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Friday, October 23, 2015


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Well, I've always kept a journal, since I was a little girl. However, the idea of being a writer/author didn't come until I was about to get out of Federal Prison, in 2007. Once I shared my story with the ladies who I was doing time with and experienced the freedom that came with, I knew then that I had found my true purpose and there were more lives that needed to be touched by what I'd gone through.

How long does it take you to write a book? 

It took me about a month to write "28 Days to Breaking the Cycle". In 2010, Dunkin Donuts became my safe haven! I got there everyday by 10am and wouldn't leave until about 10pm. Lol! This book was a purging for me, so the dire need to get it out was inevitable! Since then, I've created a Journal and audio book that took about the same time to write. But I must admit, lately it's taken me much longer to get this fourth book out. Writer's block is no joke!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

My schedule is pretty flexible since I work for myself, so there's no pressure of having to adjust my life and that sacred time of writing to someone's command. Thankfully!

What is your latest release and what's next?

My latest release is the audio program I created, "The Dreamer's Manifesto". This work is about helping you to tap into your greatness so that you can change the course of your life and actually MANIFEST the life of your dreams. The program can be found at I'm currently working on my latest book, "Hiding Behind Failure", which is set to be released in May 2016.

Excerpt: When I walked in, he was in his bed, lying on his
stomach. I expected him to hit me with the belt as soon as I
walked in the room.
He told me to press play on the VCR and sit at the end of his
bed. The TV was on but there was no picture showing. I was
obedient, fearing that if I didn‟t, he would beat me.
When I pressed play, a porno started playing, showing a
white woman masturbating on the screen. He turned over in
his bed and I turned my head at the scene.
“Sit down on the end of the bed” he instructed.
I sat down but kept my eyes on the washing machine and
dryer that sat right outside their bedroom door. We lived in a
trailer, so everything was compact.
“Since you want to have sex so bad, this is going to be a sex
education class. I want you to do what you see her doing”, he
I was curious just like any other teenage girl but I wasn‟t
ready to have sex again, especially not after my first scare
with AIDS. Fear set in as I looked out the bedroom door,
refusing to look at that TV.
“Look at the damn TV!” he yelled.
“I don‟t want to look at the TV”, I told my daddy.
“Look at the damn TV and do what you see what her doing!”
I wanted to run but I was scared. Yet, I couldn‟t sit here. I
was not going to look at that TV!
I was panicking. It was getting harder for me to breathe.
“Take your clothes off and do what you see her doing!” he
He was breathing hard, trying to maintain the intimidation in
his voice, while getting aroused.
This just was not right.
I looked back at him. I wanted him to see the pain in my face.
That‟s when I noticed he didn‟t have on any clothes. He was
laying under the covers naked!
This can‟t be happening to me!
I began to cry. Oh, God! He wants me to do that in front of
him?! He‟s my Father!  
pg 56


Book can be purchased on amazon and kindle, just search 28 Days To Breaking The Cycle
Twitter @IamMissAlma
Instagram @IamMissAlma28
Periscope @IamMissAlma

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Defeating the Victim Mindset

I know how to throw a kick ass pity party extravaganza!

Hello my name is Julia Press Simmons, and sometimes I can feel extremely sorry for myself... but I am getting a handle on that! 

I run a few companies, hold down a full time job, struggle with a weight loss journey, blog, edit, and publish. At times it can be very hard to find balance, or squeeze in a little time for myself, and in my case (probably most peoples case) that is a recipe for disaster. 

After a while the pressure gets to me, and then every little freaking thing starts to get to me, and I start to take shit super personal. Slowly, but surely, I begin to brood. I get moody, grumpy, and ultimately depressed. I lose sight of what's important. I lose sight of my blessings, and then I have a pity party with all the trimmings.

It's been a long time since this has happened to me. I am a faithful passenger on the positivity train. I pray often and try to remain grateful; however, the past few weeks have been crazy busy and super stressful. For every win I experienced two or three losses and I began to feel defeated. 

I know enough about negative thinking, and having a victim mindset, to know that I couldn't sit in these feelings. I had to fight and fight quickly. I hit the web and begin to search for methods to turn my frown upside down. I found 3 easy steps at 

by Nodia Goodman

you can read the full article here

1. Express gratitude. 

Negative events loom large unless you consciously balance them out. "When you're faced with challenges, it's important to take stock of what's going well," Della Porta says. Thinking about the good in your life can help balance that bias, giving your brain the extra time it needs to register and remember a positive event.

