Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Coffin Hop time!!

I have been waiting so long for Coffin Hop 2013 that I almost forgot to do a post about it! Coffin Hop is an annual horror web tour event hosted by indie horror writers, including yours truly. There's books, prizes, and all sorts of crazy going around from October 24-31st!

There's still five days left of this spooktacular fanfare! All you have to do is stop by the Official Coffin Hop site and check out all of the horrorific indie authors for a chance to win some great swag!

For those who decide they just can't live without a signed print copy of my newest book, Darkly Beings (New Adult/Paranormal) along with some bookmarks and perhaps a surprise or two. Just leave a comment in the section below (with your email so I can contact the winner) and a name will be chosen at random (contest limited to US only)!

And because I love Halloween and the days leading up to it (yeah, I'm birthday was yesterday), the winner will also receive a free ebook copy of Coffin Hop: Death by Drive-In! My short story, Kiki and The Lone Stranger, is a companion story to DARKLY BEINGS, so this anthology is a must have for your collection. Even if you don't win, you might want to get one of your very own...not only does it contain some of the best horror shorts, but all proceeds go to charity!

Good luck and remember... Trick Or Treat!! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013


This post has been a long time in the making. It's one that I had hoped I could avoid, but due to creative circumstances beyond my control, I guess it's time to address a few things regarding the Travelers Series.

First things first, there WILL be a fourth book (PARAMETER). I don't want to start this post with y'all thinking I'm going to announce the end of the series. But there is bad news: I don't know when it will be out. I can't believe it's been a year this week since I released PARADIGM! And I'm sorry it has taken this long for me to address the continuation of the series.

I've been going through a MAJOR block regarding book four (as the series will continue in the dystopian society that Thornberry has created). It will be much different than the first three books and I want to give it the justice it deserves. I don't want to write something just to release it. It's not fair to you, my awesome readers, (or Etta). I have a few things written down and I am constantly racking my brian for the right story...I'll get there, I promise.

Thank you all who have emailed me, FB messaged me, and posted about it's release. It means so much to me that you want to continue reading the series!

In the meantime, my writer's block (for book four) has lead me to write DARKLY BEINGS, a new-adult paranormal, as well as the new book I am currently working on that will be a mystery (I am finally using my background in law enforcement to good use), but don't let that dismay you! As soon as those voices (Etta, Cooper, Jenny, Moose...) come back, you can bet I will be writing it all down!

Once again, I can't thank y'all enough for your support!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spectacular Spooky Shows

Seriously...where has October gone? But that means Halloween is just around the corner! I thought I'd do a short post on some of my new favorite Halloween-worthy shows.

First up, Sleepy Hollow (FOX). At first, I wasn't sold on the premise, but I'm glad I was able to catch the pilot episode (free on iTunes) before I decided to invest time in this show. This show (unlike that movie by the same name more than a decade ago), would make even Washington Irving proud. It's got it all: magic, mystery, a hot male lead, and of course for you crime drama buffs, good ol' fashioned police work.

And of course, unless you've been hibernating for the last couple of years, American Horror Story (FX) is back! The series just wouldn't be complete without focusing on witches for this season's storyline in AHS: Coven. A few episodes in and I'm hooked! I can't wait until tomorrow (Wed) night! Jessica Lange has brought her A game once again, as well as newcomers to the series, Kathy Bates and Angelica Bassett.

Now, I had no intentions of watching The Witches of East End (Lifetime) as the trailers made it look so campy, but after one late night when I couldn't sleep, my curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to watch the first episode On Demand. A total surprise! I am now a faithful watcher and plan on reading the series by the same name by Melissa De La Cruz!

What spooky/paranormal shows are you watching this Fall season? 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


It's been almost a week since the hubby and I attended the Haute Cuisine event for Fall for the Book! I didn't have much time to do an update, as several hours later we boarded a plane to Tucson for my sister's wedding!

Here are some highlights from the event:

We began the event with a panel discussion with all the chefs/authors. And the puppy in the photo? That was a picture of a cake! There was a slideshow showcasing our books and culinary creations.

After the panel everyone was assigned a table where we promoted out books and food. Dave cooked up a mean gumbo (the hit of the event) in honor of Darkly Beings. 

Throughout the event we did some bartering with some of the other participants. 
Gumbo for beer and cake! 

It was a great time and there were so many great folks that came out for this event. Thanks to George Mason University and the Fall for the Book organizers for this fabulous experience. 

*First two photo credits: Jan Rayl 

Monday, September 23, 2013

From my kitchen...

I can't believe it's been almost a month since Darkly Beings was released. Where does the time go? want to thank everyone for their guys rock! And yes, for those that keep emailing me, book four in the Travelers Series will be out in a few months! 

