Welcome to Romance

I am a contemporary romance writer. I published my first novel, Take 2, in Dec 2012. I chat about relationships and love. I'm no expert! I'd love your feedback!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Take 2

Well, today is the day! My contemporary romance, Take 2, is available on Amazon! This is so exciting, a dream come true. All thanks to my publisher, MasterKoda Select Publishing.

I really hope you will join me today! I am having a Release Party on FaceBook. If you have never been to one, it works like this...Click on this link, Take 2 Release Party, and you'll be on FaceBook.  The party is virtual. So between 1-5 CST we'll be playing games, winning prizes and having fun! You should drop in! You don't have to stay the whole time. By all means, pop in and out and check out the fun! I would love to see you there.

Of course, you can just click here, Take 2, and go direct to Amazon. Its so cool seeing my book there! I'd love for you to "Like" it and give it a read! Reviews are welcome!

I'd like to thank my posse for all their support and GBGals for being just as obsessed with Gerry Butler as I am! I like not being the only one!

Alexandra Daniels is a forty-something, hard-working mom, wife and employee. Her life has been plodding along at a snails pace and she’s longing for excitement. She wins a trip to her favorite talk show in New York, the Veronica Becker Show, and it just so happens the actor of her dreams is a guest, Derek Dunbar! Is Alex’s life about to change? 

Derek Dunbar is Scottish, an actor and a hunk! Every woman in America drools after him. He has his pick of women but stinks at relationships. At forty, is he longing for a more meaningful relationship? Does he even know how to have one? Is he willing to make the effort or will it just be too complicated? 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Welcome to The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I'm sharing a bit of info about my new book coming out this month. Then, five other writers, below, will share info about their current WIP (Works In Progress) or a current release. 

What is the working title of your book? 
Take 2

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have a terrible crush on actor Gerard Butler...He was my inspiration. I hope he's flattered and doesn't think I'm a stalker...

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Gerard Butler (of course) and Megan Dodds

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After the death of her husband, can Alex find love with a well-known, playboy actor or will he just break her heart?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Agency - MasterKoda Select Publishing

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 6 months, but I did 6 edits over the next year and still could have changed more. You have to stop sometime.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There isn't that much out there with the female being over 40, as well as the male. I was tired of reading about young virgins or twenty-somethings....I just couldn't relate. I found I have friends who felt the same way. So...I wrote what I know about...mid-life and middle-age! 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Gerard Butler....Had to make good use of all those fantasies...and the women in the DFW Tea Readers Group! They encourages me...

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Like I said, its a 40+ woman starting her life again and a 40+ guy trying to figure out if he's finally found the love of his life.

I hope you'll check out Take 2. Its being released this month in ebook. 

Please check out the writers blogs below. I would like to thank Tamy Burns for tagging me.  Please check out the below writers for info on their musings. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Does Uncommitted Mean

Hmmm, the dictionary says -  not committed to a particular course or policy. So what does that mean in a relationship? 

I asked around and I received interesting comments: unreliable, unfettered, not tied down, not willing to take the sacred walk.

So, I guess the question is, now, why would you want to be in a relationship like this? Is it a bad thing? That would depend on where you're coming from. Have you had difficult relationships and your heart is fearful? Have you just left a relationship and committing to someone new doesn't appeal? Is this an excuse so you can play the field? There are tons of reasons people don't commit. 

Do you know someone who isn't in any hurry? Are you seeing them? Are you ready and they aren't? That is the big dilemma. How do you convince your "other" you want to be "significant"? And do you really want to?

I know I'm asking so many questions and not giving any answers. I can see both sides and it makes this topic difficult. I can see why not committing is appealing, especially if you are very busy with work. Sometimes being committed to someone makes you feel like you need to spread yourself too thin. Also, if you are dating other folks too, maybe you haven't really been drawn to that particular someone. Should you be committed to someone if you don't feel that strongly? Maybe dating around will help you figure out what you're looking for and who has those attributes. 

I know being committed has its pluses: you're monogamous, you know who you're spending your time with, you have a special "someone". We all want to know there is someone out there who cares what's going on with us, will come to our aide when needed and makes us feel loved. Commitment can be good. 

