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What’s On My Mind

An Epic Tale

Let me tell you a story of love, fur babies, children, and cat shit.

My mother, God bless her and please let her live for another thirty years, took our three-year-old for a sleepover last night with two of his young cousins. The little man was so excited he danced around the room, and my three-year-old was pretty jazzed too. ;) 

I bragged about this turn of events all day from my workout class at 6:30am (We can’t wait to have the house to ourselves!) to the Starbucks barista who gave me a weird look as I told him about my mom taking my little guy and how excited we were to be alone in the house, to just myself, muttering under my breath that I was going to go to bed at 8pm, that the bed would be glorious, that there would be epic memories made.

To sleep for twelve hours. Oh . . . fair sleep how we have missed thee. It’s not like our three-year-old is a bad sleeper per se. He wakes up 4 or 5 nights a week in the middle of the night crying, (The 3am is your heart beating alarm is what we call it) but it’s the morning that kills me. He’s up by 6am, usually before. Every. Single. Morning. 

So this . . .boon my mother offered us was nothing short of manna from Heaven. A sleep in! Oh GOD A SLEEP IN!

My hubby and I went to bed no later than usual, right around 11pm (rebels that we are) which I thought would be fine, I’d just sleep in later. We smiled at each other, closed our eyes and started our long-awaited siesta. 

For an hour, at least. An hour into the bliss, I hear massive scratching from the cat, sounding like she’s reached the bottom of her litter box and is trying to dig her way through the bottom. As if she were Wolverine attempting to save Jean Grey on the other side. I threw a few curse words under my breath. Irritation high. Right before I got up to shake the F*^cking litter box and throw the cat outside, she stopped. Perhaps she sensed my intentions as she climbed into bed with me, promptly laid her 6lbs on my chest and went to sleep. 

I closed my eyes, following her lead. 

For maybe twenty minutes. 

There comes a crash and clatter of dog toenails on the laminate floor right outside our bedroom. The dog (who has heart problems) has gotten out of her bed and collapsed. I leap out of bed, throwing the cat off me as I race to help the dog. As I flick on the light I see she is flat on her belly, not moving. My first thought is she’s had a heart attack and died. Our girl who we love dearly, has finally left us.

Nope. Turns out it was almost worse.

She’d just got up for a midnight wander and fell like the old lady she is. Something she has NEVER done before. I get her back into bed, all the while she is licking her chops like . . .she just ate something . . .

I shut her door on her cage, locking it. Then go to investigate. The pieces come together slowly as my brain fully kicks in, waking up from sleep I was supposed to be having still. 

There is litter in a trail from the bathroom where the cat box is . . .litter that is clumped as if recently used . . .

The bomb drops inside of my brain. The cat scratching wildly from earlier? My cat apparently couldn’t get a turd to unhinge from her ass and dragged it OUTSIDE OF HER BOX AND INTO THE HALLWAY. Of course, there is no sand on laminate floor in which to cover it with hence the wild scratching. At THIS point, the old dog smelling her favorite candy only feet away, sneaks out of her bed like a naughty kid and goes to gulp them up. But being an old lady who apparently can’t see in the dark, she tumbles to the floor, then just lays there waiting for me to rescue her. 

Thoughts flash through my mind as I struggle not to gag (the dog is still licking her chops). I have a choice. I can tell my husband the true events and watch him get all pissy about cats in general, and have him grumble half the night . . . or I can say nothing. 

Really there is no decision here. I flick the light off (it’s now after 1am) and lay back in bed. The cat, thinking nothing of the events climbs back into bed with me. She’s purring away, little heathen that she is. Lucky she’s cute.

Five minutes. FIVE MINUTES OF PEACE AND QUIET. 

The dog. . .begins to gag. 

OH MY GOD SHE’S GOING TO THROW UP CAT SHIT.

Now . . .dog vomit is bad enough, but really, throwing up cat shit? I lay in bed petrified as I listen to her gag. Again, two choices. I can lay in bed and wait for it to happen, backing up my previous choice that nothing was wrong. Or I can jump up and try to get her outside, potentially getting dog vomit mixed with cat shit on my carpet. 

At least I can wash the dog bed easier is my thought and so I lay there, waiting for it to happen. For the next two hours, the dog gags and coughs, licking her lips while I wait in a state of dozing wakefulness I reserve for nights my kid is sick. 

Morning comes, I’m exhausted, hubby rolls over with a smile and a wink. “We’re still alone honey.”

