Garden of Thorns Disney Trip


This weekend, we’d already planned to go to Disney for a very special birthday party, but since I got print copies of my book in on Thursday, I thought it might be fun to bring along a novel and get some shots of it out in the wild. I love when books are posed on Instagram or folks take pictures of books in places they aren’t suppose to be. So I thought it would be a great way to celebrate finally getting to hold my written words in my hand!

We headed off to Disney with my book tucked in my bag and stopped at a few iconic places to get some shots. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the day right along with us!

We figured the Big Entrance should be properly photographed. It was a little overcast at the beginning of our journey so I wasn’t sure how long my paper book was going to make it, especially if it rained. Luckily the rain stayed away.

I think it looks especially nice next to Cinderalla’s castle but I could be biased.

Since the main character’s name is Rose and it has garden in the title, I figured it would look right at home next to greenery. We made sure to snag a few photos among the beautiful flowers blooming at the Magic Kingdom.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next up was a trip to the wishing well. This is where dreams come true after all. We decided to take some photographic evidence of this theory in practice. Luckily, the well did NOT disappoint. All I need to do was think about my book really hard for it to appear.

Next up, we visited Alice from Alice in Wonderland. We all know she loves to read and is big into fantasy, so of course, my book felt right at home. Not to mention, Alice in Wonderland holds a pretty special place in my heart. It happens to be the subject of my current WIP!

Next up, we went to a few different locations around the park. In Adventure Land, the barrels of rum called out to us, surrounded by beautiful flowers. We had to get a picture next to Cinderalla’s iconic fountain and GOT tried its luck at pulling the sword from the stone. Alas, neither Rose nor Rayce was meant to be king of Camelot. It’s probably better though. They have enough to worry about in Delmar.

Since Beauty and the Beast has my heart, we stopped by Belle’s neck of the woods next and visited Gaston’s pub. I know people THINK Gaston is the villain in Beauty and the Beast but he’s my favorite. Especially the park Gastons. I think it is the best character to play because you get to be rude, conceited, and funny all the time. Since he was my favorite, we mimicked his classic poses in his chair (with my short legs) and stood out by the fountain (water seems to be in a lot of these photos which is funny since it is so bad for paper).

Since we hit all the best spots in the Beauty and the Beast area, we decided it was time to say hello to the characters. I showed Belle my book and made sure to mention that there was another Rose that needed her help. After that, we caught Gaston. I told him he probably wasn’t going to be too impressed since I wrote this book and we all know how he feels about a woman that reads. Well, it turned out that not only did he like the book, but he decided that it was a book all about him and scribbled out the book title to sign it.

Even though he was joking, I don’t think it is such a bad idea. I’m not going to go adding him into GARDEN OF THORNS but a book focused on Gaston is something I’d seriously like to do in the future.


What better way to end the day than to take GASTON, I mean, GARDEN OF THORNS by  the new statue of Minnie Mouse? After such a long day, I think my book enjoyed some(mouse) fawning over it just a bit.

So that is what GARDEN OF THORNS looked like out in the wild. I had so much fun with this that I can definitely see a contest coming in the future when it has been released! Thanks for taking the journey with us.

It Smells Like…Books!



Yesterday, something awesome happened. Though, if I’m being honest, it feels like every day something awesome is happening. But yesterday, I got a spiffy package that made my day. I was pretty sick so I didn’t really think too much on it when our friends let us know that we had received something. As I ripped open the package and peeled back the brown paper, I saw my cover and pretty much freaked out. I got to hold my book in my hands!



It has my title on it, my cover is gorgeous and it has my name on it! I’m still in shock. This is a moment I’ve been dreaming about forever but I wasn’t prepared for all the mixed emotions that overcame me when I opened the book and saw Rayce and Rose’s names in print. I mean, it smells like a book.


GARDEN OF THORNS is now available to pre-order of Amazon as an ebook and as a trade paperback (you can have one that looks exactly like to one in my pictures).

Also, in a few days I’ll be getting in some awesome book swag including postcards and bookmarks. Keep your eyes peeled for a nifty giveaway in the future!

Currently, I’m working on sitting up a book launch party at The Vero Beach Book Center. When I get more information, I’ll share it but it is looking like it will be March 22nd at 6 PM (as far as I know). It’s going to be one big celebration–there will be food, drinks, a little of me talking and a whole lot of books. I hope to see you there if you can make it.


Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me thus far. This really is a dream come true and all of your words of encouragement have meant so much to me. Please, if you read my book, let me know what you think of it! You guys are the best!


