Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The problem with books is...

Everyone knows that books are wonderful. Not only do they educate us and exercise our brains, but they have the ability to transport us out of our lives and into someone else's. They give us experiences that we cant get in the real world. They let our minds soar.

But, with all of that magic, books also bring about quite a few problems for those of us who are a little - or a lot - obsessed with them. For instance:

1) You're so engrossed in a story and think that you still have a couple more chapters left but when you turn the page, you realize that it's a preview for another book.

2) Do you buy the whole series, risk not liking it and wasting money OR just buy the first book and truly suffer when you love it and cant buy the rest for a while.

3) You want to finish the book but you don't want to finish the book.

4) When you read a line that is just so well-written that you have to close the book and stare at the wall for a minute.

5) Your T.B.R. list.

6) When they deleted your favorite scene in the book-to-movie adaptation.

8) Having to put it down to do stupid things like eat and sleep.

9) When something catastrophic happens and no one you know has read it so you have no one to talk about it with.

10) When people try to speak to you while you're reading.

11) The hole in your chest when you finish reading a series.

12)  Having non-fictional feelings for fictional characters.

13) Shoulder, neck and back pains from reading in awkward positions.

14) Book that don't have summaries on the back - just one-line reviews. WTF is the book about!?

16) You can name more fictional characters than you have friends.

17) When a character does something really stupid or embarrassing and you have to close the book because you can feel their embarrassment too.

18) Book hangover: The inability to start a new book because you're still living in the last books world.

19) The agonizing wait for the author to finish the next book in the series.

20) The amount of space they take up in your living room.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Book Review for A place called here by Cecelia Ahern

I've been catching up on my Goodreads reading challenge. A friend of mine gave me a box of old books last year and, with writing and publishing my own novels, I haven't had much time to read.

I just finished A place called here by Cecelia Ahern. I have to say, when I read the reviews I wasn't excited yet something about the storyline kept me intrigued. Like the main character, Sandy Short, I admit, I often wonder what else is there? What don't we know? When people and things simply vanish, where do they go? I like where Cecelia's mind went. How nice would it be to think that kids such as the O'Brien brothers from Newfoundland were simply stuck in another dimension. One where everyone looked out, helped and provided for one another. Somewhere where there was counselling and guidance for those who needed it.

I found that the fact that Sandy worked as a private missing persons locator oddly fitting. If anyone was likely to go missing, searching unknown locations, travelling alone, asking questions to the wrong people, wouldn't it be a likelihood that this person would easily 'vanish' as well?

The back-story of Jenny-May kept me intrigued. Sigh... As a parent, could you imagine? You're child just disappearing?

Certain parts, particularly Sandy's time spent in 'Here' seemed to drag on. I understood the play reference and the authors desire to build upon that but, I think it could have been cut down quite a bit.

This was the first book I've read by Cecelia Ahern. Like 90% of the worlds female population I saw, and loved PS, I love you. I guess I was hoping that this book would be more like that, romantic, funny... however it fell short. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed it. It made me think and explore different ideas and what if's. I'd recommend it for some light, weekend reading. When you're in the mood for something that's not too serious, minimal commitment. ;)

Monday, 21 March 2016

Release date!

I've unleashed the A.R.C'S. of Aberrant Fairy Tale today! I'm so excited for the release of this book I might pee my pants. I've been thinking of ways to promote it (My LEAST favorite part of publishing) and have somewhat been coming up empty. I really feel that now a days, people can't be bothered.

With all the Scentsy, Body wrap, Jewel Kade( so on and so on) parties, the thoughts of an online party kind of exhaust me. I'm not very social. There's no chance that I'm going to rent out a room somewhere only to be disappointed when no one could be bothered to put down their cell phones and come. It leaves me in a bit of a slump.

But then I think, 'why does it have to be so all or nothing?' I got into this whole publishing business for fun. If something doesn't feel right, why should I have to push myself? Don't get me wrong. I can guarantee that all of my friends, family, fan's and strangers will be sick of me talking about it. I'll be posting on a minutely basis about all  things fae.

