It’s a new dawn…it’s a new day…it’s a new life…

     I love that song. I think it’s a wonderful reminder that each day is new and we have the opportunity to improve ourselves and our lives. As a writer this is especially important. It’s easy to let your past define your present. To feel like an epic failure when you don’t release any new books for such a long period of time. I’ve had an easier time blogging than opening up one of my files and write. My biggest mistake is that I’ve allowed other people to call into question my writing skills. We can either let their words cripple us, see it as a challenge or we can put it out of our heads completely.

I choose the latter because in the end, it’s what I love to do and those who know nothing about writing have no idea what they’re talking about. I’m not referring to reviews and reviewers. I’ve never taken offense to their criticism. I let those who wanted nothing more than to tear me apart, made me second guess everything about my ability to write a good story. But one day you will wake up and say “What the fuck? What a joke.” and you find that there isn’t anything that anyone can say about story telling if you just let it go.

January 1rst I woke up and instead of thinking “Oh shit here we go again.” I looked forward to what the day would bring. Experiencing the kind of freedom I hadn’t felt in a very long time. We can easily let negativity wrap itself around of us, choking us until we give up and let the pain eat away at who we are. Or we can shake it off and move forward.

    I’ve learned to appreciate all the things in my life, big or small and to put things in perspective. Accepting the world for what it is not trying to force it to be what I want it to be. I’m responsible for what I do and how I do it. I don’t want to be the cause of anyone else’s pain anymore. Whatever you put out into the universe comes back to you tenfold. Even in science there’s a reaction for every action. I’ve been paid back enough though and have stepped back into the light.

In celebration of all I’ve learned, my writing partner and I will be releasing a new novella, Wright in Flight this month. I’m not sure of the exact date but it will be out soon.

   Wright in Flight is a story about a fairy and the human she falls for. We’ve taken character’s from ” A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Oberon and Puck included. It’s a humorous, light-hearted, little romp, something that’s a real departure for us.

I’m still plugging away at my new series and hope that it will be finished by the end of the month. I’m excited about this new series and can’t wait to get it done.

I’ve also set up my reading goals for the month. 4 books a month at the minimum. I read pretty fast so I might be able to push it to 8 this month and throw in a couple of novellas. When you write it’s so important to read books. It helps you know what readers are into and for me it keeps me motivated. There are so many excellent writers and I think we authors look up to those who have the gift of telling a great story.

   J.R Ward is one of my favorite writers. Her Blackdagger Brotherhood series is exceptional. It’s dark, emotionally charged and they stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them. Her hero’s are imperfect and damaged. I love how the women they love accept them for who they are and I like the fact that they continue to be haunted by their long lives. Love can conquer many things but there are somethings that can never be forgotten. It makes the characters so complex and watching them go through unimaginable tragedy and pain has brought me to tears more than once. So what’s the pay off? It’s that these deeply flawed men discover the parts of themselves that are good and their love is unconditional. The power of friendship these men have for each other and the love they feel for their mates is very powerful. J.R. has done an amazing job with all the elements and when I grow up I’d love to be like her. With her ability to get across the page everything my characters are feeling. I want to paint a rich tapestry of the realities of the world I write.

 

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Closing out 2014

          2 days left before 2014 is behind us. This is the first time in many years that I’m looking forward to starting a new year. So many wonderful things have happened over this year and I’ve learned so much about myself. I was finally able to pull myself out of the pity party I was having and living for today. My personal life has finally come full circle and I’m enjoying time spent with those I love. I’ve removed those who were toxic from my life and have allowed others back in.

Adding to all the positives has been the weather in Michigan. Yeah, it’s starting to get cold but there’s been no snow (it’s coming I know but hey I’ll take it). The best thing by far has been all the sunny days we’ve had. The worst thing about winter here is the dark and dreary days that bleed together as days turn to months. This Leo is thrilled and grateful for everyday of sunshine we get and I always make sure to spend some time outside, enjoying the large, yellow orb in the sky. I love the summers here and have no problems with the heat unless it’s really humid out. I could never live in Florida or Georgia just because of the humidity. Even if I lived close to the water there’s nothing quite as oppressive as hot, humid days. But luckily we don’t suffer too much from that. Some years have been worse but all in all I can’t complain.

My writing has exploded over the past three months and I’m so excited about the coming year and what I’m working on. I’m going to experiment a little with some of my stories.

1. I’m delving into Urban fantasy. Yes, there will be some romantic element to the stories but I’m focusing more on the action and world building aspect and the romance will be more of a sub plot. My dystopian re-telling of King Arthur will fit nicely into this category.

