Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Ascended

After reading the first two books in the series, I have been impatiently waiting on the last installment,
The Ascended.

Tiffany King has created a fantastical world with Angels, Fallen Angels, and Haniel. Those who have read the second book know what I'm talking about. ::wink wink::

Tiffany's writing is fluid and perfectly descriptive. I never felt bogged down while reading, in-fact, each of her books were almost impossible to put down. It wasn't just the likeable characters or the speed at which I fell into Tiffany's world, forgetting reality around me, but the uniqueness of the story that gripped me. I am eagerly awaiting The Ascended's release, because I NEED to know what happens!

Tiffany has been gracious enough to provide me an excerpt to share with you all. Be careful now, because it's going to pull you in and you won't be able to turn away until you read the entire series. And then again a second time. :o)


"I wonder where the rest went," I asked, expecting my friends to answer. “Guys, are you okay?” I asked, getting no response. I was so wrapped up with the poltergeist, I hadn’t noticed where my friends went, but they were definitely missing. A cold dread suddenly gripped me. Some Ascended I was, I thought. I had allowed my friends to be snatched right out from under me. I sank down to my knees as the full impact of it hit me. I was utterly alone in the dark hallway. I started to hyperventilate when I realized the connection between my current predicament and the dreams that had been haunting me for months. The air around me thickened and I could feel the darkness pressing down on me.
After several minutes, I was finally able to get a grip on myself. This was different. I knew the dimensions of the hallway and also knew that I wouldn't fall into some unseen abyss. Sure, I didn't know what awaited me at the end of the hallway, nor did I know what had happened to my friends, but I was also a different person now.
I pulled myself up off the ground and slowly started walking forward. I kept my hands out in front of me to help alert me to any obstacle I might encounter. My pace was slow and cautious as I continued to proceed down the long narrow space. I used my gifts to see if I could sense the location of my missing friends, but felt nothing. This was not the way the plan was supposed to go. We had allowed ourselves to walk into an ambush. The question is why had Victor left me in the hallway alone? And why did he feel the need to mess with me?
"Because I can," his voice whispered in my ear, making me shriek in fright. Whipping around, I stuck my arms straight out to ward off a possible attack.
"Where are you, coward?" I yelled, angry that I was once again at his mercy. I turned back around and raced down the hallway, away from the voice, back where I knew there was a way out. I allowed panic to get hold of me and in my mad dash to get away I crashed headfirst into an unseen obstacle.
        My head reeled from the blow as I slumped down into unconsciousness.
Awesome, right? Want to know more?
Check out Tiffany King's Blog HERE
Or grab the first installment of the series, Meant To Be, on AMAZON
You can also check out a interview I did on my blog of Tiffany King HERE

Friday, December 16, 2011

Indulge Release Celebration & Giveaway

Firstly I would like to exhale the deep breath I've been holding for what seems like months. **sigh**
I feel better now. :o)

Indulge, Book 2 in my Warm Delicacy series is now available!

Okay, another deep breath needed! :-O 

Releasing the second book in a series proved to be much more emotional and scary for me. I found myself worrying if people would like where I was leading the story, and praying that they would enjoy the world I created. In the end, all I could do was cross my fingers, write the best darn story I could, and hold my breath. Again.

Not all of this roller coaster ride has been bad. Throughout this year I've spoken with many indies and even made a few friends. I'd like to take some time to thank those friends, whose kind words have smoothed out bumps in my day and put a smile on my face when there would have otherwise been a frown.

To my amazing friend & designer Naj. You are a bright ray of sunshine and I am grateful everyday that we are friends.

To my indies Tiffany King, Megg Jensen, and Angela Carlie. Tiffany your friendship brings joy to my day, especially those writing moments where I want to break my pencil in half. You are really funny and I look forward to growing our friendship in 2012. To Megg and Angela. Thank you for your guidance throughout this year, especially when writing Savor. I deeply admire your incredible writing skills, but also your kind, open hearts. I've met some not-so-nice indies in my short time of self-pubbing, but you two are definitely not one of them.

Last, but not least, to my reviewers. You are the glue that keeps this cookie from crumbling. Seriously. I'd like to give a special shout-out to all you Indulge reviewers. It means so much to me that you stuck by me and were excited to join in on Indulge's Review Slam. I truly don't think I'd want to continue being an indie if I didn't have such amazingly kind people like you all around me.

And now, the moment I know you've all been waiting for...

I will be giving away 5 signed copies of Indulge during the rest of the month of December! All you have to do is either comment on this blog post leaving your name and email or mention it on Twitter. (Just made sure you tag me so that I can see it)  
Sounds easy enough right?

Even though I'm terribly nervous, I can't wait to see what everyone thinks of Indulge and I am super excited to be giving away some signed copies, so good luck everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The "C" Word

...yeah... I said it, this post has absolutely nothing to do with writing and EVERYTHING to do with the other love-of-my-life, CHOCOLATE!

Completely by chance, I came across the most amazing chocolate bar I have ever had in my life. As usual, I of course couldn't keep this wonderful news a secret and had to share the awesomeness to all my fellow chocolate lovers.

While on my standard trek through the tiny, family owned market near my work I came across my first Theo Chocolate Bar. Was it completely chance? Was it fate? Was it destiny?

