Enough is enough.

Four children and two women have been killed by men this last week. Count them…FOUR children and TWO women, killed by the men who are supposed to love them, in 7 days. And yet again we arise to read comments and media reports that excuse murder.

Cue comments about ‘family guys’ who ’work hard’ and ‘stressful situations’ and ‘depression’ and ‘lack of services’. FUCK. OFF. The passive-aggressive suggestion, of course, being that their terrible wives must have driven them to murder their kids, because, you know, bitchez be nagging.

Well, it’s the bitchez or the governments. One of those, it’s unclear. Certainly the men who do the murdering can’t and shouldn’t be blamed.

I’m so tired of this shit. Let’s call this what it is, domestic abuse and murder; calculated hate crimes conducted by narcissistic, entitled men against innocent children and women.

‘Nice guys’ don’t kill their entire families, ever.

You know who do, though? Domestic abusers who view their families as property, rather than the treasures they are. Men who want to punish and hurt their wives in the worst way possible, men who want to control and teach their possessions a ‘lesson’.

Men who are pissed when something doesn’t go their way.

Depression is not an excuse for murder. Having disabled kids is not an excuse for murder, as these children have a right to love and life just like all of us. Having a ‘demanding’ wife, or going through a divorce or whatever fucking bullshit society makes up to excuse these men of murder, is a fucking unbelievable joke.

Having a mental illness is not an excuse for murder, and not being a responsible human and getting help for your issues, and instead picking up and gun or a knife of whatever weapon is fucking available and killing your entire family, including the freaking dog, can never, ever be pardoned or explained away.

Call it what it is, MURDER–calculated, evil, malevolent murder, perpetrated by thugs.

Phoenix: Sneak Peek!

PART I

Chapter One

“Okay.” Mr. Arden, my social studies teacher, stands at the front of the worn out temporary classroom, which is at least twenty years past its expiration date. “So…who can give me some examples of common figures in human mythology?”

He’d have better luck asking a family of chimpanzees.

As usual, my fellow classmates are totally ignoring him, gossiping, and checking cell phones to see if any new texts have popped up in the six seconds since they last looked.

“Anyone?” With a remarkable look of patience, given the circumstances, he adjusts the round hipster glasses perched on his nose. His too long, graying-brown hair hangs limp, the uneven ends drooping over his ears as if he’s wilting like a dying plant under the harsh flickering fluorescent lights.

I hesitate, but no one’s talking to me anyway, so…I raise my hand. “Hathor, Isis, and Horus from ancient Egypt?”

“Great, Alex.”

Mr. Arden’s smile is so kind it almost distracts from the dark hollows under his brownish-green eyes, and the general air of exhaustion so many teachers in my small, underfunded school wear like a shroud.

A sneezing fit, obviously triggered by some kind of spontaneous, bully-infused pollen and filled with words like loser, dork, and nerd girl, spreads around the room. The few students not faking allergies splutter and shoot hate-filled glares my way. Compared to the usual, the insults are almost compliments and barely sting my battle-hardened surface.

Mr. Arden raises an eyebrow and glances around. “Anyone else?” A threadbare tan sports coat, scuffed shoes, and jeans that look about two sizes too large for his skinny frame spoil his attempt at intimidation as no one answers the poor man. “Someone other than Alex needs to answer me, or you’ll all be staying in this classroom for lunch.”

Yeah, now you got their attention.

They straighten in their graffiti-covered desks and glance at each other until another student, Lisa, raises her hand.

“Um…Hercules and Thor and those, like, total hotties in those, like, totally awesome movies?” she asks in her fake Valley-girl trill.

Actual Valley girls are about two thousand miles east of this part of Chicago, and Lisa’s a hormone-fueled ditz.

Everyone explodes with chatter—the guys agreeing those movies are, indeed, awesome, and the girls commenting on Chris Hemsworth’s general sexiness.

I roll my eyes and notice no one heckles her for answering correctly.

“Fantastic example. Any others?”

The hope in Mr. Arden’s voice prompts me to raise my hand again, and everyone groans.

He ignores them and nods. “Alex.”

“The Celtic mythology of the Tuatha De Danann and King Nuadha?”

A wide grin breaks his solemn expression, and I notice he’s quite cute—for a teacher.

“Ah, my favorite mythology of all! Old King Silver Arm and the origin of the fairies,” he says. “Nice work.”

