,” Julien replied indicating the plaque for the Kemper Art Museum. “But I relate to the poor beast’s struggle. Its two halves not wanting to acknowledge the other side, meanwhile pulling in opposite directions in a constant battle with itself.”
Looking at the sculpture again and then to the video screen, she could now see the battle between the two sides, neither inherently stronger than the other, each gaining control for a short time before the balance literally tipped in favor of the other side. “Now I see why you try not to think too much.”
He gave a sad seeming smile and another gentle pat on the hand before they continued down the street back toward his place.
She found herself longing to reach out and touch him. The muscles in her arms twitched as she resisted the impulse, and instead she felt her desire twist within her chest. Reminding herself again, despite how he appeared and behaved, that Julien was not human and therefore could not share her feelings, she pushed her urges away. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Edited Introduction: Beyond the Reach of Judgement

These are the first 600 words of my novel, Beyond the Reach of Judgement after their trip to the editor. Enjoy!


People who cease to believe in God or goodness altogether still believe in the devil. I don't know why. No, I do indeed know why. Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”

- Anne Rice, Interview With a Vampire

Alone in the stone cell, Julien paced the perimeter until finally sliding his body down the unforgiving wall opposite the cell door. With her final words still stuck in his head, he focused on the cracks in the stones and the number of blocks stacked to form his enclosure. He tried to memorize the angles and the dimensions of the space instead of allowing thoughts of her warm curves pressed against him to overcome his focus. When the vision of her bright blue eyes came into his head, he changed his attention to the ceiling, taking in the cobwebs in the corners, the dim bulb hanging above, and the smell of mildew hanging in the air. As his mind fell upon the memories of their final moments together, he ground his fingernails into the hard stone beneath him.
His concentration wavered as something slipped through the bars of the cell door. Even in the dim lighting, he immediately recognized the medical grade pint of packed red blood cells. Although freshly sated by the girl’s last remaining ounce of life, the blood still called to him. The more he tried to ignore its presence, the louder the call became. His eyes repeatedly drifted back toward the bag as his tongue ran over his teeth. He sniffed the air, relieved that the scent of the bag’s contents remained trapped by the sterile sealing process.
His jaw clenched, and his fists tightened as the pain built in the back of his throat. Picturing himself back in France in the Church of Saint-Pierre de Montemartre, he swallowed back the saliva that collected in his mouth as he closed his eyes and began to chant.
AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.1
With his eyes closed, he chanted the words over and over, repeating them until they became senseless in his mind. Placing his head between his knees, he squeezed his eyes closed tighter. When he started to wonder what blood type was written across the bag in bold letters or about how fresh it might be, he changed prayers. When the memories of the sensation of his lips on warm flesh, the sound of a pulse echoing in his ears, or the taste of that first drop of blood on his tongue entered his mind, he changed prayers. When he remembered her scent in his nostrils and her flavor in his mouth, he changed prayers.
Recognizing her footsteps and her smell, Julien did not look up as Agent Wolf stood in the doorway. After a long silence, she finally spoke. “Mr. Durant, tell me, why should I spare you?”
“You should not,he said.
“And why is that?”
“I am a monster. I deserve to be ended. I wish to be ended.”
“And why should I give you what you desire?” Her voice hinted at genuine curiosity.
“You should not.”
She said nothing else as her footsteps disappeared down the long corridor. Silence filled the cell once again. He was alone, alone with the blood.
Imagining himself back in the Spiritual Exercises, he started to chant again. He had conquered the evil and disorder within himself once so many years ago; it could be done again. Ruth taught him that. It took losing her to prove to him that he had the choice, and her loss gave him the strength to take it.
Even though he had witnessed her passing with his own eyes, her presence still haunted his every thought. He sensed her fear and despair as if she sat next to him now. But now she was dead, and he sat alone in the stone cell.
1 Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Beyond the Reach of Judgement will be released April 19, 2014 in e-book and paperback. Stay tuned for more details. Consider liking the Facebook Page here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Kitchen Adventure: Husband's Birthday

So recently my husband celebrated his birthday. Normally this would mean going out to a nice dinner at a location of his choice. This year, however, because we both had early morning obligations, I volunteered to cook him something special.

After scouring the internet for several hours, I happened upon two perfect recipes. For the appetizer I prepared Cheesy Creamy Roasted Onions (recipe found here).

For the main course, Spinach and Ricotta Dumpling over tomato and basil marinara sauce (recipe found here).

So my versions aren't nearly as photogenic but they certainly were delicious so I consider this Kitchen Adventure to be a success.

Thank you - Mom, What's for Dinner? and Amuse your Bouche Blogs for sharing these recipes.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar Picks!

