Tag Archives: author blog

Meatless and Loving it? What is up?

Sensational Saturdays

my MISCELLANEOUS blogging day

When I first started trying veganism it was easier than I thought it would be. The toughest thing was, and still is, going to other people’s houses. Or eating out. That is very hard. But eating at home has become not only easy, but my preferred way of eating. Its taken about six months, but I don’t really want to eat meat anymore. And the way that I know this is we went out to dinner last week. And I ate meat.

I love Red Robin’s Teriyaki Chicken Burger. I love the pineapple and Teriyaki combo. The whole thing is just delicious. So I decided I would be a bad vegan and have one. I haven’t eaten chicken for months, just the occasional piece of salmon and beef. (See, I told you last week I’m not a perfect vegan!) But when we went out I ordered so fast, that I ordered the wrong burger. I ordered the California Chicken Burger.

And when it arrived I was so disappointed. It wasn’t the one thing that I had given myself permission to go off of my strict food program for. But it was what I had ordered, so I ate it. And you know what? I made a discovery. The chicken was not what I wanted. What I wanted was the flavor of pineapple, teriyaki and (let’s face it) mayonnaise. I really wished, if I hadn’t gotten the Teriyaki Chicken Burger, that I had ordered a Garden Burger!

Wow! I actually wanted a Garden Burger instead of meat!

So it does happen. I’d heard that once you started eating a certain way your body’s cravings for things changed, and I think that’s what is going on. I really love the smell of barbecued meat, but I’m very happy sliding my Tofurkey brat onto the grill instead. Go figure!

Today’s recipe is based on my sisters adaptation of a recipe from Carraba’s Italian restaurant. They have a wonderful lentil soup. My sister lightened it with turkey sausage and makes something similar at home. I’ve gone one step further and used the Tofurkey Italian sausage. But I put the meat alternative instructions at the bottom. Just in case you are not ready for the dreaded Tofurkey. Not too long ago I wouldn’t have touched it. Now I have to tell you  that this soup is very satisfying and delicious and I ate the whole pot by myself over the course of last week. It is that good. Enjoy!

Sausage Lentil Soup

  • 2-3  Tofurkey Italian Sausages
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-2 tsp crushed fennel
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 28 oz diced canned tomatoes (Stewed Tomatoes work great)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • 8 oz dried lentils (I like red because they are prettier, but green work just fine)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper and 2-3 tsp lemon juice to taste
Sauté onion, carrot and fennel for approximately ten minutes till onion and carrot are soft. Add tomatoes, water, bouillon, bay leaf and lentils (rinse and sort lentils first). Cook1 to 1.5 hours till lentils are done. Add chopped up Tofurkey sausage and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
*For meat eaters: Brown 8-12 oz turkey Italian sausage (remove from casings) first. Then add the onions and carrots and fennel and continue with the recipe from there.

4 Comments

Filed under Sensational Saturday's, Veganista? Or Veganish?

Expert Advice on Finding Experts

Moonday Mania

a blog centered on the craft of writing

My writing days are centered on two things.

One, writing! (Okay, you probably knew that)

Two, marketing.

When I decided to become an author I had no idea that I would need to become an expert at websites, blogs, peeps and tweeps. And if you had told me that I would need to become an expert in all this internet stuff, there is a distinct possibility I would not have even started down this path. You see, until three years ago, I didn’t even own a cell phone.

But I am now an expert! Okay, not an expert. But I am a person who my writing friends now go to for advice about where to find the experts. And that is a giant step for me! Last year at this time I didn’t have a blog, a Facebook account, or a Twitter account. And now I have all three (and Goodreads, don’t forget Goodreads!). But still I struggle with how to wander their myriad pathways. And here is where my expertise of finding experts come in handy.


Gloria Richard is another fellow writer struggling with creating a blog. Her solution has been to enlist the advice of the expert Brinda Berry to help her “Pimp my web”. Not only is Brinda the author of a new YA book, The Waiting Booth (Click HERE for her fabulous article, Interview with a Synesthete) but it turns out she is also a terrific source for how to improve your blog.

For some easy step by step ways to get going on the path to bloghood (globhood?) visit Gloria’s site (HERE) and go back to Brinda’s first post (HERE). That should get you started on pimping your own web.

