Tag Archives: fun

Sometimes Creativity Takes a Break


creative-cat

I often find my creativity taking a leave of absence when I’m in the middle of a writing project. I typically binge watch a TV series or spend some time at my local library looking for a good book or series, then curl up on the couch at home and read. Or, I choose a handful of books from Kindle Unlimited, filling up my Kindle. It isn’t long before my creative juices start flowing again.

For the past month, I had been working hard on three of my five works-in-progress. You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute, you’re working on that many writing projects at the same time?” Well, yes, it’s pretty common among us writers to do that. I have ADD, so my brain can’t just focus on one thing as it’s all over the place. And being creative, I have so, so many ideas running rampant inside my head…

Anywho. I tend to get quite a bit of writing done this way. When the opportunity presents itself, why not take up on it?

Our minds need a break, just like our bodies. When we have a hard time focusing on something, it’s probably a sign that we need to take a break and let our batteries re-charge.

I often find myself stepping away from my writing. It gives me time to focus on other things. After a few days, or sometimes a week passes by, my creativity returns and I’m back to pounding out the words on the keyboard.

Advertisements

My Favorite Scene in Chaos


 

Authors often feel very passionate for their work. They have favorite characters or less favorite ones. They have favorite scenes or less favorites ones.

I do have a favorite scene in my novel, Chaos, that I would like to share with you all. It’s an important scene that takes place part of the way into Chapter 4:

 

 

As soon as her uncle got out of the car and walked toward the men, Noelle had a dream. Not just a normal daydream, but one where she felt as if she were a part of the dream. She was running through the woods, the smell of pine stronger than ever before. The ground below her felt awkward, as if she were barefoot, yet the feeling in her feet was somehow different. She glanced down; she was running on all fours.

What the … I have paws! She stopped running to ogle at herself. Paws, fur. She turned her head to examine herself further. A bushy tail? Hey, wait a second … Suddenly a different smell tickled her nose. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. Oddly, she knew the smell. Opening her eyes and staring straight ahead, she watched two doe run past her. It was as if she recognized their scent and something deep inside told her she was hungry for them. She could feel the predator instinct trigger the desire to catch and kill her prey. Her mouth salivated as she let out a deep growl.

Her heart pumped faster with adrenaline as her legs moved faster with speed. She was giving it her all trying to catch up to the deer when she felt a sharp pain go through her. She surveyed her surroundings, and noticed three men in the distance … and heard repeat gunfire. Suddenly, she was not chasing the deer anymore; she was running for her life. Her heart raced in panic as she began to feel weak. Peering down, she saw blood pouring from a wound in her side. Fear set in as she realized someone shot her. The less she moved, the less she would bleed out, but she had to get away from them. Things went out of focus and then grew dim, as if the sun was setting or time was fast forwarding, turning day into night. Her lungs ached and it pained her to breathe. Her heart, which was pumping quickly moments before, had trouble keeping a steady rhythm. That could only mean one thing: she was dying.

I don’t want to die! If I die in this dream, will I die in real life? Is this really a dream? I don’t understand what’s going on. I can’t die. I won’t.

Feeling weaker with each step she took, she fought for the will to keep moving. When she felt another pain rip through her, she collapsed to the ground, blacking out, her last breath leaving her.

Noelle opened her eyes and breathed as if she was drowning. Gasping and coughing, she reached her hand up and grasped her chest. Her heart raced as if she had just run a marathon. She closed her eyes, trying to figure out what had just happened. She’d had similar dreams before, but never this vivid.

“That was wild. I’m not sure I want to do that again,” she whispered to herself.

Opening her eyes, she saw that she was all alone, and sitting inside her uncle’s patrol car. She had a strong feeling that was where she had been the entire time. Her heart slowed to a normal pace as she slowly took in the scene around her. She could see her uncle walking toward his deputy as if he had just left the car.

Did time stop? What the hell was that? So many questions ran through her mind.

She shook uncontrollably from the adrenaline pumping through her. She quickly assessed herself. No blood, no bullet holes. Thank God! I don’t know what that was, but I’m still alive! Clearly, a weird dream. She wiped a tear from her cheek and closed her eyes, drawing in deep breaths, trying to focus on what she had seen. She wanted to get out of the car and get some fresh air, but she remembered she made a promise not to leave the car. Noelle decided it was best to crack the window instead, and try her best to erase the images that flooded her mind.  

Hope you enjoyed!

Chaos is about two sisters who find themselves in a magical world of supernatural creatures and a book that just might send them on a path to find their destiny.

