Thursday, March 31, 2016

Keto, Flu, New Releases, and Other Updates

Okay, really quick update--I'm so, so sorry for not keeping to my promise of blog posts twice a week! Truly, I am. The last week and a half has been impossible. Between my personal life and then catching the flu (the real flu, not the keto flu), I've been pretty much out-of-order lately, and for that, I'm so sorry! That said, I had half of a post written for last week before things got out of hand. I've edited it to be more current, but here it is.

Remember when I said I was craving cinnamon rolls and that on my cheat day (which was going to be last Saturday initially) I was planning on eating that and a giant pretzel? Well, as per my usual self, I did a lot of research on cheat days and the ketogenic diet. Most people said not to do cheat days, and all of them have good reasons. The most common one was that once you begin cheating, it's hard to stop. Soon you're allowing yourself more and more slip-ups, and before you know it, you're back where you started and the weight you've lost comes back. Maybe not all of it, but enough to where you feel like a failure.

Well, I cheated a smidge. I had four chocolate cookies (small ones) and a few potato chips. The next day, I felt mildly bloated and I gained back four pounds, but figured if I worked out and stuck to the diet, it would come off again. Fast-forward a week and none of that weight had come off. It was incredibly frustrating, and so I basically said, "Ef this," and had three cheat days in a row. And then I caught the flu and life went to hell in a hand basket. Well, this morning (first morning without the flu), I weighed myself, and I'd not only lost the four pounds I gained back, but another one and a half on top of it. Yay! I'm not saying that all of that will stay off, but I am going to try my best to adhere to my diet and keep chugging forward now what I'm feeling better. I've also decided my body simply has trouble digesting white flour carbs, so I'll be staying far, far away from those from now on.

Kidneys require carbohydrates to function, but what most people don't know about keto (before doing their own research, anyway) is that many of the food items you eat on keto have carbs, and when you eat high-fiber food with carbs, the fiber and carbs "cancel" each other out. Your body is still getting those carbs, which means your kidneys use them to function properly, but you're not burning them the way you would refined carbohydrates, like bread or pasta. The more research I did on carbs and cheat days, the more I decided I wouldn't do true cheat days, but I would give myself keto-friendly days off.

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make these keto cinnamon rolls. I made them a bit bigger than the author of the recipe, mostly because my husband is a tall man (6'4") and requires bigger meals. I also adjusted the recipe a little and doubled it. Most of my adjustments revolved around adding more butter, because everything was too dry and didn't feel like it would bake properly. I guess we'll see. My husband's doing keto with me, which I think is fantastic. He doesn't need to lose weight, mind you--he's a bean pole! But he's doing it because he wants to support me and be healthier overall. It's an adventure I'm glad we get to share together. He does do cheat days, but for me, I don't miss bread enough to do them again.

I honestly thought the cravings for bread--specifically bread--would be driving me crazy by now, especially after my three cheat days in a row. I think maybe the flu might have something to do with that lack of cravings, but who knows. We'll see what happens. What I do want is variety. I'm so, so, so sick of eggs and bacon. Those are words I never thought I'd say, but dang it, I want something different for breakfast. Which is why I did some more research and found these muffin recipes. I plan on making a giant batch of the lemon blueberry ones tomorrow that will last us the whole week, plus a few extra cinnamon rolls for the days we need an extra kickstart. (Update: I made the muffins, and BOY, do I need how to bake with coconut flour, because they turned out way too dry and tasted horrid.)

As I learn more about the keto diet and how to work around refined carbs, I'm finding that breads and potatoes and the like are things I don't truly miss all that much. I want to live a healthier lifestyle, and as I progress on the keto diet, I plan to adjust a few things here and there so that I feel comfortable with the lifestyle as a perminant change. Now, I know I have a lot of research to do still. Many resources say keto isn't a good lifestyle change; what I aim to do is lower the number of carbs that I take in (but raise it above keto levels), lower the number of fats to be more realistic, and raise the amount of protein, vegetables, and fruits. This will take time, and I feel like the keto diet is giving me a chance to scrub the slate clean and start over fresh. It's amazing that I don't yearn for carbs. Seriously, it is. Every once in a while, I think about bread rolls fresh from the oven with melted butter on them, but then I move on. I don't really miss that sort of food.