Brinda, through Gloria, has helped me with the ever challenging widgets on WordPress. I did buy a book, WordPress for Dummies. But I’m with Gloria and I think I need a more basic book. The Guide to WP for the really Dummies would suit me just fine on those days when I am searching for a how to. Hey Gloria, which book did you buy??

Eventually I hope to get this blogging, tweeting, posting, work down to a science. In other words: the more I learn, the easier it should be. But for now, like Gloria, I’m stumbling through getting it all together. So for that I need the experts. Tune in next Moonday Mania for more advice on who to get your advice from. (Okay, not grammar advice, never end a sentence on a preposition.) In the meantime leave a comment for me. I’d love to know how all of you are doing with your forays into new worlds, blogging or otherwise!

Only a few months left till my debut novella Little Red Riding Wolf is released! Tune back to this station for details as we get closer to February 18, 2012!

8 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, website

Halloween Treats 2011 Grand Prize Giveaway Today!

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

Today is the day I announce the  Halloween Treats Grand Prize Winners for the entire month! Three lucky people will win a swag bag with wonderful Jessica Aspen Swag and a Barnes and Noble $15 Gift Certificate! But hold your horses, I have to gab for a minute first.

This has been a whirlwind October for me, and believe you me,  I have enjoyed riding the whirlwind. From running my first big contest, Halloween Treats, to exploring the world of Flash Fiction with Rach Harrie’s Third Writing Campaign, it’s been one new experience after another. I feel like I’m at the amusement park on my game board of life.

And I expect the rest of the year to continue to be filled with wonderful and scary new experiences. I’ll be working on my first professional edits, with my new editor from Passion in Print Press. I’ll be researching my options for my first professional blog tour. And I’ll be doing all this while running CRW’s Award of Excellence, our amazing contest for romance authors with books published in 2011.

This year not only was the beginning of this blog, but it also marked the beginning of Paranormal Freebies. A blog and ezine that I share with ML Guida, Hillar Seidl and Marilyn Wigglesworth. We’ve had great fun creating a place for paranormal readers and authors to converge.

My latest ride on the whirlwind came on Monday, October 24th with the opening of the Choose Your Own Adventure blog hop, Ahoy Sea Serpent. If you havent tried it start at  Kerri Cuevas’s blog and find out what happens when a group of random bloggers get together to write a story, and make you, the reader, the decision maker. Thanks Kerri for a wonderful opportunity.

This month I’ve given away a book with every blog post and today is the grand prize drawing! If you’ve been hanging out here you know that I’m running the contest in celebration of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf’s acceptence from Passion in Print Press. Little Red Riding Wolf will be available February 18th, 2012

My last giveaway book winner from Saturday’s blog is Gloria! WOOT!

I will be doing a whirlwing blog tour during January and February and promoting Little Red Riding Wolf‘s release date. And I’m thinking I just might run another contest in February. It’s not only my release month, but it also contains romance’s biggest holiday, Valentine’s Day. So don’t forget to check back during the month of February and find out what fun prizes are being given away. Who knows? I might even have copies of Little Red to give away.

So, on to what you’re really here for…

Drum roll please!

And the winners (you had to have commented during the month of October during my blogs to win) of the three amazing Jessica Aspen Swag bags complete with Barnes and Noble gift certificates are…..

CASEY W!

KT HANNA

JEN

Congratulations! Send me your contact info through the contact page and I’ll get your prizes to you! Any prizes not claimed by November 30th will be forfeit.

And for everyone who dropped by and commented this month, thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet each and every one of you and hope to keep hearing from you on a regular basis.

10 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Shadow Fall Review

Sensational Saturdays

A blog for whatever I feel like writing

Today I’m posting my end of the month Thursday’s Bite Book Review, delayed one posting by the amazing Hillary Seidl’s take over of Thursday’s Bite. I plan to be back on schedule for the month of November, so check back on the last Thursday of the month for a new review and another Bite.

ΩΩΩΩΩ

Erin Kellison rocks!

Not only is she amazingly sweet and funny, but she can really write romance. Her book Shadow Fall is the second in the series that began with Shadow Bound and continues with Shadow Man out September 2011. I had the opportunity of meeting Erin at Rom Con 2011 and she made our paranormal games a blast.