If you would like to read the rest of the story, it is available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble:

Amazon paperback: https://amzn.to/2ranhTv
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2J2uvzG

Please note that Chaos is listed as FREE under the Kindle Unlimited program.

Chaos Cover EBOOK

 

 

 

Indie Author Guide


Ever since I published my first book in 2012, I have been asked how I did it, along with many other questions that I feel I have enough to fill a book. Most of the questions are usually the same ones that I am asked repeatedly. I try my best to answer each one and at times I feel like I’m leaving something out.

I want budding authors to strive in this business, as being an author is a business. It’s how we earn an income. Some authors earn a lot more than others but I don’t want to keep aspiring authors from learning their craft to where they can’t make a living. I want to help them become successful.

I have decided to take these questions and answer them by writing a book. Not only do I answer their questions, in length, I added a plethora of other useful tips and tidbits that they should know to help them in building and marketing their brand. Though it’s a guide on how to become an indie author, I do write a little about what to expect in the traditional publishing side of becoming an author.

Indie Author Guide

Though I don’t have an exact date set for when it will be published, I do know it will be out sometime next Spring.

Awesome Kindle Unlimited Deal


Hey, Everyone!
Amazon has an awesome deal going for Kindle Unlimited that expires at the end of the month. You can sign up for the Kindle Unlimited program for $0.99 for 3 months. Click here for more details. 
I enjoy reading quite a bit that I had signed up for it a few years back. If you don’t know what Kindle Unlimited is it is where you pay a monthly fee to read as many books as you want. Well, you can download up to 10 books at a time, but once you read a book, you can return it and check out another.
 
You can also find my book, Chaos: Supernatural Realms listed on the Kindle Unlimited program. Click here to check it out. 
Chaos Cover EBOOK
Two sisters find themselves in a magical world of supernatural creatures and a book that just might send them on a path to find their destiny.

It is the lack of having supernatural abilities that makes Noelle a non-believer. Anya, her younger sister, believes in almost everything, and tries her best to change Noelle’s view of the world, including reminding her they are part shifter.

It isn’t until one morning during a ride into work with her uncle, the town sheriff, when Noelle begins to question her disbelief in all things supernatural. She has a premonition which sends her and Anya on a quest to find a book that may lead to their destiny. A destiny that takes them through a portal into the Faerie realm.

If you love books about magical faeries, shifters, and werewolves which also includes mystery, action, and adventure then this is the book for you!

Chaos is a young adult urban fantasy fiction novel and is the first book in my Supernatural Realms Series.

Are Authors Introverts?


What is an introvert? An introvert is someone who prefers a quiet atmosphere, who spends a lot of time alone, avoiding social interactions. Almost sounds like a recluse, doesn’t it? Well, those are two separate entities.

Authors spend quite a bit of time slumped over a computer, eagerly typing away on our current work-in-progress (WIP). The desperate need to meet a deadline, or the need to pound out everything our creative muse is giving us before they decidedly take a break, because, they do that sometimes. We tend to ignore the outside world, quite busy in our own little world(s). So, you can see why it is that we would be introverts.

Most of us require a certain space to write in. I know I do. I often need it to be quiet to think if I get stuck somewhere in a story. Sometimes, I have to change it up a bit to get my creative juices flowing. Often times, I will change up my writing locations; watch a certain TV series; read a book series in the genre I am currently writing in, all just to get me on the right track. Once the creativity gets going, it flows and I keep typing away, or I jot everything down as it comes to me.

I am a huge note taker when I cannot find the time to sit behind a computer. I have a shelf full of notebooks with a plethora of ideas, character profiles, scenes, plots, storylines, etc and so on. I carry a notebook with me everywhere, including having one on my nightstand. Most nights, I’m too tired to sit at the computer and write, but once I lay down I’m often hit with ideas on my current work-in-progress and would start to scribble them down into my notebook.

I’m often asked how I find the time to write? Being a single mom and having a special needs kiddo, as well as a job, it’s hard, but I find the time; I wait till she goes to bed, I write during my lunch breaks, I write while waiting in the school line, I write on my days off when she’s at school. I don’t need to explain my day-to-day, but finding the time to write can be done.

No, I’m not the kind of author that can type up 50,000 words in a month. I mean, that would be nice, but those are the kind of people who don’t have a job to head out to or kids to take care of, or if they did have kids, they have someone else to help them out. Me, I can type up around 500 – 1200 words in a day. One day, I typed up over 2500 words, but that was on my day off from work and I didn’t have any errands to run or chores to do. Those are rare days, too!

