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Monday, February 1, 2016

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Jodi Taylor's Just One Damned Thing after Another, Part Two

In case my previous post didn't incite you to check out this book, here are some tempting quotations from that wonderful start to the series (that I've Americanized from her British English spellings), just to show you this author's wit and talent:
[This] day I got away from that invention of the devil—family. 
[A] woman in a smartly tailored suit. She looked elegant, dignified, and judgmental. 
Thinking carefully is something that happens to other people. 
She was unpopular, self-important, and lacking the sense of humor gene. 
I hadn’t realized how closely together we would live and work. … Now we moved into the physical part of our training. Apparently, up until now, we’d had it easy. … I suspect there are married couples who have less intimate physical contact than we did.
I started to make plans. Not to cheat exactly, because that would be wrong, wouldn’t it? More like dealing with the situation on my own terms.
How did you find the East Gate?
I was looking for the South Gate.
I can’t seem to find your name on the transport list.
Bloody hellfire, sir. Does that mean I didn’t have to do this?

“Miss Black, there are two Ps in oppressed and only one N in minority. You are neither. Delete [that]." 
I saved Sussman’s life when he told Kal her bum looked big in a bustle.
He looked tired. I looked at the clock. It was so late it was early. 
The reason I can’t deal with sympathy is because I never bloody get any. 
You’re more generous than I think I would be.
Yes, well, he’s dead, and I’m not. If it was the other way around, I’d probably be a bit miffed. 
Half of me looked forward to seeing what she had done, half of me didn’t want to go out and mix with people just yet, and half of me (presumably the half that can’t add up) didn’t want to see her because I knew she would blame me for Sussman. 
Dieter and Markham … squared up to each other. Given their respective sizes, it was rather like a chipmunk hurling itself at Mount Everest. 
My fist, traveling at the combined speeds of rage and retribution, impacted hard on her nose. 
Directly or indirectly, I was responsible for everyone currently in sick bay. That had to be some sort of record. 
"You’ve seen this unit go through historians like laxatives through a short grandmother."
Others came to help. I’ve never been undressed by so many people. 
He was calm and soothing and had a reasonable explanation for everything. No woman should have to put up with that. 
The building … was just like us—noisy and gloriously tasteless. 
We had them on speed-dial. They had us on their blacklist.
In the distance, I could hear shouting. And screaming. Familiar sounds. St. Mary’s [staff] thundered past on their way to make a crisis considerably worse. It was nice to be home. 
See what you're missing?

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

Friday, January 22, 2016

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Jodi Taylor's Just One Damned Thing after Another

This is Book One of her series entitled The Chronicles of St. Mary's. It's simply wonderful. This UK author has a wicked sense of humor and obviously a love of ancient world history. As an American, just reading her British idioms transports me to another place, while the main character, Alex, takes me to some more. Love her and the other creative rule-breakers who work for St. Mary's. Except for the bad guys of course.

If you like your sci-fi/fantasy/time travel stories with comedy, tragedy, adventure, romance and a smattering of history lessons, this one's got it all. Even work intrigue. I read it in one sitting. What fun! There are seven books in the series, counting this first one plus the one due out May 5, 2016, which you can preorder now on Amazon.

Can't wait to read the rest of them. Enjoy! 

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Amazon to Mark E-Books with Spelling and Formatting Errors Beginning 02.03.2016

Haven't read about this yet? Here's the link to the article: http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/kindle-e-books-will-have-a-warning-message-if-they-have-spelling-mistakes-or-bad-formatting.

If you Indie authors have been meaning to update the spelling and grammar errors in your e-books, now is the time to get a copy editor lined up, before the 02.03.2016 rush begins. I'm not a professional formatter, but I'm handy with Styles within MSWord and can do an initial pass with my general formatting knowledge (as I do my copyediting magic) before you then hand over the book to your professional formatter.

I'm available now. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED (based on the order in which my special PayPal account receives the accurate fee amount paid in full, plus my acceptance of said prepaid project's subject matter). I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE BOOKS ABOUT CERTAIN TOPICS and/or BASED ON MY AVAILABILITY.

