Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I Made a Desk, Now What?

"I made a desk
Or rather
A desk made me.
While toying
Wrestling ideas
Wrangling plots
Swirling the story
Letting it
New patterns
And possibilities
The mundane
Emptied me
Step by step
I trickled aside
And let
The story
In to place.
I made a desk
Or rather
A desk made me." ~ Olivia J. Herrell

My New Sauder Desk

Thank you, Charlotte Levine Gruber*. Thank you for reading Blessed Are the Peace Makers to the end, all ninety-nine thousand, seven hundred and forty eight words. You are my hero.

Thank you for liking the story, characters, flow.

You were kind. And excited. And honest. As my first beta reader, you rocked it.

Thank you.

As a result of your much-needed input I have a prologue to absorb, characters to assimilate, others to flesh out, conflicts to stir, gaps to fill, future-tones to invoke, lines to draw, motives to manage.

Time for rewrite.

Pausing to let the “aha” break over me, I laugh just a little. I now understand first-hand the importance of a second reader. Someone not the author. What was clear to me as I wrote, wasn’t so crystal to my reader. Huh. Imagine that.

Thank you Charlotte*.

Revised scenarios play in my head and after back-aching hours, I have a desk, complete with drawer and two cubbys.

Today I made a desk, and in the doing, the desk made me.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

P.S. In case you were curious, I did unplug on vacation to a limited extent, leaving the laptop at home and using the iPhone sparingly. Considering AT&T is my carrier and we tromped around Oregon, that wasn't difficult.

* Charlotte Levine Gruber is the author of CODE OF SILENCE. Click here to read more.

Friday, August 7, 2015

To Unplug or Not to Unplug?

Old-Growth Forest Atop Cape Perpetua
In less than two weeks I embark on summer vacation beginning with an early morning trek to the airport, followed by a flight to Boise, Idaho, via Minneapolis, Minnesota. After three days with family I haven’t seen in way too long, two of us will hop in the car and drive nine hours to the Oregon coast for five much-needed days at the beach.

I am so ready.

Not long ago I saw something on Facebook that piqued my interest and as the time nears, I find myself wondering what it would be like to use this vacation as an opportunity to unplug. To disconnect. To completely remove myself from the internet. For nine whole days.

Cape Perpetua Oregon Coast 
I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to fathom or to remember the last time I went a day offline, much less nine. I’m talking no email, no social media, no blog, no Pandora, no Trip Advisor, no Farlex Dictionary, no calendar, no GPS, NADA! For nine days my smartphone would play dumb. In fact, I might even turn it off completely. Wouldn’t THAT be 

Yes. It would. For me.

If camping (in nature) for a week, sans electronics, resets one’s circadian rhythm as the article sets forth, I’m inclined to believe that ditching my smartphone and computer will make a difference. (Even if we don't honor the sun in rising and retiring.)

It’s worth a try. If nothing else, I predict I will connect to the world in a whole different way. And that might be worth the inconvenience.

Bring it on.

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell


My holiday looms, less than a week until departure, and I’ve yet to choose a path. No Trip Adviser? How will we find restaurants, coffee shops, sights and attractions? No Facebook picture-posting? No GPS? No dictionary? NO EMAIL?? But Charlotte is sending her beta notes on Peace Makers while I'm gone. What to do, what to do...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Peace Makers in a Nutshell

As I mentioned a few days ago, I'm writing a blurb about the first installment of Peace Makers (Coming Home). Here is the current iteration:

AMERICA 2042CE: A down-and-out disaster specialist finds she’s the last of a long line of magical Druid priestesses carrying the bloodline of William the Conqueror. To make matters worse, she is expected to fill the shoes of her new father, the erstwhile Grand Druid whose coma is likely the result of foul play. Taught to run from adversity by a mother who carried the secret of her powers and heritage to an alcoholic grave, and faced with a foe known only as “The Darkness”, she must race the clock, cramming twenty-six years’ of training in to the short time left.

On the opposite coast her nemesis, a sorceress-turned-holy-woman, is targeted and tagged by the invisible foe: a race of Reptilian aliens residing in Earth’s interior. Placed there millennia ago and kept secret and apart from the Humans by a forgetfulness curse enforced by dragon guards, the Reptilians are determined to take control of the planet. Led by a nasty Draco general, they will use the evangelist and others like her to pit the humans against one another, leaving Earth ripe for the picking.

