Yes, The Loneliest Number #MFRWWriter

Catching up again..we’ve been to a dog show in Las Cruces, stayed at a trailer park, watched people with their fat dogs on Flexi Leads. I really need to talk about that but ya know I really want to go POSITIVE. And here’s a great opportunity, with a fabulous blog share from David Farland. Prefaced by a song from my younger days. Yes, I was younger once…geesh!

The blog? David Farland’s Blog talks about a similarity he has found in many great stories. Mainly, the protagonist is lonely. Check it out, it’s not long but wow what he’s packed into those few words.

Thinking about it, yeah, most good stories start with our main character facing a turning point in their lives which all too often have become lonely. Hmmm looking at my friend’s stories I  notice Jami Gray starts out her Kyn chronicles and PSY-IV stories with protagonists who have pulled away from human connections. Doranna Durgin brings an obsessively alone Kimmer on stage, determined to stay that way. Until along comes Rio.

Hmmm and yeah I’ve done it also. Doing it now in Question of Trust. Did it in Question of Honor and Question of Faith. I wonder how much, for me, has to do with how easy it is for me to eschew crowds (which often consist of more than myself and one other person.) Eschew…does that mean what my fingers say it means? Just checking and yes it does. Even more interesting, when I did that quick computer check, there was a suggestion to eschew obfuscation.

There’s a bit of silly for you. And here’s a silly picture of Israfel, practicing selfies.021

Bichok y’all. NaNo is coming up…should I try it again this year?

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Something a Little Different #MFRWAuthor

I have more discoveries to share…those so-called hacks that make my life easier. But I came across this blog today from several years ago and I really felt the need to share. Because, yeah, people WILL die today. They died yesterday and will die tomorrow.

From John Pavlovitz  Take a few minutes to read. I’ll be here when you get back

https://johnpavlovitz.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/sleeping.jpg?w=500

We can’t stop them from dying. We can possibly try to delay the inevitable. Sometimes. And sometimes death just casually strolls into our lives and rips away at our foundation.

What we can do now, today, is live the day we’re given. Love those we know and those we’re going to meet. Plant a tree, take a moment to look at the night sky. Greet a stranger, help a neighbor.

In my case I also need to leave the property and stay in touch with the world around me. Wow that’s a hard one to do sometimes.

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gathering clouds reminding me weather is on the way

Well it is a blustery late September day, a worthy representative of this month in New

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C’mon MOM open the gate and LET”S GO

Mexico. I’ll leave you to your reading, while I go out with those wild creatures known as Saluki puppies to terrorize the bushes out in the big field.

Then maybe a quick trip to be around people and back to editing. Yes I am writing. Honest.

 

 

 

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Hacking Away at my Life…and Mole #MFRWAuthor

Apparently those things…either items or processes…that make our lives easier are known as ‘hacks’ which of course confuses me since for so long a ‘hack’ was someone who offered substandard quality. Now it’s something that makes our lives work better. Language is ever fluid.

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September Skies in New Mexico…had to share

The Fitbit, of course! Ever since I started wearing one, it has kept me accountable for my own health. Not a bad thing at all. Too bad there’s not the same sort of reminder about sitting down to write as there is to get up and move around.

A friend who cares (actually the same one who pushed me into Fitbitting) told me about an ‘organizing our lives’ system which encourages us to be mindful of what we have. Hold it in our hands and decide if it’s something we need to keep or dispose of. Naturally I can’t remember the system she recommended, but I find when I make that extra effort to sort, to throw away, to put away, I feel…better. And any time something leaves my house for anywhere else, whether it’s to a thrift store or recycling, or into the trash, I feel more in control. If only just a little.

What else has been doing well for me? So many things, most from the advice of friends. Such as…the InstaPot. Yeah I’ve become a Pot-fanatic. Especially when it comes to Mole (now how the HECK do I add that accent so I’m not cooking up rodents??) Trust me I make it with chicken!

Everything you’ve heard about InstaPot…pretty much truth. It doesn’t leap tall buildings

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In the pot, ready for the lid to clamp down and cook into yumminess

but it DOES cook great meals. Fast. Faster for sure than the crock pot and even tastier. Seriously.

