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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

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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

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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!).

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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.

Fun in the sack or fade to black? Opinions needed!

As I write this blog post, it’s December 7.  My Christmas tree is not up and I’m only about 72% done with my shopping.  Therefore, it stresses me out to even think about the holidays fast approaching.  So I’m going to tackle a different topic today in order to take my mind off the fact that I’m falling very far behind in life.

Today’s topic?  S-E-X.

How much is too much?

Settle down, people.  I’m not Dr. Phil and I’m not going to examine what you do behind closed doors (or what you do sneakily in public for that matter…I’m not here to judge.).  I’m talking about steamy scenes in the books you read.  Since I’m pretty sure that 99% of you signed up for my newsletter/blog because you’re readers, I think it’s safe to assume that you all have preferences for your taste in books.  (As for the other 1% who subscribe…I don’t know how you found me, but thanks for subscribing!)

The reason the ‘How much nookie should go in books?’ debate is at the forefront of my mind, is because I’m currently 30,000 words into my next book and I have no steam at all.  Not even a kiss on the mouth.  Are you thinking, “What the royal fuck, Grace?  I need your porn!” ???   I sure hope not!

No, I’ve not gone soft on you, it’s just that my current characters have a bit of a “I’m getting on your nerves, but I secretly think you’re hot” vibe to them and it’s more of a slow burn, build-up kind of thing.  This story is going to be LONG, so I still have plenty of time to consummate the relationship…but I don’t think the sex is the prime focus of the book.

This leads me to my question of the day, dear reader:

How much sex do you want in your books?

Personally, I’m very nit-picky about the amount of lovin’ that goes into the stories I read.   Twilight?  Loved the story, but I wanted DETAILS of Edward and Bella’s honeymoon.  I didn’t appreciate the fade to black.  On the other side of the coin, I’ve read books where entire chapters were devoted to the 7th or 8th time the main couple had wild animal sex and I honestly skimmed them because I didn’t care how flexible she was or how many times he got off in one night.  I like REALISTIC sex in my books and I think this is hard to come by.

I guess, basically, I like to read about the sex when the couple gets together for the first time and then maybe once or twice more.   Otherwise, I skim the hell out of books with too much sex.

But enough about me.  What do YOU think?  What do you find most important in the books you read?  What makes a good book for you?

Just hit “Comment” on this blog post or “Reply” to this newsletter and let me know how you feel.  What makes you weak at the knees and tearing up with emotion?  What has you throwing your kindle across the room while you swear a blue streak?

I hate love triangles, cheating, super rich billionaire heroes that aren’t realistic, weak heroines that can’t survive one minute without a man to tell them what to do, stories that don’t have an ounce of humor in them, and plots that make no sense and totally ‘jump the shark.’

Okay.

Now that my oversharing of opinions is complete, let’s get to the part of the newsletter where I post some books, shall we?

These are all books that are part of my newsletter swap program.  You know the drill:  these authors were kind enough to put me in their newsletters and now I’m returning the favor.  The first story is FREE and the rest are only 99 cents on Amazon!

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1) Antonia and Sabrina Struck in Love by Chiquita Dennie…FREE on Instafreebie

 Description

When VP Executive Sabrina Washington goes out one night with her girlfriends to get over a breakup, she stumbles upon Antonio De Luca a man who is headstrong, dangerous, intimidating, and sexy. The cautious and by the book Sabrina is shocked by her sudden feelings that this man brings out of her despite his alpha behavior. She is constantly fighting to get away, and he’s fighting to keep her close. Unable to resist Sabrina’s sassy, sexy, and independent spirit, Antonio finally gets her to submit to him and stop running.
Scared and thrilled by Antonio’s erotic tastes, Sabrina learns more about what pleases her and him in the bedroom. Keeping his life as a club owner in the forefront and dealings as a mobster behind the scenes and away from Sabrina. Antonio is a man torn between his family’s lifestyle and the need to live his own life as a business owner. When the couple embarks on a passionate love affair, Sabrina will find all of Antonio’s good and bad sides, while discovering her own.

https://www.bookboast.com/link/5444/62664

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2) A Very Beary Christmas by Abbie Zanders….99 Cent Pre-order on Amazon

Blurb
For most people, Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends, but not for Chloe Lewis. She plans to spend it as she does every other day— alone, escaping the harsh realities of the world through her art. Painting mountainous landscapes reminds her of the one brief time in her life when she didn’t feel so alone. The hallmark grizzly bear she incorporates into each and every painting has the same golden-brown eyes as the only friend she’d ever known.

