Monday, January 28, 2013

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and the Hidden Under Her Heart Guest Tour and Giveaway

Updates, Upcoming Events, and News

February is...

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month


"This February start talking...about healthy relationships

Teen Dating Violence (DV) Prevention and Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it during the month of February.

The repercussions of teen dating violence are impossible to ignore – they hurt not just the young people victimized but also their families, friends, schools and communities. Throughout February, organizations and individuals nationwide are coming together to highlight the need to educate young people about dating violence, teach healthy relationship skills and prevent the devastating cycle of abuse."

Join me throughout the month of February as I continue to raise awareness on teen dating abuse. I will host giveaways and donation drives, share facts, figures, articles, and information, explain ways to get help and help others, and much, much more.

What is love? (from

Available Now
"Love shouldn't hurt this much..." 

Break From You is a story about teen dating abuse. To raise awareness through out the month of February, I will be having some crazy giveaways. Make sure you join me!

Let's stand up and speak out!

Hidden Under Her Heart Guest Tour and Giveaway

I also wanted to share with you an amazing guest tour hosted by Rachelle Ayala the author of Hidden Under Her Heart

Through out the next three months Rachelle Ayala will be hosting the Hidden Under Her Heart Guest Tour and Giveaway. Join her as she hosts a list of amazing and wonderful authors. She will also have a couple of cool bundle giveaways. Head on over and check out all the posts and sign up for the giveaways. My book, Break From You will be included in one of the giveaways and I will be doing a guest post on her blog in February.

Here is the list of amazing authors and the dates they will be appearing on Rachelle Ayala's blog...

Rebecca Green Gasper 2/5
Daniel Alexander 2/11
Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar 2/12
Patricia Zick 2/13
Bonnie Trachtenberg 2/14
Mary Maddox 2/15
Dariel Raye 2/18
(I will update links as I get them.)

Make sure you head on over to Rachelle Ayala's site and check out these amazing authors and their books. 

Other News...

February is also my one year blogging anniversary. I can't believe it's already been a!  I want to thank every one of my followers for sticking with me throughout the year and hello to all my new friends and blogging buddies. It has been an amazing, wonderful, and unforgettable year. I absolutely and completely love blogging. How about everyone else? How do you feel about blogging? Is it something you love or is it something you feel like you have to do? Please share your thoughts.
I leave you with well wishes for a wonderful week. Do any of you have any big upcoming plans? Please share- I'd love to know.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Picture This!

Every photo tells a story.

What's your story?

I turned and looked at our tracks. We had gone so far, but I knew it wasn't anywhere close to how far we still had to go. The crusted snow crunched under my boots. I could feel the cold seeping in through my soles to my feet. It was cold and it would only get colder. We needed to find shelter and soon. But as I looked out over the barren, snow covered landscape, I knew shelter was out of reach and freezing to death was more likely.

Share your brief story in the comments below. I'd love to hear what you come up with!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Can Characters Make or Break a Story?

What do I remember most about a story?

Occasionally, it's the plot.

But most of the time I fall in love with a story because of the characters. Many stories are plot-driven, but what makes those stories memorable for me is when the characters grow from their journey. Characters need to be flawed, but I have to like them. I have to relate to them. I have to care whether they live or die.

Has anybody seen the Walking Dead? (I know, silly question. I'm probably the last one to see it.) Well, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and watched the season three premiere back in October. The characters don't talk in the first few minutes of the story. I had no background on who they were. All they did was run into half-dead, rotting, sick people and kill them. Frankly, I couldn't figure out what all the buzz was about. I shrugged my shoulders and went on about my way.

Well, a few months later, I came across a copy of the first season and decided to try it again...this time from the beginning. I popped in the first dvd, but I didn't stop there, I had to go on to the next, and eventually, on to season two. Now, I'm trying hard to catch up on the third season before it starts again this February. I'm not really a zombie fan, not even close. I really don't get into many horror films either. (I scare pretty easily.) But I've gotten into Walking Dead.


Because of the characters. Robert Kirkman does an amazing job with his characters. I care about them. I even cry when they die, (and they're going to die, otherwise it wouldn't be a zombie show). He gives them compassion, humanity in an inhuman world, and love. And the characters that don't, I tend to dislike- like I should- and be frustrated with them.

