Game of Thrones: Lessons for Writers

You know I couldn’t not comment on #GameOfThrones now that it’s ended. And, no matter what I think of the ending itself, I have to say that the writing on this show has been phenomenal. Otherwise, people wouldn’t have tuned in in droves and obsessed over what they thought would happen.

Most of that is due to the fantastic material George R. R. Martin provided as the base (and I could write several more posts about what writers could learn from his writing). But it also took visionaries to convert that large pool of material into TV-worthy tightness and to see beyond to where the books haven’t gone.

Today I want to look at what writers can learn from the TV show. Agree? Disagree? Have your own? Weigh in!

Details in the Beginning Matter Throughout

Lay down early hints (What do we say to the God of Death?) and breadcrumbs that you can tie through the full series. Some of those breadcrumbs can be something as simple as a character’s name and the significance of that character or their name isn’t revealed until late in the story (Hodor). Just make sure you don’t leave breadcrumbs that never get answered/addressed.


Genre Mashup

Writers, you don’t have to stay strictly in the bounds of your genre. If you do it right, you can make it what you want. You may think of #GOT as simply fantasy, but at its core, it’s so many genres:

  • fantasy (set in a world with dragons and castles)
  • family saga (Starks, Targeryans, Lanisters)
  • paranormal (witches, dragons, direwolves, and, oh yeah, that pesky Night King)
  • romance (so many)
  • mystery (what is the real truth?)
  • epic (the timeline and # of characters and stakes)

And many more!

Give Everyone a Character to Love and a Character to Hate

This doesn’t just mean one hero or heroine or villain necessarily. Some people hate Cersei the most, but others hate the Night King. Some love Danny, or Jon, or Arya, or Sansa, or…

See, multiple characters for people with different perceptions, different backgrounds, different tastes to fall in love with or despise or maybe see themselves in.

Not Just One Plot Arc

Yes, the main plot arc of the entire series is who is going to take the Iron Throne. That drives everything. But we have so many others of all sizes and various impacts to the direct storyline. The white walkers. Arya’s journey to becoming a badass. Danny becoming the mother of dragons. Jon’s mission with the wildlings. And so forth…

Give More than One GMC for the Overarching Series

Goal. Motivation. Conflict. Every character should have them, and GOT does a great job with that. But an overarching series should have it as well. The first GMC for GOT is the Iron Throne–the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the person sitting on it. But the series has another overarching GMC–the whitewalkers/Night King. Which was more compelling to you? The game of musical rulers? Or the fight for survival against a force that doesn’t die?


Every Character is the Hero of Their Story

People don’t think, “I’ll be evil today.” And most people considered evil did not in any way considered themselves to be so. They thought they were doing the right things for whatever reasons. No matter how much you hate the villains–Cersei, the Night King, the Hound, even Walter Fray–you have to admit the writers have made them real people and not just caricatures of evil. Cersei acts out of terror for her children and a determination to prove herself and help them. The Night King was created with the sole purpose of destroying humanity. Walter Fray acts out of a sense of belittlement and vengeance against the people he felt wronged him. Right or wrong, they have reasons compelling enough to them to drive their actions.

Torture Your Characters (But Have Them Stay in Character)

Torturing your characters–putting them in impossible situations–is what will always make great and compelling writing. The reason most of the deaths in GOT worked is because those deaths drove the story and other characters in a certain direction. Ned Stark had to die for pretty much every other thing that happens to his family to happen.

That said, when writing your characters they need to remain consistent. If they are going to change, you have to give the reader/watcher fair warning and do it in such a way that is believable to what has come before. Which, for me, was the biggest lesson when it comes to the ending of the series. Dany’s change to a murderous queen wasn’t in character and/or it wasn’t given enough time and back up to make it so.


There are a ton of other lessons a writer can take away from Game of Thrones, and even more from George R.R. Martin’s books, but these are the ones that struck me most at this point in my career. Writer or reader or watcher, what lessons did you take/would you have taken from #GOT?


RONE Award Nominee – Please Vote!

015-6x9-Book-Ereader-Mockup-COVERVAULT-FiresEdgeI am thrilled to announce that THE BOSS has been nominated for the 2019 InD’tale RONE Awards!

