Five-Star Review: “Never Settle for a Fairy-tale”

Want to start from the beginning of the Once Upon a Reality series? Kristen A. Scearce has given ‘Till the Last Petal Falls a five-star review: 


During my Psychology classes in college, we discussed how various characters have psychological issues: popular cartoon characters, the cast of “Winnie the Pooh,” and the vast majority of the Disney Princesses. Belle is no exception, and this book explores that idea beautifully, no pun intended.

Jolee answers a Craigslist ad which sounds too good to be true, and she finds herself in the mountains of Aspen, tutoring a shut-in with some very serious issues of his own. As time goes by, she learns [more] and more about this man, and most of it is not good. However, she sticks by him, hoping to “fix” him with her love.

Sound like a recipe for disaster?

I used to teach a rehabilitation class for men convicted of domestic violence, and this book definitely delves into that dynamic head-first. It’s a real eye-opener into the lives of those involved in those situations, from both sides of the coin as well as an outsider’s perspective. Comparing it to the story of “Beauty and the Beast” really adds a whole new layer to it, as most of us either grew up with that story/movie or fell in love with it because of our kids/grandkids/etc. It’s a crazy thought, but the more you think about it, the more you realize Belle suffered from Stockholm syndrome as well as battered-woman syndrome, and that HEA Disney ending is not the one generally associated with those situations.

Bravo to the author for writing this cross-examination of a beloved children’s story and shedding some light on this serious issue while also maintaining a gripping novel.



Thank you, Kristin! Remember, you can still get a copy of Till the Last Petal Falls in either paperback or e-book format, as well as the second installment of the series, To Dwell in Dreams.


 As always, I appreciate any and all reviews of my work, posted on Amazon, B&N or Goodreads- it helps me as an author to see what I’m getting right, and what I still need to work on with my next project. 


Review: Room for Improvement

I know I say this a lot but reviews of my work, especially as a beginning author, are extremely important to me. Not only does it let other people know that my book exists, and what recommends it with positive reviews- negative reviews give me a chance to honestly and brutally reflect on how much more I have to work on to become the author that I want to be.

So though I received a two-star review from Goodreads rater Margaret Shock – I want to publicly thank her for it. I’m not being sarcastic- I am honestly grateful that she took the time to try out a small-press book from a new author, and then took even more time out to write a well-written, concisely worded review. It means a lot to me that she felt strongly enough about the story to challenge the parts of it that could have been much better- the parts of my style that can get better, thanks to feedback from reviewers like her (and also my beta readers of an equally honest bent). I think personally that becoming the author that I want to be involves making mistakes- but that means absolutely jack diddly if I am not willing and open to learn from those mistakes. So whether you’re inclined to rate ‘Till the Last Petal Falls with five stars or one, remember that every review is important to me, and I appreciate every one, and I respect the reading experience that fuels each one.

So to put on my ‘to-do’ list of improvement: writing more subtlety, culling details and perhaps rearranging them in a more manageable, natural way, and becoming more creative with my stories. Though the review did state that the reviewer is “one of the most anal readers out there, so the things that bothered [her] might not do so for others”, I think that paying attention to these specific, personal weaknesses will be important with proceeding with the third installment of the series, and in editing my current fantasy project.

To end this post on a positive note: I am very appreciative that this reviewer did very eloquently point out the purpose of the novel, letting me know that the message did get through.

 I found the underlying theme of abusive relationships to be fairly well-executed – it was realistic, added depth and meaning to the story, and not to mention, the author is brave for having tackled such a sensitive and controversial subject. It is certainly something that needs to be talked about, and the story does this in a way where it drags you in a direction that feels wrong until you realize what’s going on, and it hits you hard. It not only trumps the “love heals all wounds” trope that is so dangerously plugged into YA lit these days, it shows the dangers of having this mindset.


Thank you so much, Margaret, for your time and your honesty as well as for giving me encouragement through challenging me to become the writer I want to be. I promise I won’t waste the opportunity!


Have you read ‘Till the Last Petal Falls, reader? If you have, why not pop a review of your own up on Goodreads, Amazon or Barnes & Noble? Better yet- take a picture of yourself reading the novel and e-mail it as an attachment to . I’d love to see where my writing has ended up.

Anniversary Giveaway: The Winners!

Can you believe that it’s been a full year since my first novel, ‘Till the Last Petal Falls, was published? I still can’t believe it- even though I’ve already even finished the second and have everything set for a summer publication.


1114 people entered my anniversary Goodreads giveaway- that’s about twice as many people who entered my first giveaway more than a year ago! If you had told the me then that more than a thousand people would be requesting something I wrote, I would have laughed you off.

I’d like to take this moment to thank all of my supporters and fans for one heck of a year. It’s been exciting, jumping headfirst into this whole authoring thing- but  I wouldn’t have the strength or the will to keep pushing myself to become a better author, producing better stories for you, if I didn’t have such a wonderful network of encouragement and kindness.

Congratulations to the five winners of the giveaway:

JC Tenney

Candace Banning

Sharon Powell

Caryn Landreth


Paige Bryant!


Your signed copies of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls will be shipping out to you this week! For those of you who entered and didn’t win, you can still get your copies at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, through the Book Bar or requesting a copy from your local independent bookstore. If you’d like a signed copy, always feel free to contact me personally through my contact form here!

“Be Warned, You Innocents”

A recent review of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls on Goodreads from user CV states that, even though some of the technical issues in the novel made her ‘struggle’ that:

“WARNING TO THOSE WHO WANT TO READ THIS BOOK: If you plan on this being anything like what you would expect (seeing as it’s supposed to be a realistic retelling of Beauty and the Beast), be warned. You might not look at the Disney movie – or anything else related – the same way….It was a very good read, and I’m quite particular. Once the story started to pick up, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next. I went into the story with a certain mindset and feeling about the characters, then everything went insane.”

A conflicting review of the kind that I like! If you’ve read ‘Till the Last Petal Falls, let me know what you thought of it on the novel’s Goodreads page, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble! Honest reviews let me know what I’m doing well, and what I can work on for the next novel to best serve my readers.

Anniversary Giveaway!

Happy New Year! It’s weird to think that a year ago, I was still eagerly awaiting the publication of my first novel. In honor of this, I’m holding an anniversary giveaway- starting today, and ending on the anniversary of the publication of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls on February 25th, 2014, enter on Goodreads for your chance to win one of five signed copies of my debut novel (just in time for my big announcement regarding the second book of the series!)

Small Business Saturday: A Promotion

November 30th, as a part of their participation in Small Business Saturday, the Bookbar in Denver is offering 20% off of all local author titles- including mine! Why not spread the cheer this year and support an independent business, who is in turn supporting local authors who are often published either independently or through smaller presses?

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and is now having a safe shopping weekend!

World of Ink Radio Interview

Tomorrow at 3:45 Eastern time, I will be calling in to Book Discussion hosted by Fran Lewis, as part of her ‘Mystery Thursday’ segment.  Myself and a couple of other authors will be discussing how to create suspense and thrill in fiction, as well as answering questions that you can write in in the open chat room.


(In the other time zones, the show will be broadcast at 3PM Central, 2PM Mountain, or 1PM Pacific Standard)