Being a chocolate freak, I totally believe it was destiny. :o) I've just never had anything so divine in my life, so it couldn't be anything other than a match written in the stars.

After finishing my chocolatey heaven and thoroughly licking my fingers I immediately flew to the website to find more about this mana from the gods.

Even just by visiting now in order to add the link to this post I find that they have added Christmas flavors to their collection and am not hesitating to add them to my cart. Sure, I did ask Santa for candy bars for Christmas, but that's like 2 weeks away! I can't wait that long!

Without further adieu, I introduce you to Theo Chocolate

I hope you all love it as much as I do, but if not... MORE FOR ME, YAY!!

Merry Christmas Everyone, and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Ascended Blog Tour

I am so very super excited to be a part of author Tiffany King's blog tour! 
I absolutely love her books and can't wait to get my hands on the third book 
in her Fallen Angel series.

My stop for the tour will happen on December 18th, so drop by to read my review and
check out all the details for prizes! Woot!

Here is a list of all the tour stops so you can hop around and leave comments, giving you more 
chances to win. Also, check out Tiffany's blog through the button to the right --->

December 4th Courtney Cole
December 5th M. Leighton
December 6th Magical Urban Fantasy Reads
December 7th Nichole Chase
December 8th Two Chicks on Books
December 9th The Autumn Review
December 10th Shelly Crane
December 12th Jennifer Snyder
December 13th Devyn Dawson
December 14th Laura Elliot
December 15th fiktshun
December 16th Bookish Babes
December 17th Tess Watson
December 18th Megan Duncan
December 19th Hey it’s Fishy
December 20th Abbi Glines
December 21st C.A Kunz
December 22nd Teenage Reader
December 23rd Secret Lives of Fiction Lovers
December 24th Michelle Muto
December 25th Christmas Day
December 26th Amy Jones
December 27th Fisher Amelie
December 29th Sean Hayden

Friday, November 25, 2011

Feeling the Crunch

Working on the first set of revisions for Indulge and I am really starting to feel the pressure! 
And no, not just pressure from eating way too much on Thanksgiving. :o)

Due to some unforeseen events during Savor's tour, I am contemplating
whether or not I want to do another tour for Indulge. While I do want the reviews. Okay,
I really really want the reviews. I am hesitant to try my hand at another tour, especially during the month of December when I believe most bloggers will be incredibly busy with Xmas plans and etc.

I do have an alternative idea that I have been juggling around in my noggin. I'm not sure
I have seen anyone do anything like it before, but not quite sure if many
bloggers will be up for it.

I was thinking I wanted to do a "Review Slam"
The basic idea is that a group of reviewers will receive eCopies of Indulge prior to its release. 
Then, on the agreed upon date of "X" all the reviewers will post their reviews on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads and/or Blogs.

Each reviewer can decide when or they'd like to post that same review on their blog, 
along with an ebook giveaway.

I am hoping that this method will avoid bogging down reviewers, so that no one gets
so busy they forget their scheduled date and also so that
it doesn't interfere with anyone's Xmas holiday.

I have also thought about just putting Indulge up on B&N and Amazon and not doing any kind of tour or review slam, period. Of course, if a blogger or reviewer wants to read it I most definitely will not turn them down.

So, in a nut-shell that is my current dilemma. Wish me luck everyone. I most definitely need it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Indulge's Synopsis! *Cast your vote!*

It's not long now before Indulge, Warm Delicacy Series, Book 2 is out!
The book is done and will soon be in revisions and then off to edits. I am so excited and hope you all enjoy the story. I had fun writing it, and it even took turns in directions I wasn't expecting which is always exciting! I believe it might even lead to more than 3 books in the series, which I was originally planning for the series. 

I have been working on the synopsis for Indulge and wanted to reveal it as well as let people vote on whether or not they like it. I don't believe it contains any spoilers, but if you are worried then avert your eyes :o)

Claire's heart is torn between her first vampire love, Dmitry, and the Blood Mate, Arrick, that she is eternally bonded to with a powerfully deep and emotional connection. A vengeful vampire is haunting her steps, after Claire killed their mate. An ancient evil threatens to rip her world apart. With the danger of war looming on the darkening horizon, will Claire find the strength to fight back and protect those she loves? Even if it means embracing the darkness inside her? Is it worth it to become the evil she fears, in order to destroy it?

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Those of you who don't watch "The Rachel Zoe Project" probably have no clue what "Maj" means, but don't worry your pretty little heads about it. "Maj" means something is - majorly awesome! Which the following covers are. They were added to my TBR immediately after I saw them, because I think they are THAT MAJ!

** fyi, I've had a lot of sugar today :o)

 I found this beauty on author Tiffany King's blog. Give her a follow because she rocks!

Grab your copy of Exiled on Amazon, I know I am!

And Die, My Love by Penelope Fletcher, who I think every one of her covers is AMAZING!! I can't wait to read this one!  Get your copy on Amazon

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lie Or Die Flash Fiction Showdown Starts Tonight!

Tonight my Flash Fiction story will be posted at

hosted by the amazing Mindy!
There are 5 authors total for this event, so read all the stories and vote for your favorite!

