Welcome Fellow Campaigners!!

I'm participating in the Platform Building Campaign. If you're a fellow campaigner stopping by, make sure to leave me a comment if you follow me so that I can find you. Sometimes there's not a link in your profile on the GFC so I don't have a way to figure out where you came from. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and to reading your posts!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Graduation Almost

This is for a writing prompt from TRDC. The prompt was graduation. 

Everyone expected I would graduate with honors. Then I would go to university, get my degree, and become something important. Except things didn't quite happen like that. At 16, you think you know far more than you actually do. The war that raged between my mother and I grew more heated and vile with each passing day, and I was constantly looking for ways of escape. That's when I met "him". He became the answer to all of my problems. I was in love, young, and desperate to get out of the hell hole that my mother called "home".

He was dark, tall, and exotic. All of the things that young girls dream about. All of the things you imagine in a fling over spring break, but none of the things you expect from a husband and provider. We married my junior year. I was determined to graduate though. I was determined to go to university. Marriage was not going to stop me from getting out of that rinky dink sink hole of a town. It was a stepping stone. The first step towards a better future. At least, that is what I convinced myself of. That is what I told myself every day. At some point I even began to believe it, but then the universe had other plans.

Six months later I would be sitting on the bathroom floor of our one bedroom apartment. Waiting the longest five minutes of my life for the results of a test I had not studied for. When the two blue lines appeared, I stared at them praying I was hallucinating. Praying that the tears rolling down my face were making me see double. Praying that this was some cruel joke and at any moment it would end.No amount of praying however could change the results of that test.

Five minutes earlier  I was thinking about a cap and gown, but now I had to think of onesies and booties. Five minutes earlier I was only worried about my sash not matching my shoes. Now I would trade that sash for maternity and the bump would keep me from seeing my feet let alone my shoes for the next several months. 

I saw my entire life flash before my eyes in that cramped bathroom. The life that would now never be. The life I had hoped for. Longed for. Now it was dead. Gone in a flash. Nothing anyone did would bring it back to life.

It's funny how two little blue lines altered the course of my future. I didn't graduate. There was no university. No degree. Years later I would get my GED, but that did little to fill the void of the life I had let slip through my fingers. The life that almost was. I know most would say I became a mother and that is a great accomplishment. However, I failed that test too.

For 17 years I had been an honors student. For 17 years I held 3.8 GPA. For 17 years I was at the top of my class, but on the most important test of my life (motherhood), I failed.  There are no ceremonies for that. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Becoming Sam- Indie Ink

It's that time again. Indie Ink weekly writing challenge. This week my challenge came from myplaidpants. No that is not a euphemism. It's an amazing blog that you must check out. Every week these challenges get harder and harder. This week was no exception. Entwined. That is my challenge so here goes. My challenge went to SUPERmaren. Yes she is that SUPER. Her reply will be up HERE later. 


"Will you hold still for a minute?! It's difficult enough without you wiggling." 

"It itches. I told you to tell them about my sensitive skin. They were suppose to use the 100 thread count on the inside so it wouldn't itch so much".

"Don't roll your eyes at me like that."

I miss you, Sam. How am I suppose to go on without you? It's like a part of me is missing now. The best part. I can't open a photo album without your face staring back at me from each polaroid captured moment. You were always there, but now you're not and I don't know what to do. You were the leader.  I just followed you. You showed me how to live life. How to love. How to not be afraid of living. How do I live now? 

"Jamie? Sweetie? How you holding up? You okay?" 

"Yea Aunt Sarah, I'm fine". 

"Good, dear. Here have another slice of pound cake. Why, you're nothing but skin and bones. We need to fatten you up". 

Aunt Sarah means well. They all mean well, but none of them know what to say. Actually that's not true. They do know what to say, but they are afraid to say it. At least, with their words any ways. They had said it a million times with their eyes and subtle nods. They think I don't see, but I do. It should have been me. That is what they are thinking, but no one will say it. Sam was the pretty one. The smart one. The one that was going places. I was just the tag along. From the moment Sam moved to our street we became friends. I think she took pity on me. Sitting all alone on the front step, staring at the other kids playing hop scotch in the street. She walked right past them and sat down beside me on the step. 

"Want some candy?" she blurted out like we had known each other forever. From that until five days ago we were inseparable, now we were forever parted. I had never felt so lost before. I needed air. Without realizing where I was going, I walked out the front door. I could hear Aunt Sarah's voice trailing behind me, but I didn't stop to catch the words or throw back a reply. Before I knew what I was doing I found myself at the Cove. Sam and I spent many a summer's night at the Cove. Sitting on the rocks, with the frothy sea water tickling our feet. The void inside of me eased a little as the salty sea air filled my lungs.