I will NOT however be stressing over this novel  the way I did with the first two Authority series novels.

It's been a while since I've written anything on here. A lot has happened! My brother-in-law and his wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy (with a FULL head of hair). He's been filling my baby-void whenever the craving comes on. My kids have both had Birthdays within the last 2 months. If turning 30 made me feel old, having an 11 year old daughter makes me feel ancient. They had appointments with the optometrist today. Both need glasses. I expected Brooklynn to be excited about it. She LOVES glasses and has always saved up money to buy herself some fake ones at Claire's. Now that she actually needs them, she's pissed. I swear, if her hormones get worse, I'm jumping ship. Was I this bad as a preteen? I'm sure my mother will argue but I'm going to have to say no.

The release date is set for April 1st, 2016. I've yet to share the cover of Aberrant Fairy Tale but have had some pretty amazing pictures done up (Just a little bit of promoting wont kill me). What do you think?

Monday, 28 December 2015

On turning 30...

I've been dreading my Birthday this year for as long as I can remember. My heart constricts and I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it. As I was lying in bed last night however I realized something. I like who I am as I'm going into my 30's. For the first time, I'm ok with me.

My 20's were confusing. I grew up too fast - had my first baby at 19, my second at 23 and got married somewhere in between. My friends were out partying, traveling, finishing school and I thought that that was what I was supposed to be doing too. I finished school, left the country for a vacation - with husband and baby in tow - for the first time and hit up a few clubs along the way as well. I made memories, new friends and ok-ish money.

My friends and I would swap stories ("Remember that time that we got so drunk?"), make more plans to do it again, share pictures of our travels but all the while, it didn't feel right to me.

As I got later into my 20's, we got a little bit classier. Drinking wine and hanging out at Starbucks like the typical white girl was chosen most of the time over clubbing and all-nighters. I'd swallow that red like it was the most delicious thing I'd ever tasted, trying to conceal the grimace I was internally making. I'd order coffee, hot and bitter, drown it in milk and sugar until I could deal with the taste because at this age, I was 'supposed' to like wine and coffee. I went along with my religion. I went to church and would ask for forgiveness when I swore or thought something impure about another human being. I hung the crosses and rosary beads around the house to show everyone that yes, I was a Christian - all the while questioning everything I read about 'God' and the bible, but never voicing my opinions out loud.

I sent my daughter to school because ALL teachers are nice, friendly, loving. I believed those teachers when they told me that "something wasn't right" with her. They tossed around words like A.D.D and autism and so, with a heavy heart, I dragged her from specialist to specialist, trying to get a diagnosis because hey, the teachers had to be right, right? When the doctors looked at me like a crazy person and shook their heads saying, "Your daughter is fine. She's 100% normal", it clicked.

She was normal. Quirky as hell but normal. And I loved her for it. She was and is unapologetically herself. At 10 years old she knows who she is and what she believes and doesn't care about what everyone tells her she is supposed to be.

That was when it started for me.

I thought about all the years I've spent trying to conform. To be what I was 'supposed' to be and I hated it! How many years have I spent trying to lose weight so that I'd look the was I was 'supposed' to? Praying to a God who believes that I'm a sinner simply for having my period and that anyone or thing that comes into contact with me during that time is unclean? Swallowing red wine despite the fact that the mere smell of it makes me nauseous. Even worse was allowing other people to label my child - the one who loves to learn about politics, hasn't scored below 'above average' on a report card since she's started school and sits down with a group of adults and talks to them about current world events, making them feel less than 'normal' - as 'special needs'.

With a week left in my 20's, I am more me than I have been in my entire life. I'm not going to go to a club because my friends are. I HATE clubs! I always have! I'm fat, and fine with it. I do believe in God - absolutely, just not the one that everyone says I'm supposed to believe in. My God wants me to be happy. To live my life the way I want to so long as I'm doing it in a safe manner, and making the world a little better in the process.

Some days I'm a writer. Some days an artist, a mom, a wife, a woman, sister, daughter, napper (Yes, a napper).

