Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Unrest Story

I just watched this documentary UNREST by Jennifer Brea, about her life after she was struck down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It’s a powerful film and I hope it succeeds in getting the medical community to take this illness, which affects millions of people, seriously.

I am one of the people affected, though I rarely talk about it. I don’t talk about it because I don’t want this illness to define my life. But that’s not the only reason. I don’t talk about it because a lot of people don’t believe it’s a real illness, even people in the medical community. Everyone gets tired, right? And I get it. Unless you are going through it or watching a loved one go through it, it’s hard to imagine the kind of debilitating fatigue where breathing is all you can do, for weeks, months or even years, depending on how severe your case is.

But what I’ve realized watching this movie is staying silent is the worst thing I can do. The push to get this illness taken seriously, and get the research funded to find a cure, needs every voice it can get. So, I am speaking up.

I was lucky enough to be diagnosed early, though not by an understanding rheumatologist (His only advice was to keep exercising). When I look back before the moment I got sick, I can see a pattern where I started to get run down. I had two serious medical traumas in the span of a few years. As I recovered from those, I noticed I never really got back to feeling good. The fatigue was there, just not debilitating yet, so I kept pushing myself, working out, trying to eat better. Until one morning I woke up feeling like I had the flu with severe pain and fatigue. And I never recovered.

That was four years ago. I said I was lucky to be diagnosed early  and that’s because I was able to research enough to learn that pushing myself at all physically could be catastrophic and put me in the “severe” category that most people don’t recover from. Because my main complaint was the pain (my hands and legs burned like they were on fire, my joints ached) my diagnosis was fibromyalgia, though the fatigue is more debilitating for me. Fibro, CFS, ME… these labels are slapped on the cluster of hundreds of symptoms that come with this illness. It is a multi-faceted illness involving the nervous system and the immune system. The digestive, endocrine, cardiovascular and muscular systems are also affected.

The first six months were the hardest for me. There was a lot of spending time in the bathtub and pool because being in water brought the pain down to bearable levels. There was also a lot of grieving for the life I had lost. I have twin boys who were eight at the time. I could no longer ride bikes, go to the beach, throw a baseball, even reading to them would wipe me out for days. I also had two dogs that I could no longer take for walks. I had friends that couldn’t understand how sick I was. My world shrunk to immediate family. To my bed. My couch.

I did see many different types of specialists, but no one had answers. I spent most of that first year with severe brain fog, but when I could concentrate I would research or watch videos of how other people recovered. It took a year of this to find the little things which helped me slowly begin to improve. With a combination of things like: LDN (a drug that boosts the immune system), restorative yoga & meditation (to heal my nervous system), cutting out sugar (to help the inflammation in my body), seeing a restorative medical practitioner (who helped straighten out all the systems that had crashed along with vitamin deficiencies) and learning how to pace (using less energy daily than your cells are producing)  I managed to get to the point where I could do some important things again like write and cook. You could look at me and not see a sick person, as long as I wasn’t doing anything physically taxing, because then I would be in a wheelchair.

In October of this year I was feeling pretty good. I still had exercise intolerance so I still couldn’t do things like walk the dogs or ride bikes, but I could spend fifteen minutes doing light yoga or doing some movement in the pool. I could finally make it through the grocery store without crashing, though I would have leg pain afterwards. I felt like I had a handle on this thing. And then I had another medical emergency. For the third time in four years, a main artery burst in my sinuses and it took two emergency surgeries, a stay in the ICU and a blood transfusion to save my life.

It’s been almost three months and I am still recovering. The crushing fatigue is back. I am frustrated but I know that I have to keep my stress levels down and just go back to the beginning, not using more energy than my body is creating.

Guys, this illness robs people of there lives. There’s this cycle of feeling a little better, getting some hope and then overdoing it and crashing for days or weeks. And by overdoing it, sometimes it’s just reading too long or taking too many trips to the bathroom.

So, if you know someone who has been diagnosed with fibro or CFS/ME please believe them. Support them. Spend time with them, even if you just sit with them. Watch this movie! It’s an isolating illness. It’s scary and its hard to stay hopeful.

Because hope is our life preserver, I’m going to share a few online resources that have helped me:

Fed Up with Fatigue (Donna sends weekly links to your inbox for news/info on Fibro/CFS)

CFS Unravelled (Dan Neuffer was a sufferer who has recovered & now dedicates his time helping others. Tons of great recovery stories on here)

The Optimum Health Clinic (Started by Alex Howard, who himself recovered & wanted to help others. They have tons of great information videos & recovery stories on YouTube. I have an appointment to talk to them at the end of the month.)