Garden of Thorns Cover Reveal


I’m so excited to finally share the cover of my debut novel GARDEN OF THORNS with all of you. It premiered today on YA Book Central along with a giveaway so if you like to own artwork of books or you really like to buy books, make sure you swing over there and enter their giveaway.

Without further ado, here’s the pretty cover Entangled Teen created for me:


I’m so in love with the simplicity of it. The striking image of the heart snared in deadly thorns, the shadows, the struggle, the minimal usage of color. I honestly couldn’t have asked for something more perfect. I think it reflects the tone of the book and I can’t wait for it to be out everywhere March 6, 2017.

It’s pretty surreal seeing my name on the top. It’s a lifelong dream come true in a vision of red, black and white.

It’s available for preorder on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble as well as other retailers and you can also add it on Goodreads!

I decided to snuggle up with my new Valentine yesterday and got a few pictures of our hot date.

Amber's book thing (1).pngamber's book thing 2 (1).png

Tips To Cope with Anxiety


My high school chorus teacher did this thing for every graduating class where he would give each individual senior a piece of personalized advice. He told me not to sweat the small stuff. And you know what, I instantly questioned what he was talking about. Did I worry too much?

Yup, that’s right. I worried about worrying too much.

What’s interesting about this advice is it has followed me all through my adult life. It haunts me in my writing and peeks up in my personal life. I can worry with the best of them. But the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that spending my entire life worried forces me to miss out the business of living. I’m, by no means, an expert but here are a few things that work for me:

  1. Talk to someone- Talk to your significant other, your best friend, that person you met picking up the same book as you at the bookstore. The longer you let your worry bounce around in your head, the more it is going to consume you and you don’t deserve that.
  2. Find something to distract you- Whether this be that tv program that’s been filling up your DVR or a new book or a fun role-playing game with a group of friends, find something that you can dive into to forget about your worries for a little while. Chances are, when you come back into your own head, you’ll have calmed down enough to see that there are ways around the issues you’re having.
  3. Take a few deep breaths- I’m not talking about sucking in air. I’m talking about closing your eyes, relaxing your hands and focusing on inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly. Make those breaths count. In fact, while I’m doing this, I actually feel calmer by counting those breaths. Twelve usually does the trick for me.
  4. Make a list- If you’re a visual learner like me and you like to check things off a to-do list, sit down with a pen and paper or in front of a keyboard and write out what is bothering you and how you can fix it. You’ll find purpose in it and hopefully that will help your worry.
  5. Do research- If you’re worrying about something because you don’t understand it, get online and do some good old fashioned snooping. If you’re worrying about starting a new job, try to find site that detail what it is you’ll be doing. The only time I’d recommend skipping this step is if you’re worried about a medical condition. WebMD will always tell you that you have cancer but the likelihood of that is you don’t.
  6. Write- This one seems pretty personalized because it is. I use writing to address the things I’m scared of, explore places I could never go and put characters in situations that oftentimes amplify what I’m going through in real life. Try to find a way to work through what you’re going through,  either by throwing yourself into writing a story, keeping a journal, painting an art piece, etc. Find something where you can safely face your fears.


This is not the article I intended to write today. I had several other ideas warring in my head but this is the one that was asking to be written. I hate my anxiety, I hate the constant crippling fear of worry. But I’m also learning to cope with it.

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you deal with anxiety?


10 Things To Know About Me

I thought it might be fun today to do a post about myself rather than writing or my book. I’m sure I’ll be posting lots more of that stuff on a later date but for now, why don’t you take a look at the ten things I could think up about myself.


10) I’m a super nerd.– From D&D to Doctor Who to Harry Potter to anime, if it is considered “nerdy”, I probably like it. I’ve always been drawn to stories and my favorite poison is anything fantasy. Some of my favorites included the three I named above, The Princess Bride, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Kingdom Hearts, DIVERGENT series by Veronica Roth, A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY series by Libba Bray and much more.


9)…But I don’t like Star Wars.– I know, I know. But I have to watch them all! I have. I promise. I’ve watched them in order, out of order, started with someone’s favorite. I’ve seen every single episode, including the new ones. However, I just can’t get into them the way other people have. I know why I don’t like them and maybe one day I’ll open up that can of worms but for the purposes of this short list, I’ll just say that I didn’t see them when I was young enough for it to impact my life and I’m not wild about space stories in general (there are exceptions to this rule, for instance, I love ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis).

