Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shame on Us! (The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)

Like everyone else, I'm aware of what happened in CT yesterday. Unlike everyone else, I haven't been watching 24 hour coverage of it. Nor have I been engaging in any discussion regarding it. In fact, I've kept quiet about the CT school shooting simply because I didn't want to get involved in the "politics" of it—which, sadly, is exactly what this is turning into. But I can't keep my mouth shut any longer. I'm appalled by some of the things I've been reading.
 
First of all, I'm totally disgusted and heartbroken over what has happened. I'd feel this way regardless if I had children of my own or not. If one more person says, "As a mom I'm heartbroken" or some variation thereof I might just snap. So, if you weren't a mom, you wouldn't be heartbroken?

Secondly, now that the tragedy is over (as some people have said) it's time to start playing the blame game. Thus far I've read people blaming guns, gun control law, autism, mental retardation, bullying, the loss of a girlfriend, and emotional nstability. Hmm, to my knowledge there's only one person/thing to blame: Adam Lanza: the man who pulled the trigger.

Apparently that isn't good enough though because now people are demanding to know why. Does it matter? Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? Knowing isn't going to change what happened. And history has shown us that even if we do figure out why it won't prevent future events like this from happening. I know that may seem harsh, but it's the sad, cold reality of the world we live in.

Furthermore, has anyone stopped to consider what the constant media coverage of this, the constant theories and speculation, is doing to these families? Do you think these families want to constantly relive this horrible event? I'm sure they're going to be doing that for the rest of their lives. They don't need the entire country doing it for them. Nor do we need to be giving this heartless killer any more of our time and attention than we've already given him. Hasn't he stolen enough from us?

We, as a society, as fellow compassionate human beings, need to stop sensationalizing this tragedy and allow these families to grieve for their lost loved ones. We need to let these families know that we support them, that we love them and that they are in our thoughts and prayers. Anything else is simply disrespectful to them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TEASER TUESDAY {11/6}: Death of a Waterfall

I'm starting a new thing here on my blog called "Teaser Tuesday". Every Tuesday from now on I'll share a small teaser of one of my books.  Teasers can (and will) be anything from blurbs to excerpts to character sketches.

For the first installment of Teaser Tuesday I'm going to give you the blurb for my newest novel, Death of a Waterfall, that is set to be released sometime in 2013.


Twenty year old, college freshman, Teghan Jacobs didn’t think anything could be worse than learning she’s pregnant by a man she’s been dating less than six months. Boy was she wrong. Her mother, whose drowning in the river of denial, refuses to take a side on the issue. Teghan is lying to all of her friends for fear of being ostracized by them. And her overbearing, manipulative father threatens to disown her and cut her off from her trust fund if she doesn’t have an abortion.

Donnie Marks couldn’t be happier. The woman he loves, the woman he fought so hard to be with, is going to have his baby. For him, life has never been better. But when Teghan shows up in his dorm room, sobbing and heartbroken, he learns the horrible truth of what happened to her and their child. He vows to get revenge by killing the one man whose responsible: Teghan's father.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: The Park Service


The Park Service | Paperback
 

Title: The Park Service
Author: Ryan Winfield
Publisher: Birch Paper Press
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Type of Review: Personal
Kara's Rating: 5 Kicks to the Heart

Blurb: Aubrey Van Houten is a 15-year-old misfit who spends his time reading and dreaming about the good old days above. Believing the planet uninhabitable after a global nuclear war, Aubrey's people live deep underground, begrudgingly working assigned jobs until they can retire at 35 to a virtual reality paradise. Through a series of curious accidents, Aubrey stumbles onto the surface and discovers a real paradise off limits: a pristine planet where humans are hunted and killed by a mysterious Park Service. Now, Aubrey must decide between his only friend, his true love, and his imprisoned people, as he struggles to find the courage to stand up to evil, no matter how pretty its face.


KARA'S REVIEW: This is Ryan Winfield's second book and it was highly anticipated by  a lot of people--myself included. I even attended his unveiling on Facebook. And I have to be honest, when I read that it was a young adult trilogy and that it was already being compared to The Hunger Games, my expectations plummeted. For those of you who don't know, I despised how horrible The Hunger Games turned out to be. So, needless to say when I read the description of The Park Service I had flashbacks of the anger and frustration I felt about The Hunger Games and the overwhelming urge to heave the book across the room. BUT, I am a devoted Ryan Winfield fan and I was determined to read his book.