I'm not one thing. I don't fit into one mould and I have no intention of ever doing so. And most importantly, as I turn 30, I realize I'm ok with that.

Oh! This reminds me... I have a couple of days left for my Facebook giveaway! I'm drawing on my Birthday (Jan 8th). Click here to check it out. :)

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Crazy Canuck New Years Blog Hop & Top 10 reasons why Canadians write better romance novels...

Be sure to enter the Crazy Canuck Blog hop contest after reading this (Details at the end of the list)! You can enter to WIN 17 books for your new devices from 17 CANADIAN AUTHORS! Sorry for shouting. I'm REALLY excited!
Without further adieu...
  1. It get's REALLY cold here. Rather than bundling up, we prefer to find more exciting ways to stay warm...inside. What's more, after getting hot and steamy, we most certainly do NOT want to venture out and therefore curl up by a nice fire and write about our activities.
  2. The majority of Canada is wilderness - nature at it's finest really. So you could say we are in tune with nature... and what's more natural than - ahem - romance?
  3. Compared to other countries, Canada's population is relatively small. All that wilderness and so few people. The term 'There are plenty of fish in the sea' stands true in the literal sense however, when it comes to finding spouses, not so much. We have to do what we can to hold on to our partners! Being kinky is a survival necessity!
  4. We are known for our beavers. Enough said.
  5. We name town's after... things. Romance is literally everwhere! With places named 'Dildo' (Yes, I'm serious), 'Conception Bay', and 'Cupids', it's hard to escape dirty thoughts when they are literally where you live.
  6. We're lovers, not fighters. No one hates Canada. We don't start wars because we're too busy trying to stay warm.
  7. Our premier looks like he could be Mr. Darcy, or the man you've been reading about. Seriously. He runs our country...
  8. We are ALWAY'S polite. It's not as if we are super-human. Everyone get's angry, let's be honest. We just don't show it externally. We save all of our pent up aggression for... writing. Even Canadians have to be naughty now and then.
  9. Our landscape. With places like Lake Louise, Petty Harbour, Niagara Falls and the Rocky Mountains, it's hard not to be inspired!
  10. We are adventurous! With so much wilderness to explore, it's hard to stay indoors (When it's not cold of course). Encounters with grizzly's and mountain lions tend to get your heart racing... and then grateful for the person beside you for protecting you all alone in that forest. Besides that, we were brave enough to try poutine, and then to recommend it. Seriously, have you tried one? It's freaking delicious!
I've been so excited to share this with you all! Author Lisa Emma (Mostly Lisa) and I have set up a Crazy Canuck Blog hop! The theme is, 'Fill your new devices with Books from Canadian authors'. The books and author's we have include:

Altering Authority by Ashley Dooley
Dead and Kicking by Lisa Emme
Something in the Air by Marie Landry
Magic Resistant by Veronica DelRosa
The Naughty List by Cori Vidae
Firefly: Ice Born by P.M. Pevato
Thirteen by Shannon Peel
Enemy Within by Marysol James
Questing for a Dream by P.D. Workman
Vice by Rosanna Leo
Lakeshore Secrets by Shannyn Leah
Guarding Midnight by Kacey Hammell
3013:Renegade by Susan Hayes
The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros
Alien Next Door: Complete Series by Jessica E. Subject
Slow Ride Home by Leah Braemel
One Gold Heart by Sadie Haller
That's SEVENTEEN new books for you! Did I mention that you can WIN these books? Plus two Chapter-Indigo gift cards!
The links below will get you to where you need to go to enter. Be sure to click the little froggie and check out the other blogs as well! Good Luck!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

F#@$! I hate promoting!

I know that a lot of authors publish books and then leave it at that. No promoting, no marketing, just laying it all out there and hoping for the best. Some authors do well with this method - if your story is good enough, it will promote itself, right? - others not so much.

I know that promoting works, I've done it and so far, the Authority series has done pretty well however I still haven't had the kind of response I thought I'd have. I worked hard on these books. It was a long process (one that still isn't over yet) and I guess I was hoping that more people would be eager to share it, respond to it and be involved. That isn't the case though.

