Sunday, December 23, 2012


It's hard to believe that we only have about a week left in 2012. The time went so incredibly slow until recently, or at least it felt that way for me. I cannot believe I haven't posted in over a month, either! With finals and graduation, time certainly flew right by. I accomplished a lot this year and made a lot of amazing new friends. 2012 was definitely a good year, and I think 2013 will be even better.

I was thinking about what my New Year's Resolutions should be and I realized that I couldn't even remember what my 2012 resolutions were. So I dug back in my blog archive to find the post. Here they are, with added comments showing how they turned out.

1.) Be more organized. Haha...not even close. I'm just as unorganized and scatterbrained as I was at the end of 2011. Though I have learned to keep all of my work and school stuff neat and tidy. I re-saved all of my finished novels and my WIP to certain easy to access folders and my school stuff is organized in boxes and binders.

2.) Be healthy. I achieved this one! I lost 15 pounds this year, though I think it was mostly from stress more than diet and exercise. 
3.) Edit a book once it's done. Yes for this too. I learned the lesson of not being able to self-edit. I do not do this anymore at all.

4.)Be neater. I'll say yes but my husband will say no...and so will the stack of dirty dishes I just put in the sink.

5.)Get all A's. I got a few B's but I'm not unhappy about it.

6.)Write at least 2 books. Did this one. Really I wrote 2.5-ish. I completed two books and started writing four others. I've put 3 of the 4 projects on hold until the 3rd Contagium book is done.

7.)Sew. I made several costumes and started an account on as a stock model so I have more of a reason to wear costumes.
8.)Read. Sadly, I didn't get to read very much while in school. The first thing I did after graduation was buy 3 new books :) 

So this year I'll have to come up with some more challenging goals/resolutions. I already can tell you that one high on the list is finish the Contagium Series. That is really bitter sweet, really. I will probably put off writing the final chapter so the book can stay open in my mind. I'm happy I'm writing four instead of three, or else I'd be working on the end right now!

I will come up with another list and post it soon. I hope you all have a merry Christmas! :) Has anyone else come up with resolutions?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide

One of my favorite things that I get to do when writing any book is research. Ok, maybe that's a little weird and I just proved that I am a huge nerd, but it's actually really fun to learn new things and it's really important to me that my characters know what they are talking about. I've learned a lot of probably useless information about a lot of random things and I know quite a bit about water mythology after writing Beyond the Sea. I actually own a TON of spell books, magical herb guides, magical crystal encyclopedias, divination guides, tarot cards, and runes. I think that stuff is fascinating of course and I also research what Anora's saying/doing. I like facts and getting them straight. 

My research sometimes includes not looking up information in books but instead doing something. I shot a LOT of different guns and even made my own 'zombie heads' to watch explode when hit with different objects. I watched many tutorials and talked to people who do archery so Orissa accurately uses her beloved compound bow. (I just started archery lessons from a friend!) I did a lot of running around and acting out scenes for the Contagium Series too; my friends and I had fun with that! I put 'important items' in bags to test the weight and to see how difficult it was to run/move/fight with those things attached to my body. I felt like I hit the jackpot for gross wound research by being in nursing school and having the chance to go to a wound clinic. I was able to talk to doctors, nurses, and my professors about medically 'realistic' zombies, and I have a very smart friend who has her master's in psych and went over my Phineas Gage crazy theory with me. I run all my fictional medical situations by an experienced ER nurse (who is awesome to help me with that!) to make sure everything is as it should be. 

So, because I was able to put myself into fictional zombie situations and learn what works and what doesn't, I've put together a list of the top ten things I've learned from writing the Contagium Series.

Top Ten Things I Learned from The Contagium Trilogy:

1.) “Preparation is the key to survival”. Have an emergency food stash, weapons, and ammo at the ready. The worst thing to happen during a ZA is to not be ready. Running through your plan will up your chances of making it out alive.

2.) Avoid big cities. Large human population = large zombie population. It's best to have a 'meeting place' of sorts already picked out. Get out of the city!

3.) Be resourceful. Hotwiring cars, picking locks, and making Molotov cocktails in the basement with Grandpa might have gotten you arrested before the zombies, but those skills just might just save your life now. Learn how to adapt what you know.

4.) Wear appropriate clothing at all times. You don’t want to get stuck in the ZA wearing a sexy nurse costume and high heels. 

5.) Include a hot doctor in your group of survivors. God knows you’ll need medical attention at one point or another. It is the ZA after all. (It won't hurt if he has a sexy accent either!) 

6.) Finding a group of good looking soldiers won't hurt either. Having others who know how to handle a gun increases your chances of survival.

7.) Safety in numbers…says zombies (they are quite fond of traveling in herds). When it comes to fast getaways, the more is not always the merrier, so know who in your group can slow you down. Be prepared to leave them or save them…repeatedly. 

8.) Know how to live off the land. Face it: all the supplies you've gathered are going to run out at some point. Knowing how to raise livestock, the ins and outs of farming, and how to identify edible wild plants will be the difference between life and death.

9.) Invest in high quality bow and arrows. Not only is killing zombies next to silent with the quiet whisper of a bow slicing through skulls, but you can get your ammo back. (Just remember to clean off the brain matter).

10.) And finally, under NO circumstances should you seek shelter from a tornado in a parking garage! Those places were creepy before the outbreak. Trust me when I say tornadoes zombies, and blindingly dark parking garages DO NOT mix!

Is there anything you want to add to the list? Let me know in a comment! :) 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Contagium updates

It's been a while since I've written a real post. A lot has happened in that time, a lot of stuff that's not too exciting as well as some pretty exciting news. First of all, I want to thank everyone who participated in the Reaper cover reveal blog tour. I had meant to compile a list of bloggers, but I've been sick for two weeks now and have fallen behind on pretty much everything. I have asthma, so when I get a cold it turns into a respiratory tract infection and then bronchitis (and sometimes pneumonia) pretty easily. Yes, I know how much this will suck in the ZA. I'm considering growing penicillin in my basement for this very reason. Preparation is the key to survival, remember? I have a bad habit of ignoring feeling sick and hoping it will go away. Makes no sense when you remember I'm in nursing school. I know the pathophysiology of bronchitis. I know I'm susceptible to it. Yet I ignore it and then end up really sick. Which is where I'm at now. I'll live and learn someday...I hope!

Speaking of school, I have a little over a month left until graduation! Yay! I cannot wait to be done but I'm nervous at the same time. Graduation means taking boards (which I'm really not too worried about...I've done well in school; boards shouldn't be any worse) and getting a job as a nurse. I'm really looking forward to working and being able to take care of patients. Once I don't have studying and homework, it should free up a lot of my time for writing. I have so many outlines and new stories that I want to write!

My current project is the third book in the Contagium Trilogy, and the point of this post. I've talked about this before, so I'll just recap really quickly. I made outlines for the three books in the series before I started writing. I knew what I wanted to happen, and I knew what I wanted to write to get to those things. I never intended on the books being as long as they are. I had planned on introducing Hayden's character around page 75 and it ended up being way past that. The characters literally took over and told me their stories. The first book goes beyond what I had imagined, but it was all in a good way. They characters had more depth, more to them that makes them relate-able, realistic, and gives you a better change to connect with them. I enjoyed writing the gross zombie scenes and got a little more descriptive than I wanted to as well, which added to the length.

The whole point of DC in outline form was to show that there are worse things than zombies left in the world. The ending of the book (spoiler alert!!!) where the guys find the prison is about halfway through DC's outline. Again, the characters had more to their stories and wanted to be heard. Though DC didn't get everything I had intended, I still think it's a good, solid read. I was worried about it, to be honest, and didn't want it to seem like a 'filler' book. I had many beta readers and got good feedback and since publishing, it seems to be doing well, though I'm still open to feedback about it.

I'm currently working on the third book, which was supposed to be the last book. This book was supposed to cover the second half of the out line for DC as well as everything I had for the final book. The ending is pretty epic and cannot be summed up quickly. If I were to put half of DC's outline with book number three, it would be really long. I don't have a problem with long books at all (I actually prefer them) so I'm really not worried about having the final book be 'too long'.

However, I say 'supposed to' in the above paragraph because I'm seriously considering making The Contagium Trilogy into a 4 book series. Obviously it wouldn't be a trilogy anymore. There was part of DC's outline that I was going to throw out/shorten to get a better flow of the third and final book. I really like that little section of plot and can develop it so much further. It adds a bit of a twist to the plot and shifts the main characters' attention to a different kind of problem. I really wanted to show that horrible events bring out the best and worst of people as well as show that desperation can make people do some terrible, unthinkable things.

Another thing I should mention is that I never thought I'd enjoy writing anything not paranormal. I had no idea I'd absolutely love the characters in The Contagium Trilogy as much as I'd do. I didn't anticipate totally loving writing about zombie fight scenes and the hardships of survival. But I do. I dream about zombies all the time, and they are always good dreams to me. I've become a bit of an obsessive 'prepper' and second guess wearing heels when I go out. (What if zombies attack?? Heels=bad getaway) Being able to write as Orissa and making myself learn new survival skills for the sake of my characters has been an unbelievable blast.Once this series is done I want to write another zombie series. (Or keep writing about Riss and Hayden...)