Man, am I glad I did!! And it reaffirmed the lesson that you can't judge a book by its cover.

The Park Service is phenomenal and miles ahead of The Hunger Games in so many ways. First of all, I loved all of the characters. I truly felt for them and feared for them--I still do and it's been almost a full week since I've finished the book. Turning fifteen is difficult enough on its own, but to be thrust into some of the situations that Aubrey finds himself is heart wrenching.  There were so many scenes that stuck with me, but the one that still gives me chills to think about is the whale scene and the aftermath. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but be prepared to have a very emotional reaction. Which leads me into the second reason this book is so awesome...

Ryan has a way with words. He can describe the most gruesome, action-packed, heartfelt scene in such vivid detail without over doing it. He doesn't beat the reader over the head with details that don't matter, but gives us enough to get a picture in our minds of what is going on. I will admit, there were some parts that I felt the descriptions went on a little too long, but it didn't drag the story down and I know this is just my own personal "thing."

And finally, everything you think you know about a world without people---everything you think you know about a post-apocolyptic world---everything you think you know about how a dystopian YA novel is supposed to play out: Forget it. Forget all of it. As I was reading this I kept expecting, waiting, for certain things to happen. Based on the words and actions of the characters I tried to anticipate what was going to happen next. I was wrong every single time. The Park Service was a truly refreshing take on something that has been done to death. Now I'm really thankful it's a trilogy.

For anyone who has read my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads you'll notice I only gave this four stars. The reason I did that was because of the subject matter in certain parts. This is a YA novel and four things stick in my mind that made me question the appropriateness of this book for youth: (1) the bird/pigeon scene, (2) the whale scene and the aftermath, (3) the fox scene, and (4) Eden. So, I decided to share this with my 13-year-old daughter and she had absolutely no problems with it whatsoever. She said to me: "Mom, how do you think people survived before we had everything we have today? How do you think people who live in the jungle survive? It's the circle of life. Stop being so sensitive. It was just a book." (Gotta love her!) Hence, the reason for my now 5-star review. Sometimes you just need a little perspective.

Despite all the great things about this book, there was something bothering me. Ryan's first book, South of Bixby Bridge, was a very adult book dealing with addiction and the path to sobriety. How did he go from writing that to writing YA? And where did he get the idea for The Park Service. Well, I asked him just that and here's what he had to say:

"Several years ago I found myself at a lecture given by Wade Davis, an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, and he was talking about an interesting people who live in the Sierra Nevada of northern Columbia. The Kogi, he said, escaped to the glaciers of the high mountains to avoid being conquered by the Spanish. Considering themselves elder brothers of humanity, the Kogi select their priests when they are infants and raise them in the absolute isolation of stone huts, teaching them about the world they will protect but not even allowing a ray of sunshine to touch their skin. After 18 years of learning about the world outside this dark hut, the young priest is brought to a cliff where he watches the sun rise over the valley, seeing everything he has learned about abstractly for the first time in all its natural glory. Now, this image of learning about the physical world before seeing it, this idea of having one’s senses bombarded with the reality of our gorgeous planet all at once, that image stuck with me in a persistent question about how that might feel, about how it might change our relationship to everything around us. I had been doing character sketches on a boy I wanted to write about and somehow this fascination with the Kogi and their young priests worked its way into his story and The Park Service was born—born really in a dream."

That is hands down the best answer I've ever received to that question. =)

If you haven't read The Park Service yet, I suggest you get on over to Amazon and get a copy. It'll be worth it.





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Overcoming Burn-Out

Everyone has heard of writer's block--that pesky thing that seems to stall our creative juices. The elusive muse we wait for, but never comes. There are some people who say writer's block is nonsense. That it's nothing more than an excuse for writer's not to write. Then there are others who say that it's a serious obstacle all writers face at one time.

Well this post isn't about writer's block. It's about burnout.

Is there a difference, you ask?

YES!

