Happy Canada Day!

Alright, so I’m not Canadian. I’m a Vermonter. Geographically, it’s pretty close to Canada. And apparently I have readers in Canada *waves in French to my Canadian readers* So, in celebration of Canada Day, get the Kindle version of my latest book, unLEASHed, for free, on Amazon today, 7/1/15!

Yes, part of unLEASHed occurs in Canada. And oui, the chapters are numbered in French. Happy Canada Day!

Grab yourself a free, Kindle version of unLEASHed to celebrate. And spread the word so that tons of readers can discover the futuristic, sci-fi inspired, Young Adult world of Cordeleya Hammock.

The Amazon.com link: http://www.amazon.com/unLEASHed-Cordeleya-Hammock-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0106K8NU2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435747948&sr=8-1&keywords=cordeleya

The Amazon.ca link: http://www.amazon.ca/unLEASHed-Cordeleya-Hammock-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0106K8NU2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1435747837&sr=1-1

And if you want to search it out for yourself (or live somewhere else), I find it fastest if I type: Cordeleya into the search box. Apparently, she has a rather unique name, so the book pops right up.

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Sneak Peek: Chapter “un” of unLEASHed!

Hello, faithful readers!

I am on the verge of determining that my new book, unLEASHed, is ready for human consumption. To celebrate and thank you for your ongoing support, I’m posting a very special sneak peek for you… the first chapter!

Now, I do have to caution you that this is NOT a Persephone Smith book, and it is NOT intended for as young of an audience. It is intended to be a Young Adult book, for readers ages 14+. So, even in the first chapter, there’s language that wouldn’t fly in the early books of Persephone’s series. So, if language or mature, high school situations (including some not-so-good decisions) are scary or offensive to you, please reconsider if unLEASHed is something you should read.

unLEASHed is the first book in my new series… it’s Nan’s story. It takes place in the future and has elements of sci-fi and fantasy. So, if you’re curious what life in Vermont eh, about twenty-ish years from now may look like… well, I hope it’s just a story and that I’m not psychic. But I’m excited for the book, and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

So, without further delay… chapter “un” of unLEASHed!


Watching the parade of ants carrying bits of my vomit away from the foul stench beside me sheds a whole new appreciation for the expression, “blowing chunks.” Light ekes from the horizon, but at this angle, whether it is nightfall or daybreak remains a mystery. Damn. Is it possible that a look-alike toadstool is the culprit that forces me to spend my sixteenth birthday passed out in the middle of the woods? Yeah, no, that doesn’t happen with me. I don’t confuse mushrooms. I know what’s good, what’s not, what’s better, and what’s best. It’s why everyone buys whatever they need from me. I’m the best, and I have the best stuff.

I sit up, but the spinning makes me seriously reconsider this action. I roll myself a stick of remedy and light it. A few deep inhales and I’ll be good to go. Mmm. Yeah. With my newfound clarity smoldering in my hand, I pop up to my feet and navigate homeward. The decreasing light orients me to the west, and knowing this forest as I do, I’ll be to its edge before dark.

“Nan!” Billy’s voice startles me as I hop the old-school, wooden fence into his pasture. “Nan! Where have you been? You weren’t at school! We’ve been looking everywhere for you! Come on!” He is in a rush. I, however, am not.

“Yeah, sorry, Billy. I wasn’t feelin’ so hot today.”

“Yeah, no time to talk. Come on!”

Whereas most kids would anticipate being whisked away for a surprise party, I know better. “What did Cuckoo do now?”

“Nan! Don’t joke at a time like this!”

“I wasn’t joking,” I clarify. Perhaps his nagging haste should compel me to emote a baseline level of worry, but as the drama that is my mother has been so embedded in my world since birth, and presumably equally present before I was born, I can’t muster an iota of concern about whatever her latest, perceived, urgent, matter of life or death is. Cuckoo’s bullshit is so part and parcel of my being that I wouldn’t even recognize life without it.

So, imagine my shock to arrive home to flashing lights and yellow tape and the discovery that Cuckoo is dead. My father is dead, too. It isn’t a murder-suicide. It’s a double homicide. The police inform me that they tracked Daddy to the house, following his jailbreak, but before they could intercede, Cuckoo and Daddy simultaneously pulled their triggers and blew each other away. Yeah, no, I’m for real. This would be how my family functions. Given the things I have seen and heard growing up, nothing really surprises me about anything they do any more. Although, their sudden, unexpected, untimely demise does present me with a short-lived but glorious birthday gift.

But, as always, when one good thing happens in my life, three negatives immediately follow. What on earth have I done to piss Karma off so much?

So, on the night of my sixteenth birthday, one, my belongings, other than the contents of the backpack I perpetually carry, are now part of a police scene and thus are barricaded away from me. Two, being a suddenly orphaned minor, I have to immediately vacate my home to go live with the legal guardian Cuckoo has named for me or else I’ll become property of the state of Massachusetts. Yeah, not much of a choice there. So, three, with barely sufficient time to say goodbye to Billy, I am shipped off to Vermont to live with some random, old guy who is purportedly my godfather. Hmph. I have always been under the impression that the hoopla about godparents taking guardianship of their godchildren is just another myth of urban legend proportion. Apparently not so much. Talk about a threefold, karmic bitchslap.

Happy sixteenth birthday, Cordeleya.

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Political Excitement in Vermont!