Here it is - my Oscar Ballot

Best Picture:
Nebraska (although I think American Hustle is more likely to take it)

Actor in a Leading Role:
Bruce Dern (although I won't be surprised if Matthew McConaughey wins)

Actor in a Supporting Role:
Barkhad Abdi (although I wouldn't mind if Jared Leto gets it)

Actress in a Leading Role:
Amy Adams (I really want her to get this one)

Acress in a Supporting Role:
Lupita Nyong'o

Animated Feature Film:
Frozen (I will be shocked if anything else takes this)

American Hustle (would love Nebraska to get this too)

Documentary Feature:
The Square

Documentary Short Subject:
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Foreign Language Film:


Costume Design:
 The Great Gatsby

Film Editing:

Makeup and Hairstyling:
Dallas Buyers Club

Original Score:
The Book Theif

Original Song:
"Let It Go" from Frozen

Production Design:
The Great Gatsby

Animated Short Film (I saw all of these I am proud to say)
Mr Hublot (with Feral as a close second in my mind)

Live Action Short Film (I've seen none of these)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre

Sound Editing:
Captain Phillips

Sound Mixing
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Visual Effects:

Adapted Screenplay:
The Wold of Wall Street

Original Screenplay:
American Hustle 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Movie Review: Nebraska

Nebraska: Before I even get started on this review let me start with this. All the Oscar hype is totally deserved. The premise of this film is simple enough "An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize." (From IMDB) What results from a simple plot of an old man believing he won 1 million dollars based on a piece of junk mail, is a beautiful, amusing, and heartwarming film. Directed by Alexander Payne (born in Omaha, NE) of The Descendants and Sideways fame, and starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, and June Squibb, the film manages to make you fall in love with some of the most average people ever portrayed on the big screen (and probably the most real).

The choice to film in black and white brilliantly brings focus to the characters and their relationships, instead of their surroundings, which in the middle of nowhere Midwest, isn't much anyway. The theme of this film at it's heart seems to be that of family, not just the good, but the bad and the ugly side as well which we see as the old man, Woody, and his son encounter long lost relatives and old friends, on their doomed journey to collect Woody's winnings. The son (who knew Will Forte could be serious by the way?) learns things about his father he never knew which will change their relationship forever.

I'm not sure I can say enough positives about this film, especially without giving away some of the best scenes. What I will say is see this film, even if it's the only Oscar nominee you get to see this year.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cover Reveal: Beyond the Reach of Judgement

With the release of Beyond the Reach of Judgement only 70 days away, I've decided it's time to release the new cover design. This was done by Char at Wicked Cover Designs (http://wicked-art.wix.com/wicked-cover-designs), and I love it. Please comment with your thoughts, and consider helping me spread the word on the social media platform of your choice. Add to your Goodreads shelf now, and/or sign up for my newsletter to get updates regarding the release. Thank you in advance.

Beyond the Reach of Judgement (a paranormal romantic tragedy)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn), a rugged, manly, adventure photographer, is everything Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) dreamt of being before life got in the way (literally and figuratively). Now Walter Mitty works for LIFE Magazine as a "negative asset manager" and is on the receiving end of all O'Connell's negatives for publication. While he fantasizes of adventure, romance, and fame, it isn't until a new woman, Cheryl (Kristin Wiig) joins the LIFE team and he tries to woo her on eHarmony.com that he realizes just how little he's done or seen. When he loses the negative from O'Connell titled the "Quintessence of  Life" for the final print issue of the iconic magazine, Walter sets off on an adventure of a lifetime to find the elusive O'Connell in order to track down the negative.

Even if this plot is completely non-believable (who can climb the Himalayas on a whim without and ounce of training or know how for example) and the character's slightly caricature-ish, I must say that Sean Penn's and Ben Stiller's brought life to them in a way that seems redeeming.The beauty of this film is that we've all felt like Walter Mitty at least once in our life. We've all felt like "real life" has gotten in the way of our "dream life." And we've all looked to someone else who seems to "have it all" and wondered how it would feel to be that person.

The feel of the film reminds me of Stranger Than Fiction and many of the same themes from that film were echoed in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as well. So while Walter Mitty and his story may be the ultimate Mary Sue on a quest trope, I think it can still inspire us all  “to see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed.

At least I know I've added, "travel to Iceland," to my bucket-list!

See More:
Story Behind the Photo: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/02/the-story-behind-the-photo-that-inspired-walter-mittys-journey/

Rotten Tomotoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_secret_life_of_walter_mitty_2013/

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Excerpt 3: From Beyond the Reach of Judgement