“Not on your life.” I grumble as I flip the blankets off and stomp out of the room with barely five hours under my belt.

Next time, I’m sending the animals to grandma’s house and I’m keeping the kid. 

Decoding Fantasy Fiction: aka "What the hell am I reading?"

This is a problem that actually comes on both sides of the coin so to speak. You’ve got authors who think they are writing an urban fantasy, but they really aren’t (and they just don’t know it) and readers who think they are reading an epic fantasy (but they really aren’t and they just don’t know it) and then the readers who stare at the screen before one clicking after trying to figure out if the genre lists below the book mean anything at all.

Here we go, your one stop shop when deciphering what the hell kind of fantasy are you reading.

CLASSIC FANTASY
A world all it's own with no connection to our own.
A world all it’s own with no connection to our own.

Often referred to as Epic Fantasy. Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Terry Goodkind, George RR Martin, Robin Hobb . . . all these are epic fantasy. A world all its own with no connection to our own. They might have their own religions, political situations, magic systems or even way of cursing (Blood and bloody ashes comes to mind). Classic or epic fantasy tends to run longer too than other kinds of fantasy. Let’s face it, you can’t create a believable world in four hundred pages (well maybe someone can but I haven’t seen it yet).

Expect these to be big, big books.

 

HISTORICAL FANTASY
Think alternate history worlds
Think alternate history worlds

Usually a slight variation on the classic fantasy above. Think alternate history worlds. Books like Naomi Novak’s series about dragons in the Naploeonic wars (its on my TBR list) or Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart series set in an alternate France with a whole new twist on the words, Love as thou Wilt.

URBAN FANTASY
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The characters live in our world, but are surrounded by magic & monsters.

I’ve done a post on this but I will recap. Expect your characters to live in our world, but be surrounded by magic and monsters. These books are often crammed full of action, intrigue, fight scenes and twists at the 80% mark that will have your pulse pounding. I see most of these books topping out at the 350-400 page mark, a perfect read for a long weekend. Look for authors like Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, or me ;)

 

PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Sundered by Shannon Mayer
Sundered: A true love story set in a post-apocalyptic world full of paranormal creatures.

This is a story that’s going to (usually) be set in our world not unlike the urban fantasy above. The difference is there the story will revolve and rely heavily on the romance aspect. Expect sex scenes of varying smexy degrees. Expect billionaire bear shifters, wickedly handsome werewolves, and viciously violent and yet still somehow soft and sweet vampires. You’ll get magic here, you’ll get shifters, and you’ll get a ton of sexy time.

So while it technically IS urban fantasy, you might not see it as such except for glimmers here and there.

Now here’s where things get hard to decipher. An author can blend these together . .. for instance I have an urban fantasy that borders on being a classic fantasy (weird, I know) but I’ve created a an Elemental world within ours that doesn’t touch on the human world.

Having the definitions is nice for sure, and I hope they help, but the reality is, the fantasy world is a big place. One we can all be blessedly lost in from time to time.

I've got a shameful secret to share

My Secret ShameIT’S GETTING HARD TO HOLD MY HEAD UP …

This is like peeking inside someone’s messy bedroom and unmade bed. This is the shame I hide close to my chest. The books I should have read by now but haven’t. In most cases the books I WANT to read, and somehow the time has just slipped away. Mostly, to be fair, because I am writing my own stories. But also to be fair, reading is how authors continue to grow and learn. So, it’s important to my craft that I don’t neglect reading. Yet I have … and now you’ll know why I’ve been keeping it a secret.

 
My list of shame

The Hobbit

1. THE HOBBIT

Oh, I can hear the groaning now. Just watch the movie, right? Well I’ve read The Lord of the Rings, and yet I’ve never tackled The Hobbit. And I felt silly reading it right before the movie came out. So this book is actually on my desk, staring at me. I’ve started it, and I am hoping that I will finish it in not too much time.

2. THE PRINCESS BRIDE

Another one where the movie is great, wonderful, a cult classic . . . but I have heard the book is so much better. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Goldman and The Princess Bride. So there it is. On the list. I have it staring at me. With narrowed eyes as if to tell me to hurry the hell up. As….you….wiiiiiish….

3. THE GAME OF THRONES SERIES

I will be COMPLETELY honest. After being a lover of the Wheel of Time series (that is a monstrous series, 14 books) there is a part of me that cringes at the thought of a big ass ole book/series. I have so little time and I like to feel accomplished. Yes, it’s still on my list . .. but maybe I will wait until Mr. Martin completes the series. Which should allow me a couple more years to procrastinate at least. 