Light faded into darkness, but I remained steadfast on my perch. As I stared into the inky waters, a clarity like no other overcame me. I knew exactly what I must do. It should have been me, and now it would be. I jumped off my perch with absolute certainty. That was the moment of my death and rebirth.

I couldn't save Sam from herself, but I could let her live. I could live for her. As her. From that day forward, I did just that. It's the reason I became a writer so that I could tell her story. Our story. It was my way of doing for her all the things I could never do or say when she was with me. I don't know if she can see me from where she is, but a part of me feels her and knows that she is happy with the life I gave her.

After all, isn't that what friends are for?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Not Your Typical Military Family

Normally on Saturdays, I feature an Indie author, but with the holiday on Monday I thought people might be off enjoying the weekend so Saturday Spotlight will be back next week. Since Monday is Memorial Day it seems like the perfect time to talk about how I betrayed my military family. At least according to them. 

My grandfather served in the Korean war. He was a communications officer. He didn't talk about the combat although he did have a few shiny medals that they pinned on his uniform. I don't know what he did to get them because he didn't like to talk about it and I didn't like to pry. All of his brothers served in the Armed forces as did their sons and their sons' sons. 

My cousin, whom I was often accused of playing kissin' cousins with, unjustly I might add, served two tours in Iraq.  He was special ops. During his last tour, he was MIA for almost six weeks. Then one day a couple MP's showed up on his mother's door saying he was in a mental hospital in Kuwait. Three weeks later, he was sent home under suicide watch, but the MP failed to show up and he killed himself. His mother fought and got him buried with full honors. His younger brother was called home. He had just begun his first tour of duty. He was stationed in Afghanistan. 

Then I also know the other side of war. My ex is from Iraq. His niece and nephew were killed when their house collapsed on them during a bombing raid. I know women who watched as their sons were dragged off never to be seen again, saw their daughters raped and tortured. I know men who were imprisoned, tortured, and beaten for no reason other than daring to have an opinion that differed from the government's. 

Whenever I walk the streets of my backwoods, redneck, Bible belt hometown, I am called a multitude of names, traitor being one of the few I can write on my family friendly blog. I am called these names because I chose to exercise my right of freedom of religion, my right of freedom of speech and my right of freedom of expression. What I find most ironic is that I am considered the "traitor" for choosing to be "different". However I feel that I honour the men and women who shed their blood fighting for my right to be different. If no one exercises their rights, then those men and women would have died in vain and to me that is the real treason.

Note: If you're having problems commenting on mine or any blogs, I have heard one way to fix it is to completely clear your cookies and cache and then restart your computer. Also make sure the "keep me signed in" box is NOT checked. If you're having problems, then maybe this would help to fix it. Or not. Stupid bleepin' blogger. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Will You Marry Me

If this is your first time to travel across the pond with us, then you read about the guidelines HERE.

Since wedding season is coming to a close here, it seems only appropriate to tell you about the weddings here. I had heard much about them, but my first real experience was last October when my second to youngest brother in law married. My wedding was NOT typical or traditional so his was the first time I had witnessed one of these events first hand. 

There are certain times during the year when people don't get married and this is due to a variety of reasons. Some have to do with religion others have to do with the heat. I mean seriously who wants to get married when it's 50 (122 F) outside, and that is without humidity. Weddings officially are 3 days, but guests usually start arriving a few days before and stay a few days after so at the very least people are in your home for about 7 days. 

The first day of the wedding is known as the "Mehndi" ceremony. The bride will have a mehndi ceremony in her home hosted by her family and the groom has one in his home hosted by his family. This is basically a big "reception". For those who are not religious, there will be music and dancing. For those who are, then there will be qasidas and clapping. The bride/groom sits on a "stage" in front of the guests. The guests will come and sit with the bride/groom to have their pictures taken and to give a monetary gift. The bride traditionally wears yellow for this day. 

This is also the day where the "mehndi" (aka henna) will be applied to the hands, arms, and feet of the bride. Before the designs were done only up to the wrists, but today it is often applied as far as just above the elbow, on the tops and bottoms of the hands, and tops of both feet. Designs are intricate and extremely elaborate. 

