Monday, September 22, 2014


Hey it's been awhile since the blogosphere has had a good 'ol fashioned blogfest. I miss them. They're such a great way to have fun and connect with other bloggers.

Click on the picture above to get to Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog--the HQ for all things underrated. Er, wait... that sounded off. LOL But you know what I mean. *wink wink*

What came to mind for me is an album I stumbled onto while listening to one of my Pandora stations a couple of years ago. The song was called Memories and I immediately bought the album. I'm pretty hard to impress when it comes to music. I'm not a music snob by any means, but it's rare that new music hooks me enough to buy an album. This one did ...

                                                    The Silent Force bWithin Temptation

They were way underrated when I first heard them. Nobody knew the album or the band. They're a little bit like Evanescence. I wrote my entire YA sci-fi novel The Desiree to this album. It was so perfect.

I think Within Temptation may have more of a following now, but still way underrated. My favorite songs on the album are Angels, Memories, and Somewhere. They have more albums out now too.

Oh and here's a book that's underrated.... actually an entire box set!

I'm so excited to be a part of this box set and it's only .99 for all 8 titles! We are having a Facebook release party tonight (Monday) to celebrate. I hope you'll join us. 7pm-11pm eastern. Just stop by anytime you can and say hello. We'll have prizes and fun!

Click HERE to join the party!

Find At First Sight on iBooks, Amazon

Thanks for stoppin by! Have you ever heard of The Silent Force? What are some other underrated artists or stories you can think of? Please share ...

UPDATE on the Kickstarter Mended by Love memoir project: We've raised just over $1600 and have a little more than a month to go! Thanks so much to everyone who has shared and donated! Every single one counts!! :D

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Write Path is Here!!

Do you remember a couple of months ago we held a How I Found the Write Path blog hop where writers around the blogosphere could share letters to their newbie writer selves?

Well, it's here! And it's stupendous!

And it's FREE!!

We love free, and we love sharing advice to anyone trying to find their own Write Path. Over sixty writers have shared and are now published in this ebook. If you're one of them, grab the cover and links and share everywhere!Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, etc,

I can't tell you how excited I am about this book. There is seriously SO much great advice compiled in this baby. No matter what stage you're in of your writing, you will most definitely find something beneficial in this book. And most likely, you'll be nodding your head in agreement as you read. (I sure was!)
Please copy the below links and share:










Thank you so much to all who participated! And if you didn't, that's okay because you can still download the book and enjoy the read. 

By the way, the ranking on Amazon US is not too shabby at the moment:

        Someone else has a book coming out soon ...

        Shunned by her family back home, she followed her best friend to New York with aspirations to start over. Now broke and homeless with two guys vying for her affection, she realizes she made a colossal mistake. If she gives in to her desires, will she only be breaking the rule she set for herself, or will she also be proving she’s the disappointment her family sees her as?

        Coming next month! Add it to your GoodRead's shelf HERE

        Find Jennifer Ann on her blog HERE. And there's an amazing GIVEAWAY right HERE

        So tell me are you an author in The Write Path? Have you read the book yet? If you didn't participate, what's some advice you'd give a new writer?

        Monday, September 15, 2014

        The Big C

        Today, bloggers around the Web are sharing stories of how cancer has affected their lives. This collection of posts will go on to be part of an anthology ebook and all proceeds will go toward the medical expenses of our beloved friend, Melissa Bradley.

        Melissa was recently diagnosed with cancer, and she and my good friend Michael Di Gesu have come together to host this fantastic blog hop to promote awareness, share stories, and join cyber hands to show no one has to go through it alone.

        This post in particular is dedicated to my amazing father-in-law, Ray Hrezo.

        A few months ago, Ray went to the doctor for a chronic cough that, despite great efforts, he just couldn't beat. The doctor decided they should do a full body CT scan, and they found a mass in one of his kidneys. A biopsy was done that later confirmed the worst news any one can hear.


