30 December 2012

Happy New Year 2013!



Another year is here.  The passing of 2012 is the end of a decade for me as I turned forty, leaving my stress filled thirties behind.  I remember my 30th birthday and thinking that my thirties were going to be awesome.  Now, I KNOW my forties will be spectacular.  I’m not bothered in the least with the number clicking over, except for the fact that I’ve entered the decade where the body starts to decrease certain youthful abilities…like producing collagen.

I’m now thinking of all the great things coming up in 2013.  Like movies I want to see.  Most of mine are based on books: The Host, Catching Fire (Hunger Games 2), and City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments.  And of course, there are book sequels coming out that I’m excited about.  Oh, and my own books coming out, as well!

I’ve decided to go gluten free in 2013, although right now I don’t know how I’m going to start that. I’m doing it for health reasons, not because of a fad or anything. But it’s hard when you’ve just eaten anything you’ve wanted over the past 40 years.  Any tips out there would be greatly appreciated!  

And I hope that in 2013 we (mankind as a whole) can finally discover that the most precious resource is ourselves, and stop killing each other.  That’s probably never going to happen but I can dream and hope, can’t I?  So good-bye 2012, I won’t say I’m sorry to see you gone.  I raise my glass and toast to the promise of a new beginning.  Happy writing.  Happy reading.





22 December 2012

Post Blog Hop & Gluten Free Cookies

Thanks to everyone who took time to visit with me over the past week.  Congrats to Cassandra and Mydurango618 from the Candy Kane Kink blog hop!

I know the tragedy of Newtown CT has been talked about incessantly, but I want to encourage everyone to practice the 26 Acts of Kindness to honor the memory of the victims.  I have done 5 already. 

And finally, I've posted a gluten free cookie recipe below.  I've recently found out I'm going to have to go gluten free and though I know it's going to be extremely hard and I may slip and slide along the way, at least I can start practicing now.

Please have a wonderful and safe holiday! 

Iced Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (we used Bob's Red Mill all-purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
  • Cream cheese icing

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and beat until fully mixed.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the flour, xantham gum and pumpkin pie spice. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir after each addition.
  4. Roll about 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough (each) into balls and place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 11 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.
  5. Once chilled completely, ice with cream cheese icing!

19 December 2012

Candy Kane Kink Blog Hop!



Another year is on our doorstep.  Out goes 2012 and in comes the promise of something new, something better.  New Year’s Eve builds our hope that the coming year will be different.  That we’ll be different.  Some will vow to finally lose weight.  Some will vow to quit smoking, work harder, be a better person or spend more time with the kids.  Resolutions are a tradition and yet breaking them is also a tradition.  Some of us even make bets on when they’ll be broken.

2012 was a sad and happy year for me.  I lost my father unexpectedly in February.  I got a call from my step-mom that she was taking my father to the hospital, that gangrene had settled in his toes (from a stroke 2 years ago) and the next thing I knew he was being driven to Springfield, Missouri for massive other reasons.  I flew to my father’s bedside and sat with him for four days, holding his hand, until he was taken off life support and he succumbed to a body that was no longer functioning.

But in 2012 I was able to pay off debt and buy a house with my boyfriend/partner, Brian.  I have a healthy little boy who started First Grade.  And I was able to publish five books this year.  

Oh, and in one week I will be turning 40.  It’s a big change, moving to a new decade.  The only problem I’m having is not the fact that I’m now 10 years away from being “middle age”, but that now I know it’s the time when my body changes drastically.  I asked myself, would I go back to 20 if I could.  And the answer is no.  Really, truly, no.  Sure, I loved being able to eat anything I wanted and not gain an ounce or that I could stay out and party all night.  But trade my knowledge, my experience, my life for the girl I once was?   Not a chance.

I have decided against making a New Year Resolution.  Yes, I could vow to lose the extra 30 pounds I’ve been holding onto since my son was born.  But I already know I have to eat right and start exercising.  No, what inspires me now is, of course, my writing.  I am finishing up the second novel in a series I hope Siren will pick up, a cross between Ghost Whisperer and Cold Case.  I have ideas and plans for many more and I’m only limited by how fast I can or cannot type. 


Happy New Year, the birth of 2013.  I raise my glass and toast to the promise of a new beginning.  Happy writing.  Happy reading.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To be entered to win this wonderful gift prize that includes a t-shirt, a desk calendar and a $10 gift card from Barnes & Nobel, just leave a comment! (If you've already left a comment below don't worry- I haven't forgotten you!) One winner will be chosen at random by my wonderful assistant (AKA:SON).  A second winner will be able to pick one of my titles (winner’s choice) for a free PDF ebook!  Thanks for visiting with me!  Have a wonderful holiday season!