Okay, so you're ready to commit, looking for that special someone, and you think you've found them. What if they don't want to commit, they aren't ready. Do you wait for them or let them go? Does it bother you they see someone else besides you? If so, I would say move on. If you can handle it and you really like them, stick it out awhile. They might be the one.

Are you in an uncommitted relationship just because you don't say you're in love? Is it love that makes us committed? Its very difficult to find someone you are mentally and physically attracted to, someone who stimulates all of our senses. 

I'm full of questions today. Anyone have any answers? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Making Myself Crazy

Yes, that's right, crazy! I started NaNoWriMo today. 50, 000 words in 30 days. What was I thinking?Took me 2 hours, and many breaks, to bang out 1868 words. Can I actually do this? 

My greatest fear at this point is that my 50,000 word novel will end up a 20,000 word novella. Backup plan? To work on my CampNaNo project from August. I only made 3600 words into it and life took over. The goal is to be more focused this time. Once NaNo is over I need to work on another full length contemporary romance in my series. Busy, busy! 

Anyway, back to what was I thinking? Well, I have a ton of great writer friends, some doing this, some not, but who are very supportive. Its a wonderful cheering section. Even my publisher is participating. Its very encouraging. Oh, and lets not forget my friends, the physical ones, are all very supportive too. They've been giving me plot ideas and telling me how cool this whole idea is. I love writing. Not only the voices in my head encourage me (sometimes they are a bit snarky and lurk elsewhere and leave me stranded) but friends and family rally around me. I have the best! 

If you've ever thought about writing, watch comments on Facebook. You'll see a lot about NaNo. Its happening all around the world. Its actually produced published works (after a rigorous editing process - we don't edit or spell check as we go). Come along for the ride. I know there will be quite a few of us blogging about our experience as we go too. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

To Fall In Love

Does everyone want to be in love? What about marriage? Does everyone want to be married?

I look back to my dating days in my early twenties. Yes, love and marriage were very important to me, to all of my girlfriends. I remember how dating went (yes, it was a long time ago but I do still remember): we'd meet, go on a date or two or three, I wanted a relationship, he didn't.  I have surveyed friends from back then and they remember it similarly.  Most of the guys were not that interested in having a monogamous relationship or ready to get married. 

Flip the calendar twenty-five to thirty years in the future. Same friends surveyed...men are more interested in a monogamous relationship and marriage than women around the same age. Why is that? Why the switch? I have a theory.

When men are twenty the world is their oyster: they are young, have all the vim and vigor (yes, I said vim and vigor) and they know they are studs. Women, on the other hand, are looking for safety and security for their future, marriage being the answer. But when women reach their mid-forties, they have careers, learned they can support themselves and live independently. Men, on the other hand, seem to begin to want the safety and security of not living alone in their later years. 

I'm not saying any of this is wrong, its just interesting and totally explains why young women marry older men and why cougar women date young men. Obviously, we have all known couples that married young and grew old together.  I don't mean to imply this to "all" men or women, but I have noticed it quite a bit.  Look back at your younger dating years.  What do you remember? What about now? Are you single or have single friends? Are you looking for love?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The last 500 words


I have been writing my book since March.  Some days flowed like a river other days my muse was on vacation.  Then I finished but didn't have enough words to call it a novel.  That was frustrating.  But my muse came back from vacation  - Vegas!  - and off we went.  500 to go.

I've been dawdling at finishing. I don't why.  Too many things going on and I really want to focus.

Have you ever tried to write while you were out of town.  Its the strangest feeling.  I usually sit on my big, fluffy sofa, early in the morning when everything is quiet (except for the cats) and write until I have to get ready for work.  I took my laptop with me out of town a couple of months ago and thought I'd write a bit.  I stayed at a quiet bed and breakfast (www.Sparhawk.com) in Abilene, Texas.  No television, beautiful garden, peaceful.  I couldn't write! I tried, really I did. It just felt uncomfortable.  Like I was cheating on my sofa.

I did take my laptop with me last month to Phoenix and was able to get out 500 or so words before I  had to stop.  I thought I could write anywhere but I guess not.  I can do research anywhere but that's not the same thing.

