But when they say to me, “Mom, I can’t do this or that or I just can’t.”
When you say you can’t do something, guess what?
But if you say, I’ll try? Or I can learn? Anything that opens up your ladder to reaching your potential?
I explained to them yesterday that the best way to meet their potential is to
Because my babies are amazing.
We have so much potential.
You have so much potential.
Because you’re more amazing than even you know.
So I wrote this amazing series (Worth of Souls) that I crazily cross genres in while I’m in the middle of it.
I Google Mapped it, not that Kelly would have that resource – I actually believe Google will survive the end of the world. Not sure why, but let’s be honest, Google and Amazon will still be standing while the rest of the world drops into the Dark Ages.
Here’s her map. You can see how long it will take to travel by foot – that’s if you don’t have to worry about people chasing you and other dangers – like Kelly does.
Here’s a trail she travels between curves in the road. You can see it just as it narrows and goes over a kelly hump. (I caught that play on words!)
This is a cluster of creeks and springs as they converge to make up a large small river. The area she travels is just amazing.
If you go hiking, don’t forget these important, life-saving items.
Well, I have no other reason to fall in love with this bread than it’s delicious (not everyone loves it – probably because it’s not like a real bread per se).
But when I realized how easy it is to make and how most of the items can be easily stored in food storage, I was sold. SOLD survivors!
I’ll post the recipe picture below as well as type out the recipe so you can copy and paste it if you want.
I separated the dry from the wet and placed the beautiful dry ingredients into a separate bowl, like the directions demanded.
The coconut oil and honey needed to be loose enough I could get all of the items out of the baggy – this was messy for me until I figured out that the water needed to be hot, not luke warm. Ugh. I wasn’t thinking straight today.
I mixed and then pressed the mixture into a well-greased bread pan with a spoon. The recipe states use your fingers, I gave it the finger with that one. I do NOT like to touch stuff like this. I can actually cook an entire meal with five courses and never actually get food on my hands. It’s weird, but there it is.
These are after the first 20 minutes. Smelling good and they popped right out. I just used a pan spray to grease my pans. They worked awesome.
All in all this turned out great. On the slice I ate, I used very little honey to sweeten it. I was very excited that this worked out so well. I LOVED IT!
So here’s the recipe.
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C flax seeds
1/2 C unsalted crushed almonds
2 T chia seeds
4 T psyllium
2 1/2 C rolled oats
1/2 C chopped apricots (we also used prunes yum!)
1 t. sea salt
2 T pure maple syrup
3 T melted coconut oil
1 1/2 C warm water
This recipe clicked with my survival side. A person might not have some of those things in their food storage, but I had no idea you could put that small amount of items into a pan and bake it and get something so edible. I’m going to experiment with more items and see what I can do with items from my food storage.
Life Changing Bread appears in my series – Worth of Souls.
Try this recipe and then let me know if you like it. If you know where the recipe originated, please, PLEASE let me know so I can credit them.
I’ve had quite a few readers and future readers as well as readers of other authors ask me through email, Facebook, Twitter, contact sheets, Google+, etc. some pretty intriguing questions. These questions all circle the same topic, so I thought I’d approach it from my blog where there is room to cover my answer.
First of all, I read the reviews of other authors’ when I’m searching for my next read.
(Indie and Trad) – in fact, if you’re an author, you better be reading.
When I’m looking at the reviews, I can usually tell who is full of crap and who gave an honest review.
I started noticing a trend in what is called a LOSS-LEADER* book’s review. Mine are no exception. I started taking a tally. And I’m appalled at my findings.
*A Loss-Leader is a first in a series or collection of similar books that is priced beyond cheap and/or free. Most of the Loss-Leaders in this study were FREE, however a few of them were priced at $0.99.
Also, in this study, all of the books were indie-pubbed – meaning the author was in control of the pricing and strategy.
Here is a list of my study’s comparisons as well as conclusions.
We’ll get into why this makes a difference in a little bit.
*insert arched eyebrow* because the first book free – which is usually the hardest to write – isn’t enough? That book was essentially indentured work – no pay off but lots of investment in the cover, editing, proofreading, tracking down people to help make it free, etc. in the HOPES that the reader would WANT to continue reading, would gladly pay for the next books, excited they got to read the first one free.
That is like going to your work for a month and at the end of the month having your boss say, “Oh, man, you know, I really liked your work, BUT I’m not in the mood to pay your rate that I was willing to pay when I wrote your check. I cancelled your paycheck. Sorry.”
That would reek and stink and suck, and would be ILLEGAL. So why is returning a book not illegal?
Sick, just sick.
At least if it’s been read by 20%? or so, right?
I price the way I price because Amazon has the royalty split set up to corner me into a more controlled pricing arrangement. It makes sense. It’s set up to avoid the crazy prices – like $0.99 for a full length novel.
