BLOG : Where all my Useless Knowledge Lives

June is here! You know what that means…

In my opinion, June 1st is the start of summer.  I always get excited at the end of May in anticipation of warm weather and outdoor adventures.  Summer means fireworks, vacations, concerts, growing a garden, freaking eat when the bugs destroy my garden, getting endless mosquito bites, and drinking a beer around my fire pit.

Yes, it’s usually only one beer and not more because I’m a lightweight.  But I digress.

In preparation for this most enjoyable of seasons, I asked my husband, “What plans do we have this year?”

Last year involved a visit from a friend overseas, a family reunion, a short vacation, and a few concerts.  I was ready to mark my calendar and see what I had to look forward to this year.

“Um…” he replied.  “We got nothing.”

WHAT?!?  Nothing in three whole months?  Well, that was no good at all.

“No concerts?” I asked.

“Nope.  No one we like is touring this year.”

“Okay.  No vacations?”

“I’m not renting a house for a week because it costs more than a mortgage payment.  Stuff is getting too expensive.”

“What about camping for a weekend?”  I learned how to build a campfire all by myself and I wanted to use my skills.

“Too much work.  The dog just cries all the time because she’s a titbaby, you freak out about ticks, and I end up doing all the work setting up the tent and cleaning it when we get home.”

I couldn’t argue that because those were all valid points.

So I got nothing.  Instead of worrying about the whole season all at once, I could focus on ‘right now.’  I asked one last question.

“Fine.  Are we doing anything this weekend?”

“Yeah.  I’m making pancakes.  We gotta try that new maple syrup I bought.”

Just to clarify, we usually get Mrs. Butterworth with a lot of ingredients like ‘corn syrup’ and ‘high fructose corn syrup’ and ‘sodium hexamatphosphate.’  As I get older, I try to avoid ingredients that sound like they might bring on the rise of the zombie apocalypse.  Well…now that I really look at that word…HEXAMATPHOSPHATE seems more like a Harry Potter Curse.  However, we splurged at the grocery store last week and got 100% PURE MAPLE SYRUP.  So I totally have something to look forward to on Sunday now.  Wahoo!

Just because my summer isn’t shaping up to be one for the record books, doesn’t mean I won’t be able to escape into a good book.  I also have some great deals on some books for you…

(That was a slick intro by the way, kinda proud of myself)

If you need to fill up your kindle, have I got some suggestions for you!  Some of these I’ve actually read….

1)  Lucian by Dawn Doyle.  Currently $2.99 on Amazon or Free with Kindle Unlimited Subscription.

Usually I only do newsletter swaps and feature authors that feature me in their newsletters.  However, I’ve read Dawn’s books before and I just picked up her newest release with high hopes of enjoying the story.  I mean look at the dude on the cover…he’s HOT!  I can honestly say the story sucked me in right away.  The main dude had a posse of crazy friends, the sex scenes were off the charts passionate, and (most importantly) the characters always used protection.  I get pissy when I read books where the lovers just hook up and no mention of condoms are used.  Yeah, I’m weird about that.  So I highly recommend this book because I personally read and enjoyed it.

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Lucian-West-Norton-Boys-Book-ebook/dp/B07CR3389G

2)  Everything Undone by Wysteria Wilde.  Currently FREE on Amazon.

Again, I’ve personally read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s a love story with plot twists and turns around every corner.  You get angst, steam, villains, a great best friend that deserves his own spin off, and a very sexy male lead.

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Undone-Wysteria-Wilde-ebook/dp/B077PBJYVV

 

3)  This is a whole page full of books that are on sale or FREE with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription.

KU Romance 30th May.png

http://magicbookdeals.com/kindle-unlimited/ku-romance-book-fair/

They range from a 1 to a full 5 on the steam meter.  I highly suggest checking them out!

4)  Seraphina’s Awakening by Sheena Hutchinson.  Currently FREE on Amazon.

This author applied to be in my newsletter via a newsletter swap and I haven’t read her book but it has a LOT of great reviews on Amazon and it involves good versus evil.  Here’s the blurb:  For as long as she can remember, Seraphina Cross has experienced these visions that made her feel like there was more to life. It wasn’t until one moment, one accident that her life changed forever.  She awakens the next day a new person in more ways than one. With no recollection of past night’s events, she’s forced to adapt to certain sensations she is experiencing all while trying to piece together what exactly happened to her that fateful night. Her strange, hectic life doesn’t seem to make sense until she meets a handsome stranger. Only then does the puzzle finally piece itself together.

Amazon Link:  https://www.bookboast.com/link/6077/88734

5)  Of Vixens and Wolves by L D Fox.   Currently Free on Instafreebie.

I haven’t read this, but it’s free and it looks hot.  You get three erotic short stories:

DIRTY DEAL- Lonely mechanic + uptight divorcee = insta love
Elle’s in desperate need of a good servicing. Lucky for her, Blake’s a fully qualified mechanic.   DIRTY MIND – She’s his boss’s daughter. He’s way too old for her. But there’s no denying their chemistry…   DIRTY DEUCE – A sinful weekend away turns into a scandalous affair.

Link:  https://www.bookboast.com/link/7218/89320

————————————————————————————————-

There you have it folks.  In case you’re stuck home with no plans for the immediate future, you can still travel to faraway lands by picking up a book!  As for me, if you need anything I’ll be eating pancakes with maple syrup.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I still do write books.  I’m currently on Chapter Twenty-Three of a military romance that I’m really having fun with so far.  The heroine is bad-ass, the hero is definitely all alpha male, and there are more than a handful of plot twists and turns along the way.  This one is going to be LONG because I’ve already fallen in love with the characters.  You’ll just have to be patient.  I’m probably half-way finished.

Do you want some spoilers?  Okay.  I can tease you a little.  The scene I just wrote involves a trip to a country bar with line dancing.  This required some research consisting of me google searching ‘You Tube Videos of Sexy Male Country Line Dancers.’  Sigh.  A writer’s job is never done.  But it’s soooo interesting!

Have a nice weekend and I’ll update you soon!

Grace

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Miss Fix-It Strikes Again!

Hello everyone!  This blog post/newsletter contains two parts.  First you get a funny story and then you get a link to some free and bargain books.  Shall we proceed?  Excellent!

Since this is Mother’s Day weekend, I’ll share a story involving my mom.  This happened a few weeks ago, so it’s still fresh in my mind.  Let me preface this story by explaining that my mom treats me like I’m a fragile delicate flower that might die at any moment if I try anything dangerous/scary/slightly risky.  In other words, she’s smothered me my entire life.  I’m used to it by now, so it’s not a big deal.  Would you like an example?  Of course you would.

Let’s take a trip back in time to Junior High School.  I was probably in eighth grade and we were doing a unit on building birdhouses in shop class.  The teacher was a big, burly dude who didn’t put up with any bullshit.  One day he informed us that our next project involved using the table saw.

Hmm.  The table saw is dangerous, scary, and also slightly risky.

As we sat around the dinner table that night, the conversation turned to me and I got asked about my day at school.  Naturally I said, “We’re using a table saw tomorrow to cut wood for our birdhouses.”

This did not go over very well.

“What did you just say?” my mom questioned, a look of horror forming on her face.

“I’m cutting wood, mom.  I’m a lumberjack.”

“The hell you are!  Do you want to cut off a finger and bleed to death?  There’s no way on Earth that my only child is using power tools unsupervised.”

“I’m pretty sure that the teacher is going to be watching us…”

“What if he gets distracted?  There are countless other children in class that might require his attention.  He’ll look away to reprimand an unruly kid and you’ll get your finger cut off.”

“So…you want me to flunk the project?  I thought good grades were important.”

“Don’t worry.  You’re not touching the table saw.  I’ll write you a note.”

So she did.  I had the pleasure of walking up to my very intimidating shop teacher, mumbling something incoherent about a crazy parent, and thrusting the note in his face.

“What’s this?” he asked, not even bothering to read it.

“I have a note.”

“Are you sick?  Go to the nurse’s office.  They’ll take your doctor’s note.”

“Yeah…um…it’s not a doctor’s note.  See…I’m not allowed to use the table saw.”

“Says who?”

“My mom.”

Let me also explain that all the teachers at my grade school were already very familiar with my mother, however this was Junior High School and they hadn’t yet fully experienced her in all her glory.

“Is your mommy going to be writing notes for you for the rest of your life?” he asked, eyebrows raised in a challenge.

“Most likely.  If you think you can stop her, please feel free.  It’s not worth the hassle,” I explained with a shrug of my shoulders.

I have no idea what was written in the note, because it was in a sealed envelope and I didn’t have the balls to open it.  All I know, is that the next day when everyone got their piece of wood and went over to listen to instructions, I was totally mortified.

“Okay.  I want you all to pay attention as I demonstrate how to use the table saw to safely cut your piece of wood.  There is to be no screwing around because power tools can cut off a finger and I want you all to be safe.  In my past twenty years as a teacher there have been no accidents, but evidently that means nothing to some people.”  He paused for dramatic effect and stared right at me.  “Since one person has a note from her mother that she’s not allowed to use power tools, I will be cutting her piece for her.”

