Maria_David

Maria_David
As his face changes, her fate unfolds. The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past (Book 1 to The Mirrors of Fate Trilogy). Click on the pic for e-outlets.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Indie Ebook Spotlight on "Fresh Blood"

SPOTLIGHT ON AUTHOR JENNIFER COLGAN's FRESH BLOOD







 
Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Erotica (18 and up)
Word count: 39274 (approximate)


Synopsis (From Smashwords)



A desperate call from her missing sister sends Erica Talbot on a dangerous rescue mission. Determined to prevent her twin from becoming a feeder, Erica steps out of her quiet, lonely existence and into a dark underworld where vampires make the rules.

Maxwell Hart is a vampire investigator. Part of his job is to protect humans. The moment he lays eyes on Erica, he knows she doesn’t belong in his world, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her there.

With Max as her guide, Erica descends into a world where humans willingly give up control to their vampire masters. Posing as Max’s submissive feeder, Erica discovers a strange freedom in relinquishing her hard won self-control to Max.

After just one taste of Erica’s blood, Max finds he hungers for no one else. How can he possess her when drawing her deeper into his dark world will change her forever?


MY REVIEW:



This book is one of the prime examples why you should never judge a book's quality and content solely by its price. This novella is free over at smashwords and this was one of those "can't-put-em-down" reads. The characters Erica and Max were very likable, well-rounded, and the chemistry between these two protagonists was beautifully written. Colgan took my heart around chapter one then kindly handed it back to me by the end of the book. You cared about the characters--so important. I even forgot to add in my goodreads review of this ebook how much I enjoyed the fact that the plot behind this was solid and kept you guessing.

This kind of human seeks vamp help to find loved one plot has been done before, but I liked the vampire detective twist that Colgan took on it. The romance scenes were lovely and captivating. The vixen in me would've loved if they were longer. I wasn't particularly fond of the POV change between the two protagonists always being indicated by "***". I prefer stories where it blends but is still distinct to avoid confusion. But aside from that, this story was great. It shall remain on my kindle. The ending seems to suggest there might be a sequel, and if so, I'll definitely be picking it up.  


If you want this lovely short freebie, head on over to smashwords here.


NOTE/Disclaimer thingy :-) :  All reviews are my own. No compensation is provided for a positive review. All reviews are my honest opinion, nothing more.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Virginia Woolf's Final Words

A short tribute to Ms. Virginia Woolf. 70 yrs ago today she took her life after a bout with mental illness. Rest in peace, Ms. Woolf. Your memory lives on in your amazing literary contributions by which we have come to know you. For a look at the original letter and an amazing anaylsis of her life, go here. For a transcript of the actual letter to her husband Leonard, discovered by him at their home on March 28th 1941, scroll further down.



Pic courtesy of http://static.guim.co.uk/


Transcript (taken from Letters of Note Blog)

Tuesday.

Dearest,

I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that - everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been.

V.

This note is so powerful in ways that I can't even begin to express. Depression and mental illness are often issues that writers don't talk about, but they're just as real for them as any other person in and outside of the business or entertainment. For many writers battling with depression, writing is their coping mechanism and is their outlet. One might say that famous poets are best known for their lifelong struggles with depression. "I write my best when I'm depressed" is a line I've heard time and time again from people. One wonders how Miss Woolf would have felt today having her private note to her husband out for the world to see, but it does definitely reflect the reality behind mental illness and depression.


Thank you and rest in peace Ms. Woolf.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Subjecting myself to another autopsy

On March 27-30, I, Cindi Lee, and my first novel The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past, Book 1 to The Mirrors of Fate trilogy will be featured on the Mystic Thoughts Blog, which you can find here. ^_^ I particularly enjoyed the interview, and the only way for you to get to know me even better and learn more about my debut novel and the upcoming installments is looking out for the interview March 28th. How in the world did real life events inspire a YA paranormal book? Wait, you mean lecherous high school teacher character Mr. Lohan character isn't exactly...fictitious? Stop by Mary's Mystic Thoughts Blog between March 27-30 to find out. 

ALSO! On March 28th is the "Ask Questions!" feature. Please come out and support. If you have any q's, any comments, leave em! ^_^ I'm a brand new author, so hoping not to have the virtual equivalent to a book signing with no one showing up <_<. *crickets* March 27-30 guys!

Subjecting myself to another autopsy, and my oh my, it tickles.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Page 99

"Hook, hook, give us the hook!"- Captain Hook's shipmates.



