An Excerpt from Anya Drake’s Story

I recently started writing a series of short stories based on characters from For Their Sins. Many of the people have a lot of history that the reader never heard, or they got a small chunk that never had any real context to it. I thought I would use that opportunity to dive deeper into some of the main characters.

Anya Drake is the antagonist in For Their Sins. If you haven’t read the book and without giving too much away she taught Dracula how to be a vampire. But was she always rotten to the core or was there something that made her that way?

Here is an excerpt from her short story:

Lorcan found me in my dreams again and I was beginning to suspect these were more than mere dreams. He was already naked when he came to me. I tried to resist his touch, his kisses, even his whispered promises of pleasure. I simply couldn’t, it was as if he had some kind of power over me. My will power melted around him and I bent to his will. Very quickly we were having sex. It was wonderful sex, but I didn’t want Lorcan. I wanted Radu.

Lorcan must have felt my desire for him waning. As soon as he climaxed he focused on another way to bring me pleasure. He kissed along my stomach until he reached the folds between my legs. They were still swollen and throbbing from sex so as soon as he licked them it sent chills down my back. He doubled his efforts and soon his tongue was darting inside me. My fingers wound into the sheets and I barely refrained from screaming as I climaxed once more. He glanced at the window. “It’s still early do you want to know true pleasure?” Lorcan tempted. I hesitated.”Be young and beautiful always. Go anywhere you desire, my little Anya.” Still I hesitated. “Have any man you want.” He whispered it was so tantalizing. I wanted Radu. If this guaranteed it then I would do it. I nodded.

Lorcan pulled me close and bit my neck hard causing immense pain. Then there was a sort of euphoria as my life drained away. Soon I began seeing spots. My vision dimmed and went black completely. Then I tasted the worst thing I’d ever had in my mouth. It was vile, smelled like a rotting corpse, and burned my tongue like acid. I tried to spit it out; Lorcan would not let me. I nearly choked as the first mouthful trickled down my throat. The second went down a little easier. The third tasted better. By the fourth it was like honey. I lapped it up as quick as it would come. My vision came back and I saw Lorcan clearly even in the dark room. “Enough.” I felt his flesh healing pushing my teeth out of his skin. I had not even realized I bit him.

Then my whole body cramped. I shook violently then stopped. I couldn’t move I was a prisoner in my own body. “Don’t go anywhere my little Anya.” He laughed as he stepped out of my room and I prayed I was dreaming. I prayed I was having some horrid nightmare that I would wake from any minute. He returned a few minutes later with the maid in tow. “God won’t save you now, you are on the wrong side.” He snarled. “You need to feed this will help.” What was I supposed to do with a person? He threw the maid on the floor beside me and instinct took over. I attacked the poor woman with such savagery that I nearly tore her head off as I bit into her neck. Blood flowed into my mouth and I drunk it down in great gulps. My body uncurled and my heart stopped whatever horrible pattern it was in for one so slow you would hardly call it one.

I looked up at Lorcan. “More.”

He laughed. “I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me.”

For Their Sins Kindle edition is Free Friday 8/18 and Sat 8/19 A compilation novel with this and other short stories should be released in 2018

Freebie ∼ For Their Sins

For Their Sins will be free next Friday August 18 and Saturday August 19, 2017. This is your chance to grab a free copy of my award winning book. This first person narrative follows the life of Alexandria Diego, a very unconventional 300 year old vampire.

Summary:

Alexandria Diego never wanted to be special. She was content to lay in bed with her lover forever. One decision will change everything. Suddenly, Alexandria is launched into a life of infamy, which carries a heavy burden that only she can bear. When a vicious war between her people, the Venandis, and their rivals, the Morderes, breaks out it forces Alexandria to change her tactics and be more cautious. But, when her love is captured by the enemy, Alexandria risks everything to get him back.

 

Excerpt:

We attacked just before sunset; any Venandi was able to tolerate that much sunlight. But the Morderes were still asleep. Their slumber was an unnatural one, that of the dead, and would render them helpless. The familiars were easily subdued either by force or psychic powers. Savas slipped along the front of the villa knocking them out with a psychic blow while others came behind to tie them up and carry them away.

William, Nisha, and Savas were the first into the Villa, spreading out with a party following each. Our goal was not only destroy the coven, but feast as well. We fed on as many as we could, so we could feed the others waiting at the house. It was the first, of such experiences for me. In each room we swept into, Morderes were subdued as needed, but most were sleeping. Some of the latter were nailed into their coffins, to be carried home.