2. Repeat positive affirmations. 

As any politician or advertiser knows, the more often you hear a message, the more likely you are to believe it. The same goes for messages about who you are and what you are capable of doing. By repeating positive affirmations with conviction several times each morning, you are training your brain to believe them. "Over time, you'll start to internalize them," Della Porta says. Repeat your affirmations silently if you feel self-conscious.

3. Challenge negative thoughts. 

Each time a negative thought arises, we choose how to respond. If left to our own devices, we tend to dwell. Our brains home in on negative events so they seem much bigger and more significant than they are. To combat that, start by imagining the thought as separate from yourself, as something you can observe and deconstruct. "Get in the habit of distancing yourself instead of dwelling," Della Porta says.
Here is a nifty video that will help you stay on the positivity train even when shit goes south!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Review Of Brookwater's Curse

Christian Brookwater is a former Georgia plantation slave who became a vampire during the 1860s. His long, tumultuous life takes a complicated turn when he is forced to travel to modern-day Senegal to rescue a child from a vengeful werewolf prince. It is here that Christian uncovers a plot that would throw the entire vampire nation into a civil war. To stop this, Christian must betray his best friend and mentor, an influential Italian vampire who nurtured him during his vampiric infancy.
Christian is a member of a nocturnal law enforcement community that safeguards the secrets of the creatures of the night. This involves the killing of werewolves and other deranged monsters; something Christian excels at. But his fraternization with humans and his incessant need to kill racists vexes his superiors, who threaten to execute him if he doesn’t curtail his ‘racial impulses’. Christian also suffers from a rare condition that makes intercourse with human females especially dangerous.
Christian’s other mentor is a four hundred year old vampire samurai lord who teaches him the arts of war and sacrifice, and has a knack for appearing whenever things become desperate.
Of course, the warrior’s code can’t replace the desire for love, as Christian discovers when he becomes enamored with a human female in the 1940s. Despite Christian’s affliction, the two lovers raise a child together and for a while, our vampire gets a taste of true happiness.
Some years later, his family life ends tragically as Christian loses his great love and becomes estranged from his teenaged son. Heartbroken, Christian embarks on a series of illuminating, yet sinful adventures as he migrates to a new home: Harlem, New York.

My Two Cents
Okay, it's confession time. I admit to be a little bit in love with Cristian Brookwater, and completely captivated by the writing style of Steven Van Patten! Brookwater's Curse is a dazzling ride through the ages, from slavery to present day, you are in for one sweeping epic ride. 

I believe it is the depth of the character development with Christian that had my heart racing throughout all the non stop action. I fell in love when he did, felt betrayed when he was, felt his rage, inner conflicts, and honor. I am not going to give you any spoilers. I want you to experience the wonder that I did. I  am currently rereading this book because I purchased the other two books in the series, and I plan to update this blog when finished.


Review Copy Provided by the Author. 
Review Posted to Amazon


Friday, October 9, 2015


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was in grade school when the writing bug hit. I was praised for my stories and then given the opportunity to write and produce a school play. I was forever hooked, and while I wrote for my own pleasure well into adulthood, it wasn't until I met a writer that I thought I began to pursue it earnestly. The first item I had published in a magazine was a poem. After that, my first book was born.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Too long, at least according to some, I once wrote a rough draft in 72 hours, and I mean a very, very rough draft. It's not the initial story that gives me a hard time it's the rewrite. During rewrite is when the research is done, the characters back-stories created, the timeline is established, and the red herrings created. There's a lot to writing a convincing murder mystery. You have to have plenty of possible doers, and enough clues that when the reader gets to the solution they can say, "I should have known!" With formula writing and the quick turnaround available now some would say I'm slow. I would say I'm sure.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
For that first draft, the house becomes a mess, the laundry piles up and no one eats unless they do the cooking. I barely sleep. For the second draft, it's a much quieter time and life is lived. Once the first edits come back though, I go back to the bad habits of the first sentence. My family suffers for my art.
What is your latest release and what's next?
On September 23, I published a collection of short stories, When Zombies Attack. I like to write all genres and horror has always been a preference, Stephen King is one of my all-time favorite authors. This month I finished a short in the genre of speculative fiction, an alternative timeline called Ever-Ton. Also, Curiosity Quills Press will publish the third book of my Murder Trilogy, Murder & Obsession, in March of 2016. I'm dedicating the month of November to finishing the first draft of my latest WIP, Dark Motives, a new murder mystery.

