Five Weeks on Paleo and the Inflammation is Gone! But, is it all it’s Cracked up to Be?

On a beach in Corfu, Greece

Hey folks! It’s been about five weeks on paleo. I’ve been pretty darn compliant, except when I went to Italy for about 10 days. I admit to having pasta two times (I mean, there is no way I’m going to Italy and not having their pasta) and I was terribly queasy on the ship, so I also had some small scoops of rice occasionally, but overall, I’ve tried to stick to the program all the rest of the time. I would say I’ve been 90% compliant and now a week home and pretty close to 100%.

I have good news. The inflammation around my L4/L5 herniations is gone. I was suffering from sciatica and that has ceased. Not eating dairy, breads, white flour and tons of sugar I truly believe has been the guiding factor here.

Zucchini Carrot Bread made with almond and coconut flour

Bad news? I feel like I’m still suffering from “carb flu.” You know, headaches, lack of energy, being exhausted all the time. At the same time, I’ve lost 4 lbs. I’m not sure if it’s from actually not eating enough, or being seasick on the ship. I think I’ll know more in a few weeks.

I “think” I’m seeing a turning point. I did sleep well last night and I did get up energized enough this morning to go for a 1.5 mile SLOW jog and do 100 sit-ups. Baby steps for me, but I’ll take it. Will continue with the plan because with inflammation causing so much pain, I’m very happy to be able to drop something on the floor and bend down and pick it up without an issue. I used to drop my sock on the floor and just cry… thinking “it was so far away.”

Just astounding tile work at the Ruins of Nora in Cagliari.

As you know, I love to cook and be accountable, so I made an instagram account of paleo recipes I’ve tried. Feel free to follow me there at @paleoinspired_

Love to hear if you have any issues with this, what you think and if it’s the “be all, end all.” I’m still working that out.

P.S. That zucchini bread above looked great – but what a strange texture. Hence, no recipe. Still playing around with recipes. Please feel free to share any recipes for baked goods that actually taste good. I did make a cherry pie with almond flour that went over really well. 🙂

My Paleo Journey So Far to Reduce Inflammation

Just cooking up some cauliflower rice!

About six years ago, I herniated my L4/L5 doing a pretty aggressive bootcamp exercise (let’s just say doing jumping jacks with a heavy bar over my head is not any part of my future plans). Add in being over 45 years old at the time, and I was ripe for a big injury and a boatload of pain. In fact, I suffer from inflammation and the inflamed muscles would press on those nerves surrounding the injury, sending sciatica pain down my legs. For nearly two years I was unable to really even exercise.

Fast forward five years later and I’m a lot better, though not perfect. I’ve spent the past few years strengthening my core, getting back into shape and now I can jog 3 miles at a time and do yoga a few times a week. But, I’m still plagued with inflammation issues. You know the drill, swollen belly, aches and pains at the injury site.

Last July I cut all artificial sweeteners in my coffee and that made a drastic difference. Three weeks after doing that, I was able to do burpees. (something I was never able to do before and here’s a good video example from Bowflex). I’d drop something on the floor and just cry that it was “so far away.” The idea of bending was horrific. Now, I’m 1000X better. But I could be even better. So that’s why I started Paleo.

I was never a big bread eater to begin with and I have a lactose intolerance, so this diet appeals to me. I love bacon. I love steak. I love vegetables. What could be bad? I do miss the pasta and rice, but this “diet” allows a few cheats in moderation a week, so I had a piece of birthday pie, and had a soup and didn’t freak that there were beans in it.

Steak, eggs and cauliflower/sweet potato mix

This diet has been easy and pretty clear cut. No grains, no legumes, no dairy. There’s a few other things to watch out for, but this is a great start for me. With a wee bit of planning, I have food in the house to keep me stocked and I simply modify my meals so they are paleo compliant.The trick has been to keep myself filled and to actually have “fat” at night so I stay filled, so at the dreaded 10:00 PM I don’t go downstairs and raid the refrigerator. I’ve not snacked at night for over a week and a cup of water helps me to sway those old bad habits.

