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.

The other source of great ideas is my literary agent. She’ll toss something out there at me and OMG, do I ever run with the ideas! However, I have to admit that sometimes those suggestions become quite distracting, lmao. The latest one had me setting one novel aside to begin another, but now I’m halfway through writing this new project. She is awesome and inspiring! I’ve known her a very, very long time and I must say I’m very blessed to be working with her.

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 fiancée, 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!
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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-fiancé, 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.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Out of One’s Comfort Zone


Now that I’m done with college for the summer, I plan to concentrate on two things. One is the 4th
Image courtesy of alexisdc at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Werewolves of Rebellion novel, but even more so is my new novel I hope to send to my agent before school starts again.

I’ve talked to several authors who say they don’t like to step out of their comfort zones when it comes to writing. One might insist he will never write anything other than horror. Another may insist she will write only paranormal romance…then I hear complaints about declining sales when the market shifts.

Publishing is a fickle business. Just as there are trends in movies, music, and fashion, there are trends in fiction.

Paranormal romance is fading. I’ve realized this, so I am now making a big change. I’m going out on a limb and writing something brand new.

The thing with me, as a writer, is that I’ve always rolled with the punches and changed things up over the years, so trying something new in fiction isn’t really new to me after all. Heck, I got my official start as a paid writer by writing for national men’s hubba-hubba magazines. I didn’t like writing such material, but it paid the bills as well as buying a mountain of school supplies and clothes for my kids. As time went on I left that market (free internet sites forced it to disappear) and moved into short fantasy fiction for a while. The internet pushed that market to dry up, too, so I shifted into penning erotic romance novels and from there into paranormal romance…

So what is this new endeavor? Sorry, (grins sheepishly), I never announce what I’m writing unless it’s a series in progress like The Werewolves of Rebellion. This new novel, however, is a genre and a theme that I’ve never ever considered before. But you know what? I’m looking forward to writing it, exited actually. It’s new. It’s a challenge. It’s going to be so damn hot readers will have to keep a fire extinguisher in their laps while they read.

{rubs hands together} Now to get started on it. Free! Free for an entire summer! Mwahaha!

Before I go, peeps, investigate the book tabs at the top of the page or click on the covers to the left and read samples of The Werewolves of Rebellion. Also, I would sooo appreciate it if you would spread the word about my site and my books. <3 And lastly, if you would, become a follower of my site. By doing so, each new post that I publish will be sent to your email (I do not have time for a newsletter, lol). Leave me comments. I’ll respond!

Happy reading!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Are You A Reading Zombie?


Do you read or do you read?
Image courtesy of Pitiya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What I mean is whether or not one reads just to absorb the general plot and characters or if you read and therefore catch the subtle nuances of a character’s behavior. Do you read and catch the foreshadowing, the ties to things that don’t seem to mean anything in chapter four but suddenly make brilliant sense in chapter fourteen? Do you notice the symbolism an author may use or the recurring themes throughout the novel?

So I ask again—do you read or do you read?

Before I go any further, this post is NOT directed at anyone. The following musings I’m about to share with you are just that—my observations of late that lead to wonderings and ponderings about fiction writing, the reading of fiction, and how I apply what I notice in today’s publishing field to my own work.

With the e-book market inundated by e-pubs that pop up then disappear like corner quickie marts, combined with the fact anyone who wants to write anything can self-publish as easily as breathing, I find myself considering the fact that the actual art of composing a story is vanishing. It scares me, scares me for the future readers just learning their ABCs, and it frightens me for the future of language and writing in general. This leads to the question—are readers truly focusing on their reading material? In the romance writing/reading communities I see comments such as “Oh, the hero is sex on legs!” or “I was disappointed that there wasn’t more sex in the book.” What about the plot? The actual story line? The climactic scene? Etc.? 

It makes me wonder, too, if authors are writing more fluff just to crank out books and earn more royalties. Sure writers want to make money and support themselves or use royalties for a supplement income, but is there a line where creativity is sacrificed for some extra dough?

Do readers pay attention to character development, settings that serve the scenes well, the subtle hints that a character really isn’t who he or she presents him or herself as, that maybe, just maybe there’s more to Aunt Geraldine’s story of murdering Uncle Ray in self-defense than meets the eye? And what about catching those big blunders such as a character being in the chapel on the south side of town, when he is already shopping for Wonder Bread on the north end of town? How about when
Tonya’s eyes are green on page ten but suddenly blue on page ninety-two? Are writers not checking their work, leaving it strictly for an editor’s weary, blood-shot eyes (coming from an editor of nearly twenty years who has only recently rid herself of the weary, blood-shot eyes syndrome). 


Is true reading dead? Or, as the photo to the left indicates, is true writing dead or, if not dead, its on its way to being passé? Has the utter enjoyment of absorbing and enjoying each word of a novel become a carcass of bleached bones within the human mind? Analyzing fiction as one reads is becoming a lost ability—or is it? For me, fluff reading is fine in the doctor’s office waiting room or the long drive to Grandma’s house, but when I want to read a book, really read a book, I want it to be entertaining as well as sexy. Gripping and poignant. I want a novel, whether romance, sci-fi, or horror, to make me think, to make me cry, to make me go “OMG, I hope to write something this good one day.” My writing is not fluff. Sometimes there are fluffy moments in my work, usually unexpected humor, but I strive to write material that’s everything I want to read.


I don’t want to be a reading zombie.


Do you?



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Please scroll down the very next post and check out my new book just released this week, or go to the top of the page and click on the New Releases page to see all my latest works.