8) I’m a self-proclaimed escape room addict.– We decided to try escape rooms with a few of our friends about a year ago and have since then done about 20. We’re pro-level at this point! If you’re unfamiliar, an escape room is where a group of people are “locked” in a room and must escape in a given amount of time using clues provided. They are all themed. Some of my favorites have included prison break (where they put us in separate cells to start), zombie outbreak and art thief.

7) During my 3 week trip to Singapore, I completed my major edit of GARDEN OF THORNS.– My husband’s work sent him to Singapore for three weeks last year and I bought my own ticket and tagged along. During our stay there, my first round of edits (which are the largest, story altering type) were due. I spent every day of the week waking up at 6 with my husband and writing all day until he got back to the hotel so we could go out for dinner and sight see. I was a little nervous about how well I’d be able to focus writing in a foreign country but it turned out that all that time there really helped me.


6) My “other” job is a papercrafter.– About four years ago, my husband and I started a side business building all manner of nerdy things out of paper and layering them into a shadowbox frame to create a 3D image. It allowed me to quit my job and travel across the US to attend conventions. I love it!


5) Before that, my only “serious” job was a 911 dispatcher.– That “other job” happened to be answering 911 phone calls and dispatching officers to crime scenes. I worked at my local police department for four years and boy, does it give you some great party stories! While I liked some aspects of the job, I was relieved to put it behind me. Especially since the phone would ring every time I was in the middle of writing a particularly grueling sentence!

4) Some people like coffee, I run on Diet Coke.- This one’s pretty self explanatory. What can I say, I got my love for this silver can from my momma!

3) The only man I’ve loved longer than my husband is Brandon Boyd from Incubus.– I’ve always been a pretty big music fan. My house is rarely ever silent. Heck, I even attended a music high school and sang in the chorus. And the one thing that has been a constant through high school (I found Incubus in 9th grade and started dating my now-husband in 10th), college and “adult” life afterward has been Incubus. Their lyrics have always been so beautiful and I’m instantly drawn into the story of every song. Bonus fact: My guilty pleasure has always and will always be NSync. Don’t bring no Backstreet Boys into my house. 😉

2) GARDEN OF THORNS is my first novel to be published but it’s the 7th book I’ve written.– I’ve read it a lot everywhere but I just want to restate this, writing is hard. If you’ve sat down to write a book, short story or poem, then you know. It takes a ton of practice and a fair amount of luck to get a book published. It took me six other completed novels to finally write GARDEN but I’m thankful for each of them. I learned so much with every other fantasy, paranormal and supernatural book I wrote!


1) I write because I must.– At one point in my life, when I kept getting rejection letters, one of my friends asked me why I even bothered to write. I was taken aback by this question, not because I hadn’t thought of it before, but because I’d never taken the time to consider it. I’d always written because I didn’t see how I couldn’t write. But as I was thinking about it, I realized that it goes so much deeper than that. Creating characters and stories has always been a part of me. When the world looked too dark to face, when I felt so sad my bones shook, writing relieved that. I write because my world would be colorless without it. So even though writing novels is difficult, it’s a pain I could never live without.

So those are a few things you should know about me!

Top 5 Ways Roleplaying Games Can Help Your Writing


Anyone that follows my Twitter account probably already understands that I’m a hardcore nerd and VERY proud of it. I mean, you’re reading the ramblings of a girl who used to carry around a Dalek purse! One of the things I’ve gotten really into lately is Dungeon and Dragons. We have a game night once (or twice, sometimes) a week with a small group of friends. When I was first approached about joining with my husband, I was less than excited. It just seemed so…not me. Especially when I found out I was going to have to roleplay with a few strangers. But after discussing it with my husband, we decided to give it a try so that we would have a little bit of social interaction every week.

But I wasn’t excited about it.

I get enough action out of writing stories. But they are private. I have time to perfect the scene before anyone gets to look at it. I’m always so much more impressive ten hours after something has happened in my head, after I’ve had time to think of THE PERFECT COMEBACK. How was I supposed to do that in real time?

The first few sessions confirmed my fears. I wasn’t very good on my toes and there were so many rules to learn. But by the time we started our next campaign, something happened that I never expected. I created a character that I feel in love with, wanted to write about and daydream being in her life. And I realized then that D&D also helped me with my writing. So here are 5 ways roleplaying games can help with your writing:

1) You become the character– When writing, my favorite thing about starting a new novel is getting to know the new characters I’m creating. You get to do this in roleplaying games when you come up with your character’s personality and background. But what I’ve found that’s really helped me in my writing is that I’m forced to figure out how my D&D character would react to situations in real time. There is no stopping, no coming back to that scene later. There is only the moment things are happening and then we move on. After spending time at a session, when I pick up my writing, it’s much easier to dig a little deeper and make the characters in my book active instead of passive. It’s also becomes easier to figure out how they react in different situations and to trust my gut since I’ve already faced being in character in real time. Bonus points if you decide to roleplay a character from your current WIP!