I'm an anxious person - like, really anxious. I stay awake at night wondering why it isn't doing as good as it should. Am I being a pain in the ass by talking about it so much? Am I following the right steps to ensure it's name gets out there on Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Twitter*DeepBreath*GoodReadsBlogsMyspaceTumblr... *Exhale*. This list goes on forever... I'm not interested in paying to promote on these outlets. I want to do this as cost-effectively as I can even though I know that it would probably help...

The problem is is that with Facebook, you are preaching to your friends, family and old high school nemesis' who are only on there to see if you've gotten fat (I have), addicted to drugs (No, but I'm sure I could this time of year) or have had ugly children ( I win on the baby-making front! They're gorgeous!). If they weren't the first ones to buy your books, they aren't going to. Instagram has a bajillion 'Authors', most of whom have publishers to promote for them and the entire day to sit around and come up with promo pics and contests. I'm a stay at home mom who homeschools my daughter and looks after the neighborhood kids. Cooking, cleaning, eating and sleeping come along at some point and before I know it I'm laying in bed telling my husband, "Not tonight, I'm too tired" and stressing over the fact that I didn't sell a book that day, post 5 pictures on Instagram or update my Fans on Facebook about my new cover reveal for the next series I'm starting. Did I bathe Darius? Does Brooklynn have that play date tomorrow?

I'm exhausted and at the end of my wits. When did writing and my book - the one that I love, fanaticize about and cherish like my child - become a chore? It's easy to get sucked into the Googolplexian (It's a real number) articles on Pinterest (Should I create a board for my books?) about marketing your novels and they all seem so easy when you're reading them but then one article sends you a link to another article and so on and before you know it you're watching a tutorial on how to apply fake eyelashes as a moustache to your cat to accentuate it's ears and wondering what the f$#@ this has to do with promoting.

 My brain cant keep up with it.

I want to go back to a time when I was excited for my books, not filled with anxiety. I want their content to speak for itself and mostly I just want to sit back and write more. I want to stop stressing over whether or not I should go to a writers convention, do a book signing or host another contest.

I guess the real question here is to promote? Or not to promote? Do I leave it all up to faith and trust in the storyline or do I ensure that they are in readers faces, a constant reminder that, "Hey! Here is an amazing book just waiting to be read?"

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Chapter one of Altering Authority... Yes, the WHOLE chapter.

I'm a book snob, I admit it. I judge them by their covers and if I'm not hooked by the first couple of chapters, I abandon it like a mama deer and her lame fawn.

There are too many good books out there waiting to be read! I can't waste time forcing myself to finish something that doesn't hold my interest, regardless of how good or bad the writing is. If it doesn't have 'it', it doesn't have it. That's that.

I'm confident that my books have 'it'. There are over a thousand readers all over the world that would agree, which is why, without further ado, I give to you chapter one of the first book in the Authority Series, Altering Authority. Enjoy!


he wasn’t  particularly close to her father. His mobster lifestyle kept him busy. Her mother tried desperately to keep her away from the violence that life entailed, but push came to shove and the money was great. How could her mother raise her alone? It wasn’t as if she was going to get a job and pay the bills herself.

            Surprisingly, his death came as a shock. Not at the hands of a drug dealer hell bent on revenge, or one of the customers who’d felt ripped off. He died suddenly with a brain aneurysm, sitting alone at the kitchen table, reading his newspaper on a Sunday morning.

            Tatum had known that he would leave everything to her. She was his only child, and much to the dismay of her mother, she was somewhat more - ungovernable – than her father was. Where he’d have his henchmen do his dirty work, Tatum preferred to handle things herself.

            The drugs and gun dealings were more trouble than she preferred, but the high profits made them more than bearable. With strong connections and repeat customers already built, Tatum used her associates to collect and sell the merchandise. She rarely saw that aspect of the business, just the cash flow.