Shadow Fall tells the tale of ballet artist Annabella whose talent for ballet creates a link between our world and the shadow world. Annabella’s grace and beauty lure not only a shadow wolf, but also tempt a fallen angel, Custo.  Custo’s tale of desperation as he races time and deportation back to heaven to save Annabella from the stalking wolf intertwines beautifully with Annabella’s ballet and the world’s battle against the wraiths.

Confused? You won’t be. I read this as a stand alone and was up to speed immediately without being bogged down in backstory. Ellison’s skill as a story teller sucked me in and kept me wanting more. And I’ve awarded her the coveted five omegas, ΩΩΩΩΩ not just for a superb book I’ll want to read again, but for creating a fabulous series that call me from the shadows.

If you’ve read the first book in the series, Shadow Bound, you will have already met Custo. I have yet to read the first one, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the story of Adam and Talia the half-breed daughter of the Shadowman himself. All three of these characters play important roles in Shadow Fall, but the stars are Custo, Annabella and the wolf.

And if you’re like me and love a good series it looks like the fourth in the series a novella entitled, Shadow Touch, will be out June 2011. Definitely add Erin to your TBR pile, in fact put her on the top!

Today is the last day in my Halloween Treats giveaway in celebration of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf available on February 18th, 2012 from Passion in Print Press. Leave a comment to enter in today’s drawing for The Bride Wore Scarlet and to get a final entry into Monday’s drawing for three grand prizes of swag bags and B&N Gift certificates. Contest closes Sunday, October 30th night at midnight!

Thursday’s winner is Sherry Isaac! Congratulations and send me your address through my contact box and we’ll get you your prizes!

4 Comments

Filed under Sensational Saturday's, Supernaturals

Who’s Lurking in the Shadows?

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal Blog

Welcome to Thursday’s Bite! Today’s Halloween Treats guest blogger is Hillary Seidl. Hillary is a regular contributor and team member at Paranormal Freebies and will be blogging there on Friday at her regular blog, Hillary’s Haunts. Hillary also has the novella Sia debuting in the anthology Finding Mrs. Wright with fellow authors Lori Corsentino and ML Guida. ML Guida will be here as my guest on November 3rd, so you can check out Hillary’s fellow author. Thanks for being here Hillary!

            Thank you so much for having me, Jessica!  I’m very excited to announce that my paranormal novella, Finding Ms. Wright: Sia, is being published by 5 Prince Publishing November 15th in e-book format and November 25, 2011, print on demand.  The world of the paranormal has always fascinated me.  Writing about it is so much fun!
            Sia was inspired by what ghost hunters call “shadow people”. Seeing dark figures out of the corner of your eye, quick blurred figures that you see and do a double take.  Ghost hunters have documented this phenomenon of shadow people in several hauntings.  Most of the shadow people are perceived as dark, malevolent beings.
            Sia starts out being tortured by these shadow figures and hushed voices whispering in her ear.  Needless to say, she’s freaked out.  Poor girl!
            Enter Andrew Grant, sexy stud.  He can find supernatural objects but finding his brother, Ben, is his main concern!  The town of Grand Rock is a hotbed of paranormal activity and Andrew and Sia are smack in the middle of it!
Here is an excerpt:
Sighing wistfully, she rose and grabbed her empty coffee cup. And to her incredible joy the lunchroom was empty. She poured herself a cup of coffee. She saw something out of the corner of her eye. It was the dark shadow figure. Her hands stilled and her heartbeat increased.
She closed her eyes. This was not happening. It was her imagination. Slowly, she opened her eyes and another shadow darted from right to left.
No!” she said to the empty room. Forgetting her coffee entirely, she set the cup on the table and walked quickly. She looked back over her shoulder — and ran right into Hailey, sending them both flying.
Sia hit the wall, but Hailey landed on her butt hard. “Ooommpphh!”
Sia bent down and offered her a hand. “Oh my God! I’m so sorry!” As much as Sia thought she was a snooty bitch, she was horrified at actually knocking her down.
Hailey stood up, ignoring Sia’s hand. She flipped her vibrant red hair, totally dyed, over her shoulder and starred daggers at Sia. “Ugh! You’re so clumsy!” She tugged her short skirt back down.
Sia’s back straightened at the angry words. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.”
Hailey sighed. The anger was clear in her eyes.  “Yea well, just get out of my way.” Hailey walked by, her shoulder hitting Sia’s as she stormed past.
Sia stood there trying to get a hold of her temper. The anger made her shake. She tried to breathe.
“What happened?” Delina’s nasally voice shrieked when Hailey went into her office. Both of them stood while a red faced Hailey pointed at Sia. The more Hailey talked the more she got dirty looks from Delina.
It was all that Sia could take. 
Sia’s hands clenched at her side while the helplessness and anger boiled inside of her. “I said, I was sorry,” she whispered. Her hair lifted as a great wind came out of nowhere and she watched as a cloudy line went from her through the office.
Sia watched in fascination, and horror, as the wind rose up and blew papers everywhere in Delina’s office. Books flew of the shelf, the chair was knocked over, and Hailey and Delina screamed as the intense wind continued.
Grayson came out of his office. “What’s happening out here?”  Sia’s concentration broke as Grayson ran past her. Delina’s office was now calm. No wind just a few papers settling. Delina and Hailey were standing close to each other, starring at Sia.
“I d-don’t know,” Sia sputtered, still trying to understand what had just happened. As Grayson rushed into the main room, Sia ran back to her desk and yanked the drawer open, quickly grabbed her purse. With everyone yelling and running around, she slipped out of the office quickly and quietly headed for the safest place she could think of.
The library.
At twenty-five it seemed to be, as she feared. She was losing her mind just as her mother had. The hallucinations were getting more intense and soon the darkness would claim her mind, body and soul.

