The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Let's Talk About...It

This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Recently, the #MeToo movement has taken off and shown just how prevalent sexual assault and abuse is. Women (and some men), from around the country, around the world, and from all walks of life shared their personal stories about sexual assault and abuse. Since I'm a young adult author, I wanted to speak about the topic of sex, which some people label taboo, especially in the YA world. But let's be real. You think about it. You talk about it. Some of you even do it. How's that for getting to the heart of it? ;)




First of all, no one, no one has the right to touch your body without your permission. That may seem obvious, but abusers and assaulters have a way of victim shaming and gaslighting to the point where victims can't differentiate between truth and the abuser's lies. NO ONE touches your body without your permission. Period. End of sentence. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.



If you are having sex, know this: Even if you've said "yes" before, you can always say "no." Hear that boys and girls? A former "yes" is not an always "yes." In dating relationships, in engagements, and yes, even in marriage, sex is not and should not be a given. You can say "no" for any reason. You're a person with thoughts, feelings, and desires, and if you don't want to, you don't have to. Sometimes you do want to, and sometimes you don't. Either one is absolutely, positively fine. Don't ever let anyone tell you any different.




A lot of religions tell women that if their husbands want it, the wife should provide it. I grew up in churches that preached that, and here's what I have to say to that mentality...No. No. No. No. Women were not put on this earth to be at the beck and call of men. We are fully realized people, and we should be treated as such.



If you're having sex, and your partner makes you feel bad for electing not to engage in sex one night or several nights or however long, you don't need to be with that person. If your partner shames you, forces you, manipulates you, claims "it's how he feels love so you have to do it," get out. GET OUT! Run as fast and as hard as you can in the other direction. To those people, sex is about power, so run like hell.



We've talked a lot about what sex isn't, but what is it then? It's about love, respect, mutual pleasure, and mutual consent. I'm not talking about "mutual consent," where one person pressures the other into it and calls it consent. I'm talking about two people choosing to share their bodies with one another. And let me tell you, with the right person, it's transformative, transcendental. You should walk away from sex feeling like a million bucks. You should never feel dirty, used, or injured.



Now, don't get me wrong. It's not like the movies. There will be times when you bump teeth or get tangled in a sheet awkwardly or have a foot cramp. Sometimes it will be fast and passionate, sometimes slow and tender. But it should always be a choice. And when you've freely made the choice and joined mind, heart, and body with the right person, it's more magical than mere words could ever express.


via GIPHY

Remember, YOU have a voice. YOU have a say. YOU don't have to do anything you don't want to when it comes to sex. Never, never, never.


via GIPHY

Until next time, be smart, be safe, and be fierce...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

It's a Sci-Fi Life For Us

Greetings, Earthlings. Yeah, I think I've had my head in sci-fi for way too long. LOL! I've got my sci-fi, The Transhuman Project, out in on submission to agents, and I just finished edits on Deek's sci-fi, The Extractor. Y'all, my man is brilliant. This book is so interesting and complex that it left me thinking and pondering for days and days. Heck, I'm STILL thinking about it.

The Extractor, virtual reality gone amuck...

My next editing project, with a brand new client, is fantasy, so I'll be taking a little break from sci-fi, but I love both genres SO much!

We are so nerdy, and we love it!

In other news and randomness:


Y'all, it's April. And this girl is Southern. So this still cold, still snowing business in April "ain't going to work for me," as my Mema would say. No, sir. No way. No how. Bring me 80 degree weather and the sun so bright and intense you feel like it'll eat your skin off. That's what I'm talking about. Not this crazy, cold mess. Boo, winter. You've WAY overstayed your welcome (and for me, you're not even welcome, really). 

Gus is all of us on a cold spring morning.

The winter/spring hybrid

But sometimes Snapchat makes you look like a 40s starlet, so you forget about this weird winter/spring hybrid for a minute. ;) 

And sometimes you find a "Peach Pit" shirt at the thrift store, in the $1 section, and you wonder how anyone can give up such a treasure. Their loss is my gain...after I washed it, of course! ;) 

Despite the cool weather, Deek and I still love to go for a long stroll, and sometimes we allow coffee to come along for the ride.

I adore this man more than words can express!

