#ShadesBelow2 Is Officially In Production!





I just finished writing the Prologue for Shades Below #2: The Devil’s Disease!

Lena and MacMillian are coming back, along with a whole mess of new, awesome cohorts!  Hopefully you’re as excited as I am!  If you are, add The Devil’s Disease on Goodreads and subscribe to my mailing list– I’ll let you know when you can snatch it up 😉

View original post

The Roaring Forties




I am horrible
at admitting
personal faults

I am a perfectionist
and have been
for as long as I can recall

It’s exhausting
and lonely
and yet I slog along
in my made up

But today
today I’m going to shake shit up
and throw myself
for a loop
and admit something
quite difficult to embrace

It took me damn near forty years to find my roar

I come from
a line of badasses
women who roared
more often
with more urgency
their entire lives

Women who didn’t
take no for an answer
who claimed their place
stood their ground
and prospered

My mom
lifted me with her words
“you can do anything”
and her belief
I could do anything

My aunts
inspired me
with their acts
their can-do
their oh hell yes
My grandmother
badass to end all badasses
awed me
with her mere existence
her choices
her belief in self
her gangsta

My alma mater
Barnard College
that bastion
of women’s education
that brilliant
patch of green
in Morningside Heights
nurturing young women
teaching us the finer points of badassery
providing us the tools
necessary to survive
this cruel world
then releasing us
with the admonition
to kick ass
and take names

My friends
amazing women
who will fuck you up
at the drop of a hat
then piece you back together
with a caress
and a kiss

My husband
a man’s man
total alpha
and believer
that I can do it all
and do it better
than anyone

My kid
that gorgeous
bundle of brown
with laughter in his voice
and sunshine in his smile
and a soul
older than mine could ever dream
who thinks
I hang the stars

All of this support
and belief
in me and myself

And still
as I struggled
under the weight
of bruised hopes
uncertain realities
deferred dreams


what mattered
and how to
find it
achieve it
make it mine

April 25th
that year
when it happened
that thing my teenage self never believed
my twenties self scoffed at
my thirties self laughed at
and said bring it

I turned forty

We live
in a society
obsessed with youth
where women
are told
from the time
we’re children
“oh god,
eventually you’ll be 40”
as if it’s a sin
a death knell
the end

Let me tell you something
those motherfuckers lied

Forty is the shit

It’s when
everything clicks
your meaning
as a woman
becomes clear
your mind
sheds the bullshit
clears the dust
and sings a new song
full of hope

It’s when
being smart
means weeding
out the nonsense
ridding oneself
of the negative
the soul

It’s when
being skinny
no longer matters
and suddenly
the woman
staring back in the mirror
with her curvier hips
fuller thighs
bigger ass
is goddamned hot

It’s when
is understood
to be a hopeless ideal
something to box
one within its
suffocating confines
a concept
impossible to achieve
and yet
for so many years
the goal

It’s when
I allowed myself
to love freely
have fun
not pay attention
to what society
deems normal
but to do
what feels right
and good
for my body
and my soul
and fuuuuuuuuck yeah
it feels good

It’s when
I remembered
what mattered most
– my imagination
and my words –
I grew some balls
and decided
I was not going to die
the girl
with all the notebooks

It’s when
I let my inner voice soar
that internal rhythm
playing in my head
pounding out a steady beat
guiding my ifs
or buts
my whos
or whys

It’s when I
settled into myself
understood my power
and let her rip

It’s when I
stopped being scared
embraced my inner poet
and unleashed her
[and all of her nasty]
into the ether

It’s Dev and Wyatt
Ryker and Jools
it’s Darby and her lovers
Carter and his evil
Ava and her gangsta
Dutch and his pain
Juma and her light
It’s The Sanctum Trilogy
The Keeper Series
It’s blogging
It’s selling myself
because I believe
I am
that fucking good

It’s romance
it’s raunch
it’s writing all of it
when the need strikes
and knowing
my words matter


It’s finding them
and putting them
out there
for the world
to see


Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 9.38.05 PM

*dedicated to all the badass women out there, turning forty. You have no idea how good it’s about to be. Embrace it, love it, and keep on with your bad selves.



