Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Agent-Query Dance

Lots of changes happening of late on the Ana Lee Kennedy writing front. I'm returning to the original genres that I wrote years ago. Hindsight reveals that I should never have left women's fiction and magical realism, but I was talked into jumping onto the erotic romance bandwagon. In all honesty, all my most popular works are the ones that are *not* erotic romance.

That's not to say that I will never write erotic content or romance again. There are occasions in writing where erotic content works well. Also, women's fiction often incorporates romance into it.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The difference is that the romance isn't the sole focus of the plot.

Thirdly, as well as sadly, I've parted ways with my literary agent, so now I'm back to researching and querying agents, something I haven't had to do for about 15 years. And I'm not a patient person either, lol. After 32 years of experience in this business, it's difficult for me to have to do the agent-query dance again, but here I am.

I'm trying to finish up the latest erotic romance manuscript I have in progress. I'm down to the last 5K to 10K words then it will be in the publisher's hands. Well, maybe. I may just sit on it. Not sure how I feel about this manuscript right now. Lots of sex in it, that's for sure.

I love my Werewolves of Rebellion books, but I think Puppy's story may have to go on a backburner until I struggle through this new and improved but sometimes difficult to handle outlook on publishing as a whole. However, I have started a new women's fiction manuscript, so that makes me happy. It feels RIGHT. :-D

For now, I'm back to peddling one of my works--of which there are four full completed manuscripts--to literary agents and praying for some good news before the New Year!

That's all for now, dear readers. Please take a moment to investigate my books. Until next time! <3

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Perspective


Do you ever feel like you don’t have the right to complain about anything, or even feel bad about upsetting situations in your life when you look around you and see others suffering worse problems? I hate where we’re living at the moment. No space, no yard, no place to go to vent stress…but I have a home, a roof over my head. We have food, water. There are people in Puerto Rico who no longer have homes and none of the things so many of us take for granted. These are matters I look at and say to myself “count your blessings and shut up” because my probs seem so insignificant to those others are suffering through.

I suppose it’s one’s outlook that makes the difference? I try very hard to have the right outlook, but usually have to remind myself to actually *have* the proper attitude. When things are bad, always remember someone out there has it worse. And when things seem insurmountable, remember that there are people out there who are defeating the odds. Then use this to put your life in perspective.

Blessings and white light to all the people affected by the last few hurricanes. May you receive the things you need and may the Lord rattle the brains of those in charge of supplies so the people who need them receive them ASAP.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The WHAM! of Ideas


Image courtesy of punsayaporn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I’m often asked—as I guess most authors are—where I get my ideas for novels. Some come to me during times when my brain goes into reboot mode, lol. I juggle a lot of things. I have a big, big family. I care for elderly parents, still have a young son at home, wrangle grandbabies, deal with a hubby, go to college full time, and I struggle with Diabetes that will not level out. As a result, exhaustion sets in like clockwork at 4 pm every day. That’s when I get this odd sensation in my mind that I call white noise and, strangely enough, that’s when ideas for plots hit me out of the blue. Often it’s when I lie down for a catnap and I’m right on the edge of a deep, bone-melting nap and—WHAM!—the new idea rouses me and I’m up and rushing off the bed or recliner for something on which to write my new plot. I have little ideas jotted on the fridge, on pieces of paper, even wrote one on my hand once.

Other ideas come to me from two people. One is my hubby, who will not read any of my books to save his ass, but he’ll discuss them with me. Yeah, I know, it’s a contradiction so I try not to figure out what part of his testosterone causes his literature deficiency. He’ll sit and listen to me tell him about my ideas, then he’ll offer suggestions that really surprise me and gives me a lot of inspiration.

