Saturday, January 30, 2016

Is Healthy the New Skinny? or What Are They Selling Now?

I feel like the pressure is mounting, as if there is both a weight pressing down and an ever-tightening
coil about to spring free...and not in a good way. What am I talking about?

The constant frantic media blitz about "getting healthy."

I'm talking about all of it: the blog posts (yes, I see the irony), the social media buzz, the articles, the advertisements, the books, the new "get healthy" products and systems that come out year after nauseating year.

Scroll through your Facebook feed and you'll see a ton of posts and advertisements about weight loss, eating clean, getting healthy, blah blah blah. I'm over it. Sooooooo over it. Everyone's publishing her "memoirs" on body image and healthy living.

I confess. I've been working on a book, too, but I am chucking the idea...for now.

It's like this: "Healthy" has become the new "skinny". And this new wave of advice, products, and systems is no more healthy than the ridiculous crash diets and the painfully skewed beauty ideals of the last fifty years. Why? Because it's feeding a mental state of unease.

Come on. You know it's true. My friends in the fitness biz have argued, heatedly I might add, against this, but then we'll sit next to each other at a conference where the speaker is preaching about the obesity epidemic in this country and how we must reach them and save them from their plight.


We, and I mean American women, have been obsessing over our bodies for decades and this has LED to obesity not away from it, in my humble opinion. Seriously, you can blame the processed food and the rise of fast-food and restaurants in general, but we cannot discount the surge of beauty and weight loss systems and the repugnant advertising that came along with it.

Check out Women's Body Image and BMI: A Look at the Evolution of the Female Figure Over 100 Years

Why are eating disorders and body dysmorphia getting worse, not better? How much of our precious time, energy, money, and resources have we sacrificed in pursuit of an impossible IMPOSSIBLE, phony ideal? And how has that contributed to our mental dis-ease with our bodies and our health?

And we're doing it with the so-called "healthy lifestyle" pursuit as well. Did you read this about antioxidants encouraging cancer cells to grow? We buy all this research because it's, well, research, and then 10 years later..."Oops! We didn't know. Sorry. Heh heh." Remember the demonization of eggs? Yeah.

What are we trying to accomplish with the healthy living pursuit? To be healthy, right? Fine. But when I see heated, rabid arguments on facebook about whether to eat vegan or Paleo, I have to think we've lost our way...or our minds.

Look, the same thing is happening to the healthy living ideal that happened with body image: We've gone to extremes. Grant it, product pushers take us there, but we go along for the ride, don't we?

Let me say it plainly: There's no such thing as perfect health and you are going to DIE one day no matter what you do. And frankly I find it downright cruel to accuse people of causing their cancer when we don't have any definitive proof of what actually, directly causes cancer, okay? Okay.

Let's put this healthy living thing into perspective shall we?

Let's ask ourselves some questions: If we weren't expending so much energy on the supposed healthy lifestyle (including weight loss), what would we be doing with all that brain power and time?

What if we switched our focus? What if we turned inward and asked ourselves what our passions are? What if we set aside some limited time for exercise, learning to cook tasty, nourishing meals, and to decompress?

What if we gave more of our time and energy to nurturing our relationships, including the one with ourselves?

What if we took the time to get to know ourselves?

What if we walked away from the idea of perfect anything, including health, and focused on ... hell, anything else?

Just something I've been thinking about.

Friday, January 29, 2016

VooDoo's Playlist

If you've been reading my books, you know I always have a playlist to go along with each one. The playlist morphs as I write; songs are deleted, new ones added. But by the time I'm ready to publish the book, I've usually cemented its playlist. This one captures the feel and texture of VooDoo incredibly well.

The opening song, a remake of Seven Nation Army, sets the stage in New Orleans perfectly. :-D Enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

VooDoo is LIVE!

#8 in the Little Flame Series is available right now exclusively at Amazon.

Go get your copy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Making of VooDoo #8 in the Little Flame Series: The Research

VooDoo releases on January 28, 2016! While we wait for its debut, I wanted to give you an inside peek at the making of the story.

You wouldn’t believe the kind of pre-production work I do for my genre fiction. The research alone for VooDoo was a journey down many paths full of multi-faceted paranormal, medicinal, and musical gems.

