Contemporary Romance · Fiction · Romantic Suspense · Writing

September ‘Books to Read’ Lineup and More #AmReading

September is a happy month. It means cooler weather, comfortable hoodie-sweaters, warm tea…and a lot of inside reading time. This month I celebrated my 15-year wedding anniversary. My husband is happy with my book-addiction, because reading makes me a delirious and proud introvert. 😉 Since an adjustment to a part-time job that borders on full-time work-hours, I’ve especially missed the book-reading part of life. I’m sure many of you know how it is to go back into a job you HAVE to do that PAYS so you can eventually build a little nest-egg for better financial security and (fingers-crossed)-just might be able to pay some toward what you DREAM to do with your life. In case you have no idea what it is to be in the aforementioned situation – I’ll spare you the boring details.

Glad to be back to reading and reviewing, I’m scheduling in reading time, whenever possible. To get started, I read Biting Cold by Chloe Neill. I’m familiar with the Chicago Vampire series, and I knew this book would propel my reading-momentum. From paranormal/urban fantasy, I moved to contemporary romance entitled All I Want by Jill Shalvis. But after two romance books, I yearned to reach out into a different realm. I started Insidious-an FBI thriller novel by Catherine Coulter. What a change this was for me, to delve into a twist-and-turn suspense; I am inspired by all the plots and sub-plots, and I look forward to happens next! Last but not least, I’ve finished the audio-book of Jennifer Weiner’s women-fiction novel, Certain Girls; what a fabulous read! The family drama isn’t over-the top, but heartfelt tragedy and uncertainty is what makes this books shine.

Though I always enjoy supporting authors by leaving reviews, I have to admit writing reviews isn’t ENTIRELY unselfish. 🙂 Reading outside my preferred genre (romance), keeps my plot-ideas fresh and is teaching me how to keep a steady pace of events as I write. I’ve noticed in the thriller I’m reading, there are many characters, but the story stays tidy and has a tight objective. A challenge I have when writing romance is becoming so involved with the couple being in love, I miss opportunities to drive the pace of the story into a faster, more adventurous themed-setting or events. I’m going to try to continue to read suspense and thrillers because I do not only enjoy reading them, but it’s fun to see how the author unravels plot-knots.

If you have a favorite genre, what compels you to diversify your reading palette?

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Trying to find your next book to read? I have a list of books I’ve reviewed on Book Escape Reviews or we can connect on Goodreads and share the book-love. Happy Reading!

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Humor · Musings · What I Do When I'm Not Wrting · Writing · Writing Life

Blogging; Re-Hatched #AmWriting

Let’s see if I still know how to do this blogging thing, here…

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Image by funnylove @ DeviantArt

I’m back to blogging after several months of sorting out personal and business things. Never fear-all is well. If it weren’t for WordPress notifying me that my renewal was coming up, I might not have been back as soon, though. I guess you could say I lost my footing for a while in where I wanted to go with everything. After the closing of my publisher’s business, a year or so ago, it caused me to wonder: what am I doing with this writing thing and why?

I’ve published two novellas and a few short stories. They are no longer available online. Sadly, I felt the need to let them all rest for a while. I doubt they will re-published. I just don’t feel right about it. I’d like to go a different direction, more consistent with my life, today.

I’ve tried to be on Facebook for little bit, but it seems weird. I like blogging, Twitter, and Pinterest way more. Also, you’ll see I’m turning off comments on my blog posts now. It isn’t because I don’t LOVE my excellent readers-I DO! However, there are endless ways of contacting me aside from the blog commenting. I love to hang on Twitter and most of you all can email anytime to respond to something that resonates with you. It’s a matter of having the communication flowing a couple of ways instead of all directions. I’d rather be able to respond to you in a live tweet or email than checking a ton of inboxes on Goodreads, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

I’ll be back soon to let you know what I’m thinking of on the writing front and otherwise. Thanks for waiting on me 😉

Email:

lauriekozlowskiauthor@gmail.com

Health and Wellness · Writing

When Plans Fall Through

Have you ever worked hard to be where you want to be only to lose it? It doesn’t feel good, at first, to know a job or dream has slipped through your fingers. I had a decision to make this May after a publisher I worked with went out of business. Since I’d only published one book with them (three others, on my own, before that)-I could re-publish the book again as a self-published author or I could inquire for a book agent (I’ve heard they live somewhere over the rainbow) and take my chance again in traditional publishing.

