I'm making a world map of where my readers live. This map will be different than the spinning world here on my website which shows website visitors' locations. Not all visitors to my site are readers of my books.
Finding out where my readers are located will help in a few ways. I'll be able to see how far my ebooks have traveled around the world and I'll use this information when planning book signings, school assemblies, etc. I also think you as the reader would be excited to see how far the books have spread.
I'm not looking for specific information about where you live. I only want to know the country and state or province. If you want to name your city or town, that's up to you. If you're under 18 years old, please get permission from a parent before posting a comment.
How to join in the fun: Click the Comments word at the end of the post and enter your name and location. You can also state how many of the books in The Unaltered series you've read, if you like. If you haven't read book one but intend to at some point, or if you've downloaded it and haven't had time to read it, go ahead and add your name and location to the list in the comments.
Here's some examples:
"Lorena A, Washington, USA read books 1-5"
"Lorena A., USA, southwest Washington state. I've read all 5 books."
"Lorena USA Pacific Northwest, read all 5 books."
If you haven't downloaded book one, A Diamond in My Pocket, you can do it now.
It's currently FREE on:
Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo,
Then you can enter your information in the comments, too.
Thanks for reading!!
I'd like to share a personal story with the hopes of helping someone else. Maybe that someone will be you. After a recent Melanoma diagnosis, I searched the Internet about Melanoma for information on a personal level but only found articles about the medical basics of what Melanoma is and the detection and treatment. But I wanted to know what to expect for myself as told from a patient's view. So I decided to document my experience with Melanoma in the hopes of helping someone else to better understand the process of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Even though my story is a Best-Case-Possible kind of story, I would hope you will take the opportunity to inspect your skin and schedule a dermatologist visit.
Like so many other people, I've developed more and more dark spots on my body as I've aged. No biggie, right? I've always kept a conscious eye out for the warning signs of moles and spots in general. For example: multi-colored, large, asymmetrical, bumpy, itchy, rapid growth, etc. And it was this vigilance that put me in the exam room of the skin doctor. I had a couple questionable spots to be checked out. However, the one on my arm wasn't one of them because it didn't fit the bill as suspicious. It was tiny, solid black, round, and flat. Even my regular doctor didn't think it was anything to worry about.
At the appointment with the skin doc it was determined the little black spot needed to be biopsied, meaning a sample was taken and sent to the lab for analysis. I've had a biopsy performed before, so I wasn't too worried. The photo above was taken after the biopsy and after the stitches were out. The original spot was as small as the little brown dot between the penny and the reddened biopsy crater.
Nearly a week had passed since the biopsy without word from the dermatology office. I just figured no news was good news. Then one evening, I answered a call from the doctor himself. Uh-oh. Usually when the doctor calls and not the nurse the news isn't going to be good. He said the pathology report had come back with abnormal cells consistent with Melanoma and that a larger portion of skin needed to be removed to hopefully clear out the abnormal cell growth.
"Melanoma. That's skin cancer," I told my co-worker right after I finished my call with the doctor. I couldn't believe it. I sent a text to my husband, not wanting to wait to tell him till I got home, then I went back to work. I couldn't focus on anything other than the idea I had cancer. That little black dot had been staring me in the face for over a year, not growing any bigger, just lurking ominously. I'd been watching the larger brown rectangular spot a little further under my forearm, but not the spot that looked more like I'd touched a black Sharpie marker to my skin.
When I got home, I found my worried husband had scoured the Internet for information about Melanoma. Of all the skin cancers, Melanoma is the most deadly because it can progress into the lymph nodes and travel throughout the body. However, Melanoma is also the most likely to be eradicated with early detection. The question was, had mine been found early enough?
