Reading during a storm

My most favorite reading place as a child was under the dining room table.  My parents bought a ninety-year-old house when I was eight, just after my father left the military.  It was the fixer-upper of which they had always dreamed.  One thing about living on the southeastern coast of the US, the summers are hot and humid.  In a ninety-year-old fixer-upper there is no central air.  Window units in those days were large and expensive.  We couldn’t afford to put them in every room in the house.  We had one for the downstairs that cooled the living and dining rooms and two upstairs for my parents’ bedroom and my father’s computer room.

My brother and I slept in the living and dining rooms for the summers.  My brother got the room with the television.  I got the one directly under the air conditioner.  As an asthmatic, I loved the chilled air, and the noise drowned out the television so I could read.

When hurricane season hit I still slept and read under the dining room table.  I have fond memories of reading a fantasy adventure story with rain lashing against the taped windows, the storm providing excellent sound effects for my imagination.

To this day, I look forward to snuggling up with a book during a storm.  These days I’m just as likely to be writing as I am reading, and I’m content to work at the table rather than under it.

We are likely to lose power in the next day or so.  The talking weather-heads say that the power outages could last for days.  If that’s the case, I expect to make substantial progress on the sequel to Creatures of the Moon, though my children and husband may go through gadget withdrawal.

May all of you weather the storms in your lives, be they actual or metaphorical, and come out the other side whole.

Dealing with Criticism

Since I was young, I have learned to accept criticism.  Constructive criticism, as a prominent figure in my childhood used to call it.  Given my youth, and who the criticism came from, I took these as instructions on how to do better.  I lived and died by those criticisms.  I longed for the day when this person would simply say, great job and that would be it.

As I grew up, I learned that the awesome thing about criticism is I can take it or leave it.   When I began to write paranormal romance, this person had concerns because it wasn’t what he thought of as a prominent genre. Because I chose to ignore that opinion, I have published one novel and have my second on the way.

I also learned that it’s all right for someone to disagree with you.  I like paranormal romance.  It’s all right if others in my life don’t.  I write, and will continue to write the novels that speak to me; to tell the stories that I enjoy hearing.

Which leads me to the last thing I’ve learned, you can’t please everyone.  This is something echoed often these days in politics.  Someone running for office should be clear about where they stand and not change it depending on who they are talking to.  A novelist can’t write something that appeals to everyone.  It’s impossible.  Even breakout books like “50 Shades of Grey” may not appeal to someone who reads only horror novels or sweet religious mysteries.

I have grown to find criticism valuable.  I will continue to ask the person from my youth his opinion.  I also have several other people whose opinions I value.  They don’t have to agree with me.  Even the harshest criticisms may hold something I can learn from.

The trick to dealing with criticisms is to remember:

  1. It’s not personal – For all that we as writers pour our soul into our books, criticisms of the books are not directed at us.
  2. Criticisms, critiques and reviews are opinions – Just because someone believes something is the best (or worst) thing on earth doesn’t make it so.
  3. You can leave the opinions you don’t agree with – Unless you want to make a suggested change, it’s not necessary. (unless the change is from your editor, then that’s another ball of wax entirely)
  4. It’s okay that people won’t like it – I don’t like honey-boo-boo, but that girl and her family are making money hand over fist.  (good for them)
  5. You can’t please everyone – this kind of goes with #4.  The point I want to make here is, the only one you should be worried about pleasing is yourself.

Last week we named my December 10th release.

In 2010 I wrote a light paranormal novel that was recently picked up by Crimson Romance.  It is the first in a series that follows a psychiatrist who opens her practice in a normal quiet town.   She soon realizes that the town is anything but normal.

While I was writing I needed something to call it.  So after ten minutes or so a name materialized.  I didn’t like it really, but it stuck.  Over the year that I worked on the story and then while I pitched it to agents and editors, I grew accustomed to referring to it by the working title.

I asked about the title last week and my wonderful editor said that it would probably be best to change it.  I’ll admit, I panicked a little.  I couldn’t seem to come up with anything else to call it.  Nothing seemed right.  So, I called my friends and parents and begged them to help me brainstorm ideas.  They came through.  They always do.

Not only does this book now have a title, but we named the series as well.  Now, I just have to get used to referring to it as such.  So…

On December 10, 2012, Crimson Romance will release Kristine Overbrook’s second novel.  A humorous paranormal romance named, Once Upon a Couch.  Book One of the Paranormal Practice Series.

Passionate Cooks cookbook is available for download today

Well, today’s the day.  My Meatloaf recipe is now available for download for Free in the eCookbook Passionate Cooks.  Of course I’m proud of my recipe, but there are over 150 recipes in this book!

Below is the press release from All Romance eBooks, the wonderful e-book store that came up with the idea for this cookbook the first place.

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Food and love have a long association, but today digital romance retailer All Romance takes the concept one step further with the release of the free eBook Passionate Cooks, filled with over 150 recipes from those who know love best·romance authors.

Contributors include veteran writers, as well as debut authors. There are traditionally published, those with digital-first publishers, and those who are self-published, all sharing their culinary favorites.

The cookbook includes New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Mari Carr’s Wild Irish Cream of Crab Soup recipe. Western GBLT author BA Tortuga contributes a dish as spicy and colorful as the straight-shooting author herself with Ranch Hands a blend of Tabasco, salsa, onions and cumin, added to pinto beans, eggs, Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese and served in a tortilla. And for those of you who are feeling extra creative and sexy, there’s the Avocado Dip that doubles as body paint from mystery writer Marcia James.

Some recipes are simple, such as Down Home Mac & Cheese, while some are more exotic, such as Spicy Shrimp Risotto. There are even some gluten-free selections, like the Sweet and Spicy Gluten-Free Lo Mein-ish Noodles from erotica author Sommer Marsden. And a few are perfectly timed for a Halloween, such as Tracey H. Kitt’s Gamberi del Diavolo or Shrimp of the Devil.

Much like romance novels themselves, the dishes range from spicy to sweet. From desserts with historical overtones, such as Early American Ginger Cutouts, to those with a more modern and exotic flare, like the Hot Cha Cha Cha Chipotle Cake, there’s something to satisfy the taste of every food lover.

The enthusiasm of the contributing authors has been overwhelming. One author has created a Passionate Cooks apron, bag, mouse pad and bookmarks as a giveaway to promote the launch, said Julie Cummings, ARe’s manager of marketing and publicity. Cummings is speaking of author Rhonda Laurel, who contributed the recipe for Blissful Banana Pudding Trifle.

The October release of this 250-page free download will be accompanied by, among other events, guest blog posts by the authors at ARe Café, and photos of the dishes posted at ARe’s Pinterest account. Readers can keep track of the happenings on Twitter at the hashtag #AReCooks or on the Passionate Cooks Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/PassionateCooks.

 
ABOUT ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS
All Romance eBooks, LLC was founded in 2006, is privately held in partnership, and headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. The company owns All Romance (allromanceebooks.com), which specializes in the sale of romance eBooks, OmniLit (omnilit.com), which sells both fiction and non-fiction eBooks, and ARe Cafe (arecafe.com), a community for passionate bibliophiles.