Thought I’d share one of the more beautiful…

Houses I walk by when I’m headed to Highland Cigar Company.  See, the train doesn’t get me all the way there but it does stop at Inman Park/Reynoldstown.

First, some brief history: Our Beginnings

Further toward North Highland Avenue is this beauty – I’d LOVE to smoke cigars and relax on that porch with bourbon and company.

Inman Park is Atlanta’s first planned residential suburb and also Atlanta’s first electric trolley neighborhood. Created at the cusp of the twentieth century, this ideal Victorian neighborhood — curved streets, generous residential lots and verdant parks — was built upon the wrecked land of Atlanta’s Civil War battlefield, two miles east of Downtown Atlanta. – From Inman Park website.

That being said, it’s a brief walk, about .7 of a mile from the MARTA stop to Highland and during the Spring and Fall months, the walk is quite enjoyable.  Large sweeping trees overhead, beautiful Victorian houses, plenty of landscape? Yeah, that’ll get me in the mood for a #SundayNightChillSession all right!  The neighborhood is pretty large with both implements of modernity and history, including a park, the Church and a series of lofts in some of the older buildings that have been repurposed.

The remodel on this is gorgeous!

Anyway, the houses in this area are iconic, with gorgeous Victorian style architecture. I truly enjoy the walk through the neighborhood and for the last two years, have done the Inman Park Tour of Homes for a relatively low fee.

I needed to do something to shake up my normal cigar/booze routine and this just seemed cool.  I’ll throw up a few pictures in another post later about interiors, but being able to see some of the houses restored to either former glory or modernized with impressive designs was awesome.

The second photograph is actually the finished product. When I first arrived here, they were rehabbing the house and about four months back maybe? I saw new owners moving in.  It was pretty and the exterior looks amazing.

Even going into the old church was astounding.  I really loved the stained glass windows and will have to find those photos to accompany the exterior to the right of this post. Oh and both my youngest Girlfriend and I got to ring the bell last time she was in town and we did the tour of homes.


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Chess fans!

I’ve been playing chess more intensely for the last three years, and have finally found a partner! I mean we play via client for iPhone/Android but still. I’ve been with this kid for some time and we go rounds often.

Most folks don’t know that I am a fan of the game. I picked it up in high school, my Freshman year as something to do after school and my friend/neighbor and I would play for two hours at a time over one game. Then do it again. I remember when Tool’s first full length album Undertow which, for the time was a long album. It clocks in at 72 minutes, if you include the hidden track. (I tried some acid once…)

We were just playing, knew the rules, understood the goal. Capture the king. That was it.  The next year I had enrolled in Cross Country so that eroded any free time I had, along with my AP/Honors classes (yeah, fuck that shit. Listen, don’t bother with those, they are only for your delicate, teenage ego ONLY) and I no longer could keep up.

chess1Fast forward to my early 20s. I picked up an online client once I’d settled in with an ex girlfriend in Houston. I kept up as best I could, but I still had no idea about anything other than thinking several moves ahead. Writing took up more time as I decided to ditch the cancer that is a traditional job (I’ll do another blog post defending that position later) and become an erotica writer.  Only I became an erotic romance author, instead.  Then, as luck would have it, I ended up in yet another long term, but long distance relationship until moving to California where the relationship was long term, but now we lived together. It wasn’t until 2011 or thereabout when I picked up the game during a dead spell in winter.  That I think was the winter I decided to drink all during the month of December and when I say drink, I mean from sunrise (or 9 AM in this case) to bedtime (or Midnight in this case) and my ex was on board because, hey, what else was I doing?  I was suffering from burnout -which is NOT writers block.

Writer’s Block is a lie. I covered that in an earlier video post here.

Burnout occurs when you’ve written all year and not refilled the word well or restocked your imagination. Block is just a bullshit state of mind.

Anyway, I remembered this amazing thing called Youtube.  Yeah I’m a little fuckin’ slow.  Some days…remember, drunk (sort of?) and burned out. I started watching chess videos and memorizing moves and positions and learning the finer arts of the game.

chess2Things such as openings became important and here’s a hint. If I’m playing white, I almost ALWAYS open with Kings Indian Attack, though lately I’ve been toying with the Fried Liver Attack.