A few days later, I went in for the procedure to remove 5mm of skin from around the original biopsy location. This was done by making a cut in the shape of an elongated diamond. (That's kind of ironic, isn't it? Being that I write fiction about diamonds being inserted into the body. Now a very real doctor was cutting one out of my skin.) Once the skin was pulled together and due to the curvature of my arm, the stitched line was straight. Four inside sutures and eleven outer for a total of fifteen stitches were needed to close the cut. (I put a penny next to the cut for comparison to the earlier photo.) The photo to the left was taken when I got home and before the inflammation hit. I think the doctor did a really good job with his sewing. I'll be sure to call him when I need to hem my daughter's prom dress.
After getting home from the procedure, I did what any hard working person does, I went to work. Of course, I babied my arm and wasn't good for much at work. By the end of the night, my arm had swelled and was tight to the touch. The next five days were difficult. I used ibuprofen for pain. Elevated my arm whenever it throbbed too much. Tried several different kinds of bandages and topical antibacterial ointments because one after another would irritate my skin. I debated calling the doctor office a couple times because it looked infected and was hot to the touch. Also, for those five days I couldn't straighten out my arm without causing a lot of pain so I held it at a bent angle all day long. This caused my neck, shoulder and bicep to ache. To top everything off, I came down with the cough and cold virus going around. So between popping DayQuil, and Advil, and changing out my dressing, and complaining to whoever was nearby, I made it through the week. But in the back of my mind was the pathology report that needed to come back detailing the results of the extra skin removed. Would it show normal cells or would the report deem it necessary to order a lymph node biopsy?
Five days later, the stitches were removed and skin tape applied. There was no bleeding with the removal of the stitches, but there was minimal pain. Most of the swelling had gone down by this point and the bruising had turned yellow. The pathology report said normal skin cells. I know it said more than that, but that's all I heard the doctor say. Once he said those magic words, my brain did a happy dance.
By day six, I could straighten my arm completely and rotate normally. I was still experiencing nerve twinges above the cut and around my wrist and the wound was still sore to the touch. I could do most everything with my arm as before, just not rest anything or carry things directly on the wound.
I've called around in my family to see if anyone else has had a Melanoma diagnosis. None of my siblings and neither parent has, but a couple paternal uncles have had skin cancer diagnosis and my maternal grandfather had one. My children will need to watch their skin closely, as will I for the rest of my life.
Here's the take away: Get a physical head-to-toe exam from a dermatologist. Don't put it off. When caught early, Melanoma can be eradicated not just sent into remission. Also, something I didn't know is Melanoma can be caused by more than just overexposure to the sun. Chemicals and viruses can also cause cells to mutate into Melanoma. My skin doctor told me Melanoma can be found on the bottom of your feet, in the eye, and where the sun doesn't shine. He also said it's all about how the body heals after injury like an intense sunburn. Some people can live in a tanning bed and never develop Melanoma while others visit once and BAM! I personally have never been in a tanning bed, but I've spent plenty of time outdoors. The spot location on my arm is always facing up no matter which way I twist my wrist. So if it was sunshine or UV radiation that caused the damage that my body failed to heal properly, I could at least double down on the sunscreen to prevent future issues. But that might not be the case at all. Needless to say, I'll be visiting my skin doc twice a year to stay on top of it.
Please share this post to help raise awareness of Melanoma skin cancer. Hopefully together we can prevent someone's life from being cut short. If you've been diagnosed with Melanoma and would like to tell your story, please do so in the comments section below.
For a limited time, I'm offering signed copies of my series for a special price for you, my Awesome Fans and Friends. The 5-book set is $49.95 plus $6 shipping for U.S. orders. CLICK HERE to snag this most-excellent deal. (I can ship to other countries if you contact me first for shipping costs.)
I'm just getting started promoting and distributing my series to bookstores and libraries and your purchase will help me be able to pay for the costs involved with this. It's certainly not easy being an Indie author. However, with all the online options available to authors, including social media, this part of the process is possible where it wasn't not too long ago.
