March 22, 2014

Love and Autism

I love my son more than I thought was ever possible. From the moment I found out that I was pregnant my life changed forever. When I first saw his steel baby blues looking up at me I was swimming in his love. We had a terrible scare when he was only a month old resulting in him needing surgery on thanksgiving day of 2010. I was a wreck, there was nothing I could do to ease what he was going through and he was too young to explain that everything would be okay, and it was. I remember the first time I played peek-a-boo with him not knowing at his age he would think I disappeared forever but in time he learned to love the game. I watched him hit milestones so proudly all while terrified if I was doing all I could for him. One day I noticed, others noticed really, he wasn't looking at us. Down the road I found out he has autism spectrum disorder. It was the second scariest experience of my life. He has made such amazing progress through early child development and autism programs. I love him, just the way he is. The way he laughs with every part of his being and smiles as if the world is the most amazing thing he's ever encountered. Sure he won't even try this sippy cup idea and loves his bottles as if they are the most important thing in the world, next to his IPad. His iPad that has shown us all how incredibly smart he is though he doesn't have the words to tell us. He amazes me every day, and drives me crazy as toddlers do. Most days I am only grateful for the blessing he is in my life. Sometimes I see kids his age, tell their mother's they love them and a piece of me cries for that moment. Its possible I may never hear those words from his lips. My new terrifying thought that wanders my mind. If he never does, he shows me, everyday. I know he loves me. So no, I'm not sad that he is autistic and please don't aww and give me a pitiful look in response. He is amazing and I will continue to do all I can to give him all the tools he needs to exceed other's expectations and reach incredible goals he has yet to set for himself. I will shower him with love and kindness so he knows how to treat others. I will set rules and boundaries for his safety and well being and not because I'm scared of the what if's in life. Just as I was taught, I will teach him to be the best he can be and give him the room he needs to achieve it and the help when he wants it. It's true when they say your children become your world. They are our world and one day they will be the ones running the world we live in. Isn't it only fair we do all we can to make it the best possible life they can live? As he hands me his bottle requesting more with that breathtaking smile, I smile back and kiss his forehead. In that moment I feel his love and that is everything to me.


Proud momma

December 30, 2013

A dream: Conversation with a small group of youthful ears. "You only know you've truly loved someone by the hole it leaves in your heart when they are gone."

I was standing in front of a small group of youthful ears answering questions about how and why I chose to write. I said, "I didn't choose to write, it's something I just have to do." The teacher smiled and asked if there were any techniques I could share with her students or words of wisdom and I looked around at the room and said this,

"I want you all to think about the worst day you have ever had. Some might say, you're worst day…" I pointed at a student, "Was worse than say yours." I pointed at another student. "This though technically on someone's scale may be true, it is not. No one has the right to tell you your worst day or any moment is not worth as much as or worth more than someone else's. When you write a sad scene in story you don't write careless emotionless words on a page and hope it hits. You pour your soul out and pluck your sorrow and bleed on the pages you create. That moment is directly tied to your worse day. What you felt that day twists and turns and erupts in the sad moment you create. Experiences in life impact your work as they often do to your own lives. Let's say the main character is a young man or a young lady and her best friend or his mother has died and the funeral has just begun. You're not going to say, oh mom died, damn. Perhaps he is being strong for his sister and father, trying with all his might to hold them up. Begging himself not to cry as he watches the box that holds his mother's shell lowering into the ground. His palms sweat and he tries to force a smile as people in her life pay their respects, numbing him to the core with each empty hug. He waits behind after everyone has left while he curses at the sun to himself, that the world has no right to look happy and joyous when he felt as if something was ripping out his insides. Long after the dirt and sod had been thrown onto the casket he stood, silently. All day he stood there, late into the nightfall. Staring in such disbelief that this all was real. A middle-aged man with scraggily gray hair approached him. The man said, "You only know you've truly loved someone by the hole it leaves in your heart when they are gone." The young man felt his throat closing up on him, threatening of a possible breakdown. He sighed shakily before leaving on unsteady limbs to his car. He climbed in and as the door slammed shut, he faltered. His eyes rained despite his protest and as he let the loss consume him rage began to boil in his blood. Soon guilt of all the things he never had the chance to say or do attacked him relentlessly. His mind was at war with his heart and soul and he was weak from the battle. If you listened quietly, you could actually hear the sound of his heart breaking into tiny pieces, slipping through his hands. A bang on the glass jogged him back to his numb state he had prior to this, grown accustomed to."

