Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stop Making Music by Tom Samuels

About the Book:

Tom Samuels’s book, Stop Making Music, contains 136 essays that deliver contrary opinions on the music business. They are written in the voice of an arrogant nitwit who wrestles with “evil” musicians, songwriters and producers. Read each essay carefully because you will be asked if you “agree” or “disagree.” No one goes unscathed…not even the beloved Beatles. Where else could you find an Off-Broadway play based on the life of KoRn? You will be required to actually think about the current state of the music industry. Reading this book is an illuminating journey that will help you to understand why you are a music fan. There is a lesson to be learned in each chapter…a satirical, funny lesson that you will never forget.

“Tom Samuels really knows the music business. He writes about historic musicians such as Gershwin, Vivaldi and Mozart along with current bands such as Green Day, Death Cab For Cutie and Radiohead. His character is one dude you do not want to get in an argument with as he will twist your mind into a pretzel with his bizarre logic. It is best to let his pronouncements flow through your mind down to your funny bone. He has written a great satire on every aspect of the music business.”

Franklin Lutz

About the author:

Tom was born in Allentown, PA, twenty-two years ago, and attends West Chester University where he will graduate this year with a B.A. in Communication. He plans to study the field of Creativity in graduate school. He has a comprehensive library on the history of American music, including biographies, recordings and sheet music. He plays the guitar and ukulele. He strives to find a good balance in his life through meditation, eating well, learning and creating.

The STOP MAKING MUSIC VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on July 7, 2008 and continue all month. You can visit Tom's tour stops at in July!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they come available. One winner will be announced on our tour blog on July 31!

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Marwan: The Autobiography of a 9/11 Terrorist by Aram Schefrin--Book Review

An engrossing novel that leads up to the worst attack on United States citizens on American soil, Marwan: The Autobiography of a 9/11 Terrorist is difficult to read, but also difficult to put down.

Marwan doesn't worship Allah and he certainly isn't ready to die for him, so how did he get involved in a plot that would hijack planes with the intent of crashing them into strategically chosen buildings on American soil? From that first meeting in Hamburg, Germany until the moment the planes take off, Marwan has doubts about the plan that is meant to cripple America, tear at its belief system, and return people to the one true God. But in the end, those doubts aren't enough to keep him from doing what must be done.

I approached Marwan with a fair amount of trepidation. As I asked the author when he stopped by The Book Connection in February, did it occur to him that Americans might not be ready for such a book? I wasn't sure I was ready for it, having not been able to watch a single documentary or read one book about September 11th since it happened.

Schefrin does an excellent job of approaching this controversial topic. He mixed known facts with fiction and came out with a balanced look at how the events of September 11th could have unfolded.

There were moments when this reader was disturbed by the thoughts and dialogue:

"If Jesus saw what they've done to him, the next time he would kill himself. Jesus' truth, if he has one, is Islam, not Chritianity." (Page 93)

"'I want you to understand that what we are asking you to do will remake the universe. It will bring down America, and restore the world to Islam....No Muslim has done more for the faith than you will do....And all of Islam will know it. You will be eternal in their eyes.'" (Page 115)

"'Americans are the most filthy of human beings!'" (Page 131)

But those moments are countered by the moments of doubt that Marwan and Jarrah experience. You're dealing with complex and conflicted men whose internal battle is a struggle for what they want versus what is good for Islam.

Marwan begins in New York City in June 2000 and then travels back and forth in time to provide the reader with the necessary backstory to bring them to the final days leading up to the attacks on September 11th. Another book that used this format is Carole Whang Schutter's September Dawn--an equally controverisal title with strong religious ties. In both instances, I found this time traveling format challening to follow, and in Marwan it is further complicated by the changing point of view--which fluctuates between first person and third. This challenge was removed when the time line began to constantly move forward from July 2001 up to the moment when the planes took off.

Schefrin's attention to detail and knowledge of the facts lends much to this novel. And I do believe that the author achieved his objective: "you have to understand your enemies if you want to defend yourself."

In Marwan readers will find a fair and well-researched novel that sheds light on one of the worst moments in American history.

Title: Marwan: The Autobiography of a 9/11 Terrorist
Author: Aram Schefrin
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1-4343-3288-2
U.S. Price: $17.95

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fire Fish: fins refined by fire by Davy Liu--Book Review

Fire Fish is an entertaining and beautiful retelling of how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt told in animal's perspective.

Three fish, Sarai, RaaOn, and Sesom are excited to watch the Fin Race. The biggest, fastest, smartest fish join the Race, but only a few win and catch the sweet lovely-food that comes at sunrise and then disappear into the Bright Beyond.

When Momma and Papa Perch are caught in a net, the three little fish swim to the Turtle Pool for help. Embarking on their journey, Sarai, RaaOn, and Sesom meet one danger after another, and following the advice of The Great Turtle, call on the Finmaker for guidance. And it is that call that brings them a miracle.

A unique and exciting way to bring a story of faith to your child. Fire Fish by Davy Liu is a book your youngster will cherish for its beauty and the magic of its storytelling. Liu's work with Disney Feature Animation is evident in the stunning illustrations on every page. Just one book in the Invisible Tails series, Fire Fish is certain to become a huge hit with your child.

I eagerly await the next book in this incredible series!

Visit the Fire Fish website for more about the book, its characters, and free downloads.

Title: Fire Fish
Author: Davy Liu
Publisher: Kendu Films Productions
ISBN: 978-0-615-19233-8

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Win a Set of Free Books

In my never ending quest to find great blogs to host our clients, I stumbled upon Book Room's Reviews.

They're running a contest through August 9th where you could win a set of 14 books. Wow! Think of all the time it would take me to read those. If you're interested, check out the details here.

There are ways to increase your chances of winning, so make sure you check it out today!

The Rabbit and The Snowman by Sally O. Lee--Book Review

A charming tale of enduring friendship awaits you and your child in The Rabbit and The Snowman by Sally O. Lee.

One day a group of children walk many miles from their home and travel deep in the forest to a field and build a snowman. The children leave and the snowman waits for their return. But they never come back. Maybe there is something wrong with him. Then one day, a small rabbit bounces over to the snowman and they become friends. Winter turns to spring and the rabbit looks for his snowman friend, but he can't find him. Why would his friend leave? Maybe there is something wrong with him. But when winter returns again to the field, the rabbit finds the snowman waiting to talk to him and their friendship is renewed.

Young children and parents will adore this heartwarming story of everlasting friendship. As with Lee's book, The Cake Thief, young readers learn valuable skills to help them interact with peers: acceptance, how to enjoy the little things in life, and compassion.

Lee's illustrations in The Rabbit and The Snowman bring this story to life. Subtle, soft greens and purples mix with carrot orange and the black of coal to awe your child. My girls couldn't stop talking about how pretty the pictures are.

The one challenge I had was with the text. The selected font made it difficult to distinguish commas from periods and on the colored pages I found the letter "r" hard to identify.

A delightful story that children will enjoy reading time and again, The Rabbit and The Snowman by Sally O. Lee might just become a classic.

Title: The Rabbit and The Snowman
Author: Sally O. Lee
Publisher: BookSurge
ISBN-10: 1-4196-5625-2
ISBN-13: 9781419656255
U.S. Price: $14.99

Read my review of The Cake Thief by Sally O. Lee here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton by Kathleen Willey--Book Review

A book to be read with a critical eye, Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton is a chilling commentary of what might have happened within the Clinton White House and why Hillary Clinton isn't the best candidate for women.

