Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goals For The New Year and "Bump" News

First off I want to sincerely apologize to all of Jessie's blog followers (I'm a Wife and Mama Now?) for the delay in posting part two of "The Bump." I finished it last night, and then my laptop decided to be an epic failure  and shut off before I could save, so now I have to go through and re-re-edit/rewrite. It will be up before the end of the first week of January, however, and you can hold me to that.

And now for my goals for the new year. Some are "personal" and some are "business."

1.  Lose 100 pounds.

2. Quit at BP.

3. Sell 500,000 copies of my books (ebook and paperback).

4. Get two new computers (both laptops, one mac, one windows)

5. Donate $5,000 to charity.

6. Get at least one copy of one of my books into the local library system.

7. Do two book signings.

8. Publish 10 books and short stories.

9. Hold four giveaways.

10. Buy all new bedroom furniture since mine is all ruined from water leaks.

PSA: If you're looking for a new apartment, stay the crap away from Georgetown On The River in Fridley, MN. They never actually fix problems, they never answer when you call, but they always know when rent is due. They suck. Do not rent from them.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little Too Much Partying...

Yeah, sorry about that, I meant to post the conclusion to "The Bump" yesterday, but I ended up partying a bit too hard, and I never finished the ending of it, so it will be up within the next 48 hours.  Sorry!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick quick quick!

Yes, the other half of The Bump will be posted today, but probably not until later tonight. I got sidetracked working on Jessie last night, so I still need to finish the refurb of The Bump, and it's taking just a bit longer than expected. It will be up later tonight, though, as well as some coverart!  :D

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Excerpts and Why I Love Faygo Cola

Have I got a treat for you! If you like reading stuff, and like reading MY stuff, you'll love the following two excerpts:

Fatima:


1. Nikki


Growing up in an upper-middle-class suburb of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area, I had led a moderately sheltered life. Our class didn’t know what diversity was until a Hispanic girl moved in at the end of the sixth grade, and two colored boys in eighth grade. Even then, everyone was Christian. We learned about other religions through Cable-In-The-Classroom programs and a couple of speakers from the local churches, but there were only a few of us who had ever met anyone who wasn’t Christian.
That was until the first day after Christmas vacation in tenth grade. It was just after first hour that I saw her. It was all I could do to avoid staring at her. Her skin was olive and her eyes were intense. She was about as tall as I was, and I was nearing five feet eight inches. But what caught my attention wasn’t her skin or her eyes, no, it was the way she was dressed.
She wore a long black robe-like thing that was accented with little gold flowers at the wrists and the bottom hem. When she lifted her arms to reach into her locker, I could see that she was wearing a dark purple long-sleeved shirt under it. What struck me dumb was the silky, purple cloth she had wrapped around her head and neck. At once, it was both mesmerizing and terrifying. Wasn’t that what the terrorists wore? The ones that crashed the planes into the towers? My thoughts raced, my heart pounded. A quick glance around proved that I was not the only one who felt this way. Even the Hispanic girl was whispering and pointing at this new girl. I wanted nothing more than to walk over and yank that scarf of the girl’s head.
I was still working up my nerve to go over and tell this new girl, this terrorist wannabe, off when the bell rang, and I had to bolt down the hall to class. I would have to deal with this threat later. Maybe at lunch.
I slid into my seat at the back of my math class just as the teacher, Mr. Warden, walked in. I sighed, relieved that I had avoided being marked tardy. The sigh was cut short, however, when I caught sight of the person walking in just behind him.
“Great,” I growled under my breath. My best friend, Shelly Johnson, shot me a clueless look, and I quickly scribbled a note on the back of an old worksheet and shoved it into her hand.
“Look at her. She’s a terrorist; we have to do something. How could they possibly expect us to accept her?” said the note. I watched her eyes widen in horror. I nodded when she met my gaze again, and then motioned for her to hand it to our other best friend, Kiki Newman. She read the note, looked up at me with an eyebrow raised, and then re-read the note.
“Everyone,” Mr. Warden said, interrupting our little meeting, “This is Fatima Sarraf. Her family’s just moved here from New York.”
“Looking for a new target? Didn’t give your God enough of a thrill when you trashed the twin towers?” Shelly catcalled. I tried hard to stifle a giggle. Mr. Warden shot us both a harsh look, but the girl didn’t waver. Her confidence infuriated me, so I added, “She’s probably here as a spy for the Taliban! I wonder when her beard will come in?” Shelly and Kiki both jerked forward, roaring with laughter. A few others laughed as well, but stopped abruptly as Mr. W spoke next.
“That’s it, you three, down to Mr. LeMay’s office. Now. Fatima, I apologize for their behavior. We aren’t all like that.”
As I gathered my books, a task made much more difficult by the fact that I was laughing uncontrollably, the girl spoke. “It’s all right, Mr. Warden.” Her voice was soft, and I had to look up at her. It was impossible not to see that her confident fa├žade had slipped. I could see tears welling in her eyes. I grinned fiendishly. This is gonna be easy.
Mr. LeMay, the Principal of Cedarcrest Senior High (our school), was a pushover. We weren’t too concerned as we walked from Mr. Warden’s class to the front office.
“Oh my god, Nikki, I seriously thought I was gonna have, like, a heart attack or something when you shouted that!” Kiki said when her giggling finally subsided. I high fived her and laughed.
“I thought she was gonna lose it! Did you see her? I bet if Mr. W hadn’t been such a little girl about it, we could’ve got her to leave the school,” I replied with a smirk. “We’ll get her.”
We stopped just before turning down the hall that led to the main office and huddled together. “So, we go in there and we play it cool. We say that the terrorist was totally buggin’ out on Kiki before class so Shelly and I had to do something. Okay?” I said in a stage whisper. The others nodded in agreement, as we made a pact to back each other up on this.
Fatima Sarraf was going down.

