Thursday, August 23, 2012

We should love what we do

Lately, I've been blessed with a wonderful opportunity. As the contracts for many of my books expire, I am re-releasing them on my own. Why is that a wonderful opportunity? Because through this, I am rediscovering why I love to write, and why I decided to pursue this as a career in the first place.

All of the titles in question are being extensively re-edited before I self-publish them. There are many things that after 5 years of experience, I would like to say differently. In many cases, the word count has been altered by as many as 8,000 new words.

In re-releasing and editing the first two books in the Lilith Mercury, Werewolf Hunter series, I remembered that I based Lilith on myself. Yes, I readily admit that. Ha. Ha. Ha. I know that many writers do things like this, but would never own up to it. My reasoning was simple. If I want to write an ongoing series, I need to know the main character well. As I read over her adventures again, I realized not only how much we were alike, but how much I had changed since I first began her story. I've grown as a person and hopefully when I begin to continue the series, Lilith will grow as a character. She was a little harsh in the beginning, with very good reasons. She and I both have softened and hopefully matured over the past 5 years.

Now, I'm working on the re-release of Bitten. This is to date my very best seller, and in my opinion, one of the best books I've ever written. As I've begun to read the story again, there are so many details that I'd forgotten. So many things that make this story memorable to me had become more feelings than actual memories. After all, I wrote the story near the end of 2007. I believe I finished it January, 2008.

Anyway, I adore these characters. Reading their story again is like visiting old friends. Sure, I'm getting ready to self-publish these titles and I know that many still frown upon that. But you know what? I'm grateful to get to know them again. If I hadn't chosen to not renew my contracts, I probably never would have taken the time to read the complete books again. That would've been a mistake. I'm learning from myself as strange as that may seem. I'm learning what has worked in my writing and what needs to change. I'm developing my skills as a storyteller. And I'm getting to know people that I've missed.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to discover my writing all over again. I am reminded (the more I read and edit) why I love this so much. Writing is my passion and I am blessed to be able to do what I love.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Having a fantastic morning. :)

Even though I have yet to get a cup of coffee, today is a great day. Want to know why? For one thing, I've been doing my very best to think positively. That's right, I'm shaking off my pessimistic thoughts and looking on the bright side. I'm an upbeat person by nature. However, time, shitty past jobs, and the economy have taken their toll on me. I'm not going to get into a long speech about the power of positive thinking. But I will tell you it absolutely works. When I was really down and thought the world hated me, I expected bad things to happen, and they did.

Now, I wake up each day anticipating something wonderful. Yes, there's more to it than that. My point is, more and more good things are now coming my way. You get what you expect to get. Sure, bad things will still happen from time to time. That's life. I'm looking to increase the good stuff. Nothing wrong with that. :)

So, on to some good news to share. Object of My Affection has just been released! This is book two in the Lilith Mercury, Werewolf Hunter Series. Also, for those interested, Red (Book One in the series) is coming soon to print. Click the link below the book for more information on Object of My Affection.

Plus, Constant Cravings just received it's 7th 5-star review! Only one is listed on Amazon. The others are on different blog sites and the Ellora's Cave page. Either way, I'm thrilled. :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Something fun for a change

I looked at the calendar and realized I hadn't blogged in a few weeks. Not only that, but my blogs have, in my opinion, taken on a boring and even depressing note. I'm always sharing my experiences with writing, marketing/promotion, and things of that nature. Wow. You can really get bogged down in that crap. No, I'm not saying that writing and promoting your books is crap. But focusing on it too much is bullshit. You've got to have some fun/relax sometime. It is vital to your sanity. Trust me.

So, I thought I would share a fun recipe. It's no secret that I love fall. Summer in the south is like stepping into your own personal slice of Hell each day. Bleh. I hate it. I also love pumpkins as I'm sure everyone knows who reads my blog. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Today's recipe is pumpkin soup, and it's served in its own little "pumpkin bowls." If you're in a Martha Stewart kind of mood, why not give it a try?

It's not as difficult as it sounds, and looks really impressive when you serve it. :)


  • 6 small (6 to 7 inches in diameter) unblemished pumpkins
  • 1 medium pumpkin (10 to 11 inches in diameter)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshlyground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pureed
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup cream, creme fraiche or sour cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the small pumpkins as though you were making jackolanterns, cutting off and reserving top, scooping out seeds and reserving, but stopping short of carving the face. Set aside. 

Repeat preparation with the medium pumpkin, then cut it into wedges along its natural grooves. Peel each wedge. Cut flesh into 2-inch chunks and set aside.

In a small bowl combine ground spices with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle this mixture into pumpkin cavities, dividing evenly. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into bits and divide between pumpkins. Replace pumpkin tops and place pumpkins in a shallow roasting pan. Roast 30 to 40 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife but still intact. Remove from oven and set aside.

While pumpkins are roasting, prepare the soup: Heat remaining butter along with olive oil over medium-high heat in large pot until foamy. Add onions and remaining salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes until softened and begin to color. Add garlic and cook 1 minute to release flavor. Add diced potato, chunked pumpkin flesh and stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until potatoes and pumpkin are completely soft.

Whisk in cream, taste and adjust seasoning and set aside.

Roasted pumpkins and soup should be done at about the same time. To serve, remove tops from pumpkins and use a melon baller to scoop balls of pumpkin flesh, leaving them in their respective pumpkins. Carefully ladle soup into each pumpkin, filling about 2/3 full. Replace pumpkin tops, place each pumpkin on a plate, and serve.

The prep takes about an hour and a half and the cook time on the soup is about forty-five minutes. Totally do-able for a fall get-together. :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Do you actively promote?

It's before dawn. I've had four hours of sleep, and I hurt too much to lie in bed. As I contemplate whatever the hell it is I've done to make my legs and back ache, I started to think about work.

I'm always looking for new ways to spread the word about my books. However, as I've made an effort to spend less time on the computer, it just hit me that I'm no longer actively promoting my work. And you know what? It hasn't made a damn bit of difference in sales. None.

I used to bust my butt every Monday to post excerpts on Yahoo groups. I'd sit for hours seeing which forums on which sites would allow me to promote myself. Since I wasn't crazy about "drive by" promotion, I also took the time to take part in conversations on these groups/forums. I also used to take out ads here and there with different online magazines. I spent hours (yet again) trying to research which was the right one to reach my intended audience.

As my budget became more non-existent, I cut out all of the paid advertising. As I wanted to spend more time with my family, and writing my next book/books, I spent less time in the forums.

I'm here to tell you, my sales haven't changed one single bit. I've even done a few radio talk shows and didn't see an increase in sales from those either. But, they were fun.

Social networks are also useless as a means of promotion, in my opinion. While I enjoy networking with fans and fellow authors on Facebook, it's really not a good way to reach more readers. Same goes for Twitter. And I feel like Triberr is just spam. LOL Sorry, but I did not have a good experience with that either. I actually lost some followers because they felt like they were being spammed by the constant auto-posts from Triberr.

I'm not sure what anyone (myself included) can do with this information, but I thought I'd share. It has been my experience thus far that none of my promotional efforts have made any lasting difference. For the record, when I did actively promote, I did so regularly. We're talking years worth of consistency, not hit and miss. And it still amounted to nothing.

Just something to think about.