Thank you so much for having me on, Jessica!  A lucky commenter will win a $10.00 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory!
Check out my monthly blog at http://paranormalfreebies.com/
“Where the paranormal world meets extraordinary love.”

When you leave a comment to enter today’s Halloween Treat’ book from my fellow Passion in Print author Lizzie T. Leaf, Beyond Magic you’ll also have the chance to win Hillary’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Gift certificateAnd don’t forget to come back on Monday for my final Halloween Treats giveaway of three swag bags and B&N gift cards!

Monday’s winner is Kelda! Send me your address through my contact box and I’ll send your book out.

8 Comments

Filed under Supernaturals, Thursdays Bite

Retreat Bijou, Elizabeth Pelletier of Entangled Publishing

Sensational Saturdays

a blog about whatever is on my mind

This is the last in a three part series about the wonderful jewels I gleaned from the Colorado Romance Writers Retreat. To read the initial post about the CRW retreat you can visit HERE. To read about the amazing Margie Lawson’s Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors you can visit HERE. And to read about coping with contest grief with Ann Brady you can visit HERE.

Have you ever wished you knew exactly what an editor was thinking when they read through the slush pile? Do you want to know what stands out and how you can get your manuscript read? Well, we were lucky enough at the retreat to have our very own editor at our mercy. Liz Pelletier from Entangled Publishing was brave enough to step into the room and answer all our questions. She was frank, she was open and she let us know exactly what we could expect from Entangled when we sent our babies off to the slaughter.

No, that’s the first thing. Entangled is a small press. They are fairly new and they really take the time to look at your query and to try to read through those first five pages. If you are worried that no one even looks at your piece, Liz does. She can’t read everything, but she looks at the query and decides if it should be read in depth by an intern. So how do you get her attention?

She said it was simple. She needed to connect to the story, connect to the characters. And she needed to do it right away. Make your character either likeable, in a situation of adversity, sympathetic or empathetic (put the reader in the character’s shoes).

That’s it. If you do that, right away, Liz will send it on to the next step where they read it and critique it. At least the first thirty pages.

And then what happens? Well a few books get picked up. Most don’t. Why?

