Life as Amber knows it

"An adventure in the making…"

Monthly Archives: February 2013

Remind Me

Remind me

Remind me to tell you,

how you have changed everything about my life.

How you came in,

out of nowhere, and there was no stopping you,

even though I threw up every defense to keep you out.

You broke through, you got in, and you entwined yourself within my soul.

I want the last thing I feel before I drift into sleep

to be the last exhale you make against my shoulder

before you yourself drift into sleep

I want to memorize every bit of your body,

every single bit of your soul.

I want to know what it feels like to awaken in your arms at two in the morning.

If I could find the words,

I would sing them to you, over and over again…

… and the way my heart feels when it sees your face would be the accompanying music.

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Four Paws is now available!

I am thrilled to report that after two and a half months planning, several snafus in regards to formatting, cover design, and the actual publishing of Final E Book Coverthe book, Four Paws is FINALLY available! I’m even more excited to announce that within thirty-six hours of the print-on-demand version of the book going live, it already hit the bestseller’s list on Amazon.com. How awesome is that?!?!!

“The Quillective Project’s mission is to turn the power of the written word into an instrument of compassion, hope, and generosity by putting that power directly in the hands of organizations that share our principles.

The 2013 Quillective Project is Four Paws, a poetry anthology featuring bestselling authors Scott Morgan, Ben Ditmars, Amber Jerome~Norrgard and Robert Zimmermann, with a “fourward” by Russell Blake.

100% of all proceeds from the sale of Four Paws will benefit The Dallas Humane Society’s no-kill shelter, Dog & Kitty City. Your purchase of this book makes a difference.”

Please, help us make a difference for the Dallas Humane Society’s no-kill shelter, Dog and Kitty City. You don’t have to buy the book, but please, take a moment and pass this information on. Any and all help is needed!

A word from editor and contributing author, Scott Morgan: 

For updates on the project, please visit http://www.quillectiveproject.org or follow us on Twitter: @Quillective and @FourPawsProject, and follow Dog and Kitty City: @Dallas_Humane

Snag Four Paws in paperback here.

Snag Four Paws in ebook via Amazon.com here.

Want the ebook, but have a Nook or other ereader? Snag it via Smashwords.com here.

Thank you for helping us make a difference!

 

Much love,

 

~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Guest Post by Russell Blake

One of the first Indie Authors I met via Twitter, Russell Blake quickly became one of my favorite people in the world with his hilarious tweets and his no-nonsense approach to me getting off my ass and writing (the words “Shut up and start writing” quite often spring to mind when thinking of Russell). His work however, quite quickly made him shoot up in my respect for him as not only an author, but as a friend. I’ve happily promoted Russell and his exceptional novels as often as my busy life allows me. So when The Quillective Project came about and Four Paws became a book rather than just a dream and an idea, knowing Russell’s affinity for helping our furry friends, I could think of no one else better suited to write the “FourWord” for The Quillective Project’s 2013 anthology, a poetry collection to benefit The Humane Society of Dallas’ no-kill shelter Dog and Kitty City.

When I was approached by my friend Amber Jerome~Norrgard to write a foreword for a poetry book, to say I felt out of my depth is to trivialize my reaction. I know about as much about poetry as I know about quantum mechanics, which is to say, nothing, and then some. I’m akin to a dwarf star, wherein I suck any goodness or knowledge of the form out of anyone within my orbit – a negative vortex when it comes to poetry appreciation.

Perhaps that’s an exaggeration. But I do know that the only time I’ve ever written anything that rhymed, on purpose, was around sixth grade, when I tried my hand at bawdy limericks – apparently to great effect, even if it did get me a trip to the headmaster’s office. Who knew that innocuous possibilities like Dave, cave and save could be that scandalous, all within six lines?

But I digress.