Yolanda Renée

The Keystone state couldn't satisfy my adventurous spirit, yet Pennsylvania will always be home. Alaska called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, hike the Brooks Range, and traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.
When I left the corporate world to seek my next adventure, writing, this beautiful state and its most primal spirit, inspired me to feature Alaska in my newly published mystery trilogy. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that are Alaska have never left my soul.
A love for all things Stephen King helped inspire the writing of my newest release When Zombies Attack Tales of Horror & Romance. Because let's face it folks relationships run the gamut of sublime to murder to sheer terror.
The story weaves a rich tapestry of love, obsession, mystery, and murder…
Life is full of many journeys, and I look forward to the next adventure on my bucket list…
Racing in the Indy 500…
Drumming to my own beat…
OR, keeping a pet dragon in my back yard.
After all…anything IS POSSIBLE!
Twitter: @yolandarenee
When Zombies Attack is a collection of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry with over thirty individual pieces. Starting with zombies and ending with a flesh eater. There is horror, romance, murder, and mystery, a little for every reader.

  • Can a survivalist survive a zombie hoard?
  • Can an angel in training beat the Devil? 
  • Would you voluntarily jump into the fires of hell? 
  • Is murder ever forgivable?
  • Will love finally triumph over death!
  • On Halloween night, a sexy witch gets more than she
    planned for!
When Zombies Attack is a fun romp through all things forbidden, love with a touch of horror, and all those things that scare us!
Angie unmuted the sound on the television.
Mary Jane Finney reported. "Police are telling all residents of Pennsylvania to stay away from the nuclear power plant. Something has gone terribly wrong – and that’s all they will say. On the eastern side of the Susquehanna River, the military is patrolling. No one is getting in, and no one is getting out. The status of those in the red zone is unknown."
Angie muted the television and tried to digest the news. She lived in the Red Zone; she could see the stacks of the power plant from her front window.
She nervously got off the couch, knocking her drink over. Between getting a towel to clean it up and running to the window—there was no contest. She turned on the porch light and hurried to the picture window. She threw open the curtains. The stacks were black— ominous. No blinking red lights to warn low-flying planes of their presence, no billowing steam clouds that spoke to their activity, and no LED lights illuminating the ground and maintenance buildings. Just two black towers marring a pristine moonlit sky. These two monsters had spewed something noxious, something deadly. Angie felt the panic start with a tingle in her toes to a tightening of the muscles in her legs then to her gut, compressing her innards into a tight ball. Her hand rested on her chest where a heart pounded like a jackhammer, skipping several beats. Her lungs fought for air, and her mind screamed for answers.
Suddenly small explosions sounded.