2) You learn to collaborate– This is a big one. While we started the current game I’m playing, I was also hard at work editing GARDEN to be released. During the first few weeks, I had to create a character, shape her life before the game and carve out her personality and then I had to relinquish control of her over to my game master, let him tell me facts about her past and give him the power to keep secrets from me about my own character. This reflected so perfectly the relationship I had with my editor or beta readers or other writer friends who read my work. I got to write my novel but after other eyes were on it, I had to give up a bit of control and understand that I’m not always right. During both of these processes, I learned how much fun it can be to have others takes your ideas and elevate them, asking you to look at them in ways you never imagined before.

3) Seeing situations from other perspectives– Some many times when I’m writing, I get stuck in one perspective. I can only see it one way. Which is fine when you only have one character in a scene but the odds of that happening all the time are pretty slim. That’s why I was really surprised when I first started playing D&D and we’d debate for a good hour on what to do when something seemed pretty obvious to me. I’d speak my piece and wait, sure that they would see it my way. Then someone else would talk, shedding an entirely new light on the situation because they knew a piece of information that I didn’t. When I went back to writing, I started forcing myself to think about what information or experiences the other characters in a scene might have that would inform their actions. Suddenly there was so much more conflict and those secondary characters didn’t seem so flat on the page anymore.

4) Roleplaying helps you describe action– I’ve done a ton of research on how to describe action scenes. You can’t write fantasy without getting into a few fights and you can’t write fiction without describing what the characters are doing.Since D&D is all about imagination, it is oftentimes necessary to describe what  your character looks like, how she is acting, etc for the others in your group to pick up on. For instance, when my group was getting ready to go through a portal, I told the group that my character takes an involuntary step back from the portal even though she was one of the main people in the party to vote for going to the selected destination. They had no idea she had voted to return to her home or that she had been running from her past. One of the people picked up on this queue and questioned me on. Because I described my character’s hesitation with an action, instead of just outright saying “I’m nervous” we were able to have a brief conversation and she gained a bit of insight. Take these lessons and apply them to your next book!


5) You get to have fun– Yeah, okay, this one is kind of cheap. I get it. But I’m being serious! So many times when I open up my manuscript, I feel intimidated because I’m in charge of it all. With roleplaying games, I’m only in charge of my character’s actions and I find the idea of not knowing, especially since I’m a strict plotter, exhilarating. I’m able to take this excitement and channel it into what I’m writing. In the game, I get very little control, in my story, I have it all. It’s really the best of both worlds!

Do you play anything that has helped you with your writing?


I’ve always written books, for as long as I can remember. But for a few years, I was also a book blogger (mad respect to all the book bloggers out there, that dedication isn’t easy). I remember helping support so many debut authors, feeding into the excitement of a book birthday or cover reveal. And now, it’s my turn.



In a little over a month, my debut YA fantasy, GARDEN OF THORNS, will be coming out from Entangled Teen. The exact date is March 6th, 2017, and I know because I’ve been telling anyone who will let me talk about it.

When my book originally sold and I was given a publication date, it seemed like such a far away thing. Something I could hold out an examine in the sunlight but not fret because it will still months away. But as the days dwindle, it is becoming very real and I find myself caught somewhere between excitement and terror in equal amounts. Half of the time I want to remind everyone down to the minute when it will release and the other half, I’m tempted to tell them the release date was pushed back.

I think this is normal. For so long, my book has only belonged to a select few. To this day, anytime my agent or editor mention one of my characters by name, I do a double take, because it is so easy to forget that they know them too. But when GARDEN is released, Rose and Rayce and Marin and Arlo and Oren won’t just belong to me. They will belong to anyone who decides to read it. I love that thought. And it also scares me. It’s a fine line that I feel so lucky to get to walk!

I’m very proud of the little book my editor and I crafted. I already know it is a million times stronger than when she first acquired it. She knew how to push me to dig deeper than I thought was possible and really make my characters come to life.


They were already real to me. I can’t wait for everyone else to meet them, to see the world I’ve spent the last few years creating in my head.