Saturday, April 27, 2013

My e-mail

I know by now some of you have noticed my e-mail isn't the traditional Authorname or seriesname@... but that I'm Strange? Yes. Fitting to me? Yes. Am I going to change it and follow the "norm"? Absolutely not.
Here's the history about my e-mail:
Way back in the day, when AOL had just come out and was insanely popular (I think it was the first social media site, but not sure) and the sentence, "You've Got Mail" would make you smile with anticipation, I began my on-line persona. I was somewhere between 11-14 years old. I've always been fascinated with Egypt, the pharos, history, culture, everything I could get my hands on, I devoured like a sponge. At that particular time in my life I was extra obsessed with Cleopatra. I decided that I would be known as her in my on-line life. She was everything I wanted to be and didn't know how to become. Sexy, dark, mysterious, powerful, confident, courageous, fearless, in a word: Amazing. I thought that if I could pretend to be her in at least one aspect of my life, that would rub off onto other parts of my life as well.
As you can imagine, that user name was already chosen. The first available was something like Cleopatra1874 or something stupid like that.
I tried different variations that would still make me smile every time I saw it, and then grew frustrated. I growled at AOL, telling my computer how stupid it was. Didn't it realize this was the start of my new identity?!? How dare someone take that away from me!
(I was pre-teen, come on.)
I thought I'd be really creative since I couldn't have the name I wanted, I'd pick a bad-guy that certainly no one would think of. Katra, the character that turns into a panther on She-Ra. She'd always been my favorite bad-guy, and I thought her ability to be cat-like was amazing. I typed that in... taken.
After storming about and cursing fate, I had an epiphany. Why not combine my two favorite women? Become the persona of both - an ancient badass and an evil shifter? I couldn't be too obvious about it, so I'd have to switch the C to a K, and no one would know what I did!
So Kleokatra was born.
A few years go by and I forgo the computer to deal with life. When I returned, I could no longer access my namesake, so I recreated it by adding a 1 at the end. As far as I'm aware, I'm still the only Kleokatra and Kleokatra1 on AOL, if they still even maintain that information. Since the addition of the 1 however, it's stuck. I'm still massively in love with the Egyptian culture and history, perhaps not as obsessively as I was when I was a child, but it's still in my top 2 places to visit before I die. I still love cats, and still think Katra is awesomely horrible when I watch re-runs of She-Ra with my husband.
I debated when I started writing, should I stay with the traditional, or go out on a limb and be my wacky self? As I've always done, and always hope to do, I've stayed with what makes me "me" and kept the

Friday, April 26, 2013

Forever ME!

I'm honored to be a part of my dear friend, Thomas Amo's Debut Blog Tour! Forever Me is such a fantastic book regarding teen life and bullying, I'd recommend it to anyone, even those who aren't big into the Young Adult (like me)! It was such a fantastic read that had me in tears at the end! 

If you haven't picked up your copy yet, here's your chance!
Forever Me
Let me entice you with a tidbit! 