It's a bit wordy still, weighing in at 183 words, but this is the story in a nutshell. What do you think? Are you intrigued enough to buy an advance copy of the book?

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell

Friday, July 31, 2015

The In-Between Time

I’m in limbo-land, manuscript out with betas, awaiting feedback and the resulting edits. Not yet ready to pick up Book Two and carry on, I have roughed-out a blurb, taken stabs at a pitch/hook, avoided writing a full summary (if I self-publish do I need one?) and gave myself permission to take time off, grant the muse a breather and turn the focus on life-things needing done.

4th of July Fireworks 2015
I have been productive. Piles are decimated, plants repotted, budget’s coming together, eye doc and dentist seen, along with the first season of NCIS, third of Death in Paradise and samplings of Tomorrow People, Code and Witches of East End (Julia Ormond!). Somewhere in the middle I attended a local writer’s workshop and updated That Rebel's look.

I also researched and found an old blog (my first), held hostage by Squarespace for the past nine years. Soon I will pay the price to unlock it, seventy dollars and what I suspect will be copious (though healing) tears. Within are not only articles about the first book I wrote, Frank and Ernie Find Home, but others written during my mother’s end-days.

Best of all? I’ve FINALLY chosen a nom de plume, the pen name under which I will publish Blessed Are The Peace Makers, and possibly the rest of my works. Now comes the process of “invention”, creating a persona and artist platform on social media, along with a schedule (and a commitment to it!) for posts.

I'll be announcing the nom de plume soon, stay tuned!

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Introducing VEXED by @AuthorWren Michaels

Hi Y'all, That Rebel just got a face-lift. As part of the new look, you'll be seeing more book releases, beginning with Wren Michaels' hot new romance VEXED. Released today, you'll find the order information at the end of the article. Get it hot off the presses!

Following is a Q & A with Wren, then keep reading for a juicy excerpt. (Ratings alert...R for sexy, steamy situations and some language.)

I give you Wren Michaels and VEXED:

Thanks for sharing in the release of my first full-length novel! I hope you enjoy reading about Kena and Luc as much as I enjoyed writing them. There's plenty of action, adventure, romance, and Vodou for everyone!


I did a little Q&A about the book:

Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters? Originally the story was going to be completely different when I wrote the first 5000 words or so of the book. But after I came back from the 2014 Romantic Times convention in New Orleans, I was inspired to write something with a Vodou/NOLA flair. So the book took a twist and became so much more than I ever imagined. I wanted a strong heroine and an alpha male. But Luc ended up being more of an Alpha/Beta blend. He's not really one or the other. He's quite complex. Kena ended up being a witty heroine who took things into her own hands.

Q) Do you have any habits that get you in the writing frame of mind? Music is my biggest influence. I listened to mainly instrumental gaming soundtracks while writing. But one of my Critique Partners burned me a CD of music she thought would be perfect for this book, and it was filled with great songs by The Black Keys, Rolling Stones, Zepplin, Jack White and Muse. It ended up really making scenes come alive for me.


Q) How much real life do you put into or influences your books? In this book I tried to make the characters reflect their Vodou based deities. I did take some artistic liberties and spun a few things, but I did a lot of research to make sure a lot of the intricacies of their actual descriptions and quirks made it into the story. 
Vodou stole her life. A gay ghost stole her boots. And the man who stole her heart stole her memories. Kena plans to get it all back.

Ex-cop Kena's life is filled with regret, beer, and Cheetos. That is, until her ghostly roomie sends her dumpster diving, leading her to a sexy stranger named Luc and a fate she'd rather not remember. As Kena's memories resurface, so do her feelings for Luc, the man she's secretly been in love with for the last thousand years. And he needs her for more than a stroll down memory lane.

Vodou spirits, known as Loa, have been trapped in human form, and are trying to make their way back to the spirit world. But Luc's brother is possessed by a vengeance demon conjured at the hands of NOLA's crime syndicate kingpin. Saving him means damning herself to a spirit prison in a loveless, arranged union with the very man she's supposed to rescue. But not helping Luc's brother sentences him to death, leaving New Orleans in the hands of black magick, and losing Luc forever.


After stripping out of the wet clothes, I wrapped the towel around myself and wandered out to his room. On the bed lay a white long-sleeve button-down shirt. With a hard swallow, I dropped the towel and picked up the shirt, pulling it to my face. I took a long, hard sniff. Laundry detergent. Of course. Did I think it would smell like him?

Like he'd give you a dirty shirt to wear, Kena.

Thankful he didn't witness me in idiot-mode, I slid myself into the shirt and was caught mid-button when he knocked at the door.

“Are you decent?” He pushed the door open a crack.

“I'm clothed, if that's what you mean. Decent is debatable at the moment.” Purposely leaving the top three buttons undone, I worked my way to the bottom button as he walked in.

He halted mid-stride and looked at me. His chest rose and fell in quick spurts, training his eyes over me from head to toe. Veins traversed the length of his arm as he clenched his fists at his sides. “I don't wear underwear, so I apologize I have no bottoms. It's all I had that was long enough to cover you.” His position relaxed as he leaned against the mahogany armoire.

“Anything's better than cold, sopping-wet clothes.” I ran a finger through my hair, now slowly drying into loose stringy curls.

“So, are you going to tell me what happened tonight?” Folding his arms across his broad chest, bulging muscles stretched the navy-blue fabric barely covering his biceps.

I shook my head. “Not until I get some honesty from you, big guy.”

With a tilt of his head, he donned a sly grin. “You haven't asked the right questions.”

“Is this a game for you? Do you enjoy messing with people's lives? Do you get off on some fucked-up high being in total control?” My fingernails burrowed into the palm of my hand. Everything in me wanted to slap the shit out of him and then ride him like a cowboy.

He pushed off the dresser and walked over to me, lowering his head coming to a stop inches from my face. “You're the one in control and yet you refuse to acknowledge it. You refuse to let your mind accept it. Stop playing and start being.”

“What do you want from me?” I yelled, a little louder than intended.

“I want you to be you. I want you to”—he stopped and dropped his gaze to my lips, and then slowly made his way back up to my eyes—“come back.”

“Kiss me.” The words rushed from my lips without another thought. My heart hammered so hard in my chest I thought it would shatter my rib cage.

His breathing quickened. A low growl rumbled in his throat. “Don't do this to me, Kena.”

“Don't do what? You're the one doing things to me.” I slammed my hands against his chest and he sailed across the room, his back hitting the dresser behind him. “Shit! I'm sorry.” I reached out for him with a trembling hand.

Fuck, I’d done it again.

He shook his head and straightened himself up. In a blur of movement, he shot across the room and grabbed onto either side of my shirt, yanking me up to his face. “You want me to kiss you?”

“Yes,” I said in more of whooshing sound than a word.

He pressed his lips against my neck and his fingers curled into the fabric of the shirt, pulling me onto my tiptoes. “You don't even know who I am.”

“I don't care.” Words no longer made sense to me, only his touch spoke a language I could understand.

He laughed as he pushed me against the wall. Gripping the back of my head with the entire palm of his hand, he splayed the other across my cheek, his thumb resting against my jawline. Tilting my head back, he hovered his lips over mine. “You will.”

His lips crushed against my mouth.

With a sweep of his tongue, he devoured me into a kiss the likes of which I've never experienced before in my life. He punished my mouth with his tongue, sliding it over mine in a delicious dance of ecstasy and aggression. His hold on me was not that of violence, but of passion. The way his fingertips eased against my face, yet held me there as if he was scared to let go, revealed a vulnerability. He may be a man of few words who knew how to play the vague card, but his body and actions gave him away.

I arched into him, and he pinned me back against the wall with his hip. Clawing at his shirt, I ripped it out of his jeans and slid my fingers over his heated skin. A surge of energy rushed my fingertips as they glided along his body, electrifying me.

“Fuck, Kena,” he hissed, pulling back from the kiss.

In a movement so fast it blurred everything around me, he shot out the door, slamming it behind him. He left me gasping, clinging to the wall behind me just to remain standing.  My legs wobbled like Jell-O as I stumbled to the bed and collapsed. He sucked all the air from my body and replaced it with an ache, a driving need for more of him.

What the hell was he?


Wren Michaels hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her away below the Mason-Dixon line, where she promptly lost all tolerance for snow and cold. They decided they'd make beautiful babies together and they got it right on the first try. Now Wren lives happily ever after in the real world and in the worlds of her making, where she creates book boyfriends for the masses to crave.


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