Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hi... My Name Is....

If you finished that title with, "Slim Shady," then my work here is done and we both somewhat gave away our ages....

When I started this Blog, I never bothered to really introduce myself since I figured for the most part, it would only be family and friends that would read it and there isn't a whole lot about me those two groups of people don't know. But, recently I've gained a little bit of a modest following. Nothing spectacular or that will get me paid, but enough to warrant a little bit of a introduction and explanation about who, what and why I am, as well as that question I get asked quite a bit... "What is it exactly that you do (for a living)?"

I'll address the first, first...
This is me... waving at you.
I turned 43 this past September and I'm okay with that. I figure it's the better than the alternative. I became a grandmother at 42, another event that I'm okay with because while some of my high school friends- who lamented that I got pregnant at 19 and was going "miss out on so much of my youth by tying myself down with a kid," i.e. college or partying, I guess... - are just now having  children or have extremely young children... I'm getting to do pretty much what I want these days with the added bonus of not being half dead when my first grandchild was born. Just sayin'. Aside from that, I've done and still do on occasion, my fair share of hell raising. It's what I'm good at. Ask my mother.
Over the course of these 43 years, I've run the gamut of just about everything and anything. I've had shit ton of insecurities, which I guess are normal for everyone. Mine ranged/ranges from I wasn't born with great hair, great skin or a great metabolism. I'm pretty short, not even 5'0. I also wasn't born with many overt feminine qualities. I mean, I like pretty nails and getting pedicures and I do try somewhat to look like a chick outside of my deep and long abiding love for camouflage, the color black and a tendency to at times look like I'm homeless, but I like working on cars, hunting, fishing, and I'm not opposed to randomly cat-calling or saying inappropriate pick-up line to males or females alike just because I can. I used to work in a profession that required I attempt to look like I didn't just roll out of the alley way clutching a forty ounce bottle of Old English wrapped in a crinkled paper bag and act as though I was somewhat socially inclined. The day that I stopped working in the newspaper industry was the day I got rid of the majority of my "good" clothes and stopped putting on makeup just to go to the grocery store or talking to people I didn't particularly like. I like beer and I probably drink too much of it, but so far my liver's hanging in there doing all the things a good, healthy liver does, so I got that going for me... as well as a profound love for old school gangster rap and Ice Cube.

What am I?
I guess like most people, I'm a lot of things. A daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend.... and those things define me to certain points, but are not entirely what comprises my personality or what made me who I've come to be.
I think our pasts do that, to some degree and mine's a bit shady because there were times in my life where I was a bit shady. I've done a lot of shit I'm not proud of. Sometimes I did what I did out anger or unhappiness... other times I did it because I have a natural talent for mischief that can sometimes get the better of me. For what it's worth, while I'm sorry (and have since apologized or tried to apologize to anyone I deliberately hurt) that I had a pretty good track record of fucking things up; I don't have a lot of regrets. Who I was 25 or so years ago isn't who I am today for which we should all be grateful but that old me was the best teacher I could have ever had. She taught me a lot. Like taking a breath before I lash out in anger. Or taking a really close look at myself before I decide I'm going to judge someone. She taught me that I'm not better than anyone else and that I choose every day what kind of day I'm going to have. She taught me to be grateful for what I have, okay with what I don't have, and to appreciate the people who loved me when I was at my most unloveable. She taught me the value of listening with compassion rather than listening with the intent to respond. She taught me to let go. Not only of anger, but of people or things that I can't change or situations I can't fix. She also taught me to love myself and how to better love others. I don't mourn the loss of the "old me" as some people do when they grow and change. I don't miss her but I do celebrate her because without her, I wouldn't be the me that I enjoy so much now.

Why am I?
That's a good question, too. When I say I've led a charmed life, I don't mean that my life has been easy. It hasn't. Sometimes that was my fault, other times it wasn't. More often than not, I put myself in life threatening situations because I was careless, cocky or just plain stupid. This happened a lot and the sheer number of near-deaths or brushes with death I've encountered would raise the hair on some of your heads. A few of those near-deaths have been exactly as they sound. Literal. But those are stories for another day. Suffice it to say that those experiences gifted me (later in life) with a sense of self-preservation that has served me well. I won't ride in a car with anyone who's been drinking. I don't mess with drugs of any kind and I don't go into a bad area at night without being armed. Life lessons....
I'm also careful about where I spend my time and energy because while drugs and dark city streets might be dangerous, putting your focus on people or things who suck the life out of you can be just as bad, if not worse. At least you know the potential for danger when it comes to heroin or a crack addict who thinks just because you're a small female alone at night you're an easy target. Those dangers are obvious. People who get close to you for ulterior motives aren't. I'm careful who I spend my time with these days or who I let use my time because if someone isn't a help, they're a hindrance and I've got enough trouble getting out of my own way. I don't need anyone else throwing up more roadblocks for me.