You’re going to ask for a recipe, right? I’ve actually shared before, HERE

Let’s see what this recipe looks like. Mmmm. Mmm-Hmmm yeah that’s how I did it. Since I had invited a plethora of people to come visit the puppies (and my garden progress) I used five pounds of chicken breasts and pretty much tripled everything. Recipes such as this are fluid to me, I mostly concern myself with proportions. This time I found some fresh Cilantro at the grocery. Seems it did make a difference.

Tossed it all in the Insta Pot for one hour, since 45 minutes, had been more than enough for a smaller batch I’d made a couple weeks ago.

When it had finished the cool down, I opened up the pot and…not quite there. So I set it up again, for another half hour.

YES that worked. And since the group was smaller I was able to share take homes plus save some for me to enjoy for a while. Mole and eggs for breakfast anyone?

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A Question of Faith #MFRWHooks

One of the many advantages of working with Marketing for Romance Authors is the abundance of opportunities. Such as Book Hook Wednesdays.

I’m going to be in Newark over Monday and Tuesday but I bet I can get this done and posted in time…heck yeah I can! Even if I do it from the airport(s).

Since I’m finally back to work on A Question of Trust, I’m going to hook you on A Question of Faith. I had so much fun with this story, watching the smug Ty Randolph be knocked on his hunky butt by Rosalind Summerton, who just wants to get past a nasty time in the Middle East. Ty is so sure he knows all there is to know about women.

Cue hysterical laughter here, right? Check out Ty trying to pin Roz down

“You’ve never lost it all for a man?”
“Couldn’t see the reason to lose it all for a man. Could see wanting to share your life with someone, could see building something better from combining two lives than either side of the equation. Could never see forcing the issue. If it was meant to be, then it happened.”
“If it didn’t happen easily it wasn’t meant?”
“Not really. If it’s worth happening it’s definitely worth working toward and putting a lot of effort into. But if two pieces of a puzzle aren’t meant to fit together getting out a hammer to force the issue isn’t the answer.”
“What about trimming the edges so the pieces fit?”
“Forcing the fit? Nope, could never see it. Woman meets a man, he’s perfect except maybe he doesn’t go to the opera or would rather watch football than go for a walk with her. He’s not perfect, he’s not Mr. Right he’s just Mr Right Now, Mr. Almost Good Enough, Mr. I Can Fix This if I Try. If he’s the right man, he’ll want to make her happy and if going to the opera makes her happy, presto bingo, they go to the opera. Not every weekend, sometimes she goes by herself. Sometimes she watches football with him and sometimes she goes for a walk on her own. Because they are or should be two complete people who are better for being together, not two disparate beings who can’t function without being joined at the hip.”
“So not having found this ideal male who chooses to go to the opera with you, you’ve remained single?”
“Got it in one. Single, and not ragging on my husband or boyfriend or, heaven help me ‘life partner’ with my girl friends every time his back is turned.”
front cover final

I want to be Rosalind when I grow up.

A Question of Faith is available from Black Opal Books, and many other purveyors of fine literature.

Enjoy, and if you hop over to the link attached to the Book Hooks logo you can find even more exciting new authors.

 

 

 

 

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Those Best Laid Plans #MFRWAuthor

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Good Morning World!

Yeah, those plans we all have, especially writers. Gonna write every day, blog on a regular schedule.  Be super productive, get two books done this year. It’s all doable, right?

Right?  Yeah, sure. For some people. Sometimes for me, just not right now.

I had some decent blogs planned. I was going to whine a little about the power going out for two days, due to a small twister taking out a bunch of poles…I think they said ten poles, which means a very large section of supported wire, gone.

I found out pretty  much by accident, my doctor retired, or at least left the practice. Finally I found a doctor who would LISTEN. Now I’ll have to find a new clinic.

Then when I was doing a raw food pickup my car wouldn’t start after I pumped in gas.

Sounds like a pretty sucky time, doesn’t it? Or does it?

That power outage? From a storm, and power was back on in thirty-six hours. We could drive maybe ten minutes in any direction for supplies, to visit a restaurant or get gas. Not long term, not caused by an attack or earthquake or catastrophic storm.

There are plenty of other clinics I can try, some closer to my house. We have a sufficient number of trained medical professionals here, in well stocked facilities that don’t leak or lose power, and don’t have patients crowding out the door.