This is something that I actually have to adjust a lot sooner than expected. It turns out I'm allergic to yogurt (the low-carb stuff especially) and am starting to have major problems with dairy products overall. I don't want to lose my ability to have a splash of heavy cream with my tea, or cheese on a hamburger, so I'm going to talk with my husband tonight, and we're going to adjust the diet again. Unfortunately, this is pretty common for me. I eat something for a long enough period of time (typically a week or two), and I become allergic to it. My face either goes numb (as is the case with almonds and other nuts) or my entire jaw and mouth start itching (yogurt and many fruits). This makes it seriously difficult to eat healthy, especially on diets that require you restrict your intake to a few types of foods.

So, I'll be dropping keto and focusing on taking in few carbs (such as breads) and instead going with a balance of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. I'll add dairy again in a week, once my body isn't so angry at it. I'll probably do 10% fruits, 40% veggies, and 50% lean meats or eggs. Less bacon now, which is okay with me, and more healthy foods. Not sure how this will work, but at least I'll stop having allergic reactions for a little while. I sort of wonder if the flu I had was one massive allergic reaction to yogurt and heavy whipping cream, but I have no way of knowing until I try dairy products again next week. I'm not all that eager to find out right now, anyway. One thing I won't be adding back in is diet soda.

Speaking of diet soda, I used to drink a ton of it. I was addicted to Diet Pepsi. Even when I started keto, I missed it a lot. I don't at all anymore. One, I stopped drinking it and went full-on keto mode for the first two weeks. Other than sweet potato fries, no cheating. Two, I found a replacement. I liked the texture of Diet Pepsi (and the taste was okay), so I did some research and found the Kroger brand flavored seltzer water. Make sure you get the canned ones and read the ingredient list. The bottled flavor seltzer water has artificial sweeteners in it, which I'm trying to stay away from. I oopsed and bought a few of those thinking they had the same makeup as the canned ones (which are made of carbonated water and natural flavors, but have no sweeteners), but they had so much more junk in them! After drinking the seltzer water for a while, the sweetened ones tasted terrible. My husband finally finished the last of them last night, which was awesome. Read the ingredients always before buying anything. Count your carbs and fibers, and calculate your net carbs, and then look at the sugars and read the ingredients for artificial sweeteners. Even though I won't be doing full-on keto anymore, I will be bearing all of this in mind and will be adhering pretty strongly to those changes.

My last keto thought for today: The best way to stay keto on cheat days is to stick with keto-friendly foods, but allow yourself a little more of them. Have a bigger steak. Have more lobster or crab. Enjoy a giant salad with extra grilled chicken. Make keto-friendly sticky buns or cinnamon rolls. Do things outside of your comfort zone. If you have a craving, chances are, the keto diet has a recipe for that specific food. It may not taste exactly the same, but it will help with the cravings and help you feel like you're being sneaky even if you aren't.

I can't help you if you like gummy bears or gummy fruits, though. Man, there is nothing quite like a solid gummy orange.

Now the fun stuff--books! Books, books, books! If you follow my Facebook page or my Twitter, then you know I had two short stories released this week! That's pretty exciting in itself, because both of these shorts took me a long time to get just right. If you'd like to read more about them, just click the pictures! The links will take you to my publisher's Website and the page for each short story.

