Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reviews.... and why they are important!



  I am sure, if you are an avid reader like me, that you have seen authors asking, begging, bribing you to leave a review.  Well, here I am, about to do the same thing.  Why do we do this, you may be asking yourself..... because reviews matter.  I won't go into why they are important for everyone else.... Instead, I will talk about why they are important to me!

1.  Reviews let me know what I am getting right, and what I may be getting wrong.  For instance, in the first book, I totally wrote the way I type.  Ya'll might have noticed that I don't type I'm I always write I am.... well, I wrote that way as well.  Which, as it turns out, makes the dialogue seem to formal...  I never would have realized I did this if it weren't for reviews.  So, yes, I do read the reviews.... and yes, they do matter.

2.  If it weren't for reviews of the first book saying that I needed to fix parts of the story to make it more amazing, I never would have gone back and revised it.  After reading several reviews talking about things that needed to be fixed, i.e. contractions, dialogue, etc....  I realized SHSR needed another look-see. 

3.  Reviews are encouraging.  Any and every time I get a new review, I get giddy.  While the bad ones can be a downer, the good ones are like taking a shot of straight adrenaline.  I literally do a happy dance around my house every single time a new person says they loved my book.  (My family thinks I am slowly losing it).

4.  Reviews help readers decide whether or not they would like the book.  I almost always read the reviews of books before I commit.  Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that certain books aren't for everyone... and not everyone will like the book... but reviews help me to know what I am getting into.  Especially if I know that the reviewer has similar tastes to my own.  So, help future readers out.... leave a review.

5.  Constructive Reviews.... okay, this is where this post may get a bit dicey, so bear with me.  There is a distinct difference between a constructive review and a cut throat nasty gram.  The difference:  You can leave a one star review and explain the things you found fault with in the book....  i.e. editing, story flow, etc.  These reviews are helpful.... these reviews help me, as a writer, to know where my weak points are and what I need to work on....    The other sort of review, the nasty gram sort, well.... you calling me names and saying that my dog could write better than me, while you have a right to say that, won't help me to be a better writer.  (No, this has not actually happened to me, but I do have a lot of fellow author friends that have gotten reviews of this nature).  So, if you are going to leave a negative review... which by all means, I encourage you to voice your honest opinion, make sure you are leaving one that actually pertains to the book and what you found fault with.

Alright, everyone still here?  Awesome.  I guess the whole point of this post is that reviews matter... both good and bad reviews....  So take five seconds the next time you finish a book, and leave a review.  Something as small as "It rocked my socks" may make an authors day!

xoxo,
Michelle Graves

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chapter 2, See How She Fights

DISCLAIMER-  This is completely unedited... the version in the book will not have the various errors/weird wording....  Happy  Reading.... and remember, See How She Fights will be out December 12!!!!!!



CHAPTER TWO

 

 

            We finished up breakfast and I headed upstairs to get dressed and make a call.  At least some good would come out of the whole situation.  I would get to see Molly and Ian.  They had become two of my best friends.  They had kept me relatively sane during my time at the lab and the council.  It wasn’t an easy feat.  I pulled on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and picked up the phone. 

            “Hello?”  Molly’s voice sounded sleepy.  I looked at the clock again and knew it was late enough in the morning that she should be awake.

            “Hey, Molly.  It’s Izzy.  Did I wake you up?”

            “What?  No.  Well, okay.  Yeah, you woke me up.  But it’s cool.  What’s going on?  Are there some wedding plans we have forgotten?  I thought my dress appointment wasn’t until next week.”  She mumbled sleepily. 

            “The wedding is postponed indefinitely.”  I said.

            “WHAT?  What did that low down good for nothing bastard do to you Izzy?  I will come down there and beat the crap out of him myself.  There is nowhere he can hide!”  Molly was fully awake now.

            “No, it is nothing like that.  We are fine.  Kennan is still as perfect as ever.  Something bad is coming.  I keep having nightmares so I finally called Isadora this morning and she requested that we come to the council.  By requested I mean demanded.  So, I was wondering if we could come and crash with you guys in Chicago for a day before we head up to the council.  We are going to leave here today from the looks of Kennan shoving everything into bags right now.”  I sighed in Kennan’s direction. 

            Kennan was in the middle of imitating a tornado swirling through our bedroom.  He shoved everything he could find that we might need into two suitcases.  I was surprised he had not packed scuba gear.  After the way he had prepared for our last unexpected jaunt it would not shock me.  The last time we had made a trip like this I had been kidnapped and forced to wear hiking clothes that I had not purchased for myself.  I shook my head at him and tuned back into what Molly was saying.

            “That’s fine.  Just, you know, expect some changes to the house.”  She said hesitantly. 

            “Molly, it is your house.  You know you can do whatever you want to it.”  I said confused.  Why was she concerned that I would be upset?

