A Year in Review

I’ve been thinking a great deal about why I’m not yet done with Flawless Dreams.  I should be, but I’m not.  It got me thinking about everything that happened this year and honestly, it was trying.

For those that don’t know, Fortified Dreams was written by the end of January 2016.  It’s a good thing or it probably wouldn’t have released.

I started Botox for migraines, which has helped considerably with the number of migraine days as well as how severe they are.  However, it also had an odd down side.  It had been so long since I had long stretches of time without a migraine, that I didn’t know quite how to function.  I know that sounds weird, but seriously, I went from fighting through migraines almost daily to not having but about 15 days a month with one.  So on the days I didn’t have them, it was like “oh, what is this?  What do I do since I’m not thinking my way around the pain?  Can I even function like this?”  I’m still getting used to it and I panic easier about a headache.  Because headaches trigger migraines.  So I get a little stressed and suddenly, I’m dropping everything because now I know what it’s like to not have a migraine every day and I absolutely do not want that headache becoming one.  My neurologist has told me this is normal, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

From August 2016 to November 2017, I dealt with the chronic leg pain.  Was it a vitamin deficiency?  No, those were coming back normal.  It wasn’t a circulation problem.  Physical therapy didn’t help.  I was on narcotics and then off of them more times than I could count and the only time I had any relief was when I was popping Percocet… The tramadol sucked for pain.  Then I was told there was nothing wrong with them…

So, now I’m crazy and possibly a drug addict.  I come from a long line of alcoholics and drug addicts.  That scared me more than you could imagine.  Was I really not in pain but craving the narcotics, so my mind was making up the pain?  Should I talk to someone about rehab?  I didn’t feel like an addict, but does an addict know they’re an addict?  I already know the answer to that one, which terrified me even more.

I was literally having nightmares where I checked myself into rehab and then threw a clot in my leg because it turned out the vascular tests were wrong.  And nightmares where I checked myself into a mental health facility because I was imaging that I was in pain and it had to be a mental problem.  Then there were nightmares where I would dream my spine had broken doing something and I’d wake up in so much pain, I could barely move.

Yet, I was crazy, because the things that were wrong with me were all minor things and I have a high level of pain tolerance.  I spent two months thinking I had lost my mind and the pain wasn’t real.  I had been duped by my own brain into thinking the SI joint injections had worked then and they really hadn’t done anything because there was nothing for it to work on.

Then came the incident with Fentanyl.  I got it at the ER in Hannibal.  In both an IV and a 72-hour patch.  I hallucinated.  I projectile vomited.  I was incoherent.  Only after yanking the patch off after less than 24 hours and sleeping for 18, did I feel any better and then it was only slightly better.  It took five days to recover from that.  NEVER again will I take Fentanyl.

Now, I’m crazy and nearly died due to Fentanyl.  How fucking fantastic is that?

Until I finally got a diagnosis: arthritis of the hips and SI joints leading to nerve inflammation at the base of my spine.  Specifically the nerves that truncate in my lower legs.  The doctor told me it was as if someone had stabbed me in the base of my spine and we had just left the blade in to continue to do damage, because it went untreated for so long.

Oh my god!  I’m not crazy.  I’m not a drug addict.  My brain is not making up this pain.  It really exists and they can do something about it!

I got another round of better targeted injections and wow!  What a difference that made… The pain is almost zero all the time.  My legs start to bother me after lots of activity, but they don’t just hurt all the time anymore.  And the popping that I was experiencing every time I walked, which was a painful pop and grind, is just gone.  I haven’t had it happen since the injections.

I can do stuff again.  Stuff I enjoy.  And I am so happy about it I could do a jig.  I even went dancing.  It was fantastic.  The next day, I was a little sore, but I was not crying on my couch because I hurt so bad.  Now, I have muscle soreness from time to time, but that is nothing like the pain I was experiencing in my legs and that soreness actually makes me feel better because it means that I’m using muscles I haven’t for over a year.

Besides, there were problems that I’m not even going to discuss on my blog.  No one needs to know how bad my mental and physical state had gotten.  I will admit that I became depressed because I was always in pain and believed I was crazy.

Yes, I’m behind on Flawless Dreams and it is looking slimmer and slimmer that I will get it done by the end of the year.  For that, I am very sorry.

