Friday, August 22, 2014

Writing is a Discipline. Story Telling is an Art and Reviews are a Necessity.

Simply said, authors write because the stories inside their imagination clamor to be released. Any art needs discipline, you might say. Of course, that is true, but that special talent that resides within any artist to express themselves in their craft is unique to them. If I picked up an unknown book and began reading, and that book happened to be written by Kathleen Woodweiss,  I would recognize her style of storytelling. I would know, without being told, Ms Woodweiss is the author. 



The same is true for Bess Trissell.

And Caroline Clemmons.              

All great Storytellers, who excel in their craft and are easy to recognize.

Every author I know, wants to find and develop their own particular talent for storytelling, their “voice”. They study and research their topic, they plot, they outline, and then they “Create” the best story they have written.  Believe me, turning that baby you have just produced, and dressed up in the best, prettiest, most exciting cover, over to the publisher is both accelerating and frightful. Of course, a writer must write, so even though the author starts on their next book, they have not turned their back on the newly released book.

There are blogs to write, tweets to be tweeted, announcements to be sent and reviews to be checked. Believe it or not, Reviews are the most important. Honest reviews from readers and fans are necessary for the author to know how well they are doing. Sales are important, true, but it’s the reviews and comments from readers that make the whole process rewarding to an author. Even a bad review is not bad to receive. The reviews, the good, the bad and the ugly, not only help the author hone their craft, but they direct other story lovers to the books they would most enjoy.

So…after finishing your next book, make the author’s day by leaving an honest review on the site you bought the book.

Award winning, PASSION’S VISION will be available FREE at Story Cartel for a short while in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Raven's Passion

Raven’s Passion is now live on Amazon. I am so excited about the 5 star review it received from Readers’ Favorite.

A story of the coming of age of a young man and the girl who loved him in an age where ones very survival depended on their honor, their strength, and the village.  

I did not know when I started writing Native American Romance that I would enjoy it as much as I do. But I struck out on the path, and what a journey it became. When I researched Cherokee culture for my Passion’s Series I was drawn in by its richness from the games, to the spirituality, and the love of nature and all creation. A good example of how even their games held a high place in their society and preparation for life is the game of stickball



I am passing on the information I gleaned from a book written in that time period by one of my husband’s ancestors. The game of stickball, also called “The Little War” was a favorite sport. This simple game was not simple. It brought villages together, was used to teach team cooperation, bravery, agility, and brute strength. The winners and the most accomplished players won respect and great honor. There was no such thing as “cheating”. From what I read in this old book, the game made football seem tame. If someone were injured in the game, or even killed, there would be no retaliation.

The game could last for days but when it was over there would be a celebration. A blanket would be laid on the ground. Anyone wanting to participate in the dance describing the memorable plays would deposit an offering to be given to villagers that were in need. The rewards earned by the players were comprised of honor and respect for their prowess, and experience that would aid them on the hunt and strengthen them for war. Their generous gifts to the needy endeared them to the villagers as well as bringing them honor for being providers and protectors of the people.


It was truly a time in history when ones very survival depended on their honor, their strength, and the strength of the village. 



Thursday, July 31, 2014

BookDaily

My books are now listed on BookDaily. Passion's Vision is being featured.

Bookdaily is a great site with an abundance of books listed. If you have not visited the site before you should take a couple of minutes to check it out.
Excerpt from Passion's Vision: It is pretty long...