            “Yeah, well.  When you get here you will understand why I made the changed.  If Ian was not my Guardian I would have killed him already.  Just so you know.  Well, enough of that.  Will we see you guys tonight or in the morning?”

            “Probably in the morning.  It is too long of a drive to get there by tonight.  Even if we drive all night we will just get there in the morning.  Plus, she said we had until the end of the week to get there.  So I am voting for taking all of the time we can.  I am not ready to be thrown back into the fray just yet.  I was getting comfortable in my domestic bliss.  Bah, okay enough whining.  We will see you guys tomorrow morning sometime.  Love you babe.” 

            “Love you too girl.  Call me when you are close so that I can wake up his crankiness.”  Molly said before hanging up.

            I got up and headed over to peer into the suitcase Kennan was still shoving stuff in.  There was all manner of clothing from workout clothes to hiking apparel.  I wasn’t sure where we would be hiking in Illinois. Cornfields did not exactly lend themselves to hiking expeditions.  I looked up at Kennan with a raised brow. 

            “What?  I like to be prepared.  I don’t know how long we will be gone.  I’m not even sure where we will be going.  Don’t judge me woman.”  Kennan threw a balled up pair of socks at me before he went back to shoving more in the bags.  I laughed and headed into the bathroom to finish getting myself ready. 

            When I was finally put together, I took my bag of toiletries and put them in my suitcase.  I looked through what was packed briefly to make sure my sweater was there.  I had a feeling I would need my security blanket in the days to come.  After double checking the contents, I zipped the infernal thing up.  I so did not want to be doing this.  Ugh.  I headed toward the stairs with my bag in tow when Kennan intercepted.  My knight in shining armor. 

            “Allow me my dear.”  He said with a gallant bow.  I wanted to fight.  Women’s independence and all that, but honestly the thing was too heavy for me to carry.  I’d always thought I packed to much crap when I went somewhere.   It paled in comparison to what Kennan could shove into a suitcase.  Sheesh. 

            I followed him down to the car staring back at my sad dead garden.  Kennan was right, I really couldn’t grow anything to save my life.  I sighed as I hauled myself into Kennan’s old beat up SUV.  The muggy heat inside felt like I had stepped straight into a sauna.  Luckily it was cooler in Illinois this time of year.  I sat with the door open waiting for Kennan to load his suitcase so that we could leave. 

            As I waited I pondered everything that I was leaving behind, the sense of security that had surrounded me the past months, the plans for my future, all to be left right alongside the dead garden.  The symbolism was a bit much for me.  I really needed to start looking ahead and not back.  There was a reason Isadora had called me in.  

            “Ready?”  Kennan asked as he reached over and grabbed my hand.  I looked back at the old farmhouse once more before closing my door.

            “Ready as I will ever be.  Where are we stopping tonight?”  I asked as I looked up into his eyes.

            “How about Nashville.   I hear they have an accurate replica of the Parthenon.  I would like to see it.  I wonder if their statue of Athena is a close facsimile.” 

            I just nodded in agreement.  Sometimes I forgot how old he was.  He had told me he had seen the Roman Empire rise and fall but that he was older than even that.  I could not imagine living for that long.  It seemed like it would get boring after a while.  I was dreading having to live to be three hundred.  That seemed unnatural. 

            “Hey Kennan, why can’t we get a new car?”  I asked looking around the old beat up SUV. 

            “Because this girl is reliable and she has character.  Don’t you hurt her feelings, Red.  I may just have to leave you on the side of the road.”  He said giving me one of his lopsided smiles.

            “It isn’t like you don’t have the money to get a decent vehicle.”  I mumbled.  Comfortable seats and a decent stereo system would be nice.

            “I heard that.  If we survive whatever mayhem is coming our way I will let you pick out our next vehicle.  Not that you will be able to drive it.”  He finished dashing my other hopes.

            “I drove up in Washington and was just fine.  When are you going to lift this ridiculous no driving ban?”  I groused.

            “When you stop having visions that could end up getting both of us killed.”  He said with a raised brow.

            I knew that logically it made sense for me not to drive.  It would be terribly difficult to fill out an insurance claim for an accident caused by a vision.  Cause of accident:  Magically transported to a different disaster in my head.  I was pretty sure even full coverage didn’t cover that.  I sighed and settled into the seat for the long drive. 

            At least on this trip I would get to see the countryside.  Our last cross country jaunt I was drugged and bound half of the trip.  I wondered where this new adventure would be taking us.  If only I could control my visions, maybe then I could conjure up some information.  This whole flying blind thing was for the birds.  Not that those metaphors make much sense together. 

            “Izzy, what are you thinking about?”  Kennan pulled me from my mindless rambling.

            “I was mixing metaphors poorly again.  Flying blind is for the birds.”  I giggled.  It really was a funny thing to envision.  A bunch of blind birds flying into one another. 