Instinct or maybe paranoia told her what he might say next. This was the tradition for most girls, was it not? Thanks but no thanks. You’re not the girl for me. Or heaven forbid it was something like, Look you’re a nice girl, but...
She mentally prepared herself for whatever it could be and envisioned barricading herself behind an imaginary red-brick wall of safety. Whatever he had to say, she wouldn’t let herself be disappointed. Prepare for the worst. Don’t let his words or bad news penetrate you. Be strong.
“What do you want to talk about?” she asked after the awkward silence.
“I don’t think I’m cut out for this school.”
Oh hallelujah! They were not the words she dreaded, but Maria still frowned. “What do you mean you’re not cut out for here?”
He lowered his head and stared at the floor. “I just don’t belong here. And soon, I’ll be leaving.”
A whirlwind of distress threatened to topple her over. Maria went up to him. “You’re leaving? Why? You’ve barely spent any time here. Is it the workload you can’t handle? Because I can help you...although my grades aren’t as spectacular as they could be.” She laughed a little to lighten the mood, but his demeanor remained the same. “I mean, I don’t think you should give up just because of something silly. Naturally you just started a new school and it takes time to adjust. I don’t know how they teach things up in Iceland, but come on, think about it. You shouldn’t just give up like that.”
This was more than her rationality talking; this was desperation making a plea. If he had given her this information any time at all before their date, she would’ve been able to handle his announcement and wished him the safest trip home possible. Instead, her willingness to help him was nothing more than a deep unwillingness to see him go. He couldn’t leave. Not now. Not after she found someone like him. He was someone who paid attention to her. Someone real who seemed to love her company. Someone who...she was developing deep feelings for.
“I really think you should reconsider,” Maria told him again. 
“I can’t. I never planned to be here long from the start anyway. My time here is limited.”
Maria’s voice dropped considerably. “Oh. I see. You didn’t tell me that before.”
“Why do you think I didn’t?” he asked, finally turning his face to look at her for the first time since they began speaking. His gaze pricked her like a thorn meant to cause bleeding. “I didn’t tell you because you weren’t worth telling.”




Alan's plan begins to unravel in this pivotal scene. Itching to know more? Check out this list of outlets here for The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past.

If you liked this page feature, you'll LOVE the new page feature "Why did I kiss her?" HERE

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Virginia Woolf meets a YA author?

I think it's very important as an author to really take time out to look at the feedback you're getting. And since feedback is always quite diverse, I'll try to handle just a bit of what I've been getting from my readers so far about the first installment to The Mirrors of Fate Trilogy.

Firstly, the general consensus is that the prologue is a little difficult to comprehend. I anticipated that for two reasons. One, in the prologue, imagination, reality and dream really blend in a way you don't often come across in books. Was this a Virginia Woolf streaming consciousness type moment? Oh dear, mayhap. But the style some find to be stunning is as equally stunning as the beautiful world Maria and her friend create, so I hope readers find that it fits. The writing specific to the prologue may jar and move you to think, but that's what I was going for. I began writing this in high school and even as a young reader I liked that moment where you stopped yourself in the midst of a book and really did more than just read but analyzed. I hope it doesn't detract too many readers from going beyond to find out how it ties into the story. You want to intrigue, not turn off. EDIT: Forgive me for not mentioning those who did pick up on what was going on. ^_^ I'm glad you guys found no difficulty in it.

Secondly, I see the love-hate responses going on for Maria and "Alan", which I love. It's always interesting to see how individual readers take on different characters. I've heard people say they hate Alan, love-hate Alan, love Alan. I've heard a lot of sympathy for Maria's plight and have even heard the bad vibes towards the character due to her actions from the past. I'm glad to see that the characters are stirring up different emotional responses in my readers. That's all you can ask for. 

Thirdly, as for more different perspectives, I've heard "well-written" from you guys, "well-edited", "lovely style" but I've also heard that the language is a bit complicated. ^_^ Well, not sure what to say to that. Even as a young girl I had a bit of an old soul in me and I loved to read classical works, so I think that comes through in my style. I certainly hope you guys push through and keep a thesaurus or dictionary handy if there's something you come across you don't get. ^_^ I think me, Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf need to have a chat or something. lol

Hopefully you guys will stick around to see what happens in the second installment though. Until then, for those who haven't yet, please check out my website to see where you can check out the first installment to The Mirrors of Fate Trilogy. List of outlets growing. HERE!

Reviews and Interviews List Updated

Reviews/Interviews/Features List Updated 

Updated list of reviews, interviews and features for The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past.


Best rated descending reviews


Review by Geeky Girl Reviews.

Review by Mary from Mystic Thoughts blog here. Author feature coming soon.

Review by Seeing Night Reviews here

Review by Bethzaida from Boo Kitty Blog here




Features

 "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past" feature on Books Love Company

Q&A about the book and being an indie author by Albert Robbins III.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Movements of a People

Time for a 30% blog post. I've been definitely keeping up with what's unfolding in the Middle East and Africa. From Tunisia, to Egypt, to Yemen, to Libya, and so many more I haven't named, this is a crucial, historical time for the independence of the peoples within these regions. I came across this inspirational video yesterday that I had to share. Absolutely beautiful, absolutely inspiring. I could think of no other name for this post than "The Movements of a People".