So now I sit, writing my blog instead of the book. I need to finish but life just isn't quiet enough right now. My head is full of ideas, future books, plans, but my muse must be on vacation again. It goes out of town more than I do! Is it visiting you? Could you send it home....I have a book to finish.

I wrote this blog in December of 2010. I am happy to say I have found a publisher. It wasn't easy, but mostly because I was afraid. Afraid all my work was just jibberish. That someone would read it and say, "What is this crap!". Instead, my first attempt was met with a canned response. They were to busy to go into detail but they just weren't interested at this time. Whew! Dodged that bullet. Then I tried a second publisher. This one I knew would be more personable. It terrified me. But it paid off. I was private messaged on FaceBook that I'm in! They want my book! I'm am so excited! I have been told by friends who have been recently published this is where the work begins! I am so happy to have this opportunity and I look forward to the hard work! This has all been such a blessing and enjoyable rollercoaster ride!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Can You Have Joy Without Happiness

I have many friends searching for something…happiness. We all want it but how do you find it? What exactly are they looking for? Long-term joy or short-term happiness?
Unfortunately, we are so caught up in our microwavable-instant lives that we want immediate happiness. 24 hours a day. Any mature adult knows life doesn’t really work that way. Sure we have happy moments in our day, things that bring a smile to our faces, a belly laugh or a warm fuzzy feeling, but that isn’t joy. Joy is long-term, weathers the rough waters, the prosperous and lean times, and can take years to cultivate.
I believe some of us are born with inner-joy. Or maybe we are taught very young by our parents, inadvertently. I think I am one of those people. Oh, sure, I’ve had hard times, sobbing moments that lasted longer than I care to revisit, but overall, I look on the bright side. I know tomorrow will be better. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m not saying optimists are the only ones who know joy. On the contrary, I know optimists that have a hard time finding joy. They have moment to moment happiness, struggling to figure out how to make it last. At the same rate, I know pessimists that have long-term joy. It’s the only thing keeping them going every day.
Let’s define happiness vs. joy. The attached chart should help (thanks to Google):
Comparison chart
Winning a lottery will make one happy
Giving birth to a child will bring joy.
Time frame:
Long lasting
Pleases a person
Warms ones heart
Luck, fortune, other self pleasures
caused by over all contentment, soul satisfying incidents
Happiness is an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure.
Joy is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

I have always been taught happiness is fleeting; it’s in the moment. Joy is something that
sustains you. I have many friends that are only happy as long as the moment is a “happy one”.
As soon as things are difficult, sad, or tempers flare, they say they are unhappy and want to give  up. Taking life as a whole is the key to joy. In the grand scheme of things is life pretty good? Are the things that are most important to you where you want them?

Maybe the answer is in not taking life so seriously. I’m not talking the case of various forms of
abuse or neglect. Those are situations better addressed somewhere else. I’m talking in the
average person’s life. The old cliché – not seeing the forest from the trees might apply here. We can focus so intently on a decayed tree, we miss the beauty of the healthy trees. Some of my friends have adopted my favorite quote – “It is what it is”. Some things you just can’t change and you have to accept them as they are or they can stress you, but overall is it small compared to all the other things in life? In days to come will it become a faded memory? Don’t let this one unhappy situation rob you of your joy. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Has Sex Become Taboo

I know you’re asking, “WAH?” but think about this.  How many married over-forty-somethings do you know that say they aren’t having sex?

How many friends do you have married 20+ years and they complain they never have sex with their spouse? I know, I know…stress, kids still living at home, activities and commitments wear us all thin. Those are all great reasons but are you feeling less connected to your spouse? Are all your conversations about the kids, making ends meet and the next disastrous expense you’re about to have to pay for? Has sex become an afterthought? When you finally get a relaxing evening are spending it watching an adult TV show, Chinese delivery and asleep by 10?

I’m not saying this isn’t legit but in the realm of taking care of everyone have you neglected each other? When you get an opportunity to fluff yourself up does your spouse even notice? Have you forgotten what intimacy is? Are there days you wish you had some but your spouse just isn’t on the same wave length? Do you even care anymore?

