Real Life

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mini-me
Real life is hard. I remember being a middle-schooler thinking, when I’m a teenager this will all be easier, but then I was a teenager and I thought when I’m out of high school this will all be easier, then college, then adult hood and so on and so forth. But the intriguing thing is, somethings do get easier and somethings get harder. That’s life. It’s an adventure. But the part that is important is perspective.

What’s important? What is worth the pain?

My answer, my son. He’s what I fight everyday for. Even when I’m exhausted I make sure the time we spend together is full and focused and wonderful, because he is worth it. Last night he got up three times and I have two choices, one be annoyed that my sleep has been disrupted or find the joy in the sweet way he calls for me.

“Mama.” He says. “Mama, I’m thirsty.”

And I melt. I get him a cup of water, give him oodles of kisses and hugs and sing him a song. I look at it as a stolen time and I love it. But today, today I’m exhausted, but it’s worth the pain for the love he gives.

So as I refine and refine Bloodrealms, and I find myself frustrated with how to connect two thoughts in the novel, I know that if I just remember the love and joy of writing and how much I care for my characters that they will show me how they get out of this mess. It’s not writers block by any means. Just a predicament that my characters find themselves in and sometimes it is scary to write what they tell you to, because its sad, but that’s real life. Real life is filled with emotions, filled with yearning and filled with love. And if all the emotions are in a novel, then the novel can touch your heart.

I’m reading through the entire novel, not just pieces. So the full story is laid before me once again. And I’m finding things I left for myself to find. Little secrets. Some of them make me laugh, some I cry and some are full of passion that leaves me breathless.

And all I can say is, words are powerful.

Interview with Fantastical Adventures

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Last week I shared the review Fantastical Adventures Through the Paper Realm did on Bloodmark, this week I’m sharing the author interview. So exciting to be asked to be part of Emilee’s blog! Check out my interview. It was so much fun.

Check out Ashling and all the wolves in Bloodmark. Buy your copy of Bloodmark and devour it today! The hardcover is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The ebook is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes/iBooks.

I don’t just write books.

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Bloodmark_quotes_climbinside
As I finish up my revisions of Bloodrealms, the second novel in the Bloodmark Saga, in final preparation for my editor to receive it, I realize that I don’t just write books, I climb inside and live there. The entire experience of writing Bloodrealms was like returning to my old friends and picking up the adventure right where we left off, as though no time had passed between writing. I am endlessly thrilled about Bloodrealms and I can’t wait to share it with the world. It’s so good! Bloodrealms will be published Fall 2014!

The first book in the series took me a year of research and world building, three years of writing and editing before Bloodmark finally was published. All while I was balancing my day job, freelance design job, helping care for my mom through cancer, remodeling a house, and had a baby. The second book, Bloodrealms so far has been five months. That’s right months. Partially because the world is created and the majority of the characters are there, now it’s adding new plot, locations and a few new characters and partially because I’m in a much better emotional and mental place. Not to mention I learned so much about writing, editing, story building all from Bloodmark that I was able to apply to Bloodrealms. I can honestly say Bloodrealms is even better than Bloodmark, in writing style, clarity and the story is only getting better! To say that is pretty cool since both of them are my artistic children, but it’s true. Practice makes perfect and I have so much to learn and grow and do. If you ever think to yourself, I’ve learned everything I can and I’m “king shit” you’re wrong. We always have something to learn and evolve into. That’s the beauty of life! Here’s to forever learning.

Check out Ashling and the world of Bloodmark. The hardcover is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The ebook is available on AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo and iTunes/iBooks.

 

Bloodmark at Breen’s

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breens_pharmacy
When I was growing up in Benson, it was a big deal to go to Breen’s Pharmacy. They have a fun cafe counter where we would sit down and order a burger and a tiny glass of pop. And while we waited they had an entire store full of great things to look at and eventually I’d fall in love with something and try to convince my parents I desperately needed it. They have everything from cards, picture frames, glass figures to books and jewelry. I could walk the aisles over and over again looking for presents for my friends and treasures for myself.

And now today, I’m proud to announce that Bloodmark is being carried at Breen’s Pharmacy in Benson, MN for some home town convenience. It is a pretty cool idea to know that among all the great stuff in Breen’s will be my book! I never dreamed that something I made with my name on it would appear in stores, but I’m proud to say it is. Stop in and get your copy today! All signed by yours truly.

 

Fantastical Adventures Through the Paper Realms

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An amazing review on Fantastical Adventures Through the Paper Realm. Now don’t be fooled by the 3 Star rating on the review of Bloodmark. She says so many amazing things about the book! I couldn’t be more thrilled. I have to quote Emilee, “Allow yourself to get lost in this novel. Curl up inside of it and breathe it in deeply. Look to it for enjoyment, don’t criticize it. You can find things to criticize, but you’d be robbing yourself of an awesome story.” You have to read her review, it’s pretty darn cool!

She also pulled her favorite quote from Bloodmark, which happens to be one of my personal favorites from Ashling as well.

Our love transcend space and time. No culture or creed could ever keep us apart. Even death is just the beginning.

Check out Ashling and the world of Bloodmark. The hardcover is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The ebook is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes/iBooks.

Bloodmark Solar and Lunar Calendar

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Sketching Bloodmark
Bloodmark Lunar Solar Calendar
While creating the world within the Bloodmark Saga and writing the first book Bloodmark and the second Bloodrealms, I started taking Celtic and Pagan histories and combining them with Bloodmark’s world, and what came out was a calendar. An entirely hand drawn wheel of the year.

The Bloodmark Calendar is a solar/lunar ritual calendar including seasonal festivals. The Elder Gods rule the celebrations of Beltaine, Lughnasadh, Samhain, and Imbolc with royal and nobel packs with the Tree of Life at the center.

Yule is the Winter Solstice and celebrates the rebirth of the sun. A ceremonious wild hunt is held under the winter sky.
Imbolc celebrates the beginning of Spring, half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is a time for purification in anticipation of the year’s new life. Imbolc is ruled by the Vanir and their allies the Swiss Kingerly and Pohjola of Valhalla.
Ostara is on the Spring Equinox bringing fertility to the earth.
Beltaine the first day of summer, half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. It is a time of hand-fasting. Beltaine is ruled by the Irish Boru with the Welsh Kahedin and African Sylla packs.
Litha is the Summer Solstice. Litha is known as the fire festival.
Lughnasadh festival marks the beginning of the harvest season and is half way between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. Lughnasadh is ruled by the Scottish Killian with the Canadian Cree and Turkish Acar.
Mabon is the Autumn Equinox. A festival is celebrated in recognition of the need to share the harvest to secure the blessings of the Goddess during the coming winter months.
Samhain is the beginning of the dark months, half way between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. Samhain is ruled by the Icelandic Dvergar with the Spanish Costas and Japanese Sasaki.

 

Banners and iPhone Cases oh my!

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Bloodmark Marketing
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Bloodmark Marketing
Bloodmark Marketing
I was invited to do a book signing for Bloodmark at McKinney’s in Benson, MN and I had a blast. A bunch of people stopped out to see me! I got to catch up with some old family friends that knew my mom and some old friends of mine. My sixth grade teacher even came to visit! I was thrilled to see Pat Wagenman, she was the teacher who read True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI to my class, and hooked me on reading and writing. She told me and two of my best friends what she remembered about us all those years ago, she remembered Stef being the loudest, Darcie being quiet, and she remembered me being very quiet and smiley. I’m certainly not very quiet any more, but I do smile an awful lot!

In preparation for this book signing and all future events. I set out to create a bunch of branded materials for my table. I created an oversized, stretched canvas of the book cover with Easy Canvas Print, a vinyl banner with endorsements and an iPhone case with Vista Prints, temporary tattoos with 4AllPromos, a friend of mine made the buttons and my husband and I handmade the bookmarks! All of these pieces draw attention to the table, tell the viewer something about the product and some awesome giveaways for people. I mean who doesn’t love a temporary tattoo? The iPhone case was a nice touch, since I am now taking credit card payments with Square, I thought branding my phone made it that much more professional, but maybe I’m just a nerd.

I also bought some simple frames to display the price for the book and the square credit card information. All these little details add up to a more professional and buttoned up look. So if you’re an author or a crafter and you’re getting ready for an event check out some of these vendors I mentioned above.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped out and visited me. I had a blast. I can’t wait for the next signing.

Check out Ashling and the world of Bloodmark. The hardcover is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The ebook is available on AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo and iTunes/iBooks.

 

Wolves and Wheels Giveaway on Literary Litter!

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Bloodmark_car2
Literary Litter
and I are thrilled to offer this giveaway opportunity! Sign up today for your chance to win a signed copy of Bloodmark in hardcover and a signed Shelby Mustang Hot Wheels car. Once you read the book you’ll know why we combined them! Check it out and enter for your chance to win!

A Year in Tears

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Aurora Whittet and her mom
A year to the day. It seems so very much longer than that. The anniversary of my mom’s death. March 28, you will never be the same. You will always haunt my thoughts. You will always be there reminding me what I lost, reminding me what I loved, reminding me what can never be replaced.

I dream of her so frequently that sometimes when I open my eyes in the morning I forget she’s gone. As though I had stolen a few more precious moments with her in my dreams and they have become my new memories.

I used to call her every day when I got off work. I used to hear her voice. But now, I get off work, walk to my car alone and drive home in silence.

Not because I have no one else to call, but because it is her time and it is still sacred to me. Sometimes I talk to her, sometimes I just think, sometimes I sob uncontrollably wishing she were still her with me. Somedays I have to pullover and just scream and cry before I can continue, not because I’m weak, but because she loved me so much.  And on the worst days when I just miss her so much I can’t stand the idea of of a world without her, an overwhelming calm settles over me and I know she’s wrapped her arms around my shoulders to stop me from breaking into a million pieces.

People often tell me that time heals all wounds, because they love me and want me to heal from this loss that has left a giant hole in my heart, but forgive me for saying, I think you might be wrong. Time can not heal a pain such as this. When someone loves you as much as my mom loved me, no amount of time can heal the ache that follows me every day. Pain heals the same way a cut does, with a scar to be a constant reminder. Sure the gaping, seeping wound is covered from the outside and the doctor will say “you’re healed.” But they’re wrong, the damage was done, the memory persists and the scar remains.

I don’t know if any amount of time will ever heal my pain from losing my mom, but I know I will find ways to not cry when my friends talk of their mothers and I won’t have to stare at them in sadness and jealousy. I know she is still with me and her love surrounds me. It isn’t the same. I miss her voice, her laugh, her smell, her hugs, but in some ways it is a higher, more intense love. I truly believe when the wind blows she’s there. When the sun shines she smiles. And when my son laughs I know she does too. She lives here, inside of me.

I love you mom.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
-Mary Elizabeth Frye

Coming Home

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Bloodmark book signing in Benson, Minnesota
Or is a home coming? Either way, look out Benson, Minnesota I’ll be visiting on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 2-5pm at McKinneys! Stop out and say hi, buy a copy of Bloodmark or get yours signed! I will be doing a drawing for a Bloodmark prize too. I can’t wait to hangout with my hometown folks.

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