However, I feel better, physically and mentally than I have for over a year now.  I’m still working on the depression and since I can’t take antidepressants, that’s been difficult, but my mood has been picking up now that the pain has stopped.  Slowly, but surely, I am returning to normal.

I hope that is a large enough achievement for my readers.  I promise Triggered Dreams will release on time (January 2017).  I promise Flawless Dreams will release soon, I just don’t have an exact date.  It needs some serious work because a lot of what I wrote is marred by pain and pain meds.  I go back and try to fix it, but I think that just makes it worse.  It might be one of the few books that need more than one draft.

Personally, I’m a little disappointed in myself.  I had big plans for this year and 2017, but I failed to accomplish this year’s goals and I am going to have to scale back my plans for 2017.

Trivia Day

I’ve had to do a lot of research about insects for Flawless Dreams, but it got me thinking about all the useless trivia I have locked in my head.  So have some tidbits of information that will probably never be useful to you:

  • It snows almost every year in Hawaii.  The mountains get snow annually while the rest of the island stays warm and comfortable.  Mauna Loa is supposed to get over a foot in the next week.
  • Volcanoes are scary and deadly, but Krakatoa might be the worst.  As recently as 1883, Krakatoa had a large enough eruption to cause a volcanic winter for most of the world.  It lasted four years with record snowfalls happening and snow in places that don’t normally get it.  It also lead to famines from the shortened summers.
  • Calderas are a special type of volcanic that does not form into a mountain.  Most calderas are large enough to cause volcanic winters, however, some are large enough to cause extinction events.  The most worrisome is Yellowstone Caldera.  It is overdue to erupt and the geyser Old Faithful has become somewhat less faithful, indicating changes in the caldera.  When it goes, it could release enough material into the air to cause an extinction level event bigger than what wiped out dinosaurs.
  • The Mayans did not predict the world would end in 2012.  They actually predicted an end of an age.  The Mayans believed that the world existed in ages.  Each age had its own distinct features.  That was why the calendar ended in 2012.  It was the end of that age, then there would have been five days in which the veil between the worlds thinned, once that period was over, the next age began.
  • More than 40% of the North American population believes in Bigfoot.
  • Over 60% of the world’s population believes in ghosts.
  • The issue with the above two statements is that I never got a survey in the mail or over the phone asking me if I believed in either.  That is the real problem with statistics.  It’s not that they are made up, it’s that they sample a “representative population.” Then they extrapolate the data and apply it to larger groups.  So they probably asked 3,ooo people in North America if they believed in Bigfoot and 40%+ said yes, so now 40%+ of North Americans are supposed to believe in Bigfoot.
  • Insects are not picky eaters.  We like to think they are, but even ants are just as happy eating decaying flesh as they are sugar.
  • There are more than double the number of species of moths in the world than butterflies – approximately 160,000 species of moths compared to 75,000 species of butterflies.  Moths also have more diversity in their coloration and their build than butterflies.
  • The name Hadena means “from a meadow of flowers,” which is why there is a family of moths named Hadena.  However, when my mother was considering it for my name, she didn’t know it was a real name… She was just feminizing my grandfather’s name, Haden, by adding an “a” at the end.  I pronounce it “ha-Dean-ah” with the stress on the middle syllable.  Most people pronounce it incorrectly unless they hear me say it first.
  • It is more acceptable to give a girl a masculine name than it is to give a boy a feminine sounding name in English-speaking countries, which is why Russian & German diminutives bother Americans and Brits.  Male names like Mischa, Sascha, and Alexsey (this is not a diminutive) are almost always suspected of being female names, despite being masculine in origin.  However, naming a female Chris or James is not as bothersome.
  • After William the Conqueror conquered Britain, French became the official language.  It stayed that way for several hundred years.
  • In movies and on TV, when they exhume a body, the casket is always in tact.  However, in real life, most caskets last less than a month before the weight of the dirt above them begins to collapse them.
  • The speed of light has been slowed down to a staggering 38 miles an hour through a block of sodium something or other (I have forgotten the compound).
  • More track suits are sold in Russia than in any other country.  They have become a major fashion staple since the fall of the Soviet Union.
  • Finally, on a terrifying note, alligators and crocodiles can climb chain link fences.  It is actually a fairly common problem on NASA properties in the US.

