Tag Archive | the ripple affair

Book Cover Reveal and Updates

Good morning, dear readers – I have some exciting news to share!

Heir of Vengeance officially has a cover! I’m so happy with how it turned out. I hope you like it, too!

Please note that the Books-The Ripple Affair page has been updated with the cover info and back cover blurb to let you know what the story is about. Be warned, though – there are spoilers from Heart of Deceit in the blurb, so if you want to stay spoiler-free and haven’t read Heart of Deceit yet, just check out the cover and not the blurb. ūüėČ

I’ve put in a request for a proof copy just to double check and make sure everything looks ready to go. After that is approved, it’s publication time! As always, I will update the website to let you know when it is published.

Thank you so much for all your patience. I know with all the things happening this year and last, it’s been a struggle for me to get things out fast, but I promise it’s worth the wait! This is the biggest book yet (over 400 pages!) and I want to make sure it’s ready before I put it out there.

As for Captain Patty and Whalebone’s War, I’m still writing it and it’s about a third of the way completed. I think you’re going to really enjoy Reuben in this book. He teams up with an unexpected friend and the results are hilarious!

Once again, thank you for all your patience, dear readers! Have a wonderful day!


I’m Still Here

Wow…a lot of time has gone by since I last posted, hasn’t it? I really must apologize for the empty gap of information. I know I get frustrated waiting to hear from authors on book releases after a month, so I can only imagine how you feel!

2018 has been a year full of hospitals, doctor visits, and general busyness. As you remember back in January, my grandpa had surgery for melanoma (cancer) and had undergone a diagnosis. He was at a somewhat advanced stage of the disease, but thankfully qualified for treatment. The cancer was caught just before it was able to spread through the rest of his organs. After treatments, he is now officially in remission! He continues immunotherapy to keep it that way, and thankfully the side effects have been minimal.

As for myself, I’ve had my own adventures with doctors. After a long bout of neurological symptoms and headaches, I was finally sent to a neurologist to see what was causing my debilitating symptoms. I’m sorry to say this is the main reason my writing has slowed a bit, as there were some days I was so ill I could not get out of bed. After an MRI and EEG, the neurologist diagnosed me with chronic migraines. Even though it sounds simple, I was both relieved and disappointed with the diagnosis – relieved in the sense that I finally knew why I was getting so many strange symptoms of auras and headaches, but disappointed because it meant having to deal with a chronic health condition I did not want to deal with. Such is life, I suppose, but on the bright side it has taught me some valuable lessons in self-care and what to prioritize in my life so I can get my work done at a healthier pace.

Now that the holidays are here, I’m happy to say that things are finally starting to return to normal, and though my migraines still bother me, I’ve learned enough of my triggers and what treatments work to better manage my symptoms. And what happens when symptoms are managed? Writing!

Heir of Vengeance has one more chapter to go before the book is finished (I plan on writing it tomorrow, so here’s to finally getting it done!) It is (as of right now) the longest book in The Ripple Affair Series and begins the setup for the ending of the series. There will definitely be a Book Six, and possibly a Book Seven depending on how well my characters behave, and then the series will be finished. It’s hard to believe it’s almost done.

This will leave Heir of Vengeance with a 2019 release date. I’m hoping it will be available for purchase in the Spring. As always, I will keep you posted on my news page.

As for The Adventures of Captain Patty, fear not! Work has already begun on the fourth and final book of the series, Captain Patty and Whalebone’s War. I’m also aiming for a 2019 release, though once I get further into the story, I will have a better idea of when in 2019. And even though it’s the last book, don’t worry- I have a spin-off story planned! We’ll get to see what happens to the characters after the war with Willy Whalebone. More details will come on that later!

With 2018 coming to close, I want to thank all of you for your continued support, encouragement, and prayers. My goal for 2019 is to make up for the time lost in 2018- to publish more books, blog more, and branch out into more activities related to writing and story. I am so thankful that you all are continuing this writing journey with me; I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

May you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Weekly Update – The Ripple Affair Series Hashtag Game

Have you ever seen trending hashtags on Twitter?  They can be awfully fun to read sometimes.  Recently, a hashtag called #MovieSynopsisIn5Words had been trending, and many took to their phones to Tweet funny phrases describing movies using only five words.  

Well, book characters can do that too!  Only this time, they’ll be talking about what they know best – The Ripple Affair Series!