This is the description of the video:

"Inspired by the uprisings occurring in the Middle East and North Africa, this film is an ode to movements striving to reclaim their dignity and sovereignty from their keepers."


Do you really need an editor?

Hiring an editor for your manuscript or your indie book can be very expensive. Benefit : A well-polished book. Truth be told, no matter how many times you self-edit, you will always miss something that can be corrected, a paragraph that would communicate a little better if it were rearranged, etc. Drawback : You may not see the returns on your editing investment. You probably won't get away from having to spend at least, and I'm seriously giving you a low number here, US$300 to get an editor to comb through your entire manuscript and fix more than just your trouble with subject-verb agreement, "Whenever he say it, I always laugh at him." So, is it worth the investment?

If you take your writing seriously and want to be taken seriously, it is. You can have a pretty bad start off as an indie author if people see that the quality of your work isn't up to par. But on the same token, you have bestselling greats like indie paranormal romance writer Amanda Hocking who admittedly--last I remember--does not have an editor, and while some readers certainly do complain about that when they read her work, she has a loyal, awesome following. She's tearing up amazon charts, to put it lightly. I don't even know the impressive figures, but google her and you'll find out. She is selling more ebooks and books than most published authors with a team behind them can pull out. If that doesn't scream awesomeness, I'm not sure what does.

If you can afford an editor, it stands to reason then that you must also put your money to good use and market the heck out of your book once it's done. Don't write the book, pay a bunch for editing, put it somewhere and say, "Hey! My book's available. Read it," and expect that it's gonna sell itself. If you've invested the money and energy in preparing the book, you'll want to invest the same amount of energy and heart into letting people know why they should read it.

If you can't afford an editor, you can ask a schoolteacher, a professor, or even an author friend who has been published. Many people get beta readers, several people who comb through your book after it's written and point out flaws and mistakes. Do yourself a favour and at least don't rely on self to get editing done. Another pair of eyes is important. Ironically, having an editor does not equate to people automatically liking your book, automatically buying your book, but one would argue it does up the chances. And really, if it's your work, and you love that piece of work, you'll want it to reach the public in the best state that you perceive it can be in. I myself hired an editor for my debut novel "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past" which you can check out here. 

But, you interject, "I've combed through my book enough! What did I possibly miss?" I combed through my debut novel more times than I can count, but my editor still helped me pinpoint, correct and fine-tune. Having lived in the US and the Caribbean, I hop all the time from US English writing style to British English writing style, so my editor helped me keep it US English. A sentence that makes sense to you might not always communicate as effectively. It was worth it to really get that polishing in. Yes, it can be pricey, but if you can afford it, go for it with the knowledge in mind that you can't let up on the marketing side.


So, indie authors, go forth. Find your best route for ensuring that your book is the best that it can be before it reaches readers.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Reviews/Interviews/Features List Updated for March 18

Updated list of reviews, interviews and features for "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past".



NEWEST--> "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past" feature on Books Love Company

"The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past" book review by Geeky Girl Reviews.

Q&A about the book and being an indie author by Albert Robbins III.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Ebook Revolution

Like me, you might remember where you were when your book-loving friend came to you and said, "Hey, did you hear that Borders signed for bankruptcy?" I was on my bed and on my computer, promoting my debut novel currently in ebook form. I was surprised because I thought Borders was doing pretty well financially. I love the place. I've  gotten great books and wonderful manga there all the time. I would always go there and love to see people just sitting in the wonderful atmosphere by the bookshelves and reading to their heart's delight. It was a nice sight, I'm not gonna lie.

But am I surprised by the surge in ebook popularity? Yes and no, for a few reasons. No because the reality is ebooks are ridiculously convenient for people who want quality and quantity at a great price. And in a world where recession takes away your home, banks use shady practices to foreclose on where you live, where technology is only every moving forward, I think it's safe to say that many saw this coming. And I must also add that geographical limitation in a world like today is no longer something people are willing to accept. If a man from Jamaica wants to read your Canadian novel being sold at an outrageous price at his local bookstore--if it's even being sold there at all--or if he wants to read it and doesn't have a credit card to buy the brick and mortar book online and doesn't trust the sometimes hectic and even more expensive shipping system to get that book to him, ask yourself a serious question. Why wouldn't he hit up Amazon or Smashwords and get himself a digital copy? He may indeed wish to have the actual book to hold in his hand, but maybe they'll add a bookish scent to the Amazon Kindle in a few years with a new slogan, "Kindle. It looks like a book, acts like a book, and now it smells like one."

