Friday, October 19, 2012

Being scared. Every. Single. Day.


I stared at the screen for a while trying to decide how to talk about this--as that kid from so long ago or as a mom, hoping her boys never go through anything like this. Then I thought, I have to talk about the little girl. It goes without saying, I want better for my kids and I watch carefully, I talk to them, and I do everything I can to protect them. That's all I can do.

Racism used to be an every day part of my life--from all sides. Nobody was immune, though I do know that I cannot begin to truly understand what it's like to be black in the rural South. As a little girl, I didn't understand that there was racism, not really.

My first year of public school, I started riding the bus. I was a first grader. I was painfully shy. I wasn't a racist, even if I didn't know what that meant at the time. I sat with a friendly girl my age and we grew to be friends. I'll call her Lynn. The bus was all ages. 1st grade through 12th. Of course I sat with the kid my age who smiled and talked with me. There were a few others my age and eventually we grew to be friends, but Lynn was my first school friend. Ever. Wonderful, right?

Apparently not.

You see, Lynn was black. I am not. A few of the older black kids on the bus started picking on her, teasing her, tormenting her, for being my friend. She cried. Really, when a mean high school student is pinching you and taunting you for talking to the white girl, what are you going to do? As a first grader? She stopped talking to me. (Just to be clear, when I say "they" I don't mean everyone on the bus, but there were quite a few in the group.)

It didn't end there. They picked on her until she had to pick on me, or they'd hurt her. The forced her to become a bully. Eventually, she did bully me. From then on, I was physically threatened, taunted, and completely miserable every time I had to ride the bus. I was only in first grade then. I'd never faced anything like that before. I eventually did everything I could to sit near the bus driver. This helped some. But I couldn't always manage that. When I had to sit near the back, I was hit. My hair was pulled. I was made to sit on an older boy's hand and he tried to fondle me. At that age, I didn't understand anything other than it was wrong and I managed to get away.

I was truly afraid of riding the bus. I became the favorite bully target of my once-friend, Lynn. I carefully planned things so I could get to the bus fast enough to sit up front. The bus driver didn't do much to protect us other than yell. He didn't report bullying. It wasn't really done, then. It wasn't really reported by anyone. This continued through elementary school and middle school. By high school, I decided to wait hours after school to ride with a family member after work--all to avoid being bullied on the school bus. I'd rather sit in my grandfather's truck for three hours than ride that bus.

This is what I went through. Every day. Scared of being beat up, pinched, hair pulled, being taunted. I dreaded it. It had a huge impact on my life. But I was so very lucky, in the end. Because this kind of bullying, though it scared me and made me scramble to avoid being beat up (even hiding behind seats), I knew it really had nothing to do with me. Not really. They didn't know me. They never touched my self worth. I was scared, but I never thought any less of myself, not even for being scared. So yes, I was lucky, because no matter what they did, it wasn't about me.

And I hope that's what anyone being bullied can hold onto. It's not about you. It's about them--how they're striking out, how they're the ones in the wrong. Not you. Hang in there, and report it. Today, I know I should've made that bus driver face what was happening on his bus, I should have told the principal (one of them--this happened through three schools), and I should have told my dad. I didn't. I faced it alone and stayed silent. Don't do that. Speak up. We'll all listen.


Please visit more authors participating in Authors Against Bullying. There are so many stories out there, so many people who can help, just by being there and telling you what they lived through. Let's stop bullying in its tracks. Let's stop the fear.
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photograph by The U.S. National Archives [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photographer: Rees, David, 1943-


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Milk-free pancakes

These pancakes work for several special diets. We made them to meet the low iodine diet (LID)requirements. We served them with apple sauce and it was a treat. Obviously, as any pancake, these would work well with blueberries mixed in.

By Brandon Martin-Anderson
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/ewedistrict/23110406/)
[CC-BY-SA-2.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
via Wikimedia Commons

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon non-iodized salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 egg whites (or egg equivalent of egg white by measure)
1 1/2 cups Pacific hemp milk (this has no sea salt, no carrageenan). Use regular or vanilla flavor.
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Mix together the dry ingredients. In seperate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the liquid to the dry, stirring together. You can have lumps. Add up to a half cup more of the hemp milk for the consistency you prefer. Cook on griddle brushed with oil on medium-low heat. Pour the batter on the griddle, pancakes whatever size you prefer. Brown on the bottom. I generally watch the bubbles that form and when the top looks "dry", I flip the pancakes.