The second day is when the actual marriage ceremony takes place known as the "Nikah". This was the only part of the wedding traditions that my husband and I allowed to take place. He and I both do not particularly like to participate in cultural aspects of things so our wedding was very different than the "normal" wedding ceremony. 

Traditionally,  on this day the groom's family, (mother, father, bros/sis, aunts/uncles, cousins etc) will travel to the brides' home where the marriage ceremony will take place.When the groom's family leaves to go to the bride's home, it is known as "Barat". Usually the groom's family will rent a special car for this occasion as well. This will be the car the bride and groom will ride in after the ceremony when the groom brings his bride back to his family home. 

After the bride and groom have been officially married, the bride's family will provide a dinner for the guests while the sounds of the dohl can be heard for miles around. 


The bride typically wears red on this day. Red is considered a symbol of fertility and happiness and this is why  the brides wear red instead of white. White is (in certain traditions) considered a symbol of mourning and sadness and this is why brides do not wear white to be married in. 

traditional bridal gown

After the nikkah ceremony is completed, the bride prepares to leave her family home and travel with the groom to his home. This event is known as "Rukhsati". It is usually a very difficult time on the bride as this is most often the first time in her life that she will have left her family's home. Once the bride and groom return to his home, there will be more celebrating throughout the night. 

The third day is known as the "Walima". The first two days are often held in the family home, but the walima is almost always held in a rented wedding hall or hotel. If you compared this to a typical western wedding, then the walima would basically be the "wedding reception". The bride and groom sit on a stage and everyone comes to have their pictures taken and offer their congratulations to the newly married couple. An elaborate meal will be served to the guests at the walima as well. 

During the walima the bride often wears red, but the dress will be different than that which she wore for the nikkah. Traditionally the groom's family presents these dresses to the bride as gifts a week or so before the event takes place along with the jewellery the bride will wear during the wedding. 

traditional bridal set

If by now you hadn't realized, getting married is VERY expensive. It is something that parents start saving for years in advance. Little by little they purchase jewellery set, dresses etc and keep them in storage. This way when the event arrives, some of the major purchases have already been taken care of. Even though my husband's family is more conservative and their weddings are more religious oriented, they still follow this basic 3 day guideline. One thing about living overseas I have noticed is that while in many ways we are very different, in most ways, we are very much the same. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Power of the Written Word

Getting feedback/critiques of your work is always nerve wrecking, but it is essential if you want to grow as a writer. Some of the most common comments/feedback I get are that my writing is powerful, emotional, and that I am "brave" for having the "courage" to write about such things. The last part of that comment is always so shocking to me. I don't see myself as brave or courageous. I write about my life the same as anyone else does. Every person who blogs writes about their life in some form or fashion and I am no different. It just so happens that this is my life. 

I realize my life isn't "normal" and that I have experienced things in a way that most people did not, but regardless of all that my life is, I still can't see the bravery or courage in doing the same thing that so many others do. All I am doing is writing about my life. Nothing more, nothing less. It really isn't brave. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Apocalypse - Indie Ink

 My weekly Indie Ink writing challenge. This week's challenge came from Tobie. The minute I read the challenge I knew exactly what direction I would go. Hopefully I did justice to the challenge which is "It's the end of the world as we know it". This week my challenge went to Mare. You'll be able to read the reply once it's up HERE

This post is fictional but it is based upon the emotions and feelings I went through caused by the abuse I survived at the hands of my father.

Trigger Warning: This post contains graphic detail of child sexual abuse. If this is a trigger for you, then please stop reading now


I almost didn't recognize the image that stared back at me from the shop's window. The face was pale. Eyes were hollow and sunken in, rimmed by black circles from countless sleepless nights. I didn't always look like this. I use to be beautiful. I use to be clean, but now things had changed. Looking at the watch on my wrist, I realized I needed to hurry or else I wasn't going to make it on time. Today was not a day I could afford to be late. 

"Don't shut the door" I shouted as I saw Marcy about to go inside. "I'm here". 
"It's about time", she said. "I thought you weren't coming."

"Is she here?" I asked. 

"Yea, she's been asking where you are." 

"Thanks. I better go find her then before she changes her mind."

As I entered the dimly lit room, I searched the dirt stained faces for June. Finally I saw her standing in the corner, waiting. I saw the relief wash over her as her eyes found me. I managed a half smile and a wave. 

"We all here now?" Marcy asked. "Okay then. Let's get started. June, whenever you're ready."

