Update on the Dragon’s Breath Series and a snippet

I know a lot of people have been wondering when the next installment of the Dragon’s Breath Series will come. So sorry for the delay! There has been a lot going on in my personal life that has caused this, but I am working on the next book. As of right now, my goal is to publish it in mid August 2022. I’ll update more soon.

Thank you so much for your patience. I know it’s been a long wait, and I appreciate every reader who has stuck by me. As a small compensation, I’m including a snippet from Captured in Flames (book 5 of the series) here. Keep in mind this is not the edited copy so there may be some minor changes before the book is finalized. Those of you who are in my Facebook fan group have already seen this excerpt, but I wanted my broader audience to have a chance to read it.

Aidan and I continued moving along and came out from under the bridge, blinking into the bright sunlight.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Crossing the border always felt even riskier than being in pure dragon territory.  The interstate was littered with demolished cars, burn holes, and rotting corpses to remind everyone—dragons and humans alike—of how dangerous it could be to anyone who passed through there.  No one used those stretches of highway unless they absolutely had to and only as long as needed.

Aidan led me a bit farther into shifter territory until we got behind some buildings where we wouldn’t be easily seen.  It was quiet with only the wind rustling through the trees nearby to break the silence.  Not even the birds chirped.  We were still too close to the border to see any activity except the occasional dragon patrol, but even they weren’t around at the moment.

“We must get you clean,” he said, wiggling his nose at my snot-covered garb. 

The tight pants and halter top I wore looked similar to black leather, but the outfit was really camrium.  A fire-proof cloth Aidan had designed for me that had additional sorcerer spells cast on it so it could protect against blades and bullets.  It was much more flexible than leather, which was important when one needed to move easily and quickly to fight.  More than once, the warrior garb had saved my life.

I looked to the left and right, confused.  Since the dragon cold had started spreading, I’d been bathing at our home before he returned at night from patrols.  This problem hadn’t come up before.   “There’s not exactly a shower around here for me to use, or even a pond for that matter.”

 “Stay close as I shift, and the flames will burn you clean,” he instructed.

“Wow.”  I cocked my head.  “Why have you not mentioned this nifty trick before?” 

Every night this week, I’d had to station myself in front of a wash basin and scrub myself for an hour to get all the snot and spit off of my clothes, hair, and body.  Never mind collecting all the water I’d needed for that.  And all along, there’d been a faster way that would leave me totally sterilized of germs.

“I never had to worry about you bringing illness to my people until now.”

Oh, right.  That would be bad.  “Good point.”

He moved closer until we almost touched and began shifting from human to dragon.  The first time I saw him transform I was terrified, but I’d grown used to the process since then.  Flames licked up his body, fanning against me, and I could just make out a shadowy figure as it stretched and grew into beast form.  After a minute, the fire subsided and his red dragon form appeared.  It was still a bit frightening to see him this way, but I’d learned to love the man and the beast.

I dropped my gaze to inspect myself and found not a speck of snot on me.  That was one impressive sterilization process.  I smiled at him and wagged a finger.  “I won’t forget you can do this.”

************************************************************************

Two more excerpts from the novel have been shared in my Facebook fan group that you can read if you join. If you just want to make sure you don’t miss when Captured in Flames is out though, make sure you sign up for my book release alerts. I’ll also post the first couple of chapters here shortly before publishing the novel.

September 2018 update

I hope everyone who has grabbed their copy of Destined for Eternity has enjoyed it.  As of today, it is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited on Amazon for those who have been waiting for it.  I will keep the series in the program for the next three months, but after that I’ll be pulling it out of KU and making it wide with all the retailers.

For the Dragon’s Breath Series, that will be my sole concentration next.  I’m hoping to have book five out sometime in December (edit- will be released mid-August 2022), so stay tuned for more on that.  I know many of you have been waiting (im)patiently for it!

There are no other major updates for now, but I’ll keep you posted about progress and when to expect more books.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

For those who want to make sure they don’t miss a new novel coming out, be sure to sign up for my new book release alerts here.

Destined for Eternity release day!

Release day is finally here. Join Cori and Bartol in this final installment as they face more danger in the world and a coming child they must protect. You’ll get to see many of the characters from the Sensor Series and discover some surprising twists with a few of them.

I truly enjoyed writing this latest novel and hope you all enjoy reading it!

SUMMARY

Demons and pregnancy don’t mix.

