Wilde's Fire

The exciting first book of the Darkness Falls series!

Wilde's Army

The second installment of Darkness Falls.

Wilde's Meadow

The conclusion of Katriona and Arland's story.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I Am Who I Am #indielicious

Wow. It's been awhile since I've posted a teaser from Shattered Secrets. But, don't worry, I still love you. I've just been busy with life.

As many of you know, this book is sitting in the hands of a few NY editors. Woot. I love my agent Marisa Cleveland. She's super supportive, and I know we're taking each other places.

Anyway, the last time we spent time together on a Sunday, Derick decided he'd rather drive his car over Mark than take him home. You all know that didn't happen. And, to recap, Abby is our main POV, and she was kidnapped by a couple RPG playing freaks--or at least that's what she thinks.

This scene is in Abby's POV. She's finished her meeting with the counselor and is waiting for Derick to get home from school so they can go hang out in their favorite spot in the woods (and, if you read this blog regularly, you'll know the trail that takes them to this "spot" looks like this: pretty path.).

~I changed my clothes six times before settling on a pair of blue jeans and a cream-colored crew-neck sweater. Mom had to help. She didn't like the idea of me going into the woods—I'm not sure I did either—but I doubted anyone would show up again so soon.

Chills coursed through me . . . soon. I felt like a target, like someone was definitely coming for me, like my next abduction was just a matter of time. I shook my head, staring into the mirror at my hideous face. A black and yellow bruise insulted my left cheekbone. Reaching up, I pressed the tips of my fingers against the swollen flesh. I shouldn't have looked in the mirror. My chin quivered.

Maybe I already needed Dr. Pavarti after all.

"Abby?" Mom stood in the doorway, palm resting on her cheek.

I tore my gaze from the mirror and looked at her.

"Would you like me to help you cover it?"

Staring at my reflection again, I took in the new me. The bruise didn't change who I was. The sling on my arm didn't, either. Through all these things, I was Abby. There was nothing to cover. "No, Mom. Thanks."~

Abby is one tough cookie! Thanks for visiting, and I promise not to make you wait so long between teasers!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yell At The Trees #advice

On the ride home from work yesterday, I gave a piece of advice to one of my slugs when he mentioned he had a bad day at work and punched his desk.

Smiling, I stared at the traffic-filled highway and almost giggled when I said, "Don't punch your desk. Go home and yell at the trees."

He laughed, but I meant it. Work is the last place you want to show your anger. Well, really anger gets you nowhere, but that's a different story.

So, when a friend called me and shared an experience that had me upset for her, I decided to take my advice and "Go yell at the trees."

But when I stepped into the woods beside my house, I couldn't scream. I couldn't vent my frustrations. All I could do was listen. So that's what I did. I listened to the trees, the bugs, the leaves shifting in the breeze. Cicadas vibrated and made their little buggy noises so loudly it sounded like a car alarm going off.

Squirrels scampered through underbrush, rushing from tree to tree as they took their prizes home.

Fence lizards ran in circles around the gnarly tree trunks.

Floral smells filled the warm, humid air, mixing in with the musty smell of damp leaves and dirt.

This path is featured in Shattered Secrets. This path is what Abigail walks down in the summers with Derick. Though the story starts out in the winter. This path is what sparks my creativity. My imagination runs endlessly when I'm out there.

I picture sword fights. I picture butterflies and fairies. I'm inspired by nature. I love nature.

I definitely don't want to yell at it, but at the same time, I feel as though the trees wouldn't mind. They would listen. They'd shift and try reaching out to me to tell me everything's going to be okay. They'd whisper encouragement. Maybe sprinkle a little pollen (yes, there was sneezing yesterday).

Nature is forgiving, kind, gentle. Ironically, nature is also harsh, brutal, and holds endless power. Exactly the kind of friend I like having.

So, the point of all this? When you're having a bad day, when you need someone to yell at, when you need a friend and no one else is around, go listen to the trees.