<3 <3

This past weekend, we had an afternoon date, and Deek surprised me by taking me somewhere completely new and exotic. I love how he's so adventurous and willing to try new things!

Exploring

Wow, fruit can be gorgeous and slightly terrifying.

Look how huge this jackfruit is!

And Deek's contribution to the picture. ROFL!

And we celebrated our engagement-iversary. 
Deek and I love to celebrate every moment we can! <3
Here's our first kiss as an engaged couple! 


Until next time, explore, adventure, and have a blast doing it!

Monday, March 26, 2018

I Am Me by Kai Strand

Today, I have the pleasure of having Kai Strand on the blog, and she's talking about her latest book I Am Me! She's a fellow Pacific Northwesterner, and an all-around awesome lady, so I'm so stoked to introduce you to her latest book!

About I Am Me


Best friends. A best friend keeps you grounded – or gives you someone to ground. She knows your favorite music, snack food, taste in boys. She even knows your triggers – like how when your mom smooths her perfectly arranged bun, your stomach clenches because you know a lecture is coming.

Lola’s best friend is no different. Cyn is one of the popularity elite, which pulls Lola into the fringes of the spotlight, but even so, Lola knows Cyn would do anything for her and Lola would do the same.

A shame really, that life gets in the way of their friendship. Let’s read an excerpt from when things are still good.

Excerpt

I choose to wear a sunny yellow shirt, denim capris, and Keds to Eddie’s party. I leave my freshly washed hair loose, so it falls in light red waves to my elbows. Wearing my hair down and the yellow of my shirt combine to accentuate my freckles, which isn’t something I like to do, but I want to feel like it’s still summer time—without actually freezing my butt off—and this outfit does that for me.
Cyn’s sigh when she walks into my room and scans my clothing makes it seem like I’m a petulant toddler who unloaded the contents of the kitchen cupboards into the middle of the floor. She waves a hand to encompass all of me. “And this is why the speech outfit surprised me so much.”
I know if she had her way, I’d have blown my hair out to add volume and drama. I would always wear navy blue or black, unless it was a satin, strapless, turquoise ball gown. And my outfit would end no further down than mid-thigh, not the matronly mid-calf I currently wear. Regardless, I’m still crushed by her disdain. I hoped she’d understand the nod to summer I was going for.
“Lola, don’t you at least want to try to get Rome Bennett’s attention?”
I scrunch my brow wondering why she’s so convinced I don’t stand a chance dressed as I am. “I guess not.”
With another dramatic sigh, she turns her attention to the contents of her purse. “Do you have gum or mints or something? I couldn’t find any.”
I dig through my jewelry box and pull out a pack of gum and drop it into her purse.
My mom knocks on my door as she swings it open. She’s dressed as elegantly as ever in a cream color pantsuit with gold embroidered cuffs on the sleeves and legs. I don’t even think she and Dad are going out tonight, but she’s always ready to be seen in public. Always.
“Lola don’t forget we have the planning meeting tomorrow. 10:00 am.”
I nod, though I want to groan. I’ve been helping Mom with the Viva La Designs Fashion Show Fundraiser since I was twelve. When I was twelve, the fashion show seemed glamorous. By the time I turned fifteen I realized it’s just a bunch of middle-aged woman trying to feel young and pretty for a day while raising money for underprivileged students to attend fashion school. Yep, fashion school. So the students can become designers making overpriced clothes for over privileged people. Ugh. I fully support scholarships and higher education. I just wish it were for something I considered to be a more worthy cause than clothing a bunch of rich ladies.
“I’ll be out of here by then, Mrs. R.” Cyn adds.
“You’re always welcome to sleep in and leave at your leisure, Cynthia. You’re like family here.” Mom scans Cyn’s outfit and her expression is a mixture of maternal pride and adoration. Then she looks at mine. “I’ll let you change. Wouldn’t want to make you late for your party.”
As Mom swings the door shut Cyn raises an eyebrow at me. I hold up a hand and shake my head. “Don’t even start.”
She grins. “Our mothers are wearing matching buns tonight. When do you suppose we’ll start doing that?”
“Not before we’re fifty. Skin care will be even better by then and fifty will be the new forty. We’ll have a good ten years longer before we have to start the facelift hairdo.”
With a snort, Cyn snuggles up next to me, phone in hand, and leans her dark head next to mine. We smile as she snaps a selfie. Within seconds my phone is buzzing like a beehive as her worshippers click the like button under the picture she clearly tagged me in. A tone sounds, meaning someone commented, so I swipe the screen to see who said what. For some reason I’m disappointed by the shallow response of, “Beautiful as always.” But studying the picture, I have to agree. Cyn’s forest green eyes and so brown it’s almost black hair is a stunning combination. Sharp facial features; cheekbones, nose, chin, make her model quality. Her look is reminiscent of the girl from Pulp Fiction.
I can even appreciate myself in the photo. People always use fruits to describe me. Peaches and cream complexion, strawberry-blond hair, eyes like green grapes. Studying the picture, I think I’m only pretty when I’m in contrast to Cyn. Alone, I sort of wash out. Stifling a sigh, I shove my phone in my pocket and realize I’m also only popular because of Cyn. What would my world be like if I didn’t have my “old soul” of a friend? Even though she’s wilder than me and does some stupid teenage stuff, such as drinks—too much if you ask me—she has always had a certain maturity about her. I still remember five-year-old Cyn looking at me with that all-seeing expression, as if she could look all the way inside me to see why my very soul chose to jump off the swings and sprain my ankle. Though she might just seem old because of her life experiences. The kind that make you grow up before your time. I give a mental shake. It isn’t likely I’ll find out what life without Cyn is like anytime soon. The girl is everything to me.