11670_1049250048433618_2331636278988596548_nMadhuri is that Indian girl everyone thinks is Black, or Spanish, or Black and Spanish. She’s from down South, has lived in the New York City area for more than twenty years, and is proof that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl.

She loves Old Scout bourbon, tattoos, french fries, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, her mom’s Indian food, all kinds of naughty, filthy things, Friday Night Lights, coffee, and Martha’s Vineyard. She can wiggle her ears, flare her nostrils, and curl her tongue.

She is an introvert who can fool people into thinking she’s an extrovert, all the while wishing she was home alone, not having to speak to a soul, lost in a fantastical world of her own creation.

As the great Charles Bukowski said, she writes because it comes bursting out of her. She cannot stop it, nor does she want to.

She’s the author of the paranormal romance trilogy, The Sanctum, and the upcoming erotic romance, The Keeper Series. In a past life, when she was much sweeter and kind of shy, she wrote and published the middle reader series, Ayesha’s Teenage Survival Files.

She does other things to pay the bills.

madhuriblaylock.wordpress.com (blog)

Why I Write What I Write #17: Susanne Leist #WriteBitches

Susanne Leist is a fellow Brooklynite I bumped into after teaming with a bunch of authors for an epic Halloween book party we have planned. Luckily she’s nice enough to allow me to drag her way down deep to my neck of the woods and share with us why she writes what she writes.

♥ ♥ ♥



To be or not to be a writer.
This has been the hardest question for me.
Should I continue with my pursuit?
Or step away and claim defeat?
One book written.
One book sold.
It dances around on Amazon and Nook.
It reaches new heights in its niche
And then it slowly bows its head in silence.
The highs feel good and lofty,
While the lows feel depressing and sad.
Is it worth it? 
Is it worth the aggravation?
I am told that a writer must keep writing.
More books to dance around.
More highs and lows.
Should I keep doing this?

Will I keep doing this? 
Yes, for now
As I wait for the next high. 


I have always loved to read books. My goal has been to write a book different than any other book that I’ve read. And I believe I have accomplished this. The Dead Game has dead bodies and suspects like a traditional murder mystery. However, it also has humans, vampires, and vampire derivatives. It has plenty of romance and thrills. And don’t forget the haunted house–we must have one of these.
The Dead Game
By the way, interested in that Halloween Party we were talking about? Check it out HERE

Season Of The Witch by L.J.K. Oliva

Did I mention Season Of The Witch is on tour? Today’s spotlight is on Zenny’s Awesome Book Reviews. Stop by, say hi, and check out an excerpt!

Zenny's Awesome Book Reviews


Something wicked this way comes…well, more wicked than usual.

Georgia Clare needs help, and fast.  As the lone survivor of—and witness to—her coven’s brutal massacre, she’s felt the killer hunting her.  There’s just one problem: the rest of San Francisco’s witching community wants nothing to do with her, and the one man she can turn to doesn’t do witches.

Darius deCompostela has done his best to steer clear of subversive affairs.  A private investigator and reluctant medium, the last thing he wants is to advertise his existence to the things that go bump in the night.  But then Georgia knocks on his door, and try as he might, he can’t turn her away.

It’s just one case, after all.  It’s not like it’s going to change his life…

Add it on Goodreads

Season of the Witch Banner 851 x 315


She pushed through the glamour surrounding the exit, and shoved the door open.  Next thing she knew…

View original post 721 more words

Why I Write What I Write, #16: Brandi Reynolds #WriteBitches

We’re Back, Bitches!

Brandi is part of Jena Schwartz‘s Inky Path writing group. After a shoutout on their Facebook group (thanks for that!), Brandi got in touch with me. We had an impromptu email chat that, frankly, made my day, and she sent me this post to share with all of you. Rock it, Brandi! 

