Vulnerability… Do you dare?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt

So I have been a bit AWOL, truth is, I have started a new pseud to write paranormal romance and it just doesn’t fit with “Invictus” & “From Far Away To Very Close”, which are the stories of my heart that I started writing for as Aska.

But it’s a new year, right? So maybe I can actually take the time to write “Portraits in Colour” about two very different girls (an artist and a music lover) who get bumped together by fate and learn to look a little deeper. If that happens, the mailing list is where I definitely won’t forget to say anything (

But anyway, if you were here for the werewolves, drop me an email and I’ll let you know where they have gone. For now, I wanted to tell you about Brene Brown and her book “Daring Greatly” which I have listening to intermittently because it is a bit too much to take all at once.

Her premise is uncomfortable as it’s true. Truth, bared, is always a little too glaring, isn’t it? We must allow ourselves to be vulnerable to be able to connect with others at all, and for that we must let go of all the strategies taught to us to avoid just that. It is, of course, a constant struggle, because we have been conditioned to put on armour and because we simply want to escape the pain that will come with exposure when someone fucks up and doesn’t take care of our fragile heart. Then we feel shame, because we have been seen and found wanting and that’s almost unbearable. But in our heads we feel shame anyway, and it is only through showing ourselves to other than it can be defeated.

Anyway, this book is breaking my brain a little, heartily recommended so have some quotes:

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”  & “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.”

“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.”

My very best wishes for you all in this coming holidays and new year,





“From Far Away To Very Close” (Invincible girls, book 2)

cover for FROM FAR AWAYdw

It’s been such a long time since I started writing Seda’s story (more than a year!) that I no longer remember why I thought it needed writing. Maybe because Invictus was all about how brave Shla was in dealing with the blow fate deals her and Seda is just this super supportive and (I hope) charming stranger who brings Shla back from the land of ‘I cannot be helped’, and Seda is, obviously, not an angel in disguise. So I wanted to know what was going through her head, what her experience of Shla’s disability was, and how someone on the outside would struggle with seeing someone they like in pain and with the idea of getting close to someone in pain despite that. I also wanted to look under the instinctive understanding they reach about being different to most people because of their race and being made feel that way.

Anyway, here’s “From Far Away To Very Close”, which ended up being half about Seda’s own journey as teenage immigrant, half about her romantic mis/adventures with Shla. About fair, I’d say.

Available now on Amazon.

Or you can pre-order on Smashwords with this coupon (ZN55L).

Hope you like it! And whether you do or not I’d love to hear about it.


The Werewolf’s Best Mate

UNGGfU0MHrqKSx1T1Of70tanyPjEhMZ_t8k2N3NlpGoComing soon!


A werewolf mechanic afraid of love + a tough BBW lawyer + best friends since childhood + secret pining = an (im)possible love story.

When she gets a dream intership at Robinson Law, Elena knows she’s hit the jackpot. Even better, the firm’s head office is in her very own hometown so after years of endless commute to see her family, she’s back home.

But perfection doesn’t last. Soon she’s in hot water at work, and trying to get out of trouble as diplomatically as possible lands her in the arms of an unexpected saviour.

Simon is perfect for her, has been perfect since they met as toddlers, really. And he’s also completely out of her league, not even because he’s drop dead gorgeous, but because he has a destined soul mate he will recognize on sight.

Simon’s never felt as close to anybody as he does to Elena, but knowing his mate is out there, he can’t bring himself to risk their friendship, and, even worse, her heart for a relationship that couldn’t last. But when they have to pretend to date to keep Elena’s job safe, he’s not sure his own heart will make it through.

Can the lie bring out the truths they have been hiding for so long, or is fate too strong to fight?

A standalone interracial werewolf romance.

Reblog: #LikeAGirl

I know it’s probably all based on commercial interests, but this is awesome nonetheless:

And now, after a few hours lost in the marvels of the #LikeAGirl tag, I shall return to Seda’s story (I’m past the 15,000 word mark but a lot of those might end up in the ‘extras’ when I clean this thing up… If I ever do finish it.)

Oh, wait, I have to tell you, The Representation Project  has a new documentary out:

“But it’s traditional.”

Recently, I have been studying more Italian, and using it more to speak, as well (Maybe I’ll finish No Ho Paura this year, even!). Yesterday Italian Easter traditions came up in conversation. Pupi cu l’ova are traditional Italian Easter biscuits, they are apparently delicious and make Italians super nostalgic. But, as a lot of traditions do, they are gender segregated. Girls get a doll shaped cookie, boys get a horse or another animal, pregnant women get a doll with an egg to represent their swollen bellies. I frowned at the division, although the egg/belly equivalence I found ingenious. My conversational partner agreed it was not good, but shrugged it off, saying, “It’s traditional.”

Traditions are things that we do again and again. They become traditional because we give meaning to repetition, as if our performing an action again and again ritualizes it. This is human nature. It is also human to grow fond of traditions, of ‘the way things are’. But another name for ‘the way things are’ is ‘status quo’ or ‘deal with it if the way things are is not in your favour.’ If something is a tradition, that is all the more reason to question it because it is not an isolated incident but a consistent behaviour through time that will probably be transmitted to newer generations as valuable.

I am an extremely picky person in pretty much all aspects of my life: I like things done my way. So I get the feelings of attachment people develop for things they have done all their lives, things that perhaps they learned from people they have lost and they feel connect them to those people.

But tradition is not a reason, it’s a habit, and like all habits it’s both difficult to break and important to question. If a tradition is sexist or racist, do we want to perpetuate it? Pupi aren’t going to convince girls and boys that they are essentially different, but they are reinforcing stereotyping (like dress codes, colour codes, permissible activities and preferences, etc ad nauseum.) Knowing that our actions shape our thoughts, that would imply that we wish to keep having sexist and racist thoughts, which will in turn lead to more actions of the kind.

Of course, traditions can be updated, keeping the spirit of the thing but not the letter. My friend didn’t say anything about how the number of eggs in a ‘pupa’ depends on the importance of the person and so the head of household/patriarch would get more eggs than anybody else. Apparently some people got fed up with that, at least. If I could make up a tradition, I’d ask each person what kind of shape they would like.

Delicious homemade food is a tradition I am a 100% behind, and freedom to choose is an upgrade that goes well on any activity. What do you think?

“Invictus” succeeds!

invictus cover2

Perhaps it’s the optimistic title, I don’t know, but “Invictus” (my story about a professional teen athlete who suffers an accident that leaves her out of the running, but who refuses to give up) has been doing better than any other book I have published. It’s my favourite so far so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. It might also be that girl/girl romances with protagonists of colour and disabilities as a focus are so rare that everybody who likes to read that kind of thing simply has little choice. (I’ve not found any others, sadly, but would welcome recs if you know of any.) Because I’m an equalist that way and there’s two girls in the story, I thought I could write a little drabble about Seda, who has a pretty interesting story of her own, what with being a first generation immigrant and dealing with all that implies at a very young age. I miscalculated wildly, of course, and I’m now up to 7k and nowhere near the end.