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Who's the Woman Behind the Book?

So I wanted to write a blog about myself.....I know how cliche. A writer talking about herself, but in my defense, I'm new to the writing world. No one knows me and I think in some ways, thats a good thing.

Now, like most authors, I was consumed with reading as a kid. I think the first book that really got me hooked, not just on reading, but the fantasy genre, was the obvious choice, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling. I know I enjoyed books way before my dad decided to read this with me at night before bed, but this was the book that sealed my obsession with magic, other-worldly creatures, and fantastical tales.

After that, I couldn't get my hands on enough books. I read daily. I was that kid who took a book with her in the car, to restaurants, hell even to Disney World. Yep, I'm that nerd. Some of my favorite books growing up included Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville, East by Edith Pattou, and the Twitches series by HB Gilmour and Randi Reisfeld, to name a handful.

These were the series that solidified my obsession with Unicorns (although, honestly, that started at birth), retellings of Beauty and the Beast, and of course witches and magic. I loved how the land of fantasy had no rules. The writer was in charge of every aspect of their world and could bend their world to their vision. It was enticing, and the possibilities were endless.

Of course, as a teenager, I was obsessed with Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to name a few magical and paranormal television shows, but these were, again, my entrance to the cinematic universe of magic. So, naturally, as a fourteen-year-old girl, I wrote a book that encompassed the two. It was a three-hundred page novel and it was garbage! Well, honestly, I don't even remember what the heck I wrote. I barely even remember the plot. But, I do know, that a few years later I came across it, was horrified and deleted it.........YES, I know! I threw it away and I regret it every day! It may not have been publish worthy, but it was my first story and I tossed it away like it was nothing, but I digress.

As I aged, so did my tastes in books, to more mature, lengthy readings. I began picking up Eragon by Christopher Paolini, The Vampire Diaries Series by LJ Smith (of course I watched the show and naturally had to read the books, duh), and anything written by Holly Black, Cinda Williams Chima, and Tamora Pierce. The writings are a bit more mature themed, the stories a bit more in depth and dramatic, and of course the plots stretch over multiple books, which, let's be honest. Who doesn't enjoy a good series?

I am totally that person who goes to Books A Million, looks over all the Young Adult books and walks out with about a dozen new books in hand. Now, don't get me wrong. I enjoy e-books as well, but nothing can beat the feel of a book in your hands, flipping the pages, and the satisfaction of shutting a book closed when you reach the end. I collect books. I have bookcases bowing under the weight of dozens of novels. I have carted around my books with me all over the world. I refuse to leave them behind. They're my friends, my confidants. They've gotten me through some tough moments in my life. They've made me laugh, cry, scream, and swoon, and that's exactly what I wanted to do for a reader.

In 2011, my husband went to Guantanamo Bay, while I stayed behind in Florida with my parents to finish my Associates degree. During this time, I had a lot of free time. I didn't work. School was my work. So naturally, I read. I read the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. It was a great book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've always loved stories centered around Angel's, especially the Fallen and Archangels.

One day, in the bathroom believe it or not. Don't ask me what I was doing, I just remember being there. I thought of Donnie. Now, if you don't already know, Donnie is my male lead in Star's Ascending, my Young Adult novel. From Donnie, I imagined Carolynn, and Star's Ascending was born. Now, back then it wasn't called Star's Ascending. I believe I first titled it as The Prophecy, but let's be honest. That's lame and completely unoriginal.

Anyway's, I became obsessed with Donnie and Carolynn. I wrote down every detail I could come up with about them. Their world, the dynamics of their relationships, all the side characters, both of their worlds, their jobs, every single detail that could mold into a story, I wrote down. Then, I started typing and a story was born. But, Star's Ascending took me two years to finish. In that time, I moved to Germany where we moved twice and I had my first child, a little girl named Carolynn (yes, not confusing at all).

I had to force myself to sit and finish the ending, which I had NO CLUE what I wanted to do with, but I managed. From there, it would be another six years that I would pick it up. Of course, we moved a ton more times and added three more kids to the mix. I picked up quilting to pass the time and got burnt out on it. During our time living in Germany for the second time, was when I had the sudden inkling to look up Star's Ascending again.

I opened the document, read it, was kinda impressed with myself, but I knew it wasn't finished. Characters needed filling in, plot needed to be fine-tuned and my grammar was shit. Now, mind you, I was nineteen when I started this journey, now I'm twenty-eight. That's a big difference in knowledge, grammar, and voice. All of that had changed drastically over the course of nine years and my book needed to evolve as well into something a bit more refined and cohesive.

Now, I'm sure by now your wondering, what the hell does this have to do with Shadow of Twilight? The book you're actually going to be releasing. lol. Which is true, but I'm getting there so bear with me.

So, I read through the book, edited and revised. Ended up adding over a hundred pages to the book and I was ecstatic when I finished. During this time, I was also writing up book two, Star's Forgotten, but that's a whole different shit show. Anyway's, I finished Star's Ascending. I was proud. My family and friends that I gave it to, loved it. That's when I found Wattpad. If I wanted to publish it, like I knew I wanted, I needed an outside opinion. One that wasn't biased. So, I posted my story on that platform.

Meanwhile, while writing, of course I got a bit burnt out. After writing for two months straight, eating, sleeping and dreaming of Carolynn and Donnie, I was tired. So, to keep myself fresh, I read in between and what I read was a whole lot of werewolf stories on the Dreame app. I was new to the werewolf world and it honestly fascinated me, but there was so much about it I did NOT agree with. The woman were always so meek, abused, docile, and submissive, which is honestly kind of offensive to women everywhere.

At this time I was consuming books like Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, every single work of art by Cassandra Clare, and some smut filled writing on Dreame. That's when it hit me. I knew I wanted to write a more mature novel. I wanted her to swear like a sailor (just like me), be proud of her sexuality, and let's be honest, it can be fun to write some smut scenes.

Reading all of those werewolf books taught me exactly what I didn't want. Why couldn't a woman be strong, dominant, and sassy from the beginning? That's when I imagined Amelia. My fiery, independent, annoyingly stubborn, kick-ass heroine. She was everything I was and wanted to be. She's strong, witty, intelligent, and she doesn't apologize for who she is.

The day I posted Star's Ascending, I wrote five chapters for Shadow of Twilight, whose original title was in fact, Wandering Moon. This time around, I had the amazing WolfUnderTheMoon from Belgium in my corner. She taught me the mechanics of Wattpad and was my sound board for every aspect of my werewolf plot. Wolfie AKA ML Francis, author of Selected, encouraged me to outline and thank God for her, because for once in my writing career, I had a sound structure for my entire book.

It took me two months to write the entire first draft of Shadow of Twilight. Over four-hundred pages. Over one hundred five thousand words, in just two months, and during all that time, I outlined the entire second book and wrote out fourteen chapters. It was insane. I couldn't stop thinking about it! I ate, slept, werewolves. The story came so easily to me, and I rode that wave all the way to the soft, squishy sand.

Now, here I am, preparing Shadow of Twilight for the editor so I can self-publish her in January of next year. I'm already half through writing the second novel, Dusk to Dawn, and outlining the third. This world is like a breath of fresh air to me and it gave me purpose in a time when I desperately needed it.

The world of Fated Darkness, is mature, smutty, and sometimes downright dirty, but ultimately it's emotional. It's a story of love and family, and the lengths one would go to, to protect that which they hold dear.

I hope you all love Amelia, as much as I do. She's my heart and I can't wait to show her to the world.

Images by zoratae

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