Saturday, September 27, 2014

Remember me?

Remember me?  I've been so focused on studying lately I haven't had time for much else. I wish that was an exaggeration. The house has stayed a mess since the first week of school, I can barely keep up with the laundry (I've stopped trying with the dishes), and I'm doing good to get four hours of sleep a night. I've even had several dreams where I'm looking down at my notebooks, and they're filled with Algebra problems. I'm ready for the end of the semester. My brain needs a rest.

Next semester, I'm going to cut down on the classes. Four is really too many at one time. I have two professors who like to substitute actual instruction with heaping on of homework. That doesn't teach anyone anything. You're so busy trying to rush through it, you don't absorb anything. With my other two classes, I'm not receiving any instruction at all. I'm basically paying the cost per credit hour to read a textbook. No more, no less. I hope studying closely will be enough to pass the finals, because I really don't want to have to retake any classes.

I wish I had something more exciting to say, but the reality is that these past six weeks have been a complete blur.  Oh! I guess there is one exciting thing I can talk about. Last week marked the first leg of the writing workshop I've been giving on critical reading skills for writers. We have one more week to go. Everyone has been so pleasant and patient with me, especially when I was having tech issues. I'm eternally grateful for that. (And I'm hopeful these tech issues aren't a sign on what's to come for next month's Mercury retrograde!)

This afternoon, after I cleared out all my maths for the week, I planned to relax and lounge on the couch, but I ended up putting together a new storage shelf instead. It's the type that fits six bins. With the new shelf I'm able to get all my books up off the floor. I had them sitting in a basket across the room. So that's one thing I can scratch off my to-do list. Now if only I could have hubby build a linen closet, we'd be set.

That's all for now. I'm going to take a hot bubble bath and settle in to do some reading. American History. I have a quiz coming up. C'est la vie. Until next time, happy wishes! ♥♥♥

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pucker Up! : A Snog For Sommer

http://smutforgood.co.uk/a-snog-for-sommer/

I'm late to the party! I just learned about the A Snog for Sommer tour. Authors are posting kissing scenes and excerpts, as well as giving away goodies in an effort to help support our writerly friend, Sommer Marsden. If you can spare a few dollars for the cause, please visit the SmutForGood.com.uk website. Every donation is appreciated!

Since I jumped in unprepared, I thought I'd take a different approach. Instead of excerpts, how about some facts about snogging...aka, kissing? Interested? Sure you are! ;o)

Here we go!


  • Kissing relieves stress. 
  • The world's longest kiss lasted over two days! 
  • Most people tilt their head to the right when the kiss. 
  • A person who studies kissing is called an osculologist. 
  • Philematology is the study of kissing. 
  • Kissing for 60 seconds burns approximately two calories.
  • A law in Indiana and Iowa prohibits men with mustaches from kissing women in public. Sorry, Burt Reynolds! 
  • According to Psychology Today, the average person spends about 20 thousand minutes of their life kissing
  • 68% of people close their eyes while kissing.


Instead of drawing for a single prize for only one winner, I'm doing something a little different. From now until September 20th, I'm offering What She Doesn't Know for FREE at Smashwords. When you go to the page, it will show the regular price. Simply use the code PL65E  (be sure to apply it!) at checkout for a 100% discount. What She Doesn't Know is a collection of short erotic stories, so please - readers 18 and older only.

Once more, in the spirit of the tour, please consider making a donation to help Sommer's family. You can find out all the details at SmutForGood.com.uk.

Monday, September 01, 2014

September? September!

In the hall, writing, snapping pics, waiting
for class to start. 
No. Tell me it is not September 1st. I can't believe it. Where has the year gone? It doesn't feel like there's been a summer break at all. It's like I blinked and the year jumped from February to the end of August, and now here we are, September 1st. Surprise! 

Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

I have so much to do this month, it's kind of scary. I have a workshop coming up on September 22nd at Savvy Authors. That same day I have a court date and a paper due. No pressure, right? At this point, if I'm going to have a complete mental breakdown, I'm going to have to schedule it first, because I just don't have time for it otherwise.