I released book one, A Diamond in My Pocket, in May of 2011 as an ebook mainly because I couldn't catch an agent's attention with my query letter--granted, it was a poorly written query letter. Plus, the first edition of the book was in pretty bad shape, grammatically speaking, so it probably wouldn't have interested an agent. I just wanted/needed some feedback from unbiased readers about the story. Was it any good? Should I keep my day job?
Fast forward several years and multiple edits later, A Diamond in My Pocket has hit #1 in eleven countries, was named Breakout Book by iTunes, accumulated over a quarter-million downloads from 40 countries, and currently has the attention of Hollywood with a movie option contract. Did you know The Unaltered has it's own IMDb page. I'm pretty excited about that!
I've accomplished this as an Indie author, funding my own journey along the way, researching new ways to stay on top of the game, connecting with others who know more than me, and being open to criticism and advice.
None of this journey would have been possible without readers like you. Thank you for giving my book a chance. Maybe it was the cover. Maybe it was the description. Maybe it was the "freebie of the day." Whatever caused you to click, I'm so grateful you did. Thank you for helping me embrace my creativity. I hope to be able to meet you someday at a book signing in your area.
P.S. Along with the five-book set, I'm offering individual titles, too. Click the button below for more information.
I live in a stunningly beautiful location--The Cascade Mountain Range. To the left, out of frame and miles away, sits Mount St. Helen's volcano. To the right just out of view is Mt. Hood volcano. Carving a mile wide swath through this mountain range is the Columbia River. This shot is taken from the Cape Horn overlook in Washington, looking upriver to the east. The river is roughly a mile wide. On a clear day we can see Bonneville Dam way up at the end of the gorge. A little closer to us on the Oregon side--right side of the photo--is Multnomah Falls. The knobby mountain nearly touching the clouds on the left is Archer Mountain. My home sits along the river, on this side of Archer mountain. The view is majestic, to say the least.
Life Changes on a Dime
We haven't had a decent amount of rain in our area since June so everything is brittle dry. This dry weather pattern happens every year. It's part of what makes the area desirable for hiking and camping. Each year a burn ban on some level goes into effect from July to the end of September. A couple years ago a small fire broke out east of our place. The fire crews and a helicopter were brought in and they effectively fought the fire, extinguishing it in no time. To hear Eagle Creek Trail was on fire was both alarming and saddening. I've hiked Eagle Creek. I've been to Punch Bowl Falls and seen the beauty. Now it was burning. Hopefully the firefighters were on top of the blaze.
As we listened to the news, we heard that over 150 hikers were stranded mid-hike, blocked in by the fire, forced to hike further up the trail and shelter in place overnight. Supplies were air dropped for them--food and water. Most hadn't planned on anything more than a couple hours of hiking and swimming at Punch Bowl Falls. They weren't dressed or prepared for an overnight in the Cascades. What a scary ordeal!
The town Cascade Locks, Oregon, had evacuations ordered for certain parts and the Red Cross set up shelter across the river in Stevenson, WA. Dramatic photos and footage of the roaring fire started coming in and Oregon Department of Transportation considered closing I-84, mainly because of all the travelers stopping on the side of the road to take pictures. On top of that, the weather forecast looked ominous. The winds were about to change on Monday night and come from the east. New evacuations were listed for small communities to the west of Eagle Creek Trail.
Monday ticked by slowly as we waited to see how gusty the winds would be. The fire had already doubled in size overnight and debris was falling from the sky: charred pine needles, small twigs, large pieces of ash. The fire was spreading west. Late in the day Monday, ODOT closed I-84.
Before I went to bed at 12:30 am Tuesday morning I looked out the window to the east and saw orange dots shining through the night--flame. I woke my husband up and told him the flames were visible and we should go outside and see them. It was kind of exciting, in a way, probably because in my mind I was thinking these flames were still twelve miles away, so we're safe.
This is what we saw.
Clearly the fire was racing through the gorge a whole lot faster than anyone anticipated. The winds gusted about 35 mph from the east and as we watched, small dots of light would peer through the darkness to the right of the rapidly advancing fire line.