Serve with Fleischmann's Unsalted vegetable oil spread instead of butter (for LID, this contains soy oil which is the only form of soy that meets the diet requirements).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Low Iodine Diet

By Marisa DeMeglio from NYC, USA (Flickr)
[CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
via Wikimedia Commons
Over the summer someone close to me had to go on a low iodine diet (LID). Even though it seems as if being on a diet without iodine would be easy, its much more difficult than you can imagine and is tiring being on such strict dietary constraints for two weeks. It's hard not to crave things you shouldn't have. But we found it to be fun to try new things and I found a few new products that I will continue using.

I thought I'd share some of our discoveries because reading what others had done was so intensely valuable to us. We believe the diet was a success, so the approaches we took seemed to have worked. I sincerely hope your diet works well for you. But we aren't doctors nor nutritionists. I did my research, but you should to. And if you find that something here should be changed or updated, please let me know.

Today, I'm listing a few general thoughts on products. Then I'll share a few recipes in upcoming posts.

First. The most valuable resource we found (beyond our doctor) was the cookbook (pdf) at ThyCa.org. Go there. Listen to your doctor. But basically, for LID we cut out salt with iodine, all foods from the sea, soybean products, dairy, and most pre-prepared/packaged foods. We got a non-iodized kosher salt immediately because we didn't need to cut sodium, just iodine.

I found a few products that made general cooking easier:
  • Mrs. Dash. Great way to spice up all sorts of meats, dishes.
  • For a milk replacement, Pacific all natural Hemp non-dairy beverage doesn't contain sea salt (found in most nut milks) nor carrageen (also to be avoided and in many nut milks). Problem with this one is that Whole Foods carried this product at the beginning of the diet and discontinued it by the end. It could be difficult to find on the shelf and another company's brand of hemp milk contained sea salt. It wasn't a viable replacement. I used this hemp milk in a modified pancake recipe that turned out great. It's so delicious I intend to make them that way again. That recipe is coming soon!
  • Chicken is usually processed in facilities with water that contains salt. Considering LID is "low iodine", not "no iodine," fresh chicken can be used sparingly even though it most likely has iodine. But, when possible, we tried to go "no iodine" figuring that trace amounts would show up in things we didn't expect. And better to cut it when we could. Limiting chicken would've been difficult in an already restricted diet since it's a favorite here. Instead of cutting back on chicken, I bought the "air chilled" chicken from Whole Foods. It's a bit more expensive, but I was lucky enough to hit a sale, as well as buying an entire chicken at a time is more affordable (also good for chicken stock, recipe to come). Air chilled chicken is not processed with salt and shouldn't have added iodine.
  • Herb-ox Sodium Free Chicken Granulated Bouillon. Great to have on hand.
  • Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. We used this with olive oil on several different kinds of salad since so many off the shelf dressings were out. It mixed things up a bit since variety helped get us through having a restricted diet.
  • Pomi Chopped Tomatoes. These come in a carton instead of a can. Iodine can leach from cans, so we used canned products sparingly.
I'll be posting a chicken broth recipe, a chicken coconut soup, a variation on a thai spring roll, and the pancake recipe as soon as I can get them organized.
Hope this helps anyone who has to do the low iodine diet and I hope you can find the adventure in trying new foods that we did!

Monday, October 8, 2012

MetalMark now available!

At long last, MetalMark is now available. It was quite a journey to bring Jazz and Lye to readers and I couldn't be happier! If you enjoy space opera or steampunk, I hope you'll give MetalMark a try.