2. I also have a new series I’m working on that I thought would be my urban fantasy but the more I’ve written the more it’s become clear that the romance is just as important as the other elements of the story. How erotic I’m going to make it remains to be seen. But I’m really excited about it.

3. I have a new werewolf series I’ve been working on as well. I haven’t published anything new since March but I have been writing.

4. I’m also working on the 4th Alexander Wolves book- Nolan’s Dark Sacrifice. I’ve had a lot of readers ask me about that book and it’s been started.

5. I would like to revisit Club BBW. I deleted Silky Sweet which told the owner of the clubs story. For my own personal reasons I killed the story and want to re-write it with a new hero that is a better match for my girl.

6. Finally VJ and I will have something from the world of Club Velvet Ice, hopefully more but I don’t know what or when that will be.

I’ve set these specific goals because it’s time. Taking the year off was what I needed to do. I didn’t like it. Didn’t like feeling like I was paralyzed but it helped me to really come to terms with what is important, who is important and where my place in the world is. Profound? No, millions of people go through the same thing all the time and as we all know you can’t tell anyone, anything they don’t want to know. They have to learn it on their own and that includes me. It was the end of my time being on the outside looking in. I’ve reached a place where I can say that I’m really, really happy. It’s reflected in the way I take care of myself and my family. In my writing and my belief in love and romance. In the joy I find I have more often than not. I’ve learned to turn off the negative shit and not obsess about it on bad days. I’ve found my compassion again and hope it is with me always.

The beginning of this is going to be a test for sure. My mother is very ill and we aren’t sure what is going to happen with her but I have to hope that things will improve. Wasting time thinking about the worst doesn’t help her and only stresses me out and my dad needs me to help facilitate things for them.

At the same time my son is having MAJOR reconstructive surgery on his foot. My job there will be to take care of him. Make sure his schoolwork is kept up. At this point it looks like he’ll be out of school for about a month or at least until he’s able to get around without a wheelchair or walker. His high school is 3 stories and the elevator has a sketchy history of breaking down. Between the DH and I though we’ll be able to help him through the surgery, recovery and physical therapy. Of course I’m scared as hell but I have faith in his surgeon, he’s one of the best in Mi.

When January is in the mirror, the stress should again die down until the next time.

I’m re-reading series as well. The first is the Christine Feehan, Carpathian novels. 25 in all so far. I stopped reading them after 12 of them so I have plenty more of them to go. I love her writing and am so glad I’m doing this.

So I say adios to 2014. Goodbye to the struggles I used to have. Goodbye to all the negative, self-doubt and worry. I’m looking forward to continuing what I started this year and want nothing more than to make each and every day better than the day before. I’ve  EXISTED for such a long time and have finally been able to be a participant in life once again. Don’t get me wrong. I still won’t be taking any shit from anyone but I also won’t be wasting my time on people,places and things that don’t make me happy and bring nothing but all the bad feelings you can have when you think about them. I didn’t wake up one day and poof, my world was right again. It was a gradual thing, like removing one brick at a time from the wall that’s standing in my way. A continual work in progress that’s working so far.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the New Year celebrations. Please, please don’t drink and drive. I don’t really ever drink, in fact I can’t remember the last time I did and I don’t have anything against it. BUT if you make the stupid ass decision to get behind the wheel after a couple of drinks you’re being selfish and reckless. There are plenty of places that will be offering rides for those who are too drunk to drive. AAA has a program for the New Year’s Eve. Take advantage of all the services out there while you enjoy your holiday. Drunk driving is something that I’m passionate about and those who know me, know they only have to call- at anytime- and I will pick them up. If you’re not a drinker, offer yourself to your friends who may need the help.

          Take care of yourselves and I hope that you all have a spectacular New Year!

All my love,

Sierra

                                           

Cooking & Reading

In the never-ending quest to improve myself, I’ve embarked on a cooking & baking frenzy. Now, I can honestly tell you I hate cooking & baking just sucks. But the more I explore, the better I’ve become. The cooking part has been a little easier. Trying new recipes, new spices and new foods for the family (I’m very picky but I do make what they like and if I don’t like it, I’ll just make me something small.) I still don’t really enjoy cooking. It hurts my brain trying to come up with a protein and an appropriate starch and veggies.  My kids have always liked my cooking and  they and the DH are enjoying what I’m giving them.

