Tuesday, July 30, 2013

You Always Remember Your First...

Dear First Novel,

When we first met, you filled my days and nights with such joy. I wanted to spend every moment with you. I know the feeling was mutual--especially when you would tap me on the shoulder and whisper sweet dialogue in my ear, or wake me in the middle of the night to tell me your secret plot lines.

I loved you so much that I never minded all the late nights I spent caressing you. All of the early mornings, stroking and smoothing, gently prodding to bring out the real you. Your needs and wants always came before mine. I was there for you in your self-doubt, boosting your confidence, and reassuring your ego.

Then you became needy, and I abandoned my family and friends to lavish attention on you, but you still insisted we spend more time together. They say that love is blind, and I was surely blinded by your empty promises, and too much in love to see that even though we went all the way together, we could only go so far.

Embarrassed by your erratic behavior, I started making excuses for you, but that became tiring, and I no longer believed in you. I'm ashamed to say that even while I spent time with you, I found myself thinking of others.

And now, there is another. Another haunts my dreams at night--a carefree spirit that begs me to tell their story, and I yearn to write it. Yes, I know you think me fickle, but the attraction is so strong, so intoxicating, that I cannot ignore it.

Our time together was exciting, inspiring, and oh so memorable, and I will always remember what we learned about each other, but it's time to move on. I'll never forget you, or what we had together.. Who knows? Some day, perhaps fate will join us again. Until then, I remain...

Your biggest fan,


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What I've Learned From Fasting...

The last time I posted, I told you all about my cleansing agenda. Thanks to everyone for your encouragement! It wasn't as rough as I thought it would be, and now that I've done it once, I'll definitely try it again. 

(I started out with 10 lemons for four days. It wasn't enough. Although the diet says NOT to use bottled lemon juice, I only used it the last day.)

The Master Cleanse was the scariest, but it was easy. Although I felt a little weak, I also felt fantastic. 
I did the Master Cleanse for three days. The night before I began the cleanse, I smoked my last cigarette. 

Here is what I learned from four days on The Master Cleanse:

  • It IS possible to quit smoking and diet at the same time.
  • Green tea lessens the headaches associated with withdrawals.
  • Pure maple syrup is expensive.
  • Even with microwaving, rolling on the counter, and squeezing like a madwoman, a lemon will only yield about 1/3 cup of juice.
  • It gets easier with each day.
  • Cayenne pepper is tasty and boosts metabolism. I sprinkle it on almost everything.
  • 2 tablespoons of salt dissolved in 2 cups of hot water tastes like broth, but you need to stay close to a bathroom.

On the fourth day, I added orange juice. I've never tasted anything so delicious in my life!
On the fifth day, I ate raw fruits and vegetables.

On the sixth day, I received my shipment of juices from Pressed Juicery.

Unfortunately, I had to have them shipped to my office. I couldn't lay around at home during my juice fast.

The juices were pressed in the morning, and then shipped via FEDEX overnight. Pressed Juicery uses an insulated bag that also contained ice packs.

I received 6 juices per day for 3 days. They're even numbered so I didn't have to think! Aren't the colors pretty? 

I also ordered the optional chlorophyl water and the aloe vera water.

The juice cleanse was expensive ($220.00 for a three-day cleanse), but for me it was well worth it. I didn't have to purchase the fruits and vegetables, I didn't have to chop, measure, and prepare, and I didn't have to clean a juicer. All I did was pop open the top and drink. It was a decadent purchase, but I'm worth it.

Here is what I learned after my Three-Day Pressed Juicery Cleanse:

  • Drinking 16 oz of juice every 2 hours is very filling
  • Cucumbers are overpowering when used in a juice.
  • Chlorophyll water tastes like cactus.
  • Five pounds of produce is used to make 16 oz of pressed juice!
  • I'm not a big fan of ginger.
  • My tongue turned so clean and a pretty shade of pink, I couldn't stop showing everyone.
  • My FedEx delivery guy thinks I'm nuts.