I’ve made a few mistakes along the way so far. Adding some corn to a salad, which I learned was a no no, or adding a dressing to a compliant salad, and learned it had yogurt in it. I try not to freak about it and know that I’ve done my best. Everything is a learning experience and so far, just removing dairy (well, most of it) and grains has already reduced my inflammation and the sciatica pain I was experiencing recently has ceased again. I haven’t lost any weight yet, but I’m hopeful that will be an added benefit at some point.

So if you’d like to follow my journey and see the recipes I’m making on instagram, follow me @paleoinspired_

Love to hear how you are doing on your own dieting or paleo journey.

My Journey to Writing a Thriller Series

The Kelsey Porter Series

Ten years ago I set out on a journey to swallow my fears and publish my novels. After launching my quirky YA and fantasy books to some modest success, I decided I wanted to push myself and develop a new adult thriller series. But, I used my favorite authors, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, as my bar. Why? Because their books move me in ways other novels don’t. It takes a great writer to make me obsess about a character, and this series puts me squarely in the camp of my obsession with Aloysius Pendergast. Now, these authors also write novels on their own, but together, their Pendergast series is simply amazing. The novels are smart, savvy, with well-developed characters you want to love… and despise. I’m intrigued that they purposely add complicated words so that people will have to look up their meaning. I asked Douglas about this at a signing I went to of his and he said that it’s a conscious decision. They want readers to learn as they read their books and you can tell that everything they do, and every plot line, is researched meticulously.

Well, I wanted to develop a series like that, and one I thought they personally might enjoy. My goal was to hit on something different from what was in the field. Something spiritual, smart, singularly unique, and something that required a ton of research. While I’m no Preston/Child, I’m proud of myself. Four books into this series and I’m excited to say these authors DID like it. Douglas Preston actually read and reviewed Book #1 and it’s a great review you can read in “editorial reviews” for The Hunt For Xanadu on Amazon. Here it is here:

The Hunt for Xanadu by Elyse Salpeter is a remarkable novel, a fascinating and fantastical journey in time and space, and one of the most gripping novels I’ve read in a long time. It flies along at the pace of a thriller, with plenty of murder and mayhem along the way. But behind the thrill-ride is a spiritual story, an archetypal tale of mystery and darkness,riddled with fascinating and esoteric concepts in Tibetan Buddhism. Vivid characters, a truly appealing protagonist, unexpected twists, and crisp writing complete this unforgettable book. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

–Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author and co-creator, with Lincoln Child, of the Pendergast series

So now there are four books in the series, they all have a Buddhist thriller flare, and they take you across the globe, from New York City and Colombia, to Alaska, Egypt and the monasteries of Tibet.

If you’d like to check them out, please click here to my author page on Amazon!

The Haunting of Cragg Hill House – A Kelsey Porter novel

4 Book Thriller series

I’m so excited to announce that Book #4 in my Kelsey Porter thriller series is now live! I wanted to do something a little different with this novel. In the past three books, I have my characters constantly moving all around the globe, and this time I wanted them to simply “stay put” someplace. So much has happened to them over the past year, I just wanted to give them a little peace and quiet. I thought they deserved it after the last novel! So I plopped Kelsey and Desmond in a luxurious, secluded mountain resort for a little weekend get-away. But, of course, the universe does not let Kelsey ever rest… ever.

All she wanted was a weekend away…

“Kelsey and Desmond escape to a Gothic Victorian mountain resort for the weekend, but when they arrive, their idyllic plans begin to unravel fast. Kelsey feels a sinister, dark presence pervading the hotel, and with a snowstorm raging, they are stranded with an evil she cannot name. A fleeting figure screaming down the hallway, staff with missing body parts, and then Desmond disappears, leaving behind a trail of blood. Kelsey soon discovers she’s fighting a deep magic she hasn’t seen in eons and she must figure out what is happening at Cragg Hill House… before it is too late.”

