Manifesting Miracles: Cheltenham Badlands

It started off like any other Saturday.

I woke up in the comfort of my warm, cozy bed, my mind instantly on the frequency of gratitude. I was grateful for seeing another day. I was grateful for the coffee that would be coming my way. I was also grateful to be able to see the Cheltenham Badlands later on with a friend.

It was only days before that I had even heard of this place. A coworker of mine had been sitting next to me during lunch as we chatted about the current news playing in the background, the latest movie we saw, and things to do around town before the storm of 2018 hits the city.

“Have you ever heard of the Cheltenham Badlands?” She instantly shoved her phone in my face, showing me her Instagram. I took the phone from her hand and stared at the image on my screen.

It was beautiful. People were standing on, what looked like, Mars. Like chocolate marshmallow, it was a natural phenomenon. In reality, it was a geological formation that developed over a course of the past 450 million years.

All the people in the photos looked like they were having a blast and I also wanted to experience that. Without a second thought, I immediately texted my friend, Sidney, one of the photos.

ME: Can we go here?

SID: I’ve always wanted to go there. Sure!

And like that, it was a done deal. I knew the following weekend, I would be visiting the Cheltenham Badlands. I was happy that I would have the opportunity to experience some of the beauty my province had to offer.

Plus I was really stoked on the idea that it was called the badlands because I legitimately felt like I was going Into the Badlands.

Only I wasn’t. As I laid in my cozy bed, and Google mapped the address that Saturday, I got the following words float across my phone screen:

CLOSED PERMANENTLY.

Excuse me?

I went to the website link and my heart sank the more I read about not being able to gain access to the badlands due to “massive overuse” and “failure to follow the rules”.

I understood the need to preserve nature and not have outsiders, humans, ruin it all, but it sucked. Like that, my day was over before it even started. There would be no me standing atop the badlands feeling badass, like The Widow defeating all the other barons. Nope, not in the cards.

And if you are bent out of sorts about not understanding my context, please, go watch the first episode of Into the Badlands on Netflix. It’s there.

At least, on the Canadian Netflix.

(Disclaimer: Please don’t watch if blood and violence make you squeamish.)

So the idea of going to the Cheltenham Badlands evaporated from my mind. This left Sid and I in a pickle. What were we going to do this fall morning instead?

ME: So where else can we go that isn’t a million miles away?

SID: There’s a Hop and Harvest festival going on at Kelso Conservation.

I was okay with that but it seemed more of a food spending expenditure, something I wasn’t particularly in the mood for. I started doing my own search for things to do in the area and I saw there was something similar called Terra Cotta’s Fall Festival. Seemed more up my alley.

Sid agreed and the day was reset. No Cheltenham Badlands but Terra Cotta here we come!

So I drove us the half hour it took to get there and I even conquered my fear of heights on the way. The roads were so up and down. I felt as if I were literally on a roller coaster!

Not my scene.

Anyway, we finally reached, successfully parked, and made out way to the festival. Forgot to capture pics of the festival but check out this awesome fall view below.

IMG_0440
Terra Cotta Conservation Area, Terra Cotta ON

There was a little store that sold items like maple syrup and pastries but that’s not what caught Sid’s attention. She turned to me.

“You want to go on the wagon ride?”

I shrugged. “Sure.”

So we quickly paid for our tickets and found ourselves on a wagon, exploring the area and learning the type of wildlife that lived in the conservation area. It was fun, a simple ride where I got to experience the beautiful fall day. One of the tour guides toward the end of the wagon ride mentioned a free bus that would take us from Terra Cotta to the badlands, and back to Terra Cotta.

Sid and I looked at each other, instantly on the same wavelength. That would be our next item for the day.

I was excited. I may not be able to see the Cheltenham Badlands like we had planned, but I got to see another badlands to make up for being cheated with the former.

So we got off the wagon and made our way to the info booth.

“Which way to the bus that will take us to the badlands?”

The poor guy had no clue so we walked back into the little store. One of the girls stationed there showed us a map. All I heard was Parking 3 and 45 degree angle but I knew we’d figure it out.

And we did, as we made our way to this yellow school bus in the parking lot, like it was waiting for us and only us.

I forgot to mention I had brought my camera. However, said camera was not auto-focusing and I was disappointed that all my photos for the day would be a midst of out of focus, blurry shots.

Blah.

The bus driver was pleasant to speak to but as he turned on the ignition, the bus decided it was not in the mood to cooperate. So as our new friend, the bus driver, tried to get the bus up and running, I felt it was the perfect time to attempt at getting my camera working.

Good news: After some time, I did manage to get my camera working.

Bad news: The bus wouldn’t start, no badlands 2.0.

IMG_0450
On the broken bus in Terra Cotta as I capture a shot of Sid.

So we went home after that.

I’m lying. Our great bus driver radioed another bus driver and like that, we were on another functioning bus. I took in the beautiful scenery as we past by, this magical bus taking us to God knows where.