This short story takes place during The Soulbound Curse and is meant as an enhancement to that epic fantasy story. I highly recommend reading The Soulbound Curse before picking up a copy of Soulbound Origins: The Crow Prince, because there's a good chance you won't know what's going on and what the significance of Nicholas's actions are overall. Just a thought! You're of course still welcome to read it as you like. :)

The second short story that came out this week is Frendyl Krune Origins: The Sandstone Script. This short story will be FREE starting tomorrow, and does fine without reading Frendyl Krune and the Blood of the Sun or the other Frendyl Krune books first. I think it's pretty enjoyable, and I did both of the illustrations for it! Yay!

Of course, next month, Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess comes out, which will be very exciting, as it's the third book in the Frendyl Krune series, and a great deal happens in it!

Now, I said I would update my work for all to see, and here you are. I've been fairly lax on the writing end due to the flu and other personal things, but am back in the swing as of today!

Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess: 72,595 - COMPLETE
Frendyl Krune and the Nightmare in the North: 5,183 - haven't worked on lately; bad Kira!
Frendyl Krune Origins: Their Pretty Bones: 487 - Did some planning, but otherwise, haven't worked on; bad Kira!
The Soulless King: 229,087 - Increased by nearly 15,000 words during editing
Paper Sun: An Ekra Clan Short Story: 10,072 - Currently with my editor
Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book One: The Glass Heart: 6,212 - haven't worked on; bad Kira!

The other projects sit where they've been for the last week or so. They haven't been touched, simply because I have other priorities right now. I plan to change that within the coming week.

Legends: Mirijyl: 5,223
Legends: Vilboyen: 2,956
The Rise of the Four Kings: 11,053
The Vow of the Four Kings: 24,429

Thank you, all, and thank you for your patience while I got over my illness and started writing again. I'll be back on Tuesday! Take care, and have an awesome week!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Minor Keto Updates & Behind the Scenes Book Stuff

I had an amazing dream about this blog last night. Everything I wanted to write about and discuss was coming along so smoothly, and the post was quite long, detailing a lot of the news in my life and involving books.

And then I woke up. Now I don't recall any of what I wrote about; not even the topics! Thus, I spent most of this morning at work thinking about what I wanted to write about and discuss. Keto, of course, but there haven't been many changes since Tuesday (I lost another pound and a half, and the Bowflex is almost built!). I haven't worked out yet, either, save trying to put the Bowflex together yesterday and losing to it terribly. And that about sums up my keto updates. Not much in the way of a blog post, unfortunately. I'll have more on Tuesday, I promise! :)

Books are another thing I always love talking about, but I've discussed release dates repeatedly the last few posts, so I'd like to take a break from those and talk about something else involving my work. One of the things I'd like to add to each blog post is a word count for each story or book I'm working on, so that you can see my progress, I can see my progress, and you can kind of get a feel for how I break up my writing week. Below, I've listed the projects I usually work on and each day I work on them. This list doesn't include my cartography work, because I typically do that either early morning or late at night, which I consider outside of my normal scope of a work day.


Mondays are typically my days off from writing, because I usually have a longer shift at my part-time job. Sometimes I'll jot down notes or work on a project for an hour or two, but I'm not bound to any specific project during this day. I also am going to start using Mondays to work on and send out newsletters! These will have a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff that won't be released on my blogs, short stories, contests, and a few other things. Yipee! If you're interested, I suggest you sign up now so you don't miss out!


- Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess - Mostly revising copyedits and prepping for the final book at this time; also illustrating the book
- Frendyl Krune and the Nightmare in the North - Drafting work and writing bits of the first draft
- Frendyl Krune Origins: Their Pretty Bones - First draft mode: ON
- Blogging on Tuesdays is a good addition to my week, I'm finding. It helps open me up and gets me motivated to work on new projects.


- Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess - Mostly revising copyedits and prepping for the final book at this time; also illustrating (I'm working overtime on this project so we can get it done)
- The Soulless King - Working through the first draft and making any major changes/edits as well and a lot of revision writing; despite the word count, it is far from being done


- Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess - cont'd
- Paper Sun: An Ekra Clan Short Story - Finishing main draft and prepping to send to the editor
- Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book One: The Glass Heart - Planning and first draft work
- I blog on Thursdays as well! This usually eats up a good hour or so of my time, but I enjoy it. :)
- Thursdays are also great days for misc. project planning, such as the encyclopedia my editor and I are working on* and the reading guide for The Amuli Chronicles that I'm writing**.


- Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess - cont'd
- The Soullss King - cont'd
- Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book One: The Glass Heart - Planning and first draft (if I have time)


- Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess - cont'd (this is not a normal week for me; usually this book would be replaced with something else, but when it comes to crunch time, I always allot more time for the book due soonest, just in case something happens)
- Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book One: The Glass Heart - Planning and first draft

Saturdays are also my chore days; I do laundry, clean the house, etc., and try to catch up from the mess during the week. I'm not always successful. I think the house typically wins most weeks, but I do try.


- Frendyl Krune and the Nightmare in the North - More drafting work at this time
- Frendyl Krune Origins: Their Pretty Bones - More drafting work; hopefully this will be done soon!
- Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book One: The Glass Heart - Planning and first draft

If I have time on Sundays, I also try to get in some work on my newsletters done if I have time. :)

Do I stick absolutely to this schedule? No. I try my hardest, but some Frendyl Days, I want to work on Yorsyl's story. Likewise, some Yorsyl/ekra short story days, I want to work on The Soulless King. Mostly, I try to make sure every book has a slot, and I try to reach my word count on all of my projects by the end of the week (2,000 words each story each day). I don't always make this, but I sure as heck do all I can to make my days count. Mostly coffee helps that. And I have to admit, keto does, too. I think I've finally made my way out of the keto flu, which means I doubt I'll have a cheat day this Saturday, but it also means everything is a lot sharper and I can focus easier. That's an amazing feeling. :)

*My editor and I are also in the midst of planning an encyclopedia for the series, which will include names of every amuli noted thus far, their description, their blood-scent, House lineage, House banner/sigil, and a few other misc. things. We're going to release the first one near the end of the year or early next year. It's not only for my editor to help him keep track of people, but for me. Every time I add a new character, I'll add it to the encyclopedia, and once we have enough, we'll release a second volume. Likely, this will become an annual release as The Amuli Chronicles progresses. The encyclopedia will also include ekra and other non-amuli species and peoples.

**The book guide I mentioned is a pet project, one we're going to release for free to all readers. It will explain the three different orders in which to read the various series in The Amuli Chronicles, and as new books are released, we'll update the guide (like the encyclopedia, this will probably occur once a year). As The Amuli Chronicles kept expanding, I realized I needed to do something so that readers will know where to start. "Book One" applies to at least three series at this time, and will apply to many more as time goes on (I'm already planning two Young Adult series and a few others!).

Now, onto the current word counts for my projects!

Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess: 71,838
Frendyl Krune and the Nightmare in the North: 5,183
Frendyl Krune Origins: Their Pretty Bones: 487
The Soulless King: 214,087
Paper Sun: An Ekra Clan Short Story: 6,382
Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book One: The Glass Heart: 6,212

I have other projects I'm working on in my spare time (HA!) that may or may not be released this year. These include the below.

Legends: Mirijyl: 5,223
Legends: Vilboyen: 2,956
The Rise of the Four Kings: 11,053
The Vow of the Four Kings: 24,429

As of now, these are the major projects I'm working on and where they sit. This list doesn't include a project I'm working on with my sister and another one I'm co-writing with a friend of mine, but both of those are typically on hold during the school year so that everyone can study. It also doesn't include the other projects I have planned for this year; this is only what I'm actively working on right now.

I know it seems like a lot, and it is. I'm not going to lie--I burn out at least once a year, and last year, it was for six months. I've found a pace that works well, though, and while I still have days where I simply can't, I do my best to remind myself how much I love this story that I want to tell. How much it means to me that I even have the opportunity to write at this pace--because that is huge--often helps me keep moving forward. Without the support of my husband, I would not be able to produce this much. I'd not even be writing, probably. So, yes, it's a lot. Yes, I fight every day to work on these projects... and honestly, without my readers and my family, I couldn't do it.