My birthday was on the 28th (August). I was so busy with classes, I kind of forgot about it until Mom called me to find out what day I wanted to get together with the family, and what I wanted to do about a cake. We settled on getting pizza, and hubby bought a strawberry ice cream cake, which was ridiculously yummy. I didn't want any kind of fuss, so we settled for a simple Saturday get together at my parents house. It went smooth as silk. I ate too much pizza and too much cake, and I had a great time doing it. Also, Dad wanted to read my English essay, which I told him was about him. It's true; it was. Our first essay assignment was about our musical influences, so I had to write about Dad and The Beach Boys. The essay took top marks in class, but what's better is that Dad liked it. He took it outside to read it, because he didn't want to cry in front of everyone. Bless him. He's so tenderhearted.

Speaking of school and essays and such, I'm doing okay in all my classes, although I think if I'd taken even one more course it would've been too much. The first two weeks were enough to make me regret ever thinking about going back to school. Two of my professors decided we needed to immediately write two papers each. So, four essays within the first two weeks of college. If I wasn't into that whole writing thing, that might've been the end of me right there. Instead, I soldiered through it. I made a to-do list and scratched off assignments as I completed them. It was hell for that full first week, but I've managed to get the time frame for each class under control. Juggling classes is a little easier to deal with now. Whew!

I've been writing in the mornings before class. I take pre-req math on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and because I have a one hour and ten minute commute, I have to leave home early to beat the traffic. That puts me on campus about thirty minutes before class starts, so I've been sitting in the little lounge under the entry stairs to write in the mornings. It's peaceful over there. Not a lot of talking. So far I've been able to knock out two chapters of VN. Not too shabby.

I haven't delved too much into college clubs and such, but since its so close to November, I'm wondering if anyone at Delta will be doing NaNo? Maybe a couple of students would want to gather at the on campus Subway or the common room across from admissions to do write-ins. Hmm. I might have to ask around about that.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Adrift on the ocean of challenges, and Kindle Unlimited

Ah, where do I begin? It seems like I blogged something just last week, but it turns out that I haven't posted since July. What what? I'm sort of surprised about that, too. Sort of, but not really. I wasn't intentionally hiding away or purposely avoiding the blogosphere. Think of me as having been adrift in a yellow rubber life raft all that time. Think of me as a half drowned rat in tattered clothes, clinging to that little useless rope attached to the life raft, while violent ocean waves toss me around.

It's a fairly accurate analogy of my life right now. Actually life has been like that since right before my grandmother's funeral last month. It's getting better. Slowly. Kind of. At least, changes are happening. I guess it's too early to diagnose whether they're good changes or bad. It's probably safest to wait and see. So, while we wait and see, what have I been up to?

Well, I've been getting the family finances in order. This hasn't been a pretty process. Hubby's job is stable... for the time being. It's supposed to be stable. It's a good job and a good company, but I've learned not to trust the permanence of it despite company promises. You never know these days. You could have the most stable job in the world, and with times the way they are now, you could be presented with a layoff at any moment. So I'm taking it as it flows. Right now, the man is gainfully employed, and I am fixing all the damage a year of no work does to one's pocketbook. And credit. A year of unemployment, plus six months of being severely underemployed toppled us, and as much as I'd like it to be over quickly, it's going to take time to repair the damage done.

More goings on... I'm back in school. Well, as of this coming Monday, since that's when classes officially start. However, one of my professors has already begun assigning essays, and since I'm already organizing assignments, reading texts, and answering questions, I figure it's safe to say I'm a student again.

What else is going on? Let me think... Oh, I joined Kindle Unlimited. I joined July 18th. I realize that's hardly an event event, but still it's an interesting thing to talk about. Personally, I love the service. It might not be so good for authors, I have no idea, but for me, it's saved me a lot of money in downloads. The cost is $9.99 per month, USD. I've been keeping a spreadsheet listing all of the books I've downloaded from Unlimited, the prices of each book (had I purchased them outright), and whether or not I read a book completely or returned DNF - did not finish. To date, I've downloaded 15 books and read 14 of them (I'm currently reading Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem, which is #15). Overall, I've saved a total of $67.84.