READ THIS LINK to MY POST re 2016 FEES and SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: http://livingthedreampublishing.blogspot.com/2015/12/denise-barker-freelance-copy-editor.html.

Then contact me at LivingTheDreamPublishing@gmail.com.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Year, More Reading: This Time It's Tony Dunbar's Crooked Man in the Tubby Dubonnet Series

Last night I read book one of Tony Dunbar's Tubby Dubonnet series, entitled Crooked Man. This was his amazing debut novel. My only drawback to his stories is the sad lack of seafood in my house (and my proximity to New Orleans, as I live in DFW). He described more than a few Cajun meals that had me drooling. No matter. I will read this man's words even if my cupboards are bare and no excellent Cajun fare is within one hundred miles of me.

This initial offering in his series is a great read with some truly brilliant twists to efficiently tie up all the plotlines into two endings: a main one and a quickie secondary finale as well.

Have you ever read a book that made you question your own art, your own creativity? Tony Dunbar does that to me. Regardless I won't quit consuming his works nor will I stop creating my own. He just raises the bar a good bit.

Enjoy!

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra
 

Monday, January 11, 2016

In Love with Tony Dunbar and the Tubby Dubonnet Series

I'm a little late to the party but found this extrawonderful author via a BookBub special on Lucky Man, book six of Tony Dunbar's Tubby Dubonnet series.

Wow. I'm addicted to this man's words with just one book (even read out of order).

First, I'm a Baton Rougeborn gal, with an artist's appreciation for the colorful sights and delectable smells of New Orleans. In this one book he mentioned most of my favorite Cajun foods, except for grits (with shrimp of course) and crawfish etouffee. But I forgive him.

Second and beyond, his writing is beautiful. He has fresh similes and metaphors, not a cliché in the bunch. I actually read his descriptions instead of skimming over them. They are a subject matter to be studied by any author intent on self-improvement. I liked his skillful overlapping of plotlines, even to the point where he surprised me with one or two of them.

And this author has great insights into human nature, while pointing out Tubby's shortcomings with humor.

The plot sped along, with twists and turns and tidbits to keep me very enthralled and entertained. The story touched upon the many facets of Tubby's life: his ex-wife, his three daughters, his secretary, his friends, his work, his needling and as-yet-to-be-determined unsatisfaction at this time, his sobriety. It felt so real reading this tale that I expect to visit New Orleans, eating my way through food I miss so much, hearing the sweet sounds of the lovely Cajun/Creole accents, to find Tubby sitting beside me, drinking ginger ale.

I'll be reading and rereading Tony Dunbar's works for the rest of my days, both to pull me into his novels and to study his art.

What a find.

I feel lucky. I'm one lucky woman. (Pun intended.)

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Recommended Book Series by Liliana Hart and One Main Writing Thought to Hold Dear

Welcome to the New Year 2016! Hope you started it off with a bang, working toward your ultimate goal. Dream big. Don't talk yourself out of it (or let ANYBODY deter you). Take a calculated risk. And then another. Best wishes!

Now for a book series I love and reread often: the J. J. Graves mystery series by Liliana Hart. While I have enjoyed all this author's books that I've read so far, my next favorite is her Addison Holmes mystery series. Obviously I do like my mysteries, but these have that something extra. The first, with a relatable strong female lead in J. J. Graves, is like the TV series Bones only in a small-town setting, including a love story. Can't say enough good things about this series by Hart. I keep reading it to discover the author's secrets to writing such an engaging story, but I get sucked up in the tale every time. That's a good thing. Something all us authors should strive for.

If you enjoy Janet Evanovich's bounty hunter series starring Stephanie Plum's antics (another wonderful rereadable series), then you should also like Liliana Hart's Addison Holmes mystery series.

Did you watch the short video with Liliana Hart in one of the recent Amazon newsletters?  Hart spoke about hearing from readers, how they enjoyed reading her books while going through harsh events in their lives. Storytellers everywhere need to remember this. While, yes, I would love to write the next Great American Novel, can't I also write it while penning something fun for readers to read? Something for purely entertainment purposes? Give yourself permission to write both kinds of novels.