Baking, holy crap, it’s like being a chemist. You have to follow the recipes as closely as possible, making sure the measurements correct and in the correct order. UGH!!!!!!!! But in this area, I’m getting better as well. Last week I went to my bestie’s home and she, another friend and I baked cookies for about ten hours. Today I successfully made a cherry pie (no I did not buy a frozen one and pop it into the oven, though it would have been less stress) for my hubby. He loves fruit pies so I thought why not start making them as well as 6 dozen cookies for Christmas. The next hurdle to conquer is baking a home-made cake that isn’t lopsided. But there is something to be said for turning on the music and dancing your way around the kitchen while cooking. It’s slowly becoming more enjoyable.

 

Re-reading:

I’m back on a reading kick. It’s been way too long since I’ve dug in deep to read and some of my favorite authors have a lot of books I haven’t read yet. So my solution is that I’m going to start the series I’ve read over and read everything that’s been written up until now. It’s another step in my writing as these authors are what inspired me to write paranormal books.

First up- Christine Feehan- Dark Series

Christine’s books were my first reads where the hero’s were all flawed, very alpha and walked the line between good and evil very carefully. You’re right there when these couples fall in love. No purple prose- thank you.

So here’s the order and I hope to be through the entire series by the end of FEB…We’ll see, there are 28 in the series so far and here’s the reading order.

Dark Prince, Dark Prince, Dark Desire, Dark Gold, Dark Magic, Dark Challenge, Dark Fire, Dark Guardian, Dark Dream, Dark Legend, Dark Symphony, Dark Descent, Dark Melody, Dark Destiny, Dark Hunger, Dark Secret, Dark Demon, Dark Celebration, Dark Possession, Dark Curse, Dark Slayer, Dark Peril, Dark Predator, Dark Storm, Dark Nights, Dark Lycan, Dark Wolf and Dark Blood.

It’s quite a list but I’m also doing research as these books are all about the world she created for them. Since I really love to write in a series format, and it takes a lot of work but I’m giving it one hell of a try.

What I’m Working On.

This last year was the toughest year I’ve ever had where my writing has been concerned. The reasons aren’t important, my reaction to them are. I allowed other things that were out of my control to crowd my thoughts and second guess myself.

I’ve spent the better part of 6 months changing that. From letting go of old hurts and anger. To filling my life with family and friends. I spend a lot of time with my DH and kids, with my friends and my cousins. I started working out and getting some yoga in though I need to do much more of it. I found out that I have a pretty bad case of bursitis and since August have been dealing with the pain everyday. I’ve had cortizone shots in my hips for the last year as well as the joint at the base of my thumb. They don’t do anything so I’ve opted not to continue with them. Instead I’ve been reading up on different vitamins and minerals as well as stress reducing things and they seem to help a little. The pain and stiffness is still there when it’s chilly out but I’m getting used to it at this point. I’ve also lost 20 pounds in hopes that will help my joints.

There’s nothing like physical pain to relieve mental pain though and in an odd way, it’s freed up my mind. Over the past month I’ve been writing more than I have in over a year. It’s been fun because I’m writing because I love it, not because I have to.

Here’s a little what I’m working on now: Nolan’s Dark Sacrifice–The Alexander Wolves Book 4

Nolan Alexander gave up his freedom to the Dark Fae Queen in order to save his sister’s life and his new mate. When the Dark Queen released him, he showed up back at home, naked and beaten, battered and barely alive. He is nursed back to health by Rachael, the woman he agreed to mate with in order to gain his another sister’s freedom. He was violated body and soul when he was in the Dark Fae realm and doesn’t want to talk about what he went through. He’s the Alpha, his people come to him for help. He was the leader of the pack and it was his job to be strong, he couldn’t afford to be vulnerable. He had revenge to plan and if it was the last thing he ever did, he was going to make the Dark Queen pay for what she’d done to him.

Rachael Slater agreed to mate with Nolan so that her best friend Liberty could leave her old pack. Now Libby was reunited not only with her brother Nolan but with her two sisters Haven and Justice. What should have been a new beginning for them all turned into a nightmare when Clarinda the Dark Fae Queen demanded payment for the death of her son at the hands of Haven.

Nolan was a noble male and put his family before himself for year. When he showed up at home a broken shell of a man, Rachael almost fell apart. The normally shy woman found her voice when she took care of her mate as he healed. But Nolan came back different. He was distant and angry and didn’t want to talk about what he’d been through.

Rachael wasn’t accepting it. She’d finally discovered who she was and she wasn’t about to let Nolan shut her out when he needed her the most. She wasn’t giving up on him, not without one hell of a fight.

