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Did You Know… There’s A Frog That Can Freeze Itself Solid Then Thaw Out And Come Back to Life

Originally posted on Higher Learning:

The North American wood frog has one of the most amazing adaptations I’ve ever seen or heard of: in winter, it turns itself into a frogsicle.

The moment it touches an ice crystal, signals are set off which cause it to pull water away from the center of its body, encasing the internal organs in a pool of water which then freezes. Though the frog is not dead, its heart stops beating and all other organ activity ceases as well.

When it warms back up, the frog thaws out and goes on with its life! Check out this video that talks about it in a little more depth:

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Free Audiobook!

I have another audiobook of I HOPE YOU FIND ME to give away!

Yep, it’s FREE! That’s a savings of almost $20!! WHOA!

IHYFMsquare

How can you snag a copy? I’m making it easy – pick a number between 100 and 1,000. You have one guess. The first person to pick the correct number (or the closest to it by the end of Wednesday, April 9th) will get a free audio copy of the first Find Me book. :)

See…told ya it was easy! Now…leave your guess in a comment below!

Good luck!

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Facebook Contest – Audiobook Winners!

First off – thanks to EVERYONE who participated and had fun with the contest for a free audiobook copy of ‘I HOPE YOU FIND ME’ this week! I appreciate each of you and wish I had enough copies for everybody!

Our winners (yes, I decided to choose TWO) according to Rafflecopter are:

Dora Balfour-Lyda & Julia Hendrix

Congrats you two! Please contact me privately on here via email or on my Facebook Page and send me your email so I can forward your gift to you!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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33 of The Most EPIC Photographs from the Last Year (Picture Gallery)

Originally posted on Higher Learning:

Every year, the World Photography Organization hosts the Sony World Photography Awards. They recently released their shortlist of winners, but you can see all of the winners at the World Photography Organization’s website .

Here’s the photos from their shortlist. Click an image to enlarge and/or read descriptions about the photos.

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101 Free Kindle Books (Monday, March 24th)

Originally posted on Kindle Review - Kindle Phone Review, Kindle Fire HD Review:

Sign Up for Free NOW – Free Kindle Books Emails!

Book Covers View at Zero Friction Books. Also option to see ALL free books today.

Not in the US? Sign Up – Kindle UK, Kindle Canada, Kindle Germany, Kindle Australia, Kindle Brazil, Kindle India, Kindle Italy, Kindle Japan, Kindle Mexico,Kindle Spain, Kindle France. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD in your countries!

Please check Prices at Amazon BEFORE buying. Free at 12:45 pm Monday, Mar 24th. Please see bottom of post for the meaning of *, **, ***.

Free Kindle Books – KEBooks Books of the Day

  1. **Long Time Coming by Edie Claire. Price: Free. Genre: Contemporary Romance of the Day. Rated: 4.3 stars on 1657 Reviews. 300 pages. ASIN: B004RJ7Y8Q. ISBN: 1480262668.
  2. *Mean Woman Blues: An Action-Packed New Orleans Thriller; Skip Langdon Mystery #9 (The Skip…

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The Neurological Similarities Between Successful Writers And The Mentally Ill

trishmarie:

Interesting…but I’d like to hope I’m not an awful person…or a terrible lover!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Knowing his wife was upset with him for spending more time with his typewriter than with her, F. Scott Fitzgerald hatched a plan. He wasn’t proud of many of his short stories (he only included 46 of his 181 short stories in his published collections), but he knew that in order to win back his wife he’d have to whip up something quickly. Working from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., he churned out “The Camel’s Back” for The Saturday Evening Post for a fee of $500. That very morning, he bought Zelda a gift with the money he had made.

“I suppose that of all the stories I have ever written this one cost me the least travail and perhaps gave me the most amusement,” he commented in the first edition of Tales of the Jazz Age. “As to the labor involved, it was written during one day in…

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Proud to be Vegetarian

Come this August, I’ll have been a dedicated Vegetarian for 5 years. One of the most common questions I get asked by family and friends is, ‘Do you miss meat?’ My question has been from the beginning: No. And it’s 100% true – I don’t. Why not? My body feels better, for one, though I still have weight to lose to make myself healthier. I’m not clogging up arteries as much or weighing my gut down with undigested and tainted meats. I feel better emotionally, for not eating cows, goats, chickens, ducks, lambs, fish, etc…But above all, I feel more like a whole person, and that I’m making a difference in saving the lives of animals…and my children are here to see all of this.

Other questions I’ve been asked more than once:
Is being a Vegetarian hard?
Do you only eat salads?
How do you eat out?
Isn’t buying Organic more expensive?
Why are you raising your kids Vegetarian?
Do you ever ‘cheat’?
When will this diet phase end – you’ll eat meat again, won’t you?
(And my all-time favorite to hate) But, where do you get your protein?

