Wednesday, December 10, 2014

'The Snowman'

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to come across a cute little copy of this book, which is made up of illustrations telling a story about a boy and his snowman that doesn't need any words.

This story is a winter favorite of mine. As a child, I watched the VHS of the animated version set to an unforgettable soundtrack. I also listened to the soundtrack on my dad's record player. It was one of my favorite vinyl records he used to play for us kids.

If you aren't familiar with it, I highly recommend you check it out. It's a treasure for adults and kids alike.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Angel

Just for fun, which angel from The Divided Trilogy do you think loves Christmas the most and why?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Autographed Set of The Divided Trilogy Giveaway

Hey, readers, if you haven't done so yet, please stop by my friend Kim's blog and enter to win an autographed paperback set of The Divided Trilogy. I'll be signing and mailing them personally to the winner. Just click on the image below to be transported to the contest. Good luck!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Former Professor's Fabulous New Book

Reading literary non-fiction short stories and poems can be a profound experience. It's one of the reasons I chose to be an English major. Literature reaches down and grabs you by the soul in a way that little else can.

I wanted to recommend one-such collection written by a former literature professor of mine. It's called Motherland: Stories and Poems from Louisiana by Lynn Hoggard. If you're a fan of the kind of writing that has true soul, this is a book to add to your library.

Click the pic to go to its Amazon page. A couple of the poems I felt deep in my heart, where there are still scars from the wounds of old love. Some of her stories made me laugh out loud. Others made me tremble in awe and also horror.

It really is a great book. And since I had a class with the author back when I was getting my BA, I figured I'd do my part and give her a little love here on the blog. :) Do check it out.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Autumn Equinox and the Night from Hell

Hey, it's the Autumn Equinox! How about some cooler weather now, Texas, eh??

So I don't know if it was the Equinox, or the fact that I'm trying to experiment getting off of Benadryl at night (sick of being groggy the next day), or because I recently read one of the most disturbing True Crime books I've ever read, but last night was one of the worst nights in dreamland that I've had in a while.

I went to bed around 10 because I'm an old lady now. But the freaky stuff all began when the house alarm started doing its stupid beeping-in-the-middle-of-the-night thing. Occasionally it does this; it's random. And I have to get up and press a button and it stops.

Well, I thought my clock said 6 a.m. when I got up to stop the beeps. But when I went back into the room, it was somewhere close to 1:00 a.m. I'd been having nightmares when the alarm woke me up and I wasn't looking forward to going back to sleep. I tried, but all I could think about was the horrors in that true crime book, which I don't recommend you read because it really is disturbing. And I love true crime. But too much is too much.

Heart pounding, I started thinking that there's some evil vibe nearby, like it's humming or something. I could hear it. So I got out of bed and turned both my overhead fan and stand-up fan off.


Okay, so the humming was probably my blood-pressure. I checked some emails and finally went back to sleep.

Had some more creepy dreams, but this time, the kind where you think you've woken up again and are in the same room/house. But I wasn't, and some eerie things happened that I wouldn't like to recall, and then I woke up again for real. This time, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 a.m. Still dark as hell outside, and I was still scared and annoyed. And I had the sniffles from not taking a Benadryl. (This year has been the *worst* for allergies for me.)

So I turned on some lights and got my phone and a book and started looking up psychological withdrawal symptoms of Benadryl. I didn't find a whole lot. And really, I don't even know if withdrawal even applies to me because I've only been taking one pill at night. Oh, and during all this, I also played some gospel music because I was still scared out of my mind.

Fighting sleep because I didn't want to have more nightmares, I stayed up for about an hour until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. The next time I woke up, it was about 4 a.m. and I'd had more dreams, but these were more along the lines of a drama/suspense movie than horror. Better than the alternative.

Finally, the sun arrived, which brings us to this morning. So now I sit with my coffee, contemplating my psychological state, wondering if it's all just my vivid writer's imagination and if I should stay away from books and movies with disturbing themes because I'm ripe for being influenced by them...

What do you think?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Illegal Downloaders of my Book! You Know Who You Are, You Silly Rascals!