I was a step behind Savas as he engaged one Mordere with his blade and another with his mind. I knew then how dangerous he was. I pushed my way into the room fighting off an attack, forcing the male back as more Venandis rushed in behind me. I kept the Mordere occupied, toying with him, until the area was secure. Then I fed on him, a rich, sweet taste, full of evil that only a soulless creature could commit. Somehow Morderes had more blood than humans and I could not finish my prey. Savas gave me a sharp look and I knew I must, the blood was too precious to be wasted. I drank more than my fill and felt a lightheaded giddiness that I’d never experienced before. Removing the head was now beyond me. Savas gave me a knowing smile and did it for me.

“Take the heads outside, I think you can manage that. Be careful though there may still be some lurking. Lars watch her back she’s in blood tidal.” Lars got the same grin, grabbed two heads and followed me out.

The heads were stacked in one pile the bodies another. The sun would take care of both for us. I stretched looking at Lars. “What is the matter with me?”

“Blood tidal, too much blood, it makes you giddy like a human when they are drunk. It will pass.” He pulled his sword and stood guard for me. Savas came out a few minutes later with two Morderes, obediently following, eyes glazed.

“Lars get the chains,” even through my clouded thinking, I could see the trouble he was having with the psychic link holding them. Both Morderes suddenly launched at Savas. He was able to stop the closest one, but the other was still on the move. With his attention divided, he wasn’t able to stop him. My dagger was out of my hand before any of us realized it. The second Mordere was dead, my dagger pierced his heart. “My thanks, Lady Diego.” He punched the Mordere hard in the jaw rendering him unconscious for good measure. I gave a soft giggle, not fully realizing that I saved Savas’ life.

Check the blog later this week for excerpts from a series of short stories I’m working on telling the stories’ of other characters in Alexandria’s life.

Buy Now US

Buy Now UK

Triad

3.5-star-rating.

Triad by Guy Estes is a fantasy novel about three gifted people called Chosen. The Chosen are rarely born and there have never been three born at the same time before. They are gifted with long life, beauty, and a major and minor talent. In Triad two of the chosen are born with a major talent of the warrior and one of a sorcerer. One of the Chosen is destined to be taken, another exiled, and the third driven mad.

Triad focuses mostly on Aleena the Chosen warrior destined to be taken. Her journey through the badlands and back home again acts as the perfect metaphor for her personal journey and struggles. Aleena starts as a young girl riddled with guilt and unable to cope with her powers as Chosen. By the time she reaches home again she is a confident warrior woman who embraces what she is.

Aleena meets her Chosen warrior brother Anlon on her journey and their relationship is rocky to say the least. Anlon is headstrong and can’t control his temper. Everything is there for Anlon’s taking, or at least that’s what Anlon thinks. After the two part ways in a very disappointing way for Anlon he can’t let it go. From that point on everything in Anlon’s life is about hunting down Aleena for revenge.

Beazha is the third Chosen sister whose main talent is sorcery. Her presence is felt early in the book but she isn’t formally introduced until the book is nearly over. She seeks out Aleena after seeing visions of her brother’s conquests and destruction. Beazha’s secondary talent is that of the warrior which makes her a formidable foe. When the pair combines it takes overwhelming numbers to capture them. At Anlon’s fortress Beazha must face his sorcerer while Aleena deals with Anlon. It’s an all out fight with good coming out on top.

Triad has all the making of an epic fantasy with dragons, sorcerers, and ugly beasts. The world is magical and believable. Estes has a knack for world building and imagery that makes you want to turn pages. The same illustrative powers tend to get him into trouble and the descriptions bog down the story at times and I found myself skipping some of them.

If you like action this book has it in scores. Aleena and Anlon killed more people than an army. Most of the action sequences were well written with a few exceptions that were hard to follow. Unfortunately, one of those was the final battle between Anlon and Aleena. The main characters felt like restless spirits that were never content unless a sword was in hand. I’m sure this was intentional on the authors part however, it got somewhat tedious.