MetalMark

Science Fiction Romance -- Novel (ebook)
Prince to a dying planet, Lye the Keeper has made a deal with the devil. For the price of his blood, the Drianti Syndicate offer a seat on their council...and put the end to their decade-long occupation of his planet within his grasp. Working with the Syndicate feels like betraying everything he's worked for these last ten years, but it pales in comparison to the pain of his monthly mating imperative.
The red-haired temptress who lands in his path holds the key to Lye's freedom--and an end to his pain--but the price is too high. Touching her would defile the royal line that ends with him. The lure to possess her, however, proves irresistible.
Privateer Jazzelina Eval will do anything to bring down the Syndicate, anything from robbing spaceships to kidnapping a prince. Anything but settle down and give up the revenge game. Or bed a mark who's made a deal with her enemy. But once she has Lye in her hands, she can't let him go...even if the price of keeping him is war.
WARNING: Explicit content, exploding space ships, and creepy biomechanical bugs

Available from Lyrical Press

All Romance kindle ibooks Nook kobo Lyrical Press Powell's

Excerpt of first chapter, available on my website.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dragon Rodeo

Now available, an erotic romance anthology including my short story, Dragon Rodeo. Leave a comment & I will pick a random winner for a digital copy of the book (deadline Wed, Oct 10th, 11:59pm EST). This anthology will also be available in print (more on that soon!).
Come find a great story, a new to you author, or a tasty tidbit to tantalize.

Passionate Exhibitions

Museums. Places of grandeur and mystery, hidden corners and secrets. Walk the halls of any museum and find a past life in a necklace, an alternate reality in a painting, a terrible curse from a statue, or your wildest fantasies come to life. From the distant past to the far-flung future, these stories will titillate and tantalize. Welcome to the Passionate Exhibition.
  • Under The Lion’s Curse by Kim Knox
  • Dragon Rodeo by Ella Drake
  • Worshiping His Goddess by Voirey Linger
  • Good Vibrations by Mia Jae
  • Portrait of Passion by Maggie Wells
  • The Duke by Darby York
  • Virtual Encounters by Lexie Donovan
  • Human Touch by Evelyn Jules

Dragon Rodeo by Ella Drake

Fantasy/Alternate Reality Romance -- Short Story (Anthology)
Drawn to her local museum, Kellie can’t keep away from a certain compelling painting. The oils seem real and the scent of the scene, nearly tangible. When the artist approaches her, his touch sends them into a world of fantasy, of dragons. Their passion ignites and reality blurs. Rand, the intriguing bronc rider, is hers, if only she learns how to keep him.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Demons of Florida

I hinted at an announcement recently, and here it is. I have a new series! Demons of Florida. The first two books are re-releases, Scent of Cin and Wolf-Bitten. Both novellas have been slightly expanded and re-edited. Scent of Cin is already out in the wild. Wolf-Bitten is due to hit the e-shelves on December 1. A novella that will tie them all together, Demon Branded, releases March 1, 2013 along with an ebook bundle of all three and a print anthology.


Demons of Florida, an alternative world where demons have broken through a rip in the ozone and are inhabiting Florida, spreading their reach through Georgia and into the rest of the United States. Demon hunters fight off the demon's lackeys, Hellions. Werewolves, natural enemies of the demons have come out of hiding, facing the deadly Hunters of Orion. Magic meets power. Only love can bring the factions together in hopes of a future for humanity.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lots of announcements coming soon

Quick update: I have promo items for Passionate Exhibitions, releasing in October. You may already know MetalMark also releases that month. Upcoming news about re-releases and a new novella coming very soon!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Winner of the SFR bloghop

The winner for the midsummer blog hop at this blog, randomly chosen, is Shadow who answered the question of which movie would you save from the apocalypse:

I have so many favorite movies, id miss all of them! Some of my favorites are: Dirty Dancing, Pride and Prejudice, Ugly Truth, Beauty and the Beast, Practical Magic, etc. I have a ton of favorites. I know you said choose one, but i cant! :D Thanks for sharing and for the fun hop!

And in response to that, Nooooo! You have to pick. I'll pick Pride and Prejudice for you, just so you can commiserate with the heroine, Lidia :)

Thanks everyone for playing. I truly enjoyed every single one of your answers! And what a variety of movies--only a few were repeated. And only a few are ones I haven't seen. I'll have to remedy that!

