I’ve been thinking a lot about fairytales lately. My new series, the Chronicles of Nerissette, is based on a group of teenagers who get sucked through a book of fairytales in the library and end up in a magical world that’s on the brink of civil war. As I was writing these books I spent a lot of time pouring over fairytales and fairytale retellings, trying to figure out what it was that made them resonate. What is it about princesses locked in towers and brave princes on white horses that sticks with us. Then I found a quote by G.K. Chesterton and it seemed to sum it up for me:

“Fairytales don’t tell children that dragons exist; children already know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell children that dragons can be killed.” ― G.K. Chesterton

The problem was—in my books, the dragons are the good guys. Not to give away too big of a spoiler—it’s pretty obvious really if you’ve gotten past about page 3—but the love interest in my series is a dragon. But I rolled the quote around in my head and I realized that old G.K. had it half right. It’s not the dragons we need fairytales for—it’s the evil that the dragons in old school fairytales were meant to embody. And I think that’s what fairytales and Harry Potter and all those stories that resonate for us is that all of them show us the same thing—that in the end the good things in life—love, friendship, loyalty—they can defeat the evil things.

Once I figured the whole psychological thing out I realized that I didn’t love fairytales any less because I’d figured them out. I realized I loved them more. And because I love fairytales and their retellings so much I’ve put together a list of my top 5 favorite fairytale retellings and I hope you love them as much as I do.

1.)The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor – this is the first book in a trilogy that sees Alice in Wonderland taking on a whole new, steampunk feel. A relatively late comer to this series (I picked all three books up off the bargain table at a Barnes and Noble) and spent an entire weekend going “not now I’m reading”. Now whenever my husband sees one of them on my nightstand he just plans on ordering pizza to feed him and the kids.

2.)Enchantment  by Orson Scott Card—I’m not a fan of his politics but I don’t think anyone can deny that Orson Scott Card can write one heck of a story and in my honest opinion this one leaves Enders Game in the dust. A retelling of Sleeping Beauty that’s set in Post-Soviet Russia it involves time travel, a talking bear with one eye, Baba Yaga and a disappearing 747—all of it told from the poor confused hero’s POV.

3.)Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine—Who doesn’t love a good Cinderella story? And one with a couple of inept fairy godmothers who keep screwing things up? The story would be a keeper just from that but throw in spunky Ella and her view on the world and that just makes it a classic as far as I’m concerned.

4.)Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire—Before the musical there was the book. Wicked embodies the spirit of “the winners write history” better than any other book I’ve ever read.  This book tells things from the other side though and it changed how I watched the Wizard of Oz from that day forward.

5.)Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce—Little Red Riding Hood with an ax to grind—quite literally. Scarlett and Rosie are characters that captured my heart and sort of made me wish I could have traded my brother in for a sister back when we were young.





One of Those Odd Weeks

So it’s been one of those odd weeks. Oldest started school and that means we’re all back on the grindstone. Sure, I have youngest at home with me but it’s different somehow.

When Oldest is off school I work on a sort of as-needed/when the mood strikes sort of way. If I have a deadline or I have some free time and I want to write I do. Otherwise I try to act like a school teacher and enjoy having a summer vacation. I spend time with my kids. We hang out by the pool. I purposely make sure I do the one thing that I told my boss I wanted to do when I quit my last corporate job. I spend more time with my kids and less time working– that’s a luxury that I get as a full time author and I tend to exploit it like mad over the summer.

Now though, Oldest is back to school and I’ve been back to actually working for a week. I spent all of last Sunday getting prepped. I have goals. And a to-do list. A calendar of plans and scheduling and deadlines. I have a kanban flow board on the web that lets me track the progress of each and every one of my projects. I have engineered myself into a place of complete focus. And that works for me. I’ve written more this week than I have all summer—not counting the times I was on deadline—and my brain is chattering with new ideas and plots and I’m more energetic than before.

But there’s still this part of me that keeps glancing out toward the pool. Missing popsicles and water gun wars.

I love my work and the life it lets me have, but man I won’t lie and say there are times that I wish that summer wouldn’t ever end.


Everlast was released Tuesday. After two years, three houses, and a dozen rewrites the girl who soared into my head on the back of a dragon has finally been unleashed—with her dragon—on the world.





Is It Time For School To Start Yet?

Summers are a mixed blessing around my house. The kids love the fact that they’re out of school (and who can blame them?) but my Oldest is a competitive swimmer so summers for us aren’t like they are for normal people. From the day school lets out until the end of July we’re at the swimming pool at the crack of dawn 6-7 days per week. Yeah, you read that right. Every day. Five days a week of practice and then a swim meet on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday). All through June and July.

