New Release: THE REINVENTION OF JINX HOWELL #5star #review

Title: The Reinvention of Jinx Howell
Series: Pine Bluff #5
Author: Nancee Cain
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 22, 2019

Hiding behind her wigs and heavy makeup, Jinx Howell masks her insecurities—which even she doesn’t understand—with bravado, slashing through life with reckless abandon. Lonely, but unwilling to get close to anyone, she finds the ideal solution: a hook-up with the campus’s most notorious heartbreaker.
In similar fashion, Mark “Two-Time” MacGregor protects his heart and keeps himself unencumbered through a string of one-night stands. A chance meeting with the edgy Jinx in a dark alley seems like destiny. She claims to want sex with no ties, making her perfect. Like attracts like. But this girl with a switchblade has more hang-ups than he does, which is a hell of a lot. When tragedy strikes, Mark’s hit-and-run lifestyle takes a backseat to his need to protect the broken girl whose secrets are unraveling. Along the way, both of them will find their truths unmasked. Can they forge a real relationship, or will they give up on their romance as jinxed?

Here’s my review! I loved it.


The Reinvention of Jinx Howell (A Pine Bluff Novel, #5)The Reinvention of Jinx Howell by Nancee Cain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pixie Addict Meets Codependent Scot

This series is full of damaged souls trying to find love, and in the fifth novel, petite blond artist with a horrible family secret, Jinx, makes grieving bartender/accountant, Mark, rethink his two-timing ways. The addict and her codependent lover both reinvent themselves in the Southern setting.

The winding path of Jinx and Mark’s relationship is one step forward, five steps back. At times their misconnections are frustrating, though they are quite realistic. But the depth of feeling and understanding between them keeps them going, leading the reader to cheer for their triumphs.

It was amusing when Jinx’s big dog, Winston, rushes in to save her in the midst of rough sex with Mark. When her tears surprise her afterwards, Mark tells her,

It’s normal. Tears and orgasms, sometimes laughter–they’re great tension relievers. You’ve been through hell the past few days. You’re okay. Trust me.”

Mark really wants to help Jinx, but saying words like these can’t heal her. Her trust has been shot to hell by a childhood trauma (that she doesn’t fully remember), and in no way does she believe that she is okay.

Nancee Cain’s writing keeps getting better. I loved phrases like The suffocating civility between them was like a blackout shade on the light of their true emotions. Here, Mark muses about the push/pull between him and Jinx:

His mind had kept straying back to the girl with whiskey-colored eyes and a shitload of issues. He’d never met anyone as fucked up as she was, and for some damn reason, he was drawn to her.

He busied himself filling popcorn bowls and setting up the bar. Thinking about work was better than thinking about feelings. And pixies. Work made sense. Feelings and pixies were a mystery.

Not once did Jinx glance toward the bar as she embraced Ava and then Derrick–or rather, they embraced her. She stood ramrod straight, giving Ava an awkward pat on the back. Hell, no wonder he was attracted to her. She was as ill at ease with relationships as he was. It was pure physics. Like attracts like.

Nancee Cain has an in-depth understanding of addiction and recovery, like when formerly suppressed emotions surface once the addictive behaviors stop:

She bit her lip to keep from crying. And hated herself for being so emotional. Not numbing her problems with alcohol had flipped the switch on her inner crybaby. He was going to leave. Not that she could blame him. Her problems were too difficult to deal with, or she herself was . . . Her parents had told her that often enough.

The title of this story reminds me of the Madonna Reinvention Tour, which was so bad that some concert-goers renamed it “The Refund Tour”. You will not want a refund after you buy this book, I’ll tell you!

View all my reviews

During the day, Nancee works as a counselor/nurse in the field of addiction to support her coffee and reading habit. Nights are spent writing paranormal and contemporary romances with a serrated edge. Authors are her rock stars, and she’s been known to stalk a few for an autograph, but not in a scary, Stephen King way. Her husband swears her To-Be-Read list on her e-reader qualifies her as a certifiable book hoarder. Always looking to try something new, she dreams of being an extra in a Bollywood film, or a tattoo artist. (Her lack of rhythm and artistic ability may put a damper on both of these dreams.)

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Best #Self-Help Strategies for People in Recovery


Thank you to Charles Watson for the guest post on self-help strategies for recovering from addiction! Take it away, Charles:

Best Self-Help Strategies for People in Recovery

People are often taught to seek help when experiencing a recovery crisis. Although this is advisable at the beginning, it can also be helpful to perform some self-help strategies to boost chances of recovery. Read further to find out what you can do.