Listed below are what some of my book characters have written for their own hashtag game: #RippleAffairSynopsisIn5Words.

Edward, on The Ripple Affair…

Romance novel becomes soap opera.

Waffles on Reign of Change… 

Apples contain lots of fiber. 

Emmerich on When Dreams Break…

Nice guy finally gets girl.

Bernie on Heart of Deceit…

Bernie/Marcus becomes the new ship.

King Arden on Reign of Change…

Good king makes bad dad.

Queen Maria on When Dreams Break…

Dinner party fails despite plans.

Aldaric on When Dreams Break…

Ex holds grudge for decades.

Malum on Heart of Deceit…

Boss must do everything himself.

Bohden on When Dreams Break…

Mysterious prophet covers plot holes.

Sir Rikert on The Ripple Affair…

Wise guy ignored like always.

Stay tuned for next week where the characters for The Adventures of Captain Patty do the same!

Also, thoughts and prayers for everyone affected in Las Vegas today!

Weekly Update – Crafting a Villain

In the midst of editing this week, I decided to work a little more on¬†Heir of Vengeance, Book Five of¬†The Ripple Affair Series.¬† It’s about 80 pages in, and so far…so good…but I can tell that this one is going to be a fun one to write!

Because in this story, one of the biggest villains in the series is about to take center stage.

Now, keep in mind that there’s some spoilers ahead.¬† Okay, maybe they’re big spoilers.¬† So you have been warned!¬† Stop reading now unless you want to be spoiled (or you’ve already read the ending to Book Four,¬†Heart of Deceit)…

Remember, spoilers ahead…

Keep going…

Almost there…

Okay.¬† If you’ve scrolled down this far, you’ve decided to enter spoiler territory.¬† In¬†Heart of Deceit,¬†we learned that Malum (the leader of the Velori) is none other than Edward’s older brother, Stephen!¬† No, he’s not a ghost.¬† He’s very much alive.¬† And after years of being amongst the Velori, I can tell you right now…he’s out for vengeance (hence the title).

What’s been interesting about writing Stephen’s character, though, is just how different he is from Malina, the series’ original villainess.¬† I’ve always imagined her as the kind of classical villain-type.¬† Egotistical, powerful, no moral code, and occasionally snickering, “mwa ha ha ha ha!” when no one is looking.¬† Malum (or Stephen, as he will eventually be known), is far from her type.¬† He’s more centered, grounded, clever…and he still has some good in him (even if it’s buried really deep).

One of the things I’ve been working on this week is some backstory for Stephen.¬† Just how did he go from the quiet and shy little boy to the ruthless people-puppeteer bent on destroying everything his brother touched?¬† What is his agenda?¬† Why was he gone for so long and why is he just now coming back?¬† Are he and Edward really so different, and if they aren’t…just how are they the same?

As I work on Stephen’s story and how it fits in¬†The Ripple Affair, I can’t help but think back on all of the changes that’s happened just within the last year or so while writing.¬† Originally, Malum was meant to be a separate character (and Stephen was really, truly gone).¬† But as anyone who has ever written a story knows, characters often don’t listen to their authors and tend to go their own way.¬† Stephen is such a character, and once I decided for him and Malum to be the same person, everything seemed to flow a little easier.¬† Of course, once I started writing him, he was similar to Malina – a classical villain type.¬† But now that I have to write his backstory, and now that he has a bigger role to play in the overall series, he’s once again changing.¬† No longer is he the typical villain.¬† Now, he’s got more conflict, and that conflict may make him more similar to his brother than he realizes.

All in all, I’m super excited to get this written and published so you can read the next installment of¬†The Ripple Affair!¬† And I’m even more excited about showing you the cover for¬†Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance!¬† Stay tuned to the blog as I’ll be premiering the cover soon!

Excited for the Future


I don’t know about you all, but I’m glad summer is over.

Instead of BBQ’s¬†and swimming pools, my summer was spent caregiving at the Cleveland Clinic and dealing with my own health issues (side note: sleep apnea really, really makes you feel awful). ¬†So with all of that on my plate, plus some other life changes, needless to say this poor website of mine was put on the back burner.

