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Curiouser and curiouser…

I run and write for a geek blog, the Caffeine Crew. That’s nice, you say. There are five million geek blogs out there and plenty are way bigger than you. However, I didn’t start this with becoming the next IGN in mind, or to be a reviewer. I wanted to build a creative community inspired by my wonderful friends and our diner conversations. So, this year, we took a giant leap towards that with the Curiouser photoshoot, an Alice in Wonderland inspired photoshoot. We worked together, came up with the costuming, artistic direction, gathered all the models and produced beautiful art.

That wasn’t the last of it though–we’ve got talented writers at Caffeine Crew, and a photobook from our Curiouser shoot seemed to be the perfect fusion of that creativity. Hence, Curiouser, our journey of wit and whimsy was born. Featuring the photographs of Trisha Minicozzi and Ashley Battista-Fesh, as well as the poetry of Carrie Fulk Vaughn and myself, this is one compilation I’m so proud and excited about.

The release is slated for late September, so stay tuned for the date. The first convention I’m bringing copies to will be Steampunk Unlimited.

In the meanwhile, enjoy some behind the scenes photos:

Behind the Scenes 1 Behind the Scenes 2 Behind the Scenes 3

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Word of the Day: Youthquake

Word of the Day: Youthquake

What I think it means: This is another weird one. I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean unless you take the two separate words mashed together at face value that it refers to a riot of youths, or some sort of youth disruption.

What it actually means: A shift in cultural norms influenced by the values, tastes, and mores of young people. Hunh. Well, I can see how it would equate to that. Though, I feel like a quake doesn’t quite equate to something as gradual as a shift.

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Books I Love: Mockingjay

When I’m not writing, I make sure to spend some quality time with books–because my love of reading is what sparked my love of writing in the first place! Here are some of my favorite gems, originally posted on my review blog.

Mockingjay (The Depressing Finale in Which Everyone Dies)

by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games series as a whole is nothing short of genius. And don’t get me wrong, I loved Mockingjay. I enjoyed all the twists and the crazy events leading to an explosive (literally) finale. BUT. Out of the three books, I found this one to be the weakest. Let’s be honest, Katniss has had the world take one giant dump on her since book one. And I think everyone was hoping for a little bit of a let up for the bleakness factor in the third book. A little more triumph, fanfare, etc. Which is why the final book is so divisive for people. But, I gotta hand Suzanne Collins some props. She fervently clings to her bleakness and stark realism. And she makes a damn good story. Despite the overall despondency, the final couple pages of the book include some of the most beautiful writing I’ve seen in my life. So even though the majority of Mockingjay is a bleakfest, it’s worth skipping to the final pages just to read those bits over and over again.


Continue reading “Books I Love: Mockingjay”

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Back from Vacation

So as much as I adore writing and it’s become a daily habit for me, I must admit, having a week off was glorious. Although it was more than the act of writing–when I’m feeling it, or in the throes of a story, nothing can keep me away from a blank page. What I had sorely needed was a week off of the business end of things. A week off from social media. A week off from worrying over the countless submissions I’ve been waiting for responses on. A week off from letting the rejections, frustrations, and sense of futility seep into my veins.

Now, this sounds a bit desperate, I must admit–it hasn’t all been this way. And besides, this year I’ve met some wonderful people on and offline that have truly helped turn things around, and I’ll always keep fighting, because writing’s been my dream for as long as I can remember. But there’s this armor I’ve been wearing all year, this launch into a battle where I’ve made little headway, and it’s wearying. It’s exhausting and until I took this vacation, I hadn’t quite realized how much it wore on my psyche.

To all of you little rays of sunshine this year–you’re what makes it possible to weather through the tough patches though. I’m always learning, and I think this was a big year for that. The vacation put things in great perspective, and I think I’m all recharged to step into the battlefield again and give my all.


Also, Canada was gorgeous. My husband and I had a great time exploring.


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Word of the Day: Phreaker

Word of the Day: Phreaker

What I think it means: This one’s a weird one that I’ve never heard before in my life. The spelling sounds like a mixture of freak and beaker, but I’m sure it has nothing to do with that. My guess would be it’s some sort of slang for a club kid…or a lightbulb.

What it actually means: One who gains illegal access to the telephone system. Hunh, interesting. Apparently the ph- beginning refers to the phone. And I guess the -eaker could refer to breaker, or the -ker reminds me a bit of hacker. I highly doubt I’ll use this word though.

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Beyond Fairytales Spotlight: Taliaschild

Decadent Publishing’s Beyond Fairytales series takes fairytales from well known to the obscure and then cranks up the heat! The differing stories delve into many different sub-genres and styles of erotic romance, but all of them have a fairy tale feel as the authors meld the old stories into something new.

