My Trip to Red Rocks, Final Battle in The Akasha Series

Kaitlyn’s adventure has ended. But mine is just beginning! I would love to visit each of the places in The Akasha Series (see my post here to read more about them), and I am going to start at the end.  Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado is the location of the final battle in ‘Earth’. I was fortunate to go there this weekend with my sister.  Fair warning – this post contains crap loads of pictures; hope it loads okay for you!

A young group of runners (pre-teen girls) going all the way to the top. Look at them go!
A young group of runners (pre-teen girls) going all the way to the top. Look at them go!
The stage at Red Rocks, right where Kaitlyn lands.
The stage at Red Rocks, right where Kaitlyn lands.

 

View from the bottom. This is what Kaitlyn sees when she lands. Except for at night - and filled with scary, menacing members of One Less - not exercisers and tourists.
View from the bottom. This is what Kaitlyn sees when she lands. Except for at night – and filled with scary, menacing members of One Less – not exercisers and tourists. I left my bottle of water all the way down here, not realizing until I was huffing and puffing at the top. For the record, I did not go back for it.

 

One of each of the cliffs on the sides, Creation Rock and Ship Rock.
One of each of the cliffs on the sides, Creation Rock and Ship Rock.
One of each of the cliffs on the sides, Creation Rock and Ship Rock.
One of each of the cliffs on the sides, Creation Rock and Ship Rock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and my sister, Krista, the inspiration for the main character in my next series!
Me and my sister, Krista, the inspiration for the main character in my next series!

 

Me with a print copy of 'Earth'! I accidentally dropped it, so it is technically the only print version to have touched the Red Rocks themselves.  I gave it to my dad (sorry about the bent pages, dad).
Me with a print copy of ‘Earth’! I accidentally dropped it, so it is technically the only print version to have touched the Red Rocks themselves. I gave it to my dad (sorry about the bent pages, dad).

 

Some of the trees Kaitlyn uses as cover along the sides.
Some of the trees Kaitlyn uses as cover along the sides.

 

Did I mention how many people were there exercising?  It made me feel...inadequate.  I solaced myself in the fact that I was about to attempt the BoulderBoulder 10k run (well...run/walk...okaymostly walk).
Did I mention how many people were there exercising? It made me feel…inadequate. I solaced myself in the fact that I was about to attempt the BoulderBoulder 10k run (well…run/walk…okay mostly walk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More freakin' exercisers.
More freakin’ exercisers.

 

There is Downtown Denver!
There is Downtown Denver!
The bar at the pavilion at the top where Shawn keeps Micah.
The bar at the pavilion at the top where Shawn keeps Micah.

 

Hey Look - one of my favorite bands played there in 2012! Avett Brothers - wish I was there!
Hey Look – one of my favorite bands played there in 2012! Avett Brothers – wish I was there!

 

And there is my other favorite band - Mumford and Sons!
And there is my other favorite band – Mumford and Sons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love ya, Sis!
Love ya, Sis!

 

 

 

 

 

Kids are Stupid

Introducing another one of my blogs; Kids are Stupid

stupid kids header

I’ve had this blog for a while – it is really just an outlet for my personal life, mostly so I don’t bombard you with that stuff here.  If you are interested, here are some of the better posts:

Trouble is knocking, and his name is…

Disney is Stupid

Daddy’s Special Tool

Fair warning, this blog has nothing to do with The Akasha Series (or vampires or mermaids, for that matter), and there will be pictures of my kids plastered all over it.  Enjoy!

Any Listeners Out There?

ImageWith the completion of The Akasha Series on the horizon, I am taking the plunge into the world of audio books. This is completely new and strange for me – I really never got into the whole audio book thing. I’m going with ACX who will publish the audio book on Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes. Several narrators have submitted auditions, and I find myself asking – what makes a good narrator? What allows an audio book to stand out from the rest?

Needless to say, I don’t have those answers.  Do you?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Cover Reveal – Earth, Book Four

Finally!  The announcement can be made. ‘Earth, Book Four of the Akasha Series’ will be released on April 22, 2013. This is also Earth Day – how cool is that?!  For those of you buying via iTunes, ‘Earth’ may not be available for a couple weeks after the release date, as you may have experienced with ‘Fire’.   April 22 seem too far off?  Maybe I can satisfy you with the cover and blurb:

OMG – and please keep in mind it is ultra-hard to make dirt look magical!

earth cover hand bigger

After an elemental apocalypse, the fate of Earth hangs in the balance.

 The hunt for Micah in a world that has gone dim leads Kaitlyn straight to Shawn and One Less. While struggling to survive, she battles a side of her that is as dark as the rest of the planet. In the exciting conclusion to The Akasha Series, our heroine is no longer a part of The Seven or One Less. Now she is on Team Kaitlyn; who will join her?