Driving The Wolf Crazy:

Petra is on the verge of losing everything she holds dear. She always dreamed of owning her floral shop. But when she divorced her ex opened up and started competing with her. After several disastrous events, she’s lost almost all of her business and she’s having a hard time making the rent of her shop. Jack, her hot, werewolf landlord didn’t care about her troubles and she was running out of options. But she comes up with a great idea that will have her smack dab in the middle of the werewolf side of town. Human’s and wolves didn’t mix too much. Neither trusting the other too much, but Petra wasn’t intimidated by  the wolves and it was going to take a lot more than a bad temper to deter her from her goal.

Jack owns the building where Petra’s business is. He’s ready to start the eviction process against her. He likes Petra, in fact he’s incredibly attracted to her curvy body and wouldn’t mind spending the night with her. But business is business and if he made exceptions for her, his other tenants would expect the same. Now she has the hair brained scheme to become the florist to the wolves. He didn’t like all the males who came sniffing around now and he was going to put a stop to it…now

 

VJ and I are tinkering around with another Velvet Ice novella. I’m also working on a dystopian retelling of King Arthur and am toying with the idea of trying to write in a few other genre’s. I love erotic romance but think it would be fun to try a thriller or a straight up -Not Erotic- Urban Fantasy. I’ve always been a panster when it comes to writing, these are some of the directions that I’ve been going to lately, so I thought why not give it a try.

I’ve had such great support from friends, family and readers during this past year. I’m so damn happy to be back in this place. To be back to me, with the kind of enthusiasm for writing that I haven’t had for a long time. It’s been a solid month of good writing and when you’re successful, you only want to do it more.

I think I’ve found a better balance between taking care of me and taking care of others. Allowing the kids to go their own way and explore things for themselves. I don’t make them the center of my universe anymore. Does that mean I don’t love them as much? Hell no. It only means that, they are doing their own thing and so should I. Spending time with “The Girls”. It’s so important to be able to sit around with the girls and talk, laugh and act as silly as we want to. Friends are essential to a long, happy life.

They say that people without their own friends (Not marital, shared friends) live longer and happier lives while people who don’t have friends tend to die younger and have more depression in their lives and I agree. Imagine you don’t have any good friends, the kids grow up, you look at your spouse and think now what? And in that moment a terrifying thought enters your brain- we have nothing in common. When you have friends this isn’t such a big deal. You can hang with yours, he with his and then time together. But if you have no one else to spend time with, you’ll get really tired of each other pretty fast.

So with my fingers crossed and getting ready to go into 2015, I can say that I’m happier emotionally, and mentally than I’ve been in for many, many years and I look forward to what tomorrow will bring.

 

 

Yep…I’m a music Ho!!!!!!

With all the videos that I’ve put up, it’s no surprise when I say I’m a music ho. It’s always been a part of my life. When I was young I listened to what my parents did. From my dad it was Elvis and all the old country singers. George Jones, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.  From my mom it was Motown and golden oldies. During the seventies it was Blondie, Abba and yes I listened to disco. Hey I was only ten at the time but I couldn’t get enough. I remember going to see Grease and begging my mom to buy the record.

I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to music. I listen to everything and in all genres. I have some favorites but in general anything and everything that catches my attention. I’ve found obscure bands and singers that have blown me away.

Last night I was writing down all the concerts I’ve been to over the last 20 years and was surprised at just how many I’ve been lucky enough to attend. I discovered that I’ve been to almost 50 concerts so far and have no intention of ever stopping. Music plays such a big part in my life. I’d rather have that then television any day of the week and often have it on all day when the kids are in school and the DH is at work. My 17 yr old has become my concert buddy over the last 6 years and it’s been a blast going to shows with him.

Here’s my list, as you will see it is very diverse.

My very first concert was at 15 and it was with my best friend Tina. Her father (my second dad) took us to see them. 20 later, she and I took her 16 yr old daughter to see them, it was a full circle moment for us.

So here’s my list. I’ve tried to sort them out by decade but after a while, I couldn’t remember what was in the late 80’s. early 90’s etc…But it was fun remembering the shows. I always remember the shows. Some bands I’ve seen more than once and noted it next to their names.

