Falling for Jordan is on Sale!

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 4.55.38 PM

So my post went out early this morning before I was ready to publish it. I remember seeing the notice while I was still in bed and thinking, but I didn’t finish writing that post.

Oh well, too late for that. Apparently, I scheduled it to post but didn’t finish writing it.

So here it is again and while it’s the same thing, a promo is a promo and I do love the graphic I made for it. And since it’s St. Paddy’s Day weekend, what better way to celebrate it than to have my book featuring an Irish-American hero go on sale for 99 cents?

Share Your World: Week 10


Here we go for the tenth week of Share Your World hosted by Cee Photography! Here are this week’s questions:

What did you or did not like about the first place you lived without your parents?

I liked being independent. Not having to worry about coming home late and getting punished for missing curfew. I was the only one with a curfew as my older and younger brother could stay out all night and no one blinked. But one thing I hated about the apartment where we lived (my two brothers moved out with me) were the rats that were bigger than cats. We lived in one of my grandmother’s apartments right next to the sewer and dang, we had rats and no cats in sight to catch them because if there were any cats, they probably bailed at the sight of the rats. So needless to say, there was lots of screaming in that apartment.

What is your most favorite smell/scent?

Probably jasmine although you can’t beat baby smell or baked chocolate chip cookies!

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why?

As long as I don’t have to shovel the driveway or have to get in my car to drive anywhere, I’m fine with snowy winters.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

My little prince and I went to the Automobile Driving Museum for a birthday party and he had a blast sitting behind the wheel of many old cars. His first choice, of course, was this:

There’s a kid behind the wheel!


I can’t believe my little guy is growing up so fast! He loved sitting behind the wheel and “driving” me places. I’m no longer sure if it was okay for us to get into some of the cars but it was fun.

My favorite piece was the phone and it became the perfect tool to get my son to recite my phone number back to me so he could see how I’d have to dial it. He could never remember it and I’ve been working on getting him to know my number by heart in case of an emergency. Yesterday they had a “lockdown drill” at school which was basically an active shooter drill. What a scary world we truly live in now…

Another thing that made me smile this week was my walk with a friend around the lagoon. She brought duck feed with her and it was hilarious seeing the coots, ducks and one goose race toward her the moment she took out that bag of feed. I’m totally buying feed next time! And the flowers are also starting to bloom.


Musings on a Friday Night: Fast Car

I’m on Chapter 5 of Sawyer’s story and I have to admit, it’s an accomplishment that I never thought I’d see only because I’ve now just realized that writing about a character who suffers from PTSD is difficult and scary. It’s why I needed to consult a pro when it came to helping me with an outline because I didn’t want to deviate from the straight line I’d set out to make for myself this time.

After all, I never outline; I simply write. It’s easier that way because it’s the only process I’ve ever known. But when your characters allow you a glimpse into their darkness, it also becomes a scary process that has you wondering if that darkness is your character’s (the one you made up) or yours (the one you never talk about) and if you’re strong enough to stick to the “script.”

And so I’m pushing on and pushing on because this is no longer just a story that has a publishing deadline. It’s a story I want to tell whether anyone wants to read it or not, and whether it sells or not. There’s nothing like a slump in sales to remind you to stop obsessing about the numbers and focus on the story because sometimes your soul needs a medium through which it can breathe and live and continue on.

Chapter 5 also has “Fast Car” as its lead song to inspire the scenes within it. Hard to believe that this came out in 1988. That’s 29 years ago and it’s such an amazing and timeless song and every time I hear it, it takes me away for a spell.

Hope it does the same thing for you, too.


Cover Reveal In 3… 2… 1

Actually, not yet.

So yesterday morning, my designer guy sent me four versions of the cover for my next book and it was really exciting… and overwhelming. Which one to choose?! They all were the same pose but laid out differently and one was awesome but didn’t go well with the series when put together and the other was perfect for the series but I wasn’t so sure about resolution when it came to the paperback which requires the best resolution once that ebook photo is blown up.

So I chose to go with the full body version because, well, any flaws in my graphic design skills could be overlooked (my cover guy does the layout since he did the branding lock for the series) that way. My friends were excited.

Oh, look, one said, he’s got a barrel clip for his nipple piercing! 

Oh, he does? I thought, peering at my screen. Oh right! He does. That’s going to be distracting, isn’t it?

But I love it, she said. I’m distracted by it.

Exactly, I thought.

Then hubby came home and took one look at the two finalists and said, the one that’s more close up is the perfect match for your series. It’s powerful and his face just shows the agony–

But honey, I said, you don’t even know what the story’s about. (Heck, at this point, I don’t even know what the story’s about.)

I don’t care, he said, I like the close-up version. The other one is too distracting. 

You mean, the nipple clip thingy?

What nipple clip thingy? I didn’t even notice it, he said. No, I mean, his body is distracting from the expression on his face. You MUST use the close-up version. It fits your series more since they’re all faces. FACES.