----

What do you think?  Interested in reading the rest of the story? It is currently available for free at smashwords.com if you follow this link. It won't be free forever, so go download your free copy quickly! And reviews are always welcome.  :)


And now, the other excerpt. 

Jessie:

“Bye Mom, Dad!” Jessie called over her shoulder as she slipped her shoes on. She was out the door in a flash, skipping happily down the street toward the bus stop. Up ahead she could see a few of her classmates also approaching the stop, and she wondered if they would talk to her that day. She slowed down so she wouldn’t pass the others, and held her messenger bag tight against her side. Would she finally make a friend?
At the bus stop, Jessie held her distance. She had always been awkward around other kids her own age. In the last two grades, there had been certain people who’d teased her about her shyness. But since those people no longer attended Cedarcrest High, Jessie thought she might stand a chance. After all, it was her senior year, and things were bound to be different. At least that’s what she told herself.
She glanced around, trying her best to look “normal.” The boy closest to her was bouncing a basketball while talking on a cell phone. A group of girls a few feet from her was gossiping about something the cheerleading captain did over summer vacation. Sitting on the curb, furthest from Jessie, was a boy she’d never seen before.
For reasons she didn’t quite understand, the new boy made Jessie nervous. She decided right then and there that she would avoid him as much as possible. She played with her hair, letting it fall in thick brown waves on either side of her face. Nobody seemed to notice her. She couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. A cold wind stirred up the few red and yellow leaves that had already fallen, whisking them quickly through the small group of high school students. Jessie twitched at the sensation of one of the cold, slightly damp leaves smacking her in the side of the head.
Her hands flew to her face, fingers working frantically to get the leaf out of her hair. It was a few moments before she threw the leaf to the ground, shaking her head in an effort to clear her brain of the sensation. She looked down the street to see if she could spot the bus, and that was when she realized the silence that had fallen over the other teens. She froze, heart pounding, as she heard a junior girl, Natasha Hart, ask, “Your name’s Jessie, right?”
Jessie nodded once, trying to determine her course of action. It had been years since anyone had actively sought her out in a crowd for any reason other than to tease her. She was ready to bolt at the first sign of hostility. But when she looked at the other girl’s face, all she saw was sincerity and innocence.
“My name’s Natasha, but everyone calls me Nat. Um, you took gymnastics in middle school, didn’t you?” The girl was enthusiastic, that Jessie could never deny. She stood just shy of five feet tall, appearing almost childlike next to Jessie, who was pushing six feet. Natasha was blonde with beautifully tanned skin, whereas Jessie had a thick tangle of brown-black waves that fell to the middle of her back and her skin was too sensitive to tan.
“Um, yeah,” Jessie said, her voice barely above a whisper. Nat’s smile only seemed to grow wider, showing more of her perfectly white teeth. If Jessie’s memory served her, Natasha came from a rather wealthy family with a large house on the river. Why is she talking to me? I’m not anywhere near her league. Give me a 15 foot ladder and two yardsticks taped to each other and I might be able to prod the bottom of her league, Jessie thought rather bitterly.
“Well, um,” Nat paused, biting her lip and looking back to her friends, most of which were still gossiping about summer vacation. She cleared her throat and continued, “We, uh, the cheer squad that is, were wondering if you would be interested in trying out this year? We’re down a couple girls after that whole pregnancy thing last year, and since you already took gymnastics you’re like way overqualified, so you should totally try out.”
“What?” Jessie blurted, almost cutting Natasha off. She cringed immediately, knowing she just likely blew her chance at whatever the other girl was talking about.
“Try out for cheerleading. Please? We really need more girls, and I really think you’d be a good addition to the team.” Natalia looked over to her friends and motioned for them to come over. “I mean, you’re totally tall, you’ve got that great hair, and your legs go on for miles.”
“You’re gonna try out for the squad?” another blond girl, Felicia, asked as she approached. She held her hand out to shake Jessie’s. “I’m Felicia. You’re Jessie, right? I think we had math together last year.”

