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Rebecca E. Neely, Author ~ Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

This is Why I Refused to Raise a Picky Eater

All my life, I’ve had a happy, healthy and soulful connection with food. That extends to the entire food journey, from planning to shopping to cooking to eating, and comes from a place of abundance, as well as a smattering of scarcity, courtesy of my grandmother’s depression era influence. Both are precious.

My heritage has played a huge role in that connection. I’m German, Slovak and Irish, and many of the dishes I grew up with involve potatoes, flour and butter, such as pierogies, halushki and potato pancakes.

Yep, that’s a lot of cholesterol and calories, but my family members are big believers in ‘everything in moderation’. That philosophy has served me well overall, and certainly, health wise.

As a child, I remember sheets of dough covering every horizontal surface of my grandmother’s kitchen for the pierogies she’d fill with potatoes and cheese, prunes, or sauerkraut. My mother is an excellent cook, and growing up, I’d often help her, or watch from the kitchen table, delighting in the scents of whatever she was making.
Until I was about sixteen, my family also ran a restaurant — another unique leg of my food journey. From the time I was about ten, I worked alongside my parents, brother, aunt, uncle and cousins in our down home, family style restaurant, where we served up homemade fare, including spaghetti sauce and meatballs, pies and grand slam breakfasts.

It wasn’t unusual for me to go with my father to the restaurant at 6am on a Saturday to do heavy prep of coleslaw, stuffing and pasta salads. I loved every minute of it, stirring vats of sauce with wooden paddles the size of oars and mixing ingredients in tubs big enough to bathe a small child. By the time I graduated high school, there wasn’t a job I hadn’t done there, including cooking, serving, cleaning and ordering.

In college, I worked in the dining hall for two years, perfecting my egg and omelet making skills on the flat top and washing dishes. And, on breaks from college and all through high school, I worked at the local grocery store. It was another perspective on food, and I learned about produce, prices, and much more.

As the Food Network grew in popularity, I became a groupie, watching and learning and enjoying. I have a packed shelf of cookbooks and a trove of recipes written in my grandmother’s, and other beloved relatives’, own handwriting. Every time I pull one out — some of them dogeared and spattered with some of the recipe itself — and create the dish, it’s a nod to them, our history. The love.

I Wanted my Daughter to be a ‘Foodie’ Too

So, as a ‘foodie’, when I had my daughter, I was determined to pass on my love and enjoyment of food and eating.

In other words, I refused to raise a picky eater.

As children, we weren’t permitted to be, and I adopted that policy for her. We didn’t talk about it. It simply was.

When my daughter was old enough to eat what I was making, there was no discussion. I assumed she would like it, and lots of times, she did. If she turned her nose up at it, my only rule was that she try everything at least once. If she didn’t like it, that was fine, but I’d ask her to try it again a few weeks later.

In my opinion, many people, including well-meaning parents and caregivers, often mistakenly assume children won’t like certain foods, namely vegetables, then make yet another mistake by verbalizing it. And we all know our children hear everything we say, good and bad. In other words, it’s my belief we bring some of that ‘picky eater’ syndrome on ourselves. And that veggie shtick, unfortunately, seems to be a ‘go to’ staple in many forms of advertising.

Now, I realize there are food allergies, sensory-based feeding difficulties and many other issues children experience involving food. My daughter was lucky enough not to have those issues. And it gave me a golden, carte blanche opportunity to empower her, and teach her all about food, and eating well, joyfully.

When she was as young as five, I started bringing her into the fold, getting her buy in. She’d crack eggs, stir the batter, scoop out flour, and of course, be a taste tester. When we went to the market, I’d tell her about different vegetables and fruits and explain to her what we might use them in, and how to select the best. When we’d go the next time, we’d make a game of identifying the produce.

When she got a little older, I’d give her ownership by sending her into the produce section with a list while I waited at the deli, and have her choose the lettuce, the strawberries, the parsley.
As a teenager, she still cooks with me, but she’s gravitated more toward baking, and she loves trying out new recipes and sharing the goods with her friends.