Sometimes ideas come to me from my favorite TV shows. I enjoy a lot of weird stuff from The Strain to Mr. Mercedes, so when I watch such programs, it gets my mental cogs to whirring. When I take these little fits of inspiration and start writing, the hubby swears he sees steam coming out of my ears. He doesn’t say it with humor, either—he’s serious. LOL

As for my latest release, Dreams of Absinthe, the way the novel came about is a rather odd story in itself. It began as a short story for a challenge I read about online. Then it turned into a novella, then three novellas, then finally I just decided to combine the novellas into one novel and develop the entire thing a bit more. Dark humor is part of my DNA, so it fit well into this book. I love a good scare, too, and have a blast whenever I write horror. In Dreams of Absinthe the original sole hero transformed into two heroes where life and the Crimson Bane keep them apart. The MM romance combined with an old fiancĂ©e, a woman who…well, let’s just say she’s pretty intense. I think Godzilla would think twice before wrangling with her. This one is a story about two worlds with different races that come together and work as one to defeat evil (something that plays well into what’s happening today), and the two heroes go through pure hell to find each other again.

So what else is on the horizon for an Ana Lee Kennedy book? Before you know it, the Holiday Season will be here. A Christmas novel, perhaps? Hint! Hint! 

I hope you’ll investigate my books, discover a few to snatch up and read from cover to cover and, in doing so, escape into another world leaving your worries behind for a while. Happy reading!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Quick links to Dreams of Absinthe



iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dreams-of-absinthe/id1272854432  
NetGalley https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/120216
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074WDLG86/
Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/743010
Bookstrand http://www.bookstrand.com/dreams-of-absinthe
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dreams-of-absinthe

Monday, August 14, 2017

New Release! Something Different!


Officially released August 17, 2017
Genres: MM romance, post-apocalyptic, action, adventure, supernatural.

A bizarre red fog belches from the New York City sewers. Ian, like so many others, succumbs to its paranormal caress. As he lies in the street unable to move, all he can think about is Skorpe, the man who crushed his heart and stole his money. Soon, creatures composed of no more than glowing outlines with eyes like flaming coals begin wandering the streets.
Falling for Ian wasn’t in Skorpe’s plans. To save Ian from the Crimson Bane, Skorpe steals nine grand from him and leaves him to set up a safe haven then returns only to discover that he might be too late.
Struggling to comprehend a world turned upside down, Ian wants only to be with his partner Skorpe at The Castle, an underground stronghold for Parallelans and Earthies. However, Ian’s unpredictable ex-fiancĂ©, Regina, is the residing MD, and Skorpe worries that Ian still has lingering feelings for her. When explosions at the Standoff Point separate Ian and Skorpe, the two lovers vow to find each another a second time, but there’s only one problem. Regina is determined to mend fences and make Ian hers again.
Stuck in the Appalachians, Ian begins a long trek back to the man he loves. However, Skorpe has a problem, too—a very handsome one. Can Ian and Skorpe’s love survive distance, temptation and demons swarming the countryside?







Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Underdogs Have Their Moments, Right?

I hadn’t realized how long it has been since I last posted.