Then there’s August. August is known as the Month of Culling in our house. August is when I finally get a chance to get the house clean because I haven’t had time in June and July. August is when laundry finally becomes caught up. August is also the time my in-laws visit. So add that in. And family vacation has to be squeezed in as well. So for the first three weeks my house is a flurry of cleaning, cooking, packing, unpacking, and recleaning. Then comes school shopping (and man is that fun with two kids who outgrow everything?) and getting them ready to go back.

But the first day of school? That my friends is a holiday. This year I plan on spending it on Colin Firth movies. Or possibly marathoning Sons of Anarchy episodes. Then again I might cherry pick SOA episodes so I can make sure to get all the episodes where Charlie Hunnam and Theo Rossi are taking clothing off. And then I might be able to fit some Colin Firth movies in. Either way, the first day of school involves me, in my jammies, on the couch, thanking the deities above that I have nine months to get caught up and refreshed before summer starts again.

We Are Disney World Bound

I know that I haven’t blogged in a while because of the insanity going on here with getting 3 books out the door in edits, Oldest’s swim season and all the other various stuff going on. But summer is almost over and it’s time to get the blog going again.

But first? This week, this week I’m on vacation in Florida so make sure to check my Facebook and my Twitter feed so you can check out the pictures of all the things I’m doing while I’m not writing.


PS I didn’t even take my computer this week so that’s pretty amazing if you think about it—I don’t think I’ve been without my laptop for years. Like seriously years.


Anyway, have fun peeps. I’ll see you in a week

Searching For New Heroes and New Ways of Finding Inspiration



So right now I’m trying to plot ahead (because my plotting stage is exceptionally intense) and I’ve been searching about for new heroes. Especially paranormal heroes. So I’ve been going back to the classics. And when you’re a romance writer the classics are Jane Austen and Shakespeare and the Bronte Sisters but even more than that you can go back to the original sources—places like mythology, folk tales, fairytales, the Bible even works but blame my Catholic upbringing that just seems weird to me. And I have a ton of ideas. A ton of them. Now as I dig through tumblr and pinterest and all these other places looking for visuals to help sculpt these stories in my head I’ve also got to figure out music and plot and who I would cast (I told you my plotting stage is exceptionally intense) and then if the story is even worth writing. And those are the days that I’m incredibly jealous of the authors who tell you that a story came to them in the shower (I’m looking at you Jennifer Armentrout) and it is just stunningly complete. Because that’s not me. For me, it’s a grueling process and right now it seems I’m spending about an hour to two hours a day working through that process so that in six months I’ve got something to write.

What about you, other authors? Do you have a process or do things come to you fully formed? Do you go searching for visuals to fit your stories when you plot them?

And readers, what kind of classical heroes and heroines do you like to see revamped?

Meanwhile, attached at the top is the visual that my lovely friend Tracy came up with for the Upper YA/New Adult I’m working on and below is attached a sample playlist that I’m using when I write it.

Mission Prom Short Playlist


This past Friday, to celebrate my wedding anniversary, as a sort of surprise to my hubby we went to DC (that wasn’t a surprise he was driving) but  before we went I bought tickets for us to go to the International Spy Museum so he could see the exhibition on 50 Years of Bond Villians.

Yeah, I know. Even I got a bit weak kneed at that idea. 50 years of Bond Villians. A complete look at every bad guy, all the really cheeky named villain chicks.

Let’s see, since I couldn’t take pictures inside (which made me really sad) here’s what we saw: Ian Fleming’s typewriter (PS I would totally write awesome thrillers if I had an estate on Jamaica, just saying); Goldfinger’s golf shoes; THE SELF DESTRUCT LEVER; sharks; Xenia Onatop’s uniform; and how is it that I forgot that Mads Mikkelsen was Le Chifre in Casino Royale. I totally forgot that until I walked up to his picture and went Holy Crap, Bond faced off with a cannibal! Which led to a very intense debate on who would win between Hannibal Lecter and James Bond in a bare knuckle fist fight.

Hubby says Bond because well Bond. I’m going with Hannibal—my guess is that he wouldn’t be above biting to win. And Daniel Craig does look kind of yummy.

You don't gnome me

You don’t gnome me

Happy 9th Anniversary to My Darling, Wonderful, Lovely Husband

Just a short blog post today to wish my darling husband of  nine years a

Happy Wedding Anniversary.

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Nine years ago Wednesday you stood up in front of way too many people


promised to do a lot of highly improbable things


not only have you managed every one of them you’ve done more.

wedding 1

You’ve loved me through thick and thin, sickness and health, richer and for power


you’ve even endured the crazies that come with being married to an author.

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You’ve cooked dinners and watched children at night and rubbed my shoulders


built websites and designed book swag and read romance novels


listened to me moan and whinge about why plots aren’t working


let me bounce ideas off of you


you’ve had way too many dinners spoiled by conversations

about my art.

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And I never say that I love and appreciate you nearly enough.

So here it is:

honeymoon 1

Thank you for being my soul mate


for making every single day one that I want to wake up to.

I love you. And here’s to 91 more years.

wedding 2