The Blood Race Launch [& I need your help]

Words can't express how truly grateful I am to be part of such an amazing and supportive blogging community. I started this blog back when I was a young teenager to write about...well, writing. And because of this little space, I've been privileged to meet so many amazing writers, readers, and supporters. There have been so many days when I've posted something that was weighing on my heart, and to my surprise, been blown away by feedback from you guys-- often on days when I need a little encouragement, too.

You guys have always been there for me, and I can't thank you enough for that.

All that said, if you've been following my blog, Twitter, or Facebook for any amount of time, you know that I'm a writer and that my head is basically a little hurricane of stories hanging out on top of my shoulders, and that writing is essentially how I understand the world.

And it's safe to say, if you know all this, you also know that I've been working on a specific novel for a while now-- you might even know that I've finished it. Except it's not just a novel... it's a trilogy. (a trilogy which could possibly evolve into four books, but let's not get confusing here.)

And this trilogy, this first novel of the trilogy, is my love. I LOVE this book, dang it. And this story, this little universe I've created? Well, it's kind of become my home these past couple years. My haven. 

So the novel is finished, and it's done, and it's awesome (even if I do say so myself... like rarely do I compliment myself, but... DARN IT I AM JUST EXCITED ABOUT THIS) and...(the important part) I can't wait to share it with you guys; in fact:

it's time to share it with you guys.

If this post was a child it would be like one of those very multifaceted children who talks a lot, because this is kind of an announcement about the book being finished, a reveal of the cover, and an invitation to a launch party. 

So, here's the clincher: if you like reading, and you like sci-fi/fantasy, thriller, adventure genres, and you like deep, interesting, sassy, hardcore characters-- and if also you like explosions and things catching on fire, and cliff jumping, and extra dimensions...

idk... you might like the novel. Because all of that stuff is in there.

All this to say, I am looking for launch party-ers. Or, in other words, advance readers

This is the deal:

1. Type your email into the blank, white box below and you'll be on the guest list - you'll receive a free digital copy of The Blood Race (first book in the series) as soon as the launch period starts (Which will be soon. I will keep you guys updated via email.)

2. After you've read the book, I'd be super, super, super grateful if you didn't mind popping over to Amazon, purchasing the e-book, and leaving a customer-verified review. (Obviously, you don't HAVE to do this step, but I would really appreciate it. Amazon is pretty particular about reviews coming strictly from readers who have actually purchased the book, so that extra step is important if you don't mind supporting the endeavor. Honest, good words on my Amazon page would be SO appreciated and I will love you forever.) 

3. help me spread the word. Honestly, this novel is a massive part of my life, and I've put everything I've got into this series. If you dig The Blood Race after giving it a read through, I'd be extremely grateful if you'd share it on social media, with friends, or maybe even write a review on your blog after the book is released if you feel compelled to do so after reading.

and 4. Oh wait. There is no step four.

That's it. :)

I'm so excited to finally be sharing this with you guys. You have no idea how much. I am so pumped with this series, and I honestly can't wait to see what you guys think. If you're interested in reading the book before anyone else does, please feel free to sign up below. It would be a massive help to me, and I'd be thrilled to have you on the launch team.

If you would like to check out more info about the book, do so at my (shiny new) author website where you can also sign up for email updates about the book. (Written by me.) (...The emails, not the book. But the book is written by me also. Js.)

* Sign-ups are now closed. Thanks so much to everyone who joined the launch team! 


ps. Hey, I know a lot of you are writers too, so please feel free to give me the low-down about your book or WIP in the comments below - I'd love to hear about it. :)


you are made up of bones filled full of sun juice. Pulse pulse pulse goes your heart and whoosh go your lungs with the in and out, in and out. You've got arms and legs and you were raised by grown up man cubs that taught you how to be a man cub kinda like the rest of us. You eat cereal probably, you have a desk maybe, you have a fetish for wheat thins or maybe a core metal band. You like your hair in a bun, or maybe you shaved your head. Maybe you've got posters on your walls and sweaty sports gear piled in your closet. Maybe you have blue eyes or green ones or brown ones that have green flecks mixed in. Or maybe one is a different color than the other one.

You're a mixed bag. You are a mosh pit of growing pains and squinting at the road signs trying to figure out where the heck you're going.

You're a drifter, a stumbler, an in and out breather and you're digging through the labels like

"Which ones mine??"

And labels can be anything. Labels can be a condition or a career, or they can be a number on the scale in your bathroom, or a set of letters that tell you whether you're "outgoing" or "introspective". Labels can be the band tee shirts or the Twitter bio or how you judge the appearance of your Instagram feed. It can be the food you eat or how many countries you've been to or whether you stutter or not. It can be clothing. It can be gauges. It could be what school you went to, or where you come from.

They are all shards of this world and I want to pick them up and admire them in the sun because clothes and bands and food and style and the way we carry ourselves can all be beautiful bits and pieces of all this life around us.

But when we become the clothes or the food or the numbers or letters or how many people like our photos, we're shrinking like Alices in our own Wonderland's to fit the stickers we're plastering to our foreheads.

Fan of _______

I have followers on Instagram and I've taken Myer's Briggs and I'm a fan of various things. I've done all of that, but I come to this keyboard on my phone in the backseat limping— dragging a broken leg —because so often I let these nouns become adjectives that I identify with to the point of that— that four letter combination or that clique or that way I dress —actually becoming who I am.