            “You are ridiculous.  So, are you going to tell me what Isadora said other than get your butts up here?”

            “She got on me for not calling sooner about the nightmares.  I know, you don’t have to say I told you so.  She also said you need to block my nog for tonight.  No dreams for me.  I am to be well rested when I arrive.  I have a feeling I am not going to like what she says in our meeting.  This whole thing is making me feel icky.”  I said trying to shake it off.

            “Icky?  What are you a kindergartner?  Do I have cooties?”  Kennan snickered.

            “You do, in fact, have cooties.  I just happen to like your particular type of cootie!  Icky is just the best word I could come up with.  You want to paper rock scissors to see who has radio control?”  I challenged.  Being a Seer had some advantages.  I had figured out how to predict what his moves would be and I won almost every time.  I couldn’t let him know the truth or the jig would be up.

            “Fine.  With one stipulation, if you win none of your depressing slow music.  It is a long drive and you woke me up early.”

            “Eleven, Kennan.  I woke you up at eleven.  In no world is that early.  How did you survive your early years when you had to be up with the sun?” 

            “I didn’t have you keeping me up all night.”  He said with a sly smile. 

            “Don’t act like you don’t like it.  Now stop stalling.  Paper, rock, scissors time!”

            “Best out of three?”  He asked with a sparkle in his eye. 

            “Fine.”  I grumbled.  It looked like he might have caught on after all.  I could only do one prediction at a time.  There was no way I would be able to tell what he was going to get on all three.

            “Alright on three.  One, two, three.”  I got paper and he got rock.  “I win the first round.”  Just like I knew I would.

            “Ready?”  He asked.  “One, two, three.”  He got rock and I put out scissors.  “I win.”  He preened.

            “Alright, last time determines the winner.”  I said trying to work up my Sseer mojo.  It seemed to be on hiatus though and refused to give me anything other than a vague fog.  “One, two, three.”  I landed paper and Kennan had stupid scissors.

            “I knew you were a cheater!  See, you only ever win when we go one round.  You are such a cheater face.”  Kennan said as he poked me in the ribs. 

            I looked at him and stuck my tongue out.  I refused to verbally acknowledge his accusations.  Suddenly the sounds of oldies filled the car.  It was going to be a long ride.

            “Really babe?  Can’t you at least switch it to country?  That I can handle, this is just plain mean.”  I griped.

            “Suck it up buttercup.  You lost.  I will torture you in any way I please.”  He laughed.

            I thought up some seriously delicious ways in which he could torture me.  They did not seem feasible in our current mobile circumstances.  Well, maybe feasible, but highly illegal.  I sighed and rubbed my hand down my face.  That was the second time today I had let my libido override my brain.  I needed to get a handle on it or I would be in the middle of some sort of serious situation with my mind on what Kennan kept under his clothes.

            “How far are we from Nashville?”  I asked with a heated look.

            “Entirely too far, but we need to make it there.  So stop distracting me with your wily ways.  I shall not succumb to your seduction.”

            “That sounded like a challenge to me.  It is ever so far, I think that I have the time to make you change your mind.” 

            “Seriously, Izzy.  I will pull this car over on the side of this road and have my wicked way with you.  Then Isadora will be all mad that we missed our deadline.  Molly will send out the National Guard in search of you.  Ian will get all upset that his Seer is upset.  It will be a disaster.  So stop distracting me.  If you had won radio rights would you be doing this?”  Kennan asked suspiciously.

            “Maybe.”  I said with a snicker.

            “Woman, you drive me insane.”

            “The feeling is mutual K.O.”  I leaned over and kissed his scruffy cheek.  I couldn’t wait until we got to Nashville.  The Parthenon be durned, I wanted to get me a piece of that man. 

            The next few hours passed with very little excitement.  The country roads passed by and we made it to the interstate.  Montgomery and Huntsville were both rather hectic.  I was glad that Kennan was driving and not me.  I hated driving in cities.  I never drove when I lived in Chicago.  I always used transit or my bike to get around.  I supposed I had never really had to do much of it.  According to Kennan I would not be doing much of it now either.  Stupid Guardian with his stupid Guardian rules.  Oh well, it saved me from having to drive through city traffic.

            We crossed the Tennessee border and I was taken aback at its beauty.  It had been night the last time we drove through and I had not gotten to see anything but the inky outline of trees.  The rolling hills and farms were so picturesque I was wondering why I had not chosen to move here instead.  We made our way up I-65 with me constantly pointing something out.

            The trees were beginning to change colors into brilliant reds and oranges.  Down where we lived the leaves just said ‘I quit’ and fell off of the trees.  It was so hot they never really changed colors.  I sat silently in awe of it all as the sun began to set.  We arrived in Nashville early in the evening and Kennan drove us straight downtown.  I was surprised by how small it was compared to other cities I had seen.  Seattle and Chicago made Nashville seem downright homey.  I looked up at the tall buildings and wondered where Kennan was taking me.