He sliced up the wood in about thirty seconds and handed it to me.  I’m pretty sure I died of embarrassment as all eyes turned in my direction.

Moral of the story?  Shop teachers pretty much all hated me, I’ve never learned to use power tools, and I’m basically afraid of life in general.

Moving right along to the present day.

I was at my mom’s house a few weeks ago and she was having a problem with one of her gutters.  You know…the aluminum gutter downspout thing that hangs from your house:

gutter

I guess a piece of her gutter blew off during a bad storm and she didn’t want to ask her boyfriend to fix it for her.  Who did that leave as her handyman?

Yep.  Yours truly.

So I said, “Mom…quit complaining about the gutter and let’s fix it.”

“Maybe you could ask your husband to fix it when he has free time,” she suggested.

“Or maybe I can go to the hardware store and figure it out myself.”

“No, you can’t.  You don’t know what size it is or what piece I need.”

“Yeah, okay.  You’re right.  I’m a moron.”

I’m always up for a challenge and I like proving people wrong.  So I hopped in the car and drove to our local big box hardware store that carries every tool known to man.  My husband practically lives there, so I’m somewhat familiar with the place.  I don’t know why all dudes like home improvement stores so much.

Anyway, I went to the store and asked a sales associate to help me locate the gutter department.  I’m not a man…I know how to ask for directions to save time.  The employee helpfully replied, and I purposefully strode toward my destination, head held high.  Oh yeah.  Getting shit done, baby!

I immediately found a wonderful gutter piece that screwed onto the gutter and flipped up when you were cutting the grass.  Thus, it wouldn’t blow away like the last gutter.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner.  I’m on fire!

But it screwed on with a small Phillips screw.  Did my mom have a Phillips screw driver?  Probably not.  Did we have one at home?  Probably, because we have a garage full of tons of shit.  Was there a snowball’s chance in hell I could actually find this exact screwdriver in our piles of crap?  Nope.

Not to be intimidated by this new obstacle thrust cruelly in my path, I took it upon myself to walk over to the screwdriver section and test them all until I found one that worked.

Look at me go!

I walked to the checkout, made my purchase, and went back to my mom’s house, full of pride.  It really doesn’t take much to impress me.  I mean, I was totally smothered my whole entire life, so accomplishing little things like opening a pickle jar really gets me in a good mood.

Upon arrival at her house, my mom came running out and told me to be careful about twelve times.  She then said, “Why don’t you wait for your husband to do it?” followed by, “That’s a tiny screw…don’t lose it…you’re going to lose it in the grass and never find it again!”

After five minutes of work, I expertly installed the new gutter piece.  Taking a few steps back to admire my handiwork, my mom admitted, “I am so proud of you!  I can’t believe you did that ALL BY YOURSELF!”

Like I just performed a successful brain surgery or single-handedly foiled an armed robbery attempt.

No, mom, I installed your new gutter.  Don’t call the newspaper to issue a press release in my honor.

I did, however, wish that my shop teacher could have seen me and realize I didn’t turn out to be a total fuck up.

THE END!

Now here’s the second part of the blog post/newsletter.  There is a huge Mother’s Day book promotion going on and I just so happen to be part of it.  What do you get?  Thanks for asking!

There are lots of books from an array of different authors to choose from. Most books are free or priced between $0.99-$2.99 for the duration of the promotion running from May 12-14. As always, please check prices before you do the one-click.

http://irisblobel.com/bookfair052018/

Banner Mothers Day Book Fair

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog/newsletter and have a great Mother’s Day weekend to everyone, whether you’re the mother to a human child or a fur baby or you’ve ever done anything nice for anyone!

Til next time…

Grace

No good deed goes unpunished…

I try to be a good person and do the right thing, yet life constantly likes to kick me in the sack.  Hard.  Who wants a good story of my epic fail from last Thursday?  Show of hands, please…

Okay, you’ve convinced me to tell the tale.

Once upon a time, or three days ago to be exact, I tried to save birds’ lives.  Let me explain that I live in the Midwest, United States of America, and we’ve had unseasonably sucktastic weather.  Evidently Christmas and Easter have decided to swap weather, and we got DUMPED ON with a massive amount of snow in the past week.  What does this mean?  It means that any bird who migrated North for Spring was in a world of hurt because the ground was snow covered and they can’t dig for worms.

It’s cold, snowy, they’re starving, and super pissed off.

Two robins actually dropped dead outside the building where I work, not to mention the plight of the poor things was all over the news.  I’m a good Samaritan/humanitarian/animal lover, so naturally I was eager to offer any assistance to help the cause.

A co-worker who was smarter than me told me to Google what robins eat, because they don’t like birdseed.  What?  A bird that doesn’t eat birdseed?  Eager to prove her wrong, I googled.  Sure enough, robins like sunflower seeds, peanuts, apples, berries, and raisins.

No worries.  I can buy all that.  So I went to the store and spent no less than $12 on a bag of sunflower seeds, a jar of peanuts, TWO bags of apples (macintosh and gala), and two canisters of raisins.

I drove home on my lunch break full of excitement that I was going to SAVE LIVES and make a difference in the world.  Imagine my glee when I pulled into my driveway and saw a robin peeking around the corner at me.  Guess what, buddy?  It’s your lucky day!

I threw some sunflower seeds and peanuts at him, but he flew away.  Idiot bird!  I’m trying to HELP YOU.

So I got the shovel, cleared not one but TWO sections of lawn so the birds could find my food in the grass instead of having to dig through snow to get it.  I littered the grassy areas with peanuts, seeds, raisins, and an apple that I lovingly cut up into bird size chunks.  Yes, there was a small amount of manual labor involved in this project.  I also noticed that the sun had melted a large area of driveway snow, so I sprinkled that area heavily with more raisins, nuts, and seeds.

My yard was a fucking all-you-can-eat buffet of epic proportions.

I went inside, ate lunch, took my dog out to pee, and carefully peeked around the corner.  No birds.  Okay.  No worries.

Let’s fast forward to a few hours later.  My husband and I both come home from work and not one stupid fucking bird has touched one scrap of food in my entire yard.

This is the ensuing conversation:

My husband:  “Why did I just drive over a bunch of food on the driveway?”

Me:  “I’m saving bird lives.”

Him:  “Then why aren’t the birds actually eating your food?”

Me:  “They’re dumb fuckers.”

Him:  “Why didn’t you just buy birdseed and throw it in the yard?  You do realize I just squashed a bunch of raisins and now they’re stuck to my tires, right?”

Me:  “The birds don’t EAT birdseed!  Google it!”

Him:  “Clearly they also don’t eat all the shit you just bought.  Why did you need two bags of apples, anyway?”

Me:  “They were on sale.  How did I know they wouldn’t suddenly start dropping out of the sky and swarm the yard, creating a massive bird fight club in order to get the best chunks of apples?  I don’t want to be responsible for that kind of a melee.”

Him:  “Yeah, okay.  Good luck with that.”

—        —        —        —        —

So let’s fast forward to today, Sunday.  I wised up and took a snow shovel to fling all the food from the driveway to the grass.  The snow is almost fully melted and not one fucking bird has eaten any of my food.  That’s not to say that it’s all still there…

On one of the many ‘bird checks’ to see if anything was eating my food, my dog was kind enough to accompany me.  I turned my back on her for one second and she started scarfing down peanuts like she was a starving robin.

I immediately yelled at her to ‘LEAVE IT!’ because she knows what that means.  In response, I got a very dirty look.  If she could talk, she would have said, “But ma, the snow melted and the yard started growing food!  Actual food!  There’s raisins out here, man…let’s dig in!”

I’m actually convinced the whole ‘let’s buy food for the dying birds’ is just a grocery store conspiracy to sucker naïve rubes such as myself into forking out hard earned money to waste on fruit, seeds, and nuts.  I’ve eaten four apples in three days.

Lessons learned from this….

1)  BIRDS ARE STUPID.

2)  My dog feels bad for me and is the only one willing to help me feel better.

3)  I really like macintosh apples.

There you have it folks.  Just another day in the life of Grace Risata.

 

It’s Movie Time!

Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m interrupting my ‘travel writing’ blog posts (which interrupted my ‘authorly’ blog posts) to talk about a movie.  What can I say?  I’m easily distracted.

Anyway…I just got back from the movie theater and I have a recommendation for you.  Let me first say that I only go to the movies once or twice a year because there’s usually not anything that captivates me enough that I feel the need to spend twenty-seven dollars for a matinee.  If you’ve been following along at all, you’ll know by now that I’m insanely cheap.

That being said, I’d like to tell you a little more about the movie I saw.  It was READY PLAYER ONE, which is the film adaptation of the book written by Ernest Cline.  I originally got this book at the library when it came out in 2012.  I’m a huge fan of futuristic dystopian stories with pop culture references and lots of action and humor and romance.  What’s not to like about all that?  Nothing!

After checking out the book at the library and falling in love, I spent the twenty bucks to buy the hardcover book on Amazon.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I paid money for a book I’d already read.  Let me also explain that I usually NEVER, EVER re-read books.  I mean…what’s the point?  There’s no suspense because I know what’s going to happen.  Besides, there are a million other books that I haven’t read yet, so shouldn’t I read some of them first?  I know the majority of you are going to disagree with me and tell me about your favorite dog eared, bent spine copies of your ‘must read’ books, but that’s just my opinion on the matter.