I'm introverted
I'm extroverted
I'm shy
I'm loud
I dress this way
I run
I have freckles
I drive this kind of car
I went to this school

We are not the cars we drive, and there are far more than 16 personalities out there. Every time I've taken Myer's Briggs I get a different result. Because sometimes I want to be around everyone and sometimes I'm nothing beyond a hermit.

So what?

We are loud and quiet. We can lead conversations and also be wallflowers. We can play sports or be in the limelight or give lectures and at the same time feel like awkward, geeky man cubs.

So what?

A test doesn't define us. Neither does where we grew up, or whether we've traveled. The "aesthetic" of our faces or our pages or our names isn't us.

If I had no followers on Instagram and if Myers Briggs didn't exist and if all my clothes were burned and if my favorite band went off the deep end I would still be me. And I would still want to feel

like I was myself.

Cars and music and "personality types" are ok nouns but lousy adjectives. Because if we woke up somewhere else tomorrow morning with a headful of permanent amnesia, we would still be


Us without all of that.

we are students. We're treading water and wearing long sleeve shirts and listening to rock music and doing ballet and eating tacos and dealing with acne and riding in the back of cars and getting nervous and afraid about stupid stuff and important stuff. We like to be with people and we like to be alone and talking is difficult and easy and we lead and follow and we're squinting at road signs trying to figure this out.

We're learning, we're learning, we're learning and we don't need the

stickers on our foreheads

to tell us what we are and what we are capable of. I just want to keep reaching and learning and peeling off the barcodes. Because I am quiet and loud. I am zxyt. I am

treading water.

I am keeping my head up.

I am.

hope and a future

in you O Lord I rest and confidentially trust.

not because i have it all figured out,
but because i don't

not because i understand you,
but because i love you.

we crave to understand and get our heads
and hands
around it all,

but oh man, isn't love so much greater?
can i just rise to the rooftops and shout to the stars that i

that i don't want to
for it is not the longing of my spirit.

i don't want to understand
i want to be overwhelmed.

oh, God, for I know your plans for me,
that they are plans to prosper me and not to harm me,
plans to awaken me each day with hope
and to leave me staring
into the divine future you have for me.

i don't need to understand everything you have said,
only to trust that you are love so deep,
and that you know what is best for me
faaaar better than I ever ever could.

that you are an ocean.
that i am your little ocean,
learning to rise and crash with
your sacred rhythm

Papa, take away from me every worry,
every ache,
every storm in my head that says
i must understand

i must know.

no, haha. noooo. thank you that you have not given me a spirit that i should
fear. but
but one of power,
and of love,
and of a sound mind.

a mind that is at rest in you.
a mind sleeping in the boat,
when the seas are chaos and storms.

O, Father. my spirit, my heart, ever etched in the poetry of your breath,
it was made for love. Love, love, love,

wonder. hope. future.

my longing is not to know you,
but to love you,
and love you,
and love you.

oh, Papa, teach me to dance.
teach me to dance like you.

a hundred and eighty days

until you have sacrificed
don't judge those who are
sacrificing on the


until you've risked everything you have
for someone else
someone you may not even


don't underestimate the


of those who feel like they haven't really


until they've found something worth
risking their lives for.

Until you have felt


for one hundred and eighty days in a row,

until you've cried at night
or in the shower
or in the dark
or in the car for

a hundred and eighty days in a row

or longer.

until you've dreamed that he was coming home
only to wake up to a seven


mile gap between you

Until you have experienced the distance
and the ache in your chest where half your heart is


Until you have experienced the worry
and the thousands of plaguing thoughts about
that could possibly go wrong

Until you have voluntarily laid your own life down
to the greater calling of service to another,
to a purpose so much larger than yourself,

Until you have been afraid of what all of that could imply,

Until you have had to stand in an airport terminal
and say goodbye
and actually

let go

Until you have left your life and your loves behind
to instead devote yourself to the protection of a


of me, you, the person next to you,

Until the closest you can get is just a letter he touched,
Until the sweetest sound in the world is

his voice 

broken up over a bad Skype connection,

Until you have felt the courage to go,
or the dedication it takes to stay,
or the rivers of strength it takes to wait,
to cry,
to look for words but find none beyond 'i miss you',
to keep going,
to keep pushing on,
to keep persevering

Until you have felt that pain,
but at the same time that enormous amount of pride,

maybe those in our country who make no sacrifices themselves,
shouldn't be passing judgement
on those who are making those sacrifices

on those who are serving and protecting our right
to judge,
to belittle,
to bash,
and to misunderstand.

maybe there should be slightly less awareness for things that matter so little,
and more awareness and


for the fact that there are souls who fight to give me the freedom to even be able to

write this,

and for you to

read it.

someone who has fallen fighting for this,
for us,
for now,
for the future,

should trend higher than
a comment a celebrity made on twitter.

we should talk about this more

talk about

it's true

that you haven't, in fact, truly lived,
until you've found something


fighting for

poetry (of sorts) because my heart is heavy about the way things are and the fact that celebrities and meaningless hashtags are trending over the SEAL that was killed in action recently. and also because i miss someone who is currently feeling so far away (but i'm so so proud of him).