Dust To Stone coming April,2018

Copper and Aiden

Irish actor Kevin J Ryan and his dog Copper, my real life inspiration for my main characters Aiden and Butler in Dust To Stone.


It has been a long road getting Dust To Stone to press but it is happening! April, 2018 to be exact. PTSD is not easy to capture in 80,000 words, but Aiden’s story was a joy to write. My biggest fear is that people will read his journey and assume everyone with PTSD suffers the same and therefore can be helped the same. I interviewed many people, mainly military veterans like Aiden, who used a variety of aids like hypnosis, acupuncture, yoga, even surfing coupled with traditional treatments like medication and talk therapy. What worked for Aiden won’t work for every other sufferer. As adorable as he is, an alert dog like Butler may not help every trauma victim. My intent with writing Dust To Stone is immerse the reader into Aiden’s story, set in the beautiful country of Ireland.

Here’s a little blurb to tide you over until its release date:

An Irish war veteran suffering from PTSD lives a quiet, safe life on the Aran Islands with his service dog Butler. Aiden is coping until he finds a woman’s body on the shore. McKenna brings emotions to the surface that he has tried to forget but when her life is on the line, he’s fighting much more than his past.


I can’t wait to share the cover with you soon! Keep checking back here or follow me on Twitter or Instagram to get the latest on Dust To Stone and my other works in progress.


Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

images-8Well, not always. I broke up with a lot of guys over the years and it never hit me as hard as the one time someone broke up with me. That someone turned out to be my husband and we didn’t stay apart very long! 😉 Nor have we ever parted since.

But there were times when a guy and I just parted; one day we both suddenly realized the feelings weren’t there any more. Or maybe they never were and we never bothered to look deep enough. And we broke up without broken hearts. We just went our separate ways and there were no hard feelings. I wouldn’t even call them my ‘ex’ because that just gave the wrong impression. They were more like ‘that guy I used to hang out with’.

My publisher for Six Days and I just broke up. It was over a year ago when I signed the contract and being a first time author I was super pumped about landing a book deal so early in my career. I had been warned that the publishing process takes time, to be patient. And I was. Then I heard rumors and rumblings but I held fast, knowing this was the right place for my book. But just as in any relationship, things change. The publishing house went through some structural changes, redefining their lines and shifting the books under them. They were growing, becoming something more. And it was exciting for them.

But there wasn’t a place for me and Six Days. It just didn’t fit anymore. So last month we took a long hard look at each other, the publisher and I, and we decided it was time to part ways. And it was civil and nice and there were no hard feelings. I get my rights back immediately without having to wait months before resubmitting it to other publishers.

Sure, I was let down and disappointed, because honestly, what writer out there doesn’t want a traditional publisher for their first book ever?  But after about 17 minutes of pity-party and with massive amounts of support from family and friends, I got over it. There are so many options out there and the world just opened up for my book. I will find the right relationship with another house that will help the book be it’s best.

And that other publishing house? Eh, they’re just a pub house I used to hang out with. 😉

5 Works in Progress!

I told you I’m terrible at consistency when it comes to keeping a diary. Remember this post? I did warn you. Sorry if you’ve been waiting with bated breath! 😉 But, I have been writing, just nothing you can read right now.

Six Days is still at the publishers waiting for edits. It has been a very slow process; it’s my first book deal so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Apparently, patience. And I’ve got it because I’ve been working on five other projects. They are all in various stages of completion but the one I’m working on currently, the one I’m most excited about doesn’t even have a name! Of course, Six Days didn’t have its name until I had to start shopping it around.

My current work in progress (WIP) is about an Irish war vet who is sent home from the war in Syria on a medical discharge after an IED explosion killed his best friend and wounded him. The idea was inspired by this video I saw several months ago:  I jotted a rough blurb on a post-it note and stuck it in my notebook.

Then, on a long flight from Ireland and the UK two months ago a plot popped into my head: an Irish War Veteran dealing with PTSD demons by escaping to the remote Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. He has Butler, his veteran guide dog to help him adjust to life away from war. But then he meets McKenna and finds himself leaving his safe haven to watch her six. Somebody has to because someone is trying to kill her.  Thus began my fifth novel.

Inishmore, Ireland

Inishmore, Ireland

I had such a great time in Ireland and fell in love with the people! I want to go back and live there for a while. Inishmore, the largest of the three islands, is a well known writers retreat. Perfect! Let me go pack my bags!

And like my other novels, I need inspiration for my characters.

The handsome Irish actor, Kevin Ryan is now my novel's Aiden Monaghan.

The handsome Irish actor, Kevin Ryan is now my novel’s Aiden Monaghan.

Let me introduce you to Aiden Monaghan, aka Kevin J. Ryan, a brilliant actor who just so happens to be from Dublin! I’m excited about this novel and hope to have it done in a few months, depending on life events.

The other four novels are sitting there waiting. I look at them every now and then, but I’m too excited to finish Aiden’s story to take the time to dive back into them. Oh, and I can’t forget Butler, his dog… you know you want to see him! 