There were a couple loose ends in the book that were never addressed and even seemed ignored for convenience sake. Honestly the first didn’t have to be there at all and the plot would not have suffered. Aleena’s parents had some mysterious ailment while she was gone and an evil aunt swooped in to “care” for them. When Aleena returns they suddenly recover. It was never said if the aunt was to blame or some other cause. Second, Aleena earns the power of the dragon and never fully learns to control it. Seems like a wasted tool for a warrior.

Triad has realism and plenty of raw emotion that isn’t always seen in epic fantasy. A few hard to follow action sequences and tedious descriptions were detraction from the story. The plot was well thought out and the series has potential, so I am giving this book 3.5 stars.Overall if you want an action packed novel with plenty of violence and some gore this is the book for you.

Buy Now

If you want to find out more about Guys Estes or his work find him on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6207574.Guy_E_Estes

 

The Importance of Proper Review Requests from a Reviewers Perspective.

Review requests may seem like a tedious and pointless exercise but they are essential to getting reviews. Let me explain why. Even as a new reviewer I get several requests for reviews everyday. Right now four or five requests isn’t a lot and by any means overwhelming. However, I am not a full time blogger or reviewer. I have a full time job, two kids and writing of my own to do. I review books to build brand awareness and helpbook3 out fellow authors.

When I get a request I don’t want to do the work. I want all the information right there in the email I received. If there is additional content you think might interest a reviewer include a link; never rely on that for all your content and descriptions. If I am busy I won’t click it. If I have a lot of requests I won’t click it.

Unfortunately reviews like everything else today is a numbers game. Your request is easily lost in the crowd. Make your request stand out. Tell the reviewer (briefly) why you are a writer or why you wrote your novel, something, anything, (relevant) to grab their attention and make you stand out.

The other thing to keep in mind is to research your reviewer. Pay attention to their preferred genres so you aren’t wasting everyone’s time. If the reviewer says they will book1consider books outside their genre you should send reasons in your query to convince the reviewer to try your book. Unfortunately, your book is a harder sell than the others. You should also remember if a reviewer typically reviews fiction they probably aren’t your best bet for a non-fiction review unless they specifically list it in their preferences.

I face the same problems every other does. I send out requests and never hear back. Assume if you don’t the answer is either no or not yet. Be patient and wait. Search Goodreads and other internet forums for other sources but never give up. In this blog entry I have included a bad example of a request as well as a sample letter of what I send out.

Not so good:

I found your name on a book review website and am looking for feedback on my YA fantasy. You seemed to like that genre and was wondering if you would like to read it?

What I sent out:

Name,
I am an indie author requesting a review of my second book “For Their Sins”. It is a paranormal fantasy that has a slightly different twist on vampires. It is told from a first person perspective and covers the life of one 300 year old vampire. It was a fun project and a great stretch of the imagination. The ebook format is 428 pages long. It is also available in paperback  and I would be happy to send it in what ever format you desire. The link to the Amazon listing for further content and cover is listed  here.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0716SVRDS The summary is below. 
Alexandria Diego never wanted to be special. She was content to lay in bed with her lover forever. One decision will change everything. Suddenly, Alexandria is launched into a life of infamy, which carries a heavy burden that only she can bear. When a vicious war between her people, the Venandi, and their rivals, the Mordere, breaks out it forces Alexandria to change her tactics and be more cautious. But, when her love is captured by the enemy, Alexandria risks everything to get him back. 
It does contain some mature content. 
I would love for you to read it and hope that you enjoy it. Please let me know if you are interested. 
Thanks
R. Tran
I would be happy to answer questions or offer any advice I can. I haven’t been an author long and I’ve had to learn everything as I go. I would be happy for any advice that others can offer me as well.

My Heroes by Guest Author Katie Hart

After reading a book there are two things that always stay with me-the trouble maker (villain) and the peace maker (hero). Character wise, some books really surprise thumbnail_OC Fliker (2)me because some characters can turn out to be heroes in their own right even without saving the day or slaying dragons. For me a hero is someone who acts with his or her heart and in the simplest ways tries to make the world a better place. This got me thinking of my own novel Finding Destiny and who my heroes in the story are. So I thought I’d introduce a few of them.Let’s talk about my robot friends Fumble and Flicker. Fumble has a history that even surprised me when I finished writing his scenes. But to know more about his past you’d have to read the book. However, Fumble is first introduced when protagonist Alex lands himself a visit to the Field of Difference. Fumble goes above and beyond to help Alex find his missing daughter and helps him get back to his family.