So no, dear readers, I haven’t disappeared or quit, ha ha! ¬† I’m finally happy to announce that things are slowing down where I can pull my attentions back into writing. ¬†There were a few big things that happened, like “The Ripple Affair” having a successful free promo and “Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator” hitting the Amazon best seller list for teen and young adult pirate stories. ¬†And speaking of Captain Patty, the sequel, “Captain Patty and the Boston Buccaneer” has been released! ¬†I can’t tell you how excited I am over this one. ¬†There’s a tiny bit of a ghost story in it, so I’m glad it was released around Halloween, and if you’re a Reuben fan like me, you’re going to be happy to know this story is told from his point of view! ¬†It’s a lot of laughs, plus a few questions from the first book will finally be answered, so I hope you check out my Captain Patty book page to see the latest regarding the world’s silliest pirate!

So what’s next? ¬†(Aside from the holidays?) ¬†There’s a few things in store:

  • “The Ripple Affair” Series is almost to an end! ¬†It’s hard to believe that only a few stories are left before this part of Edward and company’s tale wraps up. ¬†“Heir of Vengeance” is currently being written, and after the shocking ending to “Heart of Deceit”, I can promise you that things are about to get juicy! ¬†A new villain competing with the old? ¬†I wonder who will win? ¬†Hmmmmm…
  • “The Adventures of Captain Patty” Series is nearing it’s end as well. ¬†I’m still debating on whether to do spin-off stories because this series has been a bit of a surprise hit for me. ¬†People of all ages (who don’t even like pirate stories) are enjoying it! ¬†I honestly didn’t think people would like it as much as they have, so I’m still deciding on how much longer to continue things. ¬†I am dabbling with a Captain Patty backstory since I think there’s a lot to tell, so we’ll see where it goes! ¬†Rest assured I’ll keep you all posted in the coming months.
  • Nanowrimo is here! ¬†Writers everywhere are rejoicing while binging on caffeine as they try to write a novel in a month. ¬†Though I can’t guarantee I can write that fast, I am working on a new project that is a tad different from what I normally write. ¬†I’ve dabbled with this story idea for near a decade now, and I’m finally starting to put it to paper for this month’s Nanowrimo project. ¬†I’ll give you a few hints though: it’s space opera (think Star Wars type science fiction) and it has my most favorite character I’ve ever come up with. ¬†The sass is strong with this one! ¬†On a side note, if you look very closely in my blog, you can see a glimpse of this character in one of my posts. ¬†ūüėČ

That’s about all I have for now, but I hope you all are having a wonderful week and continue to stay tuned for more updates. ¬†Thank you so much for you patience and support, dear readers. ¬†You have no idea how much I appreciate the kind words and encouragement. ¬†God bless!


An Interview with My Book Characters

In celebration of the soon-to-be-released “When Dreams Break” (Book 3 of “The Ripple Affair” series), instead of doing a typical preview post where I blab about what to expect, I thought I’d let my book characters do the talking this time. ¬†After all, they’re the ones in the story, and who better to let you know what’s ahead than the people who have experienced it? ¬†Below is a transcript of the conversation:

Erin:¬†Good to see you all again, everyone, and thanks for stopping by to give this interview! ¬†I know a lot of people are really excited about Book 3 of “The Ripple Affair” series. ¬†What sort of previews can you give us?

Emmerich: (looks over to Edward) I think the beginning of Book 2 was better.

Edward:¬†I’d have to disagree with that. ¬†It was nice not to be the bad guy for once. ¬†You on the other hand…

Antoinette: ¬†(looks over to Edward)¬†Are we really going to get into this now? ¬†We’re supposed to be building up this story, not watching you two get into another cat fight. ¬†Besides, we can’t give out spoilers.

Bernie: (puts away the popcorn)  Well, this is going to be boring.

Marcus:¬†(rolls his eyes) ¬†Something tells me you’ll make it interesting anyways. ¬†You don’t have rotten egg sandwiches underneath our seats, do you? ¬†Or did you just save that for me?

Bernie:¬† Uhm…

Erin: ¬†Let’s get back on track. ¬†Without giving away spoilers, what can readers expect in Book 3?

Emmerich:¬†I think you’re really going to see the relationship between Antoinette and I change. ¬†In Book 2, you got to see the beginnings of our romance. ¬†Everything was about friendship, fun, and comfort. ¬†In “When Dreams Break”,¬†our relationship now includes a marriage. ¬†Are we ready for it? ¬†Is it really what we both want? ¬†Is it something feasible given our circumstances?