In a couple of days, Dave and I will be presenting at this year's Fall for the Book - Haute Cuisine at the Hylton this Thursday. I am so excited to be able to attend this event with the hubby! If you're in the Virginia/DC area, we'd love to see you there! 

So with that in mind, I am going to post two recipes that are featured in the book, including the gumbo recipe Dave will be demo'ing at the event. 

Chef Dave Lefeve's Cajun Gumbo

In Darkly Beings, Big Momma Ledoux's gumbo recipe is Creole. Dave prefers Cajun, having been a chef in Lafayette, LA. 

1 (4-5lb) duck (or any poultry)
4 tsps of salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup small diced onion
3/4 cup small diced celery
3/4 cup small diced green, red, and/or yellow red pepper
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 (12oz) bottle of Shiner Bock (or any dark beer)
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
5 tsps Cajun seasoning (we like Slap Ya Momma, made in Ville Platte, LA)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
*2lbs andouille sausage, cut into 1/2in rounds
steamed white rice, for serving
1 cup chopped green onions

Rinse duck under cold running water (inside/out). Cut back of duck on either side of the spine. Remove spine and reserve for stock. Cut through breastbone to give you 2 halves. Cut legs from each half and the first two digits of the wings. Set aside and cut the breasts in half horizontally.

Season duck with 2tsps of Cajun seasoning. Place in large Dutch oven over medium heat for 2 mins, or until hot. Place seasoned duck, skin side down in the pan and sear until golden brown, about 7-8 mins. Turn duck over and sear the other side for an additional 7-8 mins. Remove the duck from the pan and place on a platter while you make the roux. 

Add butter to the pan, as well as flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir the roux continuously over medium heat until the color of dark chocolate, about 20-25 mins. Add onions, celery, peppers, and garlic to the roux and stir gently until the vegetables are slightly wilted, about 4-5 mins. Pour beer over the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Add chicken stock to the pan with the thyme, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper and the remaining 2tsps of salt. Add the sausage. Stir the pot well to ensure that the roux and stock are well blended. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the gumbo to a boil; then lower to a simmer. Return the seared duck pieces to the pan and cook (skimming any foam and fat that may rise to the surface), for 1 hour and 30 mins. After an hour and a half, remove the duck pieces from the gumbo and place on a platter to cool. Once the duck is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and meat from the bones and add the meat to the gumbo. Discard the skin and bones and re-season the gumbo, if necessary. 

To serve the gumbo, ladle 1 cup into a heated soup bowl with 1/4 cup of white rice. Garnish with green onions. 

*the sausage Dave will use for the gumbo will be provided by Forrest Pritchard (straight from his farm, Smith Meadows), who will also be presenting at this event. 

South Texas Michelada's

In the book, Wyatt orders a Michelada to cure a hangover. This shot was taken during my last trip home to South Texas, where my dad surprised us with a little pick-me-up. 

1 32oz bottle of chilled Clamato (or tomato juice)
3 12oz bottle of chilled Mexican beer (we prefer Tecate or Victoria) 
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp Maggi seasoning (personally, I think this is optional) 
2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
lime wedges for serving

Mix Clamato, beer, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and Maggi seasoning in a large pitcher.

Mix salt and chili powder on a small plate. Rub rims of pint glasses with *lime wedges and dip in salt mixture. Fill glass with ice, add Michelada mixture, and garnish with lime wedges. 

Serves 6-8

*if you can get ahold of some Lucas (sal y limon) use that instead of the lime wedges/salt mixture. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Almost Time!

Darkly Beings has been sent to editing and will be available soon! This is the part of the process where I hate to part with my book. What if I still need to write more? What if that scene sucks? What if my character could have said a particular line better? These are all the thoughts that run through my mind...

Fortunately, I other things to occupy my time while it's in Jeff's trusted hands. Eat. Sleep. Do Laundry. Finish lectures. More sleep. 

But in all seriousness, I am so honored to be able to bring this book to life. This book, unlike my other works, is a complete reflection of myself and my life growing up in South Texas (except of course for the paranormal elements). 

If you want a good idea of what's in store, check out my Darkly Beings pinterest page! I've got so many photos of all the places, foods, events that inspired the book. 

I tried to pin as many visuals so that my readers could get an idea of what things (concepts) look like in a particular scene. Some photos are the actual places mentioned in the book. 

And for you audio folks, here's the playlist. It's a little different than my usual mix (and love) of 80's rockin' tunes, but this playlist is comprised of songs I feel capture the book. There's a little of everything: Country, Indie, Tejano, Punk, Spanish, and even a little Zydeco. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Enjoy free books?