The way these awards work, throughout the year the InD’tale stable of reviewers read and review submitted books. All books that receive a 5-Star review are automatically finalists in their category. All books that receive a 4.5-Star review are nominees which go through a round of reader voting.

After reader voting, all finalists are then read by a panel of industry judges (editors, agents, librarians, etc.). Their scores will determine the RONE winners. Winners will then be announced and awarded the prestigious RONE Award at the video ceremony, October 12th, 2019!


Reader voting will be for 1-week at a time for each category. If you’ve read and loved my books, I’d appreciate your votes! Please check out the voting dates.

Paranormal Long Voting – May 13-19


Must be logged in to the website to vote.

Thank you for your votes!


New Release | The Rookie


Playing with dragons with only get you burned.



To escape exile, Aidan Paytah has had to prove himself worthy. Every second of every damn day. He fought with everything he had to earn his precarious place on the Huracán team of dragon shifter enforcers. He can’t fail or afford distractions, no matter how temptingly sweet. Total loyalty to the clans and dedication to his team is the only way.

Sera Morrison lost her parents and her husband in short order, leaving her a single mother running her family winery alone. Nothing could ever have prepared her for the discovery that she’s a destined dragon mate. But once she finds out, there’s only one man she wants—the one who walks away.

However, the Alliance Council has its own agenda. They want to use her as a political pawn and force a mating that could ultimately kill her to save the High King. Aidan has no choice but to kidnap her, even if it means their close proximity reinforces their own mating bond. And mating with him could end up being a far worse fate for Sera… Continue reading “New Release | The Rookie”


The Boss – $0.99 – Limited Time Only

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Rookie, I’ve put The Boss on sale for only $0.99 for a limited time only.

When: April 12-22
Where: All eBook Retailers (see below)
What: The Boss (Fire’s Edge #1)
Price: $0.99 (boom!)

Continue reading “The Boss – $0.99 – Limited Time Only”


Top 5 On My Bucket List

We all have one (or we should). A bucket list. That list of things we want to do/experience/accomplish before we kick the bucket.

I love the idea of a bucket list because it means that, right up to the end, you never stop trying new things or looking for new experiences. I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who loved to travel, to experience other cultures, to try new things, and encouraged us to do so as well. I’ve continued that practice into my adult life. As you can imagine, my bucket list is a long one.

I don’t number them or have them in any particular order though. And I should mention that travel is a huge part of my list. I’ve mentioned one below, but there’s also Australia/New Zealand, Austria, Holland, Iceland, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, the Galapagos, more time in Japan, Russia, and many many other places. Still, for fun, I tried to figure out my top 5.


5. Photo Safari in Kenya

I’ve wanted to go to Africa and see those amazing animals and the beautiful (and varied) topography for ages. I’d love to experience some of the (safer) cultures and try the food and be out in the quiet of the plains or see the jungles. But especially those animals. I’ve seen them in zoos, but no way is that the same.


4. Find the Best Dessert Ever

Okay, so this is a weird one. But I LOVE dessert. I find the best one at every restaurant I visit. I figure, with all the traveling, I have many more to try, right? So far, the one to beat is the Triple Pot de Crème at Back Bistro in Folsom, CA. I’m actually not a creme brulee person, but this isn’t exactly creme brulee. It’s the creme part of vanilla custard then covered by a layer of caramel, and then dark chocolate ganache and sea salt. It is incredible.


3. Support Myself as an Author

I love my dream of being an author, I’ve crossed so many accomplishments and goals off my bucket list over the last 10 years. More than that, I am so, so lucky that I get to pursue it full time. For now. But I won’t be able to keep this up if I can’t make it contribute to my family. It doesn’t have to be huge. I’m not looking to be the next Nora Roberts or multi-million earning writer. But an income that contributes… it’s the only way I get to keep doing this. To me, this means continuing to work on my craft and keep publishing the best works I can, and pray that the luck side of this business comes my way.


2. Live in Estes Park, CO

I’ve wanted this as long as I can remember. Convincing my husband to retire there might take some work. Leaving friends to move would also be hard. It would be awesome if the lottery could strike and, boom, vacation home where we can stay a lot!