See what nature sparks in you. For me, it's definitely not anger.

What do you do when you have a bad day?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Reads! New Reads! #reviews

Every now and then, a book comes along and wallops me upside the head with happiness. This was one of them!

Can you imagine my dazed look of happiness? Yeah. It's kind of odd. I'll admit that.

But this was just so cool. A girl who dreams her entire next day. How exciting, scary, intimidating, and . . . boring--but that last part is only for her.

Poor Nara needs a surprise. And she gets one. In the form of a bomb at school. How could she not call this in to police and prevent her friends from being killed?

You guessed right. She couldn't.

But that phone call changes everything. The mysterious boy at school who never talks or touches anyone suddenly takes interest in her, helping her learn how to actually play soccer instead of predicting people's moves, befriending her when her best friend starts dating the school hottie and leaves Nara in the dark, slowly revealing there's more to Ethan than the bad reputation that follows him around. Which is a good thing, because now that she's a secret heroine, everything in her life starts falling apart. Her dreams are hazy. Accidents at school are hurting her friends. The bombers want to find the snitch, and somehow discover she's it.

Together, Nara and Ethan discover there are darker, more powerful forces attacking, and she's pissed them off with her heroic ways.

I do not want to give any of the juicy stuff in this book away. Yes, it has a paranormal story line that I fell in love with, something I haven't read before. A few times I thought, oh, no, please don't do be that book. And it wasn't!

Yes, it has romance. Sweet, tender romance. I thought for sure I'd yell STALKER at Ethan once or twice, but I didn't have to. It all made sense. Awesome.

I loved this book. I'd say it's appropriate for ages 14+. Minor swearing. Definite violence. Definite heart-pumping romance. 5 stars!

And not to leave out its sequel!

Ethan is GONE! I had to start out saying that because I felt that way through almost the entire book. Ethan is gone. Good God, bring him back.

Now that Ethan has Inara and some of his darkness is behind him, he goes home to settle things with his parents. (Because right now he lives with his older awesome brother Samson.) Inara makes a decision to research Ravens while he's gone. She wants to compile a book that might explain the mysterious tattoo that magically appeared on his shoulder. (You MUST read Brightest Kind of Darkness before reading this or you will be missing out...and lost.)

But someone is onto her. Someone dark. Someone deadly. Every stroke of her computer key puts her in more danger. Every trip to the Library puts her in harm's way. Even a simple trip to meet a man who's researched Ravens all his life leads to disaster--and also a really amazing scene between Ethan and Inara...even though they're several states apart.

But thanks to Drystan, a foreign exchange student who's into Parkour--and Inara, she's kept relatively safe. Drystan packs some supernatural powers of his own, and I cannot wait to see how these unfold in the next book. Ethan and Inara's relationship is strained to the point of almost snapping when he finally returns, and oh boy does he return with a bang...and some deeper darkness.

Lucid is an action-packed sequel to Brightest Kind of Darkness. Betrayals, new friendships, new relationships, new villains, and missing loved ones makes this book almost impossible to put down. I think I devoured it in two days. The romance is spicy. The wit is fun!

Solid 5 stars. (By the way, as a Washingtonian by day and a Virginian by night, I must admit that the author's facts about Washington DC were slightly skewered. She mentioned being able to see planes take off from Dulles airport though she was walking around the Tidal Basin of the Potomac, or somewhere close as they watched a plane crash into the Potomac, which, strangely, has happened before. The author should have stated Reagan National Airport. There may have been another error, but I can't remember it. The story was amazing, and these facts should not deter you from reading. I just had to point them out for any of my friends/family who might read and wonder if I missed that and I was stupid. Don't worry, guys. I still know where I live. Haven't been sucked that far out of reality...yet.)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Music & Souls #deepthoughts