18 December 2012

Hump Day Hook - 19 December


I want to say congratulations to Krysta B and Mary Francis, the winners of my Holiday Gift of Love Blog Hop!  If you didn’t get a chance to enter, never fear…I have another blog hop happening, running through until Friday midnight!

As I said in my blog hop, I was going to put a recipe for divinity but couldn’t get it to work.  I’m not sure why so I am reposting it now, for this hump day hook!  Speaking of which, I decided to take this week’s paragraph from my novel An Innocent Heart.  Harry is on the trail of the man who murdered his best friend and his wife, and though he;s met a woman who can heal his soul, his quest for vengeance blinds him to her love.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Harry looked from his desk out the window, absently noting the frost
surrounding the panes of glass. Winter had set in with a nasty vengeance.
Christmastime would be upon them in no time. The holidays brought Louisa
to mind and Harry gave a frown. After almost four months apart, he should
have forgotten the way her dark eyes lit up with amusement or darkened to
black pools when angered. He should not have remembered how perfect her
freckles were on the bridge of her pert little nose. He definitely should not
be getting aroused by the memory of her breasts straining against her shirt,
the damp skin making the material cling to the rounded mounds.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thanks for reading and make sure to visit the others on Hump Day Hook: http://kerriannecoombes.wordpress.com/

And be sure to come back here tomorrow for the last few days of the Candy Cane Kink Blog Hop!

DIVINITY

Ingrediants
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Directions
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.
While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes.
(You can mix in 2 cups Pecans at this point if you’d like)
Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you're done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

13 December 2012

Holiday Gift of Love Blog Hop

Happy Holidays!

I was born on December 21st so the Winter Solstice is a very important day for me.  It is the time of death and rebirth, to celebrate the rebirth of the sun, who warms the frozen land.  Winter Solstice is the shortest night of the year.  From this day forward, the days will become longer.



Growing up in Missouri, we had snow.  Every Christmas felt special because it was cold, school let out, and the anticipation of Santa was overwhelming.  Now I live in Los Angeles, and the only time I've seen snow was when we travel to Big Bear for snowboarding.  I try hard to keep that Christmas feeling alive for my own son, but year after year the traditions of my childhood seem so far away.

With Christmas being so commercial now-a-days, tradition has become very important to me.  I have a six year old son that certainly expects Santa to bring him presents but I also teach him that he's to give back to those families who may not have enough at this time of year.  I read a special book called 'The Shortest Day; Celebrating the Winger Solstice' by Wendy Pfeffer and Jesse Reisch.  But I also read to them The Christmas Story, The Night Before Christmas, and There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell.  And though I may not be very religious I don't shield my son from religion, I simply teach him that there are many beliefs and he must pick his own path.

My Christmas tree might be fake, but the decorations were hand picked by my son, including the decorations he made in school.  To the right of the tree I have a Menorah to honor our Jewish friends.  I also have the spring of mistletoe and smell of pine lingering in the air.  I have Rudolf the Red-nose Reindeer recorded on the DVR.  Of course, for me, holidays are about food.  I reserve the Winter Solstice for making only the special once-a-year kind of food.  Like cakes soaked in cider, eggnog, snowflake shaped sugar cookies, and divinity. (I tried adding a recipe for divinity but it's not showing for some reason so I'll try again on Wednesday for my Hump Day Hook!)

My thanks for taking the time to visit with me during this wonderful season!  As part of my own appreciation, I have a wonderful gift package for one lucky winner, which includes a t-shirt, a desk calendar, and a $10 gift card from Barnes & Nobel.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and my assistant (AKA: son) will pick one name when the blog hop is over, so please leave a way to contact you!  I will also give away one PDF ebook of any of my titles (winner's choice) to the second name drawn.

Please visit the others in the blog hop!

Candy Kane Kink Blog Hop!

Another year is on our doorstep. Out goes 2012 and in comes the promise of something new, something better. New Year’s Eve builds our hope that the coming year will be different. That we’ll be different. Some will vow to finally lose weight. Some will vow to quit smoking, work harder, be a better person or spend more time with the kids. Resolutions are a tradition and yet breaking them is also a tradition. Some of us even make bets on when they’ll be broken.

