Author Archives: Ann

Back In the Saddle Again!

It’s been awhile. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what an ordeal selling my house and moving across country would be. I mean, I knew it would a heavy lift, but geez Louise! It might have been somewhat easier had I been able to move in the summertime or even autumn, but moving in the dead of winter sure did change things up. No scenic drive across country with three cats in tow. Hmmm, now that I think of it, that could have been horrific, but I’m not gonna go there. No having the luxury of my own car from start to finish. Nope, none of that.

I suppose I could regale you with the finer points of the absolute horrors I endured, but that would be too depressing. So I’ll just share one of the more amusing aspects. I forgot to pack my underwear and didn’t realize it until I went to get it and it wasn’t there. Nope, Still in my dresser drawer that left the day before and was on its way across country without me. So on the way to the airport, I had to stop off at Kohl’s and get me some new undies. Which really pissed me off, since I had JUST done that! But now I have plenty, so there is that … Oh yeah, on the plane trip to Maryland to go shopping for my new home, I managed to delete ALL of my passwords. I’m still assembling the list. On the up side, I lost ten pounds! Not a diet I would recommend, but stress does wonders for peeling off the pounds.

So now I’m back in Maryland, state of my birth, if not the city of my birth. People always want to know exactly where I live, but I’m not telling. When one writes for a liberal political blog, one must be circumspect.

Never thought I’d be back here in the land of snow and ice, heat and humidity, mosquitos and thunderstorms, but here I am. And I’m liking it! Everything is new again and I’m reconnecting with old friends. I do miss my daughter, though. She and her significant other will be moving back this way in March 2018 – just in time for my next birthday!

My new place came with some unexpected surprises. I needed a new roof. Got into a bit of a pissing match with the inspection company about that, as the inspector just glossed over the condition of the roof. I won and they refunded most of the inspection fee. Did you ever doubt me? Also having to completely remodel the master bathroom. That was my bad. I was so enthralled with the kickass kitchen that I completely zoned out on the bathroom. Vanilla fixtures – not my thing, low countertop (if I were 5 feet tall, it would be perfect, but I’m 5’9″, so not so hot!), NO MEDICINE CABINET! I mean, where’s a girl supposed to put all her girly stuff? And of course, I’m going to tear out all the carpet and put in bamboo flooring. MUCH easier to keep clean, especially with the three furballs. The solar panels will be the finishing touch – right before they haul me off to the poor house.

I really missed writing during my mammoth move and have finally got back into the groove, (hey! that rhymes!) albeit on a truncated basis. Still haven’t been able to get back to the book I’m writing, but that’s okay. What with Trump in the White House, I’ve come up with a new angle that dovetails perfectly with the theme of the story.

I’m looking forward to finishing up the renovations on the house, meeting new people, getting back to work on my book, making some noise over at Liberals Unite and once again enjoying the change of seasons East Coast style. Always missed autumn. Now I’ve got it back.

And last but certainly not least, I’m glad to be back blogging to you! Hope you’ll continue to hang with me!

Oh yeah, don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list and get your free copy of The Chemtrail Conspiracy.

Our Holiday Special!!!!!

It’s that time of year again! What a great time to make all of our eBooks available at low, low prices! So we did!

Through January 1, grab your copies of The Virgin Diaries, Ain’t No Sunshine: Men Reveal the Pain of Heartbreak, American Woman – The Poll Dance: Women and Voting, Dreams and Nightmares, Crazy and Cooper’s Grove for just 99¢!

Our newly released title, Peyton’s Choice, a Young Adult story about a high achieving 17 year-old who faces an unwanted pregnancy, is discounted to just $2.99 and is available exclusively on Amazon.

No coupons, no muss, no fuss; just go to your favorite eBook retailer and get your copy. We’ve just changed the prices, so if the original price at some vendors is still there, just wait a day or so and then go back and check again. Hopefully, you won’t have to do that! The prices are all lowered on Amazon.

Visit our (that would be me and my daughter, Kimberley A. Johnson) website, ARK Stories, and check them out. You can read a couple of chapters of each book and make your picks! For those prices, you could buy the entire library and still have money left over! It’s SUCH a deal!