So here you have it – the complete cover set to The Akasha Series and a huge shout-out to Keary Taylor for the cover designs:

Water Cover Image_FinalAir Cover ImageFire V2earth cover hand bigger

I have to admit, I am nervous about releasing the conclusion to the series. ‘Earth’ is a different from the other books. The world has no power, Kaitlyn goes a little crazy, and Shawn tries to redeem himself. Be warned – this is no fairy tale ending. Can’t wait to hear what y’all think of it! Add it to your Goodreads TBR list now…

Travel Around the World with The Akasha Series

Good news, everyone! I am done writing the fourth and final book of The Akasha Series, ‘Earth’! Bad news, everyone.  ‘Earth’ still has a few months of editing to go. But I’m super excited to be done with the series, and I must say – very proud. I have a few ideas for what is next which includes an audio version of the books – and maybe even a screenplay of the first book (ooh, I just gave myself the shivers). I also want to get to work on a new mermaid series (also eco, of course).

Another one of my dreams would be to visit many of the places throughout The Akasha Series – and I’ve already booked my first trip **squee**! I’m starting at the end, where the final battle of ‘Earth’ takes place. Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado:

red rocks

Not too super exciting since I was born in Colorado, but I’ve never been to Red Rocks and I’m still excited to go.

Some of the more exotic destinations of The Akasha Series include:

Galapagos Islands – where Shawn takes Kaitlyn in ‘Water’.galapagos_islands

Perth, Australia – where Kaitlyn docks after…well, don’t want to give too many spoilers…read the third book ‘Fire’ to find out!PERTH-AUSTRALIA

Reunion Island, just off the coast of Madagascar – where Micah has built a dream home for Kaitlyn. But will they ever settle down there? :)
Read about it in ‘Air’, but you’ll have to finish the series to find out.reunion island

Costa del Sol, Spain – The sunny coast, both a dream and a nightmare where Micah and Kaitlyn reconnect, then Shawn steps in and…
I’ll have to be sure to take a side trip to Castle Alcazaba.costa del sol

Easter Island – A Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, known for environmental over-exploitation and said to be one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world.  Definitely need to go during the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival!easter island 2

I think I might have to skip out on Heard and McDonald Islands (final battle in ‘Air’, book two). A bit cold for me…unless there is snowboarding?
heard and mcdonald 2

And there is always Simeulue Island, a province of Indonesia, where the Chakra is. Now that would be an adventure.simeulue_coast

So anyway – now you know my inner most desires.   Where do you guys want to go?  Leave a comment below!  If you are like me, strapped for cash – hopefully a trip around the world within The Akasha Series can appease your appetite for adventure.  Other than that, Google and YouTube have worked wonders to give me a taste of what these places are really like. You can also visit my Pinterest page, ‘Inspirations of the Akasha Series‘, where I pin the settings from certain scenes in the books.  Happy traveling!

Bookish Style Christmas Decorations

Don’t know what to get book lovers, other than a Kindle gift card? How about this:

ornament good

I made these myself using clear ornaments, Epsom salt, and cut and curled pages from my favorite book. I asked the recipients what reading means to them, and included the word as part of the ornament. This has led to some great ornament ideas for my own Akasha Series; but next year!

Things don’t always come together this easily for me. I started out with the idea of pasting strips of pages around an ornament. Didn’t turn out quite right, but it is nothing a dash of glitter won’t solve, right? Wrong:

 ornament bad

Epic failure, considering how it was supposed to turn out:

 book ornament

Anyway, on to some sweet stuff. Last year I was left with an extra gingerbread house, and plenty of extra frosting. So I do what I do most – I got creative:

 gingerbread enter gingerbread water gingerbread air gingerbread fire2

I’ve been holding onto these pics for a year, and now that I look at them – they aren’t as good as I remember.  But, what they hey, I am not one to waste frosting. Maybe I’ll do ‘Earth’ with the extra gingerbread houses this year, or maybe I should quit while I’m only slightly behind…

 Hope everyone has a great holiday season and a very happy new year!

‘Fire’ Cover Reveal – It’s Hot!

Fire V2

‘Fire, Book Three of the Akasha Series’ becomes available in October. Wanna see the cover?

Beautiful, right?! This, by far, is my favorite cover of the series. Here they are together (with Earth still to go):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I already have the cover for ‘Earth’, which will be revealed in a few months, but I may make some tweaks. It is damn hard to make dirt look magical. I hope that after ‘Fire’, the ‘Earth’ cover isn’t a let down. Maybe I should’ve saved ‘Fire’ for the last book of the series. :)  You really can’t go wrong with flame. For your comparison, here are a few other ‘hot’ book covers I’ve come across:

 

 

Which is your favorite? Feel free to say mine! Haha. No seriously – feel free. I’m so excited, can’t wait for the release – stay tuned for the announcement!

E-book AND Print Book; No Versus About It

A few weeks ago, my kids and I were wasting time waiting for a movie to start (Brave – it was great; you should see it), and we came across a small, used bookstore. The experience was, to say the least, awesome. We each found our place in the store, lost among the shelves and shelves of books.

The kids picked a book to buy, and as we checked out the owner commended each of their choices and told them, “great job – keep on reading.”

I’ll say it again, it was a great experience. Compare that with the experience surrounding my e-reader. My Nook is a prized possession. It stays hidden, sometimes even while I’m reading. There is no way I will share it with my kids and their clumsy, dirty hands.