What I do...
That's sort of a complicated answer but yet so simple. I literally do what I want. I spent years on top of years working my ass off in newspaper, for a company that didn't care about your kid's birthday, Christmas Day opening presents, deaths in families or whatever. I worked easily 75 plus hours per week, made myself sick making sure I kept up with co-workers who were more educated than myself and chasing after stories against odds I couldn't compete with. When I finally quit, which was ten years past the time I was actually ready to, I decided I wouldn't kill myself for another corporation that saw me as a mindless cog in a wheel. I also decided I wouldn't spend another sunny, beautiful day staring out a window wishing I was doing anything but sitting at that desk, in front of that computer.  I quit my job to focus on creative writing for the most part, but writing is only a fraction of what I do.
I know that most people have something in their head regarding what they want to "be" when they grow up. I never did. There were so many things I was interested in that I could never really pick one specific thing. Newspaper literally fell in my lap. I have always loved to write and on a whim, I applied to a local paper in a town I was moving to. I was hired based on the writing test they gave me. It wasn't until later on that it dawned on me, I took a job in an industry that my dead brother had been working towards getting a degree in before his life was cut short and that I stayed in that job primarily because I felt I owed it to him to live a dream he couldn't. During my time at the paper though (which wasn't all bad or pointless) I learned graphics design, composition, page layout and other various forms of desktop publishing. So, one of my "jobs" these days is doing freelance work putting together ads, newsletters, or designing logos. On the flip side of that, I'm a Reiki Master and licensed clergy. For the Reiki, I have a few loyal clients I work on here and there. With the clergy, sometimes I travel to perform weddings and sometimes it's something as simple as marrying a couple of middle aged people at a boat dock, who finally after 35 years of bad timing were able to merge their lives in a beautiful, emotional moment that still makes me weepy to think back on. Sometimes I get called in to bless a house or to hold the hand of a mother who is taking her little boy off of life support or a child saying a final goodbye to a parent. Sometimes it's letting a grieving mother scream in my face about the injustice of a God she so strongly believed in taking her daughter from her in a horrific way. I think my deep love of all types of religious study enables me to use my calling as a clergy person in ways that others can't because they've chosen one specific sect to belong to. I service everyone. Pagans, Christians, Agnostics, etc. I go where I'm needed and I adapt my approach based on those needs.
I also read tarot cards for a small clientele.
And then there's my books. I've written four so far, as you know if you've been reading these blogs. While it may seem like writing is a lesser part of my life because I chose to mention it last, nothing could be further from the truth. I don't spend as much time as I should writing, but the stories are always there in my head, waiting to be told. Though writing is one of my first and foremost passions, it also tends to be the area where I procrastinate the most. I'm still working on editing book number five, which should have already been released months ago. But I'm struggling because I feel like there's something missing in the story and if I, the writer, notice it, then I know the readers will too. I respect the hard earned money people spend on my books and because of that, I want to give them the best product I'm capable of producing. I know how disappointing it is to pay for a book and have it read like a fifth-grade creative fiction story (Before you think I'm knocking the burgeoning preteen author, I'm not. Some of those kids are really good writers but it's the ones who actually write like they're IN the fifth grade, who are my age, that are charging $3.99 for a book that you want to take a swing at.  Kids are fine. Write on, little dudes). It's my goal when I turn out a book to at least give the reader something worth reading. Is it perfect? Hell no... but neither am I.
At the end of the day, whatever I do; whatever hat I take off, I want to know that I put my all in to it. I want to know that I not only pleased those who buy whatever product I'm selling but that I also pleased myself with the work that I've done.

As always, you can follow me on Facebook at:
Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2
Amazon: Lori Ann Robinson

Or, you can just subscribe to this blog. <3

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Giving the Gift of Reading

Just a few of my very favorites.
'Tis the season for wandering around the stores aimlessly trying to find that perfect gift... at least, that's how it usually ends up for me. I love Christmas, even though I'm a Pagan, and next to Thanksgiving, it's probably my favorite holiday.
I know, I know, Christmas has become over-commercialized and more about how much we're spending rather than the thought behind the presents. Maybe that's true for some, but for me, Christmas is so much more. It's memories and books... both of which have lasted a lifetime.