Each student connected with a different aspect of the short story and had a million questions. I smiled as one asked, "Who was at the window?"

"Well," I said, "Whoever you want it to be. It could be his father or sister or perhaps a high school sweet heart or new love interest. Someone who may break his heart far worse or may heal it. Each of us would write the next scene completely different and none of them would be wrong. When you tell a story a piece of you, however small, leaks into your book and that is not a bad thing. Your reader wants to feel something and to be taken on a journey. The point here is this, every moment in your life matters. As does every moment in a book. What you have felt, enjoyed, suffered through, its shapes you as a writer and as a human being. Live your life and don't be afraid to allow your past experiences to linger in your work. The story you have to tell matters and your life is an asset to storytelling. And your life experiences are a part of what makes your own writing style unique. Good luck, keep writing."


A

December 21, 2013

The Joy of a Sleepy Child

I rock my son in my arms as if we were listening to a sweet melody. His cries bounce of the wall begging for me not to coax him into sleeping. He loathes napping and bedtime as if I were kicking his favorite little puppy. He whines, pleading that I stop trying to make him as sleepy as he actually is. I lay him down in bed with a bottle and his favorite blanket, whispering sweet words to him. He fights, arguing every step of the way as if sleep was his mortal enemy. His eyes grow heavy and in reaction his hand reach up to rub them. Will he sleep? I wonder.

I hold my son gently in my arms reminding myself that this is just one of the many gifts that come along with children. Exhausted my hair lay a disaster, high above my head. My eyes are surrounded by a dark blanket, a sign that I have been without sleep for far too many days in a row. A nap could change my entire day and the only thing standing in the way of that is the perfect bundle of joy wrapped in my arms screaming bloody murder. My socks are mismatched and I was sure the substance on my shirt was either spit up or formula but not entirely sure to which one it was.  Reluctantly, I lay him in his bed as my arms feel as if they will fall right off of my body from the length of time I held his weight in them. I tried to hold him until he fell asleep, but I was in no condition for an endurance run against this little man.  I glanced in the mirror to see my disheveled appearance knowing this wasn't the first nor the last time, I wasn't going to give two shits about my reflection, mocking me. I sat waiting for him to tire himself out and fall asleep into the much needed nap he deserves, I deserved. As I am just about to give up and free him as he wishes the space around me silences and I know he has finally passed out. I dance in celebration. I debate on taking my own much needed nap or one of the other million things I could do while he lay sleeping. I peer into his crib to see his sweet angelic face, at peace. I crawl into bed and close my eyes, excitedly. Minutes pass and there I lay awake. "No, no, no." I growl at myself. After I had made a mental note of my future to do list and had dwelled sufficiently on the past twenty-nine years of my life, I begin to drift asleep. "Momma." I hear from cage that holds my son. My eyes snap open fearfully and as his soft voice begins to babble I sigh and pull myself from my bed and approach my son. I find him siting, staring up at me with a smile that could melt the coldest of winter's. Even his baby blues were smiling, as if to say, thank you mom. I needed that. I reach in and lift him up into my arms and he holds on to my neck before I bring him to the floor to escape and cause whatever havoc he will, on the house. His laughter fills the house as he plays with his favorite toys and though the circle's around my eyes darkened slightly from the ordeal I throw my hands up in defeat. There's always bedtime, I think to myself. Who needs showers?


