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Confessions From Quarantine

May 19, 2021 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , ,

Confessions From Quarantine

Fourteen months ago, when life became weirdly constricted, I didn’t wonder what to do with all that extra time. I’d read of course. Read, write a bit, and read some more.  I could never tire of reading but by month 7 my eyes could — and did. I was ordered to rest my vision for one month. There’s always audio books, but I hate earbuds.

Daytime TV

I tried daytime TV – in that murky upper cable range.  I found myself in awe of the creativity of producers desperate for material to fill a 24/7 schedule. What obscure subjects! Shows like Storm of Suspicion. “True crime series that examines spellbinding crimes where the weather uncovered or solved crimes.” Wow! How many of those can you dig up? I moved on to an array of paranormal shows that all seemed to feature casually dressed young people filmed by a shaky camera in a deserted house where they would stop in shock and ask in a whisper, “Did you hear that?”  Well, I never heard any thing and Ghost Busters did the hand held ghost meter thing a whole lot better. I conclude that daytime TV is not much of a pasttime.

Cooking

Next — cooking. I’ve said before I’m not much good at it, but I do strive (now and then) to improve. I Googled ‘simple French recipes’ hoping to dazzle Tom and tried a stuffed chicken roulade touted to be “All the French, none of the fussiness.” Tricksy click bait, that. First I needed to pound my butterflied chicken breasts to ½ inch thickness. Pound them? I have hammers, but I wouldn’t eat something I used them on. I settled on whacking them about with a rolling pin. They weren’t all that thick anyway.

I made the simple filling (I’m good with vegies and nuts). It was the roll up part that got me. My breasts just weren’t cooperative. Once I finally got them in the hot pan they refused to stay neatly rolled. In the end it tasted pretty good, but it wasn’t pretty. Enough with cooking.

Back to Reading

By now the eyes felt rested and ready to resume their primary function— reading. It was just a question of what to read. I wanted something entirely new to me. Something I might never in a million years seek out. And I found it by the cover. There is a promise in the lurid illustrations of a hugely muscled man, his clothing torn from battle, his eyes uncompromising. The tales of Doc Savage, the man of bronze were written in the 1930’s and 40’s, all 182 of them.

Lester Dent authored most under the house name Kenneth Robeson and the world and characters he built for the tales hold up beautifully 90 years later. Doc himself was once a victim— his parents were killed by bad guys — and he spent his youth honing his mind and body with lots of mysterious eastern mind techniques, exotic hand to hand fighting methods and grueling discipline — so he could spend a lifetime righting wrongs and punishing evil doers. Doc gathers a group of wonderfully eccentric characters to fight along with him. My favorites are Ham the dandy, and Monk the ape-like chemist.

All successful series books need to work as stand alone stories but need to supply enough background to explain the series characters and setting. It’s a difficult thing to do well without feeling heavy handed. Mr. Dent solved the problem simply: every Doc Savage book uses the exact same one to two paragraph description and character sketch of each supporting actor — and then he gets on with the action. And it works! I read 22 of the 182 Doc Savage adventures and by book 4 I had those set pieces memorized, but they are so good and so funny the tale would have felt empty without them.

It’s hard to decide what’s best about the Doc Savage books. It could be the complete innocence of of the world Doc protects, or the fact that Doc and his team never kill anybody (instead they take them to his Fortress of Solitude in the arctic and give them an operation that ‘cures’ them) or that Doc is a real doctor, he’s stinking rich and uses his money well, has a photographic memory, or that he is very shy around women. I loved it all.

It just goes to show that you can judge a book by its cover.

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There is No Such Thing As Too Many Books

March 12, 2021 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as too many books. I’m sure that’s a quote I’ve seen somewhere. Maybe I should get a t-shirt with that specific phrase on it!

photo of a library with lots of books on the shelves with blog title There Is No Such Thing as Too Many Books

My To-Be-Read-Pile is ever growing, is yours?

I have books on my Kindle, books under my bed, books on my nightstand, and in the special pieces of furniture that I purchased specifically to hold books.

And yet, I still love to go to the library and peruse possibilities or hunt for treasures at used book or garage sales, or add to my Kindle list through all the different newsletters I receive from the many authors I follow.

Am I the only one who does this?

Any suggestions for how to manage them all?

used book store front window promoting used and rare books bought and sold
I love to shop in used book stores!

