Sunday, August 30, 2015

School has started, let us join together for this ONE thing...

The supplies and clothes are bought. First day of school pictures, whether pre-school or senior year of college, is posted. Friends and family have remarked on the incredible changes from this year to last. Band practice is in full swing, as is two a day football sessions. Soon Thursday and Friday nights will be filled with school spirits and parents and coaches praying for games that bring no injuries on either side of the field.There will be laughter, groans, good-natured complaining and among it all, memories will be in the making. 

Third quarter breaks for the band to indulge in soda, nachos, candy and the sly glances at those they have a crush on. Blankets will surround shivering bodies, hot chocolate will warm cold hands. Victory smiles will cover faces and disappointment shows on other as handshakes at the end of game teaches good sportsmanlike behavior. Morning breakfast, fifth quarter celebrations, and monday video reviews.

The school year will progress with tests, pictures, problems and solutions. But, the school year will not be fun for all students. Some will be the victim of bullying, of being left out, of being judged for being different and not fitting in. There will be the ones who sit alone at lunch time wondering what was so wrong with him/her that they do not have a friend. They are the ones who will withdraw into themselves and will be scarred for years to come.

Take the time to talk to your children about bullying and what constitutes bullying. Look for these signs to recognize if your child is being bullied:
  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations


Many parents don’t want to think of their child as being the bully. Here are some signs that he/she is a bully:
  • Physical or verbal fights
  • They have friends who are bullies
  • Increasingly aggressive
  • Visit the principal’s office or detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive
  • Worry about reputation or popularity



Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated and fear this will get worse if they report bullying. By keeping close tabs on your children and their friends, we can all stop bullying. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Down the road, around the curve, and up the hill was...

Not too long ago, I lived in North Charleston, South Carolina and, yet, I never knew about author T.H. Morris who lived a short hop, skip, and jump north in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Although we missed each other years ago, we were able to catch up together this week. We had more in common than we knew. Part of the visit was a trip to the gym where we tackled the weight lifting equipment. I think he was as surprised as I was! Thank you beast body dvds from when I was a beachbody coach.

Terrick Heckstall, aka, T.H. Morris
After showers and we were both smelling loads better, he invited me over to his house to visit with him and his beautiful bride of six years. The amazing fact that his small town community was 221 and mine was 1200, we were able to chat about things many city folks wouldn’t understand. Like the howl of coyotes that sound so close at night.

We sat out on their back porch as the sun went down. That is when Terrick, aka T.H. Morris, found out I was a beast of an interviewer, as well as, a weight lifter.

K-Trina: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?

Terrick: I would have to say that it was in the fourth grade. My teacher, Miss Joyner, assigned us the task of writing these nine to ten page “books,” which were simply notebook paper bound with construction paper and yarn. Once we’d written them, she sprung on us that we would be reading them to the other fourth grade class. When I read my little story, a bunch of the kids loved it. That planted the seed in me, and it never left me.

K-Trina: Ah, yes, teachers are awesome. And what a great shout out seeing as this interview is being conducted some kids are starting back to school soon and some have already started. How long does it take you to write a book and what kind of schedule do you have? 

Terrick: The 11th Percent took me 2 ½ months. Its sequel was about the same. Now the time frame for the polishing and revisions are another matter entirely! I write 2000-2500 hundred words every morning, bare minimum. Allows me to make a bunch of headway. I write 500-1000 at night. The night plan is a lot more flexible because I feel accomplished so long as I’ve done my 2500 in the A.M. Anything extra after that is always welcome!

K-Trina: I understand. That editing and revising stage is what sets apart a good book from a great book! That is quite an impressive word count to hold to. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Terrick: I like to read when I’m not writing. My quirk is the fact that when I am a writing a book, I have to read a book in that same genre. Since my genre is paranormal, I have to read paranormal while I’m writing. Can’t really explain why. It just keeps all my thoughts aligned, I suppose.

K-Trina: Hey, whatever works to keep the imagination flowing! Know you have to choose: Traditional publishing or self publishing - which is it? 

Terrick: I’m self-published and happy to be!