See all the details here

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Design Work & Teasers

I know many of you have been anxious to read the second book in my Agents of Evil series "Chaos" after reading Released. All I can say is that you won't have to wait too much longer. My expected release date is for January 2012. I plan to make Chaos may NaNo WriMo project and I am getting really excited.

To get you all as excited as I am... hopefully... I wanted to share the newly designed cover of Chaos
Totally gorgeous right?! :o)  I think so! This wonderful piece of art was created by the marvelous Naj at 

I cannot say enough good things about her. I really can't.
Check out her page and follow!

I also wanted to share the new bookmarks for Released. Also designed by my favorite designer/review friend Naj!  These are the two amazing designs she did for me

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October Giveaway!

In celebration of Savor's release, I am holding a giveaway for the entire month of October! On Halloween I will pick the winner. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post or Tweet about it with a link to my blog and make sure you tag me so I can see you tweeted. Easy huh?

For even more chances to win, check out all of Savor's Blog Tour stops. There are some amazing bloggers who are posting reviews and holding giveaways too!


October 1st - That Bookish Girl -
October 3rd - Avery's Book Nook -
October 4th - That Book Addicted Girl -
October 5th - Book Whisperer -
October 6th - Live to Read -
October 8th - WordSpelunking -
October 9th - Becky's Army Book Army -
October 10th - Reading Vacation -
October 11th - Taking It One Book At A Time -
October 12th - See It Or Read It -
October 13th - The Awesome Magic Attic -
October 14th - Pretty In Fiction -
October 15th - Violet Hour -
October 15th - The Caffeinated Diva Reads -
October 16th - All Things Books -
October 17th - Im A Book Shark -
October 18th - Magical Urban Fantasy Reads -
October 19th - Shattered Memories -
October 20th - Curled Up With Books -
October 21st - Vamps, Weres & Cassay -
October 21st - Words Like Silver -
October 22nd - Books With Bite -
October 23rd - Book Breather -
October 24th - What's Your Story -
October 25th - Reads With Wreckless Abandon -
October 26th - Unputdownable Books -
October 27th - Shirrley's Bookshelf -
October 28th - Book & Movie Dimension -
October 29th - Tams Books Ramble -
October 31st - Syco 4 Twilight -    

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Time to Lie or Die

Did you ever read the Choose Your Own Adventure Stories 
or wish you could dictate some of the story you're reading?? 

Now's your chance!! 

I was lucky enough to be picked to participate in the fabulous 
Lie or Die Flash Fiction Contest and now it's your turn to participate too. 

To get all the fantastic details click the link below to start your adventure today
Lie or Die 

UPDATE: Starting Friday, 9/30, for a daily chance to win an eBook from Amazon of one of the participating author's books of your choice, submit your idea and tweet the following:

"I submitted my story idea for the #LieOrDie event! Go submit yours!"

You only need to submit one idea, but you can have a chance to win an eBook each day through October 8th, by tweeting and spreading the word. The daily winners will be announced on Twitter.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bookmarks! Finally!

I'm sure I have mentioned this before, but Naj at Unputdownable Books is AMAZING!

She created the bookmarks for Savor for me and I am so happy I could cry!
Check them out and let me know what you think. She also does book covers too!  Squeeee!

Here is one of the two versions she created for me. I have already ordered prints and they should arrive just in time for Savor's launch on October 1st!  :o)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lie or Die Flash Fiction Showdown: Coming Soon!!

Ever wonder how two authors can take an idea and bring it to life with their own style and creativity? What about FIVE authors?!

Well, the Lie or Die Event is your chance to see it in action, only better… they may use YOUR idea!

I'm participating in Lie or Die, an interactive contest where you get to pick what the story is about. Five different young adult writers: myself, Tiffany King, K. A. Tucker, SM Reine, and G.P Ching, are going to interpret your story ideas five different ways.  Now, I am thrilled to be associated with these talented authors.  If you've ever read their work, you know these stories are going to be fabulous!

Once all five stories are published, you'll get to vote on the best story. Casting your vote enters you to win an awesome prize pack of books and swag.  Is that not the COOLEST idea ever? I can't wait.

Plus our stories won't be on our own blogs.  Noooo, we get to post our stories on some of the most awesome blogs in the universe. Fiktshun, Two Chicks on Books, A Life Bound by Books, Magical Urban Fantasy Reads, and Taking it One Book at a Time.

 It all starts September 29th on the blogs above.  Can't wait to see what you guys come up with! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hooray for Boobies!


My mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. This news came as a total shock because it doesn't run 
in the family history at all. She will be finishing her chemo soon and is doing well. She has been so strong through this whole thing, stronger than even I think I am sometimes. I am so inspired to have her in my life.
 She is a phenomenal woman.

To show my support and to raise awareness, I have joined the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event.
On October 1st at 7am I will be making my strides with my fellow teammates. It is more than just a walk, the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event describes the progress we're making together to save lives by helping people get well, stay well, find cure and fight back.

Anyone interested in joining in the event in your area, check out this link and find an event near you. 
If you'd like to follow my progress, join my team or make a donation, 
you can visit my team page.

After the event I will post a couple photos. I am really excited.
I hope I can make my Mom proud and show her how much I care.

