Thursday, April 27, 2017

First Book Gets a New Look: Throwback Thursday

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On select Thursdays, I like to share a throwback to past writing, book trailers, or randomness about me and/or writing life.

I'm so excited about today's throwback! 

My very first novel, a contemporary romance titled Visions, has just celebrated the 10th anniversary since its release. In honor of this, I added a chapter, extended some scenes, and gave it a brand new cover. Released under my alternate (mainstream) pen name, it hit #27 in Contemporary/Romance in its first week.

The story was based on a dream I had where a celebrity bumps into a stranger and suddenly develops their psychic ability...and in that moment, he sees a future involving the two of them. But romance isn't the only thing that lies ahead.

About Visions:

Her “gift” turns a hot movie star into a real-life hero…


Actor Trenton Dane is researching his next role when he bumps into a beautiful stranger—and suddenly develops her psychic powers. When his enchanting benefactor disappears in the crowd, Trenton launches a search for the woman who invades his dreams and may hold answers to his new ability.
Single mom Glory Windsor would rather hide from the man who reawakened the “gift” she thought she’d buried. She’s as determined to steer clear as Trenton is to explore the visions, as well as his feelings for her. But his movie-star smile and unique pull makes it hard to stay away. Between bills to pay, the paparazzi intent on publicizing their psychic bond, and a jealous ex-husband who wants to ruin everything, she’s got more on her plate than she can handle.
Convincing Glory that the visions shouldn’t be ignored won’t be easy, but Trenton must succeed to fulfill premonitions of their future as well as to save Glory and her child from danger. He will fail at one of these tasks.
Finding a happy ending will prove the most challenging role he’s ever undertaken.



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I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over thirty books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Setting the Stage: Feng Shui Tips for Your Writing Space

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On Select Wednesdays, I post tips and strategies for writers. 

SETTING THE STAGE: FENG SHUI TIPS FOR YOUR WRITING SPACE
by J. Rose Allister

Setting the stage for your next book begins before you ever sit down to outline a character, setting, or plot. Writers  often hear talk about the right "mindset," that elusive state of thought that plunges one into a world where creativity and productivity soar. One of the best ways to set the stage for a writing mindset is to surround yourself with a writing space that is conducive to workflow. Let's consider two scenarios to demonstrate.

Scenario 1: A mystery writer is eager to work on their first book. They have pages of notes that they wrote while making dinner the night before. They sit down, ready to work...but first they have to move stacks of mail to make room for their coffee. On top of the pile they see the gas bill and remember that today is the deadline to pay it. Now for those plot notes...where are they again? Oh right, they're in the other room. The writing area is a nook without any dedicated "business" space. The writer hops up and grabs them from the kitchen table, spotting the unwashed dishes on the way back. The space where the laptop is set up at needs dusting, but it's only somewhat noticeable because the light bulb in the nearby lamp is burned out. They set their notes on top of Junior's baby toys and start organizing their thoughts. The cluttered space and all the things that need doing vie for attention. Two halted paragraphs into the writing session, the baby wakes up from his nap and starts crying. The writer sighs and heads off, thinking, "Maybe tomorrow."
Let's consider another scenario.  A writer is tackling a romantic suspense novel. Coffee in hand, they wander to their writing space. The area is dusted, brightly lit, and already set up as a dedicated writing zone. There's a corkboard on the wall with story cards and representative photos of the main characters. An inspirational quote for writers hangs nearby. A scented citrus-scented candle, meant to awaken and sharpen the mind, wafts a nice fragrance in the air. Nothing in the "zone" diverts attention from the work at hand. The writer sits down and brushes off a casual thought about the errands that need to be done later. It's writing time. They get an entire scene hammered out before the baby wakes up.

Thinking of these examples, which writing space would you prefer to tackle your next project in? Having a set space you not only write in, but have set up as a zone conducive to the creative mindset can help immensely. Does this mean a corkboard and aromatherapy guarantees a book finished in thirty days? No. Does this mean you can't finish a book while surrounded by household distractions? No again. (I've done it myself--many times over.) But taking a little time in advance of your next writing project to give your spot a "feng shui" makeover can help put you in a more writerly frame of mind. Even the action of setting up the space is important. You're demonstrating how serious you take your commitment to the craft.

There are many factors that go into feng shui philosophy, but here I'm just going to give you some basic makeover advice. 

Feng Shui Tips for Your Writing Space:

1. Make sure your area is brightly lit with no burned out bulbs.
2. Clear all clutter.
3. Dust/mop/vacuum whatever is in your view from the space.
4. Place writing items in this space-neatly.
5. A writing "inspiration" piece or two can help you mentally "purpose" the space for writing. This could be a mug with a writer quote, a wall hanging, your lucky writing hat. Just don't overdo it. Clutter is Enemy #1 for a feng-shui-friendly, mentally enriching environment.
6. Engage the senses-lightly. Include a scented candle or diffuser with a light, pleasant scent (avoid those that are meant for relaxation and sleep, though).
7. Add music or a water feature as pleasant white noise. Music, either themed to the genre of your book or a generic instrumental, can help stimulate the creative side of your brain. Alternatively, you can add a small fountain to the area 
8. Real plants produce brain-stimulating oxygen. A healthy living plant is nice to look at, but also helps clean the air and releases oxygen, so consider adding one to your space. (If you have a brown thumb, however, you might want to skip this. Stressing out over yellowing leaves and watering schedules isn't going to be conducive to writing.

By setting up your writing area like this, even if it's just a tiny corner of a bedroom, you may find you get an immediate mental lift. I hope you find it useful!

What tips do you have for setting up a writing area?
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For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than thirty books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Homemade Tempura Batter

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It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!


While I do try to highly restrict the amount of fried foods I eat, I am a sucker for a good tempura. The combo of crispy skin and barely tender vegetables or meat inside is hard to resist. So of course I had to learn to make it at home.
Lots of veggies work for this. My favorites are sweet potato, zucchini, and whole mushrooms. 

Homemade Tempura Batter

 Ingredients

2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. milk
1 tbsp. melted butter
Your choice of items to dip in batter: veggies cut in uniform pieces, peeled/deveined shrimp, whitefish.


Directions

Beat eggs briefly, then stir in milk and butter. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl; stir into egg mixture and combine all until batter is smooth. 

For deep fryer:
Heat fat to 360 degrees. Dip vegetables/shrimp/fish in batter and place in strainer in fry basket. Fill only 1/3 full to keep batter from overflowing basket. Lower into oil and use spoon or tongs occasionally to keep items from sticking together. 

If you don't have a deep fryer, use a wok or saucepan filled with a couple inches or so of oil. 

Fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Note: if doing both seafood and veggies, do the veggies first so they don't pick up a fishy odor.


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J. Rose Allister is the author of more than thirty books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, April 3, 2017

New Books, New Puppy, TV Endings

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On (usually) the first Monday of the month I gab about what's going on with me, my writing, and life in general.

April is here! April Fools, Easter, taxes...April tends to be a hoppin' busy month, and I feel like I got a running start on  that during March. Lots of things going on!


New Books


I've got not one but two new releases. Even better, both are free! For urban fantasy fans, I've re-released Their Secret Paradise, a little-known spinoff title to my Immortal Paradise series. Written for a tiny digital press, this is the book that inspired a series set on an exclusive resort island whose guests aren't always human. 

Also, under my new contemporary romance pen, I released a special 10th anniversary expanded edition of my first novel ever, Visions. This is the book that Barnes and Noble accidentally listed as having been written by Dr. Seuss! Imagine that happening to a new author with her very first book launch, heh.

New Puppy

Naptime is when I can write!
In last month's update, I mentioned I was suffering from a lack of time. Well, if there's one thing that can bring any carefully crafting writing schedule to a screeching halt, it's becoming the proud owner of a four-month-old furball of energy. But after a long time of waiting and wanting to add a canine companion to our family, we finally went to a nearby rescue shelter and came home with Tina, a beagle-daschund mix. Life is full of puppy kisses, walks, long naps (for her, not me), and for now, keeping her "cone" on and her stitches intact following her spay surgery. But I'm pleased to say I'm still getting *some* writing done in the meantime. Some. Usually during naptime.


TV Ending


The shows I watch have been wrapping up, some for now, some forever. The Walking Dead is done until fall, Grimm and Bones forever. Sigh. Then Game of Thrones won't be starting until July, so I'm getting impatient. At least Fear the Walking Dead starts up soon. I binged Vikings so fast that I'm already out of episodes, drat. At least there's still a few more of Reign, but I was bummed to hear that's ending too. All good things, I suppose.

Until next time...


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On select Mondays, I like to gab about whatever's going on with me. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Half Panicked, Half Fascinated -Snippet Sunday

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Today's snippet contains brief mature content.

It's Snippet Sunday, a Weekend Writing Warriors'  blog hop!

I'm alternating snippets between this blog and my mainstream romance pen name. This week, I've got another snippet from Their Secret Paradise. It's in soft launch and will be officially released soon.

Quick synopsis: Parapsychology graduate Gina Munson finds her uncle's island resort fascinating-but romantically dangerous. The supernatural seduction of the island backfired on her before. Now, her only interest is to study the phenomenon without falling victim to it’s “charms.” Contractor David Gilroy wouldn’t believe in that power even if he knew about it. He cares only about his building job...until he discovers Gina sunbathing topless in a secluded tropical nook. When Gina won’t trust what they’re feeling, how can David convince her his passion is real? What if it isn’t?

The snippet...
(Edited slightly to fit the format)
Last time, David was trying to backpedal after accidentally photographing Gina while she was sunbathing topless. After explaining that he was hired for construction at the resort, he questioned whether the public was allowed to sunbathe topless there in the first place. We ended with: 

“I wasn’t looking for public sunbathing for obvious reasons,” she said, her gaze sliding over to the abandoned swimsuit as though she could will it back onto her body.

Let's move on from there...

David’s smile widened as he took in little details about her. Sun glinted off a thick rumple of strawberry blonde hair. Every limb and angle on her lithe form was sleek, tanned, delectably curved, and beyond edible. Against his better judgment, he took a long stride toward her.
Her eyes goggled, and she shrank back until the lounger pressed against her calves halted her retreat. “Stop or I'll scream.” Yet her voice had lowered to a contradictory whisper as he drew closer, not stopping until he was a foot or so away.
Her half-panicked, half-fascinated stare held his own as he leaned toward her. She jerked and sucked in a loud breath as he reached past her to snap up the bikini top. He held the garment out to her, which she now stared at as though it would bite.
  
...So what do you think?

Coming soon...



For more awesome snippets, check out 


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I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over thirty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!

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