I will be having another contest soon!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Welcome to the SFR Brigade's midsummer blog hop

Welcome to the SFR Brigade's midsummer blog hop! This blog extravaganza has wonderful prizes including a Kindle Touch and an SFR library. Plus all the participants have goodies on their own blogs. Check here so you won't miss a stop and get all the details.

Today, I'm providing your choice of any of my Science Fiction Romance ebooks: Desert Blade, Jaq's Harp, Braided Silk, Silver Bound, or Firestorm on E'Terra to a random winner.

My latest release, Desert Blade is a post-apocalyptic romance set in the midwest of the US. In a scene of this story, the heroine, Doctor Lidia Sullivan says she'll miss her Pride and Prejudice DVD. To enter the contest, just tell me what movie you'd miss if the world ended (and don't forget your contact information).

Enjoy the rest of the blog hop!


Desert Blade

Near-Future, Science Fiction Romance, Post-Apocalyptic -- Novella
In the post-apocalyptic Midwest, now a ravaged dust bowl, former guardsman Derek Covington must find help for a sick boy. With nothing but memories of all he lost, Derek crosses the desert alone in search of the doctor who saved his own life ten years ago. Drifter gangs who loot and pillage don't dare come near, for Derek has a formidable weapon: a prosthetic arm with a deadly blade.

For a decade, Dr. Lidia Sullivan has fantasized about the handsome guardsman who'd been in her care. And now she can't deny his dangerous request. But as they make the treacherous journey back to Old St. Louis, they must contend with much more than fierce desert winds and their unthinkable attraction. A fearless gang has spotted Lidia—a rare woman—and will fight Derek to the death to get her. And though he risks his life to save her for the sake of the child who needs her, she fears there's one thing Derek will never risk: his heart.
27,000 words 

Available from: Carina Press and other retail outlets.


Don't Forget: to enter the contest, tell me what movie you'd miss if the world ended. Plus, you must provide some way for me to contact you. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Desire the Banshee, Released!

So pleased to announce the release of Desire the Banshee, an erotic paranormal romance from Ellora's Cave. This story involves a deaf telepath and the unique woman who can bring him sound again. Details below and (adult) excerpt available on my website.

I hope you take the time to check out the excerpt. I really enjoyed writing this story of two characters I thought so directly opposite, yet perfectly matched.

To celebrate the release, I'll be chatting tonight with two other Ellora's Cave authors with releases today: Sidney Bristol and Gem Sivad. Join us at 7:30pm. I'll have more excerpts and prizes!!!
Click on banner for the chat room!



Desire the Banshee

Paranormal Romance -- Novella (ebook)
Daisy is a banshee, a mage of sound. On missions for the Cinder Task Force, her handler Sean joins her telepathically to help control her turbulent powers. What she really wants is a little hands-on-Sean time, but that’s impossible. She’s never seen him in the flesh.

Deaf since the onset of his para-talent, Sean can only hear when inside Daisy’s thoughts. He dreams of possessing her, but fears the worst—that fulfilling the sexual lust between them will lower his shields and he’ll shatter her mind.

A rogue group has gathered and targets Daisy. Sean has to act. They’re finally in the same room, their powers meld and their bodies want nothing more than to do the same—again and again. But to rescue Daisy, they have to put aside the raging attraction. Easier said than done.

Available from Ellora's Cave

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Please welcome Sidney!