Just... thank you. Thank you all for your support in this madness. I really, truly appreciate it. :) You're the reason I write in the first place.

See you on Tuesday!! Have an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New Novella Announced!

Hello, all! Today, I have quite a few things I want to discuss. Not only will I be talking about my week-long experience with the ketogenic diet, but I'll also touch on a few of my upcoming projects, show off a brand-new cover, and give you some information on the new short stories coming out later this month from Evolved Publishing.

BEWARE: There may be spoilers down below in the book section for those who have not read all of the books and short stories currently available!

Keto Update

Well, I've done it--I've been on the keto diet for a week exactly, and I've learned a few things about the diet and about myself. First, I learned that my main major craving is a Cinnabon. I haven't even had Cinnabon in years, so it's kind of strange that I'm craving that of all things! Otherwise, I'm okay without carbs. I don't really miss bread yet, though I'm sure it won't be long before I do. The next thing I learned is that I really don't take in as many calories as I should be. I get nauseous when I eat too much spinach or fish... well, anything, really, and I've had to pull back on my portion sizes. Because I've cut back on things that make me want to vomit, I've upped a few other "worse" things for me (but only a bit) such as cheeses, bacon, and chicken. We're both still new at this, and I'm trying very hard to keep to the diet without going over my budgeted carbs and sugars.

I also realized that my weight is fluctuating like crazy. I was down seven pounds, then up another three, then down another one, and finally made it back down to the net seven. How odd. I'm aware that my weight will fluctuate, but it is a little discouraging to see that I haven't lost what I was hoping to. Part of that, I think, is due to lack of exercise. We bought a Bowflex, but still need to assemble it (bad us!). That's on tonight's To Do List for sure! I'll keep an eye on how my weight adjusts once I start working out. I expect to gain some weight back as I build muscle, but I also expect to see more physical changes than what I've seen so far.

One my my biggest decisions was that I would only allow myself a cheat day every two weeks. I just got into ketosis Friday, which means I want to give my body time to work its magic before jumping out again. That also means it takes me about three days to get into ketosis, and boy, it's a weird process. I suggest looking up keto flu. I get some of the symptoms, but not many. That's nice, but other things happen that are a lot worse. I'll not go into the details, but it sucks. Hopefully it won't happen every time I go into ketosis after my cheat days.

Also, thanks to Bob's Burgers, I could really go for a giant salted pretzel.

Saturday is going to be the best cheat day ever! Cinnabon AND a salted pretzel!

Book Updates

BEWARE: There may be spoilers in this section for those who have not read all of the books and short stories currently available! While specific events are not described in detail, parts of them are.

This year, as I mentioned in my last post, I have a great deal of releases coming up. The first two, which are both short stories, come out on March 28--in 13 days! That's exciting! Take a look and see what's coming up soon!

Soulbound Origins: The Crow Prince

Cover by Mallory Rock Design

Heir to the city of Reaivyk, Nicholas Rybredel has everything he could ever want: land, power, and money, but he yearns for more, for something none of these things can grant him—his son’s life. Amid the chaos left in the wake of the half-blood plague, Nicholas’s only son was born Unsouled, and he’ll do anything to change fate’s design. His research has revealed a potential way to resurrect an Unsouled infant, but the cost is high. The decision he makes could lead the people into a new golden age, where the Unsouled curse is but an old, frail nightmare—or cast the die for a greater terror to seize the Amüli Republic.