Arnold:¬†Especially when she’s supposed to be marrying¬†me.

Emmerich:¬† Well, that’s up for her to decide.

Arnold: Is it?

Antoinette: No spoilers, Arnold!

Arnold:¬†Ugh, you’re all so dull. ¬†At least tell me we can talk about that one secret Emmerich has that –

Antoinette: NO SPOILERS!

Arnold: Fine, fine.  (looks to Malina)  Really, these people are so uptight all the time!  However do you manage to deal with it?

Erin: On that note, while we know part of the story concentrates on Emmerich and Antoinette’s relationship, there’s a lot going on in Audlin. ¬†Care to give us a hint?

Edward:¬†I’ve got a new baby. ¬†He’s absolutely adorable and the highlight of my life right now. ¬†He’s just learning to reach and grab things and I think he’s got smiling down to an art.

Malina:¬†And while my husband is with the baby, I continue to do what I do best. ¬†I’m more popular than ever with the people and everyone loves me!

Vacius:¬†Except for that¬†new character…

Edward:¬†Wait, what? ¬†There’s a new character?

Malina:¬†(turns to Vacius, whispering) Darling, we’re not supposed to mention him yet. ¬†Edward isn’t supposed to know!

Vacius:¬†It’s not like I really wanted to know, either.

Edward: (turns to Marcus) Who are they talking about?

Marcus:¬†I’m not sure. ¬†(turns to Bernie) Maybe it’s another troublemaker causing chaos in the palace.

Bernie:  You are never going to let me forget that, are you?

Marcus: Not a chance.

Bernie:¬†It’s not like you didn’t get back at me for it.

Marcus:¬†I don’t think we’re supposed to talk about that yet. ¬†That’s more of a Book 4 conversation.

Bernie: ¬†Oh yeah! ¬†That’s where we finally get some pages to be something other than background.

Edward: Am I the only one concerned there’s a new character that we know¬†nothing about?

Malina: (sighs) Great. ¬†Now I’m never going to hear the end of it.

Erin:¬†Uhm…yeah. ¬†So are there any fun facts about this book that you think the readers will enjoy?

Arnold: I’m in it.

Malina: Darling, please.  They read it because they love me.

Edward: (Clears this throat) I sing a song in this book. ¬†It’s pretty silly, but I think the readers will enjoy it.

Antoinette: I know I certainly did.

Bernie: I do a big prank.  It causes chaos.  Basically, the book is me just being me.  (laughs)

Marcus: And of course, I get caught in the middle of it.

Emmerich: (looks to Arnold) ¬†I’m not sure what I can say about this book except…the ending had one good part in it that I particularly enjoyed.

Arnold:¬†(mumbles) ¬†I’m sure you did.

Edward: I think I enjoyed that part rather well, too.

Bernie: ¬†I didn’t get to see it. ¬†Can you guys do a repeat in Book 4?

Arnold: NO.

Edward: I like the idea of an encore.

Arnold: OH NO YOU DON’T. ¬†I am not about to get into that again! ¬†I refuse to work under these conditions…

Bernie:¬†I’ll grab the popcorn!

Erin:¬†And on that note, thank you all for your time in promoting Book 3 of “The Ripple Affair” series, “When Dreams Break”. ¬†We can’t wait to see what’s in store for all of you, and I’m sure you’ll leave everyone with plenty to talk about! ¬†Until then, check out our book page here to find out more about the first two books in the series, “The Ripple Affair” and “Reign of Change“. ¬†Thanks for joining us, everyone!

Romance in Story

As I’ve been browsing the internet and social media over the last week, I can’t help but get the feeling romance and story are big topics of late. ¬†With the release of “Fifty Shades of Grey” in theatres this weekend, I’ve been bombarded by discussions on what is true romance, the dangers of bad relationships, and just how powerful story can be in the lives of others.

So that brings me to today’s post: romance in story.

As a romance writer myself, I can say that this topic has been a tough one for me. ¬†To portray something as complicated as love is a daunting task. ¬†Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard. ¬†Sometimes the road map is clear and other times it looks like it went through a paper shredder and you need to tape the pieces back together in order for it to make sense (I say that from experience in writing a love triangle – never have I given myself such a mental headache…) ¬†But the more I write about love, the more I feel like I’m beginning to understand it’s role in story, and I’m finding that these lessons I’m learning through writing are teaching me more and more about what I want in my own relationship.