2012 was a sad and happy year for me. I lost my father unexpectedly in February. I got a call from my step-mom that she was taking my father to the hospital, that gangrene had settled in his toes (from a stroke 2 years ago) and the next thing I knew he was being driven to Springfield, Missouri for massive other reasons. I flew to my father’s bedside and sat with him for four days, holding his hand, until he was taken off life support and he succumbed to a body that was no longer functioning.

But in 2012 I was able to pay off debt and buy a house with my boyfriend/partner, Brian. I have a healthy little boy who started First Grade. And I was able to publish five books this year.

Oh, and in one week I will be turning 40. It’s a big change, moving to a new decade. The only problem I’m having is not the fact that I’m now 10 years away from being “middle age”, but that now I know it’s the time when my body changes drastically. I asked myself, would I go back to 20 if I could. And the answer is no. Really, truly, no. Sure, I loved being able to eat anything I wanted and not gain an ounce or that I could stay out and party all night. But trade my knowledge, my experience, my life for the girl I once was? Not a chance.

I have decided against making a New Year Resolution. Yes, I could vow to lose the extra 30 pounds I’ve been holding onto since my son was born. But I already know I have to eat right and start exercising. No, what inspires me now is, of course, my writing. I am finishing up the second novel in a series I hope Siren will pick up, a cross between Ghost Whisperer and Cold Case. I have ideas and plans for many more and I’m only limited by how fast I can or cannot type. Happy New Year, the birth of 2013. I raise my glass and toast to the promise of a new beginning. Happy writing. Happy reading. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
To be entered to win this wonderful gift prize, just leave a comment! One winner will be chosen at random by my wonderful assistant (AKA:SON). A second winner will be able to pick one of my titles (winner’s choice) for a free PDF ebook! Thanks for visiting with me! Have a wonderful holiday season!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Please visit the others in the Blog Hop: 

11 December 2012

Hump Day Hook - 12 December

There is always one album that seems to define a generation.  I grew up during the ‘80s, a time that became a decade of upheaval in many aspects of the world, from politics to fashion.  I am happy that I grew up during this period, but I guess everyone says that about the time they lived.

Music was so radically different from what had come before in the 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s.  Though women had began to burn their bras in the sixties I think the true change of women’s attitudes really began in the eighties.  I remember watching MTV and seeing the first video ever aired on it, and I remember seeing Madonna and thinking “She’ll never last.”

Ha!  Good thing I’m not a betting person! 

One album stood out to me, bringing to light all that I was afraid of during the political turmoil of the fall of the Soviet Union to the unification of Germany.  I’m glad that I lived through such times, lived through a lot of history that my child will one day only read about.  That album was “The Dream of the Blue Turtles” by Sting.  Published in 1985, it became my anthem of unease in a world bordering on destruction.  Of course, the world once again feels like it’s bordering on destruction so I popped in the cd the other day and listened to the songs.  You can basically take the lyrics of “Russians” and substitute “Iraians” or “North Koreans” and the song becomes instantly another cry of hope.

For this weeks Hump Day Hook, I decided to post a paragraph from my book Kismet. This book is the sequel (of sorts) to Spirals, set at the same time but with different characters.  Evie is a woman who travels around helping people because she gets visions, and her visions have led her to LA.  I could never fully comprehend what it must have felt like to live in a country that was suddenly torn apart, but in the words of Sting: We share the same biology, regardless of ideology.
 *******************************************************

Shalana leads us all around her “city,” listening, asking questions, and inviting people into the discussion. I can see the resentment of our being there in some faces, happiness and relief in others, and I wonder what I would have done had I lived here in Los Angeles when the earthquake had hit. If I had survived it, that is. Would I have huddled together as these people had done or would I be the person I am today, standing on my own two feet and surviving on my own? I figure it would take a strong person to do exactly that. I could have stayed in Georgia, or returned to Louisiana and joined a family community, surviving, but my visions have given me the drive to find more, be more, so my nomadic existence has made me stronger. Or so I like to think.

 *****************************************************
Thanks for visiting!  Make sure to visit the others at:  http://kerriannecoombes.wordpress.com/
And be sure to come visit with me this Friday, December 14th for the two Christmas Blogs I'm participating in!

06 December 2012

Zombies- How....Romantic???




There isn’t any doubt that Zombies are the new IT monster.  We’ve had ghosts, vampires, and werewolves and now, finally, the Zombie is getting the respect it deserves.  Admittedly, Zombies are a harder sell.  They’ve gotten a bad rap over the countless depicts on screen as being mindless flesh eating creatures….and yes, they are, but I think there’s more to a Zombie than that.  