The plot is kind of crazy. The gore is over the top. But I keep watching because I care about the characters. I care about what happens to them. The goal is simple...survive. The characters are not. How they survive, how they interact, how they react, that's what keeps me coming back.

When I finally made it to season three and re-watched the first episode, it all made sense. I got it and it was perfect. The characters didn't need to talk. By not talking, you knew they were a cohesive group under Rick's leadership. You could tell they were on the move, trying hard to stay alive. You knew they were starving for more security.

I'm excited, just like everyone else, for the second half of season three to start up. I want to know what happens to those amazing characters. Who will rise? Who will break? How will they continue to survive?

What makes a story good for you? Do you get caught up in the characters or the plot?

Written by Robert Kirkman. Illustrated by Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard

Monday, January 14, 2013

Some of My Favorite Things

The sun

The moon

A wish on a star

Bright colors


And butterflies

Staying home

Time with family

Roses and daisies

And love


Being near water

Music and dancing



And sometimes the snow

The list goes on and on 

These are just a few of my favorite things

Do you like to pin? Come check out my board of favorite things on Pinterest

What are some of your favorite things?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Where Have all the Good People Gone?

It's National Stalking Awareness Month. I read the statistics and I'm floored. I had no idea they were that high, especially since I haven't heard any news stories or read about any stalking incidents must be some over-blown statistic...right?

Wrong. Just last night as I was relaxing a bit and catching up on some current events- mostly the weather- low and behold, breaking news: a man arrested for severely injuring his ex-fiance. And get this, he had been stalking her for months. He even was wearing a motoring bracelet due to stalking charges.

And not only that, but I've been hearing story on top of story about rape and some of those stories have been about teens like in the case of Steubenville, Ohio.

And as I gear up for Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month, I am reminded of the alarming statistics...1 in 3 teens have been in an abusive relationship. 1 in 3. I've seen that statistic a million times, yet each time I'm just as shocked as the first.

But what really saddened me was finding out the latest online trend with teens... As I was searching for "In the News" stories for my Thursday Moxie Writers post, I came across an alarming new meme called "Hey Girl, Did You Know..." This meme has gone viral. The post started with a mean tease posted on Tumblr. Tumblr took the pictures off, but it was too late. The picture went viral and a new meme was started up, along with a Facebook page. The page has over 40,000 following and has started a new trend-- "teen-shaming."  For this trend, teens snap pics of themselves or hijack pics of others and add captions or comments. These comments are sometimes playful, but most comments are harsh, mean, and extremely hurtful. These photos are tagged and end up going viral. I'm floored. At first glance, it even seems like a harmless prank, but it's not. The poster targets a specific girl...and of course that girl knows. Teen-shaming is an extreme way to bully others.

And this is where it starts- a simple, sometimes silly picture with added words. Do people really think this is okay and fun? It is not only hurtful but more than likely illegal. You can not defame nor harass.

I think this hits a little too close to home for me...I've had my picture hijacked before and nasty, hurtful comments added. It's not fun. It's hard to step away from it when it's in your face, in your own living room and millions of people can see it. I know it's not a reflection of me but a refection of the person who did it to me, yet still it hurts.

As I read these stories, I am more and more convinced that we need to stand up and speak out. It is so important to know what is happening so that we can do something to stop it- or at the very least become aware and promote change.

As teens, we need to let adults know, tell friends, get help and end this violence. As adults and parents, we need to become aware and help put a stop to it. In the end, we need to stop judging others!

Now, more than ever, WE NEED TO BE THE CHANGE. Please know that you can make a difference. Let's make kindness go viral instead!

Stand up and speak out against...

Make sure you head on over to Moxie Writers and read the full story on teen-shaming. It's alarming.

A Few Other Announcements and Updates...

Available Now
I am excited by how Break From You did in the first couple of months after release.  It by far exceeded my expectations. I feel like I still have no idea what I'm doing in this crazy world of publishing and especially have no idea how to get my name out there and make my book more visible. I'm plugging along and learning so much on my path. I'm loving every minute of it...even if I don't seem to have time to turn around. For me the most important thing is to bring awareness to things most people want to ignore, so for that I'm grateful. Thank you for supporting me and my book.