Through writing romance, here’s what I’ve learned (slight spoilers from my books):

  1. Love is more than physical attraction.¬†¬†One of the things I realized in writing Edward and his relationship with Antoinette in “The Ripple Affair” is just how unimportant physical attraction became. ¬†Was Edward physically attracted to Antoinette? ¬†Definitely. ¬†She was gorgeous to him. ¬†But when he got involved with Malina, he realized the things he missed most about Antoinette involved who she was and not what she looked like. ¬†He missed her kindness, her compassion, her loyalty, and her love. ¬†Physical attraction may win a quick fling, but it’s other factors (like personality, morality, and characteristics) that win a relationship.
  2. Physical love is the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.¬†¬†I’ve read some stories classified as “romance” that was nothing more than one physical act after another. ¬†Yes, there are many who like those kinds of stories (I admit I’m not a fan of reading or writing them, though.) ¬†But when writing a romance, I find that if the story is nothing but characters acting out biology, it becomes old really fast. ¬†In “Reign of Change”, we see the beginnings of an Emmerich and Antoinette pairing. ¬†Throughout the entire book we know Emmerich wants to kiss her. ¬†He’s been waiting for years, for crying out loud. ¬†But he waits. ¬†She’s not ready, for one. ¬†And because she’s not ready for physical love, he shows her love in other ways. ¬†He makes her laugh by telling really stupid jokes. ¬†He shows his appreciation by giving her flowers and chocolate. ¬†He proves his loyalty by standing by her and listening to her needs and wants. ¬†By the end of the story, when they do finally kiss, it’s worth the wait, and because he’s waited so long, it makes it that much more special.
  3. Romance¬†doesn’t always lead to change. ¬†This one is a tough one, because there are many examples in real life of love changing a person. ¬†But let’s be honest – it doesn’t always work out that way. ¬†I once read a story that (truth be told) wasn’t my favorite. ¬†The characters were always over-emotional and their relationship was based on physical attraction and nothing more. ¬†I think I skipped over half of the story because I got sick of reading the same thing over and over. ¬†But even though I didn’t care for the story, I will say the ending left an impression. ¬†In the end, the woman left the man. ¬†He had too many issues to sort out and no matter how much she loved him and tried to change him, he didn’t. ¬†And until he could change on his own accord – not because of her but because he wanted to change himself – she would never see him again. ¬†I give applause to the author of that story for writing something that many authors seem to skip when writing a romance. ¬†There are times when we can’t change people, no matter how much we love them, and they have to be willing to change themselves.
  4. Everyone can find love. ¬†Love isn’t limited to the bubbly, attractive, outgoing people who are often the stars of romantic comedies. Love is for everyone, no matter what personality type or size we are. ¬†I’ll admit in writing “The Ripple Affair”, Bernie’s story is the one I’m most excited about writing. ¬†In a way, I think she reflects what so many are thinking today. ¬†“I’m not pretty enough. ¬†I’ll never find someone. ¬†If I’ve never had anyone in the past; why would I have anyone in the future?” ¬†As the author of Bernie’s story, I’m happy to say she is wrong, and there is a guy (*ahem* who may or may not have already appeared in “The Ripple Affair”) that will become smitten with her. ¬†And boy, will it be adorable!
  5. Love must be shown by both sides. ¬†In “The Ripple Affair” series, I’m going to be exploring a relationship that isn’t exactly going to be easy for the two lovebirds involved. ¬†Yes, they’re both attracted to each other, but they learn very quickly that their love is much more than words and flirtations. ¬†They both have needs and wants. ¬†They both sacrifice their wants for each other. ¬†They also learn that a marriage is defined not as “two” but “two becoming one”. ¬†It’s takes two to make a relationship work, both practicing give and take.

There are many other characteristics of a romance story than what I’ve listed here, but I’ve found that these are the five I write by the most. ¬†In the end, though, I think that we can all agree that love is a beautiful thing, and when practiced wisely, it can lead into some of the most beautiful of human experiences. ¬†Too often times love is tarnished by lust and pride, but I think that we can choose to let the purest of love win in the end.

I wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day, whether married, coupled, or single, and I hope that the day serves you well. ¬†Whether you are with someone you love or are waiting for the right one to appear, I wish you the best for today and always.