A Democratic activist, Kathleen Willey helped Bill and Hillary Clinton make it into the White House in 1992. When her family got into trouble, she turned to Bill Clinton for help and ended up a victim of assault. Target shares the story of the events leading up to her assault in the Oval Office and how the Clinton machine came after her to insure her silence.

I approached Target with enthusiasm. My interest in politics coupled with what I had already heard about Kathleen Willey made me jump at the chance to review this book.

Willey interviewed several people for Target and included references from other books about the Clintons: David Shippers, Joyce Milton, Dick Morris, Carl Bernstein, Jared Stern, and many others were cited. This thorough research, however, is not enough to make this reader say she enjoyed the book. If the entire account had been as strong and well written as the final chapter, my opinion would have been different. It wasn't, so therefore I cannot get by some of the issues I saw as I read.

The writing is passive with many instances of "was" and "were". In addition, the effectiveness of Willey's arguments are lessened by the qualifier, "I think" through much of the book.

In the Introduction and in the portion of text which discusses the assault in the Oval Office, Willey retells how Clinton's frantic aide is outside the door banging and yelling because Clinton is late for an important meeting. She says, "I realize why they don't come in. They've been told to stay out." (Page 5). Mere assumption, and not the only case.

Willey is not kind to many of the people she came in contact with during her years in the White House, but is appalled at how members of the Clinton machine and the press assault women who they chose to discredit.

* "Ann Stock had no sense of decorum or good taste, which was typical of the Clinton White House." (Page 43)

* "Julie always had frizzy blonde hair that was so big it almost looked like an afro. She had no sense of style or makeup, so she always wore bright purple blush. She looked like Clarabelle." (Page 183)

* Speaking of Linda Tripp - "The press was brutal to her, just brutual...The press made fun of everything, from her hair to her clothes to her nose. Nothing was off limits." (Page 129)

* "...the Clintonistas quickly dispatched each accusation, saying Paula Jones was 'white trash after cash' and making Gennifer Flowers out to be a promiscuous lounge singer." (Page 97)

On Page 58, Willey says she cannot for the life of her remember what she wore the day she was assaulted in the Oval Office, but in the Introduction and on Page 61 she says that Clinton put his hands up her skirt and over her blouse. And on more than one occasion, Willey paints herself as a "quintessential soccer mom", but how many soccer moms work in the White House and are married to a lawyer who is the son of a famous senator?

These criticisms and others not mentioned put the credibilty of portions of Willey's account under scrutiny.

What Willey did exceptionally well is explain why the Clintons should not return to the White House, supporting her opinions with extensive documentation. Here are some excerpts from Chapter 10:

* Speaking of Hillary's presidental campaign - "They don't want us to remember that he is her spouse...who will help make decisions from a nearby desk...If Hillary wins the presidency, we will get them both...Just as he needed her to put out his fires, she needs his influence and his political wisdom. He will be there as her partner, and still, as a predator." (Page 225)

* " Hillary is no feminist, no champion for women, no advocate for women. She is an advocate for one woman: Hillary Clinton." (Page 229)

* "Thanks to the Clintons, leaders like Gloria Steinem and Patricia Ireland lost all credibility on sexual harrassment, sexual abuse, assault, even domestic abuse...the feminists no longer have the authority to address these issues." (Page 237)

Overall, I don't believe Target will persuade anyone to change directions when it comes to the Clintons. Conservative readers will enjoy Willey substantiating what they believe and liberal readers will decry this as a pack of lies. In the end, however, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall in, the questions still remain of what really happened in the Clinton White House.

Title: Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton
Author: Kathleen Willey
Publisher: World Ahead Publishing, Inc.
ISBN-13: 9780974670164
ISBN-10: 0974670162
U.S. Price: $25.95

Monday, July 21, 2008

The President's Parasite and Other Stories by Jim Musgrave

Our guest blogger today is author Jim Musgrave. His short story collection, The President's Parasite is available through CIC Publishing,, and Barnes and Noble.

My Moral Universe and the Impudent Imagination

By Jim Musgrave

My collection of short fiction, The President’s Parasite and Other Stories was written over the course of 15 years, with many of the stories being updated recently in order to improve their depth of emotion. I was asked to write about “taking your beliefs—moral and political—and working them into your fiction and why your beliefs have caused you to write a book of this nature.” Thanks, Cheryl, I needed that!

I used to have this weird idea that nobody would care where the heck I got my ideas or what I thought about in my non-writing, conscious state. That’s right; I’m of the opinion that I am writing at my best when the effort seems “unconscious,” or what the late Dr. Carl Jung called “tapping into the Collective Unconscious.”

So, now, here I am, trying to put into words exactly why I write stories the way I do and what makes me choose the subjects. This may sound strange, but I try not to impose my own moral beliefs on a story. I know, you’re all saying, “That’s impossible! At some level one must know what one believes, and this must inevitably come across in the writing.” Au contraire, I say, because my moral and political beliefs are such that I believe any and all things are possible, and that any artist who attempts to impose his conscious morals upon a work will, ultimately, fail. My philosophical hero, the late absurdist French playwright and novelist, Albert Camus, probably expresses my moral and political (and artistic!) beliefs best when he says, “All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door.” Or, how about this, “Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.” And, finally, the coup de gras, “Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.”

How do these quotes relate to my stories and to my creative force? Let’s take the first one, “All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.” Several of my stories began with an absurd experience—something that happened to me that made me confront the absurdity of existence in the post-modern, deconstructionist world. For example, the title story in my collection, “The President’s Parasite,” happened after I was reading about the life of the tapeworm. I then saw a blurb about the tapeworm being the name they gave the first computer “bug,” back in the old Univac days. Those two absurd combinations of realities led me to think about the G-8, the present President of the United States of America (and other G-8 members), and my satire began to write itself as soon as I took that “cosmic leap” that guys like fellow absurdist artist, Franz Kafka, know so well. I became that tapeworm, trapped inside the President of the United States, George Walker Bush. And, this was no ordinary tapeworm, oh no, not for these times! This tapeworm was bent upon world conquest. How absurd can that be? Karl Marx said the revolution should begin “within,” didn’t he? Ha! What better way to begin a story? Jonathan Swift did it with his “A Modest Proposal” (why don’t we just eat the Irish babies and fix this population problem?). So, Camus’ quote is very prescient, is it not? Another story in my collection that takes from this absurdity quote is “The Lupercian Festival,” which is about a Mi’kmaq Canadian Aborigine on a New Brunswick reservation, who just happens to have been “blessed” with the longest penis in world history. Isn’t that a lot better than waking up and finding out you’re a cockroach?

At any rate, let’s take the second Camus quote, “Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.” I dare say, unless an editor of one of the big publishers out there had been imbibing on the job, neither of these stories would have seen the light of print publication. However, since I am a self-published author, thanks to the miracle of Print-on-Demand (that means the populace still can say when and if they like something), I was able to use my “freedom” to create the art as I saw fit. Without this freedom, in my opinion, art dies with it. Many of my other stories also have socio-political content, so these would have also died on the editing room floor (for their own good, mind you), but Camus’ life’s blood lives on, in my stories, even though my mentor’s body was absurdly wrapped around a telephone pole (inside his publisher’s new sports car!), on that fateful day, which cut him off in the height of his artistic career.