My parents were dirt poor when I was growing up and throughout the year, we didn't get much in the way of things we wanted, though they always made sure we had clothes, shoes, food, and decent place to live. For birthdays we usually got one thing we asked for (within reason) but Christmas... man, Christmas was always the best. And not just because of the gifts. Like any struggling couple trying to work to support three kids, my parents spent 364 days a year completely stressed out. My dad traveled a lot for his job, leaving my mom to work sometimes two jobs, while going to school for what would later become a lifelong career in the medical field, as well as doing the best she could with what little time she had raising her babies. If you have kids, you know it's a never ending laundry list of things to do, both literally and figuratively. We never had to worry about having clean clothes, or a clean place to live. My mom handled her business like a superhero, and looking back, I can easily say I don't remember thinking we were as poor as what I now know we were. The reason for that was mainly because of our Christmases. Christmas was a big deal in our house growing up and it still is. It was the one day that neither of our parents let outside influences intrude on "our" day. For that one brief space in time every single little thing was right in our house and while it was always filled with love daily, it was just a little more full on that particular one. No matter what, my parents did whatever they could to make our wishlists a reality and that added a little bit more magic to the holiday because, especially later on, we knew how much they sacrificed for that Mr. Microphone, or that 10-speed bicycle, or that .22 rifle. And maybe because we didn't get anything during the course of the year that wasn't a necessity, we appreciated those gifts more than most kids in privileged households did. I'm not sure, but I know we were and still are grateful for the gifts that my parents are... not just for the gifts they give us.
I always looked forward to opening presents and I always loved everything they gave me, but out of it all, the most memorable gifts for me growing up were books.
They always supported my love of reading and every year I could pretty much count on a beautiful new book under the tree or in my stocking. Those books, most I still have to this day, would be read and re-read countless times over the years and are just as much treasures today as they were when I received my first one in third grade.
In this day and age, most kids aren't interested in material, tangible books, if they're interested in reading at all. Electronic devices have taken over where once every home had at least a few shelves of books in it, if nothing more than encyclopedias and a dictionary. I'm guilty as well, I tend to read more now on my Kindle or my phone than actually picking up a physical book, because well, it's more convenient than lugging around a few solid paperbacks on a road trip like I did before the days of E-Readers and smart-phones. It's a convenience I'm trying to see my way out of as I look at the three fully stocked book shelves in my home and realize I haven't touched them except for reference here or there in a shamefully long time. Books have been replaced by E-Readers and gift cards for those devices. And while I'm not complaining because my books are available through those methods as well and I really don't care how you read as long as you DO read, I miss unwrapping the latest best-seller, or being introduced to a new author because someone was browsing the local store looking for just the perfect book for me and made a thoughtful selection.
Toys get broken shortly after being played with a few times, but a book, even if you don't immediately pick it up, will be there on the day that an ice or snow storm knocks out the power and the batteries in the tablets, phones and readers go dead. Or when as what happened in the case of my first E-Reader, it wipes out and won't turn on. Books don't need batteries or charger cords and you don't have to worry about fighting for a place to plug them in on a long trip. Sure, they take up space, but that smell when you crack one open can't be competed with. Neither can the inspiration to the imagination. I think that's part of the problem with today's youth. They're spending time in the minds of others who created the apps and the games they constantly play, rather than exercising their brains to visualize the scene an author lays out. There's no inspiration, there's very little creativity because a screen does all the work for them and it's sad. It's sad that they're missing out on the excitement a great writer can bring with nothing more than a beautifully written story. Some of the best adventures I've ever taken were journeys of my imagination created by nothing more than words on a page.

If you're wondering what to get that person who is hard to buy for or a gift that will be memorable for a child, consider giving them the gift of reading.

Here's a few suggestions to get you started:

For kids:Agnes the Average Unicorn, by Jason Appling, Illustrated by Karen S. Campbell
How to Scare a Monster, by Kimberly Walker

For Teens: Wildwood (The Hightower Trilogy, Volume 1), by Jadie Jones

For the Romance Enthusiast: Bimini the Romance, by Lori Ann Robinson
Bimini: Blood on the Sand, by Lori Ann Robinson
Diesel, by Lori Ann Robinson
Texan, by Lori Ann Robinson

As always, thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

You can follow me on Facebook at:
Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2
Amazon: Lori Ann Robinson

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Paper Plate Productions

Pork loin stuffed with pears and gorgonzola
Cooking is a relatively new interest to me. By relatively, I mean within the last five or six years, I started cooking on a regular basis. Within just the last year or so,  I've gotten into studying the science of food and flavor profiles. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I post a lot of food pictures.

Last night, a life-long friend named Andy commented on a picture I'd posted of my latest food experiment asking when I was going to start a cooking show. I didn't see his comment until this morning and I spit out my coffee, I laughed so hard. Not at his comment, but at the idea of videoing what I do in my kitchen. I responded that having my own show would likely be a train wreck and while that's probably true, it's likely that it would, at the very least, be an entertaining one.

