Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Quick Tip -- Format Before Writing!

Before you begin writing your short story or novel, save time and money by formatting your paragraphs.

Use the paragraph function and avoid tabs and double-spacing like poison. When you're finished writing, your document will be preformatted and ready to drop into an e-book or book file.

Begin by opening a new page in Word and clicking on "Paragraph." Set your paragraph format as follows: Alignment: Left; Outline level: Body Text; Indentation, both Left and Right: 0; Special at First line: 0.5; Spacing, both Before and After: 0; and Line spacing: Single

I've attached a screen shot of the Paragraph dialogue box for your convenience.

Once your paragraph is formatted, just start writing.

Whether you use a book designer or do it yourself, you've just ensured that your book will have a professional, finished appearance on the computer, Kindle and in your paperback or hard cover editions. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Featured on Twinja Book Reviews!

I'm honored that Guinevere & Libertad Tomas' Twinja Book Reviews has featured my little book website, Alien Star Books.

You can check it out here:

And if you're looking for reviews on YA books, you should check by Guinevere & Libertad Tomas' blog often. They're also voracious readers who love to share the books they read.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Two of the Cobweb Bride Trilogy Is Out!!

And the Kindle edition of book one, Cobweb Bride  is FREE right now!

Check this out, Vera Nazarian has already published books one and two, and book three is due out on CHRISTMAS DAY!! So you can get book one for free, or even give it as a gift, and then get books two and three in time for Christmas. What a great gift for the epic fantasy lover in the family!

So, here's book two, Cobweb Empire

Book description:
"In a world where no one can die, she alone can kill...
"COBWEB EMPIRE (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book Two) is the second book of the intricate epic fantasy flavored by Renaissance history and the romantic myth of Persephone, about death's ultimatum to the world.

"Now that she's Death's Champion, what will Percy do?

"In a world where all death and dying has ceased, and only one person can kill, everyone can only expect a miracle. But what if it's just the tip of the iceberg? Percy Ayren must make her way south, despite all odds, to the place where the death shadow of the Cobweb Bride calls her. With the help of her companions and the invincible black knight, Lord Beltain Chidair whose enigmatic presence disturbs her in a way she cannot explain, Percy must continue her quest, while the mortal world falls apart around them.... 

"Meanwhile, the Marquis Vlau Fiomarre faces the truth of his impossible feelings for Claere Liguon, the Emperor's daughter. He had cruelly taken her life, and now he must serve her until his last dying breath -- it is no longer a matter of honor but secret passion.

"And now, the world itself is changing.... A new dark witch rises, and she will make your heart freeze with her beauty and power....
"Empires clash, kings and emperors and gods vie for supremacy, the living and the dead are at war, while love stories play out in amazing directions, and new mind-blowing mysteries are born."

Available editions:
Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) HardcoverCobweb Bride Paperback - Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) Kindle

Cobweb Empire Hardcover - Cobweb Empire PaperbackCobweb Empire (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) Kindle -

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Review - Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Three Parts Dead 
by Max Gladstone

I just read this book a few nights ago and let me say "WOW!" Original, complex, mysterious and I never saw the ending coming! The world building was excellent and the characters were consistent, nothing wishy washy about this book.

I've read a lot of science fiction and fantasy and it's rare that an author "gets it right" straight out of the gate. Not only were the loose ends tied up, but the ending was quite satisfying, with the door open for a second book.

I highly recommend Three Parts Deadto anyone who's interested in a strange new world filled with magic, gods, good and evil.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Writing for Yahoo Voices

I've started trying to diversify, so I've added a couple of articles to Yahoo Voices.

The nice thing about Yahoo is that if you have enough articles, or "hit" with one really popular article, you get paid for the views. So in time, this can add up to a nice chunk of change every month.

So far, I've added "How to Fertilize Your Pomegranate Tree" and "Detached Retina - a Personal Story."

I have a bunch of old articles that I chose not to sell, so I'll add a few here and there to build up a body of work on Yahoo.

In the meantime, back to writing for my main client!

Monday, October 14, 2013

New Books on Alien Star Books!

I've added a few new books to Alien Star Books.

Feel free to come by and check out my little book website, where you can find science fiction and fantasy for teens and young adults of Color, featuring protagonists outside of the stereotypical mold of the "white guy saves the world/universe."

Now, don't get me wrong here. There's nothing wrong with having a white protagonist or white characters. It's just that, well, do they ALL have to be white? And I do have a place for white protagonists too, because Alien Star Books is all about INCLUSION, not exclusion. There's plenty of room for new authors, established authors and the classics.

If your teen (or you) is looking for something different in speculative fiction, there just might be a book that'll take his/her/your fancy as you peruse the pages of Alien Star Books.

