That’s The Way the Anissette Sponge Cookie Crumbles…


You don’t want to read this. Truly, in your heart, you are saying to yourself, “I could click out of this right now. I could remove myself from reading about this disaster to come.” Or, you could continue. Only the brave should. For this is one of the dumbest cooking adventures to date, folks. And I lived it. And by the end of it, my reaction was very much like this.

Tiramisu is an Italian dessert, a cake made with layers of coffee and liquor-soaked ladyfingers, a marscapone/egg yolk cream, and finally whipped cream and cocoa powder. I have been dying to try and make this utterly decadent dessert since I began my cooking adventures five months ago. I was ecstatic, I tell you. So when the opportunity to make it finally came, I leaped at it with overzealous joy. And I leaped over a few important ingredients by trying to substitute them with others. Here’s where things get weird.

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Inspiration Through Music: Norah Jones

The romantic in me comes out whenever I hear Norah Jones. Granted, I’m not much of a romance writer. But every now and again, even I like to write a little something sweet and beautiful such as two people coming together in love. In fact, I have a romance novella that I’m working on right now, which is inspired by a couple of different pieces of music I’ve listened to recently (Dear Esther soundtrack and Dvorak, for starters). But, back to Norah Jones.

I’ve been a fan of hers ever since her first album ‘Come Away With Me’ came out in 2002. I’ve been collecting her albums ever since. I just in fact downloaded her newest album “Little Broken Hearts” a couple days ago. I’m always surprised by how she can change her music style but still make the hairs on my arms stand with her emotion and wonderful voice. Today, I’ll be sharing 7 songs of hers that have inspired me in my writing with you.

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How Wicked I Am! Wicked and Crazy!


I’m a wicked, wicked woman. I didn’t post my Inspiration Through Music blog yesterday. And frankly, it wouldn’t have been possible. I was away until about one o’clock (and nowhere near a computer) and then I was out of the house again until ten o’clock last night. It was Memorial Day and I had other plans. And because of my work schedule, it’s more difficult for me to get things done. 

Have no fear. I’ll be posting my Inspiration Through Music blog tonight.

In addition to tackling that, I’m going to be embarking on an epic writing quest this week which will hopefully see me finish a few long-standing projects. The last couple weeks I’ve been working so hard, I just haven’t had time to write. I’m going to make up for that by trying to finish (or at least getting close to finishing) certain writing projects. Two short stories (both within the Monstrum Chronicles universe, one that is absolutely paramount to the story in book 2), two novellas (Night Time, Dotted Line and a new romance one I started the other day), and getting at least half way through Memento Mori: Book 3 of the Monstrum Chronicles. It’s an ambitious goal to say the least but honestly, it’s not okay that I haven’t written anything in the last two weeks. I’ve got to get myself back on a set schedule. And sometimes, giving myself a crazy goal is a good way to jump-start that.

I’ll still be posting my Cooking Adventures blog on Thursday and I’ll still have a new Inspiration Through Music blog for you all this next Monday. I won’t let those goals get in the way of the blog. Don’t worry. 🙂

Well, I’d best get started! Stay tuned for the Inspiration Through Music: Norah Jones this evening!


Breadcrumb Instinct

COOKING ADVENTURE #21: Chicken Divan

[No Picture – Sorry!]

Every family has a recipe or two which are passed down from generation to generation. In some cases, such recipes are regarded as family secrets which must not be leaked to the outside world. In others, they unite families and induce memories of past events. Such is the same for the recipe of Chicken Divan.

This is a recipe from my mom’s side of the family, the Shacklefords. My grandma, mom, and aunt make the best Chicken Divan on the planet. It has been one of my ultimate favorite comfort foods since I was a kid. I could never/can never get enough of it. Now, it was my turn to make it. And it was a delicate task that lay ahead. After all, the family name was at stake.

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Inspiration Through Music: Dear Esther Soundtrack

Inner conflict is one of the sole drives in stories. Characters battling with inner demons about what they should do or coming to terms with what they already have done. To me, there’s nothing more emotive and heart-wrenching, as a simple instrumental song to illustrate this inner turmoil. And it was with extreme excitement a few months back, that I discovered Jessica Curry’s soundtrack to the indie game, “Dear Esther.”

“Dear Esther” is a short paranormal/mystery game created originally as a mod from the Half Life series. I’ve already referenced mods before in my “Cry of Fear Soundtrack” post. My favorite game commentator, HarshlyCritical, did a let’s play of this game which can be found here. The game follows a male protagonist who wanders about an island reminiscing about his lost love and alluding to several scientific formulas and Biblical passages. The game’s pacing is slow but the atmosphere it provides is stunning. And Curry’s score for it ultimately swept me away. Haunting, delicate, and sorrowful in some places but also inspiring and uplifting in others, the 17 track album was probably one of my best buys this year. Today, I’d like to share 8 of those tracks with you.