I Am Me by Kai Strand
YA Contemporary

Despite—or perhaps because of—her fancy car, private school education, and life of privilege, Lola Renaldi has become a volunteer junkie. Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the elderly—if it’s a good cause, she’s done it.

Lola’s favorite stint, building affordable houses, puts her directly in the path of Rodney. He refuses to discuss why he’s doing community service, but it’s clear he’s hiding something dark about his past. As their friendship grows, Lola begins to question the true reasons for her obsessive volunteerism and her view of those she has pledged to help.
She is only beginning to understand how lucky she truly is when her life falls apart. After losing friends, her boyfriend, even Rodney, Lola finally recognizes which parts of her life she wants to hang on to and what specifically she wants to go after. But with all she’s been through, will she be able to hang onto who she wants to be? Or will she lose all that defines her?
Get your copy:


About The Author


When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Heads Down

Hey, y'all! I've been heads down lately working on an editing project on my Erin Rhew Editing and Design side as well as finishing up my latest book to be pitched on #PitMad!

I am pleased to say I have finally finished the Molly and Ryder story, and it finally has a name--THE TRANSHUMAN PROJECT! Woot!! I have always been a huge sci-fi person, so I'm thrilled to have a sci-fi book ready for the world to see. And when I pitched on #PitMad, I got some hits, so I'm thrilled about that! YAY!

Here's the image I imagine for The Transhuman Project!

Both Deek and I have been buried in projects. He's working on The Injector, the sequel to The Extractor. He's almost done with the "creative vomit," and then he'll start the long, arduous process of editing. I finished The Transhuman Project, and I've decided that I'll rewrite Restore To Me from solely the women's perspective. So, that's the next thing I'm tackling.

But though we've been busy writing, we haven't forgone all the fun! Here's some of the shenanigans we've been up to lately.

Recently it was International Women's Day, 
so I had to give props to these and all the other AMAZING women in my life!

We had a warm snap, so I could work outside in our three-season room with this little nugget.

Blooming trees and a bird's nest...spring is almost here.
Although, they are forecasting snow this weekend. <insert pout>

Trinity LOVES her Daddy. She's *such* a Daddy's girl!

Who can say no to this face?!?

Thanks to generous gift cards, Deek and I were able to get a much-needed couple's massage.

I got a new sign for my desk. "Sweatpants Zone" represent.

When you wake up and look like a pineapple. #ShortHairProblems


The latest books to be released by Tenacious Books Publishing!
Aren't they purty?

Deek got free tickets to a hockey game from his work. 
It included a VIP parking pass and a food voucher.
 So, naturally, we got nachos with said food voucher.

I may be lactose intolerant, but I can't resist nachos!


Spring is coming, y'all! I'm so thankful to have schlogged through another winter and made it to the other side! So, I'll leave you with this beautiful thought...

Da beach...















Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Illogicon 2018

So y'all know we love Illogicon, right? Well, we were back there again this year for another round of awesomeness! And this year, I didn't have a stomach virus right before (hallelujah!!), so I could enjoy it that much more! :)

Here's a pictorial review of the wonderment!

Set up and ready to rumble!

This is our candy box for our trivia game, but the sentiment holds true! <3

Husband and wife Boba Fetts! 
We can so get behind spouses who love the same things!

Nick Fury in da house!
AND he knows my future cousin-in-law, so WOOT!
We love the cosplayers!

Aaron bought all five of our books!
THANK YOU, Aaron! You rock!

And now his watch begins...
Games of Thrones up in here!

An adorbs lady let me try on her Luna Lovegood sunglasses!

Sam and Dean! Sam and Dean! Sam and Dean! And Castiel! SQUEE!!!!
Ignore my coat...it was *freezing* in the vendor hall!

My man looks good wielding a sword!

Post-con dinner cray!

Getting kissed on by this sexy man!
And trying orange bangs...

Our groovy booth neighbors--The Burkheads--doing a Birth selfie!
They're another husband and wife writing pair!
Their book, The Black Lily, is in the foreground!

Alice in Wonderland!

BB8 is checking out The Coven by our friend Chrissy Lessey!

Tots love all the Star Wars wonderfulness!

Caffeine bump for Day 3

This amazing lady bid on Birth (and won!) for an auction to help children of domestic violence.
We are strong supporters of this cause, so we appreciated her bid so much!

This lovely bought Birth and plans to recommend it to her bookclub! 
They want Deek to Skype with them during their meeting to discuss the book!
WOOT!

We love the spirit and atmosphere at Illogicon! If you haven't gotten a chance to check it out, definitely come next year! We hope to see you there!















Saturday, January 27, 2018

OMG with the snow...

So, you know I'm a Southern girl, right? And you know I prefer summers and beaches, right? Well, in January alone, the South has seen unprecedentedly low temperatures and two snowstorms. UGH! And if the weather rumors are correct (and who can know that since they're not even correct the day things are happening), we might get more in February. GAH! Is it summer yet?

The first snow didn't produce too much, but it was enough to shut down the South for a day or two.


But Deek got to work from home! YAY!

And we drank lots of tea from our cool Star Trek looking teapot!

The second time around, it came down a little more!



I don't hide my feelings on the matter. LOL!

But, it made a cool view from our three season room.
I *love* that room!

The bright sun shimmering off the snow highlighted Trinity in a glow of kitty beauty!

Gus was so cold, he wanted to sit inside my jacket. LOL!

One time, I chose to go into the snow and go tubing on Mt. Hood with Deek.
Y'all, these trees in Oregon are everything... <3
It's not really relevant, but I just love the picture.

While we were snowed it, at least Deek got to work from home, by my side, for several more days. That's the one benefit of snow...more time with my man!! And we'd done a good job of stocking up on food, so we didn't have any problems there. In fact, the night it started snowing hard, we cooked up several batches of meals to use in the coming days. We kinda ate like kings...albeit healthy kings. LOL! By the end, I'd almost run out of Aloha bars, Bai drinks, and plantains, but our stock held until it was safe to venture out again.

Snack of gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free champions! ;) 

We enjoyed movies, popcorn, and Bai drinks in the presence of the great and mighty Trinity!

Then finally, finally, all the snow melted, and the South returned to its regularly scheduled program (50-60 degree days)! Deek and I went for a 5+ mile walk because we were SO happy to feel the glorious sun on our faces and feel the warmth against our skin!

This man, y'all. I had *no* idea it was possible to be this happy or this in love.
Deek is my dream come true! <3

Deek's kisses are hotter than the sun! <3

Meanwhile, our gym handed out free flowers to help combat the January blahs.
How cool is that?
And we *had* to put them in a Mason jar because...the South. ;) 

Thankfully, January is almost over. Only one more month to go before spring makes its glorious appearance. Until then, I'll be over here dreaming about the beach and the sun so hot if feels like it's eating your skin. ;) 



PS. I've been so busy with the latest changes in our lives and so obsessed with surviving the snow, I realized I didn't do a post on Illogicon!! We had a fabulous time there and met some amazing people, so stay tuned for that post soon!

Until next time, stay warm, and may the sun be ever on your face. ;)