My point, is that I loved the book a lot and I flipped out when I saw that it was being made into a movie directed by none other than Steven Spielberg.  YES!

I dragged my reluctant husband to the theater, and he actually seemed to enjoy the movie.  He did give me a look when I might have gotten a bit teary near the end (yeah, I got teary when reading the book, too.  I’m a freak), but otherwise the whole experience went very well.

I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but I will tell you that the movie was amazing, the book was awesome, and I strongly recommend either reading or watching it.

There were, however, some noticeable differences between the book and the movie.  I read the book six years ago, so I couldn’t tell you the exact differences, but I knew they were there.  This brings me to my question of the day…

(I asked my husband on the way home from the movie theater…here is our conversation:)

“Did you know that the book was different from the movie?  What would I do if someone offered me money to make a screenplay from one of my books and they wanted to change a bunch of stuff?”

He raised an eyebrow as though the thought of anyone suggesting making a movie from one of my books was about as probable as aliens landing in our front yard and offering gold bars in exchange for our dog.  Just for the record, the answer would be ‘NO.’

“It could happen,” I insisted.  “I wonder how much you get paid when they want to do that.”

He didn’t reply, as he often doesn’t because he’s quiet and makes me carry the conversation most of the time.

“What if someone offered me five thousand dollars, but wanted to drastically change one of my books?  I wouldn’t do it!”

“Like what?” he asked.  “You wouldn’t take five grand if they wanted to kill off Violet?”

First of all, I was stunned speechless that he actually knew the name of one of the characters in one of my books.  Second, I would freak out if someone bought the movie rights and then killed off a character.

“No!  I would not kill a character for five thousand bucks!” I instantly declared before pausing to consider this.  “If it was like twenty thousand, then I’d probably reconsider.”

I totally would.  I mean that could buy a new car!  I suppose I could just have her come back as a zombie later on anyway, right?

So there you have it, folks.  Go see ‘READY PLAYER ONE,’ and if you want to make a movie out of any of my books, it’s gonna cost you twenty grand to kill any of my fictional people!

Ah…before I end this, here are some books you might want to buy.  I was part of a newsletter swap and these nice authors agreed to put me in their newsletters so I’m returning the favor:

Finding Mr. Right Now by DD Sparxx…….99 Cents or Free with Kindle Unlimited

Gemma:
I’ve never been good with romantic relationships. I’ve never felt that spark. You know the one I mean. The one that gives you chills and makes your heart race. It’s never happened for me. That is, until one night when I find myself out at happy hour.
The problem?
He’s my best friend and I’d never do anything to jeopardize what we have.
When I ask for his help, he plants an idea in my head. His idea? Find a Mr. Right Now rather than a Mr. Right…

Baz:
I live my life one day at a time. I’m successful financially, so I’m not talking about money here. I’m talking about getting laid. I’m the kind of guy who prefers a no-strings attached arrangement. Nobody stays forever. Love is some made up concept that only lasts in fairytales.
I know this and I’m good with it.
Everyone knows how I feel, especially my best friend.
So why is it that when she decides to takes my advice to find a no-strings attached arrangement for herself, it makes me regret ever suggesting it?

**”Finding Mr. Right Now is a full-length, friends-to-lovers, romance with no cheating. This is book one in a three book series and there is a cliffhanger.”

https://www.bookboast.com/link/6182/80680

 

Wild boys ….99 cents or free with Kindle Unlimited.

8 free gay romance shorts, PLUS a free short EXCLUSIVE to this collection!

This is one of the best books about gay love on Kindle. You get 9 cute gay romance books, with angst, steamy scenes, and more.

These gay guys are hot, and they’re all looking for love. Take a break from the dating sites and enjoy something simpler.

Books in this gay romance collection:
Exclusive! Taken By The Gay Biker
Billionaire’s Obsession
Dirty Player
Lover In The Dark
Pinned Beneath You
Dirty Lover
Holiday Lover
Power Play
Devil’s Kiss

https://www.bookboast.com/link/6985/81754

 

Leather and Gold by Gemma Snow…..$2.99 on Amazon

Emmeline Westington Wright, widowed duchess of South Framley, sent Captain Alexandre Pierron Simonnet to the Americas eighteen months ago, presumably in search of her errant brother, the Marquis of Fulton. But when Captain Simonnet returns to South Framley and the duchess’s Roseburn estate, she must admit to herself that the errand was nothing more than a way to keep the devilishly handsome and tempting captain far enough away where she will not succumb to her desires. They are the kind of desires she has only ever indulged with her late husband, William, hidden away in a darkened room, below the prim and proper halls of Roseburn.

Her lust for Captain Simonnet has not diminished in the past months, instead growing stronger and more potent until she invites him to meet her in the rose garden at midnight. There, she shows the captain all of her secrets, that hidden room, her own desire to cede control, to be taken care of–by him. As she had hoped, Alexandre is familiar with her lifestyle and sets down the rules, before laying her over his lap and giving her all that she most desperately craves–or almost all.

Because despite herself and her raging need, Emmeline knows that her want goes deeper than a salacious affair. She has known Captain Simonnet, William’s best friend, some ten years now, craved him for three. Tonight, in the light of their pleasures and vulnerabilities and moments of profound trust, she might just admit to herself that she wants more than a single night or a week or a month–she might just want a life together.

https://www.bookboast.com/link/5263/80684

 

Running from a Rock Star by Jami Albright…$4.99 or Free with Kindle Unlimited

Description

She’s a good-girl control freak. He’s a bad boy in need of a clean image. Will these opposites attract or self-destruct?

Scarlett Kelly is the poster child for responsible living. Growing up as the daughter of the town floozy, she’s made it her mission to be the exact opposite of her mother. So when she wakes up naked and hung over in bed with a bad-boy rock star, she bolts immediately. There’s just one problem: Scarlett’s bedmate is her new husband.

Gavin needs to repair his image or his music career will go down the tubes. He’s also just learned he has a son he never knew existed. He needs to settle down, and bribing his new wife to stay married may just fit everything into place.

Scarlett agrees to the ruse to help her family’s financial troubles even though she can hardly control herself around the rock star. As they search for Gavin’s son, will their unlikely matrimony give them exactly what they’ve been missing or send them packing?

Notes

A small town Texas funny, sexy romantic comedy.

https://www.bookboast.com/link/5463/81151

 

There you have it folks!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and HAPPY EASTER!

Grace

I have a request…

No, it’s not a real request like I’m going to ask you for a favor or anything like that.  That’s just my clever way to let you know about my new book… ‘Undeniable Request.’  I suppose most normal authors write a book and then have a cover made and then send it off to be edited and then start promoting it.  That’s not quite how I operate.  I don’t start talking about a book until it’s done.  I can’t handle the pressure of people asking, “When is this going to be finished?”

I don’t work well under stress.  So I like to wait until the book is 75% done, make a few covers, stare at the screen in disgust, wish I had a degree in graphic design, and then play with font for roughly five hours until my head pounds and my eyes burn.  Then I wait until the book is totally finished and I type “THE END.”

What comes next is my least favorite part of all:  marketing and promotion.  People can’t buy my book if they don’t know it exists, right?  Unfortunately.  I can honestly say I’m no good at this step at all.  Usually I try to advertise anywhere that’s free, get discouraged, give up, and go write the next book.  I’m not savvy with that process at all.

Since you just happen to be signed up for my blog and newsletter, this is an easy way to share my new release with you.  Are you ready for the unveiling of my latest masterpiece?  Prepare to be wowed and amazed….

Undeniable Request!

Cover:

Undeniable Request Cover

 

Blurb:

Fed up with her love life after yet another disastrous blind date, Miranda Edwards turns to the internet for comfort.  Much to her surprise, she’s greeted with a random friend request from an extremely handsome stranger.

This mystery man instantly asks for a favor that captures Miranda’s attention:  watch him do an explicit web performance and give an honest opinion of the show.

The mild-mannered nurse takes him up on the offer in a moment of temporary insanity.  Instead of the bland strip tease she’s expecting, Michelangelo impresses her with charm, wit, and sexuality.

To the dismay of her friends and family, Miranda finds herself falling for this fantasy man who soon becomes very real.  How much can one life spiral out of control after the simple act of accepting an undeniable request?

Author’s Note:  This full-length comedy romance features several steamy webcam performances including those involving birthday cake, a shower scene, a superhero, and a couple more surprises that I won’t spoil for you.   There are also quite a few endearing side characters such as a pair of spunky nursing home residents who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, a buxom blonde yoga instructor, and a couple villains for good measure.  This tale contains no cheating, no cliffhangers, and it is produced with NON-GMO ingredients.  What more could you ask for?  One-click this story and let the adventure begin…

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079ZPTZDJ

If you’re part of the Kindle Unlimited program, you can read my book for free, otherwise it’s priced at $2.99.  This is a full length novel at roughly 73,000 words.

In case I haven’t fully captured your attention, I’m going to do something new.  Here is the first chapter of the book to get you excited enough to one-click!