Well, I’ll answer those for you…

  • For me, no, being a Vegetarian is not hard. I made the choice for the right reasons (for animal rights, environmental reasons, and of course, my health). Any choice we make in life is easy to live with if you made it for the right reasons.
  • I love salads – it’s a fantastic way to pack in a bunch of fresh veggies and fruits (as well as nuts, too!) into one dish. But no, I don’t only eat salads. A plant-based diet means you can eat any veggie, fruit, grain, legume, nut, or meat-replacement. I eat colorfully and with variety.
  • I eat out like I would eat at home – with the exception that if I go somewhere new, I ask about what their foods are cooked in (lard for example, is a no-no…as are oils that have animal products in them like oyster sauce). If I eat Mexican, I usually omit the rice and beans, as often times they are cooked with chicken stock. But I have my favorite places to eat that are Vegan, like The Loving Hut.
  • Yes, buying Organic CAN be more expensive…but if you find the right places to shop and take advantage of local markets, you can find great deals on organic foods.
  • Some parents freak out and look at me as if I’m a monster when I explain that my son has never had meat and my daughter has been a Vegetarian for half of her life. She was 5 when I made the choice for myself, and I did ask her what she wanted to do. In all reality, if a child understood that an egg would grow up to be a baby chicken, and that their burgers from McD’s are actually made from ground up cow parts…most kids would be appalled and refuse to eat such things. Children are more compassionate and innocent than adults. My daughter made the choice herself, and she wants to be a full-blown Vegan for the rest of her life. As for my son, he was only 1yr old and didn’t have much of a choice. But he also understands it now, and doesn’t see why some kids eat chickens and turkeys and baby goats. He doesn’t ‘get it’ because he’s been raised slightly differently than most kids his age.
  • I don’t ever cheat on meats, though there have been times when we were served something that had meat by accident, in which instinctively spit out (recently my hubby brought home rolled tacos stuffed with a vegetarian potato filling…and one of the rolled tacos had beef in it). There have been other times when we’ve refused to eat something simply because I didn’t know what the ingredients were. Some might find this anal – I call it being aware and conscientious of what I put in my body.
  • As for my diet being a phase – it’s not. This is my lifestyle and nope, I won’t be eating meat down the road. I feel very certain and passionate about that. Once the connection is made between animal and food, I can’t go back – nor would I want to.
  • Where do we get our protein? Bwahahahahahahah! Look up your favorite vegetables and fruits online some time – and you’ll see that many are PACKED with protein. I’m not kidding…having a full serving of broccoli is like having a serving of lean meat. Most of us are not raised with a nutritional degree, so this is something I had to learn myself, when making the switch to a Vegetarian lifestyle. I suggest those who truly think a Vegetarian or Vegan don’t get enough protein in their diets research the topic thoroughly. Another thing to remember is that (especially in the USA) people eat more protein than they actually need.

On top of what I put inside my body – just as important is what I put on my body. We do our best to ensure our clothing, shoes, accessories, etc…are man-made with synthetic or natural fibers. No leather. No suede. No products that are tested on animals. I keep our house clean of this stuff. I’m comfortable in my own skin – and want animals wearing theirs. And if you know anything about animal-testing, you know how awful the industry is. I don’t want any part of it. And neither do my kids. Last time I was in a particular store, we were walking through the rug section and my five-year old son noticed a cowhide hanging on display. I didn’t say anything to him about what it was, other than to honestly answer his question of ‘Is that real cow fur, mommy?’ He was appalled and confused that someone would want cow skin as a rug in their home.I don’t lie to my kids about the world. I protect them from the worst parts, but I also want them to know the truth about it when they do ask.

Is it really wrong for my son to grow up respecting animals and their right to live beside us without fear of being tortured, eaten, or skinned alive?

Is it really wrong for my children to look at me as an adult who has compassion for animals that suffer and die at the hands of humans?

Is it really wrong for people to know more about what they eat and what they wear, and the truth about what the process entails?

My answer to those three questions is a big and fat NO. It’s not wrong. It’s about awareness. That’s what it is. Be aware of what you eat, of where it came from and the process it took to get to you. Be it meats, dairy, vegetables or fruits. I just ask for people to open their eyes…and see.

I don’t want people to see me as a hippie freak – I want them to see why I’m proud of being a Vegetarian.

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HenryCavill
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Character Takeover!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]Krane Hutch from The Dry Lands will be taking over my author page on Facebook today. If you don’t already know, the inspiration behind Hutch came from none other than Henry Cavill. Of course, Mr. Cavill has nothing to do with my Sci-Fi Fantasy book, but it’s nice to put a face to the name anyway.

If you’re on Facebook, you should definitely check in at some point today to see what Hutch is up to. ;)

Happy Hump Day!

*thanks to HenryCavill.org for the visual stimulation, photos are not mine*

To pay or not to pay for reviews…

Reviews – all authors need them – even the bad ones. But it’s hard to know where to look for quality reviewers or bloggers when an author puts out a new release. I know I’ve talked about reviewing before, and I am NOT shy about stating my negative feelings on reviews that are mini-summaries or book reports, laying out the entire plot in one big public dissection. But this post isn’t about that. It’s about those reviewers or bloggers who expect to get paid for reading a book and then posting about it on their blog.