Thank you for reading my story and if you’re one of the invisible people suffering through this, hang in there. I see you and I do believe recovery is possible.





Pet Psychic Book 4 Release Day!

Today is the official release day of FOR PETE’S SAKE (A Pet Psychic Book 4)!!!

To celebrate, we’re talking pet photography tips over at misterio press. Come say hi!


A picture perfect wedding in paradise…what could possibly go wrong?

Pet boutique owner and reluctant pet psychic, Darwin Winters, is looking forward to watching her best friend and business partner, Sylvia, say “I do” to the man of her dreams. But when their wedding photographer turns up dead on the big day—and Sylvia’s superstitious mother believes his heart attack is a sign their marriage will be cursed—Sylvia’s dream wedding quickly becomes a nightmare.

Darwin only has a week to help her detective boyfriend prove the photographer’s death was not from natural causes before Sylvia’s family jets back home to Portugal, and the wedding is off for good.

As more than a few suspects come into focus—including Peter’s model clients, a rival photographer and the director of an animal shelter being investigated for fraud—time is running out. With just one clue from the photographer’s orphaned Yorkie pup to go on, can Darwin help save Sylvia’s wedding and capture a killer? Or will both justice and Sylvia’s wedding cake go unserved?

Get your copy here!  AMAZON       BARNES & NOBLE        iBOOKS  

Pet Psychic Book 3 released!

Have you met Darwin Winters yet? She gets visions from traumatized animals, which has landed her in all kinds of trouble in Books 1 & 2. She’s taken a moment out of running her pet boutique, saving animals and helping her hunky detective boyfriend solve murders to talk to the cool folks over at ParaYourNormal. You can read her interview HERE.

And now you can also read about her newest adventure in: SILENCE IS GOLDEN which has just been released!

When a St. Pete native is killed in a hit and run, pet psychic Darwin Winters gets a vision from the victim’s prized golden retriever that leads her to believe it was no accident. As suspects start piling up, Darwin finds herself in the middle of the dead woman’s family and friends, not knowing who she can trust.

Stories of artifacts and pirate legends, strange disturbances at the Pinellas Point Indian Mound, and show dog shenanigans all add up to one thing… motive for murder. Can Darwin separate family secrets from cover ups and lies to dig up the truth? Or will it be silenced forever along with the victim?

Available for your KINDLE & NOOK   (*paperback coming soon)


This is my old gal, Rainey… the sweet soul this book is dedicated to. Isn’t she purty?




Halloween Treat & Cover Reveal!

My goal was to have the third book in the Pet Psychic Mystery series, SILENCE IS GOLDEN, out this month. Unfortunately, due to a medical emergency and surgery that I’m still recovering from, the release date has been pushed back to the end of November.

But, I can give you this sneak peek at the cover, which I am totally in love with!


Isn’t she fabulous?! Can you guess what kind of adventure Darwin has this time?

And because HALLOWEEN is my favorite holiday, I want to give out some TREATS!

Just leave a comment telling me what your favorite Halloween candy is, along with your email address & format you prefer  TODAY ONLY and I will plop KARMA’S A BITCH (Pet Psychic Mystery No.1) into your Halloween bag inbox!



Online Halloween Party!

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that Halloween is my favorite holiday! So, I want to invite you all to come celebrate with me on Oct. 25th at the Facebook Halloween Bash my publisher is sponsoring.

Along with other misterio press authors, I’ll be giving away ebooks as well as a signed print copy of Lady Luck Runs Out!

There’ll be games, prizes and lots of swag to win!

Click the link and join the PARTY HERE!

See ya there!



Summer Book Crush – Sale!

Hey, my lovely readers! Grab a beach chair and a fruity umbrella drink because summer’s heating up!

SUMMER BOOK CRUSH offers 50+ titles in a variety of genres. FIFTY! This means 50+ chances to (fictitiously) fall in love. And the best part? Each of these gems is only 99¢! (For a limited time only.) You won’t find a hotter group of reads on the internet, especially at this fantastic price.


(Click the banner to get to all the books in the sale!)

 The SUMMER BOOK CRUSH event starts on June 26th and ends (yes, even the best things in life end at some point) on June 28th. So don’t wait! Mingle with our BOOK BOYFRIENDS and invite all your friends to participate too. Spread the word…this is a lot of fun reading at an awesome price and it won’t last long. Grab ‘em while it’s hot outside — there are plenty of BOOKS to share!