I smile. The Irish mythology is my favorite too and reminds me of the bedtime stories my mother told when I was little.

“Nice work, Jolly Red Giant,” Matt Koch, school tyrant and general all-around dick, says just loud enough to carry across the whole room.

Everyone giggles.

A spark of fire lights Mr. Arden’s exhausted expression. “Detention, Mr. Koch, for the rest of the week. I will not tolerate bullying!”

Matt groans and shoots me a glare.

Like his nonstop mouth is somehow my fault.

“Who can tell me why human mythology was important to the ancients?”

Everyone is completely focused now that detentions are being handed out, but no one answers, not even me.

It’s not worth it. Don’t poke the bear, as they say.

With nothing but blanks stares and shrugs facing him, Mr. Arden sighs and the tired shroud lowers over his shoulders once again. “Mythology was important because it provided our ancestors with some answers to the human condition.”

A couple of people ooh and nod, but I can tell the lights still aren’t on.

“Imagine how unpredictable and unfair life must have seemed during ancient times, before science was known or accepted. Thunderstorms, earthquakes, tidal waves, not to mention atrocities committed by humans on other humans, were regular occurrences. Entire communities were wiped out in a single day with no warning, which is what they say happened to the fabled city of Atlantis. It gave a sense of order and control to create mythology around these events and explain them away as the acts of angry gods. These myths provided answers to basic questions we’ve always had about things like human existence, where we come from, and why we’re here. They explained the unexplainable.”

The bell rings, and even Mr. Arden looks relieved.

“That’s all for this period. Dismissed!”

No one feels the need to wait for an official dismissal. In fact, they don’t hear a word he says as they’re already shoving each other through the narrow door in their haste to be free.

I linger, collecting my books and waiting for all the others to clear out. If I’m lucky, they’ll forget about me in their eagerness to eat lunch, and I’ll be able to walk the halls unmolested.

“You know about the Irish legends of the Tuatha De Danann?” Mr. Arden cocks his head to one side.

I shrug. “My mother used to tell me all about them when I was little. I was born in Ireland, so I guess she wanted me to learn the local legends, even though I haven’t been there since I was a baby. We moved to Chicago when I was only a few months old.”

He nods and smiles. “They’re good stories. Although, some might say they’re not stories at all, but fact.”

The single bark of laughter sounds bitter, even to me. “Oh, please. I wish fairies were real, but I’ve never seen a single one at the bottom of my garden sprinkling glitter dust. And believe me, I’ve looked.” My very own wish-granting fairy would be nice about now.

Mr. Arden stares at me for a long moment before gathering his books and heading toward the door. “I know you’re having a hard time. But be careful what you wish for, Alex.”

I sigh as I watch him, throwing my backpack over my shoulder then poking my head into the hallway and check both ends. All clear.

I trot toward my locker and stuff my books inside as fast as I can get it open.

“Bitch!”

I whirl around only to find Matt standing behind me with a scowl carved so deep in his face he resembles a stone gargoyle.

“I got detention because of you.”

Even though I’m at least six inches taller than him—hell, I’m taller than everyone at school, including most of the teachers—I back into my locker, clutching my old book bag to my chest as if the ragged canvas has the slightest chance of protecting me.

Matt stalks forward, all glares and cracking knuckles. “You’re going to pay for that, Jolly Red Giant.”

“I…I…d-didn’t do a-anything. You’re the one who—”

“Why do you have to be such a loser?” he asks, his muscles bulging.

I might be taller, but he’s wider and stronger. As the local football star, he could probably snap me in two if he wanted. I can’t help wondering if he takes steroids and maybe that’s why he’s been extra mad at me lately. This twitching mass of excessive hormones can’t be normal for a seventeen-year-old kid.

“You and your red hair and your stupid, weird ears, and your dirty hands…”

“They’re not dirty. It’s eczema. I can’t hel—”

“Shut up!” He slams his fist into the locker door near my head, leaving a large dent in the metal.

I flinch.

“You get me detention again, and that locker will be your ugly face, you fire-crotch loser.”

A rush of pressure throbs behind my eyes, the same pressure that typically precedes the all-too-familiar tears of my pathetic existence, and my eczema-spotted palms itch like crazy, but I resist the urge to scratch and draw his attention. The force inside my head builds, like a boiling kettle, until it feels as if the top of my skull might pop right off.