New Moon dug her nails into the soil as she peered out from her hiding place among the river cane. The white man invaded her special place. All the others knew this was her place. No one ever bothered her here. Not until now, not until this...white man. She watched and listened as he washed and sang a white man's song. He sang loudly in his own language. His voice changed in tone in a most unusual, but not unpleasant way. She glanced to the east. The sky brightened as she watched. Her resentment grew and made sitting still more than she could manage. She shifted her weight, a motion too minute to attract attention. The sun rose to brighten the eastern sky and she gritted her teeth. He raised his arms and spoke the first words of the Cherokee prayer. His deep voice embraced the words of her ancestors and presented them with pride to the sun and the Great Spirit, causing her breath to catch in her throat as she listened. He spoke the greeting beautifully. Finishing the prayer he turned back toward the bank. New Moon tensed as his gaze moved across the cane where she hid. She assured herself he could not see her, but still her skin tingled with uncertainty.
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This white man was like no other she had seen. Even in nakedness he wore his strength and pride as naturally as a most beloved warrior. This was uncommon for white men who thought the layers of bear-hide and the assortment of weapons hanging from their bodies could enhance their strength. The aura of power that surrounded him intrigued her. She held her breath as water ran from his hair in little streams that captured her attention and carried her vision along. It cascaded over the bulging strength of his shoulders and down his chest to his narrow waist. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard as the memory of that chest and rippled waist pressed hard against her back flooded her being with unwanted desire. Like a person suffocating, she gulped in the air she withheld from her lungs. New Moon stiffened and her eyes flew open. The scent of a mountain cat filled her nostrils. Instantly her warrior instincts came to life and she berated herself for behaving like a silly woman. The cat was near. She glanced at the leaves of the cane, checking the wind's direction. Her entire being tensed with foreboding as she turned her attention back to the No Thing. He took another step in her direction and she saw the smug grin spread across his face. This white man who thought to pass himself off as a warrior was aware of her, but not the cat! Could he not sense the danger? Of course not, he was too busy strutting and waving his spear. He stepped onto the bank and moved with feline grace toward the cane where she crouched. From the corner of her eye she saw the cat as it leapt from the boulder to land lightly on the ground near her
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hiding place. It was her own totem, her sister from the animal world. To the white man's credit, he too stood his ground, his eyes boring into those of the cat. The cat dropped her ragged ears low to her head and growled a warning. A muscle worked in the white man's cheek and his fingers curled more tightly about his knife. Great Spirit! Her heart cried out. He was going to make war with the mountain cat! A flood of emotions sprang up within her, but it was anger that finally ruled her actions as she pushed aside the cane and stepped out into the open. James' gaze slipped from the yellow eyes of the cat to New Moon's, and felt the tension arch between them. Neither was willing to break eye contact, even when New Moon spoke to the cat. "Go home to your young ones, little sister. I will not allow you to have this foolish white man." The cat rumbled deep within its chest as she glanced nervously over her shoulder at New Moon. "Go!" New Moon commanded. The cat, as if deciding the effort to stay would take too much energy, turned away and disappeared between the large boulders. "Are you out of your mind?" The anger in his expression was great, but her anger was just as great. New Moon squared her shoulders in challenge as she looked with disgust at James. The cat now forgotten, he let his gaze travel over her. She'd been wet when she pulled on her dress. She was acutely aware of how the soft doe-hide clung to the moisture on her skin. Two long steps and he reached out for her. She swung at him, but was no match for his strength. He caught her easily. Taking hold of her wrist, James pulled her struggling arms to her back and clasped one large
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Passion’s Vision
hand around both of her smaller wrists and pulled her up tightly. His grip was as unbreakable as ropes of new rawhide, yet as gentle as a caress. Awareness of his naked body against her spread heat through her wet dress to sear her skin. She clenched her teeth together in an attempt to deny the uncontrollable sensations coursing through her with the vigor of a raging mountain river. This white man who strutted with the pride of a warrior watched her with eyes that pierced her to her soul and grinned. "You look like a she-lion," he whispered. She struggled harder. James chuckled softly and ran the fingers of his free hand along her jaw line. "Your skin is very soft, my little Wa-sa. From this day forward, you will always be my little Wa-sa...my little mountain cat." New Moon growled deep in her throat, sounding not far removed from the very cat he spoke of. "You stupid white man" she spat at him. "That lioness almost had you for her cubs. Do you think I am any less dangerous? Many strong warriors have tried to humble me, warriors who would not have become cornered by a kitten." For all her strong talk her body quaked inside. The lonely hollow place left by her husband's death ached to be filled. She needed a man, but not any man. New Moon wanted a man whose spirit was stronger than hers. One she could not bend to her will. One she could love and respect. One with skin as dark as her own! James seemed not to hear as he smiled down at her. He held her dainty chin with his strong fingers and bent his face close to hers, their lips almost touching. "Have you ever been kissed, my little Wa-sa?' Her eyes bore hatefully into his, "There have been white men in our village before you came, Blue Eyes.