K-Trina: Awesome-sauce! And when you aren't writing, what fills up your time besides weightlifting? 

Terrick: I like spending time with my wife, reading, walking in the local arboretum, gaming, and binging on Netflix!

K-Trina: I hardly have time for television or Netflix. My coworkers laugh at my deer in the headlight look when they talk about a movie or television show. What kind of response have you had from your family?

Terrick: They are proud of me, and pleasantly surprised, I’d say. No one ever expected me to write a book. I didn’t even know that I had this in me. Of course, the desire and need was there, but many projects never reached fruition. I was surprised as I don’t know what when I wrote The 11th Percent. I think they feel the same.

K-Trina: It is a wonderful feeling to complete a project - especially a full length novel. What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in creating your books?

Terrick: This answer may be a long one! The first thing that I learned is that there is always more! Once I put pen to pad (I write longhand before I type), everything—characters, situations, conflicts, needs—just flows into my mind. It’s a lot like meeting new friends that were always around in some way. If you told me five years ago that I would be writing a paranormal mystery series, I would have kindly told you to go to the doctor for a checkup. Yet I’m writing one. A series that will eventually be SEVEN books. And it won’t stop there! I have other ideas after The 11th Percent Series. Four series are sitting in my head right now! Sometimes I still ask myself “Where did all these characters and stories come from?”                                                             
I’ve also learned just how strong I can be. Writing The 11th Percent served to waylay so many barriers in my mind. After several abandoned novels, I’d pretty much told myself that the writing ship had sailed. Then The 11th Percent came along. After every doubt, every limit and every put-down, I still wrote it. It just flowed from me like it had been just waiting in my mind for me to locate it. I now know that I am capable of many things that I didn’t believe before. It’s kind of like if “I can write a book, I can do anything.”

K-Trina: Good for you for staying true to yourself and overcoming the doubts that many, if not all, artists feel. It is impressive that you will have seven books in this series. You have written three so far, which is your favorite?
Terrick: I have written The 11th Percent, its sequel Item and Time, and I just completed the manuscript for Book 3, which is titled Lifeblood. The manuscript for lifeblood is my favorite at the moment because it’s where my mind is now! I just love how the story unfolded, and it’s a point in the series that really shifts the landscape that was provided in Books 1 and 2. That may seem rather cliché, but there it is.

K-Trina: I am looking forward to reading them. What suggestions do you have for aspiring authors?

Terrick: Just some advice that I like to give to other who may want to write, but aren’t
quite sure: Always remember why you love writing. Know it, have it in your heart, and keep it close. It will help you when people try to discourage you by remarking on how “tough” the business is. It will reassure when you come across people that aren’t fond of your work (and you won’t please everyone. It’s simply not going to happen). Never, never lose the excitement that you have for creating. And lastly, just write. Write all the time. Write, and keep writing, until your story is finished. And when you have written all you possibly can, write some more.

K-Trina: Great advice! Do you hear from readers much! If so, what kind of stuff do they say?

Terrick: Many readers give high praise to my imagery, as well as the relatable nature of my characters. Another thing that my readers say (and I hear it a lot) is that they haven’t read a story quite like mine. That really warms me to my core. When I referred to my books as a “new breed of ghost story,” it wasn’t meant to be a hyperbole. I truly believed that I’d put a brand new spin on it and made a ghost story that bucked tradition. According to my readers, I did just that. And it makes me smile.

K-Trina: Shivers run down the spine at the mention of ghost stories. Do you like to create books for adults?

Terrick: Oh very much so! This is not meant as a knock, but merely an observation: There is a huge number of paranormal tales out there that entail coming of age. Not a problem in the least. I simply want to show that crazy, wild, and unimaginable things can happen AFTER you’ve come of age as well. That is precisely why the majority of my characters are aged beyond adolescence.

K-Trina: That's great! Older, wiser, more craftier stories! In your opinion, what do you think makes a good story?

Terrick: Characters that I can relate to. Even if the story is wild fiction, I love to have relatable characters. I also like stories where I learn as I go along. And the learning is sometimes random and accidental. No one person is a walking encyclopedia; even the most intelligent of characters are stumped on something. That is probably the best of the best to me: Believable characters and a steady trek for knowledge.