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and get a FREE copy of The Chemtrail Conspiracy.

A Thanksgiving Message From My Heart

Thanksgiving already!

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Well, I don’t know about fun lately, but the time sure has flown by. Seems like I just took down the Christmas decorations and now it’s time to put them up again. (Of course, those decorations have been up in stores since before Halloween and that kind of pisses me off, but that’s a topic for another time.)

If I could have just one wish this holiday season, it would be that people would be kinder to each other and realize that we are all in this together. It’s very disheartening to see how divided we have become, particularly when we all want the same basic things. We want the love of a family, good friends, enough to eat, adequate clothing, shelter and the opportunity to improve our station in life. It’s what this country was founded on – equal opportunity. So I just hope that people will remember that and realize that those things are universal and not relegated to just a few of us.

I know I usually push a book somewhere in my posts, but since it’s Thanksgiving, I’ll forgo that for now and wish each and every one of you all the best this holiday season. May you be blessed with laughter, love and happiness. May you find those things in your heart and extend them to all the people you meet, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or political leanings. We are all Americans and on this American holiday, we are reminded of how our ancestors were greeted and helped by the native people of this country. Let’s pay that forward.

I may not be pushing a book, but I will ask you to join my mailing list so you can get the latest updates on what’s happening over at ARK Stories and all of our titles. PLUS, you get to download a FREE short story. What could be better than that?

Stay tuned because we’ll have some Christmas deals.

mailing list

 

Happy Halloween!

It’s that time of year again and the ghosts and goblins are roaming free!

So are Indie authors and a bunch of us got together and put a great collection of eBooks on sale for All Hallows Eve. But it’s just for the holiday, so if you’re into scary books, no matter of what bent (romance, thrills or otherwise), you’re sure to find something to trip your ticket on this list. Just click on the image and it’ll take you to the listing. Once you’re there, click on the individual book and it’ll take you to the Amazon page where you can make use of the read inside feature to help you decide which one (or ones) you want to purchase before prices go back up.

halloween_edeals_fb2BOO!

Halloween!

It’s that time of year again. The creepy crawlies come out and everyone prepares to be scared!

Now, I like to write scary stories so of course, this time of year is one of my favorites. There’s nothing like a good, safe scare – much better than an ACTUAL scare – and I’ve got a couple of books that are the perfect Halloween treat! And better yet, I’ve got coupons for you to use to buy each of them for just 99¢!

Click on this image to go to Smashwords to get your digital copy for just 99¢! Use coupon code FW45S.

Click on this image to go to Smashwords to get your digital copy for just 99¢! Use coupon code FW45S.

 

Cooper’s Grove is a ghost story, a love story and a tale of redemption. It’s narrated by Agnes MacPherson, or Miss Aggie as she’s called by the people who know her. She can see auras and spirits, and the people of Cooper’s Grove come to her to make connections with the dearly departed. But Miss Aggie has never encountered a departed soul quite like John Dawson. A jealous husband in life, he remains so in death; and when his former wife takes up with local artist Billy Joe Dean, things get crazy – and scary.

 

 

 

Click on the image to go to Smashwords to get your digital copy for just 99¢! Use coupon code SQ57U.

Click on the image to go to Smashwords to get your digital copy for just 99¢! Use coupon code SQ57U.

 

If a Satanic serial killer is more your style, I’ve got you covered!
Celebrity chef Emily Simonson is being stalked by a mystery killer who is targeting actresses who bear a resemblance to her. Emily is sent a warning prior to the murders and a photograph of the victim after the deed is done. She knows she’s going to be a victim, but she doesn’t know when. It’s terror in Tinseltown and it can terrify you this Halloween. Keep the lights on when you read this one!

 

 

 

 

Take your pick or pick both! Such a deal! Just remember when you’re making your choice, an ePub will work with iBooks, NOOK and most other digital readers. Mobi works with Kindle.

And like they say on those TV ads – BUT WAIT! THAT’S NOT ALL! Want a freebie? Just sign up for my mailing list and get your digital copy of The Chemtrail Conspiracy for the low, low price of

ABSOLUTELY FREE!
mailing list

How Does An Author Come Up With An Idea?