Self-help is a topic that is often explored in improving one’s wellness, business, or other individualistic pursuit. There are countless books and resources published in the topic of self-help, and it can sometimes be overwhelming which strategies are helpful for someone who has specific needs.

What is self-help?

Self-help, by definition, is using one’s own resources and will power to achieve things without the seeking the need of other people. This concept can be applied in many areas of your life while in recovery, such as forming of healthy habits, productivity, improving relationships, and many others.
Although it is understandable that you will still need the help of professionals when it comes to looking out for your health, there are some aspects of yourself that can be improved only through your choice. When you choose to better yourself, it helps you take another step towards recovery success.

What are the benefits of self-help strategies in recovery?

Self-help can supplement other recovery methods.

Self-help tools can aid your other recovery plans, such as those imposed to you if you go to a rehabilitation center. For example, a nutritionist may provide you with a diet plan that you should follow for recovery.
Accompanying this with self-help strategies to improve your sleeping habits can further aid in your health and increase your chances for recovery.

It can provide you with the motivation you need.

Many people find themselves motivated at the initial part of a rehabilitation period. However, as time goes by and the challenges to stay sober increase, it may be difficult to be on the right track.
Adopting self-help strategies could alleviate this lack of motivation and could give you the habit-forming tools to stay away from your old habits.

It can give you a strengthened mental perspective.

One of the cornerstones of self-help is discipline and control, and this is what you need on your road to recovery. Having a strong mental perspective gives you the ability to resist all kinds of temptations especially after you get away from rehabilitation centers or other controlled environments.
The ability to say “no” can be hard to achieve if you don’t have a strong mind. Acquiring a strong mind through self-help may be beneficial to your success.
Having mentioned all these self-help benefits, what are some of the best strategies in this area that can push you towards your goal?

What are self-help strategies to use for recovery?

Have a reality check about your substance abuse.

The most common hurdle for people who are undergoing addiction is their denial to the extent of their current state. As a person who is constantly taking substances, you need to admit that you have an addiction. Admitting to yourself that you need help is the first step in understanding and accepting the steps that you need to take for progress.
The most common signs that you have substance addiction are:
       Interference of drug use to your daily life
       Consistent use of substances even when it’s no longer prescribed or recommended
       Taking steps, even if morally wrong, to acquire substances such as drugs or alcohol
       Loss of control or irrational thoughts due to substance use
       Engaging in reckless behavior
       Physical health problems due to malnutrition on continued substance use

Read self-help addiction recovery material.

There are many inspirational and motivational books about addiction recovery that can help you get started with improving your mental strength. A lot of these books can vary in content–some of them contain touching stories of those who succeeded, and other have more specific steps you can take during the process of recovery.
These self-help books are meant to help you see the consequences of further addiction, make you understand how your addiction works, and what are some small habits you can pick up to keep yourself sober. Some of the top best sellers are:
       The Naked Mind: Control Alcohol by Annie Grace
       Integral Recovery by John Dupuy
       Awakening the Brain by Charlotte Tomaino
       Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy by David Sheff
Explore these titles and see which ones are applicable to you.

Attend self-help groups.

Another strategy that can help people to succeed in recovery is attending self-help groups. When it comes to fighting addiction, having a support group is essential to help build accountability towards each other.
Many self-help groups have people who did not necessarily go to rehab centers to fight their problems. A lot of them listened to others, found emotional strength through each other’s support, or found that socialization is a great occupation to keep them away from substances.
Some of the popular self-help groups are Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. If you already have a rehab center that you’re currently attending, there may be support groups available to your current demographic and personal needs. Alternatively, there are also non 12 step rehab centers offering holistic services with support groups to help those in recovery.

Replace old habits with new ones.

Addiction is not about removal, but rather replacement. When you simply remove something in your life, that specific void will always have a need to be filled. This is why going cold turkey against substances often prove to be ineffective because people fail to replace their old habits with healthy ones.
A self-help strategy that is also applied in many rehab centers is searching for habits that help people stay away from drugs and alcohol. For example, instead of taking in drugs, people can pursue other hobbies such as going to the gym, adopting a pet, or attending events. Being idle can play tricks in your head, and make you feel like there’s a sense of lack. Research shows that you need a minimum of 21 days to establish a good habit in your daily routine.

Help yourself on the road to recovery

The road to recovery is comprised of many elements–seeking help from others, following specific steps, and having the self-motivated decision to succeed. As these elements come together, you will have better chances of taking the path towards addiction recovery.