Seems like my car has a problem with the air conditioning which overheated the engine. More a comfort than a safety issue.

I was invited to judge Salukis in Reno, so I had a great trip to a new town, met some wonderful new people.  Judged some fabulous dogs.

In other words, I’m at this time dealing with first world problems. I don’t have fires lighting up the skies around me, nor is a category 5 storm threatening and mine. I have to admit life does not suck

So what’s my excuse for not writing? I could point to the greatly improved exterior of the house. Or maybe the cleaner than before interior? I confess it’s difficult for me to work inside when outside tempts me with sun and unfinished project.

Truth is…well…this happened

Ariel Isra Shiri 2

photo by the so talented Shiri Hoshen

These two strode into my life, and things have yet to settle down. There is such a small window available to introduce new puppies to life, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

That is my story, I am sticking to it. Oh, I did briefly think about relocating A Question of Trust to Reno but…no, the atmosphere there is just too nice.

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Israfel, contemplating a sunbeam

 

 

 

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DeAnna Brown: Artistic Fears and Eating Cookies #MFRWAuthor

My book baby, Demon Rising, is soon to be released into this world by Black Opal Books. No one told me about the gut wrenching nerves that would accompany a book release. It’s one thing to write, draw, or even sing in the confines of your own home. In the shower, I can belt it out like Beyonce. Behind closed doors, you can revel in your art, whatever form that is. Somehow when you open those doors and allow the public to see your work it becomes a whole new ballgame. One I don’t think I’ll ever feel ready for.

How did I take that step? I took a whole lot of baby steps.

  1. Support Group – I needed more than family members telling me I’m amazing, cause they’re obligated by blood. I found critique groups and other professional writers to help me navigate the path to publishing and encourage me when I need it.
  2. Ignore the negative voices – The voices never leave all together, but I find when I replace them with positive words they shut up for a little while.
  3. Jump – Sometimes you can climb that hill inch by inch, but you eventually have to take that plunge.
  4. Good Food…I mean Stress Relief– Find some kind of stress relief, whether it is walking, swimming, yoga or cookies, and make sure to treat yourself. We are more than our art and have to remind ourselves of that. I have a great healthy cookie recipe below, if you’re like me and one of your stress reliefs is food.

Despite the editors, beta readers, and more, it still is scary publishing a book and putting yourself out there. Maybe that is part of the thrill of writing, not only creating a world for yourself, but having the chance to share it with others. So I’m pushing back the fear, and trying to embrace this new step in my life. My novel, Demon Rising is released mid-August, and I’d love for you to join me on this journey. Keep reading below for my other stress relief…cookies with no guilt.

 

cover deannaThirty years ago, dark magicians unleashed new power on the earth fueled by demons. Governments toppled, millions died and magicians ended up on top of the food chain.

Twenty-four-year-old Becca survives these dangerous times by relying on her wits, her fists, and the limited goodwill of her boss, a local crime lord. When news comes of a fire back home and the family she left behind dead, she realizes her dark past has finally caught up to her.

On the hunt for her missing sister, she must rely on Darion, a treacherous ex-boyfriend with ties to the local coven for back-up. Problem is he’s a pyromancer that can’t be trusted, especially with her heart. Becca’s forced to navigate a dangerous web of deceit and must decide what’s she’s willing to sacrifice to save her sister.

 

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Guilt-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Cookiescookie deanna

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup of almond meal
  • ½ cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Cacao Nibs (or other options: Dairy free chocolate chips, raisins, or dried fruit)
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients until well mixed.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir into the dry mixture.
  4. Place approximately 2 Tbsp of the mixture on the cookie sheet for each cookie. I used a round cookie cutter to make them, lightly pressing it into the cutter for each one.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes, just until they begin to brown.

 

About the Author

deannaDeAnna Browne graduated from Arizona State University with her BS in Psychology. She finds it helps to corral those voices in her mind and put them to paper. Her debut novel, A DEMON RISING, will be out in 2017 with Black Opal Books. An avid reader and writer, she has a soft spot for fantasy with a touch of romance. Despite her love for food and traveling, she always finds her way back to Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, children, and pet dog.