----------------


Jessie will be out before the end of 2012. It is going to be YA/Horror. 

Faygo Cola is terrific. It tastes just like Pepsi or Coke but it's 99 cents! Hot damn! Plus, that's 24 oz size. So you get more for 99 cents than you get for almost 2 bucks in any other brand.
/Shameless plug for a brand I enjoy.




Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day! and New Spiffy Features

Hope your Christmas was wonderful, assuming you celebrate Christmas. 
Today I guest-blogged for Jessie over at I'm a Wife and Mama Now? so y'all should scoot over, give her some love, and read the first half of "The Bump!" The second half of "The Bump" will be posted here on Wednesday along with a cover art reveal. 
It's Monday, time for a book review, this one is taken from Lulu.com, by Christopher N: 
 4 out of 5 stars: The story is a good read, suitable for a wide variety in ages of readers. Geared primarily towards the teenage crowd, this story touches on one of the more prominent issues facing teens with a feel good fantasy twist. It is well worth the price for the casual reader and leaves off at the right point to peak curiosity towards any sequels.



Thanks for the great review, Chris!
And now for some new features being added to my blog:


The Links tab above is being continuously updated


There's a nifty new label sphere in the side column, use it to quickly find posts you'd be interested in reading


Up above, there's a new tab specifically for release information and upcoming releases






So how was your Christmas? Did you get everything you wanted and did you see all your family?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope your Christmas is filled with what truly matters and not cluttered and bogged with the things that don't.
There might be another Weekend Recipe later today, but just in case, I wanted to blog for Sunday.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Weekend Recipes and Fatima Paperback Release News

I want to say thank you to my followers, there's three of you now (says four on the sidebar but one of those is me so I can track my comments without being on blogger all the time), and thank you to all of the people who view my blog each time I update. I appreciate it!

Gonna start out the weekend with a recipe that I used on Wednesday:  CLAM CHOWDER!

Here's the recipe: 
3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
1 cup minced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste

Directions
1. Drain juice from clams into a large skillet over the onions, celery, potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover, and cook over medium heat until tender.
2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in cream and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in vegetables and clam juice. Heat through, but do not boil.
3. Stir in clams just before serving. If they cook too much they get tough. When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 501 | Total Fat: 32.7g | Cholesterol: 137mgPowered by ESHA Nutrient Database


I really liked the end result, but I have to admit I tweaked it a bit. I didn't use the carrots or the vinegar, and I added just a bit more butter, also used a roux because it did not thicken like I'd hoped. It makes A LOT of soup, so consider sharing with a friend's family when you make it. 



And now for some exciting book-related news: 
Fatima is almost finished being formatted for paperback sales, and once I finish my guest blog post for my cousin Jessie's blog I will begin working on Fatima 2 Electric Boogaloo (actual title: Nikki's choice). The two will be available in the same paperback, but seperate in e-book form, with Fatima being 99 cents and Nikki's Choice being $1.99.

Happy Chanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. I will see you tomorrow with more weekend recipes and more exciting stuff!

Friday, December 23, 2011

And Sunday Comes Afterward

So, I dun goofed yesterday, thinking it was Friday and not Thursday. So, since I got started on Friday Links early, I'll do a Thursday Poll today!
Since I don't know how to actually add a poll yet, I will just ask a question, and then you can (anon or not) reply with your answer. (It's multiple choice.)

Which name do you like more?

Andrew
Terry
Marcus
Robert

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's the Holiday Season...