Empowering Our Children

I’d say my form of ‘tough’ love has paid off. At four years of age, she requested salmon. To this day, she loves broccoli, red and orange peppers and all kinds of salad and fruit. Again, I’m blessed to have a child who’s allergy free, and I think I warded off her being picky by simply, not giving her a choice.

It seems more and more we have too many choices, all around, and it’s my parental opinion, when it comes to food, young children don’t need a whole lot of them. What they do need is nutritious food and a healthy attitude toward it.

I believe I’ve empowered my daughter in this way. My end goal, as a parent, is to not only enable her to feed herself well when she’s living on her own, but to carry on the tradition of love and abundance and history with her own family and friends.

And more, much more than just not raising a picky eater is the message that food is fun. It’s love in a bowl, it’s comfort on a plate, and it’s about enjoying the process, feeding your soul and bringing people together.

Yet another stop on my food journey has been embracing dietary changes. As middle age approached, I adopted a new way of eating, per a popular weight loss program, to shed those stubborn pounds. And my joy of cooking and eating has only increased.

Food is about my daughter and I listening to music and talking as we chop vegetables. It’s laughing about our saying that ‘you can never have too much cinnamon’. It’s her coining the phrase ‘Mom sandwiches’ for my special ham club. It’s a chef salad, it’s Thanksgiving stuffing, it’s a new recipe, it’s hearing about what happened in class.

At the end of the day, and the meal, when I’m washing the dishes and she’s drying, food is in my blood. And I believe, wholeheartedly, it’s also in hers.

Proudly published on Medium in P.S. I Love You ~ Editor’s Pick

Join me!

https://medium.com/@rebeccaneely

Rebecca E. Neely is a reader, storyteller, blogger and author. Her latest novel is The Betrayer, Book 3 in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series. Find Rebecca on Twitter @RebeccaNeely1.

 

 

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You’re Invited to Join me on Medium

I’ve started writing at Medium, and I feel like I’ve come home. I’m really enjoying the exchange of ideas, the people, and the dozens of stimulating articles. I invite you to join me there, and have a read!

I’ve created 2 publications:

Storytellers, Everyday — Everyday people pursuing extraordinary passions. I’m sharing not only the stories of the many fascinating people I’ve met over my 20+ year career as a writer, but a few new ones.

Storytelling, Everyday — Everyday —& not so everyday — storytelling for writers & other humans.

Here’s a sampling of my latest articles – I hope to see you soon! Cheers!

This is Why My Writing is a Moveable Feast

This is Why I Have to Tell Their Stories

This is Why I’m at a Parental Crossroads

This is How I’m Upcycling My Ideas

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com ~ Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

All books available on Amazon

Join my VIP Readers list for all the usual ‘readerly’ suspects (sales, giveaways, new release info) & an unexpected slice of ‘Here’s what I got for ‘ya’.

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Storytellers and Tattoos: For the Love of Art

book-1012275__180A storyteller at heart, my innate curiosity runs deep. As an individual passionate about self-expression, all forms of art and creativity, tattoos have fascinated me for years. And as a writer of romance with an inquisitive mind who adores bestowing said indelible designs upon her characters, I set out to explore how the two intertwined.

The history of storytelling and tattooing are both as old as time. Across cultures and countries, races and religions, both send messages, and even unite us as human beings.

Storytelling, I believe, is an ingrained part of our make up as human beings. We have always had a soul deep desire to explain, understand, teach, learn, calm, empower, commemorate and connect. Too, just as storytelling was, and is an art, so was, and is listening. Stories were told, and retold, and as man explored the globe, those same stories were shared, changed, stretched and expanded, and told again. Messages of wisdom, knowledge, values and beliefs from our collective ancestors are reflected in the myths, legends, fairy tales and other lore—fact and fiction—handed down from one generation to the next, and keep us connected to one another, as well as the past, present and future.