THE REHABILITATION OF ANGEL SINCLAIR by @Nancee_Cain #newrelease #romance #5starreview

Title: The Rehabilitation of Angel Sinclair
Series: A Pine Bluff Novel
Author: Nancee Cain
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 27, 2018

Angel Sinclair arrives in Pine Bluff, Alabama with one goal: make amends and move on. But his chance meeting with the beautiful owner of Sleep Inn on the Lake lands him a job, a place to stay, and something else he hasn’t had for years in his life: love and trust.
Still reeling from a bitter divorce, Maggie Robertson is determined to start over as proprietress of a new bed and breakfast. Getting involved with anyone in this gossipy small town is not on her to-do list–especially someone closer to her son’s age than her own.
When she opens the door to find the dreadlocked and tattooed Angel on her porch, her quiet life and preconceived notions are turned upside down. Maggie’s self-confidence soars under his undivided attention. Angel is drawn by Maggie’s quiet acceptance…and he can’t stop staring at her ass.
But Angel’s fondness for Maggie’s company is topped only by his penchant for keeping secrets, which leads Maggie to wonder if she has it wrong. Perhaps age differences do matter, opposites should not be allowed to attract, and love does not conquer all–even if it’s written on the wall.

Here’s my 5-star review!

The Rehabilitation of Angel Sinclair (A Pine Bluff Novel, #3)The Rehabilitation of Angel Sinclair by Nancee Cain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Homeless Addict Woos Insecure Divorcee: Who’s Rehabilitating Who?

Recovering heroin addict, Angel, walks into Pine Bluff, Alabama to meet up with an old friend. But what he finds on his journey is a new romantic partner, Maggie. In this lovely addition to the Pine Bluff series, Angel and Maggie rehabilitate each other.

Nancee Cain’s experience in the addiction field shines through in this story. Angel’s family problems and resulting low self-worth are heartbreaking. His mother’s eating disorder and his father’s cold criticism contributed to his risk for addiction. When Angel first meets Maggie and she questions if he has stolen from her, his hangdog resignation made me cry. But Maggie looks beneath his hopeless, scruffy facade to see his inner strength and talent.

I have trouble understanding the attraction young women have for much older men, but I find the age difference between Angel and Maggie to be refreshing. Fourteen years older than Angel, Maggie dances to Rick James’ “Super Freak” and bakes delicious goodies as she tries to get her bed and breakfast off the ground. Angel helps her mission by becoming her handyman, and boy is he ever handy. Although Angel is wise beyond his years, he enjoys professing himself as her boy toy.

At first, Maggie believes that Angel’s friend, Emma, is his girlfriend, turning her green with envy:

Maybe she’d break one of her long, Barbie legs. Maggie didn’t wish her anything too serious or harmful, just a fracture that would leave her totally immobilized. She’d even make her a cake and wish her a speedy recovery. Then, with luck, this Emma would gain thirty pounds.

Angel is a masterful artist and his guestbook full of sketches of scenes from around the inn is quite the thoughtful gift he gives to Maggie. I’m such a rule follower that Angel’s secret habit of spray-painting graffiti made me uncomfortable, but his “writing” has realistic consequences.

Like most women, Maggie has negative body image, which frustrates Angel.

“Maggie, when will you believe me when I say you’re beautiful?”

“I’m not twenty-five,” she replied. “I need to lose ten pounds–“

“Hush.”

He placed a hand over her mouth. “Don’t talk about the woman I’m crazy about like that. It pisses me off, because she’s perfect as is.”

It’s like Angel is the first man to really see Maggie, as a smart, competent, sexy woman. Maybe Maggie can grow to see herself that way as well?

“Maggie? Who takes care of you?”

“Me?” She pulled away. “I don’t understand what you mean.”

“I bet you took care of your dad. I know you catered to Brian and Phillip. Who has ever taken care of you?”

“I’m f-fine. I can take care of myself.”

“I know you can. But what if I want to take care of you? Would you trust me enough to let me?”

Wow, every woman needs an Angel in her life. Maggie is drawn to caring for Angel’s wounded soul, and Angel is drawn to building Maggie’s faltering confidence, but both realize that they have to be whole in their own right to make this romance work.

We get to meet the hero of the next book in the series: Angel’s estranged older brother, Damien. Damien is a ruthless attorney who likes to play violin on the roof (in particular, one of my favorite songs–“Meditation” from Thais). Damien tries to dissuade Maggie from loving his addict brother, but Maggie tells him off. I look forward to learning more about this complex character and his future love interest!

Each unique story in this series gets stronger and deeper. Highly recommended!