He’s a German Shepard who was trained to meet Aiden’s PTSD needs. He wakes him up from nightmares, nudges him out of flashbacks and can clear a room like a SEAL team! Unfortunately, he can do nothing about Aiden falling head over heels in love with McKenna! 

#tbt Butler as a puppy!

#tbt Butler as a puppy!


How many times have you heard, “Never judge a book by it’s cover”? But we do, don’t we? I mean, realtors talk about ‘curb appeal’, job coaches beat ‘first impressions’ into their clients’ heads and don’t even get me started on the overuse of PhotoShop in the marketing industry. It’s one of those facets of human nature; we are going to have an automatic response to any visual. So, in the spirit of embracing our humanness let’s judge these books by their covers.

First, title is VERY important. It’s like naming your child, you have to go through every possible ‘bullying’ scenario. Growing up I always loved the name Grant for my future baby boy. When I married my husband with the last name Brant I had to give up that name for obvious reasons. Naming your book is just as important. This author apparently did not say this title out loud:

a165_b2Of course, we all know the Disney character Winnie the Pooh and with his picture right on the cover we get what this book is about, but if you are scrolling through a list of book titles without the visual? Well, let’s just say the visual is a little different!



Sometimes titles can be long and unclear. Take this book for example:


At first glance it may seem that the horses are lesbians and these are their stories. But the two women give it away. Not judging either the horse’s or women’s lifestyle choices but the title is a bit confusing. Not to mention a little awkward. I mean, who stands like that one on the left?




Second, when choosing a cover for your book, don’t confuse the potential reader by having the cover art not match the title. For example:

rebel's spirit

The title of this romance is Rebel’s Spirit. It is about a sassy high school senior that drives her male teacher crazy (eewwwwww) and then returns to town ten years later to send him over the edge. First, the premise of the book is a little sketchy but we’re discussing covers. I’m not quite sure of the gigantic strawberry she is dangling over his head. An apple would be a better choice since he’s her teacher (eewwwww).

Okay, so maybe the title fits the book in that she is rebelling against her parents by feeding this much older man genetically modified strawberries.

This is an example of a cover committing ‘story-cide’. I will give you a gold star if you can 1) tell me if the title or author is Faith and 2) tell me the genre of the book. Go on, I’ll wait…


The author’s name is Anj. Faith is the name of the book. But it isn’t clear. I had a friend named Faith in college. (She is the gracious one that lent me her $15,000 wedding dress for my wedding. I like the name Faith. :-)) A simple ‘by’ would have cleared up confusion.

Okay, so did you guess what the book is about? Well, did you guess Mystery? Yep, it’s a mystery. And get this – a Romantic Mystery. Huh, I didn’t get that. I’m sure the book is good, it got good reviews, but I never in a million years would I have bought it.

So, now I am looking at examples for my first book’s cover. My book is a Romantic Suspense with the heroine, Solia saving the day. She’s CIA covert ops. She’s got a Glock. My hero, Jason is a sexy nerd who has been burned in the past and wants nothing to do with the government. There is conflict and emotions. I want my cover to reflect that, but don’t want it to be about a naked man’s chest with the heroine draped all over him. My Solia would have Jason in a choke hold on the ground before she would cling to him with wild abandon.

I definitely want a female (probably no head, just lower body shot) with a gun and maybe some vague science lab equipment faded in the background. Not sure how to or if I should put Jason in there. Something kind of like Maya Banks’ book:

9780425263778_p0_v2_s260x420I want my name in big bold letters (seriously, who doesn’t?) and a smart tag line on the front.  I do want the reader to get a sense that it’s a romance as well. Thank goodness the fine publisher I contracted with has a great cover art department. After I submit my Cover Art Form to them we can see what they come up with.

So, do you judge a book by it’s cover?

Blown Away… a small scene

If this website were a child I would be standing before a judge of Child Protective Services trying to explain my neglectful ways. I’ve just been busy. Pitching one book and writing my third. Here’s a little excerpt I just wrote, something to appease the website gods.

“I’m tired of walking on egg shells around you Emma!” Gee shouted at her, his arms raised in exasperation.

“Well, nobody asked you to!” she shouted back, fisted hands planted on her hips.

“Fine. Then I will give you a piece of advice that I would give any of my mates that sulked around the way you are. Life dishes out shit sometimes. It happens to everyone. So man up!”

Emma fumed and felt her face grow hot with the anger boiling inside of her. She took a couple of steps towards him, got right up in his face and yelled, “Don’t you dare to even think about giving me advice on my life. My life has been nothing but an all-you-can-eat buffet of shit. And in case you haven’t noticed, I am NOT a man!”

Gee looked down at the fury on her face, shocked that she had it in her. Shocked that she had yelled back. Shocked at how turned on it made him. “Oh, I’ve noticed,” he whispered as he bent down to kiss her.

It was a quick kiss. Emma didn’t even have time to remove her fists and hit him. Or wrap around him to draw him closer. Before she could even respond with any sort of coherent gesture, he turned around and stalked away. She took in great gulps of air as she stared at his retreating back and wondered what the hell had just happened.