1. Meet My Great Grandkids

I want to live long enough to see my kids live through major life moments–prom, high school graduation, going to college, getting married, and having children. But I’m selfish. I want to see this for my grandkids too. And to meet my great grandkids. I got to know my great grandmother until I was 12. Hearing about and imagining her life, and knowing she touched mine, is one of my favorite life experiences. I’d love to have it again, on the other side.


Those are my top 5 (for now). What about you? What’s one your bucket list?


The Rookie | Preorder & Sneak Peek

Playing with dragons will only get you burned.

To escape exile, Aidan Paytah has had to prove himself worthy. Every second of every damn day. He fought with everything he had to earn his precarious place on the Huracán team of dragon shifter enforcers. He can’t fail or afford distractions, no matter how temptingly sweet. Total loyalty to the clans and dedication to his team is the only way.

Sera Morrison lost her parents and her husband in short order, leaving her a single mother running her family winery alone. Nothing could ever have prepared her for the discovery that she’s a destined dragon mate. But once she finds out, there’s only one man she wants—the one who walks away.

However, the Alliance Council has its own agenda. They want to use her as a political pawn and force a mating that could ultimately kill her to save the High King. Aidan has no choice but to kidnap her, even if it means their close proximity reinforces their own mating bond. And mating with him could end up being a far worse fate for Sera…



The Rookie can stand alone with its own HEA, but feel free to get started on the series while you wait for April 22nd to get here.


Entangled Publishing | Coming 4.22.2019!


“Watch your six, rookie.”

His Alpha’s voice sounded in Aidan’s head through the telepathic link all dragon shifters shared. Urgency cut through the words like shattered glass.

“Bank left,” Finn yelled before Aidan could check over his shoulder for what could be coming at him.

Training, instinct, and total trust kicked in. Without a blink of hesitation, Aidan dropped one wing, wheeling hard enough that air and gravity pushed against his massive body in opposing forces. Half-way into the turn, he craned his long neck to see if whatever was behind him was still there.

The moonless night cast the earth in darkness broken only by the myriad of stars overhead and the orange glow of the wildland fire raging thousands of feet below. Dark smoke billowed around him, obscuring his vision. This fire was yet another that had been caused by rogue dragon shifters. Aidan and the crew needed to get it contained. Fast. Before humans discovered it and them.

But first, what the hell was behind him?

There. The firelight glinted off diamond-bright scales. A white dragon tailed him, wobbling as he struggled with the force of the turn Aidan had put them in. More the shade of pure starlight, the fucker was easy to locate against the dark sky and smoke. At least he wasn’t a black dragon who would’ve disappeared in this kind of cover.

How’d I miss this asshole?

Silently beating himself up over that slip and determined to make up for it, Aidan pushed harder, increasing his speed and pulling away. White dragons tended to be longer and leaner than those from other clans, making them better long-distance flyers and more graceful in the air than blue dragons, like Aidan, who were the sprinters, known more for their speed.

Gaining distance, but not too much, Aidan suddenly threw his wings wide and slammed his momentum to a halt. He flipped in the air, talons outstretched, and braced for impact.

The white dragon, already forcing himself faster than he naturally flew, and unable to turn his long form quickly, careened right into him.

Satisfaction spiked Aidan’s blood faster than a shot of alcohol. Gotcha.

Grappling—both trying to take a chunk out of the other—they dropped like a sack of boulders right toward the flaming granite mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains below. Meanwhile, the guy in Aidan’s grasp thrashed and fought as though demons had possessed him.

What’s wrong with this fucker?

The other dragon snapped his jaws around Aidan’s wrist, and jagged pain ripped through him. Those massive, cutting teeth penetrated, ripping sky blue scales out of the way to expose the more vulnerable flesh beneath.

Before Aidan could pull free, the rumble of gathering fire, an inferno being stoked deep inside a dragon’s belly, sounded beneath him. Not letting go of his bite, the dragon blew white-tipped flames from his maw, pouring them over the open wound he’d slashed into Aidan’s body.