Below is a screenshot of my research links. Look at the research folder for VooDoo, on the right, and while you’re there take a gander at some of the generic research links for the series, on the left. Yes, I looked up diner lingo (Fiamette has worked many day jobs in her long life; diner waitress, included).

From concert venues (the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans) to exorcism spells, it was truly some fascinating reading and exploring. While I use this information to give my stories color and believability, I also take liberties. Take the VooDoo Festival. In the real world it occurs in October, around Halloween. In my story, it's happening in the summer. Yeah, I know. It's ridiculously hot then. Oh well. It’s fiction, and paranormal fiction at that, so don’t expect everything I research in the real world to be mirrored exactly in the books.

For example, you’ll notice I’ve also bookmarked things about Skrillex, aka Sonny Moore. He’s one of the many EDM producers that have inspired my character Maximillian Barbosa. DJ Snake, Diplo, Dillon Francis, and Deadmou5, too. If you’re into the EDM scene, you’ll get glimpses of all these artists in Max’s performances. His personality, however, is uniquely Maximillian. He’s not meant to be any one of the great DJs I’ve mentioned, but he is meant to embody their creative, electric spirits.

 While musicians have a huge impact on me, so do many other artists. Take Caravaggio. What does the 16th century van guard of the Baroque movement have to do with my eclectic ban of paranormal EDM rockers in the Little Flame series? Nothing, really, but his work with the contrast of light and dark has always spoken to my soul. Light. Darkness. Neither are anything without the other. Light doesn’t exist without its counterpoint, dark. 

Stories can’t be told without contrast.

Nothing is pure evil, in my opinion, so my villains are rarely that simple. Look at Livia, Max’s birth mother who has been haunting him and Fiamette. I took my time fleshing out Livia way back when I first thought of her, but in VooDoo, you’re going to learn a whole hell of lot more. The whole story. I don’t care how nasty Livia is, she has—or had—a soul and something or someone wrote on that soul and changed it forever. Who was it? What was it?

Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Pre-Order VooDoo on Amazon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Paranormal Love Wednesdays - VooDoo Sneak Peek

Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop - January 13th
Welcome to the Paranormal Love Blog Hop!

Check out the excerpt from my soon-to-be-released novella, VooDoo, #8 in the Little Flame series.

Then click on Paranormal Love Wednesdays to check out all the other great paranormal links.

Pre-order your copy of VooDoo on Amazon

Release Date: January 28, 2016

Livia’s back, and this time it's personal. 

Most of the time the dead stay dead, so why can't Max's psychotic mother? There’s nothing she wouldn’t do to protect Max even if it means destroying everything he cares about in the process. Including me. 

Call me crazy, but I don’t have time to make nice with my boyfriend’s mother when I still have a killer to find before time runs out for Dee. But the devastation in her wake leaves me no choice—it’s time to banish this bitch back to where she belongs. 

When you love someone, you’re supposed to hold on and never let go, right? And if you do walk away, well, then you must not really have loved them. At least, that’s the prevailing poignant meme wisdom on Tumblr—love and life summed up with clever words shaped in artsy fonts. Yeah, right. Anyone over thirty knows better.
Standing in the middle of the swankiest hotel suite in New Orleans, staring out the huge plate glass windows at the sparkling nightscape, I wondered if the sour aftertaste on my tongue was from the jambalaya we’d had for dinner or something else.
“I’m not done with you, Fiamette!” Greg yelled.
Most definitely something else.
“Well I’m done with you,” I muttered as I turned to leave.
“Hey, enough with the shouting. We get it. You’re pissed, Greg,” Max grumbled.
Max plucked the eight ball from the pool table, rolled it in his hand as if looking for something, then flung it across the green felt with a flick of his wrist. It banged into the remaining balls, and they scattered in all directions like cartoon mice running for their hidey holes.
I pivoted to face Greg. “Stick a pin in it. I have something to take care of.”  I seriously needed to deal with the nasty spirit trying to possess me.

“No, we’re going to hash this out. Now.” Greg took a looming step toward me.

Now click on Paranormal Love Wednesdays to check out all the other great paranormal links.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016 Lovestruck Authors Valentine's Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win over 90 prizes from the Lovestruck Authors and a chance at the Grand Prize of $150 Paypal Cash!

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