 

 

 

thumbnail_Alex

Flicker is one of the first robots, Alex encounters in the story. He helps Alex settle into his new life and shares with him the secret of the curse that would take Alex on a journey to save his family.

Both Fumble and Flicker are heroes to me because they are capable in seeking alternate ways in complex situations. Fumble doesn’t believe in hurting flesh beings and Flicker will do what he must to try help people, especially Alex. They both stand proud in whatever they do and always ready to defend the city against the half-breeds- half- human, half- owls. But they also believe in playing fair. I love their outlook in life and their supportive ways.

Next comes, Missy Talk Alot, another hero or heroine. Now readers might think she is __missy_talk_a_lot_____commission_by_justsilvia-d7mxw0ma funny choice to call a hero. She’s not always nice to people and she was manipulated by Dragonstar and does try to drown Alex. But she has a heart in her doll body somewhere and by the end of her journey in Quill City I do believe she finds her inner hero. She was one of my favourite characters to write about.

Who I see as heroes in books are characters that can spread goodness, in little ways. Like Blossom, Alex’s goodness fairy, whose purpose is to spread goodness to all who needed help. I also have a place in my heart for those heroes who start out cold-hearted and don’t wantto help at all. Then they change over the course of the story and find a way to expose their inner goodness.

There are characters in stories, that may not be intended as heroes but their actions reflected their good deeds and it’s interesting to see them grow up with the story. So who are your heroes in books that you’ve read and why? Leave a comment and share their stories.

 

Finding Destiny

 

thumbnail_Finding-Destiny lr (1)

When eighteen year old Alex’s little sister’s pony goes missing, he sets out to look for her and finds himself in a strange gypsy camp in the middle of a forest. The pony is being cared for by a young girl called Faith. When Alex accepts a drink from Faith’s grandmother, he wakes up later to find himself transported into 2038 to a technologically-advanced, very colourful world inhabited by humans and robots.

Alex soon discovers that he is now twenty, married and has a magical little baby girl. A magic he only seems to notice. He soon finds out that he will have to defend his little girl from the half-breeds with everything he has. He travels back through the magic pages of books to try and save her before it is too late and she is lost from him forever.

 

Author Bio

Katrina Hart aka Katie lives in the East of England with her family and her two hyper cats Holly and Smokey. Katie always has a passion for reading and could spend her entire life engrossed in good books. During her online writing course, she fell in love with her own created stories. This led to the creation of Finding Destiny, her first fantasy novel. Finding Destiny is the first of her many published novels and is available in both Ebook and paperback version. She loves writing all the time particularly during the late nights when magical stars are out in the sky.

You can find out more about Katie and her work at the following links:

Blog: : http://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com Website:

http://katrina134.wixsite.com/muses/short-stories

Twitter: @KatrinaHart2015

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Katrina-Hart-1785712648319624/ Finding Destiny

EBook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Destiny-Katrina-Hart-ebook/dp/B00U1WUFSE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 Finding Destiny

Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Destiny-Katrina-Hart/dp/1543052487/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1499734448&sr=8-2&keywords=finding+destiny Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Katrina-Hart/e/B013KPPUGK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 Finding Destiny’s

promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ3dH0NXa9w

Lustre (A Witchlight Novella): Witch in haste…

3.5-star-rating.

Lustre by Jaime Munn is a novella about Nilla Hayes, a witch fueled by sugar. After a disappointing breakup with her girlfriend, who happened to be a werewolf, she’s short on cash and in search of a distraction. A two line text lands her in an unwilling and binding contract with an angel. In Nilla’s world angels aren’t the good guys we are all used to. While Nate the angel is gorgeous he is also a collector of those with supernatural abilities. The book didn’t quite make it clear exactly how the relationship with his collection worked but Nate seemed to gather his subject’s powers and use them for himself giving them a normal life. For some its a blessing, for budding witches like Nilla angels are usually avoided. When one of Nate’s collection gains powers he wasn’t supposed to and suddenly starts killing people Nilla is recruited to find him. Nilla has the normal missteps of any heroine along the way and the book has an unusual twist with a happy ending.

Some of the concepts in this novella were quite new and intriguing. I rather like the idea of a witch converting sugar into magic. It certainly explains where all the raw energy could come from instead of some mysterious force in the universe. An angel as the antihero but not the villain was a great twist as well. Nate wasn’t evil per-say but  he wasn’t someone I would invite for dinner.  That he was scary powerful was a given and Nilla kept reminding the reader throughout the book.