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This touching of the lips is nothing more than stalling for time. The weak pale-skin must have time to coax his pitiful manhood to rise so he can try to dominate and humble the women of warriors." With maddening slowness he took his hand from her chin and laid it on the slim column of her throat, feeling the rapid pulse beating there. His hand slid downward over her doeskin-covered breast and lingered to tease the tempting bud that hardened of  its own will beneath his thumb. His knowing smile gnawed at her insides. He slid his hand to her waist and then around and down her back. When his hand reached the soft, round firmness of her hips he kneaded his fingers gently around the warm mound before he jerked her up hard against himself. "Do you still think I need to stall for time?" Struggle! Her mind screamed to her unresponsive muscles, but her body was not hers to command. A scent uniquely his filed her nostrils. She could taste his breath on her tongue. She tested his hold on her wrist by pulling against his grip. His hold on her was secure and yet as gentle as one would cradle a baby. He studied her face as he held her. Could he see the sparks of passion in her eyes? Could he feel the weakening of her body, or her heart pounding against his chest? His deep, husky voice slid over her like sun-warmed honey. "You talk strong for a woman. Like a woman who thinks she doesn't need a man." She felt the vibrations from his words. She closed her eyes as rumbling, tingling sensations traveled from her chest to her groin. When she again opened her eyes he stared down at her. Gone from his sky blue eyes was the teasing twinkle, replaced by the dark, smoldering shades of desire.
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Passion’s Vision
"Someday you will want me, my little lioness. Then your struggles will be to pull me closer." He rocked his hips forward, and her stomach tightened painfully, causing a gasp to slip from between her lips. "That's when I will show you the pleasure in needing a man." Lowering his head he covered her mouth with his own. She struggled but his hand on her wrist held with little effort. Her body trembled uncontrollably beneath his touch, and she realized her struggles had stopped as she waited in anticipation. His mouth against hers was hard, hot, and wet. She didn't know what to expect next, but the sensations he caused in her now made her head spin. As his wet lips slid seductively over hers he nibbled gently. His tongue came out to trace the outline of her lips. Finally he placed a thumb on her chin and applied pressure. When she opened her mouth to protest, his tongue swept inside to stroke the interior of her mouth with blatant ownership. Passion ignited like a prairie fire within New Moon as his tongue rubbed against hers. She opened her mouth wider to welcome the intimate intrusion. Her spirit soared and her head spun as her inner voice, her spirit voice, told her once again...He is the one. The white man released her arms and they rose upward over his wet chest to his neck and onward until her fingers wound their way into his hair. His warm hands went lower to slip beneath the curve of her bottom. Heat from his naked body scorched her through her still damp dress, and her skin beneath tingled with desire. New Moon could feel his strength as well as his heat. She felt it in the way he held her, in the way his muscles bunched beneath her fingertips. Clawing at his shoulders she returned his kiss in kind. A moan of pure pleasure erupted deep within his
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Mary Adair
chest. To New Moon the sound was like tossing fresh kindling on an already burning fire. Then his words screamed into her consciousness, "I will show you the pleasure in needing a man." Her slipping resolve strengthened. No man, especially a white man, would ever dominate her! She would bring him to his knees first. She could feel the power she had over him even as her own flesh burned from the touch of his fingers on her exposed skin. Then he brought her further under his spell as he slipped her hem up about her waist, leaving more of her sensitive flesh exposed to his searching hands. The full heat of his hands, no longer kept at bay by her damp dress, burned into her flesh. He pressed her hips, pulling her up tightly against himself. She clung to him as one falling would cling to a vine. There was no longer a barrier between his body and hers. If she did not pull away soon he would slide her legs about his waist and she would be lost. She must pull back first, she screamed silently in an attempt to gain control of her warring passions. He broke the kiss and pulled back to look into her eyes. She gazed into their blue depths and for a moment felt a comfort she had never experienced before. The spell was broken with his next words, "Now is not the time to make you mine, little purring kitten." The reality of what almost happened, what could have happened slammed into her. For a moment she was lost in a swirling mix of emotion, regret, surprise, and finally anger. Her body was still too attuned to his as he held her hips pressed tightly against him. She fought without success to quail the quivering in her own body that called out to his in a way that made her doubt her own control.
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In near panic she raked her nails downward from his shoulder and across his bare chest. Finding herself suddenly free from the support of his body she stumbled. Her eyes never left his as she steadied herself. How could he just stand there with that grin on his face? His eyes actually twinkled with laughter as they devoured her hair, her eyes, and her lips while what she wanted—what her body cried out for—was for him to take her. An exaggerated huff escaped her lips while she raised her chin and smoothed her dress down to cover her exposed hips. With as much Cherokee pride as she could muster she turned and made her way to the narrow pass. *** James tilted his head to one side as he watched the retreating hips swish angrily from side to side. Then, with a quick glare over her shoulder, she was gone. The woman must be crazy to step out and face a cat with no weapon! Yet he couldn't help but be impressed by her calm bravery. He was surprised by his own actions. He'd shook with relief that the cat had not turned on her, yet was burned with fury because she took such a risk. But she is alive, he told himself. Alive...and brave and beautiful beyond any other woman. God, but she is magnificent. He looked down at the four long, red welts stretching across his left breast. Several drops of blood oozed slowly to the surface. "So much for not making the same mistake twice," he mumbled as he touched a finger to one small, ruby-red drop of blood. He rubbed the crimson drop between thumb and finger. "So your claws are as sharp as your tongue, my little Wa-sa." Laughing loudly he called out, "Did you know that you have stolen my heart away, Little Wa-sa?"