Her favorite inherited business venture was the strip clubs. She never had to threaten those girls; they knew their place and how to have fun. The real money came from those girls after hours. Tatum didn’t like to consider her new job title as a ‘Madam,’ however, technically that’s what she was. The word sounded so old, carried such a stereotype. She thought of women like Heidi Fleiss and Michelle Braun and didn’t consider herself to be anything like them, aside from their jobs.

 Her business was whores but she was the furthest thing from one of them.

Her father, Bill, was a pimp, even though he didn’t quite fit the clich├ęd description. His business suits were pristine and expensive. There most certainly were no fur coats in his closet or gold-grills in his jewelry box.

            Three months after Bill’s death, Tatum found herself sitting awkwardly with her mother at the dining room table. The same table her father’s face had smashed onto in death. Since then, it had been uncomfortable around her mother. The older woman was withdrawn, morose. She could see that something was weighing heavily on her mind and she knew it wasn’t her deceased husband. They weren’t close, not the typical man and wife.

 Her mother’s eyes would stare off into nothing, growing glossy. Her usual pristine black hair was in a constant state of mild disarray. Not her normal self. This day in particular it grew more annoying to Tatum than anything.

            “What is it mom?!” she said, a few octaves higher than she knew were necessary. Her mother flinched at the sharpness in her voice.

            She inhaled deeply and looked at her daughter, the words on the tip of her tongue. She made eye contact for a brief second before looking away, wiping a tear from her cheek.

            “You’re not leaving until you spit it out” Tatum said, sipping calmly on her tea, staring intently at her mother, her eye contact unwavering.

            Donna stood clumsily and made her way to the opposite side of the table, the action looking funnier than it should have, considering how polished she was dressed in her beige pant suit and pearls.  She sat in front of her daughter and swallowed hard, the lump not disappearing.

            She hesitated a few minutes more, looking around the large room with its enormous windows facing out onto the dew covered lawn 20 feet or so below. The streams of light slicing through held a constant whirlwind of sparkles. In a house this size, one wouldn’t consider it to be dust.

            Tatum’s glare held up. Donna took a minute to study her features. There was no denying she was her daughter. The same bright eyes, the slim nose. Tatum was more Donna than Donna had ever really noticed. It’s no wonder no one ever questioned her paternity.

            She was sorry more than anything that Tatum had grown up in this life. The drugs, guns, and violence were more than most people could stand; however Tatum seemed to thrive in it, despite Donnas best efforts. How could she not? It was in her blood, more than Tatum even knew. 

            Looking at her now, Donna knew that she couldn’t stop heredity. “I haven’t been honest with you Tatum” she finally spit out. “I don’t even know how to tell you this.”

            Her mother paused, choking on her words. The look in her eyes was of sheer terror. Surely, Tatum thought, her mother wasn’t afraid of her? There had been times when people had crossed Tatum and she’d had to ‘take care’ of them herself, but her mother was kind of off limits. There were boundaries when it came to these types of things.  Offing your mother was one of them.

            “Just say it mom.”

            Donna took another deep breath. “He wasn’t… Not biologically… He wasn’t your real father Tatum.”

            The weight of the words hung in the air for a moment. The only sounds were the waves in the distance on the beach. The hum of the refrigerator. The ticking of the clock.

            “I tried to protect you. I thought this lifestyle was better than the one you would have grown up in if your real father had raised you.”

            Tatum’s face wrinkled in thought, but she couldn’t form a coherent sentence. All she could think was ‘it makes sense.’ She was nothing like Bill. At times, after she’d gotten into the family business, he would look at her as if she were an anomaly. He could call the shots, give the orders, but there was no way he’d be able to put a bullet in someone’s head and not bat an eye about it the way Tatum did. She had none of his characteristics. Not a single thing.

            It dawned on her then. If Donna thought that this was a better lifestyle compared to the one her real father was living, what kind of person was he exactly?

 She knew she’d done horrible things. Abnormal things. It wasn’t a typical day at work to beat someone to death for information about drug lords or rival gangs. But with her lifestyle, it came with the territory. Donna knew this. She wasn’t proud of it, but never really seemed to try to stop Tatum. What was she keeping her from?