Alien Star Books

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sad News

Donald Edward Griffith
The Illinois Valley has lost another of the silent pillars of the community, the unsung heroes who step up when there’s work to be done and stick to it until the job is finished.
Don Griffith passed into the hands of the Great Architect with his boots on, on the morning of August 17, 2013 after nearly 82 years on Earth and 58 years of marriage. His work here is done.
Survived by his much loved wife, Hazel Pate Griffith; his children and their spouses, Ruth de Jauregui, Karen and Robert Blaettler, Donna Thompson, and Edward and Joni Griffith; grandchildren, James Erin and Courtney de Jauregui, Lofeeya Darden, Terrence Cheeseboro, Thomas and Karen Blaettler, Krystal and Walter Hulsey, Brian Griffith, Becky Griffith, and Bruce Griffith; great-grandchildren, Avellana Jolie de Jauregui, Dominiq Hulsey, Rayna Hulsey, and Khloe Hulsey; his brother and his wife, Kenneth and Dioney Griffith; and numerous other family members, dear friends, and brothers in Masonry.
Don went on ahead to join his parents Edward Carter Griffiths and Clara Oaks Griffiths Blanchard, brother Ralph “Teddy” Griffith, stepfather Jack Blanchard, and great-granddaughter Joselyn Hulsey.
Born in the original Rexford, Montana, a town now under Lake Koocanusa, Don moved all over the Pacific Northwest with his parents and brothers as a child until his family settled in Point Arena, California. He graduated from Point Arena Joint Union High School in 1949.
Don was a Korean War Veteran, having spent 1952 to 1954 in the Army.
As a young man, he worked in the woods and lumber mills in California and Oregon. While working in Oregon, he met and married Hazel Ione Pate in Brookings, Oregon, in 1955.
Don worked for CalTRANS for 33 years in Point Arena, San Diego, Santa Maria and retired from District 7, Los Angeles, CA. Having retired at midnight, January 16, 1994, he didn’t miss the Northridge earthquake on January 17 at 4:31 a.m., but he got to stay home and take care of his family and house in Downey instead of going out to work on the damaged freeways.
He retired to Cave Junction, Oregon, where he was an active member of the community.
A 43-year Master Mason, Don was the Worshipful Master of Belt Masonic Lodge #18 twice and was the current Treasurer. He was a recipient of the Hiram Award. He also chaired the annual Crab Feed, the Bikes for Books program at Evergreen Elementary School, and the Annual Labor Day Breakfast at Jubilee Park in Cave Junction.
Don was on the Board of Directors of the Kerby Union High School Commemorative Park, the Medford Gun Club, and the Pacific International Trapshooting Association’s Hall of Fame.
He was the President of the Retired Public Employees Association of California, Chapter #102 of Grants Pass, Oregon.
He was also a member of the NRA and the Amateur Trapshooting Association.
An avid trapshooter, Don received his 50,000 target certificate at the PITA Grand Pacific Trapshoot in Evergreen, Washington, in July 2013.
Above all, Don was a dedicated family man, who loved his wife and family with all his heart. He will be missed by all who love him dearly.
A Masonic Memorial was held on September 25, 2013, at the Belt Building in Kerby, Oregon.
Donations in Don’s memory may be made to the Shriner’s Transportation Fund/Emergency Transportation Fund, Attn: Margaret Bryan, 2425 Stockton Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95817 or to the Belt Masonic Lodge #18 Scholarship Fund, PO Box 3091, Kerby, OR 97531.

Friday, August 16, 2013

West Sound Warriors

Well, I'm an empty nester already.

Yes, my youngest went off to play Junior Hockey in Washington. Wow.

Nose to the grindstone now, no more part-time working at writing because hockey is freaking EXPENSIVE!!

Speaking of, those articles are calling me...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Farewell, my friend, you were taken from your family and friends too soon.

For Chano:
My heart burns with pain, knowing that I can't be there with the family at this sad time. It hurts so much, knowing that Chano was taken long before his time.

Let me tell you what Chano was to our family. We lived next door and Chano and Shirley took us under their wings. We spent holidays and celebrations with our lovely neighbors. I have family, but they live hours away and I couldn't always be there for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, Easter or birthdays. But to Chano and Shirley, we were the little family next door and they adopted us.

Chano was a real man. He took all the young people under his wing, and he showed my youngest son how a real man lives. Taking care of and loving his family, not running the streets and acting a fool. Family was everything to Chano and he treated my son like family. I will forever be grateful for his influence on my boy, and the other fine young men and women that he helped bring up.

And not just my son. My daughter also saw how a real man treats his family -- with love and respect. He was always ready to give a hand, whether it was taking a sink apart to fish her friend's grill out of the trap, or give us a jump when I left the headlights on. Again.

Chano was one of those real men who influence all those around him, not by flaunting money or power, but by being the strong family man.

I believe that we all belong to the Great Spirit, to God, and Chano has only stepped from our plane of existence and on into the next. Energy doesn't disappear. The spirit doesn't disappear. He has only abandoned the mortal shell that ties us to this earth.

And now that Chano has his wings, he can spread them and fly wherever all the family is, birth, blood, and adopted, whether in Texas or Oregon or West Sacramento, he is still with us. He is still watching over his family, his children, and all the rest of us.