On the simplest level, writer's block is a lack of ideas. Burnout is when an author has an abundance of ideas, but no desire to put those thoughts on paper. Okay, okay, so some people might argue that it's not burnout, but rather laziness, no ambition, procrastination, lack of motivation...And I suppose on some levels those are all accurate descriptions too.

However, I'm at a point where I feel burnt out. In the past seven months I've written four novellas, a full-length YA novel, and finished a full-length novel I'd been working on for almost two years. I feel like an addict coming off a high. I still have tons of ideas floating around in my head. I have half finished, almost started projects that are begging to be finished. I just don't have the motivation/desire/ambition to do anything right now.

So how do I get past this? Here are a few things I've been doing:

1. Relax. I feel as though I need to "reset" so to speak. I've taken a few days off from writing and have spent my time doing things I find relaxing such as taking a bubble bath, napping, taking a walk.

2. Read. Diving into a good book is not only relaxing, but I find it helps to give me the inspiration I need to want to finish my own book.

3. Write. That's right. Despite feeling burnt out, I still make myself write something every day. It might be a page or two of whatever project I'm working on, a blog post, emails to friends, journaling--it doesn't really matter as long as I'm writing something every day. This way, when I get my ambition back, I won't be rusty.

Whether it's writer's block or burn out, it's just a tiny speed bump that can be overcome.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's All About Perception

The best way to become a better writer is to read, read, and read some more. I've always been an avid reader, but I was the type of reader who would only read a specific author or genre. I was afraid to leave my comfort zone. However, once I started writing, I realized I had to expand my horizons. So lately, I've been reading a lot of different styles and genres by a lot of different authors. And I've learned something...

It's all about perception.

I recently read a book that was a great concept with very interesting characters, but the book was awful. I know that sounds like a complete contradiction so allow me to explain. As writers we have to decide how to tell the story-whose point of view will we let our readers see the story from. At first you might think, Well that's a no-brainer. Your main character, duh! Okay, now do you tell it from a third person perspective (he/she) or a first person (I/me)? Third person POV allows more freedom because we can jump from character to character and see things from different perspectives. First person, however, is much more personal. It's also very limiting in that we can only see things from one perspective.

That single decision can make or break a story.

The one I read that was awful had been written in a way so that the reader wasn't in anyone's mind and in everyones. It was like I was a fly on the wall observing everything from a neutral position. Now I'm sure that works in certain styles of writing, but I felt so disconnected from the story and I couldn't get emotionally attached to any of the characters because I didn't know what they were think or feeling.

Well, I've decided to challenge myself and experiment a little. I'm writing a series right now that's told in the third person and it's been fun. There is one scene in particular that I love and I've been able to show it through both the heroine and hero's POV. I'm going to share them with you here and pay attention to how the same exact situation can be perceived differently.

A little background first: Teghan gets into a sexy strangers car and takes a little joyride with him. They've never met before and they don't know each other's names.

FROM TEGHAN'S POV:
     Shutting off the engine he climbed out of the car and walked to the opposite side. He opened Teghan's door. "Come on," he said, offering her his hand.
     Teghan felt a chill work down her spine as she took his hand and got out of the car. Was he going to leave her out here on the side of the highway? He stood in front of her, blocking her from moving. His hands rested on the roof of the car on either side of her head and his face was inches from hers. She wasn't terrified though. In fact, she felt perfectly at ease. Somehow, she knew he wasn't going to hurt her.
     "It's your lucky night," he said, his eyes bearing into hers.
     She held his gaze while fighting the urge to kiss him. His lips were fit for an angel. They were lips meant to be kissed. Plump. Delectable. And totally forbidden. Oh what she wouldn't do for a taste of them. Just one small taste. She wouldn't even use her tongue. It couldn't be considering cheating then, could it? Teghan licked the desire from her own lips. "Why do you say that?"
     He brought one of his hands to her mouth and traced her lips with his index finger. "Because a lessor man would take what he wanted, what you were teasing with in the car."
     His body pressed against hers and she swore she could feel his erection poking her belly. Teghan let out the breath she didn't realize she'd been holding. "Maybe it was an invitation," she said. She squeezed her legs together, fighting the throbbing between her thighs.
     Their lips were a breath widths apart. God she ached for him to kiss her. She bit her bottom lip and looked up at him under her lashes. There was desire burning in her blue eyes. She could see it, feel it in his gaze.
     He quickly tugged her lip from her teeth and pushed himself away from her. "Lucky for you I'm a gentleman."