            Then, at a rapid pace, the questions flooded in. Was he still alive? In prison? Did she have siblings? Nieces? Nephews? Grandparents that knew about her? Did he know about her?

            “Speak Tatum. Please tell me what you’re thinking” Donna pleaded as she saw the emotions run across Tatum’s face. “I’m sorry” she choked out in a whisper.

            Of all the thoughts swirling around in her head, “Why?” was all she could muster.

            Donna looked at her, thoughtfully. She licked her lips and rubbed them together, the way she normally did when she was about to talk a lot.

            “He’s a good man. We had a short lived fling, nothing serious. He’s involved in some things, Illegal gambling, prostitution... I didn’t think you’d end up taking over all of this” she gestured with her hands around the large room, but implying so much more. “I didn’t think this life would affect you as much if you were raised by Bill. I was wrong though, obviously. You ended up more like him than you did Bill.” She frowned and looked down at her hands. “He lives on the west coast, in San Francisco.”

            “Does he know about me?”

            Donna looked Tatum in the eyes for a moment, as if she were waiting for this question. She shook her head slowly. “He would have been involved if he did.”

Tatum nodded and ran her fingers through her long, curly, dark hair. “Did Bill know?” It would explain his distance from her. Why bother being a father to a child whom you know isn’t actually yours?

            Her mother shook her head and at least had the sensibility to look embarrassed.

“Do you know how to contact him?”

            Donna hesitated a minute before nodding.

            “Find him and tell him… I want a paternity test first.” She stood and walked away then, leaving Donna alone and staring after her.

            She was numb. She didn’t know if she should be mad at her mother or thankful that she had a father again?

            Walking out of the patio and down towards the beach, she heard the rev of her mother’s Audi RS5 Cabriolet leaving the driveway. She wrapped one arm around herself, propping her elbow on it to chew her fingernail as she walked.

            The wind was up, the tide out. Spray from the waves wet her face but it was soothing, almost. A distraction from the tsunami in her brain.

            She knew a slew of gambling rings in San Francisco. She should have asked her mother which one. Had she met her biological father doing a deal? A bunch of them up there bought guns from Bill in the past.

            She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. Noticing the time, she sent a text to Rick, her go-to man, saying she wouldn’t be able to go to the clubs today. Putting the phone back in her pocket, Tatum sat down on a fallen log that had been dragged toward the shoreline as a seat for the fire pit in front of her. She was beginning to regret not grabbing a sweater.

            She couldn’t picture Donna ‘fooling around’. She seemed too uptight to have flings. Tatum herself was a believer in big romantic gestures. She knew the men that were associated with her lifestyle were a different breed, not the type to shout ‘I love you’ from a rooftop, to cry over and fight for their women, and she accepted that, never truly expecting to find ‘the one.’ She’d probably end up like Donna. Settling for whatever was the most convenient. However, the way she saw her mother light up when talking about him, Tatum could see that there was more to it than she was letting on. Perhaps she was even more like Donna than she realized.

            She thought about what this meant for her businesses. Legally, her father – or Bill – had left her everything in his will. If word got out that she wasn’t biologically his, would others try to take it all from her? Was she still entitled to it? Legally, she knew she was, however in her world, the one with prostitutes, drug lords, and gun dealers, things were different.

The first decision she made was to keep this new found knowledge under wraps until she knew what to do about it.

            She wandered aimlessly around the property for a while. Only running into the gardener, who politely tipped his hat to her and went on his way on his ride-on mower.

            When night fell, she climbed into bed, a bowl of cereal in hand. The TV was only a mild distraction. She flipped through the channels, never really settling on one thing. Eventually, she fell asleep, her head pounding with thoughts and questions, but no answers.
©2015, Ashley Dooley, all rights reserved
Like what you've read? Get the whole thing here

Let me know what you thought of Tatum and her predicament by connecting with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArtsyDarlynnBooks/ or on twitter at https://twitter.com/AshesDoo