A friend from my local writers group recently uploaded her new debut novel, JADED, on SwoonReads (Macmillan Publishing), a site where authors can submit their books for review. The idea behind the site is those that receive the most votes from readers will get an opportunity to be published by Mac Teen Books.

So for those of you who enjoy a good YA book and don't have the cash flow to support your reading addiction, you might want to check it out. You may discover a great YA read! 

But start with Jaded, by Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie first! I promise it's a fantastic read. How can you not want to read about a utopian community that's anything but... And don't forget to rate her book! 

And for those that are writers who'd like to get traditionally published, this might be a site for you to consider to get your foot in the door. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cover Reveal Friday!

I know I've been in what seems like an extended hiatus, but I promise you I've been working hard on my new series. Coming soon, I swear (I'll be reaching out to my faithful beta's in the next week or two)!

But one thing I have managed to secure is my new cover! Karri Klawiter of Art by Karri designed this amazing cover for DARKLY BEINGS! Not only did she manage to capture the image I was going for in one try, but she's incredibly great to work with! 

And here's the blurb: 

Wyatt McKenna has avoided his hometown for years, until a chance encounter prompts him to return to the small Texas town of Caldero, a place where he prefers to keep the memories of his childhood buried. 

Natalie Betancourt is sent to spend the summer with her aunts in Caldero, in an attempt to escape the curse placed by the very priests that have guarded her family’s secret for generations.

In a sleepy Southern town where nothing ever happens, Wyatt is charged with changing the course of Natalie’s fate and the destiny that awaits them both.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My First Photo Shoot

I've never done a professional photo shoot before (aside from my wedding), but yesterday the hubby and I had our photos taken for an upcoming piece for Prince William Living, featuring the authors participating in the food/book event for Fall for the Book. The hubs and I didn't have photos of us together, so they sent a photographer to our house!

Here are some of the shots (from the 150+ that were taken): 

(Photo Credit(s): Chip Deyerle) 

Now, if you're an author and are contemplating getting some new author pics done, here's what I've learned:

1. Expect the session to take more than an hour! Silly me, I thought we'd be done in less than an took two.

2. If you're like me and NOT photogenic, expect the photographer to take a billion pics in order to get ten that look good. 

3. Make sure you get some good candid shots. Of all the photos taken, the candid ones were the best ones. 

4. Wear color! At first, I really wanted to wear a white dress paired with a jean jacket, but in the end I followed the photographers advice and he was right. I didn't want to go overboard, so I chose something that complimented the hubby's chefs jacket. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

I'm several months early in announcing this, but I'm so excited about this project I thought I'd do a super early post on it. Coffin Hop: Death by "Drive-In" will be released sometime around October and here's the new cover (designed by the talented Liz Howerton):

This anthology is part of Coffin Hop, an annual horror event, and this collection features the work of some of the best in indie horror! I am so honored to have one of my short stories included in this. This years festivities will run from October 24-26 (a bunch of great prizes were given away last year) and I'll keep y'all posted on when this anthology will be released! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Darkly Beings Sneak Peek

It's Indie Life time again! I hope y'all are having a good writing day/week/month! I don't have much to offer today, but...

I've been a busy little bee lately and yes, that even includes writing! I am on the final scenes for DARKLY BEINGS and I am *keep your fingers crossed* hoping for a late June/early July release! Yay!

Usually when I'm towards the tail end of a book, I start to pay more attention to music. I know there are many authors that write to music (I'm not one of them), but I do tend to associate certain songs, whether it be in the car, watching TV, or doing other things, as a sort of theme to whatever it is I'm writing at the moment. Thus, a playlist is born! Right now, my list consists of old school country, zydeco, and even some Spanish tunes.

What about you other writers? Do you have a playlist in mind as you write or does it come together once you're towards the finish line?

And in honor of my almost-there-but-not-quite WIP (especially since I've been slacking on the updates), I thought I'd post a little sneak preview!

CHAPTER ONE (excerpt) 
*Keep in mind, nothing has been edited yet! 