I’ve been off from college since the end of April, thinking I would get so much writing done on my next two novels throughout the summer. Wrong. A week before my last couple of final exams, I was involved in a bad 3-car accident. I have scars on my right shoulder from the glass, but I’m thankful to be alive. My brand new car that I had for only one week wasn’t so lucky. It was totaled. Actually, it looked like a giant can opener had gone all the way down the driver’s side.
Although I’m still contemplating the reasons, I’m uncertain why the accident set me back on my heels. It has affected my writing and my outlook on life, and I became even more stressed about everything in general. Even my motivation to do anything from day to day vanished. I also questioned whether or not returning to school to finish my degree was worth it. This all affected my health, too. As a diabetic, my sugar levels skyrocketed from the stress and it took me about six weeks to get it down to a manageable level again, so feeling awful only compounded my day to day tasks.
One thing the accident made me question was whether or not I should continue with my writing career. Why did I have such thoughts? No idea. It’s one of the many reasons that I’m still pondering. Perhaps it’s just the fact that the wreck made me stop and really consider aspects of my life. If that’s the case, I guess I dwelled too long on some things and it made me question everything, especially my writing career. This business is ruthless and there is much unfairness in it, but I’ve been dealing with that since I entered publishing 30 years ago. Regardless, thoughts such as why should I continue battling the competition when everyone and their little brother plus their third cousins removed are writing and publishing nowadays? Why am I still battling the publication scene when I’m pushing 50 and have been writing professionally since I turned 17? Why am I still battling the publication scene when I’ve been editing professional for nearly 20 years, because I should know the ins and outs of the publishing world, right? Why does it seem I was born 40 years too late for this business? No answers came to me, and I still have no solutions to them now.
As the weeks have passed, more and more seemingly unanswerable questions have struck me. For the last 5 or 6 years I’ve teetered on the edge of saying to hell with writing and publishing. However, one thing keeps me going. It’s a graphic a cyber pal sent to me. I keep it as a desktop wallpaper and as the header of my Book Pals group. It gives me the strength to continue hanging on to the one thing I’ve clung to my entire life—my stories and the joy of writing.
Last night my youngest boy and I watched America’s Got Talent. I enjoy the show because I root for those underdogs who have been scraping and clawing their way to success. Many are often incredible singers who have never caught a break, and most of those have voices that beats the majority of the voices I hear in various music genres today, so why are the wonderful talents of these people seemingly ignored? It makes no sense. But when the underdogs have their moment in the sun, I feel so good for them. It makes me happy to see them gain success. The delight they show, the awe, the pure euphoria will get me choked up for them. AGT inspires me. I’m not a singer or a dancer, etc., but writing is a form of the entertainment industry, so maybe one day I’ll have my time in the sun, too.
Well, that’s what I keep telling myself, lol.
So am I still writing? Yes. Will there be a new manuscript sent to my new agent? Yes. Will there be another Werewolves of Rebellion book? Well, I’ve been working on ideas for book 4 involving the character Puppy.
One bright spot that I’ve had of late is the new novel I’m working on. It’s a genre I’ve never written before so it’s a challenge, a challenge I’m enjoying. I’m 50 pages into the manuscript, so after weeks of stalling and sputtering, the words are finally starting to flow.
I may not have any answers to my questions, and there very well may not be any, but the one thing I do know is that my work is a huge part of me. Without it, there would be a hole that nothing else could ever fill.
Please visit my New Releases page and my Backlist page. Tell your friends about my work and, if you would, take a moment to leave reviews for my books wherever you may purchase them. Posting constructive reviews means so much to authors.
Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Strawberry Pie that's Low-Carb and Yummy!

Strawberry Yum Pie—silly name for a pie, but I didn’t know what else to call it. Besides, food is just like stories and books—the same plots have been done repeatedly so it’s *how* one can make a plot new. The same, I believe, goes for recipes.

I’m diabetic. It’s a disease that is a major pain in the ass, too. There are times I feel like I might as well starve because I have to watch every damn carb I put in my mouth. Also, I grew up with a family that can cook up a storm. Anyone from the mountains of West Virginia knows that when a family sits down to eat, it’s an incredible meal followed by one or two different amazing desserts to choose from (my oldest daughter always talks about Aunt Elma’s butterscotch pie) and food is canned in so many delicious forms for the winters, too…

Anyway, now that I have to count carbs and watch my glucose levels, I’m learning how to cook all over again. I save the recipes out of Diabetes Forecast (there are yummy ones in that publication!) and I’m always on the lookout for a great diabetics’ cookbook but so far I haven’t found one that I consider truly helpful. So, this has led me to my own methods. My youngest dau has been finding some great recipes online in short videos that have been so helpful too. I’ll share those soon in another post.

All right, you’re probably wondering about the strawberry pie. Bear in mind I’m still tweaking this recipe. I also believe it can be done with other low-sugar berries and fruits. Each diabetic is different. For example, I can’t eat apples without it shooting my glucose to the moon, but I can eat strawberries, raspberries and blackberries without any problem. Another diabetic might not be able to each peaches, but can eat apples. So, tailor this recipe to suit your needs.