But as we inched closer and closer to the badlands, I had a revelation once we reached our destination.

I was at THE Cheltenham Badlands.

It was one and the same. And I felt like a complete fool for not realizing until it was staring me right in the face that I was at the one place I wanted to be this entire day.

 

Cheltenham Badlands
Cheltenham Badlands, Calendon ON

Isn’t that amazing?

And no I didn’t get to jump on the mountain of brown marshmallow.

But I got a lot of perks out of this day.

Perk 1: I didn’t have to pay the $10 parking fee to get to the badlands, take a few pictures, only to turn around and go back home.

Perk 2: I got to experience the beauty of Terra Cotta and go on my first wagon ride.

Perk 3: A free magic school bus drove me straight to the badlands where I got to relish in my surroundings.

What’s the whole point of this rambling story, you ask?

Sometimes all you have to say is yes in order to experience all that life has to offer.

And sometimes, life has a way of giving you exactly what you want, even when you least expect it.

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My Happiness Equation

I used to think happiness was something you strived to become, like a profession.

When I was in grade school and my teacher would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer wasn’t the standard, doctor, teacher, engineer. No, my answer was to be happy. I think I may have even written a blog post a few years ago about my goal in life being that of happiness.

Now, even at that young age, I knew happiness was the key to living a great life. But by stating I wanted to be happy, that must have meant that I currently wasn’t.

On the outside, my family, peers, and friends may have perceived me as happy. On the inside, I was anything but. I was already battling self-acceptance, faced with the notion that you had to be X, Y, and Z to be “accepted” in today’s standards of beauty.

Qualities I thought I had none of.

I grew up in a time where there was no body acceptance or embrace your natural hair communities. At least, none I could recall. I vividly remember my mom relaxing my hair as I sat in front of her, crying my eyes out because my head felt like it was on fire, being burned by the chemicals that would solve all my hairstyling problems by making it bone straight. But I had to sit still to make sure she got all the kinks out. It wasn’t like I could blame my mother. Her own mother did the same. That was just the way things were.

Same shit, different decade.

I remember going for jogs with my older cousin, might have been ten or so, wondering why she was so thin and yet I was so fat. I mean, we generally did and ate the exact same things. Why did life have to be so unfair?

My daily internal thought was that I was not acceptable. I went through life with the whole woe is me mentality. Yet I told no one. To everyone else, I was the girl with the resting bitch face but if you got to know, was actually quite nice (and shy).

My defence mechanism was to show that I didn’t need anyone. That everything was fine, and life was something that you just had to suck up and do. That it was difficult for everyone, and we all needed to get over it.

Work your butt off at either school or your job (or both), pay your bills, and enjoy the weekends. Two blessed days just relaxing at home, unless you were working your second job, of course.

Then someone close to me died and life blew up like a bomb detonating inside my head. I don’t know what it’s like with other families but in mine, the solution to the loss of a loved one is to “stay strong”. In my family, crying is something you do not do.

So I didn’t. Unless I was in the privacy of my own space, of course.

I began to go through the motions of life again. I got up, went to work, came home, slept. Got up, went to work, came home, slept. Got up, went to work, came home, slept.

You get my drift.

I was on autopilot, and even though I didn’t want to admit it, I knew I could drown in my sorrows if I wasn’t careful. I stopped going out–not a difficult thing to do when you’re inherently an introvert. I stopped writing. How could I when the stories I love to write so much were pretty much a grief-fest of tragedy? Instead of writing, I transferred all my anxiety and heartache by focusing on the art of decluttering my life.

Oh, and I decluttered. Threw out, donated, gave away items like nobody’s business. It felt good to just let go of everything, like having less stuff translated to less stress and less things to worry about.

So I released it all.

And I relished in my introvertness. I mean, now I had a legitimate excuse to not see anyone. I started to feel okay about saying “no”. But then weeks past, months past, and more months past, and I remember talking to one of my friends on the phone. I recall her saying something and being 31 years old, and in her trail of thought–

I froze.

Because the age she was saying she was didn’t make any sense to me. I was that age, and I’m a year older than her, so how could we possibly both be 31 years old?

While she continued to ramble, I took out my iPhone and calculated my age as I stared dumbfounded at the screen.

I was 32 and didn’t even know it.

Almost an entire year went by and I remained stagnant, just going through the motions of so-called life. Not actually living at all.

This was then followed by a mini mental breakdown in front of my mother.

I feel like all this had to happen, though. All these emotions had to come up in order for me to realize that I was in charge of my life. I was responsible for how I felt. And that I couldn’t continue to feel like I was this victim in this tragic story of my life, like all the characters I like to create so much.

It was okay to grieve but I had to move on. I had to take ownership.

So enter the world of YouTube and the art of self-help books.

I started binge watching videos about motivation, positive affirmations, meditation, and the law of attraction.

I re-read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Read The Four Agreements. Put a crap-load of self-help books in my to-read pile.