That’s BEFORE the download fees get subtracted or any returns. So for every dollar they make about 35 pennies.
$2.99 to $9.99 prices will net an author 70% or so not taking into account the extra fees, etc. So, on that book that gave hours and hours of entertainment, $2.99 is just too high? (and it took HOURS and DAYS for that author to write – if not MONTHS).
Personally, I’m on an entertainment budget. I refuse to spend more than $4.99 on an ebook when I can buy a paperback for $5. Which really sucks sometimes because, like right now, I’ve been eyeballing this book being released by a trad pub and the ebook looks AWESOME.
Seriously, right up my alley.
But it’s priced at $7.68. For the ebook. The print is $7.69. This is hurting the author at that price.
Authors don’t get that high of a royalty off the print – I don’t care who you ask.
Many readers get used to expecting the lower prices just around the corner.
In a set of comments on multiple loss-leaders in my study, many readers indicated that they would be waiting for the next book in the series to go on sale or become free because they didn’t want to spend the money.
One even went so far as to say, “I read this author often and I always wait until after the first month because her prices always drop. If you’re looking at reading this book, just wait a little while. She’ll lower the price and it won’t go back up.”
Your readers shop you like I shop Wal-Mart. Why buy those snow pants at full price this year when at the beginning of spring, I can buy them for almost 75% off?
I’m not kidding.
Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July – all these things go on ridiculous sales after the fact – I stock up for the next year because I know I’ll see another holiday exactly like that one.
You’re being played because you’re setting yourself up for it (sorry, I slipped into second person narrative there… when I’m flabbergasted, I do that.)
Think of it this way. If you wanted to see a movie – in a theater – and it was releasing on day X for $10 a person to see, but you knew in extremely similar theaters in just Y amount of days, you could see the same movie for $3 a person – wouldn’t you wait?
Today? With prices like they are, you bet your butt you will. Up where I live? Most do.
The loss-leaders in my study spanned a variety of release dates – some as old as two years. This was encouraging for indie authors, simply because their long tail could grow exponentially.
In fact, on some of them, I did a side study that looked for groupings of similar dates to see if there was some kind of a trend – like a promo or something that occurred.
In 64.3% of them, they had groupings in a month’s time to indicate there had been promo of some kind in that time period. That’s terrific.
While my study was conducted with a biased eye toward looking for similarities, the control that I utilized included –
With all of the above, I have come to the
that the low pricing/loss leaders are being taken for granted.
Many posts lately from other authors and industry professionals have bemoaned the lowering of the value of the book and I’ve witnessed it myself as well as just reported on an aspect of it above.
My pricing strategy is simple and predictable.
If I do a preorder, that preorder price will be the sale price it will be on – most of my preorders include something special specific to the PREORDER ONLY. Meaning, the short story you receive or whatever it happens to be will not be available again.
This means a lot to my readers who follow the stories of my characters.
However, if I do NOT do a preorder, I will have a lower price available for release day/week for my review team and to reward my loyal readers and then
For AT LEAST 6 months – IF EVER (caveat – I do loss leaders on most of my series but my loyal readers know this and most don’t wait. This seems counterintuitive – especially based on my above findings, however, I’m a firm believer in the effectiveness of Loss Leaders, I just don’t believe they need to be thrown around willy nilly when this trains readers to expect them. Have a firm plan and know what you’re training your readers to do).
I don’t generally do $0.99 sales. In fact, Amazon has one of my books lowered to match the price of one of my books on a pirate site and I can’t get it returned to its normal price.
At the beginning, I didn’t realize what I was doing – I would release it for regular price and then lower it a month later to a sale price.
My readers felt screwed – and when I realized what I was doing – I felt like I’d screwed them.
So I devised the pricing plan.
Having read the above, do you have any thoughts on the current trend in ebook pricing? Should it stay low? Should it go higher? Why?
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Watch Me Burn
I’ve been in love and it hurts.
We hurt each other.
I can’t escape the guilt.
I don’t want to be just friends with Levi. But I will be. He’s been hurt before and I just want to be there for him. Someone needs to be on his side.
Levi Cole is mine.
I want him.
She can’t have him.
She needs to die.
The only woman I deserved was in prison. Gone.
I was alone and trying to make something of myself.
The worst part about Chelsea being in jail was that I should’ve been in there too. Guilt ate at me.
Fifty pushups weren’t going to be enough today.
Chelsea was convicted of arson, vandalism, theft, and intent to do bodily harm. All the things I’d helped her do, and I ran hard and fast to get away – from Chelsea, the memories, the trap of being around familiar things
Every day I ran, even leg day. Even on rest day. I lifted six days out of the week and rested my muscles one day, but I used running for my punishment. The pain and exhaustion helped me sleep.
Because I needed to sleep. Chelsea ruled my nightmares with an iron fist. Even with hundreds of miles between us, I couldn’t escape the monsters in my mind.
