Welcome to my blog!

I'm so excited that my lifelong dream of becoming a published author has come true. If you'd like to go straight to excerpts, descriptions, and buy links for my books, click on the covers below on the right.

I love to hear from my readers! If you have a comment for me or if you'd like to submit a character for published character interview or unpublished character analysis, please use the form below or email me at cecilia (at) ceciliadominic (dot) com.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: Chick Lit Plus

My blog tour set up through Chick Lit Plus starts today with a review by Samantha herself:

While this isn’t my normal style of reading material, this book really had me hooked. The writing was really strong – from introducing us to the characters, setting the scene, and really unraveling a complex story filled with twists...

To read the rest, check it out here.

 Thanks, Samantha!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Character on the Couch: Cold fingers...warm heart?

Just in time for Halloween, a young man in the funeral industry named Declan came to see me and spend some time on my couch. Actually, his author, fabulous fellow GRW member Sally Kilpatrick sent me the following quandary:

Character name: Declan Anderson

Age: 31

Gender: male

Cultural or historical context :

Dec's family runs a funeral home. He's not overly enthused about the business, but he did make a promise to his now deceased father that he would keep it in the family. He lives in a small southern town where he's called "Cold Fingers" behind his back and definitely kept at a distance. His younger brother, who's more outgoing, doesn't seem to have the same trouble, but his brother is five years younger. The “Cold Fingers” stems from his first date on a winter's night and a really mean girl he should've never gone out with in the first place.

Brief description and relevant history

He's over 6 foot tall, dark and handsome (of course!) but he's gone a little soft around the middle. His mother committed suicide when he was just 7. His father passed away when he was 14. He and his stepmother are just now becoming close--something new in her life is making her a little softer around the edges, but he doesn’t know what it is. He has vowed not to marry as long as he's a part of the funeral industry because he doesn't want his mother's particular brand of history repeating itself. Of course, that was before leggy actress Presley showed up. He's a bit taken with her.

His mother suffered from postpartum depression. That coupled with one traumatic event in particular caused her to go off the deep end. I know she was kept at a polite distance and had to deal with being snubbed by other ladies in town. Once the ladies from her church wouldn't let her bring a dish to the potluck because it would've come from that kitchen.

Oh, and he's almost 10 years older than my heroine.

Where you're stuck, or why your character needs a psychologist: 

His conflict doesn't feel really actualized. Maybe there's something about his past that I'm missing, a different reason he thinks he's not cut out for long term relationships?

My thoughts:

Sally, you've given me a lot to work with. Declan is a very interesting character, and the poor guy has had a lot to deal with.

Declan seems to have a huge responsible streak in his temperament, so it's likely he felt partially to blame for his mother's suicide – the ultimate female rejection at a tender age. Due to the nature of her death, it's possible that he wasn't given the kind of information he needed to make sense of it, so he made up his own explanation. Maybe he'd asked for a baby brother, and then he saw what happened. It's not surprising he has trouble with intimate relationships because he'll always feel like he's at a disadvantage, and he probably also felt like his lack of social support and nicknames were his fault. Kids who lose both parents need a lot of support from other adults, and he just didn't get it, probably because of the community alienating him due to the family business, and later because of the cold stepmother.

He's blaming his desire not to marry on the history with his mother, but it's also fear on his part to admit he wants something different. I would guess there's some resentment that he doesn't feel like he can admit to himself or anyone else over being emotionally blackmailed into taking over the family's funeral home business. Again, there's that responsible streak, but also the inability to separate himself, either physically or in his mind, from the family business and all the baggage that comes with it. He's probably never allowed himself to think about what he truly wants because he's afraid it will be taken away suddenly and tragically like his mother was, or it's going to conflict with living up to his promise to his father.

For example, with regard to Presley, perhaps he feels drawn to her because of her liveliness and her courage to pursue her dreams. She is a splash of color in his world of grays and blacks, a blast of rock music that captures attention rather than plays soothingly in the background so it won't disturb anyone. She might be the chance for the teenage rebellion he never got to have but desperately needed to come to a full sense of selfhood that will allow him to finally grow up. He might feel like he can't bring her into his world because he can't figure out how to keep it from poisoning her and killing her like it did his mother, and he's not going to be responsible for that again. But he can't leave that world because of what he promised his father. That second part may be what you feel like you're missing, and finding out that she has her own problems and insecurities will be huge for him because maybe he can then start admitting his own.

You've set up a huge and fascinating conflict for your hero, and I hope I get to read the finished product.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569022/ (study by the Royal Society of Medicine)

Do you have a character you'd like some psychological help with? Please email me at: 

I'll send you the questions to answer, and we can go from there!

Random discovery:  There's a Museum of Funeral Customs in Springfield, Illinois. That's where the above picture was taken. I kind of want to go, but I bet my husband would be freaked out.

Photo credit:  By Robert Lawton (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Reminder:  my first novel The Mountain's Shadow is now available in all ebook formats. For an excerpt or to order the book directly from the publisher, click here. The book is also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other ebook retailers.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Guest post: Author fears at Five for Fiction Blog

Like many newbie authors, I thought that once I got my first book contract, it would be smooth sailing, and I wouldn't have anything else to worry about ever. Not true. Although signing my first book deal was very exciting, it brought up a different set of anxieties. I shared those with the lovely ladies at the Five for Fiction blog since their October theme is Fears.