To contact her and for free extras check out:

www.deannabrowne.com

www.facebook.com/deannabrownebooks/

https://twitter.com/BrowneBooks

deannabrownebooks@gmail.com

 

 

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It Is What’s Up Front #MFRWAuthor

Real Estate agents talk about curb appeal and how important it is to have an attractive front entrance. Which hasn’t always been the case here, in fact several friends wondered if they needed a machete to approach through the front overgrowth. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I can’t find any pictures of this area. Except one from last Hallowe’en, with a giant black spide…well you probably remember!

One of the problems with dressing up the front is the seriously poor quality of the soil in front of the walkway. It took, sadly, ten years for me to think waaay outside the box, and use the EarthBoxes I had in the back. Although most everyone else manages amazing success with vegetables in these clever planters, they don’t do much for me. However, with annuals…those flowers that can be found inexpensively pretty much anywhere…hmmm.

I needed quick results since people were going to be driving up the private lane, and I really wanted something to show off. Soooo. I continued the concept of found materials, dragging pieces of carpet, and cut sections of railroad ties around to the front (gotta love those hand trucks) to help boost the EarthBoxes.

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Earthboxes on RR ties on carpet. Ready for planting.

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Yellow and cream…looks pretty good

I hauled a wood bench out of the house, where it had been covered in ‘stuff’ for ten years. And, yeah, it needs to be outside.

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Add A Guardian

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And a bench…come sit a spell

THANKS for being a part of this journey. More pictures coming soon. Stick around, you’ll be learning about a new book, from a new Black Opal author!

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I Did Promise You a Garden #MFRWAuthor

I have visitors coming next week; I should be cleaning house. I’m finally in revision mode; I should be working on A Question of Trust.

Instead, I have been indulging in my garden. Or maybe gardens. I’ve wanted the front to look welcoming instead of abandoned, and I’ve been working on the back garden for a while. Searching for what will grow, what will overwinter. And how to make it all look posh on a very limited budget, with a goal of as much ‘found’ material as possible.

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In May 2012, posts in, initial fence attached. Gate installed

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Later that year, snow fencing up for a wind/snow break, bottom put in to hold soil

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This soil, and here are my first hollyhocks, ummm 2015?

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Classing it up with some rock

More ‘found’ material, limestone and other rock, left over from a project at my boss’s (pounded out to lay a foundation) I only choose rock I can carry myself, and I carry only one or two pieces at a time. LOTS of steps and lots of aerobic exercise.

Hmmm, I’m not finding actual garden pictures. I’ll take some more to share. Plus what I did out front, which is very exciting. Why am I writing about this little garden project? Because it didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken five years so far to get to this point. And with the exception of sinking the posts, and building the initial wall I’ve done it all myself. Little steps, a bit more every year. Kinda like writing…one word, one page at a time.

And a bit of sky to share with you.

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Just a couple nights ago, maybe July 28? Stormy skies

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To Prologue…Or Not to Prologue #MFRWAuthor

That really is a question!

Before we go any further, this is ‘just’ a writing blog. Nothing about the dogs, no recipes, nothing about gardening, no sunset…okay maybe some sunset pictures. Mainly I’m going to muse about writing. Although, yeah, I do have some interesting garden developments.

You’ve been forewarned

I have used a prologue one time. It worked for that particular book. I worked on that

My launch party.  Black Opal wine and my book on Amazon!!

Private launch party: the Internet and some Black Opal Wine!

sucker for HOURS, with more input than anything I’d ever written. That prologue was intended to set up the two main characters, who would meet years later. Well, here, check it out:

Summer 2000:

It was a storybook wedding. The elite of the world’s beautiful people crowded the groom’s yacht, cruising off the south French coast. The groom’s austere face was only slightly lined, the gray at his temples adding a distinguished air. His still trim body was clothed by the establishment which had enjoyed the patronage of every male in his family since his great-grandfather. Although he conversed urbanely with his guests, his possessive gaze never left his bride.
Framed in the lens of the ever-clicking camera, the bride had the lithe slenderness seen only in the very young and healthy. Delicate curves hinted at the woman she would one day become. Her short dark hair was gamine cut by the stylist who had created the look. Her make-up had been applied by the hands of the genius whose company had taken three generations of women from beautiful to gorgeous. Her lavish bouquet was of rare miniature white orchids, picked deep in the rain forests of South America and flown in for this ceremony. The lace for her veil had been created by devout hands in a convent which had produced lacework of this gossamer perfection for centuries.
The veil was secured by a pearl crown once belonging to a medieval princess. It framed a delicate, serious face dominated by enormous, hazy green eyes and a lush, slightly trembling mouth, and billowed down to hand made, four inch spike heels. By tradition the