The minor pain from the bite bloomed into something the minions of hell would love to use as a form of torture on poor souls. In this form, his scales protected him from dragon fire, which burned hotter and harder than any other kind of fire. Once those scales were breached, however, direct fire could do serious damage. If Aidan couldn’t get free, the guy could pour enough flame into that small puncture to consume him from the inside out.

But Aidan had trained for this.

Fought for this.

Put every fucking ounce of his heart and soul into proving himself worthy of his Huracán Enforcer team.

Hell, growing up an orphan dragon shifter, at the hairy edge of rogue, the way he had, fighting for his very existence when many of his people would have seen him dead, had prepared him for this moment.

He’d been ready for a long time, and now he’d finally get to prove it.

Divorcing his mind from the screaming pain, Aidan quieted his body. He couldn’t wait for any of the other members of the team to intervene.

With a twisting move he’d learned wrestling with the other shifters at the home for orphans where he’d grown up, Aidan not only yanked his arm free but took one of the dragon’s teeth with him in the move. The other shifter yowled his pain. Aidan slithered around, finding purchase on the curved spikes protruding along his opponent’s spine, and climbed onto the guy’s back, riding him bucking bronco style. The ground rushed up at him, and he knew exactly how long he had before he needed to let go.

Sinking his talons deep into the other shifter’s bony shoulder, Aidan lunged over his attacker. Striking like a cobra he managed to get his own piercing teeth between steel-hard scales, right at the base of the shifter’s neck.

The white dragon, even as crazy as he’d been acting, froze in his grip, survival instinct kicking in hard. Aidan hadn’t bitten with enough force to snap his neck. Yet. He applied pressure so the shifter knew he was screwed.

“I’m going to flare my wings and slow us down. You are going to stay very, very still. Got it?”

“Dah,” came the resentful response, along with a low rumble of a growl.

Russian. Some dragons adopted the native language of the home-base country of their clan, but not as much here in the states where most spoke English. Interesting.

Throwing his wings out wide, Aidan clenched against the force of the wind dragging at him straining the wound still raging on his wrist, not to mention his wings. Dragon’s wings were designed to carry one, not two.

They were going to hit. Hard.

Bracing himself for impact, Aidan had to clamp down as the creature in his grasp started to struggle, thrashing his tail around, making it even more difficult to stop this runaway train.

“Hold still,” Aidan growled, biting harder.

The white dragon stilled, though his entire body vibrated in Aidan’s grasp like his nerves were live wires. “Vill to kill us.”

The odd response could’ve been a lack of English, but the phrasing still triggered a series of memories for Aidan. Was this a new dragon, shifting for the first time? “Calm down.”

“Hey there, rookie,” Rivin’s voice pinged through his mind.

“Need some help?” came Keighan’s lower pitched tones.

Both his teammates’ amusement grated, but they didn’t wait for him to answer. The two white dragons on his team appeared on either side of him and latched onto the dragon he held. Together, the three of them not only landed but managed to avoid the fire ravaging the mountains all around.

Not that fire would harm them.

Seconds after landing, a sapphire-blue dragon, scales like living water in the shimmering light of the fire raging nearby, landed beside them. His Alpha’s claws scraped with a curdling screech as Finn found purchase on a large swatch of exposed granite.

“Thanks for the warning,” Aidan shot the thought at his leader. “I wouldn’t have seen him otherwise.”

Finn had led their team of dragon shifter enforcers for hundreds of years, a position of honor, appointed by the kings themselves. Until recently, Finn had led with his brother, Fallon, at his side. But Fallon was in Europe now, mated and the healer for the king of the Blue Clan. His vacancy on the team had opened up a spot for another blue dragon.

The chance Aidan had been waiting for.

Finn nodded an acknowledgment, then turned to the captive and bared his teeth, a low rumble of warning vibrating from him like the sound of an earthquake. He kept his wings flared wide, ready to pounce or drop away at any second. “What do we have here?”

Given how the young dragon was trembling, not in fear, but as though he couldn’t control his body, combined with the glimmer of mirage-like waves that faded in an out around him—signs Aidan had seen before—he had a fair idea.

“All I know is he speaks Russian,” Aidan reported. “I think he might be in his first shift.”

A glance passed between the four of them acknowledging the significance of that fact.