Now, if reviewing or blogging is your business and you actually pay taxes on the money you make, then I suppose making money doing it is totally fine. But what I’ve discovered since self-publishing my first book, is that in the Indie world, the regular Joe or Jane has gotten a bit big-headed about getting paid to do something they do anyway – read and tell others what they thought. The reviewing world is exploding – with everyone from Kirkus Book Reviews to your neighbor reading all the books they can get their hands on and then posting on a blog or website what their thoughts and experiences were. Again, let me reiterate that all books really do need reviews. But the best of them come in organically, when a reader bought the book and has had such a passionate experience (be it positive or negative) that they simply MUST shout their opinion to the world. These are the reviews that are my favorite – because they are honest.

I’ve always had a problem with paying for a review. For one, if you are giving your book to someone for free, which you spent months or years writing, editing, formatting and marketing, and they say they will review it honestly for free – it’s sort of an equal and balanced arrangement. But if you give your book to someone with the sole intent of them reviewing it, you run the risk of their review being biased toward the author. I am still very careful with this. I only gift books to interested people who I trust will review in a timely manner and in an honest and spoiler-free way. If one of those people then came to me and said, ‘Oh, I charge for this now. If you want me to read and review the book or share it on my blog, it will cost you…’ then I’d never send them another book. Ever. Never, ever. Why? Because, those aren’t the kind of business relationships I strive to build. And honestly I can’t afford to pay everyone to read my book and review. I have paid for mini tours. That’s a totally different thing, IMO.

Anyway, think about this for a second: It costs money to self-publish. There’s outsourcing that can include anything from co-authors, editors, graphic designers for covers, stock images or artists for covers, formatting, and there are supplies needed like printer ink, computer maintenance (I had to buy a new laptop last year, for example) binders, ink, etc… Also, there are the costs for marketing, like blog tours, announcements, business cards, book tours and swag. Some Indies even have agents who snag a percentage of sales, or assistants to help them manage everything. Self-publishing can make you more money (IMO) in the long run of course, but you DO put out a lot as well. So, to have a reader say that they will be charging to read and review a book is kind of frustrating and, well, to be honest – lame. I won’t even send a book to Kirkus (an established and respect place for authors to go for reviews) because I worry what the Indie world would think if I ‘paid’ for reviews. It’s a scary line to cross. Paying for feedback might seem to some that the author pays for favorable reviews. I know it’s happened. And I don’t want to be lumped in that group…ever.

Now, it seems the blogging community is making a killing charging authors to feature their book on their blog, review it or interview them. Meh.

You might be wondering how this came about today…well, I saw a post on Facebook that I couldn’t ignore because it ticked me off so badly that I actually felt my blood pressure rise. I’ll share the image here with you, and let you form your own opinions on the original poster and their ‘stance’ on this subject. I don’t know the person, I’m only reacting to the post. It was shared from a page that does not support bullies in the writing community – something I appreciate more than words can say. If you want to know more about them, you can find them on Facebook at Authors & Bloggers Against Bullying. Anyway, here is the post that spawned this blog today:

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The original poster seemed to be miffed that some authors didn’t want to pursue using their ‘services’ when it came to mentioning their book on their blog (I’m guessing by an author interview, or book review). I’ve been tagged on Twitter countless times by bloggers who reviewed one of my books unknowingly – for absolutely free. I doubt they did this with the intention of then charging me for their time. And each time that happens, I swear my heart expands another centimeter because it means someone out there read my work and enjoyed it enough to tell their friends. The funny thing is, I get why some bloggers would charge for promos and I have no problem with that. It takes time to set up posts and make everything look great and spread the word to their followers, but the people following those blogs are there to learn and be entertained about the subjects at hand. I wonder how many would stick around if they knew that the bloggers only featured books or authors on their site that paid for the service? Again, it’s a line I don’t like to cross. I’m more than happy to pay someone to organize a book tour…but to pay them to read the book and feature it on their book blog…yeah, I don’t have a budget for that. Often I feature authors and their new releases on my own blog and I would never dream of charging them for that. It’s called networking, and I’m happy to do it.

In conclusion, as an author, I know I need (and love) my readers, reviewers and those awesome bloggers out there that take the time to read my work and share it with their friends and followers. I appreciate every single review and blog post – I really do. I work hard to get my work out to the masses and love to see it enjoyed. However, it’s the few out there simply looking to make a buck off the reading and writing community I don’t have the time of day for. They can move on to the next author, I’m totally fine with that.

To quote one of my favorite songs from The Pretenders, “It’s a thin line, between love and hate…” and I suppose, the reviewing world fits perfectly with that sentiment. Wow, is that ever true. LOL

But y’all know I love you. I can’t live without you. Seriously. *wink, wink*