  1. The reader couldn’t connect with the character
  2. Lack of voice or too much voice
  3. Too many books just like it
  4. Just don’t love it
If you can hit the character hook, the interesting plot or a twist on an old plot, then you will make it to the next step. As long as they have a place for it. Liz said occasionally it happens that there is a fantastic book, but they just signed someone with a similar plot and they can’t publish two books that are so similar.
At Entangled they work with each author in depth, so they have to really like the book. Liz reads the books she’s responsible for multiple times. She has to love the story or she just won’t want to face it over and over and over again.
Is there anything else you can do to maybe get a leg up with a publisher? Yes. Edit your query and your submission. Then edit them again. Actually read them, don’t just spell check. And if you can, have someone else read them and make sure you didn’t use the wrong there, or two for to. I know you’ve heard this many times, but editors are still getting manuscripts with major editing mistakes. Don’t be a victim!
Be on the internet, be a prescence. We’ve talked about this before, but you should at least have a website and be on some sort of social networking platform. Editors want to know you can market yourself. Or at least that you know you should be doing it!
Google yourself. Check out if someone can find you, or does that stripper with the dog face come up instead. (Hey, it happens!)
Make sure your book is within the parameters for their house. If they don’t do YA, don’t send your YA mystery to them. Check the submission rules and be aware. Every  house is different with different rules. Get in line with the rules and you stand at least a chance. Get out of line and you will be receiving an auto rejection. Next!
I want to thank Liz for her time and consideration. She made me think and even though I’m not sharing everything on my three pages of notes I hope this made you think. Sometimes we take rejection personally, but after listening to Liz I had a new respect for how an editor makes her decisions. Thanks Liz!
Let me know about your experiences with rejections. Did the editor give a reason? Did you listen?
Today’s Halloween Treats book is giveaway is a signed copy of CRW’s very own Alegra Gray’s Nothing But Scandal. Halloween Treats is my treat to you in celebration of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf’s publication on February 18th, 2012 by Passion in Print Press. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for the book and to enter the grand prize drawing on October 31st for three swag bags and B&N gift cards!
Nicole Grueber has won Thursday’s book, Dragon Moon. Send me your address through the contact box and I’ll send you your book. Congratulations!

10 Comments

Filed under channeling success, Sensational Saturday's

Advanced Plotting with Chris Eboch

Moonday Madness

A blog about the craft of writing

Today’s guest is multi-published author Chris Eboch. Chris is not only an accomplished fiction author, but she now teaches what she has learned. Her book Advanced Plotting will help you smooth out those bumps in the road. 

A woman heard I was a writer with 12 books published, and she said, “Why aren’t you living in Beverly Hills?”

I managed to keep a straight face. Besides the fact that I prefer New Mexico to Beverly Hills, 12 books in about as many years does not pay a living wage. It does, however, mean that I’ve learned a lot over the years. I’ve written historical fiction (The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery set in ancient Egypt, and The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure, both for ages nine and up), an original paperback series (the Haunted series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs, also for kids), and various types of work for hire. I also recently started writing romantic suspense for adults under the name Kris Bock (Rattled is a treasure hunting adventure in the New Mexico wilderness).

Besides my published books, I have a dozen unpublished manuscripts – part of the learning process. I learn a lot from teaching other writers as well. I lead workshops, work with students through a correspondence school, and do private manuscript critiques. You can’t analyze thousands of stories and novels without learning a few things about what works and what doesn’t.

And yet, somehow, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to see the flaws in your own work. But I’ve found a method to help. I call it the Plot Outline Exercise, and I discuss it at length in my book Advanced Plotting. The short summary is, you make an outline of your finished manuscript, briefly describing the main action and any subplots in each chapter. Then you analyze your plot. Looking at the outline, rather than the entire manuscript, makes it easier to see the big picture without getting distracted by little details.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes a lot of work to make a manuscript strong, so I ask over 40 questions, divided into sections for Conflict, Tension, Main Character, Subplots and Secondary Characters, Theme, and Fine Tuning. For example, here are the opening three from Conflict (and each of these bullet points I consider to be one question, despite the multiple question marks):

·         Put a check mark by the line if there is conflict in that chapter. For chapters where there is no conflict, can you cut those, interweave with other chapters, or add new conflict? The conflict can be physical danger, emotional stress, or both, so long as the main character (MC) is facing a challenge.

·         Where do we learn what the main conflict is? Could it be sooner? Is there some form of conflict at the beginning, even if it is not the main conflict? Does it at least relate to the main conflict? The inciting incident—the problem that gets the story going—should happen as soon as possible, but not until the moment is ripe. The reader must have enough understanding of the character and situation to make the incident meaningful. Too soon, and the reader is confused. Too late, and the reader gets bored first.

