Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Someone I Used to Know: A novella is live!

Someone I Used to Know: A novella is live!

If you missed out on the Get Lucky Anthology now is your chance to meet Charlotte and Hunter.


It had been five years since I was forced to spend my Spring Break with my parents at their friends’ lake house. Five years since I had to put up with their annoying son, Hunter Davison, who thought throwing frogs at me and watching me scream was the greatest activity since tubing. 

Unfortunately for me, this year, the annual Robotics Camp was cancelled because Mrs. Langston had to go and get pregnant. I’d so much rather be working with machines than spending my week in a technology-free zone with a frog thrower. 

I put my worn copy of Wuthering Heights down, and stretched my legs out as best as I could in the backseat of Dad’s Subaru without kicking my little brother, Joey. It had been a long drive from New York to North Carolina and, while I wasn’t exactly looking forward to our destination, I was looking forward to standing again. 

Mom rolled down the window, and my dirty blonde waves instantly got sucked into the whirlwind. She inhaled deeply. “Can’t you just smell the fresh air?” she exclaimed. 

“All I smell is Joey’s feet,” I mumbled. 

“My feet don’t smell!” Joey yelled and then proceeded to stick both of his oversized feet in my face. I wrestled with his dingy socks, trying to get them as far away from my nose as I possibly could.

“Mom, tell him to stop!” I called out, and landed a good smack on his leg. 

“Knock it off, you two,” Mom said and, with one last thrust of his foot toward my nose, he finally retreated to his side of the car. 

“Real mature,” I groaned. 

“I’m ten. What’s your excuse?” he said, with his signature smile that could have an old lady pinching his cheeks in seconds. 

I looked at him, his blond curls a complete disarray on his head, and laughed. I reached over and rustled his hair which won me a few arm smacks before I put my hand back in my lap. My brother could be a royal pain in the butt, although, for some reason, I still loved the little dweeb. 

“We should be there in a few minutes,” Dad said, and I think it was the first words he uttered since we got in the car. He was a man on a mission, and I doubted we would have even stopped if it wasn’t for Joey whining that he had to pee for twenty minutes straight.

“Yay!” Joey exclaimed. He had been coming to the Davison’s lake house with my parents for the past five years and had become close to the Davison’s youngest son, Parker, who was only a year older than him. According to Mom, once we pulled into the parking lot of the Davison’s, I would barely see either of them. Which was fine by me. It was bad enough I had to spend my Spring Break in the middle of nowhere. The last thing I wanted was to have to entertain a ten and an eleven-year-old.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dead Girl is on Sale for $0.99

Dead Girl is on sale for the first time ever for $0.99 and for a limited time only. 

If you haven't read it yet now is your chance before it goes back to regular price. It's also free on Kindle Unlimited! Get it here.
If her mother wasn’t watching, Kylie Presby would punch Queen Bee, Natalie Silvers, in the face -again. But as Kylie wipes her tears away with the layers of toilet paper encasing her car, she knows she can’t retaliate like she did last time. Her dead mother wouldn’t approve. Kylie no longer cares about popularity. Invisible would work just fine.

Then the new kid, Braydon, mysterious, good looking and too clever for his own good, shows up and sacrifices his social status, becoming Kylie’s shield from the front line assault. After enough chocolate ice cream and movies it’s as if they’re best friends. Crazy, since Kylie knows so little about him.

As Natalie continues her relentless attacks on Kylie another person deals with his own line of bullies. Jack Stine was popular until his deepest secret was revealed and his friends abandoned him. Kylie and Jack bond over their tormentors and form an unbreakable friendship.

Three lost souls each with a story that binds them together, but will it be enough when the bullying goes too far and secrets are revealed?

... I feel like this is the best book (that I've read) by Tessa Marie to date. - AnitaLove2Read 

A brave book with brave and honest characters that will take your breath away. - Hello-Booklover

This book was a great read! It made me laugh, cry, and feel everything in-between.- Krista M.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Update on my struggle to read the classics!

I've been trying to read at least one classic a month, but it doesn't always work out. However, since I started my quest to read the classics, since there are so many I have never read, I've surprised myself with getting through quite a few and *gasp* even liking some.

Classics I have read so far this year:
The Jungle
Wuthering Heights
Catcher in the Rye
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Currently reading: 
The Scarlet Letter

I'll admit I listened to some on audio: The Jungle, Wuthering Heights and the Scarlet Letter . The Jungle audio was very well done by Casey Affleck and I found myself completely emerged in the story. I wanted to keep listening to find out what would happen. It was quite depressing, but very eye opening to the time period and the people who came to America for what they hoped a better life. My heart ached for the characters and I kept holding out hope they would get a break. When I started it, I didn't think I would like it, but it's one of my favorite classics I have read so far.