This short story, the first of the six or seven that will accompany the Soulbound series, was perhaps one of the most difficult for me to write, not from an inspiration standpoint--trust me, I went through four or five drafts of this story, and loved each one for various reasons--but from a personal standpoint. Of all of my characters, I identify most with Nicholas and his struggles. Sure, parts of my other characters reflect me, but none so much as Nicholas does. He always yearns to put on a nonchalant front, a facade to make others think he has everything in his life under control, when he truly doesn't. Most people think he's selfish, and yeah, he is a bit, but he also understands what's good for the Amuli Republic in ways most other characters don't seem to. I have a lot of love for him, but I also find him detestable and his choices to be difficult to swallow at times; he is, after all, a flawed character--one who may never succeed because of those flaws.

Frendyl Krune Origins: The Sandstone Script

Cover by Mallory Rock Design

Nearly a century before Frendyl Krune found the Blood of the Sun, his favorite uncle, Melroc, was ordered by King Gretryc to discover some way to trap the Pretender king, Marac Aneys. The discovery of a spell guarded by its legendary keeper would lock the Pretender in an everlasting slumber. Now it’s up to Melroc and his brothers to find the spell and stop Marac—or the Amüli Kingdom will fall.

The Frendyl Krune Origins are meant as complimentary interludes to the main series; you can read the main series without reading the shorts, but the shorts will enhance the plot and characters by a great mile. My first Frendyl Krune Origins was The Ekrim's Oath, which played two major roles in The Amuli Chronciles: First, it followed Jae after the end of Frendyl Krune and the Blood of the Sun, showing what happened to her and revealing a little of why she chose to do what she did in the novel; in this, it also explains why a group of ekra tried to steal the Blood of the Sun from Frendyl. Second, it sets up part of the plot for both Paper Sun: An Ekra Clan Short Story and the forthcoming The Vow of the Four Kings. While this short story isn't at all integral to any of the other books, it does create a structure from which other events take place.

Now, onto The Sandstone Script. This short story was easier for me to write than The Crow Prince for a number of reasons, the first being the character isn't as personal to me. Don't get me wrong! I love Melroc, and I enjoy his character immensely. He has quickly become one of my favorite amuli to write, and I may end up doing more stories from his perspective. He's had more adventures than Frendyl, and I'd be curious to learn about what kind of person he is and how he became the way he did. Why not learn magic when his elder brother, Ilbondre, was able to do so? Does Jyntre--his other brother--know magic? Did Melroc ever try to learn? These are all questions I'd love to have answered, but if I do write about Melroc again, it won't be for a long time.

Other aspects of the story enhance the world of Inrugia in so many ways; from this short story, we learn a great deal about why Melroc makes the choices he does in Frendyl Krune and the Snake Across the Sea--namely, one major choice, which I will not discuss here. All I can say is that if you enjoy a touch of irony, you would enjoy this short story in tandem with Frendyl Krune and the Snake Across the Sea.

I also have a few other projects coming out this year that, while part of The Amuli Chronicles, are not being released through Evolved Publishing. The first of these is Paper Sun: An Ekra Clan Short Story, which will be coming out soon. I still have yet to decide on a date, but the short story is over halfway complete, and should be complete by the end of next week and ready for my brilliant editor, Philip A. Lee, to dive into. After that, it won't be long. I'm hoping for an early or mid-April release.

Paper Sun: An Ekra Clan Short Story

Cover by Mallory Rock Design

The deity is reclaiming ekra souls, killing off entire clans in an effort to bring the ekra people home to the deity’s embrace. Five ekra are caught in the path of the deity’s plan: Lahl, Sha’ehvi, Hakik’karais, Elh’jehl, and Emi. Each ekrim has a role to play, yet not all will survive the harsh laws—or their deity’s wrath—that bind the ekra people to their deity.

This is the first of many short stories that will have little or nothing to do with the amuli culture, focusing entirely on ekra and their varying cultures and clans across the continents of Lasmyl and Vasmyl. All of these shorts will be written from an ekrim's perspective (or in this case, multiple perspectives). I look forward to seeing where others of this short story set will go. Few, if any, of these stories will be linked in a series-like manner; most will be stand-alone shorts.

And not least, the new cover reveal for the most recently announced new series.