Are eyes the only windows to your soul?
Do other entries not exist?
Other fissures,
Small openings that reveal who we are at our core?
Do you not get nervous when you love a song and share it with friends?
Do you not worry that they'll think it's too emo?
Too mushy?
Too not for them?
But you love that song.
It speaks to you.
It reaches into your soul and makes you say yes.
Makes you cry.
Makes you smile.
Makes you connect.
With something.
Maybe our souls aren't hidden.
Maybe we bare them for all to see.
To crush.
To take advantage of.
Should we hide them?
Should we take away the ability for others to sense our core?
Our passions.
Our desires.
Our pain.
Our past.
Or should we reveal who we really are for all to see?
Should we show our love?
Our fears?
Our hurt?
Maybe if we did, the world wouldn't be so callous.
So full of hate.
Maybe if we take down those walls,
Share our soul,
Reveal the human inside,
Maybe we'd be happier.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shut Up, You #loudphones

So, before I get started on my rant about people and their loud phones and their obnoxious ringtones and email notifications, I'd like to apologize for all the complaining. Really, you'd think NOTHING good is happening in my life. But that's not true.

Kid #1 has been running track, keeping me, my mother-in-law, and everyone else busy as we rush around to get to his meets and cheer him on. He's doing great. But he would not appreciate me posting pics of him in his hideously green track uniform . . . so just imagine him. :-)

Kid #2 is into everything: soccer, dance, gymnastics. Quite frankly, I almost wish she'd drop out of something just so I could have a break. Is school over yet? Please. Please say it is!

Kid #3 . . . well, she's into gymnastics--and causing us all sorts of problems. But she's mostly happy. I think. A run to the hospital and many doctor's appointments later . . . and she's all smiles. Her last day of school is next Wednesday. THANK GOD!

And, I can't forget to mention the chickies. We bought six little chickies and set them up in a beautiful little coop in the "backyard". When you have three acres, I'm not really sure what to consider back, front, side. It's all just land. Aren't they cute???

Then, there's the wonderful news that Shattered Secrets is signed with an agent and spending some time with NY editors. WOOT! You will see that book on shelves very soon. I know it! No doubt at all.

And vacation is coming up soon! YAY. We've got tickets to see the Nationals play early June. We've got a condo booked in Longboat Key Florida for the end of June.

Okay, there's the good stuff....

And now I've decided I no longer want to rant. I'm happy. Life is good.

Happy Thursday.

<3 Krystal

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dead Ever After #ugh #ohmygod #dnf

Well, it's happened. I've met a book that I absolutely couldn't finish. And it's not that I couldn't finish it because it was the first in a series and I couldn't get into the book. I couldn't finish it because it was the last in the series and I refused to let the author massacre a world I loved so much.

Charlaine Harris is an amazing writer. Let's just get that straight. She's brought legions of fans from all over the world who enjoy romance, mystery, crime, etc and said, "I've got a book for all of you."

And holy hell was she right. I devoured her books so quickly, my husband thought he'd never get to talk to me again. He may have hated the name Sookie. Maybe he still does.

Then a very sad thing happened: True Blood.

When the show came out, I thought Yay, these characters get to come to life!

What could be better? Eric (I drool, fawn, love, and die every time he's on the page), Bill (Can he just say my name that way? KRYSTAL. No, I guess it doesn't work as well.), and Sookie all on TV together. But the show's writers, director, producers, whoever, ruined the hell out of the connection to the books. They made it smutty--more smutty than the light, comedic Southern Vampire series. They made it trashy. They shredded the story lines.

As a writer, I thought to myself If these were my characters, I wouldn't be able to watch this.

Then I read Charlaine's next book. Something had changed. I sensed a path that didn't flow well with the story she'd written so well and beautifully for so long. I couldn't put my finger on it. But I put that aside and rode a new excitement: the author gave the main character something that could give her a life she loves with someone who loves and adores her, and the main character's grandfather said something that made women all over the world swoon.

Okay. I'll put that initial worry aside and keep reading.

