Monday, July 11, 2016

Chrysalis



I stepped on the scale today and almost cried. I've shed 45 pounds over this last year, you guys. 45 pounds. My toddler weighs less than that. When I pick her up, I realize I used to carry that much weight, plus some, around with me all the time. Really it's more like having a toddler attached to me at all times, plus a ten pound bag of potatoes. I've been lugging that around for a couple of years now. It's been miserable.


I don't talk about my struggles to be healthier much, but after I switched from teaching to writing, I went from standing and walking a lot at my job, to sitting and pounding keys all day. My weight ballooned, and quite frankly I've been physically miserable the last few years. I still have a ways to go to get to where I want to be, but wow is it amazing to not be out of breath all the time. To keep up with my daughter. To take long walks and wear jeans four sizes smaller than what I was wearing. To show some skin again. (It's summer in Florida, folks. If you're not showing skin, you really look like a tourist.)


I can even pinpoint that moment when I'd had enough. I was sitting in the hospital, hooked up to a machine helping me breathe, and had just found out I had pneumonia in my left lung. My heart monitor, which was set for a regular sized person's resting heart rate, kept going off after I'd so much as move around. I asked the nurse if that was normal, and she sighed and adjusted the heart monitor so that it was at least ten points higher before it went off. "With bigger people, the heart has to work harder," she explained. And I realized how seriously my weight was affecting my health.


I went on a ruthless mission to control portion sizes, and began to cut out sugary sodas (okay, so I do still have the occasional coke. But it's a single small can now, every few days, rather than the 40 ounce big gulp I used to chug pretty much daily.) I couldn't even walk the half mile it takes to get to the gate across the farm and back. Now I can do it in 15-20 sweaty minutes. I still have so far to go, you guys, but I am so pleased with how far I've come. I honestly could care less about my appearance at this point. It's just all about feeling better, and maybe that's why it's been working so far.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hello Again!

I can't believe it's been almost a year, a whole year, since I posted. To say I've let this blog get defunct is an understatement. Well, granted, I posted last in 2015, but still. It's been almost a year since I posted anything of substance. There have been huge changes in my day to day life, which partially accounts for my silence here. But it's deeper than that. I've been in the midst of a creative and personal rebirth. I've been working on my health, which I've sadly neglected since I switched to this writer thing. I've been reconnecting to my community, and trying to take a broader, more holistic approach to my online life. It's easy to hide behind  my keyboard and forget there's a real world out there, a world that's full of light and life and mischief, and that keeping connected to that world makes me a stronger storyteller.

One thing I've been doing differently is my work with CQ. I've been doing acquisitions and marketing for them, and have a hand's on role in establishing their line of contemporary fiction. It's super exciting, and dovetails nicely with my own creative efforts, which have centered around the contemporary romance I'm working on. It's called Bright Stars, Broken Compass, and it's fair to say I'm in the hone stretch with it now. I am in a really good groove with this manuscript now, and hope to be finished in a matter of weeks, rather than months. I've got insight into the characters, and seem to be more channeling their stories now, rather than writing. It's been a long time since I felt such "flow", when writing. It's nice.

But by far the biggest changes have been on the home front. Emma's gotten really big. She's almost three now, and it's a real joy to have her at home with me, instead of in day care, which was the case with my oldest two. There's a definite difference between daycare kids and stay-at-home kids. Emma's not as sick as the oldest two were, for one. But there's no support for teaching her school readiness. It's just us, trying to teach her hand washing, sharing, and the like, without being exposed to other children learning the same things. So I guess both methods have their merits. But she'll definitely be going to pre-K, and we've even talked about part time daycare soon. Time will tell, as it does with most things. Anyway, it's good to be back, and this time I promise not to neglect my little online journal here. :)


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Win a Signed Paperback!

Hello book lovers and coffee drinkers! It's time for a giveaway!


Up for grabs for U.S, readers is a signed paperback, seasonal coffee, and mug for your drinking and reading pleasure. It's pretty easy to enter- just share word about the contest and sale for entries.