Duran Duran- 5 times,   Erasure, Tears for Fears,   Inxs,   Thompson Twins/Berlin,  Bruce Springsteen,   New Order/Echo and the Bunnymen, Gen loves Jezebel,   Depeche Mode/ OMD,   Howard Jones,   A-ha,   The Cure,  George Micheal,   Eric Clapton,  Bon Jovi-2 times,   Areosmith,   Kiss/Winger/Skid Row,   Scorpions/ Extreme,  Guns and Roses,   Metallica,   Poison/Warrant,   Slaughter,   Elton John,   Waylon Jennings,   .38 Special,   Pink Floyd,   Kenny Wayne Sheppard,   Incubus,   30 Seconds to Mars-2 times,   Steve Miller-3 times,  Joe Cocker, Shinedown- 4 time,  Avenge Sevenfold,   Chevelle,   Sevendust,   Papa Roach,   Staind,  Puddle of Mud,   Skillet- 2 times and my last one late this summer was Linkin Park.

I also took my kid when he was 12 to see Weird Al and he puts on a hell of a show-costume changes and all. I thought it would be kind of hokey but it was sold out and it was a lot of fun.

I also have seen hundreds of bands in clubs, bars and music festivals where I live. There is nothing better than a live show to make you feel alive.

There are still artists on another list that I haven’t seen in concert and I hope that I can see them in the future.

Billy Idol (Damn after all the years, he’s still one of the sexiest men in the world) 3 Days Grace, Theory of a Deadman,  U2, Eminem, Alter Bridge, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Katy Perry and Nickelback- I know everyone likes to say shit about them but I like their music and I’m not ashamed to say it…

For me music is the heart and soul of expression. The words can speak to you, the rhythm moves you and you can find a song to fit your mood, to help you grieve or to make you happy. I would be lost if I didn’t have music in my life. Elvis, The Beatles, Micheal Jackson, Led Zepplin, Janis Joplin and The Doors. The Sex Pistols and Black Flag, Jayzee and Beyonce. Metallica to Shinedown and everything in between.

IMO, I think that music should always take a front seat with your family. Turning them onto it. Finding songs they love. It’s so important. My favorite you tube videos are the ones that have cropped up lately. Fathers riding in cars with their daughters and singing along with the Frozen soundtrack. It’s so awesome to watch. For me, music is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, black or white, a genius or not, a CEO or a factory worker. Music is one medium that brings people together.

The next time you go to a show, look around at the people who are there as well. They come from all social and economic classes, all different races and generations.Songs remind us of people and places. Love and hate. Descent and peace. Anger and joy.

Most of my book ideas come from music. Sometimes directly, sometimes it’s as simple as a scene that plays in my mind while the song is on.

I’m grateful for my love of music. The next time you’re in need of inspiration, try turning on the i-pod and see what comes to mind.

 

A Taste of Haven, The Alexander book series #1

A Taste of Haven smashwords

Haven Smith is a shifter who has never shifted. Her mother warned her that if she gave into the animal part of herself she would turn into a beast capable of killing. Instead she’s able to push down the need to turn by spending her evenings protecting women and children from the men who would hurt them. She likes her solitary life just fine, until one night she meets a man who changes her world forever.
Haven discovers a family she didn’t know she had and that Adam’s been sent to bring her home. She’s been alone for so long and Adam is a temptation she’s ready to taste. All Adam wants is that there is more to the world then endless fighting in the streets. He wants her to experience the love of family and make her understand that she isn’t a freak or evil and that she deserves everyone’s love most of all, his love.
A Night Owls Review Top Pick –Review
Happily Ever After Blogspot. 5/5 Tea cups Review here