Confident his captive wouldn’t run, Aidan unhooked his claws to climb off and stalked around to stare down the white dragon head on. Sure enough, the lack of fully developed spikes and no callusing of the scales around his claws and spine indicated a younger dragon. The kid was still lucid, though, and smart enough to remain quiet and not even think about running.

At least he hasn’t gone fully feral as could happen to a young dragon without a member of his family there to anchor him and mentor him through it. If he had gone savage, no way could Aidan have subdued him, and that fight would’ve gone to shit fast.

Finn lowered his head, sniffing at the wound on Aidan’s arm. “Definitely the one responsible for this fire.”

Aidan already determined that the second the guy had spewed fire over him. Every dragon’s fire had a different scent to it, marking the flames as their own.

Keighan leaned in closer, muscles bunching, setting his scales to rippling. With a hiss, he opened his maw ready to blast their captive. Rivin mimicked his stance, prepared to rend their captive’s flesh and let Keighan’s fire work faster. However, neither moved to finish him.

“What do you want to do, boss?” Keighan demanded.

Usually the goofy pair of their team, never taking anything seriously, they looked more than serious now. An almost blood-thirsty light reflected in their glacial eyes. An attack directly against a team member was something guaranteed to piss off all of them. Including Rivin and Keighan.

“Wait,” Aidan snapped.

It said a lot about the respect he’d earned in the group when Finn held his order and instead cocked his head in question.

“He’s not with Rune.” Aidan directed the comment to Finn alone.

Rune didn’t use kids on his attacks. Only fully-grown rogues, dissenters from the kings, but adult and in control, making them deliberately dangerous, rather than ruled by the creature within.

Finn’s glare went dark at the mention of his former Beta. These days, they had to worry that every fire had to do with their old teammate. Rune had turned traitor and went rogue with two goals: first, to find and abduct mates before the Mating Council could get ahold of them, and second, to put an end to the current mating process.

As it stood, members of the Mating Council were tasked with helping human women who showed dragon sign—smelling of smoke, setting off small fires, or shifting small parts of their bodies—to find their destined mates. A process that Rune believed to be so wrong, he’d been willing to turn against the men who’d once been close as brothers because they were sworn to protect and uphold the rules of the clans and kings.

Rune made a big damn noise about it every time he stole a mate from under the council’s nose. He seemed to think if he turned it into a problem the kings couldn’t ignore or sweep under the rug, they’d be forced to change the mating process.

Many of the fires they dealt with lately were thanks to Rune. But not this time.

“Prove it.”

 Aidan faced the young dragon. “First shift?”

Eerie white eyes jerked back and forth between him and the two white dragons ready to flay his scales and char his bones inside his skin. “Dah.”

“Where’s your family?” Finn demanded.


Aidan angled his head to glance at Rivin. Most dragons from the white clan hailed from mountain strongholds in and around Russia.

“Dead,” Rivin translated.

Oh. Damn.

This youngster was lucky, though. He was in the colonies, even if he hadn’t started that way. At least here, dragons lived in smaller groups less prone to kick out young, orphaned dragons if they remained in control.

Not like the clans.

Although, that fact hadn’t helped Aidan when he’d been shunned after his own parents’ deaths. Sure the group he lived with had let him stay, but he’d been more isolated than if they’d kicked him out. If it hadn’t been for Lyndi he’d probably be dead by now.

But rogue—choosing to leave the protection of your group or the clans, or, worse, being kicked out for a reason—was a different animal altogether. He had to know.

“Are you rogue?” Aidan asked the kid.


Shit. Aidan snaked his head around to give his boss a significant look. Finn knew what he was asking without words. Orphaned dragons were dangerous because of their lack of control, but rogues had no loyalty. While the clans considered orphans a liability, like a limb with gangrene that needed to be cut off, rogues were to be killed on sight.

“My parents made choice to leave with no permission. I come back?”

Damn. The kid had guts. He wanted to return to the fold? Was it even possible? An orphan whose parents went rogue and who’d never shifted before? Maybe with some guidance—

“He’s accountable for this fire,” Finn pointed out, to Aidan only, as if reading his thoughts. A deliberate fire was punishable by death. But this obviously wasn’t deliberate. Attacking Aidan, on the other hand, fell under the same consequence.