New Orleans, Louisiana


The bell chimed as I wandered into the storefront. It wasn’t in the best part of town, in fact, it was located in one of those seedy neighborhoods you could only be brave enough to venture into during the day. But this was exactly the kind of place I knew I’d find what I was looking for. I wasn’t sure what that was exactly, but this was one of those situations where I knew I’d find what I was seeking as soon as I saw it. My afternoon foray to the bad part of town was more for a project really; to find something, anything, that looked even remotely interesting for a paper I had to complete for class. 
An elderly black woman stepped out from behind the black curtain and went up to the counter upon hearing the bell, announcing she had a customer. She had the kind of ageless appearance older black women seem to have that could keep you guessing as to her true age. For all I knew, she could have been anywhere between forty or eighty years old. The woman eyed me as I walked along the tables without saying a word, as I inspected the odds and ends she had for sale in her little shop. 
Satisfied I wasn’t here to cause trouble or shoplift, the old woman finally spoke from behind the counter, “What you seek you will find at home,” she said from the main counter like some carney fortuneteller. 
“The person you seek is at home,” she said again, her thick New Orleans drawl had the slightest trace of an accent. Haitian perhaps? 
I eyed the old voodoo woman curiously. There was no doubt she was none other than Madame Marguerite, whose name was painted in red on the front door of the shop. “Is that so? How do you know I’m looking for someone?”
She winked and grinned, exposing a gold capped tooth on her bottom row of teeth, marring her otherwise bright pearly white smile. “Aren’t we all looking for something, cher?”
And that’s exactly why I didn’t believe in all that magic mumbo jumbo crap. People like the shop keeper always stuck to the obvious to make you believe what they were saying was true. Sure, weren’t we all looking for someone or something at one point or another? It was all just a big farce if you ask me. Magic, potions, and fortunes were all just a rouse to con gullible people out of their hard earned money. It was something I knew a little something about. You believed in it because you want to believe, not because it was truth. 
It was one of the reasons why I chose Cultural Anthropology as my field of study — I was a skeptic. And what better way to debunk all this hoodoo voodoo than to study it and reveal it for the sham it really was. Don’t get me wrong, my interest in the varied cultures of the world is what first lead me to study the field in the first place, but after three years of college, I began to have reservations about some of the practices involving religion or magic. 
The only reason I was in the voodoo shop in the side streets of New Orleans to begin with was to do some last minute research for my final paper. I wasn’t planning on buying any potions to find a lost love, and I sure as hell wasn’t planning on taking advice from the old lady who posed as a grand voodoo priestess, no matter what the placard out front said. 
“Well, my roommate Paul is at work, so he’s not technically lost.” I knew it wasn’t what she meant — not that there was any real meaning behind her words — but I wasn’t going to tell her anything revealing about myself so she could use it against me later. That’s how these fortune tellers and mystics worked. They get you to open up with personal information so they could regurgitate it later and claim they have actual insight into your future. 
The woman smiled. “Cher, you know that not the truth. That not be the person you seek. Go home,” she instructed. “Your destiny awaits you.” 
And there it was again. That one little word that could turn a skeptic into a believer: truth. 
Only this guy ain’t buying. 


Don't forget to check out the other indie writers over at Indie Life

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good Reads

As many of you know, from time to time I like to post books I've read. They're not reviews per se, but rather throwing out some good reads you might be interested in. I have to admit I've been a bit naughty and have been reading instead of writing, but I really needed the downtime. And for those that enjoy getting good deals on Kindle books, check out Its a free service and everyday I get an email announcing great book deals (based on my reading preferences) from both traditional and indie authors.

So what have I read recently?

An Innocent Client by Scott Pratt

It'd been awhile since I'd read a good lawyer/courtroom drama and I am so glad I picked this one up! I really enjoyed Scott Pratt's writing style and if you're a fan of John Grisham, you might just want to read it! So glad I "discovered" Pratt's series now rather than sooner (there's already four in the series and I don't have to wait). 

The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson

OMG! This was such a surprise read! I can't believe I stumbled upon it. If you're a fan of super heroes, kiss ass heroines, a villain you can (almost) love, this book is for you! Great storytelling, great, characters, just overall awesome sauce!! 

Blood Calling by Joshua Grover-David Patterson

I never grow tired of vampire books and I totally loved this new series by Patterson. It's a fresh new take on vamps and I totally enjoyed it. I even picked up book two (Misfits) in the series. Please (if you're reading this JGDP) put out book three already!! Blood Calling is currently FREE on Amazon. 

Gone by Christine Kersey

If you've read my books, you know I love a good parallel universe story. Totally loved the premise: an alternate reality where the government controls your weight. I know right? Half-way through reading, I got the munchies and was so thankful we're allowed to eat all the fat we want! Can't wait for book two!! Gone is currently FREE on Amazon

The Afterlife Series by Willow Rose

I haven't read many books about sprits or angels, so I don't know if I'm a good judge of this genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Afterlife Series. I was totally engrossed with the story and it took me two days to read all four books in the series (I purchased the fourth book separately). 