K-Trina: That's true; however, there are times that I don't want to learn because reading is my way of de-stressing. Since I'm taking an online class in addition to working two full time jobs as a mechanic and an author, I look forward to down time. Let's backtrack a bit. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?


Terrick: Funnily enough, I wanted to be a fireman or a police officer. To my young mind, their jobs were the most exciting things on earth. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized there was a LOT more to it. But nowadays, I adore creating. Like law enforcement and fire control and safety, there is a great deal more to it than meets the eye, but honestly, I couldn’t care less. I just love it. Wouldn’t change a thing!

K-Trina: I think that is great. Thank you for having me here Terrick. You and your wife have been a splendid host. And although I don't want to leave, I must for a short time. Until we meet again, lets leave the reader some contact information for you  and how to get your books. 


The 11th Percent: 


When Jonah Rowe wished for his boring twenty-three years of living to have some meaning, he never imagined that wish would be granted.

His life is forever altered when Jonathan, an enigmatic figure who literally appears from nowhere, tears asunder his illusions about humans using only ten percent of their brain. Jonah discovers that he is an Eleventh Percenter, an ethereal human that has access to a portion of their brain called The Eleventh Percent, which grants him the ability to communicate with spirits and influence the spiritual world itself (a practice known as ethereality). He learns that he is not alone in having access to spirits when he meets fellow Eleventh Percenters who, like him, have to continuously hone the gifts they possess while remaining integrated within the world of Tenth Percenters (non-ethereal humans.)  Jonah must also contend with an Eleventh Percenter on the other side of the equation, who has his own schemes and motives for the spiritual world.

As Jonah navigates this new world in which he has found himself, he will begin to learn about true paranormal activity, auras, and the actual nature of life.  Understanding them all may very well be his key to survival.

Follow the journey of Jonah Rowe as he goes from unmotivated accountant to the centerpiece of a spectral battle in this new breed of ghost story!


Buy Now Amazon Kindle


Item and Time

Jonah Rowe’s life is going great. His accounting days are behind him, he has a job in a bookstore that he looks forward to each day, and he has more allies than he can count amongst his fellow Eleventh Percenters.

But when a mysterious woman suddenly invades Jonah’s dreams, warning him of danger of a chronological nature, a game of cat-and-mouse ensues that will intertwine their fates.

Who is this mystery woman, and why does she believe that both she and Jonah are in danger? Will Jonah find all the answers? Will he be able to protect this woman and himself? Most importantly, will he be able to do this before time runs out?

The second installment of The 11th Percent Series brings back familiar faces, while also introducing new ones.

A race against time ensues, spirits abound, and enemies appear in the unlikeliest of places as this new breed of ghost story continues!

Buy Now from Amazon Kindle





Sunday, August 23, 2015

#SundaySnippet On Top of the Rainbow

Today’s Sunday snippet comes from On Top of the Rainbow which was written for my grandson, Gabriel. This was my first children’s book. It is available in English or Spanish. Paperback, E-book, and audio book (through ITunes and Audible) are available too. 



E-Book       Audible     Itunes     Autographed Paperback

On Top of the Rainbow


A large boulder blocked the path. Gabe went around it and met with a strange critter. He jumped behind a bush, rubbed his knuckles over his eyes, and blinked. He stole another glance.

The critter sat at the base of the tree with its legs stretched out in front of it. Its head rolled to one side and sounds of a freight train rumbled from its nose. A steady stream of slobber drooled down its chin and dripped onto its shirt.

Gabe crept up to take a closer look. He noticed the critter had purple shoes, blue pants that stopped at the ankle, and a brown shirt with orange suspenders. Its arms were long and had bony fingers.

Beside the critter sat a huge black pot filled to the brim with shiny gold coins. Gabe’s eyes grew large at the sight. Curious to see more, he tiptoed towards the pot.

The critter’s eyes popped open. One was red and the other yellow. It stood up, placed its hands on its hips, and bellowed, “Halt!  Who goes there?!”