So where have I been since May of this year?

In a dark hole of grief and introspection.

I haven’t re-published. Here are only a FEW reasons why:

I’m sick of re-editing the same damn book a thousand different ways.

I’ve lost my love for the process (at least temporarily)

I’d rather be reading

It probably goes without saying after a publisher ditches several hundreds authors to go out of business, I’m a little distrustful of traditional publishing. In the defense of my former publisher, I know for sure they set out to encourage many authors-and they have certainly been a learning tool for me, showing me how a traditional publisher works.

However, I will not sign-on with traditional publishing anytime soon because:

Authors are expected to invest a shitload of money into marketing and I don’t have time to market myself as much as I’d like.

Until I finish my third novel, I probably won’t see a dime of payment straight out of the publishing gate.

In the mean time, I have a job not having to do with writing or publishing, and I’m quite content. Also, the mess of discouragement has actually helped me to remember a few things I COULDN’T do because I HAD to write.

Reading, for instance:  www.bookescapereviews.wordpress.com  |  Goodreads

And graphic design and web designing.

But as you can see, I’m not COMPLETELY done writing-I’m continuing to blog and who knows, I might put a few stories out there sometime next year. I’ll let you know if I do!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Entertainment · Movies · Writing

Reasons Why Stephen King’s New Hulu Show Has Me Hooked

Okay, so the Hulu exclusive mini-series 11.22.63 isn’t exactly owned by Stephen King, but he (and several other writers and directors) work with J.J. Abrams to produce an amazing depiction of time-travel and “what-if” suspense drama. Stephen King is synonymous with the phrase “the king of horror.” People just know who he is and what he is about. So I expected some gore and major suspense. Time travel is always a plus (because who wouldn’t want to go back in time a few times and witness history in the making?) So cool, yet also terrifying!

11.22.63 is about a man (played by James Franco) who goes back in time to the Kennedy Assassination. Don’t worry, I’m not here to spoil it for you. But if you enjoy suspense and creepy characters with a great plot, you’ll enjoy 11.22.63

11.22.63 show is worth subscribing to the Hulu free trial period if you do not have a Hulu account. (Hulu, Stephen King, J.J. Abrams, or anyone else is not paying me to say this, btw.)

Here are a few reasons why I love this show (no big spoilers):

  • The show transcends age-gaps. Setting and characters are in the 1960’s. For people like me, who didn’t grow up in the 1960’s, I appreciate being able to see what I think is an authentic setting for the time-period when an important event in US History took place.
  • You don’t have to be a history buff to follow the storyline. It’s important to be able to live in the present moment and also understand turn of events that brought the present moment to pass. This show, I think, is informative in an entertaining fashion. The characters and turn of events make you believe what most history majors already know or suspect…or have hoped for as the lead character in this show travels through time. To people who have a general knowledge of history, it’s even more fresh to absorb the show and events as respectful entertainment.
  • James Franco kills it. A lead character makes all the difference in if I stick with a show or save it in cache to watch when there is nothing else on. This show is FAR from cache. I’d watch the entire series (once it’s finished) more times than my niece and I watched Girls Just Want to Have Fun when we were teeny-boppers. (I’m surprised the VHS tape didn’t die on us and blast out the speakers of the television dancing to the music.)
  • Two legends combined equal darn-good happenings. J.J. Abrams and Stephen King tag-teaming a show are like two Undertakers from WWE giving you a front row seat to see them wrestle. When invited, just GO.

Speaking of GOING-it’s time to get going on more writing and who knows-I may be able to sleep better this weekend? Have a great weekend!

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Winter is coming to end, but until the sun comes out to play, why not have a preview of Serendipity Summer-my most recent romantic comedy fiction book? 

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Serendipity Summer is now available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | I-Tunes 

To take part in giveaways and to VIP reader events, sign up for my newsletter. I send a newsletter out monthly with relevant information and fun topics. Each person who signs up for my newsletter receives georgous free printable bookmarks. 