Available now at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble

February is Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month. I have been gearing up for the month. I will be doing loads of things (such as give-a-ways, deals, etc) through the month of February to help raise awareness with teen dating abuse. Make sure you join me! It's time we wear our hearts on our sleeve and speak out.

February also marks my one year blogging anniversary. feels like just yesterday, I hit my first publish button on blogger. Crazy year.

On last thing- This weekend I will be speaking at a local library's writing group. My presentation will be on storyline and plot points. If you are local and are interested in attending please email me for details.

Have a great day- smile more...add a little kindness!

Best! :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dating Abuse and Stalking

January is...National Stalking Awareness Month


Did you know...?

6.6 million people are stalked every year in the United States

The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.

More than half of victims say they were stalked before the age of 25

78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach

Intimate partner stalkers tend to approach their targets and their behaviors can escalate quickly.

Stalking is a pattern of behavior that makes you feel scared or in danger. Behaviors can include: letters, damaging property, showing up at places you go, emails, calls, gifts, harassment, and other.

Stalking is a form of dating abuse 

You can be stalked by someone you know like a current boyfriend or girlfriend. It can even happen while you are still dating and be a form of dating abuse.

It is common for teen abusers to use stalking behavior to control and monitor their partner.

Control is power to influence one's behavior and is unhealthy in a relationship.

Get Help!

Call police
Tell someone- a parent, friend, school principal or another person you can trust. 

Help Yourself!

Think about ways you can be safer. This means thinking about what to do, where to go for help, and who to call ahead of time such as; where can you go for help? Who can you call? Who can help?

Make sure you tell friends and family when you are scared and let them know where you are when you go out.
Call 911 in an emergency
Know (memorize) phone numbers of people you can contact and places to go
Save notes, letters, emails, texts, pictures, and other items the stalker sends you.
Keep all records.

Stand Up and Speak Out Against Dating Violence
 Help me raise awareness

(Did you know over 80% of High School Counselors report feeling unprepared to address incidents of abuse on their school campus...?)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Years and All the Resolutions

Did you know that approximately 45% of people make New Years resolutions?

Top resolutions people make
* Eat better/lose weight
* Quit drinking/smoking
* Better job/better education
* Save money/get out of debt
* Help others/volunteer
* Improve self
* Get along better with others/make new friends
* Go on a trip
* Spend more time with family
* Learn something new/experience new culture
* Get organized

Did you know that only 8% of those people are actually successful in achieving them?

Some of the top reasons people break New Years resolutions:
 *Setting too high of goals
 *Didn't make plans
 *Don't have a support system
 *Not accountable to anyone
 *Wasn't important enough in the first place

Although most people break their New Years resolutions, research shows that making them is very useful and very important.

 Tips to be successful in keeping New Years resolutions.
 *Set reachable goals
 *Get a support system and have someone to be accountable to
 *Make sure goals are important
 *Set specific (not broad) goals (ie- 1 pound per week instead of just "lose weight")
 *Make plans

Some great goals for writers:
 *Make time to write (will write 1 hour per day...or will write 1,000 words a day...etc.)
 *Find your voice (will write without inner editor)
 *Edit more (will edit one chapter a day...will edit 500 words a day..etc.)
 *Explore and expand (will write something each day outside of comfort zone...)
 *Call self a writer! (will tell one person a week...)

Some great goals for self-publishing
 *Think of the "Who"/the reader (will define who the readers are and what they want...will learn one marketing skill to market towards readers each day/week/month...etc.)
 *Market well on Amazon (will learn one new marketing strategy per week...etc.)
 *Learn great cover art and editing (will learn one skill per week with editing and marketing...etc.)
 *Make writer friends (will follow one new person per day/week and comment...etc.)
 *Market local as well as on-line (will talk to local library/bookstore/etc...)
 *Write more (will write 1,000 words per day...etc.)

Remember to make goals specific and well-defined to be successful. Find a support system and someone to be accountable to.

What are you goals for 2013? Are you ready to reach your goals?