And I slowly started to practice what I was learning. I meditate. I get up at the crack of dawn to relish in me time. I sip on a cup of coffee and think of all the things I’m grateful for in my life. My family. My friends. My cozy bed. My future dog. Instead of just rolling out of bed as the alarm sounds and rushing to get ready for work.

I belt out to awesome music while driving to work instead of complaining of the traffic, or the asshole that just cut me off. I walk outside, appreciating the beauty of nature. I give myself a break and try not to be so hard on myself. Like damn, we’re our own worst critics. We all need to get over that because if we don’t love ourselves, who the hell else will?

I smile more, I hug more. I show my appreciation for the people in my life more. It’s more about seeing things as a glass half-full mentality as opposed to the dreaded near-empty glass. It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the things I have in my life, and doing all the things that bring me joy.

If I want to have bubble tea, I’ll have bubble tea.

If I want to rock out to Black Velvet or lip sync to Imagine Dragons or Drake songs, I’m all about that life.

If I want to go on a hike to see all the nature’s wonders, damn hell I will. I will pant my way up any trail, name the time and place.

And through it all, I started to feel good. Dare I say, happy? And I started to realize that you attract the things you focus on, and that happiness is something you choose to be. You either are or you aren’t, that’s up to you.

I choose to be happy.

That statement is huge for me, and the years that have gone by have only made me that much stronger and appreciative of this precious thing we call life.

So this space is a fresh start. A place to script out my life, a place to share my stories, both fiction and real, and a place to just ramble about whatever comes to my head. Because it’s what makes me happy, and I hope you enjoy being along for the ride.

The Masks We Wear

Putting on a mask. We all did it.

It wasn’t some strange occurrence that only happened to X, Y, and Z. We all hid things from the world; it was just how we were. I mean, it wasn’t like we meant to do it. It was more of a natural phenomenon, like saying “bless you” after someone sneezed, or stopping at a red light. A reflex if you will.

Here were some examples:

The man a couple cubicles over could have just lost his daughter in a custody battle, yet still brought cookies to work on a weekly basis. The old lady from next door could secretly be in a toxic relationship with her spouse of fifty years, name calling and such. Yet she smiled widely in greeting with the flick of a delicate wrist whenever you saw her each and every morning in the elevator on your way out. Your boyfriend could be hiding dark demons of his own behind kisses that made you moan, whispered promises in your ear, and that oh-so-amazing grin of his that made you say yes to anything he wanted.

Or if you were me, you were waist deep in school debt, credit card debt, you name it, I had it, debt.

I think I did it better than everyone else; I hid behind a mask that declared calmly to the world that everything was okay.

Everything was fine.

Enter my current situation. I thought taking this job would be my ticket out of this dump of an apartment, this dump of a life, really. Living pay check to pay check would be nothing but a distant memory.

Right?

Instead I was covered in blood.

I bet you didn’t expect that … the blood part. But it was as real as giving birth to a nine pound baby boy or, the strangeness that was my name. Instead of diving into a story, telling a tale of madness and mayhem, I was living it for real.

In the words of Jade Reamer, fuck my life.

I stood motionless in a tank top and shorts, gripping the handle of a butcher knife in my hand. Blood pooled on the floor as it rolled down the blade and landed plumply on the floor next to my bare feet.

I couldn’t tear my eyes off the body laying right in front of me. It took up my entire field of vision and in that moment, nothing and no one else existed.

It was the first time I’d seen a dead body this up close and personal. You know, besides watching it while streaming a TV show online. Looking back, I realized that I probably wasn’t particularly good at dealing with death. As a child, I mourned for an entire month when my pet rabbit was run over by a car. I wore nothing but black and felt guilty each and every time I was happy over something else. Whenever I found a spider in the house, my first instinct was to catch it and try to release it outside. When my paternal grandparents passed, I often liked to pretend that they were off exploring the world, maybe Venice or Cape Town. Even when my own parents died I refused to walk to their caskets, not wanting that visualization of death early on in life engrained in my memory like a tattoo I couldn’t laser off no matter how hard I tried.

I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

Even now, I didn’t know what to do. I could hear the sound of cars through the open window, the wind brushing my already chilled skin, goose bumps quickly erupting like they were racing against each other on which one could get me to flinch first. But none of that mattered, it was all white noise to me. My mind wandered for a moment and I thought of my landlord.

Did I pay him this month?

The sound of the front door opening didn’t even get me to react. I just stood there, staring at matted dark hair. Dead. I didn’t react to footsteps approaching me calmly, cautiously. Instead I noticed the  tattoo on the left biceps that wasn’t moving, the majority hidden by a t-shirt, from a body that didn’t breath. Dead. I saw that his neck seemed slightly out of place, his head hanging at an odd angle. Dead. I wondered if death felt cold. As his life slowly seeped out of his body, did he welcome coldness instead?