“I know.” That didn’t mean the kid didn’t deserve a second chance.

“The Alliance Council is on my ass like wet toilet paper,” Finn said.

Aidan knew that, too. Their Alpha was already under the microscope. Last year Finn had claimed his mate, Delaney, without informing the Alliance Council—the representatives from each clan who governed the colonies and who the Huracán Enforcers reported to directly—of her existence or getting permission from the Mating Council, who presided over all dragon shifter matings worldwide.

Not to mention, Finn had a new king. A king who’d recently taken the throne of the Blue Clan by force, which heaped a whole other layer of complication and suspicion on every blue dragon—including Aidan—until things settled between the blue king and the kings of the other five clans—black, white, red, green, and gold.

“Let’s talk to him first. Then figure it out,” Aidan suggested.

Finn considered that before turning his focus to the young dragon. “Can you shift?”

No response for a long moment. Then he grunted, as if in pain. That grunt grew to a full-blown roar, including a few yelps, as the dragon tried, for the first time, to force the beast to bow to the man. Mirage-like waves appeared then disappeared, as if he couldn’t hold the magic.

“Take a deep breath,” Aidan instructed. He’d done this with so many younger dragons at Lyndi’s. At least his parents had still been alive to help him and steady him when his first time had come. “Hold it, and picture what the world appears like when you’re human. What you feel like in that form. What you look like.”

The young dragon’s ribcage heaved then held. After several more tries, those waves appeared and stayed, hovering about his body. With excruciating slowness, and in total silence, the dragon forced his body to shrink. Not a smooth motion like the shifters around them would show, but in jerks and fits, bones and muscles realigning themselves, scales disappearing as skin and hair took their place. Along with clothing, magically absorbed into his form during the shift. Clothing that hadn’t seen a washer in months. The stench hit Aidan a second later.

“Fuck.” Keighan exclaimed. “He’s just a kid.”

Couldn’t be more than his early teens given the way dragon shifters aged, making the kid around twenty to thirty years in human time. Living a millennium or more, dragons physically aged much slower than humans.

Sure enough, the flesh on the back of his hand between his thumb and forefinger was bare, the brand of his king—Volos for white dragons—conspicuously absent, marking him for all to see as a rogue. Rogue and orphan. This kid needed help.

“Rivin, Keighan, watch him,” Finn instructed.

His teammates both eased their stances, sitting back, relaxed even. “You got it, boss.”

“Can we at least mess with him while we wait?” Rivin asked.

Even in dragon form, Aidan could see Rivin’s twinkle of mischief. Now that the threat to the team had been minimized, they were back to the nut jobs he expected them to be.

“No playing,” Finn rumbled. “You two hold him here while we get this fire under control.”

Both dragons, opalescent scales shimmering with a rainbow of colors, seemed to grin at that, fearsome teeth offset by lolling forked tongues. No doubt they’d fuck with the kid while no one was watching. Just for the hell of it.

But they wouldn’t hurt him. Not without orders.

Aidan wouldn’t leave the kid alone otherwise. Another unwanted, abandoned, wasted dragon with no future.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

“You okay to work?” Finn bobbed his head in a dragon version of a head nod at Aidan’s wound.

“I’m fine.” No way in hell was he claiming injury. Not his first time officially out with the team, and not just as backup, a liaison with humans, or an afterthought, but as a critical member. He’d been waiting for this, working his ass off for this night. He’d still fly even if he’d been gutted. He couldn’t help that kid if he wasn’t earning his place with the Huracán Enforcers.

“Let’s go,” Finn said.

With fluid motions, they launched back into the air, side-by-side, wings extended with a span of roughly forty feet, tipped as they spiraled up to get a bird’s eye view. “Take back over on that eastern edge,” Finn directed.

Already the rest of the team had reduced the size of the blaze by at least half, despite four of them being temporarily unavailable.

“Yes, sir.” Aidan dove toward that area, preparing to do his part.

All dragons could draw fire into themselves through their maws, pulling it down the same track of pipes into their belly where their own fire was stored. Enforcers were trained in a different method. A faster method that consumed more of the fire. They could drag the flames into their body, absorbing it through their scales.