Perception by Lee Strauss

I have to admit, it took me days to get past the first chapter, but once I did, I couldn't put this book down. It had an interesting concept (genetically altered persons or GAPs) and it's a great read if you like YA sci-fi. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Your Legacy as an Indie

It's the second Wednesday of the month and even though the day is half-way done and over with, I thought I should still do my post for Indie Life today.

I've been thinking a lot about my own mortality lately (I know, morbid, right?), as well as the longevity of my books. What happens when I'm gone? Will my books continue to sell since I'm self-published, or will my business close shop, so to speak? What happens to my royalties? 

I decided that as an indie author, it is worth considering, as I don't have a big 10 publisher, lawyer, or agent to take care of these things if something were ever to happen to me. I mean, it's not like the notion is unheard of. When V.C. Andrews passed away, her family decided to hire a ghost writer to complete her unfinished stories, with the royalties going back into the Andrew's estate. And what about Stieg Larsson, whose Millennium Series became published after his death, with his estate and royalties going to his father and brother (which supposedly was not in his will and was against his wishes). 

So how do we, as indie authors protect ourselves from a situation like Larsson's? 

For starters, I plan to jot all my account information (Amazon, B&N, iTunes, etc.) and passwords and save them in a safe place, either in a lock box at home or safety security box at the bank. That way, my husband (or whoever is named in my will upon my death) can have access everything and can continue (or not) to keep my books published and keep the royalties rolling in. 

What about my books and or unfinished manuscripts? I'm thankful I've already been using Dropbox as a back-up for all my work. This information, as well as my computer log-in info will be stored along with all my book account info. 

Whether you're an author or not, it should always be a good idea to keep all your personal info and banking passwords in one place (safely secured, of course), to make things easier in the event something happens. We never think anything will ever happen to us and often make excuses for not putting our personal affairs in order until it's too late. 

What have you done to protect your legacy after you've gone? 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I'm not worthy!!

I know, I last posted almost a month ago (give or take a day), but yes, I really am up and about! I feel bad that I haven't been updated y'all with what's going on, but after these next couple of weeks (once I'm done giving final exams), I promise I'll be around more often! 

Now that I've got that out of the way, I actually have some real news to report!

(drum roll, please)

I will be a featured guest/author, along with my chef hubby, at Fall for the Book this September! For those of you unaware of this festival, it is a huge deal in the DC/Northern Virginia area. It is a week long festival that takes place throughout the DC/NOVA area and it is an honor to be invited to participate. Hubby and I will be participating as a team, with the hubby doing a culinary demo while I discuss how his cooking influences my writing/books. 

Not only is the festival an opportunity to support children's education and allow readers to connect with authors, but this organization also awards/honors the best in the literary world for their contributions and achievements in literature: past recipients include Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Amy Tan, etc. (yes, they actually show up to receive their awards). 

Once again, it's big honor to be invited to participate! 

In other news, I just found out that one of the anthologies I am featured in, Let It Snow! Season's Readings for a Super Cool Yule, was just nominated for BEST ANTHOLOGY by eFestival of Words! Now, I'm absolutely certain my short story in no way helped in achieving this great honor, but I am humbled and honored to be in the same company with the amazing authors that no doubt contributed to the success of this collection. 

If you haven't picked up your copy of Let It Snow! it's available on Amazon (0.99)! My short story, Old Mexia Christmas Brew, is set in the Travelers Series universe. So check it out and see what all the fuss it about! 

That's it folks! I am going to go back to writing and hopefully get something productive accomplished so I can feel worthy of all this! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I'm Still Here!

Every once in awhile I go MIA and it's usually for a good reason. But even though I haven't posted in several weeks, it doesn't mean I haven't been working! As you can tell from the sidebar, I am almost 40% done (that's almost halfway, folks!!!) with DARKLY BEINGS, the first in a new series and while I am still in the early stages of getting PARAMETER written, I have finally figured out all the nitty gritty details and I expect to get rolling with that in the next couple of weeks.

So, anyway, things got a bit hectic in March, having to go to Texas twice for family reasons, doing some freelance editing projects for some local authors, and THEN I picked up a part-time job (I don't teach in the summer) at my most favorite store in the whole wide world (where all my royalties will go to), so I guess you can say I've been a bit swamped. But I hope to have more updates for you soon!

Okay, back to writing...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How Do You Stay Organized?

It's Wednesday! That means it's Indie Life time!

Last summer, I wrote a post, Paper or Tech? Let's Get Organized!, on my love of old school paper agenda's vs. tech organizers.

I still haven't changed my tune. My Lilly Pulitzer agenda still goes with me everywhere I go and I'd be totally lost without it. That, and you can't use awesome stickers on an smartphone app! 