November 6, 2013

Cover reveal of Keren Hughes debut novel, Stolen


I'm super excited to be apart of the cover real of Keren Hughes's book Stolen. She is an amazing woman who I met when I was searching for someone to review my first book Finding Alice. She is a breath of fresh air and I know from speaking to her on many occasions that her book will be outstanding and breathtaking. Yes I do have that much faith as I was able to read a small fraction of the book while she was still writing it! So check out the beautiful cover that I know will make you want to read it as much as I do!



-- 
Keren Hughes
Author of Stolen, book one in the Freedom of Souls series.
Owner of 'Gothic Angel Book Reviews' book blog.




-- 

Keren Hughes
Author of Stolen, book one in the Freedom of Souls series.
Owner of 'Gothic Angel Book Reviews' book blog.






There it is folks! Make sure to check out her links and tell her I sent you! 

XO

November 5, 2013

Personal journal entry

Here is an entry from my private journal. Honestly it's on the lighter side, not sure what that says about my inner struggles.


October 2013:

I feel as if I'm floating through a sea of shadows. My mind is as tired as my body. I try to find the lighter side of things but the irritation of doing so is nauseating. I dream sometimes of a little house with an ocean view on a private beach where my mind can finally relax and I can enjoy my time here in this world. I dream of a body I feel comfortable in with no self loathing. Sadly, all of these things aren't real and they leave me longing until I break down from the loss of something I never even had. As I cycle through waves of yet another bipolar episode I reach acceptance if only for a short period of time. Acceptance for who I am, baggage and all. For who I'm not and never will be. Allowing myself to dream even if it will never come to pass. I float between angry, depressed and a calmness I refer as the calm before the next storm. I wonder if I have the right to want more for myself. I try to be thankful for those moments of eerie calmness and quiet contemplation. It's always so difficult to do so as I know if I wait a few hours, a day, days even I'll be back to singing the blues and crying myself to sleep. My wonderland is a wasteland for broken souls. Once again the calmness before the storm settles on my skin like an itch I just can't scratch. I will always continue to fight this nearing episode with what little strength I have. The air is crisp and inviting me to soak of the sun. As if the darkness wasn't calling out to me. It's moments like this i crave to be alone, yet a piece of me reaches out to those I love for comfort, for acceptance. The things I love to do hold less meaning in times like this. A hollowness erupts inside of me, taunting my rage and sadness. There's no real rhyme or reason to feel this way. I know my life is far from horrible. Like a warm blanket the darkness comforts me as it usually does, inviting me to let go and cry about everything and nothing at all. The sad truth for me is, this battle is everlasting. Light may win today but as a new day dawns the fight starts over. I sit in shambles of a former version of myself. Oddly with hope that it will all be over soon and i will yet again bask in the light and enjoy a fragment of this life. How have I become such a jaded and cynical creature? I sigh deeply and prepare for another drop into sadness and utter grief. As if each time a piece of me dies I must mourn the loss. With shock plastered across me i can admit i am far better now with these modern poisons than many moons ago when I laid adrift in my depressing solitude. I accept this fate as much as I fight it. Always hiding this enormous side of myself from everyone. Knowing they couldn't take it, knowing I couldn't take that look upon their face or their response as heartfelt as they meant it to be. It feels as if i am living two lives all of the time. Except once in a while, like a full moon, where both sides of me collide and the true version of what I've become comes into full view. I don't always hate her, the girl looking back at me. Though her voice is like poison in my mind. I would never wish this inner struggle on a single soul, it is far to cruel. Yet the calmness washes over me carrying a wicked grin. Even it sees what comes next. It feels pleasure with a nearing episode and yet it feels sorry for me too. I stare into the dark night's sky wishing this episode would pass me by for once. So hopeful in my suffering. Now that is blind faith. Ridiculous as any other. I am but a shadow dancing through my life. And to be whole is but a dream.





Andrea
XO

August 1, 2013

The family Buggy's Marty salad and cheese bread, recipe


I grew up on this salad and bread combo as it was my families favorite restaurant. It's still a favorite to this day.


