Tara West

YA paranormal/fantasy and New Adult author


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BIG News and reviews!

So the BIG news of the week is that my crit partner and fellow Eclective member, Shéa MacLeod  scored a SWEET deal with Amazon Publishing for her Sunwalker Saga. I just wanted to say CONGRATS! buddy. You deserve it for all of your hard work.  For those of you who haven’t read her Sunwalker books, they about a fun, snarky vampire hunter, Morgan Bailey, her two sexy guy pals plus loads of mythical creatures, including dragons, genies, etc. If you love a fast-paced book with lots of fun and action, check them out!

Today I’m blogging with the awesome Christine Warner. Stop by if you want to learn a little more about me or read a fun scene from my YA paranormal romance, Sophie’s Secret.  I just woke up to several comments on Christine’s blog already. Wow! Thanks, Christine!

And finally, Sophie’s Secret has 28 reviews at Barnes and Noble now and eight over at Amazon.

I’d like to extend a special THANKS to my teen readers for your wonderful reviews. I absolutely LOVE getting them, so please keep ’em coming.

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Selfish People SUCK!

Spring Break has been hectic as loads of people have flooded San Antonio theme parks and other touristy sites. My family opted save $$$ and stay in town and enjoy SeaWorld this week. What a nightmare. People everywhere crowded the theme park. I noticed that the bigger the crowds, the more the mob mentality: Pushing to get ahead of line, stealing parking spaces, etc… Luckily, I came prepared to drown out the world with my Kindle. I got a lot of reading done while waiting for the kids to ride the little Shamu coaster and play on the playground.

I was lucky enough to find the only available chair during the long wait for one of the kiddy rides. After about five minutes of reading, an elderly woman with a cain approached the line of occupied chairs. There was nowhere for her to sit, and none of the twenty or so people offered her their spot. I stood an insisted she take my spot, but not before loudly claiming that it was a shame no one else had also offered. Rather than respond, everyone looked away, pretending to be engrossed in being lazy and selfish.

(Insert loads of swear words.)

Hey, Texans, what happened to your Southern hospitality? I hope everyone else in the other 49 states is treating their elderly and disabled better than the folks at the San Antonio SeaWorld. What pissed me off the most was the dad sitting by his teen son. Way to show your kid how to respect the elderly. You’re a top-notch role-model.

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In other, more happy news, TODAY and tomorrow, my friends in The Eclective are giving away their newest book,  The Celtic Collection, just in time for St. Pat’s. They are also giving away a FREE Celtic tshirt to one lucky winner. Find out more about the book and the shirt HERE.

David Gaugrahn is offering 30 discounted books on his site. Just .99 all weekend. My buddy, Shéa MacLeod, is offering her Dragon Warrior novel for just .99. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE dragons??? This book has some mature content, so not suitable for young readers.

And by the way, I finished the book that I was reading at SeaWorld, The Sable City by M. Edward McNally. It is by far the BEST fantasy that I’ve ever read, full of dragons, wizards, goblins, demons, etc. It’s got some gore and may not be recommended for young readers. I hope one day this book becomes a movie. I’ve downloaded the sequel and can’t wait for some more long lines so I can read that as well.

Covers in this post done by my fellow artist and friend, Jack Wallen.


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Self-Esteem Part One: You Never Have to Settle

When I was fourteen, my morning wake-up call was the sound of my dad screaming obscenities at my mom. His tirades were usually about money and the family business. After a while, the verbal abuse caused me to resent and disrespect my dad. It got so out of hand that finally one morning I went downstairs and yelled back. This was a bold move because my dad had a bit of a temper, but he stopped yelling at her for at least a few days afterwards.

Though the screaming didn’t start until my teen years, for as long as I can remember, my dad had always talked down to my mom. I remember asking my mom why she’d never divorced him. Her answer was simple: She stayed with him for my sister and me. She’s seen too many step-fathers mistreat their step-kids. She figured my real father beat the alternative.