I wasn't charged for the first month of service. Billing starts tomorrow for me, so if I were to subtract the monthly fee, I can say I've saved $57.85 on books. I'm happy with that. Very happy.

Kindle Unlimited is basically a subscription service where you can download titles (only titles marked as part of the Kindle Unlimited program), read them for free, then return them. You don't keep the books you download, and you can only hold so many books at one time. I think the limit is ten. After I signed up, about a week or so thereafter, I went into the service and kept adding books to see what would happen, what the cut off point would be. When you are maxed on books, and you attempt to download another, it prompts you to go to your management dashboard and return one of the books you already have. Easy peasy. It's stress free. You don't have to worry about going over and then being billed extra or anything like that, which is something I had worried about. I know, I know...I'm a worry wart. I can't help it.

Like I said somewhere above, I'm not sure about the pros and cons for authors, whether it would be worth it to enroll your books. I've heard that a reader must read past the 10% point for the author to be credited any royalties. I don't know what the percentage of royalties is supposed to be. I've heard it's $2.00 per download read past 10%, I've also heard it's half the purchase price of the book. I don't know. But with many of the ebooks I've downloaded, regardless of the length, most of the books skip over the cover image, the TOC, and the introduction and land you right at the beginning of the story. To see the cover you have to scroll backward to view it. It was that way before Kindle Unlimited, and most of the books I've downloaded from the service itself start you out at 8-10% anyway. So, if the 10% rule is true, I don't think most authors have anything to worry about when it comes to the 10% mark. Which seems like a fair system to me.

However, if someone downloads your book, never reads it, then returns it to make space in their library...well, that just sucks. I don't think the author gets paid when that happens. But then again, the person didn't read the copy, so I guess one way to look at it is like this: a person in a digital bookstore is browsing. While browsing, they pull your book off the shelf, wander around the store with it for a while, but in the end, they put it back. No harm done.

At any rate, I like the service. I've gotten a lot of use out of it. Bonus points that a lot of classics are Kindle Unlimited books. I'll be needing several of those while taking classes, I'm sure.

Moving along... I wouldn't say I'm on a writing hiatus necessarily, but the words are flowing much more slowly these days. I have a release coming out later in the fall, and I'm scrambling to wrap up Vampyre Night for release. Also, a close friend of mine has reintroduced me to Wattpad (I joined in 2009), and I'm considering posting a story or two there for free. Nothing erotica though, since I don't feel comfortable posting it on a site that's so youth oriented, even though there are protections on the site in place. So what will I be adding there? Romancey stories, that's a possibly. Horror and sci-fi, probably. If you're on Wattpad, and you'd like to keep tabs on me there, my profile is listed here:
http://www.wattpad.com/user/CoraZane . If you'd like to get updates on when and what I'm posting at Wattpad, click the follow author button on my profile.

Last bits of news before I get on with Sunday chores... My website is down while I contemplate a new design. Also, I deleted my LinkedIn. If you were looking for me on LinkedIn and couldn't find me, I'm sorry. I deleted the page. I liked the site just fine, but the time I'm able to devote to social media is limited. Also, most of the people viewing my LinkedIn profile and sending me friend requests were marketers. I can see the value of a marketer, don't get me wrong, but five hundred of them when I'm interested in books and publishing industry related topics...well, it came across as unproductive. At the very least, it seems like my time would be better spent elsewhere. For example, Twitter and Facebook.

Over the next few months, at least through early December, I imagine my posts will be sporadic as I take on schoolwork, housework, writing work, and family life. To psyche myself up, I keep saying over and over, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this." I may look like a shipwrecked, half-drowned mouse by the end of it, but I'm soldiering on. But enough waxing poetic for now. Take care, my friends. Until next time, happy wishes!  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Cora's Top Picks : Summer Loving - 20 Sultry Stories


Get Ready for Summer Loving! 