Cori and Bartol have six weeks left to go until their baby is born, but all hell is about to break loose before that happens.  Demons are possessing humans again and wreaking havoc.  No one knows what their agenda is, but it’s increasing tensions between the humans and supernaturals, escalating into violence.  As one of the only people capable of slaying the hell spawns, Bartol has been called upon to deal with them. But impending fatherhood is challenging enough, especially when he’s still struggling to overcome psychological trauma in order to have the relationship with Cori that she and their child deserve.

Unfortunately, an ultimatum from the angels forces Bartol into the fight, and leaves Cori battling her own doubts and fears. Their child is coming—will they be ready?

Word count– 84,000 (approximate)

Add to your Goodreads TBR list- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41813196-destined-for-eternity


RETAILER LINKS

AMAZON US     AMAZON UK

AMAZON DE     AMAZON AU

AMAZON CA    AMAZON FR

NOOK   KOBO   ITUNES

Baby part 3

For those of you who missed the birth story of my son, check out parts one and two first before reading this.  I’m going to resume where I left off with my last post.

As I mentioned before, those early weeks were rough.  I was suffering from severe swelling, migraines, and high blood pressure.  In addition to this, I was figuring out how to be a mother to a newborn baby.  I’d read so many books, blogs, etc.  Yet nothing can quite prepare you for being the primary caretaker of a tiny human being.

They say newborns sleep a lot and they do, but it is very sporadic sleep.  A nap for twenty minutes here, an hour or two there.  They rarely sleep for very long and in addition to that babies want to eat all the time.  Breastfeeding is great because it’s the healthiest and most cost effective option, plus there’s no bottles to wash, but it’s time consuming.  Babies digest breast milk much faster and have to be fed every two hours or less.  Adam is also slow at eating, so sometimes it takes nearly an hour for him to finish, leaving me little time until the next round.  To make matters more difficult, he doesn’t like being left in his crib or bassinet alone.  So whether he’s awake or asleep, he wants to be held all the time.  Especially in the beginning, it made it rather difficult to use the bathroom, take a shower, eat, or anything.

I started out not knowing how to multitask with a baby.  For those first few weeks I’d only shower once every few days when my husband could watch our son and just do quick sponge baths the rest of time.  Eventually, I heard of a trick from other moms on a baby forum to put him in his car seat in the bathroom while in there.  Best advice ever!  The soothing sound of running water keeps him content, so he usually won’t start crying until I get out.  I also discovered white noise can help him fall asleep in his bassinet, but this is rather hit and miss.  Most of the time, he isn’t fooled and won’t sleep while in there.

Sometimes, I’d spend hours going through all the tricks other mothers suggested trying to get him to sleep outside my arms, but to no avail.  I eventually gave up and started letting him sleep with me in bed.  They say not to do this because it’s risky for a number of reasons, but something had to give.  My husband and I were exhausted.  Once I started bringing Adam to bed with me, he’d stay asleep for eight or nine hours just waking four or five times during the night to feed or get his diaper changed.  When he is only hungry I don’t even have to get up.  It’s worked well and since I’m an extremely light sleeper I’m sensitive to the baby’s whereabouts and needs.  It’s made a big difference, allowing me to heal from childbirth and be more rested and productive.

As I mentioned in my last post, we discovered at Adam’s two-week checkup he had a problem with one of his eyes.  He had a cataract partially blocking his vision.  This is normally an issue people only get in their advanced years, but in rare occurrences babies can be born with cataracts in one or both eyes  Adam was already starting to focus on us at that point, so we couldn’t tell it was impairing him in any way.  We saw a specialist a couple of times over the course of the next few weeks after discovery, waiting until the cataract was bad enough that it blocked most of the vision in that eye.  We didn’t want to rush into it since it would require removing the natural lense.  Adam would never be able to focus on anything again with that eye without a corrective lense.  On a side note, there are only two doctors in the state who can perform that particular operation on a baby.  It’s just not common enough to need more specialists in the field.

We scheduled Adam for the surgery in mid-February.  He had to fast that morning, which was no fun forcing an eight-week old baby to go without any sustenance.  He cried and cried, giving me imploring looks that broke my heart.  I felt terrible and we hadn’t even gone to the hospital for his operation yet.  At 6:30 a.m., I got him there and we waited for over an hour before they called him back for pre-op.  They put him in a hospital gown, put a mark on his forehead to denote which eye would be operated on, and gave him some eye drops.

Shortly after that, they took him away and my husband and I returned to the waiting room.  I was a nervous wreck, praying everything went alright.  My husband had warned the doctor and anesthesiologist that we’d tried for ten years to have our baby and to not mess up!  We waited about an hour and a half before we got word the surgery went well, but we had to continue waiting for the baby to wake up.  That was nerve-wracking as well.

