Won’t Stop Me

First, let me clear the air of any misinterpretations or possible confusion.

I spend about 0.01 percent of my time in the kitchen cooking meals. That culinary gene – I didn’t get it. Before tying the knot with Michael, I sat him down for extensive questioning (I think some people call this “a date”) and immediately after asking if he intended to pursue a college degree, which he would use to provide for his family — don’t worry, I had already received the results of his criminal background check — the next question was “Can you cook?” When he said yes, pretty much the deal was done. Kind, Intelligent, Handsome, and he cooks? Well, I tell you: it took all my restraint not to throw him over my shoulder and carry him back to my lair where no woman other than me could ever lay eyes on him.

Unfortunately, in order to get that college degree, he had to go to college, which took place on a campus, where there was a dangerous surplus of intelligent, ambitious, beautiful young women. Again, please don’t worry for me. Indeed the ladies looked, and for that I could not begrudge them; however, whenever I felt one of their ganders at Michael was nearing that acutely speculative glance every woman, married or single, recognizes as “Hm, marriage material?” I literally rained on her parade using my squirt-gun. Then, as sweetly and as graciously as I could manage, I said, “Cool your jets, lassie. He be mine.”

But ya’ll, can you blame me?

(P.S. as of late, Michael is sprouting more and more gray hairs, which means – YES! – sooner than later I’m going to have myself a silver fox. Yum.)

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Back to other important things:

But when I laid eyes on Jenn’s – from Jars & Buttons – mustard and flower-flocked apron, right then and there I vowed and determined to find a place in my life to accommodate this adorable garment; even if it meant I would wear it only while walking my dog each afternoon, which I did, that very afternoon following its arrival. You know how some clothes affect you? This apron makes me feel woozy with ardor, intoxicated with purpose. I slip it over my neck, secure it around my waist, and I’m confident I can conquer the world while dusting off mountain peaks, look cute doing it, and still be home in time for the supper I won’t be cooking.

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There’s little else that delights me more than receiving a gift, surprise or expected, in the mail. The presentation made me want to order something else from Jenn, just so she would send me another pretty package scented with rosemary. Don’t believe me? Look!

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Jenn, you’re a gem, thank you.

Shop Jenn’s Store

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Happy Sunday!

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The Indie & The Masses

Traditional Publishing is rapidly becoming not so traditional. A new world develops, along with a new set of rules. There are certainly mixed feelings about this new world, but now more than ever agents are skeptical and pristinely selective. The inveterate publishing houses look to foster their recurrent, reliable authors, for they represent what is guaranteed.

I am a subscriber to Publisher’s Lunch (For those of you who don’t know, this is the less costly version of Publisher’s Weekly). From what I can tell, the percentage of fresh meat being tossed around the butcher’s shop is paltry. There is a niche; a very small, tightly molded niche, and if you’re lucky enough to fill it then you’ve beaten the odds.

As the mainstream doorway for budding authors continues to inch shut, writers —  facing rejection and presented with other options — are taking their labor and their rights into their own hands. This yields incredible hope and promise for many, but there are those that would say this “progress” hinders the advancement of Great Fiction being read. And to that I would say, “Are you kidding me?”

Here’s why:

The masses will decide what they do and don’t like.

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The reason I support Indie Authors and Self-Publishing is not because of my own failure to attain representation; it is because I have always and will always believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to prove themselves. Of course it is up to the author to make the most of their arrival. We hope they have spent years and years reading books, developing their craft, entering contests, participating in writing prompts and critique groups. We hope they have failed and we hope this failure is not a reflection of the writing itself, but of a market tending to generate what it knows and perpetuate its own comfort level.

Risk is scary, and when it’s the agent’s head on the chopping block, when their livelihood depends on your success, well gosh, I don’t blame them one bit for being cautious. (Occasionally they will be unnecessarily rude and snarky, and that I don’t condone because it’s just not classy. Put a dollar in the jar.) But if it were me and my head, I would respond no differently.

And this is what I have come to love about self-publishing: the risk is entirely at the discretion of the author. It is the author — not the agent, not the publisher — walking themselves into the fire; and either they will be refined or burnt to a crisp, but either way it’s their business, so why the fuss? Why the arched brows and pursed lips? Why the need to criticize the whole tree because of its assortment of rotten apples? It’s not the trees fault. It was planted there to grow and bring something good to the people. It cannot be held responsible for every wayward fruit.  So, if the apple turns to mush in your mouth, for cryin’ out loud reach up and pick another! Poor editing, lousy characters, a drooping plotline, less than convincing dialog — all these I have found in self-published titles, and all these I have found among imprints.