I have a recurring dream in which I'm flying, but power lines get in the way of my soaring to my goal. I either have to go high enough to fly over them or go through them and try not to touch any or I'll get electrocuted and drop to the ground. Building enough energy to fly over them is impossible, so I try to go through them, but as I approach a promising gap, it narrows, and I have to stop short.

My urban fantasy novel The Mountain's Shadow debuted last week. Since Cheryl and I decided way ahead of time that I would be guest posting this month, I had the opportunity to observe my own fears as I went through the different stages of bringing a novel to publication and pitching and writing its sequel. It's only in the past week while thinking about this post and putting it through may iterations that I've come to realize my fears are the power lines in my dreams, and the only way through is through.

To read the rest, click here.

Don't forget, The Mountain's Shadow is now available for all e-readers! Links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble are above. If you don't have an e-reader but want to read it on your computer, you can get a .pdf (or any other ebook format) at the Samhain Publishing website.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Guest blog post: The Science of Werewolves at Tony Noland's blog

I'm pleased to have been invited to post on talented author and friend Tony Noland's blog. My review in Library Journal starts with, "Debut novelist Dominic is also a clinical health psychologist and has wisely chosen a subject area familiar to her, a choice that places this story above the average paranormal romance in plot, as well as in characterization..."* Tony wanted me to talk about the science behind lycanthropy, and that topic is closely tied with how I approached writing the book.

When someone asks what my novel The Mountain's Shadow is about, I often give the short answer of "werewolves with a scientific twist." The genre is urban fantasy (or paranormal depending on who's classifying it), and the main character is a behavioral epidemiologist, or someone who researches the spread of disease. She's close to discovering the cause of Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome, the hot new behavioral disorder in kids, when a series of strange circumstances makes her lose her job. In spite of a sudden shift from researcher to heiress, she never stops approaching challenges as a scientist.

To read the rest of the post at Tony's blog, click here.

Have you picked up The Mountain's Shadow yet? It's now available in all electronic formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other ebook retailers.

* To read the full review, click here. It's the second one on the page.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Readers on the Couch: Guest Blog at the Mesdames of Mayhem

I wasn't able to post this one right away since I was at a conference and my iPad wouldn't see the wireless. My newest guest post is at the Mesdames of Mayhem, where I discuss why we love mysteries from a psychological point of view.

As a psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist, I hear the following three complaints most often in my practice:
1. I can’t sleep.
2. My mind won’t stop racing.
3. Why is this anxiety/depression/sleep problem happening to me?
I address the first two a lot. The third one doesn’t come up quite as often because people, being naturally curious about themselves and their own lives and minds, usually have a good idea of how their sleep problems started. However, when I ask if they can think of what kicked off their insomnia, about ten to twenty percent of patients frown, wrinkle their noses, and eventually admit they can’t say why or give some vague answer like “stress, but my life has always been stressful, so I’m not sure that’s it.” Some are very distressed that they can’t figure out the origin of the problem because, as human beings, we like to have explanations. Knowing why gives us a sense of control.

To read the rest, click here.

Don't forget that my debut novel The Mountain's Shadow is now available in all electronic formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other ebook retailers.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Mountain's Shadow Release Day & Acknowledgements

Today my novel The Mountain's Shadow has been released into the electronic world. As I walked through downtown Decatur this morning running errands, I imagined invisible electronic copies zooming over my head as people bought it. This is truly a dream come true for me, and since there's not an acknowledgements section in the book, I wanted to mention the following:

First I have to thank my biggest supporter and fan, my husband Jason. Typically his support of my writing career involves him pouring wine into my glass, but it's also the little things like asking me if I've written when I said I would or offering to accompany me into yet another specialty bookstore to look for references when we travel. He also keeps me grounded in reality and makes sure I take time to relax when I need it.

Second, I would like to thank my family. My parents encouraged the creative side of their child who was prone to daydreaming, and my little sister has always read what I've given her with rapt fascination, both of which made me feel like I could actually do this someday. My godmother Ria Van de Ven, an author herself in Belgium, has also been very supportive, as have all my relatives, Belgian and American.

Next, huge thanks to my editor at Samhain Holly Atkinson, who first decided that this book was worth publishing and who has given me encouragement and feedback when needed. She is my fairy godmother in this process.

I couldn't have gotten a book into publishable shape without a good critique group and beta readers. The Village Writers Group here in Decatur has given me the opportunity for lots of great feedback. I'd especially like to thank the members who responded to early versions of The Mountain's Shadow, known at that time as Wolfsbane Manor:  Estelle, Jill, Amy, Melissa, and Frank. My beta readers Amanda and Hawk also gave me a lot of help and encouragement. I'd also like to thank my current critique group who has supported me through the various anxieties of this publication process and the writing of the sequel, specifically David, Susan, Amy, and Kimberly. (last names left out since I don't know if they would be okay with me using them)

There are a lot of others who have contributed to this effort in various ways. My awesome admin Amber keeps me sane. The faculty of the Central Arkansas VA internship program and my fellow interns thought my writing was a really cool thing, and I don't know that I could have started this project in any other context. Finally, to the patients who told me strange tales of the Ozarks and inspired me, all I can say is please keep telling your stories. I'm so very glad you did and that I was there to hear them.

The Mountain's Shadow is available from all ebook retailers, but please consider getting it directly from my publisher to thank them for the faith they've showed in me. You can buy the book from them here. The links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble are above if you'd rather buy directly from them. It's also available from Apple Books, but I haven't had much luck finding that link.