We had been meeting in this abandoned warehouse every Wednesday for more than six months now. How we all had found each other is still a blur in my mind. Somehow we just seemed to be drawn together like magnets after the "Event" occurred. We each had lived through it and needed to tell our story. We needed to be heard and the only ones to listen were those who had lived through it too. I will never forget that day. How one minute the sky was blue, the grass was green, the air crisp and fresh. Then in an instant, a darkness came across the sky. The grass died and withered away. The taste of metal fell upon my throat as I sucked tainted air into my lungs. Nothing would ever be the same again. 

When June squeezed my hand for comfort, I could feel the dampness of her palm. "Go ahead" I urged her on. She licked her lips, trying to moisten them, but her tongue was too parched. Not even the Nile could quench the thirst that lived inside of her. Inside of all of us. 

"I was six the first time", she said. Her words barely a whisper. "He gave me a lollipop and told me that my mom had asked him to "check" that I was ok. He said I might have something wrong with me and he needed to see if I was normal. He made me lie down on the sofa. I wasn't afraid at all. I just remember thinking how sweet that lollipop was, and then suddenly I felt his hand sliding up my leg. Moving aside my Barbie panties. His finger searching, probing. My body became tense and he told me to relax. That it wouldn't hurt, but that he had to find out if anything was wrong with me. If I didn't let him, then my mommy would be mad at me. I let my body relax a bit. I didn't want to get in trouble. That morning my mom had yelled at me for not picking up my toys. I didn't want to make her angry again. That is when I felt his fingers enter inside of me. Like a serpent I felt them wiggling inside of me. Devouring my innocence. Eating me from the inside out. I held my breath, praying for it to end. I must have closed my eyes because I suddenly felt his lips moving beside my ear. Felt the wetness of his tongue on my cheek. I never ate lollipops again after that day."

As I sat there beside June, looking at the trail the tears had washed clean on her dirt laden face, I saw my own reflection staring back at me. We had survived the apocalypse, but not the aftermath. The day each of us met Father Joe was the day the world as we  knew it ended.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Spotlight - Alex J. Cavanaugh

This week's Spotlight is a bit different. When I started Saturday Spotlight, my intention was and still is to feature Indie Authors. Mainly because they don't have the marketing behind their books that published authors have, but I also want to be able to have a well rounded list of info for aspiring writers. I know there are many writers who are just starting out and are uncertain which path is right for them. That is why I thought I would ask the wonderful blogger I met through the A-Z challenge, Alex J. Cavanaugh to appear in the Spotlight this week. There are a few traditionally published authors whose stories touched my heart and I felt compelled to share them with you simply because I enjoy reading them so much. 

Here's my Q & A with Alex:

1. How did you decide sci-fi was the genre for you?

I’m a science fiction geek at heart - movies, TV, books, you name it! I also read fantasy and thrillers, but I decided to start with the genre I felt most comfortable writing.

2. How long did you have to wait from the first query letter til you finally got published?

Seven months? Something like that! I started with big publishers and then queried smaller ones.

3. When you're creating new worlds, races, languages etc, do you do any type of special research and where does your inspiration come from?

Besides a lifetime of exposure to science fiction? No special research, although I did expand my knowledge of fighter jets.The idea of creating my own universe came from watching all of those science fiction shows and movies. For me, the best aspect of science fiction is its sense of adventure. And of course the characters, because if I don’t connect with the characters, then it doesn’t matter how grand the adventure.

4. What is your current WIP?

I’m currently revising a sequel to CassaStar that begins twenty years later. Much to my surprise, readers wanted more. They also wanted a female character. (Imagine that!) So, I’m giving them both.

Alex J. Cavanaugh

Some more info on Alex:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games, and he covers those topics on his blog. His first book, CassaStar, was released last fall and is available in trade paperback and all eBook formats.


 Info about his first book CassaStar:




CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Science fiction/adventure/space opera, Dancing Lemur Press LLC
ISBN Print 9780981621067 eBook 9780982713938  

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron, a talented young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life. Much to his chagrin, Bassa, the toughest instructor in the fleet, takes notice of the young pilot. As war brews on the edge of space, Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive. Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit? 

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Where you can purchase CassaStar: 

Also available at:





To read past Saturday Spotlight featured authors, visit my Writer Spotlight page 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Remembering Jordan May 22nd

For those who are new and maybe don't know what this button is all about or for those who might know, I just wanted to remind everyone about remembering Jordan Moore Fields on May 22nd. I met his mother Jackie over at SheWrites. Jordan was tragically killed in a car accident in 2008. He was a student at Amherst and May 22nd would have been his commencement ceremony. In order to commemorate the event, Jackie asked people to tie a purple ribbon around a tree in their front yard on that day, but I don't have a tree so I tied my ribbon on my blog. Those who would like to participate in remembering Jordan this Sunday May 22nd can do so simply by displaying this button in my sidebar or by actually tying a ribbon around a tree.

