thank you

Thank you Veterans!

Thank you to all the brave men and women who have fought past and present to keep us safe and free. To defend a country where people have the right and privilege to criticize you and voice those opinions. Thank you for doing that which so many who find themselves judging others are not brave enough to do. Thank you for your blood, sweat and tears. Thank you to your families for sharing you with us. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for being you!
 

To all who serve, have served and will serve. Thank you!
In honor of Veterans Day a poem:
 

We were soldiers then,
Hoards of brave strong men,
Standing side by side in the face of fear,
Not knowing what to expect there,
Watching bullets kill our friends,
Our heroes, our brothers,
Wondering who would break the news
To our wives and mothers,
Trapped in a crimson sea,
My brothers and me,
In a hostile land,
The ground protested our presence,
With landmines,
Breaking our spirits as well as our spines,
Forced to murder, to kill, in order to survive,
Lest we should not leave that land alive,
Some lucky troops returned to the homeland,
With life and breath,
Never forsaking the spirits
Of those who sought refuge in death.

 

 

Always Remeber Never Forget

The optics were perfect. Summer held on tight, claiming the September day as its own. The sun shone bright in the clear blue sky. It was a spectacular day.
 
Until a plane crashed into 1 World Trade Center.
 
The images will forever be etched in our hearts and minds. Raging flames. Billowing smoke.
 
As the news came across the wires reporting what happened, a second plane slammed into 2 World Trade, right in the middle of the building. It looked as if it meant to slice the building in half. But these were strong towers, built to withstand a plane crash. And safety was the priority since the bombing in 93. Everything inside had to be proven to be fire resistant. That’s what my father told me when I asked if he believed moving his office into the World Trade Center was safe. The irony of that conversation we had outside of the ICU as my mother was struggling, clinging to life was not lost on my that day. Three years later she sat with me waiting for word on my father.
 
I continued to watch the breaking news coverage at edge of my seat.
 
Stunned faces. Mass confusion. New York City police and firefighters. People weren’t streaming out of the buildings. Why not? Why weren’t they getting out? What just flew down from the sky? Was that? NO. It couldn’t be. Why would they jump? There was no chance for survival, it meant certain death, and they knew it.
No one knew what was happening or what was coming next. Other planes crashed. One into the Pentagon, the other in a field in Pennsylvania. The passengers learned about the other high jacked planes, they knew they were going to die, but they weren’t going down without a fight.
 
All of us on the east coast watched with baited breath unable to fathom what was going to happen next. All planes were grounded. Fighter jets scrambled. Something flew overhead. What did that mean? Should we take cover?
A mushroom cloud of smoke and debris rose up as 2 World Trade, the second building hit came crashing down. It looked like a Hollywood special effect depicting the beginning of WWIII. That couldn’t be. When the smoke cleared we’d see it was still there, it had to be, there were still so many people inside. How were they going to get out now? And if that building collapsed, what would happen to the other one?
 
Many of us on the east coast were personally invested in what happened that day. Many of us had loved ones there, or at the very least knew of someone, a former colleague, a former classmate. The whole country mourned, but for the people that walked out of their homes smelling the smoke, seeing the debris carried by the wind for the months following, life didn’t go back to normal nearly as quickly as it did for the rest of the country.
 
We can never forget. We can’t allow the shock and pain of that day to be for naught or it will happen again. It has happened again, but we’ve ignored it because the death scale wasn’t as great, because the landscape wasn’t as grand and significant.
 
Thirteen years later the raw, open wound is still bleeding. The pain is still fresh. Hearing the names of the victims read, seeing the images, or the simple still pictures of the once glorious buildings standing tall in the sky, hurts. Plain and simple my heart still fills with tears that overflow into my eyes.
 
Thank you to all the first responders who put their lives on the line, especially the ones that came from near and for to help, to do something, to save one life on that horrific day. Thank you to all the brave men and women who before and since have gone off to fight for our country. Thank you for protecting the freedoms we take for granted each and every day.
 
More important, always remember. Never forget.
 
God bless.
 