I’m a sucker for a furry face, so naturally when I heard that the profits from this collection were going to a charity that benefits animals, I couldn’t refuse. Having rescued about fifteen pooches since moving to Mexico almost a decade ago, and either fostered them back to health or found good homes for them, it’s a cause near and dear to my heart. Besides dogs, I’ve rescued a seagull, a pelican, several cats (and I’m horribly allergic to cats, which they seem to sense and delight in, taking every opportunity to rub against me), and my latest nemesis, a sparrow I have named Bird who is as demanding as any Middle Eastern despot. I actually looked up the lifespan of sparrows after I found her, maybe a week old, unable to fly, having somehow fallen out of the nest, with cats eyeing her like she was the only blonde at the bar at two a.m. Turns out my commitment to Bird is going to be twelve to fifteen years, which is longer than I think any smart money thinks I’ll last. Anyone that doesn’t know what a one-ounce ball and chain a baby sparrow can be needs to rescue one – that’s all I’m going to say.

I’ve found puppies left in cardboard boxes in the middle of nowhere, their eyes barely open, the owners having decided that allowing cruel nature to have its way with them was all in the scheme of things. I’ve helped set broken legs and wings; I carried one wild dog I’ll never forget into the nearest vet after he had been shot eight times, stabbed twice, and had his hips shattered with a bat. I spent six months nursing that dog back to a life that was moments from departing his fragile form, and been the better for it. I’ve seen suffering, and I’ve never understood the evil that men can do to the defenseless that they’re supposed to protect. And I can honestly say I’ve never met a truly bad dog, only ones that were trained to be violent by…humans.

Mexico is a harsh environment for its human population, and for animals it’s far worse. The society is different than the U.S., where pets are viewed as parts of the family. Right or wrong, here, for the most part animals are viewed as, well, animals, and owners think nothing of letting their dogs run free, to acquire a host of horrible diseases or be hit by cars. Illness or injury is met with indifference – the dog either lives, or dies. It’s how nature works.

It’s not because the people are mean or evil. It’s because their societal mores are different. There’s no safety net here, no state-sponsored shelters – the only state-sponsored effort I have ever seen was a truck with a cargo box on the back with the exhaust plumbed into the box, so any strays that were picked up expired before it made it back to the garage for the night. I wish it was different, but it is what it is. In a land where many humans are barely living hand to mouth each day, the life of a dog just doesn’t have the same weight.

While I can respect diversity, I will say that I’ve done what I can to change hearts and minds of anyone I come into contact with in my circle, and I think I’ve had some success. But it’s never enough, and there’s an endless stream of animals that need just a little kindness and some compassion to make it. Having been fortunate enough to travel a lot during my life, I’ve seen animals all over the world in sorry states and met incredibly generous and conscientious people who donate their time, money and emotions to bettering the lives of the less fortunate animals around them. Whenever I think we as a species would be better served ending our reign on the planet, I think of those selfless souls and reconsider my harsh judgment. I’m constantly surprised by how good people can be, although I’m never surprised at how good our furry friends are.

Pets make us better humans. There’s no doubt about it. They teach us unconditional love and acceptance, and offer a glimpse of the divine in their non-judgmental gaze.

I know squat about poetry. But I know a good cause, and I know that Amber is a caring soul, a kindred whose love for animals is shared by me. I’m humbled that she approached me – a broken down carnie barker with a bad attitude who’s been fortunate enough to sell a few books – to write the introduction to a wonderful labor of love that represents the best we as humans have to offer.

The authors appearing in these pages have donated their time, energy and spirits to creating something remarkable. It’s with sincerity that I say I hope you enjoy reading it as much as they enjoyed writing it. And since the proceeds go to charity, everyone wins, including those that don’t have a voice other than a bark or a yelp.

If that isn’t a win-win for everybody, I don’t know what is.

Enjoy, and thank you.

Russell Blake

RussRussell Blake is the bestselling author of eighteen novels, including the thrillers Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, Zero Sum, King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, The Voynich Cypher, Silver Justice, JET, JET II – Betrayal, JET III – Vengeance, and JET IV – Reckoning. His nonfiction includes the international bestseller An Angel With Fur (animal biography) and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated), a parody of all things writing-related. Blake lives in Mexico and enjoys his dogs, fishing, boating, tequila and writing, while battling world domination by clowns. You can follow Russell on Twitter and visit him at his website.