Finally, there is, “Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.” This one, in all actuality, keeps me writing, even though the odds are against us absurdist artists. Jonathan Swift told me that the ones I make fun of in order to change them really will never see themselves in my satire, and I agree. George W. Bush, as a matter of fact, would only be told what my story said, and then only if thousands of readers were reading it and ridiculing him on blogs (since when has George W. read any blog recently?). Are we not already in this “jungle” that Camus mentions? The multi-million dollar “best-sellers” do not make one think about the nature of reality—either as a concept or in an altered, artistic state. Instead, the same old, tired and ignorant consumer traits are pushed upon us: lust, envy, sloth, greed, wrath, gluttony and pride (hey, wait a minute, aren’t those supposed to be sinful?). However, just pick-up a trashy novel (the best kind!) or watch a music video or video game for adults. Those “sins” are right out there, in your face, waiting for you to react and go buy or do something to provoke the economy into “wealth and more wealth.” Please. Read a Nora Roberts novel from beginning to end. Then, look at this list of sins. See what I mean? The difference between the Nora Roberts’s of the world and authentic artists (according to Camus) is the fact that we write with a free conscience. In fact, according to Camus’ mentor, Jean-Paul Sartre, we are all “condemned to be free,” are we not? Even good old Nora.

Although, if the Nora Roberts’s of the world are truly happy with their job, then so be it. I’ll leave you with this quote by Camus on the nature of happiness (I’ve got it memorized for my dark days when blog editors ask me about the nature of my morals), “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” If you read my collection of stories, I think you’ll agree that my characters haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. Have you?

About the book:

In The President's Parasite, Jim Musgrave resurrects all that has gone missing in today's literature: originality. The title story is a Kafkaesque piece from the point-of-view of an intellectual tapeworm trapped inside a moronic president, and the satirical impact is worthy of Swift. The other stories range from a widower trapped inside the Clock Tower in Baghdad that he constructed, to a baseball pitcher who becomes a living vegetable after a batted ball strikes his head. All in all, there is something for everyone in this collection of 30 eye-popping stories from a truly gifted author.

About the Author:

Jim Musgrave is an award-winning writer and college instructor who lives in San Diego, California. He’s published four novels and one collection of short fiction, and his stories have been published in many literary magazines and ezines, including: Shroud Anthology, Beneath the Surface: 13+ Shocking Tales of Terror (recommended for Bram Stoker Award, 2008), Sniplits Audio Short Stories 2 Go, Stone Magazine, and many others.

Visit The President's Parasite website to download a free sampler from the book.

The Dreamstarter Book by Jennifer Karin Sidford--Book Review

Every once in a while I receive a book that stands out because of its uniqueness. Such is the case with The Dreamstarter Book: 50 beginnings for creating adventurous bedtime stories, campfire tales, and dreams by Jennifer Karin Sidford.

How often have your children said, "Mommy, tell me a story."?

Not every parent is a natural storyteller--which is why The Dreamstarter Book is a great book for parents to have on their bookshelf. Included are 50 short story prompts to unlock the creativity within your six- to twelve-year-old and engage her in the storytelling process.

As a mother, Sidford realizes that sometimes a tired parent can't come up with a coherent thought, so pulling out The Dreamstarter Book and reading a story prompt to your youngster will help to get things started. And better than being told a story, this book allows your child to be involved by encouraging her to continue where the prompt left off. This book also includes instructions and ideas on how to use it effectively for anyone who lives, works, or plays with children.

Some of my favorite prompts from this book are:

* The Promise Book (Page 2) where Julia finds a book of empty pages, but when she goes to pick it up the next day the words, "Promise to be a good friend" appear and Julia might need that reminder when she sees some of her good friends picking on another child.

* The Homeless Dragon (Page 11) finds Emily discovering a dragon between the garbage pails behind her uncle's deli. When the dragon suddenly disappears, Emily is afraid for his safety.

* The Pirate Book (Page 23) finds Daniel stuck in the library instead of doing something more fun, while his sister, Ava sits happily reading. When Daniel finds an oversized book titled, The Complete Book of Pirates, he tries to yank it off the bookshelf and opens the door to another world.

An exciting way to unlock your child's imagination awaits in The Dreamstarter Book.

Look for more Dreamstarters and download free game cards at

Title: The Dreamstarter Book
Author: Jennifer Karin Sidford
Publisher: Cold Tree Press
ISBN-13: 978-1-58385-266-8
ISBN-10: 1-58385-266-2
U.S. Price: $12.95

The Dog Walked Down the Street by Sal Glynn--Book Review

How many times have you been told that a book about the craft of writing is a must have? Possibly too many times to count. While I loathe to say this, I certainly must: The Dog Walked Down the Street: An Outspoken Guide for Writers Who Want to Publish should be read by every writer who dreams of seeing his name on a book cover.

Inspiring while keeping you down to earth and motivating while reminding you of the work ahead, The Dog Walked Down the Street is a small book that is big on practical advice. Based on real questions asked by writers, Glynn shares his wealth of experience with the reader in a no nonsense, straightforward, and often times, humorous way.

From proposals to contracts, from first drafts to completed manuscripts, from cover art to galleys, and beyond, Glynn holds nothing back in helping fiction and non-fiction writers create a sellable product.

Some of my favorite portions appear below:

If your inquiry is turned down, this means the novel is not right for that agent. Publishing is entirely subjective and many times predicated on whether the agent or editor had a good night's sleep. Go to the next one on your list. (Page 12)

Keep punctuation to commas and periods. The em dash is supposed to signal an abrupt change in thought. Why not start a new sentence or paragraph? Only Herman Melville is allowed to use the semicolon in fiction. He's dead, by the way. (Page 23)

Of the many dumb saws about writing, "Write what you know" ranks high. Write what you read. Have everything published by Richard Feynman? You're a science geek. Nuts about Patricia Highsmith? Go for mystery. Writers writing what they know leads to long, dull books about personal hygiene, and no one can make flossing interesting. (Page 23)

Focus on the chapter in front of you, not the one ahead or behind. (Page 57)

If you are a writer who is interested in getting published, run, don't walk, to your closest bookstore and buy a copy of The Dog Walked Down the Street by Sal Glynn. Your writing will be better for it.

Title: The Dog Walked Down the Street: An Outspoken Guide for Writers Who Want to Publish
Author: Sal Glynn
Publisher: Cypress House
ISBN-13: 978-1-879384-66-8
U.S. Price: $13.95

Life to the Max by Robin Reynolds--Book Review

Inspiring, heartwarming, and filled with tidbits to help you appreciate and enjoy the world around you, Life to the Max by Robin Reynolds is a delightful read.

Told by Max, an Airedale Terrier who was adopted from the Humane Society, this story shares all that Max taught his family about life. From abandonment to rescue, from friendship and love to aging and loss, this touching tale will bring you smiles and maybe a tear or two, but in the end, you'll cherish every word.

Maxim #1: When bad things happen, worrying won't change anything. Trust you'll get through it. (Page 13)

Maxim #5: Get the most out of life by doing things you enjoy! (Page 27)

Maxim #14: Never miss a chance to tell those closest to you that you love them. (Page 39)

Life to the Max is sure to be a hit with dog lovers and anyone who seeks to be reminded of the joys of life.

Title: Life to the Max: Maxims for a Great Life by a Dog Named Max
Author: Robin Reynolds
Publisher: NICE Creative
ISBN: 978-0-9795294-0-5
U.S. Price: $24.95

The Pink Forest by Dana Dorfman

Dana Dorfman, author of The Pink Forest: A Woman's Intimate Confesssions is my guest blogger today. Dana will share about how and when a woman begins living life.

A woman decides to start living her life when she realizes she is undecided about her feelings. Cupping her ear to the wind, the hands of time seem to comb through her hair and the sounds of her dreams are crashing. Her feelings will frighten her if they go one more second, unanswered. Tick Tock Tick Tock! She covers her ears, but the eternal clock is ticking away in her head. Time cannot be reset. She squeezes out another second and then giving herself a sense of place she slips into her life, unnoticed.