The Marty's salad and cheese bread from The Family Buggy (which sadly went out of business recently after a long many years)

The salad:

Romaine Lettuce, 1-2 heads
red onion thinly sliced, 1/2 onion
cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
bacon bits, (from fresh bacon) (1/2 cup)

marty's dressing:
equal parts white sugar and miricle whip, mix in mixer for min 2 minutes (usually use 1 cup each)

Mix all ingredients and serve immediately.

The Bread:
Use french bread (cut on angle) or italian
equal parts (1 cup each) shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese and Mayonnaise

Put cheese mixture on bread slices about 1/4"thick and broil until cheese is bubbling and orangish brown. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

~Andrea

May 30, 2013

Stolen by Keren Kiesslinger



Keren is such a doll and I adore her, I cannot wait to read her debut novel Stolen! I am so proud!  


Roshanna O'Dare had the perfect life. Everything was as it should be until the day she wakes to finds her parents murdered in their own home.
Roshanna doesn't have any other family in Cypress Hill so she has to leave her best friend Marissa behind to move in with her last living relative, Uncle Joe, who lives in Texas, Austin. It’s where she meets Bodhi, her uncle’s chauffeur and a kind loving man who understands her and helps her through her parents deaths.
Before moving away, Roshanna is confronted with a shocking secret that Marissa has kept from her—a secret that changes how Shanna sees life and the people in it. A secret about Roshanna’s parent that makes her take a journey to free them from the fate they’re in.
Will she succeed? And will she find love along the way?




My gift to you all an excerpt! Enjoy!


Excerpt 1
“Bodhi, what we have is special to me. We have a sort of connection that for the life of me I cannot explain. I’ve told you before how your touch feels like a sort of gravity. As for your kisses, they give me butterflies in my tummy like you wouldn’t believe. When we’re alone together, I don’t think about anything except for us. I… care about you.” I faltered those last 3 words. It had come to feel like more than just caring about him, but I wasn’t willing to admit that yet.
“Wow. You really do care about me? I had hoped you did and what we had wasn’t just a bit of fun while you were figuring out where your head was at. I feel the same, you know?! When you kiss me, it sends shivers down my spine and when you touch me, it’s electric. I feel alive. Not just living but truly alive.” he confessed.
I looked at him and saw the smile on his face as he spoke. We had time to figure out exactly what we had, but for now, I knew he cared for me as much as I cared for him. That thought made me smile inside and out.
We got home and as we stepped out of the car, Bodhi took my hand and led me to the pergoda where we lay on the floor with the blanket underneath us. We lay encircled in each other’s arms and Bodhi kept trailing light kisses from my lips, to my jaw, to my arm.
As he came back up to my lips, I kissed him with such fervour. He drew me closer to him and the kiss deepened into something I had never felt before.
I couldn’t admit it to Bodhi but if I was falling in love with him, if this was what love felt like, I was happy to be feeling something so special for such a great guy. Not only was he hot as all Hell to look at, he was an amazing person underneath the surface too. If this really was love, then so be it.  



Author Bio
Keren lives in the UK and is an avid bookworm; she has been since she read things like Black Beauty, What Katy Did and The Hobbit as a child. Her first real memories of reading are the summers she used to lie on her bed and re-read What Katy Did and What Katy Did Next.
Over the years she has come to realise that she is a bit OCD about books. They have to be in perfect condition without the slightest bit of damage.
She is a book reviewer and has been for the past 18 months or so.
The idea for Stolen came to her one day but she never thought she’d actually write it let alone publish it. If it wasn’t for her author friend Kira Saito, the idea would still be stuck in her head not on paper. But constant love and support from Kira is why you are now able to read Stolen.
Stolen is her first novel but now that she’s written one, she knows she needs to write more. There will be one sequel, called Freed which will be from Bodhi’s POV. This will be set a couple of years on.
Then, the plan is for her to write either NA or Adult Contemporary Romances. She has a big crush on Lady Antebellum’s music at the moment and their songs have inspired a few book ideas.
Keren loves hearing from her readers and if you want to contact her, you can do so at any of the following places:

Twitter: @Gothic_Angel28
Facebook (review page): www.facebook.com/GothicAngelBookReviews

May 26, 2013

Summer book blast!