And man, it sure is weird to go through this holiday season without my Mom. It's weird to wake up and not hear her clicking away on her computer or loving on one of the cats. It's really weird to wake up on my own, not to her hollering, "EMMA, GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED!"
She died on a Saturday morning, November 26th of 2011. Ever since it's been a whirlwind of activity around here, family members pulling me and my dad off to their houses. It's not natural. It's actually rather confusing.
I will be rather glad when the holidays are over and everything can go back to some semblance of normal.
That's my mom on halloween one year. Don't worry, those aren't her real boobies.

Anyway, it's time for Friday Links, so for this Friday's links, I'm updating the "pages" tab on the sidebar, to include a links page. On that page will be all the current links to all of my current books and to my mark. cosmetics e-boutique. 
That's all for now.
Happy Holidays.
Cherish the time you have on this
Earth with your loved ones. You 
never know when they'll be called 
back to God.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flurries and Hot Chocolate

I'm all cozy in bed with my laptop, working on chapter 2 of "Jessie." It's supposed to snow on and of all day and night today, so that's cool. I ended up getting my Christmas shopping done last night. Got my dad a phone card. He's really hard to shop for, so I opted for practical.
I'm going to open this blog up to guest bloggers, so if you're interested, I will post guest blog entries on Fridays, along with the normal Friday entries. Comment if you are interested.
I'm also thinking of doing themed days on this blog, so it doesn't get stale. Like Monday Book Review, Tuesday Excerpts, Wednesday Book Covers, Thursday Polls, Friday Links, and Weekend Recipes. Is there anything you'd like to see on my blog? Let me know!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Layout, New Goals, New Projects, and a Good Cause!

The following three novels will be finished before anything else is published, and then the three will be released at the same time:  My Sister's Keeper, Jessie, and Living Will.  There will be a big facebook event when they are released, and a BIG giveaway, even bigger than the other one (which is still going on, so please, CLICK HERE to enter. There's hardly anything you need to do to enter, so I think you should check it out, dear reader)!
You read that right, the next three releases are all going to be novels, which means they're going to be at least quintuple the length of my current releases. I'm going after this in the most serious way possible. Chasing my dreams. Going big or going home, and I don't want to go home. ;)
But now since I'm doing this, I will need your help!  I am in quite real need of beta readers and editors. For now, until I find a happy medium in book sales, I can't pay the standard editing price (which seems to be like 5cents per word, totally unfair to us broke people!) but I can still pay EDITORS. Beta readers will be paid in paperback copies of my books. If you're interested, CLICK HERE to shoot me an email.
I just changed the layout of this blog for the second time ever, and I'm still getting the hang of the blogger design editor thing, so there will be tweaks (and maybe a banner! Oooo, banners!) over the next few weeks and months.
Also, it is now my goal to post something relevant in this blog each and every day. Whether that be a post with links to giveaways by my favorite self-published or indie authors, a music video from youtube that fits the mood from one of my books, or a post like this talking about all the stuff I am doing for you, my readers, my wonderful readers.
Every paperback that I publish from now on (clearly exlcuding Paper Dolls) will also include three (count them, THREE!) coupon codes for free books on smashwords.com (That is, they're books that cost money on smashwords, but you get them free with the coupon codes). Some will be my books, some will be other Destruction Productions authors' books, and some will be other authors' books.

And now for something I feel very strongly about.  Last month, on November 26th, my Mom drew her last breath. She died from complications with a surgery that was meant to undo some of the damage that cancer had done to her body. She just couldn't handle the anesthesia.
Two months before that, in September, complications from cancer (specifically, a stroke) claimed the life of my Grandpa just shortly after his 80th birthday.
Because of the loss of these two people who have had such a huge impact on my life, I have vowed to help make a difference.  So, from now until January 1st of 2012, all of my royalties from all of my book sales will be donated to the Cancer Society of America. There will also be a month of charity for the same cause in June, September, and November of 2012. And if that's not enough incentive to buy for some good? I will match all donations up to $1,000 each of the months that I offer this incentive.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just a quick update

I really should get back into the ol' blogging habit. I was a very diligent blogger back in the early 00's, but then the site I really liked using died and I just lost interest.
Anyway, this is just an update to tell what's coming up. I'm working on Living Will right now, and that will be released when it is finished (could be two days, could be a year). I'm also working on a book about my experiences as a new Muslim, and that will be released as soon as that is done, too.
Elizabeth Hayes is being retooled and I should be starting to work on actually writing it here in January or February.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway, need 9 more entries in order to declare a winner. It's pretty much the coolest giveaway I've ever done for anything, not even gonna lie.