He sticks his face in mine, and it smells as though we stepped in the middle of a pine forest as his cologne wafts around us.

A wave of nausea washes over me, and I desperately glance around the deserted hall for help I know isn’t coming. Even if there were any other kids wandering around, none of them would dare cross Matt.

The tension in my head increases until I want to scream.

Then, out of nowhere, it stops.

The locker door Matt dented with his meaty fist flies open and smashes his face with a loud clang.

He stumbles back, clutching his now-bloody nose, and looks around with wide eyes.

Sadly, no one else is around to witness the lovely karmic payback.

Figuring now is as good a time as any, I make a break for it and leave Matt standing, dumfounded, in the middle of the hall as though his feet are glued to the dull linoleum floor.

I know entering the crowded cafeteria during the peak of lunch is asking for trouble, but it’s full of unsuspecting eyewitnesses and I need to eat. I can’t afford to skip any more meals in this place. In a school filled with olive-skinned curvy, beautiful Hispanic girls, I stick out like a—well, a skinny redheaded giant.

I grab a tray and walk the line to see what’s left. Of course, all the tater tots are gone—they are always the first to go—as are all the fries, burgers, and anything tasty.

I end up with a rather soggy-looking egg salad sandwich and a half-rotten fruit cup before slinking to my lonely seat at the end of the nerds’ table. Not that they like me either, but as long as I keep a two-seat minimum separation distance between us, they tolerate my presence. It may as well be the leper table.

I eat my awful sandwich and scratch at my palms between bites. The eczema itch is getting worse. My skin is split and bleeding.

Mom has taken me to every doctor and skin specialist she can find, but nothing they prescribe works. I don’t even bother putting the creams on anymore. They just seem to make the wounds angrier.

With some odd sense of hope and attempt at normalcy, I check my cell—like some friend actually sent me a message, which is impossible seeing as I have no friends. The only texts are from my mom.

I open Words with Friends and absentmindedly tuck my long hair behind one ear while waiting for my first anonymous opponent. The second the stale lunchroom air tickles my lobes I tug the strands down again. Ear exposure is a big problem and simply can’t happen. Being slightly pointed, rather than the nice rounded shape of everyone else’s, my ears are easy targets.

I sneak a look around as I hunch down and hope no one notices the brief lapse.

So far, so good.

I almost smile. Even with the episode in the hall, this is the least teased I’ve been for weeks.

I notice Matt, King Dick himself, still hasn’t joined the other popular kids at his usual table. Hopefully, his busted nose keeps him away for the rest of the period.

With a sinking heart, I realize my palms are an oozing mess. There’s no avoiding a visit to the nurse unless I want to smear blood all over my math book next period.

I hide my hands in my hoodie pockets and attempt to slink out of the cafeteria unnoticed. I should have known better. No one my size can slink.

“What’s up, JRG?” one guy yells.

Lazy idiot can’t even be bothered to use the full nickname he and his crew gave me.

“Been touching yourself too much again? That why you got sores all over your hands?”

Everyone laughs.

“Wash your hands!” he screams.

I scurry out to the chanting chorus of Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands! from the entire cafeteria.

How did this become my life?

Until I turned fourteen, I was almost popular. Boys flirted with me, and girls even complimented me on my long red hair and green eyes. Then…hormones kicked in, and it all changed overnight. I grew a full twelve inches in a single month—no exaggeration—my ears went weird, and I got chronic eczema. Of course, the high school bloodhounds sniffed out my flaws, and the brutal teasing commenced. Now, I’m so universally despised, even the eyes of boys who once asked me out skitter away as if they’re ashamed. Most days end with me in tears.

Mom even started looking for a new school in the hopes that I might finish my last six months of mandatory education in relative peace. It’s sweet, but I know it won’t help. No matter where I go, I’m different—a member of a herd made up of the weak, the unusual, and the sick who are weeded out and killed by the ruling pack in this great institution we call high school.

Mom and I discussed trying out for some scholarships at local colleges, but I can’t face four more years of education. Besides, there’s nothing I’m interested in studying anyway. I’m not good at anything. Sports, math, English, science—nothing stands out.

Maybe I’ll get her to teach me the family business instead.

I knock on the clinic door and Karen, one of the regular nurses, opens it and smiles.