·         Where do we learn the stakes? What are they? Do you have positive stakes (what the MC will get if he succeeds), negative stakes (what the MC will suffer if he fails), or best of all, both? Could the penalty for failure be worse? Your MC should not be able to walk away without penalty.

As you answer each question, you make notes on the outline for where you need to make changes on your manuscript. Then, of course, you need to actually make the changes. Advanced Plotting has over 20 additional articles to explain how to make these changes, covering topics such as getting off to a fast start and using cliffhanger chapter endings.

As I said, it isn’t easy to do this kind of revision, but when the result is a much stronger manuscript, it’s worthwhile. Since I now outline before I start writing, I use the Plot Outline Exercise at that planning stage and catch a lot of problems early, but not every writer can – or wants to – sketch out a manuscript in detail in advance. However you write, making an outline at some point can help you see what you really have, so you can identify and fix problems.

Learn more about Chris and read excerpts of her work at www.chriseboch.com (for children’s books) or www.krisbock.com (for adult romantic suspense written under the name Kris Bock) or see her Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Eboch/e/B001JS25VE/. You can also read excerpts from Advance Plotting on her blog:http://chriseboch.blogspot.com/.

Thanks Chris! Leave a question or comment for Chris and you will be entered in today’s Halloween Treats drawing for an autographed copy of Michelle Celmer’s A Clandestine Corporate Affair. All commenters will be entered in the drawing for three grand prizes to occur on October 31st, so check back to see if you are a winner! Saturday’s winner is Gloria Richard! Congratulations Gloria, send me your address and I’ll send you the book!

7 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, writing craft, writing organization

Interview with a Synesthete

Moonday Madness

a blog on the craft of writing

Welcome to Moonday Madness on Jessica Aspen Writes. Today we have a special treat, author Brinda Berry shares how she did research for her very interesting YA novel The Waiting Booth. I’m just going to whet your whistle by saying it’s about “A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal…” and as you’ll read here Brinda has included so much more.

Interview with a Synesthete

by Brinda Berry

Find The Waiting Booth here

There are many types of research that I conducted while writing the first book in the Whispering Woods series, The Waiting Booth. In today’s technological environment, most research can be conducted in the privacy of my own home. I have a library of information at my fingertips through resources found on the internet.

In a recent writer’s group meeting I attended, one author mentioned that she missed the days of interviewing people for information. Before the widespread availability of online resources, a writer would either telephone or visit an individual face-to-face and learn about a certain occupation or experience. The writer in my group mentioned being totally charmed by the helpful nature of one such person when she did some research about cowboys. (Get your mind out of the gutter. This was all very innocent.)

People love to share their knowledge and experiences, and it may be within reason to locate those experts. On the other hand, there is an alternative. I used YouTube to find interviews that would help me develop the main character in The Waiting Booth. I had already located written resources online about a condition called synesthesia, but I wanted more. Synesthesia is a neurological condition where two or more of  the five senses are intertwined.  For example, a person with synesthesia may taste colors and see musical notes.

I haven’t met anyone with synesthesia, but my main character, Mia, is a seventeen-year-old synesthete. I wanted to have a “feel” for her point of view as the story is written in first person. So, I went to YouTube.com and typed “synesthesia” in the search bar. How many videos are online about this topic? As of 9/27/2011 at 11:54 CST, there are 14,600 results. Are they all relevant? No, of course they aren’t. Did you know there’s a band called Synesthesia? I didn’t either.  To filter those videos out of my search, I changed my search term to “synesthesia condition.” The results of that search listed 101 videos. Now, it’s a much easier task to browse the documentaries and other short clips that are more relevant to my research.

You can see by the number of views whether the video is a popular one or not. You can also determine if you think the source might be a reliable. Anyone can upload a YouTube video. The owner will be listed along with the number of videos uploaded by that person.  Another interesting aspect was reading comments to certain videos. A warning here for you- comments may be not be moderated.  Here’s a terrific example of a short video I came across today on synesthesia: http://youtu.be/KApieSGlyBk

In The Waiting Booth, I did take liberties by embellishing Mia’s condition of synesthesia with an extra ability to sense portals. The video listed above demonstrates how the synesthetes could see some things more easily than the non-synesthete, so I took that a step further. The YouTube videos gave me some great ideas on how synesthetes view the world.  There’s a chance to see the emotions that might be tied to the subject’s answers, and I would miss that in a written piece. Seeing and hearing the video interviews made a huge difference in my understanding and the development of my character.