Adding To The List

As I’ve made new writer friends in the different groups I’m a part of, I seem to have added a whole slew of authors to the list of books I want to read. It’s fun and exciting, but it can be overwhelming sometimes too.

I’m just curious to know if anyone shares in this same quandary?

My desire to add to my pile seems to ebb and flow, sometimes based on how overwhelmed I am with where to put everything. But mostly, I do tend to just accept and enjoy this desire to continuously add to my pile.

Of course, many books become favorites and I find it difficult to add them to the donate pile. Anyone have that habit as well?

Some days it feels like book overload. But other days, I just smile and look forward to the new set of friends I’m going to meet in the next book I read.

I’m hoping I’m not the only one who suffers from this malady!

Do you, too?

Denise M. Colby is writing her first novel. Check out her website to find out more about her story. You can also take a peek at her real-life hero she wrote about in a previous blog post.

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Vicki Crum–Author of Love, Laughter and Werewolves!!

August 2, 2020 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , ,

Vicki Crum writes contemporary and paranormal romance, creating tales full of love and laughter and discovering one’s soul mate in the most unlikely places. Her published works include Loving Luc, Once in a Blue Moon, Moonspell, and Blood Moon (Eternal Moon Series). Vicki resides with her husband in a charming seaside community in Southern California. She has two grown daughters and two adorable grandchildren who light up her world.

Connect with Vicki at vickicrum@homail.com, or visit her at http://vickicrum.wix.com/author and www.facebook.com/vickicrum.author

We’re spending time today with contemporary and paranormal romance author Vicki Crum. Vicki’s third book in her paranormal romance Eternal Moon series has just been released.

Jann: Your Eternal Moon series is about werewolves. What drew you to this genre? 

Vicki: A few years ago, my friend and critique partner, Mandy Baker, urged me to try my hand at writing a paranormal romance. I had only written contemporary romances prior to that, and one contemporary romance with futuristic elements. I tried to think what I could write exploring the paranormal world that would hold my interest. I wasn’t really a “vampire” kind of girl, so I settled on a werewolf. I’ve always been fascinated by wolves, and so I figured, why not? I could still create characters that were sexy and mysterious, and they could be awake during the day and eat whatever they wanted!

Jann: You received great reviews for Once in a Blue Moon and Moonspell. For this series, did you start with plot idea, a character or a theme?

Vicki: Oddly enough, I had started a contemporary romance that wasn’t really going anywhere, so I revamped it into what would eventually become Once in a Blue Moon by making the hero a werewolf. Only Jake was meant to be a werewolf in the beginning. I didn’t even know his love interest, Casey, was a werewolf until Jake did! A rare breed of werewolf with a case of latent genes, even Casey doesn’t know about her true heritage until Jake comes along. I can tell you I had some fun with this one!

In Moonspell, I give Casey’s handsome older brother, Reed, his own love story. Due to their odd family genetics, Reed is not a werewolf, but Marin, the woman he ultimately falls for, is. Each book in the series is connected by siblings. In Blood Moon, Austin is Marin’s brother.

Jann: Blood Moon, book three made its debut recently. What can you tell us about your characters Austin and Kat and their journey?

Vicki: Of all the characters I’ve ever written, I think Kat and Austin are my favorites. They completely captured my imagination and took over my life for a while. I love the way they relate to each other, their good-natured sparring, the immense and uncharted chemistry between them that sweeps them along, almost against their will, on an ultra-passionate adventure. The story takes place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Austin serves as Kat’s outdoor adventure guide. Lots of beautiful scenery, wild animal encounters, and plenty of passion-filled nights. And did I mention Kat’s stalker ex-husband, who refuses to take no for an answer? A showdown at the end exposes Austin’s werewolf heritage in a sudden and violent way, causing Kat to reexamine her feelings for him, and what a future with him might look like.

Jann: What do you want the readers to take away from this series? 

Vicki: I want them to have fun, to be entertained above all, to be carried along on a fantasy, passion-filled adventure as the characters meet and fall desperately in love, then struggle with how, despite the odds against them, to forge a future together. 

Jann: Will there be a fourth book? If so, can you tell us a little about it? 