Over the next two hours, we watched in horror as the Eagle Creek Fire raced west on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge fueled by high east winds. We woke up the kids so they could see the fire, and also so they could help us round up belongings in the likelihood we'd need to evacuate.
The whole horizon blazed. Wind gusts whipped by causing the fire to brighten intensely, enough to cast shadows from the bushes and trees in our yard. We could feel the heat in the air even though the mountainside was over a mile away across the river. Many vehicles traveled up and down our road during this frightening fire storm. With each one I'd wonder if it was the sheriff coming to tell us to evacuate. No. These were probably locals checking things out, trying to decide if they should evacuate. I knew a little further down our road was a better place to view the other side of the river, so Larry and I drove down there.
We didn't know at that time an ember had traveled all the way across the river and started the Archer Mountain on fire to the immediate northeast of us. At 6:45 am we learned level 3 evacuations had been ordered for the area as far reaching as one mile from our house. The wind was still coming from the east, and given how fast the fire raged only a couple hours earlier, we didn't hesitate evacuating before the fire torched the parched forest between us. We grabbed essentials, irreplaceable items, 2/3's of our cats (one of our three cats wouldn't come out from under the deck), and loaded our cars and left.
We headed to my sister's boyfriend's house in Portland where our cats would be safe inside their garage and we could take a breath and tune into the news. The next twenty-four hours dragged on as we monitored the new evacuations listed for the Corbett and Troutdale area at the west end of the gorge. The fire was zero percent contained, however, the winds were projected to switch once again and blow to the east.
Good is Relative
As predicted, the winds shifted directions and evacuation levels were reduced to 2's and 1's. We were able to return home the next afternoon. The stubborn cat was just fine, as was our home. But not everyone was as fortunate. At the time of writing this, four homes have burned. The fight against the fire is ongoing. I-84 is still closed after nine days with a few thousand trees that need to be felled and removed to make the interstate corridor safe for travelers. It's predicted the Eagle Creek fire, along with most of the other Pacific Northwest fires will burn until the rains come in October.
I've received many well wishes and expressions of relief that my family was spared disaster. I'm relieved we didn't lose our housing or possessions, that's for sure. However, once the winds changed direction, bringing good luck to me and everyone else west of the fire, the residents to the east were now under evacuation alerts. What was good for us was not good for them, and I became sensitive to the otherwise positive well-wishers saying how happy they were the fire was heading away from me.
Sometimes I think it's hard to know what to say to someone who's going through a hard time. I know I struggle with words. After going through this ordeal I've become aware--and have a greater understanding--of what people go through in these situations. It's terrifying. It's exhausting. It's relieving (in our case) to come home and find everything okay, but guilt-inducing to know other people are suffering with loss. Realizing my family could have had a way-different outcome has made me mindful and more compassionate of my fellow human beings.
I feel I've been jolted awake with awareness. Something about witnessing a massive firestorm and fearing for your safety kind of does that to you. I'm much more mindful of what's important in my life. This became evident as I gleaned over the contents of my house deciding what to take with me. My first thought was getting us out. If nothing else, we as a family would leave. Then the focus was on grabbing scrapbooks and computer hard drives, anything that had irreplaceable photos or content. Also important documents. Then medications, phone chargers, a quick cupboard raid of non-perishable food, cat supplies, change of clothes. That was pretty much it.
One thing's for sure, throughout all of this I've realized how unprepared I am for a disaster. I'll be gathering a few things that will permanently remain in my car, like a flashlight, first aid kit, and water. I'll be loading up a tote that is easier to grab all at once, holding precious memories and important documents. Along with this preparation comes having my kids identify their most treasured possessions and putting them in an easy to grab location. I don't want to find myself in the same position again, feeling scared for my life with a gnawing urgency to leave, yet stuck in a mental debate over what "things" I should take the time to grab, wondering if the extra few seconds will be the difference of life or death.