Today, every aspect of our lives it seems, is touched by myriad stories in both the traditional sense, in that we share stories verbally, face to face, and in the modern sense, via movies, books, magazines, music, television, social media and the Internet.

I believe just as storytelling satisfies basic human needs and desires, so does tattooing. For thousands of years, men and women have tattooed their bodies for many reasons, including self-expression and as part of their culture’s rituals. Regardless of the reason, they all have one common denominator: they give us the ability to communicate powerful messages to one another, without the need for words.

In an article at Smithsonian.com, author Cate Lineberry describes tattoos: “These permanent designs—sometimes plain, sometimes elaborate, always personal—have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment.”

Indeed! From ancient cave etchings to modern sculpture, history, art and pop culture pay homage to said ‘permanent designs’. And in recent years, the popularity and diversity of body art, which includes tattooing, piercing and painting, has exploded and been wholeheartedly embraced as mainstream, via magazines, social media, conventions, competitions and television shows such as Miami Ink.

Per an article at Huffington Post, it’s estimated that one third of America’s young adults, aged 18-25, have at least one tattoo, per a report done by the Pew Research Center. As such, the tattoo industry is one of the fastest growing retail business in America.

To get a close up, personal view of this ‘tattoo phenomenon’ at one such business and the artist behind it, I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Boney “Joe” Clark, seasoned tattoo artist and owner of Tattoos by Boney Joe in Zelienople, PA. In the business for over thirty years, he generously shared his views on the industry, the art form and some storytelling of his own.

'Boney' Joe Clark
‘Boney’ Joe Clark

When we met, Joe explained he’d recently returned from a motorcycle trip. “I’m not a conventional traveler,” he said about the trip. “I like to experience it with all of my senses. Smell the air, taste the rain, see and touch the landscape.”

Interestingly, I believe it’s these very things a true artist seeks to capture in his work. And indeed, Joe’s artistry extends to his expertise as a master body piercer, as well as his flair for metal design work.

As a teenager, Joe became interested in tattooing after being at a fair and seeing a guy tattooing people in the back of his van. He’d always loved to draw, and instantly, he thought, “I can do better.” Starting his business on a wing and a prayer, he’s faced his share of trials, including a town that was, at first, slow to embrace a tattoo studio. But in true survivor fashion, he overcame—and not just the challenges of being a business owner. Joe is intensely proud of the fact he’s been drug free since 1988, and the tattoo on his left forearm is a testament to that.

He explained the basic mechanics of getting a tattoo to me, the tools that are used, and the artistry involved. Yes, they use what’s called a stencil of the design that’s transferred to the skin of the person getting the tattoo. But that will only take the artist so far. He or she has to also be able to draw freehand for certain designs, like a face, for example. The artist isn’t really ‘drawing’ the face, at least not at first. They use a ‘map’ to build the face, and their talent enables them to complete it. Every design is unique, and the time and talents needed to complete them depend on their complexity.

For any tattoo, Joe wants details and specifics, so the person receiving it gets exactly what they want. And the more complicated, the more details. He used the example of a butterfly. “What kind?” he posed. “A Monarch? A Malachite? A Pearly Eye? Should the wings be open or closed? Should it tilt to the right or left?” It’s details like these that are necessary to ensure everyone’s on the same page, before any work begins.

IMG_3877The tattoos on Joe’s hands are one example of the fun he’s had with ‘ink’ over the years. He explained that during the Veggie Tale craze in the 90s, two of his artists had a tattoo ‘war’, each trying to ‘out design’ the other. The result? On his right hand, a kind of crazed carrot wields a chain saw, and a deranged eggplant eyes the world cockily on his left. Recently, however, the carrot took on additional meaning to Joe, when he beat kidney cancer two years ago. Since then, he’s once again emerged as a survivor, and as such, added a commemorative ribbon to the design—which the carrot’s chainsaw is now ‘slashing’ through. Joe’s message is clear: “I kicked cancer’s ass.”