Oh, okay. If you insist. But now people are gonna miss out on the abs and the nipple clip thingy… and the tattoo that I photoshopped right on his bicep.

That’s what I meant, hubby said. It’s all so distracting. Face, Liz. Focus on the face.

Oh, I said. Okay…

Wow, I never realized people could get so worked up over covers but… okay. But I suspect he’s really more concerned about all the man bods and man bits he sees on my monitors (all for research, I tell you!).

But then I get an email from my cover designer guy. Well, yeah, close up means it’s a third of the resolution so for the paperback, it will be 30% resolution so maybe the torso version you decided on is the best. 


Full torso it is then, barrel nipple clip and tattoo and all…

So yes, it’s comin’

Guess I should have titled this Behind the Scenes of a Cover Reveal...


Book Review: Redeployment by Phil Klay


I mentioned Redeployment in my previous post but it deserves a full book review so here it is.

According to Amazon, I bought this book in December 2014 after it won the National Book Award (because I love buying those books with every intention of reading them) but apparently, I forgot I did. It wasn’t until I got the audiobook a few weeks ago that I realized I did have the ebook. I just couldn’t remember which platform since I alternate my reading between Kindle, iBooks, Audible, and Scribd. But I finally found both versions and started reading a few weeks ago.

Redeployment by Phil Kay is a collection of short stories about the Iraq War.  it’s unflinchingly raw, unforgiving, and powerful. It’s listed under fiction but as a layperson with no army experience whatsoever (I probably did formation once or twice as part of ROTC during my senior year in high school before they sent me to the office afterward to do flyers), I could swear every word I read felt so real. And that’s probably because Klay is a former Marine and he wrote the stories as a way to process what happened.

There are twelve stories in this collection and the first one, Redeployment, got to me right away. It’s about a Marine who had to shoot dogs in Iraq because they were eating corpses. When he gets back, he wrestles with what to do with his faithful dog who’s grown too old.

The second story, Frago, recounts one Army Sergeant’s mission that lands them inside a house with two tortured Iraqis and a video that ran out of film just before they got there.

Real quiet he says, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. But we all know what this is. Lance Corporal McKeown looks at the camera and says, Al-Qaeda makes the worst pornos ever.

All the stories are powerful and a few that stood out the most to me were Bodies, narrated by a Mortuary Affairs Marine.

There are two ways to tell the story. Funny or sad. Guys like it funny, with lots of gore and a grin on your face when you get to the end. Girls like it sad, with a thousand-yard stare out to the distance as you gaze upon the horrors of war they can’t quite see. Either way, it’s the same story.

Psychological Operations is probably the second longest short story in the book and I almost gave up on it. It’s one of the reasons I like listening to the narration sometimes because it puts me right back into the story, although the opposite works as well. When I find myself drifting while listening to the narration, I go back to reading the text so I’m right back in. Anyway, Psychological Operations took a long time to get to its point but when it did, I was horrified in a way a story gets to its conclusion and you say, wow.

“Propaganda is sophisticated,” I said. “It’s not just pamphlets and posters. As a PsyOps specialist, as anything in the Army, you’re part of a weapons system. Language is a technology. They trained me to use it to increase my unit’s lethality. After all, the Army’s an organization built around killing people. But you’re not like an infantryman. You can’t think about the enemy as nothing but an enemy. A hajji. A gook. A bad guy needing a bullet. You’ve got to get inside their heads.”

And then there’s Ten Kliks South, the last story in the collection as told through the eyes of a 19-year-old artilleryman who wonders who cleans up the mess after he and the rest of his nine-man team are done with their job.

So there’s no indication here of what happened, though I know ten kliks south of us is a cratered area riddled with shrapnel and ruined buildings, burned-out vehicles and twisted corpses. The bodies. Sergeant Deetz had seen them on his first deployment, during the initial invasion. None of the rest of us have.

Bottom line, I loved the collection. I needed a break from all the romance books I started but never finished and so I needed something that got me back into my reading groove, one that I’d actually finish because it hooked me and wouldn’t let me go. I also have to accept that the stuff I write is so far from the stuff I like to read. And this is one of them.

Share Your World – Week 9


This Share Your World hosted by Cee Photography post is actually for last week but I forgot to schedule it to post yesterday. So one day behind but here we go!

Here are this week’s questions:

What are you reading right now?

Redeployment by Phil Klay, both the ebook and the audiobook. It’s one of the many books and audiobooks I have about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and they’re all just… so far from my usual fare of fiction reading and it’s unsettling only because I actually prefer reading these things over the stuff I write, romance. Ask me what fiction novel I last read and I can’t tell you what the heck it was. Anyway, here’s a bit about what it’s about:

Phil Klay’s Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.  Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

In “Redeployment”, a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people “who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died.”  In “After Action Report”, a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn’t commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened.  A Mortuary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains—of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both.  A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel.  And in the darkly comic “Money as a Weapons System”, a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball.  These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier’s daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier’s homecoming. (From Amazon)

What was your first adult job?