I couldn’t take my eyes away from every inch of him, this motionless body sprawled on my living room floor. But then my vision was obscured and a man—a living, breathing man—stood in front of me, and blocked my view.

He grasped my arms slowly, fingers digging into my flesh. I knew it should hurt but I didn’t feel anything. I actually didn’t think I was there.

Or was it here?

Alarmed eyes looked straight into my own glassy ones. “Kimber,” he started hesitantly. “What did you do?”

It wasn’t until then that I finally dropped the knife, the clattering echoing in my ear.

What did I do?

I blinked a couple times before I said anything. It was the only thing I could think of to say.

“What do we do with the body?”

…………………

 Prologue from Love, Lies, X’s and O’s, Four Letters 2 (Publish date TBD)

Cover Reveal: Never Letting Go

Never Letting Go (Delphian, 1)
By Christina Channelle

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Category: Mature Young Adult
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
NLG

Synopsis:

It’s hard piecing things together after waking up in a random apartment with no memory of who you are, surrounded by mostly welcoming strangers. The only thing remaining of her past is the tattooed name imprinted on her skin. But with no place to go, these strangers decide to take her in and name her Mia.

Inexplicable things start happening to Mia within the four walls of her confinement, including her presently mute status, strange abilities, and secretive roommates harboring their own hidden agendas. With a serial killer on the loose, this apartment is her only place of refuge.

But when she finally remembers who she really is, her refuge is no longer safe. Mia wakes up to find out her name isn’t Mia at all, and that her life is nothing but a walking tragedy. Her previous actions of refusing to let go of the only person with the power to break her heart leaves dire consequences.

Especially since it involved striking a deal with the devil.


Excerpt:

I never believed in it, love at first sight. It seemed foolish, like something you’d see in a romantic comedy or read in a book. Those standard happily-ever-afters that leave you crying yet grinning ear to ear as the “love interest” of the day declares his deep and undying devotion to the heroine of the story—the sun setting, a burst of doves flying above their heads at that precise moment when the director yells, “Cut!”

Or maybe it was butterflies.

I thought love was something you had to nurture, to grow. Falling in love with your best friend would be a prime example. So I looked to my parents as a model to what love truly was, being childhood sweethearts and all. What else was I supposed to do? Mom and Dad had been gaga over each other: whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears day and night; writing love letters back and forth, and leaving them in secret places for the other to find around the house. Or simply holding hands as they strolled side by side in the middle of a park, me trailing after them from behind. All this was my inspiration for true love. That is, before each of my parent’s untimely deaths.

Tragic, I’ve been told.

My goal when it came to love was to mirror what Mom and Dad had. I thought that one day, I, too, would fall in love with my best friend—with Liam. Only this time, we would both live until our children and grandchildren stared back at us in awe.

So no, I didn’t believe in love at first sight. That is, not until I met him. After that, I would have believed anything—hand to God. And I would have followed him anywhere, even straight to Hell.

Trip Down Memory Lane

Do you remember what it was like to be in eighth grade?

“Callaghan!”

I startled and turned at the sound of the male voice, heart hammering in my chest. I knew that voice from anywhere.

Owen Wilder. He was probably the most likable guy at school. He wasn’t the hottest, he wasn’t the tallest, or the biggest, but there was something about him that made every girl, from sixth grade to eighth, swoon at even the mention of his name.

Including me.

Maybe it was his quirky grin, or the fact that he’d always pick the smallest kid when picking teams. Or the air of confidence that he took with each step, which was crazy for someone our age to have. But there was something about Owen that made everyone pause as you tried to figure him out.

We were at the stage in life where everyone seemed to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Hannah was currently seeing Scott (boyfriend number five). Despite being fourteen, Hannah was a serial dater and I could never keep up with whether Tim had been last week’s or last month’s boyfriend. According to her, she had to practice dating now so she’d be ready for when it was really important.

Mateo had recently been dating Kiera before she kissed another guy at the talent show and they had quickly split, leaving Matty crushed for weeks. He presently wanted to experience the “single life”, not particularly in the mood for backstabbing girls.

But I had never seen Owen with anyone.

I wondered if he was gay like Star, my cousin’s BFF, and just didn’t want to say anything to anyone yet. But no matter what kind of rumors circulated about Owen in school, he was as popular as ever with the girls, perhaps even more so with the possibility that he might be gay.

Many would envy the girl or guy who would snatch Owen Wilder.

I stood from my crouched position in front of these purple tulips and tried my darndest not to show how nervous I was.

“Hey, Callaghan,” he said, approaching me. “What are you doing?”

He dressed simply in a graphic t-shirt and jeans, holding his skateboard at his side.

I held up my phone. “Taking pictures.”

He nodded, noticing the rabbits nearby then grinned, eyes back on me. “Where are your sidekicks?”

I sighed. “They’re not my sidekicks, they’re my friends. Hannah and Mateo are at the mall.”

“And why aren’t you with them?”