If you choose to do either, please drop by Jackie's blog and let her know. You can find her at AlwasyaMomof4 She also recently lost her father so I am certain it is a difficult time for her. A kind word goes a long way even from a stranger.

I am also being featured today over at TexaGermaNadian: My Life in 3 Countries. I give tips on who to learn a foreign language from and why you should never "kiss oomick". Stop by there or learn the reason why the hard way like my sister in law did

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Walking in Another's Laughter

I have talked about many things in these posts. Most likely things you would otherwise have never known. Things like why people walk goats and how they get fresh veggies delivered to the front door on a daily basis. I have talked very little about what it is like to actually just be. What it's like to walk amongst the people and see things through their eyes. Hear the laughter of a child through their ears, and breathe the air through their lungs. For me, these are some of my favorite moments. When I go unnoticed and am able to see and feel exactly what those around me see and feel. The fact that people share such intimate moments with me is truly humbling. 
When I first went to Bahrain, I knew no one. The first time I went to the masjid, the women assumed I was Arab. Mostly because I look very Arab, but as soon as I spoke it was very clear I was anything but what they had thought me to be. They welcomed me in a way that I had never expected. I wasn't just a guest in their homes I was family. I watched their children grow into pre-adults. I wept with them when they mourned the passing of their loved ones. I ate dinner with them and passed my days with them. I was no longer a stranger in a strange land. I was one of them.

This is something that I don't think people hear about very often. The majority of people overseas regardless of the country are just as welcoming. They will share with you all they have. Make you feel so welcome and accepted that you are sad to leave. You miss them when you're not with them and you wonder what they are up to even years after you last saw them. What is most astonishing to me is that the people who are often the most welcoming are those who have suffered the most. How they are able to show such compassion and care towards others when they have seen so little of it towards themselves is just something that I am in awe of. I often feel that I do not do justice in showing the greatness of the people I have been privileged to meet.

I hope someday I will be able to.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Premature Smoke

Finally, after weeks away I am able to get back into my weekly writing prompts. I decided not to participate during April simply because the Challenge was overwhelming enough. Now that it has ended I am looking forward to participating in these prompts again. This week's prompt was a bit different. Here it is:

 When I was little, my grandmother smoked 3-4 packs a day. After she got sick, she cut down to half a pack a day. By the time I was 12, I would walk to the local convenience store and buy her cigarettes for her. Laws in small towns are different from those in the big cities. Of course, it probably helped the owner of the store had known me since I was a “youngin”. Things were different back then.

I often asked her why she didn't quit. Her reply was always the same, "I just can't". Except there was a time when she did quit. Right after my daughter was born. 

I was barely 7 months pregnant when my daughter decided she had been inside long enough and was ready to see the world. Of course her father's fists helped her to make that decision. I guess she was curious as to who was knocking on the door and decided to take a peek as to who was there. She and I spent two months in the hospital and when we finally came home there were lots of rules. Top of the list was my daughter couldn't be around anyone who smoked. Ma was determined to see her great grand baby. No cigarette was going to stand between her and that little 2 pound bundle of joy. 

Once the doctor gave the OK that my daughter could be around her as long as she smoked outside, she started right back up again. I am certain it was more of a nervous habit than an addiction. It kept her hands and mind busy. Ma had lots of reasons to worry. 

Even though she smoked, she would always chastise me and tell me to never pick up the "nasty habit". However, Ma wouldn't have been Ma without that long Saratoga in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

Monday, May 16, 2011

When I Grow Up- Indie Ink

My weekly Indie Ink writing challenge. I must say I am loving these challenges. They are forcing me out of my comfort zones and making me flex my writing muscles which I love. I also am reading some amazing people and learning so much. This week will be my first nonfiction submission.  My challenge this week came from Joelyn. The challenge was to finish this sentence, "When I was younger I wanted to grow up to be....and then share why and what you have become today. I challenged Dili. You can read his reply here


When I was younger I wanted to grow up to be a dancer, but not just any dancer. No pole was going to suit my dreams. I wanted to dance in the Alvin Ailey dance theatre. From the time I could walk, I started dancing. Dance was my escape from reality. It was the one thing that was all mine. The one thing that no one could take from me. I never told anyone of my dreams. I never allowed anyone to see how naturally talented I was. It was mine and as long as I kept it a secret, then it would remain mine.