FROM BRADLEY'S POV:
     Shutting off the engine he climbed out of the car and walked to the opposite side. He opened Teghan's door. "Come on," he said, offering her his hand. She hesitated for the briefest of moments before taking his hand and getting out of the car. He waited until she was fully out of the car and standing before he put his hands on either side of her head, his palms flat on the roof of the car. Instinctively, he put his face only inches from hers.
     His heart felt like a freight train about to derail. What the hell was he doing? "It's your lucky night," he said. Is that the best line you've got? Moron! She stared up at him with an innocence that had him fighting every male urge in his body.
     "Why do you say that?" she asked.
     And then she licked her lips. Fucking Christ! He couldn't stop himself. He brought one of his hands to his mouth and traced her lips with his index finger. "Because a lessor man would take what he wanted, what you were teasing with in the car." Never in his life had he wanted to be one of those lessor men than he did right this second.
     He knew it was a mistake, but he did it anyway, and pressed his body against hers. She blew out a breath and her body trembled against him. It was like she pushed a button and voila! Instant erection. That was a first for him.
     "Maybe it was an invitation." She bit her bottom lip and looked up at him under her lashes.
     That look she was giving him was a clear cut, no questions asked, fuck me look. He groaned inwardly. God must be punishing him for something he'd done in another life. It was decision time. Do the right thing and take her back to the club or do the wrong thing, albeit fun, but wrong, and take her right here on the side of the highway?
     He quickly tugged her lip from her teeth and pushed himself away from her. "Lucky for you I'm a gentleman."

So, which perspective do you like better?
    

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ryan Winfield--One Fan's Perspective

Recently I read and wrote a post about my thoughts on Ryan Winfield's novel, South of Bixby Bridge. At first I had really mixed feelings about it, but after reading it a second time, I was thoroughly hooked.  In fact, looking back at it, I think I was a little harsh in my critique of his work. My apologies, Ryan. I truly did like your book and I've started to read it again (for the DM Book Club).

Anyway, after reading it the first time, I went back to Amazon and read other reader's reviews, I visited his website, and then I looked him up on Facebook. I promise I'm not stalking him--I do research on every author that elicits such a reaction in me. And it's purely research. I swear.

But, what I found interesting was on his website at the top of the homepage it states: * I respond personally to all messages from readers.

My first thought: Yeah, right. Okay. A guy who is climbing up the Amazon best seller list, a guy who has over 18,000 fans on Facebook is not going to respond to every email personally. He must get hundreds a day. It's impossible. Then I visit his Facebook page and he has a post that states he's willing to attend any book club that is currently reading his book. I'm sure you can imagine what my reaction was to that.

So, I did what any self-respecting skeptic would do: I called his bluff.

I emailed him, introduced myself, told him what I honestly thought of his book, and then very politely asked him to join the DM Book Club to discuss his book with us. I hit send and that was that. Hours, yes hours, later I had a response. It wasn't one of those blanket/form emails either, but a certified personal email from Ryan Winfield himself. Needless to say, I was thrilled and even a little giddy. He said he'd love to join all of us--Unfortunately, he doesn't have plans to visit this side of the coast anytime soon. This part of the email really, really bummed me out. However, he is more than happy to call or Skype with the DM's. Yay!

Ryan Winfield - 2
Kara Leigh Miller - 0

Okay, at this point, I thought that maybe this was just a fluke because, come on, no author could be this involved with his fans. I know what it's like to write a full-length novel. It's a lot of work and doesn't leave much time for other things.

Deciding to test my theory, I wrote a blog post about his novel and posted a link on his Facebook author page. Guess what he did? He visited my blog and left a comment. Oh, he also liked me on Facebook.

Ryan Winfiled - 4
Kara Leigh Miller - 0

By now, I'm feeling like such a shit for calling him out on everything he's claimed. Of course, it hasn't stopped me. Recently, another of his Facebook posts was an offer to send an autographed copy of his book to anyone who recommended it to their book club. I didn't hesitate to step up and ask for one. (I did after all convince the DM's to read his book this month.) Ryan responded to the post asking me to send him a private message with my address. I did.

