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.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Persephone's Beastly Lover


Book three now available!

Persephone Jones is part of a paranormal investigation team out of Detroit. She manages all the information the team gathers on cases, but everyone suspects there’s more to Seph than she’s letting on—she’s a medium, a powerful one. When the team is called by Jack Henessy, a member of the Werewolves of Rebellion MC, to investigate disturbances in his new home, Seph and Jack are possessed by the entities and inadvertently participate in a kiss that rocks them both with its intensity and sets them on an intertwined path.

Jack finds that he will do anything to protect Seph, anything to claim her. However, he’s uncertain if she feels the same way about him. Seph’s past is shrouded, even from her, and she’s hiding something buried so deeply that it takes an explosive night of sex to unlock the secret. However, someone has a bone to pick with Jack. A stalker targets him, then goes after Seph. Between bags of weed planted in his home and a shooter taking pot shots at him, Jack must learn who has a vendetta against him and why. When Seph is nearly killed by a few Wraithkillers, it plunges the Werewolves of Rebellion into the path of the most unexpected culprit of all.

It will take Seph’s mysterious past and the kindness of an abused spirit to save Jack and his MC family. Once Seph’s true identity is revealed, there’s no turning back.



Riverdale Avenue Books http://bit.ly/2mSrc89

Amazon http://amzn.to/2oCpsfw

Smashwords http://bit.ly/2oeFNLk

Bookstrand http://bit.ly/2nuci4i

Kobo http://bit.ly/2nqXAdH
Google Play Books http://bit.ly/2mZ3Vld

Check out the New Releases page for info on books one and two.

Friday, March 10, 2017

An Innocent-Looking Poison


It’s hard to believe that we’re already nearing the halfway point of March 2017. I’m in my second semester of college as a history major (after two semesters part time at a different college) and looking forward to it being over as this semester isn’t as engaging as the first one. Frankly, I’m quite bored.


I’ve run into problems, too, as I’m a diabetic recently diagnosed last June. Apparently I’m sensitive to all bodily changes as well as becoming immune to my last medication. The last two months have been rough as my glucose has played the yo-yo game from extreme highs to extreme lows. When I saw lows, I mean lows for me. When one is accustomed to running on a sugar level of 360—yes, you read that correctly—then getting it under semi-control in the 150 range, the problem is that 120 or lower seems like sugar shock and I become very ill. It's amazing how sugar is an innocent-looking poison.


It’s also extremely frustrating as a sensitive diabetic. All diabetics are different, however. Each person’s body reacts differently to various foods. Where one can eat apples, I can’t. Where I can eat strawberries, another diabetic cannot. Apparently I’m one who can’t have anything other than a few veggies and meat, period. Very, very frustrating and irritating to say the least. Now that I’m on a new medication, I’m feeling better, so I hope I can concentrate on school work and my writing, too. It’s frightening how much this disease affects the mind when glucose is too high or too low, very frightening indeed. Hell, I wrote a paper that I thought was horrible, remember very little of what I wrote, actually, because I felt so terrible I could barely function, then was quite shocked when I got a 95 on it.


So, here’s to praying that I can focus more on my writing. I have ideas and details in progress for The Werewolves of Rebellion book 4. This one will involve the character Puppy and two love interests. It will also investigate a new motorcycle slant that I’m looking forward to doing.


In the meantime, I’m revising an unpublished novel I wrote 12 years ago and quite surprised at how good it is, lol. Once it’s done I’ll send it off to my agent, possibly in the next couple of days. Additionally, I have the basis for the plot of a brand new novel for a brand new genre I’ve never written seriously before. I’m excited about that, too. And lastly, I’m researching for a new MC club romance line that will be quite shocking, quite intense.


So dear readers, I hope you’ll investigate my other books and while you’re here, why not sign up to follow my blog posts? Here’s to escaping into a great book!