With sweeping passes over the fire, he pulled the flames into himself, absorbing them faster than they could burn more fuel on the ground. The rest of his team attacked it from other angles, working together.

An hour later, the fire was out.

This job had been large enough to require the entire crew, but small enough that they could contain it in one night, and far enough out in the wilderness that humans probably wouldn’t find out about it unless a ranger or hikers stumbled across the burnt area.

All the team, except Rivin and Keighan, flew up to meet Finn, circling overhead.

Hall, neon green even in the dark, swiped past Aidan, giving him a friendly bump on the way by. “I assume Aidan found the shifter responsible? First kill, rookie. Way to go.”

Aidan growled. “I didn’t kill him.”

“What happened?” Hall didn’t get the clue to shut up. “Couldn’t get it up?”

Drake buzzed by overhead, low enough to make Hall duck. “You know Aidan’s bigger than you, right?”

“Nah. He wouldn’t hurt me.”

“I might,” Drake snarled. He must be more irritated than usual to bother using so many words. Drake generally preferred to be the silent, brooding fucker of the bunch. Hall had better watch it.

Instead of backing down, though, Hall stepped it up a level or ten. “You know what’s worse than waking up after a party and finding a penis drawn on your face?”

Drake whipped around, and, for a second, appeared to bobble awkwardly in the air, which he never did. But he recovered so fast, Aidan wasn’t sure he saw what he thought he did.

Except Drake seemed to do that more often lately. Little things that would be nothing in someone else, but Drake was one of the best. A warrior from his clan, he’d once served on his king’s guard.

Was he sick?

Aidan shook off the thought. Dragons only got sick if they were aging without a mate, and the red dragon shifter was too young for that.

What?” Drake snapped.

Hall dropped low as Drake swiped at him with his tail, his chuckle following him through the air. “Finding out it was traced.”

The hacking and rumbling sound Hall made came off more eerie than amused, until he snorted green-tipped flames from his nose. Why the green dragon insisted on fucking with Drake—his comments were rarely aimed at anyone else—Aidan had no idea. But it’d definitely bite him in the ass one day.

“Aidan had reason for holding off,” Finn said when Hall finally quit. “Let’s get back. We’ll talk it out there.”

Exhausted, the team turned for home, situated relatively close, north of their current position.


And Sera.

Aidan clenched his teeth as that thought snuck into his head. Immediately, an image of her appeared in his mind, as though conjured. Petite and light to his dark with hair that curled around her chin and turquoise eyes that drew him like gravity. His own secret fantasy who entered his dreams, did things to his body, shared whispered conversations, then disappeared when he woke. A woman who, in reality, he could never let himself want.

She was human. A single mother with a son to raise and a winery to run. Not to mention Finn’s mate’s best friend and boss. Off limits.

With determination, Aidan pushed the image away.

For months, Aidan had resisted the draw the blonde held for him. He might not be able to control his dreams, but he could remain distant in real life.

You have one job, he reminded himself now.

Being an enforcer for the clans was the most important thing in his life. He had to prove himself every single day. Because clans rejected orphans, he’d met resistance to his ambitions at every fucking turn. A glass ceiling he intended to shatter, paving the way for the others like himself. Sera Morrison fell into the category of a distraction he couldn’t afford.

No matter how much he craved her.

Even so, he flew a little faster. He might not be able to want the real-life version, but he wouldn’t mind another of those dreams involving her. That was the only weakness he could allow himself.

Finn had his Beta, Levi, carry the kid in one massive talon. The only gold dragon on the team, Levi, like most of his clan, was the largest and strongest among them. A brutal killing machine when he needed to be, even if the guy was a total teddy bear otherwise. With the white shifter in his more vulnerable human state, if he made any move Levi didn’t like, Levi would crush him in an instant.

The prisoner continued to show some level of intelligence, staying quiet and still the length of the long flight home. At least this fire hadn’t been a three-day flight away like the last one, which had been set on the northern edge of their territory. The Huracáns were assigned the west coast of North America, the largest of the various dragon colonies all over the world.