That’s all for now!

Indies Aren’t Perfect, But They Try

Sometimes I get really annoyed when I read reviews of indie books.  The biggest complaint is spelling and grammar errors.  Recently, I read a book that had a slew of these reviews.  I ignored them and read it anyway because I thought it sounded good.

Three… I found three errors.  Now, I’m not a proofreader, but I am an avid reader and three errors really doesn’t seem that bad to me.  Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have noticed them at all because I was so into the story if I hadn’t been looking for them.

No indie author has a perfect book.  As a matter of fact, the perfect book is somewhat of a myth.  Even traditional authors have issues when they go to print.  Don’t believe me?  Get your hands on some first print runs of some major books.

I believe it is book three of the Anita Blake series when Anita’s car changes color, not once, but twice in a single page.  In the Lincoln Rhymes series, they have a “predestined meeting place”, which doesn’t actually make sense.  I think it should have been “predetermined,” but I read the book and enjoyed it just fine.

We strive for perfection, but it isn’t always obtainable.  Here are some things editors have done to my books:

  • Changed all the names of the characters in the D&R books to make them sound more “American.” This is why Eric Clachan, Aislinn’s brother, seems to be Alex Clachan in Tortured Dreams (no, you didn’t imagine that if you caught it).  It’s in audiobook form and I can’t change it, so it just exists.
  • Changed Gabriel Henders last name to Hendricks, because “Henders isn’t a real last name.”  It is and it’s what I wanted.  However, it was recently pointed out to me that I missed one of the Hendricks references in Elysium Dreams.
  • Notice the double Fionas?  Fiona Gentry dies in Elysium Dreams.  Fiona Stewart goes to work for the SCTU.  Except, there was only one Fiona in my head.  An editor changed Lana Gentry to Fiona Gentry because “it sounded better.”  When I rejected the change, she refused to finish the project.  Since I had already paid her, I eventually gave in and changed it to Fiona because I didn’t want to start all over with a different editor. (I had already done that twice with the book… we’ll get there)
  • A different editor “skimmed” through all the killer chapters in Elysium Dreams as well as the violent scenes with Ace or the rest of the SCTU because she couldn’t handle the gore.  She didn’t tell me this until she started editing Explosive Dreams.  When she got to the fairground scene with Xavier and Ace, she gave up.  She’d edited three of the D&R books at that point.  Which is why I hired the editor that hated all the names because they weren’t American enough and that led me to hire the editor that refused to continue if I used Lana Gentry as a name for a character.
  • I hired a man after the Explosive Dreams debacle.  He said he could handle the gore.  He edited part of Cannibal Dreams and decided he hated Aislinn Cain and Patterson Clachan so much that he couldn’t continue.  He did refund me part of my money, but he’s the only one.
  • So, back to a woman to finish Cannibal Dreams.  Which she did and then I hired her for Butchered Dreams.  Except she was too busy to actually edit either of them and gave them to her friend to edit instead.  Her notes were weird because she kept asking me where the romance was.  When I finally sent her a note explaining there was no romance, she gave up on editing the book.  I could actually see where she lost interest.  I had to ask about it because the editor told me this wouldn’t be a problem for her, she like serial killer horror, so why was she now squawking about the lack of romance and the brutality?  Eventually, she admitted that she had overbooked and hadn’t gotten to them herself, but had given them to a qualified friend… who only read romance novels.
  • The first editor of The Dysfunctional Affair kept putting in “Insert Sex Scene Here.”  When I rejected all of those comments, she said I was too difficult to work with.  She finished the job, somewhat, and told me she would never work with me again.
  • The first time I hired a proof reader was for Elysium Dreams… It had been in the hands of three editors and needed a lot of work.  I found a man who said he would love to do it.  It contained 102,098 changes.  It’s only 75,000 words…  Nineteen hours of going through his proofreading changes convinced me that he didn’t really understand the genre I wrote, he kept wanting to remove words like “blood,” “brains,” “hell,” “shit,” “torture,” “skinning,” and anything else violent in nature.  He actually suggested that instead of having Ace get jabbed with a hypodermic needle in the neck and it breaking off, that I have her get slapped in the face with an open hand and have that knock her out, but without bleeding.
  • The proof reader I hired for Explosive Dreams had some issues too.  She demanded I remove the explosion scene at the beginning because it gave the wrong impression.
  • The proofer I hired for Dark Cotillion informed me that I didn’t know my mythology well enough to write a book with such characters.  She even sent me a long email explaining that Anubis was a Greek god, Fenrir was Sumerian, and Kagutsuchi was Celt.  I Googled them all and sent her the links, explaining their origins, their physical traits, their emotional traits, and their powers.  She sent me a dismissive response telling me she had a history degree, she was the expert, not Google.  She also swore I was the most difficult author she had ever worked with.  She also completely ignored the fact that I also have a history degree and might know what I’m talking about.
  • But the one that takes the cake, is the husband and wife team that I hired in a desperate attempt to fix Elysium Dreams.  They just randomly inserted comments.  It’s like they read a paragraph and made a comment about it without reading any of the paragraphs around it.  I had no “changes”, but I did have nearly 50,000 comments on how I could improve specific paragraphs that actually wouldn’t have improved them because a paragraph by itself doesn’t tell a whole story.  I realized they were failing miserably when they commented that a paragraph would be better if it explained why Aislinn was injured.  It had been explained in the two paragraphs immediately above it.