Look at what I got today:


It reads: For Kerry--I'll see you on the South side of the bridge.

                                                                               
                                                                                           


 
Ryan Winfield - 5
Kara Leigh Miller - 0

Well done, Ryan, well done. You have humbled me and inspired me. I hope to one day follow in your footsteps and be as awesome to my fans as you are to yours. And in me, you have found a lifelong fan.







Friday, May 18, 2012

South of Bixby Bridge -- A bait and switch?

I was on Facebook a few days ago and one of those annoying little ads on the side of my news feed caught my attention. Normally, I ignore them, but this one I couldn't.  It read: If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, you'll love South of Bixby Bridge by Ryan Winfield. So of course I had to check it out. It was only $3.99 for the Kindle version. I bought it and started to read it the next day.

I finished within a couple of days and I have very mixed emotions about it.

First of all, I bought it because I was expecting it to be like Fifty Shades of Grey. I was expecting an intense love story with lots of graphic sex. South of Bixby Bridge didn't have any of that.  (I know, I know, shame on me for not reading the product description or any of the reviews before I bought it, but I'm really glad I didn't because if I had, I probably wouldn't have read it.)

Yes, it was a shocking, raw, gritty tail of addiction and the lengths one man will go to for a fix. Yes, there was a slight love story to it and yes, there was some sex in it. However, I didn't buy into the love story between the main character, Trevor, and his boss's wife.  I believe that Trevor had a physical attraction to her and that he was infatuated with the image she portrayed, but I just didn't find it believable that they loved each other enough to run away together.

As far as the sex goes, the author took a "fade to black" approach. He would clearly state that there was sexual activity going on, but he didn't give us any real descriptions. I found that to be a huge disappointment. Okay, I realize that coming from me, this is a very biased opinion. But seriously, considering how shocking the entire book was, a few really descriptive, hard-core sex scenes would've made it so much more awesome!

With all of that said, I'm glad I read it. I found myself both hating Trevor and rooting for him all at the same time. And even after having read the book almost a week ago, it still sticks with me. That's the sign of a great novel.

Now that I have an idea of what kind of novel this is, I'm going to re-read for what it is, which is not Fifty Shades of Grey, but that's okay. South of Bixby Bridge is a great novel by a very talented (and sexy) new author. I've already recommended it to a few people and I will continue to do so.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inspiration at the Ponderosa


Earlier this week a friend called to ask if I'd like to hang out and have lunch with her one day this week. I told her Wednesday was the only day I had available, but I'd like to.

Well, it's Wednesday. I woke up feeling really crappy and I immediately sent her a message asking for a rain check. However, as I sat here and looked at the pile of things I had to do (packages to mail, letters that needed stamps, a stack of cash to deposit, bare cabinets that needed groceries, etc) I decided I couldn't lounge around on the couch like I really wanted to. So, I forced myself to shower and get my butt out the door. No sooner than I sputtered into the gas station, she called and asked if I'd like to have lunch with her at Ponderosa. I agreed.

After running my errands, we went to Ponderosa Steakhouse for lunch. It was quiet and we had a lot of time to talk, which is always a nice, relaxing thing to do--sit and talk with a friend. As I ate way too much, I looked around and took note of the decor. All the cowboy hats, boots, paintings, horse statues, horseshoes, and every other horse and cowboy related decoration made me really want to write a cowboy romance. But that's neither here nor there right now. The best part of today was knowing I inspired a friend.

Shortly after I had dropped her off and came home, she called me and started asking questions about my writers group, The CNY Creative Writers Cafe, about blogging, and pen names. Now, we'd been talking about  her interest in writing for a few days, but today, I felt like she reached a turning point and is serious about writing. She also asked me if I'd be willing to read it over for her. (Any writer knows how big of a leap of faith that is.) Needless to say, I was honored and happily accepted.

Anyone can think about writing a novel or a memoir. Actually doing it, is something completely different. Despite the common misconception---it's not easy and it's not glamorous. But it's fulfilling. That alone makes all the struggles worth it.

So, to my friend: I wish you luck during your writing endeavors and I'm always just a phone call away should you need help or encouragement.