Vicki: The next book (as yet untitled) takes us to Nashville, and yet another sibling of Marin and Austin’s. Ethan Sawyer is a popular country music star who falls for an extremely independent woman, one whose father was a famous, and very troubled, rock star. Due to Skyler’s scarred past, getting involved with a musician is a non-starter for her. She is also half Shawnee, which according to her full-blood grandmother, makes any kind of union with a shapeshifter forbidden.

Jann: Your first book, Loving Luc, is a contemporary romance. Do you have any plans to write another contemporary romance?

Vicki: Loving Luc is a contemporary romance with futuristic elements, as Luc hails from a planet in another solar system that just happens to be very similar in size and scope to Earth. But yes, I’m thinking to finish my Eternal Moon series with Ethan and Skyler’s story, and then I have several straight contemporary ideas I’d like to work on. Also, my daughter has expressed an interest in us writing a book together, so we’ll see where that idea leads.

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories?

Vicki: I would have to say the main theme in most of my books has been the tried and true “love conquers all”. I’ve paired lovers from two distant solar systems and given them their happy ending, and three of the Eternal Moon novels feature couples with incongruent genetic lines, human and werewolf. You can imagine what kinds of difficulties they might face trying to create a life together! I love the idea of discovering one’s soulmate in the most unlikely and unexpected places, wherever that may be.  

Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?

Vicki: Honestly, the quote that has always inspired me the most, and I’m sorry I can’t remember who said it, goes like this, “It makes me sad to think of all the truly talented writers who eventually gave up and went away.” When I’m feeling down and discouraged, this quote gives me heart. Never give up your dreams!

Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?

Vicki: You can find my website at: vickicrum.wix.com/author, and catch me on Facebook at Facebook.com/vickicrum.author

Congratulation Vicki on the debut of Blood Moon!! It’s been fun getting a peek into your world of werewolves here on A Slice of Orange.

Books by Vicki Crum


BLOOD MOON

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BLOOD MOON

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

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ONCE IN A BLUE MOON
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Chatting with Nikki Prince by Jann Ryan

September 2, 2019 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , , ,

Today, I’m happy to be chatting with author, Nikki Prince. Nikki is a mother of two, who always had a dream to be a published author. Her passion lies in raising her children, gaming, reading and writing.  She has two Masters, one in English and the other in Creative Writing concentration in fiction.

Nikki’s a multi-published author with several publishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres but wants to let everyone know to not box her in because there is always room for growth.  Nikki believes that love should truly be color blind and for all.

Nikki’s a member of Romance Writers of America National, DARA, and several online chapters.

Author Links

Website 
Instagram
Facebook Page 
Facebook Group
Twitter

Bakersfield Romance Writers Links

Facebook Group
Facebook Page
Instagram 
Twitter 
Website: coming soon


Jann Ryan: Since 2012, you have published seventeen books, earned a BA and MA in English and Creative Writing, active in several Romance Writers of America chapters, moved twice all while raising two wonderful children. Wow—how did you do it all?

Nikki Prince: It’s actually about 25 books and I earned another Masters in Literature during this time frame.  My two teens have been a great help as well as inspiration for me because I want them to know that anything is possible in their life as long as they go for it. 

I went back to school in 2014 and garnered the BA, and two MA’s in a 3-year span and have maintained a 3.9 GPA.  I’ve been wanting to write since I was 11 years old.  I finally made that dream a reality when I turned 43 and realized it is never too late to do what you’ve always wanted to do.  Writing and reading has been a passion for since I first found romance books at age 11.  Before finding my grandmother’s romances, and Johanna Lindsey on my father’s dresser I hated to read. 

Reading helped me in so many ways, you see I had a learning disability.  However, once I found romance books and started reading that all changed for me and the only inkling of a disability that I still have is in math which is another part of the brain.  Reading and writing saved my life in so many ways and knowing that I can bring joy to someone else from reading the worlds and characters that I build is so satisfyingly wonderful.  Another shining part in my writing and real life is belonging to RWA it is a wonderful community where writers of like minds can be together to nurture one another.

Jann Ryan: It’s Complicated debut in April of 2018. A reviewer declared it was a “steamy, intriguing romance.” Another said it was “friends with benefits until it goes sideways.” You have two great characters, Ashton Locke and Keiko Jarrett. For our readers who may not have found this incredible book tell us about it.

Nikki Prince: I’ve had this thought of creating a bunch of friends for who all intents and purposes are the best of girlfriends with great guy friends.  Three sets of friends and the desire to be together and yet there is something holding them back.  Ashton and Keiko’s love story has a few twists along the way to get to the HEA, because everyone deserves a happy ever after.