Every author is different. We all have our own styles or methods in doing what we do, to achieve getting our book written. There are those who can publish 10 or more titles a year, but that also goes along with what I just mentioned. Or, some of those titles aren’t full-length novels, to which I can see publishing that many short stories a year. I’ve published three titles this year; two were short stories and one was a novel, but I had been working on my novel for almost eight years.

I’ve grown accustomed to staying home on my days off my day job to work – as an author. My author business is a second job. There’s a lot that goes into it other than writing that next book. Marketing would be a big factor that goes into being a published author. Emails to answer or to send out, a webpage or blog to maintain, book orders to mail, events to prepare for. Those are just a few things I’ve mentioned. There is a whole lot that goes with being an author, especially if you’re an indie author. Even when I was traditionally published, I still had a lot of marketing to do on my end. It’s my work and I had to get the word out there on it or else I wouldn’t be making a cent. You can’t sell your books if no one knows it’s out there.

I tend to take breaks from social media. These days, you have to. I find myself getting lost on Pinterest. So many good recipes I need to try, or cute crafts my kiddo would enjoy, lol! If I need to focus on meeting my deadlines, it’s a must to take a break from the internet.

Introverts can be great listeners. Not all introverts are socially awkward or rude. Some introverts enjoy not being in the spotlight, or would rather refrain from speaking to a large crowd of people. Some introverts are more comfortable writing than speaking. Not everyone is great at public speaking or has a way with words when it comes to a conversation. Authors tend to use their way with words in their work and like an introvert, it may take many revisions to get out what it is we’re trying to say.

 

 

Chaos My YA Fantasy Book is Now Available


Chaos Cover EBOOK

I’m happy to say that my young adult fantasy fiction novel, Chaos, the first in my Supernatural Realms Series is finally available.

I have worked on it for quite a long time that I am overly ecstatic to finally hold a copy in my hands!

You can get it on Amazon as an ebook or a paperback, or on my website: www.twistedcrowpress.com

Essential Oil Diffuser For Those with Sinusitis


diffuser

Due to allergies toward dust and mold, I suffer from chronic sinusitis. It can be annoying when working around important people all day in a state office; having to dash off to the restroom to blow my nose or use my prescription nose spray every half hour or so. I needed to find something else that would help clear this up. Allergy meds and nose spray wasn’t working that well.

After consulting with a few friends who work in the medical field, they had each recommended I try essential oils. I had never thought to even try them until I was in an IEP meeting at school and one of my daughter’s therapists had one in her office. She currently had been overcoming bronchitis and was using her essential oil diffuser. After twenty minutes of sitting there, I could tell that it was actually working for me.

My local store only had a few of the small diffusers, so I checked online to see what I could find. Amazon had some for the same price my local store had, except Amazon’s was much bigger and seemed to do a lot more.

I purchased one of them, as well as a few essential oils that was recommended to me. One of those essential oils is called Breathe Easy and it’s for those with nasal congestion. I also purchased the lavender as I love the smell.

After using my essential oil diffuser at home for a few days, I can tell a big difference. Only wished that I could take it to work with me, lol!

Homemade Avocado Hummus


avocados-in-bowl-(1)

A few years ago, I had worked a booth with the Anthropology Club at the farmers market at Bernice Gardens in Little Rock. Some farmer’s markets are quite a venue to visit; some are big, some are small, nevertheless, Bernice Gardens is quite the atmosphere mixed with farmers, artisans, artists, and a few food trucks.

While I was there I walked around visiting each booth, trying homemade pastries, freshly brewed coffee that was locally grown and roasted, homemade goat cheese, and homemade hummus. I purchased fresh produce from some of the farmers, some pastries, and some hummus. Now and then I have gone back, mostly for an Anthropology class, but to also support the local farmers and artisans. Plus, I had lived close enough, until now as I had moved further away.

The other day, my boss brought in a container of hummus that she had made herself. I asked her what all she put in there and it seemed an easy recipe that I didn’t know why I hadn’t made it myself before. She told me a variety of recipes she uses and I decided to try one for myself. However, if you don’t have a food processor like me, you can still make this using a mixer or a blender.

2 Avocadoes, peeled and seeded

1 can of cooked and drained chickpeas

1/4 tsp of cumin

1/4 tsp of paprika or pepper

1/4 tsp of curry (optional)

1 lemon, squeezed into the ingredients

2 tbsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

If you are using a mixer, you may have to blend for a few mins until ingredients are well blended. Blender or food processor would work better.

Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing, Pros and Cons


There’s a big difference between choosing to publish traditionally than there is to self-publish. I have listed a few pros and cons that should help you choose.

Traditional:

Pros:

  • You have a chance of seeing your work in a lot of stores, especially the big name bookstores.
  • It isn’t as costly to publish, but it does come out of your sales.

 

Cons:

  • You have to market yourself. The publishing company is putting their faith in you when it comes to marketing your work. They’re making money off of this, too!
  • You have to sign a contract. If your work isn’t selling, your contract will be forfeit. Your publisher will drop you.
  • Publishers pay you 15-30% royalties.
  • Agents charge you at least 15-20%.
  • Not all publishers give you an advance. If they do, you don’t get paid till your books earn every penny the publisher gave you in your advance.
  • If you publish one book with a publisher in one genre, then write another book in a different genre, you may have to find a different publisher for that second book as your publisher may only publish a certain genre.
  • It takes a year, up to three years to get your work published.
  • If you queried an agent, it make take weeks or months for them to respond. Then it takes longer to read and edit your work. Then it takes even longer for them to find the right publisher for you and to get said publisher to accept your work.
  • You may have to change your story, plot, characters.
  • You don’t get the say in the formatting, cover design, pricing.
  • You may not get to publish your book the way you want such as paperback, hardback, audio, and ebook. Sometimes, you are only able to publish one or two of those styles.

 

Self-Publishing:

Pros:

  • You are your own boss. No contracts.
  • You set your own prices. You can also decide when to put everything on sale.
  • Sort of a pro and a con… If you want to see your books in a bookstore, you have to pay (a small fee) to use a certain service. If you want to see your books in the big name bookstores, you will have to write up a press release, requesting your work be placed on their shelves.
  • You can publish whatever genre you want, using whatever self-publishing service you want. Granted, there is a limit to publishing EVERYTHING.
  • It takes 3-12 days to have your work published, depending on the length of your manuscript, formatting, etc.
  • You get to choose your cover design – hire a professional, unless you are the professional.
  • You are paid 35-80% in royalties (Amazon will pay you 35% if your book is priced below $2.99, but will pay you 70% if it’s $2.99 or above.)
  • If you choose not to be an author anymore, you don’t have to wait on a contract to end, you can cancel your books at any time.
  • You can publish your book the way you like; ebook, paperback, audio, hardback. Plus, you can choose the size of the book.

Cons:

  • You market everything yourself, as if you weren’t already. You don’t make money if you don’t market your work.
  • Self-Publishing has a bit of a bad name to it, some people think that your work will be rubbish and not bother giving you a chance. You have to show them that they’re wrong.
  • You have to spend a little bit more out of pocket for services, such as editing, cover design, formatting, but you can budget yourself on this. Pro: I’ve learned to format my own work to save me money. It isn’t that hard. You can do your own cover design if you are very familiar with Photoshop and your cover designs look really good.

 

Hopefully I have answered some of your questions. If I missed something, message me. You can find me on Facebook. I am working on making some Youtube videos to share my writing/publishing journey with everyone.

If you haven’t already, check out my webpage: www.twistedcrowpress.com

Cheers,

JA

A Coffee that I Love, Plus it Gives to Charity


I am a huge coffee drinker. I have at least a travel-sized mug every morning to help me get through my work day. On occasion, I tend to walk across the street to a certain coffee chain and get myself a mocha frappe, if not a house blend coffee. I am also a fan of giving to charity, especially when it comes to children.

A few months ago, I was shopping with my dad when I spotted a new coffee that we had not seen before called, Laughing Man. I thought it had an interesting title and read the side panels around the box when I spotted actor Hugh Jackman’s picture on it. Always willing to try new things, I picked up a box of the medium roast called, Dukale’s Blend, and a box of the dark roast called, Columbia Huila, as well as one of each of the sampler boxes that they had.

When I got home, I googled Laughing Man coffee and their website came up and I was happy to see that proceeds made from my purchase goes toward a charity called, Laughing Man Foundation. It was like a bonus for me. Not to mention, the coffee tastes even better than the off-brand coffee that I had been buying.

So far, I’ve been favoring the darker roast, Columbia Huila. It has a hint of dark chocolate added to it. I mean, that’s another bonus for me … chocolate! There was only one problem. I have to drive thirty-five minutes to a store that carries this brand of coffee, as the small store just down the street doesn’t. Thing about living in a small town. The store doesn’t carry that much due to it’s small size. Good thing for Amazon, as I have been purchasing my coffee in bulk, if not, I have to wait until I can find the time to go for a drive to the store that carries it.