While keeping the book steeped in the Buddhist thriller theme, I wanted to also add a little twist to this. I love horror and all things creepy, so I interweaved a little of that into this novel as well. If you liked my horror anthology, RICKET ROW, you’ll be sure to like the surprises I added to this particular tale.

If you’re interested in picking it up, or any in the series, please see below:

Book #1 THE HUNT FOR XANADU
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Book #2 THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1EvXExO
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1JSRNqT

Book #3 THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1SUskAv
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1nPF6TO

Book #4 THE HAUNTING OF CRAGG HILL HOUSE:
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2pb1HyT
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2pVJLGB

Love to hear what everyone thinks!

“Coincidences? She doesn’t believe in coincidences… not even for a second.”

The Day my Novel Got on Jeopardy!

jeopardy-full“I’ll take Thrillers & Mysteries for $200, Alex…”

So, on October 25th I get an IM out of the blue, from a friend. It goes something like this (shortened it a bit – but you’ll get the point):

Jen: Umm were you a question just now on Jeopardy???? A woman hunts for the murderer of her parents… in the mythical home of Kubla Khan…answer what is The Hunt for Xanadu !!!!
Me: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? That’s impossible… You’re joking with me…
Seriously, stop. There’s no way, they are supposed to be questions that are mainstream.

Jen: I recorded it. I will try to show you give me a few
Me: How is that possible?! You’re pulling my leg. (I completely don’t believe her. Thinking she is entirely joking with me)

Jen: I Googled The Hunt For Xanadu and yours is only one I saw! I don’t care I’m telling all my friends that I have a friend whose book was the answer/question on Jeopardy just like Lincoln Child. Lol you are mainstream now!
Me: Hmmmmmm, I’ll believe it when I see it (this conversation went on in this vein for a while – still not buying it, but man that is a great joke)

But then, I sort of freaked out. Could this be possible? So I start searching and then contacting friends who are good at finding things. Frank Tuttle (a genius at stuff like this), found a fan site that keeps track of every answer and clue. And guess what? IT WAS THERE. Not a little there. Not “could it be my book?” It WAS my book. After I caught my breath, I had to track down my California friends and family to see if they could tape it for me, since Jen’s tape didn’t work, and sure enough, it was the first question of the night. The icing on the cake would have been if Alex Trebek had additionally said my name, but it’s still okay. I mean, MY NOVEL WAS ON JEOPARDY! Here’s the video clip. Thank you Lisa Jey Davis!

So folks, “I’ll take Thrillers & Mysteries for $200, Alex.” And they got it right.

I’ve been wanting to get my books to Hollywood, so I guess you can say, I made it! 🙂

Feel like grabbing the book for yourself? It’s part of a series if you love spiritual thrillers.

Book #1 THE HUNT FOR XANADU
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Book #2 THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1EvXExO
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1JSRNqT

Book #3 THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1SUskAv
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1nPF6TO

Amazingly, many of my friends watched the show, saw the question, but didn’t immediately connect it was my book. It was a “why do I know this answer?” sort of thing. Though my lovely Aunt Trudy told me she knew the answer right away!

So, Enjoy! (and Jennifer – you are the bomb! Thank you for catching this for me, or I never would have known!)

Results for my Horror BookBub Promotion for The Mannequins

Horror Novel - "I beg of you... stay away..."

Horror Novel – “I beg of you… stay away…”

Hey everyone! Last week I posted that I got selected finally for a BookBub promotion on September 26th for my horror novel THE MANNEQUINS. I was so excited, but I was really nervous, too. It was $330 for a $.99 cent promotion, that I ran internationally. I needed to sell 1100 books just to break even and I was concerned how that would go. First, this was a standalone horror novel, and second, the only other horror book in my library was a short story anthology called RICKET ROW.