  His Majesty's Dragon

4. TERRY PRATCHETT

Pretty much anything by him is on my TBR list. He’s a master of the fantasy genre and up until now, I haven’t read a thing by him. Shame. Shame on me. Bad author.  

5. NEIL GAIMAN

(Don’t hit me!) I’ve actually bought one of his books, a physical book that stares at me. Mocking me. Damn it, I’m not superwoman, I can’t read for hours every day and still get my own work done. The thing is, I know Gaiman’s good, and he’s not going anywhere. I hope. So I have time, right?

6. THE FINAL TWO BOOKS IN THE DIVERGENT SERIES

Yes, I read the first one. Yes I loved it. But damn it I haven’t gotten to the final two. And no, I’m not going to see the movies until I do!

7. HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON by NAOMI NOVIK 

I actually just downloaded this one to my kindle. Its been on my list for YEARS and every time I see it I think . .. I should grab that, it looks awesome. Now its there, waiting for me a little easier to grab.

There it is, my List of Shame. Honestly, there is more but I can only handle so much confession at once. One step at a time, my friends, one step at a time.

All these voices in my head...

WHO DOES THIS REMIND YOU OF?

WHY GO BACK TO RYLEE’S WORLD?

Though it may seem obvious, as to why I found myself writing in Rylee’s world once again, I thought it might be best to explain.

Because I had no intention of going back to Rylee, as far as I was concerned her story was done with “The Blood of the Lost.” Her journey with me was over, kaput, finito . . . but a funny thing happened …

SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THE RYLEE ADAMSON SERIES

It began with numerous readers emailing and messaging me about Rylee, Liam, Pamela and of course Alex. Asking me to keep writing their stories. I politely declined even while Rylee whispered in my ear that maybe they had a point. That maybe she wasn’t fucking well done. I told her to shut up, I had other projects calling to me. I told her she’d get a cameo in the Elemental Series, that would have to be enough.

Rylee grumped at me. Seriously grumped that maybe . . . just maybe the transition for her into becoming a daywalking vampire wasn’t as smooth as we’d let on in the last book.

person-writing-a-letter-011

I grumped back at her. Not my issue. Stop pestering me, I’m busy. You know there are other characters out there who need me to tell their stories too. You’re being selfish.

That quieted her up some. You know Rylee, there is no way she’d want to be thought of as selfish. So she was quiet.

And damn it if the story didn’t start to unfold. The issues she was having, the new darkness she was facing.

Damn it.

I told Rylee she had two weeks to tell her story, that was it. I wrote RYLEE (The Rylee Adamson Epilogues, Book 1) in fifteen days. As I wrote this book, I

14-Days

couldn’t believe the changes Rylee struggled with, the darkness in herself. I realized this was a big part of why she’d been pestering me that her story wasn’t done. Because while she’d saved the world from the demons, there was still a struggle as monumental in its own way she had to face.

It is a full length novel, the same size as PRICELESS . . . the only problem? At the end of the book I realized Rylee wasn’t the only one with a story that still had to be told.

Double damn it.

“These books suck you in and don’t let you go!! Can’t wait for the next one! Hope I have the patience to wait that long.” – Reviewer of RYLEE

She smirked. I groaned. Liam all but grinned at me with a wink from one of his ice blue eyes.  So be ready for LIAM (The Rylee Adamson Epilogues, Book 2) coming to you this summer (aiming for July/August).
 

YOUR RESPONSE SO FAR

I am BLOWN away at the response to Rylee’s Epilogue! I knew you all missed her but WOW, I had no idea just how badly you all were jonesing for a fix of that potty mouthed Tracker . . . or should I say Huntress?

“YAY!!! Rylee’s back!!! I was going through withdrawal thinking the series was over and was thrilled to see that Rylee’s story will continue.” -Reviewer of RYLEE

If you haven’t picked up RYLEE (The Rylee Adamson Epilogues Book 1) yet, may I make a suggestion? Click a link below to grab it. You don’t want to miss out on this newest adventure. And yes, to all those who are asking, you will for sure get to see Rylee and her gang as cameo’s in Larkspur’s Elemental Series. Because Lark has her own battles to face and when it comes to standing in the way of darkness, Rylee is the one who knows better than any other the sacrifices that sometimes have to be made.

Apparently none of these characters are done talking . . . 