I use to sneak off into the woods with my 80's silver boombox. I would turn the music up loud and then I would fly. That is what it felt like when I danced. I felt free, alive, clean. I would spend hours back there in solitude, flying. When darkness forced me to find my way back down to the earth, I would close my eyes and dream of soaring high up in the sky. 

However, like many other things in my life, my dream was to be taken from me. In a single moment, it ceased to exist. It was ripped from my grasp. Even though I tried to deny that it had been stolen from me, a part of me knew. A part of me knew that it was gone and nothing I could do would ever bring it back. 

I often wonder if the other driver knows that she committed murder that day. Simply because she thought herself too important to stop at the stop sign. Even though my dance existed only within me, I grieved its loss the way one grieves the passing of dear loved one. I remember lying in the hospital bed watching PBS tears streaming down my face. I had been waiting for this special for weeks, but now it was bittersweet to watch. When the nurse came in, I pretended to be in pain. Even though my dream had died, I still did not want anyone to touch it. Their touch would taint it and it was the one thing in my life that was pure. I wanted it to remain pure. 

Eventually I would learn to walk again even though my left leg is now permanently shorter than my right. Although I will never dance again; whenever a song comes on the radio, I close my eyes and fly.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Spotlight- Angeline Kace

I thought I would get this post up quickly today. Just in case blogger decides to have another WTF moment and disappear. This week's featured Indie Author is Angeline Kace. I came across her blog by pure chance, which is how I come across most blogs. I saw her link in the sidebar of another blog, clicked and instantly knew she was a blogger I wanted to read more from. She is in the process of finishing her first book, Descended by Blood. If you'd like a sneak peek at it, then you can read the first chapter on her blog, here. She has started her own publishing agency, Accendo Press.

Here's my Q & A  with Angeline:

1. What is the one thing every writer who is considering the self-publishing route should know?

 Make sure that it’s what you want to do. Self publishing is not necessarily the right or wrong way to publish, but you need to make sure that it’s what you want to do.

It takes a lot of work. You are the author, editor, graphic designer, marketer, EVERYTHING. Yes, you can hire some of these things out, but it is ultimately up to you to be the gatekeeper. If you commission an ugly cover, no one is going to make you change it if you love it.

Writing is only a small portion of the self publishing process. If you are considering this route for your work, make sure that you really research the ins and outs of the business. Joe Konrath is a great place to start. And don’t think that just because you can publish the book yourself that the quality should be any less than you would expect it to be if a New York publishing agency published it. Make it the best example of your work as you can. Any less and you risk tarnishing your reputation.

2.  What made you decide to start your own publishing group instead of “traditional publishing”?

I always thought that someday I would write a book. I never took it seriously though. Then, I read Twilight, and I very much wanted to create that high-- that place where your mind is set free and revels in the characters and what will happen next. I started writing a book and started to research what I had to do to get it published. I found that the chances of picking up an agent were slim, and then I found out that even WITH an agent, your book might not get picked up by a publisher. It was just so daunting to me that I quit writing and went back to reading. I started writing because it was fun, but seeing the amount of let downs and upward battles seemed like no fun at all.

In December, I read Amanda Hocking’s book, Switched. I fell in love with this book and then checked out her blog for more information about it. That was when a whole new world opened up to me.

I could publish my books myself. With the eBook revolution, I could reach tons of readers, and maybe even make money doing it. So, I crawled the web and found any piece of information I could about self publishing. My time spent reading had been sucked away by this new world of writing, and publishing, and any time left for reading was spent on technical books. I’ve not only had to learn about self publishing and how to best ensure that I can be successful at it, but I have also had to learn about writing. Writing is a craft and most people can’t just open up a Word doc and create something that everyone is going to want to read. There is a method to the madness, and I had to find how best to steer mine. I have also had some great friends and mentors in my partners at Accendo Press, Heather Hildenbrand and Jennifer Sommersby, to help guide me along the way. Both of these ladies are very talented, so having them there to tell me what works better or where I need to change things has taken months off of my writing learning curve.