Audio Excerpt








Friday, August 21, 2015

Healthy Pizza.... it is possible





Ingredients

1.     1 - 8 inch WW Pita OR 2 6 inch WW wraps
2.     Spinach
3.     Sliced mushrooms
4.     Plain Greek yogurt
5.     Cooked, diced chicken
6.     Feta Cheese (
7.     1 tsp flavored olive oil - I used Olive Sundried Tomato, garlic and parmesan (1 tsp)
8.     Minced garlic

Directions

1.     -Mix together the Greek yogurt, olive oil and a tiny bit of minced garlic.
2.     -Spread over your pita or wraps as your sauce.
3.     -Put on the spinach, mushrooms, chicken and feta cheese.
4.     -Cook for 15 minutes at 375 in the oven.
5.     Enjoy :)





Thursday, August 20, 2015

Minterville, Georgia: Where havoc is about to take place... #indieloveapc

About Ice:


In Minterville, Georgia, the residents live in relative seclusion, partly to keep crime out of their small, tranquil community, and partly to prevent the world from finding out about The Minter, a form of telepathy that interconnects them and gives them a sense of unity.

Then The Minter, which cannot function in the presence of evil, stops working. Mayor Tom Watson suspects that two families who had recently moved to town have ties to Manuela Escribano (known as the Ice Queen), a prolific drug lord who, unbeknownst to the rest of Minterville, has a deadly score to settle with Tom.

No one, including Tom, has any idea how deep the Manuela's desire for revenge runs, until one Friday morning, twenty women disappear. When Manuela sends in a video detailing her diabolical plot to get revenge against Tom and the community that has harbored him for thirty years, Minterville must come together as one to rescue the women before time runs out. They must act quickly, or innocent people will die and their beloved community (and along with it, The Minter) will be destroyed forever.

.99 Amazon Kindle Buy Now


About Jessica Wren:

Jessica Wren is a psychological-thriller writer from a city in Georgia that is famous for its sand gnats (known locally as 'tiny flying sharks'). She wishes to share her infinite wisdom and life experience, as she knows everything about being a cop, a lawyer, a drug dealer, a serial killer, a teenage boy, and every other known identity. 

She gives top-notch professional advice on her blog about writing by which she consistently fails to abide.
 
Her other talents include finding that super-convenient parking space in a busy parking lot that somehow got overlooked, helping others overcome their fear of lotus seed pods, and making up song parodies for every imaginable situation.

She is the nagging wife of Patrick since 2006 and the hovering helicopter mother of Rachel.


Jessica's ultimate dream is to retire to a one-room shack with 20 cats, where she will sit on the porch and shout "Get out of my yard!" while swinging a broom at anyone who happens to pass by.

.99 Kindle Buy Now








Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New York hosts Texas; an insightful look into...

Fly me to Bulgaria, or to Hawaii, or to many other places, but I have to admit flying to New York was not at the top of my list. However, I made the trip to visit my delightful hostess Kirsten Campbell.

Kirsten Campbell
Kirsten introduced me to her wonderful family: husband, kids, and grandkids. We ate, laughed, played, ate again and I looked around to see how full Kirsten’s life really was. Thankfully, she assured me there would not be a test on names!

In the late night hours, when the house was quiet and the kids and grandkids were snoozing, we sat at the kitchen table. Kirsten with her coffee and I with my ice water with a dash of lemon and we talked about what life was like for her whose Young Adult book, Blood Master Book One, recently hit the Amazon best seller list.

K-Trina: Kirsten, you have an awful lot of energy to keep up with your kids, grandkids, work and write full time. Curious minds want to know: what is your work schedule like when you are writing?

Kirsten: I write in the morning/evening commute prior to leaving for my full time job as a Legal/Compliance Assistant. On the weekends I will work up to eight hours at a time and that includes editing too!