In my heart.
I loved her. So hard. How could this be possible? How could I abandon her like that? How could she hurt me the ways that she did?
Twenty-five pull-ups would help burn her from my flesh.
For a little while anyway.
Grunting, I pushed harder with my chest dumbbell flies. Sweat rolled off my skin like butter melting in a pan. Too bad memories and thoughts of Chelsea didn’t burn away. I could handle that loss.
Drugs weren’t an option because I did those with Chelsea. I couldn’t face family or friends drugged up or depressed. They were all so happy I was away from Chelsea.
So I moved. Thank goodness for Mom and Dad backing me financially and helping me buy a business.
I found solace in working out. Lifting weights and pushing myself past the breaking point.
The weights were the craziest, yet most masculine thing I could come up with after Chelsea relegated me to less than a man, less than masculine. She took away my sense of self.
Bench pressing more than my weight, my muscles straining, my soul aching, was a sure-fire way to eradicate her from my life.
Chelsea had torn me, ripped apart my strengths and left me bare, vulnerable. I needed my control back over something, anything. Lifting weights and running were things I could control.
Maybe someday, I’d learn to love myself again.
The sweat off my skin wasn’t because of anger or fear, but simply because I worked my muscles to the breaking point.
That wasn’t all. The sweat was part fear. Fear that Chelsea would find me.
If I could push myself hard enough, she disappeared from my mind. Working out burned her away for a few minutes.
And I sought those moments every day.
Every. Damn. Day.
“Are you going to use the bar?” The girl’s soft red hair had highlights of blonde strewn throughout. Her friendly smile didn’t threaten me or offer anything as she framed the question with absolute politeness. She’d been there before, in fact, she’d become a regular a few weeks back. I’d noticed her, but had kept my distance.
No reason to spread my pain around like chalk dust in the air.
I wiped at my forehead with the small towel I’d packed in my gym bag. My wraps covered my scars more than protected me from calluses and weak wrists. Huffing shallowly after my strenuous squatting set, I shook my head. “No, I’m done. Need help removing the plates?” My lifts weren’t light. I pushed until I could barely move afterward. Plus, I really encouraged customer service in the gym, which was easier to teach, if I set the example.
She shook her head, the length of her ponytail brushing across the collar of her workout tank. “No, I’m good, thanks.” She flashed that smile again, sweet with a hint of sass.
But it’d only been six months since my escape from life with Chelsea. I wasn’t interested. Couldn’t be bothered with the extra pain another relationship promised.
Yet… I wouldn’t lie, something about her promised to be fresh.
Chelsea had never been fresh. She’d always been bitchy. And so damn beautiful with her green eyes and dark as sin hair.
Looking away from the blue eyes of the girl in front of me, I didn’t carry the conversation further, just turned my attention back to my bag.
I’d been at the weights all morning. I’d have to go to my apartment sooner or later.
Work wouldn’t do itself. Unfortunately.
The Chelsea-free moment had been brief, hard to hold onto.
Ripping the half-gloves off my hands, I thrust their damp black material into the side pocket of my dark blue bag.
The strawberry-blonde may or may not have said something as I walked away.
But I didn’t care.
Chelsea’s eyes haunted me.
I couldn’t get away.
*** Who is the only woman Levi deserves?***
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In Into the End Rachel makes Anti-Chili while in the mountains for her kids, Joshua, and Tom.
Remember when she thinks she had poorly rationed the honey? It’s because this recipe calls for 3/4 cup of it and she doesn’t ration well. She left that to Andy.
This dish can be made with food storage items – meat from the freezer or previously canned, dried honey, and dried peppers and onions. Fresh is the best, always, but sometimes – like in Into the End – fresh isn’t always available.
This recipe took me and my husband 8 years to get right. It’s in its simplest form but has a very rich flavor. I’d suggest dipping tortillas, rolls, french bread, or another grain in it. I don’t butter them, but the husband does. Again, it’s all about preference.
The name Anti-Chili came about because when I first made it I was striving for a real chili taste – you know, the thick, beans and meat stuff that your spoon wouldn’t dare to lie down in? Yeah, that’s the stuff. But I added a can of diced tomatoes and there went the stiffness. So this is what came out of it.
Please let me know what you think!
1 pound ground beef/venison/elk
1/2 chopped large white onion (yellow works as well)
1/2 chopped large green pepper
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 large can tomato juice
4 cans drained dark red kidney beans
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup honey
1/4 salt (or more to taste)
1 packet of chili seasoning or taco seasoning works too.
In a large soup pot brown meat and rinse/drain. Add peppers and onions and chili packet. Cook until onions and peppers are opaque.
Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and cover. Let simmer. Taste to make sure it’s sweet, spicy, and has enough flavor for what you’re looking for.
Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
This is what it should look like.