And why am I surprised by the surge in popularity? I guess because years ago I just couldn't fathom it alongside the sometimes arrogant statements made by some publishers that basically amounted to: "We're busy people. Don't waste our time. If you don't have a bestseller, maybe you should consider farming." I'll tell you. I wrote my debut novel when I was around 18, 17. I'm 24 now. Went to university, came out, fiddled around, decided to get into this seriously. But those years ago, I would have never dreamed that the self-publishing option would be available for me if I so chose it, and certainly a self-publishing option that offered a virtual book.

Before the manuscript for "The Mirrors of Fate" was properly ready (before I went to university) I think I sent a handful of query letters, well-done up, maybe five or so, out to a few agents who didn't know what to do with a story like mine and didn't want it, but thank God they rejected me. I've cleaned up the manuscript so much since then. But I chose not to shop around again after the final product was ready. I'd done a lot of research about the industry and was intrigued by the proliferation of the ebook and the growing popularity of self-publishing that was once upon a time looked upon with a scowl. I'm glad that option is here today. It really has opened the doors for a lot of new talent to debut and for people to try and realize their dreams to someday be an author. I've read some excellent stuff form self-published people that made me say, "How in God's name does this guy not have an agent?" Certainly no one is saying the self-publishing route is easier. It's hard to get your name out there. Hard. But people have done it and are doing it, so learn from the experts. You have to believe you can be one of them too and chase after that dream with tooth and nail. Marketing is a must. You can't just write a book and expect it to sell itself. There are millions of books. What's different about yours? I pride myself on writing original stories. If it's even just taking an old idea and doing something new with it. Definitely my debut novel and its characters are rather unique. I love it. Book 2 certainly falls into the "unique" category as well, I think. But I digress...

Only when you go through the marketing process yourself as an indie do you truly appreciate all the work some publishers and all the other little people involved do for clients to help sell that book. Because of that appreciation and understanding, I would never completely rule out looking for a traditional agent and publishing company. Working with self-publishing marketing can be a tiring process, but it's one that I am oddly enough enjoying. It's kind of like adrenaline. You get knocked down a couple times but why not get back up and try another strategy? And with the recent success of Read an Ebook Week, gosh, I'm encouraged. I say to you all. Chase your dream. It won't chase you. As of today, while I'm saddened that the book industry is, according to some reports, losing money, I love buying both books and ebooks now. I will forever support both causes and forever support traditional and indie. And with the Kindle for PC, and the Kindle, and the Ipad, nothing is going to keep consumers away from satiating their book appetites digitally.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Reviews and Interviews List

From time to time I will update my list of reviews and interviews and the whole enchilada in a post.





"The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past" book review by Geeky Girl Reviews.

Q&A about the book and being an indie author by Albert Robbins III



This will keep growing as I wait on some other reviews and feedback from readers, so check back often.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Updates and Reflections after Read an Ebook Week

Read an Ebook Week is all over with. Sigh and a teardrop. But it was a great ride, and I even picked up some ebooks for myself. I'm happy to report that the Smashwords promoted Read an Ebook Week gave me a much needed boost for my exposure, but I'd love to hear more feedback from readers. If my humble little debut novel "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past" made you laugh, if it made you cry, if it gave you a chill, if you thought it was interesting, if it made you go blech, I want to know about it. If you have questions or comments, you can of course post them in the comments box, post a review where you purchased it, or send comments or q's my way on http://twitter.com/Cindi_LeeJM. 

I think what's most humbling about the recent sales is that since I personally have few friends that I know of  who'd actually sit and read an ebook, I know the majority of the downloads are just from strangers who were interested after reading the sample or reading the blurb or hearing about it. But thanks to everybody, friend or stranger, who's taken a look-see so far. While my numbers are certainly nowhere near Amanda Hocking standards (fist pump for vampires!), when I became an indie I already told myself I'd make my biggest challenge myself and my only limiting factor myself. The more time you waste worrying about how much better others are doing, you get pulled into a funk and hear that little evil creature say, "Heh heh, your writing is lame." I was definitely doing a lot of praying and promoting. And God and hard promoting came through. I not only made the bestseller YA romance list on smashwords, on Tuesday March 08, 2011 I became the #1 bestseller on the YA Romance smashwords list. ^_^ I've been beat now, but it was still quite the euphoric day. I'd been putting a lot of work into promoting and was glad to see that sample numbers were matching up with buy numbers. The hope was that people who read samples came back for more, and at least that tells me people were intrigued enough to continue.

And now, with Read an Ebook Week donezo, I've marked the $2.99 price down to $0.99. Yes, that ever-so-attractive number that makes an Ebook buyer get giddy :-). My main task is to get you guys checking it out. I think a story and its characters live and breathe and continue living through other people who have gotten something, anything, from the book and continue to spread the word to other interested parties. I really just love to write and, just like any author, hope that others will enjoy reading what I write as much as I enjoyed writing it. So you can get a great read for even cheaper. For those who haven't checked it out yet, get the first volume to Cindi Lee's The Mirrors of Fate trilogy, "Out of the Past" below.