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Last Day

The giveaway for Raven's Passion ends 12:00 AM 7/26/14

Click on the link to the right of this post and enter to win a copy of Raven's Passion.
Excerpt:
As Raven cleared from those still fighting on the ground, a member of the opposing team came at him sprinting madly.  At the last moment, movement caught his eye and Raven ducked to avoid the swing of his opponent's stick.  It missed, but then the other young warrior sprang with a tackle that drove them both to the ground.  Raven's head snapped back and thudded against the ground as he lost control of the ball.

Panther turned to New Moon with a smile, “His head will definitely be sore tomorrow...”

 “Golden Dawn!”  Moon screamed as she dashed out on the field.
Panther’s heart skipped a beat as he swore beneath his breath and darted after his wife and child.

Already halfway across the field, Dawn darted and dodged as she headed straight for Raven.  The young brave was having trouble standing, obviously woozy from the last hit he had taken.  Dawn's face contorted with worry, and she yelled as she ran, “Get up!  Don't let the women take you off the field!”
Behind her, New Moon was closing the distance fast, with Red Panther catching up right behind her.  However, the braves playing the game had not noticed the young girl running onto the field or her concerned parents trying to catch up with her.  They were still playing with fierce determination, hardly registering that anything abnormal was going on.

Suddenly, a young warrior near to Golden Dawn slung the ball quickly to pass it down the field.  His stick swung wide after the toss, slapping the young girl across the back of her head and sending her plunging to the ground.

Raven had pushed himself to his feet by then, controlling his face to hide the lingering wooziness he felt.  The world still felt as if it shifted beneath his feet.  Even with his vision blurred, he saw as the young warrior struck Golden Dawn.  His adrenaline surged and he sprang toward the other player, forgetting himself and letting his anger show, “You would hit a young child?”

Panther and New Moon arrived too late to stop their near-son's actions of anger.  Around the field, bets exchanged hands as their focus shifted from the stickball game to the sudden fight.  Some placed wagers on how many punches Raven would get in before Panther intervened.