Hello! And thanks so much to Ella for allowing me to drop by here today on my Mini Adventures tour. Big congrats to Ella, who shares a release date with me at Ellora’s Cave. Her book, Desire the Banshee comes out tomorrow!
I’m celebrating my soon to be released (OMG TOMORROW!) Ellora’s Cave contemporary romance book, Personal Adventures. This book takes place in Colorado, possibly the only other state besides Texas that I think I could ever live in. But as a teenager I did live in Russia for a short time.
I can hear you now. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Russia? Really? Were you a military brat?”
Nope. I decided, as all strong willed kids are libel to do, that I wanted to live in Russia. So, I raised the money, and moved to this small town out in the middle of nowhere, Russia. My parents raised me with a healthy sense of adventure.
One of the things that was hardest to get used to living in Russia was the bathroom. I would never have imagined that the toilets could be that much different than the ones we have in America. But they can be. Yes, as a teenager, I was introduced to the squatty potty. This is a toilet that is built into the ground and used by, well, squatting to do your business. It’s not that I’ve never had to do my business outside, or that squatting was a new concept, it was that – there are toilets built for this kind of thing! A few of the people I lived with that were also Americans and I got a big kick out of searching out squatty potties and taking pictures of them. They can be porcelain toilet bowls set in marble floors with rubber foot grips, to a crude hole cut in the concrete over a running river.
As a teenager, the theme of my life seemed to be dropping everything to go do something. I stayed fairly busy between 4-H and church, showing animals and extracurricular school activities, but I would figure out a way to tie up everything to go on a big trip, or squeeze in an adventure through the Texas Hill Country, or taking a bus down to Mexico.
I think that’s why I like to write characters who have some spunk. In my latest book, Personal Adventures, I have one character whose life has been an unwanted adventure, and another who is just learning to really embrace a non-traditional lifestyle. While the story doesn’t include a lot of squatty potties, it has some steamy times and a few laughs.
I’m going to give away a copy of my book, Personal Adventures, and a $5 gift card to the winner’s choice of either Barnes & Noble or Amazon. To enter, answer the following question. The contest will end in 48 hours, and the winner will be chosen at random.
If you could live in any foreign country, where would you live?
---
It can never be said that Sidney Bristol has had a ‘normal’ life.  She is a recovering roller derby queen, former missionary, and tattoo addict. She grew up in a motor-home on the US highways (with an occasional jaunt into Canada and Mexico), traveling the rodeo circuit with her parents. Sidney has lived abroad in both Russia and Thailand, working with children and teenagers. She now lives in Texas where she splits her time between a job she loves, writing, reading and belly dancing.
You can keep up with her by checking out her Website, where you can see her latest releases, blog and sign up for the newsletter. She’s active on both Twitter and Facebook.
---
Personal Adventures
Carey's had the hots for his best friend and outdoor adventures coworker Elise for two years, but the timing has never been right. Now they’re both single and Carey wants to entice her into an adventure that’s about just the two of them. In the bedroom, in the hot tub, under the beautiful Colorado sky…
Elise doesn’t buy into the idea of love, but lust she understands. Carey’s friendship is important, but a relationship doesn’t fit into Elise’s five-year plan. She isn’t looking to repeat her parents’ mistakes.
With secrets coming out from under every rock and desire unchecked, this adventure might make more than the water on their rafting trips rush
---
Excerpt
Elise gulped down a deep breath to steady her nerves and pushed away from the shed. Her stomach fluttered and her palms were moist. The cool evening air caressed her legs and whispered up her skirt, kissing bare flesh. Her nipples were tight, hard peaks. She had tried to find her one real bra with actual lace, but it had been a lost cause. If it wasn’t for her lack of breasts she could have borrowed one of her roommates’ bras like she’d “borrowed” the dress she wore. Her breasts weren’t much more than walnuts, but it was the idea of getting ready that had mattered at the time. She didn’t typically need to wear a bra and she never wore a dress, but she’d do both for Carey.
Ahead, light spilled from every window in the cabin. The tall pines stood sentinel around it. It was a beautiful home he’d had built not long after taking the job at Adventures. She’d been jealous of it in the beginning, but she spent a lot of time there, so she got to enjoy it almost as much as he did.
The house was a variation of the single-room cabins settlers used to build, very no-nonsense. A dividing wall separated his bedroom from the rest of the house, and the bathroom had an entrance into both spaces. The front and back porches made up three fourths of the square footage of the actual house, and more often than not was where they hung out. Again, he’d used local people to build it. In true bachelor style, it was furnished with comfort in mind, but that was how she liked things as well, so she had no complaint about the cabin or Carey. Except that she wanted what he had.
As she stepped around the truck, her stomach threatened to mutiny. Who was she kidding? She didn’t have any business being here.
Movement in the far right window rooted her to the spot. Had he seen her? If he hadn’t, maybe she could back out of the drive and leave. Peering at the window, she waited for any sign that she might have been seen.
Carey stepped into view, perfectly framed by the window, buck-ass naked. And what a nice ass it was. The round globes were as tan as his chest. Elise imagined him sunbathing naked on the rocks behind his house. Her mouth dried. Wide shoulders tapered to a stomach she knew was firm and flat. He was muscular from hours of hard work, not hanging out at a gym. The tattoo circling his right arm stood out as the only bit of color. She’d gone with him to get the tattoo and let him squeeze her hand. It was a simple black silhouette of the mountains, but it symbolized his love for the great outdoors.
He turned, giving her a profile shot. His head tipped forward and his hand grasped his cock. He didn’t jerk himself hard, but it was a strong touch, sliding up his stiff flesh.
Oh god. Elise’s heart knocked against her chest and her breath hitched. She wanted to do that. She wanted to feel his skin against her palm, caress him in a way that would make him groan.
Her knees wavered at the hedonistic thoughts. Swaying, she caught herself with a hand against the hood of his truck.
The headlights flashed and the horn began honking. Elise yelped and jumped back, her heart racing as the continuous sounds of the alarm echoed through the night. She looked from the truck to the window—
Carey was gone.
“Shit!”

