My Mother, Troubled Youth And How I Came To Write Badass Characters

As you know, SOUL ENSLAVED releases on December 5th and because it’s smack in the middle of the holidays, I decided to donate a percent of sales to charity. Sabelle happens to be one of my favorite characters in this book.  She’s a feisty succubus who works so hard to get by and tries to be a good mom. Her personality was inspired by my own mother, who worked 40 hours a week, AND put herself through a Master’s program in Social Work, all while raising 4 kids.

So I thought I’d tell you a little bit about my mom, why she’s the most amazing woman I know, and why I decided to let her choose where I make the donation this year.

My mother has spent a good part of her life working as a therapist with what most would label the ‘troubled youth’.  Neglected, abandoned, abused or ignored, every one of them come with heartbreaking stories of hopelessness.  The world has written them off as useless and many kids arrive at my mom's door desperate, leery and many times, resistant to getting help from anyone.  They're hardened.  Sometimes unreachable.  And in some cases, downright belligerent.

I’ve always admired my mother's patience and willingness to dig beyond the behaviors of kids, who were unknowingly desperate for someone to just give a damn.

She’s dedicated her career to providing some measure of hope to those deemed a lost cause—kids caught between living on the streets and in unstable homes.  She’s fought for parents who try to do the right thing but don’t know how. And there have been times when I’ve watched my mom sit at the kitchen table in tears when she found herself battling stereotypes and politics.

My mom is a firm believer in resiliency and while some look at a child who’s suffered horrific circumstances as ‘ruined’, she would call them survivors--‘fixable,’ if given the environment they need to repair and grow into thriving adults.  They say it takes a village to raise a child.  My mom has always said, when faced with the path of right and wrong, it only takes ONE person who gives a damn to make a difference in a child’s life and guide him/her toward success.

She’s worked in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Detroit, and faced a whole lot of opposition, all in the effort of making things better when she leaves.  And one thing I’ve grown up knowing about my mom – she doesn’t do anything half-ass.

It’s no surprise that I tend to write badass females in my stories.  I grew up with one.

I’ve always wanted to do something meaningful like that in my life, but I’m not exactly a role model and I’d surely screw up the first kid I tried to help, which is why I respect therapists and counselors—unsung heroes who’ve dedicated their lives to nurturing healthy minds.

I suppose it might seem natural that, as a writer, the most influential people in my life are other writers.  Yes, they do provide a source of inspiration and I certainly look up to them.  But no one has ever fostered an environment of chasing happiness, believing in myself and pursuing my dreams quite like my mom.  This is what she gives to others—kids who are NEVER told they have potential to be anything they want, anything more than the mistakes they've made—she helps them believe that they CAN and she gives them the tools to do it.

My mother is one of my biggest, most supportive fans.  Yes, she proudly reads my smut and has never judged me for what I choose to write.  However dark and twisted, she’s read every one of my stories and will always be a much better saleswoman when it comes to promoting my work.  So I’d like to give back by promoting her work.  I’m dedicating SOUL ENSLAVED to her and a percent of sales during its first month of release will be donated to two recognized programs that help outreach workers and therapists like her, who are trying to make a difference and guiding kids on the path toward success.

The first is Covenant House.

I recently donated a percent of sales from my Sons of Wrath series to Covenant House in Detroit on behalf of Keri Lake’s Caring Readers.  Here’s the letter I received from the Director of the program:


I want to thank you for your contribution in helping to provide the tools these kids need to turn their lives around.  It means so much to me.  The people working for this organization are absolute angels.  Check out this short video of the outreach workers who scour the streets in search of homeless kids:

For me, this was the most frightening fact presented in the video:

A young person who is on the street for more than 24 hours is 80% more likely to become a victim of human trafficking.

I’m so grateful for those who work every single day to keep these kids in a safe and nurturing environment.

The second program is The Connection.

My mother works with the lovely lady who runs this organization.  Funded by state and federal grants, The Connection helps teens and families in crisis by providing safe emergency housing, counseling, support groups, and community outreach programs.

How Can You Help?

I’m asking you to help me spread the word on release day.  For a limited time only, Soul Enslaved will be 99 cents.  Buy a copy and help kids living on the streets of Detroit.  You can also gift a copy of the book—the perfect holiday treat for the booklovers on your list!

Soul Enslaved releases DECEMBER 5TH, so mark your calendars!

Thank you so much for all you do and for your continued interest in my writing ❤