The brave on the field spun on his heel; he had not noticed that his stick struck the small one.  He only saw one of the other players coming to attack him, and intended to play the game.  His stance lowered and he swung a fist at his attacker.

Raven no longer thought of himself as playing a game.  Instead, he had let his anger overcome his judgment.  Ducking under the punch, he kicked at the other and then jumped forward to tackle him to the ground.  His knee slammed into the brave's chest, pinning him and knocking his knuckles into the young man's face.  He was rearing back for another attack when strong hands grabbed him under his arms and dragged him away.

Red Panther fought with his own emotion.  The two persons that meant more than life to him had just run blindly into a game of Little War.  He did not know if he were angrier with Dawn for putting herself, her mother, and her unborn brother in danger or Raven for his loss of control.

He took a deep breath.  He could not let Raven or the others see just how close he was to losing control himself.  Forcing himself to maintain outward calm, he yanked Raven to the side of the field.  With careful control, he smoothly struck the back of the youngster's knees and drove him to a sitting position, “Your passion shows in every straining sinew and muscle.  You will gain much in wisdom by resting for a moment to reflect on your action so that your future choices are well thought out.”

In a state of shock, Raven fumed at being moved so quickly from the fight to the side of the field.  He barely registered it was Panther who had done it, “That careless fool meant to do that.  He is one who has ridiculed her for the color of her hair.  He obviously looks for a chance to strike at those he finds different.”  With some difficulty, he tried to get back to his feet.

Panther held his charge's shoulder firmly, pressing down so that Raven thumped back onto the dirt surface, “You show the stubborn ways of a buffalo, insistent upon your decision.  I would be very surprised if you did not run from the herd in this state, so certain you are that your direction is true.”
At the reference to his childhood name, Raven grimaced sourly, peering at the one who had tutored him, taken him in as a son, “You have not seen all that I have seen.  Your eyes are clouded from your acceptance into this village.  I still know the touch of coldness that exists when there is no belonging.”

New Moon was holding Golden Dawn's hand as she walked toward Panther and Raven.  Raven felt the tension in Panther’s grip on his shoulder relax.  He knew Panther was relieved to see they were both sound and felt his own rage cool slightly.  It was easy to see his near-father’s pride in Golden Dawn.  This little girl that was small for her age was proving to be as tough as any boy her own age and twice her size.  She appeared only to be concerned over the drama that erupted after her own injury. 

Moon glared with a stern expression which Raven knew was for his benefit, “Our girl is fine.  She did not even cry after being struck, and she was up on her feet faster than you had managed.”

Panther smiled at his daughter’s next words.

“I am too old to cry.  But my head hurts really bad.”  She stepped forward and placed a hand on Raven’s cheek.

Raven noticed Panther’s smile disappeared at the next words she uttered.
 “I am not a baby, Raven.  But your concern for me makes me very happy.”

Raven smiled and winked at his Little Funny Face.  He did not want her to know how ashamed he was by his rash actions.  He watched as New Moon pulled Dawn toward their lodge then let his gaze slowly rise to meet Panther’s.

Others began to gather around them now.  From the whispered talk and a hushed exchanged of bets, it was obvious that most were shocked by Raven's outburst.  There was noted approval for Panther's stern response, as well as the speech used toward the young half-breed to admonish such childish actions.
The game still sped forward to the side of them.  Raven Who Flies To Meet The Clouds had effectively been carried from the field.  He ran his fingers through his hair.  He had not made it to the end of the game.  Because of his rash actions, he’d lost face and knew that cost him in his standing with the other braves.

He watched as Panther crouched down beside him, a pained expression on his face.  Panther would have to fix this problem somehow.  It was not the first time Raven came into trouble because of his inability to control emotions.  The inhabitants of Chota Town knew this as well, and he understood they would look to Red Panther to handle this problem.

 “Raven Who Flies To Meet The Clouds.”  Panther began, “You have done well here, and have learned much in the way of your Cherokee side.”