Adopted into a well-off Indian family when she was young, the present is high school senior Maria's only concern as she desperately plots to prevent an arranged marriage before she graduates. But when a new student enters her life on a mission of revenge, Maria is forced to revisit a past betrayal and learn of her entanglement in a dangerous cross-dimensional web of fate. 


*note: Prices differ among some locations due to pricing regulations specific to the seller site


Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004QGYCE4
Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004QGYCE4
Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/44637
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10727888-the-mirrors-of-fate

Friday, 11 March 2011

Q&A with Book Blogger A. Robbins

Had an interview Q&A done for book blogger Albert Robbins III's site, an avid supporter of indie authors. You can find the Q&A here: http://freebookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/03/author-interview-cindi-lee-author-of.html or read it below:



Friday, March 11, 2011


Author Interview: Cindi Lee author of The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past


Adopted into a well-off Indian family when she was young, the present is high school senior Maria's only concern as she desperately plots to prevent an arranged marriage before she graduates. But when a new student enters her life on a mission of revenge, Maria is forced to revisit a past betrayal and learn of her entanglement in a dangerous cross-dimensional web of fate.

Free Book Reviews
What do you think readers will find most notable about this book?

Cindi Lee
I think they'll find most notable the modern take on the traditional arranged marriage conflict they see in romance novels. Only this time, it's spun with a high school student with a very unique cultural background unlike anything I think most readers have encountered in YA genres like this or many other genres for that matter.

Free Book Reviews
Have you acquired any good anecdotes surrounding this book? If so, could you share one?

Cindi Lee
Yes. I found out years later after I wrote the book and had already graduated from university that a former high school classmate of mine actually had an arranged marriage issue of her own to deal with. She too was from an Indian family. I think that adds a unique bit of realism to that aspect of the story I had come up with.

Free Book Reviews
Did researching and writing this book teach you anything or influence your thinking in any way?

Cindi Lee
Writing and researching for this book taught me how differently people view what is appropriate for YA literature. I also discovered how multiculturalism and diversity are sometimes missing from a lot of what I call YA "fantastical genres" like paranormal romance, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. YA is difficult to define because people have different opinions on what is too mature for people under a certain age. Some say yes to grit, some say no way. My aim when I started writing this trilogy at 17, still in high school, was to keep things realistic. I imagined the high school protagonist being thrown into these intense, surreal situations with little more than a crutch, so I wanted to reflect that as realistically as I could, but of course without overstepping too many boundaries. I've also always loved the saucier-type of romance books and I also love classic literature, so there's a romanticism and classical, old-natured style at times to the writing that I didn't want confusing readers or spicing up the romance too much. The rest of the trilogy, fantasy romance, becomes darker, so I'll be sure to double and triple check the intensity of the content as the trilogy moves forward.

Free Book Reviews
What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?

Cindi Lee
That it was an intriguing, original read and they can't wait for the next volume to find out what happens to the two main characters. I really want people to get something from what I write, whether it's a laugh, a single tear, a chill, whatever the case may be.

Free Book Reviews
Can you suggest one question readers might find interesting to discuss, concerning you, your writing in general, or this book?

Cindi Lee
What will the next two volumes be like and what should we expect.

Free Book Reviews
How can readers help you promote this book?

Cindi Lee
If you read a sample and like the book, just tell your friends and loved ones and please go out and support by buying.

About You: Cindi Lee

Free Book Reviews
Why do you write?

Cindi Lee
I've been writing as long as I can remember. It's my outlet, my escape, and I wouldn't want to do anything else. I know this is where I'm supposed to be and I'm glad to be doing it.

Free Book Reviews
What is your greatest strength as a writer?

Cindi Lee
I'm told it's my descriptive writing style and my ability to keep you in suspense until the next chapter.

Free Book Reviews
What quality do you most value in yourself?

Cindi Lee
I always find a way to laugh at myself. Smile even if the world isn't smiling with you.

Free Book Reviews
In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

Cindi Lee
I'm a health and fitness nut actually. I love promoting health and wellness and encouraging others to take care of themselves.

Free Book Reviews
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

Cindi Lee
Taking this step and debuting the novel. I was terrified to take the next step and sat on it for ages, but I finally decided to go for it. It took baby steps, but I'm here.

Free Book Reviews
Is there any new or established author whom you feel deserves more attention, and what is it that strikes you about his or her work?

Cindi Lee
I've just started looked at Heather Hildenbrand's new novel "Across the Galaxy". I'm so busy I haven't had time to fully dive into it, but I hope I get the chance. The first page got me.


That's it folks. :-)

Thoughts and Prayers go out for Japan

Japan was hit by what is being called the worst earthquake of its history. An 8.9 earthquake that spawned a 30-ft tsunami. Tsunami alerts have been issued for several other regions along the infamous "Ring of Fire." Thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected. I'm glad that my Japanese teachers and their families are all safe and accounted for. Please stay strong everyone. In case you haven't been watching the news, here are but some of the terrible images and footage of the earthquake and tsunami.