Chapter One

Haven Smith stopped in front of a tall red brick tenement and peered around the corner, the barely audible mew of fear still echoing in her ears. There was a little light coming from a sickly yellow bulb near the top of the roof, but it didn’t extend to the lower part of the building. Her exceptional night vision allowed her to see what others might not, like the trash spilling over from large bins next to the Mexican restaurant opposite the low-income apartment building.
Her spine began to tingle as her wolf clamored for release.
Sorry girl, you don’t get to come out—ever.
She didn’t want to be here tonight, her body hadn’t quite healed from the last fight three days ago. But the scent of fear and blood hung in the air, calling to her and making it impossible to leave.
Another muffled cry sounded in the darkness. Keeping her back to the wall, she slipped around the corner and followed the pitiful noise on cat’s feet. She stepped in a puddle of unidentifiable nastiness she wouldn’t allow her nose to name and winced. She’d just bought the Rockports. Dammit!
Slipping behind the nearest dumpster allowed her to see what was going on while hiding her from anyone’s view. At the alleys dead-end a man had a woman pinned against the brick façade, her face smashed against the wall. He’d wrapped one beefy hand around her throat while his other ripped at her dress.
The woman’s cries were cut off by the fucker’s grip on her neck. Lightning-hot anger speared Haven’s stomach and she pulled her switchblade as if by instinct. With a quick flick of her wrist the six-inch blade came to life in her hand. The familiar weight of the weapon was always welcome. She crept from behind the dumpster and made her way to the would-be rapist and his victim. Her first instinct was to snap his neck, but that would be illegal. She might want to kill the bastard but she wouldn’t. This time!
Instead she threw her arm around his throat, catching him off guard. He was no match for her and even with his girth Haven was stronger… She scraped the blade along the side of his neck and he immediately let go of the female.
“Go get the police,” Haven snarled as the woman spun, clutching her throat.
Haven immediately recognized her platinum blonde hair and sunken blue eyes—it was Honey. She’d tried to get the woman out of the “trade” and into a shelter more than once—and failed. The woman pulled at her tor clothes and took off toward the front of the alley; there was no way Honey was going to flag down a cop.
Knowing that made her even angrier. Her mother had been steps away from the same kind of life until she died, rolling through man after man in a vain search for someone to take care of her and her daughter. Honey had just gone further down the rabbit hole, and Haven had made it her business to avenge these women from assholes like the one beneath her knife.
“You need to learn a lesson about trying to take what you haven’t paid for.” A low menacing rumble escaped her throat. Fuck!
“Fuck you, bitch. The only reason you’re still alive is because you got a knife to my throat.” Oh yeah, he wanted to hurt her; the stink of a madman dripped from his pores, but she really didn’t give a damn.
“You’re right. We can’t have a fair fight if I’m armed. So I’ll put my knife away and then I’m going to kick your ass.” She closed the knife on her hip, slipped it into her pocket and stepped back.
The asshole spun around. His fleshy face was covered in sweat, and he resembled a washed-out wrestler who’d taken too many steroids. His mouth curled up on one side and formed a snarl. He was Haven’s favorite type of jerk-off—big and burly, going around hurting any woman he pleased. She might have been too young to intercede for her mother but she was making up for it now.
He brought his fists up, readying himself for the fight.
She put her hands on her hips, like she had all the time in the world, and laughed. “Come on, fat boy, let’s see what you got.”
He cracked his knuckles. “You got it, bitch.”
He threw out one massive fist, putting all his weight behind the punch. Haven ducked and he sailed right past her. She turned, kicked and connected between his shoulder blades, but he didn’t go down. She frowned and ran at his back, kicking him in the side this time. She heard the crack of ribs through the padding of fat layering his middle. She wanted to end this quickly, but her inner beast was only getting started.
Her nostrils flared as the smell of real fear rent the air. He’d never expected her to kick so damn hard. She grabbed his thick wrist and spun him around to face her. He recovered more quickly from her kick than she expected and managed to clock her in the jaw. The left side of her face went numb from the blow and this time she let out a howl that caused the man’s eyes to widen and back away.
“What’s the matter, big boy? Scared of a little woman like me?” Haven knew questioning his manhood was the easiest way to antagonize him into continuing the fight. “I thought bad-assed men like you got off beating up a girl. God knows you couldn’t handle yourself with a real man.”
He grabbed his crotch. “Dumb bitch, I’m gonna show you what a real man is after I bust your ass.” Haven dropped into a crouch and beckoned him in a come-hither motion. “Bring it on, then. You hit like a girl.”
He moved fast for a fat slob, but not fast enough. He swung again. She stepped aside and he connected with nothing but air. She stuck her foot out as he lunged past and tripped him. Caught up by her foot, his body turned slightly.
The position gave him the advantage, and as he started to fall he grabbed her arm and hauled her down with him.
Haven’s back slammed into the rough pavement, knocking the air from her lungs. She was pissed beyond belief that she’d let him take her down. Asshole landed on top of her, taking what little breath she had left with him. He straddled her upper chest, pinning her arms at her sides, and smiled. “It’s your turn to bleed now, whore.”
She desperately tried to breathe; he was literally smothering her with his weight. He swung his hand and slapped her hard across the mouth.
“Someone needs to show you how to be more respectful.” Sweat dripped off his forehead, the disgusting droplets falling on her chin.
“Fuck you.” She spat, and blood mixed with saliva landed on his face. He raised his hand again and punched her in the nose. Blood squirted out, dribbling into her mouth and down the sides of her face.
A fire burned in her belly as she swallowed some of her own blood. The burning became more painful, spreading from her middle and out to her limbs. Her head started buzzing and the only thing running through it was kill, kill, kill.
With renewed strength, she bent her knees up and bucked him off. Rolling to her knees, she wiped the blood trickling from her nose across her sleeve.
“That’s all you got?” she snarled. “You’re a pussy.”
She watched him carefully, waiting for his muscles to tense. She held her closed hands to her chest. She never felt as alive as she did when she fought one of these bastards. Her senses were sharper, she could see better, her hearing was astonishingly acute. She inhaled when the breeze shifted slightly.
The asshole’s fear wrapped around him like a fur coat. He wanted to run, but his ego wouldn’t allow a woman kick his ass.
He lunged for her again, his heavy body moving a little slower this time. When he reached for her she threw out an arm, blocking his attack and smashed him in the nose with her free hand. He doubled over as blood spurted. Haven followed up with a quick jab to the chin. His head flew back a precious second before she kicked and connected with his balls.
He wasn’t going to get laid for a long time to come. Big boy went to his knees, cupping his crotch. He looked at her and spit. Haven kicked him in the throat in a coup de grace that kept him from crying out for help. He fell on his back with a hard thunk, little sobs coming rending the air as he cupped his balls.
Haven leaned over him and grabbed the shoulder of his dirty wife-beater tank top. “Don’t you ever fucking come back around here again-fat man. Next time you won’t be walking away from this alley.”
She let go of his shirt, and he fell back to the ground. Turning away from the heap he made on the ground, she jogged out of the alley and onto the empty street. Honey hadn’t called the cops, but she hadn’t expected the longtime hooker to go to the police. Honey’d been picked up so many times on prostitution charges she no longer trusted the police to help her. Haven would track her down later and try—once again—to get her away from her pimp and into Fatima’s shelter. She swiped at her bloody nose as she made her way back to her apartment.
Her face was already swelling. The blood flow from her nose trickled slowly but hadn’t stopped; she wasn’t healing as quickly as she used to. The beast inside rumbled its disapproval at her current state of pain.
She picked up the pace, not wanting to draw any attention. She needed to get the dirt, grime and stink from the asshole off her skin.
As she trotted down the sidewalk, the smell of pine and rain floated on the air. The scent was so out of place it brought her to a standstill. She inhaled deeply, enjoying the cleanliness of it. She turned around slowly, trying to find the source of the scent, but saw nothing on the empty streets. And as quickly as it had come, the smell was gone. Haven shook her head, sure she was imagining things.
* * * * *