You know it is time to slip into your life when you don't own any old adventures anymore. When it seems as if you are buying into illusion and your life is being lived with the use of mirrors. Knowledge is construed by understanding ourselves in deeper ways and this is done through experience and reflection. Reflection of course is channeled through experience and experience of course, is channeled through reflection. Hence here lies the struggle. It is only when we establish a playful connection with life do we open the door to our authenticity, our dreams.

A woman decides to start living her life when she looks out on the streets of motorists zipping by every day and wonders if anyone is even truly searching for paradise anymore. She begins to translate her existence as obscure and encoded in riddles. She realizes that she staggers in inventiveness and that she is, indeed, dramatically flawed. She realizes that she has become a human being who hardly listens to life. She only feels her feelings in hushed tones. She settles her palms on either side of her face and wonders what does she have to do to make them heat? What does she have to do to feel alive?

Her eyes twinkle! She must tap into the well of optimism. She must step into her dreams of faraway places and cherish her altering mind. She must look at herself searchingly. She must realize that she cannot always keep her feelings in logically hidden places. There is a little manic side to us all and it is lovable! Reinventing one's sensibility is yet another way to start living your life. Anticipation makes us an applauding audience to life. Filled with an intoxicating feeling of flight that cannot be explained, we become conductors of tremendous mystique and in the spirit of determination we start living our life like we have never done so before.

There is always an impulse to free ourselves from daily commitments. There is always a feeling of wanting to take hold of our woozy grab bag of ideas and with burning ambitions set out on an enchanting exploration.

Author's note: A stray breeze can flutter your eyes if you glance in the direction of your smile.

About the book:

In the netted light, a face very recognizable stares out at me. I do my best to look casual. I gaze at her chiseled outline. Her high cheekbones are distinctly familiar. As the figure slowly disappears her delicate shadings pause in a pinkish glow. “You can be absolutely infuriating at times. I cannot take the subject seriously.” She half-smiles and then vanishes in the curls of her breaths.

A woman tries to teach her conscience about love.

The pink forest is her story.

This biography is about a woman who wants to throw a pillow at her conscience for trying to run her life. Set in the vividness of a kiss this courageous feminine read goes far beyond bug-jeweled sandals and striped pumps and applauds an ordinary woman in her super-hero moments.

For every woman who has ever wanted to stop her life and let her conscience hop out at the curb, you will welcome the power you gain in The Pink Forest.

Dorfman writes about the hunted soul. The part of us that we travel through from a distance, the part of us that cannot slip away untold. There are few authors that can catch the soul of a story like Dorfman. Her charm lies not just in her artistry but in the way she leads your presence on to the written page. If you would like the author to unpack the pages of your life visit her at ,, The Lollipop Chronicle and the Here And There Gazette.

About the author:

Dana Dorfman is an author who gravitates to the signs of life. In tune to the emotions surrounding her, she insists she can still see the first star she wished upon. Dorfman was raised as an only child and has been writing since the age of four. She graduated from the University of Southern California and considers herself a "life writer" who is able to tap into the blush of the earth. She resides in Los Angeles with her mystical spirit. You can visit her website at

THE PINK FOREST VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on July 7, 2008 and continue all month long. If you would like to follow Dana's tour in progress, visit in July.

As a special promotional offer, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away one FREE virtual book tour or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky person drawn from the ones who participate by leaving a comment or a question for the author at any of our authors' blog stops. Check the virtual book tour blog to see if you're that lucky person!

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

When I'm With You by LaConnie Taylor-Jones--Book Review

Passionate, heart-warming, and filled with suspense, When I'm With You by LaConnie Taylor-Jones is a must read for romance lovers everywhere.

Born into wealth, Marcel Baptiste lives a life far different than that of Caitlyn Thompson. The director of a struggling youth center, Caitlyn had to leave all she knew to escape a stalker--a man who she once trusted. Now living in Oakland, she does everything to make sure he never finds her again. When Caitlyn applies to Marcel's philanthropic foundation to save the youth center, Marcel is immediately taken with this young woman with the cat eyes. Falling deeply in love, Marcel must find a way to get Caitlyn to trust him, to love him, and to be his forever; but fear of the past gets in the way and Marcel knows he must help Caitlyn vanquish the ghosts of her past if they are ever going to be truly happy.

This fast-paced and entertaining romance is one you will want to read over and over again. It is difficult to believe that this is Taylor-Jones's debut novel. The story is so well done, so gripping, so real that the reader believes that the author must have decades worth of publishing experience under her belt.

Fully developed and complex characters come together in a plot that draws you right in and begs you not to stop reading until you reach the end. A story of learning to love and trust after horrible betrayal and abuse, Taylor-Jones handles these issues with compassion and understanding, no doubt a result of her work in the field of public health. But this is also a story of family and friendships; being able to count on those you love and those who love you.

No wonder this novel won the Romance Slam Jam 2008 Emma Award for debut novel. Romance novels don't get any better than LaConnie Taylor-Jones's When I'm With You!

Title: When I'm With You
Author: LaConnie Taylor-Jones
Publisher: Indigo (an imprint of Genesis Press, Inc.)
ISBN-13: 978-1-58571-250-2
ISBN-10: 1-58571-250-7
U.S. Price: $6.99

Read my interview with LaConnie Taylor-Jones here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Boomer Babes by Maria Grazia Swan

As my guest blogger today, author Maria Grazia Swan talks about the simple life of a Baby Boomer.

The Simple Life of Boomers

Today the trailer for my book, Boomer Babes-True Tales of Love and Lust in The Later Years, went up at YouTube. Guess what? The first e-mail was from a woman; she let me know she found the trailer offensive, she even used the word lewd. Then I got an enthusiastic e-mail from a man, “Great!” He said. Same trailer, same age group. That must be why I tend to hang out more with men.

Still, I couldn’t go a day without chatting with my girlfriends. When I was young, I used to wonder if ‘old’ people still found things to talk about. By old I meant people in their forties. I also used to wonder if the people over forty were still ‘doing it.’ Well now I know the answers to these questions are yes and yes! I don’t know about you, but I’m a lot happier now than I was in my twenties and I seem to get happier by the day. Maybe it is because I spend more time pampering myself, more yoga, more bubble baths, more sitting around reading books, watching movies, all the things I never had time for. And more quality time with friends--male and female—-we cook less, we enjoy our food more, we visit less often, but have more meaningful chats.

Even sex is better, different, in a good way. We know what we like and we don’t hesitate to ask for it. Would you have done that in your twenties? I was eighteen and never been kissed, living in extreme conservative and Catholic Italy. Had not thought about that part of my life in a long time.

Oh, yes, long live the boomers’ life-style.

About the Book:

Looking for some outrageous inspiration to kick start your love life? Or some sizzlingly salacious gossip about the woman who could be your next-door neighbor?

It's no surprise that the generation who burned bras and brought about The Summer of Love continues to redefine the way the world thinks about sex. Long-term lovers or one-night stands, there's nothing these women haven't tried. And now they dish on some of their dirtiest secrets.

Chock full of revolutionary real-life stories, tantalizing celebrity trivia and Cosmo-esque quizzes, Boomer Babes' wisdom can be put to use by women of any age.

About the Author:

Maria Grazia Swan is the winner of a Women's National Book Association award whose matchmaking has brought together a number of happy couples. She's now the go-to source for many online and print relationship guides.