Hold your breath! Here it comes!

Announcing the first in the Princess Yorsyl's Rise series of novellas...

Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book One: The Glass Heart

Cover by Mallory Rock Design

Yorsyl is the illegitimate daughter of a blacksmith, and has worked the forges since childhood, yearning to become more than a maiden garbed in soot-and-smoke stained frocks. She dreams of her mother, imagining her to be of royalty, and sets out to find her. When Yorsyl finally tracks her mother down, however, she learns her mother is no more than a soothsayer. Spiteful that she was dealt such a life, Yorsyl prepares to return to her father and toil away in the forges. Before she can depart, her mother recites a prophecy about Yorsyl's future, and then, screeching in rage, attacks her. All Yorsyl remembers after the assault is two words: Obsidian Throne. And she will one day sit atop it. Yet, to become the queen she desires, she must first find her heart, which her mother has stolen from her and turned to glass.

This is the first of six books in the Princess Yorsyl's Rise series of novellas. The others, which I listed the titles of in my last blog post, will be forthcoming shortly after this one is released. While Princess Yorsyl is a character in the Frendyl Krune series, this set of novellas will not be integral to understanding the events of the Frendyl Krune series. Much like the Frendyl Krune Origin short stories, these six novellas will help to explore the history of the cultures of the Isle of Forfeited Souls and the history of Yorsyl's rise to power.

I might be a bit hopeful, but I'd like to see each book in this series released one month after the previous one, beginning in July, meaning the releases would be July, August, September, October, November, and lastly, December. We'll see, though, since I still have so many projects on my plate (and keep adding more). This first novella will be released this year, so keep checking back for the official release date!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Adventures in the Ketogenic Diet and Other Updates

General Updates & Keto

Sorry it's been so long since my last post update--I've been extremely busy writing books and short stories (of which I currently have one short story and three books out, but by the end of this month, I'll have another two short stories, and at the end of April, another book! Huzzah! More on those releases below) and starting my own cartography business. I also work part-time each day for another company, so my days usually go from early morning to late night without much of a pause to catch my breath.

I want to add updating my blog twice a week to my daily schedule, so keep an eye out. I'll be updating on Tuesdays and Thursdays from here onward! Since this blog is mainly for my multi-series story arc, The Amuli Chronicles, most of the updates will be in regards to that, however, I've just started (as in a little under two days ago) the ketogenic diet to lose some weight for my wedding, for my health, and for myself, and I'd like to use this blog as a platform to discuss my experience with the diet. In the short time I've done it, I've learned a lot. Namely, that I only had about 5 hours of keto flu, which is rather inspiring. It also makes me worry that I might have taken in more carbs yesterday than I thought I had, which means another round of feeling nasty may yet be in store for me. I'll update more about my experience with keto flu on Tuesday if it happens again...

Today I've taken in maybe 15g of carbs, which is my max per day. I accidentally used orange bell peppers in a recipe, thinking they would be okay as far as carbs go. Well, they sort of are; they have a net of 4g carbs and 3g sugar per medium pepper; diced in a meal, I've had probably close to 2g carbs and 1.5g sugar (we used a large pepper). I doubt I'll use orange peppers often, though I do love their flavor.

I actually introduced my husband, Micahl, to raw orange bell peppers last night as I taught him to cook! He was quite surprised how wonderful they taste raw. I suspect people think all peppers are spicy. Not so! And, actually, as I do research, it looks like all bell peppers are about the same amount of carbs (sans yellow, which are 12g for a medium pepper--WOW! That's a lot!), so orange peppers may still be part of the daily intake. I am surprised at how many grams of carbs broccoli has in it... and a little disappointed, but that's okay. We'll just add a little to one meal a day!