Follow @Quillective and @FourPawsProject on Twitter for updates

Please visit The Quillective Project for more information on our projects and release updates for Four Paws.

Four Paws to benefit Dog and Kitty City, releasing Sunday, February 24, 2013

Final E Book Cover
Qullective  Project  button-001The Quillective Project’s mission is to turn the power of the written word into an instrument of compassion, hope, and generosity by putting that power directly in the hands of organizations that share our principles.
The 2013 Quillective Project is Four Paws, a poetry anthology featuring bestselling authors Scott Morgan, Ben Ditmars, Amber Jerome~Norrgard and Robert Zimmermann, with a “fourward” by Russell Blake. 100% of all proceeds from the sale of Four Paws will benefit The Dallas Humane Society’s no-kill shelter, Dog & Kitty City. Your purchase of this book makes a difference.
The book will be available on February 24th, 2013 through Amazon.com and Smashwords.com.

The Quillective Project began as an idea as a poetry collaboration between myself and Robert Zimmermann, and not long after, it expanded to include Ben Ditmar and Scott Morgan. Originally slated to be released around Christmas, that idea was changed when Ben suggested having all the proceeds go to benefit a charity. And an idea was born. Why not make 100% of the proceeds benefit a worthy cause, not just for this one book, but for future collaborations between Amber and other authors? Why not start something that has nothing to do with anyone in particular but using the combined voices of many and the power of the written word the Quillective Project can benefit those who are not as fortunate.
Even if someone sees this poetry book and doesn’t buy it, if it inspires them to go out and make a positive change in the world, no matter how small, that alone is priceless. And this isn’t just a onetime benefit. As long as the organizations that are chosen as beneficiaries for The Quillective Project’sdogandkittybutton yearly collaborations are in existence, they will benefit. Every time a book is purchased, whether one week, one year, ten years, one hundred years from now? It’s still going to benefit each organization.
Please support the project and make a difference in the lives of the animals of Dog and Kitty City.
Please visit http://www.quillectiveproject.org for information and updates

Like on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dog-and-Kitty-City/164827343550612?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/quillectiveproject?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Four-Paws-Project/314503625329757?fref=ts

TWITTER ACCOUNTS:
Follow @quillective
Follow @fourpawsproject
Follow @Dallas_Humane

A message from contributing author and editor Scott Morgan:

Sign up here to help us spread the word.

Please, help us make a difference!

Suicide City by Julie Frayn, you’re gonna want to check this one out!

Trust me on this, the opening chapter of Julie Frayn’s Suicide City is dangerous. Don’t plan on doing anything once you pick up the book and start Cover draft 2reading, because I’ve found it impossible to put down. In fact, I intentionally let my kindle run out of power and am not charging it for the purpose of actually getting some work done. I’m going to suggest you haul ass over to Smashwords.com and snag a copy of this book that is so incredibly awesome, it’s in round two of the Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award.

Book description: Sixteen-year-old August Bailey yearns for more than pig slop and cow shit. She fantasizes about an apartment in the city, not a tiny house on an Iowa farm. She dreams of new clothes and falling in love with a worthy boy. Not hand-me-downs from the second hand store in Hubble Falls, population two-and-a-half, or having her jock boyfriend grope her and push her for sex. During another fight about makeup and boys, August’s controlling mother slaps her. And August hops the next bus out of town. 

She arrives in Charlesworth to discover that reality and fantasy don’t mix. After a night of gunfire and propositions from old, disgusting men, she is determined to find the ‘real city,’ the ‘real people’ of her dreams. To prove to her mother, and herself, that she is the adult she claims to be. 