Man catches the earthquake hitting his home



The tsunami hitting


Thoughts and prayers once again go out.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Why I no longer "worry" about acne

Keeping in mind that this is a 30% everything else blog, I chose this morning to write an entry about natural remedies. I am a big fan of them, and because I'm my own guinea pig, I don't say or recommend herbs or natural remedies that I haven't tried myself and seen success from. I have a few serious articles floating about the internet concerning natural remedies and their effects. This one in particular, titled "The Silent Enemy of Your Birth Control Pill" talks about the way in which certain herbs and berries can lower the effectiveness of your birth control pill without you even knowing it. It's lengthy and in-depth, so if you're not interested in really reading some precise information and details of an experiment, you probably shouldn't click the link. What I will mention though is what I have discovered to significantly or completely get rid of acne in myself.

A little history. Acne and me have been mortal enemies throughout the years. I'm talking the worst acne you can think of. If it's a type of bump, I've had it in multitudes. I couldn't eat anything sugary without flaring up; not even fruits. I couldn't eat anything oily otherwise the blackheads came to visit. Doctors told me again and again that eating sugar doesn't cause acne, but all I knew was that certain "bad" foods made my face flare, regardless of how impeccably clean I kept my skin. My skin is also naturally very oily. Wash it now and in an hour or less I'm shining like a marble. I went on diane-35 (not officially a "bcp" but you'll have to google that controversy) to control my acne, and it certainly did that. It cleaned it up perfectly for years. It was my "cure", but unfortunately diane-35 caused other health complications that weren't worth the benefit. You're supposed to use it for a limited time, but as I learned, and as many people discover, coming off a bcp will make your acne come back with a vengeance, and you'll regret ever stopping it. So I said to myself I had to find some natural remedies that DO exactly what "the pill" does for my acne.

But what does the pill do to fight acne anyhow? What exactly is going on? I'll try and lay it out simply.

Some people can use topical medications like a Clean and Clear wash and their acne problems are gone. For others like me, it's more internal. Hormones are involved. An overproduction of androgen, a type of hormone, and a subsequent overproduction of oil (Dihydrotestosterone or DHT promotes oil production which can lead to your pores getting clogged) cause acne in a lot of women, including myself. And of course stress is another factor for me. You first have to understand that for you, it may not be just about washing your face and keeping it clean or taking an antibiotic once. The best birth control to fight acne has low androgen potency and high levels of estrogen like Yasmin, Ortho Cyclen, Brevicon, etc., but you've seen the drug recall commercials for some of these pills. The risks with birth control pills were no longer worth it for me. 


So I said, fine, I know that I've gotta tackle this androgen thingy and this DHT monster. What's next? What herbs do it? What vitamins, if any, do it? 


I'll introduce you to the three things I use now and SWEAR BY. Without these three things as a part of my DAILY routine, my face would look like a mountainous dart board. Excuse my descriptiveness, but I've had it bad over the years. You may have heard of these three remedies before, or even mentioned together in  aregime.


---> Zinc, Saw Palmetto (The standardized extract people! Important), Stinging Nettle


Why zinc?

Taken from http://www.nutritional-supplements-health-guide.com/zinc-for-acne.html

 The idea behind the zinc skin care concept is very reasonable. There are two good reasons for this. First, zinc facilitates the production and regulation of about 200 hormones in your body, and one of that is testosterone. You should know that testosterone is one of the main promoters of acne. Intake of zinc may prevent potential hormone imbalances that can lead to outbreaks.

Second, zinc is closely involved in protein synthesis and in collagen formation in your body, both of which are essential in the maintenance of healthy skin and in normalizing production of skin oils. If you have been to a dermatologist and have been advised to take tetracycline, you may find it interesting that zinc is as effective as this antibiotic for preventing acne.


Saw Palmetto-
Taken from same website as above

The effects of saw palmetto are attributed solely to its ability to suppress the production of dihydrotestosterone or DHT from testosterone. Testosterone is a naturally occurring androgen which is needed by the body, while DHT is a more potent hormone produced from it. Testosterone is converted into DHT through an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase which is inhibited by saw palmetto.

Saw palmetto is primarily used therapeutically for treating enlarged prostate or prostatitis in men. However, they are also seen to provide benefits in women, such that saw palmetto standardized extract.

Stinging Nettle-
Taken from http://www.alive.com/1310a4a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=222 

Since both dissolving and flushing actions are most important for the purification of the blood, stinging nettle juice is the remedy par excellence for all complaints where toxicity and/or over-acidity of the blood are the source of the problem, including rheumatism and arthritis. Given its ability to dissolve and flush waste, nettle juice is also a “natural” for weight reduction. As stinging nettle stimulates gland secretion, particularly of the digestive tract, various eczemas and acne can be cleared up by regularly drinking nettle herbal tea.