She forced her sore, tired body back to her tiny apartment. The first-floor studio wasn’t much, but it was home. She unlocked the door and turned on the light, bathing the room in a soft, soothing light. She sat down in an overstuffed chair she’d picked up at a resale shop, her body sinking back against the worn fabric.
She was bone tired. It was getting harder to take a punch. She sighed. For a split second back in the alley she’d been afraid. The feeling had been fleeting, but for the first time since she’d begun her crusade she’d really been scared. The knotting sensation in her stomach wasn’t something she wanted to experience again.
Her nose had finally stopped bleeding so she peeled her t-shirt over her head, wiped her face and threw the shirt into the laundry basket placed squarely in the corner of the room.
She heaved her tired body out of the chair and walked grabbing a bottle of Labatt’s out of the fridge. Twisting the cap off the bottle, she took a long gulp. The cold liquid slid down and soothed her parched throat. She held the sweating bottle against her swelling eye.
Damn, she couldn’t believe the jerk-off had gotten in as many punches as he had. It was obvious her body was letting her know it needed to rest. That had to be it, didn’t it?
For some reason, the image of her mother was particularly vivid tonight, and with her at the worst possible moments. Like right now. The parade of men who’d traipsed through her life when she was growing up was never far from her mind. They were the reason she trolled for bad guys out to harm women.
In response to the memories, adrenaline pumped through her veins and her wolf demanded release.
She broke into a sweat as the beast scrambled to escape, howling in anger. Haven tried desperately to ignore her but failed as her mother’s dire warnings tolled in her head.
Shifting is evil. You’ll go crazy. Crazier than your father.
“Fuck. Why now?” She should have known better than let her mind wander through the past. Her wolf was a bitter bitch and it was getting harder and harder to control her. “You’re not getting out, so shut the hell up.”
Talking never worked, so she changed strategies and reached for her blade. The only way to keep the animal at bay was pain. The pain she felt now had come from the fight earlier. This called for a different kind of pain. Chills ran down her spine and her body started to shake as she battled for dominance. She snapped open the knife with a flick of her wrist, held her arm over the sink, placed the tip of the blade to the crook of her arm and made a one-inch slice. The pain served as a balm to the wolf at the door. She made a second and then a third cut. The pressure inside her eased. The last one finally slowed her heart rate and her breathing began to normalize. The anger slowly drained from her body and calm washed over her.
She hated doing this to herself, but it was the only way that didn’t involve drugs or a barrel full of alcohol. It was her one shameful weakness.
With the adrenaline rush gone, she grew even wearier. She moved to the only other room in her home, the bathroom, stripped off the rest of her clothing and turned on the shower.
She stepped beneath the spray, and the freezing temperature woke her enough to remind her that she was still covered in blood and alley grime. She focused on the bottom of the tub where blood and dirt circled the drain. When the last traces of grime disappeared in a swirl, she finally felt clean. She turned the hot water on and let the heat soak into her tired muscles.
After warming up under the heated water, she stepped out. Wrapping a soft white towel around her, she looked in the mirror. Her left eye already had a bruise and another was forming on her right. She opened the medicine cabinet and retrieved antiseptic and some pain pills. Dabbing at the cut across the bridge of her nose and another on her bottom lip, she winced at the slight sting. Hell, she could take a punch to the face and never make a sound, but wanted to cry as she cleaned the wound. The irony of it never ceased to amaze her. Patch job complete, she filled a glass with water then tossed back two pain pills. She needed to get horizontal since she’d be dead to the world in less than fifteen minutes.
Thank God for pharmaceuticals she thought, staggering to the bedroom. Dropping the towel on the floor, she peeled back the blanket and crept between it and the sheet. Grabbing the pillow next to her, she turned on her side, holding it to her stomach. It was the way she went to sleep most nights, and normally comforted her, but tonight was different.
Tonight, for the first time in a long time, Haven was lonely. It was the kind of lonely that left a knot in her stomach and an ache in her soul. Maybe it was because she was turning thirty and had no one to celebrate with. Maybe she just needed to get laid. Whatever the reasons, her melancholy would have to wait for another day.
Just as her lids began to droop and the magic little pills made a dent in her pain, the phone beside her bed rang. She blindly reached for the offensive thing and picked it up before it rang again.
“Hello.” Her voice cracked.
“Haven you sound like hell.” Fatima, the one person in the world she trusted. “Have you been out again?”
Fatima was the only one who knew about Haven’s nightly activities. The Lebanese-born woman understood her vigilante romps.
“Yeah, but I don’t have anyone for you this evening.”
Normally when she stepped into a situation where a woman was being abused, she would take the victim to Fatima’s shelter. Her friend’s sanctuary wasn’t known to social services. She was able to work outside the law when it came to housing battered women and children. Fatima was able help women disappear from the reach of their abusers.
“I understand. One of Donovan’s men brought in a woman and her three kids tonight.” Her friend sounded as tired as Haven felt.
Donovan was Fatima’s mysterious benefactor. He provided money and the building for her work. Haven never questioned Fatima about Donovan and her friend never offered any information. No skin off Haven’s nose. Whatever went on between the two allowed Fatima to save and care for hundreds of women and children who might otherwise be dead.
“Do you need anything?” She knew the answer before she even asked it. Another reason she loved Fatima.
“No thanks, I’ve got everything under control. Get some sleep. We’ll talk soon.” Fatima ended the call. They never said goodbye. Fatima thought it was bad luck.
She turned over to her other side, closed her eyes as the pain pills kicked in and allowed sleep to take over.