Wichita Falls High was your typical Texas educational institution. It boasted a fine athletics’ department with a focus on football. The student body was composed of about fifteen hundred students, the majority being mostly Caucasians and Hispanics. While the African American and Asian students were smaller in numbers, they all mixed well with one another. Like most high schools, you could find plenty of, emo, goths, stoners, jocks and cheerleaders. The only segregation that seemed prevalent at Wichita High was the one between the Clubbers and the Easties. Clubbers were the young adults whose families belonged to the country club. These were the students who went out of their way to not interact with the teens who were from, that part of town. Hannah and Lauren were Easties. If you lived east of Chester Street, then you were socially unimportant. To translate into pop culture terms, Easties were Mudbloods.
            There was one other group at Wichita Falls High that commanded its own title, and it belonged to a small band of girls known as the Stilettos. They were, Shelby Farrell, Courtney James, Vanessa Chezwick, Madison Winthrop and Taylor Monroe. They were Clubbers of the highest order. Their fathers had the most money, and they lived in the exclusive section of the country club, with the exception of Taylor. Taylor’s family lived just outside the club. Her inclusion in the Stilettos came in the form of a proxy, as her father was Shelby’s father’s best friend.
            Taylor was easily one of the most attractive girls at Wichita Falls High. She had striking, golden honey colored eyes, set within an oval shaped face. Her dark eyebrows accentuated her luxurious long blonde hair. She was the most petite member of the Stilettos, standing only at five-foot-three. Shelby was the accepted leader of the clique; her tall five foot ten height alone made her appear like the one in charge. She had long brunette hair, porcelain skin, and emerald green eyes that seemed to peer directly through you. Like the rest of her clique, she too was sixteen. They all drove, but to be a friend with Shelby, it was a requirement to ride in her Mercedes. The way her tall legs carried her, she walked as if she owned the school. Her second in command was Courtney, a medium height and slight build of a redhead. She was freckled and pale and her disposition was always dour and disagreeable. She loved taunting other students, especially girls she considered ugly or fat. The two remaining members of the Stilettos were Vanessa and Madison. Vanessa was a stunning Japanese/Italian girl with rich, naturally wavy, black hair and almond shaped, chestnut eyes. Her olive toned skin appeared flawless and her heart shaped face was beautiful when she smiled. That, however, only happened when she was bullying younger students. She was just slightly shorter than Shelby, which was in her favor. Madison took care to be certain she never wore heels that made her taller than Shelby. Otherwise, it would be considered an act of defiance. Madison had been into Cosplay during her middle school years. Being a slightly overweight child, her involvement in costume play had been a means to find acceptance among others. She loved the idea of dressing up as a character from a film or television show. She mostly wore Catholic schoolgirl uniforms that were reminiscent of popular 90’s Japanese anime. By time she became a Stiletto, everyone was so used to it, it would have been odd for her to wear anything else. She too was pretty with brunette hair and blonde streaks. She wore glasses but Shelby forced her to go to contacts that year. She was slightly shorter than the rest, yet taller than Taylor. She was also a bit chunkier than the other girls but it didn’t take away from her looks in the slightest.
            To be a member of this clique, looks were not enough. You had to be beyond good looking if you were going to walk with this privileged collection of goddesses, and you better have the money, the heels, and social standing to go with it.
            Hannah didn’t care she was considered an Eastie by the Stilettos or the Clubbers. She was happy with who she was. Designer labels and loads of makeup didn’t make you prettier in her mind. Hannah never bothered with makeup; why spend hours in front of a mirror trying to become something she wasn’t. She tried it once when she was twelve to impress her friend Haylee’s older cousin, Nick. She applied false eyelashes and blue eye shadow, complete with bright red lipstick. She thought things were going well, until Nick asked her how much she charged. Hannah was as embarrassed as any preteen girl could ever be. Makeup became a thing of her past after that day.

Here's an interview with the author! :)

 Q: I understand Forever ME is inspired by true events. Tell us how that came about?

A: I was just about to leave the house one morning when I caught a segment on morning television about a group of teen girls at a Texas high school who had organized a group called, “Redefining Beautiful.” They were trying to encourage fellow female students to go one day a week without makeup. They were stressing that you don’t need makeup to be beautiful. I was so amazed by their bravery and confidence to go against type, especially in high school and at an age where girls feel the most awkward with themselves. A close friend of mine who is a film producer had been asking me if I had anything I was working on I could share with him. By time the segment was over, I had the basic plot in my head and before I left the house, I already knew the ending of the story. I phoned my producer friend and told him I had something, we met that afternoon and I pitched the idea to him as a film. He loved the concept and told me he was interested. Could I write the screenplay? I went to work right away. But about 50 pages in, I found these characters were so lifelike, I felt it needed to be a book, it could always be a film later. I called my friend back, said, I have to write this as a novel. With his blessing and two years later. Forever ME was published.

Q: How are teen girls responding to a book written by a guy?