♥ ♥ ♥


Like a lot of writers, I think, I have been an avid reader from a young age and learned early on the power of the written word. Actually putting words to paper took me a little longer though, as I didn’t start writing until I was in my early teens as a way to cope with all the bigness and awfulness of teendom which was made a million times worse by the suicide of a close friend. Suddenly my emotions felt so much bigger than my body, pushing against my skin from the inside, threatening to burst if I didn’t find a release valve.

So I wrote. Crappy poetry, mostly, but with writing came a sense of bigness that wasn’t about being overwhelmed, it was about being connected to myself and to something that wasn’t me at the same time. Not to mention, getting the thoughts in my head out on to the page was a way to process the grief of losing a friend though I don’t know if I could have articulated it at the time. I just knew that life wasn’t so hard when I wrote.

But, you know, life moves on and I put the pen down and focused on boys and college and all the distractions of life. Sadly, even when I was writing regularly, I never considered myself a ‘real’ writer because REAL writers were other people, not messed up, geeky kids from the backwoods of Oklahoma. I treated the writing thing as a phase, a way to get through something hard, not something innate or important to my heart and soul. It doesn’t surprise me now, looking back, that the times when I’ve not allowed myself a creative outlet have been the darkest times in my life and that period of my early 20’s was probably the darkest.

My writing continued to ebb and flow over the years as I grew and matured, tried different forms of creativity, forgot about creativity, got married, got dogs and settled into grownup-hood.

Then a few years ago I discovered trail running and quickly found that I am most alive when I am covered in dirt and salt and sweat. Suddenly, I found myself wanting to write again, wanting to share with the world this wonderful thing I’d found. I started a blog and wrote what I saw other runners writing about, race reports and reviews and narratives about my training. It was nice to share these things but I still felt something was missing.

An injury to my knee kept me from running a big race and what’s the point of blogging about running when you can’t run? You can only say ‘I hate being injured’ so many times before even you get bored of hearing it so the blogging stopped. In fact, everything stopped as I healed and nursed my shattered dreams and bruised ego (oh and the knee also, but let’s be honest, the ego hurt worse).

Oh that universe, it works in mysterious ways. I found myself filling my sudden glut of free time with writing. Nothing I shared with anyone, just poems and diary entries and the silly thoughts that wound through my brain. I found myself looking forward to the creative time every day, like I was 14 and discovering poetry all over again. I mentioned to a friend that I was writing again and she raved about this writing group she was in lead by Jena Schwartz (now called the Inky Path for those that might be interested).

I’m convinced that group is pure magic as connecting with and being seen by the other writers in it solidified something in me. I never thought I could be a dirtbag trail runner and a writer of poetry or philosophy-what I call the poetry of dirt. I never thought I could marry the spirituality I found in the woods and the spirituality I found on the page. But seeing all the unique and authentic writers in the group and getting amazing feedback from them helped open my eyes to my reality: the woods are where God is and God is what inspires my creativity. They are all connected. They are all the same.

My husband asked me once why I thought I loved trail running so much and I replied, ‘I don’t know, it’s just where my soul lives.’

And writing is how my soul breathes.

That’s why I write what I write.

♥ ♥ ♥

Brandi head shot

About Brandi Reynolds

Brandi Reynolds is part dirtbag trail runner, part poet, part animal/envinronmental advocate and entirely addicted to Dr. Pepper. She can be found at www.anywhere-thats-wild or on instagram @brandirunswild.

♥ ♥ ♥

Want In On This?

Are you a writer?  Whether you’re just starting out or an old hat; unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published- we want to hear from you!

To participate in our guest series, simply write us a blog post that answers the question “Why I Write What I Write”. It can be as long or as short as you want- we’re playing it pretty fast and loose.

Please send your posts to lauraolivabooks@gmail.com, with “Why I Write What I Write” in the subject heading (please include any author links/pics you would like in the post). The posts will be scheduled as they come in, with one post going up each Monday, and we’ll all publicize the hell out of them on FB and Twitter.

Can’t wait to hear from you!