I’ve already used YouTube again in research for the second book in the Whispering Woods series. It’s a fun way to learn about people and experiences. The biggest risk for you as a researcher is getting sidetracked. YouTube videos can be so darned entertaining.

BIO:

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn’t mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she’s not working the day job or writing a novel, she’s guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.

                              Facebook       Twitter       Website and Blog

We’re still celebrating October and my upcoming novella Little Red Riding Wolf (soon to be released from Passion in Print Press) with my Halloween Treats Contest! To enter just leave a comment for Brinda and I’ll draw a winner for today’s book Enemy Lover, by Karin Harlow (drawing announced Thursday October 13th). Don’t forget we’ll be drawing for 3 grand prizes on Halloween!

Saturday’s winner is Elaine Cougler! Congratulations Elaine and send me your address through my contact page and I’ll get your book to you!


19 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, writing craft

Welcoming the Dead

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

Today I’m welcoming Keridak Kae to Jessica Aspen Writes. Keridak’s new book, Protection for the Inner and Outer Self is a non-fiction guide that includes stories and techniques for psychic self-protection.

Welcome the Dead

It’s the time of year when the veil between the spirit world and our world thins.  Are you ready to welcome your guests: the spirits of loved ones, friends, pets or perhaps others?  What is your role as hostess? How do you become Martha Stewart to the un-bodied?

First, relax.  The world of the dead is not a frightening one.  The spirits that will be visiting are benign, often caring and occasionally curious.  They want to know how you are doing. They offer messages.

J R Schultz, recognized medium, shares that ghosts often return to let you know that they are okay and that you should move on with your life.  He says that time, and other things that are so important to our everyday world, don’t exist on the spiritual plane.  Their attachment to us is still strong.   They are not returning to hurt or scare us.

Nov 2nd is the Day of the Dead. In Mexico (Día de los Muertos), alters will be set with pictures, mementos and favorite foods.  Dancing in the streets, laughter and song all welcome those who have passed over to return and celebrate.  You might create your own alter.   In some homes a place is set at the table, as a welcoming gesture on this day.  Or go all the way and have a party!

Oct 31th is the day when the veil is open and the spirits freely pass from one world onto the next.  The jack-o-lantern was considered a way to scare the spirits away.  Those wanting to have their houses passed by carved the scariest faces.  It is unknown if this was a successful method, but you might consider a happy face or saving the pumpkin for pie.   Halloween can be the best night for communing with dead and talking with your loved ones.

Plan your evening.   If you are highly intuitive you probably talk with the dead on a regular basis.  In this case make the night a celebration, just as you would a birthday party.  If you are less intuitive or just wish to explore possibilities the Ouija board can be an excellent way to make contact.

Calling a specific name and asking them to come to you will let the spirit know that you are ready and open.  Place your hands on the disk and allow it to be guided across the board.  You may want to record your session: partly to say the letters or other symbols that the disk points to; partly for later recollection; and lastly to see if there are any audio messages.  A soft voice in the background, music or other sounds may happen unheard in the background, yet caught on the recording.

Dreams and meditation are another way to allow spirits to contact you.  Direct your dream by saying the person’s name as a chant before sleeping.  Keep a pen and paper handy. Upon awakening you may have impressions that will quickly fade.  You might also have the desire to write…possibly channeling the otherworld.

Candles always heighten your connection with the spirit world. Choose a white one if possible.  Add mementos, flowers, stones as you wish to create the welcome. These can be placed around the room in any aesthetic way.

Though the ghosts will not harm you other negative influences may come by and it is always best to be protected when in an open, receiving space.  

If you are concerned about unwanted guests, state out loud that only those who mean you well are welcome.  An added level of protection  is to draw a circle around yourself or sleeping area – this can be done by imagining white light, trickling salt around or taking a piece of chalk.  Smudge the room ahead of time and use a protective scent such as cinnamon or sandalwood.  The wearing costumes or masks comes from the Gaelic belief that looking like an evil spirit would please it so much it would not bother you.