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Spring Promo Stats!

Good morning, readers,

So the spring promo has officially come to a close. In the course of 48 hours, “Vox” was downloaded 279 times and climbed all the way up to #28 on the Kindle free Action & Adventure bestseller’s list! That’s quite an accomplishment, seeing as how it was in 700,000th place before the promo began.

Of course since the promo ended, the book has back slid a little bit into 55th place and is now in 1,600th place overall. Seeing as how there are over one million books in the Kindle store, I’m going to take that as a pretty good sign that things went well! A thanks to everyone who purchased a copy of the book this weekend, anyone who helped promote it, and anyone who encouraged me while I marketed it!

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Spring Promo Update!

Good evening, readers!

In the span of just a day, the tide has shifted tremendously on my book. The book was in 700,000th place when I went to bed last night. That’s pretty bad.

It’s been about 24 hours since then. “Vox” is now in 53rd place on the Kindle Action & Adventure bestseller list and in 1,323 place overall in the Kindle Store! Wowza! I’m so floored! It just goes to show you, sometimes putting something out for free, even if it’s temporary really is a good choice after all!

Thank you to everyone who has downloaded a copy today! You’re awesome! 

Now, if only I could just get my allergies to give me a break…

One more day on the free promo! I’m excited to see what happens tomorrow!


Vox Spring Promo!

Good morning, readers!

Today and tomorrow, May 19th and 20th, my first novel “Vox: Book 1 of the Monstrum Chronicles” is available for free on Amazon Kindle! Now is your chance to join in on this exhilarating new vampire series. “Vox” is a supernatural horror novel, with a detective lit feel, and thriller influences. Readers of Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and Agatha Christie should definitely check out this book! The readers will follow three different protagonists who slowly sink into a world where everyone they meet is a monster in disguise.

Here is the official book synopsis!

Torrent is a lilitu, a race of creatures on which vampire myths are based. Cocky and defiant, he’s on a hunt to alter the space-time continuum to change his fate, all the while, trying to outrun his sire who seeks to destroy him. 

Eileen is an Opera-soprano, returning home after seven months in a mental institution following the death of her husband. Secluded in a country estate, she soon realizes she isn t alone. 

Sean hears strange voices. In a desperate effort to save his life, he must discover what they are trying to tell him and why a shadowy corporation values his unusual gift. 

As all of their paths interweave with twists of betrayal, sacrifice, and murder, each character will have to come to terms with what they are and what it truly means to live.

Here are a few things people have said about “Vox”

“New teeth for the vampire genre”

“Fast-paced and full of suspense”

“True-to-death characters”

“Page turner from beginning to end”

“Pulse-pounding debut”

Have a look at the book teaser trailer!

Interested? Click here to get your free copy of “Vox” today!

Already have a copy? Give it a review on Amazon. Spread the word and tell your friends! This spring promo lasts for two days! Make sure they don’t miss out.


“Stay sealed, Wontons! That’s your purpose in life!”

COOKING ADVENTURE #20: Gyoza with dipping sauce

My interactions with Japanese cuisine has been rather limited. I’ve had sushi once in my life. I’m not sure it really even counts as sushi. I made it with my class in 8th grade. And even then, I didn’t really do much, other than watch other people strip seaweed pieces from wax paper and wrap up rice, fake crabmeat, and fish eggs in them. I don’t even remember how it tasted.  Since I started my Cooking Adventures, I’ve done something Greek (Pastitsio), Georgian (Shashlyk), Cajun (Crabcakes, Cajun Chicken Pasta), Spanish (Empanadas), Mediterranean (Lemon Almond Cake), and Chinese (Egg Drop Soup). I figured it was time to attempt another Far Eastern dish. Gyoza, a traditional recipe of wontons stuffed with cooked ground meat and vegetables, seemed like the perfect thing to start out with. This dish is also responsible for allowing me to prepare a couple different food items that I’ve had no experience cooking with before. It had an exciting… and daunting task ahead of me.

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Inspiration Through Music: Dvorak

I enjoy any piece of music that not only introduces us as listeners to a story but also goes on to tell it. Such pieces display a variety of emotions which can make our hearts race, break, and soar within the lifespan of the song. In classical music especially, because the pieces are generally longer, it’s easier to lose oneself in a symphony, a suite, or an aria. With eyes closed, it’s almost as if we can see each thing that happens to the characters through the different movement. One of the composers with this talent is Antonin Dvorak. Today, I’ll be sharing 6 of his pieces with you and how they’ve inspired my writing.

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