It was about forty-five minutes later before we got word Adam had woken and one of us could go back to see him in post-op recovery.  I got to go since I needed to feed him.  Once I got there, I found the nurse rocking and swaying him, trying to soothe him.  He was not a happy baby, and his cries were weak and scratchy from the tube they’d put down his throat during the operation.  I felt so terrible for him.

The nurse helped me set up a place to feed him with pillows for support and pulled a curtain for privacy. Adam was still fairly groggy, so he had a rough time latching and would cry every time he lost it. I did the best I could to help him. He was happy to be back in my arms and steadily growing more content once he had his mama, but it was a struggle for him since he still had an IV in his hand and monitors on his foot. It’s not easy handling and maneuvering a baby around when they’re wiggly and can easily get caught in the tubes and lines running from them.  Once he was cleared from the first phase of post-op.  We moved to another room where he stayed for another hour before he could have his IV and lines removed.

To our relief, he had no complications during or after surgery.  Recovery went great and we were allowed to take him home just before noon.  I spent the day holding and comforting him.  He slept most of the day until around 9 p.m. when the remaining effects of the anesthesia wore off.  He was rather cranky after that.  Through the night and next day, things were rough, but the poor baby could hardly understand what had happened or why.

I should add that the ophthalmologist put in a contact right after the surgery that served to protect his eye while it healed and allowed him to focus.  It only gives him near sighted vision, though, so only his good eye can see at a distance.  Once a week we have to take the contact out overnight for cleaning before putting it back in the next morning.  For the first month after the surgery, we were also given two sets of eye drops that Adam had to have four times a day.  He hated the drops at first and fought us every time, but he eventually got used to them.

Unfortunately, he still screams bloody murder when his contact is removed or put back in, but I’m told he will adjust to it in time.  I can’t wait for that because you’d think we are torturing him.  His motor skills are improving in recent weeks too, so he’s getting better at blocking and pushing us away with his hands. My husband has to hold his arms down while I take the contact out or put it back in his eye.  You know it has to be done, but the hurtful and accusing looks we get are tough to take.  He won’t get a permanent lens until he’s older and isn’t growing so much, maybe at age seven or eight.

At the one week post-op checkup, the ophthalmologist added more to our routine.  From that point forward until around the time Adam is about two years old, he has to wear a patch over his good eye for a few hours each day.  This is to ensure he uses his weaker eye and it also prevents him from getting lazy eye.  He’s not fond of the patch either, so we have to keep him entertained the whole time or he gets very fussy and tries to remove it.

Putting the patch on goes smoothly for the most part.  Taking it off is a lot like removing a bandaid and hurts no matter how careful I am.  I use a wet washcloth to soothe his skin afterward, but he almost always screams and cries.  I time it so he feeds afterward, which makes him happy again.  The little guy loves to eat and always grins after I lay him across the boppy pillow. He knows it’s milk time!

While things haven’t been easy these past few months, it’s only fair I mention there have been plenty of wonderful times as well.  I adore Adam’s smiles.  For the first month, they were more for practice and obvious he wasn’t directing them at anyone or anything in particular.  More often than not, he smiled in his sleep, which was adorable to see.

Once he was about four weeks old, though, he started smiling at us.  Then he began squealing and barking laughs around six weeks old.  His favorite thing at that point was when I put him in his crib and turned on the mobile. Despite his having impaired vision, he loved to watch it go around.  For about 10-15 minutes that can still entertain him.  It gives me a bit of time for bathroom breaks, sorting laundry, making something to eat, etc.  The mobile is a godsend, though it only works a couple of times a day before he catches on that we’re not holding him, so I have to use it judiciously.

I also love the way the baby curls into me when I pick him up or when he falls asleep against my chest.  There’s something so touching and fulfilling about a little human being who loves and trusts you more than anyone in the world.  It’s gotten to be where I have a tough time letting him out of my sight.  There’s only been two times I left the house without him and even then for no more than an hour.  With this likely being the only child I’ll ever get, I hate to miss a moment.

Of course, I do have housework to do and duties as an author.  For a while in the beginning, I only worried about the most pressing things and let the rest go.  At around ten weeks old, Adam started taking naps in his rock n’ play.  This was the first time we could get him to easily sleep without being in our arms or after a trip in the car (which often makes him tired).  In most cases, he’ll fall asleep on me after feeding and then I’ll carefully transfer him over.  I get about an hour or two to do house chores or anything else that needs doing without a baby in tow.  Of course, I check on him every few minutes like an over-obsessive mom.