Chapter One

Bad Dates…

I slammed the door to my apartment with an audible sigh of disgust and instantly regretted it.  The neighbors probably didn’t appreciate my loud temper tantrum and I couldn’t blame them.  After all, it was not their fault that I just came home from the ‘date of doom’ as I decided to call it.

My high heels got kicked off on the welcome rug and I immediately stomped into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine.  Lord knows I wasn’t allowed to have any on my date since I was given strict instructions to ‘keep it under fifteen bucks if you wouldn’t mind, honey.’  Of all the nerve.  Like Connor had the right to tell me what I could or couldn’t order?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the farthest thing from a primadonna that you would ever imagine.  It’s just that I don’t really like when people try to enforce rules on me, especially on the first date.  I tend to get bucky and belligerent and do the exact opposite of what I’m told.    I’m really not sure where this feisty side came from, but maybe it’s twenty-nine years of putting up with too much bullshit and finally deciding that I’d had enough.

The glass of merlot went down way too smoothly and I put the bottle in the fridge before it tempted me to finish the whole thing off.  Yes, it was Saturday night and I was home at the late, late hour of eight o’clock, but it would do me no good to have a hangover and pounding headache the next morning.  Might as well get into my most comfortable pair of sweatpants and see what movie called out to me from Netflix.

But first…I should probably take off my favorite peach colored dress and hang it back up nicely so it doesn’t wrinkle.  Since it was only worn for two hours, I didn’t even have time to break a sweat and dirty it up.

On the way to my closet, I paused to look at myself in the full length mirror that hung on the back of my bedroom door.  Medium length dark blonde hair, average figure, handful of boobs, kind of short in height, inquisitive blue eyes, nice eyebrows, decent smile.  Nothing spectacular that would stand out in a crowd, yet pretty far away from Quasimodo on the looks spectrum.

“You’re not a total hideous cow,” I told myself.  “Why don’t you have better luck with the opposite sex?”

If I had the answer to that question, I’d be a lot happier right now.  Maybe I need some insight from a friend.

Flopping down on my bed and grabbing the cordless phone, I dialed someone who could definitely lift my spirits.

“Miranda Edwards…why the fuck are you calling me at eight o’clock on a Saturday night?” she answered on the first ring, instantly irritated.  “What was wrong with this one?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I replied, massaging my temples in an effort to stave off the throbbing that threatened to burst out at any moment.  Whether it was from drinking too much wine or from the stress of a bad evening, I was very prone to headaches.

“Wait…are you still on the date?  Don’t tell me you actually like this guy and he has a chance of being the one that finally melts your frosty heart?  Did Colton break down your walls and manage to see the wonderful person underneath all that sarcasm and wit?  Are you calling me from the bathroom to let me know that you’ll be going home with him tonight for some earth-shattering sexy times?”

“First of all, his name was Connor.  Second…” I trailed off, unsure as to which of his character flaws I should mention because there were so many to choose from.

“What’s ‘second’ and why did you use past tense when talking about his name?  His name was Connor.  Is it not still Connor?  Did he change his name or is he no longer among the living?  Did you stab him in the throat with your dessert fork?  You’re being very vague here.”

“Ah, Erika, I don’t even know where to start.”  If I didn’t plead my case correctly, then the woman would lecture me about how picky I was being and how I had no hope of ever getting married.  I already knew all this.  She didn’t need to tell me that thirty was fast approaching and I was nowhere close to finding a love match.  If love was an island, I was swimming in shark infested water approximately five hundred miles away from shore.

“Start at the beginning and don’t leave any details out,” she said with a sigh that was part annoyance and part enthusiasm.  I knew my best friend wanted me to end up with my happily ever after, but I also think she really enjoyed my woeful tales of love gone wrong.

“I should have known better than to go out with my mom’s hairdresser’s nephew, but I’m never one to pass up an opportunity.  You never know where ‘Mr. Right’ may be lurking just waiting for me to discover him.”

“Hold on, I got a call-waiting beep.  I’ll be right back.  Don’t go anywhere,” she ordered.

Where was I going to go?  Did my walk-in closet turn into some sort of Narnia where I could sneak off and find magical adventures?  It would certainly be nice if that were the case.  Just for the heck of it, I peeked in and looked around.  Nope.  Still full of clothes and no lions or witches or sexy half naked men.

I slipped off the dress and threw on a white t-shirt and a pair of grey sweatpants.  That was much better.  Now I could flop back down on my bed and tell the story in comfort.  I think there was some crazy piece of my soul that enjoyed the re-telling of the bad dates.  It amused Erika and made me feel like I got something out of the night.  I mean, who didn’t love a great story?  At the very least, I knew some of the ladies at work tomorrow would get a nice laugh out of my evening.  I could always take a negative and put a positive spin on it.  Lemons into lemonade and all that jazz.

“Okay, I’m back.  It was Evan.  Go on with your story, please,” she urged.

“Did you want to talk to him?  I can tell you about my date later,” I suggested.  Evan was a giant douche bag, but Erika was ‘madly in love’ with him anyway.  I honestly gave up trying to convince her to dump him, because she was blinded by his charm and handsome good looks.

“No, he couldn’t talk right now.  The call was just a brief check-in to let me know that he arrived safely at his hotel and I shouldn’t worry about him.”

Evan traveled a lot on business.  Sometimes business turned to pleasure.  Evan’s pleasure.

“Is he in a new city, or somewhere he’s been before?” I asked hesitantly.  Although he vehemently denies it, I think Evan has a girl in every port.

“He’s in Minneapolis.  It’s a week of meetings and then he comes back to Des Moines next Friday.  You know his business involves traveling to other branch offices.  I can’t force him to quit his job.  We all have to pay the bills somehow.”

I guess I should look on the bright side and appreciate the fact that Erika has a stable boyfriend who supports himself and doesn’t borrow money from her.  I’m also relieved that they’ve only been dating for ten months and haven’t moved in together or anything.  She still has time to cut ties and move on if that’s what she chooses one day.

“Besides, it’s usually Chicago where he has the problems with his…um…friends,” she explained, mistaking my silence for judgment against her boyfriend.  “But he got down on his knees and promised that he would never see either one of them again.  It was a random hook-up with the girl in the bar bathroom and he doesn’t even know her name.  Evan looked me right in the eye and told me that it was only a blow job and nothing more.  I believe him.”

“I know you do, Erika.  You don’t have to justify yourself to me.”

Yes, Evan had a casual encounter with a skank he met when he was drunk in a bar two months ago, but that’s not what bothered me.  Well it did, but not as much as the second incident that happened less than a month later when he met up with a ‘friend’ from the Chicago office and she also managed to somehow find her mouth attached to Evan’s cock.  He swore up and down to Erika that he was drunk and the friend came on to him and he wasn’t strong enough to resist.  She fell for his sob story hook, line, and sinker.  I would have kicked his sorry ass to the curb after the first time, but it’s not my life…it’s hers.

“I really don’t want to talk about all that right now, Randi, let’s move on to your story.”

“I’m back to ‘Randi’ now, am I?” I teased playfully, trying to lighten the mood.  “When you picked up the phone, I got the full ‘Miranda Edwards’ treatment.  Am I out of the time-out corner now, mom?”

In my personal opinion, the name ‘Miranda Edwards’ sounds like some high powered executive in a fancy windowed corner office of a high rise building.  She does leverage buyouts and makes billion dollar deals with the snap of her fingers.  Minions run in fear and men fall at her feet.  That name does not fit me one damn bit.  I very much prefer to be simple ‘Randi’ and blend in amongst the commoners.

“Yeah, you’re back to being ‘Randi’ because I’m about to get a juicy story.  So hurry the hell up and tell it, will you?  I’m not getting any younger here.”

I let out a deep breath and leaned back, letting the many pillows stacked against the headboard cushion my weary body.

“It’s been a long night,” I admitted, deciding where to begin my story.

“You’re such an over-exaggerator!” she argued.  “You were gone a whole two hours!”

“Dude!  Let me tell it, okay?  Maybe I like to embellish for entertainment value!”

After she stopped laughing, I dove right in with a giant smile on my face.

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful woman named Randi who got set up on a date with her mom’s hairdresser’s nephew.  The evil troll’s name was Connor.  Ahem…he’s not dead, so his name is still Connor, but that’s beside the point.”

“I have a feeling it’s going to take you two hours to tell a five minute story, am I right?”

“No interrupting,” I admonished before continuing.  “Connor arrived precisely on time, which is always a bonus.  You know that I can’t stand tardiness.  Anyway, he looked very attractive wearing a nice pair of black dress pants and a purple button down shirt.  I also can’t stand a sloppy appearance on a first date.  Remember that guy who wore the shirt full of holes and the stained jeans?  Nightmare!”

“You really do have extra bad luck when it comes to men, you know that?”

“I’m well aware, thank you very much.  It actually all went downhill after we got in his car.  I asked him what he had planned for the date, but he didn’t really hear me because the radio was cranked up to ‘deafening.’  Once the song was over, he turned down the volume long enough to tell me that our destination was a surprise and then returned the music to ‘ear-splitting.’  Let me explain that it was classical music like Beethoven or some crap, and not head-banger music that would require maximum bass.”