Just the chance; everyone deserves that.

In this post I am introducing six Indie Authors. Their genres and interests span from one end of the spectrum to the other. Below you will find their bios, photos, blurbs, and media-kits. Get to know them; perhaps one will be your next favorite author.

Before you meet them, though, read the article I have copied and pasted from KDP (Kindle Publishing Direct) about one stalwart author’s persistence and her well-earned success in the self-publishing market. This success is very rare, and entirely the result of a tenacious attitude hard work, and let’s not forget the most important part — great writing. Had agent rejection punctuated her career, a great series might never have been discovered. This author saw her chance and she took it. Good for her.

So, in closing, we need not have our hands groping for the throat of the publishing industry. We need not choke or strangle it into submission. The pulse remains tried and true. And it will beat of its own accord, the way it always has, whether or not there are people who wish to dictate it.

Let the masses decide. We the people don’t exist under an oligarchy; and neither should our books.

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Continue reading

Friday’s Feature: Comes Highly Recommended

Today’s referral is short and sweet, but hopefully not lacking in the department of helpful :)

One of the most frightening things — for me, anyway — is spending a ton of money on a service or meal I might not enjoy. Parting with hard-earned income is difficult enough, without the added anxiety of potential disappointment. Massages are a luxury I don’t often — no pun intended — afford myself with, but every once in a while it’s fun to pamper myself with the girls, or after I’ve broken myself at the gym and need someone to put me back together.

The first thing, well . . . maybe it’s the second. The second thought I have, after the initial giddiness of treating myself with a massage wears off is, “What if it’s a terrible massage?” In case you don’t know, there is such a thing. And if you are anything like me, you will clench your teeth to keep from crying out as the knuckles of death drill into your back, rather than risk offending someone who has made it their life’s work to transport you, body and mind, into a place of serenity and ultimate relaxation.

Short and simple: I received a great massage from a masseuse who takes  pride in listening to the requests and preferences of a client, then has the consideration to follow through with them. After a car accident, my back and neck have never been the same. If you, like me, have sensitive, problematic areas on your body and need someone who will be mindful of that, I suggest giving Renee Brandt a call. Men, I recommend her for you as well. She is STRONG. Once or twice, the massage bordered on good pain, though this was Renee being gentle with me. :)

Renee Brandt

Schedule: Tues, Wed, Fri 9-3, Sat 3-9

27741 Crown Valley Pkwy. Suite 211, Mission Viejo, Ca, 92691

(949) 367-9717

Happy Spaing :)

Friday’s Feature: Comes Highly Recommended

A little over a week and half ago, I woke up with awful tightness running from the top of my left ear, all the way down through my jaw. It hurt to open my mouth, eat, yawn — staring at it for too long in the mirror made it hiss and growl.

Moaning my way into the kitchen, my mother-in-law, a nurse, told me that it could be a couple of things, the likeliest of which being either a sinus infection or a rotten tooth. I pooh-poohed at the latter (My scruples for dental-hygiene eliminated this possibility right away.) and chalked it up to a sinus infection, seeing that I quite definitely have inherited the WORST allergies on the planet. Those of you who suffer with me, you know . . . Anyhow, I figured, like a bruise, it would go away on its own. Regrettably, optimism was short-lived when a day later my jaw began clicking in and out of place, sliding clear across the width of my face with every chomp. (Picture a cow chewing its cud, and behold me in all my elegance.) For someone who loves her food and works very hard to reward herself, I was bereft, let me tell you. By now this had been going on for about 4 days and I was starting to get a little nervous. I decided to give my chiropractor a call to see if he had any idea why I was beginning to display signs indicative of Emily Rose. I’ve included a picture for your convenience.

So . . .

Something had to be done, right? Right. Dr. Black, my chiropractor, said he believed I was suffering from TMJ. “Too much juice?” I asked him. The gracious man he is, he overlooked my terrible joke and invited me to come in as soon as I could. My distended jaw — Carl, I named it — and I left immediately.  Continue reading