Of Cherries, cheesecake, elder publishing, Heart of the Lotus previews, J. S. Burke's "Scr
April 23 is National Cherry Cheesecake Day. It isn't easily found WHY this day gets the nod, but if you have the opportunity, buy, eat, or make one. Here's a recipe for the no-bake variety.
11 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 shortbread or graham cracker crust (8 or 9 inches)
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping; spoon into crust. Top with pie filling. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.
You might also decide to make the cherry topping yourself so it will have fewer preservatives. Here is a recipe I use for Cherry sauce.
1 12-16 oz bag of frozen cherries (I like the dark and sweet kind)
1 cup water
1 cup granulated or raw sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Heat the cherries until the liquid thickens and becomes clear. Cool and top that cheesecake. This also works with any frozen or raw fruit for any number of toppings
WHY BUY IT CANNED when making it fresh is so easy?
The Flower of Life is a recurring them in the series Children of Stone. The symbol itself is ancient, appearing in some form on walls built as long ago as ancient Egypt. As the preparation of Book 4 Heart of the Lotus marches toward completion and the publication date gets closer, I thought I'd explain a few things.
Mystics have always understood that the more intuitive and intelligent a creature became the more it realized its interconnection with other things. Whether through contemplation or via the information highway we, as humans know this. What begins as a small circle in the center grows in pattern and complexity as similar circles are added, each overlapping. Early man knew the rhythm of design and from this developed mathematical equations and geometry. Scholars mapped the stars.
Each bit of information increased itself as it spread outward, taking parts if each new circle, adding them to itself and expanding. The universe works this way. Cellular tissue often works this way. Flowers blooming work this way. Spiritual elevation works this way. We are all one thing, spiritualists state. Christianity speaks of "The Mystical Body of Christ" and "I am the vine, you are the branches". When we discover the connectivity, borders and personal possessions become unimportant. Territorialism and nationalism also fade. War, or things that seek to have victors, winners and champions mean a lot less. It's about seeing that we are one. In Heart of the Lotus there is an additional meaning. Connectivity and choices of one affect the timeline and all events of others going forth. In time travel stories, this is also a regular theme. One can't go to the past and create a change without affecting the future. Why? Because it's all connected. Some mystics believe that mankind will ascend to other realms once the pattern takes hold; that when there are multiple "flowers" superimposed, a portal will open and create our ticket of admission to the universe. For that to happen, many rather than a few, will need to understand and LIVE this connectivity. The Akaru explains to Marai that each step one takes is like the choice of a petal. Because each is connected, everything we do affects all life on earth and in the Universe. There are no insignificant acts. He goes on to say that those chosen to lead and who lead best are those whop deeply understand our oneness. AS the choice is made, other opportunities and choices fall away. Think of that and think of the way in which many in our world (all over the world) are seeking to dominate and to compartmentalize us.
Reflect, and choose petals that will help you and all of us grow in depth and character.
I've often told people that I always was a writer, but that I never published my writing until I was 65. I often lament that because there are certain difficulties with being a late emerging author. Here is an article by Julie Rosenberg, author of Beyond the Mat that I found that was very helpful.
As a girl, I absolutely adored the Little House on the Prairie series. I would wake early in the morning, sit at the kitchen table, and devour each book. I was inspired by young Laura and her adventures on the prairie. What I could have never known then is what an inspiration Wilder the author would be for me as an adult.
Wilder didn’t publish her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, until she was 64. During the earlier part of her life, she had taught and farmed and raised a family. She had written a bit on the side for small local publications in her fifties, but it wasn’t until her retirement investments were wiped out in the 1929 stock market crash that she wrote Little House in the Big Woods. The book was published in 1932, and it was the start of a writing career that has resulted in the beloved TV series, spin-off books, and millions of copies sold. Like Frank McCourt, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela’s Ashes was published when McCourt was 66, Wilder is proof that it’s never too late to write a book.
I’ve previously written about why I believe that it is not only possible but in some ways advantageous to start a writing career after the age of 50 (see “Is it Too Late to Start Writing After 50?”). I am all for older writers taking the plunge, but it is important to be aware that it will be a different process than starting a writing a career at 25 may have been.