“I’m waiting for my sister.”

He nodded then paused, brushing his dark hair off his face. “You want me to wait with you?”

My shoulders raised in reflex despite feeling nervous as ever inside. “If you want.”

…………………

 Excerpt from Four Letters in Reverse, available on Amazon

Life As An Indie Author

I have this tendency of checking Goodreads on a regular basis. I may not post and interact as much as I’d like to, but I do check my author profile.

So as I sift through the many happenings on Goodreads, I notice my overall rating is down. Upon further investigation, I realize it’s from a recent rating of Those Four Letter Words.

Damn, my first one star.

Okay, it’s not my first one star. Been there, done that. But it is my first one star rating for Those Four Letter Words.

Sigh.

Okay, yes, I feel a momentary sting of pain in my chest. I’m only human and that’s a natural reaction to disappointment. I guess I’m not as tough as I portray myself to be around my family and friends. But my writing is that part of me which is vulnerable, and yes I do keep it close to my heart–it took years to actually admit to my friends that I even write books!

I’m over that momentary sting. Of course not everyone is going to like my books, that’s a given. Everyone is and should be entitled to their own opinions. And it’s not like I’ve never given a one star review or hated a book or character for this reason or that. Hate is such a strong word, isn’t it? But differences of opinion is what makes the world go round.

C’est la vie.

But the one star review gave me food for thought, some raw truths. The life of an author has its peaks and its lows.

Peak: self-published my first book.

Low: said book gets pirated on multiple sites.

Peak: people are actually buying my books. Me? This Canadian chick that no one knows.

Low: barely any ebook sales to buy a coffee. Let’s not even talk about print sales.

Peak: cover reveal for Jaded Little Lies happens and people love the cover!

Low: Those Four Letter Words gets its first one star.

That’s just naming a few.

Besides being my birthday next month, December is the anniversary of my first book, Dahlia, being published. That’s three years ago. I’ve come to learn more about myself as a writer and as a person over these past three years.

I’m trying to figure out what I want to do as opposed to do what I’m expected to do with my life. I’ve been going through some life changes and that isn’t stopping anytime soon at this rate. Mind you, it’s not like this one star rating gave me a revelation (although it did give me something to write about).

Starting out, I had this dream of being this amazing writer and everyone would buy my books. That if I worked hard at it (I took a year off to focus on writing and publishing) I could have that dream of being a full-time writer, doing what I love to do. That one thing that makes me feel happy. A wish that many writers have.

A wish that might actually never come true.

I forgot to mention a peak in that makeshift list above.

Peak: meeting other writers and bloggers (well, one blogger in particular who shares my passion for the Walking Dead) that I can seriously say I’ve connected with. These are people that I’ve never even met yet I consider my friends because they totally understand me and relate to me without even meeting me. I just want to say thank you for being a part of my life as an indie writer as it can definitely be tricky.

So in conclusion (I hope I’m not giving you an essay vibe here but I’m paying tribute to the lovely Jade in Those Four Letters Words who has a way with words), I do wonder what the future has in store for me. Writing isn’t something that’s going to disappear from my life. It’s just how the writing will be implemented. As a full-time writer? I don’t know. It’s a nice dream and I’ll keep dreaming.

So how will I deal with my one star rating? Well, the rest of the night will be of me working on Jaded Little Lies and watching Supernatural to dull the slight pain I still have.

Just kidding.

The pain part, not the Supernatural part. I do love me some Dean Winchester. And Sam did just give a shout out to Canada. He referenced a Canadian trucker, but still.

Let’s Talk Four Letters

Let’s talk Four Letters. A series that was first viewed on Wattpad when it wasn’t a series at all, but a rant. Jade Reamer was created when I was in a pissy mood, let’s be honest. Writing was a way to direct all my energy towards and it worked: Those Four Letter Words was created. Now as I’ve said numerous times before, this was nothing more than a rant that developed into me posting weekly chapters online when I realized I had a story. It was a short and sweet novella and I loved it because I enjoy writing short stories since I have a tendency for my mind to wander.

That was it. Those Four Letters Words was over and done.

But apparently Jade’s story wasn’t over. Apparently people liked my little novella and wanted more. And I guess I had more to write.

Enter Jaded Little Lies. My attempt of writing my longest book ever, about 70,000 words. You might be laughing at this moment: 70,000 words? Really, that’s it? Well, like I said, I write short stories: DWI, Reap, Fallen Tears, and Those Four Letter Words are all short stories/novellas. It’s kind of my thing. Dahlia and Rowan are my longest at about 50,000 and 60,000 roughly. So I had it in my head that I had to go long or go home for my next book, and that fell on Jaded Little Lies, my current WIP.