Today we’re featuring Taliaschild by Anastasia Vitsky


Six years after the mysterious talisman brought Queen Vina to Talia, it chooses a new owner in Sonna, a child of the streets. Unprotected by her amputee father and beaten by her mother for failing to bring home scraps for the family to eat, Sonna runs into the self-assured Kira, daughter and heir to Vina’s queendom.

Weary of endless rules and duties involved in training to become the future queen, Kira leaps at the chance to escape with a new friend. She places the priceless talisman around Sonna’s neck, but neither can remove the jewelry.

Alarmed at losing the talisman’s protection, Vina and Talia take drastic steps to protect the princess. In the process, the entire earth descends into chaos.

Five years later, nineteen-year-old Sonna forages for two-day-old fish heads while dodging street pimps. The talisman leads her to the mysterious Nicodemus, who offers one command:

Go to Kira. She needs you.

Baffled, Sonna embarks on her journey. What can a pauper offer a spoiled princess? Will the street girl end up surprising them all?

Sneak Peek into Taliaschild:

Against my chest, the talisman grows warm. It quivers, almost as if it is afraid. Or perhaps it creaks like an old, unused piece of machinery. I take out the metal to rub it clean with my spit, and the gems glow bright as the stars.

My child.

I jump backward, dropping the necklace. I’d throw it down the grate if I could remove the chain from around my neck. Sorcery! A necklace refusing to be removed spoke of magic, but I hoped it was benign. Is this a demon’s voice? Am I spawn of the devil?

I am not a demon, my child. I am one who loves you the way your mother does not.

I whimper. Demon or not, Mother will order an exorcism if anyone finds out. A little girl was possessed last year, and the shaman beat her with a wooden stick. Over and over, commanding the evil spirits to leave the child. I can face many things, but not the wrath of a demon chaser.

The one you love has locked her heart to you. You must find her, and you must remind her of the day you promised to love her.

Shaking from head to foot, I risk speaking out loud. “She never came back.”

That was not her doing. Do you still care for her?

Soft kisses, sweeter than any of the delicacies she fed me. The tingle of her touch, transporting me to a world in which my shame no longer mattered. Standing before her, scrubbed clean, and watching her eyes widen in surprise and longing.

Curling next to her side, trusting her. Believing when she told me to follow her. I would never be hungry again, she said.

She loves you.

No one ever loved me before.

She needs you. Find her.

Before I can think of a response, the gemstones fade to silver and the metal grows cold.

Find her. But how?

Purchase it at these vendors:

All Romance:­‐‑taliaschild-­‐‑1872960-­‐‑340.html


Barnes and Noble:­‐‑anastasia-­‐‑vitsky/1122540412?ean=2940150830059



Posted in Articles

Books I Love: Furies of Calderon

When I’m not writing, I make sure to spend some quality time with books–because my love of reading is what sparked my love of writing in the first place! Here are some of my favorite gems, originally posted on my review blog.

Furies of Calderon (No Furies? No Problem.)

by Jim Butcher

As an avid reader of the Dresden Files, I was antsy to read Jim Butcher’s hand at anything, frankly. He doesn’t disappoint in the Codex of Alera either. The story and world are well crafted, and his trademark action sequences are always enjoyable. This being a very different beast, it had little of Dresden Files snark and humor, but still remained a really fun read. The different races such as the Marat added dimension to the world, as did his unique system of magic called furycrafting.


Continue reading “Books I Love: Furies of Calderon”

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August 2015 Obsessions

What have I been tuning into during August? Well, I’ve been reading Terry Brooks’ Genesis of Shannara series which is quite delightful. I have to admit, I completely forgot how much I love getting wrapped into a high fantasy series, even though it requires the patience to weather through the setup. I admit though, I’ve been pining for a good YA book or urban fantasy series as of late.

However, this month has turned into the month of reading! I managed to read the first and second of the Genesis of Shannara books and followed that up with Shootout at Roulement Ridge by Einar Mercier, Dragonstone by Paula Millhouse, and What You Need by Landra Graf. It’s been a basking in indie authors sort of month, and I’m thrilled to read the works of such talented individuals. August has done a good job of reminding me of my favorite obsession: reading.

To cap it off though, even if you haven’t read the books, I think any fantasy fan can get excited about the Shannara show that’s airing this upcoming January.


Posted in Updates

Weekly Word Count #11

Almost vacation time, where I’m going to be adventuring and drinking in life experiences. Hey, just as important with writing is gaining said wisdom and experience to extol it. Where shall I go? Canada!

Word Count: Maybe like 500? Between packing and revising Airship to send to my editor, I’m slacking this week.

What story I’m working on: Revising An Airship Named Desire for re-release, and then once I return from my trip, I’ll be plunging full steam ahead into the sequel. I’m already about 10,000 words in and excited to continue.

What I’m editing/marketing: Airship, Airship, Airship. Plus, I’m continuing to cobble together everything necessary for the Curiouser book. I’m beyond thrilled to set a release date in September.