A:  I was concerned about that. Would they relate to it? Would it seem real to them? Or would it come across as a guy giving his version of what he think teen girls are like today? Well, to my pleasant surprise, teen girls are sending me emails, tweets, and telling me, they completely relate to the situations, they’ve said, “OMG, that is so me!” “I’m just like Hannah!” Or they know girls like Shelby and the Stilettos. Or jerk guys who treat them like property. I got plenty of praise from some parents even grandparents on Forever ME, but the real vindication comes from the teens who love it. I couldn’t ask for better than that! (Plus I have a 19 year old daughter, so I wasn’t totally in the dark.) But I did do my research.

Q: What did you learn about teen girls that you didn’t know?

A: A lot! I learned that some girls lose precious hours of sleep by getting up at sometimes between 3 and 4 a.m. to begin their daily regiment of getting ready for school to make themselves look “normal” or what they feel they must look like to their friends and fellow students. Girls are under tremendous pressure to always look a certain way, weigh a certain amount. Often it is self-imposed, even the prettiest girls feel insecure about their looks. Girls who are bullied often feel completely alone with no one to turn to. Even if schools have zero tolerance for bullying, there’s always an unspoken rule to not tell. Being bullied is embarrassing, especially when girls get publically humiliated in school and other students stand by, watching or laughing. School can more often than not, feel like prison instead of an educational institution.

Q: Speaking of Bullying, there’s quite a lot of it in Forever ME. Were you attempting to send a message?

A: Actually no I wasn’t. Not consciously anyway. My wife pointed out to me that bullying wasn’t just limited to the students. Friends bullied each other and even parents bullied their teens. It made me realize, there are many different ways for kids to be bullied, like there are as many forms of abuse. It’s not always physical but it is always damaging.

Q: I see in several past reviews Forever ME gets compared to the film, “Mean Girls.” Did that have any influence on your writing?

A: Not at all, I have not seen the film. So I’m always surprised when someone compares it to that film. I imagine since the subject matters are similar I can see how someone could draw that conclusion. It was important to me in the beginning that my main character, Hannah was not the new girl at a school. That’s always tough on a teen to be the new kid. I wanted her to have her own friends, a well-adjusted home life and content with her life as it was. It was only when she crossed the invisible line of mixing with the social elite did it present a problem in her life. Wichita Falls is a place where a girl from her side of town is often reminded it’s best if she stays there.

Thomas Amo

Thomas Amo is the author over 20 comedies and farces for the live theatre. This former full time theatrical producer has spent the last thirty years writing in many different genres, from pilot scripts for television to screenplays on independent films. Outside acting, directing and producing, his first love has always been writing. Forever ME, marks his debut into YA fiction.

And another taste of the fun ;)! 