        My husband is one of six kids. You can imagine the kind of man it takes to raise six kids successfully. Wow. I only have two and there are days I wonder if I'll ever survive it. But six? Not only do you have to parent six kids, you have to be able to support a family of eight on one salary. Ray sometimes worked three different jobs in the 1980s in order to provide for the family.

        Still, they went on cross-country camp outs, trips to Disney World, long fishing trips, and managed to ensure everyone had a good Christmas every year. One of my husband's favorite memories growing up is when Ray would allow him to "skip" school and take him fishing for the day for some one-on-one father and son time. Not an easy feat when you work three jobs and have six kids, so allowing a skip day was the ideal quality time, and absolute thrill to a young boy who should've been doing math work and reading.

        Ray is also an engineer, a golfer, a photographer, and dabbles in music with his wife, who plays the organ. (insert whatever organ joke you like cuz we've told them He's a Mr. Fix-It too, and thankfully, my husband picked up this trait, because if anything is broke, the Hrezo men can fix it. Ray rarely took an item, device, machine, whatever! to someone else to repair. He did all his own work and encouraged his sons to look on and learn as much as they could.

        To give you a good image of Ray Hrezo, think of the guy who you can always pick out in a crowd because he's a head taller than everyone else. At about 6'2, he has a commanding voice (needed for six kids) and a deep hearty laugh that you can't help but smile when you hear. If Ray were a writer, he'd be a hardcore plotter. This man can make some plans, and diagram them, and have everything figured out before you ever arrive. Engineerical. (Yes I made up that word but it fits and you can now use it for yourself, permission granted.)

        Of all people to be rendered weak by a sometimes debilitating disease, Ray Hrezo is the last one you'd imagine. Yet, it happened, and although we don't know why or how, we know that this is one man who will fight til the very end, and if anyone can weather the storm, it's him. Throughout these past few months he's been the most positive, optimistic sick person I've ever met. We are continuously baffled by his eagerness to get well and stay confident and cheerful.

        After having the affected kidney removed and recovering fully--to the point of even mowing his own lawn again--a CT scan showed spots on Ray's lungs. Cancerous spots, that were the culprit of Ray's chronic coughing. After weeks of chemo, the spots did not retreat as the doctors had hoped, and a different type of chemo began. The radiation kind that makes your hair fall out.

        Chemo is a tough treatment. It often makes patients feel nauseous and dehydrated, among other discomforts. The treatment itself is what causes cancer patients to look sick, not always the sickness itself. In August, Ray was given the green light by his doctor to travel across the country to Alaska and spend time at Denali and Mt. McKinley. This was a bucket trip destination for Ray, and just knowing that he and his wife were there gave my husband and I all sorts of smiles.

        Now, that Ray is back home, and returned to regular radiation treatments, his body is feeling the brunt of it. He was admitted into the emergency room this past weekend for pain and dehydration. More tests are being run this week to see if the cancer has spread to his liver and other kidney.  On this very day, my husband is driving across the state to visit his dad, do whatever work around the house is needed, and spend as much time with him as possible to show his love and support to a father who was always there, who always provided, and who always served as the kind of role model every boy needs.

        And I'd just like to show my appreciation to a man who raised and taught my husband what it means to be a good father and loving husband, because my hubby is the kind of spouse that you just can't ask for better of--and if you did, he'd work at being better.

        We know Ray will stay strong and kick this thing in the keister, because that's just the kind of guy he is. When you're faced with something as life threatening as the Big C, you begin to realize just how valuable family and friends are. Faith grows, courage reveals itself, and love is what heals a broken heart.

        To anyone and everyone who has had cancer creep into their lives, know that prayers go up around the world for you. Hope, harmony, and positive cosmic vibes are all around. Tap into them if you can, because I assure you they are there.

        The human spirit is strong. That may be hard to remember when the body begins to whither, but hold fast to that which makes you, you. Your spirit will keep you fighting, and no disease can beat that. YOU CAN DO IT!