As a reader myself, I know I want to escape to my ultimate dream reality and/or to experience something vicariously (whether traveling the globe or outsmarting a bad guy on my tail) and/or to learn on paper how to deal with whatever real life throws us (bullies, bad bosses, abusive relationships or just to stand up for myself and for what's right, etc.) and/or to laugh a bit.

I know we authors can be supercritical of ourselves. Maybe we should redirect that to our stories. I know. These tales we weave are our babies. Criticize them and we end up criticizing us. Maybe with the passage of time we can accept some "contrary" suggestions. Meanwhile, as we write our imaginings, I suggest we focus on playing, on having fun, on finding what would give us the most joy to write, in a world where we would choose to live, inhabited by our favorite characters, having that ultimate dream life I mentioned above. Be present while creating.

Somewhere in my voracious assimilation of info gathered from myriad avenues, I read how someone (Tim Ferriss?) went a day without complaining (about anybody, including himself/herself). Why don't we try that with our own writing? One day at a time ... Save the critiques for plotting (before story time begins) and final edits (after The End is written, whether actually or just theoretically).

Let me know how it goes for you.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Freelancing Foodie's Tips

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a medical authority, just a layperson interested in bolstering my health by holistic methods, someone who believes that good fats don't make you fat. Too much sugar (in its various forms) makes you fat. That it's not about calories. It's about good carbs, eating clean.

I almost entitled this post Foodie Friday. I'm not sure I have that much new to say on a weekly basis. I'll have to see how this works out. This year I'm working fewer hours (no more >230-hour months for me!) for better pay (after 2.5 years at the same rate, now more in line with industry standards for someone like me with 8.5 years' experience) and plan to have more blogging time. More "me" time too for my own writing. In other words, I get to do all that I love being: an author, a blogger, a copy editor. Of course I also love reading good books and watching great movies. More of that too please!

As a freelancer, my income is not a steady paycheck of a set repetitive amount coming like clockwork on the first and the fifteenth (or any two other random days of the month), as I am paid per project. So the fluctuating earnings make for lean and fat times monetarily. I would love to eat clean, only organic, but that ain't happening yet. So what to do in the interim?

First, if not a vegetarian, buy whole meats, like whole hams, whole beef or pork roasts, whole chickens, briskets, etc. Yes, the animals will probably still have been fed grain and GMO corn instead of grass and pumped up on chemical-based hormones, but at least you can avoid the added hormones and fillers. I look for meats at $0.89/lb. One exception is seafood, which I love but costs more per pound, yet you'd be amazed how some canned seafood is wild caught, which is the best kind.

Yesterday I bought a six-pound chicken that, with the veggies, wouldn't allow the lid on my slow cooker to seat properly. I used foil instead, until the potatoes, onions and carrots cooked down. Then I exchanged it for my lid. (Be sure to check the internal temp of your chicken and other meats.) This will be two meals for two as is, roast chicken and veggies. After that, it can be chicken spaghetti (to use up the dark meat, not my favorite), chicken and dressing, tortilla soup, quesadillas, even chicken salad sandwiches. I expect to get about ten to twelve individual servings from this bird.

And I buy most of my food at Aldi's, which is like a Sam's Club but without the annual fees. Love my Aldi's, which I find is even cheaper than my local Walmart (but I still shop there for various things). Also my Sprouts store is great and, if you watch the weekly sales, sometimes rivals Aldi's low prices.

Whether flush or in need, I still like to have a veggie-only meal at least once a week, usually a trio of cooked ones in the winter. And when summer returns, I love a good meatless taco salad, marinated cukes and onions, marinated three-bean salad, Caesar salads, wilted lettuce, even a meal of coleslaw, etc.

Second, certain foods show up on various "lists," whether you need more calcium in your diet or are fighting a family trait for Alzheimer's or want to prevent the three major diseases of cancer, heart attacks/strokes, diabetes. Some of these wondrous foods that come to mind are onions, garlic, avocados, coconut and olive oils, dark leafy greens (fresh or sauteed), berries, ginger, turmeric, honey, green tea, etc. Even on a restricted budget, I try to incorporate a handful of these each day.