 

Valentine’s Surprise!

First, I would like to thank you for coming here to check out my special announcement. First, I’d like to thank all the bloggers that haven given up their time not only to read my books, but for the reviews that follow as well. I’d like to thank every reader that has ever picked up one of my books and given them a chance. And finally I’d like to thank all of my fans that have felt compelled to reach out to me. I have appreciated all of your letters, messages, and support, whether it came in an email, or just a short and sweet tweet.
Web Cover
When I began this journey, I had no expectations. I had dreams and hopes and wishes, but to say I expected For Always to take on a life of its own would not be true. Since its release in October of 2011, many people have contacted me asking me if I planned to write a sequel. I thought Stephanie and Jordan’s story had been completed, but for many of you, it wasn’t enough. So because you asked, because you told me in no uncertain terms you wanted it, I am working on And Forever, the sequel to For Always. And Forever picks up where For Always ended. While Stephanie and Jordan are finally a couple, they still carry the same baggage they had before. Can their love survive the ghosts of their past and the challenges of the future?
 
I hope you are excited about this as I am. I expect And Forever to be released in July 2014. Until then, look for teasers on Facebook and Twitter. And before I go, I leave you with this, the prologue of And Forever. Once again thank you for being so amazing. Happy Reading!
 
Prologue
The scent of death lingered nearby. Always. Only I didn’t attract it, I repelled it, like a deflector shield. This was my lot in life, to extend the days of those I loved. That theory came from Jordan; the keeper of my heart, and the love of my life!
 
I sighed. I didn’t realize I did it until Jordan apologized. Again.
 
“I’m sorry Steph, I don’t want to be distracted.”
 
“I know. I understand. Promise.”
 
He misunderstood. It was a contented sigh. One that said I was thrilled my boyfriend was driving me to school. The sigh was a sign of how surreal sitting next to Jordan and knowing that he loved me was. How I couldn’t believe in a matter of hours he’d be leaving me alone on the college campus, and I intended to savor each minute with him. The sigh was the only chance I had of getting any of those sentiments across because he didn’t want me to talk while he was driving. I knew just being in the car together was challenging for him.
 
Jordan still suffered the after effects of a terrible car accident that left his ex-girlfriend dead. Of course he was breaking up with her at the time because he loved me, and I pushed him into making a choice between us. When he served as my unexpected prom date, I made him admit his feelings. That’s what led to his break-up with Madison, leaving him in a swamp of guilt induced quick sand when she died. But we worked through all that.
 
I hoped.
 
I didn’t bother saying anything further to try and reassure him I wasn’t upset. I’d already been warned he couldn’t concentrate on the road and to keep the radio down. The problem was he wanted it down so low I couldn’t hear the music. I glanced at his hands on the steering wheel, his knuckles were white. He held on so tight I expected his fingers to cramp up. I hated that this was so hard for him. I wished I knew how to make it better, but the only thing I could do was stand beside him and hope in time he’d heal.
 
I turned to my window, watching the never ending expanse of trees zoom by. I wished for a brief moment I’d gone in the other car with my mother and her new, at least new to me, boyfriend Eddie. I’d been clueless about Eddie, but after her health scare last week, she came clean. She wanted to see him and had been ordered to take a few days off of work. Work is where they’d rendezvous during lunch. She’d been frightened when they first told her it looked like a heart attack and realized it was silly to keep him hidden away. No way I wanted to hear what cheesy, weird things they might be talking about. I mean it was my mom, gross. Still, I was happy for her. My father died a decade ago and as far as I knew she’d never dated before.
 
I chose to ride with Jordan, because even in the deafening silence, and the tension he carried on his shoulders every time we got in a car together, there was nowhere else I’d rather be. From the first moment he spoke to me, he owned my heart. It was branded with his name. I’d tried for four years to move on, to forget him, but that wasn’t an option for me. No one could hold a candle to him.
 
“Hey,” He pulled my attention back to the here and now. “You know I love you right?”
 