        Thanks again to Melissa Bradley and Michael Di Gesu for this special opportunity. All the very best to Melissa for her strength and courage. I know her spirit is strong and amazing! For more posts on The Big C, go here.

        On a separate note, I'd like to offer my sincere gratitude to everyone who's shared and donated to the Queena Kickstarter campaign. We are so thrilled with the response so far. Please continue to share this project with others. For links and badges, please see this POST. Our local newspaper wants to run an article and we are so excited about that.

        Thank you so much for stopping by! I'm so privileged to be a part of such an awesome writing community. The love and support for Tina Downey and her family just weakens my knees. Not to mention this project for Melissa, and your encouragement for the Queena memoir. Makes me feel like ...

         Tell me, do you know someone battling the Big C? What do you do to stay positive when life seems to be pressing down on you? Please share ...

        Monday, September 8, 2014

        Mended by Love

        Before I continue, I wanted to take a moment to remember Tina Downey, fellow blogger who recently lost her life. This is for you, Tina. May you rest in peace, in the arms of our Father in Heaven.

                                                           photo credit:

        Today I want to share a very special project and person with you. I've introduced you to her briefly before, but we are now going public with this story and project, and I know you'll be as eager to learn more as I was.

         artwork by Carrie Butler at Forward Authority

        Every so often we get the local newspaper delivered to our home even though we don't subscribe. One day early last summer this happened and I decided to browse it. Usually it goes right to the recycle bin, but for some reason I was inclined to look through it. 

        I stumbled onto an article about a young lady named Queena, and I was knocked off my rocker. Some of you already know the story because I blogged about her during the A to Z challenge on Q day. I wanted to share her website with all of you so you could learn her story. For those of you who don't know, six years ago after Queena had just turned eighteen, she was returning books to her local library late one night and was attacked at the book drop.

        She was strangled, beaten, raped, and left for dead in  the swamp behind the library. Luckily, she'd been on the phone with her best friend when the first blow happened and her friend heard her scream. Immediately she called Queena's mother and the police. 

        They were able to find her in time to save her life, but Queena's life has been drastically altered. She was hurt so severely that she suffered multiple brain injuries, losing mobility and motor skills, requiring a wheelchair to get around. Not only that, but because of the damage to her brain, Queena can no longer speak or feed herself, and only has about %10 of her vision. 

        But she's still here, and still fights for her health every day. She has not given up. Her strength is so inspiring. Her hearing is sharp and she understands and can process information. She listens to music and audio books, and she recognizes voices and responds with sounds and movements. 

        She still requires round the clock care, and I believe there's sophisticated technology out there that could make Queena's life even easier. The problem of course is funding. 

        So after I read that article that day, I noticed a Facebook page for Queena and liked it. Please head over and do the same if you get a minute. 

        Not long after, I received a generic fundraiser event notice for Queena at a local restaurant and I brought my kids and we met Queena and her mom. I'd been touched so deeply by this story that I couldn't stop thinking about her. I imagined what it must've been like--having your entire life ahead of you with so many possibilities and only weeks away from high school graduation .... only to be robbed of everything you'd worked for and hoped for. 

        Later, when I embraced my indie author status and kicked off my Facebook author page (which I was so hesitant to do because it meant owning up to the writer life with family and non-writer friends) Queena's mother, Vanna, noticed the page. She contacted me and expressed her interest in finding a writer to tell her daughter's story. I didn't have a doubt in my mind that I wanted to do this, to not only help this amazing family share their story, but to stretch my writerly skills into the world of memoir and non-fiction. I've read so many memoirs and have quite a passion for them, so this connection was ideal in so many ways. 

        In short, I'm privileged and honored to be writing this mother's memoir of faith and forgiveness--a mother's true story of the night her daughter's life changed forever, and the courage, love and support that's kept them pressing on despite the greatest challenges anyone could ever face.    