There are three things you can count on in my house on a nightly basis:
1. Between 6-6:30 p.m., I will open my first beer (you can set your watch by it).  By now, I think anyone who reads these blogs (all two of you) know I like beer. Drinking commences when meal prep does. This is not negotiable. Drinking lasts until about 10 p.m. This IS negotiable on weekends or special occasions.
2. Dinner will be a production of copious amounts of food and curse words while cooking said food, (i.e. "This is why I fucking hate frying chicken... it splatters all over the damn place and OW... It got my EYE... this is how it ends....") along with intermittent spontaneous bickering about people trying to micromanage while I'm cooking and shouting like an old Scottish pirate, "Get oot of ma fecking kitchen!!!" at people and dogs alike, while pointing towards the doorway with my spatula.
Side note: I'm not Scottish, but some how my control freak issues when it comes to food preparation reduce me to a weird sort of brogue that comes across in a deep, manly voice. Yeah, I don't know why, either.
3. Dinner will always... and I mean ALWAYS be served on paper plates. Why? I don't have a dishwasher and bitches hate dishes. So yeah, I might make you a fine dining worthy meal, but you gon' get that shit on Dixie China. No, I don't care if it's steak... double up on those plates, yo... they were on sale this week. I got two more stacks of them under the counter.

Venison tenderloin stuffed with mushrooms and spinach
I do find it funny that (and I mean funny ha-ha) when I post my food pics on the various social media cooking groups I'm a member of and note that I'm the only one who shows off perfectly cooked venison stuffed with mushrooms and spinach sitting on a party-colored paper plate. Everyone else uses their real china (at least for photo purposes). But, I never much cared what anyone else did or thought. I hear my own drum.

My parents and other people who have known me for more than the last five or so years find it hilarious that I not only cook, but take such a passionate interest in it because up until recent years, I didn't cook. At all.
For one thing, I didn't have time. I worked sometimes 75 plus hours per week. When I was lucky enough to be home, I was too tired to even think about cooking. And once upon a time, there was a time when I might have had three or four pots and pans along with a few cooking utensils. Now, my cabinets are full of equipment and my whole body fills with joy going into the cooking department of any store. In fact, cooking stuff is now on my approved list of things I will voluntarily shop for along with rocks and books; rounding out my list to three items now. My Christmas and birthday lists literally consist of "Cooking junk".  Though I've always maintained a healthy collection of herbs and spices, but those were used for witchcraft... not food.

Turkey on rye paninis with tortellini pasta salad.
All veggies are home grown.
But really, if you think about it.... what is more important than the food you put in your body? I was really super late to the game in understanding how what we eat affects our health both mentally and physically. When my diet consisted mainly of the diner fare from the restaurant my office shared a building with, I was experiencing all of these health issues. I don't include my weight in this because I've always been chubby and after several years of eating "right", I still am. I've got a snails paced metabolism (tested and confirmed) and I hate working out, so....
That said, since I started preparing my own food from fresh ingredients, I lost a lot of the fatigue I struggled with previously and a lot of the health problems I had developed during my tenure as a prisoner at the newspaper. In my eyes, that's a win.

The health benefits are a definite plus, but I think one the things I enjoy most about feeding others (at my house I can feed anywhere from 2-20 on any given night) is seeing people react to what I made. Having someone I love appreciate that creation and comment on how well the pears work with the pork and spiced carrots (because flavor profiles are what I'm studying right now) means a lot.  I love that everyone in my little circle has a special thing that they ask me to make for them on their birthdays or just because.

Lemon chicken with house Lo Mein, Szechuan
green beans and egg rolls because mom asked for it.
Cooking is sharing. Not just the food, but the love and the emotion that goes into the feelings you have for those you feed and as I've said before on my Instagram posts, it's a form of spell casting as well that goes back centuries. Where do you think the idea of chicken soup for a sick person came from? It was often made with herbs blessed for healing. Or the idea of certain foods as aphrodisiacs? Uh, love spells.... Food is one of the purest forms of practical magic. Besides all that... cooking is FUN.

And who knows.... maybe one day I'll make a cooking video and invite all of you to watch my culinary shenanigans first hand.

Until then, you can follow me on:
Instagram: dailgneachd
Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2

Or you can just subscribe to my blog. <3

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

When Good Guys and Good Service Come Together...