After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.
A killer plays cat and mouse with a young widow against the snowy backdrop of an Alaskan winter. Branded a black widow after the suspicious death of her millionaire husband, Sarah Palmer flees Seattle for Anchorage.
One of the police department's best and brightest detectives may just be in over his head, especially when the facts start pointing to a conclusion he isn't willing to face. With a killer on the loose and a climbing body count, Steven can't afford to hedge his bets—or his life.
Is Sarah a victim or a very skilled manipulator? With a killer on the loose and a climbing body count, Steven can't afford to hedge his bets-or his life.
Debra pulled up the collar of her jacket and stared out at the Arctic gale battering the city. "Well, it’s do or die. See you tomorrow," she said to Ginger, her best friend.
"Deb, you’ve nothing to prove." Ginger’s words were barely audible over the sound of the storm as Debra opened the door.
She stepped across the threshold. "Yes, I do. I have to prove I’m as tough as any Alaskan!"
Debra waved and leaned into the wind, wishing she had listened to Ginger and bought that ugly parka. Instead, she braved the stinging wind and sleet, resolved that Alaska’s elements would not beat her this time. Her mood quickly shifted from determination to irritation when the cold air tore at her clothes. Sharp fingers of ice brutally needled her in places familiar only with warmth.
"I hate this place!" she grumbled.
Determination pushed her forward when common sense should have won out and sent her back inside. You can do this. Halfway through the alley,
Debra spotted her car. A co-worker had cleared the SUV of snow. Thank god for friends. Debra pushed the remote button on her key chain to start it and felt a sense of accomplishment. Now all she had to do was master the drive home. Her joy was fleeting, as hands clamped down on her shoulders.
"Hey, wait a minute!" She barely had the words out before a gloved hand closed over her mouth. Utter helplessness and cold steel, slicing deep, registered in her mind as reality changed from surviving a winter storm to sheer terror.
"Oh, God." Debra wanted to cry, but her stifled screams became gurgles, as she choked on blood.
Released from captivity, she sank to the ground like a deflated balloon. Her hands, finally free from immobilizing fear, reached for her throat. Lifeblood poured between her fingers, and her final seconds moved in slow, deliberate steps. Debra fell back into a soft pillow of snow. Oh, God! Please, don’t let me die. She screamed in her mind because her larynx no longer worked.
A shadow appeared. Debra tried to raise her leaden arms skyward, to reach for rescue, but they fell limply at her sides when she realized her attacker stood above her.
"Why? Why me?" She tried to speak, but her jaw only jerked lamely. The words bounced soundlessly in her skull. Critically weakened, she fought to cling tightly to the life being so savagely stolen from her.
She stared up at the falling snow, but could no longer feel the sting of its chill. The arctic air rapidly extinguished the last embers of her life. Tears froze on her eyelashes, and snowflakes—numerous and unrelenting—began to cover her with an icy blanket. Blood poured from the open wound, sending spirals of steam, and Debra’s essence, heavenward.

          World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective.
            Catching Alaska’s most notorious serial killer as a rookie made Detective Steven Quaid a hero, but falling in love with the victim of his last case tarnishes that status. While attempting to repair both his personal and professional life, he stumbles upon an unusual case–and an even more extraordinary foe: a man who believes he is Lucifer. An insidious man who delivers Quaid the ultimate choice: save his fiancée from an assassin’s bullet or stop the sacrifice of a young girl.

From a lair of downed tree limbs and forest debris, a man watches a young woman. He chronicles her every move. From the moment of her arrival, and through the three hours she works to record the scenery on her canvas, he barely moves a muscle. He is content—comfortable. His camouflage is so perfect that deer graze just inches away.
Tomorrow, you’ll be mine. Your blood will assuredly be purer than the sweetest honey on earth. His stomach rumbles and his saliva flows in anticipation of her taste. His unbridled joy almost costs him his concealment when a celebratory growl escapes his throat, and the doe takes notice. He stills himself and waits.
The woman looks directly at him. Seconds tick by in uneasy expectation. She sees me. He swallows hard, almost dropping his camera. She smiles. His body flushes with excitement.
His smile broadens, and then evaporates. No. He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and relaxes his muscles. The Scriptures have foretold of our first meeting. Patience, my queen, my love.
His hands drip with sweat; his heart pounds. He shuts the camera off and carefully lowers it to the ground. She shows no fear, and he sees every move as flirtation. Using the sleeves of his shirt, he dries his hands, mops his forehead, and turns the camera back on. He calms the urge to go to her. He stays silent, motionless, but vigilant.
A cool breeze rustled the leaves, and a haunting melody flowed among the treetops. Sarah, busy and intent on finishing her work, stepped back when a bee disturbed her concentration. The bumblebee darted around the flowers she had just painted, looking for nectar in the colors. She watched with amusement but, too quickly, the small creature flew off to find the real thing. The distraction caused her to realize how long she had worked without a break. Sarah put her palette down, stretched her stiff muscles, and surveyed the scenery. Something in the trees caught her attention, and a chill trickled down her spine, but concern became a smile when she spotted the doe and its fawn, grazing contentedly.
Her attention once more on her work, she stared in disbelief. The scene depicted did not match her surroundings. Sarah’s intent had been to capture the sunlight filtering through the trees, the waterfall, and the multicolored wildflowers covering the banks—the serenity of nature on a picturesque morning in the mountains of Idaho.
Instead, the soft light had somehow become fog, seeping in from a foreboding and dark landscape. The multicolored wildflowers were all blood red, the blue sky a dark gray, and, to her shock, there was someone in the background. Sinister orbs glowed from a dark shadow hidden in the trees. Apprehension seized Sarah. She scanned the area around her. Alarmed, she searched the woods for any sign of Steven, or for the phantom that haunted her painting. Steven had promised to join her for a picnic lunch. That hour had passed. Worried, she gathered her materials and hurriedly made her way back to the cabin.