So, the twelfth book came out. Yep, TWELVE, 1-2, and I felt like the author's heart wasn't in it. I felt like Charlaine reached inside the pages of her work and performed an AUTHOR INTERVENTION. I had an editor once who warned me about AUTHOR INTERVENTION. She described it as a moment in the story where the characters said or did things, well, out of character that felt intentional in order to guide the story in a new direction. So, I sensed this in book 12. I hated it. It didn't feel natural, right, real, or good.

As readers, we LIVE the words on those pages. We FEEL the characters' feelings. We EXPERIENCE their lives. We WANT things to end well, especially for HEA Romance readers.

So, when a book takes a twist or turn and a new path blooms, we shouldn't feel like OH NO. NO. What is the author doing? Why is she making this decision? Why? That's not how the cluviel dor was supposed to be used. That's not how things were supposed to go down!

If the reader puts on the brakes, it's a BAD SIGN.

By the end of book 12, I wasn't sure if I even wanted to read book 13. But I did. I actually pre-ordered it. $15 for the KINDLE version. Can you believe that? FIFTEEN dollars.

So, anyway, I put off reading it for days. I knew. I just KNEW things would not end the way I wanted. I knew, and the idea made me sick. Sookie's loved one was promised away for 200 years of SEXUAL SLAVERY. And the author changed Sookie's character SO MUCH that Sookie didn't do anything to stop it. Like, eh, he said he loves me and that what he has to do doesn't mean anything, but it does. Oh, how it does. Umm, honey, you should have saved his ass.

Frankly, none of it made sense. Why Eric would give up so easily. He's been in love with and protecting Sookie since BEFORE THEY EVEN MET! Charlaine wrote this amazing story between them. She brought redemption to a man who initially didn't appear to possess one redeeming quality. She made me fall in love with a new fictional character when I had thought I loved Bill. She painted Eric in this beautiful light. God, he LOVED her. He loved her so much that he cried (Eric, beautiful, strong, stubborn Eric CRIED) when the fairies hurt her.

But something changed in Charlaine's life. She swears that the ending of Dead Ever After is what she envisioned two books into the series. Well, then, why the hell didn't you give clues and hints earlier on? Oh, sure, Sookie wanted babies. My God did we hear about them often enough. But two words: cluviel dor. You could have saved Eric, dumbass. That's who you should have saved. That's who you loved. That's who loved you. That's who you deserved and who deserved you.

Not your boss (at least, that's how I think it ends due to some of the reviews I've read...but I'm still pretending book 4 is the end of the series). Not your boss who's mind you could read. How you always looked at as a brother. A family member. Who you never showed an interest in. Sure, he's a great guy. He's always been there for you.

So why put the readers through the ringer with Eric? Why show us that he NEEDED--no, he DESERVED redemption only to give him a MEA (miserable ever after) ending?

Why assassinate your characters with intentional AUTHOR INTERVENTION to guide your story a different way than the path it naturally flowed on?

My guess? True Blood.

My guess is that show ruined how she felt about her books and characters.

Or something.

I don't think I'll ever pick up another book by Charlaine Harris. Not because she's a terrible writer, but because I can't trust her. She broke the contract between reader and writer of romance, the type of romance where the main relationship lasts forever.

I'll probably rant about this again in the future, should I ever decide to finish the book, but right now...I just can't.

There are too many other things out there with a happy ending, with an ending where the redeeming character doesn't end up a sex slave, miserable, and away from the one he loves and has protected for years.

The End, Charlaine Harris.

The, horrible, sad, broken-hearted, End!

Oh, and in case you're wondering.... 1 Star for me. I recommend reading the series, but stop around Book 10 and make up your own ending.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wilde's Fire Hangman

Well, it's official. Wilde's Fire has been out for a year. Wow. What an amazing, awesome, spectacular year it's been. Well over 30,000 copies are out there in the world, floating around on e-readers or sitting on people's shelves.