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Goals, Intentions, and Strategies to...Get Noticed by Jill Lublin

Motivational speaker and author Jill Lublin provides an excellent article below. Jill's latest book is Get Noticed...Get Referrals: Build Your Client Base and Your Business by Making a Name for Yourself.

Goals, Intentions, and Strategies to…Get Noticed!

By Jill Lublin

Identify your objectives; know precisely what you want to achieve. When you’re clear about your goals, you can explain them to others. If others understand what you need, they will be better able to help. The clearer you are about your goals the more likely you will be to create a plan that will accomplish them.

Before I attend meetings or events, I set goals. I decide what I would like to accomplish. Since meetings usually have specific agendas, I identify what I would like to achieve. Defining my goals helps me when I finally meet with people; it helps my focus by subconsciously keeping on track.

For events, my goals usually break down into three broad categories. In most cases, I want to either:

1. Meet new people.
2. Deepen existing relationships.
3. Accomplish specific tasks.

Then, I set more specific goals, which I call my intentions. For example, if I go to a two-hour event, one of my intentions will be to meet three new people. If I plan to go to an event where I know a lot of people, my intention may be to deepen my relationships with three people. Frequently, I have a number of intentions. They may be to meet new people, deepen relationships, accomplish specific tasks, or to generate a certain amount of business. In an hour and a half meeting connecting with three people is a realistic goal.

When you set goals to get referrals and build relationships, it’s easy to be diverted. Other opportunities frequently come up that look more promising. I find that I’m more successful when I create a plan, develop a strategy, and stick with it. For example:

• Step 1: Define my targets. Identify who are the most likely people to buy my services.
• Step 2: Select an approach. Send a post card to 50 potential customers informing them about my availability and the wonders my services can provide. I try to link my services to particular events of interest to them.
• Step 3: Set targets. Try to connect with a specific number of people. If I attend an event, I make it my goal to meet and schedule meetings with 5 new prospects to discuss my services.
• Step 4: Follow through. When they show interest, I promptly follow up because as time passes, they may not remember me. If I make and confirm appointments when I am still fresh in their minds, they are usually more responsive.

Creating strategy

When you attend a networking meeting or event, devise a clear strategy .
whatever it is. Know exactly what you want to accomplish and create a plan to see it through.

In devising your strategy:

• Reaffirm your objectives. Identify what you want to achieve in both the short and long term.
• Set financial targets. Decide how much business you hope to generate from each meeting or event. If you don’t make financial projections, you can’t judge whether attending the meeting or event was successful.
• Select your targets. Decide how many people you want to meet and what connections you wish to make. Then identify who they are. What you have in common with them?
• Plan how you will approach them. Practice exactly what you plan to say until you can rattle it off in 10 to 15 seconds. Be direct, clear, and brief.
• Have brochures, handouts, business cards, and other supporting materials to distribute. People are busy. Show concern for their time by giving them your card and materials as asking if you can call them to follow up.
• Be able to expand on your 10 to 15 second opening if asked and to answer all questions.
• Prepare specific questions that you can ask to start conversations. For example, “Why are you here? Is this the first time you have attended? Do you need or know of people who need a strategic business consultant? What other good networking events have you enjoyed?” To get specific referrals, be specific.

During events, look at name tags. Find out what kind of business is he or she in. Would this person be a good connection for you, your customers, clients, or people in your network? Besides looking for yourself, think who could help your customers, clients, and network members. Networking is a reciprocal arrangement: if you help others, they will usually help you. Frequently, you have to start the ball rolling by referring business to them. Usually, when you do it often enough, it pays dividends.

You never know what connections exist, how far people’s networks extend. So if, at an event, you see that someone who is a painting contractor, don’t automatically disqualify her. If you can’t connect directly through her business, you may fit with a member of her network. At an event, I actually met a painting contractor who was involved with an organization that was looking for speakers. We spoke, hit it off, and I was invited to speak to his group. So don’t make too many assumptions.

Jill Lublin is the author of two national best selling books, Guerrilla Publicity (which is considered the PR bible and is used in university marketing courses), and Networking Magic (which went to #1 at Barnes and Noble). She is a renowned strategist and international speaker. As the CEO of the strategic consulting firm, Promising Promotion, Jill has created successful techniques that implement bottom line results. Jill is founder of GoodNews Media, Inc., a company specializing in positive news. She is currently the host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Do the Dream, where she interviews celebrities who have achieved their dreams. Jill has recently been featured in the New York Times, Woman's Day, and Entrepreneur Magazine, as well as on ABC, NBC, CBS radio and TV national affiliates. Get Noticed…Get Referrals, Jill’s third book, was just published by McGraw-Hill.

You can find Jill on the Web at

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Get Noticed...Get Referrals by Jill Lublin--spotlight

Today we welcome motivational speaker and author Jill Lublin. Jill's latest business book is titled Get Noticed...Get Referrals: Build Your Client Base and Your Business by Making a Name for Yourself. This is the first of a two-day stop for Jill at The Book Connection. You'll learn a bit more about Get Noticed...Get Referrals, followed by a short interview. Tomorrow, we'll feature an article by Jill, which will discuss goals, intentions, and strategies to get noticed.

About the book:

In an easy-to-read format, GET NOTICED…GET REFERRALS shows consumers how to carefully cultivate and develop relationships by using the same principles publicists and brand managers use to obtain more attention to their products. The book explains how to create an effective sound bite and memorable introductory. It then coaches readers on how to convey a consistent “brag message” that can be used to produce connections when following up or obtaining a new client.

To continuously build a cliental and referral list to even more clients, entrepreneurs need to get noticed. But many business owners have not mastered the art of showing off their expertise in a way that has people knocking down the doors. Some need to learn how to sell their skills and business and GET NOTICED…GET REFERRALS: Build Your Client Base and Your Business by Making a Name for Yourself (McGraw-Hill; June 2008) by bestselling author and self-promotion expert, Jill Lublin, teaches readers how to do just that.

Additionally, the book goes into detail about how to get started, handling myths and misconceptions, finding the appropriate market to get noticed, focusing on a craft, balancing everything out, being flexible and keeping all options open. GET NOTICED…GET REFERRALS demonstrates the talent needed to make an unforgettable first impression, get more referrals and grow a company to new heights.

About the author:

Jill Lublin is the author of two national bestselling books, GUERRILLA PUBLICITY (which is considered the PR bible and is used in university marketing courses) and NETWORKING MAGIC (which went to #1 on Barnes and Noble). Ms. Lublin is founder of GoodNews Media, Inc., a company that specializes in positive news. She is currently the host of the nationally syndicated radio show, “Do The Dream,” where she interviews celebrities who have achieved their dreams. Ms. Lublin has been featured in the New York Times, Woman’s Day and Entrepreneur Magazine as well as on ABC, NBC, CBS radio and television national affiliates and is creator and host of a new television show called “Messages of Hope”. To learn more about Jill Lublin, visit - and

Author interview:

Q: Why is networking important?

A: Because without it you won’t have any business. The reality is that who knows you and how you’re perceived is essential to creating profitability and connection.

Q: What are some of the most effective forms of networking?

A: Belly to Belly marketing is highly effective. Show up in your local community. Social networking is effective and picking up the phone and making calls to a specific number of people every month is also a great strategy.

Q: Are there things that might be counterproductive to networking?

A: Showing up at events in a bad mood is counterproductive. If you’re going to go out in public, make sure that you put on a happy face.

Q: How can a shy person network?