My heart goes out to everyone who is in limbo right now due to circumstances out of their control. As one of my lead characters says in my books, "We as humans naturally want to relieve suffering and avoid pain." Helping others through life's troubles brings joy. So let's get out there and spread a bunch of JOY!
The easiest way to help is to donate money to the Red Cross or a reputable charity fund.
What is your disaster plan? Do you have a "GO" bag? Have you ever had to evacuate? Have you suffered loss from a natural disaster? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.
CONGRATULATIONS TO KATHLEEN G. for winning the set of books!! If you're interested in purchasing a set of signed books, you can CLICK HERE to learn more.
Hi, Everyone! I'm THRILLED to be offering a signed set of the first five books in The Unaltered series to one lucky winner! This has been a long time coming and I wish I could convey my level of excitement but all I can seem to do is use all caps and way too many exclamation marks. I hope you'll join in on the fun and enter the Rafflecopter drawing below. There's several entry possibilities, including one Thank You entry.
Good luck and Thanks for reading!
If you'd like to leave a comment but are unable to, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll post the comment for you. Thanks!
Enter to win a signed collector's edition bookmark
No Purchase Necessary. If purchasing a book is not in your budget but you'd still like to enter to win a bookmark, I have a couple ways you can do that. LEARN MORE HERE.
A better view of the glass diamond at the end of the tassel. The points on the Herkimer "Diamond" quartz are easy to see in this shot.
Shopping for shiny things
I chose round obsidian beads for safety reasons. Obsidian is basically natural formed glass and is fragile. It can be very sharp when broken. The round polished beads make it possible to include the element on the tassel. I consider the size of the bead to be a "personal sized" piece. If you're familiar with the use of obsidian in the books, you'll know what that means.
The 14kt gold-filled beads are beautiful. Gold-filled means a brass bead (metal bead) has at least a 1/20th layer of solid gold bonded to it. Don't confuse this with the term "gold-plated" or "electroplated". Those items have a much thinner layer of gold and wear off quickly.
** Just a note here, I'm not a geologist. I've learned my information from many different sites on the Internet. If you see an error in my writing referring to the crystals, gems, rocks, etc. please let me know by using my Contact form. Many thanks!
The Diamond of Freedom is now available in print
A Diamond in My Pocket - available on Amazon $14.99
A Diamond in My Heart - available on Amazon $14.99
The Diamond of Freedom - available on Amazon $14.99
The Diamond Bearers' Destiny - June 12th, 2017
The Diamond Bearer's Secret - June 26th, 2017
Thank you for your participation in raising awareness about The Unaltered series. This has been a long time coming. I'm thrilled to finally be able to hold my hard work in my hands!! I hope you will be too.
If you have questions about how to enter the drawing, please use my Contact page and send me a note. Visit my other page about the Bookmark Drawing to learn more.
30+ eBooks up for Grabs!
If you love the fantasy genre in books, you'll want to be sure to enter to win this incredible selection!
LEARN MORE here.
Every week, Authors Cross Promotion offers up package giveaways and individual title freebies offered by Indie Authors. This week I'm part of the Kick-Awesome Fantasy giveaway. Even if you've already read my book, I hope you'll enter the drawing. Who knows? You just might find a new author to put on your "Favorite" list, plus, you'll be supporting Indie Authors!
Thanks a million!
Wow! I can't believe how fast time flies by. I'm excited to update you on what I've been doing for the last few months. Print Books, Baby! The process is underway and I'm announcing release dates in this post. I'm scattering out the release of each book to give each title the opportunity to become a #1 Bestseller. Also to break-up the cost for my readers. The paperback versions will be available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble.com, and through IngramSpark for public and school libraries and bookstores. Read on for more details on each book.
Book 1 A Diamond in My Pocket - The interior changed a little. I removed the prologue after multiple readers’ opinions recommended I do so. Many of my readers didn’t even know I’d added one. I agree with everyone who said it changed the beginning tone of the series. So, it’s gone. For those of you who read the ebook a couple years ago, you’ll be in for a surprise with the print version. There’s more description and extended scenes. The main plotline is unchanged.