Life has us putting our own basic physical needs on the back burner.  I’m talking food, shelter and feeling connected to someone. We all want it. No one wants to be truly alone but are there days in house full of people you feel alone? Your spouse is doing their part of the work for the household, i.e. working and bringing home a paycheck, cleaning, cooking, laundry, but you feel disconnected. Is being intimate the last thing you think you have time for?

Now chat with your single forty-something+  friends.  What do they talk about? If they’re in relationships they talk about intimacy. If they aren’t with anyone they’re looking for someone interested in providing it.  Many of the people I’ve talked with mention how they’ve realized how important intimacy and sex are in their relationships. Most are divorced and had lost intimacy with their spouses. A lot of them thought they had hormonal issues or ID and have since discovered this is far from the truth. Not making intimacy and sex a priority caused their lack of desire. Some of them were very surprised to find that 40+ year olds (and 50+) have just as much desire as they did at 30 (hence, 50 is the new 30). For most, function isn’t an issue either. 

If sex has become a taboo activity in your home, bring it back! Date night, mini-vacations for just the two of you, and adding toys and flavored lubes can all help bring the spark back.  Remembering what brought you together in the beginning is a good place to start. And never forget to read. I’m not talking Penthouse and Playboy, but blogs or books about intimacy and foreplay. Learn to enjoy one another again.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Zombies are people too! Lyra says so! See why she thinks Cassie might have a chance!


When asked to discuss how I came up with the concept and story line for my novel Zombified, I had to think back. I had to think of where I was mentally when the idea formed. I had been annoying my family and boyfriend for weeks talking about the Zombie Apocalypse. My Dad would say something about, "If the economy doesn't do something then we are in for it." That isn't exactly what he said, my father doesn't speak like that, but for the sake of this article that is what he said. I would respond with, "The Zombies will take over!"
As annoyed as my family was, I was fascinated with Zombies and why they enthralled our culture so. I begin to think how would you feel if you knew you were going to start eating people and rotting away? Cassie started to form in my mind. She was a young girl with a bright future, derailed by a disease and the end of life as she knew it. I then started thinking, what if Zombies actually could communicate and had a purpose with their constant wondering around. Slopar was born, my idea of the Zombie language. I pictured Cassie talking to someone about her life as she snacked on him and wrote the beginning.
After this I started thinking, what if you bit your crush? I had to give Cassie a gorgeous guy, figure out how to get them alone, and let her ruin it with her soon-to-be-dead tendencies. I really enjoyed writing the novel. I wanted to explore the thoughts of the partially infected, and what would happen when they met up and tried to fight the desire to feed as the infection spread. I hope people enjoy reading Zombified as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for taking a trip into my mind. 
xx Lyra Mcken

Cassie is a typical teenager.  She’s crushing on a boy and trying to make it through high school. It’s a typical day of classes when all hell breaks loose. Forced to run and hide the situation just keeps getting worse. She makes a mistake and soon becomes infected. She meets others like her and together they sent out to find a cure. Is their fate already sealed? Can they find a cure before it’s too late? See what happens through the eyes of the infected when Cassie tells you how Zombies are people too.

Lyra McKen (aka, Emily Walker) resides in the mountains of North Carolina. She lives on top of a mountain quite literally with her other half of nine years and her fur baby, Rebel. After a couple of jobs ghost writing for other successful authors she embarked on her own journey to write a novel.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This week my guest is Deby Adair with the Wish Trilogy. Use your imagination....