Let the imagination soar.  

Zombie themed love stories are starting to filter into Young Adult titles.  Books like Dearly Departed: A Zombie Novel by Lia Habel, Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter, and Chivalry is Undead (Just Another Zombie Love Story) by M.A. Rogers are starting to grace bookshelves.  It's a theme that's catching on, and not just in print.  Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion is an upcoming motion picture set to be released next year.
I have my own idea for a Zombie romance but since I’ve got a list of stories to write it might be a while before that story sees some life…no pun intended.

Now, I’m not a big horror fan, so I have to admit that I haven’t seen that many Zombie flicks.  My favorites are ones that have a little humor thrown in, so my #1 favorite flick is Shaun of the Dead.  #2 is Night of the Comet (though some will argue that this is not a Zombie movie). And finally, #3 Zombieland.
  
Zombie legends are steeped in the occult of African Voodoo to Haitian Vodou, and described as a person without consciousness or self-awareness.  The Oxford Dictionary states that the word “Zombie” first appeared in English when Robert Southey mentioned it in his book History of Brazil(1810).  Yet how the person is turned into a Zombie, either living or dead, has many different connections.  In modern day culture, we’ve taken it a step further by making it a disease, or a plague.  And with the way this world is going with biological warfare, it doesn’t stretch the imagination all that far, does it?

I guess what makes Zombies truly terrifying is the thought of someone possessing us, our life after death being controlled by either our curse or our desire to kill others.  Zombies don't get to be cool like Vampires or strong like Werewolves.  All they get is blood and gore and maggots wriggling out of eyeball sockets.

So are Zombies more science or science-fiction?  Are they truly scary, the stuff of horror best stayed in the dark to terrify those brave enough to enter their realm?  Or can they be given a chance to evolve, become more than just mindless creatures?  Die hard fans might be horrified at the notion that Zombies could be more but fans like me looks for an angle to make Zombies more…well, human.  I’ve never been much interested in monsters (including the human kind) that kill for no more reason that to “Eat...brains…” but finding the spark of humanity left intact, or finding how Zombies can bring humanity closer, to me that’s fascinating.

Up for one lucky winner is this pictured Shaun of the Dead hat (front & back).  It’s rare, I’ll tell you that!  And though not in perfect shape, it’s still awesome to add to any collection.  This cap is a promotional item someone gave me, and though I treasure it, it’s been stuck in a container in my closet.  It really needs to find a good home.  As you can see, some of the bullseye is starting to come off, but the cap is still pretty cool!.  So if you'd like it, all you have to do is leave a comment!  My trusty assistant…AKA: Son…will pick one name at random.  So make sure to leave an email so I can contact you!  Thanks for visiting with me today and be sure to hit the other in the hop!

04 December 2012

Hump Day Hook - 5 December 2012



Because I’m getting ready to participate in a Zombie Blog Hop, this week I decided to focus on my book Spirals.  No, it doesn’t have any Zombies in it but it’s centered in a dystopian world and right now that’s as close as I have to Z-land.

Dystopian stories scare the hell out of me, probably because they can become our reality.  Our own culture loves watching reality television, so it’s not that hard to believe that in a future not so different from ours we will be watching kids battle each other to the death.  Or our obsession with youth and beauty having us die by age 21, when the lotus on our palm turns black on Lastday. 

(I’m sure many of you get the first reference.  How many gets the second?)

Spirals has a sequel titled Kismet, but many know I’m slightly disappointed with the end result of Kismet.  It was the first (and only!) time I listened to editors about how the story should flow and I really regret bowing to pressure.  It’s still a good story (don’t get me wrong!), just creatively I wish it had gone in a different direction.

That being said, here is my paragraph from Spirals.  It’s actually two paragraphs but they’re small.  I think it sets up a terrifying world:

*************************************

A band of men, decked out from head to toe with weapons, are dragging three bodies entangled in chains. I have no doubt the victims are dead; there's just not enough body left for them to be alive. The men are laughing, probably congratulating each other on a job well done.
After all, three scavengers are a lot.
People like me, people who steal what they can find to survive, are on top of the most hunted list. This city is basically lawless, run by gangs who consider the territory off-limits to strangers. And if I happen to be caught, it will be a very bad day for me.


Thanks for visiting and make sure to visit the other paragraphs at: http://kerriannecoombes.wordpress.com/

*Also: come visit with me today at Cassandra Carr’s sight to win a free PDF ebook!