Monday, April 30, 2012

MetalMark cover

MetalMark
Science Fiction Romance
I'm so pleased to share with you the cover for MetalMark. Didn't Lyrical Press do a wonderful job? It's simply gorgeous and I can't stop smiling!

MetalMark is what I'd call a space opera. So why the steampunk style cover? Imagine it this way, like an episode of Star Trek. You have your advanced society with space travel technology. The "away team" is sent down to a non-space-age planet to investigate. Voila. Action ensues. Red shirts are killed. Kirk gets to have fun with the green alien girl.

In this case, we have Jazz, a space pirate who winds up on the planet Brutus with a society still in the steam age. Then she meets the hero, Lye. And much action ensues!

So there you have it. What do you think? Isn't the cover wonderful?

For more about MetalMark, the unofficial blurb is on my website and the book is listed in the Lyrical Press catalog.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Release day for Desert Blade!

Incredibly happy to announce the release of Desert Blade. This novella was so much fun to write. I enjoyed creating a world for Derek and Lidia while exploring the heat and passion between them. This is a hot story, with a hero who has a penchant to use harsh language and a heroine who is determined to save him. I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy!

Desert Blade
Desert Blade 
Near-Future, Science Fiction Romance, Post-Apocalyptic -- Novella

In the post-apocalyptic Midwest, now a ravaged dust bowl, former guardsman Derek Covington must find help for a sick boy. With nothing but memories of all he lost, Derek crosses the desert alone in search of the doctor who saved his own life ten years ago. Drifter gangs who loot and pillage don't dare come near, for Derek has a formidable weapon: a prosthetic arm with a deadly blade.


For a decade, Dr. Lidia Sullivan has fantasized about the handsome guardsman who'd been in her care. And now she can't deny his dangerous request. But as they make the treacherous journey back to Old St. Louis, they must contend with much more than fierce desert winds and their unthinkable attraction. A fearless gang has spotted Lidia—a rare woman—and will fight Derek to the death to get her. And though he risks his life to save her for the sake of the child who needs her, she fears there's one thing Derek will never risk: his heart.
27,000 words
Available from:
Carina Press

Desert Blade from Carina Press
amazon kindle Nook
In audio from Audible.com. Listen to sample.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Two new contracts!

I haven't blogged in a few months. Mostly, if I see something of interest, I either tweet it, tumblr it, or post on Contact: Infinite Futures, a group blog I participate in with other Carina SF authors. I will continue to use my blog for announcements like these!!!!

Ellora's Cave has signed Desire the Banshee, an erotic paranormal romance. This is intended to be the first of a three novella series starring a paranormal ops group.

Lyrical Press has signed MetalMark, a space opera romance with a space piratess, a prince of a dying planet, and space action of every type!

In other news, I've re-gained the rights to "Firestorm on E'Terra" and re-released it. I'm quite pleased with how that has worked out and will continue to re-release stories if rights revert to me.

I'm very excited about these projects and have been working on another story I hope to announce soon.
Thank you readers! You keep me going and I truly appreciate the support.