The alarm buzzed and Hannah rolled over on her back in bed and stretched. She tried to get her eyes to focus on her cell phone to see what time it was. The digital numbers told her it was 4:15 a.m. She stopped the noise and reached an arm behind her to shake Taylor awake, but the bed was empty. Surprised, she rolled over and found she had the bed all to herself.  She hoped she hadn’t forced Taylor out. She had been known to be a bed hog, especially with the covers. She propped herself up on her elbows when the bedroom light flipped on. Like a vampire recoiling from the sunlight, Hannah’s hand quickly went to shield her eyes.
“Morning sunshine,” called Taylor in a chipper voice.
Hannah slowly lowered her hand and saw Taylor standing in the doorway, still wearing her father’s t-shirt but with a gator clip in her hair to hold it up.
“I thought I set my alarm for six.”
“You did, but I changed it. Hot Girl Rule Number 1: Rise early and get your face on. Only homely girls sleep in.”
Hannah let her head fall back on the pillow. “Ohhhh, let me be homely, just for an another hour.”
“Oh no you don’t,” called Taylor as she reached under the blanket, grabbed Hannah by the wrist and tugged her up into a sitting position. “Let’s get those feet on the floor, I already picked out your outfit, got the flatiron hot and made coffee.”
“I swear, if I didn’t love men, I’d probably marry you, just for the fact you made me coffee,” Hannah said rubbing her face trying to wake up.
“Yeah, don’t get ahead of yourself there, doll. You’re pretty cute, but not my type. By the way I made the coffee for me. I’m just sharing it with you. Now let’s get going, the sun will be showing up in an hour,” Taylor teased.
 “Okay, Sarge,” Hannah said with a half salute. Her feet touched the floor and she recoiled. She started to climb back under the covers but then saw the look on Taylor’s face. “Okay, okay.” Hannah stood up and winced once more from the cold floor on her feet. She stumbled from her bedroom to the bathroom across the hall. Taylor had everything laid out like a display in a showroom. She was truly organized when it came to preparing for the day. Hannah examined her face in the mirror. She was prepared for the worst. She was afraid she was going to wear the after effects of Lauren’s punches for the next week, but surprisingly, there was only a small amount of bruising on the corner of her chin and up next to her right eye. Even the swelling in her lip had pretty much disappeared.
Taylor returned to the bathroom with a cup of coffee for Hannah. Hannah turned and took the cup with a grateful expression. She took a sip and instantly felt the perfectly made drink intoxicate all of her senses. She sat the cup on the vanity and wrapped her arms around Taylor and hugged her. “I love you,” she whispered.
Taylor stood being a prisoner of Hannah’s clinch. Her eyes darted from side to side. Her expression of feeling awkward reflected in the mirror. “Um—love you too, but it’s just coffee, Hannah.”
Hannah shook her head. “No, that is a cup filled with love,” she said with sleep-crusted eyes.
“Okay—are you like this every morning?”
“I just need a moment,” Hannah teased as she hugged her once more. Taylor gave the patented pity hand pat on Hannah’s back that meant, Okay, I love you too but I’m beyond comfortable now.
“How did you sleep?” Hannah asked as she took a healthy drink of coffee.
Taylor took Hannah’s hair into her hands and ran the flatiron across it. “Pretty good, but you are a cover hog.”
“I know, but in my defense you’re the first person I’ve ever slept with.”
“Yeah—let’s not share that information,” Taylor said teasing.

Thanks again Thomas for letting me participate in your debut tour! I loved Forever ME, just as I've loved your other books for such different reasons! Seriously guys, if you haven't checked Thomas Amo out yet, you're missing out on one of the greats of our time! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I have no idea where people got the idea that cats are solitary creatures. Sure, they're more independent than dogs, but in no way, shape or form are they solitary.
As you all know, I have 9 cats. Yes, I am the crazy cat lady. They are my children. What you may not be aware of is that Princess, my alpha female is also the mother to three of my cats, Frost, Gunther and Saphyra. Gunther is my shy guy, Frost loves food and Saphyra is a mama's girl. Damian, my oldest male cat, also happens to be my largest cat and the alpha male.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, last Thursday I was cuddling with Frost when I noticed a lump on his leg. It was rather large and had me extremely nervous. I called the vet first thing in the morning and made the first available appointment on Monday. She told me that lumps in cats are extremely rare. She said that if Frost was a dog, she'd say he had a fatty cyst or an ingrown hair. But cat's don't typically get these things. If it wasn't a tumor, it was a fatty cyst that would eventually develop into a tumor and kill him.
I waited all day Monday to hear back from the Vet about the biopsy results. Finally, ten minutes before they were to close, she called to give me the news. Frost had a fatty cyst on his leg that she recommended get removed. I scheduled surgery for Wednesday (today).
I dropped him off, approved additional blood work just in case, and waited patiently for him to be released home. I just picked him up from the vet and he has a 6-stiches wound on his leg. He walks like he's drunk and his eyes are very unfocused.

All the cats came up and sniffed him to see what was going on. His sister and brother both ran away, hissing, but Princess curled up on a pillow and hissed at everyone else to stay away from her baby. Damian licked Frost's paw, curled up near him, and watched over him.
Living in a multi cat household has taught me so much about the feline family dynamics that have eliminated my previous misconceptions. While they may not need approval from their humans like dogs seem to, they are fiercely protective of one another and loving to those they call theirs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower #DFQWBS

 Anna Mead, I know we've recently "met", but I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and feel as if we've been friends forever. Congrats on your impending nuptials and I wish you all the best. I love the idea of your writer friends getting together to submit short stories regarding love in support of your big day and am honored to be able to include one for you. Thanks Miranda and Rebekah for coming up with the fantastic idea of the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower! :)
Instead of yanking my brain out of the murderous killing and dismemberment of my zombies to write something heartfelt and romantic, I thought I'd throw you a teaser scene from Choice. Enjoy.