6 reads to try urban fantasy

WHAT IS URBAN FANTASY?

Obviously I’m a bit biased here. I will FULLY admit that I write urban fantasy novels, I love creating characters and worlds within the genre, and I love reading it. But the thing is, when people ask me what I write and I say “Urban Fantasy”, I often get a blank look and an “Oh, that’s nice, dear.” So let me do my best to not only tell you exactly what urban fantasy is, but somehow convince you to give it a try.

“I love a strong female lead and we were delivered that in spades with Larkspur . . . This story is fast paced and exciting right from the start. I can’t wait to see what comes next!”

Urban Fantasy is at its core set in the real world, either a city (hence the urban) or a rural setting where the magic or supernatural abound. Think of it like an alternate universe, the world IF magic were to be a part of it. Usually there is some romance involved, but not necessarily. If the romance gets too heavy, then you’re getting into Paranormal Romance which is a whole other article.

So that’s the definition, but why should you try it out?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

Get ready to watch the best spells get flung at the bad guys, things you’d never believe possible if you hadn’t just read about it. Get ready to watch the best spells get flung at the bad guys, things you’d never believe possible if you hadn’t just read about it.

Did you love “The Chronicles of Narnia” when you were growing up? Or maybe you loved “Harry Potter” and his adventures. Maybe as a child you believed that if you opened that closet door, or stepped onto a train at a certain platform you’d be swept away into another world. A magical world where your favorite characters waited. That feeling? You can find it as an adult in urban fantasy. The thought that we live side by side with the monsters and the magic, that if we look hard enough or the right way that it DOES exist. It’s pretty cool to have that as an adult, especially when we are faced every day with the reality of life.

LIVING THE DREAM: Did you love The Chronicles of Narnia when you were growing up? Or maybe you loved Harry Potter and his adventures. Maybe as a child you believed that if you opened that closet door, or stepped onto a train at a certain platform you’d be swept away into another world. A magical world where your favorite characters waited. That feeling? You can find it as an adult in urban fantasy. The thought that we live side by side with the monsters and the magic, that if we look hard enough or the right way that it DOES exist. It’s pretty cool to have that as an adult, especially when we are faced every day with the reality of life.

IT AIN’T EPIC: What does this mean? That you aren’t going to find a 900 page urban fantasy novel. (Okay, maybe one or two but it isn’t common). Most urban fantasy books can be picked up on a Friday after work and finished by Sunday. They aren’t going to take you two weeks to finish (unlike something like Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson, both of whom I adore, but you have to set aside a good chunk of time for those boys and their words).

CHASE SCENES AND POTTY MOUTHS: Yeah, get ready for chase scenes, fight scenes, and a pace that will often leave you breathless with the action.

It’s so worth it to find yourself riding with a character by dragon back!
It’s so worth it to find yourself riding with a character by dragon back!

Seriously, if you want a good heart pounding that doesn’t involve running up and down ten flights of stairs, go grab an urban fantasy novel. And if you’re tired of the young adult fantasy where the worst word that pops out of their mouth is a single usage of the cuss word “shit” then you need an urban fantasy. Because they are more adult in context, you’re going to get adult language. Which for me is a good thing.

MONSTERS AND MAGIC!: Oh man, if you want monsters that aren’t JUST vampires and werewolves, then you’ve got to dive into this. Don’t think about sparkling vampires, don’t think about brooding werewolves. Urban fantasy is so much more than that. Think harpies, elementals, griffins, gargoyles, demons, goblins and unicorns. Trust me, it’s so worth it to find yourself riding with a character by dragon back! And the magic? Get ready to watch the best spells get flung at the bad guys, things you’d never believe possible if you hadn’t just read about it.

HEROINES: The majority of urban fantasy is written from a female heroines perspective. With all the books out there written from a man’s point of view, urban fantasy is close to 90% from a female perspective. Strong, powerful women who are out there saving the day, changing the world, being bad ass.

SERIES ANYONE?: That’s right, most urban fantasy is written as a series. The longer the better in a lot of cases. It isn’t uncommon to find an urban fantasy series running ten books or more. Which for a voracious reader is a blessing. Especially once you are invested in the story, the characters . . . why would you want it to end?

RECOMMENDATIONS…

Really, you’ve got nothing to lose. And to show you I mean well, here’s a list of some of my favorite urban fantasy reads. Yes, a couple of my own books are in here too, seeing as I do write urban fantasy….

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