Accreditations: 

Undertaker gif-kiia8bitw, tumbler.com; Hulu, hulu.com; Stephen King, stephenking.com; J.J.Abrams, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._J._Abrams;WWE,http://www.wwe.com; Girls Just Want to Have Fun(film),https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girls_Just_Want_to_Have_Fun_(film);James Franco, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Franco; 11.22.63 (Official Trailer), Youtube.com; Picture of Impala taillight-Andrew Beierle,http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1960-chevrolet-impala-1-1175381

Musings · Relationships · Writing

I’m Leaving Facebook

Two years ago I had started saying no to toxic situations. I’m still developing resolve to purge environments that encourage unfair comparisons, incompetent solutions to overall wellbeing, and speaking straightforward-blatently cause doubt, resentment,  jealousy, and mask support in an undercurrent of money-based deceit.

I don’t feel that I can nurture close friendships there. I no longer feel the need to have one more inbox to check. I won’t miss having to monitor my wall for fear that someone thinks I’m ignoring them. I don’t give a crickey about how someone wants to react to my posts. REALLY FACEBOOK? The new emoji madness is quite literally emotional validation times a thousand. Is it not best for humans to have non-Facebook friendships so as to SEE real faces and reactions? I can just see it now: kids years from now who need to hold up emoji signs in real life because thier emotions and faces are so frozen in emotional confusion.

Okay, okay. Back to not being on Facebook-it isn’t really a revolutionary thing to deactivate my personal Facebook. Actually, I’m still keeping my author page for those who do like the network.

I also love my humble blog here and those who truly care about what’s up in my life and writing can sign up for my newsletter and follow on Instagram and Twitter.

-Laurie

 

Writing

@KyrianLyndon Discusses The First Deadly Veils Book

Please give a warm welcome to multi-published author and poet Kyrian Lyndon. Today I interview the author of young adult fiction and poetry. Before we dig into questions, below is a peak at Ms.Lyndon’s newest publication – Provenance of Bondage (Book One in the the Deadly Veils series.)

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Do you have any news and/or news about current projects you’d like to tell us about?

I’m working on the second book of my Deadly Veils series. I also want to do a fantasy series, but I’d like to get the Deadly Veils series finished first. It’s so easy to get side-tracked. 🙂 

What is the title of your current book? Please share the book’s description.

Provenance of Bondage which is Deadly Veils, Book One.

Sixteen-year-old Danielle DeCorso watches in fear for two men in a dusty black sedan who keep circling the house and harassing her with phone calls. The old house in Glastonbury was an eerie place to grow up. Danielle would lie in her bed at night, listening to the sounds of darkness. But those predators in the black sedan—they had drugged her, along with her cousin, Angie, and held them captive in their home for hours. Angie will not share her truth of that horrendous day, and Danielle’s credibility is in question. Danielle remains guarded, obsessed, and withdrawn in her now tumultuous world. She finds herself in a position of needing to sort out her confusion while dealing with her troubled family. She craves normalcy in an ongoing fight for her sanity. Grief and guilt spiral her to an even darker place until startling revelations awaken her newfound spirit, inspiring a once naive girl to grow into a woman of defiance and courage.

What genre is Provenance of Bondage and is there a message you’d like your readers to take away from the story?

It’s literary fiction and dark suspense for young adults, but it seems to appeal to adults as well. I hope people who read this story will come away with a deeper understanding of people who live with emotional challenges while coping with family dysfunction. That determination to survive while being pulled down by all the world’s craziness can be as heartbreaking as it is fascinating. It can also be quite humorous. It has to be humorous at least half the time, or who’d want to participate really? Humor is everything.

What character/s do you most relate to in Provenance of Bondage and why?

I relate mostly to Danielle, and I’m finding out that many readers do. I experienced a lot of the things she experienced. I can also relate to Valentin because, like Dani, he has this internal dialogue going on and seems committed to sorting out his conflicts. Dani and Valentin are young, but they are deep thinkers.

What are you reading now?

I just started reading Earth, a novel by Caroline Allen. It’s the first book in a four-book series, has phenomenal reviews, and I’m looking forward to it. I love when I find a series I can enjoy for years, and that’s why I’ve wanted to write one that others could enjoy that way.

How did your love of reading fuel your writing?