Sam Brown was only eight years old when Chloe moved to the small mountain town he and his family called home, but his bear knew right away that she was the one for him. In a cruel twist of fate, Chloe was taken away, but he’s never forgotten her – or what she is to him.

When Sam’s cousin comes home for the holidays and shows him a painting he’d seen of a very familiar looking bear and signed simply “Chloe”, it might just be the break he’s been hoping for. A winter storm is coming but nothing is going to stop Sam from finding her and bringing her home.

After all, Christmas is the time for miracles…

https://www.bookboast.com/link/5462/61539

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3) The Misadventures of a Dating Delia by H.C. Bentley….99 Cent Pre-Release on Amazon

Description

Day trader Delia Sinclaire was on a mission: Find Mr. Right. And find him fast.

If she doesn’t, it means she’ll have consider marrying Morty when they reach a certain age…and that age is fast approaching. They’d made a pact in college, and it didn’t matter now that his unemployed butt spent his days playing video games in his mother’s basement. So Delia, with the help of her best friend, sets off to tackle the world of dating, Desperate, she tries every kind of dating she can think of. Blind dates, speed dates, You name it, she’ll try it. Only each date ends up being hysterically worst than the last. Will a single’s cruise be her saving grace, or will she end up being Mrs. Mortimer P. Floyd?

https://www.bookboast.com/link/5545/62791

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4) Marriage of Convenience by Amy Faye………99 Cents on Amazon

Description

“I just want you,” she said. “However you want. There’ll be plenty of time later.”
Her tongue swirled around him, drawing away his entire concentration. By the time he regained control of himself he was trying to force himself deeper into her throat. He pulled his hand away and she pulled herself off and looked up at him with a raised eyebrow.

“You like that?”

He wanted to be a politician, and that meant getting married. It didn’t matter to him who he married. As long as she was presentable.

Well, I’d hardly call my messed up life presentable.

I just needed a way to keep my twins fed and warm, and away from their scumbag father.

He made me an offer I literally couldn’t refuse. It helped that I wanted to be touched, stroked, pleasured by him in every way possible.

A marriage agreement. We get married, we both benefit. It was smart. It was clean. And it was all going great, until our feelings started making the situation messy. Really messy.

https://www.bookboast.com/link/5555/63021

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5) A Flare of Power: Book Two by Elodie Colt        99 Cent Pre-Order on Amazon

Description

How would you feel if you could wield nature’s greatest power?

Ever since Haylie found out she was a Natural—the rarest human species in existence—she was determined to find out about the ability she should have.
The problem—she had no clue how to find it.
What made things worse was that Dylan, the man who’d dared her to come anywhere near him, was now her trainer and eager to push her to her limits. When he made her jump over that wall, it resurrected something inside her she deathly feared. She knew she needed to find out about her ability soon and get it under control before someone got killed.

Dylan was still avoiding Haylie as best as he could, but when they came up with a plan on how to find more information about her ability, he jumped at the chance to go with her. In the end, no one could have guessed what kind of ultimate power lay dormant inside of her. He was grateful they still had enough time left before her Awakening.
Little did he know that time was quickly running out..

https://www.bookboast.com/link/5452/61460

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That’s all I have for you today.  I look forward to hearing about your book likes and dislikes!  Have a great weekend and I promise to have my act together by the next blog post/newsletter….decorations will be up and presents will be purchased and wrapped!

Happy Holidays!

Grace

happy holidays

Shopping makes me crazy… and I’m not the only one!

Hello everyone!  Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  I have, and it’s not going very well at all.  This blog post is going to cover the topic of why it’s so stressful to go out into the world and buy crap for everyone you’ve ever met in your life.