A Letter to My Characters

The following post is a letter to my book characters, said individuals staring in “The Ripple Affair” Series, who have made a few suggestions as to how the story should go in Book 3, “When Dreams Break”:

(Please note, slight spoilers from “The Ripple Affair” and “Reign of Change” in the following satirical letter.) ¬†ūüôā

Dear Book Characters,

Your letter has reached me and I am writing to inform you that I am acknowledging your requests.  Some are feasible, some not so much, but since I am in a good mood and am always willing to lend a listening ear, I will address your concerns.

To Bernie: you needn’t write a book of suggestions. ¬†I simply do not have the time to read them all. ¬†Yes, I know you want a scene in which you are allowed to smack Edward. ¬†I also understand you want to smack Marcus for not allowing you to smack Edward. ¬†Please understand, however, that I can’t have you go around smacking every “jerk” (as you call them) because this is a romance story and not a boxing match.

To Edward: I will listen to your plea to keep Bernie away from you (for now, at least). ¬†Whether I will keep Malina away from you is another story altogether. ¬†You married her, after all. ¬†It’s not my fault you chose the wrong girl. ¬†That being said, don’t worry about the future. ¬†You never know what a new chapter will bring.

To Marcus: You made no suggestions for yourself but have asked that things go better for Edward, the royal family, and Antoinette. ¬†That is awfully kind of you. ¬†I find it my duty to inform you that you are apparently gathering a fangirl following. ¬†I almost wonder if I should keep you single just so the ladies can have someone to swoon over. ¬†On second thought…ignore that last comment. ¬†You’re a supporting character and I really shouldn’t think about you having a romance with another character, right? ¬†Ugh. ¬†Never mind. ¬†Forget I said anything.

To Antoinette: You needn’t worry so much about Arnold. ¬†There’s a plan in place for that. ¬†I agree that he’s a bit of a handful, though. ¬†Narcissistic is putting it nicely. ¬†I like your idea of putting blue hair dye in his shampoo, though. ¬†Oh wait…that was Bernie’s idea? ¬†I still like it. ¬†Admit it, you do too.

To Emmerich: I can’t guarantee that Waffles will not eat any more apples. ¬†Your horse is a glutton for punishment, and though I try to steer him away from overeating that sweet and delicious fruit, I can’t guarantee he’ll listen to me. ¬†He has a mind of his own, that one. ¬†I know dogs have obedience school, so maybe you should look into horse obedience school? ¬†Also, you’re welcome. ¬†I know you were quite pleased with the ending to “Reign of Change” and there’s some¬†more scenes like that for you. ¬†Just don’t tell Susanna.

To Malina: You’re almost as bad as Bernie with your demands. ¬†Seriously, what kind of requests are you making? ¬†More scenes with Vacius? ¬†More fits of evil laughter? ¬†More opportunities to humiliate Edward? ¬†You really need to learn to play nice. ¬†And NO, I will not give you another boyfriend. ¬†You’ve got enough already.

To Susanna: Your requests were as ridiculous as Malina’s. ¬†I’m not going to make Bernie go on a diet and I will not keep her from doing her “science experiments”. ¬†If she wants to study animal velocity by releasing them into the kitchen, it’s fine by me. ¬†It’s just a little mud on the floor. ¬†And a few broken vases. ¬†Nothing that can’t be cleaned up or replaced, right?

To Jacob: I understand you were disappointed for your lack of appearance in “Reign of Change”. ¬†Believe me, it was unconsciously done. ¬†I promise to give you more of a role in the future and it will probably include you eating really good food.

My dear book characters, I thank you for your willingness to give me your concerns. ¬†I hope in the future you will continue to trust me with your thoughts and I will address them as they come along. ¬†In the meantime, await your orders for Book 3. ¬†(And to Maria: DO NOT DEVIATE FROM THE PLAN THIS TIME. ¬†You have a habit of going rogue and I’m a little scared of what kind of repercussions your decisions make!)

Also, my dear characters, if you could be so kind to spread the word that “The Ripple Affair” is available for free on Kindle¬†today through Sunday, January 25, I would appreciate it. ¬†Bernie, you have my permission to make fliers. ¬†Malina, you’re good at spreading gossip, too. ¬†Might as well put that speech of yours to good use for once.



Post Holiday Stress and Reflection (a.k.a. Why I Binged On Chocolate)

Happy Holidays, one and all!