Yes, we try to be perfect, but it’s hard.  Editors and proofers are human, even the best ones miss things.  However, finding real editors and proofers is like jumping down a slide with a blindfold on in a river full of saltwater crocodiles.  Because for every good editor or proofer, there’s at least one that is in it purely for the money and since the industry is booming, it’s easy for them to make a few thousand a week without doing much work.

And like me, you have to be in this business for a while or know people to get a good editor or proofer.  We trust these people because we pay them.  I have trouble reading my own books, let alone editing them (it embarrasses me, which is weird as hell and I know that).  I had my fair share of scammers and people who were just plain lazy.  And they have made good money off of me.  Nothing I can do about that, except move on and try someone new.

I now have a good editor and a good proofer.  But they are human and they do miss things in every book.  I figure if I’m at only four or five errors per book, I’m doing really good.  I’ve read some books by indies that have had editors and proofers and still had books that looked like a fifth grader wrote them because the punctuation and grammar was atrocious and we won’t even talk about the spelling errors.

Editing is the only disadvantage an indie actually has… We do not have ten or eleven or twelve editors going through our books line by line because we cannot afford to pay that many editors and proofers.

Things I Need

It’s December which means everyone’s favorite question is what do you want for Christmas?  The things I usually want are not tangible items that can be given to me as presents.  So, I try to think of things I need.  This year, my list of things I need is also intangible…

I need:

  • The jacket copy (blurb) for Flawless Dreams so I can get the cover finalized.
  • The ending for Flawless Dreams.  It still eludes me.
  • Two or three extra weeks this year because I am so far behind schedule on everything that I’m starting to panic a little.
  • Good indoor games to play with Lola the Destroyer because while she looks more like a German Shepherd, she is half collie and has more energy than me in the cold weather.
  • People to get along. I’m not asking for world peace, just an agreement to disagree and be nice to each other.
  • More best friend time – this is totally my fault and not theirs… I just always seem to be busy, yet I never seem to get anything done and no, that doesn’t make sense.
  • More family time – Thanksgiving reminded me of how much I miss having a house full of nephews and nieces and board games with pizza on a night that no one has to work the next day.  And yes, I’m to that age where board games with the nephews and nieces with food and laughs is better than a party.
  • My favorite indie writers to be successful (I have a list if you want book recommendations).
  • To be approved for membership to the Mysterious Package Company.  I simply love a little intrigue and a sense of humor.

Having said that, I never complain about getting pajamas, games, money, gizmos, gadgets, kitchen appliances I probably won’t use, socks, books, gift cards, underwear (one year, my grandmother who has passed on gave me and my cousin bras that we opened in front of the entire family, like our entire extended family – good thing I don’t embarrass easily), girly-girl things that I can’t figure out how to use because I’m just not a girly-girl, scratch off lottery tickets, candy, cheese assortments, things that I can put other things into (not a trash can Mom), reviews of my books, light weight zippered jackets that I can wear indoors because I live with a polar bear and a dog with a thick undercoat, wine, and just about anything really because I have never gotten a gift I didn’t like.  After all, a gift means someone took the time to think about you and buy you something.  That in itself is special.