So tonight I found a website that is offering a free PDF download of my book Wings of the Divided. I'm both flattered and face-palming this special bit of information. Why? I'll tell ya.

On the one hand I am so totally thrilled that y'all liked it so much that you've gotta share it for free. That makes me feel great! It's why I wrote the book--so people could read it!

But on the other hand, I am a little bit sad because I'm already offering the book for pretty cheap. Also, if people are downloading it free from alternate sites, I have no record of how many people are doing this. And if I don't have a record of people buying it, I assume that nobody is downloading it, and nobody is interested. That doesn't fuel future projects of the same sort, if you know what I mean.

See where I'm going here?

Look. I know people are going to download things for free. I used to do it back in the day with CD's because it was so temptingly easy. But now, I understand that artists make their living based on sales of their albums, books, etc., so I make sure I actually *buy* their work now to show my support and keep them working.

I've set WINGS at $0.99 this past week. I did this before I even knew about the illegal freebies. It'll stay that way for a while. I also run legal freebies a few times a year. So I'm trying to make it easy on people (like me) who are on a budget.

I'm not here to gripe or tell you that you're going to hell for downloading a free PDF of my book, or even to tell you that you're stealing. I'm just saying this: please consider what you're doing when you d/l my book(s) for free. I've got no record that you bought the book when you do this, no review, no feedback, and definitely no money--though the money is the least of my concerns.

And for the offending sites: if you are offering my book for free, please consider taking it down out of courtesy to me, the author, who just wants to make a few cents per book. I'm not even out to get rich; I'm just wanting to know people are interested! And I can't know if you're giving it away without my knowledge.

If you are one of the folks downloading my book for free, please consider buying a print copy if you liked it, or getting a $0.99 copy to let me know you're interested, or gifting it to a friend if you liked the book enough to share.

Or write a review or comment here a the blog or shout out to me on Twitter, at the very, very least!

Laphelle would really appreciate it...

Okay, that's all I have to say on the subject. Carry on.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Today I Learned What "Eid" Is

The end of the Ramadan fast is here, and some of my students at the ELI dressed up all nifty for it. The holiday after Ramadan is called "Eid." One student even gave me chocolate - I'm always up for an excuse to eat chocolate.

Here we are in color...

And in sepia!

I've just learned all kinds of things this summer! Where will life take me next??

Update: I got attacked by some different photo hounds again the next day! Here are some shots from that shoot. (Also I got told I needed to pay them $100 a picture because they're "famous." Goobs! ;)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kindle Unlimited & The Divided Trilogy

Hello, everyone! I have just discovered this evening that The Divided Trilogy has been selected to be part of Kindle Unlimited, which is sort of like Amazon's version of Netflix. I'm not totally sure how this works, but from the looks of it, if you subscribe to it for $9.99 per month, you can get access to something like 600,000 different titles to choose from. And right now they're doing a promo now where you get the first 30 days free. So if you're interested, or you already have Kindle Unlimited, please give my epic angel trilogy a try! You can start with book one!:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fun at Dallas Comic Con!

Man, I ran into so many fantastical beings at the Dallas Comic Con! Here are but a few...

Who wouldn't want to hang with a Ringwraith?

Chillin' with Chewy

Krystle and I found some live Ewoks!

Groovy skulls

Not sure who the girl is. Oops!

Then we got to see the Nightmare on Elm Street reunion cast Q&A panel!

Characters (L to R): "Nancy," "Tina," "Marge," and "Freddy"

Robert Englund, who plays the infamous Freddy Kreuger

Fun tid-bit: as we were driving in downtown Dallas, trying to find our parking lot, we passed Elm Street. I nudged my husband and made some crack about seeing the cast from Nightmare, and as it turns out (according to the panel), Wes Craven named the movie after that very street because of what happened with JFK. So there really was a connection!

We had a lot of fun. Glad we got to go!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Why I'm Excited about my First One-out-of-Five-Star Review

So today has started out on an interesting note... I've been officially humbled by my first 1/5-star rating of Wings of the Divided on Goodreads.

If you're wondering whether or not I feel like throwing myself off a bridge, I absolutely do not! I'm in fact not upset about this (unless it's the start of a string of bad ratings, which would be unsettling). Seriously though, I have been waiting--anticipating it, really--for a couple of years now for someone to read this book and give it the ol' one-star slammer.