“Alex, come in. I’ll get you some bandages.”

I love how she doesn’t even ask what’s wrong anymore. And when I say love, I mean I’m mortified. Nevertheless, it’s nice not having to explain.

Every now and then, when Karen’s out, I have to go through the whole ordeal again and assure the fill-in nurse that, yes, I have been to the doctor, and yes, I have tried all the creams, and no, nothing is helping, and yes, my mom does know about the problem.

I walk inside and my heart sinks.

Matt is sitting in one of the scuffed pleather recliners holding an ice pack to his nose.

Karen walks into the other room, and Matt takes the ice off long enough to growl a few “friendly” words my way.

“You’re going to pay for this.” He glances toward the door Karen went through before glaring at me and flopping his head back down.

His nose is bulbous and still bleeding, and I feel a great sense of satisfaction. I know I shouldn’t, but whatever. I’m human, too.

Karen comes back with a handful of supplies and gestures toward one of the sheet-covered cots.

She gently cleans the eczema with some moist alcohol swabs, but I still wince.

“There you are,” she says, sticking the last of the bandages over my seeping wounds. “Do you want some latex gloves?”

I shake my head. God, no! I might get away with the flesh colored bandages, but there’s no way the gloves will be overlooked.

I feel the tears gathering when I see pity in Karen’s eyes.

“I think you should spend the next period or two here,” she says as she pats my shoulder. “Just so I can keep an eye on you, of course.” She winks.

I nod and give her a grateful smile.

“I’ll go inform the office.”

“No! Wait, I—”

But the door closes and she’s gone.

Oh, shit. She left me…alone…with Matt—the same Matt who hasn’t stopped glaring since I walked in. Maybe I can pick up a shard of his practically tangible hot anger and stab myself in the heart just to save him the trouble.

As soon as the door clicks shut, Matt throws aside the ice pack and stalks toward me, clenching and unclenching his fists with every step.

I jump off the cot and almost trip over my own feet in my rush to scramble backward.

The muscles in his jaw clench and the veins in his temples bulge as he speaks. “I don’t know how you did it, but I know you did it!”

He backs me into a corner by the small kitchenette sink, and I realize with a terrified jolt that he actually wants to hurt me. Words are one thing, but physical violence? That’s new.

I feel the familiar pressure in my head, and my palms itch worse than ever. As I stand there, speechless, in the face of his fury, I can actually feel the bandaged skin splitting apart and the blood seeping from fresh wounds and pat, pat, patting on the floor near my feet.

“Let’s see how you like a broken nose.”

I watch Matt’s meaty fist move toward my face in a kind of strange slow motion, like I’m viewing a sports channel replay.

He’s going to hit me. Even though there’s no way he’ll get away with it, and he’ll be expelled, he’s actually going to do it. I never thought he’d resort to this. I mean, Matt’s the star of the football team and hoping to get scouted for a college scholarship. He is also one of the guys who asked me out all those years ago, so I always thought his teasing was just that. Yes, it’s gotten more vicious over the years, but I never guessed there was so much anger behind it. I never thought he’d be so reckless to put his future on the line just to hurt me.

No, not just anger—this is outright fury.

With a sneer on his lips and twist of his brow, the familiar face I’ve been staring at for the last six years is almost unrecognizable, and I smell his strange, overpowering pint-scented cologne again. It’s like he just bathed in it.

All the details register in the fraction of a second it takes for his fist to close the gap between his shoulder and my face.

Move, my brain screams.

With a gracefulness I’ve always wished for but never had until now, I sidestep the blow.

Time speeds up again, and Matt’s punch lands with a loud crunch in the drywall where my head just was.

Clutching his hand, he howls and asks, “How did you…” His massive left fist is already swinging before he even finishes the question.

Somehow, I catch his hand in mine, stopping it like a concrete wall rather than a bloody palm. Then my wrist twists in some complicated maneuver, and my leg snakes out and sweeps his feet out from under him.

Matt lands on the floor, gaping up at me. The anger on his face replaced by fear, and there’s no doubt we are both thinking the same thing: What the hell just happened?

Grasping my bleeding palms together, I flee.

 

Want more? Get it here.

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New release: Phoenix

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It’s here! My new book, a new adult fantasy, Phoenix.

Children’s storybooks tell us tales of benevolent fairies at the bottom of the garden who scatter glitter and grant wishes.