A: At an event, go to people that are assigned as roles such as ambassadors at chamber of commerce events. The food area is a great place to network because people are more relaxed. Find a friendly face that you feel connected to and ask them to help you.

Q: If you could only provide one piece of advice on networking, what would it be?

A: Make sure you’re consistent with showing up in your community on an ongoing basis. Don’t be a one hit wonder.

Thank you for visiting with Jill today. We invite you to visit her on other days of the tour. For complete details about the tour and her full schedule, visit For full details from Amazon, visit

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Frog in the Well by Irene Tsai--Book Review

A beautifully illustrated retelling of a classic Chinese idiom that teaches children about Chinese culture and language is what you'll find in The Frog in the Well by Irene Tsai.

The frog happily hops into the well and proclaims that he is the smartest frog in the world; after all, he knows everything about the well. But when a sea turtle crawls to the well and tells the frog all about the big, deep, wide and blue ocean, the frog learns a lesson in humility he won't soon forget.

The story of The Frog in the Well comes alive with vivid illustrations from Pattie Caprio. Told in English and translated into Chinese by Joyce Lin, the reader can appreciate the culture and language of China while learning a valuable life lesson. The Note to Readers and Word List compliment the story and help readers to understand what they find within this 36-page picture book.

With adorable creatures whose personalities shine through from the very start, The Frog in the Well is sure to entertain and educate your young reader.

Title: The Frog in the Well
Author: Irene Tsai
Publisher: CE Bilingual Books LLC
ISBN-10: 0980130514
ISBN-13: 9780980130515
U.S. Price: $14.95

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Mayra Calvani & Anne K. Edwwards--Book Review

Informational and insightful, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is an excellent resource for aspiring, novice, and experienced book reviewers everywhere.

But it is so much more!

Broken down into three parts--The Art of Reviewing, The Influence of Book Reviews, and Resources--this book takes the reader through every aspect of book reviews. From how to write an objective review--positive or negative--to how to start your own book review site; from authors' opinions on how reviews impact sales to how reviews are utilized by libraries, bookstores, and book clubs; from where to get started posting reviews to lists of genre specific review sites, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing has it all.

Whether you are a reviewer, author or publicist, the information found within this book's 180 pages is destined to improve your knowledge of book reviews and book review sites, and improve your working relationship with other members of the publishing industry.

How? By giving you the tools and the insight into what book reviewing is all about and what reviews mean to the authors and publicists who seek them.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

The Five Keys to Being a Good Reviewer
Reading Critically
The Absolute Dont's (or Signs of an Amateur)
Is There Any Money in It?
How to Start Your Own Book Review Site
Dealing with Review Editors, Authors, Publishers and Publicists

Readers will discover the difference between a review, a book report, a critique, and a press release. They'll find out how facile praise or harsh negativity affects the reputation of a book reviewer and read all about the reviewers versus bloggers controversy.

Filled with sample reviews, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing can help readers draft stronger, more objective reviews for genre fiction, literary works, and non-fiction, and explores the interesting animal known as the article-review.

The last section of this book includes links and information for sites where aspiring reviewers can begin posting reviews; top print review publications, small print publications, print publications that pay for reviews, and general and genre specific online review sites and publications. The Appendix also includes a sample press release.

As always, Calvani's attention to detail provides the reader with an easy understanding of the topic matter. While this is the first collaboration with Anne K. Edwards that I have read, I will certainly be seeking out more of Edwards' work as a result of the clarity and perfect structure of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. Calvani is a multi-genre author, reviewer, and editor and Edwards is a mystery author and editor of Voice in the Dark, a free monthly ezine featuring author interviews, columns, articles, short fiction, and resources for authors and readers.

I would highly recommend The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing to anyone with an interest in book reviews and their impact on the publishing industry.

Title: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
Authors: Marya Calvani and Anne K. Edwards
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
ISBN-13: 978-1-933353-22-7
ISBN-10: 1-933353-22-8
U.S. Price $16.95

Look for my reviews of fictional work by Mayra Calvani here and here. My October 2007 interview with Calvani appears here.

You'll find a group of interviews with book review professionals performed by Mayra Calvani at

Friday, July 11, 2008

Regency Romance by Hazel Statham

In honor of Regency Romance author Hazel Statham's third virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion, The Book Connection is featuring a spotlight on Hazel's work. Hazel's latest novel is His Shadowed Heart, which is available at Wings ePress,, and

My Dearest Friend

Devastated by the death of his younger brother, Stefan, in the Peninsular War, Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, is wracked with guilt and grief, believing himself responsible for his death as he had purchased his commission.

He is approached by Jane Chandler, the sister of a fellow officer of Stefan’s, to help hire a craft to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal. Without Jane’s knowledge, he decides to take a hand in the young soldier’s deliverance and together they embark on the hazardous journey.

However, the journey holds more revelations than they anticipate, not least of all, the growing love between the two travelers. When they return to England however, the perfect life they had envisioned is rudely interrupted when events take an unexpected turn and their love is put severely to the test when the tenant of Jane’s former home invades their life.

It is a story of deliverance, retribution, misunderstandings and love.

Author's reflections:

The idea for My Dearest Friend came from a dream. I had written the beginning several years ago and put it aside, but when I had to finish working through ill health, I thought it was time to take another look at it. All the old enthusiasm for Robert and Jane’s story came back to me and I couldn’t wait to begin working on it again.

Even though I had mapped the story out, and knew exactly where I wanted it to go, on several occasions, my characters decided to add yet another aspect. For me, writing a novel is like watching a play unfold or eavesdropping on my characters’ conversations, and frequently, I find words coming out of their mouths that I never expected. Stefan’s illegitimate daughter came as quite a surprise to me. The sergeant took me quite by surprise when he marched in and announced it. I loved writing this book and was quite sorry when it reached its natural conclusion.

Read an excerpt from My Dearest Friend here.

Available at Wings ePress,, and Fictionwise.


London, 1775

Dominic Blake, Earl of Vale, is a young man of privilege and breeding whose world is turned upside down by Jack, a beautiful young girl in boy’s clothing whom he finds sheltering on his doorstep after fleeing an attack by her brother.

Despite leaving his protection, Jack is once more destined to enter Dominic’s life when, injured in a horse race, Dominic is forced to rusticate to his father’s estate and again meets Jack in her boyish guise. In turn, she becomes his pupil and his love.

Despite danger and misunderstandings, this is the story of their unconventional and delightful courtship.

Author's reflections:

Although Dominic is the story of Robert’s father, I wrote it after completing My Dearest Friend. So loath was I to leave the family that I decided to write about the previous Duke of Lear. Dominic, then the Earl of Vale just strode onto the scene and told his own story – I just went along for the ride. He was a fun character to write and frequently made me smile.

Despite being a man of his time, Dominic is charming and very hard to resist, as Sophie found out quite early in their acquaintance and this is the story of their unconventional and delightful courtship.

Although the story is set in England, I wrote a fair piece of it whilst on holiday in Orlando. The wind and rain raged and the trees outside our hotel window were horizontal, I wrote and my husband slept and it was one of the best holidays we have ever had.

Read and excerpt of Dominic here.

Available at Wings ePress,, and

And Hazel's latest novel...

His Shadowed Heart

Can a shadowed heart revive? After the death of his first wife, the Earl of Waverly, believing his heart irreparably damaged, enters into a marriage of convenience.

Amidst conspiracy, can Caroline, his young wife, prove his salvation and bring joy into his life or will nefarious deeds and ghostly happenings destroy their chance of happiness? Only time will tell if their love is strong enough to stand the test.