Alma se Funden
Jean Booth
(eBook ok)

I felt beautiful. The scarlet dress molded to my body to perfection, swaying with each step I took toward Raif. My auburn hair was held away from my face in a series of intricate braids and knots, leaving most of it flowing down my back. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect day than today, and wouldn’t ruin it with thoughts of what would happen later. I was binding with my soul mate, and nothing could compare to this moment.
I rounded the corner behind Cleito and saw the clearing. There was a circle enclosed by Orichalcum stones in front of a forest, leading further into the mountains. Cleito explained that this was the same location that she and Poseidon had their Hand-Fasting, as well as where the curse occurred.
It was beautiful, as was the man waiting for me. He was covered head to toe in black and looked amazing. His eyes shone with such love at me, I thought my heart would burst right then.
He took my hand and the ceremony began. Cleito and Michael stood with us as our witnesses and Atreyu performed the rights, as was his duty as the High Priest of Poseidon. He rang a small silver bell three times, signifying us to walk around the circle. We did, then entered, and stood facing each other in front of an altar. Atreyu prompted us to state our intent and Raif started.
“I, Raifuku Iaochra have come of my own free will, in perfect love and perfect trust to bind myself completely from now until the end of days to my Alma Xemelga, Natasha.”
“I, Natasha James have come of my own free will, in perfect love and perfect trust to bind myself completely from now until the end of days to my Soul Mate, Raifuku.” I was so overjoyed; I barely noticed the twin tears sliding down my face or the misty rain that started to fall. Atreyu rang the bell.
We exchanged rings, to symbolize our commitment to each other to the outside world. The palms on our left hands were cut, the blood dripping into a chalice that was half-filled with wine. Our hands were then bound together, mixing our blood. I was slightly unnerved by this, but tried to remember that it was part of their culture. We used our right hands to drink from the chalice, symbolizing the need for balance between being together and apart as well as infusing our bodies further with the essence of each other.
 Our right hands were then placed over our left ones and tied tightly together. We repeated our intent to be bound for the rest of eternity. After which Atreyu rang the bell.
We sealed our intent with a kiss. The knot was undone and we each cut a lock of hair from the other and placed it into a silver box. As we buried the box at the foot of the altar we repeated our intent to be bound again. Atreyu rang the bell a third time.
“Thrice called, thrice answered, the souls are now combined. In perfect love and perfect trust they remain until the end of time. So mote it be.” Atreyu rang the bell three more times and a hush fell over us.
The birds stopped singing; it was as if the entire universe was holding its collective breath at this moment. We walked around the circle again, the opposite way, sealing our vows with a kiss as we ended. The ground rumbled beneath us, and the wildlife exploded into song. All was right with the world. We’d completed the first Alma se Funden in Atlantis in over eleven thousand years. 

And now a few words for the couple:
Anna and Michael, today is the day when you celebrate your love for one another with those nearest and dearest to you, but it's what happens after this celebration that makes the marriage. Hold tightly to each other and remember why you came together as a couple, never losing sight of your love, even when it seems like everything around you is tearing it apart. I wish you all the best. ~Jean

Monday, April 8, 2013

I've got the blahs

I've been feeling rather off for the past week but just attributed it to a change in careers. I finally left Health Care and am writing full time. YEA! Time to party! Or so I thought.
It turns out that I'm getting older and can't just transition from a night shift to day shift like I originally thought. I'm exhausted and haven't figured out why. Working at home at night isn't working either because Mr. Man sleeps at night, works during the day, and thinks that he needs to be entertained in the evening.
My doc says this is normal for a person who worked the crazy schedule I had for so long, but I need to get past this - like yesterday. I have deadlines that must be met and hours to get in for my new writing job. I don't have time for a two-three hour nap in the afternoon like my body begs me for. I have books that need to be written and edited. I have things I want to get done that don't include sleep.
Sigh. So because my body is basically in a state of shock, I've got the blahs. I don't really have the energy to care much about anything, but I'm annoyed that I can't seem to accomplish anything either.
Anyone have a good remedy for kicking my butt into gear and getting over this drastic schedule change?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Family: The Ties That Kill - #BeNotorious Blog Tour Day One