Dawn was breaking, pale pink fingers of light reaching over the mountain tops as they made it back to their home situated west of Lake Tahoe and over the pass. Finn landed first, flaring his deeply blue wings wide in the relatively open, flat space outside their headquarters.

He shifted quickly, efficient in the action as his body reformed—shrinking and altering to stand upright, scales turning to human flesh, the nasty-looking spikes along his spine pulling back into his body, talons and teeth both turning human, until a man stood on the ground where a forty-foot dragon had just been.

Levi followed, glittering in the sunlight like he’d been gilded. He gave up their prisoner to Finn before shifting as well.

Titus, black as an ink stain across the sky, was swiftly followed by Drake, blood red in contrast, right beside him. Hall and Kanta—one almost neon green and snakelike, the other the deep green of a forest, waited until the men had stepped aside before following suit. Rivin and Keighan jostled each other in an effort to race to the ground, and Aidan had to beat his wings to drift longer as he waited for them.

“Dudes. Clear the fuck out.”

“What’s wrong, rookie? Can’t maintain a hover?” Rivin shot back.

But they completed their shifts and moved out of the way nonetheless. As soon as they were done, Aidan brought up the rear. The shifting process was painless now, and second nature. With a mere thought, his perspective changed, rapidly dropping closer to the ground and adjusting as his sight became less pinpoint perfect, though still better than humans. Only this time, he hissed through his teeth as the wound on his wrist changed with him. A deep throbbing took up residence, shooting up his arm in angry spikes, originating from the nasty red slash, the skin seeming to bubble up before his eyes.

“You all right?” Drake asked.


Even through his own pain, Aidan didn’t miss how his friend gave his hand a shake, as though waking a sleeping limb. “You?”

Drake paused in what had to have been an unconscious action. He clenched his fist and dropped it to his side. “Fine.”

Everyone was fine. Terrific.

Finn opened a hidden panel on a tree that wasn’t a real tree but did a damn good job of acting like one. After scanning his palm on a high-tech device, a massive boulder nearby slid back, two double doors whooshing open. With their prisoner in tow, they’d chosen to come in one of the back entrances.

Despite his concern for the kid, exhaustion and the need to get to his bed dragged at Aidan as he followed everyone inside and down a long tunnel. Lights along the sides turned themselves on as the men passed, illuminating only a small section of the blackness at any given time until they eventually emerged in a small round room which sported five more tunnels branching off in different directions.

“Levi. Lock him up,” Finn directed. “Everyone get some rest. Meet in the war room at fourteen-hundred to debrief. We’ll report to the Alliance then.”

Finn wanted to tell the Alliance about the kid? That was a guaranteed death sentence. But Aidan didn’t say anything. He’d do better to get some sleep first, be fresh to argue later. With feet that felt like cement blocks had wrapped around them, he managed to get to his room. He didn’t even bother to undress, falling face first on his bed.

In seconds he was out, and through the darkness, he heard Sera’s voice.


Crested Butte | Spring Break 2019

Keeping up our spring break skiing vacation tradition, this year we tried out a new spot. Crested Butte, Colorado (or, as my kids like to call it… crusty butt), might be my new favorite Colorado spot. Or 2nd behind Estes Park, at least. Continue reading “Crested Butte | Spring Break 2019”


The Rookie | Cover Reveal (+ Giveaway)

Do you want to take a second to drool with me? As usual, I am blown away by KAM Design and Entangled. My covers are so beautiful! Continue reading “The Rookie | Cover Reveal (+ Giveaway)”


Books That Influenced My Life

What books have influenced my life? This is a difficult question for me. Partly because I read so much, it’ll be hard to narrow the list. Partly because I don’t know that I’ve had any profound moment of change.

I’ve lost myself in books, escaping into the worlds and falling in love with the characters until they feel like old friends. Books can do more, absolutely. They can teach, inspire, reveal, expose, and so much more. Important roles. Continue reading “Books That Influenced My Life”


My Contest Experiences

So… I have to admit that my enjoyment (perhaps it could be termed an addiction) to writing contests started at a young age.

When I was 9 years old, I won a writing contest in my school district for an essay about Abraham Lincoln. What? Someone thinks I’m a good writer? Well, then, I must be. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. Continue reading “My Contest Experiences”