It’s that ability to take someone out of whatever is going on, whatever difficulties they have to deal with at the moment, and transport them to a place they’ve never been. It’s a place that often seems familiar but at the same time, it’s new and unexplored territory. It’s like when you have the most exciting dream, and you don’t have to worry about consequences. You can just go with it, go along for the ride, escape the mundane, and have a good time. I love that. If I can do that for someone else, I’m thrilled.

In what ways can readers stay in touch with you to know about your current news?

I do have a newsletter, where I try to provide exclusives, offers, opportunities.

I also keep people updated on my website and of course, on social media pages

I’m in the process of forming a community. The portal will be on my website. It will have forums and chat rooms, so people can pop in and exchange ideas on a wide range of topics. I’m committed to recovery (from all things) as well as the process of growing, healing, and evolving. It’s often the focus in things I write, especially blogs, so this is an opportunity for people who like to get down in the rabbit hole and dig. It’s also, hopefully, a place to make friends.

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Do you have a blog and if so, please share with readers favorite posts you’ve written.

My favorite posts would be the ones that seemed to resonate with others, so off the top of my head, All the Fear. People seemed to like The Relentless Pursuit of a Dream, What is the Heart of your Motivation, Fire in the Soul, The Madness of Poetry. I lost all my “likes” when I switched over to self-hosting but honestly, the important thing, for me, trite as it may seem, is sharing something that touches another, something that inspires.

What are your favorite interests when you aren’t reading or writing?

I’m into fitness. I like to cook. I’ll admit I love TV. People always say it’s bad for you, but I’m a homebody. I do love getting together with people to have lunch, dinner. I love walking around with others on a beautiful day, going to fun events, simple things, you know, connecting with people, great conversation, and laughter. I don’t ask for much. ☺

Anything else you’d like to include as a message for readers?

I’m just really grateful for readers because, sadly, so many people don’t read. I want to reward them for their love of books by writing something they will enjoy. I certainly hope I’ve done that.

I think you are, Kyrian! Thanks for being a guest. If you haven’t yet read Kyrian’s books, check out her book list on her website.

Books by Kyrian

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | I-Tunes

Excerpt for Provenance of Bondage

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | I-Tunes 

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | I-Tunes

About Kyrian Lyndon

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Kyrian on Social Media:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Google + | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Newsletter 

Email:  kyrianlyndon@kyrianlyndon.com

Kyrian Lyndon is the author of Provenance of Bondage, the first book in her Deadly Veils series. She has also published two poetry collections, A Dark Rose Blooms and Remnants of Severed Chains.

Kyrian is also the owner of Moonlit Dawn Publications, LLC.

She began writing short stories and fairy tales when she was just eight years old. In her adolescence, she moved on to poetry. At sixteen, while working as an editor for her high school newspaper, Kyrian wrote her first novel, and then completed two more novels at the ages of nineteen and twenty-five.

Acquiring administrative experience in legal, medical, publishing and advertising fields, Kyrian has worked in executive-level positions, particularly with major New York publishing companies, including McGraw-Hill Book Company and John Wiley & Son Publishers. With McGraw-Hill, she was an assistant book manufacturing representative; with Wiley, an administrative assistant and computer system administrator. Also expert in computer skills, she helped organize a computer learning center for publishing staff and authored computer system documentation. In addition, she has been an assistant to the casting director at Blaise Associates, executive secretary with Clairol Appliances, paralegal assistant at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and legal assistant at Bartlett, McDonough & Monaghan.

Kyrian is forthcoming about being a person with many years of recovery, as well as a trauma survivor. Throughout her journeys, she expressed her thoughts through poetry, embracing every challenge to triumph over adversity. In her conviction that learning, growing, healing, and evolving is a never-ending process, she remains as grateful for the dark days as she is for every flicker of hope and light. She considers herself a cheerleader for those trudging on against all odds in the hopes of living their dreams.

Born and raised in Woodside, Queens, New York, Kyrian was the middle of three daughters born to immigrants—her father from Campochiaro, Italy; her mother from Havana, Cuba. She loves nineteenth-century British literature, parallel universe fiction and dark romanticism. She also enjoys music, art, history, fitness and cooking.

 

Health and Wellness · Musings · Relationships · Weight Loss · Writing · WritingPosts2016

It’s Not All About Fat

I trusted doctors for years until after post-partum depression several years ago. Now I wonder which health professionals are committed to wellness and which ones are out to make money.