His essence remains with his beloved Shirley and his children, and his memory remains with us all.

His mortal shell is laid to rest, but his spirit has been set free.

Let me say, thank you Chano, for all that you've done for us all.

Fly free my friend.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

OK, check this out.

The first new book in over a decade from two time Nebula nominee Vera Nazarian. You have GOT to get her latest, and best, book!!

The first of a trilogy, the Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) is already ramping up the standard for the fantasy genre. Romantic, with flawed characters and a fascinating glimpse of a world where Death has went on strike.


The book's description:

Many are called... She alone can save the world and become Death's bride.
COBWEB BRIDE (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book One) is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death's ultimatum to the world. 

What if you killed someone and then fell in love with them?
In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary "pocket" of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill.... 

Covered in white cobwebs of a thousand snow spiders she lies in the darkness... Her skin is cold as snow... Her eyes, frozen... Her gaze, fiercely alive...
While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war... A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father... Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court.... Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living... 

Look closer -- through the cobweb filaments of her hair and along each strand shine stars...
And one small village girl, Percy -- an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter -- is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs. 

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death's own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North... 

And everyone is trying to stop her.

You can get this great story in paperback or Kindle. And I have even better news! The next two books are planned for publication by the end of the year! YES! You aren't going to have to wait a whole year for the next book!

Can you tell I'm excited about Vera's new books? Yes, yes, I am!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

May you all have a wonderful day as we celebrate our country's birthday!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Review: Cat Tales and Whiskers

Book Review:

Cat Tales and Whiskers: A Young Adult Paranormal Christian Novelette (Ages 10+)
by Ciella Naden

Book description: "When fourteen-year-old Ash is forced to move, the world as he knows it turns upside down. Soulville is a strange town, and the house his mom inherited from a distant relative should be condemned. It’s spooky. Possibly haunted. What Ash initially believes to be a string of bad luck has nothing to do with luck at all and everything to do with a demonic curse on his family. Does Ash have what it takes to break the curse, or will his life be cut short like those before him?"

I bought this book this morning, after a friend and fellow author on Facebook recommended it.

Written by a 13-year-old, all I can say is charming!! A few little formatting issues, nothing worse than extra blank lines now and then and I only noticed one misspelled word. A charming little Christian tale of generational curses and forgiveness. As long as you're still breathing, you CAN make that U-turn and this young author expressed it wonderfully in this short, interesting and easy to read paranormal story. I don't give many 5-star reviews, but this tale really caught me and kept me reading through the entire story. I hope to see more of this author. (RDJ)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Book Review - Waters of Darkness

I have been neglecting my blogs and my book reviews!
Waters of Darkness 
4 Stars!

The dynamic duo of New Pulp action adventure -- with pirates!
Authors David Smith and Joe Bonadonna provided a copy of Waters of Darkness for review. To be honest, I've never really been into pirate stories, so I probably would've passed this by. I would have been wrong. Dead wrong!

This multicultural adventure on the high seas was another riproaring homage to old style pulp with a huge swirl of classic Edgar Rice Burroughs mixed with a dollop of Robert Louis Stevenson. Pirates, magic, revenge, horror and a little love mixed by the creative genius of this dynamic duo of the New Pulp movement made this a fast and fun read. This tale of cursed treasure and ancient evil is tightly woven together, with twists and unexpected turns as Captain Bloody Red Buchanan, his first mate Mose Cooper, Captain Crimson Kate O'Toole and their crews face destruction, dismemberment and death while unraveling the mystery of the lead coins, alchemy, demons and unavenged betrayals.

With plenty of battles between "me hearties" and "my uglies" against monsters, the undead and other pirates, the action is non-stop. My only uncomfortable moments were when the pirates called the Arab pirates "dogs." That did give me some pause, as there are some pretty deep and ugly connotations with that term. I had to get a grip and remind myself that it was and still is a common term used in reference to sailors and pirates. So I set aside my 21st century mores and simply enjoyed the tale for what it is -- a great story.

I'd rate this tale at "PG-13".

Monday, February 18, 2013

Spotlight Author!


I have been honored as the Spotlight Author on Reading In Black ( for the week of February 18-22!

I was very surprised when I was invited to participate, as the facebook group is focused on Black authors' works. However, Deatri was so kind and invited me because I participate and post regularly. In addition, I maintain a book website focused on science fiction and fantasy for Teens and Young Adults of Color ( So I have a huge interest in books that feature protagonists of Color.

Anyway, I'm truly honored. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

No Time to Turn Around!

I have been so darn busy!

First, I finished the first cookbook in the series, "The Soul of California" featuring recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Super Bowl Sunday. It's available through a number of e-retailers, including Smashwords, Amazon Kindle and in a paperback edition

But what really has me jazzed is what I saw the other day. I was researching plants for an article and saw THIS! Check out the ad on the right side of the page!

Ohmygoodness, check that out. My little cookbook is being featured in ads on major websites! Now how cool is that? LOL, now lets see if it generates any sales!