When her money runs out, she is ‘saved’ by seventeen-year-old Reese, a kind boy with electric eyes and a gentleman’s heart. Reese lives on the streets. Though clean for months, he battles heroin addiction and the compulsion to cut himself. Each day is a struggle to make the right choice.

 August falls in love with Reese, and knows her love can save him. She breaks down his emotional walls and he tells her his secrets – of abuse and the truth about his mother’s death. As Reese’s feelings for August grow, so does the realization that keeping her could ruin her life too.

 Suicide City is an edgy young adult novel. Told from the points of view of August, Reese, and August’s mother, the story takes an honest look at some hard realities including teen homelessness, drug use, child abuse and prostitution. But at its heart, it is the story of first love – and the consequences of every choice made.

juliefraynFrom nine to five, Julie Frayn is a mild mannered accountant. But the rest of the time, her writer alter-ego comes to life. When she isn’t counting beans or making things up in her head, she is mother to the two most perfect adults on the planet. She isn’t biased, just observant. When they were younger, they were perfect muses for silly poetry about smashed peas and birds with gastroenteritis.

Catch up with Julie Frayn:

on her Blog: http://juliebird.ca

on FaceBook: http://facebook.com/juliebirdfrayn

on Twitter: http://twitter.com/juliefrayn

on Linked in: http://www.linkedin.com/in/juliefrayn

Snag Suicide City at Smashwords.com: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/285561

Wait, why are you still reading? I told you to shuck buns over to smashwords…. GO GO GO!

~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Get “Four Paws” on the Ellen Degeneres Show

100_0763Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m slightly on the insane side. But I’m also determined, and when I want something? I go after it, balls to the wall, full throttle, and I bust my ass until I achieve a goal.

You all know I’m about to publish Four Paws, a poetry anthology that 100% of all proceeds will benefit www.dognkittycity.org, a no-kill shelter here in Dallas, Texas. I recently found out that the Ellen Degeneres show highlights acts of kindness and paying it forward.

So I’m asking for your help: Please go to: http://www.ellentv.com/be-on-the-show/682 and tell them about The Quillective Project’s 2013 anotholgy, Four Paws. Please include the links www.dognkittycity.org and www.quillectiveproject.org.Final E Book Cover

If Four Paws makes it on the show, then that means there are more people aware of the book, and there’s a potential for more sales of the book, which means that Dog and Kitty City will get the help they need. It will take you maybe two minutes of your time. Thank you so much!
For now, check out this most excellent video from contributing author and editor, Scott Morgan. I myself will be getting over my loathing of video cameras and how ishy they make me look, and recording my own video about The Quillective Project and Four Paws this weekend.

Hearts and flowers on Valentine’s Day? Meh, not so much!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about chocolate and roses. In fact, I’m a chocoholic, and I adore the smell of roses. But the idea of Valentine’s Day totally chaps my ass. I love a good love story, I’m a romantic at heart, but I’m also a realist.

Why do we need a day to profess our love for those in our lives loud and clear? Shouldn’t we be doing that every day? Or are those that we love and hold near and dear to our hearts not important enough to do so?

It probably doesn’t help my cynicism about a holiday that’s all about the romance that I’m not a girly-girl. I’m the woman who when faced with the annoyance of planning her wedding rolled her eyes and said, “Yeah, I’m not up for this shit, we’re going to Vegas.” And I still brag about my wedding’s total cost being under $700, along with the killer deal I found on a dress on Ebay that ran me $35, shipping included. A set of diamond earrings will get a thank you from me, but a book as a gift will have me going weak in the knees and beaming. And one of the most moving and loving gifts I have ever received in my life was not of the romantic type, instead, it was the words of my dear friend Justin Bog on a blog post, stating how much I meant to him.

Genuine is what does it for me. From the heart is what does it for me. Not a vase of a dozen red roses or a box of chocolates, not a card with some canned sentiment printed across its inside. So why would I want to celebrate a holiday where the idea of showing those who mean something to us how we feel is packaged into a twenty-four hour block?