View all my reviews

During the day, Nancee works as a counselor/nurse in the field of addiction to support her coffee and reading habit. Nights are spent writing paranormal and contemporary romances with a serrated edge. Authors are her rock stars, and she’s been known to stalk a few for an autograph, but not in a scary, Stephen King way. Her husband swears her To-Be-Read list on her e-reader qualifies her as a certifiable book hoarder. Always looking to try something new, she dreams of being an extra in a Bollywood film, or a tattoo artist. (Her lack of rhythm and artistic ability may put a damper on both of these dreams.)
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#CoverReveal THE REHABILITATION OF ANGEL SINCLAIR by @Nancee_Cain

Congratulations to Nancee Cain on her upcoming release! The first two books in this series were fantastic.
Title: The Rehabilitation of Angel Sinclair
Series: A Pine Bluff Novel
Author: Nancee Cain
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 27, 2018
Cover Design: Shannon Lumetta


Angel Sinclair arrives in Pine Bluff, Alabama with one goal: make amends and move on. But his chance meeting with the beautiful owner of Sleep Inn on the Lake lands him a job, a place to stay, and something else he hasn’t had for years in his life: love and trust.

Still reeling from a bitter divorce, Maggie Robertson is determined to start over as proprietress of a new bed and breakfast. Getting involved with anyone in this gossipy small town is not on her to-do list–especially someone closer to her son’s age than her own.

When she opens the door to find the dreadlocked and tattooed Angel on her porch, her quiet life and preconceived notions are turned upside down. Maggie’s self-confidence soars under his undivided attention. Angel is drawn by Maggie’s quiet acceptance…and he can’t stop staring at her ass.

But Angel’s fondness for Maggie’s company is topped only by his penchant for keeping secrets, which leads Maggie to wonder if she has it wrong. Perhaps age differences do matter, opposites should not be allowed to attract, and love does not conquer all–even if it’s written on the wall.

During the day, Nancee works as a counselor/nurse in the field of addiction to support her coffee and reading habit. Nights are spent writing paranormal and contemporary romances with a serrated edge. Authors are her rock stars, and she’s been known to stalk a few for an autograph, but not in a scary, Stephen King way. Her husband swears her To-Be-Read list on her e-reader qualifies her as a certifiable book hoarder. Always looking to try something new, she dreams of being an extra in a Bollywood film, or a tattoo artist. (Her lack of rhythm and artistic ability may put a damper on both of these dreams.)
HOSTED BY:

Montana Marijuana, Microaggressions, and Manuscripts #IWSG

Happy Insecure Writers Support Group, started by Alex J Cavanaugh!


I’m in Montana for a psychology conference. learning some cool things. Too bad I dislike skiing because we have major snow in Big Sky.


But I’ve had a blast chatting with friends and learning stuff! The best presentation so far has been about MARIJUANA. As a psychologist who has witnessed the sadness of addiction, I was against legalization before the presentation. Now I’m totally against it.


While you might think this brownie, candy, and beverage are for the munchies after you toke it up, these “edibles” are actually how THC is administered these days. One gummy bear has 4 servings of high potency THC. They’re marketing to kids by infusing candy and drinks with THC.

And, this isn’t your grandparent’s pot, your parents’ pot, or even your pot. In 1960 THC was .2% concentration. Now it’s 12%. Since it’s been commercialized in Colorado, the lobbyists and marketing machine has created products with 36% THC which have zero resemblance to the natural hemp plant. (The CBD percentage has stayed the same, rendering today’s marijuana as less medicinal.) One 19 year old Wyoming student went to Colorado, had never had pot before, ate a cookie with high potency THC, had a psychotic break, and jumped out a window to his death.

Whatever your beliefs, decriminalization is not the same as legalization. The change in law is all about making money and not about decriminalization or health at all. Using marijuana before the age of 18 really increases risk of addiction and cognitive deficits: one study in New Zealand found an EIGHT point drop in IQ from using marijuana 5 times a week.


What are your thoughts about marijuana?

Another great presentation was on MICROAGGRESSIONS, or unintended discrimination. We all make comments, often without our awareness, that may be hurtful. For example, a heterosexual person may tell a homosexual person “I don’t care what you do, just don’t flaunt your sexuality.” That comment may be hurtful by implying a gay person is hyper-sexual or some other such stereotype. Should we tell a heterosexual couple to stop kissing and “flaunting their heterosexuality”?

This video highlights some micro aggressions:



Finally, how’s your writing coming along? I was about 20K words into a romantic suspense when I realized I was itching to write book two in my college volleyball romance series, so I just started that MANUSCRIPT. I’m titling it Aced for now.