I think that's so awesome.

So, to celebrate, we're going to play another little game to test your knowledge of Wilde's Fire. Hangman.

And maybe tomorrow I'll even give something away. We'll see. :-)

Thanks for making my year so wonderful!

<3 Krystal

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Fun! #games

It's been too long since we've celebrated Wilde's Fire. With the novel's one year anniversary quickly approaching, I thought we'd play a little game and test your memory!

So, I created Are You Wild for Wilde's Fire?!

Go ahead, take the quiz, test that knowledge! I dare ya!

Happy Friday, everyone.

<3 Krystal

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Smell Those Effing Roses, Baby #inspiration

As usual on a gloomy, rainy morning, I sat in gridlocked traffic with my friendly slugs. Somehow, our conversation morphed into one of my regular riders mentioning how his former poker buddies were impressed with how well he's settled into his new life: new house, great job, nice things.

Ahh, to be young, unmarried, and kidless. (Nope, can't really imagine that being a good life. Despite all my crazy, hectic, hair-pulling schedules and issues, I wouldn't trade my family in for anything.)

Since I'm usually one to offer bullsh*t advice to almost strangers, I said to him, "You should be impressed and happy with yourself, too. Stop and smell the roses every once in awhile."

"Nah," he said, "Maybe when I own more, bigger, better."

Ha. (For those who know me well, you know what's coming: a cheesy piece of real life experience.) "I mean it. It's okay to want more, growth, but one day when shit falls apart you won't have any good memories to pull you through because you never stopped and said, 'Damn, I've done good.'"

Stop trying to correct my grammar. It was conversation.

Of course, when I offer advice to unsuspecting victims—I mean slugs—I look inward. Make sure I'm following my own wisdom.

I realized I wasn't. I hardly ever do.

My poor friend Susie listens to me lament almost daily about how I suck as an author, how my books are no good, how I'm no good, how I'm an imposter. She usually reminds me by saying something like, "Krystal, you've been published three times, have a ton of amazing reviews, have adoring fans, just snagged an agent for your newest book, and you're being considered by editors of the Big Houses. Seriously?"

Then I feel stupid, like I was fishing for compliments. Although, I wasn't. I want more, bigger, better. (Imagine me saying that in a dreamy voice with stars in my eyes, k?)

Maybe I need to stop and smell the roses. Maybe I need to live in these amazing moments and commit them to memory. One day shit will hit the fan. Something bad always happens. But without any good memories, how will I pull through?

Do you ever forget to pause and reflect? To say, "Damn, I've done good"?

Get out there and smell those roses.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Today is #huganauthor Day @camphalfblood

Today is Author Appreciation Day (aka #huganauthor day) hosted by Susie Levine.

Most casual readers don't understand how important ratings and reviews are to an author's career, especially in this day and age where there are so many authors and books and new ways to purchase stories. When you get to the end of a book on your Kindle (or other reading device), make sure you hit the stars you think that story deserves, and SHARE IT.

This helps us immensely!

Now, today I'm going to hug Rick Riordan. Why? Or why didn't I chose an Indie author, you ask? Well, because I finished reading a book yesterday that totally pissed me off. Yes, I was still mad even after I ate cupcakes, went for a jog with Kid #1, ate ice cream, and watched Vampire Diaries.

If none of that could make me feel better, you'd probably figure I was doomed. But I picked up a book I had around the house and hadn't yet read (I have a bunch of these. I'm so far behind.), and one line--the very first line--put a big smile on my face.

"Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day."

I knew this book wouldn't be full of smut. I knew this book was packed full of adventure. I knew this book was appropriate for its intended audience. I knew because I've read so many of his books before. So, today, on #huganauthor day, I went out and rated his book on Amazon and wrote a snippet of a review. Sure, you can argue that he probably doesn't need it, but I needed him. I needed his words.

And that's what reading is all about.

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