Love ya Mom!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fur Baby Drama

Things have been so hectic lately as I listed in my last post, 
but I would like to take some time to talk about... well my crazy cat who seems determined to use up his 9 nine lives much too quickly.

Jack, my 2 year old cat that thinks he is a dog, has managed to 
land himself in the vet clinic twice this week after after
another adventure of his a possible third time.

His first visit was due to ingesting, most likely, some kind of bug or plant that
didn't agree with him.  Which for Jack, is not a surprise. 
If it's alive he is going to catch it.
To say the least, his tummy did not agree.                                                  

Then, not even a week later, he was headed back to the vet again.  
I guess he just missed the nice girl at the reception desk, right?  
Anyway, this time he managed to get                                                                         
bitten by some kind of bug. (I suppose it's partially my fault because 
I let him play in the backyard. We live near undeveloped land,
so there is no shortage of critters.)  The result of this adventure, landed him with...
a tad abnormal sized body parts.  Good thing he doesn't wear shoes. 
 Lastly, my husband let Jack outside (while I was at work of course), and Jack managed
to catch himself a large pigeon.  I of course, wont share a photo of it, but it filled a grocery bag. 
(That's my husbands description not mine.)  Now, a pigeon wouldn't go down without a fight, 
so now my sick, club footed cat has a swollen knot on his face from being pecked by the pigeon.

So, that's just a smidge of the crazyness that is Jack.  I rather like writing about him, so
watch out everyone, there may be future posts.  Now I must get back to work and make sure I hit my 2k writing goal for tonight.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Its been a while since my last post.  Things have been so hectic that it's hard to keep up with it all.  But I think I have accomplished a lot.  Or at least I hope I have.  
Savor is completely ready for its October 1st release and has already been emailed to reviewers yesterday and will be shipped to the rest of the reviewers in PB this coming Friday.  I do have a few days left in October if any of you bloggers are interested in joining the tour.

I've also got an exciting author event coming up in October as well.  I can't wait to tell everyone the details, but it's going to be epic.  (I will reveal more on Sept 23rd)  I will say that the prize is big and the event is going to be super fun.  I've never seen anything like it.
It might only be September, but I am already planning my New Year's resolutions for 2012.  This year I hope to have 3 books completed before the end of December.  For 2012, I hope to have at least 4 books completed in the entire year.  I don't think that is too crazy of a goal, do you?  I've been inspired by some awesome indies who churn out that many in a year and they are wonderful books.  I am reading one of those authors series right now and absolutely I love it.

So basically, right now, I am preparing for Savor's blog tour and release.  I am also prepping for the author event.  To top it all off I am writing Indulge, book 2 in the Warm Delicacy series as well as Dirty, Book 1 in another series.  This series is kind of a side project which I am thinking I wont release until I finish the entire series.  Maybe.  

I have this idea that I want to try.  I will write the whole series (minimum of 3 books) and then release them either all at once or within one month of each other.  It's really just an idea in my head at the moment.  I'm only 5k into the first book, so I have plenty of time to decide, but I do hope to have the series done before next summer.
So that's what going on in my neck of the woods.  Hope everyone else is doing great!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Read Savor, Chapter 1

Writing my second YA novel has, in some ways, been more difficult than the first.  Yet, I feel I have learned a ton and am only growing more and more.  I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks.  I want to thank all who have helped me along the way, and I look forward to continuing our friendships and support of each other on this indie journey.  I hope you all enjoy this first chapter, and I can't wait to publish!

Chapter 1:

As much as I have been dreaming about this day I have been dreading it just as much.  I know my mom will say I am over reacting, but I don’t want to spend any part of my birthday getting poked and prodded.  “Why can’t turning eighteen be just about celebrating?” I asked my fat orange cat, Louie, as he bathed himself on my bed. 
            I gave Louie a good scratch before I hopped out of bed and headed to my closet.  I wanted to make sure I looked great in my picture; otherwise I would never hear the end of it from my best friend Liz.
            She spent a record four hours and countless wardrobe changes before we were able to nail down the perfect outfit, hair and make-up combination.  As annoying as that day was, I had to admit she did look great in her picture.
            So, here I stand in front of my closet with no clue on what I should wear.  I pulled out the fanciest clothes I owned and quickly sent them flying to the bed behind me, which in turn sent Louie running away with a meow.
            I glanced over to my desk and stared at the pile of clothes draped over the back of the chair.  Liz had brought over a number of items, which I would describe as risqué but she would say they were simply her everyday clothes.  I thought they were a bit flashy, but Liz had an eye for fashion and was known in our group of friends to be an “H to T” girl.  No matter what the circumstance she was always perfectly put together from head to toe.  She said she hated the term, but I could tell she relished the fact that people thought of her that way and was only pretending to be modest.
            We were an odd couple, her and I, but we had known each other our whole lives.  With moms that were too busy to notice much of anything we did and dads that were out of the picture, we quickly bonded as if we were sisters.
            I quickly decided to save the fashion options Liz had given me for later that night, and slipped on my favorite pair of jeans with a simple black tank top.  Less was more right?
            “Hurry it up Claire!  I want to get there before it gets too busy.”  My mom’s muffled voice echoed from down the hallway to my bedroom.  I was starting to think that she was more excited that I was getting a Donor ID than the fact that I was turning eighteen.
            I knew how important it was to have that identification, because everyone who is anyone got one when they turned eighteen.  It was a vital part of our society.  So, naturally I didn’t feel it was a very big deal.
            Everyone with a Donor ID would have their blood tested for the specific type, the quality, any diseases they may have, and the mineral content among other things.  Once they have all this information a Donor ID was issued specifying all of the information.
            Having this identification did mean that I would be required to donate blood on a regular basis to the blood bank, who would in turn prepare the blood for the reigning vampire royal family in our region.  Since the royals lived in my city, all the blood banks were stricter about everyone getting their identification as soon as they turned eighteen.  There were those who refused and those individuals were charged a hefty tax for their lack of fealty.
            It was probably much more complicated than that, but I didn’t pay as much attention in school as I should have.  Taking a class on the rules, regulations and structure of the vampire monarchy was a required course and even with my limited knowledge I managed to pass.
            Society saw so little of the vampires that were in the royal families.  They had grown into more of a reclusive celebrity type, but they were still our rulers.  They controlled our government, managed our laws and protected us.  All they asked was a blood donation in return.  I thought our forefathers made a pretty good deal with the vampires and it had worked quite well for the last few hundred years.
            So, in a nutshell, that was my plan for my eighteenth birthday.  I would make my first donation to the vampire family, get my Donor ID and then it was time to party.
            I rushed down the stairs taking two steps at a time and stopped at a mirror in the living room to look at my reflection.  I smiled at myself for having remembered the tips Liz gave me for styling my hair and appreciated my new less-frizzy hairdo.
            My mom was perched at the kitchen counter, leaning on her massive brown purse and watching the news on a tiny television.  The news anchor reported on a group of picketers that were protesting outside of a blood bank.  Not everyone liked the idea of having to donate their blood to feed vampires, calling them monsters and other foul names.
            “How can you watch that junk?” I asked her as I flipped the television off.
            “Can you believe those people?  I can’t imagine what anyone has to complain about.  They’re lucky we aren’t still living in the dark ages when vampires used to hunt people down and murder them like cattle.”
            I didn’t say anything because I knew if I replied I would send her off on some endless tangent about how we should be so thankful to the vampires for civilizing our region, for showing mercy and blah, blah, blah.  My mom was well known for her support of the blood donation system, which was probably why she was so eager to have me get my ID so quickly.  Every city in our region had set up a committee to encourage support of the vampires, to enlist new donors and spread the word of our valiant and brave leader, King Nicolae Noire, who pulled our region from the ashes of the dark ages.  My mom is the head of the committee in our city.
            “You all set?” She grabbed the keys and headed for the door.
            “Yeah, I think so.  How long do you think this is going to take?” I asked.
            “As long as it takes.  Why, do you have something you need to do?”
            “Well, yeah Mom.  It’s my birthday.  I wanted to hang out with Liz and my friends.” 
            “You’ll have plenty of time to do that tonight.  Okay?”
            I again chose not to respond and simply followed alongside my mom as we walked briskly to the train station a few blocks from the house.  As always she would comment on how convenient the train was, and how much the vampires had improved our way of life with such changes.  If I didn’t know better I would think she was brainwashed, but I suppose being the head vampire committee representative would make a person a little wrapped up in every detail of what vampires had done.
            My mom used to make me go with her on weekends, walking door-to-door handing out pamphlets trying to get unregistered humans to get their Donor IDs.  More often than not, we would simply get a door slammed in our faces, but she never gave up trying.
            The trains where we lived in midtown were much nicer than the ones we used to take when we went, what I liked to call “preaching”.
            We walked through the toll booths and stood on the platform with the rest of the morning rush of people.  There were people carrying briefcases, others holding onto fussy children, people soliciting this or that, vendors hawking coffee or vampire memorabilia, and teenagers obviously heading home after a night of partying which made me want to get this whole ID business quickly done with, so I could do some partying of my own.
            The train arrived after a short wait and we clamored in with the rest of the crowd making our way uptown.  My mom clicked away on her phone, checking emails and the news or planning something to counter the protestors outside the blood bank, I was sure.
            Our stop let out right outside the blood bank in uptown.  My mom insisted we go to this one and I quickly noticed why.  Everything in uptown was prettier and just plain better, because the rich people really did know a thing or two about architecture.
            A tall cylinder shaped structure with small windows evenly circling it towered over me.  Right next to it, was a pyramid shaped building made out of glass.  As we made our way up the hedged walkway I surveyed the landscape.  All of the bushes were trimmed perfectly and beautiful fragrant flowers lined unique looking stone statues that I noticed were vampire royal family members of the past.
            They looked very regal gazing down at people who made their way into the blood bank.  Each statue had a plaque providing a brief history of that specific vampire.  There were a few people who stopped to read the passages and some who even took time to have their photo taken with one of the statues.
            I quickly realized that reading about the vampires in school and seeing this place in person were two quite different things.  The awe of it and the beauty really did put things into perspective.  Everyone looked so happy and I felt a little ashamed for being so put out about having to spend a small portion of my birthday here.
            A cute guy held the door open for us as we made our way through the entry doors and I couldn’t help but return his smile.  My mom grabbed a pamphlet out of his hand and handed it to me.          Once inside the huge glass building, I was again struck with awe at the beauty of the large tinted windows that soften the bright sunlight from outside allowing a ton of tropical plants to grow inside.
            A large fountain bubbled in the center of the room, covered in an intricate mosaic of tiles.  Each appeared meticulously placed to achieve the full beauty of its design.  I peered in as we walked around it and the bottom of the fountain was speckled with coins.
            “Some people believe that if you toss in a coin, King Nicolae Noire will make your wish come true,” my mom said as she pointed to a beautifully painted portrait of the eldest and leader of the vampire family, with a smile in her voice.
            I nodded at her and saw a young couple toss in a coin.  I made a mental note to toss one in for myself before we left, and give myself one birthday wish.
            We were checked in by a friendly receptionist who wore a simple white dress with a square cut collar.  I soon realized that was the uniform for all the ladies who worked at the blood bank.  The men, however, wore white pants with a white shirt that looked similar to a tunic.  Although it was an odd choice of clothing I’m sure Liz could give me an earful on everything that was wrong with their attire, it looked good.  The minimalist style of the employee’s uniform really made the beauty of the décor stand out.
            “I told you it wasn’t going to be that bad.” my mom pinched my arm as we made our way to a waiting area.           
            “It’s not what I expected at all.  I was thinking it was going to be some sterile smelling, hospital type building, but this…this is like a hotel.”
            “They really do have an eye for beauty don’t they?” she beamed.
            As I looked around the room, my jaw hanging open, I admired more of the style and noted other teenagers looking anxious to get their IDs.  There were other people I guessed that were probably making their donations and several with clean, white bandages on their arms.  They didn’t look the least put out after making their donation and were comfortably standing around looking at the portraits and artwork that lined the walls enjoying the beauty of it. 
            A large television was anchored to a far wall, and it scrolled names and numbers.  As a new name appeared on the screen, someone would get up and head through a set of double doors labeled Donations.
            “You nervous?” my mom asked, patting my knee.
            “Not really.” I lied.  I’m a little nervous - not a big fan of needles.
            “Good.  You’ll do just fine.  So, what do you girls have planned for tonight?”
            “We’re going to eat at the Sushi House and then I think we are going to Club Crimson.”
            “Is that the place I’ve been hearing about on the radio?”     
            “Yeah, don’t worry Mom, it’s a minor’s only club and it’s close to uptown, so it should be really nice.” I enunciated the really as best I could.
            “Fine.  Just don’t come home too late.  Oh, look there’s your name, you’re next.  I’ll be here when you are done.”
            I got up and headed for the double doors, clinging to my small clutch with a deathgrip, even though the lady who was waiting to greet me was probably the friendliest looking person I had ever seen.
            “Claire Miller?” she asked with a warm smile on her face.
            “Yep,” I said futily, trying to return the smile.
            “Alright sweetie, come with me.  You’re here for your first Donor ID, right?”
            “Mhm.” I was sure my one word answers might be making me look a bit dumb, but I was still a little nervous. 
            The long white hallway was lit with simple sconces on the walls and even more pricey artwork hung from the walls, filling the narrow corridor with vibrant splashes of color.
            “Well, congratulations on making such a responsible decision to contribute to society and show your support for the vampire royal family.  King Nicolae Noire and the rest of the family appreciate each and every donation made.”
            She led us to a door marked with the number seven and opened it for me.  The room was lit with natural light from a large window, which offered a view of an expansive courtyard.  Rooms that lined the courtyard were visible and I squinted trying to see if I could peer into anyone else’s room.  An exam chair stood idly in the middle of the room with a small counter that held a perfectly organized assortment of gauze, cotton balls, swabs and some other items that I wasn’t quite sure what they were.
            “Alright Claire, if you would just take a seat we’ll get started.”
            The nurse closed the door behind us and took a seat on a small stool.  She flipped through a folder in her hands and then began to open drawers, pulling out needles and other items I didn’t like.  I turned my attention and stared out the window to distract myself.