Summer speaks of balmy days, white-sand beaches, itsy-bitsy bikinis and romantic flings. The 20 sublime stories in this collection celebrate those decadent days and naughty nights with lots of sizzling summertime sex. Erotic luminaries Donna George Storey, Sophia Valenti, Lucy Felthouse, Emerald, Jodie Griffin, May Deva, Teresa Noelle Roberts, A.M. Hartnett, Primula Bond, Sammi Lou Thorne, Elise Hepner, Tenille Brown, Tamsin Flowers, Kathleen Delaney-Adams, Thomas S. Roche, Cheyenne Blue, Delilah Night, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Justine Elyot, Angell Brooks, and Alison Tyler spin their sultriest stories ever. 

 Summer might only come once a year. But with this red-hot collection, you’re guaranteed to come all year round! 

You can buy Summer Loving for Kindle at Amazon for .99 cents. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Loving-Alison-Tyler-ebook/dp/B00M0DYL28/

Summer Loving is one of Cora Z's 2014 Top Picks for erotic fiction. 

Genre: Erotica 
For readers 18 and older only.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Conveyor Belt of Life



So much is going on at home, I can barely organize my thoughts. I've put off writing this blog post for several days, because it has felt overwhelmingly difficult dealing with anything and everything that requires more than five minutes of my attention span. 

My grandmother passed away on July 12th. She was my last surviving grandparent. The last of her generation. For the past several years she had battled with cancer that started in her breasts and later, after a double mastectomy, spread to her lymph nodes and throughout her body. Cancer ravaged her. I can't think of another word for it. 

I drove my mother to see Grandma last month. I think it was last month. The days blend. That's how it is for me lately. It's difficult to concentrate on anything, much less keep up with important dates. Anyway, the trip. Mom and I did a day drive, which is to drive across state, see the family, then drive back home all in one hit. It's a long long drive and a physically draining trip. It was worth it, of course, but I didn't take into account how mentally taxing that trip would be. 

I guess I was expecting to see the Grandma as I remembered seeing her last time. Frail, but getting around. Opinionated. Independent. I wasn't prepared to see a woman reduced to bones, and that's what I saw when I walked into the room. I recognized her face, she had the same curly gray hair, but the rest of her was bones covered with a sheet. You knew she was dying when you looked at her. I can't tell you how heartbreaking that is. You have to keep up good spirits, and you can see what's happening. You can't deny it.  

Mom didn't think Grandma would make it to her birthday (she didn't), so she brought Grandma's birthday gifts: a couple of pretty nightgowns with dragonflies on them. And then we sat with her for a couple of hours. Grandma didn't seem to know who everyone in the room was, but she did have a few lucid moments, and I know she definitely remembered who I was. She bragged to one my cousins that I'm the granddaughter who writes books - so, evidently she recognized me, remembered what I do, and was proud of me for it, which I will be eternally grateful for. Just that she recognized me. That was probably the only thing good I took from the entire trip. I was too sick with a cold to hug on her too much, because she had no immune system left.

I held it together for my mom while we were there, but this has been a terrible summer. Everything is in chaos. A couple days after mom and I made the day trip, Mom called grandma at the nursing home/hospice. Grandma didn't remember her daughter's voice, not even when Mama said her name. She didn't even remember that we had come to visit, due partly to her advancing dementia and partly to the amount of morphine they were giving her to manage the pain.

Her funeral was yesterday. We couldn't all attend. We had to arrange and rearrange to make it so Mom could go. So I ended up taking care of things for Mom while her and dad made the trip. This is the bad thing about living in a state away from the rest of the family. 

Today, I am empty. I feel like I've been baking in the sun. My skin feels hot and tight, and my nerves are on edge. I'm burnt out from the emotional roller coaster of the past month. We knew this was coming, and we've tried to prepare for it. But you can't really prepare for it. 