Monday, April 30, 2012

First Impressions Part I

To me, meeting a published author is much like the time I saw Paul Rudd at the acquarium in Washington, D.C. It brings on feelings of insuperiority, child-like giddyness, and awe. And I'm sure that those mix of emotions do not elicit the greatest first impression on my behalf.  But that's okay becuase this post is about the first impressions I got of a select few writers I've had the pleasure of meeting and groups I've joined.  

I have to start with the writers of my wonderful critique group, the CNY Creative Writers Cafe. This group has literally made me the writer I am today. So, thank you for that. The organizer, Emily Glossner Johnson is hands down the most kind and welcoming person I've ever met. From the moment I first attended this group, she made me feel at home and we've become such good friends in the year I've known her. Not to mention she's a very gifted and prolific writer who is destined for success.

Late last year, I joined the Romance Writers of America and began attending local chapter meetings of the Central New York Romance Writers.  My initial gut reaction to the men and women of the CNYRW--intimidating! I felt like I was in over my head, a fish out of water, working above of my paygrade and every other euphamism you can think of for feeling like I didn't belong. Listening to them speak with so much knowledge and confidence about writing and the publishing world was incredible and quite frankly, totally awesome. Yet, I felt completely beneath them and inferior. However, once I got over my own insecurities and feelings of low self-worth, I realized that this is a great group of people. Our chapter president, Gayle Callen, is amazing. She's so funny and down-to-earth and I really enjoy listening to her speak. She just seems so comfortable in her own skin. She also writes under the name Emma Cane. The list of published authors in the group is tremendous and joining was one of the best things I've done.

In March, The CNYRW hosted their annual mini-con, a one night, one day writers conference. It was during this that I had the pleasure of meeting this hilariously audacious Anne Stuart. She had the entire room in stitches from beginning to end. I loved her! And I recommend that everyone should hear her speak at least once.

Finally, I have to give a shout out to my new and very supportive critique partner, Giovanni Valentino. He keeps me on my toes and is always making me laugh. And I'm going to end with something he recently said to me: "This novel will either skyrocket you to stardom or villianize you." I guess either way it works out the same.....people will be talking about me =)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It only took me 32 years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life!

Death of a Waterfall
Chapter 4: When the Parents are Away, the Children will Play (*)


She walked up to her brother and stood inches from his face. “I swear to God if you tell Alex about this I’ll tell dad you’re planning on dropping out of law school,” she whispered vehemently.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In high school we were subjected to those long winded, and in my opinion, useless personality profiles that were supposed to help guide us into the right career path. I always fell into two categories: creative and scientific. Now, I know where my creativity comes from. I come from a long line of writers and I have inherited this love. Ida Tarbell proudly holds a branch on my family tree. My great Aunt Betty--she's been published. I've had several cousins published. An uncle. And my mom, she writes like it's nobody's business. Although she hasn't been published, she writes.
I'll be the first to admit, I'm one of those people that has to see it to believe it. And any time someone tells me something that seems absurd, my response is always, "Prove it." So, naturally, I went to college for science. I was going to be a veternarian! (I'm not, by the way.)
  That dream lasted exactly one and a half semesters.
   I decided it was time to re-group. I took some time off, worked retail for a while, had a baby, got married then realized I wanted to go back to school. But for what? I quickly realized that law was my new calling. I attended a two year community college and got my degree in Criminal Justice.  I didn't stop there. I went to a business college and got my degree in Paralegal studies. Upon graduating, I landed a job in a law firm.

That job lasted exactly seven months.

I was very disappointed and more than a little disillusioned to realize that the law isn't nearly as exciting as it's portrayed on television. There are no death penatly cases or smoking guns or defendants cracking on the stand and confessing their true crimes. So, I gave up the working world to be a stay-at-home mom.

Talk about culture shock. Being a stay-at-mom is twice the work as actually working nine to five. But, I digress....

During my years at home, I realized that I'd learned only one very valuable lesson: find something you're passionate about and then find a way to make money doing it.

And so I finally began to pursue my lifelong dream: to become a published author. Of course, at first I had delusions of grandeur. I was going to be the next Nora Robets or Danielle Steel. But I pulled my head out of the clouds and decided that I'd be happy if I could just publish one book before I die.

The fact that it only took me 32 years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life isn't too bad.....is it?