I think I’ll put my romantic suspense Twin Sacrifice aside though I kind of miss it. Anyone write two books at once? I’ve never tried before.

My critique partner Nicki Elson’s awesome rom-com VIBRIZZIO is available for pre-order! You will love this story and it’s only $.99.

Write on, my fellow crusaders!

Writing Addicted Characters: Guest Post by Lisa Daniels

Today I welcome Lisa Daniels to the blog. Her guest post shares tips for writing characters who are addicted to drugs. What fun! Take it away, Lisa:

Writing Addicted Characters

One of the first pieces of advice you hear when starting to craft stories is ‘write what you know’. The obvious way to interpret this is to focus on things you’re already familiar with such as your local neighborhood, jobs you’ve held and people you’ve known. There is nothing wrong with this approach and it can lead to some inspired writing. However, if you want to include elements in your story that seem a million miles from anything you’ve ever experienced, such as a character who is an addict, you will need to adopt a broader interpretation of that advice in order to achieve authenticity.

Effective research

When it comes to writing fiction, research can mean a number of things. It can be from a textbook in a college library, a session typing things into an internet search engine, or going out into the world and walking in your character’s shoes. Researching addiction is no different. While you wouldn’t want to indulge in your character’s drug of choice, there is plenty of information out there that can help you craft an authentic character. Remember that in order to avoid clichÈ, be sure to go beyond the obvious and research all aspects of your character’s addiction: physical, psychological, social and emotional.

Online research should be able to provide general information on addictions, associated behaviors and the route your character would take if seeking help. For example, if you were writing a ‘rags to riches and back again’ story about a small town actor who makes it big in Hollywood and becomes addicted to painkillers, try finding information on some west coast treatment centers your character could potentially attend. Other options include finding social media chat rooms and blogs where people to share their stories, or searching out some psychology journals and books to get an idea of the thought processes often underlying addiction. If you want to carry out some first-hand research, be warned that approaching treatment centers directly is a delicate matter. If you’re confident in your approach, maybe you could find a doctor or nurse willing to discuss their work, but be extremely mindful of the confidentiality issues concerned and tread lightly. A better option may be to find some autobiographies of people who have overcome their addictions and adapt their experiences

One key piece of advice when researching fiction is ‘know when to stop’. You need to do sufficient research to be sure you can write with authority and authenticity, but only enough to fulfill the demands of your story. Unless you are utilizing the research for another purpose, such as a self-help book on addiction, you do not need to be an expert in all aspects; but you do need to be an expert on the world you create. When youíre done with the research, clear it all away and face that blank page or computer screen. By this stage you should have all you need to know embedded in your mind.

Write from experience

Look at a list of symptoms addicts often manifest. According to Psychology Today, these can include shame and guilt, a sense of hopelessness, and feelings of failure, as well as anxiety and depression. While you may not be an addict yourself, have you ever experienced any of these in your life? Maybe you’ve had a bout of depression; or lost money gambling one night because you just couldn’t walk away from the table; or turned to the bottle to escape a stressful period in your life? While you may not be able to truly empathize with someone whose life is blighted by addiction, maybe there is something you can recall from your own experience that can offer a little insight into the signs of addiction and an addictís mindset. A key word that often comes up when discussing addiction is ‘control’: losing it and getting it back. Think about times in your life that you’ve either felt a loss of control, or a time when you’ve taken control of something and apply it to your character’s life.

Power of imagination

Ultimately, stories are a work of fiction. They are the product of a writer creating and inhabiting the mind of their characters and fitting them into a believable world; whether that’s outer-space one thousand years from now, Victorian England or modern day inner-city Los Angeles. The key is authenticity. Before you start your story, shape a full character biography that fills in as much detail of your character’s life as possible. Include a timeline and think about their interactions with other characters (either within or outside the story). If you’re clear about the choices your character has made in their life so far, you can understand what fuels their behavior now. Addiction does not exist in a vacuum. Imposing the term ‘addict’ on a character (or person) is not the end of the story. Something drove them to their extreme behavior and maybe something can bring them back from the brink. If you know what motivates your character then you will know how to guide them through their story.

One final reminder is to avoid cliches. Countless stories have utilized ‘the addict’ in all too familiar ways. Think outside the box and create a character who no one would believe would be an alcoholic, gambler or drug abuser, or afflict your character with an unusual addiction. If youíve done your research, reached into your deepest emotions and compiled a detailed biography then you might not have lived your character’s life, but you will still be going a long way towards writing what you know.