The 2018 Kia Stinger GT.
I’m a firm believer in how a person treats service personnel (any member of the service industry in general) is a clear indicator of character. On the flip side of that, I’m a firm believer in how service personnel treat customers is an equally telling trait of both the employee and the company they represent. 
I’ve called out shitty corporations and branches for not only their shoddy work, but also their terrible customer service (still flipping you the finger, Camping World) and that’s all well and good because believe you me, if you’d read the Yelp! and other reviews posted on the internet, you’d see they deserved it. 
But what about the good businesses? The ones that go above and beyond to make your experience a great one? Who have all the power to really ruin your day, but instead make you actually look forward to dealing with them even under not so great circumstances? Do these guys ever really get credit? If they do, I’m thinking it’s not nearly enough, so I want to change that in my little corner of the world. 
Two years ago, I bought a car from my local Kia (Carriage) dealership. I was really dreading the process because not only is it long and drawn out, but once you put the first of twenty thousand signatures down on those sales papers, that salesperson is off quicker than a high school girl’s prom dress. They no longer remember your name, your face or anything about you. So I was kinda surprised at the way our sales guy handled us. Yeah, he was definitely professional, but he was also kind as well as friendly in a genuine way that you don’t often find in the car business. I figured we must have lucked up and got the one salesperson that wasn’t more concerned about the sale than the person they’re saddling with a payment over the next three to five years. He actually talked to us and not just about the car we were looking at. 
I don’t know if you know it or not, but buying a Kia comes with an amazing incentive package. It’s pretty sweet deal and MOST of the reason why I went with that brand, but I'd be lying if I said the people working there didn't factor largely in my decision also.
Anyway… I took the car in for its first scheduled maintenance about three or so months (I don’t really remember) after I bought it. Right away, the man who sold us the car recognized me and came up to chat for a bit, which I thought was pretty cool. But it was the service department that really got my attention. 
*Side note: since I’ve been driving and out on my own, we’ve always done the maintenance on our own cars, mainly because we never owned anything new and working on them ourselves was a hell of a lot cheaper than paying mechanics. *End Side Note
So, they get done with my car and the dude comes out of the service bay and I was blown away at how nice he was. My one experience with a mechanic was the guy in my old hometown in NC who checked out my ’78 Firebird because I couldn’t figure out why one of the sparkplugs kept fouling out and after changing it a gazillion times myself, I took it up to him. He charged me $300 for an anti-foul plug and a rotor button I hadn’t even asked for and could have changed myself, plus labor. The plug did not fix the issue, either. Not to mention he had the car for two weeks before it was ready to be picked up. Hence my wariness. 
I was a lot poorer back then than I am now, but still, the idea of paying someone to work on my vehicle makes me twitch a little. I mean, that old mechanic couldn’t even manage to be decent when he had his hand out asking for money I really didn’t have and kept my only vehicle for half a month for a thirty-minute fix that ended up not being a fix at all. Is it too much to ask for a little romance beforehand?
And here this Kia guy just performed all my services for free and afterwards, he set about explaining to me what was done and what needed to be done next trip. He didn’t ‘mansplain’ anything, he didn’t talk down or try to talk in circles, and I liked that. A lot. Because, I do know a thing or six about cars but usually any knowledge I might have gets discounted by anyone with a penis, cause you know… I’m a chick. We’re supposed to know about chick stuff like clothing, which apparently that gene was skipped in my DNA, because half the time I look homeless.  When I don’t, it’s because my mama bought my clothes. Remember, I suck at adulting (re: I’m Notoriously Bad at Adulting).
I digress… 
Back to cars. I have singlehandedly reattached a fuel line while I had a toddler on my hip, in the middle of the night, in the ghetto of the town I lived in, complete with gangs and drive-by’s on the next street over. I rebuilt a 4-barrel carburetor on a television tray in my living room earlier the same evening. I’ve done plugs and wires, changed out coils, brakes, distributors, ignitions, solenoids, alternators, belts, and radiators, as well as dropped pans on transmissions and fixed air conditioners in vehicles I’ve owned. 
Why? Let me say this again…. I WAS POOR. I had no choice but to learn, even though there were times, I did enjoy it. Like when it wasn’t a necessity for me to use the vehicle to get back and forth to work but that was rare.
Thankfully, I had a dad who let me help do things like work on brakes or change out valve cover gaskets and the like. Thankfully also, I married someone with big hands who needed my much smaller ones to get into those hard to reach engine areas. I learned how to change a harmonic balancer, set timing, reattach the transmission to the engine (that was an education). The rub is most everything I’ve ever worked on was pre-1984. You know, before they put chips and computers in cars as a regular practice. When it comes to the newer stuff, I’m pretty lost, though I did my share of work on my old Chevy Corsica, my old Ford Taurus and my much beloved Ford F-150 (I still miss that truck), but it was simple stuff; just regular every day maintenance and wear items like the MAF sensor or EGR, until suddenly, it wasn’t and it was beyond my capability to fix the issues. That’s where the Kia came in. The truck had had enough. It was twenty years old, I’d owned it for twelve of those years and there was no more fixing it. Not within my financial ability anyway. 
 But Kia not only afforded me a car that I could financially wrap my head around paying for, it also provided a really great service package with it, so it was kind of a win/win for me. 
There was even an instance in that first year when I took the car up for service and I was so sick I could barely hold my head up. Those guys came into that customer lobby periodically while my car was being worked on, just to check on me and to make sure I had everything I needed. That was going above and beyond in my book. Most people would have treated me like I had Ebola rather than the mother of all colds.
I’ve had the car for two years now. Two years worth of oil changes and standard maintenance has been done at the dealership where the car was purchased and each time, I’m so damn pleased with the quality of customer service I get. I don’t think they know just how rare it is to have a business treat its customers that way. 
These guys are seriously so great that I’ve had to take the car up twice in last few days because the check engine light keeps coming on, (turned out to be bad fuel related) and I didn’t mind. 
The service prices are also so affordable that I kinda scratch my head at how other shops can get away with charging so much for just oil changes or tune-ups. I don’t get it, but then, I guess I don’t have to, just like I don’t have to work on my own car anymore. 
Carriage Kia has made me a fan of both the brand and their name. They've also ensured I’ll keep doing business with them when it comes to scheduled or non-scheduled maintenance or when it’s time to trade up to that Stinger I’ve got my eye on. ;)
Honestly, thanks guys for being so great; especially this past week when the Georgia heat was being a bitch and so was my car. 

As always, feel free to follow me on:


Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2

Good Reads:


Or you know… you can subscribe to this blog. <3

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Life ain't always about me....

Life ain't always about me, y'all, so today, I decided to celebrate an exciting event for a sister writer. Below you'll find her blog which I totally stole. She's releasing her latest book and doing an amazing give away. You'll find a link to the contest here:
Her books are pretty amazing so give them a try!
Here's a preview of the prizes!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

RELEASE WEEK GIVEAWAY - $50 Amazon gift card and more up for grabs!

Windswept is HERE y'all! And with it comes a category 5 giveaway. Don't you just love a good storm?

Up for grabs:
* $50 Amazon gift card
* Custom leather Kindle cover inspired by Wildwood and hand detailed by Rockstar Custom Leather
* Custom leather bronc halter hand detailed by Rockstar Custom Leather
* Signed paperback of Wildwood, book #1, with bonus swag
* Signed paperback of Windswept, book #2, with bonus swag

How do you enter? Why, spread the word about Windswept, of course! Use the Rafflecopter form below to submit your entries. The giveaway opens Tuesday, May 22nd, and ends Saturday, May 26th at the stroke of midnight. Winners will be selected at random by Rafflecopter within 48 hours of closing.

Windswept is on sale NOW for just $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle. If you haven't read Wildwood yet, you're in luck, because it's also on sale for just $2.99.

Check out an excerpt from Windswept:
“Our enemies are close," Maris whispers, her gaze shifting from me to Jayce and back again. "Too close. If we all join hands, I will be able to seal our sounds inside so we can speak freely.”
“How do I know you’re not an enemy, too?”
“You don’t.” She flexes her fingers, but waits for me to decide to make contact.
“For Pete’s sake, Tanzy. This isn’t The Bachelorette Candidates’ special edition. You’re not getting married. You’re just casting a damn spell.” Jayce grabs my arm with one hand and Maris’s arm with the other, and joins us together. “There. Hashtag let’s-do-this-already,” she says, clamping her palms in ours to complete the circle.
Maris suppresses a smile and closes her eyes. I deny a shudder of nervousness and force out a long, slow exhale.
“Air and water join us here, use our light, and make a sphere. Seven colors round and round, shield our circle, hide our sounds,” Maris commands. She repeats the incantation two more times. The air warms and thickens. A growing charge pulses through my arms like an electric current.
Maris falls silent. Everything does. The mist continues to drizzle, blanketing the muddy earth and barren trees, but the steady hiss has vanished. Even though we sit within a few steps from the creek, I can’t hear it. With a start, I realize it must work both ways. No sounds in. No sounds out.
“We are safe to speak, but it won’t last long.” Maris slips her hand from mine. Her charcoal skin is pale in places where I’d unwittingly tightened my grip. Will I ever learn how to use the horse’s strength deliberately?
I rub my clammy, filthy hands together, trying to make them warm enough to stop shaking. They’re sweaty with nervousness, and the rust-colored film on my hands rolls into beads. It’s not gritty like the dirt I clung to when I climbed out of the ravine at Wildwood. It’s smooth, and presses flat into tiny flakes wherever I push down.
This is not earth.
This is dried blood.
David Andrews’s blood, caked in the webbing between my fingers and crusted beneath my nails.
The sound of his last, sputtering breath echoes in my brain. I let out a cry and wipe my fingers violently against my dress. Copper streaks the wrinkled white linen within seconds. The color leaves my hands, but there’s no relief from its weight, its smell.
 “What’s wrong?” Jayce’s voice is an octave too high. “Is that blood?” She sniffs at the air. Her pupils dilate as she arrives at her own conclusion.
I can’t summon the focus to answer—can’t stop trying to make my hands clean. From the expression on Maris’s face, she’s seeing the memory of me strangling Vanessa’s husband. The image of life leaving his eyes. The nightmare I can’t wake from.
Her gaze trains on Asher’s mark, and she brings an open palm to the brand. Heat crawls across my chest, but I’m frozen in place. My arms don’t heed the mental command to bat her hand away. Two of the circles turn black, shimmering like the coming night, and then fade back into the appearance of an old scar.
 “When did this happen?” She regards me with new distance, studying my face like I’m a complete stranger.
“Vanessa tricked me into believing her husband was attacking her. She told me he would kill her. She set me up. She made me believe . . . I thought he was Asher.” The confession tumbles from me, heavy and slipping.
“You’ve killed someone?” Jayce asks, her throat constricting around the words.
“She has taken two lives. Two of these rings belong to her now,” Maris says. Her fingers curl. She stares past me. I risk a glimpse of Jayce, whose face falls from brazen to defeat within a single second.
“Tell me about the first,” Maris orders, her mouth forming a grim line.
“An Unseen attacked Vanessa in the woods. I got between them. He picked me up by my throat and I . . . exploded,” I whisper. “I didn’t want to kill him, but he kept coming.” The memory plays in front of my open eyes. “If I hadn’t killed him he would’ve killed me.”
“Doesn’t matter. She’s useless.” Jayce shakes her head and mutters under her breath.
“I’m not useless.” My fingernails dig into my palms.
“Yes. You are,” Jayce growls.
“Enough,” Maris says. “This is Hope’s fault. She chose to keep Tanzy in the dark, and this is the price. Tanzy, you can’t kill anyone else, Seen or Unseen, for any reason.”
“A third kill, and you belong to Asher,” Jayce adds, focusing her icy glare on my face.
All the air is sucked from my lungs. I was under the impression the three circles had everything to do with Spera. How could I have missed this? A mental path quickly links the two lives I took, and arrives at one common denominator: Vanessa. She’s masterminded every move I’ve made since waking with the horse’s Vires blood coursing through my veins. She must know what will happen if I take a third life.
It’s an insurance policy, I realize. If I won’t use the Vires strength for Asher, I can’t use it at all.

*  *  *

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Tanzy's journey continues in Windswept, Book #2 in the Hightower Trilogy.

An Unseen World believes Tanzy Hightower is the key in an ancient prophecy meant to deliver the only new birth in all of time. They have waited a thousand years for her soul to return to life in human form. Some of them will stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy, and others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy’s existence, permanently.
Tanzy’s body is compromised. Her veins are now home to the blood of a savage, wild horse, and its instincts are becoming impossible to control. Her world is also divided. She is determined to rescue Lucas, an Unseen creature who has loved her since her first life, and to find her treasured Harbor and the other stolen horses, which are bound for a catastrophic end in a world she can’t access on her own. Yet the only allies she has left insist she seeks refuge in a remote safe house on the Outer Banks.
While her fellow candidates beg her to stay in hiding, new enemies work to draw her out, making it clear Lucas and the horses are hers for the taking. But Tanzy knows all to well that when your loved ones are used as bait, finding them is only the beginning.

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Ramble on, y'all.

Monday, May 14, 2018


True to form, it’s been awhile since I last posted so this entry will just provide a little bit of an update about what I’ve been up to since January and the Great Camper Kidnapping Caper of 2017 (which also ran into 2018).

Brief summary of that… Camping World did not step up to fix the issues, actually ended up causing more damage, which they refused to repair UNLESS my parents signed a document saying they would be legally responsible for anything I wrote about their company. I had no idea I was that important or that they thought my blog reached copious amounts of readers but I did appreciate the ego boost, so thanks for that, Camping World! Needless to say, my parents didn’t sign, the repairs weren’t made, and Camping World is not the reason I haven’t blogged since then (in fact, fuck you, Camping World and fuck your face).

Life is the reason I haven’t written to you guys in a while. Since shortly after my last post things have just skyrocketed in terms of life for me. Some good, some not so good, but in short, I’ve just been busy living and being present. Wedding season started early for me this year, which has been sort of a juggling act because unlike in the years before where weddings were structured, weekend events, I have had a plethora of people who are asking to be married mid-week, mid-day in spur-of-the-moment ceremonies. I can’t complain because I love what I do and I’ve appreciated each couple that has found their way to me. 

My daughter, son-in-law, and grandson also moved out earlier this year and that was a little bitter sweet. While we managed to coexist living in the same house for over two years, no house is big enough for two families and they needed their own space in order to start their own family dynamic. I can’t tell you how proud I am of both of them, though adjusting to them (and most importantly, the baby) not being here has been a bit of a struggle. 
I love my kid. She can be a pain in the ass (she gets that from me) but she is literally one of my best friends and while most in-laws can be less than crazy about the people their children marry, her husband is also one of my best friends, so it’s been a little bit lonely here without their company and conversation. But as much as I miss them, I miss my grandson the most. They moved an hour and a half away which made it all the harder, but it’s been worth it to see them all growing and thriving in their new environment (this makes it sound like a wildlife documentary that is narrated by a slightly gruff British, low-toned voice… “See the young wife nesting in her new habitat while the husband goes out foraging in order to provide for her and their young…”) doing what a new family needs to do and establishing their own place in the world. Did I mention how proud I am of them? 

And then…

At the end of this past March, I lost my aunt Dawn, someone who because of the closeness in our ages was more sibling than my mother’s sister to me. Some of you know and are aware of how large my family is as well as how close knit we all are. 
Just to those not in the know, I grew up with 9 aunts and 3 uncles, though I wasn’t close to two of those uncles and one of those aunts. I had a fourth uncle but he died as a toddler long before I was born. I also have upwards of seventy first cousins and out of those seventy, around forty-five to fifty of us talk and communicate on a regular basis, as well as second cousins and so on. When I say we’re close, I mean it.
My aunts are just under my mother in my ranking scale of important women in my life. In fact, our specific squad of moms, aunts, nieces, and cousins are affectionately referred to by ourselves as well as others as the Blonde Bitch Club, or the “BBC,” for short. 
Dawn wasn’t just my aunt, or even just a family member to me. She was also a big sister and my friend. We were only 6 1/2 years apart which meant we played together, grew up together and for me and both of my brothers as children, it was like having another sibling. She was a bride’s maid in my wedding. Her daughter was bride’s maid my daughter’s wedding, etc.
As those of you who read these blogs know, I lost a brother in 1993 and it was a moment in my life I struggled for years to make peace with. Dawn’s death was as painful and was the second hardest loss of my life though now as an adult, I have the tools and am much more equipped at dealing with my feelings and emotions than I was at 17.
You can rationalize, even when it hurts, the death of your grandparents or even your parents after a certain point because you know people age and the body wears out and death is an eventuality in that regard. It still hurts to lose them and it’s tragic, but it’s not the acute gut-wrenching pain of losing someone who isn’t even fifty yet and who is just gone in the blink of an eye from an illness that snuck up when no one, including her was even looking. 
But I will say this, as much as it fucking sucked to say goodbye to her, I was so lucky to have spent those horrible moments with my gigantic, loud, emotional, loving, crazy family. Death is hard and most times unwanted, but it can also be a beautiful experience. Standing there at Dawn’s Celebration of Life memorial service among uncles, aunts, cousins, my parents and the rest of my family was a beautiful, sweet experience that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life even though I hated every second of the reason we had to be there. 
I’ve heard and seen for myself that death can sometimes divide a family, bringing anger, resentment and sometimes even greed to the surface but my family, time after time, has always proven our love for each other and that the bonds that we share with one another are so much stronger than just the proclaiming of a family tie. I’m grateful to have them. And Dawn’s husband, my “Uncle Kev,” is one of the strongest human beings I have ever encountered. He could have been angry and bitter. He could have retreated. But he didn’t and he hasn’t. I watched him forgive people that day that he had every right to be hate-filled towards. I watched him lift others out of their own guilt or pain in spite of what he was experiencing himself. Being able to hold a person who hurt you and give them forgiveness and peace makes Kevin a personal hero in my eyes because I know it wasn’t easy. I know the depth and strength it takes to do that because I’ve had to do it a few times myself. 

After Dawn’s passing, I came back to Georgia and threw myself into the finishing of Songs in the Key of Life, which included writing some song lyrics, something I haven’t done since my early adult years. This book has been a challenge and it’s almost done with the exception of some further tweaking and editing I’m hoping to complete in the next few weeks. Y’all know how much I hate this part of the process, so yes, I’ve been dragging my feet a bit.
I’m crossing my fingers that this one will be out at least by July 4th, but I ain’t lying when I say, it’s been a monster in trying to find a happy medium between the past these two characters share and the present when they find each other again. There have been more than a few times when I’ve thought I bit off way more than I can chew and have been tempted to just table it for the time being but I’m nothing if not stubborn so I haven’t quit on it yet. It took five years to write the first Bimini and while I’m definitely hoping that will not be the case with SitKoL, I’m willing to keep fine-tuning it until I feel I’m giving my readers the best work of fiction I’m capable of writing. It’s what I expect when I buy a book with my own hard-earned money, so I’ll accept no less for you. 

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