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Family Ties Book Cover Reveal

2Blackhair

Fourteen year-old Sara Parker lives a sheltered life in Encinitas, California. She’s not allowed to have friends until Arissa Jericho moves in across the street before their freshman year of high school. Sara’s parents reluctantly allow the two to be friends, finding other ways to maintain control over her life instead. Sara needs to keep the family secrets while walking the fine line of her friendships with Arissa and a boy at school, Jason Waters. She believes if she can keep quiet, she won’t lose her friends and might be able to survive. This work of fiction will take you on an emotional roller coaster, proving that hope can be found in darkness and that families are not limited to the one you are born into.

Coming Spring 2015

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Work In Progress (WIP) Blog Tour

Family TiesMy friend Bianca Sloane, who weaves masterful thrillers about the dark side of love, tagged me in the Work In Progress blog tour. Her books are page turners and I am eagerly awaiting her next one, Every Breath You Take. You can read more about it here.

The Rules: Link back to the person who nominated you. Share a little bit about your WIP then the first sentence from the first three chapters. Nominate four writers to do the same.

Family Ties started out as a way to deal with carrying my clients’ pain and the stress involved in my profession. I kept writing in spurts when I could handle the emotional fallout. I told myself if nothing else, it would be okay if I finished and never published it. Finishing it was enough.

When I completed the first draft fourteen years later, it wasn’t enough. I discovered I wasn’t writing it for me like I thought I was. I was writing it for my boys. I told their stories the only way I knew how, by creating a new one. Their story needs to be shared with those in similar situations with little to no hope. I shared more about this story here.

Chapter 1

“The roar of a moving van pulling into the house across the street averts my attention from the cherry popsicle in my hand.”

Chapter 2

“I jump and scan the living room, den, and hallway.”

Chapter 3

“Arissa and I walk to Encinitas High School for our first day of school together.”

I’m tagging four a writers and friends in alphabetical order so no one can accuse me of playing favorites, because they are all amazing in their own right.

Douglas B. Wimmer: He’s funny and fun to banter with on Twitter. He is in the process of writing an amazing novel full of action (and Easter Eggs for me, not me specifically – you get my drift).  He has excellent taste in music and isn’t afraid to throw himself under the bus if it means everyone else gets a giggle from it. We got to know each other much better when he thought he was talking me off the ledge from deleting one of my WIPs (not Family Ties) along with mutual friend, Tara Harlow. Those are good friends, people!

Katie Oliver: Katie had me laughing with her blog before we became friends. Now we tweet each other regularly and on the occasion when stars collide, we collaborate. Her talent for writing RomCom is off the charts (in my books) and her books, Prada & Prejudice, Love & Liability, and Mansfield Lark, are worth every cent.

Sonya Craig: Sonya is a sci-fi writer and talented artist. She’s an extrovert and I love seeing her tweets on my feed because I know they will make me laugh or make me think. Both are good for the soul. And if you like hot cars, you need to follow her on Twitter. She loves posting pictures of hot cars. And fat cats. Particularly her cat, Fat Cat.

Stephanie Neighbour: There are times when I read Stephanie’s blog then tweet her something like, “Our mothers could have been sisters.” Or, “What if our mothers were the same person?” In either case I’d have a super cool cousin or a rad sister. I’m certainly okay with either one because Stephanie is an awesome person who makes me laugh (notice how everyone here makes me laugh?). She also has two adorable Dachshunds, Chip and Autumn, who visit the blog on occasion. And don’t get her started on her mail or snow in Jersey. hehehe

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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My Work In Progress

The legal pad I started the story on with Post-Its for quick character reference.

The legal pad I started the story on with Post-Its for quick character reference.

Why am I doing the Writing Process Blog Tour again? Because my friend Sonya Craig tagged me to do it and I like to think I’m a good friend. I met Sonya through a mutual friend on Twitter. He included me in a #FollowFriday tweet and she followed me, no questions asked and tweeted me that she followed me because our friend told her to. I was sold. Sonya writes sci-fi, tweets about Fat Cat, and advocates for proper mental health care. A woman after my own heart because I love sci-fi, cats, and access to needed mental health services while breaking down the stigma.

What are you currently writing?

Since finishing Saving Grace and sending it off to beta readers, I returned to Family Ties, a story I started fifteen years ago and finally finished last year. I’ve spent the last year tweaking it to the point where I’m happy with what I have and also couldn’t bear to look at it anymore, shoving it into my first reader’s hands for now.