Author's reflections:

I began thinking of the plot line for His Shadowed Heart as I neared the conclusion of Dominic. I don’t know what sparked the thought but I began thinking of this nobleman who was devastated after his wife’s death. The thought started with a central but pivotal scene and grew outward. I had to make sure that I understood the earl’s reasons for remaining unwed before attempting to tell his story.

Not only does the Earl of Waverley have to deal with his shattered emotions but there is a dual aspect to the story where nefarious and strange happenings invade his life and he wonders if his torment will ever ease. Despite his determination to remain unwed, in Caroline, he finds his perfect mate and together they face the haunting memories of his past.

Read an excerpt of His Shadowed Heart here.

Now available at Wings ePress,, and

The HIS SHADOWED HEART VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on July 7, 2008 and continue all month long. You can visit Hazel's tour stops at in July!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to someone not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. One winner for each author will be announced on the virtual book tour blog on July 31!

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beneath a Buried House Character Profile by Bob Avey

It's another fine day here at The Book Connection and today you'll find out about another great read. Beneath a Buried House is a mystery novel featuring Tulsa Police Detective Kenny Elliot.

About the Book:

Things aren't always what they seem. A police detective's quest to uncover the truth behind the death of a transient makes him a target…from whom or what, he isn't sure.

Tulsa Police Detective, Kenny Elliot, brushes the dirt from the surface of an apparent John Doe overdose case, finding a labyrinth of misdirection and deception beneath, and a trail, which leads him to the dark side of religion, a place where anything can happen.

A man is found dead in a rundown Tulsa apartment building. Elliot identifies the victim as Jim Llewellyn, a writer who'd come to Tulsa to cover a story surrounding the disappearance of the Stone Family, a husband, wife and two children from Donegal, Oklahoma, a small town caught in the grip of two opposing factions – The Church of the Divine Revelation, and a shadowy pagan group known as The Brotherhood.

Along the way, Elliot meets the beautiful but troubled Cyndi Bannister. She, too, has had bad luck with relationships and is unsure if she's ready to try again. A heated but elusive romance erupts between the two, culminating in a marriage proposal offered by Elliot.

As Elliot investigates the case, the trouble begins. He finds a large pentagram scratched onto the hood of his car, and a threatening message appears in his email. But these events are merely a prelude of what's to come: Each time Elliot learns of someone who might know something, they end up dead before he can question them.

Drawing on his strength of character, and sense of right and wrong, Elliot wrestles with deep personal feelings to solve the case.

You'll find my review of Beneath a Buried House here.

After reading this second novel in the Detective Kenny Elliot series, I wanted to know more about Kenny, and asked Bob to come up with a profile of the detective with the knack for solving unusual cases. Here's what Bob came up with:

History of Detective Kenny Elliot
The main character in Beneath a Buried House
By Bob Avey

Kenny Elliot was born in 1980 in a run down shack located in the small town of Porter, Oklahoma. His mother, Kathryn Elizabeth, who went by the name of Lizzy, engaged in prostitution, which supplied the family with some money, though most of what she earned went to supply her drug habit. When Elliot was nine years old, his mother died of an overdose of heroine. After that, Elliot became a ward of the state. However, due to the efforts of Charlie Johnson, Porter’s Chief of Police, Elliot managed to stay in Porter, being raised by various foster families living in the area.

Elliot didn’t cope well in the beginning, getting into fights with the other kids in town, and later getting into some minor trouble with the law. Charlie Johnson always seemed to be there to keep him out of jail. Later, however, in his junior high years, Elliot met his girlfriend, Carmen Garcia. With Carmen’s urging, Elliot talked with coach Barney Simms who, seeing the potential, convinced Elliot to join the football team. Under the influence of Carmen, and with the guidance and leadership of Coach Simms, Elliot began to straighten himself out.

But it seemed Elliot was destined for trouble. During his senior year in high school, two of his friends, Marcia Barnes and Johnathan Alexander, were found dead in a car outside of town. Due to recent tension between Elliot and Johnathan Alexander, most of the town suspected Elliot of the crimes. But again Charlie Johnson came to his rescue. With the aid of Coach Simms, he secured a football scholarship for Elliot at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Johnson then convinced Elliot that leaving Porter was the only option.

While living in Stillwater, Elliot tried numerous times to contact Carmen Garcia. But Carmen’s parents, thinking it wise under the circumstances, changed the phone number, and later intercepted Elliot’s letters. Elliot didn’t give up easily. When the phone calls and letters to Carmen proved unsuccessful, Elliot called the only person in Porter he felt he could trust, his friend Nick Brazleton. However, Nick, having feelings for Carmen as well, lied to Elliot, telling him that Carmen was through with him and didn’t want to see him or hear from him again. Elliot was crushed, but figured Carmen was right. He was bad news and she was better off without him.

While attending school at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Elliot became interested in criminology. He took several related courses and, after graduating, secured a job with the Tulsa Police Department where he now works. Not long after becoming a detective, Elliot demonstrated an uncanny talent for solving unusual cases. He possesses a near premonitory ability to see through the clutter and hone in on the important elements of a case. No one was more surprised by this development than Elliot himself, and he keeps a low profile about it, and downplays it whenever confronted.

You can find out more about the Detective Kenny Elliot series at Bob Avey's website. Beneath a Buried House is available at and

The BENEATH A BURIED HOUSE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on July 7, 2008 and continue all month long.

As a special promotion for all our authors on tour, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to someone not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. One lucky winner per author will be announced on the virtual book tour blog on July 31!

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Questory of Root Karbunkulus by Kamilla Reid

I don't get a chance to spotlight fantasy authors very often. It's not a concious choice; I just don't happen to run in circles with fantasy authors because it's never been a genre I've read much or desired to write in.

But when I went out to Kamilla Reid's website, I thought, "This is cool!" So you know I had to investigate. Kamilla's site is impressive. The color scheme and graphics are stunning and the home page has links to the book's (The Questory of Root Karbunklus) blog, the book's video trailer, and MySpace page. You can find out everything you need to know about Kamilla, the book, signings and other news. And most importantly, there's a link to purchase the book from So, if you're an author looking to create a fabulous website, you might want to check out Kamilla's for ideas.

Now about the book, the most intimidating aspect of fantasy for me is the creation of worlds and creatures very different from our own. I asked Kamilla to tell us about one of the beasts from The Questory of Root Karbunkulus. She did a fabulous job! Make sure you read on to find out how you could win a free copy of The Questory of Root Karbunkulus.

Without further ado, here is Kamilla Reid:

Hi there!

My name’s Kamilla Reid and I’m the author of a teen fantasy series called “The Questory of Root Karbunkulus”. I’m here to talk about one of the creatures in my story. But first let me give you a brief idea of what the book’s about:

Young Root Karbunkulus gets an invitation to participate in 'the coolest scavenger hunt of all time'! Finally, her chance! She can escape the Aunts and prove once and for all there’s no stinkin’ “L” on her forehead! So what if she's up against hundreds of other kids. It can’t be worse than murder ball. The rules say teams of three. Okay, okay her appointed team mates, Lian and Dwyn are screws-in-the-temples annoying...but livable...and really no worse than Goatface Kor or Hilly Punyun who, forget the panties, has a tiara for each day of the week. More rules: Can't use magic on competitors. Doh! Oh well, at this point her magic is of the non-existent variety anyhow so…next! The first item up for grabs is the Miist of Kalliope, apparently some dead magician's elixir. No prob. But wait. Out of hundreds of teams, there are only six of these Miists to be found? Leaving only six teams left to go after the next item? Then five, four, three, two…woah...this could get ugly....hmmm...compete and win...or go back to exfoliating those hard, crusted entities called Auntie Octavia's feet?