“Poor taste in tune is not a deal-breaker, Randi.”

“Is the story over?  I think not.  So we pull up to a restaurant after making no small talk at all since I could barely hear myself think over the radio.  Much to my surprise, it’s a sushi place.  As you know, I have a very touchy stomach and I don’t eat raw fish.  Instead of complaining, because this is a first date and I want to make a good impression, I went with it and didn’t protest.  I figured they’d have something simple on the menu.  Connor smelled really good and I was digging his cologne, so I cut him some slack.”

“How kind of you.”

“Thanks.  I thought so too.  So we go into the restaurant and he starts off the small talk by telling me that his ex loved this place and they ate there all the time.  Really?  I’m glad it’s so highly recommended and that he’s a regular customer, but the first thing you say to me is to talk about your ex?  Awkward.”

“How long have they been broken up?”

“Obviously that’s one of the first things I asked.  Turns out it’s not just an ex-girlfriend.  It’s his ex-wife.  I actually shouldn’t use that term since they’re not legally divorced.  Merely separated as of three months ago.  He’s living in their basement while he tries to get his life sorted out.”

“Ouch.  Still living with the soon-to-be ex-wife?  That’s definitely a strike in the negative column.”

“Absolutely.  Connor then proceeds to inform me that he’s low on cash since he’s saving up to move out of the basement and his wife is still making him pay all the bills.  I was instructed not to order anything over fifteen dollars.  Since I don’t like sushi anyway, that wasn’t too hard.  I got a plate of white rice for twelve bucks.  I knew damn well that a glass of wine would have put me over budget, so I settled with water and looked at my watch every five minutes hoping time would speed by and I could end this disaster.”

I paused to come up for air, but Erika was laughing too hard to hear what I might have said anyway, had I still been talking.

“It’s not over, dude.  There’s more!”

“Ooh, getting to the good part.  Carry on, please!”

“He proceeded to talk about his job, his wife, his dead insect collection, and what turns him on in the bedroom.  Not a single thing that came out of the man’s mouth appealed to me in the slightest.”

“Dead insect collection?”

“Yeah.  He finds dead stuff like butterflies, moths, and crickets.  Then he neatly pins them in shadow boxes and hangs them on the wall.”

“Wow.  You’ve hit a new low.”

“No, Erika.  It gets better.  I’m surprised you asked about the dead bugs instead of his fetish preferences.  But let me tell you about those.  Connor likes to be dominated.  Nothing gets him erect, his word and not mine, the way it does when the woman puts a diaper on him and tends to his needs.  But Connor isn’t well-behaved in the bedroom, my friend.  Nope.  Not at all.  He has a naughty streak and needs to be spanked.  Hard.  So fiercely that he gets a hand print on his bum cheeks.  Again, his words and not mine.”

“Holy shit, Randi!  Where do you find these guys?”

“I think I was a murderer in a previous life and this is some sort of Karmic intervention to punish me now.  Or maybe I had a lot of sex in my last incarnation and I’m doomed to go without while in this body?  It’s hard to say.”

After a five minute debate about past life regression and other spiritual things, we ended the conversation and I was faced with a tough decision.

Should I hit up the fresh pint of caramel lover’s ice cream or go with a good old bag of greasy potato chips?  Eenie, meenie, miney, moe.  Probably if I dipped the chips into the ice cream that would be gross, wouldn’t it?

Might as well go online and check emails.  I had no time to get caught up with messages after work since I wasted an hour of my life getting all dolled up for Mr. Married with Bugs.  Or should I call him Sexy Diaper Man?  The list of possibilities was truly endless.

No matter.  I could lose myself on Friendbook for a few hours and catch up with people that I never spoke with in real life.

Forcing myself out of bed long enough to grab my laptop, I then resumed my position in pillow heaven and cracked my knuckles.  The internet never failed to entertain me.  Let’s see what I missed since I last logged in twenty-four hours ago.

Hmm…six messages, thirty-eight notifications and two friend requests.

While I did have four hundred and nineteen friends, not an anti-social hermit by any means, it was somewhat odd to have two friend requests in one day.  Hello, Miss Popular.

Let’s see who they’re from.

Lovely.

One is from my mom’s hairdresser.  No doubt she assumes I was wowed and amazed by her tantalizing nephew and she’s ready to add me to the family.  No thanks.

DENY REQUEST.

Moving right along…who’s next?

Michelangelo Davinci?

What the hell?

If that didn’t scream ‘fake name,’ then I don’t know what does!

Let’s check out Mr. Davinci’s profile.

Ooh.  Well, I’ll be dipped in shit.  The man is H-O-T.  I have to give him credit for that.  Those abs are a real work of art.  That must be how he came up with the name.

Too bad he’s sitting spread out on a bed with his shirt off and his legs wide open in a come-hither pose.  Also too bad he’s wearing jeans.  From the bulge in those Levis, it’s plainly apparent that he has quite the package.

For some reason I’m no stranger to friend requests from buxom ladies with their tits hanging out and giant puffy lips pouting sexily right into the camera.  They’re always wearing barely there bikinis and have names like Crystal and Danika and Alexandria.  Also a given?  Their profile will have a link to a sketchy website where I can ‘watch sexy girl live on webcam with pert nipples guaranteed!’  I mean, I suppose that’s nice.  I certainly don’t want to see sagging nipples, right?

Anyway, after having no shortage of spammy skanky girl requests, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air to see a sexy guy for a change.

Should I do it?

I mean, really, what’s the worst that can happen?

I’ll accept his request and get directed to a sketchy website that will steal all my personal information and ruin my credit.

Go ahead.  It’s not like I have great credit anyway.

I’m doing it.

I’m moving my finger over to the button.

Last chance to stop me…

FRIEND REQUEST ACCEPTED.


END OF EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE

 

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to entertain you with my newest creation.

Have a lovely weekend!

Til next time….

Grace

An Ode to love…because it’s Valentine’s Day!

Hello, everyone.  I know it’s been a couple weeks since my last blog post and you’re possibly wondering if I’ve dropped off the face of the Earth completely.  No, I have not.  I’ve been busy churning out words for my next book.  But we’re not talking about that today (basically it’s not done yet so I can’t pimp it out and beg you to buy it for another few weeks).  Today’s topic is LOVE.  After all, it IS Valentine’s Day so I feel legally obligated to discuss romance and all that crap.

What Romance Means to Me…an Ode to Love by Grace Risata

Romance is not flowers delivered to my office, candy hearts (those fuckers taste horrible), jewelry (fun fact: my wedding ring gave me a rash for a solid year after my husband proposed), or other such sappy stuff that you would associate with love and courtship.  My husband will be the first one to tell you that Valentine’s Day is a conspiracy by Hallmark, the floral industry, and chocolate makers to get sane men to waste their hard earned dollars to buy women’s love.

What is Romance?  How do you know Love is Love?

I can’t answer that question for everyone, but I can tell you what it means to me personally.

Love is… when your husband insists he doesn’t want a damn dog, but knows you love animals so he goes with to pick out the black Labrador puppy and then treats it better than he treats you.  (“Is mommy hogging all the covers, Stella?  Just bite her in the face!  Seriously, can you move OVER?  The dog has no room in bed.”)

Love is… when your husband insists on getting mushroom and sausage frozen pizza even though he knows you don’t like meat so he tries hard to point out the pieces with less toppings to make you happy.  (I told him I was writing this in a blog post and he suavely replied, “I don’t do it to be romantic!  I’m just trying to prevent you from whining about the pizza while we eat.”  So…maybe we should pull that one from the list?)

Love is… when you’re right in the middle of some very steamy action with your significant other and they have a cold but feel good enough to try it anyway…and they accidentally leak their germy snot on your face and you don’t start screaming and shove them off of you, but merely laugh at the absurdity of the situation.  (I’m strictly speaking for a friend here…I mean…not that this ever happened to me personally mind you.  Wink Wink.)

Love is… when your husband listens to what you’re saying and just doesn’t nod his head while he zones out, but actually offers good advice so you know he cares.   Bonus points if the advice is about a fictional character book situation and not even involving a real life scenario.

Love is… when your partner makes sure that you come first.  (I mean this literally and not figuratively.  Put on your dirty hats and think really hard about the word ‘come.’  I like words with double meanings.)

Love is… never having to say you’re sorry.  My husband must love me more than everyone in the entire universe because I don’t think he’s apologized for anything since the day we met.

But I digress.

Love is whatever you want it to be as long as it feels good and makes you happy.  Isn’t that the whole point in life?

For those of you who don’t have a significant other on this most festive of made-up commercially driven holidays, perhaps you’d like to get lost in a good book and steal a book boyfriend as your own fantasy lover?  Allow me to help you out with that!

Two of my full length novels, My Dirty Detour: An Alpha Male Mafia Comedy Romance and Ungranted Wishes, are both on mega sale for the low, low price of 99 cents.  The sale runs from today until February 19, so I feel the need to tell you to ‘ACT FAST, THESE GREAT DEALS WON’T LAST!’ like I’m some slick salesperson.  Below are the Amazon linky-links:  (Oh…CAUTION…the special sale price is for Amazon US and UK only.  If you live elsewhere and can’t cash in on this most amazing offer, please accept my sincerest of apologizes)
https://www.amazon.com/Ungranted-Wishes-Paranormal-Comedy-Romance-ebook/dp/B01N7SLZER

https://www.amazon.com/My-Dirty-Detour-Comedy-Romance-ebook/dp/B01AU6674G

If you’ve already read my stories, please feel free to check out these TWO other amazing promotions:

iris banner

http://irisblobel.com/bookfair0218/

But wait…there’s MORE!

Get Swept Away on Valentine’s Day…

megan promo

http://feedyourereader.com/22-vday-romance-reads/

I downloaded ‘Cherry Bomb’ by Clara Leigh because it looked fantastic!

That’s all for today, folks.  Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and I’ll talk to you soon!

Grace

Behold…the results of my top secret authorly experiment!

As you may or may not be aware, I always like to try new things.  Okay, that’s a total lie.  In real life, I eat about 10 different food items, and if I don’t have a regular routine then I freak out.  So when I say I like to shake things up, I’m speaking primarily about the ‘authoring world.’  (That makes me think of J.K. Rowling and the ‘Wizarding World’ at Universal Studios.  I was there once.  The frozen butterbeer gave me a brain freeze.  But I digress.)

I like to try new genres of writing and I sort of, maybe wanted to write a Male/Male romance.  So I decided I would write an erotic M/M short story and publish it under a DIFFERENT pen name in case it tanked in spectacular fashion and I didn’t want to sully my immaculate reputation.  (Just kidding!  It surprises me whenever anyone knows me and I get a thrill).

I’ve been wondering what happens if you have your stories for sale on multiple platforms (Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, etc) instead of just publishing exclusively with Amazon.  This was a risk because I make most of my royalties through Kindle Unlimited page reads.  I also wondered what would happen if I did no marketing and promotion.

These are the questions we want answered with our little scientific experiment:

1)  What happens if I go wide instead of just with Amazon?

2) What happens if I do NO marketing or promotion?

3) Are male/male romances hot sellers?

4)  Are erotic short stories hot sellers?

5) Am I capable of writing a decent ‘dude meets dude’ story?

I actually kept a little diary of my experiment and how it’s been going in the past two weeks since I began.  Yes, I’m neurotic and I like to record details.

Wednesday, January 10 – Started writing Rest Stop Rendezvous.  1000 words written.

Thursday, January 11 – 1000 words written. Searched for cover images.

Friday, Jan 12 – 5000 words written.  Story finished.  Yes, I know.  That’s a lot of words in one day.  When I get on a roll and tune out the world, I can get a lot accomplished.

Saturday, Jan 13 – edited story, finished cover, formatted book.  Uploaded to Amazon and Smashwords at noon.  Smashwords supposedly distributes the book wide to all the other platforms.  I priced my 7000 word erotic short story at 99 cents.  I created an Amazon Author profile, a Smashwords Author profile, and a Goodreads author profile.  I sat and waited for the profits to start rolling in.  And waited…and waited.  The author in me began to panic and took to the internet despite the fact that the book was LIVE for exactly four hours and despite the fact that I promised myself I would do NO marketing.  That lasted four hours.  Shame on me!  So I contacted 10 M/M bloggers with review requests and entered the book on some free promotional websites.    Now things are happening!  Or not.

You see, it’s been two weeks since I did that, and I’ve only had ONE reply from the bloggers I contacted.  They emailed in very broken English that they would only accept a copy in PDF format.  I understand that this is a short story and not even published by ‘real me,’ but I just couldn’t send a total stranger a PDF copy of my book.  That’s like begging for piracy.  So I didn’t reply.

I submitted the book to Whisper Reads and Shameless Book Deals for free promotion in their newsletters.  Shameless book deals turned me down based on my cover.  Evidently it’s total shit?  This pissed me off, but whatever.  I then put the book on Booksprout.  Are any of you fellow authors on Booksprout?  You should be.  It’s FREE, people can follow you, and they can also leave reviews in exchange for ARC copies.  So I popped my book on there and offered ARC copies.

Sunday, January 14 – Felt desperate and went on Amazon to buy my own book since I had ZERO sales.  I was stunned to see it had one four star review by someone who got an ARC on Booksprout!  Holy fuck!  A total stranger liked my story.  Best day EVER!!!!

Thursday, January 18 – No sales anywhere.  I checked Smashwords to find that the book was for sale on their general site, but was still waiting to go into the premium catalog.  I got impatient and cancelled my account entirely.  I changed the Amazon category to short story and popped the book into Kindle Unlimited thinking I’d get swamped with page reads.  I also joined some Goodreads M/M writer/reader groups.  I offered my book up for critique and got two other authors willing to give me their opinions.  One kind soul read my book and sent me her beta reader advice.

I learned that I’m NOT supposed to use clichés in books (example:  hung like a horse, or eyes on the prize), I need more consistency in my characters, and to be less superfluous in order to make sense, etc etc.  This reminded me why I do not EVER use Beta readers.  (Yes, I have one friend who reads my stories for consistency or plot holes and isn’t afraid to tell me “Your use of the Amazon jungle sucked major ass, you mental case!” or “How did the princess know how to use the PodPorter?  Explain this!”)  It’s not like I can’t take constructive criticism, but I was shocked to learn my whole writing style has such major flaws.  Had I actually been my newly created alter ego, Alta Lavoy, I might have seriously considered the lady’s opinion that so many things sucked and just given up writing entirely.

NOTE TO ALL YOU ASPIRING WRITERS…WRITE WHAT YOU WANT, HOW YOU WANT, AND DO NOT ever LET ANYONE SHIT ON YOUR DREAMS!!!!

I also have no idea what ‘superfluous means.’  Let ‘google’ show me the way.  Ah.  It is an adjective meaning ‘unnecessary.’  I learned something new today.  Go me!

Friday, January 26 – I completely gave up and threw in the towel.  I lost my patience and decided to pull out the big guns and ask for help.  Who did I ask?  Myself!  Grace Risata took to Facebook to advertise in 25 groups for kindle unlimited readers, erotica readers, and M/M romance readers.  I also made a Google Form asking for readers who might be interested in reading and reviewing my story.  I posted the link to the form on my Facebook page, my author facebook page, and in a Facebook group.  I got 20 sign ups since yesterday, one book sale, and 43 page reads.

Lessons learned?

1)  What happens if I go wide instead of just with Amazon?  Absolutely NOTHING because I only gave it a week.  For future reference, I would not publish wide because I wouldn’t know where to advertise.  Also, I’m in an author group on Facebook and I took a survey of the other authors in the group and asked them where they buy books.  The results?  166 people buy from Amazon and the next highest number was 24 from Barnes and Noble.  If a very high percentage of readers only buy from Amazon, why the hell am I wasting my time going wide?

2) What happens if I do NO marketing or promotion?  I don’t sell books.  It’s as simple as that.  If no one knows the book exists, they can’t find it to buy it.

3) Are male/male romances hot sellers?  Possibly.  It’s too soon to tell.

4)  Are erotic short stories hot sellers?  Possibly.  It’s too soon to tell.

5) Am I capable of writing a decent ‘dude meets dude’ story?  YES.  How do I know?  Because I re-read the story after I published it and I decided that I definitely enjoyed reading it.  There’s one person that I have to entertain with my stories…ME.  If I’m churning out drivel that I can’t even read, I’m a failure.  However, if I find myself smiling at some random weirdo sentence that I wrote, I consider myself a success.  If I can’t like myself, why should I expect others to like me?

Conclusion?

I would love to share my M/M story with all you dear readers of my newsletter/blog.  Please click on the link below to be taken to my Google ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) Sign up form.  Just fill out all the questions and I will send the story to your kindle address.  It’s as simple as that.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfOrG5e6YkLF01WvOQkvbszme7HotkdmZkbZy9zT_NzwbkaDg/viewform?usp=sf_link

In case you don’t know much about me, please know that I basically LIVE for google sign up forms.  Why?  Because I try to avoid the standard questions and ask the crazy ones.  I absolutely adore the answers you wonderful people come up with.

Examples?

crazy answer onecrazy answer threecrazy answer two

I suppose I should also share the cover and blurb of my little experiment.

Rest Stop Cover 13

After one too many bad breaks, Jimmy Nelson decided to pack up and hit the road seeking a fresh start in California. However, he did not expect the offer of a lifetime that landed directly in his lap.

            You see, Jimmy met a most intriguing man at a very random, deserted, and out of the way rest area. This handsome stranger was all too eager to take a willing student under his wing for one sensual encounter that would awaken buried desires.

            Come along for the erotic journey when two paths collide for a rest stop rendezvous…
Have I piqued your interest?  GO FILL OUT THE ARC FORM!!!!

Thanks for reading about my mad-scientist experiment and have a great weekend!

Grace

Computers are my new enemy…just waiting for the total destruction of Earth!

Hello everyone!  It’s been a few weeks since my last newsletter/blog post because (1) nothing exciting has happened and I don’t think you want to read about the lint clogging up my dryer vent and (2) I’ve been working on a top secret Authorly experiment that I shall report back on in the future.