As they drove through the Kansas City streets to the Country Club Plaza, she began to wonder if Julien even understood the concept of speed limits. Classical music blasted from the speakers, which was very incompatible with the hum of the sports car’s engine. Although she found the contrast amusing but fitting, she chose not to say it out loud.
As she stepped from the car at their destination, she felt people turn to look at her. It was disconcerting to be drawing so much attention. When they stepped into the restaurant, Julien pulled her close, and she found that his touch both calmed and frightened her.
The hostess ushered them to a table, and Julien was quick to order them a bottle of wine. As she stared at the menu, he leaned in. “Order whatever you wish, My Dear. And plenty of it. I will just pretend to enjoy.”
“Everything looks so wonderful. I only wish you could truly share it all with me. It doesn’t seem fair.”
“Tonight is not about me.” He smiled.
The hostess arrived with their wine, uncorked it, and offered a sip to Julien. To Ruth’s surprise, he sipped it, gave an approving nod and watched as their glasses were filled. After the hostess was out of earshot, Ruth whispered. “You can drink?”
“Strange, I know. But for some reason alcohol is tolerable. Even enjoyable.” He took another sip, and she did the same.
“What happens if you try anything else?”
“Violent expulsion almost immediately.” His lip curled. “It is very unpleasant.”
“I can imagine.” She leaned across the table. “Can you get drunk?”
“Yes. Although it is not as I remember it before...” He broke eye contact and looked around the restaurant before staring into his wine glass.
Leaning back into her chair, she watched him wondering why a priest knew about drunkenness before interrupting his thoughts. “How did you become like this?”
His mouth twisted in displeasure, but he did not look up at her.
“I have to know your story.” She leaned in closer to him. “Please?”
He glanced around again and back down into his glass. “Are you quite sure? It is an ugly story, especially considering the occasion.” He looked up into her eyes causing her breath to catch in her throat.
“Yes.” She held his gaze and gave a small nod. “Please?”
He took another slow drink of wine and refilled his glass. “I sailed from my home in France to Sainte-Marie-au-pays-des-Hurons, a Mission in New France, which is now Ontario, Canada. It was 1640. My mission was simple; build a relationship with the Natives and reveal God to them.”
He glanced at her and back to his wine. “It was all very exciting at first, especially after years in study and contemplation and then the monotonous and grueling journey to get there.”
He paused, and Ruth struggled to contain her urge to rush him on. She could tell by the look in his eyes that he was lost in memory.
“We were well received in the beginning. We tried to learn their ways, their words, and their myths. We lived in their lodges, shared their work, spoke their tongue, and ate their food. Once we could understand how they thought, we could use that knowledge to adapt the Gospel to something they could understand. At least that was the plan.”
“The Hurons, among whom we lived, were a fascinating, if savage, people. And our mission seemed to be moving forward as predicted...” He looked away as his jaw tightened.
“Then what happened?” She urged.
“There was constant conflict between the Hurons, and the Iroquois, a warring neighboring nation. Then there were diseases and crop failures. Eventually, the Huron started to blame our presence for their misfortunes. Other Jesuits had already fallen victim to unspeakable tragedies in the years before my arrival. I ….”
They were interrupted by the arrival of the waitress. “Have you two decided what you would like?”
Ruth glanced over at him, and he gave her a nod. “I think so. We’d like to start with your appetizer sampler. Then I would like tonight’s special, with the soup. Thank you.”
“And you, Sir?”
“I will take the same.” He smiled politely.
“Of course. We will have those out as soon as possible. Please let me know if there is anything else you need.”
“Of course,” he said.
As soon as the waitress stepped out of earshot, Ruth leaned back over the table. “So the Hurons were blaming you for war and disease...”
“Yes. Which made our mission much more difficult. That and the fact that the Iroquois were seeking full control of the French fur trade. Then there were strange whispers about the arrival of the Devil in the woods. ”
“Okay, so then what happened?” She asked.
“One day like any other day, in 1642, while I was assisting in gathering materials for one of the shelters, I was taken captive by a group of Iroquois warriors.” Again, he paused, using his wine glass as an excuse to stop the story.
“And?” She knew her eyes were wide with anticipation.
“And...It is an experience I have tried a long time to forget.” He trailed off.
“Oh, forgive me. I don’t mean to be insensitive.” Feeling her face start to flush, she took a drink of her wine and stared into the glass in silence.
Their waitress approached again, and placed the large plate of appetizers on the table. “Can I get you more wine?”
“Please..” Julien said.
“My pleasure.” She smiled and left.
Meanwhile, Ruth picked at the food as she sneaked a glance across the table.
“It was the first time in my life up until that point I had ever questioned my Faith...”
Looking up, she found him staring directly into her eyes causing the breath to catch in her throat. “You don’t have to continue.”
“The tortures went on for hours. Beatings and whippings and burns... threats with arrows through my heart and scalping. When I asked why, they told me, ‘because the Devil made them do it!’” He laughed.
She cringed at the sound. “I don’t understand.”
“After they had pulled out my fingernails and driven stakes through my feet..”
“Oh how terrible!” She gasped. “I’m so sorry...I didn’t mean to...”
“They said ‘We hope Your God can save you from Our Devil.’ Then suddenly I was alone in the woods, staked to the ground by my feet.”
The waitress interrupted with another bottle of wine. “Thank you.” They replied in unison and she left the open bottle on the table after refilling both their glasses.
“Julien, please...”
“That’s when She found me.”