Bethany's first husband treated her like a possession.  Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bethany’s first husband treated her like a possession

full length veil attested to the purity of the bride, leaving no doubt in the mind of anyone attending that day that this was, indeed, a virgin bride. The diaphanous covering enhanced her bridal outfit, personally designed by the hand of the dresser of royalty. Brilliant fire opals had been meticulously applied to the hand sewn, French cut white bikini.

The fire opals were a suggestion of friend who was a college librarian and an inveterate reader. I’d originally chosen seed pearls which she insisted were far too mundane. I’m sure she was right! This is from Teach Me To Forget, a non-hyphenated Romance. No Suspense, no Fantasy. Just male-female meeting, realizing they have a fairly difficult history, and choosing to move forward together.

In this instance the prologue worked, and was balanced by a description at the end of another, entirely different, wedding. You might want to check it out, I had a blast writing it (and later slicing out pages of driving in San Francisco!)

There’s a sequel…isn’t there always…set in New Mexico. Actually mostly written. Which I’ll get to work on after this most recent Stormhaven story.

So what were we talking about? Oh, yeah, prologues. In the case of TMTF, the prologue worked, introducing two people who would meet again later. There is, of course, a wedding at the end of the book that is not nearly so sophisticated.

In A Question of Trust, which I’m editing, I started with a prologue, and had a blast writing the first chapter. Unfortunately this chapter was all about the characters from the first two Stormhaven books. Not good if I want to write about new and different people. Cut that chapter, and move on. I might share it…anyone interested?

So I’m asking readers, before I get on with edits: Prologue? No Prologue? What works best for you?

Okay, I guess I can share sunsets. Tonight’s were particularly nice:

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July 26, 2017. Yes, it really is that beautiful here

Next, I’ll get back to gardening. I have guests coming from a long long way and I really want the place to look good!

 

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Catching Up…Catching On #MFRWAuthor

Wow, it’s been…far too long since I blogged. And to be honest that last blog was kind of a cheat, but I loved the content.

So much has happened…where to start? Do I talk about the annual trek to the Saluki

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set up at Purina

National in Missouri? How I was trying to give the dogs more air in the back of the motor home. If I could just…open…this…window a little bit more. It stuck on something and ended up in safety glass chunks all over the pavement.

 

Oops. Well at least we had a lot of air for the rest of the trip!

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Hmmm I look a bit…travelworn here

We made, of course, there and back again. A rough trip for sure, but always worth it to see friends.

 

 

While driving I contemplated what to write in my next blog. Should I talk about song choices for competition? WHO would think it’s right for a TWELVE YEAR OLD to sing about a party girl who wants to stay drunk all night, and swing from chandeliers? Yes a powerful song and no I don’t think children need to sing about teensy spiders. But…really folks?

 

Rant over? Maybe for now. The days marched on from June (Saluki National) into July which started with people spending money on noise making incendiary devices to irritate those of us who prefer to celebrate our country by…I dunno…reading the Constitution?

I could share the unexpected passing of one of my youngsters. In just a few far too short days He went from feeling okay to time to visit the doctor

Moochie nose March 2014

Silly Moochie

Fucking cancer.

 

Let’s leave with something marginally more positive

While at the Saluki National we managed a quick photo of those members of the litter all together.

That’s Moochie to the far left. Then Drama Queen, Bouddicca, Fired Dragon, and Faerie Queene with some of those beloved friends I don’t see often enough. Obviously this was after I cleaned up!

2017-JUNE-SCOA-SAT_monica

And since this is July 21, I’ll share one more special photo….it is our anniversary, after all.Tom Stoner's Family Pictures 050

There, caught up and time to move on.

Hug your pets, take time to talk to your family and friends. Be well.

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