Another problem for diabetics (and dieters too!) is anything with flour in it. Whole grains even boost my glucose to high levels so I’m forced to eat very small portions such as one slice of bread for a sandwich. Pie crusts are always calorie-packed, but nuts are low in carbs and almonds can be used for so much. I like almonds but I noticed that they’re used as filler nuts in products just as much as peanuts are so I ended up with a zip bag full of them. I ground them and used them for my pie’s crust.

This makes a large pie. You will also need a coffee grinder or a food processor that will grind/mince nuts finely. However, you might be able to find almond flour in your area but check the ingredients for added sugar.

Ingredients

Almonds ground finely. You will need 2 to 2 ½ cups of ground almonds.

Flour

Splenda

Almond extract

Real butter

1 regular size box of sugar-free strawberry gelatin

2 to 3 pints of fresh strawberries

Large tub of light whipped topping

Crust

Almonds

¼ cup of butter cut into pats.

One teaspoon of almond extract.

3 tablespoons of white all-purpose flour.

¼ cup of Splenda.

Use a fork to cut the butter into the mixture until it looks like cornmeal then press into your pie dish and along the sides to the rim. Bake for 10 minutes on 400. Then let it thoroughly cool. If you’re in a hurry, 30 minutes in the freezer works.

Filling

Mix your gelatin but use only half the hot water and half the cold water then let it set up, about 20 minutes in a nice, cold fridge.

While that sets, wash and top your strawberries cutting them in halves or smaller chunks or slices to your taste.

When the gelatin is ready, add half a tub of whipped topping to the gelatin and mix thoroughly by hand. You can also use a mixer if you prefer the poofier texture similar to mousse. Fold in the strawberries and mix thoroughly. Add the mixture to your pie shell and spread evenly then add the remainder of the whipped topping to the pie. It can be eaten right away, but make sure the pie is kept in the fridge. (My pic doesn’t show as much whipped topping on the pie, but we added more to our individual slices).

My family flipped over this recipe. It’s easy and it will make a great dessert for those hot, humid days.

I checked my glucose an hour after eating a big slice of this pie and I was quite pleased with my glucose level. It spiked very little. However, every diabetic is different so this recipe may work for some diabetics and not others.

Enjoy!






Saturday, May 6, 2017

How Do Readers Feel about Promotions?


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I’ve been in publishing now for…sits a moment to add up the time…31 years (good Lord that’s surprising!) and one thing that myself and all other writers complain and cry about is promotion of our books. If one is not a writer then it’s difficult to explain to you what a time consuming, pain in the ass, tedious, expensive task promotion is for an author. Sure there are free ways to promote books, such as using one’s Facebook or Twitter account to spread the word about new releases or to remind readers about backlists, but placing ads is a whole different story. One, it is expensive. Even the little $5 ads add up over time, and they’re tiny ads so the author prays readers see them. Two, the larger ones are fought over like a flock of vultures because an author wants that prime spot for that cringe-worthy fee where readers will, without a doubt, see that big glamorous book ad.

In my case, most of my promotion is the free stuff from my Facebook, my website, and even blogging on other sites. What do I believe works? Honestly, I think my social media sites and my website have done the best jobs and have netted the most sales. To me, book conventions only work if the author has been around for a while and has established his or her brand to a decent degree.  I’ve done the blog tours, too, to no avail. I’ve placed ads to no avail either. However, for some odd reason, the freebie way of promotion works the best for me.

So, dear readers, I have some questions for you. Do you pay attention to book ads? Or is it the author who is always posting his or her work out there on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. that captures your attention? Do you find various book ads annoying and if so, what kind of ads and why? Also, what book ads grab your attention and make you click on them to learn more?

Please share your thoughts with me in comments, but you’re welcome to email me privately with your responses, too.