Okay, that was a bit dramatic.  To be honest, I have a small family and we don’t exchange presents with everyone.  So I only really have to buy gifts for my mom, my husband, my stepson, my dog, and a few co-workers.  I have it easy compared to most people who have giant extended families with huge lists of people requiring presents.  You’d think that would take some stress out of the season, but it really doesn’t.

Why not?

Because the people on my list are absolutely crazy.

Would you like some examples?  Of course you would.  I’m happy to oblige.

Let’s start with my mom.  Here’s the actual conversation we had.

ME:  Mom, what do you want for Christmas?

My Mom:  I don’t need anything.  Just get me some slippers and those mesh bags that go on the washer hose so all the gunk in the washing machine doesn’t clog up the drain in my basement sink.

ME:  Mom, those mesh bags cost a dollar.  What ELSE do you want?

My Mom:  Nothing.  What do YOU want?

ME:  I don’t know.  I need eyeliner.  Make sure it’s Made in America and not tested on animals and it’s black and it rolls up.  I don’t know how to sharpen the eyeliner pencils.

My Mom:  I have a ton of eyeliner in my drawer.  Just take some home.

She goes to her makeup drawer and brings out five eyeliners.

ME:  Mom!  Two of these are made in China, one is brown, one is blue, and the only black one is a pencil that needs to be sharpened.

My Mom:  Quit being so damn picky.

Fast forward to two days later.

ME:  So did you find me any eyeliner?

My Mom:  YES!  Why did you make me tell you that?  You’ve completely ruined the surprise!

So evidently my mom is getting mesh washer hose bags and I’m getting eyeliner.

Who else makes me crazy?  My husband.  He tells me that he doesn’t want anything and then he goes online and orders a crazy amount of stuff for himself.

ME:  Why did you tell me you don’t want anything and then go online and order five pairs of Levis jeans?

Him:  Because they make them in all different countries and they come in different sizes.  Some 36 lengths are really 35 ¼ and some are 36 ½.  I need to try on several pairs to make sure they fit right.  I’ll return the duds that I don’t like.

He’s 6 feet 6 inches tall and has a hard time finding tall clothes that fit him.  So he thinks he’ll have better luck when he special orders items from the kiosk at Kohls.

How do you think that turns out?

POORLY!

Last weekend we went to a few stores to do some Black Friday Weekend Shopping.  After we left Kohls, he got really quiet in the car as we drove to our next destination.

Finally he blurts out this gem…

“If I ever get arrested, it’s because I lost my patience at Kohl’s, stomped on the kiosk, and smashed the fucker into tiny pieces.”

Naturally my reaction was, “WHAT did you just say?” as I took a mental note to file that away into the ‘PUT THIS IN A FUTURE BLOG POST’ folder.

Evidently all the rage he’s built up over the years is going to come pouring out into a massive episode of violence against the Kohls Order Kiosk.

“Every time I try to type something in, it tells me the store doesn’t exist.  If I try the zip code, I get an error.  If I try the city, I get an error.  I hate that fucking thing!”

Hey, we all have pet peeves, right?

Speaking of pets…that was an EXCELLENT transition into our next topic by the way…how many of you buy Christmas presents for your pets?

I have a very spoiled four year old Labrador Retriever named Stella.  I consider her to be a well behaved dog in general.  Yeah, she acts like she’s on LSD every time I try to take her for a walk, but other than that I have no real complaints.  She never touches anything that’s not hers, never tries to counter surf and steal food, and doesn’t shit in any of my shoes.

All her manners go right out the window on Christmas morning.  When she was a puppy, I gave her a wrapped up Christmas present and she literally cried as if to say, “Oh my goodness.  Is that really for me?  You shouldn’t have!”  Fast forward to four years later when she acts like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka (“Don’t care how…I want it NOW!”).  We all sit around the Christmas tree and Stella runs from one person to the next as they open presents, bound and determined to rip everything from our hands and grab it for herself.  I’ve tried to explain to her that she doesn’t need a bra, a calendar of sunsets, or those mesh bags that go on your washing machines hose, but the dog doesn’t listen.  When it’s her turn for a present that really does belong to her, she rips it open and then casts it aside as though she doesn’t need another bone, squeaky ball, or stuffed animal.

“Is this all you’ve got?  It’s shit.  I want MORE.”

My stepson looks at me in disgust and says, “I hope you’re happy.  You made her this way.”

Perhaps I’m a bad influence.

Why?

I have another story.

Once upon a time about four years ago, it was my turn to unwrap a present.  Let me first tell you that we’re all known for wrapping gifts in dummy boxes.  I wrap earrings for my mom in granola bar boxes, she wraps gift cards for my stepson in popcorn boxes, and so on.  The reason for this is that we never have any decent boxes laying around, and also because my stepson has a bad habit of shaking things before he opens them and we like to mess with his head.

So…I peeled off the wrapping paper and found a box for car stereo speakers.  Let me tell you that nothing was wrong with the speakers in my car stereo, I did not need speakers, and I most certainly did not want speakers.

“I hope something else is in here,” I whined loudly, “because I don’t WANT car stereo speakers.”

Lo and behold, the box contained car stereo speakers because my husband didn’t like the way that music sounded when he drove my car.  We still laugh about it to this day and my stepson admonishes me for being rude and not appreciative.

Hey, I’m not the only one who gets short tempered around the holidays.  As I walked around Wal Mart last weekend, I saw a father pushing his two kids in a shopping cart.  The little girl pointed to a bag of decorative pinecones and the father had a wonderful reply to his darling princess.  What did he tell her?  Good question, thanks for asking.

“I’m NOT paying money for something you can get in the yard for FREE.”

Good common sense goes a long way in the world!

If any of you have amusing/frustrating/bat-shit crazy shopping stories, please feel free to share.  I always love to hear people’s stories!!!

Have a wonderful weekend and here are some freebies if you need to fill your kindle… (Every single one of these is FREE on Instafreebie)

https://www.instafreebie.com/gg/thvrOcXy25sgV4IN0yOT

25 days giveaway instafreebie

Enjoy!

Til next time…

Grace

It’s Black Friday…let’s go stand in line!

It’s Black Friday…wahoo!!

Okay… technically as I type this it’s still Thanksgiving, but it feels like Black Friday because I just came back from shopping.  I have to work my day job on Friday, so I had to get all my crazy shopping in on Thursday.  Thankfully the stores that I wanted to hit were all open early today and I shopped til I dropped.

I didn’t literally drop, but my feet feel like they’re going to fall off.  Good thing I got 4 pairs of shoes on sale!  Honestly, I don’t have any clue what size shoe I wear.  The pair I wore to go shopping was a size 7.5.  I tried on an 8 that was too small and ended up getting an 8.5.  I think I spent about five minutes trying on shoes and it really screwed me over timewise.  By the end of my shopping list, the store line was a mile long and I actually contemplating abandoning it all and running away.  Alas, I could not do this since I got like 8 bras on mega-sale and I was not about to dump them.  Do I need new bras?  Probably, but that’s not why I got them.  The world has brand new bra technology that I was previously unaware of.  They’re all lacy with criss-cross backs, the underwire seems to have fallen from grace (check out this new bra with NO UNDERWIRE!  What?  But I LIKE the underwire!), and they have fancy names offering a multitude of support options.  I need to go to bra school to understand all this shit now.  I need my bra to hold up my boobs, don’t give me a backache, and let’s move on with our lives, okay?

But I digress.

This blog post is supposed to be offering you a shit-ton of amazing book deals to fill your kindle.

Why do you need a shit-ton of amazing book deals to fill your kindle?

Good question.

The answer is… because your feet hurt from standing in line and racing around trying to score bargains, your brain is confused about all the new bra options, and you’d like nothing more than to chill on the couch with your kindle and tune out the world.

I can help with that!