It’s my NaNoWriMo book. I figured it be the perfect time to get back to a story that yes, capped at 30,000. I don’t know if this is with other writers, but I don’t write linearly. I’ve written the beginning and I know exactly what’s going to happen in the end that I thought, why wait, and wrote that as well. It’s the middle that I’m working on. I’m probably the most disorganized writer but I guess that’s what works for me. So I may not be on the NaNoWriMo schedule, but I’m doing my best, and hoping that my goal of finishing this story by the end of the year is a success.

After Jaded Little Lies, I’m planning to write more stories in the series, one featuring Bryn and the other, Connor. Who knows what will come after that.

I’ll leave you with a excerpt from JLL.

Disclaimer: it’s unedited.

I swear I cried for two weeks straight when my best friend moved away when I was five. Allison was her name. She was this petite half Korean, half Jewish girl with the prettiest hair ever and the softest voice that almost sounded lyrical. I remembered the first time I met her. I actually stepped on her hair as she sat on the front steps of the school, waiting for her mom to pick her up.

The moment I realized the tips of my runners were planted on long, luscious black hair, I squawked, backing up.

“Sorry,” I exclaimed.

She turned her face toward me and by the trembling of her lips, I knew I’d be in trouble unless I did something.

“Don’t cry! Please don’t cry. I already made Tyler Price cry this week and mom will be super mad with me if it was two in a week.” I sat down next to her and wiped the potential dirt off the ends of her hair.

“What’s your name, anyway?” I asked, staring into dark eyes which, thankfully, were no longer tearful.

“Allison Ma.”

“Hi, Allison. I’m Jade Reamer, please to meet you.” I raised my hand for her to shake.

She looked at my hand hesitantly before taking my hand in hers.

“Hi.”

I grinned at her. “You don’t talk much, do you?”

“Yes.”

“That’s okay. I can do enough talking for the both of us.”

We were inseparable for that short year, doing everything together. But Allison’s family moved a lot and their time was up in my little old town, her dad getting a position in his company overseas.

Perhaps if she’d have left now, we’d still be in touch with all the social networks out there and texting. But it wasn’t and I cried myself to sleep because my bestie was halfway around the world and even at that young age, I knew she’d eventually forget me.

“Jade, keep your chin up.”

I had been sitting on one of the chairs in the backyard, staring at all the kids that were currently in our swimming pool. Ten-year-old Bryn had decided to invite the entire neighborhood, including Reed, his best friend since forever and was like another brother to me. He wasn’t as yucky as Bryn’s other friends.

Reed was the one talking about my chin.

“It is up,” I said with a frown.

He laughed, taking a seat next to me. He shook his long hair out of his face. “It’s a figure of speech my dad likes to say. ‘Keep your chin up, Reed.’ He says that to me whenever I’m sad or disappointed, like when I miss a shot in baseball. To not be sad.”

“But I can’t help being sad.” I bit my inner lip to prevent tears from falling.

“You’ll make other friends.”

“I don’t want any other friends. I was good with just Allison and Bryn. What am I gonna do now?”

“Well you have me, Jade, you know that. Just call me your Allison.”

I cracked a smile as I stared up into his face. “You don’t look like an Allison.”

“Good. How about I just be your Reed then?” He offered a hand my way.

It was the same thing I had done with Allison but there was no hesitation when I took his hand.

He pulled me forward and picked me up, bringing me toward the other kids. Bryn looked our way, hazel eyes dancing in mischief.

“Throw her in, Reed! Let’s see if Jade sinks or swims.”

Before I could even scream in protest, Reed did as he was told. And as Reed threw me in amongst all the cheers, I wasn’t scared at all. For a moment, I knew what it felt like to fly.

And it was because of Reed.

…………………

Excerpt from Jaded Little Lies by Christina Channelle, release date Spring 2015

Sneak Peek of Reap

I opened my eyes but had to squeeze them shut against the harsh lights. My lids felt swollen, heavy with fatigue. My eyes burned, tears leaking from their corners.

It was the most uncomfortable of feelings.

I must have been dreaming.

“Hello?”

Although the word seemed alien to me, almost as if I had never heard it before, I instantly understood its meaning. The voice that had spoken was warm, making me feel as if I were suddenly sitting in front of a fireplace, wrapped in a heavy blanket, flames crackling. The heat of the word practically licked my skin.

Again, I tried opening my eyes, this time a bit more cautiously. Blinking, I slowly adjusted to the artificial lights, now able to see.

I found myself staring back into a pair of bright blue eyes, a look of wariness in their depths. For a brief moment I couldn’t look away as I stared up at him. Then he cleared his throat and glanced away, as if uncomfortable with my gaze. With the spell of his eyes broken, it was then that I noticed I was lying on the ground—no, on hardwood floor.

And with not one, but three interested faces peering down at me.

I sat up, then winced at the abruptness of my movement, bringing my hand to the back of my head.

Pain, my mind whispered.

“Careful now.”

I directed my eyes toward the person who had spoken such kind words. It was the first person I had noticed, the one with the blue eyes and the warm voice. His voice was deep and calming, and as I sat there I tried to think of the emotion I should be experiencing. Inhaling softly, I closed my eyes, ignored the painful throb in my head, and waited for the proper term to flutter into my mind.