         As you can imagine, because of the need for round the clock care, as well as continued rehabilitation and therapy, Queena's family is always looking for ways to raise money. This memoir project will hopefully be a source of income once it's finished, published, and selling. Not only will it share Queena's and her mom's story with the world, it will also raise awareness of violence against women, brain injuries, and self-defense. This memoir is meant to have a positive message, even though the night of the attack is emotional. It's the love and support surrounding the aftermath that will warm your hearts. 

        She's come so far already! Able to walk short distances with the help of specialized equipment!

        I wanted to do whatever I could to help raise funds and raise awareness of the project, so I began a Kickstarter campaign. Now, I'm not here asking you for money, I'm simply asking for you to share this project with your audience. Post it on all your social media outlets and watch it grow with me. Even if every person who saw it chipped in $1, we'd meet our goal and prove to Queena and her mom that people out there really do care. 

        You all know how slow the publishing path can be, and although Kickstarter does not support funding charities, it does support the arts, and this memoir is an artistic project. Whatever the future of this project holds, it will be good to know there are people who already support it and are waiting to see it come to life. 

        Please grab one of these fantastic buttons that were donated by artists, Carrie Butler and DA Botta, and post them everywhere with the below link. If you can blog about it, great! If you can share in your newsletter and author pages, wonderful! This project only works if we meet our goal. Tweets, shares and posts all most welcome!


        Thank you so much for any effort you put into sharing this for this very special young lady who never got to college, or got to reach her degree in fashion design. She never even got to prom. Her dress still hangs in her closet, unworn.

        Let's show our support together. Please head to the campaign page to view Queena's video.

        Thanks so much for stopping by. Please feel free to use any of the info provided above. It's very much encouraged.

        Tell me, have you ever written a memoir? Ever wanted to? Do true life stories like this make you appreciate the human spirit even more? Or do they leave you depressed? My feeling is when we share life's tribulations, we ease each other's pain. 

        Wednesday, September 3, 2014

        IWSG- Wednesday! Indie Choices

        Happy September!

        It's that time again when writers around the blogosphere come together to share hopes and fears. Click on the pic above to get to HQ at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog and feel free to join us on the first Wednesday of every month.

        Let's talk about choices. Writers have SO many choices nowadays that it can be overwhelming. Should we go traditional or indie? Submit to a small press on our own or find an agent? Go with our original plan for a story or change it like our critique partner suggested?

        Part of maturing as a writer is understanding all of our choices and making the one that is best for each of us. Each project has its own path, and knowing the value and risks behind each choice will save us a giant headache in the end.

        If we do decide to go indie and self-publish, we have even more choices ahead of us. We are in control of everything from covers to editing to formatting. Sometimes it's scary out there because we want quality work without breaking the bank, and unfortunately in the world of freelance, not everyone is as qualified as they make themselves out to be.

        For instance, I paid for a proofreader with Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc.--one that has a great rep in the indie world. Her turn around time was awesome, but what I didn't realize is that she has a team of proofreaders and the person who proofed mine was someone who worked for her, not the editor herself. That in and of itself is no big deal, but the team member who proofed mine did not do an impressive job. I found many typos later AFTER I'd published the story, which made me have to re-upload and that is not good for rankings.

        Point being, take the time to know EXACTLY what you're getting into. Ask for referrals, look for testimonials and even email the person to get recommendations. Ask around.

        Getting started in the indie world is expensive. I won't sugar coat it. And quality work is an absolute must or we don't get respect as an authentic author.

        If you ever have questions or concerns on your own choices in the indie world, feel free to email me anytime and I'll give you my best advice... not that I'm an expert by any means, but if I can save you money or a headache waiting to happen, I most certainly will.

        Don't feel like you're bothering a fellow author when it comes to making wise choices. It's always better to ask someone you trust than to make a huge and costly mistake. Most authors in the indie world (and trad) are more than willing to share experiences and advice.

        We should feel confident in our choices.

        Many of you know my indie covers are made by Jaycee DeLorenzo at Sweet-N-Spicy Designs. She's awesome to work with and I highly recommend her. She also did my website for me and I love it.