Why would I be so masochistic, you ask?

Because it means the book is finally reaching a wider audience.

A lot of indie books have only a handful of reviews online, 6-9 seems to be the number, and all the reviews are filled with holly jolly praise. It could mean that everyone likes the book, but to me, if there's nothing but good reviews of a book, it makes me suspicious that the book hasn't made it out of the author's circle, you know: friends, family, acquaintances, friends of friends. And if the only people who read your book are people you know or people with whom you've had some sort of personal contact, the chances of getting a bad review are pretty low. People don't want to piss each other off, as a rule, so they'll be "nice" even if they hated a book.

I appreciate that this person who read my book was not nice. I appreciate the fact that my book has finally gotten "out there" to complete strangers who do not like what I have to offer. It means my audience has widened. It means that this book has gotten visibility, and that people are giving it a chance and being honest.

I also think that bad reviews pique people's interest in a book or movie or any artistic medium. If I am considering reading a book and it's got both high ratings and low ratings, that makes me curious to find out whether I'll be among those who liked it or hated it. It generates more curiosity for me as a reader.

My only wish was that this person had written an actual review to go along with the one-star-rating so I could know exactly why she did not like the book.

Did she get bored and simply not finish it?

Was it because there was no romance?

Did she find it sacrilegious?

Did she find it too religious?

Was it silly to her?

Was it too dark for her?

Did she think the writing sucked?

Did she hate the characters?

I'll never know. All I know is she didn't like it.

If you're an author, what do you think of bad reviews? Do they get you down in the dumps or are you weird like me and find yourself strangely happy for them? Share in the comments!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014's Main Street Art Festival Find

Despite my persistent, 9-day chest bug, or whatever the heck it is, I went out to the Fort Worth Main Street Art Festival because it would've broken my heart to have missed it. I've gone every year for the past few years now, so it's a nice little tradition. Each year, Drew and I find something artistic to add to the house. Though a little uncomfortable physically, I had a great time as usual, and it even helped to get my mind off being sick. Here's this year's find!

The artist's name is Craig Lossing, and he seems like a really groovy, laid-back kinda guy.

I believe he said he made the piece out of maple wood from Washington state. One side is smooth and varnished, but the interesting side is all bumpy and contoured; it's what the untouched bark looks like on the inside.

I love how unique it is. It'll be fun to move it around the house and show it to visitors. 

Those little curly do-dads came as an extra bonus. There's an indention in the top with plastic insert that you can fill with water and then put a fresh flower or two in it. I think it's a nice addition to the home. :]

I was really tempted to buy a piece from another artist named Betsy Youngquist. I opted for the wood vase, though, since we're on a budget with my not working and going to school full time. Anyway, Youngquist's work is super fantastical and almost creepy but in a pretty way. Maybe I'll get something from her booth next time.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Beautiful Butterflies at the Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens

Today I had so much fun with my friend Bethany at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens! There's a special live butterfly exhibit going on right now, so we got to see these pretty insects all up close and personal (sometimes very personal!). Here are some pictures.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Books with Virgin Heroes!

Okay, this is entertaining. Someone has added book one of my angel trilogy, Wings of the Divided, to a Goodreads list called "Books with Virgin Heroes."

I think we can all safely assume it's Gidyon who is our virgin in question.

But it could also be Noam...

It's definitely not Malynko.

I'd personally vote for Gidyon as the virgin hero. You can't really get any more virginal than Gidyon. Now, the romantic part, I'm not sure about... You see, there's a quote on top of the list that reads:

"As yet too hungry and too clumsy for tenderness, still he made love with a sort of unflagging joy that made me think that male virginity might be a highly underrated commodity." - Claire Fraser 'Outlander'

I don't know about Gidyon making love to anybody. If you've read the books, you might be thinking, Yeah, that doesn't happen. But maybe someone out there wants it to happen, and if that's so, more power to you, sweetheart. Bless your sweet imagination. Gidyon's a good angel. I'm sure he wouldn't mind you dreaming about him. (Might make him blush, though!)