And if you’re like me, you’re probably thanking the good Lord this season is almost over and a new year is about to begin.

Not that I’m a Scrooge or anything. ¬†I love Christmas. ¬†I dream of the day the first snowflake hits the ground. ¬†The lights and festivities and the food and the presents make this time of year stand apart from all the other days.

But this Christmas, much like last year, has been anything but festive. ¬†In fact, it’s been stressful.

At home, my family and I barely got any Christmas decorations up. ¬†One tree was decorated, but since we’re barely home the lights on it were off most days. ¬†Between care-giving for my grandparents and the busyness of life, present shopping became a last-minute dash to the store on Christmas Eve just so there’d be presents under the tree. ¬†We still haven’t opened them yet and I’m still trying to find time to wrap the gifts I’m giving. ¬†(Bless the person who invented gift bags…)

When Christmas Eve arrived, I was feeling down. ¬†My family was readying to go to our church’s candlelight service. ¬†I was recovering from a stomach flu and wasn’t able to sing with the choir that night. ¬†Frankly, I wanted to do nothing more but stay home and get whatever sleep I could get before spending Christmas Day cooking. ¬†The weather was cold. ¬†It had been raining on and off and fog was filling the air. ¬†We were all stressed and rushing out the door, hoping to find a restaurant open so we could eat dinner. ¬†It was the making of a miserable Christmas.

But as I looked up at the night sky, I realized something.  The stars were shining bright, much brighter than they typically did.  The moon was a blazing crescent that lit up the darkness.  And in those few seconds of quiet, a slight breeze blew by.  It was one of the most peaceful nights I had ever been witness to.

When we got to church, the building was packed with people.  All shapes and sizes.  All colors and races.  All ages, young and old.  We gathered together and sang Christmas carols and the pastor said a few words of encouragement.  And as the lights dimmed and the candles were lit, the true meaning of Christmas came forth.

A woman in a wheelchair didn’t get a chance to get a candle for the service. ¬†A man near her put his candle in her hand so she would have one. ¬†Children who had been squirming and talking during the service suddenly quieted, in awe that¬†they had a chance to hold a candle like other grown-ups. ¬†Strangers who had never spoke to one another soon shook hands and told each other “Merry Christmas.” ¬†A once-dark building suddenly became bright with the light from a thousand candles, all burning simultaneously, together.

Far too often the holidays are a time of stress. ¬†We rush to buy presents. ¬†We hurry to get things done. ¬†We strive for perfection in our decorations and meals. ¬†We hope to make everyone happy. ¬†But like many things in life, things don’t often go as planned. ¬†The stress remains. ¬†Perfection turns into chaos. ¬†The deviled eggs you made fall and are¬†thrown upside down in the back of the van as you make your way in delivering Christmas dinner (yeah, that happened to me…) ¬†Sometimes we can’t prevent the stress and have no control over the craziness that happens.

And yet, despite all of that, there can still be peace. ¬†Like the people in the church service, we can still give. ¬†We can still be kind. ¬†We can still quiet ourselves (even for a few seconds) to be thankful for what we do have instead of complaining of what we don’t. ¬†We can still be a light in a dark world, bringing goodness and joy to troubled hearts. ¬†Even Mary and Joseph had a stressful Christmas when you really think about it, unable to find a hotel room and going through labor in a barn. ¬†And yet what happened after all of the stress? ¬†The Prince of Peace was born.

I’ll admit this holiday season I’m binge-eating a lot of chocolate to help keep the stress down. ¬†But despite all of that, I feel thankful for celebrating another Christmas. ¬†Even though my grandparents are still recovering from health issues, I had another Christmas with them. ¬†I also got to see my aunt and cousin who I had not seen in a long time. ¬†I am also so grateful for the little moments, like the candle light service or the peaceful night sky, that bring my anxious mind calmness. ¬†My hope and prayer is that you are filled with joy and peace this holiday season. ¬†May your New Year be filled with goodness¬†and may you be a light in the hearts of others!

And before I go, I have a (belated) holiday present for you!

“The Ripple Affair” is available for *FREE* on Kindle today and tomorrow (December 27 and 28). ¬†You can download it from the Kindle store by clicking here. ¬†Don’t forget to review on Amazon and Goodreads (or wherever else you want to review, ha ha!) ¬†Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The Evolution of Character

When I was little, I was bound and determined to be a meteorologist.