        I recently had the pleasure of working with Brinda Berry for my ebook formatting, and she is just a gem. Efficient and excellent quality of work. She's an author too, but she's also just started her own ebook formatting side company, and I highly recommend her.

        If you're in the market for a formatter, definitely check her out. I was so happy with her work that I decided to ask her a few questions and share them with you today so you can learn more about her service. No joke, she is wicked-fast with turn around times.

        Brinda Berry at Sweet Biscuit Publishing

        PK: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

        Brinda: I’m a New Adult and Young Adult author with several releases out this year. My recent release is Chasing Luck, a New Adult romantic suspense novel. I spend my days working in higher education administration and my nights making up stories.

           PK: .   Are you self-published? Trad-pubbed? Hybrid? Tell us why you chose the path or paths you have.

        Brinda: My first young adult novels were published by a small press. I self-pubbed this year, because I felt that it was the best fit for my novel. I’ve learned a lot over the years and could make an informed leap into self-publishing.

        PK:   You format all your own ebooks, as well as some others (like mine,) what made you decide to start your own side biz?

        Brinda: I have a degree in Learning Systems Technology and love messing around with software. It’s very satisfying to be able to tweak things in my own ebooks. I like the control and cost-savings. Also, it’s nice to be able to format ARCs and even make last-minute corrections (if necessary).
        I like helping other authors at an affordable cost.

           PK: What program do you use for formatting, and how long, on average, does it take to format a standard sized novel of 50K-90K words?

        Brinda: I own a software program called Vellum. The length of the novel really doesn’t matter.  A 50K novel could possibly take longer than a 90K. The program intuitively recognizes many of the formatted elements. Occasionally I’ll have to do a manual check for correct scene breaks and other things.  This increases the length of time it takes me to generate the files. Also, I may have to ask the author for things they forgot to send to me in the manuscript file.

        PK:   You’re EXTREMELY efficient. I know because you’ve turned my work around for me within a twelve hour period. Is this something you’ve had to become proficient at or do you have some secret sauce for making it happen? Did you take a class or self-taught?

        Brinda: Secret sauce.  Just kidding! Like I said, my background is in technology. Before I got my MSE degree in technology, I worked for an IT company.  I catch on pretty quickly to the shortcuts and best practices in using software.
        Writing a novel in a word processing app is one thing, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it as a book. I’m no longer bound to paper (pun intended), so I’m just as thrilled as the author to see it magically transform into an ebook. 

         PK  Many authors are learning to format on their own nowadays, what are some of benefits of having someone like you format their work instead?

        Brinda: If you can format your own (without pulling your hair out), then you should. I love the idea of authors controlling everything about their own books. On the other hand, not everyone has the time and patience for that. Also, I hear about authors who have trouble with a specific vendor not taking the formatted file. I haven’t had trouble with the files I create.
          PK:  Indie authors do have choices when it comes to hiring freelancers, as there are quite a few out there. I’ve been thrilled with your work. Tell us why an indie author should consider you over someone else.   

        Brinda: I’m so glad you’ve been happy with your files! I guess the biggest advantages would be my turnaround time and the professional look to your formatted file. Also, I can easily generate files for you with specific store links for your other books. 

        Thanks, Brinda! Great info. Again, her work is amazing and super fast. If you have any questions for her, feel free to ask in the comments and we'll get them answered. And next time you need something formatted, keep Brinda in mind. 

        Thanks so much to Brinda for taking the time to share this info with us. I really love how authors can come together to help each other, which is what this community is all about. 

        Again, feel free to email me anytime if you ever need a question answered. I may not know the answer but I'll know how to find out. 

        Oh by the way ..... 

        Looks what's officially out:

        Book 2 is here! AMAZON

        Add it to GoodReads.

        There's also a giveaway happening for the next few days so be sure to enter HERE  at the bottom of the page for some groovy Doctor Who pocket watch necklaces and a Butterman swag pack. 

        How do you feel about the choices we have as writers? Do you like making them on your own, or do you prefer to have guidance? Any tips you'd like to share for making good choices? Please share ...