            We pulled up outside some swanky hotel and got out.  I didn’t bother looking at the name.  I had more important things on my mind.  Like climbing my future husband.  We made our way in the lobby and he got our keys from the front desk.  I wondered when he had had time to book the room.  I thought back to the morning and realized he had probably done it as soon as I called Isadora.  The sneak.  I just rolled my eyes and followed him to the elevator.

            Once inside he pushed me against the wall and ravaged my mouth with his own.  I was breathing heavily by the time we surfaced on our floor. 

            “That was an awesome distraction.  Could you do that for all future elevator rides?”  I asked as it dawned on me that I had not panicked at all while in the elevator.  My fear of closed spaces was not getting any better.

            “I didn’t do it for that, but any excuse to kiss you is fine by me.”  He said as he brushed my hair behind my ear.  He slid the keycard into the slot and rushed me inside. 

            Before the door had fully closed I was wrapped around him. I kissed him deeply as if it were the last time I would ever feel his lips on mine again.  Ever since his almost demise I found I could not merely kiss him.  Every time it was like it might be the last.

            Kennan consumed me.  We became one as our clothes magically melted to the floor in a blur of hands and lips. He trailed kisses down my body leaving me writhing and breathless.  I needed more of him.  I would never get enough.  I grabbed him and pulled him up my body so that I could crush my lips against his.  He moved inside of me making me cry out.  I was lost to him.

           

            We spent the next hour devouring one another until we were both breathless and boneless.  I lay next to him panting. 

            “This is why I sleep until eleven woman.  You destroy me.”  He said through breaths.

            “Not my fault.”  I barely uttered.

            “We should go get some food.  I think there may be a PF Chang’s down by the Parthenon.  You interested?”  He asked as he started to get off of the bed.

            “Do you really need to ask?”  I said as I hurriedly reassembled my clothing.  PF Chang’s was my favorite Chinese food in the entire world.  Their double pan fried noodles were next to heaven in my book.

            “I suppose I really didn’t need to ask.”  He said with a smirk as he started to put his shirt back on.  I walked over to him and rubbed my hands over the ridges of his abdomen.  His tattoos standing in stark contrast to his skin.  I wanted to devour him once more.

            “You keep touching me like that and we won’t be going anywhere.”  He growled.  My stomach responded with its own growl.

            “Fine, but only because my stomach wants to eat itself right now.  I will get back to that later.” 

            We headed out and made our way down to the Vanderbilt campus side of town.  I realized on the way that Nashville was bigger than it seemed it just didn’t have an over abundance of skyscrapers.  Just as Kennan had promised PF Chang’s sat directly across the street from Centennial Park and the Parthenon.  We pulled into the parking garage and made our way down to the restaurant.  My stomach growled the whole time.

            Dinner was delicious.  I spent the entire time shoveling food into my mouth like it was my last meal.  I was convinced Kennan was going to leave me one day just based on my horrible tendency to inhale my food.  I looked up at him sheepishly as he laughed.

            “You never cease to amaze me at what you can consume.  How you stay so small is a wonder.”  Kennan snickered as he got back to his massive pile of food.

            “I am only small to you because you are so freakishly large.”  I snickered.

            “These people don’t think so.”  He said with a sly grin.

            “Yeah, because you used your guardian mojo on their brains.  For all I know you have made me appear to be a seven foot Amazonian.”  I snickered.  It would be really funny to try that sometime.

            We finished our meal and headed over to the park.  Unfortunately we got there too late for Kennan to see the statue of Athena.  It looked as though we would have to come back and see it again.  Not that I minded.  Nashville was a gorgeous city that was filled with uncommonly nice people.  We meandered around the columns as Kennan told me about the real Parthenon and how it exploded when a weapons cache caught fire. 

            We walked around the lake and sat in a swing overlooking the water.  The ducks floated by aimlessly.  I allowed the peace of the moment to wrap around me.  I knew that this was probably the last peaceful evening I would have for a long time to come.  After an hour or so I started to yawn and Kennan called it a night. 

            When we made it back to the hotel I was too tired to keep my promise of ravaging him.  Instead he put a block on my dreams and we climbed into the bed.  The king bed was hardly big enough.  I had to curl into his body just to have some room.  Not that I minded.  Being wrapped up in Kennan’s arms was my absolute favorite place to be.  He was my home and my safety. 

            “I love you.  More than anything else in this world.”  I whispered as I sank into sleep.  I felt Kennan’s lips brush my forehead as the last of my awareness slipped away.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Tunes Behind See How She Fights

So, if you have been following along since the beginning, you probably remember the post for the music behind See How She Runs.  Likewise, if you have followed along on my interviews and what-not's you may remember me saying that each book has a unique playlist.  Well, See How She Fights is no different.  Without further ado, I present the music that inspired See How She Fights.  I hope you enjoy, and maybe find something new!



And there you have it, a glimpse into my writing mind.  Now, let me assure you, there were many more songs than these on my play list.... However, these were the ones that were on repeat continuously. 

xoxo,
Michelle Graves

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Signings... I am doing some!




Okay, so I am totally ripping off the brilliant Penny Reid on this.  Because, well, it is a brilliant idea.  I will be doing a couple of signings this year, and I would love to put together some stuff just for the readers coming to see me.  So, if you plan on being in either of these places, email me and let me know which one you will be at as well as your name so that I can put together something lovely for you.  My email is mgraves1212@gmail.com

Here are the events I am going to be participating in.... you should come see me.

Sweet as a Peach, GA Indie Author signing       April 5, 2014

Pure Textuality Convention    October  2-5, 2014

So, moral of the story, come see me and get free stuff.  Win/Win.  <3

xoxo,
Michelle Graves


Friday, September 27, 2013

Chapter One of See How She Fights

Let me preface this by saying.... this has not been edited yet.  So, please forgive the lack of comma usage, or any weird grammatical stuff you may find!  Enjoy the first chapter!




CHAPTER ONE

 

 

            I awoke drenched in a cold sweat for what seemed the millionth time in the past month.  Every night I closed my eyes with the single hope of a restful night’s sleep only to be greeted with a foul phantom.  Xavier’s visage appeared each night bringing with it nightmares both old and new.  As I lay there, staring at the ceiling, I wondered if he were really dead.  I took a deep breath trying to clear away the remains of his latest taunt.  He couldn’t be real.  I killed him.    

            I looked over at Kennan, lying peacefully in the bed.  I pondered what I would tell him when I woke him up.  I had been trying to hide my nightmares from him for the past month and I knew he was beginning to suspect something was wrong. 

            I took in his face as he rested.  His eyelashes fanned out on his cheeks and his face relaxed as if there were nothing in the world to worry about.  A knot formed in my stomach.  I knew the moment I woke him up and told him everything would change. 

            I gritted my teeth together and tried not to be angry at the universe or whatever kept dragging me into this mess.  Selfishly I wanted things to remain the same.  I longed for my life with Kennan, our wedding, and even someday a family.  I wanted a future that did not include subterfuge, violence, and pain.

            If I were ever going to make that future a reality I had to stop hiding.  I swallowed down the lump and pulled up my big girl panties.  It was time to face the music and find out just what the universe wanted from me.  I couldn’t ignore the not so subtle hints of my nightmares any longer.  Stupid universe, always getting in the way.

            I nudged Kennan’s shoulder trying to wake him up which caused him to sprawl more, almost making me fall off of the bed.  One would think with a California King there would be plenty of room.  Not with his giant self.  Stupid Guardian.  Ugh, I needed coffee to deal with this.

            “Kennan, wake up.  I need to talk to you.”  I said, trying not to giggle as he pulled me against his body nuzzling my neck.

            “Woman, you better be waking me up for a good reason.  You know I don’t do mornings.”  he groused.  Kennan was an even worse morning person than I was.

            “First of all, it is eleven.  So stop grumbling.  Second, I really do need to talk to you.  It is kind of serious.”  As the words left my mouth Kennan’s body grew rigid.

            “What’s happened?”  he asked, fully alert.

            “So, I have sort of been having the nightmares again.  I don’t know why or what they mean, but I have a bad feeling Kennan.  I feel like something wicked this way comes, if you know what I mean.” 

            “How many Izzy?  How many have you had?”  his voice barely masked his anger.  Apparently my jokes were doing nothing to diffuse the situation. 

            “Three or four a week for the past two months.  Originally I thought it was just some sort of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder.  But they just kept coming.  Now I can’t seem to shake this gut wrenching feeling that everything is about to go to hell in a hand basket.  I’m not explaining it right.  Ugh.”  I threw myself back into the pillows exasperated.  Not only was my future about to get jacked but I couldn’t even properly explain what was going on. 

            “What happens in the dreams?  Is it more of what happened back at the lab and the Council?  More importantly, why in the hell didn’t you tell me Izzy?  I could have been helping you instead of wondering what was going on.  I was starting to think you didn’t want to marry me.”  He sat up in bed to stare down at me.  His wickedly tattooed body beckoned me.

            He still took my breath away.  His dark wavy hair was mussed from where he had slept and he had a shadow of growth on his jaw.  I loved when he left just a bit of scruff, it felt amazing against my skin.  I needed to get a hold of myself.  Serious topics needed to be discussed and here I was wanting to climb atop Kennan and ride him like some sort of rodeo bull.  I shook my head to clear the thoughts away and get back on track.