THE MONARCH is participating in the sale, too! So, if you haven’t read it yet, here’s your chance to grab a beach mystery for 99¢ and meet Anna Maria Island’s hunky, brooding detective, Sam Larson.

Find your summer fling between the pages of a book. And don’t stop at just one – after all, there’s a host of men for you to mingle with. Why limit yourself?


Five Reasons I Love Mysteries

Okay mystery lovers, I have a treat for you today! Kassandra Lamb is here talking about why she loves mysteries! I’m just going to give her the floor:

Thanks so much for having me over to your place, Shannon. Can we take those cutie boys of yours down to the beach later?

But of course, you know what they say about all work and no play!

Hi Everyone,

I used to be a much more eclectic reader in my youth. I read historical fiction, family sagas, romance, and mysteries. Somewhere in my late thirties, however, I found myself gravitating mostly toward mysteries. Today I may read the occasional romance or sci fi fantasy but my true love is a good whodunnit. Here are my 5 reasons why.

The Puzzle – I’ve always loved puzzles: jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, whodunnit puzzles. I think my love of puzzles is one of the things that attracted me to psychology as a profession.

by Lynn Kelley Author, CC-BY-SA 2.0 WANA Commons

I loved puzzling out what makes people think, feel and act the way they do. But being a psychotherapist isn’t easy, and as a specialist in trauma recovery, my days at the office were pretty intense. So I also love… The Escape – Fortunately my everyday life does not involve murder and mayhem. The events in mystery novels are totally different than my own experiences (and please God, they always will be!)

Clients and students would often recommend books or movies on psychological topics, assuming I would find these fascinating. I didn’t. They were too much like work! I rented “A Beautiful Mind” three times before I finally made myself watch it. (And was glad I did; great movie!)

Nope, give me a well-written mystery; they provide excellent escapism.

The Excitement – It’s not a good mystery unless at some point the protagonist is in danger. I love the vicarious adrenaline rush as the hero/heroine is being shot at, chased down an alley, struck on the head from behind or in some other way is fighting or running for his/her life.

The Characters – My very first blog post was on this topic. We don’t think about mysteries being about character development, but the good ones are. It has even been said that mysteries aren’t really about the mystery itself as much as they are about how the characters deal with the mystery!

My favorites are books in which ordinary people like you and me are challenged to deal with extraordinary events. I like to live vicariously through their experiences and pretend that I would rise to the challenge as well as they do.

And I love series because then I can revisit my old friends, and see how they are evolving over time (Come on, Shannon, I’m dying to know what happens next in your pet psychic’s life!)

The very first mystery series I got hooked on.

The Competition – This one may have you scratching your head. Competition? Yes there is a competition, between the reader and the author. Can you, the reader, figure out whodunnit or will the author fool you until the very end?

If the author is playing fair, s/he drops a few crumbs along the way, while also throwing some red herrings in the reader’s path. It isn’t even totally about whether or not you figure it out. It’s also about how sure you are. If you think it was Colonel Mustard, but it could be Miss Scarlett, or maybe Professor Plum, then you will have a satisfying end experience either way. If the colonel is truly the dastardly devil, you think Aha! I knew it! And you feel really, really smart!

But if it’s the little miss or the good professor, you’re a bit surprised but still satisfied, because you kinda suspected them once or twice. But then again, sometimes it’s someone you never saw coming, but looking back, you realize it all makes sense. That last great twist at the end can be even more satisfying!

I love that Aha! moment, no matter who the culprit turns out to be. And then I sigh a satisfied sigh, feel a little sorry that the adventure is over… and pick up the next whodunnit to dig in!

So, tell us… what’s your favorite genre to read and why?

And now Kass is writing her own mystery series. Book 5 was just released last week. Check it out!

When a former client reaches out to psychotherapist Kate Huntington and reveals a foreign diplomat’s dark secret, then dies of ‘natural causes’ just days later, Kate isn’t sure what to think. Was the man delusional or is she now privy to dangerous information?

Soon she discovers her client was totally sane… and he was murdered. Someone is now trying to eliminate her, and anyone and everyone she might have told. Forced into hiding, she and her husband, Skip, along with the operatives of his private investigating agency, struggle to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer. Skip and his P.I. partner are good investigators, but this time they may be in over their heads… and they could all end up drowning in a sea of international intrigue.

(This book is part of a series but is designed to work quite well as a stand-alone.)