Music kind of day!

It’s been a couple of odd weeks. With a very sick mother and the impending surgery for my son, I’ve tried to keep my stress levels down. But the oddest thing happened. I was called a whore. I’m not even sure who it was exactly but I can only they are on the same page. It’s either payback, envy, insecurity, or whatever label you want to put on it. Within the message of course is a cutting remark about my writing ability. A little extra dig with the knife. As little as 3 months ago, I would have been shattered. I’ve been concentrating on all the good things in my world and I’ve stopped being angry at the world. I think the biggest reason for such an attack has absolutely nothing to do with me and a lot more to do with trouble in their own lives. I’ve made myself a great target in the past and I understand when your life is not what you thought it would be, it’s easy to take your unhappiness out on  someone else. Whatever the reasons, their desired outcome to hurt/insult me didn’t really work. I didn’t cry, crawl into a ball and slip into some type of depression. I don’t want to retaliate, because I’ve learned that some things just aren’t worth it.

On the plus side, I’ve finished a book. That little dig was the catalyst that pushed me to finish the last part of my story. Despite what others may think is no longer hurtful to me. I am trying to rise above the B.S. in life and find my real happiness.

I’ve been listening to a lot of pop music, which I normally don’t do and Katie Perry has been on my music list more and more. Her videos are bright and fun and make you want to dance around the house.