Without further ado… book stuff…

(1) HOT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

hot contemp romance instafreebie

This promotion is on Instafreebie, so you know that all these books are absolutely FREE.  Here’s the link:

https://www.instafreebie.com/gg/S7NRGvlYpXA5LhvHjOPs

Not one, not two, not three, but FOURTY-SEVEN books for you to one-click.  There are a TON of sexy abs to hypnotize you into happiness.

(2)  Black Friday Heat

This promotion is a MIXTURE of free and cheap books, so PLEASE check the price before one-clicking!

https://www.bookboast.com/giveaway/6ba810545e

There are no less than FOURTY-FOUR choices for you and, as usual, lots of sexy covers with lickable dudes dudes on them.

(3)  Newsletter Swaps

These three authors were kind enough to feature me in their newsletters, so I’m returning the favor.

First up we have Scarlett Underground by Chelsea Whitlock.  It’s FREE and the blurb sounds pretty good.  Yeah, I one clicked it!

Description

Scarlett Banks didn’t anticipate her father’s sudden loss of wealth when his risky investments made him have to break her trust fund. She absolutely refuses to lose her spot at Maynard Sutter University and the prestigious Delta Omega Zeta sorority, or her boyfriend Jeremy Matthews in Lambda Nu, so admitting she’s suddenly broke is not an option. After a horrible attempt as a waitress, surviving an offer to be a stripper, and a painful attempt at selling make-up at a department store, she discovers that she can secretly be a Domme for a dungeon in downtown– and to her surprise, she’s actually good at it! But she didn’t expect to be taken in by the mysterious bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, Finn, one of her dungeon’s most popular Doms. Keeping her two identities secret becomes more and more trouble, as do keeping Jeremy and Finn from crossing paths!

https://www.bookboast.com/claim/77a555e23f

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Next up, we have Ace’s Gamble by Natasha Spencer.  I think it’s on sale for 99 Cents…you’ll have to check to make sure.

Description

She’s taking a chance and he’s risking it all.

Christie: I’ve got one shot at my new journalism job, and I need to find a great story. When Ace walks into my life, a sexy, muscular and dangerous underground fighter, he might just be the lead that I’m looking for. But if I chase the story, I might lose him. Is it worth the chance?

Ace: I’ve been fighting all my life. It’s the only thing I know how to do. Then I meet Christie, innocent, gorgeous and sexy as hell. Somehow, agreeing to throw a fight now seems…. dirty. So, I have a choice to make: do I keep fighting and lose her, or do I change my life to keep her?

https://www.bookboast.com/link/5206/61538

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Lastly, we have Leather and Gold by Gemma Snow for $2.99

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/5263/61648

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There you have it folks, loads of books to fill your kindle.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and you don’t stress out too much over the holidays.

Til next time…

Grace

 

A Recipe for Success…and some freebies!

No, I’m not talking about a proverbial recipe for success like ‘early to bed, early to rise, blah, blah, blah.’  I’m talking about a REAL recipe with measurements and ingredients!

I don’t really understand why people have secret family recipes that get passed down from generation to generation and aren’t shared with the general public.  Unless you’re KFC with a special blend of herbs and spices and you actually SELL the food commercially, just share your gourmet knowledge so that we can all benefit from it.

In that spirit of sharing, I’m going to post my Turkey Stuffing Recipe.  Is this an old family secret that has been protected for centuries?  I doubt it.  See, I grew up helping my mom and dad make the turkey stuffing for as long as I can remember.  I have no clue where we got the recipe, but I do know that I’m extremely loyal to it and I instantly deem any other stuffing as ‘crap’ because it’s not MINE.

After my dad died when I was nineteen, the role of turkey maker fell to me because my mom doesn’t like sticking her hand into the bird and pulling out all the guts.  She was kind enough to write down the stuffing recipe and I’m going to type it out for you now.  Please be warned that she assumes I’m a complete idiot in most situations and likes to spell things out in DETAIL for me.  (I’m not complaining about this…she’s correct in her assumption.  There was an incident ONE time with some aluminum pots in the microwave, smoke pouring from the kitchen, my stepson laughing his ass off, and a couple smoke alarms going off.  No big deal, right?)

Without further ado…behold….

MY DAD’S TURKEY STUFFING RECIPE

This recipe is for a 16-18 pound bird.  If you have a smaller turkey and can’t fit it all in, the stuffing will STILL TASTE THE SAME if you put it in a casserole dish and bake it in the oven instead of the bird.  I was a purist who freaked out at the thought of STUFFING THAT WAS NOT STUFFED IN THE BIRD.  But a few years ago I figured out that it tastes exactly the same, so I’m on board with that now.

Ingredients:

Turkey (duh)

Water

Salt

One Chicken Bouillon Cube (if you have one that’s been sitting in your pantry for a while and it’s a year or two past the expiration date, no worries!  It will still work)

One Stalk of Celery

Two large onions

One stick of butter

Sage, Poultry Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Season Salt

6-8 slices of bread

Brownberry Sage and Onion Stuffing Mix (Do NOT get any other brand)

One Egg

One Cup of Milk

Instructions:

–Take giblets out of turkey and clean it out good with salt.  Pull out all the stringy stuff (these are my mom’s REAL ACTUAL directions, I’m not making this shit up)

–Put 3 ½ cups of water with one chicken bouillon cube and giblets in pot.  Boil on stove.  (when she says, ‘in a pot,’ she means like a saucepan that you’d make mashed potatoes in, not a giant pot)

–In a frying pan (a LARGE one) cut up (tiny) one stalk of celery and two large onions.  Add one stick of butter.  Add sage, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and season salt.  When it gets soft, it’s done (20 minutes).  (On a side note, yes, I giggled as I typed ‘when it gets soft, it’s done’ because I’m a perverted 12 year old boy living inside the body of a 41 year old woman.)  (As for the quantity of the spices to add…we don’t measure, we just pour.  So…um…hmm.  Use like a decent quantity of sage, poultry seasoning, and season salt.  Probably less garlic powder)

–Cube about 6-8 slices of bread in a big pot (think like a pot you’d cook spaghetti in).  Add bag of stuffing mix.  Add one egg beaten with one cup of milk.  Then add the celery and onion mixture.  Throw out the giblets but add about all the water (one cup at a time) to mixture.  Squish it all together and stuff turkey.

(This isn’t written down, but we always keep the butts of the bread to use and then pin them inside the turkey so the stuffing doesn’t fall out.  This also isn’t written down, but we always bend the wings so they’re sitting under the turkey.  Not sure why)

–Cook 15-20 pound stuffed bird at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for five hours covered and then one hour uncovered.  (The meat is usually falling off the bone and it tends to be on the side of overcooked, so you might want to use less time if you have a smaller bird.  If you’ve read “My Dirty Detour,” then you already know we’re HIGHLY OPPOSED to any food that might have a remote chance of being RAW.  Violet likes her burgers well done.  LOL)

There you have it.  Turkey Stuffing the only way I’ll eat it.

What else?  Ah yes.  I promised you free stuff too, didn’t I?  I’m in a promotion by a new company (Geektastic books) and they have a fine selection of FREE books for you to check out.  Here’s the link:

http://geektasticbooks.com/instafreebie

 geektastic promo

 

There are definitely some covers with sexy abs on there, not gonna lie.  They may have caught have my eye!

Also, in case you didn’t already know, my newest Christmas story goes LIVE on November 17.  Here’s the link for that too:

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Present-My-Past-Holiday-ebook/dp/B0776XGNKT

Christmas Present short story cover final version

Also, I may or may not have a one-click addiction and I just saw this and it was FREE on Amazon, so I clicked it:

https://www.amazon.com/Train-Wreck-Life-Sucks-Book-ebook/dp/B071FG3NDF/

It looked pretty funny from the first three sentences of the ‘look inside’ feature.

That’s all we have for today.  Hopefully something exciting will happen next week as I try to navigate the Black Friday Sales.  That’s usually good for a story or two!  Stay tuned….

Grace

Tis the season…

 

As you may or may not be aware, Thanksgiving is EXACTLY two weeks from today.  I have no idea how that’s even possible because it seems like Halloween happened about five minute ago.  I’m still trying to suck down leftover Milky Ways and now I’m supposed to get in the mood to eat turkey and stuffing?  Can we get a little more time in between the holidays?

But I digress.

This blog post is not about the rapid succession of holidays in the last sixty-two days of the year (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, Daylight Savings Time, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, and probably more that I forgot), but rather an effort to get you in the mood for those holidays.

What comes to mind when you think of the holiday season?  Turkey and stuffing (some people call it ‘dressing’ and not ‘stuffing,’ which makes me go all militant on their asses.  ‘Dressing’ is what you put on a salad.  I’m sorry, but I’m very passionate about this.), Christmas shopping (I run around like a nutcase trying to find cool things to buy for people, but the real fun comes when I get to wrap presents.  I’m not one of those people who spends half an hour wrapping each gift and making sure the folds are immaculate and the perfect matching bow adorns the box.  I bend and scrunch and haphazardly tape so it looks like a blind octopus wrapped it up.  That’s how I roll.), and church (because there would be no Christmas without Jesus and I like to go to church and sing Christmas Carols.  My favorite is ‘Joy to the World.’)

What else am I forgetting?  Oh.  Hallmark Christmas movies.  Let’s not forget Christmas books.  Ahem.  Those are pretty important too.

Why are they so damn important?  Because I just wrote my first Christmas story and I’d like to take this opportunity to do some utterly shameless self promotion.

I know, I know.  You open my newsletter because you want to be entertained, not badgered into buying books.  And I totally respect that, which is why the spammy buy-my-book-pretty-please posts are few and far between.  At least I try to make them few and far between.

Without further ado…let me throw some Grace Risata Christmas book stuff at you.

I made this pretty banner last night on Canva.   Canva is a very easy to use graphic design website that a blind octopus could probably figure out.  I like pretending I’m a graphic designer.  It makes me feel accomplished.

christmas book banner

Here is the cover for my new Christmas story.  Also made entirely on Canva.  Did I mention Canva was FREE to use?  No, they’re not paying me to endorse them, I just really like the site because it doesn’t frustrate the heck out of me (unlike trying to format books where it took me ONE AND A HALF HOURS to figure out how to make paragraph indents because I’m special and don’t catch on to things very easily.)

Christmas Present short story cover final version

Did I grab your attention with my fancy pants book cover?  I sure hope so.  Do you want to know what the story is about?

Behold…..the blurb……

Prepared to be alone for the biggest holiday of the year, Rachel’s life takes a dramatic turn when she bumps into her old high school crush while volunteering at a charity meal on Christmas Eve.

Once Shawn recognizes the sweet, shy girl from his sophomore year Chemistry class, he realizes she’s all grown up…but the chemistry between them is still hotter than ever.

Is the past a faded memory in the rear view mirror…or can these two lonely souls come together for one remarkable holiday hook-up?  Perhaps Rachel’s greatest Christmas present will come from her past…

Author’s Note:  This is a 15,500 word Christmas story that has a guaranteed happy ending, a steamy encounter between the main characters, and a heaping spoonful of holiday cheer. 

I guess basically it’s not your standard ‘boy meets girl’ story in the fact that my characters are in their forties and both have some history to overcome.  Also, they already know each other which makes things a bit more interesting.

If the book sounds like something that might interest you, it’s available for Pre-Order on Amazon for the low, low price of only 99 cents.  It’s the first time I ever did a pre-order because I like to try new things.  My story goes live on Amazon on November 17, so you don’t have to wait too long.

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Present-My-Past-Holiday-ebook/dp/B0776XGNKT

Fun fact…the story was originally called ‘The Holiday Hookup’ but I felt the need to change it because there are several books on Amazon that already have that title and I freak out if that happens.  I know, I know…there’s only so many titles available  in the world, but I feel the need to stand out from the crowd!

That’s pretty much all I have for today.  If you’d like to reply to this newsletter/blog post to either jump in to the stuffing/dressing debate or share a holiday memory, please feel free.  I love getting emails from all of you.  It makes me feel like I have an audience and I’m not just wildly throwing words into the universe never to be seen again.  I like to know they land somewhere!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!

Grace