After all was said and done, I lost 7-1/2 pounds (just in time for a wedding!) 

(Me and Hubby)

my hot flashes have diminished, and have been smoke-free for 19 days. I felt alive and energetic, and even though I couldn't do anything too strenuous, my mind felt clear. I even went on a 2 mile walk--TWICE! And didn't feel like I was going to have a heart attack. 

Fasting helped rid my body of toxins and negative addictions, and helped start me off on a new lifestyle of eating fresh, healthy meals. 

So, what does this have to do with writing? Everything! Not only was the cleanse a major life event for me, )|(and all writers know that major life events are fodder for writing) but I also reassured myself that even at this stage of my life I am capable of accomplishing difficult tasks. 

I think I'll go back to writing that novel now...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Author Spotlight--Emerald Barnes

Today, I have a special guest!
Emerald Barnes is doing a blog tour to promote her beautiful new book covers.
She stopped by A Room to Write to talk with us about 'writing from the heart.'

Writing from the heart is important.  I think that we need to write things that are important to us.  They’re the stories that we hold dearest to us.  The stories that we can’t get out of our heads.  These stories will be what captures the attention of readers.  Why do I feel this way?  Because if something is important to us, it’s something that we will pour our passions into.  It will be something that people take notice of.
There have been stories that I wanted to write, but I didn’t have a burning passion at the time to see the words written out.  And every time that I would work on those stories, I’d get the “writing blahs.”  I wouldn’t want to write.  I wouldn’t want to plot.  I didn’t want to do anything, so eventually, I’d stop writing.  When I read back over the words that I’d written, I wasn’t feeling the story.
 So, I’d start writing on a story that had been consuming my mind.  Things I thought were just an idea and that I’d get to it later, but that story had other plans.  It needed to be written.  It had to be written.  So I wrote it.  The words fell out of my brain and onto the paper easily.  I fell in love with my protagonists.  I hated my antagonists.  These weren’t stories.  These were actual beings, actual situations coming to life.  And it was received better than the stories I thought I had wanted to write.  These were the stories that came from the heart.
 Try to listen to what’s on your heart.  If you’re struggling with writing the right story, listen to your heart, not your head.  Not what society wants you to write. This is you.  And if you write what you’re passionate about, then everything will turn out like it should.  What’s your heart telling you to write today?

 About Emerald Barnes:
Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women.  She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.
She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages!  She's constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with. 
She blogs at emeraldbarnes.blogspot.com and ebarnes23.wordpress.com which takes up more of her time than she anticipates but loves it so very much! She's also a volunteer at the World Literary Cafe which is so amazing!
She's an auntie to two beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews (and another unknown gender coming by the end of 2013) who take up the other half of her time, but she couldn't imagine spending her time in any other way!

She's a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person.  God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.  
Stay up to date with her at her Website, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also find her on Goodreads, Google+, and stay up to date with her releases on her Amazon Author Page

Alexia Wheaton’s problems go far beyond picking a dress and a date for the homecoming dance.

For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory - the memory of her parents' horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet about the identity of the murderer to protect herself and her family and friends, but when a journalist over hears her secret and writes about it in the local newspaper, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents' murderer will soon find her - and silence her forever.

Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents' murderer to justice. She will face many secrets, lies, and betrayals before the truth about their murder is revealed.

Read Me Dead

It’s on the edge of her memory--like a word on the tip of her tongue, but Kandi can’t remember what it is to save her life.

Despite being a cop, Jimmy can’t protect Kandi from the one thing that haunts her. She’s in danger and doesn’t even know it. After it happened, her brain repressed her memories of the accident, and now, she’s taking a Biology class under a man who wants to see her dead. The memories have started coming back, and it feels like she’s miles away from him. How can he protect her when she doesn’t even know she needs protecting?

Can these characters pierce their way through the darkness?