I’d watch¬†The Weather Channel on a daily basis. ¬†I’d study cloud patterns to¬†try and predict rain by looking up at the sky. ¬†When a storm came up, I’d watch the radar with keen eyes, studying the wind¬†direction.

And then I saw Jurassic Park.  My dreams of meteorology were thrown out the window and I soon dreamed of flying to far away lands, digging up dinosaur bones and hopefully one day genetically growing my own brontosaurus.

Of course, that dream changed when I saw Apollo 13. ¬†I then vowed to become an astronaut to study the stars and visit planets and asteroids. ¬†I read every biography, studied every space program. ¬†I even started studying flight because I heard “Pitch, Roll and Yaw” was a popular read for astronauts (not sure how true that is, but as a kid I thought it best to study it anyways.)

By the time I got to college my mind had changed considerably on what I could do with my life. ¬†I wanted to be a preacher. ¬†I wanted to be a singer. ¬†I wanted to be a chemist. ¬†I wanted to be a teacher. ¬†I didn’t¬†look at writing as a serious career until I was in my mid-twenties.

Over the years (I’ve noticed), change has been my constant companion. ¬†I’m not the same person I was ten or even five years ago. ¬†I’ve grown, matured, and learned things along the way. ¬†And five¬†years from now, I’m sure I’ll change some more.

As I’ve been working on Book 2 and Book 3 of “The Ripple Affair” series, I can’t help but look back at how much my characters have changed. ¬†These stories have been a work in progress for ten years and going, and though some characters have remained untouched, many characters have gone through drastic changes as the story has progressed and grown.

Take (for example) Emmerich. ¬†(Slight spoilers ahead, if you’re looking…)

We first meet Emmerich in Book 1. ¬†At first we can see he is a quiet individual-bookish, shy, and full of manners. ¬†As we get to know him throughout the story, however, we see other traits pop up. ¬†He holds grudges when he’s wronged. ¬†He’s a passionate individual. ¬†He loves¬†deeply. ¬†And as we get into Book 2, we’ll find that he has many more traits as well (and I’ll admit they’re pretty humorous.)

But when I first started writing Emmerich’s character, he was anything but the person he is in the story now.

Ten years ago, he had a small cameo. ¬†He was “the queen’s adventurous and brave nephew”, called upon when someone needed a daring task to be done or something to be hunted. ¬†He never had a scene with his cousin Edward and was a close friend of Marcus Peterson.

Five years ago, his story grew.  He was no longer limited to just being the brave hunter.  Connections to other characters began to form and a history began to appear.  He was an only child.  How would that effect his relationships with his family?  He soon had some scenes with Edward.  Were they friends?  Were they enemies?  Did they even see each other living so far away?

One¬†year ago, his story began to take shape. ¬†As other characters’ stories came forth and changed, Emmerich’s soon had to adapt. ¬†Edward had a strained relationship with his family members, and that would include Emmerich. ¬†But why did they not get along? ¬†Were they too different, or was it something else? Emmerich’s father (who had not existed a year ago) was created and given the job of being an ambassador to Edeland. ¬†Edward’s wife-to-be is from Edeland, so did Emmerich know her? ¬†It turns out he did.

The character (and story) evolved from there. ¬†Like time and experience had changed me when¬†growing up, so had it changed Emmerich. ¬†Time passed and experience happened. ¬†The story grew and Emmerich had to adapt. ¬†Though he could’ve stayed as the brave hunter, his role in the story would have been limited or non-existent and he wouldn’t have been able to grow. ¬†Changed allowed him to adapt. ¬†Experience and time made him into the character he is today.

I admit I don’t like change. ¬†It takes me out of my comfort zone and I can’t predict what the outcome of that change will be. ¬†But I also can’t prevent it sometimes, and perhaps that’s a good thing. ¬†Without change, I’d still be a kid. ¬†Without change, I¬†would never have learned how much I enjoy studying dinosaurs and space. ¬†Without change, I would’ve never taken the chance to write. ¬†And without change, Emmerich would have just remained¬†a name on a page with no contribution to the story. ¬†Time passes and experience grows. ¬†Just as I’m still changing as I get older, Emmerich will continue to evolve. ¬†Experiences will happen. ¬†Time will (hopefully) make him wiser. ¬†Relationships will come and go. ¬†But Emmerich will grow along with his story, just as I¬†grow along with mine.