02 December 2012

Exciting December

December is a magical time, at least it is for me.  It's my favorite month because I love to give back to friends and family, reminding myself how lucky for the people I have in my life.  And, of course, my birthday is in December. 

I have some exciting things coming up in December.  First, I'll be guest blogging with Cassandra Carr on Wednesday the 5th, and one lucky commenter will receive a free PDF ebook!

 http://booksbycassandracarr.com/wordpress/

Next, I'm departing a little bit from romance by participating in the Zombie Blog Hop on December 7th!  Why?  I love zombies!  There are two upcoming zombie movies I'm really looking forward to: World War Z and Warm Bodies

http://www.preciousmonsters.com/p/zombie-blog-hop-on-december-7-2012.html

And then I have not one but TWO Christmas blog hops happening on December 14th!  The Holiday Gift of Love and the Candy Cane Kink blog hop!  Both have huge gift give-a-ways from me...I'm talking t-shirt, desk calendar and a gift card from Barnes & Noble!  Check back here for these!

And finally, I'll be finishing up December guest blogging at When One is not Enough menage blog! 

Plus, every Wednesday I participate in the Hump Day Hook, where authors post a paragraph from a WIP or a finished novel.  

Have a wonderful week and see ya on Wednesday!!!



 



28 November 2012

Hump Day Hook - 28th of November



I was unprepared for this Wednesday’s Hump Day Hook.  I meant to write this post out earlier but found myself doing it Wednesday morning.  I wanted to talk about how I got the name Written Butterfly for my blog because I had a comment left on the last blog hop that it was a beautiful mantra.

I moved to Los Angeles, California almost thirteen years ago with two of my closest girlfriends.  We all had our hopes and dreams for moving to this charming city, and mine was to be a writer.  In the span of a few months, I had a guy I was crazy about and lost him when I found out he had made me the “other” woman.  So I wrote some poetry about it and before I knew it, I had written this autobiographical story on the break up my marriage, being dumped on Valentine’s Day from this guy I had fallen for, and the happiness I had now that I met this other guy (still my boyfriend after almost 13 years!).  It was a catharsis for my soul.  As I tried to put a name on this story, I thought how I was just like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon to finally fly.  I love butterflies, so with these feelings written down I came up with the title: Written Butterfly.

Years later, when I went to start up my blog, I thought how appropriate that title still was.  So…let romance take flight!

For this week’s paragraph, I thought about which character was a like a butterfly emerging from his or her cocoon, and came up with Paden Winters.  He’s a man who has emotional issues stemming from his kidnapping as a child.  He’s lived a long time thinking he’d never find happiness again, and when he realizes love can set him free, he’s a completely different person.  So this week, the paragraph is from Love Story for a Snow Princess:

****************************************************** 
Turmoil boiled through his mind because now he was free, or
     supposedly free. Truth be told, he did feel different, but could it be his
     mind playing tricks? He wanted to test if the invisible specter that had
     clung to him for years had suddenly vanished, but he was half-afraid
     to try. What if Thea had been wrong and all of this had been for
     nothing?
Yet, what if Thea had been right?
 ******************************************************

Please be sure to check out the other paragraphs for Hump Day Hook at:  http://kerriannecoombes.wordpress.com/

24 November 2012

Winners of the Blog Hop!



The Thanksgiving weekend was very relaxing for me.  Recently my boyfriend and I bought a house in Las Vegas so we spent the whole week there…and yes, I ended up shopping on Black Friday, although I hit up several thrift stores that were having major sales.  I love thrift stores for several things, one being books.  I can find so many old/older Harlequin and Silhoutte and Zebra and Candlelight Romance books that I read in the early eighties that I wish I’d kept.  Stories that I remember but can not remember titles so I look and look.  I’ve found so many awesome books in thrift stores!

I decided to have three winners for my Black Friday Blog Hop since I had so many leave comments!  My wonderful and beautiful assistant (AKA: son) picked the names randomly from a bowl.  Susan Frances, JYL22075 & Cat Fire.  The winners have been sent emails.  Thank you so much and thanks to all who visited with me.

I have some interesting upcoming guest blogging coming up in December.  Every Wednesday I participate in Hump Day Hook, where I give one paragraph from a work in progress or something already published.  No prizes are given but I always have something interesting up!  On December 5th, I’m guest blogging with Cassandra Carr.  On December 7th I am participating in the Zombie Blog Hop…this should be interesting, eh???  On December 14th, I’m doing the Holiday Gift of Love Blog Hop and I’m going to have a HUGE give-a-way…the kind where I’m going to need an address to send it to one lucky winner!  I’m talking a t-shirt, a desk calendar, & a gift card from Barnes & Noble!  And finally, on December 21st, if the world has not ended, I’m going to be guest blogging at When One is Not Enough. 