Most people on keto start craving bread and sweets. For me, bread has always been "meh," something I was never into, but always ate because it was part of my diet as I grew up. I don't miss bread. Potatoes? Sure, a little, but even then, we didn't eat them often once I moved out of my parents' house, so... yeah, I sort of got used to not eating them too often. The carb I miss most is the adult fermented one, if you catch my draft--er, drift. Still, I would average maybe 3 drinks in 2 weeks, so, again, not too bad; I can just have one or so on my "cheat" days.

What I DO miss is my sweets. Mainly, sweet coffee. I'm a sucker for a solid peppermint mocha or caramel frap. Seriously. That's the fastest way to my heart. One of the first things I did yesterday was look up a keto-friendly sweet coffee. And, lo and behold, I found a good, solid recipe for a caramel latte (that I can TURN into a frap at home). Starbucks sells sugar-free (and carb-free) caramel sauce, and with a dash of heavy whipping cream (about 0.4g carb per 1 tbsp--I add about 4 tbsp per cup), the coffee cures two of my ailments--sweets and coffee! Even better, with my supplies (which cost me about $30), I can make close to 100 cups, which will save me a LOT of cash. Yay! Double win!

One of the things that worried me about going on keto was the amount of oils and grease and fat you're supposed to take in. My family has a history of heart disease and heart attack, so I've sort of rearranged how much of those I devour--at least for the first week. Just enough time for my body to adjust. I need more veggies (mostly green, leafy veggies; no carrots or corn or peas) and lean meats, such as fish, shrimp, and lean chicken breasts. I'm also aware that I need a lot of fuel, so I cook my veggies in bacon grease to help add that dash of fatty oils my body needs. Again, I'll figure it out as time goes on and as I make small adjustments.

For anyone seeking to do the ketogenic diet, I implore you to do a lot of research. Also, think about your family history and whether or not your family has any heart issues. Take care of yourself first. I also recommend searching hard for good recipes that utilize a lot of greens and lean meats. Everyone's body is different, so take your time and learn about what YOU need most of all. If you do decide to try going keto--or if you have in the past--I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Book Updates

I have some exciting new releases slated for this year, and boy oh boy, will there be a lot of them!

Most of my projects for The Amuli Chronicles are published through Evolved Publishing, but I have a few that will be self-published. And yes, they will be edited thoroughly and by the same editor as the rest of the series. These stories are more for my own benefit, to have more control over my project and focus on where I see parts of certain series are headed while remaining true to what readers will enjoy.

This year, I'm slated to publish (with Evolved Publishing):

March 28, 2016

Frendyl Krune Origins: The Sandstone Script
Soulbound Origins: The Crow Prince

April 25, 2016

Frendyl Krune and the Stone Princess

June 27, 2016

The Soulless King: Part One; Sequel to The Soulbound Curse

July 25, 2016

Frendyl Krune Origins: Their Pretty Bones

August 29, 2016

The Soulless King: Part Two; Sequel to The Soulbound Curse

September 26, 2016

Frendyl Krune and the Nightmare in the North

October 24, 2016

The Soulless King: Part Three; Sequel to The Soulbound Curse

November 28, 2016

Frendyl Krune Origins: His Obsidian Mortality
The Soulless King print omnibus

Like I said, a lot coming out. I'll be self-publishing these titles as well, though the dates are not yet set:

Paper Sun: An Ekra Clan Short Story

Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book I: The Glass Heart
Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book II: Heir of the Knotted Soul
Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book III: The Hanged Company
Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book IV: Their Bone Dungeons
Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book V: Herald of the Blue Sands
Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book VI: Vultures of the Broken Banner

If you're interested in seeing the cover for Princess Yorsyl's Rise: Book I: The Glass Heart, subscribe to my newsletter. I'll be sending out a special edition at the end of next week with the cover revealed early for those curious.

As of now, that's all I have pending in the world of books. Now you know why I kept forgetting to update my blog! ;) Well, this time, I won't forget.

Have a fantastic day, everyone! Oh, and before I forget--here's a quick peek at the gorgeous cover for Paper Sun! Enjoy!!

Cover art by Mallory Rock Design.