One example would be skillet-frying onions in olive oil for breakfast instead of hash browns. Add some garlic at the end, then cook your scrambled eggs in the same skillet. Plate all these hot elements on top of fresh spinach to wilt it, with a side of sliced tomato and avocado, and a small serving of berries and ginger-flavored green tea with honey. Perfect. I've used everything but the turmeric listed above, and this is only breakfast. Not a bad start to a day. Granted, some days it's only eggs or buttered noodles around here and not just for one meal that day.

Third, sugar is fed to cancer cells in the lab to get them growing. Sugar has been proven to be addicting, even more so than cocaine (per Dr. Mark Hyman). So I'm trying to swap whole fruits for baked goodies. But, when I do have brownies, I make them at home, so at least I know what went into them (like no MSG, no HFCS, no GMO corn oil, etc.). Besides, 70% chocolate is good for us. Still do not go overboard on fruits as even they can affect diabetes (see Suzanne Somers's remarks regarding her hubby eating like ten pieces of fruit a day and having to cut way back).

Besides cutting down on eating sugar, watch out for drinking it. I love Dr. Pepper (I live in Texas after all), those flavored creams for my coffee, sweet tea (I'm from the Deep South), lemonade, etc. Thankfully I don't like the taste of alcohol, as it converts to sugar too from what I understand. But sugar is also hidden in most of our condiments.  I don't use ketchup, but check your label on your store-bought version. I'd suggest you make your own.

I even (unknowingly) bought salt with sugar in it. Come on! I have to check the ingredients list for SALT? When I complained to the store, they directed me to the manufacturer, which a representative said the sugar was "just corn" (GMO variety, I'd bet) and was a preservative. My salt, which is already a preservative, needs a sugar preservative? I wonder if these people ever stop to really listen to what they've been groomed to say. If I want sugar, I'll buy it and hope it is not tainted with whatever. I've been in a sugar cane field and have tasted that wonderful delight, standing on Louisiana soil in the sunlight, surrounded by stalks taller than me. What an experience. Would love to taste that pure sugar again.

I don't understand why we continue to have corn subsidies when there seems to be so much corn that it is mostly made into animal feed and HFCS, which is not healthy for man or beast from what I'm reading. I do indulge in my craving for "fresh" corn on the cob with butter and salt, but I limit that "treat" to about once a year. Until I can buy organic ears of corn, it's the best I can do to just avoid these problematic foods.

Fourth, eat food without an ingredients label (meat, veggies, fruits), found on the perimeter of your local grocery store. Old news but still valid good news. Also use a vinegar wash/soak to clean the outside of your produce/fruits. You can't wash/soak away what the plant absorbed through tainted soil, but you can at least reduce the toxins on the outside.

Fifth, watch those "white" carbs, anything made with white flours, white sugars, white potatoes, white rice, etc. I will confess that I resort to white bread, white rice, white potatoes, bagels, tortillas when I'm in my "starving artist" phases. You do what you gotta do.

Sixth, don't feel guilty about the detours you take. As mentioned above, I believe in the mind-body connection, where the holistic healing of one influences the other. So don't let worry taint your health too. Somewhere I read that the Bible links all the (thirty-nine?) diseases to various emotions. Interesting, right? I'll have to research that further and see if I can't share some studies on that with you here.

Seventh is think about substitutions. When I crave something salty, instead of chips (which I try not to buy), I eat mixed nuts or a sliced tomato (or avocado) with a sprinkle of sea salt or some black or green olives. If I want something sweet, I think about what fruit I have in the house and if it would satisfy my desire. Maybe I can get away with ginger tea sweetened with some honey and/or Stevia. Perhaps even a teaspoon of almond butter topped with honey will sate my taste buds.

So start your own substitutions list. I know when I fall off the wagon, invariably immediately thereafter I think of the better substitute I should have eaten. So I'm starting my own reminder list as well.

Eighth is to not eat three hours before bed. I find that hard to implement as I work all hours, all days (which is the nature of the freelancing career), so don't have a set bedtime. It's easier for me to do as Tim Ferriss states: eat two meals a day, although I'm not rigid on this.

Ninth, eat only when truly hungry. Drink some plain water first. Wait fifteen minutes. Try a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother) in more water. This helps with indigestion and heartburn. If still hungry, eat something but make wise choices.

That's it for now. Here's to a healthier life in 2016.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra