Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Anna's Getting Revamped- Changes to the Giveaway & Cover Reveal...

Hi all,

Yes, as the post title said above, I have made changes to the giveaway. Life likes to throw you curves and though that isn't an entirely bad thing, sometimes however these curves do tend to get overwhelming and  right now I am. There is just not enough time for everything for me right now. Poo... I need more hours in the day and more hours in the night! Ugg!

So here it is...

Anna's revamping is gonna take a little bit longer. But that's OK! It should. That's the idea of the revamping, I am trying to put out there a book near to perfection and hurrying it along is not the ideal approach :0) Readers deserve this, my readers deserve this. If not then how's a poor Indie gal gonna gain more readers :0)

I love writing, but I love my family more. And right now my family needs me a lot. A little over a year ago my grandmother passed away and I am my grandpa's rock. When he needs me in the week, I am there. Even if its three to four to everyday.  My sixth kiddo just entered Kindergarten ( he was my severely premature babe) and he is struggling. I need to be there for him, for all my kids. I am mom first and writer second. I love them both, but have to balance both and right now, I just can't. Somethings gotta give and sadly, it's poor Anna. (Sorry Anna, I love you!)

So again, Anna's revamping is gonna take a little while longer. But I cannot stress enough my humble thanks to all my supporters/readers for all of that support you give. Of course it would be absolutely cruel of me to cancel the giveaway all together... HEY! WE LOVES PRIZES! So I won't.  Instead of the four revamped Anna Kippling books right now, instead, I'll hike up that Amazon gift card goodie to $20 dollars! How many ebooks can ya get with that?! Go Indie and ya may get more...hint, hint:0)

So, I know it's not much, but you'll win a couple bookmarks with my new cover on them and twenty bucks for books...it's still pretty cool. Plus,when those revamped books come out, I will contact the winner and still get them those free copies. Plus! Plus, I'll do up another giveaway...win the set, some bookmarks and probably some more Amazon cash! Yeppie!


Not  to bad right? YEah...yeah A.D. not bad at all :0) (She smiles)

Well, before I go, I did promise you a cover reveal and thanks for the votes guys, helped a lot! Here it is! (she squees)


Wathca think? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment bar. Of course, the three following books have their revamped covers, but you'll have to wait to see those...


Again, my biggest thanks and hugs to all of you who have dropped by, made a vote, entered and shared along. Thank you for your support! You didn't have to, but you did. (Big smile)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
While your here, enter the rafflecopter, you can enter daily. Please share, appreciate it!

Thanks for the drop by!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Have you Experienced a Ghost? & How do you Know if you Have? Ghostly Experiences...

photo courtesy- http://www.examiner.com/article/what-is-a-ghost-1



I was visiting author Deborah Hughes' blog Ghostly Dramas, reading her blog post about 12 signs a Ghost is Near where of the twelve, one particular one stood out to me- #10 Hearing a knock or several.

 Well, I had just experienced this such phenomena!

A few nights ago my husband, seated at the dining table with our eldest daughter, working on a Pre- Algebra assignment together (good luck with that!)  suddenly heard a knocking come at our back door. Our back door is probably twenty feet or so away from where they were seated. OK, no big deal, we all get knocks on our doors, so what makes this paranormal?

Well, here's the curious thing about that.

It was a little after 8 pm and  pretty much already dark outside. This was also at our back door. Beyond that backdoor where two dachshunds. They bark at pretty much anything that nears the fence and are not to keen on just letting anyone in our back yard. They are good guard dogs. When the knocking came, these two were right outside that back door. They were also not barking. Hmm...

In response, my husband went to the door, peered out the window and said "Hello..?"

Nothing.

He looked to the switch, flipped all the back lights to our back yard, flooding it with severe brightness,sending it void of any shadow, and looked out the window again.

No one.

There was no one at our back door or in our back yard. There was ABSOLUTELY nothing out there. Well, nothing besides the two pairs of blinking eyes of our pooches sitting by the back door begging to come in.

 And again, they are not barking...

Well, this had us curious as well as perplexed. My husband was sure he heard knocking and so was our daughter. So, the pair of us together, my husband with his bat and I with my knife, go out into the dark night to further investigate. Going out our front door, we stick tight against each other and head around to the back gate leading to our back yard. We lift the latch (ok, not together) and enter. From there, with great caution, we proceed with our "further investigating". Searching every square foot of our back yard, we again come up with nothing.

No one. Just the two dachshunds standing at our feet, wagging their tails and giving us strange looks.

We return inside. We lock our front door, assure our kids everything is well and then return to our locked back door. We stand staring at it still perplexed and feeling a little stupid realizing we are still holding onto our bat and knife. What the heck?  What had it been? After putting his bat away and me my knife back to its sheath between the mattress of  the bed we share(of course on my side), we let our doggies in.

A new revelation...

You see, when my husband went to let our dogs in, he opened the door and then had to open the screen door to let them in. This act sent a question suddenly arising in our minds. We heard a knocking on the wood door and not on the screen one. So how, if the screen was closed, if  it were someone outside, did they knock on the wood back door without opening the screen and not have our dogs barking at them?

So, the knock had to have come from the inside.
photo courtesy: http://awesomegifs.com/2011/06/the-shining-knock-knock/

Hmm....again, interesting...

Now, I know this wasn't a spooky story or even near amazingly creepy, but it was my ghost story. And a lot of the time, this is how many of our ghost stories tend to go. This is not the first paranormal experience I have encountered and I'm sure it will also not the last. I am fine on how un-scary my encounters tend to be, and regardless, they still seem pretty cool to me. I have yet to experience a scream your head off kind of ghostly drama, and so far I only get those kinds from watching scary movies or a ghost stories on TV.

Would I want a really creepy ghostly experience? Umm, probably a big NO. I' m not stupid. (She smiles) These subtle experiences are probably enough for my heart. (She smiles again).

Now, A.D. How do you know for sure that you did have a ghostly experience?  (you are welcome skeptics) Well, we really don't know for sure. It's mostly a gut feeling, unless we have hard core proof, and that is even better. Most of the time, its just a firm belief and a fun story to share. I will admit, I am a strong believer in the paranormal, but I am also pretty level headed. I am not what you would call a paranormal sucker (you know, those who will believe almost everything) and do have the common sense to know if I'm being duped.
I do practice de-bunking and I should, I've watched enough Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures to know better (Another smile).


Well, thanks for the drop by and please, if you have a ghostly experience, please share!






Saturday, September 14, 2013

Panera Bread's Autumn Squash Soup---Ever Love Something and Want It For At Home? Well, Here Ya Go...

Friday (the 13th by the way) I was at Panera Bread having lunch with my grandpa- our usual routine for Friday after I clean house for him (grandma passed away a year ago) and I have to tell ya, I enjoyed the most tastetastical (yes I made that up) cup of soup ever!

Well, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself in my excitement. Rewind. Ok, let me start from the beginning...

 At eleven am (our usual time- grandpa likes routine) we arrive to those beautiful doors of Panera Bread. We walk in, say our hellos to the other usual's ( Usual- meaning any gentlemen or ladies who frequent Panera more than just once in awhile), grandpa sometimes lingering  to thank a solider, Veteran or police officer for their service,and then we slowly (Grandpa's 83, so it's not a dart) make our way to the ordering counter . When we reach it, we both then  proceed  to say our hello's to the staff we consider friends, even family (yes, they know us pretty well- heck, they know our orders by heart) and then make our orders.

Grandpa's order: Cup of chicken noodle or wild rice soup (thanks to me by the way) with the baguette (knife & 1 butter to go with it), small cup of coffee and sometimes (more often than not) a peanut butter cookie-grandpa's a diabetic, he is trying to watch his sugar levels, he's been a good boy.

My order: Either the tomato,broccoli cheddar or clam chowder (they don't put this one out often:) soup, with baguette, a half of a Mediterranean veggie sandwich, medium fountain drink and of course a shortbread cookie-that is yum by the way! (Click here for that copycat recipe)

Like I said, these are our usual orders. Changing up my soups is my way of living on the wild side. (Honestly, I commonly order the same because if I like it then why not). Well this Friday (did I mention it was the 13th?) I spot  Autumn squash soup on the soup menu. I love squash, I mean I really, really love squash! Steamed squash, fried squash, raw squash, squash casserole and now squash soup. Before this day that will forever hang in the history, I had never ventured into the squash soup realm.(I kick myself now for that). Truthfully, I have never been to a place that ever offered it.

 This day (Friday the 13th by the way) I change my order up. I pick the Autumn Squash soup.  We get our drinks, grab our cookies and then find our table to sit and wait for our meals to arrive. The wonderful server, who knows us well, shows up with our plates of yumminess and sets them down. Before me, I find a cup full of some yellowish soup with toasted almonds at the center of it.

I pick up my little silver wide mouthed spoon and take my first bite...

A-MA-Z-ING!

I do not know how many times I mention this to my grandpa(lost count really); it was like eating my lunch and dessert at the same time( I said this quite a few times too)! There was a sweetness to it that reminded me of pumpkin pie and yet a distinct taste that reminded me it was a soup and meant for a meal, not a dessert. The soup was creamy, smooth going down and as much as I wanted to inhale it, I took my bites in leisure. I wanted to enjoy this for as long as I could. Each bite was like discovering it for the first time again.

Over and Over...and over.

I liked the soup...no LOVED the soup. So of course the gears of my mind went into action-well they are always in action, but just a pick up in pace:0)- trying to make it clear I do think:0)

I wanted to make this at home. As much as I love going to Panera, I wanted to eat this soup every day and going everyday to Panera to eat it does make a dent in your pocket book (still love you Panera!) I knew (I am a mom of 6) that I could make this soup at home and for a lot less and get a lot more. So where do you find a recipe for something you like?

GOOGLE

I googled squash soup like Panera's and found a few recopies. They varied a little, but then were the same a little. So of course, I wanna find out the best combination of ingredients to make this soup as fabulous as Panera's. This means experimentation time.

Note: My results will be in another blog post. 

For now, I want to share these recipes with you.  You can try them out individually and compare, pick and choose which ingredients you want and then make the soup or even make up your own version. Share the  results with me if ya want, cause I sure would  LOVE to hear them!

Panera Bread Company Butternut Squash Soup Sources: 

 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 small onion 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (1 teaspoon dried) 1 small butternut squash, chopped 6 1/3 cups chicken stock (50.4 ounces) 1 1/4 cups heavy cream 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 1/2 cup chopped walnuts Hot pepper sauce Melt butter over moderate heat in large saucepan. Add the onion and rosemary and cook until soft (approximately 5 minutes). Add chopped squash, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt, white pepper and hot sauce. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for approximately 2 hours - or until squash is tender. Use blender to puree the hot soup. Toast walnuts to use for garnish. Serve in a bread bowl. - this came from Recipe Goldmine.
2-3 TBS butter/vegetable oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 red apples (I used Gala), peeled and diced
1 carton of chicken stock
Salt 
Sweet curry (look for curry with a brownish color - it contains more cinnamon.)

Roughly chop everything and sauté with 2-3 Tablespoons of butter or oil for
20 min or until onions are translucent.

Add 1 carton of chicken stock and simmer for 1 hr.

Blend with an immersion blender, reg blender, or food processor to
desired consistency. Add 1/2-1 cup (or as desired) 2% or whole milk.

Season with salt and curry powder to taste! I think I used about 1/2 to 1 tsp curry powder...Enjoy!
-This came from Kristi's Home Kookin'

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Recipe below was also on justapinch.com- photo courtesy of justapinch

2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 small onion,minced
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 small butternut squash, chopped
6 1/3 c chicken stock (50.4 ounces)
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 c chopped walnuts
Hot pepper sauce
Over low saute onion and rosemary in butter and cook til soft (5 min).

Add chopped squash, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt, white pepper and hot sauce. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 2 hours - til squash is tender.

Use blender to puree the hot soup.

Toast walnuts to use for garnish.

Serve in a bread bowl.
- this came from Mommysavers

So, there ya go! Have fun, make a mess and enjoy! I will get back to you on my results and let's pray they are good ones :0)


Thanks for the drop by!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Who Says You Have to Be Martha Stewart? Get Your Halloween Crafting on with A.D.

  "The proof is in the pudding."


2008_10_29-Halloween.jpg
Photo courtesy -http://www.thekitchn.com/what-are-your-halloween-food-p-68049- Click to get the recipie and check out their other Spooktacular goodies


         Yep, it's true... you really don't have to be Martha Stewart to create an amazing craft. Pintrest alone gives testament to this. With so many bloggers sharing their creativity with the world, you will never run out of ideas or amazing things to make. So with Halloween nearing, why not create something this holiday that would even send crafting queen Martha Stewart giving applause.

Well, here's that perfect craft for you. Not only is it super duper easy, the results are spectacular- or rather  SPOOKtacular! Of course being an honest gal as I am, I can not take credit for this brilliant conception. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and the credit all goes to Joann's fabric store. Yep! That fabulous store with all your crafting needs as well as some nice holiday decor (I clench my coupons in anticipation for the fifteenth to get some of that wonderful  Halloween decor at 40% off- awesome!).

 So, the other day I was at Joann's in search  for some spooky fabric to make into a Halloween skirt for my thirteen year old daughter, when low and behold, I spotted the shelf. You know...that shelf filled to the brim with all those "free" craft ideas. Yep, Joann's fabulously gives out pamphlets of all kinds of crafty things for you to make and for FREE! You can find them online as well. Click here. In this fantastic stack, I found this one below and WOW!  Is it easy and fabulous!

The craft is called The Crafty Spider web.
Joann's photo


Here are the supplies you will need:

* Embroidery Hoop (size to accommodate doily)
* Doily of choice
* Spider of course (Dollar tree, Walmart, General Dollar, Joann's)
* Black Ribbon (or color of choice)
* Black Acrylic Paint
* Paintbrush
* Scissors
* Hot glue gun & glue sticks

Joann's deems this a level one (easy peasy) craft

Now here are the directions:

1. Remove inner hoop and paint the whole hoop black. ( Neon colors could be a consideration)

2.Center doily on the liner of the hoop. Hot Glue the top edge to the side of the liner. (I did not need to glue. Just pulled taunt) Stretch the doily and continue to glue each edge to the liner.

3. Replace the outer hoop. Secure the fastener.

4. Glue a spider to the doily web.

5. Cut a 12" length of black ribbon. Slide one end under the fastener. Bring the ends together and knot.

Ok, here are my photos.






I did not do the ribbon yet (didn't have on hand) but will by Halloween! I just love them. The black doily is available also at Joann's. It actually has a spider weaved into it, but my hoop was too small to show it, so I just glued  a spider onto it. I'm visualizing several of these inside my home. Different sizes, hanging together to  add to that Halloween ambiance...

Well there ya go! Easy and Amazing!

If this got you into the festive and crafting mood, well ya don't have to stop here! Click the link to my Pintrest board- Halloween Crafts  and find what other great crafts I've found. All kinds of levels, all kinds of fun!


Thanks for the drop by and Happy soon to be Halloween!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anna Kippling is Getting Revamped! Enter the Contest and Give Your Vote...


You might have noticed I haven't been posting much lately about anything concerning my books. Not on Facebook. Not on twitter. Not even on here. Yep, that's right. No promoting, no linking, no giveaways, no nothing.

So what have you been up to A.D.?

Well, It goes like this...

After finishing the fourth installment to my Anna Kippling Series (that in itself was a huge feat for me, she pats self on the back) I decided I just had to go back and revamp up the previous three books.  As an indie author, I have learned quite a bit since I entered the self-pub industry and have learned the hard way on how little I knew when I entered it. And sadly how much more I still need to learn.

The  #1 most important thing I have learned, for anyone to learn even,  is you want your work to be at it's absolute best or at least pretty darn close before you press the publish button. It isn't just about finishing the story, but of course that is something to feel proud about. It's quite an accomplishment to write and finish a book (now pat yourself on the back), but it doesn't end there. You then need to edit.

Edit, revamping, everything and anything to make that book of yours shine to a luster that would make any mom or pop proud. This after all is your baby.
And over the past two years this is just what I have done.

I've also had to build a tougher skin. No one likes negative reviews, but they are necessary (at least the legit ones).  This is how our readers give us feedback and our resource to improvement. So with a new layer of skin atop the other, I listened and...

worked harder,  worked a little harder, kept going,- I think I threw a tantrum here -   keep on still  and...
Yep, I'm still going.

So...

Back to the point. As I've established, there is always room for improvement.

I am very proud of this series and have a deep love for the characters within it (hey they're like family to me) and so it wouldn't be unfathomable to want their story to be at it's very best. So I've done one final revamp and then I shall lets it alone :0)

I did a while ago post a possible new cover for the series and am still on the fence about it.  I'm not sure if I should do a new cover or keep the current one.  This is where you come in.
As readers are just as important to authors as their characters. YOU, yes you, are very important to me and of course so is your opinion. So give me your opinion. Which cover do you think I should go with when I am put out my second edition (revamped) Anna Kippling Series?

Cover 1 or Cover 2?


Cover 1
Cover 2


How about a contest about it? Oooh, ooh, Yes! Of course yes!  "We's just loves a contest!"  So give your vote, cause it matters, and then enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win all four books of this series.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


How awesome is that! If you haven't read my series, then this is great, now you get to without having to wait for the next book to come out! You get to keep going! If you have  already read the series (thank you by the way), that's OK too.  Now you get to read the revamped version without having to spend anymore money!  How great is that! Yay! Who doesn't like saving money?

 So the best of luck and please share  this awesome giveaway with your friends, acquaintances, everybody!

Thanks for the  drop by,

Friday, May 31, 2013

Jen Hatmaker - Worst End of School Year Mom Ever

I just had to share this. Had to. Sums is all up. Yep... Hi, my name is Alishia and I am a horrible (not the worst- Jen might have me beat there:0) End of School Year Mom. Please read and share Jen Hatmaker's wonderful share. Make sure you follow her, I did:0)
This picture was borrowed from Jen's blog, this is her wonderful picture, not mine, although I have a kid's homework folder very much similar, well did, we lost it....

Jen Hatmaker - Worst End of School Year Mom Ever


Thanks for the drop by!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: D J Lowbridge, author of Ghost Haunts- A Collection of Short Stories

Author D.J.  Lowbridge
      I love meeting new authors and welcome D.J. to my blog. I also love, I mean love Ghost stories. Who doesn't right? Well, D.J. has the perfect book for you. He has a collection of them inside of the bind titled Ghost Haunts. Oh I love it! I love the cover too!
Click the book to go to Amazon's US page for it.

 
Book description:
From the trenches of World War One to the vastness of space we meet: relentless pursuers that feed on fear; omens of impending doom and true love that goes beyond the grave.

When realms collide there is no certainty of what is to come...

     The interview:

     1. Where do you call home?
I live in Essex in the United Kingdom. I live in a small village that is not far from the sea for inspiration and quick trips down with the kids, but far enough back that during the summer that I can have some peace if I want it.

2. What is the title of your most recent book?
“Ghost Haunts” – it’s an 11 short story collection about ghosts. But instead of it being a horror fest I decided to sneak in a couple of family dramas in there.

3. What's your Genre?
Well obviously by my first book people would assume horror, but that is more of a sideline for me. Something that Ghost Haunts fell into. I think of myself more of a paranormal / supernatural author with a tinge of horror who sometimes crosses over into science fiction.

4. Plans for a next book? Is this part of a Series?
The next book will be the first book in the Paranormal Investigation Series, or PIT for short. The series follows a military led team who investigate paranormal activity and try to protect the world from the demons. The first story came to me while I was putting my rabbits to bed one night and eventually one story has turned into six or seven ideas.

5. Are you a self published author (Indie)?
I wouldn’t have it any other way. To have total control over your work and being paid a decent rate for your work, there is really no option.

6. Who's your favorite author?
Well that is a tough question. Elizabeth Moon got me writing, but I love India Drummond (another indie author) and her Faerie series that is based in Scotland. Her characters and storylines are amazing.

7. Your favorite book?
I think my favourite book is Elizabeth Moon’s Command Decision which is her 4thbook in the Vatta’s War series. It is brilliant for military science fiction lovers.

8. What book are you currently reading?
I am currently reading an indie book called Eden M51 by G. R. Paskoff

      9. A book you would recommend?
       Not at the moment, I haven’t finished it.

      10. How do you pick your books?
    Well I run a review site. So mostly I am sent books. I use to select books by the blurb and front cover but due to the sheer number of requests I know insist on looking at the first chapter. If it is good, then I will select it.

     11. Advice for other authors?
    Write, write, write.- So agree!

     12. Do you write under a pen name?
      I write under D J Lowbridge.

     13. Where do you write?
    Normally at the dinner table; facing away from the window. It can get very cold in there so sometimes I set myself a target and when I’ve reached it and can get back into the warmer rooms.

     14. What do you wear when you write?
      Whatever I am wearing at the time.

     15. Do you have a pet (s)?
    Oh yeah. I have two tanks of fish, a leopard Gecko named Steph, two Guinea Pigs and two rabbits. -I myself am a momma of Guinea pigs and rabbits. Of all my pets my Gecko is my baby, I’ve had since before I was married. A year ago her sister died which was very sad and she has not responded well to the loss either. But I have become fond of our latest edition, Elmo. Elmo is the male rabbit from a rescue centre. He was found in a field living wild yet is a domesticated albino cross breed – he was definitely abandoned. There is no telling how old he really is or how long he was left to fend for himself without any skills to do so, but according to the centre he was brought in a bad state and was probably out there months if not over a year. I feel sad because someone must have done that to him without thinking of his welfare. Now he is very wary of most people, yet he still comes to me and even likes to jump on my back for comfort.

     16. Favorite food?
    Chinese. Not even going to debate that one.

     17. If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
The current President of the United States because the US would spend millions trying to find and rescue him; Paul Merton because he is a funny guy and Miranda Hart, because she is funny too.

     18. Of your characters, which one would you say is most like you and why?
     I would say in Ghost Haunts I am most like Tony in some aspects (loves his wife to pieces, very protective), but he is someone who likes to spend his cash to show off, which is not like me at all. In my next project I am very much like Major Trevor Reed. He is a character who is in command of the unit, yet despite the fact that he is supposed to be strong and unwavering he turns out to be someone who is forgiving and a little soft to his colleagues.

    19. What made you want to be a writer?
     I was on holiday one day in Norfolk when I was reading a book and I put it down and in my head suddenly an idea just flowed in. That’s the day I decided to be a writer. But in truth I’ve always enjoyed writing and I would probably have gotten here sooner or later.

     20. Any weird talent?
      No...

     21. A favorite quote?
    “A life is made up of its darkest moments and destroyed when it takes nothing from them” – can never remember where that came from, but it always reminds me to learn from my mistakes. -learning from mistakes is always good advice :0)

     22. What is the one thing you never go without?
    My family; support is key to success and they are my support.

     23. Your biggest influence?
     I don’t think anything has particularly influenced me in my life.

      24. Favorite TV show?
     Stargate SG-1 – there is no finer show. It was on the air for 10 seasons and had two direct to DVD movies plus two spin off shows. Anything that has that legacy has to be great.

      25. A great blog you would like to recommend for others to discover?
     http://twomidlistindies.com/ - its a great blog written by two stars of the indie author world – Valerie Douglas and Kai Wilson. If you want to succeed as an indie author listening to these two is a great help.
 
D.J. was so wonderful to make connecting with him so easy! Click the links below to connect with him and any or all the sites below.
 
Book Links:
UK: www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Haunts-ebook/dp/B00BDTUIU4/

Thanks so much D.J. for letting little ol' me spotlight ya! Loved getting to know you and about your Ghostly offering- Ghost Haunts. Visitors, my lovely readers, hop on over to Amazon and pick up your copy, only $2.99.

Thanks for dropping by!