Here are a few things that are particularly important in order to start writing after 50.
First and foremost: Set realistic goals. Is this book going to change your life? No. After publication, you will not be a different fifty-plus-year-old person. You won’t be richer (most likely) or instantly more popular or somehow more glamorous. You will be pretty similar to the person you were before, only this fifty-plus-year-old person has written a book. You might get some good reviews and some nice invitations to speak, but, for the vast majority of authors, your life will not be utterly and instantly and dramatically transformed as the result of having written a book. So ask yourself: What are you hoping to get out of the experience?
Finding time to write is hard at any age, and at this stage in your life, you likely have more commitments and responsibilities than you did in your twenties. But the need for self-discipline when writing a book cannot be underestimated, and, establishing writing discipline is not easy. Stop trying to “find time” to write; you need to make time.
Also, keep in mind that writing is a solitary exercise. You must schedule and tolerate alone time. I am a morning person. I devoted time in the wee hours of the morning to write. I also write better in blocks of time, so I utilized weekends and blocks of vacation time for writing. I sought out quietude, as I don’t focus well with background noise. I found scenic places in the mountains of Woodstock, Vermont, and by the ocean in Sanibel Island, Florida, to write; changing environments over time helped to spark my creativity. While your preferred timing and choice of venue may differ from mine, you must allocate time to write on a regular basis. Document your progress in a journal, as you may find that certain days and times are more productive for you and foster better discipline. That said, it’s also important to pace yourself. If you need to take a break, take one. Walk in nature. Have coffee with a friend. Taking scheduled writing breaks throughout your writing process is a healthy habit and should help to keep your thoughts and ideas fresh. Try to balance breaks with a sense of accountability. Just make sure that you are setting goals—they could be time-based goals or word count goals—and meeting them.
When taking on something new, maintain good health by staying in shape both mentally and physically. It’s difficult to stay disciplined and write constructively if you are stressed and exhausted. A daily meditation practice (even as short as 5 minutes per day) will help you to discipline your mind—to de-stress, focus, and erase mental blocks. It will help silence the critical voices in your head. Meditation will help to train your mind to get into the “writing zone” more quickly.
Confidence and drive
As a writer, you must have self-confidence in your ideas and your ability to successfully execute the work. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me, you must accept that your first draft will not be perfect. Nor will your second draft.
All writers feel frustrated at times and want to quit. So, it’s not just you. You may have, at this stage in your life, reached some level of success in other arenas, so it may be exasperating to find yourself a novice again. Voice the commitment to hang in there when things get tough. I found that continually learning more about the skill of writing as well as about the publishing industry helped me to more fully embrace this new discipline. A can-do attitude is essential.
Writing is a solo endeavor, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. You may want to join a writing group or engage a writing coach so that you have regular check-ins and can receive encouragement and support as well as constructive feedback. I worked on my book manuscript with the help of a developmental editor to keep my writing on track and to have a system of checks and balances in place.
I also highly recommend teaming up with younger people in the industry. You may be accustomed at this stage in your life to dealing with the most senior people in their fields. However, while they might have some perspective because of age, you don’t necessarily need that, as you have your own. A younger person offers fresh eyes, with accompanying insights and clarity about the publishing industry. The same way you don’t want to be judged for your age, don’t assume that because they are younger, they don’t have anything to offer. A little bit of youthful energy might be just the magic ingredient that you need.
Recognize that publishing is a business. If you go through a traditional publishing house, publishers need to be certain that you have the ambition and fortitude to do all the things that it takes to sell books. Showing up with a sense of vitality will help to improve your chances of getting an agent or an editor to take on your work, but ultimately what matters is what you put on the page. There’s no reason that age needs to be a part of the conversation you have with publishing professionals. On the other hand, your life experience affect your writing and your approach to a new endeavor, so, if your age offers you an advantage, use it! I did—and I wrote a better book than I ever could have written twenty years ago. And you can, too. Just always remember: Your talent doesn’t have an expiration date.
