Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Meeting and wedding in one of the most romantic places on earth, the Hawaiian Islands, Clarissa and Mika seem to have it all―promising careers, plans for the future and passion that burns bright enough for everyone to see. But all is not as it seems…

Family being central to Mika’s Samoan heritage, he’s eager to start a brood of his own with the woman he loves. A haole from the Mainland and from a broken home, Clarissa isn’t as eager to jump into parenthood. When Mika’s hunky cousin, Sione, declares he’s always had feelings for Clarissa, crystal blue waters turn cloudy and stormy.

Drawn to Sione and his rebel-without-a-pause ways, Clarissa struggles with her love for Mika and her desire for freedom. Mika sets her aflame, body and heart, but Sione seems to see into her soul. Unless Clarissa and Mika can find a way to bridge the divide, it will be trouble in paradise for both of them.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE was so much fun to write. It took me back to my art school days at the University of Hawaii. I'm really excited about my 11th book with Ellora's Cave. No release date yet, but check back here for updates!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bicycle Buddies

I've been waiting for this summer since the day my son started pedaling around on a tricycle when he was a toddler. At nine years old, he's finally mastered his bicycle enough to hit the bike path that runs right past our neighborhood. I love to bike ride and now that he's got the stamina and strength to ride for several miles at a time, we're having a blast exploring.

We found the ruins of an old lime factory:

Beautiful parks with bridges. We've decided a troll lives under all of them:

And a rusted out truck that looks "just like Mater", LOL:

We've also discovered a patch of wild blackberries and made the most delicious homemade wild blackberry muffins:

We've ridden our bicycles every day since school let out. It's great exercise for both of us and a chance to bond on a whole new level. After our second or third ride, he turned to me and asked, "Hey, Mom, can we always be bicycle buddies?" To which I replied, trying not to get misty, "Of course!"

There are lots of things I miss as my son transitions from a little boy into a young man, but each age brings with it new being bicycle buddies.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Treat adults like adults - questioning old school academia

stack of booksThe hubs is hitting the books again, prepping for a new level in his chosen career in the EMS field. On other occasions he's chosen the traditional route of sitting in a class room, taking quizzes and exams monitored by the instructor with the expectation that he must achieve a minimum grade before being allowed to begin clinical rotations.

However, for various reasons, traditional methods of schooling wouldn't work this time. We needed his classes done by a certain date and there's no way in hell he can take off from work to attend courses. Even classes on nights and weekends don't work for someone who works two twenty-four shifts per week, which occur on different days of the week throughout the month. This time he decided to check out his distance learning options and found one that was perfect in terms of flexibility, timetable and ability to finance the tuition. To my surprise, some of his colleagues were outraged.

"Taking quizzes and tests online is bullshit," one said. "You could cheat your way through the whole course. I had to know my stuff or I would fail out."

Okay, sure. DH could look up the answers while he's taking an online exam. But since he still has to complete a rigorous psychomotor portion of the class--during which he must demonstrate he can perform all the skills he's been studying and then complete clinical rotations and then after that must still pass the national registry exam what's the advantage of cheating during the academic portion? The only person DH would hurt is himself. Seems to me what distance learning does is treat responsible adults like responsible adults.

Then I started wondering about the entire system of college and post-college level academia. Should adults be treated with the same "teacher is watching" system that my nine-year-old is? Should it be necessary? And is some of the resistance to legitimizing distance learning the attitude of, "I suffered through the old system so everyone else should too."?

Personally I'm glad new options are becoming available, especially for the working adult for whom traditional learning is an impossibility. Is distance learning the wave of the future? I don't know. Have these newer online systems been perfected yet? Nope. But one thing I do know is nothing is constant in life except change and I for one am keeping an open mind.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Daily bread

There's nothing homier than the scent of freshly baked bread. I love it and it's something I used to make on almost a daily basis. Especially when my family went through some financial troubles and home cooking proved far cheaper than convenience foods.

In the past couple of years, our financial situation has improved (YAY!), but I fell into a bad habit of purchasing items I would once have taken the time to make. Let's face it, reheating is far easier than crafting from scratch, but what gets lost in the process? Well, the process itself.

My grandmother wished for years for an electric washing machine. Believe it or not, up until the 1980s, she used to wash clothes by hand and hang them out to dry. Once my dad bought her a washer and dryer set for her birthday, she was first. Then she started to grouse about the darn things.

