Recently, I've been going through some book ideas that I have worked on in the past. I have a couple of books that I've started on and sadly, the idea, for whatever reason, has fallen flat. I had an apocalyptic story revolving around fierce storms that I was deep into back in 2012 that I just sort of stopped writing on. Actually, now that I think about it, I remember exactly why I stopped writing on that one.... That year was a year that seemed like whatever I wrote in the story seemed to come true in storm systems across my area. Coincidence? Oh, I'm almost sure of it, but it was still enough for me to get a little wigged out about it. That year on April 29th, a tornadic storm ripped through my neighborhood, tearing up my car and my house. (I live in an active tornado area, but it was enough to hit that close to home to make me shy away.) I think that was the final straw in putting that story on hold, and sadly, I never went back to it. Now, almost two years later, I've dusted off that old file and have done some looking around on it. If I do a thorough read through on it, I think maybe the muse could come back and maybe I could complete it. Of course, storm season is right around the corner and gearing up, so should I? Hmmm, yeah, why the heck not?? Apocalyptic stories seem to do pretty well.
The story is titled "The Roaring Silence" and here is the probable cover that I was thinking about using. Keep in mind that this is just the preview and not the purchased background that I would use, hence the watermark over the middle of it. The final picture will not have that:
Another book on my mind is the very first self published book I ever wrote called Modern Day Drifter. I took that book down due to it needing some mega re-writes. What can I say? It was my first book and I was so naïve going into it all. I had EVERY intention of making it available again and gosh, I want to say it's been well over four years since I took it down off of the Amazon website. It was basically a general romance about an ex convict who found his way to a small town and began working on a ranch. He becomes a rodeo prodigy and finds something he is great at. It doesn't have as complex of a plot as my Troubled Heroes Series does, but it was good for a quick, romantic read. Maybe this summer I can do those re-writes and get it back out there as well.
Long story short - I need to start producing more stories at a quicker pace. With two half written books sitting on my shelf, the potential to produce more than a book a year is there... I just have to get the muse back for both of them. With storm season rolling in soon, maybe The Roaring Silence can really take off and I can have that out soon. I need to stop letting things fall flat and buckle down and finish!
|Click here to see this book in the Amazon store|
For those who are not too familiar with the book, here is the description:
Ryan Shay wants to forget his past. Memories of an abusive childhood, betrayal from his family, and failure to trust anyone have held him captive his whole life. Afraid to confront his demons, it's a miracle he hasn't wound up a statistic in the war on drugs. Having no real purpose or reason to get better, he has failed several rehab stints and has always gone back to the one thing he finds comfort in - drugs and alcohol. After being accused of stealing from a local dealer, suffering from an overdose, and learning he might have a son, Ryan finds a strong reason to break the chains of his addictive past and end the cycle of his shameful ways. He is determined to become clean, despite the constant negativity sent his way from his friends and society. His success is not only for himself, but for someone who desperately needs him. What could be viewed as a careless mistake to many is possibly the one thing that might save Ryan Shay's life.
I also have included a note from the author, and if you're interested, here is what I had to say about the process of writing this particular book and why I chose to do something so dark:
A note from J.R. -
-Reader discretion advised -- this book contains some graphic content.
Forgiveness won't change the past - but can do a lot for a future. This book was an idea I have thought about for several years. I am fascinated with the human mind, from addictions, to deep rooted psychology - it is a topic I'm always thinking about. This story poured out and I wrote it faster than any book I've ever mused about. I was a bit worried about the subject matter at first, which is why it took me so long to actually give the idea a second thought, but now that it is published, I am thankful I did it. It became a journey far more exciting, emotional, and thrilling than I ever imagined it could be. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I hope that it doesn't scare readers away. In general, the book is quite dark at times, but sadly, is realistic to what many people go through in life. It isn't fantasy, it isn't something so far out there that it's unbelievable - people live with addictions and demons everyday, and I wanted to share Ryan Shay's story to those who were interested to give hope, faith, and a reason for others to try and take that huge step out to save their own lives.
Please help spread the word.... My Troubled Heroes Series is doing well and I would love for Fight for Absolution and Ryan's story to come out of the shadows and stand right along side Mikey and his story. I love both of these characters.
Happy reading! Spring is almost here!!!
As I sat down to write this blog today, I came to terms with myself that there are probably thousands of blogs geared toward weight loss, working out, and keeping inspiration going. It is now February 1st - a whole month has passed since about 90% of the population makes resolutions to eat right, work out, and stay on track. My question to you is, are you still sticking to your resolution? As stated, a month has progressed.... 4 weeks.... Take a second to think about what you told yourself at the turn of the new year.
That brings me to my next point -
"Dedication is doing what you said you would do long after the mood you said it in has passed."
This means that you have to stick with working out like you told yourself on December 31st. The "I'm too tired" excuses need to be kicked out of the window. Some people choose to workout early before they go to work, others do it in the evenings and on weekends. I personally do it after work and hit it hard on the weekends.... Am I tired after I get home from work? YOU BET.
Personally, I don't ever set a New Year's Resolution. May 10, 2014 will be my year anniversary of working out regularly, and by regularly I mean 4-5 days a week for 30+ minutes. Of course I had a few off weeks in the mix, but I didn't let those set me back for my over all work out plan. Why do you need January 1st to make a lifestyle change? Hell, if we're going to get down to it, why even wait for a Monday? I hear so many people say "My diet starts Monday..." Why? Why not today? Why not now? There's no rule saying you have to start on a certain day.
There is an office competition going on at work that started after the new year. It is a "Biggest Loser" contest where participants weigh in every Thursday and the nutritionist in our office takes a percentage of total body weight loss. She tallies it up by that, and the top three will win a cash prize. I'm not taking part in the contest. Many have asked me why, seeing as I've developed an excellent workout routine I've been on since May. My answer is simply this - I do NOT believe in stepping on the scale. Before I get too far into why, let me just clarify a myth that I hear so many people saying.... Muscle does NOT weight more than fat - a pound is a pound whether it's feathers or bricks.... It is just a lot more dense and does not take up near as much space.... Which in turn means if you're working out, you're toning muscle and replacing fat cells. Some people's weight does not change, and in some cases, even goes up, yet it is quite obvious that they are not as "big" as they used to be. Don't even get me started on how much I disagree with the BMI chart.... that's a blog for another day! Long story short, it makes athletes look obese when it is quite obvious they're not even close to it!
Here is a good picture of the comparison, so I'll let you come to your own conclusions. Anyway, going back to the contest at work... I hear so many grumblings and disappointment on Thursday mornings after people weigh in. Some are discouraged by the fact that their weight hasn't changed or gone up. I ask them if they've been working out - most say yes. Hmm... call me crazy, but I think my hatred of the scale is justified - these people who haven't changed in weight (but have obviously lost some inches) claim they just want to give up. Why? We are 4 weeks into the contest.... It didn't take 4 weeks (in most cases) to gain the weight... why the heck would it only take 4 weeks to start losing inches?? If it were that easy, I wouldn't be sitting here today typing about people bailing on their weight loss and workout resolutions.... everyone would do it without breaking a sweat!
If you want a great way to track your progress, measure yourself. Do NOT get on the scale. Another good judge is how your clothes are fitting. Go by that. The scale does NOT define you or your progress.
Why go on this rant of the horrible scale you might have tucked somewhere in your bathroom? It stems back to new years resolutions and how people are so quick to give up. A lot of it can be blamed on people getting on that scale and not liking the number that pops up. Throw the damn thing away! I dread Thursday mornings when so many people get down on themselves. We are only 4 weeks in. I think maybe they should go by inches lost and not even worry about the scale.
I've made great progress on my workout journey. I'd state how many pounds are gone, but like I said, I won't step on the scale. It'll totally make the sky fall on me and I'm not going to do that to myself. All I know is this - when I first started, I couldn't run a complete mile. I would tell myself 30 minutes or 2 miles (with walking added in), whichever comes first.... Now I look down at my watch and am well over 2 miles when I hit the thirty minute mark.... and I don't stop there. I consider 2 miles a very short distance and most days, use it as a warm up before I pick the intensity up. If I could do it.... you can too!
One last thing before I go... and keep this in mind on days where you feel like a busted tube of biscuits -
Give it more than 12 weeks. A year from now you'll wish you started today! Back to the first sentence of this blog - I'm totally aware of how many blogs are out there pertaining to this - Do I care? Not that there's already a ton - I'll care more if this could reach at least one person and give them that boost.
After taking much longer than I had anticipated, Fire Escape - Book Three: Troubled Heroes Series is now available! Here is the book blurb:
Michael McGinnis has finally escaped the clutches of alcohol, and with his brother Casey doing well in rehab, for the first time in his life, he dares to hope that what only seemed like a fantasy a year ago - a life with Eva as his wife, a child or two, and a job he was born to do - will become a reality. But Viper reaches out even from prison, and sets out to shatter Michael's dreams. With help from outside sources, he frames Michael for a string of arson cases. Desperate to clear his name, Michael becomes a fugitive, staying one step ahead of the law, but one step behind the real arsonist.
Saturday night when I was editing, it was perfect. Right when I went to the KDP website to begin uploading the manuscript, I received an email from a reader stating how much they loved the book (Through Smoke, Book one in this series) and how they understand how important character development is. I have been in a feedback drought lately, and was thrilled to hear from someone. She went on to state that she would be reading the sequel, Backfire. I just had to let her know that her timing was perfect, and that the third book would soon be available in literally a matter of hours.
I apologize for the delay in finishing - I have put reasons (excuses) toward the end of the book in a special note to all of you.
Happy reading! Stay warm out there - spring will (hopefully) be here soon! And as always, I'd love to hear from you all! Hate the book or love it, sending me a quick email, tweet, or comment on Facebook will help me improve!
First off, I want to start out this blog entry with a huge thank you to all of you readers out there who take the time to review, ‘like’ my author page, and email me pertaining to my books. Feedback is greatly appreciated, whether it is positive or constructive. One of the best ways to improve is hearing from others about my work! So, to get this started, THANK YOU!
Tying in to feedback, I want to broach the subject of the realism in Through Smoke and Backfire: The Sequel to Through Smoke. I’ve had a couple of people get back to me with concerns of the language used within these books. A few have said that the language was a bit harsh and inappropriate for the story. That is definitely an understandable concern. I have thought about this common thing that is brought up in emails to me. I want to apologize to those who didn’t like it. But I’d also like to explain why I wrote them the way I did.
I want to keep the story as real as possible.
I don’t want you all to think I’m handing out an excuse. I’m being truthful when I say I’m keeping it real. I grew up around firefighters and emergency personnel. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but they tend to have mouths like sailors. It’s almost like it comes with the job. I guess there really isn’t a 100% certain reason as to why this happens – I just know that it does happen.
Think about the TV show Rescue Me. Yes, it’s a fictional show about the FDNY. Denis Leary was the creator/writer/producer etc etc…. However, to not ramble, he has family who is also in this kind of business. If you’ve ever even seen just five minutes of this show, you’ll see that the language is even worse than what I’ve done in my books… It is what it is. I don’t want someone getting back to me and say that the book isn’t how the real thing is.
So… when asked why I felt I needed to put that type of language in my books, the quick and simple explanation is that I want it to be as REAL as I possibly can. Again, I apologize to those who found it offensive and unnecessary. I hope that you can still find enjoyment in the plots in the books and the writing. I keep you all in mind when I’m writing new material – your concerns and feedback do not get ignored, I promise you that!
I appreciate each and every one of you – yes, even those that do not enjoy what I put down into words. You all make me a stronger writer. I couldn’t ask for better readers!
Happy reading to you all, and I hope a wonderful book is in your near future!
I’ve learned that a lot of people don’t know this general fact about me – I’m a runner. Just to be clear… I’m not a major track star and have never claimed to be, but I love how it makes me feel! Back in my high school days I ran cross country and man, I’d kill to be able to run how I did back then. Regardless, I’ve been on a good routine since the beginning of May – I invested in a heart rate monitor and watch that allows me to keep track of my runs as well as how many calories I’m burning and my target heart rate zones.
I know many work out professionals say not to harp on the numbers. Don’t weigh yourself, don’t look at the calories…. Blah blah blah. But then you have some individuals who tell you to look at that stuff, so it’s a constant circle of do’s and don’ts that the runner gets so confused by. Personally, I just do what I do and stick to what I have planned for myself. I like to track calories just to gauge how much effort I’m putting into the work. I do NOT look at the scale, seeing as muscle weighs more than fat and people who are exercising get so discouraged when they hop on and see the number climbing, rather than getting smaller. To those who have done this, remember that your fat is being replaced by muscle, and muscle means you are toning up. Always go by inches lost, not weight lost. This is another reason I cannot stand the BMI scale, because athletes always fall into the ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ category, and that is definitely NOT true!
To get to my point – You just have to do what makes you happy. Hop on that scale, count the calories, whatever floats your boat. Just don’t get discouraged a few weeks in when things aren’t going the way you had hoped. You have to be realistic about your goals. You aren’t going to lose two pants sizes in a week. I’ve seen this inspirational picture flying all over Facebook lately that says:
It takes four weeks for you to notice a change,
8 weeks for your friends and family,
And 12 for the rest of the world.
I know this can be easier said than done, and I’ve had moments where I have to ask questions. I am definitely seeing a more fit person in the mirror, and people are even asking me what I’m doing. And it’s the end of July, so yes, it does take time.
On a side note, back to when I was talking about doing what makes you happy, I have to mention people in this town and their reaction to seeing someone running on the side of the road. They act like I’m some alien. Rather than slow down for the pedestrian, they speed up. Today I was jogging on a country road (I have my phone and pepper spray with me for security), some dude in a white car drives by and honks. I just have to tell myself that I’m out there, capable of doing what I do. If people want to frown down on my hobby, let ‘em! I do this for me. My confidence has been up and I’m wearing amazing clothing and feeling amazing in them! As for the guy who honked… should I be flattered? I –am- that hot chick out there keeping her figure a 10! Hah, just kidding… I’m not NEAR that arrogant!
Whoever stumbles across this blog, I hope you find success in whatever it is you choose to do, whether it be working out, writing, or whatever your hobby may be. Stick with whatever it is. Just like everything in life, it takes time!
Hello world. I have been M.I.A. again, for what seems to be the hundredth time. You are all probably thinking (those of you who have been faithful enough to stick around during my long silences) what the heck happened THIS time? To put it short – a major life changing event took place in March – March 1st to be exact.
Without going in to too much detail about the events that transpired, my father passed away from a sudden illness on March 26th. This is the first time I’ve actually sat down and put my thoughts together enough to write them all out. Since this blog is very public, I am going to keep a lot of it to myself, but for those who are curious, it was a lung disease. We are still waiting on the final report from the doctor to know exactly what it was, for genetic purposes so my siblings and I can be careful.
While the possibility of it being genetic lingering around, it could also be an environmental factor. My father was a firefighter/lieutenant with the Woodrow Volunteer Fire Department for 17 years. He also worked refrigeration for a long time before becoming a paramedic. Those are two very high risk jobs where he was breathing in some of the most awful things that could tear a person’s lungs up. Let’s just say, we are anxiously awaiting the call from his pulmonologist.
There is so much to this story and what happened during those short 26 days that at the time, seemed like a lifetime. Eventually I will map it all out and write it down, but with it only being May, the wound still seems too fresh to do that.
He would be turning 55 next Saturday, May 18th. While he was only on this earth a short time, he impacted so many around him, from his children, his wife and other family, to those he worked with at the fire department and EMS station. He was an instructor for EMS for several years, and seeing some of the students he taught years ago at the funeral spoke volumes on how highly he was favored by those who came into his life. I always knew my father was an amazing man, but the day of the funeral was an awesome awakening. We were the third vehicle in line behind the funeral escort and ambulance (he was transported by that, not a hearse) and I looked back and saw just how long the procession was. If dad had been around to see that, he would’ve been blushing.
For anyone that knew my father and saw my interaction with him would say that my attitude was just like him. It used to bug me when people would say that. Not that I didn’t want to be like him, but I felt like I needed to be my own person. Now when my mom tells me I flashed a certain expression that he always did, or said something that sounded like him, I’m proud. He was my best friend.
For now, that’s all I have in me to write about right now. Maybe one day I can sit and write out what transpired in March of 2013, up until my dad was called home. I just can’t do it right now. This is my short explanation of why I’ve been on hiatus from my writing. I’m slowly creating “new normal” that I’ve got to get used to.
Now it’s time for a cliché line, but you knew it was coming – Love those around you. Cherish every second you have with them. One day you will wake up and only have those memories of things you once shared, and if you loved like crazy, laughed, and always let your feelings be known to the other, the memories will bring a smile to your face.
What keeps me strong is knowing that Daddy is always with me. I’ve seen subtle signs reminding me of that, as well as him letting me know that he is okay. I will see him again one day. His passing was not a goodbye – it was a see you later.
I hope you are all doing well! Happy spring…. and may you all be blessed. J
This past week has been amazing in regard to my books. Through Smoke went free on Monday, February 4th and was free through the 6th. I run freebies from time to time to try to get some exposure, but this particular promo had perfect timing. It was a great experience. While the downloads came in, that was a great feeling, but the best part of it all is knowing how many new readers I’m gaining. My author page had several new ‘likes’ and I have received several emails.
As a writer, it is a natural high to hear from people who read their material. Each download that showed up on my sales report meant a possible person who might like my stuff. Of course, it could be a complete 180 and it could mean people don’t like it – but that’s the name of the game. Not everyone is going to enjoy what you write and publish. That’s one thing as an author I have to still accept. Sure, getting that review that wasn’t too glowing stings a bit, but that’s part of the job. Even best selling authors like Steven King and Nicholas Sparks get those. (Now I’m going off on a tangent not intended for this particular blog update! Haha!)
This week has officially been the most successful week since I have been published – and not necessarily just downloads and purchases of my books, but the fact that I am gaining new readers. I write to entertain, and knowing that so many people have my book ready to go on their Kindle brings a smile to my face. I’m not in this to get rich – I’m in this to offer joy, wisdom, happiness, or whatever other emotion a person might feel when reading Through Smoke, Backfire (Sequel to Through Smoke), Dance With the Devil, or Fight for Absolution. While these books are intense in nature and can run through every emotion a person can feel, I hope when someone finishes them, they feel it was worth their time (and money).
I don’t know what made this free promo so successful compared to other times that I ran it. It could be timing, luck, or both. Regardless, I owe a HUGE THANKS to all of you readers out there who take their chances with indie authors. It has become a huge market that has caught on like wildfire, so it can feel like a massive sea full of millions and millions of book choices. So again, I greatly appreciate everyone who has bought, downloaded, and read my stuff. It makes this all worthwhile!
Happy reading to you all, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead of you!