BUT... I recently I took the plunge and got an iPad Mini. I had wanted an iPad forever, but could never justify the purchase. Would I use it? Was it worth the investment? What can it do that my Macbook Air or iPhone doesn't already do? 
          This picture (from Apple) really doesn't do the iPad mini justice. It makes it look so small (like an iPhone)... 

Here's my iPad mini along with my agenda and iPhone. Much larger than a phone... 

I pondered those questions and finally went over to my local Best Buy and decided to just take a look. Immediately, I realized that the iPad wasn't for me. It was almost the same size and weight as my Macbook 11" Air! Then I played with the iPad Mini and fell in love. I hadn't thought I'd like it, as the commercial makes it look like a larger iPhone, but it's actually bigger than pictured (about the size of a Kindle Fire). It was exactly what I'd been looking for... something a bit more portable to give my laptop a break once in awhile (as a writer, it's my livelihood, so I must protect it)!

...but much smaller than my Mac 11' Air. 

Fortunately, I knew to ask the wonderful sales guys as Best Buy if they had any open stock items and they did! So for well under $300, I walked away with a brand new iPad Mini (I always try to get deals, and when it comes to electronics, who cares if the box was previously opened)? 

Now that I'm a couple weeks in, I am so happy I decided to splurge a little and get this fantastic device. I was in Texas a week ago and I was able to conduct business without having to take my laptop. Here are a few of the apps/features I love:

Kindle: Even though I own a Kindle, but it's still a must have. A lot of folks complain about the backlit screen of an iPad, but I actually like being able to read my ebooks at any time anytime without worrying if my mini light attached to my Kindle is going to burn out (which is always the case). Having this app has saved me a few times on my iPhone when I've forgotten to bring or charge my Kindle. I also have iBooks and Nook apps.

iTunes Connect: If you publish ebooks directly to iTunes, this is a must have app on your iPad or iPhone! I love that I can check sales data without having to log into the full account. I just wish Amazon had an app like this!  

Sugarsync: In a way, I like this better than Dropbox (which I also have), because it links all the files I want between all my Apple devices. If I want to view, email, or share a file from my desktop, all I have to do is open up this nifty app and voila! Everything on my desktop is available on my phone or iPad. It also helps if you have a word processing program like Mac's Pages, so you can actually work/edit documents. 

Evernote: Once again, I am able to take notes and sync it to all my Apple devices. But unlike other note/organization applications, I can also save photos/screenshots/websites from my laptop and view them on my iPad! This is great for when I'm doing research for my books and want to add websites or photos for later reference.

Penultimate: While I'm not a fan of iOS agendas, I'm totally in love with this Evernote companion. I can draw notes and make to-do likes (so I don't clutter my paper agenda). This handy iPad app syncs with my Evernote account, so I can also have access to my notes/journals on my laptop.

Wunderlist: Another great task manager app. I love making to-do lists and this app is exactly what I need to stay organized with writing, editing, and other personal projects. Personally, I think it's much better than the Reminder and/or Notes app that come standard with the iPad/iPhone. 

Blogger: My blog/website is through Blogger, so I can blog whenever/wherever I am! Wordpress also has an app. 

Of course, it goes without saying that all the social media apps are awesome to have (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.). In fact, I end up using them more often! If you want to get more organized, you should look into getting Hootsuite, which merges both your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

And heads up... all of the apps I mentioned are FREE! 

These are just a few of the apps that really make the iPad Mini a great tool when on the go and don't want to lug around a laptop (even if it is small). It really is like having a virtual office. 

The only thing on my wish list is a Lilly Pulitzer iPad Mini case!!! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blog Tour Winners!

The winners of the Travelers Series Blitz Tour are..........


You will be contacted by Kismet Book Touring about receiving all three ebooks in the Travelers Series! Please make sure you let them know which ebook format you prefer. 

And the winner of the signed print copies is...

Sarah C. from Virginia! 

You will receiving a package from me this week!! 

Congrats everyone and big thank you to everyone who stopped by during the tour!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Thank You!

The Travelers Series Blog Blitz tour is officially over! I want to thank all the fabulous book bloggers that hosted me last week, as well as all the readers who signed up for the giveaway contest! There were over 500 entries! 

Five winners will receive all three ebooks in the Travelers Series and one lucky winner will be receiving a signed print copy of each book! Winners will be announced on my website soon. 

And once again, thanks go out to Kismet Book Touring, who always does a phenomenal job. Danny and Heather are the best! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Blog Blitz

Just wanted to remind everyone that the Travelers Series is on tour this week! Don't forget to stop by all the fabulous bloggers that are hosting me this week! 