Root Karbunkulus accepts the invitation. It will be a race of many, many hated things. But it will also be a contest of courage, friendship and the rising of soul. Within it Root will learn the terrifying truth behind the mysterious items. She will also discover, to her horror that she is not a player in an innocent kid’s race but a pawn in a vicious adult game.

So as Root and her teammates, Lian and Dwyn set off on their race to find the Miist of Kalliope, they arrive at the Deathyard in the Black Hills and end up chatting with a bunch of headstones. Before they know it, the sun has hotfooted it behind the mountains and night has snuck in one of its not very nice inhabitants, the Beast of Naskaw.

Root grabbed Lian’s arm and turned to ‘forget the whole thing’ but crashed instead head on into holy terror. The monster had been watching for sometime; its leer was frothed in saliva. The malignant eyes licked with bloody intent. Darkness, its very core, disgorged from this beast like steam.

Running was futile.

Root squeezed Lian’s hand and awaited the inevitable.

A whistle split the air and in fractions the black eyes were gone. Root’s ears trailed the beast to a small figure behind them barely lit in the bleak glare of a newly established moon.

“It’s Dwyn!” she shouted.

Lian swung the travel pack from his shoulders and frantically dug in. He pulled out a long tube. It was some sort of algae he’d found along the ocean. He closed his eyes, mouthed a few words then banged it down hard on a stone three, then one, then two times. Instantly the tube emitted a powerfully bright kaleidoscopic light from its end. He scanned it across the black until it captured the site. Root screamed.
A demon titan-ed over Dwyn who was scrambling on the ground. The beast’s back hunched. Its hairless black hide glinted with a mesh of silver scarring. The long tail suddenly swung around to reveal a serpent’s head at its end. The snake thrust at Dwyn barely missing him. The monster roared and prepared for a final, deadly strike.

After a narrow escape the headstones direct the team to the Deathyard Keepers, but not before the serpentine tail of the black beast strikes sinking its baneful fangs deep into Root’s back. Lian and Dwyn manage to get her to the Keepers in time but it will be several days before she is fully recovered. During their stay they learn more about the Keepers, Martika and Alabiss who watch over the Deathyard, taking on both physical and ghostly form as needed. They also learn about the Beasts of Naskaw; how they were created to kill kids and can sense them from across an entire forest, which is probably what this one had done. When the kids ask who would do such a thing, they are merely told that the beasts “were created by evil in evil times.”

When the Beast strikes again the Keepers and an army of Eidolon (the ghosts of the headstones) give chase but part of the beast’s magic is being trackless, making it very difficult to capture. When they do eventually find the beast, to their surprise, it is dead!

Alabiss, now in solid form picked up a long stick.

“Stand back,” he cautioned and carefully opened the Beast’s mouth. A putrid steam seeped out with its long, black tongue.

“It’s gone,” noted Martika.

Alabiss explained her observation. “See its tongue? See the round hollow in its center?”

The kids inspected and confirmed the deep crater that sat in the middle of the Beast’s tongue.

“Normally in that hole, fastened by a fleshy sort of netting sits a Black Pearl. And whosoever takes the life of a Beast of Naskaw inherits that Black Pearl, which grants to them as many lives as the Beast took.”

“So, whoever killed the beast now has more than one life?” Root asked for everyone.
“Indeed,” Alabiss nodded somberly, “if this Beast was as tenacious as I think it was, then I think its killer shall live for a very long time.”

So, there you have it, Beast of Naskaw 101. There are actually quite a few cool and strange and freaky creatures in “The Questory”, all of which are described on the book’s website. Readers can also check out the award winning book trailer there or pick up a copy of the book or just send me an email. I love getting emails and always get back to them all, usually via my blog.

For a chance to win a free copy of The Questory of Root Karbunkulus leave a comment on this blog between July 9th and July 11th. A winner will be chosen at random from everyone who comments during that time.

THE QUESTORY OF ROOT KARBUNKULUS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on July 7, 2008 and continue all month long. You can visit Kamilla's tour stops at in July!

As a special promotion for all our authors on tour, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. One lucky winner per author will be announced at the virtual book tour blog on July 31!

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Organic for Health by Sandy Powers

How many times has your New Year's resolution included maintaining a healthier lifestyle? I put that in every year and a month shy of 40 I'm still a junk food junkie.

When I heard about Sandy Powers's new book Organic for Health my interest was more than piqued. I've tried growing my own vegetables--which is time consuming--and I've also bought organic vegetables from the grocery store. I figured organic foods are better for me, but I didn't really know why it is so important to choose organic foods over non-organic ones.

I asked Sandy to give us three advantages of eating organic foods. Here's what she had to say:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has mandated that no organic food can contain added hormones, antibiotics, synthetic pesticides, irradiated components, genetically modified organisms, or reprocessed sewage. No such mandate exists for conventionally grown food, which is most of the food sold in grocery stores.

1. Hormones and antibiotics: Dairy farmers inject hormones into cows to increase production of milk. This increase milk production requires frequent milking which, in turn, causes udder irritation and infections. Antibiotics are given to combat the infections. Unfortunately, the infections don't always clear up so the government permits a certain amount of pus to remain in conventional milk. Residue hormones in our food are believed to be one of the causes of early puberty in girls, a decrease of semen in boys, and a link to breast cancer. Residue antibiotics in our food are beginning to cause our immunity to the antibiotics that fight disease. Organic milk has no added hormones or antibiotics.

2. Pesticides: Most of our food crops today are grown by large agricultural businesses that employ the practices of intensive farming to increase yields. The overuse of pesticides to achieve these yields have resulted in pesticide-resistant insects. More pesticides are needed to combat the insects that threaten the crops. This results in our fruits and vegetables absorbing harmful amounts of toxic pesticides that are linked to Parkinson’s disease, brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia. Organic fruits and vegetables cannot be grown with these toxic synthetic pesticides.

3. Additives: Many additives, such as preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavorings and colorings, MSG, hydrogenated fat, and phosphoric acid, are prohibited in the production of organic food. Studies are confirming that the use of these additives in conventionally produced foods can worsen hyperactivity and illnesses, like asthma, in children.

After reading this, I wondered if I would ever be able to eat non-organic foods again.

More about the Book:

Organic for Health will convince you to avoid conventionally grown foods laden with the biggest offenders, and more importantly, to fill your body with the clean, potent vitamins and minerals in organic foods that truly honor your health.

"Sandy Powers has created the type of book that will change lives. She approaches the subject matter from a basic, introductory standpoint. This allows any reader to ease into the idea of major dietary changes, progressing at a comfortable pace. If there was any doubt the US government allows profit to prevail over general well-being, Organic for Health will eliminate that doubt."

--Front Street Reviews

"Genetically-altered additives, pesticides, antibiotics, and reprocessed sewage - and that's just breakfast! "Organic for Health" will convince even the most indifferent eater that organic foods are the way to optimal wellbeing."


About Sandy Powers:

A breast cancer survivor who battled liver disease, Sandy Powers turned to organic foods to heal her liver and fight cancer recurrence. She and her husband live in Englewood, Florida, where they enjoy chasing after their grandsons.

You can visit her website at

ORGANIC FOR HEALTH VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on July 7, 2008 and continue all month long. You can visit Sandy's tour stops at in July!

As a special promotion for all our authors on tour, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comment on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they come available. One lucky winner per author will be announced on this blog on July 31!

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by: