‘Tis the Season…

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, especially during the holidays…but man, the world sure seems to be in bad shape. :-/

My news feed on social media it saturated with horrible stories of people gone mad, politicians doing what they do – sling mud, and terrorists doing their damnedest to destroy everyone.

I try to watch enough news to stay informed, but not so much that I’m afraid to live. And some days, that’s really hard.

According to The Washington Post, there have been, 355 mass shootings this year – how crazy is that? Heck, there are only 365 on the calendar, so how’s that for a statistic? Atrocities like those in Charleston (2015), San Bernardino (today), and Aurora (2012) are happening far too often. In fact, it’s becoming so frequent that I have seen many people use the word “desensitized” when news of these horrors are reported. We shouldn’t be desensitized. We should be angry and questioning why it keeps happening.

And then there’s Politics….UGH! You know, I love a good debate. I love learning about candidates and the issues. Hell, I even love that I get to vote. Everyone has an opinion as to who is best for our country, and I respect the differences. I have friends that are republican, democrat, independent, and undecided…and that’s okay. I’m not in the business of trying to change anyone’s views to match my own. Our difference are one of the things that make this country great. But you have the politicians out there, all of them (and I do mean ALL!!) trying to get their ten seconds of air time. And instead of talking about the issues, about the REAL issues and coming up with REAL solutions, there’s nothing but grandstanding and mudslinging. It’s embarrassing. And the sad thing is, as much as I want to believe that SOMEONE can do right by this country, I’m too jaded to actually believe it. Money makes the world go ’round, right?

As for the terrorists, I’m blank. It breaks my heart to see the refugees fleeing for safety, and some of them never finding it. How many lives have been destroyed by the monsters who seek to eradicate anything good, beautiful, and different? The terror and destruction they seek to inflict on their victims is nothing compared to the weakness and fear they, themselves, carry in their hearts. Fear is a powerful feeling, it immobilizes its victims and perpetuates a feeling of helplessness. But the thing is, fear is just a feeling.

I’m not trying to get on a soap box and claim I know any way to remedy what’s happening right now. All I can think to do is pray and hope that a time like Christmas, a season of goodwill, charity, and happiness, will open the hearts of all of us to do something. Perhaps something….one little thing, might have a chain reaction, and if even for just one day, make the world a better place.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa ~ Happy Holidays my beautiful friends and a wonderful New Year. ❤

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XO
~T 

RT Roundup in Review…

Happy Monday! Today is the first day I’ve been able to sit in front of my computer since the RT Roundup. I’m not sure where to start…so let’s just get to it. Please excuse me if it’s all over the place. This was a year in the making, so seeing everyone and hanging out was high on my list of “to-do” items. 

Highlights:

  1. Amalie Silver – Thursday, I went to Hobby Airport to pick up my friend, co-author, and this all around super awesome chick. Amalie Silver (or Amy as she kept telling everyone)…come to think of it, I’m not sure WHO she really is (J/K). I just love her. I was so ready to get the girls off to school the next day so I could see her and visit and just chill. (No, not Netflix and Chill…just chill.) Spending the weekend with one of my dear friends was exactly what I needed. You know you’re close when there are barely any secrets between you. Lol! I miss you Amy.
  2. Penny Reid – OMG. Penny!! We didn’t see much of each other the couple of days we were there. But seeing her face and hugging her…best! I texted her last night because I knew she was still around. We decided to get together for breakfast and I gave her a ride to the airport. It was all part of my master plan to get some alone time from one of the good guys. Anyone who knows Penny knows I speak the truth here. She is absolutely one of those people who gets it and doesn’t get caught up in the drama out there. And her PA Angie is right there too. I love Angie and wish I could see her more. Shocking we don’t since I’m in CS almost every weekend during football season. LOL.
  3. Sierra Cartwright – Sierra lives close enough that we could see each other everyday. But we don’t. So I have to settle for the now – 5 month – spurts. But seeing her and chatting and getting her wonderful guidance and support is enough to make any girl feel special. I wish Whit had been able to make it in town for this event, but you can’t control everything. I’ll see her sometime soon, I hope! ❤ 
  4. Molly McAdams – ALWAYS a highlight for me. Molly is one of the most genuine, sweet, funny, and adorable people I know. Period. She was there with Cory and their precious little Angel. I wish I had gotten to visit more, but Peese and my mom got to see her, it’s been almost 2 years for them. Yeah….Peese was pretty excited. She took me aside and asked, “Are we allowed to read Mrs. Molly’s books?” Molly and I both said. “No.” LOL!!
  5. Colleen Hoover & Anna Todd – Again, Colleen is someone I always love seeing. She and Anna had tables back to back and I have to saw, Amy/Amalie and I were in awe of the fans waiting to see them. Seriously…crazy long line and so impressive to see them interact with these readers.
  6. Mom, Peese, Sis and Niece – All 4 came to check out the signing and I think Sis and Niece were beyond excited about CoHo! (Isn’t everyone!?!) Peese got to see many of my author friends that she’s only heard of, as well as see some old faces. Best part, loved when mom saw Erin Spencer of SBBB. We go WAAAYYYY back. Lol. P.S. Erin and Katie were also lovely highlights to Saturday!! ❤ I love my family for coming out and supporting me and my fellow authors.
  7. CJ Roberts – Okay, let me say this now…I LOVE CJ! She’s so stinkin’ cute and funny. I don’t think these words do her justice. Charming. She’s utterly charming and had us laughing so much. I don’t know when I get to see her again, but it’s not soon enough! 
  8. Erin Noelle & Kayla Robichaux & Blue – We didn’t get to spend as much time as I’d like, but luckily, we all live close enough to do it soon. Our little trio headed over to a panel where some super sweet ladies joined us as we talked books and publishing. Thank you to all those ladies for visiting with us!! And Blue…you were having too much fun. You need to fix that. LOL! I’m sorry we didn’t see more of each other…and where the hell was my sitter????? I really needed her!!!
  9. Lynsey & SL – When I see Lynsey, she starts out quiet…keeping to herself for a bit. And then BAM! Lol. She is sweet and her smile is contagious. Amalie/Amy and I sat with her at the bar for hours harassing Patrick the bartender and talking all things books. And where Lynsey is, I know I’ll see SL. I think Lynsey and SL have the same disease…they spread smiles…it’s contagious! I will forever be grateful to SL for putting me in touch with her sweet momma who is our travel agent. And I finally got to meet her too!! 
  10. Husband – My husband came to the hotel Saturday after doing all parent duties for the weekend and dropping the girls off with my parents. I don’t talk about him often because he’s special to me and I keep the special for me. But I’m so blessed to have him by my side supporting me. I’d be lost without him. And this is the one time he got to actually be with me and not have to be the DD. Needless to say, we had a blast together and with everyone there. I blame Heather Lane and Sierra for getting me drunk, since they bought me the 2 drinks I hadn’t planned on. LOL!

I’m sure I’ve missed something here, but I’m still trying to come down from this weekend. I loved meeting everyone and thank you so much for the kind words and support. It means more than I can express. 

XO

~T

2 years…

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July 2, marked 2 years since I published my first book, Being There. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that it was a “bucket list” item that I added when I turned 35. And here I am, two years later with 4 books out. 🙂

These two years have been filled with personal growth and, I hope, professional growth. I’ve made some wonderful friends and learned things along the way. It’s been both challenging and rewarding, but it’s also given me something to do…something I’ve always wanted to do but never thought possible.

So…I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned in the last two years:

  1. Allowing yourself to pursue your dreams is one of the most empowering feelings ever. No matter how outlandish it may seem at the time, why not dream big? If you fall flat on your face, you still tried! So yeah, I continue to dream big…and sometimes fail bigger, but that’s all part of it. I learn something every time, and more importantly, my girls see that I’m at trying. Seeing their pride and interest what I do inspires me. Daily.
  2. Support comes in all forms. It may be your family who have known you your entire life. It may be someone who has recently come into your life. And it may even be someone that you have never met. Don’t underestimate the power of supportive people. First step, believe you can do it, second, letting others believe it with you.
  3. Not everyone is going to love you or the things you do. This is true in every. aspect. of life. And it’s totally okay. And guess what, you’re not going to love everyone. If you can accept this, I believe you will be a much more content person. How exhausting it must be to try to please people all the time. 😛
  4. Be open to criticism. And no, I’m not talking about vicious, hateful words that make you crawl into a corn and rocking yourself as you cry. I’m talking about people who you respect and who respect you. The ones that take the time to care about you and what you’re doing. The ones who see mistakes or where you can better yourself and offer their opinion. This is how your improve as a person and a professional.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Ever! The moment you do, you’re bound to fall. You have to have a sense of humor. The tagline on my email has been the same for years…and it’s a line from one of my favorite band, Tripping Daisy – “Laugh at what you did today, it’s all been done before.”
  6. Be humble! OMG….PLEASE.BE.HUMBLE! I’ve said numerous times that the people who are successful, but don’t it let go to their head are my heroes. I’ve not had the success of those around me, but I’m so excited for those who have found it. Many of those have far exceeded their own expectations, but they don’t have an air of superiority about them. If I ever find success, those are the ones I would want to emulate. (I’m talking to you Colleen, Molly, and Abbi. I ❤ you so much!) There are others who have forgotten their roots, the people that were with them in the beginning…I don’t ever want to be that.
  7. Remember that you don’t know everything. Wow…I’m serious. I don’t know everything, but I want to learn. A lot of times, it’s hit or miss for me, there is no “formula” that I know of to be successful. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another, but that’s okay, try anyway. Those that are willing to share their experience and knowledge are invaluable. *Note – It’s important to pay it forward. Do unto others…

I’m sure there are more lessons that I’ve learned, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. If you’ve gotten this far in this post….you’re kind of awesome. 😉 As school is starting up again soon, I’m excited to continue working on 5 different books that I’ve started. The 3 month hiatus has been just what I needed…the time with the family is priceless.

My point for this entire thing is both a “thank you” and “how did I get here?” post. This journey hasn’t been the easiest, but I can’t imagine any other that would bring so much joy, tears, frustration, and absolute fulfillment. My husband and kids aside, this is the best part of my daily life. ❤

XO
~T

RT 2015…

This past weekend, I had the honor and privilege of attending RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas. I saw pictures from last year, but knew very little about it, so being there as a volunteer and friend of Kathryn Falk, founder and CEO if RT Book Reviews was great. (If you have not met Kathryn yet, you are missing out.)

My trip started out eventful from the start. How you may ask? Well, I rode with this woman…

Courtesy of Meme Queen - Blue

Courtesy of Meme Queen – Blue

….Yeah, she’s crazy and totally #inappropriate. So if I were to say it was boring, I would totally be lying.

I HATE…I mean H-A-T-E driving to Dallas. And it’s not because I hate Dallas, I love it. But I hate the drive from Houston. It’s about the most boring drive ever! But not with Blue. We talked the entire drive there about anything and everything. And of course she made the above image.

We got to Dallas and checked in so we could get settled in our room and find the people we were eager to see. It took a while to locate our peeps, but we did. And the first person I saw was my girl Molly. I love her so much because she is one of the most down to earth people in this industry. Molly and Colleen have both been so gracious and have taken time out of their schedule to visit with me…for no reason. Lol. I admire both of them so much and have only great things to say about these two women. They can teach all of us a thing or two about how success should be done. #Humility.

THE Molly McAdams

THE Molly McAdams

After chatting with Molly, we headed upstairs where I finally….F I N A L L Y got to meet Kelsie Leverich who was rooming with my other friend Stacey Lynn (who was on an epic photoshoot at the time). For almost two years, these girls have been among those who have been closest to me in the book world. We support each other, challenge each other, and just listen. (I’m still waiting to meet the rest of the girls, but I was so happy to be with these two.) Stacey and I met in person back in November and she was easy to be around. You add Kelsie and Stacey together and it’s perfection. There is something special about being so close to people online and meeting them in person to discover that the relationship is just as strong IRL.

Kelsie Leverich, Stacey Lynn, and me

Kelsie Leverich, Stacey Lynn, and me

Highlights of RT:

  • Dinner with Molly & Cory. They are so funny together and so adorable! ❤ 
  • Drinks are expensive at the bar, but taste pretty good.
  • Colleen Hoover is too popular. I only got to hug her once. 😉
  • It’s hard not to fangirl over your favorite authors…just sayin’
  • Dinner with some amazing ladies on Saturday was delicious and so much fun.
  • I know there’s more….I just can’t seem to think of them. 

RT had so many people in attendance and so many things to do that it’s hard to pick out my favorite. I will say the highlights included a surprise visit from EL James who was so kind and took time to take pictures with anyone who wanted to….even if we were in our PJs. I should know, I took two!

Some things I took away this weekend:

  • Smile. You are out there doing what you love and people actually want to read/hear what you have to say. Some people are having a crap day and your smile might be the thing to turn it around.
  • Be kind. For the same reason above. What do you get out of being rude or pretentious? Nothing but people talking about it when you turn around.
  • Be approachable. It helps start a conversation…now if you don’t want anyone to talk to you, do the opposite. 😉 
  • Avoid the drama. Yeah, we all know there is drama everywhere and it’s not hard to find if that’s your thing.
  • Ask questions. Ask LOTS of questions. There are so many wonderful people out there who are eager to share their knowledge and experience, why not ask?!
  • LISTEN. O.M.G. Listen!! When someone bestows their understanding of the industry, whether it is this one or another, listen. They don’t have to talk to you. They don’t have to tell you a single thing. But if for some reason they think you are worth it, listen. You can learn so much.
  • You are not better than anyone else. The moment you think you are, is the moment that reality might just slap you in the face. Some of our journeys may be a little rougher than others, or some are just plain lucky…others still work their asses off for it. We are all just trying to make it in this world. 
  • Find the fun in all of it. I mean really…does this need an explanation??

I am so lucky that I got to have this experience and I am so grateful to Kathryn Falk and her amazing RT family who put on this event. The RT Team is full of wonderful people who put their heart and soul into making this a great time for all. Mission: Accomplished!

XO
~T

Authorly Love Part 2…

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Welcome back!!! I moved this post to Wednesday instead of Thursday for a Woman Crush Wednesday bit. ❤

I love talking about the authors I love. Some, I have never read their books, but on a personal level, I admire the hell out them. There are so many books to read that I can’t keep up AND keep writing. Unfortunately since publishing, my reading quantity has gone down drastically. But I read when I can!

Anyway, last week I shared 5 amazing women and why I love them! Today I have 5 more to share with you. Are you ready?!?

Again, in no particular order….

Author: Stacey Lynn
Why: Another woman who is special to me! We have been friends for over a year and she’s been a huge help in shaping my books. I always look forward to her feedback and suggestions because she’s funny as hell! Seriously. Again, another one of those…is she as nice in real life??? YES! She is. We got to hang out back in November when she was in Houston and I swear it was as if I’ve known her forever. I admire her writing ability so much. She’s a powerhouse! *Superstar*

Favorite Book(s): My first Stacey Lynn book was Remembering Us and it’s still my favorite to this day. It was one that I fully immersed myself in and didn’t want it to end. She also has the Nordic Lords MC books and I have read every one of those. I enjoyed the fast-pace and suspense of where the story was going. And she knows my thoughts on certain characters. ❤ LOL

Author: Claire C. Riley
Why: I love Claire because she has a sexy accent. Haha! Kidding. I mean, it’s AWESOME, but she is fantastic. This is another one that I am dying to meet IRL, but for now, our Facebook voice messages and occasional pics will have to suffice. I have gone to Claire numerous times with story situations that don’t seem to mesh, only to have her make a suggestion that fixes everything. And on a personal level, Claire is a wonderful human being with the biggest damn heart. ❤

Favorite Book(s): Okay, so I’m going to admit here and now that I don’t like reading scary things because….well, they scare me. Ha! BUT…I read her book Odium and it was so freaking awesome! I mean, Nina is kick-ass! Side note: my youngest and I had debates about zombies so she read it too. I am now being pressured by my kid to get around to the second book by this summer so she can read it. And if you haven’t read Thicker Than Blood, the book she co-wrote with Madeline Sheehan…you really should!

Author: Penny Reid
Why: Peeeeennnnnnaaaaaaayyyyyy!! Yep, I shouted that. Penny was one of the first authors I had the pleasure of meeting at the first signing I did (1 year ago). You talk about smart? Holy crap!! Penny is pretty freaking cool. I love how her mind works and the things that she does for the author community. I don’t know many people who celebrate other authors the way Penny does. She’s quirky and funny to be around and I don’t think there’s any way to be serious in her presence….she won’t allow it. 😛

Favorite Book:  Love Hacked. It was the first book of her that I read and it was incredibly smart and witty. So much that, if my husband was a reader, I think he would really enjoy it!

Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Why: Because she’s just so cute! Okay, but that’s not the only reason. Positivity. That’s what I love about Britt. I have watched her success, especially after Loving Mr. Daniels, and it’s very cool to see the things that are happening for her. Britt isn’t drama…in fact, she stays away from it, always responding with a smile. And she loves her family, so much! I love seeing things with her mom and little brother (and her other family members) because you can tell they are her world, and it’s beautiful. 😎

Favorite Book:  Loving Mr. Daniels. Those damn letters had me in tears every.single.time! And let me just say, I was already bawling within the first few chapters.

Author: Kelsie Leverich
Why:
Her smile. Seriously, have you seen that smile?! Kelsie is as beautiful outside as she is inside. We’ve had a few group skype sessions and she’s so damn cute I don’t know what to do. LOL. Kels is one of those authors who can tell a story so seamlessly and draw you in. I admire her for so many reason, but I think the thing I love the most is her devotion and attention to her kids and her family. That and you get her and Stacey on and skype with a glass of wine and laugh until someone has to go. 🙂

Favorite Book: The Valentine’s Arrangement. I love Ronnie and Kale’s story. Ronnie is that woman that’s so cool, you want to meet her in real life…and Kale, he’s just plain hot.

Okay, so that’s all for Woman Crush Wednesday this week. Remember to check back next week to see who else I want to chat about.

XO
~T ❤

Authorly Love Part 1…

It’s been a loooonnnngggg while since I’ve blogged about anything. I didn’t want to just post something lame, it needed to be worthwhile if I’m going to sit here and write (when I should be working on any one of my 3 books).

This got me to thinking about writing, stories I love, stories I’m working on, and authors.

Authors. Authors I love. Authors I love and why I love them.

So today’s post is exactly that…I want to show authorly love to those who I admire, adore, and appreciate for a variety of reasons. There are so many amazing authors and I know that I can’t list ALL of them. BUT… over the next 3 weeks, I will post about 5 authors and WHY I love them so much. These are special people and are listed in no particular order. 😉

Now..let’s get started with round 1:

Author: Colleen Hoover
Why: Who DOESN’T love this woman? I had the pleasure of meeting her almost 3 years ago when I was on a Thanksgiving cruise with my family. (Odd fangirl moment that freaked her out 🙂 ) Colleen is one of the most down to earth authors out there. She has handled her success with so much grace and humility that she is most definitely an example to others of how it should be done. Every time I’ve seen her, she is the same person – sweet, funny, and smiling. I don’t think there are enough words to say how highly I think of this woman…she’s just super awesome.

Favorite Book(s): All of them. Truly! I fell in love with her because of the Slammed Series and stayed in love because of every book that has followed. Slammed made me want to actually try to write a story of my own. And then of course Hopeless will forever have a special place in my heart.

Author: Molly McAdams
Why: Have you met her??? She’s incredible. In this industry (I suppose like all) it’s VERY easy to encounter ego and people with a superiority complex. Not Molly. She has to be one of the nicest and funniest authors out there. Her laugh is infectious. What I love most is how much she loves her readers. When I met her 2 years ago, she cleared her entire day to hang with me. ME! Why me?! My girls fell in love with her and we spent the afternoon chatting about anything and everything. She is such a sweetheart. ❤

Favorite Book(s): Taking Chances – because like everyone else, I ugly cried so hard. And again with Stealing Harper. (Side note: I think this was a male POV of a story that was so well-done!) I can’t forget From Ashes….I really loved that one.

Author: Kimberly Stedronsky … aka wifey, Kimotherapy, Goose, Romy
Why: Almost 2 years ago, I published Being There. I was stalking Goodreads – because that’s what we do (even when we swear that we’ll stay away) and I messaged another author. I read her blurb for an upcoming book and I was hooked. We began messaging more and more and this past September at Penned Con I finally got to meet her and hug her and hang out…it was perfect! You know, sometimes people don’t meet your IRL expectations, but Goose did. For the last 2 years, she’s been my rock in this crazy author world and I am so blessed to have her.

Favorite Book(s): My first book was Roam. I had to idea what to expect but instantly fell in love with the story, her writing, her creativity. West may still very well be one of my favorite book boyfriends. And then of course there was The Movie Trilogy 0f which 2 are out and I’m eagerly awaiting the 3rd. Kim writes angst and drama so well…and I always want more!

Author: A. Meredith Walters
Why: Have read her books? This woman is freaking amazing! I still have yet to meet her in person, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that it WILL happen. As far as author friends go, you are lucky to have Walters in your life. She is someone that I go to when I need a reality check, a swift kick in the…you know, or just a good laugh. I have so much respect for her because she has been another example of a successful author who has remained incredibly humble and sweet…and she loves her fans. I love knowing that when I need someone to listen, or help me when I’m out of sorts, she’s there.

Favorite Book(s): I first read Bap Rep and loved it. I mean, Jordan….hello!! And then I moved on to Find You in the Dark and Light in the Shadows and her writing drew me in. I love the darkness, but there’s always hope. But I think it was Reclaiming the Sand that solidified her status as a book rock star to me. 😉

Author: Amalie Silver
Why: Amalie is one of my critique partners, and if you haven’t heard, she and I are currently collaborating on a story. This woman has the kindest heart and infectious laugh that are so genuine you can’t help but love her. I was so excited (and nervous) when I finally got to meet her at Penned Con, but there was no need for worry. She is every bit the person you know online. Witty. Sweet. Down to earth. And get her with Amy and you have a par-tay! 😉 In all sincerity, I love Amy, she has been such a great friend and listener.

Favorite Book(s): So, here’s a not-so-secret secret for you…Amalie had a series of books that just went away this week, only they were written by Amy Queau. The Progress Series was one of those reads that pulled me with the first installment and by the time I finished, it took me 2 days to stop my on and off crying. Now, she also has Word Play which was so smart and funny! It is a must read.

Stay tuned for next week for the next 5 on my list….zombies, bikers, hackers, teachers, and soliers….oh my!

XO
~T ❤