Piercing Through the Darkness

Amazon US

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blue Bells/Minstrel Boy--We Have A Winner!

There were 40 entries for a Kindle copy of one of Laura Vosika's books. 

Unfortunately, we didn't make it 100 entries, so only one winner was chosen.

 Thank you to everyone who participated. 

And now, what you've all been waiting for....Drum roll, please...

Suzanne W. Cole

Didn't win? There will be a giveaway every week. Make sure you stay connected so you know when to enter.


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Four For Friday--Laura Vosika

Four For Friday is a weekly feature where guest authors choose one of their own characters to complete four sentences. 

Don't forget: you need to click on the Rafflecopter tabs or else your entries won't count! AND if we reach 100 entries, I'll give away one copy of each book, so tell your friends to enter!

This week's post is by Laura Vosika, from her series of novels, The Blue Bells Chronicles.

Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants--until the night Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower.
He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall's tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee. They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.
Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life-- pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts--seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness. 

1. When I see fireworks…

Shawn:love fireworks!  They take me right back to when I was a kid, with my dad.  We'd have these huge barbecues every Fourth of July and go see huge fireworks displays and listen to orchestras.  It's where I first heard the 1812 Overture.
Niall: We haven't got fireworks in 1314.  I never saw any in your time. What are they?
Shawn: Oh, maaaaan!  You're missing out big time.  Fireworks are the best.  Explosions in the sky!  Colors, lights! 
Niall: Do you think it's something the Laird could figure out how to build if you tell him how it's done?
Shawn: I'm not sure a woodworker is really equipped to do fireworks, but yeah, let's go down to that secret bat cave of his...
Niall: Yes!  You tell him how it's done, we'll find everything we need, he can figure things out!

2. My favorite food on the BBQ is…

Shawn: Barbecues are my thing!  Back in the twenty-first century, I would invite the whole orchestra over, and everyone I knew.  They'd come with their kids and families, there'd be music, I had this really great album, Best Hits of the Mandolin or something, and nobody liked it.  For a bunch of musicians, they don't know good music.
Niall: What's this barbecue thing? 
Shawn: Seriously?  Man, dude!  You're missing out!  We're going to have one in the courtyard at Glenmirril this summer.  Tell the Laird to get his cooks on it.  It's when you cook your brats and burgers over a fire instead of in the oven.
Niall: Our cooks cook everything over a fire.
Shawn: Face palm.  Yeah.  Well, this is different.  You have lots of beer.
Niall: We have ale with every meal.
Shawn: Look, we're veering off the question here.  My favorite food is...everything.  But the burgers have to have everything on them.  Everything!  So just go with what do you like best cooked over an open fire?
Niall:  Eel.  There was this time one of the men caught eel in the loch...best thing I've ever tasted!
Shawn:  Ew!  Eel?  Seriously?
Niall: They didn't tell you that's what was served at dinner last night?

3. When I want to cool off from the summer heat, I…

Shawn: Jump in a lake.  Minnesota has 15,000 to choose from.  Or I crank up the A/C.
Niall: A/C?
Shawn: Yeah, did you notice the hotel was always cooler than outside, when you were in my time?
Niall:  No.  I was a little more concerned about trying to save my country and everyone I know and love at Bannockburn, actually, than noticing temperatures.  Here, if I have time to think about cooling off, which I usually don't, I would go down to the bat cave.  Or there's a hall up on the third floor that catches the breeze off the loch better than any others.