Jann Ryan: When can we read the next Nikki Prince novel?

Nikki Prince: The last story that I had come out is a short called Blurred Lines, and it came out June 2019.  I am working on edits for the second book in the Undeniable Series with  Áine Reid and Darian Tisdale in a story called “It’s Work” and following that the next story which is Emmerson Collins and Royce Hanson’s story called, “It’s Real.”  Beyond that I have a lot of stories still left in me to write.  Stories that may be paranormal, contemporary and love between the same gender, opposite gender, interracial mix or same racial mix as I believe everyone’s story should be told.

Jann Ryan: Have you ever suffered writer’s block? If so, how did/do you get past it?

Nikki Prince: Indeed, I have.  I know there are some that say that writer’s block is imaginary.  In some ways I think that is true because there is inspiration to write everywhere.  However, there are times when the brain doesn’t want to function and let you put out the stories as you have before.  Because let’s face it, life can be messy it is one of the reasons most of us read romance is because it lets us get out of our own heads, our own lives and for a moment in time live a life of beauty. 

How I get past it is I game (I play World of Warcraft have since 2006), I spend time with my children, Travel somewhere different , read something else and sometimes a nap will rejuvenate the mind and spirit.   When I moved to Dallas last year in 2018 it was hard to get a chance to write and for me that was a block, however if it is in you to write and to create it never goes away so here I am.

Jann Ryan: What are you doing now between writing and life?

Right now I am working on putting together a writing community here in Bakersfield, California.  I knew when I moved here that RWA wasn’t represented here and I want to change that.  So far I have about 7 other people within the group.  I hope to gain more so that I can apply for Bakersfield Romance Writers to be a full chapter of the Romance Writers of America.  I am also in grad school for a third Masters.  This is a Masters in Marketing and Social Media.  I’m taking my time with this MA as I already have two and there is no rush, besides I have plenty of stories within me that I want to share with the world.

Jann Ryan: What’s your writing day like?

My writing day really depends.  Between having two teens in High School, being in grad school and looking for a full-time job here in Bakersfield (I’ve only been here since June), I write wherever and whenever I can.  That has always been the way of it since 2012.  I love writing and creating so I will write at night, in the afternoon, and in the morning.  Whatever it takes to get the stories done, I’ll do it.  One of the ways to do that is I love to do National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) every November so that I can just immerse myself in my stories for a whole month.


A Few Books by Nikki Prince

#Me Too

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#Me Too

IT’S COMPLICATED

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IT’S COMPLICATED

ON ANGLE’S WINGS

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ON ANGLE’S WINGS

PURE ADRENALINE

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PURE ADRENALINE

SWAGGER

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SWAGGER
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All You Can Read Buffet by Veronica Jorge

July 22, 2019 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , ,

I relish tasting cuisines from around the globe and trying similar foods prepared in different ways. A gourmet meal might be my dish of choice, but I never pass up a pizza, burger, or hot dog.  I reach for the fruit…and then the pretzel rods and strawberry twizzlers.

So why isn’t my reading menu as varied?

Writing a number of book reviews these past months made me realize how many flavors of life I have been missing.

While the human experience and its range of emotions are universal, the individual perspectives which explore and reveal our moments in time are vast and diverse.

Like my multi-ethnic mix that connects me to others in so many ways, reading a broad selection of works can connect me to others in the realm of ideas, and in the secret places of the heart.

The books I have been fortunate to read and review have given me a broader view of this wonderful and magical world we inhabit.

Thank You Dear Writers

So, thank you dear writers for jolting my brain to solve riddles, and for teaching me a new Jell-O recipe, (yum).  Thank you for making me feel indignant at every injustice. I vow to be an agent of change. Thank you for sparking more compassion in me, for making me cry and laugh; for helping me to see my neighbor with greater tenderness, and for reminding me to value my friends…even when they try to take over my life.

Mostly, thank you dear writers for trusting me with your precious words. I may have written reviews, but your words have filled my heart and enriched my life.

Now I need time to digest, reflect and internalize it all, so in the words of the 1960s song…

“See you in September when the summer’s through.”

(On the 22nd).

Veronica


Editor’s note: Read some of Veronica’s Book Reviews.


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