The Summer Book Blast runs from May 24-27 and is THE hottest and largest ebook sale to date for today’s best selling young adult, new adult and romantic fiction.We're giving away over $1,000 in prizes!ad

In addition to all books being priced at .99 for the four-day sale, there will be:
  • a Kindle Fire raffled off DAILY;
  • ebook bundles raffled off DAILY; and
  • paperbacks and swag raffled off DAILY.
To participate in giveaways, visit the Summer Book Blast Facebook event page!

To see the incredible books on sale, check out the Summer Book Blast web page!

The Blast features books from over sixty authors, all of whom came together to lower their prices and offer their readers incredible deals to stock up for the hot, lazy summer months.


A special thank you goes out to our sponsors:
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The event has been arranged and coordinated by the following wonderful people on the Summer Book Blast committee: Lisa Markson, Leanne Jacobson, Stephanie Shaw and Jennifer Pringle.

Links to our Sponsors

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Book Swag Shop

April 8, 2013

Teaser from new novel tentatively called, Jezebel. Paranormal Romance


A small teaser from my new book temporally titled Jezebel.


      Miss Jezebel walked up to the vanity and began pulling pins from her hair letting her dark long locks cascade like an evil river down her back.
“You have a beautiful place.”
Jezebel laughed loudly in response, she was enjoying Henry’s company more than she should. “Why thank you Henry, please make yourself comfortable,” she said pointing to the over sized oval bed she had custom made when she first arrived in town. She finished with her hair and began to unzip her dress when she smelt the tension rise in the room. “Is there a problem Henry?” She said dropping the bustle skirt to her feet.
“I think you may have the wrong idea.” He back peddled.
She walked towards him. “Do I?” She asked letting her legs bump into his.
“I said I wasn’t looking for any…”
Jezebel interrupted him with her finger to his lips. She slowly crawled onto the bed above him knocking him to his back. “You chose to come to my room, where I do not allow most. If you didn’t come here for that than it is as I feared and you have come to meet your maker.”
“You are very beautiful and I would love nothing more than to enjoy your company but I can’t do something with you when you are the only one that…”
“Knows what happened to your brother?” She whispered.
  Henry launched her off of him sitting himself back up he stared at her on the floor where she landed on all fours. She stood up and stared into Henry’s eyes once more. “I do not wish to kill you.”
“I’d rather you didn’t myself.” He said.

March 29, 2013

Release Alice's Sacrifice, #2 Alice Clark Series





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born and raised in Michigan, Andrea has always been a writer at heart. Over the last decade she has written, starred and directed in many screenplays. A few years ago she decided to venture back into writing novels. "I haven't looked back since," giving her work her full attention. "I am very excited to share the worlds I create, with all of you dreamers."

Book Title – Alice’s Sacrifice
Genre – Urban Fantasy
Formats – Ebook and Print
Publisher – CreateSpace
Release Date – March 29th, 2013




Book Trailer for book 2, Alice’s Sacrifice http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uQuVGXyEXJs


Trailer Link – for book 1, finding alice  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1x_DvGx4CA&feature=youtu.be)


After the fight of a lifetime, Alice and Cole return home to live a life they were never meant to live. Fallen Angel fathers choose to stay, protect and get to know their nephilim children. Now that everyone knows where to find Alice, the real question is who is that information pertinent to? One single traumatic event sets Alice's true destiny into motion. How each of those she cares for reacts to this event; has enormous consequences for her.

What will Alice have to sacrifice and for whom?