Each blog will give you a chance to enter one of two giveaways: five lucky readers will win all three book in the series and one winner will win signed print copies! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I love book bloggers!

This morning, I received a very happy surprise! Heather over at Bewitched Bookworms reviewed PARADIGM and gave it a five out of five rating! 

It's just the confidence boost I needed to get crakin' on PARAMETER. I'm really hoping to get more written soon (my other WIP has taken up a lot of my writing time). I kinda hit a lull with book 4 for awhile, but it's getting there. 

And speaking of reviews and book blogs, next week I will be doing a blog book blitz for the TRAVELERS SERIES from February 25 - March 1st. I just loving working with the gals over at Kismet Book Touring! So don't forget to stop by and visit all of the fabulous book bloggers who signed up for the tour... you just might win a signed print copy of the entire series! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Who's attending IndieReCon?

For all those indie writers/authors out there, don't forget to register for Indie ReCon! The Indie Revolution Conference starts TOMORROW and best of all, it's FREE! Personally, I love any conference that I don't have to book hotel/airfare for and can attend in my p.j.'s.

The presenters they have lined up for the conference is pretty impressive and I'll be lurking around throuout the three day online conference. Hope to "see" you there! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Indie Life

It's officially the second Wednesday of the month, which means it's Indie Life time! This is a monthly feature hosted by the Indelibles to promote, encourage, and support indie authors. Don't forget to visit the site to read other indie author posts! 

The word 'indie' itself is kind of a misnomer when it comes to indie writers. I say this because we don't do it alone, despite the implication. Sure, I write my own books, just like any other author, but I publish them all on my own. Other than that, it takes a lot of other folks to help put my books into readers hands. 

It would be great if I could do it all by myself (I'd save a lot of money according to my taxes) instead of outsourcing things like cover art, formatting, editing, etc. Then again, it's a great deduction to have come tax time. Make no mistake, I usually earn back everything I put in to publishing a book the first week it's release, but still... 

So a few months ago I decided it was time to learn how to format my own ebooks and save a little bit of money. I've never had any issues formatting for print, but formatting ebooks is an entirely different beast. 

To be honest, I'd never really given it much thought until I saw a request from an author to review his book, How to Format Your Novel for Kindle, Nook, the iBookstore, Smashwords & Createspace in One Afternoon. Ed was offering up a free copy, so I asked if I could read it. Only, I also had to purchase Scrivener in order to make heads or tails of it (I downloaded the free trial first to see if I could actually do it before I actually bought the program)! And boy, am I ever glad I made the investment! As promised, within one afternoon, I learned how to format an ebook! Plus, purchasing Scrivener was cheaper ($45) than paying someone to format one of my books. 

Warning... this tutorial is for Scrivener Mac users (sorry PC people). 

I know. I'm totally behind, as I know everyone pretty much uses Scrivener as their writing software, and I could kick myself for not having purchased it sooner. 

And once I learned how easy it was to format, I realized there's more value to being able to do it myself than just saving a few bucks. I can now go back and edit/change my books at any time. I can now write short stories and publish them as often as I'd like. I can now be in control when it comes to release dates.

I owe a lot to my format guy Ted at Dellaster Design and will always keep his contact information handy in case I have a project that only he can work his magic on, and I'd recommend him to anyone not ready to tackle digital formatting, but it's a great feeling to be able to do it on your own... indie style! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Fat Tuesday

...or Mardi Gras! I hope everyone is taking advantage of the one day of the year when it's totally acceptable to indulge to your hearts content.

I woke up this morning to Zydeco music playing in the kitchen, courtesy of Pandora (and a hubby who woke up hours before me). It was such a treat to sip my first cup coffee to such cheerful music. We even danced a little in the kitchen. 

It didn't take much convincing to persuade the hubby to go to Okra's, one of the local restaurants here in town. We had a great time and might go back later tonight for the live entertainment.

Our bartender, Antonio, was an absolute hoot during lunch! The hubby and I had fried oysters and 
alligator tails, with a couple of Abita's to wash it all down. 

Every year, I order a King Cake from Haydel's Bakery in New Orleans for my office. This year, being self-employed, I don't have an office to purchase one for, so I just about died and went to heaven when I found out the restaurant had King Cake! I ate one piece there at the restaurant and ordered an other one to-go. 

I don't really know where the urge to celebrate Mardi Gras comes from. Maybe it's because I grew up observing Lent and Mardi Gras marked the day where I could stuff my face before I had to give something up. Now that I'm older, I always "say" I'm going to give up something for Lent (chocolate, alcohol, carbs, etc.), but I never really follow through, although I still give up meat on Fridays.  