            “I didn’t want to worry you.  I know it was stupid so don’t give me that lecture.  I was just trying to deal with it on my own and not put you through my crazy again.  Besides, I was always aware that it was the dreaming this time.  Even the nightmares were like watered down versions of themselves.  Bah.  This sucks.  I just wanted to get married and have a wonderfully fluffy future with happy rainbows and a unicorn or two.  Is that too much to ask?  Instead I have to be the all powerful Seer, savior of the universe.  I thought that my superhero costume was finally retired.”  I said as I buried my face in the pillow allowing my self-pity to run rampant.

            “Unicorns don’t exist Izzy.  So that future is implausible.”  Kennan said as I glared at him for dashing my imaginary future.  “Izzy, you know you have to call Isadora, right?  There is a reason she gave you that number.  I am pretty sure this was it.” He continued on as if I weren’t giving him a withering glare.  I needed to start practicing these faces in the mirror.  I must be doing them wrong, they never seemed to produce the desired effect. 

            “But I don’t wanna.”  I whined gaining myself an annoyed look from Kennan.  “Fine, I realize I am being petulant.  I just thought that maybe, just maybe our lives would be normal now.  Besides, we have a life here Kennan.  What if she says we have to come back to Illinois?  As much as I would love to see Molly and Ian again, I really don’t want to leave here.  This is our home now.”  I was beginning to resign myself to my reality.  I needed to call her.  I just didn’t want to.  Besides, she had probably already seen everything that was coming. 

            “Call her.”  Kennan said, getting up from the bed.  He walked over to the dresser and grabbed his phone tossing it back at me, sparing me a hard glance before turning to leave the room.  I stared daggers at his back.  Okay, so they were probably more like toothpicks, I didn’t have the angry face down quite yet.  Why did I love his bossy Guardian self again?

            I stared down at the phone waiting for it to magically disappear.  I wanted to remain in my happy bubble of existence.  No matter if the bubble were a figment of my imagination or not.  I swallowed deeply resigning myself to my fate.  If I were being completely honest with myself, I knew it wasn’t over.  When we’d left the Council months ago, I’d had the feeling that it had all been the beginning of something more.  Why did I have to have such a heavy conscience?  I breathed in and out for good measure before finally pressing send on the phone.  It only rang once before Isadora answered.

            “What took you so long?”  Isadora asked smoothly.  She never ceased to creep me out with her all knowing self.  I hoped that I would not be that way when I was her age.  I had about a hundred and twenty years to worry about that yet.

            “I was practicing my repression and avoidance techniques.”  I said snarkily.

            “How did those work out for you last time my dear?”  She asked without a hint of emotion.

            “Fine, okay, I should have called sooner.  I get it.  Moving on.  The nightmares are back.  Which you obviously know since you are getting on me for not reaching out sooner.”  I said rubbing my hand down my face, a gesture I had picked up from Kennan.  He did it whenever he was exasperated, which I was becoming.

            “No need to be snippy young lady.  I did not, in fact, know about the nightmares.  I just knew that you were stressed about something.  I kept seeing you look fretful and upset.  I knew you needed to reach out but that you would do so in your own time.  So, here we are.  Tell me everything.”  She paused patiently, waiting for me to spill the beans.

            “The nightmares started up about two months ago.  I thought all was well and then out of nowhere they showed up again.  The common denominator in every last one is Xavier.  He shows up at the end telling me that it is not over.  He keeps telling me that there is more to come.  In this last one he told me ‘I was nothing compared to what is to come.’  Then I wake up and question my sanity.  I feel like something is coming.  Something bad.  I haven’t seen anything but I can’t deny what my gut is telling me.”  I finished hoping she understood the jumble I had just spit out.

            “Well, this is certainly no good.  Do you have any idea if he is still alive or not?” 

            “No.  That is the part that scares me the most.  I thought that he was finished.  I thought I had watched him die.  It wasn’t until I watched that surveillance video at the Council that I began to doubt it.  I am not sure what to believe where Xavier is concerned.” 

            “I have been seeing some things lately.  Things that are quite disturbing.  I really don’t want to discuss this over the phone.  Do you think that you and your dear Guardian might be persuaded to come back to the Council?  I really would like to clear this all up with you in person, my dear.”  Isadora might have posed it as a question but I knew that it was more an order than a request.  My fears brought to life, we were going back to Illinois.

            “Let me get things arranged with Kennan and I will call you when we are on our way.”  I grumbled, knowing good and well there was no use in fighting it. 

            “That would be lovely dear.  We will set up a room for you.  I expect to see you by week’s end.  Until then, stay safe.  Oh, and have Kennan block your dreams.  I need you well rested when you arrive.”  Isadora hung up the phone before I could even sputter a quick goodbye. 