Well, I’m here to report I broke even on Day #1. That Monday I sold a total of 1393 books. Most of those sales were THE MANNEQUINS, though quite a few sales of RICKET ROW came in and a few from other books in my library. Let me give you the rundown:

Day #1 – 1393 books sold (The Mannequins was at 99 cents)
Day #2 – 204 books sold (The Mannequins was still at 99 cents)
Day #3 – 21 books sold (The Mannequins is now at $2.99)
Day #4 – 18 books sold
Day #5 – 8 books sold
Day #6 – 7 books sold

So, yes, the numbers are starting to diminish, but I’m really excited about this. I was able to get over 1500 people to buy my books. No matter how hard I work to self promote myself, I may be good for 10-20 books a month. Usually for that, like this time, I’ll boost a facebook post and I’m good for a few sales, but if you really want to move the needle, only BookBub has really done it for me. For this type of exposure, it was worth the risk.

penderrankingNot to mention I got amazing screen shots. Some put me squarely next to my favorite authors and don’t think I didn’t send Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child a shout out on Instagram when my book was next to theirs on the Amazon rankings! Not to mention, RICKET ROW hit some nice numbers as well.

So, overall this was a really nice success. I keep plugging away to get my other books accepted. I try free, I try 99 cents, I tout my covers, the famous author who has given me a blurb – you name it. It took 24 tries across all my books for this promotion to happen. Just keep trying, you never know.

I’m going to give a little plug for Ricket Row – it’s doing pretty well and you guys might enjoy this creepy little read.

A collection of creepy horror tales...

A collection of creepy horror tales…

Terrifying things are happening to those in Ricket Row. Why do a set of grieving parents dig up a shoebox each week from their son’s grave? Who is that maniacal clown that follows a man home? Why do those teen boys chase after a ghostly girl they’ve never met before? This anthology is packed with tales both psychologically creepy and horrifying. You’ll meet a group of disabled orphans trying to survive a zombie apocalypse and a woman who is getting sicker and sicker, day by day, with no reason why. Or is there? Come enter the horrors of Ricket Row. You’ve been warned.

RICKET ROW: http://amzn.to/2dDnBpA

My Experience So Far with BookBub for THE MANNEQUINS

fb-ad-mannequins-with-textI’ve been trying to get a BookBub promotion for my Kelsey Porter Buddhist thriller series or my YA Deaf Flying series for well over a year. I’ve tried free, I’ve tried 99 cents, I’ve tried touting my professional covers, reviews, putting a famous author blurb on the front cover, I’ve touted that it’s a series… nothing has worked.

A collection of creepy horror tales...

A collection of creepy horror tales…

So, on a lark, I tried my standalone horror novel, THE MANNEQUINS at 99 cents… and it took. Sigh. One of the benefits of a BookBub is being able to sell other books in the series. With this being a standalone, I’m not sure I’ll be able to have much crossover. That said, I do have a horror anthology called RICKET ROW in my library of offerings, so possibly folks looking through my books could choose that as well.

I got the BookBub scheduled for 9/26. So, I put it out today (a day before) at 99 cents so I could be early, and I’ll keep it until Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I’ve gone onto twitter, google+ and various horror facebook groups and promoted it. I boosted my facebook author post to horror and Stephen King fans, spending only $4 for the FB boost. But, the BookBub cost me $330 so I need to sell over 1000 books to break even on their ad. If I get any crossover sales, that will definitely help me to break even quicker.

So, next week, I will let all of you know how I did. Let’s hope I am able to grab some screen shots with some great top ten stats. I will say that I did get one sale today already from my efforts. Let’s hope another 1000 come in!

If you’re interested in a horror tale that has been described as “darkly imaginative,””creepy,” and “deliciously disturbing,” please check it out here on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2cusood It’s 99 cents until 9/27. I’d love an honest review if you have the time.

Happy Reading! (and keep the lights on…)