If it had to do with family recommendations, it would be stringing beads for my grand-aunt who exported handmade necklaces made from coral (hindsight: it was BAD for the environment because they were harvesting actual coral that belonged in the ocean, not hanging around someone’s neck, all polished and nice).

If it’s a job that I earned, like a real honest-to-god job, then it was as a radio newscaster for the station Y101, the local version. They picked me because I could speak with an “American” accent, thanks to my American stepdad.

 What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

My mom got me hooked on Frosted Flakes whenever I came by to visit but I guess my all-time favorite was Lucky Charms and now it’s my son’s favorite. I have to stick to Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds now and granola.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

I appreciate every soldier’s service and sacrifice that we never hear about. The general public (myself included), really has NO idea what they go through over there and what they have to go through coming back.

I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham

…I do not like them, Sam I am!

After dinner, while she insisted she rinse the dishes and load up the dishwasher, Ashe helped the boys assemble the toy trains and the tracks around the playroom. He had removed his jacket shortly after Paige and Clint left, and by the time dinner was over, he was moving around the playroom in his bare feet, on his hands and knees putting the train set together while the boys climbed all over him, directing him with what to do. By the third hour, the triplets were bored of their brand new train and insisted they watch Finding Nemo, but not before Ashe read them Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, complete with sound effects. Even Riley had been assigned the role of the grumpy narrator, much to her nephews’ delight, who laughed and giggled every time she made a grumpy face and lowered her voice.

-Loving Ashe

I wrote Loving Ashe when my son was three-years-old and I was reading Dr. Seuss’ books out loud to him. He loved Green Eggs and Ham most of all as well as One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I think that’s the title, but I digress.

So while writing a babysitting scene in Loving Ashe, I defaulted to the books I read the most that my son loved, complete with all the sound effects. Green Eggs and Ham. I actually used to call it Sam-I-Am because, in Ashe and Riley’s story, he calls her Riley-I-Am because of their babysitting adventure.

It’s one of the things that strikes me when I re-read sections of my books (for research!) and I remember why I included a certain tidbit here and there. It feels like leaving a part of me in every book like Voldemort left his Horcruxes everywhere… only in my case, it’s in my books and usually, I know about them and no one else does.

Well, at least, you know about this one…


I Still Believe in 398.2 #TellaFairyTaleDay


Did you know that today is #TellaFairyTaleDay? One of my favorite fairy tales is the depressing tale of The Little Mermaid (the original version, not the Disney version) as well as The Little Match Girl which is also pretty sad. I did like the Disney version of Cinderella because I liked the idea of animals helping me with the housework. The original versions were on the grisly side, involving hairy slippers and cut up heels so, no thank you!


Of course, Enchanted is one of my favorite takes on fairy tales!


Another one of my old-time favorites is called Diamonds and Toads by Charles Perault.

A bad-tempered old widow had two daughters; her older daughter, Fanny was disagreeable and proud, but looked and behaved like her mother, and therefore was her favorite child; her younger daughter, Rose was sweet, gentle, and beautiful, but resembled her late father. Jealous and bitter, the widow and her favourite daughter abused and mistreated the younger girl.

One day while drawing water from the well, an old woman asked the younger girl for a drink of water. The girl politely consented and after giving it, she found that the woman was a fairy, who had taken the guise of a crone to test the character of mortals. As the girl was so kind and compassionate toward her, the fairy blessed her with having either a jewel, a precious metal, or a pretty flower fall from her mouth whenever she spoke.

Upon arriving home and explaining why she took so long to her mother, the widow was delighted at the sight of precious metals, jewels and flowers falling from the girl’s lips, and desired that her favored eldest daughter, Fanny, should have the gift as well. Fanny protested, but the widow forcibly sent her to the well with instruction to act kindly toward an old beggar woman. Fanny set off but the fairy appeared as a fine princess, and requested that the girl draw her a drink from the well. The elder daughter spoke rudely to the fairy and insulted her. The fairy decreed that, as punishment for her despicable attitude, either a toad or a snake would fall from Fanny’s mouth whenever she spoke.

When Fanny arrived home, she told her story to her mother and disgusting toads and vipers fell from her mouth with each word. The widow, in a fury, drove her younger daughter out of the house. In the woods, she met a king’s son, who fell in love with her and married her. In time, even the widow was sickened by her older daughter, and drove her out, and she died alone and miserable in the woods.

Diamonds and Toads, Wikipedia

When I was a little girl, I wished diamonds and other jewels would come out of my mouth when I spoke although I dreaded saying bag things because toads could come out instead! And in the Philippines, they have huge toads!

What about you? What’s your favorite fairy tale?