Imagination is our greatest tool. When you create something meaningful, you share it with the world, even if no one ever sees your final effort. When we imagine, and then create, we are stating by our thoughts and actions who we are, and that person follows us around day and night for everyone else to see, interact and share with.
If we have music in us, then we strum, sing or write our lyrics. If we have art in us then we sketch, draw or paint. And if we write, we are usually sharing our deepest thoughts and projections.
Writing is a tool that can captivate an audience in a way that no other art does. A book presents an opportunity to immerse ourselves, sometimes completely, into the lives of others, and in the process, it changes us forever…we have now walked in another’s shoes and we will never be the same again. Although it may be argued that a movie will do a similar thing, the difference between reading a story and watching a story, is that a reader must go that extra mile and play the movie in their head, their way, with only the writer’s word to prompt the screen inside the mind.
As writers, we hold the world in the palms of our hands and, like all projections, how we do it is what counts.
Remember that what you write will reach inside the minds and hearts of others and, by the power of your words, resonate. How do you choose to create what resonates in others? 
Writing is something that comes from within a writer; a deep need to share a story, a theme, experience or something which the writer themselves chooses to explore. 
When writers ask me how to deal with writer’s block, I have one response: Writer’s block comes to you because you are trying to write what isn’t you. When a writer ‘blocks’ they are experiencing these key things: fear, self doubt and a desire to please others.
When writers ask me how they should fix their writers block, or indeed, why is it such extremely hard work to write, then my responses are simplistic, based on the need to change something that they’re doing. 
At first, my answers can be met with some resistance. ie: Often, a writer has a preconceived idea of what kind of writer they are, or want to be, and that may be the problem… in not knowing what you truly should be writing as opposed to what you think you should be writing. ‘Writers block’ will always begin there.
Do you love writing? Does the written word in and of itself give you incredible joy? Does the thought of composing a sentence and describing a moment, a scene, a sensation, a palette of colour, transport you with inspiration and excitement? What entices you, the writer, to capture an audience and transport them? 
I’ll ask a question: Can you effectively captivate with something you don’t know, or don’t understand or have never come close to experiencing? Perhaps, or perhaps not. 
During the process of writing, part of the joy is for us as writers to explore how a scene, projection, moment or situation may occur, creating that rush of creativity, the adrenalin and thrill that actually makes us want to write!
If you have decided that writing is in fact for you, that you have the guts, determination and the hard-driven discipline required to master your much loved skill, but you sit down to write and falter, then you must ask yourself why. 
A highly skilled young University student asked me to read a piece of their work and to offer a critique. It was an evocative piece. Very dramatic, very intense, extremely wordy, descriptive, exciting… but it lacked something. It didn’t ring true. It was a good piece of writing but I was left unmoved. I thought carefully about the piece before I gave her my critique. 
Finally, this was my response: When you write, the most important thing to remember is not to try to impress the reader but to find your own individual style. Don’t try to write with someone else’s style. Don’t copy the sort of writing that will outwardly impress you but feel to the reader as if they’ve read your book at least a hundred times everywhere else!
Write what you know. Write what you feel. By all means, use the power of your imagination, but don’t try to construct what isn’t innately a part of you because it will read cleverly, but not reach hearts and, as writers, our job is to reach hearts, otherwise we have just added to a high pile of pulp.
When a writer writes from deep inside themselves, reaching into what they know, how they’ve grown, the insights, the hurts, the joys, the depths of their being, then they lose writer’s block. They may have decided to sit down and write that great money-spinner and instead, written a poignant or meaningful story of something that jogs a memory of a day in their schoolyard. The piece they actually may end up writing may seem totally un-commercial, however, it may leave the writer, and ultimately the reader, deeply satisfied. I assure you that when you write from your inner truth you will always become a better writer and that is what really matters in the long run. You want to reach the hearts and minds of your readers. 
When people read, no matter what the genre, they unconsciously go there to learn something, even if they feel they only want to be entertained. When they read, they want to leave your book/short story/poem, prose or paragraph, and feel that it was a moment in time that you loaned them and which they have captured; that borrowing from your ‘knowing’ it will leave them stronger, better able to face the world.  Write what you own… share with us, the reader, what you know and feel. 