Sara Parker spent the first fourteen years of her life without friends, living by strict rules, and keeping secrets. Arissa Jericho moves in across the street and befriends Sara, to the dismay of Sara’s parents. The first day of high school, the girls meet Jason Waters. Now Sara has two friends and learns why her parents didn’t allow her to have friends in the first place. When you keep everyone at a distance, no one has to know a thing. Sara is convinced she will lose her friends if her secrets ever come to light. When Arissa and Jason stand by her instead of leaving her, Sara learns the true meaning of family, bravery, and love. She accidentally reveals her last secret when she gets too comfortable, setting off a series of events out of everyone’s control, starting with ripping Sara away from the only stability she’s known.

My character brainstorming and how each one relates to Sara.

My character brainstorming and how each one relates to Sara.

What makes your work different?

It’s not often you read a general fiction book with teenagers as the main characters. I originally meant for this to be general fiction. Then I decided to go in the direction of Young Adult. However, the first third of the book is unnerving and disturbing and I don’t think it would do well in the Young Adult genre unless I tone it down, which I will not do. So now I’m back to general fiction and I feel more comfortable with that decision. Sara has a dark and discomfiting story. One that people may shy from. It is a completely fictional story, but it is also real. There are young people just like Sara in the real world needing a way out and supportive people to help them.

Why do you write what you do?

I used to work in the mental health field. When I started Family Ties, I was doing direct care work with teenage boys in a psychiatric residential treatment facility. I told myself when I started at the agency I would leave work at work, but doing that is easier said than done. The boys I worked with came to us from all over the state, each with their own story no less horrifying than the next. I’ve always found writing to be therapeutic and Family Ties was my way of dealing with the stress of work. There is a piece of each of those boys in Sara. A thought. A glance. A fear. A hope. A smile. An act of bravery. A piece of resilience. In time, Family Ties became just as much for the boys as it was for me. Even if I told myself I was okay if I never published it, I realized I needed to for the boys and every other child like them.

Editing a print copy because I find more mistakes and it's easier on my eyes when Sjogren's Syndrome symptoms are bad.

Editing a print copy because I find more mistakes and it’s easier on my eyes when Sjogren’s Syndrome symptoms are bad.

How does your writing process work?

The way I wrote the bulk of Family Ties was much different from Saving Grace. I started with brainstorming my characters and their personalities on a legal pad. I had an idea of how I wanted it to end, which gave me my working title – Lily. Then came the writing…on the same legal pad…while listening to Goo Goo Dolls’ Dizzy Up The Girl CD on repeat. More specifically, “Acoustic #3”. This was before mp3 players and iTunes were around. I listened to the CD so much, it ruined it. Luckily, Chaz had a backup of it. I wrote in whatever free time I found, which wasn’t much. By the time I was doing case management at the agency, I was on-call 24/7 for my in-home clients which meant a lot of crisis calls. Most of them requiring me to drop what I was doing and drive out to the home. Yes, including turning the burners off the stove while cooking dinner. There were times where after writing a scene I had to walk away from it because it was so emotional I found myself in tears. Not just take a break and do something for an hour. Set it aside completely. Sometimes for months at a time. I finally came back to it last year without needing to set it aside because of the emotions and used the same process I did with Saving Grace.

I’m tagging two friends of mine, Johnna Perry and Theresa Hernandez. I met Johnna in person two years ago at a retreat hosted by a mutual friend and fellow gluten-free blogger. We both knew of each other but didn’t know each other, as often happens in the blogospher. After three days we were fast friends and we share giggles a lot with each other through Facebook, Twitter, texts, emails, and in person. We both love bourbon and will brainstorm recipe ideas (many of them containing bourbon) while we’re drinking (bourbon) together. She’s just one of the friends who convinced me to read Fifty Shades of Grey (a book I picked up off the shelf to see what the hubbub was about and promptly put it back) and I think I’ve more than returned that favor. And yes, it took several friends to convince me I should read it. I’m hoping she’ll share a bit of the cookbook she plans on doing. Theresa and I connected through our gluten-free blogs years ago then fell out of touch when she let her gluten-free blog (she had some really yummy recipes). We re-connected through Twitter recently and our writing. It’s been fun talking to her about subjects other than recipes. Theresa writes in the Young Adult genre and posts lots of book cover reveals, excerpt teasers, and reviews for other authors on her blog. So many books to read, so little time!

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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