Coming in March 2016

Murder & Obsession
Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness…

Love is never easy, but for Detective Steve Quaid and his fiancée, Sarah, their road to happiness is laden with minefields.
Steven’s countless hours reconverting his grandfather’s cabin into the perfect honeymoon retreat for Sarah soon becomes a bloody crime scene detailing her death. Accused, Steven escapes into the Alaskan mountains, biding his time to find the truth…
Who killed his beloved?
A seasoned woodsman, he outsmarts even the cleverest of trackers. All but one…
Mauled by a grizzly, a half-dead Steven barely escapes.
But will he live to bring the true murderer to justice?

Powerful arms carried her; the same arms that moments ago held her under the ice-cold water of the Koyukuk River. Sarah screamed for help. Her abductor laughed. She cried again, and louder, the effort scarring her throat like a flame swallowed but not extinguished.
"Shut up, bitch, there's no one out here going to help you." The monster laughed, and the sound kept her from descending fully into the depths. She grappled for lucidity. Seconds later, he threw her like a sack of shit onto something hard. Her head smashed into metal. Darkness threatened to consume her.
A slammed door rattled her brain in an explosion of sound and pain; she fought to clear the haze obscuring reality. Sarah struggled for movement, but her arms were tightly bound at her sides. Her eyes were open, but all she saw was darkness. Panic climbed from her toes to her chest and every muscle tightened in fear. Her lungs struggled for air. Her old nemesis, claustrophobia, fought for control of her senses. She coughed, and foul river water exploded from her mouth and flowed down her neck and chest. Fighting her deepest fears, Sarah knew she had to suppress the panic surging through her gut. She prayed for strength and willed the desperation gone.
With control over her breathing, she achieved some semblance of awareness and realized she lay on the backseat of a vehicle, her naked body cocooned securely in an animal hide. She felt the cold of the Koyukuk on her skin. Her hair, a mass of slime, was like melting icicles against her back. Her body flamed with a chill that burned so deep she thought Freon flowed through her veins. Panic built until oblivion consumed her.
Minutes later, she came to and slowly reaffirmed her location, but wondered if they'd drugged her again. Struggling against the beckoning darkness, she used every ounce of courage she could muster to pacify each synapse telling her life depended on fight or flight. She realized her head now rested on the lap of a stranger. His arms held her firmly in place while the vehicle bounced over rough ground. Welcome To My Nightmare by Alice Cooper blared from surround-sound speakers. Her captors laughed and sang as though Alice Cooper had penned their theme song. Blackness won again, but the next time she came to, she heard clearly the voices of the people responsible for her anguish.
"God damn it. What fun. Went like clockwork. The boss will be pleased."
She recognized the voice of the man who abducted her, Yurij, an ugly brute, a Russian, who spoke perfect English and had the manners of a flesh-eating troll.
His girlfriend, Gladys, had the same hostility as her fiancé. She responded with irritation, "We’ve done what he asked. Tell me it's over and we don’t owe him anything else."
"Once we deliver the girl, it’s over. Our future, our family, is all that matters," Yurij said.
With those words, Sarah remembered details. Memories—cloudy, violent, and terrifying—rushed forward. The air warmed, and her body shook involuntarily from chills that generated deep inside. The arms around her tightened, and the man who held her leaned close. He uncovered her face. She recognized him as the only kidnapper with any compassion.
"Be still, or they’ll drug you again. You'll be safe soon. Don’t fight. Do what they say." He tightened the blanket around her and rubbed her arms to help ease the shivering. He wrapped her hair in a towel. His efforts to make her comfortable failed. "Keep cooperating and everything will be fine," he repeated, as though she had a choice.
She focused on his deep brown eyes, but the drugs they'd given her stole the last remnants of her resolve. "Please tell Steven to hurry."
The darkness summoned and she unwillingly surrendered.

Work From Home They Said with John H. Howard

I am a very stubborn and impulsive person. I always have been, and I probably always will be. And, although these attributes serve me w...