Now, I could choose to get them each their own. But something tells me they will get loaded with game apps, lost, or broken in no time at all. With three kids, it would be an expensive endeavor.

Granted, I would never give up my Nook – and do think it is the future of reading, but why do we have to choose one or the other?  We don’t – it’s all about balance. We can incorporate both into our lives:

Yes, my photo-shop skills need some work. I am sitting on the books while reading my Nook because I couldn’t fit my butt in the tiny purple chair. Also, I am normally wearing shoes when shopping in public…

But to do so, technology – and people – have a long way to go. We need to make content more ‘shareable’: Here’s how, specifically:

1. Allow users to gift their entire libraries. According to one article from SmartMoney Blog, “Someone who owned 10,000 hardcover books and the same number of vinyl records could bequeath them to descendants, but legal experts say passing on iTunes and Kindle libraries would be much more complicated.” Already, my iTunes library has turned out to be quite the investment, at least for my modest salary, so it is definitely something I want to see passed on.

2. Better E-book systems in our public libraries. Along the same lines of sharing, public libraries have lendable e-books, but not a whole lot are available and there are long waiting lists. It is a system worth making the investment to improve.

3. Donate used e-books: When I buy an e-book and am finished reading, it stays put in my e-reader. Why can’t I donate it to a bookstore, school, or a friend? Limited lending programs (two weeks or so) by Amazon and B&N don’t cut it. I don’t own digital rights to the material, so there isn’t a form of transfer that isn’t considered piracy.

Shareable ebook sites are starting to make their debut, but so is the legal department of Amazon. Amazon briefly revoked Lendle’s access, which proves the industry has a ways to go as far as shareable content. Furthermore, most sharing sites are only available in the US.

DRM (digital rights management) is something authors establish with their ebooks when they first publish. No piracy? Sounds great to me. Wrong! My books can still be pirated, and it just makes ‘sharing’ all that more difficult for the reader. Unfortunately, once DRM is selected for a book, the author cannot go back and change it.

So what can we do about it? The e-book industry is largely a customer-driven operation, much more so than the print industry ever was. Let’s use that to our advantage. Give feedback, and lots of it, anywhere you can. Ask for Demand for more shareable content!

I acknowledge shareable digital content may be a difficult thing to accomplish, seeing as how the industry finally has a pseudo-way to control content.  I mean, by sharing and donating hard copy books, were we just committing ‘analog piracy’ all along? Keep in mind, though (and maybe this is something we should remind publishers), they’ve still managed to sell books, despite all the ‘sharing’.   The same would apply to e-books.

On that note, have a great labor day weekend everyone!

The Power of Small Steps

I recently petitioned our local swim and tennis club to replace their old, unused, dilapidated tennis courts with a community garden, offering to head the fundraising and operations myself. Their lack of response tells me the interest just isn’t there. Frustrated that others couldn’t see the incredible value in this (I’ll spare you the point paper I put together), I was overwhelmed, and overjoyed to say the least, to come across a particular video on the TED Talks.

Pam Warhurst heads Incredible Edible, an initiative in Todmorden, England, that encourages growing food in the community, wherever there is space. The curb areas in front of houses, around the police station, even in cemeteries. Can you imagine going to the doctor for a routine appointment and leaving with a few fresh-picked tomatoes? Can you imagine your children walking by their food source every day to school? This is a community wide investment to ourselves, our children, and the environment, through the common language of food. The small step of shared gardens, bringing back our pollinators, changing the way we interact, changing the very system of food production and how we live our lives.

I could of course, go on and on, but I’ll let you experience the initiative yourself. Please spare 13 minutes to watch the below video and please, please, please share it. Pass it along; hopefully you can get just as excited about it as I am!

More about the Incredible Edible initiative can be found here.  Look for one of the initiatives near you, or better yet – start one yourself!

A Sense of Community

Today, as part of the ‘Celebrate Community Blog Hop’ hosted by Pavarti at Fighting Monkey Press, I’d like to share with you a very special community I become involved with over the summer.

This is a picture of my oldest son, preparing to dive in for the 11-12 year old 50 meter freestyle race. Swim team participation runs rampant during the summer, at least here in Northern Virginia. See all those people in white shirts holding timers? They are just a small part of what it takes to run a swim meet, and the swim team as a whole. 42 volunteers people. 42!!!  This is how many is required to help run the meet.

Data entry, relay takeoff judge, stroke and turn judges, marshals, table workers, runners, timers, announcers…take a deep breath…chief judge, head timer, assistant head time, swim team representatives, coaches, clerk of course, snack bar workers and scorers. I’m sure I’m leaving a few out here. Anyway, you get the picture – it takes a lot of people to make swim season happen for our kids.

But the point is, it happens. It happens in thousands of neighborhood communities. Summer after summer, we pull together through early morning practices, weekend meets, late Monday nights, fundraisers…take a deep breath…ice cream socials, potluck dinners, spirit nights…wow – hopefully I’m not convincing every parent right now to stay away from the swim teams. Because to tell you the truth, pictures like the one above make it all worthwhile.

Go to Fighting Monkey Press to check out the rest of the posts on community!