These are not those fairies.

Alex Baylie’s life sucks. She’s too tall, her hair is too red, and her eyes too green. Add a case of eczema and ears so different she can’t even talk about it, and Alex’s whole life can be described in three letters: FML.

Her main goal is surviving her last few months of high school without the daily teasing and inevitable tears that follow. If she could go completely unnoticed, that would be great.

Surviving high school takes a serious turn when an attempt is made on Alex’s life. With one rude shove through a rip in reality, she finds herself pushed out of an existence she wanted nothing more than to escape and into an alternate one where all she wants is home.

She wakes cold, wet, and scared. Not only is Alex not in Chicago anymore, she’s not even on the earth she knows.

And so, she runs. Away from enemies unseen and power unimagined, Alex runs straight into the dangerous arms of the fae: warriors, magicians, walking weapons whose only thought is kill or be killed. In this violent realm contested by god and demon, she must embrace her power and decide between love and hate, being the oppressor or the oppressed—or die. Her choice.

Phoenix is the first book in the new adult fantasy series, Tuatha De Danann.

Read more here.

Read the first Chapter here.

Get it here.

 

You can’t fight intolerance with more intolerance.

Okay, enough is enough. As Waleed Aly said last night, it’s time to stop the cycle of outrage.

People are so fast to get ‘offended’ and tear down anything they don’t agree with or don’t understand, thanks, in part to the internet age where we can sledge from behind the safety of our computer screens, and also thanks to the modern ‘media’ who pounce on anything click bait in their desperation to avoid reporting on any actual news.

I’m not saying that recent comments reported in the media are right or I agree with them, but the simple fact is, fighting intolerance with more intolerance is never, ever going to work.

If someone says something we don’t agree with, the majority now spare no time in name-calling and tearing ‘lessers’ down from our moral pedestals. We call them stupid, or ignorant, or racist, or liars, or uneducated. I have also been guilty of this. We all have been, because this is the most basic of human behaviour. We react from a place of anger and call people names without really thinking about what it is we’re trying to achieve – a constructive dialogue. A dialogue in which opinions and ideas can actually be exchanged, explored, and maybe even –gasp- changed.

The world needs a hell of a lot more dialogue and a fuckload less judging.

To facilitate a fluid exchange of ideas, free speech is a must. No matter how distasteful what some people are saying might be, you cannot stop people from having ideas and opinions. You cannot simply shut down the conversation. The second we do that, we are no longer a free society. The second we stop people from being able to express their ideas, we cease to be a democracy and we become a dictatorship. We send people and their maligned beliefs and opinions underground, where nothing ever changes. We cannot control what people do; we can only control our reactions to it.

When you decide to be offended (and it is a choice to be offended) and call people names because you don’t agree with whatever they are saying, you are, in that moment, ending the dialogue. There is no way a constructive conversation can start from a place of name-calling and derision. All that is achieved is a further entrenching into separate belief systems.

Haven’t we outgrown this basic reaction by now? Haven’t we figured out that personal attacks get us nowhere as a species?

When we feel attacked, whether that be through terrorism, or gun violence, or immigration, vaccination, religion, name calling or whatever it is that pushes your buttons, we all sink into the most basic of our emotions, fear. This primitive fight or flight fear response causes people to lash out. It’s very simple human behaviour. Isn’t it time to change this? Basic human reactions can be changed through understanding and communication. It’s actually pretty easy to rise above the low and engage on a more logical, tolerant and loving level, if effort is made to do so.

The fact is, if someone says something ill considered or inappropriate, and you react by calling them names and derision, then you are guilty of the same behaviour as they are. It’s the same intolerance in a different party dress.

The only way to fight intolerance, is with tolerance. The only way to fight hate is with love. The only way to fight violence is with peace. Think about it.

“You needn’t be calling for the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, to act destructively. While it feels good to choose destruction, right now I think we need to try construction. I’m not saying you should be silent in the face of bigotry. But when you do engage with someone you disagree with, I’m talking about assuming the best in people, showing others radical generosity in the face of their hostility. Which is the much harder choice because it demands much more restraint, patience, and strength.” -Waleed Aly.