Family: The Ties That Kill - #BeNotorious Blog Tour Day One
Welcome to Day One of the #BeNotorious Blog Tour! We are revving up to the release of the highly anticipated sequel of Katie Jennings’ family drama When Empires Fall, aptly named Rise of the Notorious!
Follow along on this notorious blog tour from April 2nd till release day on April 23rd, and be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win some AMAZING prizes!
Today’s stop is an introduction to the Vasser Hotel family and the killer tale detailing both their fall from grace and their daring rise to infamy. Enjoy!
* * *
“Family may be the ties that bind, but When Empires Fall, they are the ties that kill…”
Truer words have never been spoken…especially if you’re a member of the prestigious Vasser Hotel family. For them, murder runs in the blood; ambitious and cold, and oh so cruel.
Step inside a world where champagne flows freely, luxury comes standard, and glorious Manhattan pulsates all around you with the rich, the famous, and the damned. Amidst it all, the illustrious Vasser Hotel stands as a beacon of extravagance, a century old and a staple to the Upper East Side.
In When Empires Fall, meet the Vasser family. On the outside, they appear untouchable. Nothing and no one can tarnish the prestige they have spent over a hundred years cementing into the very fabric of their infamous name.
That is, until a horrific event from their past, a suspected suicide of one of their own, is revealed to have been cold-blooded murder. What’s a family to do but get justice?
Alas, rarely is such a thing so easy.
They will have to fight tooth and nail against accusations that the killer is one of their own, not some outsider intent on hurting the family. And when they find out that this isn’t the killer’s first murder, things really get interesting.
But who are the Vassers, and what makes their story, one of fiery passion, scandal, and deception, so unique?
The three main characters are siblings, Grant, Linc, and Madison, who run the New York Vasser Hotel. Meet them, and the rest of the family, below:

 “Finish, good lady; the bright day is done, and we are for the dark.”
The Vasser family’s story continues on in the sequel, Rise of the Notorious. Theirs was a story much too elaborate to confine to just one novel…and the killer drama only heats up ten-fold in the sequel.
After dealing with attacks on their good name, business, and personal reputations, Grant, Linc, and Madison now find themselves in a war against not only the hungry and insatiable press, but several key enemies hell bent on ruining the family.
Only, the enemies they know about are nothing compared to the enemies waiting in the shadows. What will become of the Vasser family as they struggle to rise from the ashes of their own destruction? They may just learn some valuable lessons on who to trust, and who to destroy.
Madison takes the forefront, placing herself in the public eye in an attempt to showcase the Vasser family’s graciousness and strength. It’ll take every last innovative and courageous bone in her body to make sure her family’s legacy survives.
That is, if she and her family members can survive themselves, first.

Praise for The Vasser Legacy:
A modern day epic in the tradition of Gone With The Wind…” -J.L. Firestone, author
Exhilarating and fresh… Jennings masterfully weaves an intricate web of deception and lies…When Empires Fall is not as much a story about the rich as it is a story about human character.” -Cristian Mihai, author/blogger
Deliciously distracting! A complex tale of family betrayal and false appearances.” -Elizabeth Wright, reviewer with
The story is well developed and moves at a great pace but Katie Jennings' real talent lies in her ability to develop fascinating and compelling characters.” -Martha Bryce, book blogger

Rise of the Notorious
By International Bestselling Author
Katie Jennings
Coming April 23, 2013

Click HERE to Enter the Giveaway!

* * *
Meet Katie Jennings…

International bestselling Author Katie Jennings is the author of six full length novels, including the popular fantasy series The Dryad Quartet as well as the bestselling family drama series The Vasser Legacy.

She lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and cat, who both think she’s the biggest nerd ever. She’s a firm believer in happy endings and loves nothing more than a great romance novel.

You can find out more about Katie on her official website,