Writers often ask me why they can’t seem to get the discipline of the thing. My response, based on experiencing the roller coaster of life, is this: No matter what is happening in your life, and I mean no matter what, write something every single day; every single day go to your work and at least sit with pen in hand, with computer open and ready; if you find nothing there, then edit something you have previously written; look at your writing and be ruthless with it; teach yourself to know if that flowery sentence is valid or just satisfying an itch to be vocal; train yourself in excellent sentence structure and that often, less is more. 
Readers these days want to get to the point… so learn the skill of writing brilliantly with a sentence well built, rather than a paragraph that repeats itself. 
Take the pain from losing loved ones, your illness, a job you hate, the spiteful neighbour and use it to write! Don’t wait for when life will get good, for when you live in the right house, have the right amount of money, have the perfect relationship, have wonderful heath… all or some of those things may never happen, so write! Be your own best creator!
Write something, even if it’s for two minutes a day, every single day until the hardship of the discipline becomes your addiction and your high… then you have learned the true love affair of writing and have built a solid relationship that will let you call yourself a writer, a marriage where you have learned to merge words with the love of making it happen. 
Remember, the entire fantastic residue of living, is stored within all of us. Don’t write about things you don’t know just because you think that’s what readers want, and worse, because someone else got rich from it… write what YOU know and, if you do it thoroughly, seriously and with real craft and commitment, readers will love your tale about the day you dropped your lunch at school and ten kids laughed at you but one stepped forward to help… because when it’s genuine, we, the reader will know it and cheer you on!

From the mists of time there comes a long-lost tale of unicorns.
'Wish - Dreams Beginning', Book One of the Wish trilogy.
When a homeless girl called Rielle and her unusual dog Pud become hopelessly lost in a wild landscape, they find themselves in an untamed forest. Here they meet an enigmatic unicorn who charms Rielle with his cryptic ways. Soon Rielle and Pud find themselves locked into an adventure of soul-seeking, friendship, mystery and truth that is both disarming and sometimes sinister.
Meet unicorns as you've never thought of them before; ancient forests and unusual creatures. - Although classified for Children and Teens, this book is also receiving heartfelt reviews from adults.

As a timeworn legend comes to life, can the past be mended and the present put right?
'Wish Again - Dreams Truth', Book Two of the Wish trilogy.
Disarming, charismatic and thrilling, this book explores friendship, complex characters, trust and the ethereal beauty and archetypal power of unicorns such as you have never seen unicorns before.
Fast-paced, this book draws you from one chapter to the next in a series of unfolding scenes that send you hurling to its conclusion with bated breath.
Wish Again- Dreams Truth by Deby Adair has been nominated for the 2011 Aurealis Awards - Australia's Premier Award for Speculative Fiction written by an Australian Citizen.
Although classified for Children and Teens, it is also receiving rave reviews from adults. Wish Again-Dreams Truth-Book Two of the WISH trilogy.

An ancient feud and a race for power, who will have the final victory? And what of the unicorns... which destiny will they be keeping?
In this final book of the Wish trilogy - 'The Third Wish-Dreams Honour'- the gripping destiny of Rielle and the company of complex characters that become inextricably bound in her adventure, is revealed.
In this powerful, touching and thought-provoking book, the destiny of each character unwinds to reveal how unicorns, humans and First Ones are bound in a quest of honour to an ancient truth.
To do The Third Wish-Dreams Honour full justice, it is best read after reading Book 1, Wish- Dreams Beginning and Book 2, Wish Again-Dreams Truth.
The Third Wish- Dreams Honour by Deby Adair has been nominated for the 2011 Aurealis Awards - Australia's Premier Award for Speculative Fiction written by an Australian Citizen.
Although classified for Children and Teens, this is not just a children's book and is also receiving rave reviews from adults. The Third Wish-Dreams Honour-Book Three of the WISH trilogy.


Deby Adair is an author, artist, graphic artist and equestrian. An avid follower of the mystical and mysterious, Deby Adair has always loved the purity and truth of unicorns and their archetypal majesty. A past professional equestrian, Deby loves all animals and champions animal rights, the environment and human rights. She believes we must take care of our natural world.
An avid reader all her life, Deby began writing stories, poetry and prose from a very young age, the WISH trilogy is based on many works of writing and art which she produced as a girl but later embellished and created into her three novels.
Writing this trilogy and creating a vast collection of wonderful, exciting art works has occupied her for many years now. We hope you enjoy her much loved books and wonderful artwork as much as Deby enjoyed creating them!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Welcome to my guest Jamie Haden. She's the author of Illuminate-Alive, She Cried. Meet Talisa and get caught up in her story. 

Who is Talisa Santiago?