4. The last time I put on a bathing suit…

Niall: What's a bathing suit?  You have suits for bathing in your time? 
Shawn: Bathing swimming, not bathing bathing.
Niall: A suit for swimming?  No, I've never had such a thing.  I don't swim.
Shawn: I wouldn't, either, if I had to share my swimming space with the Loch Ness monster.  Last time I put on a bathing suit...there was this girl....uh...well, never mind.  That was last summer.  Next time I put on a bathing suit is what matters.  I'm going to take Amy and my son to a beach, and teach him how to swim just like my dad taught me.
Laura Vosika, author of the Blue Bells Chronicles, is also working on several other novels and a non-fiction book on raising a large family.  Other publishing credits include an essay in Glamour magazine.
Laura grew up in the military, visiting castles in England, pig fests in Germany, and the historic sites of America's east coast. She earned a bachelor's degree in music, and master's degree in education, and worked for many years as a freelance musician, private music instructor, and school band director.
Blue Bells of Scotland:
The Minstrel Boy:
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blue Diamond Delivery--We Have a Winner!!

There were 10 entries for an E-copy of BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY

 Thank you to everyone who participated. 

And now, what you've all been waiting for....Drum roll, please...


Didn't win? There will be a giveaway every week. Make sure you stay connected so you will know when to enter.


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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On Creative Blocks and Barricades: Breaking Through to The Other Side

I stalk Facebook and see my writing friends publish books, produce book trailers, and attend conferences and writer's conventions. I read other friends' statuses as they go camping, fishing, swimming, and frolic in the summer sun. Me? I got nothing. After work, I barely make it out onto my deck to water my container garden. 

I am physically, mentally, and creatively blocked.

Physically--I'm sluggish, overweight, and all-around unhealthy. My hot flashes are horrendous. It's easier to count the times that I don't have a flash in progress. Summer sun? Ugh. No thanks.

Mentally--I'm in a rut. I think it's relative to my physical state. I find myself cranky, pessimistic, and whiny.

Creatively--I haven't written anything besides e-mails, endless lists of things to do, or a rare blog post.

Sad, huh? So, I've decided to make some changes:

My last cigarette was on July 4th. While the country celebrated 237 years of independence, I celebrated independence from my addictions.
On that day, I also began a Master Cleanse for four days to rid my body of some of the toxins I've been marinating in. I plan on following with a three day juice cleanse, (More on that in a later post.) and on to a healthier way of eating. (I'm thinking of the Paleo diet)
My friend and I will be starting an exercise program in her home. Yes, the same one who had a plane crash in her front yard.

I'm hoping our exercise is a little less dramatic.

All of the above should help lessen the hot flashes. We'll see...

Since starting the cleanse, I'm no longer smoking like a chimney

or chugging coffee by the potful, so I no longer sit at the dining room table and stare into space, lamenting on all the things I need to do. I've been more productive in the past three days than I've been in the past three months. My energy has increased and I find myself getting out of bed by 5am, feeling fully rested. Let's see how long that lasts...

I haven't written a to-do list in four days. Instead, I've been busy crossing off the items and doing things that weren't even on that list. Writing? No. I haven't been that good, but I have unearthed the new novel I started awhile ago. I may even have the first three chapters done and highly polished by October's 2013 Baker's Dozen Contest.

Some of the changes I made are drastic, but they were definitely necessary. I'm hoping the detox program can jump start a healthier, energetic, and creative life.

Have you ever found yourself blocked? What did you do to climb out of your rut?


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Friday, July 5, 2013

Four For Friday--Anne E Johnson

Four For Friday is a weekly feature where guest authors choose one of their own characters to complete four sentences. 

Don't forget: you need to click on the Rafflecopter tabs or else your entries won't count! 

This week's post is by Anne E. Johnson, You may remember Anne from her previous post when she introduced us to Webrid and Green Light Delivery. This week's post is from her new novel, Blue Diamond Delivery, Book 2 of the Webrid Chronicles.

ABNA STRAVIN is a genius. He’d be the first to tell you that. He’s also fabulous in every way. His slim body, covered in downy white feathers, could not be in greater contrast with Webrid’s coarse, hairy bulk. Stravin’s exquisite sense of fashion and decorum―not to mention his advanced engineering skills―also make him an unlikely drinking buddy for an ill-mannered, uneducated Yeril like Webrid.
Yet, downing bowls of Val-Hundred liquor at Reekol’s Pub while commiserating over bad dates used to be Stravin and Webrid’s only activity together. That all changed once Webrid started getting forced into bizarre interplanetary escapades. Webrid really needs a science guy to help him out on his quests. Stravin, unable to resist either an adventure or a chance to show off his stunning brilliance, is always eager to tag along.