Wuthering Heights was actually hard for me to get through. People always say it's an epic love story, but for me, I found it depressing and not in the way I found The Jungle depressing because in Wuthering Heights these people did it to themselves. They were self-absorbed and hard to like. I didn't sympathize with any of the characters and that made it hard for me to really get into the story.

The Catcher in the Rye I could see my teenage self loving it. Now that I'm older I found Holden a little obnoxious and repetitive. I really wish I read this one back in middle school or even high school. I think my opinion would be completely different. I write YA and I read YA and I absolutely love it especially when it has a strong voice. Unfortunately, when it comes to this book, I just didn't like Holden very much. His only redeemable quality was his love for his sister, but I'll admit I also found it a little strange. He seemed to obsess over her a little too much that for me bordered on creepy. Am I the only one who thought this?

I just finished Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and to be quite honest, it was one of those books I read, but felt like nothing stuck. I might actually change my rating for Catcher in the Rye because while I read that book over a month ago I remember a great deal of it. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I read two days ago and I vaguely remember scenes. It just wasn't my type of book.

The Scarlet Letter I'm listening to on audio and the voice is very similar to the one who voiced Wuthering Heights and because of that I'm having a hard time listening to it. I might wind up just reading it instead. I have a feeling I might enjoy it more. Stay tuned...

Classics to choose from for the next few months: 
The Jungle Book
The Secret Garden
The Awakening
The Woman in White
The Beautiful and Damned
The Importance of Being Earnest
Les Miserables

Have you read any of the above? Thoughts? Favorites?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Anxiety, I win today!

I've never hid the fact that I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, but I've also never really delved too far into the subject either. After years of battling an exhausting battle and discovering how many people actually suffer just like me, I'm done down playing the toll it takes on me mentally and physically. I'm ready to bare all and in doing so hope I can move toward beating this invisible monster.

I had my first panic attack at 18. Having no idea what a panic attack was I thought I was dying. The world slipped away from me, tilting and fogging, my heart pounded against my chest harder and faster than it ever had before, and no matter how hard I tried to calm down, I couldn't. I lost control and as a control freak I had never been so scared in my life. My life changed from that moment on. The daredevil teenager I once was now was scared of her own shadow. Everything scared me and I think mainly because I was terrified of going through another episode and losing control of my mind and my body.

For years, I have struggled with overcoming the power my anxiety has on me and sometimes I'm successful. I can go months without feeling anxious, without feeling fear with every step I take, and I consider that a win, but then there are other times I simply lose. And when I lose to anxiety, it becomes an all out battle to do the simplest things. I shouldn't have to spend an entire day telling myself it'll be okay just to meet up with my girlfriends for dinner. My heart shouldn't beat uncontrollably every time the phone rings and it's someone who doesn't call often. My mind shouldn't automatically assume the worst in every situation. I shouldn't live in fear to walk around my block alone because what if I have an attack and I pass out and there's no one there. (Keep in mind I have never passed out in my life, but this is a very real fear for me and for no reason other than my anxiety tells me it is.) I shouldn't think every ache and pain is something far worse than a simple ache or pain. I shouldn't have to wake my fiance up in the middle of the night because my anxiety wakes me up from a sound sleep gasping for air and freaking out. I shouldn't have to plan around my anxiety. I shouldn't have to walk out on my friends because when an attack hits and fight or flight takes over I always chose flight. I should be able to do what I want to do without being scared.

People that have never suffered from a panic attack or anxiety always say to me, "Just let it go." Don't you think if it were that easy I would? Do you honestly think I like feeling like this? Do you really think that I want to spend my life avoiding situations that I once adored out of fear I'll have an attack? No. Of course I don't. I want to say screw it and say yes to all the things and live an adventurous life, but I can't because I'm not in control. See, my anxiety controls every single thing that I do. It's tiring and it's depressing and if I could flip a switch and turn it off I would. Believe me I would do it in a heartbeat. I don't have that option. It's not as cut and dry as you think it is. If it was, my life would be much easier. Every day tasks wouldn't fill me with fear and panic.

Last year, I hurt my back and I hurt it pretty badly. The doctor basically told me he had never seen such a severe back injury in someone my age. I have two herniated discs in my lower lumbar that are pressing against the nerves and sack of my spinal cord. Awesome, right? This injury has only fueled my anxiety. My physical therapist warned me against going to the beach because it is not a stable environment for my back and told me if I was lucky I maybe could get back to mountain biking in a year. I've been suffering back pain since I was 16 and just accepted it as part of my life. I dealt with it. But that July day in 2015, that pain that brought me to my knees and held me hostage until I was able to crawl to a phone for help, scarred me. It added a new layer to my anxiety because I was terrified of doing something that would cause that knee buckling pain again. I never want to feel that ever again.