Big things coming, so please stop my blog often!  Have a great week!

22 November 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop-



For Americans, Thanksgiving Day is a time to reflect what we are thankful for.  In school children are taught the first thanksgiving supper between the Pilgrims and the Natives.  A cornucopia represents all we’re grateful for, whether it’s a bountiful harvest or having a day off work.  It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the War Between the States, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, and celebrated the final Thursday in November.

The day after Thanksgiving…well, that became known as black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year and the official start of the Christmas/Solstice/Holiday season.  The name originated in Philadelphia where it described the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that came the day after Thanksgiving.  Some say it also denotes the day retailers operate in the “black”, or start turning a profit. 

I absolutely, positively, irrefutably, refuse to shop on Black Friday. 

The lines alone are enough to make me shudder in horror.  I’m the kind of person who starts Christmas shopping in July.  I make note of items friends or family really like and go back later and buy it for their present.  If, for some reason, I can’t find a gift then I resort to gift cards, but luckily I haven’t done that too often.  By the time Black Friday rolls around, I usually only have one or two presents left, and those are usually for Little Boy (AKA: son). 

But as I started to think about what I was going to write for the Black Friday Blog, I kept thinking about one of my favorite characters that I’ve written…Heather Hart.  Heather, from A Silver Lining, is a very broken woman.  She is summoned to her dying grandfather’s bedside because he wants to see if she’s worthy on inheriting his ranch.  She’s pitted against the foreman, Tristan Rogers, who loves the land fiercely.  She decides she wants the ranch, not because of family loyalty or pride, but because she knows it will make her rich when she sells it.

Heather has nothing to be thankful for.  I can’t reveal why she is the way she is, of course, because her journey from spoiled, selfish girl into a mature and nice woman is the story.  Many people have told me that they hated Heather and that’s good, because she’s not a nice woman.  If she was nice or likeable then her transformation wouldn’t have the same impact.  But something powerful made her the way she is, and only the gentle, compassionate love of Tristan can heal her.

I will reveal one little tidbit about the story.  Chapter One starts out when Heather was fifteen and the entire scenario where she meets a twenty-one year old Tristan actually happened to me.  And before most of you can go “Eww”, nothing happens to the teenager!  When I was fifteen, my parents and I went traveling the States one summer.  We ended up at this place called Hart Ranch in South Dakota and everything that Heather endures with a twisted ankle and a knight in shining armor rescuing her, happened to me.  My cowboy was named Damon, and we’re still in touch today.  But that’s where Heather’s story and my reality ends.  I did not go through the trials and tribulations that she went through, thank goodness! 

I am so thankful for the most important parts of my life: the health of my son, the ability to put food on the table, and wonderful family and friends around me.  Everything else is gravy.  And I rally appreciate all readers of my blog.  Thanks so much for visiting with me today and be sure to visit the other blogs in the hop!
****************
To win a PDF ebook, winner's choice, just leave a comment on if you shop on Black Friday and what's on your list!  Winner will be notified on Sunday (because I'm out of town till then!)  

19 November 2012

Hump Day Hook...Thanksgiving



This year I have much to be thankful for.  My boyfriend and I bought a house, and it’s the first time that I’ve felt stable, that growing older won’t be so bad now that I can provide a home for my son.

I have a healthy little boy, my boyfriend (truthfully, he’s all but my husband…feels odd calling him boyfriend when we’ve been together almost 13 years) has a good job, and I have a wonderful writing career.  Plus, I have the love of family and friends around me.  What more can a person ask for?

This Hump Day Hook I wanted to do something Thanksgiving themed, but alas, I haven’t written anything with this holiday, so what I had to make due with a section from a series in progress I hope to come out in 2013.  Taken from my book Otherworldly, the scene sets up Charlotte trying to cook a chicken, but some of the fat leaks over the side and starts burning.  The fire alarm goes off and think of it as if Majel Barrett-Rodenberry decided to do fire prevention. 

(On a side note, this situation actually happened to my friend, Lark!  When she told me the story, I was laughing so hard my sides hurt!  I told her I was going to use this in a story and she just rolled her eyes.)