This is never an easy question to answer because who we are changes, sometimes on a daily basis. It is often customary to hear a person say, "I'm not the same as I was back then," or "I'm different now." Although this may be the case, what I have come to learn is, our thoughts about ourselves, and our thoughts towards others, can certainly change, yet, in the end, our essence remains true. That is what I tap into, to fully understand and appreciate Talisa. I had to get her essence. 

Just as the spirit of the soul lies hidden, so were the secrets of Talisa's childhood. She was born in the Mexican desert, the granddaughter of a shaman, yet she fled with her mother at the age of seven and escaped to America in hopes of finding a new, safer life. In an attempt to shield her daughter from her past, Talisa's mother refused to speak of their history in the desert, her ancestry, and all things Native American. Only bits and pieces remained in the young girl's memory. Horrific as well as enchanting recollections consumed her, but dissolved through time with no explanation. Life proved to be difficult, and Talisa found herself isolated and alone. 

She was different from other kids.

Indeed, the very core of her being separated her most because she was born, not just the granddaughter of a shaman, but with a direct connection to the spirit worlds. Even though some would argue her gifts were hereditary, it would still prove to be a long and arduous crossing simply because her childhood, where she came from, was a mystery.  

Nevertheless, the obscurity of it all was enticing. It kept Talisa lost, yet hoping, wondering, if maybe one day, she would be found.  

From the very beginning, when I first began to think about Talisa, I knew I wanted a strong female protagonist. Not necessarily physically powerful, although I do appreciate the girl who can kick some serious butt, I am talking internally so, awakened. Such a state of being in a seventeen year old is rare, a treasure to be adored. 

This was also an end. A place Talisa had to get to, after she walked a very long and winding road, for the desire to become aware of our inner selves is a journey most of us inevitably take at some stage of life. 

To fulfill this goal, this end, I wanted to develop the character of a girl who wasn't consumed with materialism. I envisioned a world of seclusion—first a barrier island of the coast of North Carolina, and then, a remote Indian reservation deep within the Great Smokey Mountains. Yet, throughout it all, Talisa, as well as all the other characters, had to be relatable. They had to go through being teenagers, the hell of it all; they had to be real. 

Ultimately, Talisa would have great burdens to bear, feel tremendous heartache, go against all odds, fall, be betrayed, betray, and face the dark night of her soul. There was no other way around it. She had to lose it all in order to know what losing it all felt like; then and only then would she be able to rise.     

In the end, I admire the person who can honestly say they live with no regrets, because the choices they made, even the ones they regret, made them stronger in the end. They are the ones who transform through change. By living in the present, they aren't captive to the past. They reclaim their spirit and inspire others. People such as this are worth writing for, and that is Talisa.

Jamie Haden
Wilmington, NC August 2012

ILLUMINATE-ALIVE, SHE CRIED a novel by Jamie Haden
Some say the concept of rebirth is simply a metaphor for living a better life, a holier life. For seventeen-year old Talisa Santiago, such a resurrection is anything but a metaphor. It is her reality. 
Talisa knows she can communicate with the spiritual world. She is the granddaughter of a shaman and going between two different worldly dimensions is something she realizes she is destined to do. However, what she doesn’t count on is what fate has in store for her. 
After surviving the first hurricane of the season on the island where she lives, Talisa learns that her life is in grave danger. She must leave immediately and retreat to live with a secretive clan of Indians on a remote reservation deep within the Great Smokey Mountains. 
Her blood brothers, three shifters who have the desires of both man and animal surround her, promising everlasting friendship and protection. Now, Talisa will put her life in their hands, depart from her mother, and begin the journey of a lifetime. However, the majestic mountains hold many secrets and danger lurks in the night. There are evil tricksters everywhere that want her dead. As Talisa falls prey to the confusion of her own sexuality, she unleashes an untamed passion that may get them all killed.   

Jamie Leigh Haden is the author of Spirit Seeker, a young adult fantasy. Jamie lives and writes near the seashore in North Carolina. She has a Bachelor's degree in philosophy. Jamie is currently working on An Unimagined Life, the sequel to Illuminate-Alive, She Cried. Get Illuminate-Alive, She Cried on Kindle here: http://goo.gl/g6qKF  or in paperback here: http://goo.gl/3V4Of

Jamie Haden www.jamiehaden.com