A sale? What sale, you ask? Well, Gifts of the Blood has been picked up for another BookBub promotion, this time for free. And it's the last time Gifts of the Blood will be free for a very long time. So make sure to grab a copy while you can, free on Amazon for a limited time. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway [divider]

Gifts of the Blood, by Vicki Keire - cover

Gifts of the Blood

A dying brother. A young man with golden planes of light on his back. A blind chess wizard. An insane angelic kidnapper in flamboyant red leather. A town with more secrets than stoplights. A cat that talks to spirits. Waking up with eyes the color of moonlight. Before her world tilts towards impossible, Caspia Chastain thinks the only strange thing about her is that she sometimes draws the future. Only her brother Logan, fighting his cancer diagnosis, knows what she can do. When she draws a man surrounded by brilliant light, dark wings, and frightening symbols, she can only hope the vision won’t come true. But when a stranger named Ethan appears, determined to protect Caspia and her brother from dangers he won’t explain, she’s not sure what to think. Strangers almost never come to Whitfield. They certainly don’t follow her around, frightening her one moment and treating her like glass the next. And they certainly don’t look exactly like the subject of her most violent drawing. Ethan’i’el can’t deny the pull he feels towards this mortal with untapped gifts. Although he has come to guard her dying brother’s soul from the Dark forces that would claim it, he realizes Logan’s death will shatter her. Even worse, Ethan’i’el knows that choosing life with a mortal means eternal banishment from the Light and eventual descent into the Dark and madness. Soon Caspia finds herself in the middle of a war between Dark and Light forces, where both Chastain siblings are targets. When she turns to her self-appointed guardian for help, Ethan must choose between devotion to the Light and an attraction that has already altered his world forever.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Birthday Book Release: Daughter of Glass

Yes, that's right, I have two reasons to celebrate today: my birthday, and my book release.

Birthday plans include a steak dinner, and chocolate cake with ice cream. I'm also going to sit on the dock and read a book in the sunshine, while wearing my first pair of shorts of the season. (Yes, it's disgustingly beautiful here in Florida. As usual.) I've already had breakfast in bed, taken a luxurious shower, and taken over the music in the living room. I'm a kind tyrant, though, unlike some teenagers I can name. :) I'm playing Hozier, which is, at the moment, the only music we can all agree with.

If I get really ambitious, I'll go read A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab. I love what I've read so far. I just hardly ever read for fun anymore, since I've been inundated with manuscripts as an acquisitions editor.

But what about my book? Imagine a young woman whose emotions are so powerful, they manifest as actual people only she can interact with. Is it madness, a powerful gift, or maybe even both?

One of the things I love about it is that the ebook version has beautiful interior illustrations. I'll post the links as soon as it goes live.

About Daughter of Glass:
Sasha Alexander has a powerful ability.

Either that, or she’s dangerously mad. She isn’t always sure which.

Her father shrouds her in isolation, convinced he’s protecting her from the same madness that took her mother. But the seven impossible guardians that only she can see insist she’s gifted. Her companions since her mother’s suicide a decade ago, they protect her from hurt, pain and fear.

They also keep her from feeling love.

Sasha doesn’t know how to react when Noah explodes through her defenses. This strange young man with the scarred hands suddenly makes her feel again. And she wants more. More of Noah, of his wakening touch. But the guardians don’t want to lose their decade-long hold, while her father despises Noah on sight.

Sasha risks exposing Noah to a world that would cheerfully see him dead.

But unless she can learn to control her own emotions, the biggest danger to them all may be Sasha herself.

And here's an excerpt:

I woke up with my head in Noah’s lap. He was slumped cross-legged on my bed. The morning sun filtered through the branches of the spreading oak tree just outside, and the air stirred the gauzy white curtains over my windows, casting gentle waves of light across the room. Noah lay motionless against my headboard, his eyelids twitching as if he were dreaming. I could see bruises darkening from red to purple along his cheekbone. He had at least one blackened eye, but since both were closed, I couldn’t tell for sure how bad it was. The barest hint of stubble darkened his jaw.

He had stayed. He’d stayed with me through the rest of the night. No one had ever done that before. Either they wanted something from me, or my father had paid them to look after me, but not him.

I held myself perfectly still. My head throbbed where I’d cracked it on the floor, but other than that, I felt fine. I always did, when Oblivion was with me. Noah just looked so peaceful, so innocent, cradling my head between his jeans-clad thighs that I didn’t want to disturb him. I wanted a chance to study this strange boy from the wrong part of town who’d done something for me no one else ever had but my guardians. He’d stood up for me.