So, from Otherworldly, here is my paragraph:


“FIRE!  FIRE!  FIRE!” the alarm kept saying in a very loud, very annoying tone.
            “Shut up!” she cried and grabbed a dishtowel to start fanning the smoke away from the detector.  She spotted a reset button and hurried to find a broom.  Thankfully, the smoke was starting to dissipate.  She found an ordinary broom in the pantry and grabbed it, trying to line up the reset button with the handle, but the handle was too wide and couldn’t fit in the small button slot.
            In the meantime, the detector kept yelling “FIRE” at her and Charlotte was contemplating smashing 

the damn thing with the broom when the front door opened.
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Please visit the other Hump Day Hook paragraphs at:  http://kerriannecoombes.wordpress.com/


ALSO: I'm going to be participating in the Black Friday Blog Hop starting...well, I'm sure you can figure it out.  LOL!  I'll be giving away a free PDF ebook, winner's choice.  December 5th I'll be guest blogging at Cassandra Carr; December 7th I'll be participating in the Zombie Blog Hop (that should be interesting!!); December 14th I'll be participating in the Holiday Gift of Love blog hop and I will have a large Christmas give-a-way to one lucky winner; and finally, on my birthday of December 21st, the world will end...but in case that doesn't happen, then I'll be blogging at When One is Not Enough!  Thanks so much for visiting!
 

13 November 2012

Update & Hump Day Hook!



Thanks to everyone who participated in my Blog Hop this weekend!  I love hearing about opinions and readers favorites, like hearing about y’alls favorite names.  I picked two winners this time around because of the volume of comments and my trusty assistant (AKA: son) picked Shar Simms & Beckey!  Each person has been notified via email.

I’ll also be participating in the Black Friday Blog Hop happening…you guessed it!..day after Thanksgiving.  And at Christmas, I’ll be giving away a special prize so be sure to stop back often!

I’m taking this post to also put up my Hump Day Hook for this week.  For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Hump Day Hook is something I participate in every Wednesday.  A bunch of us authors post so please visit the others at:


This week I wanted to post something about how time flies.  We’re getting ready to enter the last holidays of 2012 and again, I can’t believe how fast the year has flown by.  So from You Can Run, here is my paragraph:

January in Maryland was always miserable. Rain turned to ice and snow, while temperatures fluctuated somewhere between holy-fuck-it’s-cold and I-can’t-feel-my-nads-anymore. It was the type of weather where nose hair froze. Kyle had run thoughtlessly and keeping warm had been the last thing on his mind, but now, unfortunately, he was kicking himself for not grabbing his coat. A thin vinyl jacket wasn’t cutting it.
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08 November 2012

What's in a Name?




                                               http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/
This Blog Hop is supposed to be about Autumn.  I love autumn.  The temperature drops from the hot days to cool nights, making us snuggle down into sweaters and jackets.  The rainy days offers us a chance to curl up next to the window with hot chocolate or with a sweetheart under the blankets.  It's the start of holiday cheer, good cooking, and singing Christmas hymns (because, of course, Christmas starts the day after Halloween now).  

But I decided to blog about something different.  I've had on my mind how I pick names.  Picking names for characters are one of my favorite things whenever I start a new story.  Names are just as important as the story itself.  So to celebrate Autumn...and my being able to bring out my Thanksgiving Day sweaters...here's my blog on names:

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy:
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? It is nor hand nor foot,
Nor arm nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
and for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.

 Arguably, one of the most famous scenes in literature, Shakespeare knew the art of names.  Naming a character is like naming a child.  You have to find the right combination of first and last names to match characteristics, looks, intelligence and character background.  And it can be a long process. 

Just imagine this line, “Buddy, Buddy, where for art thou Buddy?”.  It’s just doesn’t have the same impact.  Now imagine Edward Cullen.  The name ‘Edward’ has a certain ring to it, a noble quality, while the character of Edward Cullen is gentlemanly, cultivated, and distinguished.  The name fits with who he is, where he came from, and the time period he was born. 

And not only do writers have to figure all that in, but we have to be aware that some names are new creations.  For instance, the name Vanessa was “invented” by the author Jonathan Swift in the early 1700’s, so if you happen to be writing a piece set in the 1600’s then the name would be anachronistic. 

I have a hard time, just like every other writer, finding that one name that jumps out at me to define the character I have in my head.  But I tend to get my names from unusual places.  For instance, in my book Spirals, the two heroes are Tobias Noble and Orion West… which are all street names in LA County.  Even my heroine, Kaori, got her last name from a street in El Segundo, California.  In Kismet, the sequel to Spirals, Evie’s last name is a surgical instrument!  A writer will never know where inspiration will strike.