One of the frequent questions authors are asked is how they come up with an idea for a book. The answers are as varied as the people who answer that question. And sometimes, the idea just sort of pops up when least expected.

Take, for instance, my novel Dreams and Nightmares. I had begun to write an entirely different story. As I recall, it was about a young mother with a 4 or 5 year-old child. She had just lost her husband to a freeway shooting and she was fleeing Los Angeles in search of a better, safer life for her son. She headed for a small fictional town up the coast where she met a character whom I named Albert Crawford. Albert went through several iterations. First he was kind of slow witted but a good person. Then he was a handsome grifter out for himself. Then he was this really ugly dude with an air of danger about him. The ugly dude was the one I liked best.

I couldn’t make the story come together. I must have written five or six different scenarios and all of them sucked. But I really liked that Albert character:

Albert Crawford had a face that looked as if it had been pressed upon glass. His nose, larger than most, had been broken in a bar fight some years back and it spread across his face like silly putty left too long in the sun. Thick, protruding lips opened in a perpetual pout exposing teeth that looked more like they belonged to some feral animal than to a human being.

I mean, come on, how could you not be enamored of such a juicy character?

I liked him so much that I chucked the entire story, got rid of the mother and the kid and the dead husband, and started fresh. I based the feminine character on me – a struggling writer. Only I made her a struggling writer who wound up making it big – like Stephen King big. Albert showed up in the second chapter and the book took off from there. He was easy to write. So was his girlfriend, Ruby Wheeler, a biker chick with an attitude. Decker Jones, the character modeled after me, wasn’t nearly as much fun to write. Maybe because she just didn’t have all those awful tendencies, and I’ve got to admit, I love writing a villain. It’s cathartic.

There are some people who didn’t quite know what to make of the book. I didn’t have the two protagonists meet until three quarters of the way through the story, but the reader knows it will happen – just not how and what form it will take.

I’ve had some very good reviews for Dreams and Nightmares from readers – except for one, who was absolutely aghast at the terrible language in the book. But hey, when you’re a criminal, you don’t exactly speak the King’s English. That review, which is only posted on Goodreads, was actually my favorite because it made me laugh.

So if you like bad guys, bad biker chicks and a strong but vulnerable woman protagonist, and don’t mind some salty language, give it a shot if you haven’t already read it. And if you do, a review on Amazon would be super! It’s available at just about all the online booksellers in paperback and a variety of eBook formats.

Check out the first two chapters and buying information HERE.  And don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list!

Stuff I Think About

When you look up into the sky at night, do you wonder the same things that I do? I see those twinkling stars and wonder if there’s anyone out there. Well, actually, I think there are beings out there. Beings in all states of evolution.

I look at the incredible pictures, like the one above, sent back to us from the Hubble Telescope, and am awestruck at the possibilities. To think that we are alone in this universe is – well – it just doesn’t compute!

Here we are, not so long ago an agrarian society that morphed into an industrial society and now we are making the transition to a technological society. Not so long ago, a home computer was an oddity and there was no Internet. Now, the world is literally at our fingertips and every day brings some new breakthrough. Going to Mars isn’t the stuff of science fiction anymore. We’re working on it. We’ve already been to the moon and have satellites circling the planet and an international space station. Now entrepreneurs are selling vacation trips to outer space!

It’s a brave and ever changing new world and I find that exciting.

I think about what kinds of civilizations are out there, yet undiscovered by us. Some, I am certain, are so far advanced that in comparison, we are little more than Neanderthals – if that. Other civilizations are just getting underway. I wonder where we are on that cosmic evolutionary scale and hope that we manage to navigate the problems we face on our world so that we can one day claim our place in the advanced column.

But for now, I gaze into the night sky and dream of what may be and think about the fact that the universe is ever expanding. Even though my questions may never be answered in this life, I think the answers are there and one day, I will have the key. Because I – and you and everything that exists – is energy. And energy never ceases to exist. It just changes form. That’s pretty cool don’t you think?

and get a free short story!

and get a free short story!