3. Is writing a series harder or easier than writing a standalone book?

 I have only written this one book so far, but judging by the struggles I’ve had to go through to make sure that I’m not giving away too much information in Book 1, Descended by Blood, so that there end up being nothing to carry over to book 2, or that the information to be carried over is properly developed in this book so that book 2 is stronger, I’d say that a series is a lot more difficult. The most challenging thing for me has been the ending; how do I create enough excitement and build up to make the reader WANT the next book, but not so much so that they don’t feel like they got enough satisfaction out of Descended by Blood? I know what is going to happen, and I know how the story carries over to book 2, but the break off and the balance of information is where it gets tricky.

4. What is your current WIP?

My current project is Descended by Blood. I have been writing the final scenes this week, and it should be completely written by the time your followers read this. It is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance, because that is what I love to read the most, and it has Vampires in it too. I am a loyal vamp girl ;)

Here is a short description of what the book is about. It will be released in July or August 2011:

Brooke Keller is a high school junior who has never spent much time living in one place. She is finally in a town long enough to almost snag the boy of her dreams, until her life is threatened after killing a fanged man in his attempt to kidnap her. Brooke begins a dangerous journey in an effort to find out who is after her and how to stop them. Thrown into a world with powerful and prejudiced vampires, Brooke must tap into the side of her that she never knew existed at the risk of losing her life in order to save it. 

Thank you so much for having me Dafeenah!

Thanks, Angeline, for visiting. You can find Angeline here:
Accendo Press: http://www.accendopress.com/

To see all of the featured Indie Authors in the Saturday Spotlight please visit my Writer Spotlight. 
If you're an Indie author and would like to appear in the Saturday Spotlight, then please contact me. I would love to have you!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stupid Blogger

Did anyone else lose posts? Stupid blogger. Luckily I had an exported file so I had a copy of all my posts and comments so replacing them was easy, but that isn't the point. Blogger tried to kill my babies. That is so not cool. 

I got my eye on you, blogger. My eye on you.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Across the Pond - Roti

Now that the A-Z challenge is over I am trying to get back on my bloggy schedule. Before the challenge I had started a weekly edition of "Across the Pond". If this is your first time to walk across the pond, then you can read the guidelines here. If you are unable to join us, then you can always wait in the Q with the Sabzi Wala.


I mentioned in one my last few challenge posts that we make bread 3 times a day. Most people had a hard time comprehending it so I thought it would make a great "Across the Pond" post. We have bread with every meal and I know what you're thinking; CARBS, but you would be surprised at how THIN everyone in my husband's family is. Which is totally unfair but that is another post altogether. The bread we eat is called "roti" and it is a flat yeastless bread that is "baked" over a gas stove called a "chula".


This one is a bit more modern than the one we use. Ours sits on the counter top. We don't have an oven so all of our food is cooked on the chula. Breakfast roti is called "prata". The difference between roti and prata is that prata is fried in oil where as roti is more like "pita bread".  The food is eaten by hand with the roti instead of silverware.

how to eat using roti

The fact I can actually do this and eat as well as anyone else shocks everyone. How and what do I eat are the two questions EVERYONE asks me. I have no idea why this is so amazing to people, but everyone is just amazed by this fact. 

I would attempt to explain how roti is made but I found this video on youtube. It was easier than trying to explain each step. There are a few differences as to how we make the roti though. We use a tsp of salt in our dough and they don't in the video. At the end they add oil on top, but we don't. Other than that it is basically the same process. Also in the video, they call the flour "chapati flour" which is basically whole wheat flour, but any flour would work.

This is how roti is cooked in the home, but my favorite roti is the ones that are cooked in a tandoor. All of the roti from the bakery, restaurants, or street vendors is cooked in a tandoor. To me, a tandoor looks nothing more than a hole in the ground with a fire at the bottom, but it is actually a clay oven which is heated by charcoal or wood fire. The roti is placed a long side the walls of the oven and baked. It makes the bread extremely soft and delicious.

Here is a very short video of how roti is cooked in the tandoor. It's only about a minute long but you can get the idea of how they get it in and out as well as see the coals at the bottom.

Two roti is normal serving size for an adult per meal (at least in our household). Until I came overseas I never realized exactly how LARGE the serving sizes in USA are. When I went home to visit a few years ago, it was definitely culture shock. The serving sizes overseas are less than half what you get in the USA. A medium sized soft drink from a fast food place here is smaller than the small size in USA.

sample meal serving with roti

I hope you enjoyed learning how bread is made across the pond.