There isn’t an exact time he’ll take a nap yet, so sometimes I have to employ other methods to keep him calm while I cook or clean.  Sometimes I “wear” him in a carrier.  He usually likes that and may even sleep.  On a brief grocery shopping trip, he spent the first five minutes looking around while strapped to my chest, then passed out until I transferred him into his car seat after finishing.  I have a bad back, though, so I can’t wear him like that for too long before it becomes too painful.

Baby wearing is also tricky because there are some things that I can’t do that way.  Anything that requires a lot of bending is too much, and I don’t want him that close while cooking with grease or using a hot oven.  In those cases, I put him in his rock n’ play in the kitchen so he can watch me while I cook or wash dishes.  He usually enjoys that, though he’ll eventually lose patience if I take too long.  Sometimes I play music to keep him calm.  On two occasions this actually put him to sleep so I could do even more chores, but at other times he’s gotten mad and cried until I finished.  Nothing ever works consistently.

I’ve learned to face the fact he’s just gonna have to cry for a short period if I must get something done, but I never let him go longer than 10-15 minutes before picking him up.  It took ten years to have this baby and I just can’t stand to let him suffer for long.  He’s one of those babies who likes to be held all the time and I know he won’t be this little forever.  I try my best not to stress about it and enjoy my precious time with him.  Friends who’ve had babies with similar temperaments reassure me they do eventually grow out of this phase and not to worry that I’m spoiling him.  There’s a time to foster independence but not when they’re small and helpless.

As I wrap up this baby update, I want to thank everyone for their patience while I have been getting the hang of being a new mom and dealing with various health problems along the way.  It’s been a rough but rewarding journey.  Also, thanks for following these posts if you’ve stuck with me this far!

I’m working on “Destined for Eternity” and hope to give you all more news on that soon.  Then I’ll be back to writing the Dragon’s Breath Series.

Here’s one final picture of Adam from a week and a half ago when he turned three months.  He’s growing so fast!

Baby part 2

In case you missed it, you should start with part 1 on the birth story of my son here.  For everyone else, I’ll continue where I left off yesterday.

During that first night after having the baby I was confined to bed for most of it.  If I needed to put Adam in his bassinet or get him out I had to ask my husband to do it or a nurse (once again, the hubby slept fine after going home to feed the cats).  They took the baby away at one point to run some tests.  Shortly after that we found out there was a slight complication during the delivery.  My blood attacked Adam’s in the umbilical cord.  This was kind of surprising to me because I’m O+ and he’s B+.  I didn’t think my blood could attack his since I’m a universal donor, but I guess it could in this situation.  It wasn’t anything dangerous, but it would increase his chances of developing jaundice.  They contacted the on-call pediatrician for the doctor office I’d chosen and he said to just monitor the baby closely.

I also wasn’t allowed to have much more than juice, broth, and crackers until 6:30 a.m. when I could order a full meal.  That totally sucked after a whole day of labor in which I hadn’t eaten and probably burned a few thousand calories.  I’d never been more hungry in my life, so I ate as much of the broth and crackers as they’d give me.  I also tried talking my husband into getting me something more substantial, but he refused.  Once again, he’s lucky to be alive.

The first full day after birth was a whirlwind.  We had lots of visitors and the hospital photographer came to visit.  Adam did such an amazing job not crying at all and let us position him however we wanted.  I’d brought a special outfit and blanket just in preparation for this and was pleased with how the photos turned out.

It was such a busy day I hardly had time to eat lunch and only took a thirty-minute nap.  I was allowed to get up and walk around, which was nice, but I was swollen badly and it was hard to move.  It wouldn’t be until after I got home and weighed myself that I’d discover I’d gained five pounds rather than lost any after giving birth.  I had horrible water retention from the IV and surgery.  At the time I was in the hospital, though, most of my focus was on the baby.  They were keeping me medicated enough I didn’t even worry about the pain from my stomach being cut open.

The next morning they took Adam again for more blood tests.  This time his levels were rising enough they feared he’d develop jaundice.  We’d hoped to go home that day, but instead they ordered the baby be put under UV lights for the next twenty-four hours and then they’d retest.  That was pure Hell for all of us.  Adam was cold, alone, and miserable.  All he could wear was a diaper and an eye mask to protect his eyes, and we could only soothe him by putting our hands on him for a few minutes at a time.  I took him out to feed him every two hours just to give him a break.  Otherwise, he just cried non-stop.  Watching him flail around, begging to be picked up left me in tears.  I hated having to torture my baby that way even if it was for his own good.  Once again, I hardly slept because he was crying so much I felt I had to stay by his side giving what comfort I could.