So, my plan would be to keep writing and sticking to the outlines, expanding on my above mentioned plot a little more (I have so many ideas for this!) and end the book when it feels right, which will probably be close to the end of DC's original outline. Then book number four will be the final book. I know I'm being vague, but that's because I don't want to give anything away. When you read the 3rd book, you will definitely understand what I'm trying to say...or at least I hope you will!

I cannot make up my mind. Three or four books? There is something nice and neat about trilogies, so I am a little hesitant to write four. But, I have so many ideas for where this could go. What do you guys think? Keep it as a trilogy? Or the more the merrier? I'd love to hear your input!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Double Cover Reveal!

Happy Halloween!! Halloween is by far my holiday; I love everything about it! Today is even more exciting than the usual All Hallow's Eve because Reaper is finally released!! This book has been in the works for a long time. As soon as I finished Unbound, I immediately began Reaper. Then I had a dream about mermaids and just had to write down the story that was in my head. Then I dreamed about zombies and had to write Contagious...and then Deathly Contagious.

When I finally got back into writing Reaper, I fell in love with the story and the characters in The Guardian Legacies all over again. I am so happy with how Reaper turned out, and I hope you guys like it too!!

What do you think about the cover? I LOVE it!! It was  made my Mel at She was a pleasure to work with and (obviously!) is very talented! The cover represents the novel so well. I don't want to give anything away, so I won't say too much. The background was inspired by a scene from the book. I think Anora's stance shows her apprehension yet willingness to face what lies ahead. is Unbound's new cover!

Anyway, to celebrate the happy release day of Reaper, Unbound is FREE on amazon today and tomorrow! And I will be having giveaways on the book's FB page (link). I am giving away print books, ebooks, and signed bookmarks! And a HUGE thank you to Lori Parker over at Contagious Reads for putting together a cover reveal blog tour and for managing the FB page tomorrow while I'm stuck at the hospital for clinicals. Stop by her awesome blog and show her some love!! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

(Wo)man's best friend

   "Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace."
- Milan Kundera

Back in 1999, my younger sister and I schemed on how to convince our mom to let us get a dog. We had conned her into going to the animal shelter a few times 'just to look' at the dogs. At that time, dog adoption fees were only $45. I saved my birthday money and waited, plotting out the best time to follow through with our plan. 

Knowing that I wanted a dog, my mom told me I wasn't allowed to bring my money to the shelter. So, being the crafty child I was, I gave my money to my sister. With our master plan in the works, we went to the shelter after a half day of school. We walked through the rows of dogs. Something about Chrissy caught my eye. She was a year old and had thick, long, glossy black fur. (We decided her birthday would be a year before the day we got her) In my mind, she was sitting patiently in her kennel just waiting for the perfect family, though realistically, she was jumping and barking like the other dogs.

The only information written on Chrissy's ID card was 'Housebroken. Loves to play ball.' We had shelter volunteers take her into a run, and we got to throw a tennis ball for her. It didn't take long for my sister and I to fall in love. At that point, I had made up my mind. I turned to my mom with a huge guilty grin.

"Mom," I started. "I know you said that I couldn't bring any money..."

"So I did!" my sister blurted and pulled the money from her pocket. My mom didn't quiet know what to say. Luckily for her, we had to go and pick up our older sister from school. On the way, I called my grandma to get her help in convincing my mom to let us get a dog.

"All kids should have a dog," my grandma told me. Of course, I had her repeat that to my mother. After more convincing, another phone call to our dad, and some begging and promising that I'd take care of the dog, we went back to the shelter.

Chrissy was previously named Allyah and was abandoned by her previous owners. The shelter was pretty sure she had been abused (later on we would discover she was terrified of newspapers, esp if they were rolled up, and would cower when you raised your arms). I spent the rest of my birthday money on food, toys, collars, leashes and other dog supplies. 

I showed Chrissy in the 4H dog program. (We always did horrible!) I slept in her crate with her a few times so she wouldn't have to be alone. I took her to the barn with me. She was a great family dog, got along with my older sister's (nasty) Chihuahua that she got the next year and pretty much left our cats alone.  

Chrissy bonded with my dad the most. When I got married, we decided it would be best for Chrissy to stay in the home she was used to (and my dad didn't want to give her up!) and I got my current puppy, Vader. Chrissy never liked other big dogs, but she tolerated Vader and he, even still, respects her.

Chrissy is 14 years old. She is a Border Collie/Lab mix. Yes, that is old for a big dog. Still, this doesn't make it any easier. Chrissy hasn't been in good health the last year. She has hip dysplasia and pretty much has no muscle mass left. She can barely walk and needs to be carried. She hasn't eaten for about a week and barfs after just drinking water. 

She is being put down tomorrow. I hate it. I hate that I question if it's 100% right. Our vet thinks it is, and she said that she doesn't want Chrissy to suffer like she is right now. I know very well that her body is shutting down. In the back of my mind, I'm still hoping she will wake up tomorrow with improvement; just anything to give us a good reason to give her more time. And I knew this day would come. I just didn't expect it to be so hard.

As Hayden says in DC, "Losing someone isn't easy. They say time heals everything but I think all it does is fill the wound with scar tissue; it will never heal but it won’t be the painful gaping hole it once was." Losing Chrissy isn't going to be easy. Being able to be there with her will be hard as well, but I want to be there with her until the very end. 

I cherish every moment I have with Vader, and I know someday we will go through this with him...with all my animals. It almost makes me not want another animal so I won't have to go through the loss again. But the time spent together before then is wonderful. 

One of my favorite things about animals is that they don't judge you. People say that someone is 'acting like an animal' like it's a bad thing. In some ways, we should act more like animals. Enjoy the little things. Take people for who they are. Love unconditionally. 

I will always love you, Chrissy Lou
11/12/1998- 10/19-2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Let the voting begin!

I made two book trailers for Contagious. I didn't know how to add moving film at first (shameful...I know lol) but then I figured it out. So, I don't know which trailer is better. Since you guys are so awesome, I'll let you vote on which one you like better! The one with the most votes wins! (The beginnings are the same, FYI)

Option One:

And Option Two: 

If there are any suggestions, let me know! I can still change things. Thanks in advance for helping me choose!

Also, my blog has surpassed 10,000 views by a couple hundred. I don't check my views that often so it was a happy surprise to see those numbers this morning! :)  

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I was talking to someone today, who recently made a pretty big mistake. They acted out of anger and were facing some pretty serious consequences because of it. We got to talking about making mistakes in life in general, and how it's easy to get mad at yourself for something you've done (or didn't do...that can be just as bad if not worse). I'm sure everyone has at least one thing they wish they could undo. I know there have been time when I wished I had a rewind button on my life.

Of course, that will never happen. I told that person that instead of dwelling on our mistakes, we should learn from them. Learn how it made you feel and how not to do it again. It's such simple (and a bit cliche) advice. But it's so true.

You might be wondering how this relates to my blog right now. Now, I don't really feel like I've done things wrong when it comes to being an Indie author or anything, but there were things I definitely could have done better. Way better. My biggest mistake is putting too much on my plate. I set release dates and had to rush to get things done. I don't think my story line suffered, but the editing did. With trying to stick with the set dates, I cut my editing time in half. Yes, that is a big mistake. One I will not make again.

I also try to edit one book while working on another, which doesn't work out as well as I'd like. If I wasn't in school, it would probably be no problem. But I need to face reality and admit that my school work takes up a lot of time and I need to slow down.

So, I will no longer be setting release dates until the book is almost complete. I had hoped to have TIC done by the end of the year. While I might be done writing the book by then, I do not see it being edited and ready for publication in only 2 months. And for that, I'm truly sorry. I feel like I'm letting you guys down. I'd rather take the extra time and write a really good book with better editing than rush through it. I don't know why I set two release dates within two months of each other to begin with...(Reaper is 10/31 and TIC was supposed to be 12/21)

 I'm having everything previously published re-edited/content revised too. Unbound is 100% done (professionally-yay!) and has a new cover. I think about 4,000 words got taken out of it, cleaning it up and making the story just better. Reaper is in the works now too, and will be ready for it's original release date of Halloween.

To celebrate the uh, better-ing?? of my books., I am having giveaways! I love giveaways but I never really knew good ways to go about doing them or what to give away. The awesome, amazing, Loir from Contagious Reads is helping me with everything (did I say she's awesome!) I'll post about it here, but check the FB pages for details. So far I have signed books, ebooks, book marks, and charm bracelets.

So, yes, I've made mistakes. I've learned the hard way. I've learned that I have limits, even though I don't want to believe it. And I want to take a second to thank all my readers. I appreciate the hell out of you guys. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reaper Betas

I just sent out a ton of emails to people who offered to beta read. So THANK YOU to any one who offered. If you emailed me or left a comment and HAVEN'T heard from me, email/comment again. I tried not to miss any emails/comments, but I know it is possible.

And if you'd still like to beta read, email/comment as well! A month and one week until this is out...ekk! I feel it's coming along great! And about 90% of the feedback I've gotten from betas has been consistent, which makes things easier on my end!