Raven had trouble matching that fierce gaze.  He realized how stupid his actions had been, and how it must look to the villagers.  His performance would reflect poorly on Panther, who still took responsibility for his development.  Though he often tried to keep the white man's custom of looking Panther in the eye as a sign of respect, this time he could hardly manage looking over the older man's shoulder as Cherokee custom dictated.  As it had been for his entire life, he felt caught somewhere between the two ideals.
It was James Fitzgerald that spoke now.  Raven knew Panther hardly thought of himself in that role anymore, and truly felt that Red Panther was his “true” name.  James was his alter ego, the other version of himself.  For the first time Raven considered Panther should have at least a small understanding of his own feeling of battling dualities.

Panther spoke now in stern English rather than with the fluidity of their beloved tongue, “However, perhaps it is time for you to learn more of your other half's ways and lifestyle.  I am going to send you away for a while.”
Raven started to respond, but James did not let him interrupt.

“I am going to send you to a school of reading and writing, tactics and strategy.  It will be in England.  You can come back once you graduate from their course for young men.  Hopefully, there you will learn to control yourself better.  Perhaps you will find yourself along the way.

“The school’s breaks are too short for you to travel home.  The Ladies Gaylord and Montgomery have always loved your visits.  I have no doubt they will have your room ready and waiting for you to visit on breaks.  William as well will look forward to spending time with you.”

Raven only nodded, actually feeling somewhat relieved.  Panther had taken him to England several times before, fully taking on the role of James Fitzgerald and dressing the other up as Raven Cloud for lessons and business meetings. 

In some ways, he looked forward to the trip and spending time with the grandmothers, as he always called them.  He enjoyed spending time with William as well.  They were very near the same age and as different as night and day, but they shared similar losses.  Will’s mother, Lady Gaylord’s daughter, died in childbirth and Will’s father, Lady Montgomery’s son, was killed in an accident around the same time Raven lost his mother.  Panther had taken Raven to England at that time, not wanting to leave him behind so soon after his mother’s death.  On this visit, he and William had shared memories, he of his mother and William of his father.  Through their time of mourning, they had developed a strong friendship. 

He actually looked forward to this trip.  Perhaps he would be gone long enough for the others to forget his foolishness, remembering only his strength and ability.  His face twisted with a faint scowl as his thoughts took a turn, “Red Panther wishes to be rid of me.  I am an embarrassment to him!”  The anger from before flared up, and he hung his head to hide his face.

Panther stood, speaking in Cherokee again to announce his decision to the group.  The village would all know now, and would see this for what it was.  A punishment seen as a temporary banishment.  The nods of others showed their acceptance of the idea, and many spoke of Red Panther's continued wisdom.

Raven glanced toward the lodge and saw Golden Dawn gripping her mother's waist, and holding back tears he knew she so dearly wanted to set free.  He could almost hear her thoughts; her most beloved companion was leaving her.  His own eyes threatened to shame him further.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why Do I Write?

I just recently received word that Passion's Vision is a finalist in Reader's Favorite. When I read the notice I remembered a blog post,"Why do I write?" that I wrote a short time back. I was actually thinking of this book when I wrote that post.

That character that just would not follow the plan was, of course, New Moon. New Moon appears again in Raven's Passion and briefly in Passion's Price, but I am seriously considering writing another page in the life of New Moon and Panther...Just for the fun of it.

Why do I write?

Is it because I have nothing else or anything better to do? Nope. My life is full, filled with all the wonderful and colorful challenges that make life worth living. It is merely because I have to?

Maybe I am compelled to write because I need a way to express my creativity? I don’t know about that.

I do know that very little is more fun to me than developing characters of such strong and opposing personalities it would seem impossible for them to mesh. Then I test their resilience, determination, resistance to accept change and any other test I can think of by dropping them into a scenario that will force them to grow or lose what it is they want most in their life.

I do plot out my stories. I have a nice outline to go by to keep me on track; I research the history, if it is set in a real life historical time, and then let my characters take over. Some of them will follow the path I have carefully laid out for them. Some of my characters will fall by the wayside to be replaced by bigger, bolder, or sweeter, less complicated souls. What really excites me is when one of my characters refuses to fit in or conform, but rather strikes out on their own to blaze a path that leaves me breathless with anticipation.