Abuse, misogyny & ‘lying bitches’

So I try to stay out of celebrity gossip, mainly because I have a life. But I have felt compelled to write about the Depp/Heard allegations on several websites’ comment sections, after reading some of the nasty shit being levelled at a woman who was courageous enough to come forward and speak about abuse at the hands of a beloved hollywood star.

I wrote this on one such board:

‘Imagine a utopian world where women feel safe enough and strong enough to report abuse because they are automatically believed by the society in which they live. Rare false claims would soon enough be proven false, but imagine how many more battered and abused women would come forward because there would be no victim blaming or shaming, no questioning of their motives or bank accounts, but instead an acknowledgement of the courage and and strength it requires to come forward and say ‘I was abused by the man I chose to love and it’s not my fault.’ How lucky would we be to live in a society that doesn’t automatically look to blame the woman for the abuse, or just flat out disbelieve her because we don’t want to admit this happens in our oh-so-civilised society and if it does happen it makes us feel better to believe she somehow did something to deserve it. Imagine that crazy world, hey?’

Of course this attracted the usual trolls claiming that every bitch who ever dared make a complaint about a man, particularly a rich, powerful man, is a lying, money grabbing whore bucket. Because we all believe, deep down in our tiny little hearts, that the movie star/director/boss/friend we love wouldn’t possibly ever do such a thing, and therefore we shall rationalise any icky thoughts away and the fastest way to do that is to blame the victim.

So let me make myself clear. I have no idea what transpired between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and likely never will. But I won’t give up my wish that, one day (perhaps when the world is less populated by assholes) women and children will be automatically believed when they report abuse, instead of being viewed with suspicion and downright hostility as is the current sad-as-fuck situation.

Yes, some people may make false accusations. But such false accusations are a minuscule drop in the whopping great big bucket of actual domestic abuse that goes on in the world today right under our ignorant noses.

But false accusations ruin men’s reputations! come the cries from fuckwits everywhere.

Guess what? Making abuse allegations hardly enhances a woman’s reputation does it? All the money in the world does not make up for the victim blaming, character assassination, the shaming, and the calling into question of your mental health. And all this awesomeness is after you’ve managed to muster the courage to report the abuse in the first place and finally break free of what is a terribly damaging situation both physically and emotionally. Just ask Mia Farrow how well that went for her. While Woody Allen enjoys his continuing legendary status in Hollywood, she is painted as a lying mad woman who was bitter he left her for another woman, so she made up allegations of child abuse and brainwashed her children into believing them (amazing what the right publicist will do for you, hey?). Meanwhile he’s married to his own stepdaughter for fucks sake I mean HOW MUCH MORE EVIDENCE DO YOU PEOPLE NEED? And why all of this victim blaming? Simply so we can enjoy his movies guilt-free.

If women were automatically believed when they made abuse allegations, not only would more victims come forward, but the men involved would also be able to get the mental health assistance they need. Because you don’t abuse women and children without being a pretty fucked up individual in need of masses of help.

So instead of looking for reasons why this woman is lying, how about we as a society support her, and the other brave souls out there, who have stood up in the face of a shitstorm of abuse and cried out that this behaviour is wrong and cannot continue.

But that won’t happen, because, you guessed it, false claims and men’s reputations.

Therefore, it comes down to this: we live in a society that is more concerned about protecting men’s reputations than it is about protecting women from abuse. And that, my friends, is misogyny.

Last Day of Xmas Giveaways!

My family has always been a little … off.
So, our Christmas traditions were off as well. For us, Christmas Eve was the
big day. In the evening, we would go to the children’s service at church. I am
the middle of three girls so one of us was usually singing in the choir for the
service. Afterward, our parents would drive us around looking at Christmas
lights. By the time we got home, my mother’s parents and my father’s mother
were there enjoying some adult eggnog and talking about their encounter with
Santa. Before opening presents, we’d give my Papa Charlie our undivided attention as he went over point by point his conversation with Santa. It was the highlight of the year. We lost our Papa Charlie when I was 14. But every Christmas Eve, I think about all the
stories he told and how much we all loved them. It is a memory I will always
cherish.

 
 
Daniel Digby is cursed by his good looks. After years of sexual
harassment, he’s convinced wearing a wedding ring is the answer to fending off
unwanted attention.
CiCi Newport is cursed by her family’s money. When men look her
way, all they see are dollar signs. After two years, her “no dating” rule is
still in place. 
After a chance meeting, they’re entwined for the holidays. What starts as attraction might just be the holiday cure they’re looking for.
 