Thankfully, the next morning his blood tests came back looking much better.  I was ready to go home and spend time with my husband and baby without all the medical staff around (though they were wonderful).  During my stay, I did see a couple different lactation nurses who helped me out with refining the latch with the baby.  My milk had come in and Adam was eating fairly well at that point, but I was cracked and very sore.  They gave me some cream and shells that have helped so much after that.  By a week or so after giving birth, the baby and I totally had a hang on breastfeeding.  I am really thankful that part went well.

We were able to pack up and leave by that afternoon. This was day four I’d been in the hospital since starting the induction and I was tired after getting almost no sleep.  That first drive with the baby was nerve wracking and yet so exciting.  We just couldn’t wait to get home.  Adam wasn’t a fan of his car seat, and still gets fussy when we put him in there these days, but he eventually calmed down once we started driving.

In the last photo you can see my stomach went down quickly, but I swelled up badly everywhere else.  Someone had given me the advice during my pregnancy to take a pair of slippers to the hospital that are one size up from normal.  Best advice ever!  It took three weeks before the swelling in my feet went down enough to wear any of my other shoes.  Most of my socks wouldn’t even fit.  My legs, ankles, and knees were all twice their normal size.  Those slippers were all I could wear at home and to doctor appointments.  It sleeted and snowed during that time, so I wore them out faster than what would have normally happened.

Also, once I stopped taking pain killers, I developed a migraine that lasted for weeks.  My blood pressure was very high as well.  The OBs office ran tests to be sure I wasn’t developing post-partum pre-eclampsia because I had so many of the symptoms.  It turns out it was just severe exhaustion.  My body was trying to heal from major surgery and produce milk for the baby, but I wasn’t sleeping more than an hour or two a day.  Just like when I was little and made my parents suffer, karma came back to haunt me.  Adam wouldn’t sleep for long and just wanted to be held all the time.  I wasn’t getting enough rest or food and my body couldn’t heal.

My husband had to go back to work the day I got home from the hospital, so he wasn’t helping much.  I was alone most of the time at our house with the baby.  It was taking a toll on me in every way.  Of course, I’d look at Adam, seeing the most precious baby in the world.  I loved him and taking care of him, but I was so tired and I was getting lonely being shut in the house all the time.  More often than I prefer to admit, I broke down in tears because on top of everything my hormones were a mess from delivering a baby.  My OB said if my health continued to decline I’d have to be hospitalized.

Once my husband heard that frightening news, he started taking care of the baby for four or five hours a day only bringing Adam to me so the baby could feed.  I still wasn’t getting eight hours sleep, but it was a heck of a lot more than before.  The swelling started to go down gradually and so did my blood pressure.  By three weeks after the baby was born, I could at least move around better and we went back to me taking care of the baby full time.  It took quite a bit longer for my c-section incision to heal, though, because Adam had an uncanny ability to kick it all the time no matter how I held him.  Not his fault, of course, but it left me sore and I’d get a lot of cramps.  Sometimes, I’d have to stop and take a breath they got so bad.

I should note during this time we took the baby for several follow-ups at the pediatrician’s office.  At Adam’s two-week visit, the doctor found a problem in the baby’s right eye.  He had a cataract partially blocking his vision.  It’s a rather rare occurrence, and I was told by other healthcare professionals that we were lucky it was caught so early.  They were impressed that the baby’s pediatrician noticed it because many don’t until it’s nearly too late or worse.  We had to visit a ophthalmologist soon after that who informed us Adam would need surgery to have his lens removed in that eye.  If it wasn’t done soon, he could suffer permanent blindness.  It has something to do with a baby’s developing brain seeing a weakness and deciding to shut vision off rather than keep it going if it’s not working well.

As you can imagine, I was a wreck finding that out.  I was still recovering from childbirth and now my precious little baby was going to face surgery so early in his life.  It made me want to cuddle him that much more.  Sure, far worse things can happen to a baby, but I still worried about putting him under anesthesia.  Also, he was going to face more obstacles once his natural lens was removed since that eye wouldn’t be able to focus on its own anymore.

We set up the surgery for the day he turned eight weeks old, which I’ll get into in my next post.  Once again, this one got a bit too long.  I promise I’ll fill you in on the rest of the story soon, so stay tuned!