K-Trina: Oh, good gracious. Or more accurately, Bless Your New York Heart! I am originally from Texas so I am allowed to say that, sweetie. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Kirsten: I was seven. We had a writing assignment, and I wrote a poem. The teacher hung it up in the classroom bulletin board and praised me in front of the class. I knew then. When I was nine years old I wrote my first book. It was a flip book I called, “Where are you?” I still remember the silly little book. I took a bunch of 8 x 11 sheets of paper, cut them into fours and then wrote a short story about a little girl looking for her mother. I drew the pictures and everything! It was a hit in class.



K-Trina: Hats off to teachers who recognize talent at a young age and support young ones in their dreams. Teachers have more of an impact than they realize. I’ve had a few supportive teachers in my time as well. Tell me, what does your family think about your writing?

Kirsten: My family supports me 100%. I have included them in every aspect of my writing and even put them in my books! Tassta is a character that developed from watching my daughter and how she handled certain situations. Yes, she hates butterflies, just like Tassta (in the book).  My daughter and I share the same aversion to them. They just look so weird. I love their wings but that’s it.) Tassta (my daughter) went to a butterfly haven and a million of them landed on her and that was too much. She has hated them ever since! My son is the protagonist in Dark Matters. I believe they love when I put them in my books.

K-Trina: That is awesome. I have yet to put anyone I know in real life into my full length novels. My first two childrens books were written for the grandkids. How long does it take you to write a book?

Kirsten: It took me a few years to write the G.O.D.s Series of books. (Yes, all four books are written!) I had to commute from Westchester, NY to NYC by train every morning and I wrote on the train in the morning and evening for 4 years. That’s 2 hours a day, five days a week for 4 years for four books. My poetry book is a collection that has been previously published in different journals and magazines, so it took a few years to complete. My short story collection took about a year to finish.

K-Trina: I have read and reviewed Blood Master, adult and young adult versions. I bet you are excited with the recent best-seller rating on Amazon kindle. One thing kept going through my mind: Where did you get your ideas for your book?

Kirsten: Many of them come from weird dreams which I have used for short stories and my books.

K-Trina: That is, almost, kinda scary. (We both had a good chuckle here, took a sip of our drinks and continued on.) Staying on this line of thought, what would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? All authors have at least one.


Buy Now from Amazon

Kirsten: I have to have everything right at my fingertips. I need my cup of coffee, my pens, sticky pads, highlighters, small thesaurus and of course my laptop and iPad all within reach, then I go to work for about six hours at a time for days. Sometimes I do eight hour marathons to finish a book and go for days just typing and taking 15 minute breaks to eat or talk to the family. I sleep five hours a night. Always have…

K-Trina: (Yawning) I don’t know how you survive on 5 hours. I need at least 8, preferably 10 hours of sleep. I have been known to do marathons to finish a writing project as well. What was one most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?

Kirsten: I couldn’t believe how involved you can get with the characters. You really end up liking each character, even the bad guys-to a point. I mean, if you write the character correctly, they become multi-faceted and interesting, so they become real in your imagination and you can almost hear their voices when you write their dialogue. It’s complicated but fun.

K-Trina: It certainly is fun and I agree that I have fallen in love with characters and hated others, and always hoped that my readers would feel the same strong emotion. In your opinion, what do you think it takes to make a good story?

Kirsten: First and foremost, I believe you need to have a great plot. I think that the best way to beat plot holes is to make sure you have a beginning that matches the end in some way, and that even though the end and beginning match, there should be some kind of twist at the end and lots of growth with the characters. There has to be surprises and lots of color and flavor, and of course honesty in dialogue between characters. I love a good writer’s voice, too!

K-Trina: You have a great author’s voice and in more than one genre too! Poetry, Adult and Young Adult. Each one is unique and authentic. Which book of yours is your favorite?

Kirsten: Oh man... I have wrote a lot of books but my favorite so far is The G.O.D.s Series. I am in love with Griffin Storm. He’s just so sweet and innocent and his love is so encompassing and eternal. Blood Master is just the beginning of the sweetest love story, but it grows so much in the next book, Blood Rage, as he grows and becomes what he is meant to be. 



K-Trina: Your books evoke a lot of emotion. Do you hear back from your readers?

Kirsten: Yes, I do! I often hear about how much they love the main characters in the book. Most love Griffin and his ways of getting deeply involved with his friend’s lives. Others like Tassta. She’s a character that you either love or hate. Lots of women have written that Tassta disappoints them because of her flakiness and weaknesses, but she is only 17 when Blood Master begins and she’s been coddled her whole life. She grows throughout the book but she has yet to be tried. In Blood Master she learns what her heart wants and that alone is a hard lesson. Everyone seems to get Penn. Yes, he’s funny and at times a jerk, but he’s the perfect friend for Griffin. He kind of keeps things light and airy in the book. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I believe...

K-Trina: It has been wonderful meeting you and your family Kirsten. One last question before we turn in for the night. When is Book 2 of the G.O.D.s’ series going to be available?

Kirsten: Blood Rage, which is the second book, will be release around November 2015.

K-Trina: That sounds awesome. I am definitely going to be looking forward to it. Thank you for having me here. But before we leave, let’s leave the reader an excerpt from Blood Master (Adult) Book One.

Buy Now from Amazon

Blood Master Book One Excerpt


“The Underground, what’s the Underground? You keep saying that like it’s an actual place,” Tassta Vinetti said.

“It is an actual place. I live there. I’ve been there a while now. It used to be Underground Atlanta, but since the earthquakes, it’s just called the Underground. It’s a wreck, but people still live there. My friend, Waylene, lives there. She told me that I shouldn’t stop to help anyone or I’d wind up getting hurt.”

“She was right,” Tassta said and chuckled. She left the room for a second. When she returned she handed the albino man a wet washcloth. “Put it on the bump. It’s bleeding again.”
Griffin nodded and laid the washcloth over the bump on his head. He smiled sheepishly then continued. “Waylene’s my best friend’s daughter. His name’s Skylar Jennings. He’s the leader of the underground dwellers, the people that I take care of and go on raids for.”

“Why do you put your life on the line for them?”

Griffin shrugged. “I guess there’s no one else stupid enough to do it.”

“How many people are down there?”

“I don’t know, hundreds?”

“That many? Why don’t they get their own supplies?”

“Because most of them are children, little children,” Griffin said quietly. His lips tightened and his head suddenly felt heavy, so he bent forward while peering up through his feathery, white eyelashes. He knew this little piece of information would hit Tassta hard, but he also felt she had to know the truth. He figured Tassta was sheltered at the Brotherhood and from what he could see; she knew nothing of real life out on the streets or in the Underground since the Great War and the earthquakes. Oh, he knew she had heard rumors and been on a few raids, but he also knew that her brother would never let her go out and investigate the validity of the rumors of those five blocks underground that used to be known as Underground Atlanta. No, sweet little Tassta Vinetti was protected from the harshness of the typical life outside of the Brotherhood.

“There are hundreds of children in the Underground? That can’t be true. That’s impossible…”



Buy Now from Amazon

Blood Rage, Book Two, Coming November 2015 


 A little more about Kirsten Campbell....


Kirsten Campbell is the author of several short stories and poems that have been published in Bewildering Stories, The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, Ascent Magazine, The Fairfield Review, Poets-Artists & Madmen, Interracial Voice, Beauty Talk, The CoffeehousePress Journal, The Write Gallery, Sagazine Online, COBRA, and several other magazines.

Her novel, Blood Master – Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series is an Urban Paranormal Fantasy novel that is currently available on Amazon.com in Adult and Young Adult version. Blood Master hit the Amazon Top 100 List. The second book of The G.O.D.s Series, Blood Rage, will be out by the end of this year. She is also a published poet and her poetry book, Perfect Chaos, hit the Amazon Best Seller’s List three days in a row and was an Amazon Hot New Release. She’s also the author of Darkness Calls, a book of Paranormal Short Stories for young adults. Her websites are www.kcampbell-gods.com, which is the site for all things Blood Master, and her Author’s Website is, www.kirstencampbellbooks.com

She has two chapbooks that were published; one by Ladybug Press (Poetry from the Covert Bourgeoisie), and the other by Puddinghouse Publications (The Abandoning Kind).