Oh, wait, I thought of something tangible I want and it means I think I might be growing up.  I’ve had this strange desire to wear blouses lately.  But most of my shirts are T-shirts… and good luck family trying to buy me a blouse, I’m so picky about them that even though I want it, it would be hard to buy it for me.

The Point Of Modern Medicine

The point of modern medicine is to make us feel better.  Since Midnight last night, I have been dealing with a migraine that’s easily a 10 on the pain scale.  I took 200mgs of sumatriptan, I took 4 – butalbital/acetaminophin 50/325 tablets, I took some meclizine for the vertigo and I got zero relief.

So, I went to Providence Urgent Care.  It’s an outpatient clinic in my home town.  My hope was that they would give me a Toradol shot and some nausea medicine and I could come home and get rid of my migraine.

Nope.  Despite my instance that I had a “normal for me” migraine and that I had had a CT scan and MRI in the last six months, they refused to treat me.  They required me to go to the an ER for a CT scan.

I went.  The waiting room was fucking packed.  The noise, the smell, the lights, all of it was enough to make me start crying.  I asked the nurse how long it would be and if I could wait somewhere quiet.  They have a quiet room.

No such luck.  Even though Providence Urgent Care had called ahead and the ER was aware of my situation, they just couldn’t handle the patient load.  The quiet room was incredibly full and it was going to be at least 8 hours before they could get to me.  Now, I could probably get my CT scan done within 4 hours.

My options:  Wait there in those torturous fucking conditions because anyone who has ever had a migraine knows that room full of people talking, phones ringing, two TVs going, and just the hustle and bustle is enough to make you want to slit your wrists or chop off your own damn head OR I could go home.

So, I’m home with a migraine that hurts so bad I continue to cry off and on.  I can’t sleep because of it.  And the fifteen minutes I did spend in that waiting room of the ER was enough to make me want to kill people – because I have frontal lobe migraines and for some reason that brings out the Jack the Ripper in me.

I can’t even get a second opinion without it charging me an arm and a leg because my insurance won’t pay for me to go to any other urgent care center except Providence Urgent Care.  I’ve been to the others for a migraine and it’s roughly a $600 bill.

The point of modern medicine is to make us feel better.  But I’m like every other migraine sufferer on the planet; not all my migraine symptoms fit neatly into a list – particularly, I always have vision issues and vertigo with a migraine… ALWAYS – But that’s why I was refused treatment and had someone demand a CT Scan.  Because while it’s normal for me, it isn’t on the standard list.

However, I would point out that this is the first time someone has refused to treat me with those symptoms.  The very first time.  I get asked “is that normal for you?” and once I reply with “yep, that’s normal for me.” we proceed with treatment.  And of course, my neurologist is on vacation this week…

Thanks Providence Urgent Care for making a migraine sufferer’s day that much worse.  I feel completely and utterly dejected because I can’t handle sitting in a crowded waiting room for 8 hours and now I can’t get treatment unless I do despite the fact that this is a normal for me migraine.  Well done, your level of attention to detail in my case (by the way I was treated by Providence Urgent Care in April for a migraine with these EXACT SAME SYMPTOMS) is just mind-boggling.

My Silence During The Election

Lots of people have asked why I was so silent during the election.  After all, I’m a historian and this election was one for the history books.  It’s because it was painful.

I’m not talking about my candidate or political leanings, I’m talking about my circle of “friends.”  The claws came out on both sides and it got nasty.  Really nasty.

The things people were saying and doing to each other was insane.  The dividing lines weren’t just drawn on the ground, they were freaking carved in stone, filled with gasoline, and set on fire.  Not all of my “friends” made it through unscathed.  A few lost friends.  A few lost the respect of others.  A few showed their true colors and all I could do was sit there and wonder how I had never seen this side of them before.