I also suspect that her past marriage had a lot to do with it. Her first husband was abusive to the point that he’d broken her nose twice. He’d threatened to kill her if she ever left, but after eleven years of abuse, she finally escaped, telling no one where she was going, not even her mother and father. My dad never hit my mom, which is an improvement over physical abuse. While there are no visible scars with verbal abuse, the damage runs deep, especially with children who look to their parents for guidance.

My mom is an amazing and resilient woman who made many sacrifices for her children. I admire and appreciate her for it. At the same time I’ve come to realize that no woman should tolerate abuse in any form.

The summer before my freshman year in college, I fell for a boy who was cute, sweet and respectful of my feelings. We talked about a future together. I thought I’d found ‘The One.’ This harmony lasted for about a month.

Then he changed.

He quickly became verbally abusive, and I had a hard time reconciling this cruel boyfriend with the sweetheart I’d first met. I blamed myself, thinking I’d done something to offend him. I’m ashamed to say that the relationship went on like this for a few more weeks until he broke it off.

Thankfully.

Looking back now, I wonder if I would have been strong enough to end the relationship if he hadn’t. I realize I’d been conditioned to think that abusive relationships were the norm.

It took a while, but I finally realized my own self-worth. The man I married is nothing like those others. He is kind and respectful and simply the best husband a woman could ever want. We have a very lucky little girl. She gets to witness firsthand exactly how a woman should be treated by her spouse.

Sophie Sinora, the main character in the first book in my Whispers Series, has a similar self-esteem issue and falls for the wrong boy. Sophie is very much like I was as  a teen. Luckily, she’s got two great friends who help her see the error of her ways. Sometimes, even the smartest girls can make unwise relationship decisions.

Recovering from the damage of growing up in an abusive household isn’t easy, but it can be done. The first step is realizing that when it comes to your future, you never have to settle.

Never.


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Tribute to our furry friends…

Best buds forever.

Today’s blog post is dedicated to our favorite friends.This has taken a while to write, as I’m still struggling with the loss of our family’s best friend. In January, we lost our black lab named Jack. He and our yellow lab, Benny, both escaped through a hole in the fence and were run over two miles from our house. After we found Jack’s body, we searched all day for Benny and had just about given up hope. Benny limped home at 2:30 the next morning. And I have no idea how he made it with two broken feet and dislocated hips. My daughter and I believe that Jack’s spirit helped guide Benny home.

Our big sweeties.

She and I have been mourning Jack nearly every day since then, while also nursing Benny back to health. To say these past few months have been rough is an understatement. To add to the pain of losing Jack, comes the misery of watching my child suffer. He was her playmate and best friend. She has cried nearly every day since he died.  Thankfully, after three hours of surgery and several weeks of recovering at home, Benny is almost fully healed.

As a tribute to our furry friends, I’ve decided that animals will have a key role in the plot for my next Whispers book. I love animals, especially dogs. I’m allergic to cats, but I have several friends who have feline friends.  I speak from experience when I say that pets are a boon when we are feeling depressed or sick. Though their time here with us is relatively brief, their loyalty and companionship inspires the characters in my books.

Back when I was seriously ill, my step-daughter gave me a rat terrier, P-Nut. I didn’t have much energy to play with my doggie, but somehow she sensed my illness and was there to comfort me during a difficult time. I think pets have a sixth sense and are more attuned to our bodies sometimes than we are. So wouldn’t it make sense to have animals play an integral role in my Whispers series as my girls’ paranormal powers are strengthening with each new book?

Brinley and P-Nut are hard at work protecting the family from the evil vacuum.

On a more positive note, this past year we welcomed Brinley, the sweetest little chi, and Hunter, our new black lab, to the family.  Both dogs spent most of their time locked up in kennels because their owners were too busy to take care of them. And though no dog can replace our sweet Jack, I’m happy to open my heart and home to other furry friends in need.To all of my past friends, you will forever be missed: Peaches, Scooby, Buster and Jack.

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Today, please check out my buddy, paranormal author Shea MacLeod’s blog, as she kicks off ZOMBIE MONTH.  My awesome author pals, The Eclective are also giving away a cool Celtic t-shirt to celebrate the release of their newest anthology, The Celtic Collection, now available on Amazon for .99 and Smashwords for FREE.