July 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday SNEAK PEEK! MIND: The Reckoning (Bk3)

I'm super happy to share with you a sneak peek for Teaser Tuesday! This is the opening for Book 3 - MIND: The Reckoning featuring Bates and his love interest. :-) The book will be out this October!! Stay tuned.

Lt. Colonel Baldwin Owen Bates breathed in the warm air, thankful it finally felt like spring, and grateful to get out of the apartment building after a week of voluntary lock-down.  The MIND team was firing on all cylinders, conducting interrogations, searching for friends and foe alike, while covertly protecting the entire planet from potential alien threats. A reality he was still getting used to these days. He and Dina had spent the better part of the last week and a half making sure everyone involved in their current dilemma had the tools and information required to keep things moving along.  He was in charge of tools, meaning stunner guns, grenades, and other equipment while she handled the coordinates, background data, and whatever else needed at any given time.
The only reason the others agreed to his solo mission was due to its location in New Jersey. Bates had firsthand knowledge of Hoboken since it was the first city he visited when he migrated from the UK to the US. The time alone during the commute from New York City gave him a moment to sort through everything that had happened in recent weeks, but he wasn't sure he understood it all. So, Bates tucked the idea away and gazed out of the window for most of the ride. The others loved to zip to and fro with their teleporting, even offering to bring him here, but he needed these simpler moments of life to keep some of his old habits and guilty pleasures intact. He didn't enjoy being the third wheel or weak link, either.
He sat straighter as the taxi slowed on the corner of 1st Street and Sinatra Drive. The Mayor's Street Fair was winding down but his boss, Duncan, assured him the woman they were searching for would be here. She was posing as a fortuneteller, and with her name appearing on the alien registration from the 1940s, could probably do much more than what she advertised to the public.
After paying and tipping his driver and exiting the vehicle, Bates put his sunglasses on, fixed his tie, and then meandered through the thinning crowd, making his way to Pier A to begin his search. Dozens of face-painted children ran around the park's fountain, zipping between parents and strangers alike, with no worries and sometimes no manners. Several of the street vendors were packing up in the dimming sunlight, complaining about the time, wishing it stayed lighter later like the old days when the United States still practiced Daylight Savings Time. 
As he bypassed the crafters and artists, the scent of Asian BBQ wafted through the air. He grumbled along with his stomach and hoped a few of them stuck around so he could pick something up on his way out.
"How's it going?" Dina Ranger asked via his earcomm, jolting him.
"Shit! Forgot I had this bloody thing in," he replied, taking a breath and shutting his eyes for a second.
"Have to get used to it if you want to be in the field...alone."
"Unlike your brother, I need some me time, Sherlock." This time, he chuckled when he felt her brush his mind with calming thoughts. "How's Lexa? Any change?"
"No, nothing. Never changes. I...just don't get it."
"Likewise," he said with a sigh, quickly putting it out of his mind to maintain his focus. "I just got to the park. I'll check in before I leave."
"Okay. And whatever's got you so hungry, bring some back. Talk to ya."
Shaking his head, Bates waited for the static of the comm to fade before pushing farther into the park, eyeing the tables and tents but mostly their occupants, searching for a face. Miss Takashi had a pretty face, although older now, since the photo from the MIND database was almost one hundred years old.
When he neared the end of the first row of vendor tents, he took in the sight of the city across the river, and then found the second and final row of vendors left to search.
He politely declined several offers to purchase various items like candles and potholders, wondering why his 'blah face'—a term his new friend Kim called his usual stern facade—wasn't working.
Toward the middle of the second row, Bates slowed, eyeing a colorful booth, shrouded in light purple curtains, and a sign that screamed for attention. When a face-painted toddler, followed by a frantic parent, came running out of the booth, he barely sidestepped out of the way. The parent offered Bates a weary shrug. He smiled and carried onward, finally seeing a sign for "Madam Takashi" two booths down.
Bates peered inside the Moroccan style tent of oranges and yellows. Way too many tassels for his liking, yet warm and inviting pillows and seats waited on the inside. At the back, he spotted the traditional setup, a table covered in cloth, a huge clear crystal ball on top with tarot cards spread in a row in the foreground.
Since no one was waiting, Bates stepped in and cleared his throat. The woman behind the crystal ball popped up and smiled.
"Greetings to you," she said.
He frowned.
She blinked. "I'm not what you expected."
"No. Actually," he replied and walked closer while pulling a card out of his suit jacket. "I'm looking for Yukio Takashi...the fortuneteller?"
The woman narrowed her gaze, plucked the card from his hand, and studied it. "Very sorry. Madam Takashi is...more of a brand than an actual person, Mr. Bates. I'm afraid I've only been here a few seasons."
"I see."
"Department of Health?"
"Yes, I'm a consultant. Do you happen to know how I can get in touch with the former Takashi?"
"She has long since passed away," she said. "Can I be of assistance?"
"Only if you can see the future," he said with a sigh, instantly catching himself. "Pardon. Bad joke. The records we have from...some years ago claimed she had an expertise in ah, personality disorders from her former career and we wanted to seek her help."
New Madam Takashi gave him the once over with her eyes yet her face was as still as he usually kept his, part of his English upbringing whereas hers seemed forced. When he tried to peek into her thoughts, she scoffed. "You've seen much but you don't believe in fortunetellers?"
Bates chuckled. "I wouldn't exactly say no to that, but I believe we make our own luck, it's not just out there waiting for us."
"You are wise, Mr. Bates."
"Do you know of any relatives or friends who knew the previous Madam Takashi?"
"I can reach out to a colleague; see if she knows of anyone who can help."
Unable to get a read on the woman and realizing she was being evasive, he pulled off his sunglasses, placed them in his top pocket, attempted his best friendly face and sat down in the empty chair opposite her. "I would appreciate the help and since I'm already here, I wouldn't mind hearing what you think my fortune is."
She grinned, seemed to relax, and playfully looked at him sideways as she gathered the tarot cards from the table. He expected her to shuffle them; instead, she set them aside and then pushed the crystal ball out of the way. Madam Takashi extended her hand, palm facing up, and motioned for his.
Without really thinking it through, Bates placed his hand on top of hers and jolted in place when their fingers touched. The irises of her eyes went completely white.
Jerking away, he bolted out of the chair.

She was gone.

July 21, 2016

The Nice "Guy" really does finish last. I still won't turn into a jerk.

You know all those sayings your grandparents and parents taught you when you were younger?

Treat others and you'd have them treat you.

If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

Don't burn your bridges.

Learn to turn the other cheek. Etc.

I've tried to live by those words for most of my life. Sure, I was an angsty teenager and did my share of name calling. I was also an angry 20 something and made fun of people behind their backs. I am not perfect. I've dome mean things, but I've never EVER been a bully. I was bullied, so I know how that feels and I would never do that to another person.

Anyway, I am the type of person who will go above and beyond to help someone if I am able. I've spent hours on the phone, in chat rooms, and in person talking to people who were sad or depressed or just needed a friend. I've offered to help coworkers, friends, authors, and even complete strangers in any way I'm able to see them succeed or find answers or just listen to them vent.

As a kid, I never understood "No good deed goes unpunished". I'm learning more about this as an adult. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, that good dead will result in you being called a brown noser or suck up. Others will think you're nice and helpful because you're trying to "look good" or seem better than everyone else. And believe it or not, some people will think you're a complete phony or trying to get something in return.

MY HELP never comes with strings. Yes, it's true, I may one day come to you for help in an area you are way better than me at, but I've NEVER helped anyone with the express thought they'll help me back one day. Isn't that what friendship and common courtesy is in the first place?

I don't care about the haters. I'm still going to be nice.

I'm going to scrape the change out of my car every time I see a kid collecting money in front of the Quick Check.

I'm going to help that older person in the store reach or something so they don't get hurt.

I'm going to give up my seat to the pregnant lady on the train or bus.

I'm going to ignore the haters and support the causes I believe in.

I'm going to ignore the favoritism I see all over the place and still offer to help a complete stranger with anything I can help them with be it writing, answering a silly pop culture question, or sharing their charity project on twitter.

I'm going to keep preaching love and tolerance and diversity and freedom and open-minded thinking regardless of how backward some of this planet seems to be thinking right now.

Yep, I'm still going to scream at the idiot driver in front of me when they piss me off, but that's largely my lack of patience at the time and rarely has anything to do with them. (And I never make it personal) lol Because after all I am human and there are a lot of stupid and mean people in this world regardless of how much information we all have at our fingertips.

July 19, 2016

Teaser Tuesday - Lucky's Promise (Bk3)

This was a tough book to write but totally worth it in the end. I loved following Lucky and Kenji on their journey to find each other and a little bit of peace in the end.

Here's your Teaser Tuesday!!

The house was completely dark when Kenji steered the car up the driveway. He didn’t expect Felicia to wait up for him, not at this hour. After turning off the engine and collecting his luggage, he tapped the code into the security pad. The door clicked open. Inside the foyer, he hung his coat and proceeded up the stairs.

On the second floor landing, he paused to listen. Nothing stirred. He moved down the hall and approached Felicia’s door. Testing the knob, he found it unlocked. Kenji walked inside and then set his bags down. When he entered the bedroom, Felicia jerked under the covers. He approached silently and noticed she was still sleeping. Her eyes moved rapidly under the lids; her body twitched.

Gritting his teeth, he turned away and stripped out of his clothing. Reluctant to disturb her, he decided against a shower, knowing she’d wake up. He walked around the bed, heading for the living room when he heard a muffled cry. Kenji spun around. Felicia bolted upright in bed.

“Good God,” she whispered from across the room, hand on her chest.

“I did not mean to startle you,” he said from the doorway.

“It’s all right,” she said, wiping her forehead. She pulled the covers down the other side of the bed. “Tired?”

He nodded.

“Come to bed.”

He moved slowly, studying Felicia during the approach. When he sat down on the edge of the bed, she shifted behind him.

Then she touched his shoulder. “Babe?”

Kenji faced her. She inched closer and cupped his chin. He stared into her eyes, hoping to quell the beast writhing inside. Felicia stroked her fingers through his hair. Light, feathery touches brushed his neck. He wrapped his arms around her waist, pushed her back on the bed, and set his head against her chest. She was warm and soft, everything he needed to pull him out of the darkness he faced the last several days. Her presence calmed him in ways he still didn’t understand.

He shut his eyes, held her tight, and breathed her in. When he shuddered at the images filling his head, Felicia kissed his temple and stroked her hands down his back. As he glanced up, their eyes met again. She looked exhausted, worried, and scared, although she’d never admit it. Leaning in, he gently pressed his mouth to hers, wishing he had the strength to confront and comfort her.

“I’m glad you’re home, babe.”

“As am I,” he responded.

“I told you I’d be here.” She smiled sweetly, brushing the hair from his face.

Kenji put his head back down and clutched her closer. She threaded her legs through his and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, letting her fingers follow the trail of his spine. Kenji focused on her. The slight rise and fall of her body as she breathed. How perfect she felt beneath him. Her gentle caresses soothed him, and he eventually fell asleep in her sheltered embrace.

Lucky’s Charm – amzn.com/B008RG8V4Q
Lucky’s Break – amzn.com/B00K6SYQP6
Lucky’s Promise – amzn.com/B010EDY738

July 15, 2016

To the Body Shamer who responded to my online dating ad...

You, yeah, you. You know who you are. I highly doubt if you will ever see this, but you're an asshole and what's wrong with this world. And you are SO lucky that I'm not going to put your picture up here with your name.

So, here it goes...

Dear Asshole,

Your mansplaining to me how to lose weight and what to say or not to say when it comes to online dating gave me and my friends online a good laugh.

I just wonder, what made you respond to me in the first place? I clearly and specifically stated that I am a curvy girl and even listed my clothing size because us girls know that matters most to some men. Not intelligence or compassion or passion or humor or honesty or loyalty, dress & bra size. (Thanks media!)

Did you message me and send me your picture hoping that I'd slim down a size by the time I responded?

Do you think I shower or put on my clothes in the dark because the way you explain weight loss to me, I must have never once tried it in the 40+ years I've been on this fucking planet.

Did I hurt your feelings so much with my message back to you about how much of an asshole you were that you felt the need to write back TWO THREE more times?

You are a sad, sad little man if you think that your "advice" to a complete stranger is something that is welcomed. It's not. Move along. Get a life and please don't reproduce.

July 12, 2016

#SYTYCD ruined my summer! :-(

This is the first summer in about 12 years where I find myself a little sad. One of my all time favorite summer shows was So You Think You Can Dance. From the first episode of the first season, I was hooked. While I love to dance, I'm no professional. When the music is good, my body just moves. Even when I'm sitting in my damn car. LOL

The moment they announced this current season of SYTYCD would feature kids under 15, I thought it was a joke. It wasn't. Sadly, the producers and showrunners and powers that be at Fox decided to take away the one good thing they had on their damn channel over the summer and totally screw it up.

I always looked forward to Nigel being dirty toward the dancers like the big perv that he is. Now, it's so much creepier, I can't even.

I always looked forward to seeing powerful, sensual, heartfelt, thought-provoking dances to new songs that were just released within the last year or songs by other artists that I'd never even heard of. This year, nope. Sorry, there's no way a 10-year-old kid can emote like the older dancers.

I always looked forward to seeing the group dance numbers and the All Stars and to see which choreographers would be showcasing that week. Now? It's just...weird.

I always looked forward to seeing what Cat would wear and how she would fawn over and support all the dancers, which was always so adorable.

Now, my heart has a big, fat, dance-shaped hole and I think I'll just have to go to youtube and find some videos of old dances to watch. Like these two. Probably my all time favorites.