I’m only one person. Who am I to judge the experts who have invested their money, time, and energy to commit to serving others’ health needs?

I run into the issue of sincerity every. Single. Time. Most careers have people who care about the patients/customers they help. But also, there is no lack of greed, where a re-coupe on investment is someone’s priority. I wasn’t- (and still am not sure) what category the doctor who consulted me to seek a weight-loss solution center-falls into. People are multi-faceted, and it goes beyond how a person outwardly acts or speaks to others, regardless of profession.

There is no doubt; I wasn’t happy in the delivery of this news from the doc that I needed to face my fears about weight-loss. About a week into sadness, anger, denial, and depression over the long road I faced, I began to accept it’s not all about fat.

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Mr.Incredible and I pose for dear daughter to photograph us in (2015) 

I can’t control others’ motives for their interpersonal skills (like the good ole doc’s polar delivery that I was beyond repair aside from surgery or diet pills)-but I can control how much I let an individual’s actions and words affect me.

It’s not “me vs.them.” It’s me and why it’s so hard to let go of this fat that is slowly killing me. I wonder what I’m trying to smother out or at times if the binge-eating is a self-punishment (beyond coping with anxiety.) I have self-harmed by removing tiny imperfections from my skin (only I see them as flaws) as I discuss in a piece I’ve written on Kyrian Lyndon’s blog. Another thing to consider is, am I possibly trying to take up more space physically with my body to make up for feeling unheard or inadequate in some aspect?

I explore the possibilities and solutions on a regular basis in my quiet time.

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Me after long day of work (November 2015)

(BTW, self-harm isn’t exclusive to teens. If you need resources to help cope with self-harm, take a look at videos from Trauma Recovery University. Helpful stuff, there.)

Continuing with the doctor’s visit: There is something else here, beyond the fat. Just like the doc who had reasons I couldn’t see for a tough bedside manner-my self-talk had been so bitter and unforgiving that I’d given in to the hoplessness. I’d essentially quit on myself.

Maybe that is why I allowed myself to cry that evening after seeing the doc. My sweet husband said the most beautiful reassurances to me and continues to support my pro-activity to live healthy in a larger body. After talking with my husband, I felt better, but I knew I was in the weight-loss marathon for the long haul. I’d progressed to the point to where I knew I am WORTH the change: Something I’ve heard over and over, but until a person CONVINCES themselves, it falls on deaf ears.

(Tiny disclaimer: the remainder of this post features faith and mentions religion and how it has affected me. If you are triggered by this in some way, please do not scroll down and know I completely understand! My blog isn’t religious, but faith has been a prominent part of my life and recovery.)

My body today is not my destiny. My body is not my present or past. My body isn’t for anyone’s acceptance-my own or others. But my body is capable of progress. It is lovely and covered up most of the time because I hold it respectfully in a world where media longs to compare one body to another. I’ve learned my clothing, style, or image is for naught. Faith in my creator has taught me these truths in the way only seeking God daily can do.

A great deal of abuse I’d survived was in the care of organized religion from a young age. Some may see it as foolish to seek faith as a refuge after enduring such fear and pain. This post may seem extremely shallow to you. I’ve been on both sides. The shallow end of religion and then the side where I know God’s endless love. Because of this, there is a very clear and distinct difference in religion and God’s actual love and care for me as his child.

Only a day ago I listened to a song that touched my heart in a special way. It is Good, Good, Father by Chris Tomlin. My father and I have met after 20 years of estrangement, but nothing could have made up for his absence. The song Good, Good Father refers to God as my father. I couldn’t stop the hot tears from streaming down my face in that precious moment at 3am when I knew I was hearing “I Love You” being whispered from God straight into my heart on Valentines Day. Those words were never uttered by my earthly father, who spent his last years before retirement inside of pulpit. Those words have been muttered from me and others who I thought I’d loved and who I thought loved me. Those words finally began to sink in as I held my newborn daughter seven years ago and my marriage survives and flourishes during emotional darkness.

If a person is survived by love, what else is there? It certainly goes beyond the anger, sadness, blame, pain, and how a body looks.

May you know love each day of your life. I’m not done with the subject of love and acceptance. I understand for many of you this is quite a surprise because I’m a private person with my faith.

Back to our regularly scheduled blogs.

Have a great week.

~Laurie