Here are some examples of my experience from my personal Facebook page:

  • One friend had to be unfriended by me and several others because he began trolling through all the friends of his friends and attacking the ones that were Muslim, not white, or Democrats.  It was nasty.  He called one our mutual friends a “treasonous cunt” because her mother was Asian.  He posted that another should be burnt alive because he married a Jewish woman.  The last one I saw before removing and blocking him was when he said that a Muslim friend of ours would have to go back to whatever “Middle East Hellhole he crawled out of” after Trump was elected… Our friend was born in St. Louis, Missouri and our friend’s parents were born in St. Louis, Missouri.  Even the guy’s grandparents were born in the US, so I’m not sure what hellhole he was talking about, unless he meant St. Louis – which would be Midwest, not Middle East.
  • Another friend was removed after their political posts went from supporting their candidate to supporting concentration camps for political dissenters.  What the hell?  Surely they can’t mean that, right?  After the seventh or eighth post about it, someone finally asked if they meant internment camps, like the Japanese were put in during WWII.  Nope, they meant concentration camps, complete with forced labor, starvation, and mass murder.  Part of the advantage of being an American is the right to disagree with the politics and anyone that supports mass murder as a form of political persuasion has some issues.  They had to go.  (I don’t support internment camps either, but at least they didn’t have oversized cremation ovens)
  • One of my friend’s decided to post a political meme that poked fun at both Clinton and Trump.  They were called everything from a terrorist to a communist.  People reported the post and got the friend banned for a week from Facebook… over a joke… that didn’t take a political side…
  • Finally, people that had been friends for years were blocking or unfriending one another because they supported a different candidate.  Presidents come and go.  Rarely does one get more than about a fifth of their proposed agenda passed into any sort of law.  And our nation has survived some seriously questionable presidents, because it is greater than POTUS.  Giving up on a real friendship because you don’t share political views is bizarre.  It would be one thing if your friend was being hateful like the ones above, but a lot of these weren’t… They just couldn’t agree to disagree on this particular presidential election, as they had in previous elections where they disagreed.

For me, it was an election, not the birth of the antichrist.  I don’t necessarily think Trump will make a good president, but I could say the same for Clinton.  They are both dislikable, but they also have their strengths.  We will have to do what we always do after an election; wait and see.

A Giveaway

Ok, let’s do another giveaway in exchange for honest reviews.  I have lots of prizes and all of them are awesome.

You can use reviews you’ve posted in the past, but reviews for specific books are worth more entries than others.

It’s posted on the left side of my blog and on my Facebook page.

If I get a magical number of new reviews (I haven’t decided on it yet), I will post Donnelly Clachan’s short story on my blog at the end of the giveaway as well.

Dreams & Reality Top 10 Questions Answered

I get asked a lot of questions about the Dreams & Reality books.  I’ve decided to answer the top 10 to the best of my ability without giving away anything.

10.  Will we ever meet Gabriel’s wendigo?  – Yep, I have something special planned for that book.  Expect it to be more like Fortified Dreams than any of the other books in the series.

9.  Did you intentionally name Fiona’s sister and Aislinn sister the same thing? – Yes again.  Bella lives, Isabella died – there are many parallels between Ace & Fiona, this is just one of them.  As Fiona continues to develop, you’ll notice many more.

8.  Lucas is appearing in fewer and fewer scenes, are you about to kill him off?  – No, I love Lucas and he isn’t about to die.  He is dealing with some very important stuff at home that he is keeping secret from the group and it will come to light eventually.  Remember, Aislinn hates dealing with distractions and Lucas is currently not at the top of his game, so she has taken a step back, not me.

7.  Will we figure out the story behind Turkish Jack? How does Gabriel know him?  Is he the wendigo?  – No, Turkish Jack is not Gabriel’s wendigo.  He is important though and his story will be released to some degree in Flawless Dreams.  However, he will have a starring story in the Reality books, so I’m not going to give too much away on him.

6.  Is Aislinn a sociopath or a psychopath, sometimes I’m not sure? – Aislinn is both, a hybrid created by her childhood.  Genetically speaking, she should be a psychopath.  Unfortunately, her time with Callow did some damage to her already questionable emotional state that made her incapable of empathy or sympathy.  She has trouble with the ideal that “she survived, why don’t others?”    While she doesn’t see if, if not for Callow, she would be a psychopath, probably a serial killer.  Her time with him changed her significantly, but she does not understand that because of her age.