There were a few writing issues that could mostly be overlooked; just a sentence or two that had to be re-read to understand what the author was trying to say. I really enjoyed the novella for the most part. It was the ending that killed me and pulled down the rating; it felt very anti-climatic. The author spent alot of time building up the heroine the angel and the villain. He set clear expectations of what they could and could not do. He also made sure you were sufficiently scared of his villain. Nilla and her friends go into the last “battle” ready to die and nothing happens. There is no fight, no argument, and no real magic on Nilla’s part. (Spoiler Alert) She laid a trap and it worked. Nate came and took care of everything the end. Granted it was a neat and tidy ending and probably the most logical way for it to end but readers don’t like neat and tidy. At least I don’t like neat and tidy. Its probably too many years reading epic fantasy. Who knows?

It won’t keep me from reading another Witchlight Novella but another ending like that would. For the most part its a good quick read with some interesting ideas. A side story on Nate might be an interesting read as well Jaime.

Buy Now

Find out more about the author at:

http://www.jaimemunn.com/

http://fb.me/fantasynextdoor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15997812.Jaime_Munn

Lost Without a System?

Getting a novel out of my head and to publication is usually harder than it should be. I don’t have a formalized system and rarely make notes. I also hand write them and have to go back and type manuscripts at a later point. For this example I will show you how I developed the idea for my novel “For Their Sins”.

Most of my novels start out with a random thought or idea that gets stuck in my head. In this case it was the idea of having two types of vampires, some that had children and some that reproduced through a bite. The idea was stuck in my head for days as I asked myself questions like it was a game. Most would call this my brainstorming phase, but I never write anything down; probably because a lot of my thinking is done while driving or in the shower. When you’re a busy mom you take quiet time when you can get it. My questions were things like: Who is my hero/heroine? What was the problem he/she was trying to solve? What is the setting?

Once some of the major questions were answered I tried to think of major plot points. In this case I knew I wanted Alexandria to be my heroine and for her to be fighting the Mordere, which is bite in Italian. I knew the Venandi, which is Latin for hunting, would be charged with finding sinners and sending them to their judgement. But I needed anchor events before I could start. So I asked more questions and eventually came up with her childhood, her affair with Collin, Savas’ fight with the Impaler, and the showdown with Anya. Even though it may not sound like much it was enough to get me started.

I like to write organically and see where the story takes me. That’s exactly what happened with this novel and it led me down paths I had not intended. Alexandria’s first love affair was not planned it just sort of happened. Another character was killed off that  I originally did not intend to. Then there were entire sections and a whole ending that had to be re-written. It doesn’t bother me though. When I try to plan every thing I can’t seem to write and even when I do it feels forced, so I just don’t do it. If I have a really great idea I will take notes though and reference it later.

One of last steps before editing is typing. Yes I still hand write the majority of my IMG_7155manuscripts in this day and age. I do so for a couple reasons. One: I can take a notebook anywhere, and I mean anywhere. Most of my lunch breaks are spent in my car or at the fast food joint in work eating while writing or reviewing what I’ve already written. It’s a lot harder to do with a laptop. Two: I love the feel of an ink pen gliding over paper. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to see the notebook pages dwindle away as my writing fills it.

Editing, re-reading, editing, title and cover design are always my last steps. Usually by the time I reach editing I have already read the original document at least three or four times. I never know what kind of last minute changes I may want to make so I always do so again. In this case I rewrote the ending just a day or two  before publishing. The original ending never felt right so I changed it.  Then I read the last several chapters again editing it as needed and “For Their Sins” was ready for the world.

It’s not a system or a formal process but this crazy method works for me. I’m sure there are plenty of authors and English teachers out there screaming at me now to do things properly. I give those people my sincerest apologies; I simply can’t do it. Perhaps one day I will try it your way. For now I will take the magic when it happens and not try to force it.

A Few Good Books

Like most people I started reading when I was a kid. I loved it. My favorite stories then were by R.L. Stine. I couldn’t get enough. Why I loved being too frightened to go to bed at night I don’t know, but I think that was only part of it. R.L. Stine always created a story that drew the reader in. I could picture myself in his story. The words weren’t static letters on a page they became images in my head. Most of his books also had a good

book3

mystery to them too. I always found myself turning the pages and never wanting to put the book down.