Excerpts:

EXCERPT # 1 ALICE’S SACRIFICE

The breeze caressed Alice’s face from the open window as they flew through the winding roads that led them back to their home. She felt Cole’s hand clutch hers, loosening only to brush his fingers gently along her arm. They had won this unfathomable fight against God’s Angels for now, but for how long, only time would tell. She felt him lift her hand to his mouth, giving it a tender kiss before returning it to her lap.
“How is your back?” Cole asked.
“Sore. I knew it would be painful, but this is more than I could ever have imagined.” She flinched slightly from the memory of her new-found wings collapsing into her back. “I’m sure it’s worse than child birth.”
He chuckled, “Well, that is something I will never be able to know.” His laugh faded as they made eye contact.
Alice twisted uncomfortably, having never really considered having children herself. She sat torturing herself, conflicted between comparing whether she even wanted to have kids and how much worse she’d feel if he did.
“I think that is something we can talk about down the road. We’ve had quite a night,” he said.
He was right. The last few months had changed her life in every way possible. She now knew what real love was every time she looked into his beautiful amber eyes as they reached deep into her soul. She had finally known the truth of why such bizarre things had happened to her in her life when she met her biological Fallen Angel father, Penemue, or Paul, as she liked to call him. It was then she was brought face to face with her destiny. The topic of children was not something she was even remotely up for talking about, though a part of her couldn’t help imagining what their children would be like. She leaned over to rest her head on Cole’s shoulder. As she did, he lifted his arm, holding her tightly to his chest. We really did make it, she thought. He kissed the top of her head, Yes we did, he said. She would never tire of hearing his voice in her head or knowing he could hear her voice in his.
After arriving home she looked back at the flood of cars that trailed behind them, letting a smile crawl up her face. Everyone was camped outside around a victorious campfire except Cole and Alice, who had excused themselves and ventured back to their home to shower and relax. The overwhelming emotions that had run through her were gone and all that was left was adrenaline and passion. Cole barely shut the door behind them when she jumped into his arms and pressed her lips to his, slamming his back into the door. He wrapped his arms tighter around her, returning her kiss with the same raw passion. She needed this, and she knew he did too.


EXCERPT #2 FINDING ALICE

“This should be easier,” Alice said glaring.
“It will be, at least between the two of you. Try again.” Sariel directed.
Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Alice aimed her thoughts at Cole alone. Cole, of course, laughed so loud it echoed.
“Coffee, really, Alice?” Sariel asked. “Maybe you should try something more - intimate. It might give you the motivation to keep it between the two of you.”
“You might regret that Sariel,” Cole said.
I hate this. Okay, I want you to… Sariel flinched in preparation for something he did not want to hear. She paused, took a deep breath, and the world ceased for a moment as she focused in on Cole’s heartbeat. She exhaled and tried again. I want you to kiss me and carry me to our room and make love to me. She watched the look on Cole’s face change from amusement to hunger. Sariel cringed slightly. “Damn it, it didn’t work.” She rubbed her temples in frustration.
“Alice, it did in fact work. I did not hear what you said, and I can assume by the lust in Cole’s eyes that you took my advice.” He laughed at Cole’s awkwardness. “Cole, dare I test you?”
I’m going to kiss every inch of your body until you can no longer stand. She felt her breath catch in her throat. She watched him grin triumphantly when he saw from the corner of his eyes that Sariel had not heard him. He stared deeply into her eyes. She almost blushed from the intensity of the entire thing; he had never spoken to her like that.
“Alright you two, keep practicing. I think we are done for now,” Sariel said.
Without another word, Cole lifted her into his arms and carried her towards the house. She laughed and fought to get down, Cole! He joined her laughter and set her down. Arm in arm they entered the house and ran up the stairs into their bedroom.
Barely through the door, Cole pounced on her, and they nearly missed landing on the bed. A normal girl might be frightened by his aggressiveness, but she was far from normal, and she was enjoying every second of it. She wrapped her legs around his waist and rolled them until his back hit the floor with a thud and she was straddling him. She was enjoying her strength, and so was he. She pulled away from him to remove her shirt. He reached up and pulled her ferociously back into him. Hunger for him was taking over all of her senses and she let it, willingly.