Ok, you got that? According to the info, zinc balances testosterone and normalizes oil production, saw palmetto supresses DHT from existing testosterone and is an anti-inflammatory, and stinging nettle is a good ol' buddy that cleans you out. Simple enough. How did I get this to work for me? A lot of research on how others were doing it and having success, what kind of dosages work for women, and then fine-tuning it to me.

So, what does my routine look like?

Morning-
Saw Palmetto Standardized (85-95% Fatty Acids) 1 pill 160mg
Stinging Nettle- 2 capsules of stinging nettle (Serving size 2 capsules 870mg nettle (leaf))
Zinc (1/3 of a tablet. Many people, like me, find that taking even a 50mg of a zinc supplement makes them terribly nauseous. I cut my tablet into thirds and take throughout the day.)

Afternoon- 1/3 of zinc tablet with meal

Evening- Repeat morning


What has this done for me? My oily skin is no more. Some will want to adjust dosages to ensure their skin does not become too dry. Breakouts only occur when I'm overly stressed (but tweaking to a higher dosage combats that) and haven't been sticking to my routine. THIS is what has worked for me in weaning off my birth control pill. I thought it couldn't be done, but no challenge is gonna get the better of me. I had tried several times to actually come off of diane-35 but to no avail. The very day and the very last time I quit diane-35 I went on this regime to essentially hope I could fool my body into thinking I was still taking the pill, which the herbs provided similar benefits to. And I'll say this in all honesty. It worked. The only time I experienced a drawback or two when weaning off the pill was when my pharmacy ran out of the standardized saw palmetto (i.e. higher potency) and I had to take the weaker dose, or when I forget to take one of the stuff in the regime.

Certainly, if you choose any regime, you should always talk to your doctor first, or ensure you're not taking anything else that these herbs might impact. Some doctors may give you the "Meh, herbs aren't really effective" look, but I also got the "Well, technically there's nothing wrong with using a birth control pill" look and statement from a doctor and I'm off diane-35 because of side effects. So you be the judge. Always be careful and always consider healthier options to your ailments.


Best of luck,
Cindz :-)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Mirrors of Fate makes #1 on Smashwords YA Romance Bestseller List

I'm glad to report that as of today I've made #1 on the Smashwords YA romance bestseller list for 'Read an Ebook Week'. ^_^ This is where I do a dance because I'm uber excited. I hope I can stay there for a while, but even if I don't, a big thanks to all who are going out to check out the book. I put a lot of work into it, so it's great to see that people are at least checking it out. You can check out the current YA romance bestseller list for 'Read an Ebook Week' here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1025/popular/1/any/any. You can get my book "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past" here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/44637 on smashwords, and remember Re100 is the promotion code for 'Read an Ebook Week' to get that sucker free.






On another note, I've gotten myself a copy of Jennifer Huddock's "The Goblin Market" which I plan to start reading as soon as my workload lightens.



Mayhap I might even post a book review.


I'm also looking to get myself a copy of "Welcome to Scranton" by Greg Halpin.

If I do finish them I promise I'll provide an in-depth book review. ^_^

All right, that's all for now folks.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Get "The Mirrors of Fate" FREE for 'Read an Ebook Week'

It's Read an Ebook Week people! 




I'll be very brief. From March 6-12, as part of the promotion for 'Read an Ebook Week' over at Smashwords, you can use coupon Re100 to get "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past" (book 1) for FREE. Notice how I put that free in such big letters? Because you're wasting time still reading this message and haven't clicked on the link yet to smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/44637. If you enjoy the book, please spread the word to your friends and have them go pick up a copy as well. The book is also available over at amazon.

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004QGYCE4
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004QGYCE4

Friday, 4 March 2011

UPDATES! And a deeper look into "The Mirrors of Fate"

UPDATES!!!

My debut novel "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past", book 1 of the Mirrors of Fate series just hit Amazon kindle.

Amazon Kindle US
Amazon Kindle UK


I'm pretty stoked. We all know that as an indie author, the more places you distribute, the better because it's an uphill battle to get noticed in this crazy world. You can already get the novel here:

Smashwords 

(I'm part of the 'Read an Ebook' Promotion that Smashwords is an official sponsor of, so for a limited time starting MARCH 6 MIDNIGHT to March 12th, you can get the book at a new promoted price: FREE. But that's for only for six days, so if you want a possible freebie coupon, you know where to look.)


To celebrate today, I'm posting a longer, more delicious synopsis of the first installment of my 3-part series "The Mirrors of Fate" and also discussing about the book cover choice.