I live in Vermont. It’s a beautiful state, but it’s not exactly known for making the news, causing a buzz, or being a center for excitement. And well, for the most part, I think we Vermonters like our way of life.

But today was different. For today, Bernie Sanders held his official kickoff for his presidential campaign in Burlington, Vermont, of all places! Why Burlington? Because Bernie Sanders used to be the mayor of Burlington. And well, Bernie Sanders represents Vermont in Washington D.C. So, for a change, Vermont was inundated with media, making the news, creating a buzz, and well, exciting!

I would have liked to have gone to what feels like history in the making (as win or lose, running for president is a pretty big deal), but I had to work my second job of the day. Now, I’m not complaining about working – I’m blessed to have a job, and doubly blessed to have two jobs – but I do find it darkly amusing that a middle-aged woman, with a college degree, couldn’t go to the national news event that was right here in my state because I have to live paycheck to paycheck and work two jobs… to afford life.

So, when a candidate seems to speak to me and the causes that are important to me, I listen. And I’m not one to tell anyone who to vote for, but I do hope that everyone will look into all the candidates and vote for the person who they feel will best represent them as the president of our country. It doesn’t matter if that person is the frontrunner or the underdog… if enough voices sound, any candidate can rise into the presidency.

Sound your voice. Vote. (Okay, political rant over)

The Lobster Award

In fifth grade, I won the “lobster award” for having gotten an extremely bad sunburn on field day. I’m still hoping that it didn’t have those long-term effects that we don’t know about until countless years later, but well… I don’t know yet.

Anyway, I mention my predisposition to sunburning because I got my first sunburn of the season today. I often joke that I get sunburns if I so much as think about the sun, and given that that I wore a hat, long sleeves, long pants, and sunblock, I’m not so sure that my joke is far off from the truth.

At least the sun was out today. A few years back, I got a true humdinger of a sunburn in the rain. Yeah, no, not just a cloudy day, but like an “I’m drenched from the rain…” day, and yet, lo and behold, sunburn.

Sunburns. The price I pay for being a natural redhead.

Life’s soundtrack

When I was young, I made mixtapes. I didn’t even realize that was what they were called when I used to make them. It just made sense to me. I heard a song I liked on the radio, and I’d tape it. I mean, what else would blank tapes be made for? Obviously they were meant to capture music.

Yes, I understand I’m showing my age here. Bear with me, youngsters. In the olden days of like the ’80s and ’90s, people listened to this device called the radio and had cassette tapes in lieu of, well, that newfangled way by which you listen to music now. And since there wasn’t a way to save the songs in a playlist, people would record them onto cassette tapes. It was a painstaking process that today’s kids will never, ever understand. But nothing made me happier than a well-made mixtape.

Then came… mix CDs. And my life got brand new soundtracks every couple of weeks. Whatever songs I was into… burn those suckers onto a disc. Sometimes I’d take the time to make a really great mix CD, but most of the time, it was just the songs I was hearing or craving a lot right around the time of whenever I burned my new CD.

And then came mp3s and playlists… and on road trips, those are uber cool, don’t get me wrong, but I still gravitate towards mix CDs. I have a CD player in my car, and it’s just easy to burn 20-22 tracks that I’ll want to hear on my commute to a CD and boom, get on the road.

Tonight I’m just reflecting on how songs become parts of our soundtracks. Movies have official soundtracks. My books have unofficial soundtracks (even though they’re not officially endorsed by the artists that I associate with the books). And life has a soundtrack. My soundtrack is different than yours. Not saying better or worse, but just different. The songs that stand out at key and pivotal moments contribute to our soundtracks. Oh, there’s always music… in a store, in a restaurant, in the car. When was the last time your soundtrack was the simplicity of silence? Even nature is a soundtrack.

My musical tastes change sporadically… but more often than not, they just expand to include songs people wouldn’t normally associate with me. Everyone knows my affection towards boyband music. Yeah. That’s never gonna change. But my latest mix CD features a lot of… well, alternative rock-flavored pop. Cuz well, that’s what I like right now. So, that’s what is on my latest soundtrack.

So, like what you like. It’s your soundtrack… nobody else’s. If a song makes you smile, burn it to a disc, add it to a playlist, or record it to a mixtape… and then, live your life and enjoy your soundtrack.

A Momentary Appreciation

When the sunshine, humidity, temperature, air, and sky are just perfect… it’d be easy to take it for granted. But today, I took a moment to appreciate it. And I briefly felt energized and ready for all the fun associated with summer.

On such a lovely day, it’s hard to recall that winter that went on forever. And frankly… I don’t want to.

Enjoy that feeling of sunshine warming your skin… and don’t forget your sunblock.

Snow Day!

When I was a kid, I loved listening to the local radio station on snowy mornings to see if, by chance, there was no school due to a snow day. Nowadays, the schools call everyone. I don’t know if it’s as exciting as a kid to wait for an automated phone call, but as a grown-up who works at a school, it’s just as thrilling to be awoken by that call as it was to hear my school’s name on the list as a kid.

So, in honor of having a snow day in February, today I watched “If I Stay,” because it takes place on… a snow day in (I do believe…) February. But… to make sure life didn’t imitate art, I stayed off the roads.

Groundhog or not, spring can’t come soon enough. Oh, and I don’t think it should count when the groundhog sees his shadow solely because of all the media’s lights on him. Just sayin’.