Tag Archives: reviews

Drinking Coffee and Writing to Jimmy Buffett


breakfast and writing

Being an author with ADD is quite hard. I can’t focus on just one writing project. I talked to a few co-worker’s about a few of my writing projects that I was working on and they asked me how was it that I didn’t get them mixed up? I told them that it’s like my brain has many web browsers open and that I’m unable to shut all but one off.

It’s true, though, I do have anywhere from two to four writing projects going. For some, that’s bad, but for others, it’s just the way we are. In a way, I can finish two or more writing projects at the same time.

Last year, I set a goal for myself, publish 6 titles a year for 5 years. Last summer, I switched jobs and found myself having quite a lot of time, so it was easy to use up that time to write, to focus on every one of my writing projects that I had going. I would drop my daughter off at school and head home and write until it was time to pick her up. Before I knew it, I had written three novellas, two non-fiction books, and a short story.

I ended up publishing that short story and one of my novellas last year, as well as a novel that my editor had sent back to me earlier in the year. The other two novellas that I had finished, I had published earlier this year. As for those two non-fiction books, they are set to be published this summer.

Now, the thing about having so much time on my hands and having ADD is that I find myself wanting to play video games or watch Netflix. It wasn’t too hard to find myself losing my discipline. Though I would work on my writing projects, the word count wasn’t nearly as much as it used to be.

It was time to change it up. With my laptop and notebook in my bag, I stopped by my local coffee shop, ordered a breakfast sandwich and a coffee, and then plopped myself into one of their comfy chairs and started writing. It didn’t take me long to come up with over 1100 words. I know that isn’t enough to some, but it’s a start. I also didn’t stay but a few hours.

Since yesterday went so well, I found myself repeating the process; sitting at my local coffee shop with my laptop opened to one of my works-in-progress. Today’s music is much different as it was yesterday.  As I sat down, I plugged in my earbuds, hoping to find something on Youtube that I could write to. The coffee shop owner tells Alexa to shuffle Jimmy Buffett and Cheeseburger In Paradise immediately rings out through the speakers. I didn’t bother with my earbuds and Youtube as I found myself singing along to Jimmy Buffett, while my fingers clicked across the keyboard on my laptop.

Something about listening to Jimmy Buffett helps fuel the creative juices in so many ways for me. Maybe it’s that I wish I was on the beach somewhere instead of being landlocked. With Jimmy Buffett playing, I could picture myself sitting at one of my favorite places that I frequented when I lived near the beach years ago, writing as if I was living my dream; sitting on the beach, writing full-time.

Whatever helps, right?

What inspires you? What fuels your creativity?

Interested in checking out one of my books? Visit my webpage: www.twistedcrowpress.com

 

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via EASY WAYS TO SUPPORT INDIE AUTHORS — The Peculiar Messenger

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.

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.

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.

From Traditional to Indie Author


Some people think that indie authors make a lot of money from their books, or that they have a lot of money to self-publish.

Not entirely true.

Indie authors don’t get paid much for their books because some people would rather buy a $25.00 – $29.00 book written by a traditionally published author, plus the tax from the chain store that they purchased said book from. Indie books aren’t priced nearly as high and some of us aren’t found in large chain stores. However, it takes some leg work on our part to get our books on those shelves and at times, we aren’t always accepted.

Some people sneer when you say you’re an indie author as they think that anyone who self-publishes their work writes complete rubbish.

Not entirely true.

It is true that some of those who self-publish their work may skip the steps it takes to publish a good book, which can give the rest of us, who go through the checklist of things to do before publishing, a bad rep; editing being the first on the checklist.

There are many reasons why a lot of us authors are going the self-publishing route.

  1. Royalties – You don’t have to go through another person to get your royalty check. There were times when I didn’t receive a royalty check. And when I did, it wasn’t much to brag about. With self-publishing, you can receive a higher percentage of royalties than you would at a traditional publishing company. So, yes, the royalties are much better as an indie author. You’re not getting a smaller percentage.
  2. Marketing – I paid my publisher money to market my work for me and it was a waste of money. As an indie author, you do all the marketing yourself. True, it may cost a bit of money, but you can choose where to market and how much to spend. There are places that are free, and there are places that will charge you. I may be doing all the work marketing my work, but I know it’s getting done. Plus, I was doing most of the leg work when I was a traditionally published author anyway.
  3. Cover art/illustrations – A lot of times, authors don’t have a say as to what the cover looks like, or has a limited choice. As an indie author, you will have to find someone to do the book covers for you.
  4. Editing – At times, you would have to cut out a lot of things out of your work, or would be asked to redo a lot of things, or change up characters. As an indie author, you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. However, it is highly suggested to find yourself a good editor to fix all of your grammar and punctuation.
  5. Pricing – As a traditional author, you don’t have the capabilities of setting and changing the price of your book as you would as an indie author. Plus, I can choose to publish as both, an ebook and a paperback. Whereas, I wasn’t allowed that opportunity as a traditional published author.

Basically, as an indie author, you are more in charge of what happens to your work and how much you get paid for it. But, not all of us publish complete rubbish. We’re the mom-and-pop to the big name brand chain. We need your business just as equally, if not more. We have a family to take care of, too, lol!

Bad editing and or book covers is what gives self-publishing it’s awful reputation. As the saying goes, ‘You have to spend money to make money’. As an author, traditional or indie, you’re spending money to make money. If you’re not spending money on services that molds and shapes your work into perfection, then you’re not making money.

If you visited my website, www.twistedcrowpress.com head over there and click subscribe to keep posted. All ebooks are $0.99 right now on Amazon, or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Chaos, the first book in my young adult series Supernatural Realms, comes out 27 March. I will be running promos for it for two weeks. Be sure to subscribe to my website, or follow my author page on Facebook.

Cheers,

JA