Send a photo, or comment on your experiences during this highly sensitive time.   treats@intuitivesinternational.com   

For October/November I will send you a ghost cookie recipe and 2 other tasty treats recipes for your celebration.  By the way:  after you have offered goodies to your guests it is perfectly acceptable to eat the leftovers!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This articles is free use – please include her contact information when publishing in your email newsletter or blog:   Keridak Kae Silk , Author, Life Coach, Tarot Reader  is the President of IntuitivesInternational.    www.keridakkae.wordpress.com or 866-279-8666.  Protection for the Inner and Outer Self is available in e-format with the paperback version out soon. Follow @KeriSilk on twitter.

Keridak Kae  a magic, mystery and divination writer based in Wisconsin. Upcoming: Protection for Your Inner & Outer Self (10/2011); Featured short story “Across” in The Best of Milwaukee Writer’s Circle 2011.   Founder and President of Intuitives International, Keri  blurs the lines of magic and reality; manifesting her own joyful life and using her gifts to help others.   @kerisilk on twitter  –  listen to Connect, Grow, Prosper Tuesday mornings on Blog Talk Radio.

Leave a comment to be entered in Jessica Aspen’s Halloween Treats contest. Today’s book is Jacuelyn Frank’s Seduce Me in Dreams. Monday’s winner is Brinda Berry, send me your address in the contact box on my contact page and congratulations!

Update: Congratulations to Sharon Clare for winning Seduce Me in Dreams!

5 Comments

Filed under Magic, Thursdays Bite

HALLOWEEN TREATS GIVEAWAY!

Sensational Saturdays

where i blog about anything and everything

It’s here! October is here!

I wanted to do something fun on the blog for the month of October and to celebrate the acceptance of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf, (soon to be out from Passion in Print Press0and here it is! Fun giveaways for every blog post during October, the paranormal holiday month. If you post a comment your name will go into the drawing for that particular posts FREE BOOK! For instance, all the commenters on today’s blog will go into the drawing that will be announced on Monday. Monday’s drawing will be announced on Thursday. Etc, Etc, Etc.

On Halloween I will enter everyone into the drawing for the Jessica Aspen Swag Bags, with promo items and a $15 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble!

So comment away! And I want to thank everyone who tweets or comments on FB or follows my blog, so a big THANK YOU! to you all.
click HERE for contest details

Thursdays Bite Book Review

this book review is usually the last thursday of the month, but due to the second writing campaign challenge (click here for a peek) I have undertaken to post my review today instead.

Today I am reviewing another author who I had the luck of meeting at Rom Con, Kimberly Frost. Kimberly’s third book in her Southern Witch Series is entitled Halfway Hexed and is another pleasurable read from a talented author. And it’s funny! Which is one reason why it earns four out of five omegas. ΩΩΩΩ

I still haven’t read book one in the series, Would-be Witch, but I fell in love with Kimberly’s writing and her terribly troubled character Tammy Jo Trask when I opened up her second novel, Barely Bewitched. Tammy Jo grew up in small town Texas thinking she was the only one in her family without any witch powers, but in the first book she discovers she is totally wrong. She has powers, but they do not work like anyone else’s. Magic backfires around poor Tammy Jo.

Although I did catch up quickly when I read Barely Bewitched without reading book one, and I have thoroughly enjoyed both of the books I’ve read, I would recommend reading Would-Be Witch first. But these books are such fun you are going to want to read all three. I won’t give away too much about the other two books (still waiting to read number one), but Tammy Jo’s adventures are hilarious and sexy. Kimberly keeps the reader guessing and engaged. I’ll share the opening lines from Halfway Hexed:

“The reason I don’t normally bother to plan my schedule is that something unexpected always seems to come up and throw it of. That Friday when I got kidnapped was a prime example.”

And she then proceeds to not tell you about the kidnapping. I was turning page after page waiting for the kidnapping, and when it happened, I was so unprepared! From the plague of frogs unleashed on the good Texas ladies who have it out for witches, to the complications of not wanting to fall in love with the one man who she can work magic around, you’ll find Halfway Hexed a fun fast paced read.

Leave a comment to be entered in today’s free book drawing for Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Night Play. To be announced on Monday, October 3rd.

9 Comments

Filed under Paranormal Book Review, Sensational Saturday's, Uncategorized