My personal take away from this. I wrote all my life, but my work was not mature enough to publish. I simply hadn't lived enough of that life to "get" the intricacies of how people deal with each other and the problems of living. In many ways, looking back, it was as if I had been a virgin writing hard-core erotica.
I just didn't know what I was writing about at all. I needed to have a job, raise children, travel some more, have a few tragedies and misfortunes along the way and celebrate where I needed to dance. I needed to get older. I've become less of a perfectionist, more intuitive, and I've learned how to celebrate my life. Before I did all that, I wasn't ready to publish. The greatest downfall is that I know nothing of the "business" of writing, and most of the time don't really want to know it. I'm quite the slow learner when it comes to technology and social media marketing. There are many ways I suppose I could grab that bull by the horns, but I'm too busy writing the next book. The other is that I've burst upon the scene when fewer people take comfort in reading fiction; especially LONG fiction with deep characters and lush worlds. Shame on me that these are things I love to write. On the plus side, I've made on-line friends. (who cares if they aren't dropping by for coffee) I'm having fun perfecting my work and going to writers meet-ups to discuss what we do. The most amazing thing is my health. Instead of declining, I see myself still growing, improving and living a life that's far from over.
Last week I interviewed J. S. Burke.
Today here's a bit more and we meet her character Scree!
BLURB FOR THE DRAGON DREAMER:
A dragon, an undersea misfit, and a dangerous dream.
THE DRAGON DREAMER is young adult science fantasy adventure with flying dragons and an undersea world, layered for readers age 9 to 99.
Arak is bullied as a worthless dreamer. Determined to prove himself, he leaves on a quest, flies far over the sea . . . and crashes. Badly wounded, he faces death. A fearless, undersea shape-shifter named Scree finds and heals him, and an unexpected friendship begins.
Arak returns to the Winter Festival, where dragons carve glaciers with fire and toss lightning bolts in the clouds. But a devastating illness strikes the clan. Then an undersea volcano erupts! This triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events.
Can Arak use his hidden talents to save the dragons?
AMAZON REVIEW FOR THE DRAGON DREAMER:
“First, this book is a real page turner. Yes, it is written for a younger audience but this reader feels it is best read by all ages. This author has touched the heart of all things real: friendship, honor, caring, and kindness.
This story revolves around Arak, a young dragon who is tired of being told what to do and picked on like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was in his story. Arak ventures out to prove himself but alas, he gets in a bit of a mess. To the rescue comes Scree, an octopus of unbelievable understanding. And the adventures begin, some good, some bad, but all meaningful.
As for the writing in this book, I was amazed. The amount of information given to the reader is crafted so well you feel as if you are in this world. Character development and communication refreshing and clear. Also, the underwater world which this author is very familiar with is expressed and explained to give the reader a clear understanding and appreciation for marine life.
I will personally recommend this book to all readers.”
And now, Scree
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
Thank you for having me here! I’m Scree, an undersea octopus Healer. I’m a misfit with a serious case of wanderlust.
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
I was born in the sea, hatched from an egg.
3. How would you describe yourself?
I’m about two feet across from arm tip to arm tip. My eight flexible, boneless arms can feel/taste and also feel subtle differences in texture and temperature. This helps me diagnose my patients. I’m a natural shape-shifter, so I can be whatever I want to be. I can change my color, shape, and texture in the blink of an eye. I share vivid pictures on my skin to tell stories.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in the sea and found a nice rock cave. Orm is my mate; he decorated the ceiling with glowing tunicates to look like the night sky, because I love stars.
5. How old are you?
I’m a young adult.
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
I had a great mentor once I joined the octopus pod. But I’m a misfit, which can be a challenge. The pod leader is often angry with me. I do what I think needs to be done, even when it goes against our unwritten rules.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
There was one other octopus with wanderlust like mine. We were kindred spirits, great friends, but never more. Orm is a brilliant scientist and artist, and a homebody. He accepts my odd ways even if he doesn’t always understand or agree. Orm is my soul mate.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
I’m a Healer. I use natural remedies and the information I gather from my sensitive suckers to heal other beings.
9. What are you obsessed with?
I love to travel, to see the world and find new things. I love the stars.
10. How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
I took a risk and saved a big, scary dragon. We became friends, the friend circle grew, and now dragons and octopuses are so interconnected we can’t even imagine a world without each other.
11. Biggest fear?
My biggest fear is losing Orm. I never thought this quiet octopus would come to fill up my world. He has a joke for everything, a way to lighten the mood. He makes me feel special.
12. What line will you never cross?
I won’t back down from doing what’s right.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
Other than Orm, meeting Arak the dragon is the best thing that ever happened. This has changed both our worlds. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we combine our different abilities!!!
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
I can’t share that, since it involves another octopus.
15. Biggest secret?
Octopuses don’t keep secrets.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
17. What is your current goal?
I want to meet those new dragons
And now Jodi Ann Fahey
(note: these aren't my usual questions, but some I found. What do you think?)
What made you want to be a writer?
I have always loved to write. For me, it’s a form of art, really. Only difference is, instead of paint and a canvas, I use words on paper. Using the perfect combination of words, I am able to create a beautiful vision inside another’s mind.
Tell us your book’s genre?
YA Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.)
There are to be four books to “The Casey Blane Series.” Two are currently out.
“Letorian Descendants”, came out in Dec. of 2016 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZ0P5ZL/
The second book, “Lucian Sword” made its debut on Amazon on November 15, 2017.
Here is the story behind the series:
Over four hundred years ago, King Davalian, The Letorian King, protected the covens from the Pandions and townspeople during the medieval times of the black plague and the witch hunts. Two very gifted sorcerers were part of his army and fought alongside him. One was a woman named Lily who not only helped him to victory but won his heart. Lily was not at all interested in King Davalian. Her love was Connell, the other gifted sorcerer.
During King Davalian’s reign, Lily discovered the secret to eternal life through a series of talismans, a reborn vampire, which she tried on herself. Connell was to be next, and they were to live out their lives, each generation, with each other. Except, that night, things went horribly wrong and even though both had been blessed with eternal life their bond was never completed. Instead, in a jealous rage, King Davalian cursed Connell and forced him to an entity of being controlled by the moon and to never forget.
Connell was forced into a wolf, and after King Davalian’s death, Lily became their queen. That was when a devastating prophecy of her great-granddaughter was told. Her great-granddaughter would be slaughtered by the King to the Pandions, the talismans were to be found, and it would be the demise of the Letorian Coven. The Pandions were destined to be the new ruling coven and destroy everything on its way to get there.
The series begins with Lily’s great-granddaughter, Casey Blane, who has been kept hidden her entire young human life for them to try to change the prophecy until one day when she’s discovered by the Pandions. What happens next will change her life forever.
How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
I believe reading books is very important when writing. It helps you to understand structure and flow. It helps you to develop your own style, too. You can see what works for you and what doesn’t.
How did you come up with this fantastic idea? It was more of a gift of fascination for my daughter. I knew what genres she read and I actually read all of the books she had. From them, I created this series. I wanted to give her something that she could see how a real relationship develops and how to believe in herself, even when it seems impossible. True power and strength comes when you can believe in yourself.
Which character do you identify with most in your novel?
That’s a hard question to answer. The first book of the series, Letorian Descendants, many of the more dramatic scenes came from past experiences, so I will say Casey for that. However, Knoxavier is really the one that is manipulating the story and he is a rather interesting character himself.
Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
Your strength is your differences
Your power is your unique abilities
Trust in yourself
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
Oh, my. I dare to say editing. My first book was riddled with errors and even after over a dozen times, I am still finding them. But, I have since found an amazing editor.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc. For me, I write the old fashioned way, pen to paper. I prefer to relax when I write; either lounging on the bed or reclining and I do have music going. Depending on the scenes that I am creating, I will listen to classical, Lindsey Sterling, Evanescence, 30 Seconds to Mars, Imagine Dragons, Florence and the Machine, and Muse. Those are my typical. I sit at my desk when it comes time to put it all to computer.
What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
My goody...hmmm…My one thing that must be running is my aromatherapy diffuser.