Names that have strong syllables usually bring to mind strong heroes.  For instance, John or Luke or Max.  Each name brings to mind a certain man: John Wayne, Luke Skywalker or Mad Max.  Most writers will go with a strong name over something more…odd.  Eustace probably won’t usually be a hero’s name, at least not in romance books, although he was an excellent Anti-hero hero in Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

Each one of my heroes have names that are special to me.  My give-a-way is any of my listed books to the side!  Just leave a comment on a hero's name you love, be it book, film, tv or any other type of media.  I will pick one winner at random for a free PDF on any one of my titles, winners choice, so be sure to leave a way to contact you!  Thanks so much for visiting and be sure to hop to the others on the list for more prizes!

07 November 2012

Hump Day Hook - Post Election Day



Today for Hump Day Hook I tried to find a piece of work that tied into the National Election we just had…but couldn’t.  I have never written about politics and elections because I think that’s just, well, boring! And I don’t really know anything about it all except the superficial, so I don’t know if that makes me sound dumb or un-American, but I just can’t get into judicial or governmental stories.  And that includes tv shows.  The only lawyer type show I ever watched was Boston Legal because let’s face it, that show was so preposterous it was hilarious.  James Spader and William Shatner were the perfect couple! 

But I digress.  I did manage to find something in my books about government after all, though from my dystopian story titled Spirals. This isn’t exactly what freedom and National Elections are about but it’s the closest thing I had. 

I love dystopian stories because it thrusts us into an alien world that’s both foreign and similar at the same time.  We can be horrified by futures like The Hunger Games or The Running Man because we think that couldn’t possibly happen, and yet there’s that nagging sense that yes, it could.   We could be reading about our eventual outcome.  So I delved into this terrifying horror story genre by writing two books set in the same world.  The first was Spirals and the sequel was Kismet.  I admit that Spirals was a lot better than Kismet because I wrote the first one from my heart and the second one from what my editors were pushing for.  One day I may have the chance to rectify that, but for now, let me give you a small taste of Spirals:
                                                       
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It is absolutely amazing how certain things survived the Great Incident and how other things didn't. I use the term Great Incident because there hadn't been a war. Sometime six years ago, North Korea detonated a biological bomb in the air, and the fallout spread a virus that turned into a pandemic. I only know this term because people bandied it around earlier from a scare of the swine flu. It had turned out to be nothing compared to the new threat. The virus started out as an airborne pathogen then quickly mutated into a disease that had no antidote. Unfortunately when the virus mutated, the pandemic spread fast, creating panic. And with panic came desperation. People left their homes, the cities, thinking running would help.
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Thanks so much for reading!  Enjoy your Wednesday and be sure to stop by my blog this weekend as I do the Autumn Harvest Blog Hop with a giveaway to one reader!  

To read other Hump Day Hooks, check out Kerrianne Coombes Page: http://kerriannecoombes.wordpress.com/

02 November 2012

Self Promoting in the Ebook World



Ebook publishing has really opened doors for many authors like me.  I may not have ever gotten my feet in the door of seeing my dream come true if technology hadn’t shifted, making it easier to get smaller bodies of work published.  My books usually average around 35,000 to 45,000 words, which is almost half the length or novels published through traditional media houses. 

This is a great thing, but consequentially, ebook publishing has its downfalls.  The main one being lack of marketing.  With ebooks, marketing falls directly on the author to drive attention and produce sales for their work, taking time away from allowing the author to create and produce more.  And it’s a fine line to walk in promoting and spamming. 

It can be quite frustrating to bring your story to life, fine tune it, oh and awe over your cover, and then have your sales fall flat because you’re just not finding the audience you need.  One of my great disappointments was with my book “Love Story for a Snow Princess”.  To me, this book is wonderful and I’m so proud of it.  I took a subject matter that was harsh to understand and created a love story that I (forgive the pun) fell in love with.  As a writer, part of my job is to push boundaries that are uncomfortable and make people fall in love with the characters.  But the book never found an audience despite wonderful reviews.

There are only so many avenues an author can market because we’re also competing against all the other ebook authors doing the exact same thing.  Perhaps the number one promotion is just building a body of work.  I had five stories (novellas & books) published this year and right now I’m busy writing for 2013, so for the rest of 2012 I won’t have a new book out there to promote.  But this can’t stop me from blogging, blog hopping, and all the various other tools authors use to keep their name out there.