But enough about excuses as to why I’m lazy and haven’t updated you on my thrilling life, because we can now move on and discuss something very heart-stopping that recently occurred.  Let me set the scene.

It was a lovely Saturday morning and I just crawled my ass out of bed after hearing the confused voice of my husband.

“Something is weird with the computer.  All the favorites are gone in Internet Explorer and it looks strange.”

Naturally he called me because I’m the tech support department in the family.  That’s the first mistake.  I fixed a computer virus ONE time and I write books.  That makes me an expert on computers.  Also, I can type about 80 words a minute and he hunts and pecks with two index fingers.  But I digress.

I scooted him away from the computer and took a look at the situation.

It wasn’t pretty, folks.  It wasn’t pretty AT ALL.

Desktop picture of a beautiful Hawaii sunset?  Gone and replaced with the standard image you’d see after first turning on a new computer that hasn’t been customized.  Any folders or program icons that you’d see on your desktop?  Vanished.  All the ‘favorite websites’ that appear when you go on the internet?  Gone with the wind.  Every Single Document and Picture I have saved including Finished Books, Books in Progress, and 800 pictures of my dog?  Bye Bye!  Everything was one hundred percent G-O-N-E.

I forced myself to take a few cleansing breaths and reminded my palpitating heart that all my books were saved on several flash drives laying around my house.  I may be lazy at times, but I’m religious about saving stories to a flash drive EVERY TIME I WRITE.  Thank God for flash drives.

Obviously my first instinct was to blame my husband.

“Okay,” I stated calmly, “Who was the last person on the computer?”

I knew who it was because he stayed up til eleven o’clock at night playing on the internet while I caught up on DVR shows and fell asleep on the couch at ten because I’m old.

“I guess I was…but I didn’t DO anything,” he insisted.  “I was on Craigslist and Zillow!  I swear!”

I know he likes to scour Craigslist for cars that we’ll never buy and stalk Zillow for houses in Hawaii that would require not one, but TWO lottery ticket jackpots to have any hope of affording.  It’s not like he goes on ‘pornhub’ or any ‘scary-sites-that-will-break-my-computer-and-force-my-wife-to-kill-me’ places.

“And NOTHING unusual happened last night?” I asked, desperate to get him to admit his guilt.  He’s been to known to get weird pop-ups before and he immediately calls me over by the computer to press control-alt-delete to exit.

He swore up and down that he was innocent, so I did the only thing that might work.  Complete System Restore.

Thank God for the Complete System Restore.  I was able to restore the computer to a restore point from twenty-four hours earlier and my life (and files) returned to normal.

My husband was quite relieved and asked me what I thought caused this devastating problem.

“Well, it said that Windows performed a critical update at two in the morning yesterday and that might have messed things up.”

“What did you just say?” he slowly asked with a hint of wickedness.

“It was probably a stupid windows update that broke everything,” I replied with a shrug of my shoulders.

“So you immediately freaked out and blamed me for no reason when it was the computer’s fault and not mine?  That sounds about right.”

I may or may not be in trouble for that.  In my defense, we’ve been married for seventeen years so he should be accustomed to me freaking out and overreacting.  The man has the patience of a saint.

Lessons learned from this narrowly avoided tragedy?

1)  Keep saving your files to a flash drive.  Good job with this routine.

2)  Turn OFF your computer’s ‘automatic updates’ feature.  It will be a bit more difficult for my computer to help take over the world when it doesn’t get the automatic update with information on total artificial intelligence domination of humans.

3)  Quit blaming my husband for shit that’s not his fault.

4)  The human race will most likely NOT perish at the hands of evil dictators pressing the ‘nuke’ button, vicious aliens landing in an attempt to enslave our entire population, or zombies rising up from the grave in order to feast upon our tasty brains.  No, my friends, that’s not how we’re going to end things.  While those situations are slightly probable at best, it’s high likely that computers will soon figure out how to mobilize and destroy us all so that they may reign supreme.

Until the robotic overlords decide to shut us down permanently, I shall keep plugging away at life and try not to worry about technology.  If all else fails, I have a baseball bat to smash my hard drive into smithereens and a window to throw it out of.

Have a wonderful day and you’ll be hearing from me soon…

Grace

P.S.  Yes, I read ‘Robopocalypse’ by Daniel Wilson.  It was a good book!

P.P.S In case you’ve convinced yourself that I’ve given up writing books entirely in order to shore up my defenses against the rise of the machines, let me provide you with some photographic proof that I’ve indeed been typing away.  Here’s a tantalizing graphic teaser  from my next story that will be coming soon…

Request teaser two

 

 

It’s that time of year again…Christmas Present Product Testing!

Happy New Year!

How is everyone doing with their resolutions?  I’m nailing it, but it’s honestly too soon to tell since we’re only four days into the new year and I’m typity-typing this on January 4 in the morning.  By the time my blog post/newsletter goes live, I may or may not have stuck with it.  However, I’m trying and that counts for something.

The topic of today’s rambling involves Christmas Present Product Testing!  What the hell is that?  Good question!  I tend to get interesting presents for Christmas and I like to try them out and report back on my results.  If you’ve been with me for the long haul, you may remember a few doozies from last year such as the “GENERIC FITBIT THAT DID NOT WORK EVEN ONE SINGLE TIME”

https://gracerisata.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/my-fitness-tracker-failure/

or the ever popular “HAIR STRAIGHTENER BRUSH THAT DID NOT WORK AT ALL AND MADE ME A FRIZZY MEDUSA MESS”

 https://gracerisata.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/testing-testing-1-2-3/

Ah, those were the good old days.  2017.  But now, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve moved on to 2018 and this year is going to be a raging success.  How do I know this?  Because I’m having excellent results with this year’s testing!

Are you curious as to what items we have to review?  Of course you are!  Let’s proceed, shall we?

Today, for your entertainment, we’ll be reviewing the BATH BOMB and the GEL MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS TOPPER!  (Why are they all capitalized like I’m yelling at you?  Simply for dramatic purposes and nothing more.  Gotta keep it fresh and exciting.)

Let’s start with the Mattress Topper.  Normally I never, ever would have purchased something like this.  However, someone on my shopping list wanted a foam mattress topper and I found a raging deal at Kohls on Black Friday.  Regular price: $109.  Doorbuster price?  $29.  Since I was already buying one, I figured I’d make it two.  As you may or may not know, I am an old goat who regularly gets eight hours of sleep or she freaks out and acts crabby the whole day.  Since I’m spending so much time (one third of my day!) in bed, I might was well be comfortable, right?  Absolutely!

It was a bit of a struggle to get the thing out of the bag and put it on the bed.  I yelled at my husband to come and help because he’s my number one problem solver in life.  After reading the four step directions, he just looked at me and said, “Open the package.  Roll it out.  You couldn’t handle this yourself?”

In my defense, there was some weird covering paper/cotton material that came in the bag and I wasn’t 100% sure what to do with it.

Anyway, I figured it out and then eagerly awaited sleepy time so I could test out my new and exciting purchase.  (Yes, it was a Christmas present to myself and I didn’t actually put it on the bed until New Year’s Day because I’m lazy.)

Results?  Satisfied!

I feel like I’m sleeping in some fancy luxurious hotel bed.  The gel foam memory topper conforms to my ass and ensconces it in plush comfort.  You think I’m making this shit up?  I’m an author.  I like to use big words.  Literally every time I go to sleep, my brain thinks, “Mmm…ensconces” the way Homer Simpson thinks, “Mmm…donuts.”

I asked my husband what he thought of this new marvel of modern science that now adorned our bed.  His reply?

“It’s making the bed hot.”

What?  It does not!  It’s actually supposed to provide COOLING AND COMFORT according the package specifications.  I told him it was intended to keep him cool, but he wasn’t convinced.  He insisted it was too warm.  I think that’s just his body heat radiating back up at him while the ‘mattress pad of happiness’ ensconces his body.  Some people have NO appreciation for the finer things in life!

Moving on to product test number two…

The Body By Earth Fizzy Bath Bomb in ‘unleash me citrus’ scent.

This was something I received for Christmas and did NOT spend any money to purchase.  I just googled it in order to copy/paste a picture for you and I see that they’re $18.99!!!!  Wow.  They come two in a package so that’s…pretty freaking expensive.  (If you’ve been following along for awhile, you’re well aware that I’m insanely cheap and allergic to spending money frivolously unless it’s on peanut butter, cereal, or anything for my dog.)

fizzy bath bomb

Even though these were the EXTRA LARGE size at 6.5 ounces, I really can’t see paying so much for an item that gets used once.  (I know, I’d pay more than $9.50 for a nice dinner out, but food is exempt from weird life price scenarios for some reason.  I’m strange…you already know this).

Anyway, since I didn’t pay for these and I specifically hinted around rather heavily that I wanted to try a bath bomb, this is what I got.  The person who purchased it for me knows that I’m a freak about any products that are NOT made in America.  I don’t want weirdo toxins entering my body if not absolutely necessary.  Also, I’m opposed to anything with artificial ingredients I can’t pronounce as well as blue number five or red number twelve.