I'm thinking I'll try a new approach this year. Instead of giving something up, I might make an effort to DO something everyday during Lent. So starting tomorrow (or maybe today), I'll make a determined effort to write everyday. Now, I've always been a proponent of writing on a daily basis, but lately I've come up with excuses to slack off. But not now. I've got two books I'd like to get out before summer, so maybe this is the push that I need to see this goal through. 

But in the meantime, laissez les bons temps rouler... Let the good times roll! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Day in the Life

I'm sure there are friends, family, and even fellow writers who wonder what the heck writers do all day. So I decided to give you a brief glimpse into the life of a writer. This was my day yesterday...

8:30am: I finally stumble out of bed. After waking up at 4am to take Gertie out to do her business and get her settled again, I was too tired to wake up to my 7:30am alarm. 

Miss Gertie decided she needed some extra beauty sleep as well. 

I normally teach at the college Wednesday afternoons, so it's not a full writing day for me, but the night before, I had begun to feel a bit sick and it hadn't cleared up by this morning, so I emailed my students to let them know class was canceled for today (I'm sure they were pleased). 

Most mornings I start my day be going over emails and other social media sites before I get down to "real" work. 

9:53am: Emailed Ina, a fabulous book blogger in Serbia, to let her know to expect some print books soon to follow up on my interview! She interviewed me last week on her blog (don't worry, it's in English). You can check it out here

10:05am: Sent a congratulatory email to fellow Spellbound Scribes writer (I'm not going to say which author, as it's still 'hush, hush') who just signed with an agent! Yay!!

10:40am: I emailed the lovely Danny at Kismet Book Touring to give her some quotes and excerpts of the Travelers Series for my upcoming blitz tour at the end of the month. 

10:45am: Did some non-writerly related stuff and emailed a t-shirt vendor about a design proof I approved for my sorority where I volunteer as an college/chapter advisor and serve as an officer for our alumnae association. 

Isn't this a cute t-shirt design? I guess I'm still stuck in my 20's, which is probably why I write YA. 

Sometime after I look over my emails I decide to work with Miss Gertie in the backyard with some lead training. 

11:30am - 12:30pm: I decide have to do what normal people do and take a shower and get ready for the rest of the day. 

12:30pm: Get some print books ready to sign to take over to my old office! 

1:00pm: I begin writing this post while I wait for my laptop to fully charge (going to SBUX to write later) and eat some lunch.

The hubby made his famous gumbo last night (he used to be a chef in Louisiana, so he knows his gumbo)! I had mine without rice, as I'm trying to cut down on carbs... I'm hoping the spices will clear my sinuses up! 

1:45pm: Made my way over to my old office (where I worked last summer when I wasn't teaching) and dropped off a few signed books. It's great to have such great support from friends! 

2:50pm: I'm now at Starbucks... and so glad I stopped by to write here today! The manager gave me a HUGE bag of "expired" espresso pods! When you work primarily from home, it's cheaper to make espresso drinks at home, and when she asked if I'd be interested in their expired/retired (they'll no longer be carrying them in stores), I jumped at the chance! Thank you Beth!!

I didn't count how many boxes of espresso pods until I got home. Turned out to be 15! Now I have to figure out where to store them all! 

4:40pm: Finally left SBUX with a word count of 801 for my new series. Not my best, considering I was there for almost 2 hours, but I'm happy with what I accomplished.

4:45pm: Decided I wasn't ready to go home just yet, so I went next door to visit my favorite independent used bookstore, McKay Used Books! Their YA section is seriously lacking, but I walked away with 4 books for under $5!

5:25pm: Made my way back home and decided to go back and finish working on my taxes. Just a few more forms and I can file! So far, I don't owe anything, but my refund looks pretty pathetic compared to previous years. Damn book sales! Just kidding... please keep me self-employed!

6:00pm: Finishing up this post so I can go back to get some more writing done before our friend Jason comes over at 8pm.

8:30pm: Managed to get another 400 words written for my WIP. Then hubby's co-worker, pastry chef Jason Reaves, came over for some leftover gumbo.

Our friend Jason (blonde guy) with his Food Network LEGO Cakes Challenge winning cake! 
Stacey Wallace Benefiel, if you're reading this, I'm sure you'll appreciate this photo! 
(Photo image: Food Network)

10:15pm: Checked emails one last time and watched all the shows we DVR'd while our friend was over.

I know, I know... it sounds like I have a fabulous life, but I don't. Most days, I'm stuck in my chair, still wearing p.j.'s until the hubby comes home (where I manage to get dressed right before he walks through the door so it looks like I actually care about my appearance), which I think is going to be one of those days today.