Book one is currently available on Amazon, and Barnes&Noble.com for $14.99 USD.
A Diamond in my Pocket is also on IngramSpark, discounted for libraries and bookstores.
Book 2 A Diamond in My Heart - As you see above, book 2 is in print form now. I'm so excited to be able to hold two of my books in my hands. Book two has gone through an overhaul and now has a few new scenes, extended existing scenes, and an overall improved reading experience.
Mark your calendar for May 15th as the release day of A Diamond in My Heart print version on Amazon. $14.99 USD
Book 3 The Diamond of Freedom has a new cover, different cover image, too. I had a professional photographer take the pictures on the front and back of book 3 of the actual pocket watch, diamond, and pouch from the book. The gemstones on the back are of the actual obsidian and gemstones I have. While the older cover also had the real watch and diamond/pouch, the image wasn’t clear enough to be on an IngramSpark cover. The interior has some minor changes to the current ebook’s content.
Mark your calendar for May 29th as the release day of The Diamond of Freedom print version on Amazon. $14.99 USD.
Book 4 The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny is heading off to the interior formatter. Minor changes were made to this storyline as I picked up on some small inconsistencies with the different powers and abilities. The cover’s file is being redesigned. I'll post an updated cover as soon as it's finished.
Mark your calendar for June 12th as the release day of The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny print version on Amazon. $14.99 USD.
Book 5 The Diamond Bearer’s Secret - While the interior content doesn’t need changes, the cover is being redesigned to flow with the rest of the book covers.
Mark your calendar for June 26th as the release date for The Diamond Bearer’s Secret print version on Amazon. $14.99 USD
Book 6 The Diamond Bearers’ Rising - The book cover is almost finished and the manuscript is being edited. After going through the process of submitting books for print and learning the amount of time needed to process files and approve proofs, I’m hopeful to be able to release book 6 in mid July in both ebook and print format.
AND LET'S NOT FORGET:
The Unaltered series is being optioned for film. Hollywood producers are trying to develop a movie of book one and I couldn't be more excited. I believe once the books grow in popularity, this will help the producers achieve the milestones needed to move forward with a movie. You can help this process by buying the books on Amazon on the release dates listed. With enough downloads, the books can reach #1 in their category--a status that will be noticed.
Stay tuned for updates during this release process. Tuesdays are TUESDAY NEWSDAYS. I'll post important changes or updates on Tuesdays. Also, newsletter subscribers will be kept current on new news. You can subscribe to my Awesome Fans Newsletter at the top of the page.
Thanks for reading! Leave a comment by clicking on the word "Comments" below the Twitter and Facebook flags.
~GIFT IDEA: For the author in your life, whether it's YOU or someone you know, here's the best early gift you can give: Entrance to the free training webinar:
Becoming A Bestselling
Author On Amazon
Date: Wednesday December 7th, noon Pacific.
Webinar taught by Linda Stirling, Dean of Dreams for Writers Who Want Prosperity and Visibility.
Linda helps launch or relaunch bestsellers multiple times each month, with a 99.9% success rate. I have personally used Linda's methods and know they work. My own books have reached over 250,000 readers across 40 countries and now have a movie option contract because of Linda Stirling. In gratitude, I want to help her help you by sharing this webinar with my friends.
To register, Text: 44222 and enter BOOKMAGIC
Bonuses for Attending Live Training Webinar:
~21 Ways to Promote
~Getting Started Calendar - Helping You Stay On Tract With Bestseller Goals
~Checklist (So You Don't Have To Think About What To Do When)
~Resource Directory (So You Can Implement Right Away)
If you have dreams of writing your own book, or if you already have but don't know the best way to get your book into the hands of your target audience, this free webinar is for you. Text: 44222 and enter BOOKMAGIC and you'll be all set!
Hurry, you only have till Wednesday Dec. 7th, noon Pacific to register.