Gratitude.

“Where did you come from?”

Satisfied I had found the correct word, I opened my eyes again to the voice speaking to me. It was a pleasant voice, reassuring to say the least, and immediately captured my attention.

At that moment, I didn’t notice the black hair atop his head, a striking contrast against his blue eyes that looked like I was staring into an ocean. I didn’t notice that the corners of his eyes crinkled up when he smiled kindly at me, complementing the single dimple in his right cheek. By just looking at him, anyone could tell that he was someone who knew how to laugh. But I didn’t notice any of that.

All those things I would notice later.

I stared at the corner of his lips as he continued to speak, not toward me, but to the others present in the room. “Guys … I don’t think she understands a word I’m saying,” he mumbled softly, as if afraid I’d be insulted at the notion of not comprehending him.

“I like her,” stated the girl kneeling next to him. She looked quite outrageous wearing a short black dress with a black choker wrapped around her neck, pink shiny embezzlements adorning it. Her white-blonde hair was extremely long, almost past her lower back. I directed my gaze to her face and found blue eyes staring down at me.

Her eyes were identical to the man’s.

“It’s always the silent ones we should be weary of.” The words themselves were harsh, but as I looked to my right I was greeted by a kind smile with equally kind brown eyes behind wire-framed glasses. They belonged to a man casually sitting on a couch, his shoulder-length dark brown hair tied back. As he continued to stare, he tilted his head to the side as if analyzing a computer software program that wouldn’t work properly.

I guess I was the computer software program.

“James, help me out, will you?” the man with the blue eyes asked calmly. The man on the couch, James, stood up and slowly sauntered over to my side, then both he and the blue-eyed man grabbed my arms and brought me to my feet. I didn’t protest, shuffling alongside them as we entered a kitchen, where they placed me on a wooden chair next to a table.

Sinking down into the hard chair, I averted my eyes downwards and focused on a crack on the wooden table. I knew I was still being stared at, three pairs of eyes boring holes into the crown of my head.

It was difficult not to look up but I managed. I needed a distraction, so I started to trace the crack on the table instead, feeling the texture of the wood as it scraped against my skin.

I find wood to be … quite rough in manner.

“Here you go.” That calming voice spoke once again and I looked up to find a glass of orange juice placed in front of me. It was at that instant that I realized that I was thirsty. I reached for the glass, instinctively bringing the rim to my lips. The juice was cool down my throat.

Refreshing.

This was familiar: the taste of juice in my mouth. Closing my eyes, I licked my lips slowly, trying to memorize this feeling. Perhaps if I stayed like this long enough, I would be brought back to that time of familiarity….

“Yo, Briggs!” James voice beamed through the room and I startled, setting the glass on the table. I hadn’t noticed the front door had opened—I believe an apartment building was where we were located—and a new presence had entered the room. I looked over to where a figure stood by the stairs, utterly still. Although we were indoors, he wore sunglasses. And even though I couldn’t see his eyes, I knew they stared directly at me, hard as stone.

He didn’t like me.

If the man with the blue eyes was warm like a fire on a cold winter day, this man was like the wood I had just caressed: rough, jagged.

Broken. 

Excerpt from Reap, originally published October 11, 2013. Reap has been since republished, along with Sow, under the title, Never Letting Go.

Digging into the Characters of the Blood Crave Series

So I have an update on Rowan. I’m currently waiting on the mail for my copy which I’m super excited about. It looked beautiful online and I’m hoping the real, live version is just as beautiful. I have to say one of the best things about self-publishing is the creative process of actually making a book. I use Adobe InDesign for my print and Kindle ebooks and it’s a Godsend, I tell you.

Love it.

Mind you, there are probably alternatives to this process, but InDesign works for me. I get confused hearing acronyms like HTML or NCX. I like words that spell things, plain and simple.

In case you didn’t know, Rowan will be released April 26th, 2013. It’s the next book in the Blood Crave Series with (you guessed it) Rowan as the main character.  Now, she’s briefly (and I mean briefly) mentioned in Dahlia and we even get a look into her past in Fallen Tears.

I really like Rowan as a character. Although she has a similar background as Dahlia (whom I also love) being the orphaned girl, they are completely different. Dahlia is this introvert, prefers her own company, pretty much an innocent living in an unknown dangerous world of supernatual beings out to get her.

Rowan, however, embraces the dangers and fits naturally into this world of supernatual beings (although it took a lot of work on her part). While Dahlia lives with a past she can’t remember, Rowan’s past still haunts her to this day.  She puts on this front of being the confident one with an attitude. But deep down inside, all she wants is love, just like anybody else. And with those close to her that have left her in the past, she finds it difficult to believe in that happy ending.