Mid games: Mine sucks if I don’t do it right.

Endgames:  Same.  I either have it or I don’t.

Now I do tactics daily when I wake up, have this partner I’ve been playing with often enough that it’s a regular expectation honestly, and when I’m smoking a cigar I’ll do the occasional bullet chess game.  That’s where you have 3 minutes to complete a game and in my set up, if you move quickly, you gain time.  Two seconds. I’ve been lucky to win a number of games through time loss on the other side when I was clearly having my ass handed to me, but I’m getting better.

It’s a mental exercise that lets me stretch and play. It also serves to remind me of a very important life lesson.

Look at the ENTIRE BOARD before making a move.

Let that sink in.

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Video: How To Defeat Writer’s Block

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Stop The Presses – a #HoldOntoTheLight Post for 2017

I was honored enough to be asked to return to help Gail Z. Martin out on her campaign for mental disorder awareness, depression and suicide and last night had this brilliant post in mind.

Naturally, I can’t remember what it was.

But alas, I am a writer and have the solution thanks to my social media feed and the Fake News.

When we talk about mental depression, we’re really talking about a state of being that seems to many of us, a state we cannot control. Though, to some extent, via my second post from last year, we can. Thoughts that go in to our head can influence, and will influence us on a deep, subconscious level.

It’s hard to stop that spiral but is it easy to keep it at bay for as long as possible?

Sure. Yes, as writers we’re supposed to be accessible in this modern day and age but when things get out of hand on social media?


Focus on scheduling your posts ahead of time, handling all your business, and then turn the shit off. It isn’t serving you.

Yes, this may seem counter-intuitive as I stated above but what’s more important? Your career or your mental health?

I have a number of tricks I use to blunt what I think might be depression and they all involve some form of disconnecting from reality. Again, thanks to Tim Ferriss, Vishen Lakhiani and as of late, Emily Fletcher.

My first trick usually involves taking a solid day off and disconnecting from technology completely. I can’t go so far as Tim Ferriss where he ditches his phone except for texting and GPS, I have three girlfriends. But if I have my iPad in my hand, I’m reading and it’s fiction – romance usually. Or personal growth, but even that’s kept to a minimum.

This gives my mind a day away from ANY of the bullshit on social media that can create anxiety.  I’ve also found myself eager to come back to whatever project I’m working on when I do return from that day off.  I’ve also found my creativity spike. My ability to get back into a story explodes even as I say “I don’t know if I can do it.” Two hours later, 3k written. BAM.

Something that’s still having a long term effect on me is a commitment I made to not just The One in my heart, but the others who occupy room there too.

This is a snippet from an IM I sent.  The IM that started that is in Italics.

“I am not about money and you don’t have to be rich for me.”
It’s made me think about the way I work as an author and my own financial goals. It’s made me question them and start to really untrain myself from HAVING to kill myself for novels and just write them the way I always should have – because I enjoy writing them and my growing base of readers enjoys reading them.
It’s made me think about my models of reality and the fact that, originally I had to prove myself by working very hard and showing proof, even at the expense of my own life, that I’m not lazy. It’s how I developed my heart condition. So, I have to untrain myself from that, and realize that I am truly happiest as an author, speaker, teacher, professionally.
An unexpected one was that for a long time (before we met as adults) I had to prove myself, my worth to my loved ones, and ultimately myself. That simple statement she said, started to unwind in my head. Because she loves me as she does, unconditionally, I have nothing to prove. I only have to be me.
These all came from my teenage years and the brules I bought – IE the stories/lies I’m always telling you that humans buy. I’m choosing new stories, ones that are more conducive to a happier, more fulfilling life.

That commitment was made just after the Millionaire Mind Intensive I did last year. The reason that came about is because The One comes from money and I had this old brule in my head about what  “I” needed to be, and now “how.”

Now I won’t lie, I was at a con recently and shit came up again I thought I’d buried – hence a problem. The suggestions I’m offering are not one fix solutions. They take time.