Me? I’m spending Valentine’s Day 2013 working on several projects I have on my metaphorical table. If I tell those who mean something to me that I love them, it will be because I love them, and not because its the fourteenth of February.

So to my nearest and dearest: I love you. Not because of some holiday, but because I LOVE YOU. Thank you for the light and love you have brought to my life!

 

~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Why I’ve Started The Quillective Project

Qullective  Project 1 small-1With black and tan stripes over his white coat of fur like Valentine’s Day chocolate nestled in a box, and a heart-shaped mark upon his nose, Valentine had been named perfectly.

He’d rush to the door when I came home from work, and wind figure eights between my legs with such precision, I never once came close to tripping. Watching television or working on my computer would find Valentine curled up in my lap, and at night, he’d curl himself against my side, and I’d find sleepy comfort in stroking his soft fur as he purred against me. If I slept too late in the morning and he was hungry, he’d wake me by bumping his forehead against mine until I opened my eyes, and then he’d bite my nose, so gently he’d never leave a mark. He’d steal French fries so gracefully that you would be too amused to be angry, and pouring a bowl of cereal was enough to have him running to meow for his own bowl of milk.

But through his life, one thing remained the same: Valentine, true to his name sake, gave love, expecting nothing in return. If I learned anything from the kitten with the heart-shaped mark on his nose, it was that giving brings joy in and of itself.

I adopted Valentine in 1997 from a no-kill animal shelter, and it wasn’t until later that I realized it wasn’t just a kitten I took into my heart and home. I had also opened my heart and soul up to a chance to bring a positive change into this world we live in. Though no longer with us, Valentine was the bridge to understanding that sometimes, its better to give than receive, and that we can be the change we want to see in this world.

The Quillective Project began as an idea as a poetry collaboration between myself and Robert Zimmermann, and not long after, it expanded to include Ben Ditmars and Scott Morgan. Originally slated to be released around Christmas, that idea was changed when Ben suggested having all the proceeds go to benefit a charity. And an idea was born. Why not make 100% of the proceeds benefit a worthy cause, not just for this one book, but for future collaborations between myself an other authors? Why not start something that has nothing to do with me, why not use my voice, why not use my words to benefit those that are not so fortunate as I?

Even if someone sees this poetry book and doesn’t buy it, if it inspires them to go out and make a positive change in the world, no matter how small, that alone is priceless. And this isn’t just a one time benefit. As long as the organizations that are chosen as beneficiaries for The Quillective Project’s yearly collaborations are in existence, they will benefit. Every time a book is purchased, whether one week, one year, ten years, one hundred years from now? It’s still going to benefit each organization.

I used to say that my memoir about being adopted would be the most important piece of writing I would ever do. I was wrong. Anything I write for The Quillective Project is what is going to have the most lasting impact.

Please support our project and make a difference in the lives of the animals of Dog and Kitty City.

For more information, please visit:

www.QuillectiveProject.org

www.dognkittycity.org

“Like” on Facebook.com:

https://www.facebook.com/quillectiveproject?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Four-Paws-Project/314503625329757?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dog-and-Kitty-City/164827343550612?fref=ts

Follow on Twitter:

@quillective

@fourpawsproject

@Dallas_Humane

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

~Amber Jerome Norrgard

Searching for Ellen Preview

Searching for Ellen 1Searching for Ellen has been completed and is in the very capable hands of my editor. Estimated due date of the most important piece of writing I’ll ever publish? September 29, 2013, the thirty-sixth anniversary of my adoption finalization. My sister, the exceptionally talented Rebecca Loughin created the cover over a year ago, and it is better than I could have hoped for! If you’d like an advanced copy in exchange for a review on your website as well as on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com and Smashwords.com, please leave a comment below.

And now? A preview for those of you who have listened for well over thirteen years to me talk about, whine about, cry about, and finally celebrate the completion of my story:

I tried taking several deep breaths. I was terrified, and it felt like everything was moving far too fast and far too slow at the same time. I could feel every single heartbeat, and it made a staccato beat in my ears as it pounded over and over.  My hand poised over the receiver, I could not make myself pick it up. Geoff very calmly and gently took the phone card and the piece of paper with my biological mother’s number printed on it. He dialed, then handed me the phone, never once letting go of my hand.

He never did let go, not until I told him I was okay.

My heart ceased pounding, and then began slamming in my chest as I counted out the rings. One… two… three…

“Hello?” a woman’s voice answered.

Shit. This is it…

 

7 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days until delivery…..

 

 

~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Guest Post by Ron Mumford

This week I’m joined by guest blogger Ron Mumford to promote his new book, Finding Your Soul Mate God’s Way.

SoulMateCoverNew Age Soul Mates

(Excerpts from the book, Finding Your Soul Mate, God’s Way, by Ron Mumford)

People of all faiths, no faith, atheists, agnostics all have a common yearning. We want love in our lives. We want someone who fulfills our common need and when we get to the end of ourselves, most of us will go to any extreme to get what we want. We grovel in desperation and yearn for that giddy feeling of love and being loved.

Dr. Carolyn Miller, in her book about soul mates, says that the giddy feeling of love, as we try to experience it, is really infatuation caused by neuro-chemicals in our brain consisting of endorphins, serotonins and oxytocins. A few months into our relationships, we ask ourselves, “What happened to that loving feeling?” Sometimes we ditch the relationship to find someone else that keeps the neuro-cocktails flowing. We’re like dope addicts going back for another fix. The highs never last. Reality creeps into our relationships and we’re back at square one.

I was amused when I read several of the New Age books on the subject of soul mates. They talked about the laws of attraction, secrets of our mind, the power of positive thinking; materializing, feelizing, visualizing, and praying to the universe for everything we want in life including wealth, power and love. They also mentioned going to psychics ( I call them psy-chics), mediums, fortune-tellers and astrologers to get quick direction to our paths of finding love. Story after story in these books told of wonderful love matches. One story told the union of a Jewish woman and a Muslim man finding true love with each other. I guess anything is possible these days…

After careful consideration of all that I had read, being a male, I applied my male logic to these new age paths to love and asked myself, “Why should I pray to a universe that has no ears to hear me, eyes to see me or a heart to love me?” The universe is empty space as in no one lives there. I even tried a little test. With my best effort, I applied materialization, feelization and visualization with positive thinking to try to turn down the blaring radio in my car. It didn’t work. Conclusion: If I can’t use these tools to turn down my radio, I doubt seriously if they will bring me love, wealth and power. There’s got to be a better way!

In Deuteronomy 18:10-12, it says that psychics, mediums and fortune tellers are an object of horror to the Lord and He will displace them. Wow! Now I’m playing with fire. I had better find a new way. Then I got to thinking that God invented positive thinking. It’s called faith. After careful consideration, using logic and whatever intelligence that I possess, I decided that I would pray to the Creator of the universe. He has ears to hear me, eyes to see me and a heart to love me. This is something each of us has to decide for ourselves. After all, we have free will and free choice to find love. Who do you trust?

Author photoAbout Ron: Ron Mumford has been on both sides of the love fence. He tried and failed at finding lasting love his way and the world’s way and decided that there must be a better way. After searching for truth and direction, he discovered the right way—God’s Way. “I wish that someone would have told me this when I was about 19. Life would have been so much simpler and more beautiful. Now I share this truth with everyone…”

A Journalism major at the University of North Texas, Ron has written for many publications including his time in the U.S. Army where he wrote for Stars & StripesArmy Times and was a Combat Correspondent. A former literary agent, Mumford has written a novel, many screenplays and has been published in several poetry anthologies. He  has served in singles ministries for many years and is now a Bible Fellowship teacher—focusing on relational studies—at a large church in Plano, Texas.

Where to find Ron Mumford:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SoulMateGodsWay

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FindingYourSoulMateGodsWay

Website/Blog: http://soulmategodsway.com/

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