            I sat there staring at the accursed thing.  In that brief conversation my whole future had shifted.  It looked like the wedding was on hold and my life was back to being a jumbled mess of chaos.  I yelled out and threw the phone on the bed.  I furiously put on my robe and headed downstairs.  I knew it was silly for me to be so upset, but ever since this Seer business started I’d felt like my life was not my own.  I thought that once we brought down Xavier all would be well.  I knew deep down that it wasn’t true but I had disillusioned myself for so long that I had started to believe the lie. 

            I looked in the kitchen and found Kennan cooking breakfast.  I walked up behind him, wrapping my arms as far around him as I could manage.  His butt hit my stomach and my face barely reached the middle of his back.   He was my anchor in this world of chaos.  I knew that I needed to start telling him when the bad stuff happened.  The last time I tried to do it on my own he had almost been killed.  I needed to suck it up and just admit that I had a role to play.  The life I longed to build had to be put to rest for the greater good, at least for the time being.  It didn’t mean I had to be happy about it though.  I buried my face in Kennan’s back and breathed in deeply. 

            “What did she say?”  His voice vibrated against my ear.

            “She says we have to be in Illinois by the end of the week.”  I sounded drawn, even to my own ears.

            “Well we need to make arrangements then.  After breakfast I will call some of the other Guardians and schedule a meeting.  If what you said earlier is right then we need to be prepared for whatever is coming.”

            “But Kennan,” I sighed into his back, “we have things here.  What about my garden?  It will die without me.”  He laughed and the vibration was a comfort to my weary soul.

            He turned around to look at me.  His eyes full of laughter.  “Izzy, your garden is already dead.  I think it will do better without your constant attention.  It is the brownest plot of land I have ever seen in my life.  In fact, I think the local nursery has put your picture up with a ban on any future purchases.  You are a plant murderer my love.” 

            I smacked his arm and moved over to pour myself a huge cup of coffee.  I needed liquid reinforcements.  I glared at him the entire time I fixed it.  Not that he was fazed.  He just went back to cooking and ignored my angry glances.

            “I am not that bad.”  I mumbled as I plopped down in my chair.

            “It doesn’t make me love you any less.  It just means that I will have to do all of the gardening when the end of the world comes.  Otherwise, we may starve.”  He snickered as he brought the bacon and eggs to the table.

            Some days I wondered why I loved him so much.  He really was a giant pain in my rear.  On top of that, he never let me get away with anything.  In all of my romance novels, the men fawned over their women giving them whatever they pleased.  Granted, I probably would not love him as much if he did that.

            I looked out the window at the brown plot of land in question.  Stupid garden.  It wasn’t even my fault.  I grew up in the city where there were no wide open spaces to grow things.  How was I supposed to have picked up that life skill?  I wasn’t hundreds of years old like Kennan, the ridiculous old man.

            We finished breakfast in companionable silence.   Kennan seemed to be trying to form a plan to protect me from my own stupidity while I was trying to form a plan to get out of my inevitable future.  Maybe I had a long lost twin out there that I could pawn the fate of the world off on.  After everything I had seen, it was highly plausible.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Life Lessons with Izzy: Patience



Patience.  It is not a virtue I embody, to be sure.  In fact, I tend to be the very opposite of patient pretty much always.  Yet, life came along and gave me one of the very best lessons in patience I ever could have asked for.  My daughter, the Squish.

Before Squish came along, I tended to rush through everything.  I wanted to get where I was going and be there.  I was unable to slow down and enjoy the ride as much as I should have been doing.  I wanted to know the outcome before I ever took the first steps.  In fact, if I could get to the end without going through the middle, I would. 

Then came Squish.  She is a unique soul that tends to take her time in whatever she is doing.  While some days I would like to speed her up and get her moving, I have learned to step back and watch as she takes in the world.  Recently she started Pre-K and we live close to her school, so we walk every morning.  I have learned to leave the house a little early each day so that she can stop and look at all of the amazing stuff that draws her attention each morning.

This morning, we stopped to marvel at a slug, which she had to touch to show me how it sucks its antennae into its head.  We also got to see and amazing spider web built from the branches of a tree all the way to the ground, some lawn gnomes, a caterpillar, and all sorts of other things.  She reminds me that there is more to life than the destination.  She has taught me to slow down and enjoy the journey.  Instead of rushing her through her life, I have learned to take a deep breath and do my very best to learn patience.

In Izzy's case, she knows that there are people around her who have seen the future.  Isadora, for instance, knows all that is coming her way.  (And since I write what I know.... Izzy is super impatient).  Izzy wants to know what Isadora does.  She wants to see what is coming her way, but Isadora, much like my Squish, is trying to teach Izzy a very important lesson.  Some things take time....