For the past three days - the day before the funeral, and today (Monday / Wednesday) - I've been wrangling with college scheduling, paperwork, registration. The college website is in need of updating. The information found there is incomplete or outdated, or otherwise there are important steps missing to what you need to do. In person, no one tells you where you need to go or what you need to do to satisfy requirements, you're supposed to magically know, I guess. They look at you like you're an idiot when you start asking questions, and try to quickly shoo you out the door. If I had a dollar for every time I've been given the deer in the headlights look, or the "you're an idiot" look over the past few days, I'd be able to buy dinner for four. That has been my experience with registration so far. Add to that, my heart isn't in it. 

MY HEART IS NOT IN IT, which makes it extremely difficult to weather anyone's bullshit. 

I just want to cry and sleep, but there's no time to do either of those things.   

Last night while dozing with SassiePup, I had this nightmare that all of humanity was on this large, slow moving conveyor belt. At the end of the line was this drop off into...I don't know what or where, but when one generation would reach the end mark, they would simply drop off the conveyor one person at a time, until none were left, then this bar would raise and the next generation would be progressed along another conveyor belt to the drop off point, and the process would start again. 

In the dream, I watched my grandmother, as I'd seen her on her death bed, dropped off the conveyor. The moment she was out of sight, the conveyor moved under my feet. I was moved forward to a waiting point, and when I looked around, I realized that was where my parents had been standing five minutes before. Terror shot through me. I looked up and saw my mom and dad's conveyor moving into the final section of the conveyor belt. The section closest to the drop off.  

I woke up with this horrible sense that everything was ending. And that it was inevitable. That life is just a short ride on a conveyor to a drop off point. Once you're tossed off, someone else takes your place, and life just keeps going. Rinse and repeat. It was a horrible dream. I haven't been able to forget it. It's still very vivid in my mind. 

I'm supposed to give a Savvy Author's workshop on Critical Reading starting the 21st, but I've postponed it til late September. I don't have any new dates yet. I'm terribly sorry about that. I hope those who registered will understand and forgive me for the delay. Our family needs time to grieve. I need time.

Until things settle down with family, I won't be online as  much. I'll still be reachable through Facebook and emails on and off throughout the day. I keep those channels open because Oldest is deployed, but for the most part, I'll be offline and focusing on family. Thanks for understanding. ♥♥♥

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

My Summer, Summer, Summer...Turns Me Upside Down

A cozy summer rain shower as seen
from the patio.

I have so much going on right now and so little time to cover everything. Last month an astrologer friend told me July was going to be a busy month for me. I thanked her and sort of let the news roll down my back, but man, she wasn't kidding!

I wrapped up A Trick of Light last month and immediately began revisions on the cowboy story. The cowboys are an ongoing headache. I got the edits back for Wicked Obsession last week, and just today I managed to work my way through the list of suggested changes. I want to read through it one more time, then it's off to a friend's formatting service to be formatted for both Smashwords and CreateSpace. When I know how many pages the finished formatted product will have, I'll start worrying about the cover. I have a stub cover ready, but I want to make a few improvements to it before the book goes live. I'm still buried under back list books that need my attention, and I can see already it's going to take time to sort it all out. Breathe, Cora. One book at a time. I have to tell myself that daily.

On the 1st of July, I registered for fall semester. I'm officially a Delta Knight. (If you've ever seen that movie, you know why I'm giggling about that.) I received my student ID a couple of days ago, so everything processed and is on track for August. I go in for orientation and to speak to my adviser next Monday. Once that's done, I'll be free and clear to focus on my Savvy Author's workshop that's coming up on the 21st.

Whew! That makes me twitchy just thinking about it. I won't have another free day until after August 3rd, and then I'll only have two weeks free until school starts for both Mini and me. I'm thinking an early August vacation is in order...if I've gone off my rocker by then. ;o)

That's all the news for now. I need to start the laundry and go pick around in the kitchen and start dinner. Until next time, happy wishes!

In the spirit of Summer, click here and *dance, dance* with me!