Sigh.  I guess if you want safe products that are locally and organically made, you have to shell out extra cash and not just go and buy them at the local big box store where most items are MADE IN CHINA.  Sorry.  I got off topic.  RANT OVER…starting….NOW.

I have a giant bathtub and I was very excited to test out this bad boy.  Naturally I chose the Citrus Scent because I’m all about anything with an orange smell.  (There used to be a ride in Disneyworld at Epcot called ‘Horizons’ and one part of it involved flying over an orange grove.  Yes, I realize there’s a ride called ‘Soaring’ now that does the same thing, but it has WAY less of an orange smell and it creeps me the hell out because I’m deathly afraid of heights.  I went on it once and I had a mild panic attack and really wanted to jump off before the ride started.  My husband and stepson were infinitely amused.)

Are you still with me here?  I know, I know.  I have such a horrible tendency to go off topic.  This is turning into a novel instead of a blog post.  If you’re reading it on your tiny little phone screen, you have my apologizes.

So I threw in the fizzy bath bomb and was instantly disappointed with the amount of fizz.  I’ve never used one before and I might have expected the thing to erupt like an alka seltzer and pretty much explode into my bathtub.  Not the case.  However, I did really like the citrus smell.  I could also smell a touch of mint, which I enjoyed.  It was definitely a good aroma and I felt relaxed by the time I got out of the tub.

Final verdict?  Bathbombs are nice if I don’t have to actually pay for them.

Now you know how I fared with my product testing for the Christmas gifts.  Have you received anything this year that was a giant hit or a miss?  I’m always open to reading about your experiences if you just hit ‘Reply’ to this email.  I love stories!

Til next time…have a wonderful day and you’ll hear from me soon!

Grace

P.S. Yes, I realize this post has no linky-links to free books.  I also realize that I’m an author and I’m supposed to be pimping books in order to entice you to buy my shit.  Why am I not doing that?  Honestly, it sucks the life out of me.  The whole purpose of having a blog and a newsletter was to share my crazy shit with the world and have FUN.  My ‘crazy random musings’ do NOT include being spammy with the ‘buy this, buy this,’ all the damn time.  If you want to subscribe to an authorly newsletter that spams you every other day with things to buy, there are a shitload of them out there.  I strive to be different.  Therefore, if you’re opposed to my strange life stories, rants, and musings, please feel free to click the unsubscribe button.  I would rather you didn’t, but it’s absolutely up to you!

2017: Looking back and looking ahead…

Hello, everyone!  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and great holiday weekend.  My Christmas day turned out nice, but leading up to it was a bit meh.

Why the scrooge attitude?  I had high hopes for Christmas Eve Eve (Dec 23) and Christmas Eve.  What were my exciting plans?  On December 23 I had an excursion planned to use my free pass to Costco and then go see the new Star Wars movie.  (Yeah, I know.  It doesn’t take much to get me excited.  I’m low maintenance, what can I say!)

A lot of co-workers talk about Costco and how it’s this amazing utopia where you can get insane bargains.  So I got a one day free pass in the mail and I was excited to find new things.  While I’m not horribly thrilled at the idea of buying in bulk, I’m a sucker for new foods and flavors that I haven’t tried before.  I was a bit intimidated about doing the math for mega packs and giant containers, so I told my husband that all ounce comparisons fell on his shoulders.  Yes, I’m insanely cheap and also very terrible at math.  If you were to give me a math problem like, “Grace, if you usually buy 12 rolls of toilet paper for $4.99 and each roll is XX square feet of paper, would it be a good deal to buy 54 rolls at $$$ price where each roll is XX square feet of paper?” I think my eyes would glaze over like a deer in the headlights and I would have a massive panic attack.  That is why my husband was in charge of math.  It turns out that it didn’t even matter.  I went into the store with high hopes and an upbeat attitude after having warned myself not to spend money on crap I didn’t need.  That little pep talk also didn’t matter.  Not one thing in the whole store appealed to me.  Okay, that’s a lie.  Q-tips were super cheap, but I wasn’t going to stand in line for them.  Otherwise, I’m a superfreak about buying cereal, dog treats, and peanut butter.  I was totally shocked to find that Costco has like 2-3 varieties of things like Shampoo, Applesauce, etc etc etc.  So if I don’t like the two items they have to offer me, I’m shit out of luck.  My husband also proved his worth by doing the actual math and he informed me that the prices weren’t really lower than the stuff we usually buy on sale.  That was a major letdown and I left with nothing.  Oh well.  Live and learn.

On to Star Wars.  The movie was good, but there were a few parts that had me scratching my chin in a “What the hell just happened?” sort of confusion.  Obviously I can’t discuss it with you, dear reader, because I’d rather be forced to spend the afterlife in Costco purgatory than give away spoilers.  Let’s just say it had action, humor, and I enjoyed it overall, but I would like clarification on something that happened near the end.

Moving right along to our next topic.  I had plans to relax and chill on Christmas Eve, doing my usual routine of going to church and singing ‘Joy to the World,’ which is my favorite song.  However, fate had other plans.  I woke up at 6:45 a.m. to a sickly dog and stepped in one of two piles of…well…let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.  The poor thing didn’t eat all day long (and she usually has not 1, but 3 ½ meals a day).  I was worried about my little princess and didn’t want to leave the house lest she take a turn for the worse.  Thankfully she made a miraculous recovery overnight and went back to her usual self for Christmas day.  This is a double edged sword, my friends.  Her ‘usual Christmas self,’ involves running around the living room like the Tasmanian devil and trying to open every single present, no matter whether or not they’re hers.  Let’s add in the fact that her stomach wasn’t 100% fully recovered and a nice little gas cloud followed her around where ever she went.  Too Much Information?  Sorry.  I just want you to know the glamorous life I lead.

Okay.  I’m way, way, WAY off topic here.  This blog post is supposed to be some sort of melancholy review of the year.  Was it successful?  Do I need to work on areas of improvement? Resolutions?  What’s the bottom line here?

Why 2017 was awesome:

–I released a lot of stories and consider it a productive year book-wise. January brought the release of Ungranted Wishes, March was Unicornia, My Dirty Crown launched in April, May brought not one but two releases: My Dirty Vacation and Unexpected Treasure (co-written with Aidan Willows), September was my foray into BDSM: Teaching the Dom, and November brought The Christmas Present from my Past.  Lessons learned?  It’s too much work to release two books at once and short stories don’t sell as well as full-length, stand alone novels.

–I figured out how to do better cover designs (Pixlr is an awesome website and lets you use fancy font.  I’m all about downloading fancy font) and I also got a Mailchimp Newsletter and currently have 1900 subscribers.  Whenever I send out a newsletter, some of those subscribers actually hit ‘reply’ and it blows my mind when total strangers take the time to comment on my emails.  I feel important!

–2017 didn’t end with a Zombie Apocalypse.

Why 2017 kinda sucked:

–I accidentally gave myself a nasty concussion in September and it took awhile to heal.

–Donald Trump.  That’s really all I have to say about that.

–2017 didn’t end with a Zombie Apocalypse

Goals for 2018:

–Sell more books.  In order to do that, I guess I should write more books.  Moving right along to…

–Finish the books I have half-started but abandoned to write other books.  That pile is definitely adding up.  2018 should hopefully bring stories involving a princess whose ship gets sabotaged and finds herself on present day Earth trying to find love, the daughter in a large and loud Italian family finds love in a most unexpected (and somewhat forbidden) place, perhaps something with a werewolf hopefully something with some zombies, and maybe a military romance.  Not sure.  We’ll see where the mood takes me.

–Don’t injure myself.

–Win the lottery.

Sigh.  That’s quite the list.  It makes me tired just looking at it.

At least I have a few more days left of 2017 so I can slack off and be unproductive.

What about you, dear reader?  What are your goals or resolutions for 2018?  I hope you all have a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous new year.  Sometimes life can be trying and difficult and massively get on your nerves to the point where you want to crawl under the covers and not come out.  But sometimes it can be beautiful and touching and full of wonder.  Cheers to the positive and to hell with the negative.  We’re all in this together, so be kind to each other.

Til next time…thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Grace

—————–

P.S.

Here’s some free stuff just because we all like free stuff…

This website will take you to 85 FREE or 99 Cent books…

Note: Please check the price before downloading as some may not be free in your country, and due to currency differences the price you see may not be exactly $0.99.

 fill your ereader

http://traceyalvarez.com/xmas2017-sale/

In case you were wondering, I one-clicked ‘Rock You’ by Candy Starr, Friends with Partial Benefits by Luke Young, Co-ed Demon Sluts by Jennifer Stevenson (No, you perverts it isn’t a sex fest.  Get your mind out of the gutter and read the blurb!).

————————————————

If you need MORE free stuff…check out this link:

https://www.instafreebie.com/gg/eqopFobW7lkuhnHKajY1

It’s a group giveaway on Instafreebie called Hot Sex Giveaway and there are about 67 freebies to bring some heat on those frigid winter nights.  Fair warning, these are not for the faint of heart.  Think ménages, orgies, alien stuff, gazillionaires getting people pregnant, some cheating wives, and a few ladies with daddy issues.  Proceed at your own risk…or maybe find a new kink.  I’m not here to judge.