January: A New Beginning

January. The big letdown after the holidays, when the bills come rolling in and the days are dark and dreary. It’s the beginning of a brand new year, but what with the holiday dinners, traveling to the sometimes crazy family gatherings or hosting one of them, instead of feeling renewed and refreshed, most of us are just plain exhausted, not to mention broke and perhaps a few pounds heavier!

But you know what? I like January. Even though it means starting to get my ducks in a row for everyone’s favorite time of year – tax time (I’m being facetious) – and getting on that exercise bike or stepper or going to the gym to shed those extra pounds; even though it means trying not to gasp after opening the bills for the gifts and the dinners and the celebrations that are now flooding my mailbox, I still find January to be just what the doctor ordered after a month plus of unabashed excess. Why? Because even though it can be dark and dreary, it can also be stunningly beautiful, with fluffy white clouds scudding across a cerulean sky and bright sunshine reflecting off new fallen snow. January is a time to rest up and regroup. It’s time to plan that Super Bowl party if you’re a fan! I’m not one of them but I have been invited to Super Bowl parties and had fun. Just never bothered to watch the game, instead stayed close to the table and gobbled the veggies so thoughtfully provided by a host who was also probably trying to get rid of that holiday weight.

By the end of January, even though we’re still in the dead of winter here in the northern hemisphere, you can tell the days are a little bit longer and when that happens, you know spring can’t be far behind.

So Happy January! Happy New Year! We’ve got a brand new year to do with as we please. Let’s make it a great year.

Happy Holidays!

At this time of year, I think back to when I was a kid and how much I looked forward to decorating the Christmas tree, watching Christmas movies on TV (my favorite was A Christmas Carol), baking Christmas cookies, sneaking a sip or two of spiked eggnog and, of course, diving into the gifts left by Santa.

My Uncle Stanley was a Jesuit Brother. He worked the parish bingo games in Philadelphia and at Christmastime, the prizes were toys for the winners to take home to the kids. There were always some left over and that meant a bonanza for my sister and me. He was our real, live Santa Claus!

We lived in Baltimore, Maryland and about a week before Uncle Stanley was due to arrive, my sister and I would sit outside on the front steps in the hope he would somehow magically appear early. No matter that it was freezing cold. We’d bundle up and warm ourselves thinking of the bounty that would arrive in the trunk of his rental car.

By Christmas Eve we were nearly delirious with anticipation, and his arrival was met with kisses and hugs and gasps of awe as he unloaded a huge carton of brightly wrapped packages from the car. We stayed right on his heels as he carried that carton from the car and, one by one, arranged the packages beneath the tree.

My mother would admonish us, “Now you girls leave those packages alone!”

Yeah, right. As soon as the adults were gone from the room, we would start poking holes in the wrapping paper to determine what lay beneath it. Sometimes we succeeded; most times not.

It always puts a smile on my face when I look back on those days.

This holiday season, I don’t have brightly wrapped packages to give to you, but I do have bright wishes for all the best of the season. And a reminder that if you have friends who enjoy reading, we’ve got books that we’d love them to get, whether on their reading devices or in books they can hold in their hands. So, if you’ve got readers on your list, go on over to ARK Stories and see what we’ve got. Whether it’s a thriller, a love story, a short story or real life experiences, I’ll bet you’ve got someone on your list who would appreciate the gift.

No matter which holiday you celebrate, I wish you and yours all the best this season and in the coming year. Click the pic for a little holiday tune.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.38.40 PM

On to the holidays!

 

Halloween is over, and we’ve got a few weeks before the holidays get underway.  I took down my scary witch hanging on my front door and replaced her with an autumn wreath, which will soon be replaced by my sparkly Christmas wreath.

I’ve got to say, autumn has always been my very favorite time of the year. I love the sights (all those leaves turning to gorgeous fall colors!), the smell of woodsmoke, the crispness in the air and the first frost. It gets my juices flowing!

At long last, I have finally begun my new novel. What with everything else I’m doing, it’s going to take awhile. Oh that I had the luxury of only writing fiction all day long! But I am going to give it my best shot at taking less than a year to complete it. It’s my usual scary scenario stuff, only this time, it’s based in the reality of climate change. Hey – maybe a movie!

So stay tuned and enjoy this beautiful season.