Excerpt:

“I am not at the luxury of doing what is best for the moment my dear, and neither are you.  We are the keepers of the future.  With that comes the gravest of responsibilities.  No matter how much we may want to change things to stop the hurt of the present we can’t.  We must suffer the pain of those around us to ensure that the intended future stays on course.”

“Well that just sucks.”  I said leaning back against the seat.  I was going to make a terrible leader.  Isadora handled it all with such grace and here I was moping.
“Indeed.”  She said before sitting next to me.  “It sucks quite a lot.” 

See How She Fights (The Chronicles of Izzy #2)

xoxo,
Michelle

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life Lessons with Izzy: Future


The future.  It something I simultaneously anticipate and fear.  I have no idea where my life will take me, I have no idea where the road may lead me.  Yet, somewhere in my basic makeup, I always long to know of what is in store for my life. 

I look back on what my life has been thus far and realize I would not be where I am today had things happened differently.  I know for certain that every step I have taken in my life has led me to this moment, right now.  Had one thing happened differently I may never have written a book, married my husband, or had my wonderful daughter.  I think back on that and it makes me wonder about my future.  I wonder how the steps I am taking today will affect the life I lead ten years from now, or even twenty.  What will those days hold.

While, I don't have Izzy's talents, I do know that I can control today.  Tomorrow may be out of my grasp, but the actions I take today will lead me to tomorrow.  Whatever I do in my present has a direct effect on the outcome of my future.  So, though I wish I could look into my future and see what the days ahead hold, I am content to live all of my todays as brilliantly as I can. 

 Instead of worrying about what the tomorrows may hold, I am content to live my todays.  Looking to the future isn't a bad thing, but spending all of our time focused on what may come ruins what time we have now. Unfortunately, Izzy does not have the luxury of living only her todays.  She does have a glimpse at what her future may hold.  Both through the visions of others and her own.  She knows that if she doesn't stop what is happening in her present, the future will be abysmal. 


“How can you see me?”  I asked.  She was still very much alive.

“Because we are bound, you and I.  My past shall be your future unless you can fight what is coming.  Now go, before he sees you.”  Cait said pushing me out of the memory.  I was starting to get sick of people doing that to me.

(See How She Fights Excerpt)

xoxo,
Michelle

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blog Tour Info!!!!!

So, I am doing my very first ever blog tour.... I am both thrilled and terrified.  If you have been following along on my author page, you know it starts tomorrow!  Eeeeep!  At any rate.... The link below will take you straight to the schedule page with all of the information.  I hope you all follow along!

xoxo,
Michelle Graves

http://www.bookmonsterpromotions.com/2013/09/michelle-graves-see-how-she-runs-blog.html
 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Life Lessons with Izzy: Honesty


I was recently asked in several of my blog tour interviews what my pet peeves were.  My answer was always the same:  bullying and dishonesty.  I will leave the bullying bit for now.  What I want to focus on is dishonesty. 

I come from a family that holds you to your word.  What I say has weight and if I use my words to hide the truth or cover up for something I am ashamed of, well I am hurting myself more than anyone else.  Honesty is something I have been taught to value.  Yes, there are times when lying would be easier. 

Let me rewind for a second and clarify what I mean by dishonesty.  I am not talking about the white lies we tell everyday, the ones that spare people's feelings.  I am talking about the big ones.  Ones that hide things from people, that could eventually hurt one or more of the people involved.  I am talking about lies of omission.  I am talking about the lies we tell people and turn around and stab them in the back when they least expect it.  I am talking about lies that could well change a person's life.

Whether it be a rumor or something you withhold thinking that you are protecting yourself or someone else....ultimately the lie will out and it will hurt worse than the truth ever would have.  I have been fortunate in my life to only feel the brunt of either form a few times.  Nowadays I don't have to deal with fear of anything like this happening.  I absolutely trust the people closest to me and I know I am doing my best to teach my daughter what it means to be honest.  That her word carries weight.

Unfortunately, for our intrepid heroine, this is not the case.  People keep withholding information.  They are keeping her in the dark for fear of what may happen if she knows the truth.  In the end, the lies hurt her worse than the truth ever could have.  Dishonesty is an overall theme within See How She Fights.  It is something that shapes the story and informs the growth of Izzy.  Her actions could have been completely different had the truth been spoken from the start. 



“Funny.  Listen, I would have told you.  You have to believe that.  I wasn’t trying to keep you in the dark.  I just wanted you to have a few months of peace before everything got shifted again.  I wanted you to be free from this world for a while.  Maybe give you time to adjust.  Hell, maybe I was just being selfish.  Maybe I wanted to keep you to myself for a while.  Whatever the reasons they will never be enough to you.  I know that and I know that Isadora was right, I should have told you the minute she knew.”  He finished, falling to his knees in front of me.  His face was pleading.