I smiled. Of course he knew that would make me smile, that’s why he said it. It felt like that’s all I’d done over the last week since he found me crying on the beach. I’ll never forget the wave of relief that washed over me when I found out he’d been spared from a terrible plane crash. He never made it on the plane because I called him at the last minute in an attempt to get him to stay. Thank goodness I did. I didn’t know where he was going or why, but Maria warned me that he was leaving, and it might be forever.
 
I always believed myself to be the root cause of the bad things that happen to people around me, Jordan thought I was what kept them hanging on. I didn’t believe him, at least not yet. But having him try to convince me otherwise promised to be amazing.

So what do you think? Are you excited? Remember, your thoughts and comments keep me inspired! And now for the giveaway!

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For Always’ Book Birthday!

I can’t believe it’s been a year! October 27 will be one year from the official release of For Always. It has been such a wonderful year! Two Signings at Booktowne, a signing at Barnes & Noble, countless fans contacting me, thanking me. I can’t imagine people thanking me for doing what I love, what I live for. For most of this year I have been on a high with the warm response I’ve gotten from readers. By the way, I love when readers take the time to contact me for any reason. The only reason this year has been so wonderful is because you have been there to cheer me on. I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you! To show my thanks , I’m giving away A signed copy of For Always to US residents and one e-copy open to all. Good luck!

 

 

 
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Happy New Year!

As the year is drawing quickly to an end, I’d like to take a moment to thank my friends, fans and followers. Many of you know what a trying year this has been for me personally. The entire year has been an emotional rollercoaster for me, from start to finish.

 

We cannot know great happiness if we have not first experienced great sorrow.   Without one, the other is meaningless, for there is no source of comparison and whatever state you are in is no more than the status quo.  In my life I have known great sorrow. I have loved many who have flown to the angels much sooner than I would have liked, than many would have liked. To miss someone who lives in your heart is a blessing and a curse.  It is that love that makes their absence hurt so deep, and yet that love never dies. The memories can conjure a smile or genuine laughter, as well as tears and longing. Always both sides of the same coin.

 

This year I have been presented with both sides, almost simultaneously. 

 

I stood by and watched the one person I was closest to for all of my life suffer horrendously.  To have such a close-up view of a parent fading before your eyes is no easy task. And while I watched my mother’s limitations become more and more magnified and frustrating for her, I had the opportunity to share with her one more wondrous event in my life.  The last few months while she suffered in the hospital, I was able to share with her the cover and website design of For Always, and only weeks before she died, I presented her with a proof and read to her the book’s dedication; for my mother.  I don’t know if how to thank the many of you who opened your hearts and shared with me at this time your prayers, your words of kindness, and your own personal experience. 

 

Thank you to all of you who have taken the time visit my website, follow me on Facebook or Twitter, and read For Always. Time is a precious investment, the one thing we can never get back or make up for. Whether you have given me a few minutes, or a few weeks of your life, that time is greatly appreciated. Thank you to each of you who have contacted me to share your reading experience with me. It always makes me smile to know I have elicited emotion from my readers, whether laughter or tears.  

 

For Always would be the “heads” of the year, while losing my mother would qualify as “tails.” While I feel the absence of my mother every time someone contacts me to tell me they loved reading For Always, I stop and take a moment to revel in what that means to me. It is the realization of a lifelong dream, one that I am immensely proud of.

 

And one I could not know without you! Thank you!

 

Wishing you all a wondrous 2012!

 

 

We Were Soldiers Then

To all who serve, have served and will
serve. Thank you!

In honor of Veterans Day a poem:

 

We were soldiers then,

Hoards of brave strong men,

Standing side by side in the face of fear,

Not knowing what to expect there,

Watching bullets kill our friends,

Our heroes, our brothers,

Wondering who would break the news

To our wives and mothers,

Trapped in a crimson sea,

My brothers and me,

In a hostile land,

The ground protested our presence,

With landmines,

Breaking our spirits as well as our spines,

Forced to murder, to kill, in order to
survive,

Lest we should not leave that land alive,

Some lucky troops returned to the homeland,

With life and breath,

Never forsaking the spirits

Of those who sought refuge in death.