I'm sending it to the editor tomorrow so there is still lots of time to fix grammar/spelling mistakes before the launch day. I have a photoshoot this weekend for the covers! I'm kinda stoked right now!!!

Doesn't this look like it could be Anora's house??

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quick Update

September 14th is my birthday. This particular bday was extra special because my niece was born that day! She gets to share her birthday with her crazy Aunt Emily! :) We needed more Virgos in the family. So 'yay' for healthy babies and fun upcoming bday parties!

Did I ever mention that I hate editing? I do. Well, not entirely hate it, but it's not the most fun thing in the world. I do kinda enjoy deciding on what to leave or cut from my works. Is that weird? I don't know...probably a little lol. So, I've been editing my little heart out. 

If you haven't gotten an email from me yet and you emailed me about beta reading, don't worry. I will get back to you, I'm waiting to send out a 'round two' of Reaper after I've made some corrections. (Email me if you want to beta read!) It should hopefully be within the next week or two. 

I'm getting a ton of crap put together. (Finally) Around Halloween, I should hopefully have tons of stuff to giveaway. I have a new admin on my GL facebook page, so it will be fun to get that page up and running again. I've been neglectful :( I'm just not good at managing pages, I suppose. Unbound was edited and a lot of changes/fixes were made. I am going to have a re-release party and give away all sorts of fun stuff. If anyone has any ideas of what would be fun to get in a giveaway, let me know! 

DC is being looked at by an editor and some changes will be made. Nothing to the plot-don't worry- just in the flow and stuff like that. I'll post about it sometime in the near future...there's a lot to discuss in regards to DC and TCT in itself. 

I'm excited to get things polished and in tip-top shape. I wish I had done that in the beginning, but I know I can't change the past (duh). I've lived and learned and have grown from my mistakes. I had no idea what all was involved in being Indie, and now that I do, I feel I can offer so much more. Again, if I had known all along what I know now, things would have been easier. I refuse to dwell and feel regret over it. I'm excited to move forward and give you guys the best!

Oh, and I want to say congrats to Samantha Young (a self pubbed author) for her success! On Dublin Street is currently the #1 bestseller on!! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reaper is done! Beta readers needed!

Technically, I finished the MS last week. I had to go through and re-read plus make a few changes. But it's done!! :) It's longer than I thought it would be: 135,000 words. I'm always worried that my books are too long, which is weird, I suppose. I just like to write and have thick plots lol. But's done. I've been working on Reaper and then putting it aside for almost a year now.

And I feel very proud that this will be my fifth book I've written an published in a year. I published Unbound at the end of October (the 24th, I think). I cannot believe how fast the time as gone since then. And I cannot believe how much I've learned about being an author since then! I knew nothing about publishing, marketing, editors, the importance of cover art last year. I'm glad I went through it the hard way; I think it makes me more appreciative of what I've accomplished now, but I also wish I had gone into it knowing what I know now. I definitely took the plunge without looking into everything that goes into publishing. Live and learn, right?

I always feel a little sad when I finish a book. Reaper wasn't so bad because it is in a series and I will be able to spend time with Anora and Ethan later in the next book (plus like 5 after that; I have plans for this to be a long series). Writing TIC will be bittersweet. I'm so excited to get back to Orissa, Hayden, and the zombies but at the same time I don't want to write the end because that means it's over. It's like finishing a good book. You're glad you read it but sad it's over. For me, it's worse when I write because I am so incredibly attached to my characters.

Anyway, I need beta readers for Reaper. I'm looking for content beta readers who can pick the story apart and be brutally honest. I think beta reading is fun because it gives you a chance to voice what you want to happen/not happen or see more/less of in a novel and actually have a chance to see it changed that way. I take everything my betas have to say seriously.

So, if you'd like to beta read, leave your email address below and I will email you. Or, you can email me at Just put 'beta reader' in the subject line; a lot of fan email gets sent to my junk mail and I won't know it's not junk unless it has a specific subject line!

And thanks in advance; I appreciate the hell out of you guys who beta read!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My first vlog!

I've debated for a while now about doing a blog. They are getting more and more popular, and they are pretty fun to watch. I put it off because I'm a little camera shy (unless I'm in a costume lol) and I really didn't know what to say that I felt was worth watching. So, I have some questions from readers that I addressed here. I hope you find this at least a little entertaining! lol (And I love the face youtube froze it at...haha. I don't know how to fix that lovely expression...I assumed it would show me at the very beginning. Even I don't know what I'm saying there.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

One more chapter...

I have one more chapter to go in Reaper! I want to stay up and get it done tonight, but I'm really, really tired. I feel like my writing gets crappy when I'm tired. Plus I misspell really simple words lol. I'm excited to get it done so I can get it out there for you guys to read and because I can get back to TCT. Orissa is still on my mind and I have a feeling she won't leave me alone until her story has been told.

I started my LAST semester of nursing school this week! Woo-hoo!!!! I just want to be done! I have mental health nursing, so it will be interesting at least. I actually miss working in psych. I worked at a 'behavioral health facility' for youths a while back. It was residential, where the kids were stay for months up to a year or so. Some of the kids were awesome, and taught me just as much as I taught them. I'm excited to be able to get back into the psych world this semester, even if it's only for one day a week.

I have a million other projects right now too. I'm trying to read Ever Shade, which is really good. It's so nice to find a book with a strong female that isn't in love with vampires lol. I don't have much time to read, but once I finish Reaper, I'm gonna take some time off to get caught up on my TBR list :) I started a stock model account on (link) Photomanipulation is such an amazing thing!

I've been considering doing weekly (or bi-weekly) vlogs. Idk if anyone would be interested in watching them lol, and honestly, the idea of getting in front of a camera makes me nervous! What do you think? Should I do it??

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bewitching Book Tour Sched

For the month of September, Contagious is going on a book blog tour through Bewitching Book Tours. Here is the schedule: 

September 3 
Fang-tastic Books

September 4
Book Nerd Revealed

September 5 
The Aussie Zombie – 

September 7 

September 12
Mama Knows Books 

September 12 
Literature lovers labrynith 

September 14 (My birthday! ;) )

September 16 
Captivated Reading

September 18 
Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews 

September 19 
Books & Other Spells 

September 19 
Mila Ramos, Paranormal & Contemporary Romance 

September 21

September 25
The Full Fang

September 25 
Fictional Candy

September 26 
Nette's Bookshelf Reviews

September 27 
Amy's Book World 

September 29 

October 1 
The Speculative Salon

October 1 
Tory Michaels’ World 

Make sure you stop at the blogs along the way! There will be interviews, guest posts, character interviews, info about the current and upcoming books, and giveaways!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Contagious Cast

I'm sure every author has a clear vision of what their characters look like. I know I do when I write and also when I read. Sometimes I think up a character and they look like somebody that I've never seen before, but I usually can find an actor to put a face to. It's just more fun that way :)

So, here are my picks of who would represent the cast of Contagious based on how I imagined the characters.

Alexandra Daddario ad Orissa Penwell

Emmy Rossum as Raeya Kingsley

Gerard Butler as Dr. Padraic Sheehan

This cute little girl as Zoe. I don't know the actress' name

Zendaya Coleman as Lisa

Ashley Rickards as Sonja

Dylan O'brien as Jason

Channing Tatum as Hayden Underwood

Mehcad Brooks as Ivan Brewster

Zac Effron as Brock Callias

Rupert Grint as Rider

Ryan Kwanten as Wade

Jared Gilmore- Parker
Sophie Turner as Olivia 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who are you?

I saw another author post about this a few days ago and it got me thinking (uh oh...). In my 3 series, I have a broad range of main characters but they all have one thing in common and that is they are tough. It's my own personal pet peeve about leading ladies, so I think it is very safe to say that all of my MCs will be tough, strong, independent women (if they happen to be women of course). I am NOT a fan of the whiny, can't-live-without-my-boyfriend (who you just met-that's not love!) type girls.

Whenever I end up having kids, I want them to grow up knowing that having a boy/girlfriend doesn't define you. Your actions define you, not whoever you're going out with. And I'm not knocking love or relationships or anything. I'm very happily married and my husband is my best friend and the love of my life. But there is more to me than who I am married to. That is my main point.

Like usual, I'm drifting away from my main topic here...I've been asked this question many, many times. People are always curious to know out of all of my characters, which one is based off of me?

The answer: none of them.

Unfortunately, the last time I checked I was not a powerful witch, a mermaid, or a badass zombie-hunter. I love my life and everyone in it, no one would want to read a book if I was the MC. It would be rather boring and a big chunk of it would involve me sitting in front of a computer, typing and wasting time on FB. Oh, last night I did stay up till 12:30 sewing a tavern wench costume! And today I went to the dentist...see my point? characters have traces of who I am in them, which is something I have a hard time separating since I am writing...if that makes sense.

The character I am least like would definitely be Orissa. She was fun to write because of that. I'm no saint when I talk, but I don't drop the f-bomb as much as Riss does. I feel guilty about pretty much everything, very unlike Riss. I'd consider myself shy and I'm not a fan of crowds. Plus I hate being the center of attention. Orissa has qualities that I do (like being loyal to her friends) and I hope that I'd be able to fight off zombies if I'm every faced with them :) The most illegal thing I've ever done was trespass while ghost hunting. I don't like getting in trouble and I definitely don't wish to be a 'bad girl' and want recognition from it.

Even if I can relate to a character, they are still not based off of me. I like my leading ladies to have dark hair, but I don't imagine them looking like me. At all. I just prefer brunette over blonde. I've been asked that one before too!

Now, there are some other characters that are either named after or inspired by friends. Laney, from the GL series, is based off of my friend, A, who is hilarious and awesome and is just a great character. But she isn't A, she's just similar to her. Another friend helped develop Raeya's character.

I would never actually base a character off of someone, because I'm sure at some point, that character might do something the based person might not like. And then there would be a problem, and I don't like problems.

I think a lot of stories are inspired by true events (movies too) in the writer's life. There have been many times in my life that something funny/scary/sad has happened and I thought "this would make a good scene/plot/book/whatever". But from there I would most likely make it more interesting or dramatic.

I do like naming characters after real people. To me, it's like a 'thank you, you're a good friend' thing and a way to show it. Plus its fun for me and the person to be able to say they 'are a character' in my book. But be warned...if you piss me off, I'll write you in my next novel as a gummy ;)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lori, this is for you :)

It's no secret that I love ferrets. I have five (yikes!) and I would gladly take in more. Before I'm labeled a hoarder, I should say that all but one of my ferrets are rescues. I bought my first ferret back in 2007, when I worked at a pet store. I had never really had any ferret experiences and I thought they were just the cutest little things. After doing a ton of research (I'm big on learning about animals BEFORE you get's called being responsible) I bought Romeo for a bday present for myself.

A few months later, our local animal shelter got a call that someone moved and left 8 ferrets behind. I wanted a buddy for Romeo, so I got Elvis. A few months after that, Spike became part of the ferret family. He was taken away from his mother before he was weaned. By the time I got him, I doubted his survival. I had to hand feed him multiple times a day for a month, but he made it!

Then, this past November, someone dumped two ferrets off in front of a pet store. And that is how Peeta and Petunia came to live with us! :) I'm very lucky to have a 'ferret room' in my barn (it has wood floors, is heated and air conditioned) that enables me to easily have multiple ferrets. I really hope that someday I have the means to open a ferret shelter. 

If you've read Unbound, you know that Anora has a ferret named Romeo. In Deathly Contagious, Dr. Cara's ferret, Petunia makes an appearance. Here are some pictures of my little fuzzies. They look dirty (Peeta especially!) because they were playing outside before their photo shoot. Ferrets love to dig and tunnel.



Petunia, Elvis, & Peeta


Romeo, Petunia, & Peeta


Romeo, again

Spike and Peeta

The 'family photo' didn't work...Elvis kept walking away

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bristol Ren Fair

Yes, I am one of those people who dresses up and goes to the Ren Fair. I love everything about the Ren Fair: the people, the food, the fact that grown ups can were costumes in public, the entertainment...but I mostly love the feeling of being in another world. I think most fantasy book lovers will get what I'm saying about the want to be in another world. Being at the Ren Fair is a bit like that. ;)

My friend K and I made the costumes we wore this year. It was hard since we are both in nursing school, but we spent two days working on them, staying up until 1 AM both times, and got them done. They are simple, and we plan to add more when we have the time. But, I loved them and loved the colors!

I was really into sewing last summer (I made Valkyrie costumes for last year's Ren Fair) but haven't had the time to get out my sewing machine with school. My goal is to make a tavern wench dress by the end of the summer. My mom and my older sister are both very good sewers who I'm sure will have to help me. There is so much I want to make! I really love costumes...I'm not sure if that is weird or not. It's just fun pretending to be someone else, I suppose.

We are already planning next year's group costume. (We enter the costume contest every year) This year we didn't have much time to devote to awesome costumes, sadly, so next year we will have to make up for it. Our choices are Elven Warriors or Elementals (like earth, air, water, and fire). I'm a fan of anything warrior (pretty obvious, right? Just look at the women I write about lol) and I like carrying around daggers and wearing arm bracers. You're probably thinking I'm the biggest nerd ever...and you're probably right! Anyway, here are some pics from this year's Fair, as well as last year and the one before that. (The people in the pictures are my mom, my sister, and my best friends, K, A, and H)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reaper Update

I had some free time (the power went out and class got canceled-no pharm final today woo-hoo!) so I wrote about 2,000 words in Reaper. The book was almost done at about 110,000 words but I decided I wasn't happy with the beginning and rewrote it (and made it twice as long... oops lol). I still have a few things to add to the beginning to 'patch' it what I had already written and then write the end. It really shouldn't take long!

I'm very excited about it!! It was fun to write this one; I like having Anora and Ethan's relationship already established. Yea, the falling in love is fun to write, but I like the trivial dramas established relationships go through. Maybe it's because I'm married and I can relate more. I don't really like focusing on falling in love either; I like having that love interest for sure, but I like the story to focus on magic and demons more than love. I don't want the point of the book to be about finding a boyfriend, basically.

Anora has a hard time accepting herself, and I tried to keep a general theme of self acceptance throughout the book (and the series, eventually). It's about finding the courage to believe in yourself and not giving up when someone tells you that you can't do something. Yea, Anora loves Ethan more than anything, but she doesn't need him to survive. In the end, she's the one who can kick more ass. Obviously, that's how I like my girls!

I'm also going through Contagious and re-looking at some things the editor suggested. Don't worry, the plot WILL NOT change. I know I had a bad habit of not saying who was talking in conversations, so that was fixed and some of the things Orissa says were slightly reworded. I guess she comes off a lot gruffer to others than she does in my head.

My lame comparison is Orissa is like Buffy in season one. She's scared and self conscious but instead of showing it, she over compensates and comes off as bitchy. As the books go on, Orissa comes to terms with herself and her flaws and stops trying so hard. Orissa felt like she had to prove to her grandpa was was just as tough as him, and built herself a tough exterior. She realizes that she doesn't have to do that anymore.

A friend told me that the 'drama' started up again on the Contagious review. I haven't had a chance to look at it (and I really don't care lol) but it's funny because whenever that craziness goes on, my book sales go up and I get tons of blog views with amazon as the referring site. So...thanks! I'm thinking people are curious as to what everyone is talking about.

I'm thinking about getting new covers for the GL series. I just love the work SweetDreams does so much I want more by her lol. :) We had really bad storms last night and this morning. On my way to school (power was out all over town) the clouds looked just like they do on DC's cover. It freaked me out and then I started thinking that a 'natural' power outage would be good cover for the ZA. The city would just never fix it...we'd be out of food, water, and gas. We'd be siting at home, just waiting for stuff to get back to normal and it never would! I think I'm getting a little too into the books. I feel like need to start preparing now :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

My stomach as been in knots over this

It's the call you never want to get. The one that makes your heart plummet into a black pool filled with icy water. The one that you hope is a joke-a sick joke but a joke nonetheless.

Thursday morning, I learned that my friend Kelly's two daughters were in a horrible car accident. The girls are 5 and 7. Being driven by their dad's fiance, the girls were on their way to their grandparent's house. As they rounded a curve in the road, a SUV going way over the speed limit crossed the center line and hit them head on. The driver of the SUV was either drunk, texting, or both. It's still under investigation. The SUV hit them, veered off the road and rolled. The driver is in critical condition. 

The fiance died soon after the crash. Both girls were in extremely critical condition. It had been storming all night and continued on until morning, making it impossible for the medical helicopter to get there. The girls had to be transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. 

The 7 year old suffered massive brain trauma. She is in a medically induced coma and had a craniotomy done soon after the accident to try and reduce brain swelling. Her neurological status is currently unknown. The 5 year old suffered from many breaks and fractures, but has been moved out of the ICU. She's a fighter for sure.

I cannot imagine being a mother and having to see this happen to my children. Even worse, the girls are in different hospitals. (One is in Indy and the other in Chicago) I know they are in the best care possible. I know the doctors and nurses are doing everything they can. I know that kids have a way of 'bouncing back'. Still, I'm so worried. It's not fair. Why did this have to happen to innocent children??

When something like this happens, it's like life slapping you in the face. Certain things just seem so trivial. I am alive, I am healthy. I got to live my life today and it was a gift, a gift I dare not to waste. Every morning, I am lucky enough to wake up and have a fresh start. When things seem bad, I need to remember that. I will go through hard times, but they will get better.

And I am alive.

I (along with several amazing friends) are putting together several fundraisers for Kelly. We are hosting a poker run (it's a fun motorcycle thing to raise $, in short lol) and a car wash. I am donating 100% of the money I make on Beyond the Sea to Kelly and her girls. (Spread the word! I want to give as much as I can to them)

If anyone lives in the NW Indiana region and wants to participate, that would be awesome! Please keep Kelly and her girls in your thoughts and prayers; they deserve a miracle.

Life is a gift. Please don't waste it. There are people who would do anything for just one more day.