Similar Items Update As Promised

April 20th, 2014

Update of 2014.04.20

Here’s a link to my Similar Items post:

The Navitas Raw Organic Chocolate powder arrived and it was suitably mockable, I thought, with its “Food of the gods” claim and, to be honest, uninspired packaging. (Except the zip part of the bag is AWESOME!) I noticed that the company is in the same town I work in. As in, I could have gone to their store on my lunch hour.

Today I baked with it. I made cookies and brownies. Since the cookies go to college boy, I was making a double batch. 4 1/2 cups of flour were called for. I used 4 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of the cocoa powder.

The brownies are in the oven. I made different brownies than usual since I wanted to use cocoa powder instead of chocolate. I found a suitable recipe and made them. The recipe is reasonably similar to my current favorite so I decided it was a good comparison. I sampled the batter and while I cannot render a final verdict since they’re still baking and I have to send them to my son, here is what I can say:


I am not kidding.


Similar Items with Better Ratings – Updated!

April 13th, 2014

Amazon is debuting a feature where when you look at a book, up at the top they show you books they feel are similar and that have better ratings.

Much I as I think Amazon is usually pretty smart about things, I’m not so sure about this one. I think it’s an attempt at curation — As in, “are you sure you want to buy a book with a 3-star rating when there are similar ones with 4.5 stars?” I guess we’ll see.

In the meantime, I thought I’d give everyone some advance help with my book My Darkest Passion. A paranormal romance of mine. It has 24 reviews with an average 4-star rating.

What Similar Items with Better Ratings might there be?

One Hundred Statements about The Darkest Passion that Almost Killed my Hamster

Sadly, one of my top candidates is not available: I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about that? (search term: “My Darkest Passion”)

Moleskin Passion’s Coffee Journal

No ratings at all, so even though that sounds totally awesome, that won’t qualify. My Darkest Passion is better than a moleskin. Please debate this in the comments. (search term: “Coffee Passion”)

Raw Chocolate powder

I am totally outranked by this. 355 reviews and 4.5 stars. I just bought this product so I guess this “Similar products” thing works! Note: My Darkest Passion in Kindle books is considerably less expensive. (search term: “Darkest Chocolate”)

How Pyschic Are you?

The characters in my book have psychic powers so if you’d rather have the power than read about others with such powers this may be the book for you. 4 star rating, but 34 reviews. (search term: “How to Be a Pyschic”)

Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition

4 star rating but 637 reviews. Note: Also considerably more expensive than the Kindle version of my book, but not too much more expensive than the print version. (search term: “How to deal with demons”)

I hope this is of some assistance. Other ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Here’s a link to the promised update.


This Thing Continues to Bother Me

April 12th, 2014

Today, a male book blogger whose blog and opinion I respect retweeted an image of a single panel comic that depicted Kate Perry. She was on the ground, naked, decapitated, and disemboweled. There were puppies in this comic and one of them was in front of the her spread open legs. And yes. The comic was absolutely graphic.

I could not tell from the context what subtext there was for such a thing. Was there ironic comment? For the last few hours, I’ve kept flashing back to that, and how bothered I was that such a person, whose tweets are usually related to the business of books, would retweet something like that.

I Googled a little to see if there was something that would make such a comic relevant social commentary and that would make be believe this man did not intend the apparent meaning of such a comic. I could not find anything that would recover my opinion of this man.

Another prominent male blogger and author commented on that same image with “Hahaha WTF?”

The first blogger’s twitter stream includes links to great commentary about eBooks at his blog. I follow him because I like what he has to say. I have commented at his blog. Why on earth would he retweet an image with no commentary about why he thought such a misogynistic, hateful image was something worth letting his followers see?

Did he really not stop to think about what message is really encoded in that? Maybe it’s partly, “ha ha, look how we can make fun of Katy Perry.” But it’s also the very chilling message “This is what happens to women we don’t like.”

I am devastated. I am appalled. I don’t want anything to do with him any more. Either of them actually.

I hope I’m wrong. I really do.



April 10th, 2014

I’m temporarily disabling comments on the site while I deal with a comments issue.

Should be resolved soon.

And… it appears to be resolved. Comments are re-enabled.


Annoying Things – A Poll

April 5th, 2014

Here is a list of annoying things.  I’ve put together a poll. Let me know if this happens at YOUR house.


Has this Happened to You?

View Results

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Comments temporarily closed for this post.



April 1st, 2014

Through the magic of, I have selected the winner of my newsletter-subscriber only contest.

Kim A

I have emailed her and will be sending her a mug from my favorite hometown chocolate bar and some chocolate to accompany the mug.

My newsletter subscribers are the best.


Manuscript Found!

April 1st, 2014

Wow. Why didn’t I hear about this sooner? I LOVE the British Library Manuscripts blog.

Unicorn Cookbook


Progress Report

March 31st, 2014

I’ve been radio silent about the writing, but it isn’t because I haven’t been writing. I’ve been doing a lot of writing with the internet turned off which makes it harder to hop online to talk about the writing. I’ve also been going so long without quite enough sleep that I’ve had to enforce a stop writing time. No more making up deficits by cutting into the sleep. For a series of reasons, I have gone too long — months — with no opportunity to catch up and normalize.

Currently, I’m doing a read through of A Notorious Ruin, which is the title I’ve settled on for the first of the sequels to Lord Ruin. It’s Lucy and Thrale’s story, and at last, I am not weeping with despair over the fractured bits of story, sleep and time deprived (as much) because of the the day job, or otherwise (as) discombobulated with what life has been throwing my way.

After this read through, A Notorious Ruin goes out for beta and edits.

I like the story. In fact, I’m loving it.


Skin In The Game – By Jackie Barbosa

March 26th, 2014
Cover of Skin in The Game by Jackie Barbosa

Skin In The Game by Jackie Barbosa

Angela Peterson was always the quiet, shy kid growing up in Harper Falls, crushing on the high school quarterback and honing her football strategy skills. Now grown up and coaching the high school team, she’s shocked when that same sexy quarterback returns to Harper Falls asks her back to his hotel room. And then tries to steal her job.Injured NFL quarterback Cade Reynolds is in Harper Falls to take over as interim head coach, and he never thought the tall, blond bombshell he propositioned would offer up any resistance. Not to a repeat of the amazingly wild night they shared and certainly not to his coaching position.

But the Harper Falls High Eagles are Angie’s team, and even the hometown hero won’t take that away from her, no matter how hot he is. As the two engage in a battle of wits and wills, this is one game neither is prepared to lose.

If you like it hot, then take a look at this book.

Here are buy links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | Kobo

About This Post

Some of you may know that last week Jackie Barbosa lost her 17 year old son in a car accident. There is a memorial fund for him, link here. Fellow authors Beverly Kendall and Courtney Milan came up with the idea of authors highlighting Jackie’s books the week of March 25.

It is an unspeakable tragedy to lose a child, and I want to do what I can to support her during this terrible time. I hope you will, too.


Good News!

March 24th, 2014

Carolyn Crane said we should enter The Carolyn because we are both named Carolyn. Well, I entered My Darkest Passion and it’s a finalist! That is very gratifying and exciting news. Ms. Crane did not enter, which is a shame. She ought to have. Her books are wonderful.

Finalist's Medallion

The Carolyn Finalist Medallion!