PS: sorry about the false start earlier. I was trying to save the post but blogger had other ideas (insert eye roll here)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Un-Mother's Day

I am not one that celebrates "days" regardless of what the "day" is. I have never been one that remembered "days' nor do I expect gifts or acknowledgement simply because of a "day". I am awesome every day and I don't feel that appreciation of my awesomeness should be limited to one "day". However, there are a few days that make me catch my breath, and this past Sunday was one of those. It is a great reminder of why the dull ache sits in my chest. It makes it hard to swallow the guilt and regret that I have. 

It reminds me of just how much I have lost and how I will never be able to get those lost things back. They have been captured by time and no amount of sorry and if only will bring them back to me. They are simply gone. 

There isn't a moment that goes by where I don't think of my children. In my mind's eye, they are still the little angels I saw looking back at me from the rear window of the car as I stood in the motel parking lot. That image of two little hands waving good bye haunts me. I don't know if I will ever get the chance to make amends. I hope and pray that some day I do. That someday new memories will replace the years of emptiness, but that hope does little to ease the ache and longing of my heart. Even though there were a great many events which lead to this separation, I blame no one and no thing except myself. It would be easy to blame my bipolar and say I had no responsibility for my actions, but that isn't true. While it might make it easier to accept and understand my actions, it does not excuse me from the consequences. 

I waited to write about this because I didn't want to take anything away from any one on that "day", but I know I am not alone. I know I am not the only mother without her child(ren). I know there are many others like me who feel joy for those mothers who can hug their children and at the same time feel the ache of empty arms. That is why I wanted to share this. For them. For the silent voices that are unable to express the pain of their decisions and maybe give a bit of understanding to those effected by those very same decisions.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Indie Ink - Waltz with Me

 My weekly Indie Ink writing challenge. This week I had kinda difficult time. Not sure if I fulfilled the challenge, but this is what I heard as scary as that is. Apparently I am channeling Stephen King because I have been dark the last couple challenges. This week I was challenged by Melissa who definitely provided me with a challenge. She asked me to listen to a piece of Franz Schubert's music and to then write a poem or flash fiction piece inspired by it. My challenge this week went to Cope. You'll be able to read the reply here.

What’s the matter dear? You haven’t touched your dinner. Eat up. I have something special planned for after dinner. There there now. Stop crying and drink your wine. Oh I almost forgot.  How’s that? It’s your favorite, isn’t it? I remember the first time I saw you listening to it. The way you sat there on the sofa. Your eyes closed. You tilted your head back ever so slightly. You allowed the music to encompass you. For the life of me I cannot understand how a woman of your caliber ended up with a bafoon like him. He is so beneath you.

Shhh darling. Here. Let me feed you. Open wide. Yes, that’s a good girl. Listen at that violin. Isn’t it marvelous? I do my best work to this piece. That is why I chose it specifically for you. You’re the most spectacular specimen I have found. Only the best for you, dear. There now. See that wasn’t so bad now, was it? How was the duck? Exquisite, no? Jean makes the best confit of duck. She would be pleased to know I had chosen it for your last meal. 

Stop blubbering. You’ll ruin your make up.  Now just let me clear these dishes away. Guess what’s for dessert? Strawberry cheesecake. I know how much you love strawberry cheesecake. I picked the strawberries fresh this morning from the garden just to make this for you, darling. Aren’t you going to thank me? Of course not, you’re a selfish sniveling cunt who only thinks of herself, aren’t you? If you hadn’t been so selfish, then you might not be in this predicament, but no, you couldn’t hold the door for me when I specifically asked you to. You were too wrapped up in that snot nosed brat that was pawing at you. Women are all the same. No matter how much you give to them, they never appreciate it.  I worked hard all day preparing all of your favorite foods and you have yet to thank me.

All you can do is blubber like a cow. Filthy animals. Are you a cow? Of course you are. You let those brats feed on you like little baby cows. In that case, it seems only fitting I have them for my dinner tomorrow night. I mean you raised them like cows so why shouldn’t I treat them like cows? Ahh, do you hear that? Do you hear how elegantly the bow slides across the strings? Shhh this is my favorite part. Listen. It is orgasmic, don’t you think? 

I fancy myself an artist. Most are not capable of understanding the complexities of my work. I don’t hold this against them. It isn’t their fault their parents were unclean and therefore destined them to a life of inferiority. I see the world as it truly is.  I do not allow myself to become burdened by the day to day frivolities the way others do. This is why I must do my work. To free them. Like this poor troubled soul that sits before me.  Awww, it ended. You know what that means don’t you? Your end has come too.  Shh, this will only hurt for  a moment.


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