            “First I want to ask you if you have watched the introduction video to blood donation?”
            “Yeah, my Mom had me sign up online.  I watched it a couple weeks ago I think.”
            “Okay, good.  Did you have any questions or would you like to watch it again?”
            I vaguely remembered watching the video and then asked the first question that popped into my head.  “Yeah, how often will I have to donate?  Not that I don’t want to or anything, I’m just a little scared of needles.”
            “That’s perfectly normal.  Now, that can range on your results of course, but typically it’s only once or twice a month.”  She walked behind a small desk and typed information into her computer.  She walked over to my chair and adjusted the arm rest for me to lay my arm out straight.  When instructed I pressed my finger down on a small pad, so that she could scan my print and enter it into their database.
            I started to bite my lip when she tied my arm off and started patting the vein on my arm to get it to show up better.  After a few tries she was satisfied and gently sterilized the area.  “Don’t tense up now sweetie.  I’ll be gentle on ya, I’m a professional.  I do this every day.”
            She smiled at me and pulled a tray close to her before opening up a new syringe.  I held my breath as she pushed the needle into the delicate flesh.  I was relieved to find that she hadn’t lied to me.  It really wasn’t as horribly painful as I had thought it would be. 
Four quick vials later, “All done.” she said as she wrapped my arm.
            “Wow, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” I cradled my arm while she filled out some more information in the folder and reached into a cabinet pulling out a slip of paper.
            “All we need to do is take your photo.  If you’ll just stand against the wall over there.”  She pointed to a bare part of the wall.
            I hopped down and silently wished I would have given myself one more look-over before we left.  She snapped my picture before I had a chance to smile and I wanted to ask if she could retake it, but bit my tongue.  I was starting to scarily sound like Liz.
            She then asked me the basic identifying questions, hair color, eye color, height, weight and then she printed off a small slip of paper from a printer tucked inside a cabinet.
            “This is your temporary ID card.  Once your blood has been fully tested we will issue you an official card.  Okay?  We will give you a call and you can come pick it up.”
            “Great, thanks.”  I took the card from her and resisted the urge to look at the picture - I would wait to torture myself in private for that.  “So, I’m all set then?”
            I tried to not look too eager and I headed out of the room then back down the hallway.  I made my way back through the double doors and saw my mom clicking away on her cell phone as usual.  She was worse than the average teenager.
            “All done,” I announced as I stuffed my temporary paper ID into my wallet.
            She snapped her phone shut and looked up at me relieved.  “Well that was quick.”
            “Yep, looks like we made it before the rush,” I said as I looked around the newly filled room.  Dozens of people had shown up during the short amount of time I had spent in the room.
            “Well, that gives us some extra time.  Do you want to get some coffee before I head into work?”
            “No, it’s cool.  Liz will probably be over soon.”  I could tell she wanted to protest on my hanging out with Liz so much, but she didn’t say anything.  The desire to get to work was too much for her to resist, and I knew it.
            The ride home was quick and I said goodbye to my mom while her attention was plastered to her cellphone.  I walked the short trip home realizing my mom hadn’t even told me happy birthday yet.  It didn’t bother me as much as it used to, but it still sucked big time.
            The irritation slowly built up as I walked home and stormed into the house causing the pictures on the walls to rattle when I slammed the front door.
            “Geez, just relax.  You knew she wasn’t going to say anything.”  I only talked to myself when I was truly annoyed and luckily, I immediately seeked somewhere private to have such a conversation.  I’m certain most people would tell me I was a friggin’ nutcase.
            After grabbing a leftover slice of pizza from the fridge I retreated to my room and fell into my bed.  Louie joined me when he smelled the scent of pepperoni wafting through the room.
            “You’ll at least tell me happy birthday, won’t you?” I asked Louie as he tentively sniffed at the slice of pizza in my hand.  He meowed at me in response and I tore him off a small nibble of pepperoni.
            “As much as I love you Louie, I sure hope you’re not the only man in my life.”     
            “Talking to that fat cat again I see,” Liz said sarcastically as she strolled into the room.  “So, how’d it go?”
            “Well, I survived, at least for now.  Ask me again after I see what you have in store for us tonight.”
            “Oh don’t be so dramatic.”  She flipped her long blond ponytail over her shoulder as she set a giant make-up case on top of my desk.  “Where’s your card at?”
            “In my wallet, I haven’t looked at it yet.”  I began to open my purse and Liz snatched it from me with impeccable speed.  “Hey!”
            “I’ll let you know if you should look at it or not.”  She smiled at me and pulled out the small square of piece paper that the nurse printed my temporary ID on.  “Not bad Claire Bear.  I’ll turn you into an “H to T” girl yet.”
            I rolled my eyes at her and snatched the paper back from her.  “I thought you didn’t like that term?”  She waved me off and flipped through stations on my radio until she found something she liked.
            Liz danced to the music as she started sorting through the pile of clothes she had dropped off the day before.  I looked at my picture and it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Both my eyes were open - unlike my usual habit of always getting my picture taken when they were closed - so that was an improvement.  I suppose I wouldn’t really know for sure when I got the official color copy from the blood bank.
            “So what really is the plan for tonight and who all is coming?” I asked Liz as she analyzed her obviously perfect make-up in the mirror.
            “Oh, the usual crowd; you, me, Amy and some new boy toys she’s been stringing along.  Can you believe she broke up with Blake?”
            “They didn’t really have much in common, so I wasn’t very surprised.  Who are these new boy toys?”   I wasn’t the least bit interested, but I knew Liz would talk about it whether I wanted to know or not, so I pretended that I cared.  Amy and I didn’t always get along anymore.  We used to be close, but about a year ago she got totally jealous when she thought Blake had a crush on me.  He was not even close to being my type, but she never seemed to believe me.