Two broken hearts embarked on a holiday season in a way they
never had before. Divorced.
Mitch had been badly burned by love, but was willing to take a
chance . . . with the right woman.
Hannah had lived everyday with the grief love had brought her
and followed her everywhere.

Can two hearts find love and heal each other during the most difficult season of
the year?
 
Who knew the girl who spent most of her Saturday nights watching
Doctor Who marathons with her best friend would end up becoming a reality
television star? Not Emma MacLean.
Emma tried to leave the nerdy girl behind as the Vice President
of Operations for billionaire venture capitalist, Terrance Hunt, on the hit
show Hunt for Life. When double tragedies occur on the same day, Emma is out of
a job, but the cameras and a nation of fans continue to follow her.
Rob “Bobby” Breyer lived and breathed the professional
wrestling circuit for five years. Rob happens to be a devoted Hunt for Life fan
due to a chance meeting with Emma while in high school. When he reaches out to
Emma in her time of crisis, he never imagines how much it will change his life.

After twelve years, their attraction still sizzles and this time, Rob’s not letting
Emma get away. As the cameras roll, Emma’s new career and Rob’s quest for glory
are in the spotlight. When the heat is on, they’ll need all the support they can get from the Nerdy Girl Nation.

Lindsey Gray typed her first complete novel at the age of twelve and dreamed of making her writing into a career. When her eighth grade class wrote a twenty year reunion story, casting her as a mystery novelist, she wasn’t sure she could make it a reality. After years of writing off and on, she decided to make a go of it. In December of 2010 she finally made her dream come
true with her first published novel, Lies Inside. Five years and thousands of written words later, Lindsey released her seventh published work, Nerdy Girl
Nation, in October 2015.
When Lindsey takes a break from writing, she spends time with her husband of thirteen years and their two children, reading all kinds of romance novels, and hosting her own weekly radio show, Gray Matters, on TMV Cafe Internet Radio.
 

In honor of the release of Episode VII and the importance the series has to the main characters in Lindsey Gray’s Nerdy Girl Nation, she is offering a grand prize
pack. Answer each question with the correct character name to be entered
to win. All the ballots with the correct answers will be entered into a random
drawing to pick the winner. Contest ends December 19th, 2015 at 12:01 am CST.
Lindsey Gray will contact the winner on December 19th, 2015. Winner must
provide valid mailing address to receive prize. Prize includes Star Wars themed
toys, socks, and more, plus a paperback copy of Nerdy Girl Nation. Good luck! May the force be with you.

 

 

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Day 11 part II!

Senator Maxwell Joseph has it all—money, power and
good looks—the trifecta when it comes to attracting the ladies. He even has women willing to be tied up, spanked and fucked all while calling him Daddy,
fulfilling his secret fantasy. On the night of his thirty-fifth birthday he finds a goddess waiting for him in his hotel room. She is beautiful, sexy and very willing, yet the fruit she offers is very forbidden. Not only at nineteen is she barely legal, but she is the daughter of his best friend and political advisor.
Mackenzie Wade has had a crush on the senator for
years, and when an overheard phone call affords her the opportunity she needs to make her fantasies a reality, she jumps on the chance offering herself as a birthday gift.
Throwing caution to the wind, Max gives in to temptation and gives them both what they have been yearning for—a night filled with ropes, floggers and toe-curling sex. Although satiated, one night of passion wasn’t enough for either of them, and they began a clandestine affair.

The solid ground on which he’d built his career now began to shift as his wants and dreams for the future began to change. In what he can only describe as a landslide, Max hold on tight to the only thing that he can, Kenzie, and goes on the ride of his life, knowing all along that in the end, he may have to make a choice between the woman of his fantasies and his career.
 
Rebecca Summers enjoys pleasing herself with the curtains open. When a mysterious stranger calls to tell her that he is watching, fantasy becomes reality as she begins to perform for him. Following his instructions
over the phone while he watches from afar, she finds herself craving more.
Oliver Durant has always been drawn to humans to
exert the dominance and control his kind needs to feel alive. While secretly observing her and calling nightly, he can’t seem to get enough of Rebecca, whom
he refers to as butterfly. His urges with her are stronger than the need to dominate, as he is driven to possess her in every way.