One of 'Boney' Joe's many tattoo designs
One of ‘Boney’ Joe’s many tattoo designs

In thirty years’ time, Joe has designed thousands of tattoos, and tattooed three to four generations of people, even entire families. What’s his favorite thing to tattoo? “I’ll tattoo anything and love it, if it’s something that person is certain about, and it has deep meaning to them,” he said. “I don’t care if it means anything to anyone else. People may even look at it and have no idea what it is. But as long as the person who got it is happy, that’s what counts.” He told me about the woman who, after receiving her tattoo, was so moved she began to cry. “It was deeply satisfying,” he said.

I felt privileged to hear what was perhaps his favorite story, about an 82-year old woman who came to his shop with her daughter and granddaughter–all to get tattoos. When Joe asked her why she was getting it, he recalled what she said in detail. “She turned to me, and said, ‘You know kid, I was married to the meanest son of a bitch for fifty three years and I just buried him two months ago. I’m having the time of my life.’ ” And after the trio was done? This 82-year ‘young’ woman and company were headed to see male strippers. Bada bing. “She was sharp as a tack,” Joe said with a smile.

There’s no doubt Joe has had some ‘colorful’ experiences as a tattoo artist. But to him, it’s about a lot more than just the end result. He sincerely cares about the people who walk through his door, and their long-term satisfaction. At times, he’s even advised people not to get a tattoo.

Case in point—Joe told me the story about an eighteen-year-old man who came to the shop, bent on getting a tattoo that would pay homage to Michael Jordan. “When I asked him why, he listed Jordan’s many accomplishments,” Joe said. “I told him, fine. If you really want it, come back tomorrow and you’ll be my first appointment of the day. But first I want you to think about something. Remember how great everyone thought O.J. Simpson used to be? Things happen. Do you really want a tattoo like that for the rest of your life? It might not be so cool five years from now. Maybe you’re better off just wearing a Jordan ball cap.”

With that, Joe sent him on his way. Later that same evening, the man called him, and told him he’d gone to another shop where the artist had been eager to give him the tattoo. But the man decided not to get it. Instead, he thought about how Joe had gone out of his way to tell him all that he did, and it really made him stop and think. This guy cared.

And so he does. In 2001, Joe had the unique opportunity to share his expert knowledge of body piercing with the local medical community. After piercing the friend of a teaching nurse from a college in Pittsburgh, she was so impressed with Joe’s studio and his knowledge she suggested they present it directly to the medical community in the form of a seminar on piercing removal and care—a topic, at that time, about which there was little knowledge. In addition, Joe is extremely proud the information was also published in a textbook used by nursing students.

“One of the biggest misconceptions about tattoo shops and artists is they’re like McDonald’s, meaning, they’re all the same. They’re not,” Joe said definitively. “That idea leads people to start price shopping, and you just can’t, nor should you do that for something you’re going to have on your body for the rest of your life. Another misconception is that the tattoo industry is regulated. It isn’t, by and large, in Pennsylvania. That makes choosing a tattoo artist, based on their experience and standards even more critical.” That’s something Joe swears by—he holds himself and his artists to the highest standards in all aspects of the business.

Along with his passion for the business, Joe understands what makes a great tattoo artist: skill, passion and personality.

TEZ_DragonOne of Joe’s artists, ‘Tez’, a.k.a Emery Joseph Kertesz IV and Gentlemen Tattooist, was at the
studio to contribute to our conversation, and offered the following insight: “If you take away any one of those three qualities, you have a good artist, and if you take away two, you have only an artist.”

So, why do people get tattoos? “In my experience,” Joe said, “people want to commemorate someone, or an event in their lives, or something they’re passionate about, like hunting. They also do it just because they think it’s cool. And some get a tattoo because it’s a fad.” Most popular lately? “Dandelions, and as their fluff is blowing away, it’s turning into birds. Also semi-colons, and anything with script or words,” he said. (Click here to read more about Project Semicolon)

The word tattoo is thought to be derived from both the Polynesian word “ta”, meaning “to strike”, and the Tahitian “tatau”, meaning “to mark.” Without a doubt, ‘Boney’ Joe Clark has indeed made his mark, indelibly, as an artist, a business owner and a supporter of the community.

So, what’ve I discovered from my sojourn into the world of tattoos, and how they intertwine with storytelling? I believe that not only is each tattoo a story unto itself, so is each client, and each artist. As each ‘tattoo’ story unfolds, both the client and the artist are telling that story—the client, with his choice of design, his experiences and motivations, and the artist, with his execution of that design, his talent, and his passion.

TEZ_GeeseI’m also honored to have heard, and to relate the stories Joe shared with me—and to add my own ‘threads’ to their existing fabric. After all, I am a storyteller. It’s also my sincere hope that my message is clear: I’ve listened, and I’ve spoken. I’ve learned, and been entertained. I’ve understood, and I’ve connected.

I hope you do too.

PLEASE SHARE: What’s the story behind your tattoo? What inspired you to get it?

 

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

Join my VIP Readers list for all the usual ‘readerly’ suspects (sales, giveaways, new release info) & an unexpected slice of ‘Here’s what I got for ‘ya’.

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Stolen Moments & Storytelling

The Urban Dictionary defines stolen moments as ‘time set aside for a treasured activity’. Indeed. Songs and movies have been named after ’em. Undeniably their appeal comes from their spontaneity, and their novelty. But I believe equally satisfying stolen moments can also be planned. But perhaps the best ones are those you didn’t even know you wanted or needed, and take on a life of their own — giving you that delicious high that makes you feel like you’re getting away with something — it’s that good.

Case in point. I was reminded of this ‘stolen moment’ phenomenon when recently, I made an unscheduled sojourn midday to the county courthouse to get a document I needed for my Real ID driver’s license (seriously, that’s a whole other story for another day).

Anyhow, I left from the day job. It was an unseasonably warm and sunny day, pre Spring, post winter. As I drove along, the window down for the first time in months, the air was sweet. Everything appeared brighter, sharper, clearer. During those two hours, the road seemed to beckon, calling me back to the streets and places I’d known all my life but hadn’t visited in quite some time. I got takeout from my favorite café, bought some chocolate at an old-fashioned candy store — one of my childhood favorites. Both missing work and enjoying the gift of the day made those stolen moments downright delicious.

The Real McCoy diner mug — bought it on a trip to Chicago and I’ve been enjoying stolen moments with it ever since. Yep, I love diners too and Eleven City is way cool.

But stolen moments sometimes take a more ordinary, though no less satisfying, form. I often take the opportunity to write in the morning upon waking, before I go to my day job. That time is sacred to me. It’s dark, no one else is up, and it’s blessedly quiet. It’s me, my laptop and my trusty diner style mug, filled with hot Joe. And my imagination of course. Some of my best storytelling happens during this time; the words I write are lucid and often surprise me. Where did that come from? Lots of times, it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.

I think as human beings, there’s something inherent within us that wants and needs, hell, even craves those stolen moments in our lives. Certainly, my greatest hope as an author is that my stories will be deemed ‘stolen moment’ worthy.

The lovely thing about stolen moments is they can be as simple as enjoying a chocolate in peace, reading a book, meeting with friends, or as momentous as taking a vacation to somewhere you’ve been dreaming about for years.

In a world, and a life, that sometimes feels overflowing with ‘have tos’, they excite me, delight my inner child, ignite my imagination, inspire me, give me respite, nourish, nurture and replenish me. They not only make me a better writer, they make me a better me.

What stories and stolen moments do you have to share?

‘Stolen moments’ fun fact: Oliver Nelson was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger, composer, and bandleader. “Stolen Moments”, a jazz classic, is regarded as the ‘centerpiece’ of his 1961 album, The Blues and the Abstract Truth, which is lauded as being among the most significant recordings of its era. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Nelson

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com ~ Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

All books available on Amazon

Join my VIP Readers list for all the usual ‘readerly’ suspects (sales, giveaways, new release info) & an unexpected slice of ‘Here’s what I got for ‘ya’.

This post is also proudly published on Medium

This is Why I Love my Library

I originally wrote this post to coincide with National Library Week. However, I feel honoring our libraries is worthy of year round attention. I invite you to read on…

With the promise of spring just around the corner, the grass an undeniable shade greener than it was the day before comes National Library Week (April 7- 13, 2019). It’s a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. The theme for 2019 National Library Week is “Libraries = Strong Communities,” and Gates Foundation Co-founder Melinda Gates will serve as 2019 National Library Week Honorary Chair.

In honor of National Library Week, I wanted to pay homage to the local libraries I’ve enjoyed all my life, and the employees and volunteers who encourage, educate, inform and in general, make things happen. Thank you for all you do!

As a writer, I’m a voracious reader – I don’t think it could be any other way. It’s there I found and fell in love with the stories of Jean Auel, Shirley Conran, Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Janet Evanovich and so many more. The characters have become a part of me, and my journey as a writer.

And those stories and characters, along with the library itself, are part of my story. As a child, my parents – two more voracious readers – took my brother and I to the library often. In grade school, I checked out a book each week and heaven help you if you forgot it and it was overdue. (Recently, I paid fines for two overdue books and had an attack of conscience. I swear, I normally always return them on time.)

Throughout high school and college, the library became a place for research, group meetings, and study. As an adult and a mother, I found myself at the library often, enjoying not only the books, but the puzzles, the puppets and movie rentals with my daughter. Now, both she and I volunteer at the library. And it’s within walking distance! Yes, I’m a lucky girl 😊

I don’t think there’s a place that’s better on a rainy or snowy day. Or any day. Getting lost amongst the shelves, surrounded by words and quiet and imagination, is one of my favorite things to do. Always, it restores me, and brings me joy.

At 48, I guess you could consider me old school. My Smart Phone is turned off when I enter the hallowed halls of any library. I can hear my thoughts there, amid the lovely quiet and the sanctity of the shelves and stories surrounding me.

What other resource is free, yet offers so much? In the last two years, I’ve become a huge fan of Overdrive and the Libby ap – both allow you to enjoy all the digital media the library has to offer. For me, that means audio books. Now I can enjoy stories while I’m driving too! I never knew how much I’d enjoy someone reading to me.

The library continues to be a part of my life, and I, happily of its. To quote one of my favorite authors and books:

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Do you have a story to share about your favorite library? What will you do this week to show your library some love? Let me hear from you!

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

Join my VIP Readers list for all the usual ‘readerly’ suspects (sales, giveaways, new release info) & an unexpected slice of ‘Here’s what I got for ‘ya’

Celebrate THE BETRAYER release TONIGHT!

PARANORMAL ROMANCE LOVERS, YOU’RE INVITED!

Celebrate the release of THE BETRAYER, Book 3 in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series tonight on Facebook, in the Wicked Party Room group!

Join THE WICKED PARTY ROOM to attend ==> https://bit.ly/2GUnSTG

Thursday, March 21st from 7-9pm EST

Giveaways, Prizes & Fun!

FEATURED AUTHORS

Rebecca E. Neely ~ A sucker for a happy ending, Rebecca writes the kind of stories she loves to read–gritty, suspenseful and featuring authentic, edgy and vulnerable characters, smack dab in the middle of action that explodes from page one.

Maureen L. Bonatch ~ Maureen Bonatch writes humorous paranormal romance and dark fantasy books filled with ghosts, magic, and other things that go bump in the night.

Deborah Garland ~ Her debut novel was a Golden Leaf Finalist for best long contemproary romance. She is currently writing paranormal romance and her first PNR, Drawing Bloodlines, The Princeton Allegiant Series releases April 3. Book 2 will be released October and Soul Mate just contracted Book 3.

Claire Gem ~ Claire Gem is an award-winning author of supernatural romantic suspense. She writes contemporary romances laced with history and set in haunted places.

Rayanne Haines ~ Rayanne Haines is an award-winning romance author. She believes in magic and loves to write about kick-ass women and the alpha men who love them.

Renea Mason ~ Multi-award-winning and best-selling author Renea Mason writes erotic romances which challenge the definition of conventional love. Whether it be contemporary or paranormal, the author of the 2016 Audie Award-Winning Curing Doctor Vincent, prides herself on bringing readers unique storylines, memorable characters, and top-notch audiobook performances in her tales of love, lust, and mystery.

Colleen S. Myers ~ Colleen plays many roles. Not only is she a veteran, a mother, and a practicing physician, but she is a USA Today bestselling writer of science fiction and contemporary romances. Colleen’s dreams include surviving her son’s teenage years, exploring every continent on this planet, except Antartica, cause that’s way too cold, and winning the Nobel peace prize. Dream BIG! Currently, she is working on There Will Be Blood, the second in her YA Paranormal Romance series.

 

RELEASE DAY ~ THE BETRAYER

GIVEAWAY ALERT

ENTER NOW – MARCH 22ND

Win 1 of 10 Kindle editions of THE BETRAYER and/or 1 $25 Amazon Gift card

“Women—apparently even enemy women—rendered him awkward, nervous. Stupid. He lacked Nick’s charisma, and Dev’s bravado. Over the years he’d tried to emulate both and failed miserably. He was just Curtis, a blend of Keeper and computer geek.”

Yep, that just about sums up Curtis. But he’s going to have to rise to a challenge the likes of which he’s never seen before. Because his realm as he’s known it is about to get turned upside down.

Enter Jordan.

“So then, this was it. This Keeper would finish the job. Forsaken, betrayed by her own people, he would put her down like a horse fallen lame, mercifully and unwittingly ending her misery. Was that some kind of warped, twisted justice, or not? Even if the Keeper didn’t kill her, without the dark energy, she would die.”

Jordan is in store for a journey of her own. In fact, I chose her name because it means ‘rebirth’ to me – The river’s name in Hebrew is (Yarden), meaning “descend” or “flow down”.

She tells Curtis: “Until I met you, my life felt like. . .” She seemed to search for words. “Like I’m dreaming I’m naked in a crowd but I never wake up.”

And what’s the significance of the name Curtis? To me, it’s not a sexy or suave name. It’s the name of a hard working, no frills, practical Keeper, which he is.

Plus, did you ever meet someone who just made an impression on you, for whatever reason? For me, as a writer, I guess that translates into the potential to be a character in a book. It was like that for me, when quite randomly, I was introduced to a Curtis, several years ago, and never have seen him again. But his look served as inspiration….

“All her faculties fully intact for the first time in days, she studied him intently. Tall, maybe six-two. Again, she noted his lean, wiry build, clad in jeans and a T-shirt, Vans on his feet. Not a body cultivated at the gym, but one maintained through a healthy lifestyle. Hair unruly around the edges. Inky blue, close-set eyes, which at the moment appeared perplexed and wary. A long, straight nose. Sculpted lips, drawn taut by a scowl. Shifting his weight, he crossed his arms, his stance matching his hard, uncompromising expression.”

Can a Betrayer fight alongside a Keeper? ~ He’d betray his clan for her. She’s a soldier to the core – but for which side? As they battle to save the human race, how high a price will love and loyalty demand?

Find out in THE BETRAYER, available now on Amazon…

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author.

Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

GIVEAWAY ALERT – THE BETRAYER

WINNERS ANNOUNCED ~ VISIT WWW.REBECCANEELY.COM FOR A FULL ANNOUNCEMENT! Thanks to all who entered!

The countdown is on! THE BETRAYER, Book 3 in the Crossing Realms Paranormal Romance series, will release on March 13th!

To celebrate, I’m giving away some cool stuff – enter to win a Kindle edition of THE BETRAYER! 1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift card 🙂

ENTER HERE FEB 12 – MAR 22 ==> https://bit.ly/2BzZBOp

The Crossing Realms series ~ Sacrifice or salvation? A chosen psychic few may be both. As Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race, all’s not fair in love and war.

Can a Betrayer fight alongside a Keeper? ~ He’d betray his clan for her. She’s a soldier to the core – but for which side? As they battle to save the human race, how high a price will love and loyalty demand?

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author.

Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

FREE JAN 25-27 – THE KEEPER

THE KEEPER, Crossing Realms series Book 1 is FREE today, January 25th – 27th on Amazon – KINDLE EDITION.

If you haven’t gotten in on the series yet, now’s your chance!

Catch me over at Just Paranormal Romance, where I’m dishing up a delicious post…

FINALIST FOR RONE AWARD – BEST PARANORMAL 2016 – sponsored by InD’Tale Magazine

“Full of heartbreak and hope…A new series that I can’t wait to read more of.” Merissa, Goodreads #1 Top reviewer

The Crossing Realms series ~ Sacrifice or salvation? A chosen psychic few may be both. As Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race, all’s not fair in love and war.

Nick Geary, jaded clan leader of human guardians, the Keepers, is doomed to love a human woman who’s forgotten him, time after time, for thirteen years: Libby Klink, a skittish accountant who’s as terrified of her recent and strange intuitions as she is of her mundane existence.

When Nick is ordered by the clan’s guiding force to seek Libby’s help in defending the clan against enemy Betrayers, romance sizzles as the pair forms an unlikely alliance in their desperate search to discover the key to the clan’s salvation–which Libby alone holds.

But a haunting secret could cost Nick everything, and in a race against time, both will be forced to choose between their hearts and duty. Can their love, and the clan, survive, or will the very forces that drew them together ultimately destroy them?

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author.

Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

Writing is Hard: Stumbling Upon Inspiration

Writing is hard. My amazing editor recently reminded me of this simple but profound truth while we worked on my latest manuscript. And I’m here to tell you, she’s right. As usual. It’s hard, mentally, when you have to rework an entire chapter because it’s full of telling, versus showing. (How did I do that? Isn’t this the very thing I advise other writers against?) It’s hard, physically, when the changes span days. And it’s hard to accept that, even after writing four stories, the learning curve somehow gets steeper. But her tough love helps me make my story the best it can be.

Because writing is hard, I seek inspiration and motivation to refill the well, consciously and unconsciously. And sometimes, I stumble upon it.

While mired in my edits, I read Miracle on the 17th Green by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge. Besides taking me on a walk down memory lane (I grew up watching Lee Trevino and my father idolized Jack Nicklaus) I not only saw a little bit of myself in underdog Travis McKinley, his journey inspired me, as did this quote:

“You work hard at something eight hours a day, you get better. Not a lot better necessarily, but a little better and that’s just fine, because improving at golf, or anything else probably, is just a matter of making an endless series of tiny improvements.”

 

As well, my twelve-year old niece renews my writing motivation. I recently read the story she wrote, Dragontopia. Her imagination, along with her sense of pacing and characterization truly impressed me. I’m humbled she’s texting me, asking for tips and advice. I’m honored to help her in any way I can. As we writers know, there’s nothing like talking to another writer. At her age, she’s unfettered by the crush of deadlines and self imposed expectations. She just loves to write, and her dedication at such a young age is astounding. She captures the spirit of writing. What a gift!

My father was a storyteller in his own right, and as a master hunter and fisherman, he likened the outdoors to a classroom, where one learns, but can never learn it all. Most certainly, the same is true of the writing landscape. Embracing that belief is also a gift.

Yeah, writing is hard. To my credit, this current manuscript is part of my first series, as well as the third paranormal romance I’ve written. Damn right the learning curve is steep. But I’m keeping on, keeping on.

I’ve got a lot more stories in me, and I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m a storyteller, born and bred. Writing, and editing, with all its heartaches and triumphs, is truly a part of my story, along with my characters’ stories. With four under my belt, I’m just getting started. My plan? I’m going to borrow some of niece’s wonder, keep writing, and keep making an endless series of tiny improvements.

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

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