In my early teens I stopped reading. I don’t remember why. Perhaps it was simply because my teachers and parents wanted me to read, so I didn’t want to. I can’t remember. Then some one handed me Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice at the beginning of my junior year of high school. The obsession with reading was back. Once again letters were no longer inanimate objects. They danced off the page forming movies in my head.  I read through Queen of the Damned before Christmas break and the books are so much better than the movies.

Then I was introduced to the Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. At first I was intimidated, it’s 800 pages long. Once I got started I couldn’t stop. I fell in love with fantasy novels and I had a little bit of a crush on Richard Rahl. After that I was hooked. Ibook2 read any fantasy book or novel I could find that sounded interesting. I tend to like magic over swords and heroines over heroes. Magical races are always intriguing to me so if they are included it is an automatic bonus.

My favorite book of a all though is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. If you haven’t read it you really should. It’s one of those classic books people put on their book shelves to look smart like Shakespeare, I love his tragedies by the way, but its worth the read. Its another long read even the abridged version is well over 800 pages. I loved every bit. The story has everything, revenge, love, a hero, a villain, a princess. It is epic fiction and the movies have yet to get it right. They keep trying to improve perfection, it can’t be done.

My Goodreads profile has a listing of most of the books that I can remember the names and authors for the books I read. I assure you there are many more that I am missing. I read a lot of books from the library and can’t remember their names. The list is eclectic ranging from classics to romance novels. I love any book that has the ability to draw me in and make me feel a part of it. Most of them have their own unique world. New ideas and spins on old ones are always a must for me.

As I said earlier when I read a good book I see it in my head like I’m watching a movie. When I write it is exactly the same way. I see entire scenes of my books played out before me repeatedly  until I get it just right and written down on the page.  I get inspiration from other authors and their books.  I draw on what I’ve read to help me figure out how to piece my scenes together, or how to fix a problem in my own work. Now, most of the time I am either reading or writing. even my lunch break is spent eating over a notebook writing or a book reading. I wouldn’t have it any other way.book1

A Look at Mara

When I started writing the novel I was 18, which explains why the heroine is so young. She was part of me and yet so much more. When you create a character you can make them anything you want so why not make yourself into what you’ve always wanted to be. It was my therapy and my world. So Mara became a tall, fit, smart, redhead that could kick ass. She was braver and tougher than I would ever be. Being a tomboy and her personality were the only pieces of me she inherited.

In earlier drafts she was less mature and more playful. It didn’t quite fit a young woman focused on revenge or a trained soldier. What did seem to work was her naivety when it came to men and the budding romance that takes place. Sadly that too came from personal experience. Later edits aged her personality and matured her enough to make her character more believable.

From the beginning I knew she would be plagued by nightmares of what happened to her. Her driving force if you will. I also knew she would have a close group of male friends. Her special talent (sorry no spoilers here) was there before she was. But, Many other things happened organically. I can’t tell you how many times I wrote myself into a corner and had to cross out a scene.

Mara is always one step out of sync with the others. Not quite the outsider, but always different from the others for one reason or another. I’ve felt like that my whole life and now I’ve passed that no to Mara as well.

My Inspiration for the Rasade’

I wanted to give you a little more insight into the inspiration for the first two books in this series. My father died due to medical malpractice when I was sixteen. He was in the hospital a few years before, so when he went this time, after being sick for three weeks, I didn’t think anything of it. To a sixteen year old girl your dad seems indestructible. He was there about eight hours when the doctors called and told us to rush to the hospital. By the time we go there he was gone. His cardiologist told my mother what was really wrong with him and it was not what our family doctor had been treating him for. Had he been diagnosed and treated correctly he would have lived.

I’m not telling you this to make you sad. I just want you to understand the loss. I grew depressed, and unable to understand why this happened. I wouldn’t admit it anyone, especially not my mother. She would have taken me to a psychiatrist. It would have made me even more of an outcast than I already was. So I cried myself to sleep and acted normal during the day. I met a boy (who is now my husband) and even he didn’t know.

Then one night there was an idea. What if a girl could get revenge? I ran scenario after scenario through my head until one felt right. I put pen to paper and began to write. Soon I found my hurt was less as Mara’s character developed. My anger waned as the binder grew thicker. It took two years of self prescribed writing therapy to finish the manuscript, but we both came out whole.