Both of their worlds are turned upside down when they finally meet and she agrees to enter into a Dominant/submissive relationship with her Midnight Caller.
 
 
 
Oliver Durant finally feels complete. With his
butterfly now wearing his collar, he begins to introduce her to his world, taking her to his BDSM club and introducing her to his family. Things progress
rapidly and she feels safe and welcome with them and his species. The longer they are together, the more she starts to become like his kind, offering him hope that he will be able to be with his mate for the rest of his life.
While Rebecca Summers is new to the BDSM lifestyle,
she adapts quickly and serves her Master well, giving him everything he asks for. She loves pleasing him and spending time with his family, who has given her the sense of belonging she’s yearned for since her parents’ tragic deaths.
She can’t imagine denying Oliver anything, and even asks to undergo the genetic transformation to become one of his species. Days before the event, they are
given some news that changes everything.
Can these two find their happily ever after? Or does fate have other plans?
 
 
Calla Moretti married her college sweetheart, Bill.
Married life was great at first, but as his career had her dropping out of college and moving away from her family and friends, Calla struggled with her
role as a wife and homemaker. Stress, due to infertility and Bill’s affairs, had the marriage on the brink of failure.
When she drives home in the middle of a
thunderstorm and spots first a broken down motorcycle, then the sexy rider, she decides to take a chance and offer him assistance. Realizing fate brought her together with a man who could give her the one thing her husband couldn’t—a baby—Calla decides to take a chance.

One romantic night, one big lie, will it save her marriage or fill her heart with more emptiness? Will this be the answer to her prayers? In life, are there truly second chances?
 
 
Em Grayson had everything she wanted: the perfect
life, the perfect job, nothing to hold her back. Or so she thought until she attended a BDSM convention in Las Vegas that turned her world upside down and
had her questioning everything. Approached by an old friend about a business opportunity in Reno, she’s forced to look at her current situation and make
life-altering decisions.
Violet Jennings is a quiet submissive who longs for
acceptance in her life. She begins to find an inner peace while working as a receptionist in a BDSM club. When she meets the mysterious M, she’s driven by a
need to serve more than ever before.

Together, will these two be able to find the happiness that has eluded them? Will the need to dominate and serve be enough? Or will they find more than they were looking for?
 
 
 
 
Mary Jennings hit rock bottom. A stripper and brand
new mother in New York City, she’s offered a reprieve by her sister to move to Reno for a fresh start. Deciding to go for it, her life takes a drastic turn
when she offers to help out a friend.
After a car accident leaves Colton bed ridden, a
surprising offer of assistance turns into so much more. Driven by his need to dominate, sparks fly in the most unexpected way.

A natural submissive and a professional Dominant—what happens when they spend every waking minute together? Will she be able to resist? Or will she give in to the urge and submit to him completely? Find out in this
page turning sequel to Yes, Mistress.

 
 
 
 
Zachary Russells is one of the hottest, sexiest
male celebrities of all time, and he is only twenty-one. In an alternate world where humans are property, Zachary finds himself wanting a companion, and a
human pet seems the perfect choice. Much to his surprise, the day Zachary walked into a pet shop to buy his new human pet, he didn’t expect rebellion and
independence coming from his purchase. In a hot, steamy, sexy, story where dominance is favored in public, submission is a given, and punishment is handed
out, can his new pet, Megan, adapt to her new owners wants and needs?
Warning: Intense bondage, aggressive sex, human
trafficking.
Bonus: Serving Mistress Quinn by NJ Cole
NJ Cole shows her support for this new author by giving readers a bonus short story. Serving Mistress Quinn is a 6,500 word one shot. Mistress Quinn has been living the life of a vampire for centuries. When she happens upon an older Native American, she plans to torture him, and then have him for lunch. Much to her surprise and pleasure, she learns that he enjoys the pain and the two of them embark on a new journey in which she finds
herself having a very willing pet.

Serving Mistress Quinn does contain BDSM and sexual situations, but all relations are consensual.
 
About
N.J. Cole

NJ Cole is a witty, mid-western girl with a kinky side. She works by day and writes by night, all while being a mother to her wonderful boys and serving her Sir. Unlike many of today’s authors, she chooses to write in first person, allowing the readers to experience life through the eyes of the unique characters that live in her head. Her love of those characters and respect for their stories come through loud and clear in her writing.

 
 

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