            “Nothing in common?  Who cares, the guy is hot!  I haven’t met these news guys yet, but she says they are cool.  So, did you see those people protesting outside the blood bank when you were there?”
            “No, my mom took me to the one in uptown.”
            “Good, ‘cause those people are friggin’ crazy.  Why anyone wouldn’t want to be a donor is beyond me.  Vampires are immortals, they’re practically gods.  Whatever, anyway, that’s why they live in downtown and we are by up-town, right?”
            “Yeah.”  I knew Liz’s perspective was probably a little bit snobby, but she did have a point.  I couldn’t really think of a reason why someone wouldn’t want to be a donor.  There were so many benefits of doing it.  For starters, social standing, you get to support the royal vampire family in a big way and make some really decent money, which as selfish as it sounds was something I was most excited about.  Liz and I had plans after high school.  We wanted to famous, well she wanted to be famous and important, but me, I just wanted to be important.  I wanted to do something; I just wasn’t quite sure what yet.
            “I’m going to get something to drink, you want anything?” When I saw the look in her eyes that the onslaught of party preparations were about to start.
            “Get me get a soda, but hurry up because we’ve got a lot to do.  I’m going to need to straighten that hair of yours.”  She continued our to-do list and I walked out of the room to get our drinks, and returned, sure that she hadn’t even noticed I left the room.
            Even with as much time as we had, we still barely finished.  Liz’s mastery of hair had managed to tame my wild auburn tresses into a sleek side ponytail, while she pinned her hair into a high up-do then plastered it in place with a gallon of hairspray.
            Living a bit on the wild side, I let Liz talk me into wearing an outfit I normally wouldn’t be caught dead in, but I thought it might be fun to throw caution to the wind and live a little.  The look of satisfaction on Liz’s face was also so priceless I couldn’t help but feel like a million bucks.  Her expression was so exuberant it appeared she had just found the cure for cancer.
            We each did our make-up with dramatic smokey eyes.  The tight dress Liz squeezed me into made me wish I hadn’t had that slice of pizza, but it was nothing compared to how bad my feet were going to hurt in the heels she had me wearing.  They were nowhere near as high as hers, but my typically clad flip-flop feet did not like it.
            We arrived at the sushi restaurant at what Liz insisted - to all that were waiting - was fashionably late.  Liz talked the sushi chef into comping our table with a few special rolls in celebration of my birthday.  Though I was typically against her habit of using her looks to get what she wanted, when she did it to get us free sushi I didn’t mind at all.  Being one of my favorite foods and also a bit pricey, I wasn’t always able to indulge in it how I would like.
            The night progressed all too quickly, but it ended up to be one of the most fun nights I had ever had.  Amy, Liz and I got along as if we had never had any fights and the guys that Amy brought along ended up being pretty entertaining.  When we made it to the club the loud electronic beat of the music and the way the kaleidoscope of lights danced across the thrumming bodies across the room made us almost run to the dance floor. 
            Clad in my new risqué outfit, I got more attention from guys than I had ever had in my life.  Even though I refused to dance with about ninety percent of them it was great just to have been asked, especially by the really hot guys.  Because the club was so close to uptown it attracted a much hotter group of people compared to what I had seen clubbing with my friends in midtown.
            “Oh my gosh, tonight was so awesome!” Liz giggled as we rode the train back home.  “That one guy really liked you.  What was his name?  In the black shirt.”
            “Um…Jason, I think.”  I guessed because I really didn’t remember.  He was more Liz’s type then mine and I was almost certain I saw him checking himself out in mirrors more often than me.  “We stayed out super late; I thought that club closed at midnight.”
            “Who cares?  Like your mom would notice anyway.  Besides it’s only like two, and we were in up-town.”
            “Whatever.  I’m tired.  I’ll probably sleep all day tomorrow.  What are you going to do?”
            “Get my beauty sleep of course.  Want to grab a smoothie in the afternoon though, and hit the mall?  We need to grab you some new clothes.  You were such a hit tonight!”
            I looked down at the dress I was wearing and wished I had brought a jacket.  Even though it was warm out, now that I wasn’t out celebrating, it just felt really uncomfortable to be wearing it.  I had already removed the torture devices, which were my shoes, and decided I would rather risk walking through the streets barefoot then take another step in them.
            “Ew, and we should probably get pedicures too.  I can’t believe you are walking around like that.”          
            “Oh shut up Liz, we use to go everywhere barefoot when we were little.  Besides the cool concrete feels kind of good actually.  I know your feet have to hurt in those heels, why don’t you take them off?”    
            She just laughed at me like I was crazy and as we finished the walk home we gushed about the nights events.  I couldn’t help but continue to comment on how amazing the sushi was.
            Liz and I parted ways at the front of my house.  I stared up at the windows and when I was certain I didn’t see any light in any of them, I preceded toward the front door.  I knew Liz was right that my mom wouldn’t notice I was out late, and on the minute chance that she did, she wouldn’t say anything about it.  When I was younger Liz convinced me to test my mom on how far I could push the rules and see what I could get away with.  As alien as it may sound for an eighteen year-old girl to say, I got away with way too much.
            I successfully crept back into the house and into my bedroom without making too much noise other than rattling my keys and the creek in the fifth step in our staircase – I should have remembered that one was the creaky one.
            My body felt so relieved as I yanked off the dress and I took a big deep breath throwing the it across the room into my hamper.  I slid into my most comfortable oversized t-shirt and after vigorously scrubbing off the pounds of make-up Liz put on me, I literally dragged myself to bed.
            Louie crawled onto the bed and curled into a large fluffy ball at my feet.  My last thought of the night was how excited I was that I was finally eighteen and from here on out, everything would finally start going my way.