Now available on AMAZONB&N, and UK AMAZON  And  ON SALE FOR $1.99 thru June 12th! (Goes up to $3.99 on 6/13)

Connect with Kassandra on Facebook, Twitter & Goodreads











Welcome! I’m excited to be a part of the TNBT blog hop!

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for us writers to help readers discover great new authors.

First, I want to thank August McLaughlin for inviting me to participate. If you enjoy a good psychological thriller be sure to check out her new novel, IN HER SHADOW, which Edgar nominated thriller author D.P. Lyle calls “A tale of personal terror that resonates on many levels, with twists and turns that will keep you on edge from page one to the end.”

You can find out more about August on her Blog

In this particular hop, we are asked to answer some questions so you get to learn about our current work in progress as well as some insights into our process. Here are my answers, and don’t forget to check out the authors I’ve tagged below for theirs! I hope you enjoy it!

What is the working title of your book? Goddess of War

Where did the idea come from for the book? A few years ago I became involved in  great group of writers who posted flash fiction on Fridays. One of the pieces I wrote for this was called “Mario’s Goddess”. Basically a sanitorium worker falls in love with a patient there named Alice Lois and breaks her out. Turns out she’s the Goddess of War. Alice has been haunting me lately, begging me to tell her story. She wants to be understood. (Read the flash piece HERE)

What genre does your book come under? Honestly, I’m not sure. Psychological thriller? Literary? Mystery? Probably a little bit of everything. Luckily for Alice, pinning a book down to one genre isn’t as important anymore since physical bookshelves are going away.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Alice is such a mixture of naive innocence and unbridled power, its hard to think of an actress who could pull her off. Maybe Christina Hendricks. She’s got the red hair and rockin’ goddess body.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Alice Lois, Goddess of War, just wants to be Alice Lois, soccer mom.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? This book is still in the research and planning stage. And will be for a while while I write book 3 in the Pet Psychic series.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? As I mentioned, Alice’s story started as a flash piece. This is a good time for me to let you know you can share your flash fiction through the #fridayflash twitter group and be a part of a great community of writers HERE.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Alice is a very unreliable narrator. The reader will see the world through her eyes and must decide for themselves if she really is the Goddess of War or if she belongs back at the sanitarium. Honestly, I’m not even sure yet.

Below you will find #fridayflash authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases!
1.Jon Strother (the man behind the #fridayflash community)
2. Olivia Tejeda
3. And a special shout out to a #fridayflash pal, Cathy Olliffe-Webster, who’s already answered these questions about her soon to be published book, which sounds so good!
Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions.



Lady Luck Runs OutLady Luck Runs Out

Fall tourist season in St. Pete has kicked into high gear for Darwin Winters, pet psychic, but that doesn’t stop her from getting tangled up in a new murder investigation. Rose Faraday, a gypsy fortune teller, has succumbed to a rattlesnake bite in her own condo. After a run-in with the victim’s traumatized cat, Darwin knows it was no freak accident. Can she
find a way to prove it? Or will the killer get lucky and get away with murder?


The contest is open to US/ Can residents. Ends October 30, 2012
Fill out the form below to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kylee’s Broken Heart

When I was nine or ten I read the James Harriot books. Remember those? All Creatures Great and Small? All Things Bright and Beautiful? He was a fabulous story-teller. I knew that I wanted to grow up and be and writer and a vet just like him.

Fast forward thirty something years later and I’m only a writer. Not a vet.  Because (besides being seriously allergic to math)  I found out you can’t actually save all the animals–that no matter how much knowledge, training, or passion you have–as a vet you have to deal with loss. You have to watch people say goodbye to their pets. And that would  break my heart.

So, I told you all that to say that today I’m able to use my writing to help save someone’s pet, which is the best of both worlds for me.

Her name is Kylee. She’s an eight month old mastiff puppy born with a heart defect. Eight months is just not enough time for this sweet girl to spend on this earth with the people who love her. She needs a life-saving operation. I know we can’t save them all but this girl’s mom, Ro Lewis,  is part of the mastiff community that I belong to and she does so much for others, I wanted to find a way to help. So this is personal.

Here’s the part where my writing comes in. I’m giving a copy of Karma’s A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Detective) to everyone who contributes to Kylee’s chip-in page.

You can give a dollar. Five. Fifty. Whatever you can afford because every little bit helps! Then Ro will send me your email address so I can send you the book. Easy! You get to help save a life and get a free book. What could be better than that? And your dog will love to read it, too just ask my friend Morgan:


“I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs.” -James Harriot