Of course, everything I am talking about is about imagination. We all have it. We all used it when we were children. It is what helped us to develop “Passion” for our future. It is where we got a glimpse of what we wanted to be when we grew up, our “Vision” for our future. We played and made games of the imaginary lives we would someday live and explored all the “Promises” that life would hold for us.

Then we reached an age where we realized there would be a “Price” to pay for the choices we make. Some of us analyze those choices and decide which ones are worth the price. Some of us ramble along and just experience what life offers us. Some of us throw it all to the wind, pay whatever the price, and never look back. We all have a path to walk, decisions to make, sacrifices to weigh. It is all a part of life. And what a life it can be!

Write it down! Let your imagination go wild! Become a child again and explore what makes life worth living to you. White stories about adventures you have had, adventures you wish you never had, but best of all write about adventures that you wish you had. Then maybe you too will experience what gives a writer the need to write.

Remember, It takes Passion to bring a Vision to Life.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sign up for Free Giveaway of Raven's Passion on Goodreads

Raven’s Passion is now live on Amazon. I am so excited about the 5 star review it received from Readers’ Favorite.

Raven's Passion is a story of the coming of age of a young man and the girl who loved him in an age where ones very survival depended on their honor, their strength, and the village.

I did not know when I started writing Native American Romance that I would enjoy it as much as I do. But I struck out on the path, and what a journey it became. When I researched Cherokee culture for my Passion’s Series I was drawn in by its richness from the games, to the spirituality, and the love of nature and all creation. A good example of how even their games held a high place in their society and preparation for life is the game of stickball. Raven's Passion opens with a game of stickball. My intention was to show the reader the intensity and passion in the game as well as the intensity and passion driving the young warrior, Raven Cloud.


A major part of my research for the Passion's Series came from a book written in that time period by one of my husband’s ancestors. The game of stickball, also called “The Little War” was a favorite sport. This simple game was not simple. It brought villages together, was used to teach team cooperation, bravery, agility, and brute strength. The winners and the most accomplished players won respect and great honor. There was no such thing as “cheating”. From what I read in this old book, the game made football seem tame. If someone were injured in the game, or even killed, there would be no retaliation.

The game could last for days but when it was over there would be a celebration. A blanket would be laid on the ground. Anyone wanting to participate in the dance describing the memorable plays would deposit an offering to be given to villagers that were in need. The rewards earned by the players were comprised of honor and respect for their prowess, and experience that would aid them on the hunt and strengthen them for war. Their generous gifts to the needy endeared them to the villagers as well as bringing them honor for being providers and protectors of the people.

It was truly a time in history when ones very survival depended on their honor, their strength, and the strength of the village.

I look forward to many entries in the Giveaway for Raven's Passion. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Breaking Down by Calista Smith

Breaking Down (The Breaking Series, book one)Breaking Down by Calista Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FIVE STAR
A Beautiful Coming of Age Story by
Breaking Down by Calista Smith is a beautiful love story, but also a coming of age story.

Raquel, nicknamed "Rocky" is an average teenage girl dealing with a not so average past. Her best friend Natalia helped her to overcome the experience. Because of Rocky’s parents divorcing, she and her mother re-locate, causing her to attend a new school for her senior year. This is the year Rocky will live up to her nickname. Fortunately, Natalia will be attending the same school and will be a loving support for Rocky, even if she doesn’t realize it, as she travels the uncertain terrain of self-awareness, self-respect, and reliance.
Rocky falls in love with Dante, a gorgeous, popular fellow who is fawned over by every girl in school.
I enjoyed following the emotion growth of these two as they faced the challenges before them. By the end of the book, I was both wiping tears and cheering Rocky’s strength as she stood by her decisions.
Ms. Smith has impressed me with her story telling ability. Breaking Down is well crafted, insightful, and totally absorbing. I look forward to reading every book in this series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA as well as any parent that has forgotten what it is like to be young and in love.








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