1. When I see fireworks…

One of three things must be happening: A) I’ve invented a contraption so unexpected and complex that my own ingenuity is making me see stars. B) I’ve just met some gorgeous, gorgeous man, and he’s acknowledged the fact that I’m the smartest fellow he’s ever heard of. C) My dear old friend Zatell has just landed her rocket with typical inaccuracy, and has blown part of it up.

2. My favorite food on the BBQ is…

Honestly, darling. What do you take me for, a Yeril? This “BBQ,” as you call it, is fine for commoners like Webrid (whose answer to this question would, of course, be “Everything!”). As for me, I prefer to sit at a fine restaurant and nibble on braised loin of young kimpletta marinated in a delicate amafrest sauce.

3. When I want to cool off from the summer heat, I…

Design an invisible, extra-corporeal pressure field that converts heat molecules in the air, cooling them before they reach my skin. I’d say you could have one too, but you’d have to pay cash. Tremendous amounts of cash.

4. The last time I put on a bathing suit…

Eight men and seven women (comprising nine different species) fainted, revived, and asked me to dinner. And how did I respond? Why, I turned them all down, my dear! One must at least give the impression of offering a challenge.


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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fun Facts--July 12th

It's a new month, and I've decided to veer off the beaten path a little. This month's feature is all about Heterochromia to celebrate Different Color Eyes Day.

Heterochromia of the eye may come in two varieties. With complete heterochromia, one iris is a different color than the other.

In partial or sectoral heterochromia, only a part of one iris is different.


Mila Kunis--one green and one brown.
Wentworth Miller--one blue and one green.
Virginia Madsen--one green and one brown.
Jane Seymour--one green and one brown.
Elizabeth Berkley--one bluish green and one brown.
Dan Akroyd--one green and one brown.
Kate Bosworth--one blue and one brown.
Christopher Walken--one blue and one hazel.
Kiefer Sutherland--one blue and one green.


Cats--Breeds such as Turkish Van, Turkish Angora, Khao Manee and Japanese Bobtail. These odd-eyed cats are white, or mostly white and have one blue eye.

Dogs--Siberian Husky, Australian Shepherd, and Catahoula Leopard.

Horses--More common in horses with pinto coloring, they have one brown and one white, gray, or blue eye. 

Complete heterochromia may also be seen in cattle, water buffalo and ferrets.

Sectoral heterochromia is often seen in dogs, specifically in breeds with merle coats, such as the Border Collie, Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Welsh Corgi, Pyrenean Shephard, Mudi, Beauceron, Catahoula Cur, Dunker, Great Dane, Dachsund and Chihuahua.

Literary Characters:

Tyrion Lannister from A Game of Thrones has one green eye and one black one.

The assassin Jonathan Teatime from Terry Pratchett's Hogfather has one grey magical glass eye and the other is yellow-white.

Wormtongue, in The Lord of the Rings, should have worn two pale blue contacts for the film, but the costumers discovered he looked creepier wearing only one.

Sally Owens, in Practical Magic, casts a spell for a man she thinks can't exist with one green eye, and one blue. Twenty years later, Detective Hallet is that man.

In the Anne of Green Gables sequel, Anne's House of Dreams, a pair of cousins have identical mismatched eyes.

In The Eternity Code, Artemis Fowl has one blue eye and one hazel because of an iris cam.

In Kristin Cashore's Graceling, all 'Gracelings' have this as a distinguishing characteristic. 

The evil sorceress Xayide has one red eye and one green in The Neverending Story. 

Leah from The Red Tent.

Alex in the Bill the Vampire series, has one brown eye and one green. 


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Do you have, or know anyone with Heterochromia?