Before I was hit with my first anxiety attack I was as adventurous as they came. I was the first in line for a roller coaster, I dreamed about sky diving and white water rafting. I wanted to travel the world and see all the things. Anxiety stripped those dreams away from me. It stripped me of all the pleasures I found in going places and experiencing new things. Instead of looking forward to new adventures I fear not being able to get through it without freaking out. I fear ruining the experience for the people I'm with. And you know what? I am sick and tired of letting anxiety control me. I know I can't flip a switch and turn it off and I know that it is a part of me. I've accepted that. But what I don't accept is letting it control me. Letting it decide how I'm going to live my life. That should be my decision. So I'm taking a stand. I'm ready to kick anxiety's ass! It's not going to be easy and I know there will be days when I fail miserably, but I need to try. I can't sit back anymore and let it call the shots.

So I've decided that once a week I'm going to do something that scares me. Something that would set my anxiety off and send me spiraling into a panic attack. Whether it be something as simple as going for a walk by myself or going somewhere new with friends. I'm going to do it. I'm ready to fight back.

I'm going to document my progress on Instagram with the hashtag #AnxietyIwintoday and I welcome everyone who suffers with anxiety to take part. It is an uphill battle, but I'm willing to fight now. If you're willing, I'll be delighted to stand beside you and cheer you on! You don't have to do it alone.

I lost my life to anxiety but I'm going to get it back. No matter how long it takes, one step at a time, I will get it back.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Summer Bucket List

It is almost my favorite time of year! Though, I pretty much say that at the beginning of every season... There is just something about summer that I have loved since I was a little girl. Growing up on an island surrounded by amazing beaches and marinas I have always lived for this time of year. As I got older though, and spent my days in an office, summer lost its luster. I didn't have time for the beach, or to take a walk around my block before the sunset. Most of the time I watched the sunset in my rear view mirror as I drove home from another long day of work.

Summer was no longer two and a half months off to do as I pleased. I couldn't spend an entire day on the beach, basking in the sun and swimming in the ocean. My weekends no longer consisted of going out on my parent's boat, crabbing off the docks, taking walks along the beach at night because I was too busy squeezing in as much writing as I could and getting my errands done before work on Monday.

This year, however, I am no longer trapped by the schedule of a day job and I am so excited to have my summers back. It's only been a couple weeks here of summerlike weather and I absolutely love it. I wake up energized and ready to start my day. I open my windows and my blinds and I just smile. For the first time in a very long time I'm able to just enjoy the season.

I'm a sucker for a bucket list and have one for every season as well as a few others. So here is my bucket list for this summer: 
  1. Take the ferry to Davis Park (Fire Island)
  2.  Have a hotdog on the grill 
  3. Watch fireworks 
  4. Sit around a bonfire 
  5. Have a drink on a rooftop bar in NYC 
  6. See a concert at Jones Beach 
  7. Pig out at Smorgasburg
  8. Get an ice cream cone from an ice cream truck 
  9. Visit Shelter Island and the Shelter Island Brewery 
  10. Play mini golf
  11. Visit a new vineyard 
  12. Visit a new brewery 
  13. Go for a ride on my bike (with my current back issues this will be a challenge)
  14. Go to the beach 
  15. Get a Spumoni Italian ice from Ralph's 
  16. Watch the sunset 
  17. Go see Finding Dory
  18. Enjoy a margarita 
  19. Spend a morning in the sun reading 
  20. Attempt a DIY project 
  21. Spend an afternoon drinking cosmos on the deck with Mom 
  22. Take a weekend trip 
  23. Visit a museum 
  24. Find the hidden bar at Brix & Rye
  25. Spend a day going to yard sales (My mom collects antiques and has found so many awesome pieces at yard sales) 
  26. Run through the sprinklers 
  27. Go for daily walks 
  28. Have a burger or clam strips at Flo's (Can never decide)
  29. Start wedding planning 
  30. Spend some time looking up at the stars
  31. Stay up all night 
  32. Sleep in 
  33. Make smores 
  34. Go crabbing off the docks 
  35. Go to the park and swing on the swings
So here is my summer bucket list! What is on your list?