5.  How many books do you plan to write in this series?  – Including the Reality books?  Um, many.  I have no set numbers for either the Dreams or Reality books.  I will write them until I run out of ideas.

4.  Is Apex going to become a main character? – Only temporarily, while he and the SCTU work on a common goal the two will ignore the obvious conflicts of interest to figure out how to slay the dragon they can’t find.

3.  Does Caleb have a crush on Aislinn? – Yes and he knows she doesn’t return the sentiment, although, he does hope to change her mind.

2.  Will Aislinn and Malachi ever be a couple? – Not in this lifetime or any other.  Sorry, they just aren’t compatible.  Malachi believes they are, but he isn’t driven by love to believe them suited.  However, don’t tell Malachi that; he is convinced that he loves her.

1. Will Aislinn ever stop being asexual? – Nope.  Sorry.  There will never be a love interest for Aislinn Cain.  Romantic love is beyond her understanding.  The love she feels for her friends and family already overwhelms her, adding a romance to that would probably lead to a mental breakdown from which she wouldn’t recover.  I will give away a little bit though… If she were to ever fall in love, it would be with someone like Gabriel or Xavier, broken but not in the same way she is.  However, don’t get your hopes up about either of those unions either.  Her personality has some fluidity, but her understanding of love and sex are rock solid.

Feel free to ask anything I didn’t answer!

The Dysfunctional Chronicles Top 10 Questions sorta Answered…

I get lots of questions about this series.  Here’s the most frequently asked ones, which the best answers I can give.

10.  The three girls are all related, but how? – Actually, they aren’t.  Nadine is related to Alex on Nadine’s mother’s side.  Nadine is related to Kenzie on Nadine’s father’s side.  Alex and Kenzie are not blood relatives, but they act like they are because they all grew up living in similar insane households.

9.  Does Nadine and Zeke really love each other? – Yes.  Not at first.  But it grew on them both.  Zeke fell faster than Nadine, but Nadine got there by The Dysfunctional Proposal.

8.  Nadine and Zeke kinda have an arranged marriage, why did you choose to do that? – Sometimes arranged marriages are a disaster.  Sometimes they aren’t.  Sometimes unarranged marriages are disasters.  Sometimes they aren’t.  I picked that particular theme because Westerners always believe an arranged marriage is just not going to work.  Plus, it’s still semi-fashionable in Russia for parents to prod and poke their children in what they consider the right direction for a spouse.

7.  How old is Anthony? – Anthony was a man when Nadine was 12.  That was 20 years before the first book.  Another year has passed between Affair and Wedding.  When you really think about it, he has to be over 50.  I haven’t given him an exact age because Anthony is something of a mystery, even to Nadine.  However, anyone reading the D&R books are aware that Anthony is actually a psychopath, it came out in Fortified Dreams.

6.  How can Kenzie have so many failed marriages?  –   Kenzie has married impulsively for love multiple times, only to realize that the love she thought was there wasn’t.  After watching Melina and her own mother struggle with their marriages, she decided early on that if it wasn’t working, it wasn’t worth her time, hence all the divorces.  In contrast, Nadine married for other reasons and found love.  Now, Kenzie has too and the wedding that happened in secret was because she’d done the other several times and been left with nothing to show for it.

5. Will we ever learn about Alex’s mother? – Yep, yep, yep… You’re going to learn a lot about her in The Dysfunctional Wedding, but eventually, she will make an appearance in the series.

4. How big is Nadine’s family? – HUGE.  Nadine’s grandmother won the Mother Heroine award under the USSR rule.  Melina is one of 17 children.  Furthermore, her great grandmother would also have won the Mother Heroine award if she hadn’t rebelled against the Soviets.  Dedka Leon, who will finally be introduced in The Dysfunctional Wedding is one of 21 children that survived to adulthood.  PS: Twins and triplets run in Nadine’s family, which makes Nadine happy she can’t have any and convinced Alex to get sterilized in her mid-30s.

3.  Why don’t the other brothers figure as prominently as Ivan in the series?  – Plain and simple, space.  It’s hard to keep them all straight all the time, not just for me, but for the readers.  They make appearances here and there, but Ivan and Nadine have the closest relationship.  You can expect to learn more about Vlad in the upcoming D&R novels.