Totally perplexed, I asked my grandmother why she wasn't so keen on her state-of-the-art washer and dryer. She told me she'd lost her "me time". One would think she'd have more "me time" since the chore of doing the laundry was far faster, but no. The time it took to scrub, wring out and hang the washing was time she took to reflect about current goings-on, the world and life in general.

"And now I have to wash on their schedule not mine. The buzzer on the dryer is so demanding," she said.

At the time I thought her insane. Granted, I was a teenager so I didn't know any better, but now I do. By turning to the quick and easy allure of prepackaged foods, I thought I'd write more, blog more and snag a little more time for myself. But that's not what happened. In fact I wrote less, partially because all writers are professional procrastinators, but also because I'd lost the time I would mull over stories, work out plot snags and just let my mind roam free.

There's nothing duller than kneading bread, but nothing so necessary to the bread-making process. It's gotta be done right or the loaf won't develop critical internal structures. It takes time and patience. Period. During that time, my imagination would run wild and then suddenly out of the ether would appear the very thing my current manuscript had been missing. Heck, I even used to call them my "bread dough revelations". I still don't know where they come from, but the fact is they do come.

So I've started taking time to make bread for my family again. It tastes so much better than the store bought stuff and I know exactly what goes into it: all natural ingredients and a whole lot of love. I don't think it's a coincidence that I'm blogging and writing with a renewed vigor. Perhaps I've got to slow down to amp up my creativity. I'll let y'all know how it goes.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blackest Nights release date

I'm thrilled to announce BLACKEST NIGHTS will release July 3rd. It's guaranteed to put some fireworks into your Independence Day celebrations!

There's nothing gray about Black's dominance or Red's submission...

BDSM-curious, Georgia aka Red, attends a lunch meeting of the Rocky Road Social Club where she meets a Dom who introduces himself as Black. Tall, caramel-skinned and truly gorgeous, Black has a commanding presence that draws Red in.

After one dinner together, Red agrees to explore a weekend as Black’s sub. He pushes her to the limits of pain, pleasure and beyond. Though she delights in his firm hand and even firmer lash, when Black proposes a more permanent arrangement, Red wonders whether she’s ready to submit―body and soul―to the man who dominates her blackest desires.

A Romantica® BDSM erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Add this BDSM scorcher to your wishlist today.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Loneliest Grief

I feel so strange writing this article. I'm not the kind of person who usually airs my personal struggles in a public forum, but I think in this case, it would be not only therapeutic for me, but for others who read this blog entry.

In April, I suffered a miscarriage. It was the second within the span of six months, third in my lifetime. When discussing the tragedy with a friend who had recently suffered the same loss, she said something that struck a chord: Mourning a miscarriage is the loneliest kind of grief. So aptly put.

There's nothing quite so intimate as growing a tiny person inside your body. After all, the wee one hasn't affected anyone else very much yet--except for the mom-to-be. We're the ones retching and crying about silly things and avoiding unpleasant smells and sneaking naps as often as possible and trying not to become a crazy woman with every hormonal swing. True, Dad has to walk on eggshells a little and weather the hormonal storm, but it's not really the same. It's not the profound and sweeping changes that occur inside a woman's body within days of conception.

Every time I've been pregnant, I knew prior to taking the EPT that I was. I was the person who'd known this new life the longest. And had he or she lived, I would share the pregnancy war stories with pride and glee.

While it is not my intention to get into a debate over when human life begins, I can say with all certainty it is a powerful force long before the date of delivery. So when that force suddenly and violently disappears, you're left with no physical manifestation of what you went through. Often you and your partner are the only folks in the world who knew this tiny being existed. And again, not to minimize the father's loss, but in general men aren't exposed to the bloody and painful way the loss occurs. Or the hormonal whirlpool that ensues as your body struggles to regain its equilibrium. Therein lies the loneliness. Long after the world has moved on, the sufferer of the miscarriage hasn't.

Each pregnant woman on the street is a knife in your heart--and they seem to be suddenly everywhere. Every tiny baby gurgling in a stroller reminds you of what could've been. Every monthly cycle makes you feel like a failure. At least, in my experience, that's the only purpose my period seems to serve these days. I know it's irrational, but there's no use applying logic to emotions. It doesn't work.

It's been two months since my loss and I'm only now beginning to feel sane. The depression is difficult to wrangle. It's been a struggle to push myself to write this blog entry. I've been considering it for weeks and only just this morning worked up the courage. While all sympathy is appreciated, what I hope to accomplish by publishing this very personal heartache is to help someone else feel less alone. So many women have gone through this and multiple times, but it's not something we often talk about. For those who have gone through this loneliest grief, please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.