Look for my summer bucket list updates on Instagram

Monday, April 25, 2016

The New Me

I made this list in November 2015 when I felt as if I was at a standstill. Was determined to make a change and get out of this horrible funk I was drowning in. These were the things that I felt would help me be a better me:

Read more
Write more
Watch more movies
Say yes more
Eat better and drink less
Quit the day job
Pay off credit cards
Finish a book
Stop letting fear control me
Stop making excuses
Beat my anxiety
Live in the now, don't dwell on the past, or worry about the future

I kept the post hidden, sitting in my drafts and looking at it every now and again as a reminder. I'm finally posting and I'm happy to say I have checked off more than half the list and I do feel like a better me.

Before I started this journey I was a ball of stress. My blood pressure was high, I was losing my hair, and my anxiety was so bad I was having panic attacks up to three times a day. And not just a small moment of panic, but full on heart racing, room spinning, can't get my breath, afraid I'm going to pass out, completely irrational thoughts that no matter what any one said I couldn't get it to pass. Just horrible.

My anxiety comes and goes now. It's not a constant anymore and for the most part I can control it when I feel it coming on. It is my biggest accomplishment because it began to control my life. I'd go out with my girlfriends and I'd have to leave the restaurant because an attack would hit, fight or flight would kick in and I always chose flight. I stopped doing things I loved, I cancelled plans constantly, made excuses to avoid situations that might set me off, and I was miserable. I missed doing things I loved, I missed my friends, and I was driving my poor fiance crazy.

My anxiety affected every single thing on this list and once I took control of my life, and stopped letting my anxiety control me, it was easy to make the changes. I still, however, have days and moments where it comes and I'm helpless to it, so it's still a process, but more days than not I'm the winner.

Now that this list is mostly accomplished I'm going to add to it and will eventually share again. So tell me, what would be on your list to get to a better you?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Yes, I read reviews. No, they don't bother me. Well except for...

As a writer, one of the biggest pieces of advice you are given is don’t read reviews. It was never something I listened to. Call me a rebel, a glutton for punishment, whatever you like, because it’s not going to stop me. 

 I like to read the reviews for my books because personally I think it helps me as a writer. If more than one person points something out, I think about it, try to understand their reasoning, and even some times take it into consideration when writing my next book. I don’t go crazy if someone rates my book a one or two star and then writes a review explaining why they rated it that way. For me, books are an art, and when you put them out into the world you are leaving them open for interpretation just as a painter/photographer/sculptor does when they place their work in a gallery. 

And guess what. Not everybody likes the same thing. Shocker! I know. Think about it for a second. How boring of a world would we live in if everyone interpreted things the same way? If everybody, felt exactly the same, with no varying degrees of emotion. I don’t know what you think about that, but it is definitely not a world I want to live in. I love diversity, opinions, and how I can look at the same painting as ten other people yet each one of us see and feel something completely different. 

There is however something that bothers me in reviews and maybe it’s just me and I’m being oversensitive to the subject. Maybe I’m completely contradicting everything I said above, but before you jump to that conclusion, hear me out. I actually cringe when I read a review for a Young Adult book, whether it be one of my books or someone else's, and the reviewer says I hated the characters because they were dumb teenagers… 

I don’t know about everybody else, but I was a dumb teenager. If you weren’t, good for you and more power to you, but for me that wasn’t the case. I was emotional and irrational and to this day don’t know how my parents didn’t ship me off somewhere far far away from them. I felt with all of my being, and the simplest thing, in my eyes, was the end of the world. I loved deeply and lived fearlessly. I acted dumb, I made dumb decisions, and I don’t regret a single one because that’s what shaped me to be the adult I am today. 

So when I write my YA books I write them from a place I hold dear in my heart and I try my best to keep them as authentic as I possibly can. I let the adult in me take a nap and I open myself up to the teen I once was. I write through her, through her memories and her experiences. I tell the story with her view of the world because it hasn’t been tainted by the rational thinking of adulthood.  

My books aren’t a PSA and they never will be because I’d rather a teen read my book and be able to relate to the characters, to all of their beautiful, messy, confusing flaws. There’s enough pressure on teens today being told how to act and how to live their lives and I refuse to jump on that bandwagon, creating a world in my books that strips away the gritty truth of being a teen. 

I know, as an adult, it’s hard to rationalize with a teen’s mind set. I think of all the things I did back then, how I overreacted daily, let my emotions control me, and again the first word that comes to my mind is dumb.  It was dumb. I can’t deny that. However, if I send the adult in me to go take a nap and let my teen self emerge, she would think there is nothing wrong with it. 

I started this post with saying everybody interprets things differently and I stand by that. The only thing I want is when you read a YA book and you get frustrated with the characters just take a second and think back to your teen self. Imagine what he/she would say. Would your teen self be frustrated or would they be able to relate? I think most times than not you’d be surprised with the answer. 

Happy Saturday, everyone!