About the book


Her academy’s community service programme brought them together. Time and tide drew them apart. From the day Maria met her, she knew that little girl was different. An orphaned seven-year-old whose unnatural ability to recreate the past was even more frightening than the story of her family’s death. Obligatory time at White Crest Hospital soon became treasured time as ninth grader Maria Jaghai became friends with the child who spoke of a living dead brother.

But with the next schoolyear looming and her own less-than-ordinary problems to worry about, Maria Jaghai moved on with her life and didn’t look back upon the child whose name she allowed to become a distant memory. Now as a high school senior, the present is Maria's only concern as she desperately plots to prevent an arranged marriage her parents are planning before she graduates. A new and pleasant distraction comes in the form of a handsome student named Alan, but behind his smiles lie dark intent, and soon the truths about the forgotten little girl and the horrors that haunt the child’s family come crashing down upon her. Maria will quickly learn that you cannot forsake your friends; you cannot control your fate; and you cannot escape the ghosts of your past. To heal the past and secure the future, Maria must leave the world she knows for a world of magic, bloody wars, and fate science. The strange ride into fate begins with this first instalment of “The Mirrors of Fate” series.



----

Now, on to discussing my book cover. The big question. I’ve had a person or two ask me why I used more animated characters for the book cover, as opposed to a hunky, real-life beef cake and a good-looking bi-racial school girl in breath-batingly close kiss mode. Well, there are a few reasons for that. (And no, it's not because I couldn't afford it lol)

Firstly, prior to truly deciding I was seriously going to be an author because the written word was my calling, I was considering becoming an animator. I love to draw. I love art and photography. I also dreamed of seriously becoming the first black female Japanese-style animator (from Jamaican even! Whoop whoop!) who made legit anime series. Often times the scripts I wrote in my free time were for episodes of cartoon series I had in mind to create when I became a big animator(and interestingly those original script ideas will make their way into stories eventually, trust me.) And I decided later that if I wasn’t going to take that career move, I still needed to facilitate that talent and urge somehow into whatever path I chose. So this is how you get the book cover. I was able to draw it and colour it and that satisfied my craving for drawing and designing.

Also, I know as a reader, sometimes I can get a bit turned off by real life models on book covers that are supposed to portray the protagonists I'm supposed to fall in love with (or hate), especially in romance books. The image in my head never usually looks like the model on the cover and it distracts me from properly kicking back. I don’t know why; that’s just me. It won’t usually (and I say usually) stop me from buying a book however. If the first page gets me or even the blurb, that’s enough. So my intention for the cover was, by using a non-human image, to give more leeway for the reader to create their own mental image. Don’t know if I succeeded, but that was part of the intent anyway, along with the expression of what I also love to do ;-).


Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Avatar 2 Teaser

Starting the morning off right. The title says it all.





:) You can thank me later.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Youtube video of the day by Ray William Johnson

Saw it. Laughed at it. Subscribed to this guy. That is all.

*Content and language may not be suitable for all viewers

And this came out Feb 28, but does that really matter when it's this funny?

FUN CHALLENGE

Here’s a fun little idleness challenge for you. Just popped into my head, and since this is where I do my nomadic ramblings, you should've expected stuff like this you silly goose.



Challenge: Write a story/novel in 25 words or less.

Mine I just posted on twitter:

In her lifetimes she’d seen enough wars, seen enough nights & missed enough days. Finally, vampiress Catherine was glad to meet the dawn.


(Hint: My novel short is actually related to a vampire story I just started writing the other day in my spare time. Gotta keep the creative juices flowing.)




 ^_^ If you come up with any of your own, drop it in the comment box or even in your spare time at home try it out.


And if you haven't yet (though I can't imagine why) check out my new debut novel out right here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/44637

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Inspiration for "The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past"


Immediately when you start to read The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past, you pick up on the theme of service, of helping others.  Some ask me where did that come from. That comes from my own experience as a student who had to partake in what our schools called “Community Service.” You go to maybe a hospital, the Salvation Army and you help out those who can’t necessarily help themselves as well as you might be able to. One day years later I started to wonder about whatever happened to those people who, after community service ended, you never necessarily saw again. I remember I used to go to the Salvation Army and help blind students with their homework or with typing. Every now and then, years later, when I drive by the same location, I wonder whatever happened to those students. Did they grow up and are they living happy? Did they migrate? Is everything all right with them? We often forget about others when we no longer are “obligated” to think about them, like the poor man on the street you give money once to and think that should be enough. 

So the initial premise of the story was built around that simple idea of service and how important it is to remember and help others. I started to think, what if when you were a student groaning and moaning about going to community service and completing your mandatory hours, you became entangled in something so much bigger than yourself? What if much more happened when you broke those links and bonds that you built with these people?  And that’s how The Mirrors of Fate series began to unravel itself and form into what it is now. Book 2 takes us above and beyond. Can’t wait to get that out there as well. But for now, enjoy book one. Please pick it up here at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/44637