It was a strange feeling… breathless and tingling and humbling.

He frowned a little in his sleep. I wanted to reach out and touch his face, so still and peaceful. I could feel his body heat through his jeans. Combined with the slightly rough, but pleasant touch of denim against my skin, I was content to just lay there and feel. I craved not just the physical sensation of touching him, but also the sweet ache I felt through my chest. My eyes were tight and warm, like there were tears behind them, and a slow heat made my lungs constrict as it traveled up and down my body in waves. I wanted to feel this way forever. I dared to rub my cheek against his thigh, and let out the smallest sigh at the sensation of pleasant abrasion.

The smell of cigarette smoke preceded Dez’s entrance into my room. He looked the same as always, with hair so dark it almost matched the black leather of his jacket. He had his glasses off this morning, allowing me to see eyes that were piercing in their intensity. Without his glasses, he looked softer, more intimate than he usually did. I was more than a little uneasy at his presence. They didn’t usually stick around, the guardians. They showed up, did their job, and moved on until next time. Dez raised both eyebrows and sucked deeply on his cigarette as if sensing my thoughts. Which, of course, he was. He lounged against my doorpost and regarded me thoughtfully.

“Feeling all right, posey?” Another deep drag. “You look a little worse for the wear.”

I stopped myself from probing the aching spot on my head or checking my hair for ratty tangles. Noah was sleeping so soundly, I didn’t want to move and spoil it, not with a guardian like Desire here. Not when I had questions.

“What are you still doing here?” I kept my voice low.

“I told you last night, darlin’.” When Desire moved, it was like watching a pool of ink spread without staining. He flowed toward the bed, circling it until he stood at the foot and regarded us with his steely gaze. “I told you things were different this time.” He tilted his head sideways, looking at Noah with interest. “This boy. He changes things, and we’re not entirely comfortable with it.”

“But why?” The last thing I wanted was confirmation of the rumors of how crazy I was. “How could a feeling like this possibly be dangerous, or wrong? Enough to bring two of you in one evening? What was that about?”

He dropped the cigarette and ground it out with his boot.

“We belong to you, darlin’. You’re the one who calls us, so you tell me why you drew two of us.” His grin was crooked and turned up at the corners, as if in mockery. “Although even after the night you had, you should be able to figure this one out on your own.”

I closed my eyes and concentrated on evening my breathing. Noah didn’t stir. I would not let him see me panicked and talking to myself, but I had to say it.

“I won’t let you stop me from feeling whatever this is. It can’t possibly be dangerous. So I’ll fight. I’ll fight all of you.” I ignored his amused snort. “And I won’t turn out like her.”

“Like your mother?” he asked, and I did open my eyes then. Dez had his back to me, staring at the oak tree. “She didn’t understand that we’re not something worth fighting, Sasha. She didn’t understand that we were just aspects of herself, of a gift she had to keep hidden. That disconnect is what destroyed her.”

“I’m not her,” I repeated for emphasis, but I sounded uncertain, like there was a question buried there. It sounded more like I was trying to convince myself.

“’Course you’re not,” Dez said.

“Who is ‘her’?” Noah asked at the exact same time. Damn, he was awake and he’d heard me talking to Dez… which meant he’d heard me talking to myself.

I followed deeply buried instincts drilled into me since my guardians had first started appearing, back when my mother died. Mostly, they consisted of pretending anything inconvenient or unpleasant didn’t exist. It worked a surprising amount of the time.

“Oh, you’re awake.” I smiled at him as brightly as I could. I feigned a stretch and tried to look foggy. All an act, of course. I felt great, except for the bump on my head. I always did, after a night of drinking with Oblivion, one of my favorite guardians. I never got hangovers when she was around.

Noah stared at me. I didn’t mind it. His eyes really were as intense as I remembered, and they were fixated on nothing but me. I felt myself flush with pleasure. Then I realized he was talking to me, and focused on his lips as Desire laughed in the background.

“Um, what?” I asked, sounding stupid even to myself. I hadn’t caught a thing Noah had just told me. He frowned and eased me off his lap. I missed the contact as soon as he went.