And although her story starts in Fallen Tears, her story truly begins in Book 2 of the Blood Crave Series, Rowan, where you get to see characters from both Dahlia and Fallen Tears interact with one another. Who, you’re probably asking?

Well, you’re going to have to wait and see.

Sneak Peek of Rowan, Blood Crave 2

I wanted to post an excerpt of my upcoming novel, Rowan. It’s the continuation of the Blood Crave Series following Dahlia and Fallen Tears. So if vampires and such are up your alley, check them out! There’s a twist, I tell you. A twist!

Below is an excerpt taken from Chapter 1. It’s in a random section (didn’t want to post the beginning; gotta leave some suspense).

Trying to remove all thoughts of him, Rowan focused on the task at hand. She sucked hard on the last remnant of candy, then stepped out of the shadows and onto the main street. She knew she’d catch the eye of some pathetic twenty-something year old. As of now, she didn’t give a hoot who it was. She just wanted—no, needed—one thing.

Blood.

She caught sight of a somewhat nice-looking blond walking across the street. He looked strong and healthy, definitely able to do the job, not dying on her and all. Humans who were frail had a tendency to not recover from the stress their body went under while being fed on, no matter how little blood she would take at times.

Rowan also learned sexuality was just as powerful as the ability to manipulate people’s thoughts. She’d use either, depending on her mood. It was why she’d dubbed herself the Charmer. Vampires had scary reputations and she didn’t really think she was scary. She’d changed from the old Rowan, having been on her own for so long, but she wasn’t creepy.

Or was she?

Ignoring the thought, Rowan tilted her head, calmly waiting for her meal to cross the street. She tracked his steps with her eyes as he made his way over, walking toward her. As he passed by, she grabbed onto his essence, tapping into his thoughts. She instantly felt a sense of urgency coming from him.

He was late in arriving to a friend’s condo, a new one, and couldn’t find the address. He felt slightly agitated at being lost, especially in a new city where things were so unfamiliar. Being a guy and all, he didn’t dare ask anyone for directions.

Typical.

Eyes raised, Rowan unconsciously popped another candy in her mouth.

Three.

She silently fumed, yet another reminder of him. No time to be distracted, Rowan, she thought to herself. But her candies were rather addicting, especially when caught up in the chase.

Eyes narrowed on her target, Rowan focused once more. She waited two beats before following Blond Boy from behind. A few more strides and she quickly caught up to him, falling into step thanks to her long legs. She managed to ‘accidentally’ step on the heel of his right sneaker, forcing him to stop as he spun around. Annoyance clearly flashed across his expression but it quickly disappeared as his gaze rested on Rowan. His eyes roamed up and down her body unashamedly, a smile growing on his face.

Boys were too easy—a pretty face and they were hooked. Internally, she rolled her eyes at his response. She could tell he no longer thought of being lost.

Frankly, it was quite pathetic.

Putting on an apologetic face, she frowned, stepping forward. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t hurt you, did I?” She brushed a hand against his upper arm for added affect and knew he worked out from the bulge felt beneath his clothes. She felt the shiver vibrate through his body from her contact.

Hook, line and sinker.

She rather enjoyed this game of cat and mouse. It gave her something to do and, to be honest, it was rather refreshing. Mind control wasn’t as entertaining and she didn’t do it unless needed.

“No. Um, no, you didn’t. I’m fine.” His voice pierced through Rowan’s thoughts, sounding slightly off centered, almost like a pubescent boy. It didn’t match his physique at all. She watched him swallow deeply, clearing his throat. Rowan bit her lip, trying to hide the smirk forming on her face.

She instantly let go of his arm, eyes widening. “Well, then. Now that I know you’re fine….” She took a step back, smiling as she slowly walked away. She accentuated her stride, allowing her hips to sway gently back and forth when—

“Wait!” She paused in mid-stride, her smirk quickly forming again. Smothering her smile, she changed her expression to one of apologetic sincerity. Hands clasped together, she turned to face him, watching as he jogged over. He stopped, only mere inches away from her.

“What’s your name?” he murmured.

Her candy having dissolved, Rowan chose to suck on her tongue instead for the lingering taste, then gave her upper lip a quick swipe. She watched his blue eyes flicker to her mouth as he followed her movements. She slowly exhaled, her breath filling his nostrils before finally answering.

“Rowan.”

He continued to watch her mouth, not saying a word. He sure was slow. Although aroused, which was easily seen by his dilated eyes, his quick, shallow breaths, the way he looked at her, he didn’t make a move. Rowan was sure if he had his way, they’d be staring at each other all night long.

That was so not happening.

Impatient, she pursed her lips, deciding to take things into her own hands. He was definitely not the pursuer. Taking a closer step to him, she brushed herself firmly against him, feeling his body stiffen. Slowly moving her mouth toward the shell of his right ear, she whispered something any guy would love to hear. Her devious smile locked in place, eyes glinting wickedly.

“Would you like to have some fun?”

Excerpt from Rowan, Blood Crave 2. To be released April 2013