Think about it. You grew up with a system of beliefs that took 20, 30, 50 or more years to develop and SEAL IN. One meditation session or a weekend event on personal growth will only begin to uncover the dirt hiding the shit.

Zig Ziglar stated plainly. You don’t bathe just once to get clean forever.

Next tip: Seriously?

Once a day, watch this.  It’s called the Six Phase meditation and is a brain hack that guides you into a more blissful state of being. Science is behind it. In 40 Years of Zen, Vishen, Dave Asprey (Bulletproof coffee/diet) and a few others hooked their brains up and spent 7 days all day meditating through various phases and watched brain wave patterns change. What they found was that when you meditate using these methods, your brain takes on the same patterns as someone who has spent 21 to 40 YEARS in Zen meditation. 

You can read Vishen’s blog post here.  The takeaway from this though is that doing something that takes you out of your SELF and connects you with Source (god, goddess, whatever you call it) has a profound effect on your behavior and mental state.

Last year I was out getting liquor and the bus ride was a pain because the bus runs only once an hour in either direction and I live in the hot state of Georgia and after starting meditating practices, I found myself feeling “bad” for bitching about the heat. That may seem like a small thing but you have to understand that for years, I ran on my anger. I LOVED it.  I let it run everything in me from (unconscious) behavior to belief in my writing.

I have kept this practice up for most of the year (since April/May of last year actually) and have found myself just deciding to “have one less.”

I’m not making a conscious choice to drink less. I just find that I do. The blog post talks about the secret to enhancing brain waves as being forgiveness. That usually means all the pinheads and morons who have pissed us off, we release that energy.  But, what if  as I mentioned in a previous post that’s you? You bought the bad story. You bought the lie. You did the damage because YOU let them sell you shit?

Forgiveness runs both ways. It’s been a lesson I struggle with because I LIKE being a Type A person but nobody is born that way. I allowed them to create this in me. Now? If I use the hacks to be that Type A person, I’m efficient. But my dreams haunt me sometimes and there’s a younger version of me screaming at me. (He stopped screaming a few years ago when I started acknowledging him) and now?

Part of my six phase routine is actively forgiving myself for what I did based on lies and mistruths.

Truth be told? I’m actually a LOT lighter in energy and spiritual weight. Creativity comes faster, more often. I’ve come up with three story ideas since starting this blog post honestly.

I appreciate more out of life. From my bartenders (the greatest) to my girlfriends (I have the best girlfriends) to the deals I make in publishing, to the work I do, I have found that life just feels better. Again, disrupting the mind is something that should be done often and routinely but with inconsistency to keep you fresh and that may just help.

About the campaign:

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK),SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to and join us on Facebook

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Food stuffs – Fried Shark recipe

Something I don’t mention much but you’ll see a lot of on Instagram is my obsession with food.  Yeah, I enjoy cooking too.  Having three girlfriends actually makes me remind myself that when one of them is present I have to actually make food that tastes good and isn’t boring or the same old steak and buffalo with fries.

Fried Shark and Wine

Recently I tried shark.  Not sure what type of shark Dekalb Farmer’s Market has, but I know what I’m eating is steak sized basically. I bought a few pounds worth when it was on sale a few weeks ago and now that I’m back from DragonCON, I’m cooking again.

I was curious to know if you could fry shark.

Found this recipe:

Lb. of Shark

Dash of garlic powder

Dash of salt and black pepper

Dash of paprika

1/2 cup of flour

Sprinkle the garlic powder, paprika and salt/pepper on the shark, then coat in flour and fry in vegetable oil.  

I used olive oil and Hungarian Paprika.  I have Spanish Paprika too. I wasn’t terribly thrilled to be honest.  I doubled the “dashes” but kept the flour the same. It was good but my better efforts went to the curried potatoes I’d made along with the shark.

I served with Chromatose 2016 Bergermac from France but I was hoping the recipe had more power to it. I’m a cigar smoker,  I like power!  Next time I’m going to find a variant and see what I can do.

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Playlist for Chasing the Witch

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Video Updates

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How I start my Day

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Late afternoon Author Musings

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Tina Donahue’s New release: Days of Desire

Available for PreOrder!