What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
To be honest, this series was only written form my daughter. It sat in my computer for seven years. It was my daughter that insisted that I needed to publish it. I had just finished the second book at that time.
When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
My daughter and my husband. My son is more my tech guru. He helps with social media, which I can’t thank him enough for.
How do you market your book?
Right now, it’s been social media and author events. I just hired a PA, so I am sure there will be other events in the near future.
Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.
Yes, I have been contacted on a number of occasions. The most interesting ones are when you are compared to amazingly talented authors. My favorites were being compared to Stephen King and Rick Riordan.
Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
My family. But since I had really no intension of publishing them, I hadn’t developed a team, yet.
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
I haven’t had one officially, yet.
What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I enjoy creating covers and ads for the series. Since my daughter is the model on the covers of the first two, we will go out and look for photo opportunities. We love to go to the local parks and take them in the gardens or by the old mansions.
Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. Let them in to just who Jodi is.
Well, my favorite color is the vibrant orange/red color that happens just as the sun is setting at the horizon line. My favorite food, hmmm…that’s a tough one. I love Italian food. Not so much the pasta, but the real Italian food, not processed. I had the most delicious Panini sandwich when I was in Rome, where the Mozzarella was freshly made and Prosciutto that melted in my mouth. They have such pride in their food. I am blessed by having a restaurant here that serves food just like that.
Tell us your favorite novel?
The Shining by Stephen King
Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you love.
A live drama or the opera?
Chips or crackers?
Hamburger or chicken sandwich?
Oh, that one is hard. Depends on the hamburger and the chicken sandwich. If they are right off the grill, hamburger, hands down.
Fries or onion rings?
Milk shake or smoothie?
Thunderstorms or star gazing??
Oh, wow. Both. I love watching a thunderstorm from under my porch at night and hearing the rain fall against the side of the house. But star gazing is equally one of my loves, too. I can’t tell you how many times I sat on the cool sand on the beach on a hot summer night watching the meteor showers in late July.
Kindle or paperback novels?
There is nothing like holding a paperback in your hands.
Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
Oh, yes. I had no intension of publishing the first one, so I didn’t edit it the way it should have been and I released it too soon. That was the biggest and most embarrassing mistake I made.
What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?
Make sure to get an editor and a good one. As for actually writing, just enjoy what you do. Everything else will come in time. But when you enjoy what you do, it will show in your stories.
When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?
When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
I am currently working on the third book to the Casey Blane Series, “Dragon Lines” which has a projection date of Dec. 2019. I am also working on two anthologies for 2019 and a children’s book, “Wet Shoes” that has a projection date of Dec. 2018. Right now, “Letorian Descendants” and “Lucian Sword”, books one and two of the Casey Blane Series, are available on Amazon.
Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
With my fantastic son and his gift of social media knowledge, I now have not only a Facebook page, but I can be found on:
Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/jodiannfahey/
Facebook group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1773624982881012/
All Authors- http://jodiannfahey.allauthor.com/
I also have a snapchat and Pinterest account, but I haven't had much luck figuring out either one of those as of yet.
I was all set to go to Createspace to get another awesome cover. Although I felt they were dreadfully expensive and I didn't like the fact that I argued with them about the content just up to them charging me more, I liked the result and received many compliments. It was a shock to discover they were only using premade covers for Indie authors to xchoose and then affix a font for the wording. A quick glance showed me they really didn't have anything that suited my vision, and neither did Pixabay. A few author artists showed me examples, but they were (although quite lovely and excellent) not what I wanted. My Icarus-like son Thomas, strapped on the wings of an artist and decided to use Adobe Illustrator ONLY to create a cover for me. Would a cartoon-like cover be in the same league as the photo-shopped and edited "realistic" covers of the other three books? Here's a rough image.
We'll tweak the brightness and the color and perhaps get rid of the stand of palm trees. But I think it's almost there. Your comments are welcome! WATCH for (hopefully) a cover reveal soon.
So now that's all for the week. Next up Military Brats Day,
More Jodi Fahey and
Introducing Dr. Wesley Britton Plus April Releases!