2.  Why did you do a crossover between D&R and The Dysfunctional Chronicles?  – D&R and Dysfunctional are set in the same world.  Nadine deals with the protective side of it and organized crime.  Aislinn and the SCTU are the proactive part and specialize in the monsters.  It took me a lot of thinking to decide to cross them over, but in the end, I think it was necessary.  After all, it would be impossible for both groups to exist in Kansas City at the same time and not know each other.  They essentially work for the same side in different ways.

1. What did Melina do exactly to earn a trip to the US?  – Ah, Melina… Melina manipulated a general named Oleg Borisovich Utkin so that she could get very sensitive information.  It’s why Oleg Borisovich hates her soooo much.  She earned a trip out of the USSR because her cover was blown and she had provided a lot of intel to the US on Soviet activities, including an accurate count of nuclear weapons at their disposal and how they occasionally went missing.

I’m open for more… Send ’em to me!

How To Help A Writer

Imagine this:

You go to buy a book and although it’s been out four years, it has 25 reviews.  Now, the reviews are mostly good, but still, that’s not many.  Obviously, no one buys it, so do you?

That’s the problem I have.  I have sold or given away 4,500 copies of The Dysfunctional Affair this year.  One percent came back and bought The Dysfunctional Valentine.  That means that this year, 45 copies of The Dysfunctional Valentine has been purchased…

And yet, The Dysfunctional Affair has only 25 reviews on Amazon and The Dysfunctional Valentine has 13 reviews on Amazon.

When I run an advert for The Dysfunctional Chronicles, I have very low downloads and it’s because it has so few reviews.  Imagine if the 45 people that bought Valentine had left reviews for Affair.  The downloads when I run an ad would be much better, even if the reviews were a mix of good and bad.

I’ll give you a better example of how reviews sell books:

I ran a huge ad for Tortured Dreams when it had 56 reviews.  I got almost 4,000 downloads and thought it was fantastic.  Then I did a huge drive and got it to over 100 reviews.  I ran an advert with the same email company 8 months later and had over 12,0000 downloads.  The last time I ran with them, I had over 200 reviews and had over 20,000 downloads…

This is the other reason the Strachan Series and The Dysfunctional Chronicles do not sell well.  I can get the downloads of book 1 for both series, but since neither books 1 nor books 2 have many reviews, I can’t convince people to separate with their hard earned cash to buy the second book.  Let alone any of the others.

And as much as no one wants to admit it, people don’t shop Goodreads.  So leaving a review there is nice, but it doesn’t help sell books.  People add books to their “I want” list, but putting that into practice… well, it falls a little flat because they go to wherever they buy books, see the low number of reviews and change their minds.

I know this is part of the problem because readers tell me about it.  The most recent was this:

I loved Dark Cotillion, but when I went to buy Dark Illumination it had so few reviews that I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to the first.  After six months, I did eventually buy it and I loved it.  I don’t know why it doesn’t have more reviews.  Do you need to market it more?

Marketing it more doesn’t help.  I market it all the time, but I have very few downloads because I have very few reviews.  So I’m just throwing money away until I can get the reviews needed to sell it.  The Dysfunctional Affair has been liked enough by 1,200 people that they bought The Dysfunctional Valentine so it should have at least 100 Amazon reviews… and yet, it has 25.

This is why I’m talking to readers about writing reviews if they like, love, or hate a book.  It’s how I sell books.  It’s how other authors sell books.  Stephen King didn’t become a Times Bestseller by having a handful of reviews for The Stand.

The most common responses are I don’t read reviews and I don’t know how to write a review.  The problem with both of those is that reviews are necessary, unless you are going to stand next to every potential buyer and tell them how much you enjoyed the book.  I don’t read reviews and until people started figuring out my Amazon user name, I always left reviews.  Writing one is easy: I loved (hated, liked) this book because the characters were (entertaining, annoying, hard to connect with) or The plot was (fast paced, boring, confusing) and kept me (interested, disinterested, shaking my head).  Viola! Done.

Also, if you love a series, don’t review just the first book.  Review a handful of them or review the ones that were your favorite.  Or review every odd number in the series or every even numbered book in the series.

Reviews where you bought the ebook is the best way that any reader can help any author.

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