(available for preorder – ready to read July 4, 2017)

Buy Now!


In a pirate’s lair, nothing is as it seems . . .

Shipwrecked! When Royce Hastings is found washed up on the shore of a verdant tropical island, he tells the natives he is a merchant headed for Mozambique. The truth, however, is far more mercenary. Noble by birth, the once favored Royce has lost his fortune and family; now he is a hired henchman on the trail of an elusive pirate. His “shipwreck” was a fake. He’ll stop at nothing to infiltrate the island and capture his prey. His mother and sisters’ lives depend on it.

The last thing Royce expects is to be captured himself. But the lovely young woman who tends to his wounds in the tropics quickly takes hold of his heart. Simone is the island’s healer, and her skilled ministrations not only awaken his soul but disturb his conscience. His path has been predetermined; his identity must remain concealed at all costs. Yet the passion he feels in Simone’s sultry, loving arms cannot be denied. With his loyalties torn, Royce must make an agonizing, unthinkable choice. . . .

“The story is brimming with risqué retorts and searing sex scenes.”

Publishers Weekly on Passionate Pursuit

Excerpt #1: 

Of all the people to discover him, Royce hadn’t expected such a beautiful young woman. Simone the other native had said.

She couldn’t have been older than twenty. Her light brown skin complemented her dark hair. The ends grazed her waist. He detected a bit of European in her exotic features, and island custom in what little she wore. Simply a red silk cloth tied about her hips. Her breasts were full and lush, begging for a man’s touch.

Wary that she might scream, he’d released her quickly and had expected her to run.

She checked his arms, hands, and head. He supposed for injuries.

At last, she finished and peeked at him.

Cautiously, he pushed up, hoping she wouldn’t bolt.

She sat back on her heels.

Needing an ally here, he tried a smile.

Hers was wondrous, broad and carefree, no deception or caution in her soft brown eyes.

His arrival would eventually change that. No better way to destroy a woman’s trust and happiness than wresting her from an island Eden to imprisonment, lifelong slavery, repeated rape, and birthing children only to have them torn away.

Guilt and shame churned in his gut. Fear for his family competed with the other emotions. “Are you the only one here?” Besides, Tristan, his crew, and the other island woman. Their conversation had mentioned Tristan, but not Diana or Peter.

Simone tilted her head. A tress fell across her breast. Confusion swept her lovely face.

Royce had deliberately spoken English so she wouldn’t know he’d heard her speak French earlier when he’d feigned unconsciousness. He next tried Portuguese and received her same bewildered reaction. At last, he used her language.

Her eyes lit up. “My people live here. Once we have you in the stone house, I can see to your injury.” She touched his thigh. “Does it hurt?”

Not as much as when he’d arrived on this shore. “My head is worse.”

She brushed back his hair, her touch as light as an angel’s.

Despite his callous intent here, and what prudence demanded, his lids slid down, his heart pounding as hard as it had when she’d stroked his ribs.

She explored his wound carefully. “I can make a potion to take your pain away. As soon as the men arrive I—”

Voices and footfalls interrupted.

Tristan led the way, his manner and appearance precisely as rumor had described: tall, golden skin, blond hair, and light eyes that offered naught except challenge and possibly death if anyone dared threatened him or those he loved. Following him was an equally tall man with long red hair, his face and chest freckled. Had to be James Sullivan, Tristan’s friend and former quartermaster during their piracy.

An adolescent boy, fifteen or so, brought up the rear. Gangly, as youth were prone to be, he had long dark hair streaked with blond, his skin brown from days outdoors. Diana’s brother, Peter. His features matched Bishop’s depiction.

Tristan, James, Peter, and island men trained their pistols on Royce.

The land to their side jutted out, rocky and reddish as those found in Madagascar. A white woman stood there, wind whipping her dark hair and simple sheath-like gown in violet silk. Her slightly rounded belly didn’t prove pregnancy, though Royce would have staked his life on it. She wore a choker about her throat, the diamonds glittering in the light.

Royce’s pulse pounded. Diana was here, as Bishop had predicted. Along with too many armed men, as Royce had feared, though all islanders, not pirates.

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