Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Patriot Acts by Steven Clark Bradley--Book Review

Hidden away in an Alaskan prison, serving time for a crime he never committed, Colonel Fisher Harrison thinks of revenge. His government forsake him and his Special Ops buddies and no one was meant to survive. If Fisher gets out of that hellish place, the man who put him there is going to pay.

But that man is now President of the United States and seemingly untouchable; until the Islamic Republic of Iran and radical American militia groups join forces, and President Christopher Tate knows that Colonel Harrison is the only man who can stop a planned covert nuclear attack. Will Fisher help the government who forsake him? And if he does, will he make it out alive?

Patriot Acts by Steven Clark Bradley is an intense, fast-paced modern day thriller that leaves you clinging to the edge of your seat. Bradley's wealth of experience comes alive in this story of a covert nuclear attack planned by two deadly forces. Having traveled to thirty-four countries and having been a freelance journalist in Iraq, Israel and Turkey, Bradley creates a realistic and scary portrait of potential terrorism issues home and abroad.

Strong and complex characters fill this novel. From Fisher Harrison to Christopher Tate, from radical militia leader Len Garret to Jamie O'Rourke, the President's Chief of Staff, every player is alternately sympathetic and despicable, likable and easily hated. Bradley has done an excellent job of creating multi-faceted characters whose actions move this story along at a fast clip.

That said, the overuse of the exclamation point in the dialogue rendered its effect useless, and a good editor may have helped making some of the transitions easier. Since this book travels back and forth in time, the choppy transitions occasionally left this reader with a moment of confusion until she figured out the character was recalling past events.

Patriot Acts by Steven Clark Bradley will be a hit with military fiction fans, lovers of fast-paced thrillers, and anyone interested in the War on Terror. This is definitely a book worth checking out.

Title: Patriot Acts
Author: Steven Clark Bradley
Publisher: Cambridge Books
ISBN-10: 1-59431-693-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-59431-693-7
SRP: $17.95 (U.S.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

T.E. Scott Uncovers Why Wall Street is The Losing Game


Join author T.E. Scott as he travels the blogosphere in April 2009 with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on his first virtual book tour to discuss his business/personal finance book, The Losing Game: Why You Can’t Beat Wall Street.

T.E. Scott exposes the stock market and commodity markets for what they really are --- brilliantly marketed rip-offs. The Losing Game simplifies a very complex system that Wall Street has designed to separate the masses from their money without accountability or prosecution. As a result of this design, they have tricked us into believing that the stock market and commodity markets are something they are not.

Wall Street is fleecing millions of Americans every day with brokerage houses, Congress and the media as willing accomplices. With their help, the American public is fooled into thinking that investing is safe and convinced that, if they’re smart and listen to the right people, they can accumulate wealth quickly. And when we fail, our tax money bails them out.

Praise for The Losing Game

Easy, yet informative read, and combines a little bit of humor with some eye opening data and ideas. I would recommend this book for those with any bit of interest in the stock market. — The Wild Investor.com

T.E. Scott founded and spent twenty-five years as CEO of Scott Pet Products,(scottpet.com) building the enterprise into a multimillion-dollar company in Rockville, Indiana. Before starting that business, Scott spent thirty-two years working as a baggage handler for Eastern Airlines. When he lost most of his pension after the company went bankrupt in the 1980s, Scott started on the road to exposing the true nature of Wall Street. Scott is retired and resides in Veedersburg, Indiana.

You can visit the author online at www.thelosinggame.com

“T.E. Scott has written a timely and thought-provoking book,” says Cheryl Malandrinos, Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations. “I can see many water cooler discussions over The Losing Game.”

If you would like to follow T.E. Scott on his virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

T.E. Scott’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

Let Lloyd Watts Help You Master The Flow of Time and Money


Join author Lloyd Watts as he travels the blogosphere in April 2009 with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on his first virtual book tour to discuss the simple, proven techniques found in his self-help/personal finance book, The Flow of Time and Money.

The Flow of Time and Money is a groundbreaking new book that will help you master the relationship between your time and money. Using simple, proven techniques and easy-to-understand diagrams, Dr. Lloyd Watts shows you how to take control of your income, expenses and time commitments in order to achieve wealth and personal fulfillment.

Praise for The Flow of Time and Money

Lloyd Watts will help you make a plan to achieve financial independence and have a fulfilling life… this is a must read if you are interested in beating the rat race and want to have a fuller and more prosperous life. — Sidarta Tanu

Practical, concrete advice on taking control of your financial future. Don't miss out on this one! — Susan Minahan

Lloyd Watts was born in London, England. He earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, studying with Silicon Valley pioneer Carver Mead. In 2000, he founded Audience, Inc., a venture-capital funded startup that builds advanced noise reduction chips for cell-phones. Dr. Watts is the author of 5 patents and many technical papers. He is an accomplished photographer, painter, musician, former hang glider pilot, and proud father of two lovely daughters. He lives in Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

You can find Dr. Watts online at http://flowoftimeandmoney.com/.

“Dr. Watts has written a timely book,” says Cheryl Malandrinos, Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations. “I can see his book being helpful to many people.”

If you would like to follow Dr. Watts on his virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Dr. Watts’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

Uncover the Mystery in Cabal of the Westford Knight by David S. Brody


Join Boston Globe bestselling author David S. Brody as he travels the blogosphere in April 2009 with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on his first virtual book tour to talk about his latest suspense/thriller novel, Cabal of the Westford Knight.

While trying to help an elderly couple save their home, attorney Cameron Thorne is thrust into a bloody tug-of-war involving secret societies, treasure hunters and keepers of the secrets of the Jesus bloodline. Joined by Amanda, a beautiful British researcher with secrets of her own, Cam races around New England with only two choices, unravel the 600-year-old mysteries encoded in the ancient Templar artifacts or die trying.

Praise for Cabal of the Westford Knight

An excellent historical conspiracy thriller. It builds on its most famous predecessor, The Da Vinci Code, and takes it one step farther—and across the Atlantic. — Mysterious Reviews

A comparison to The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure is inevitable….The story rips the reader into a fast-paced adventure. —Fresh Fiction

Intrigue abounds in this wonderfully written mystery. — Armchair Reviews

David S. Brody is a Boston Globe bestselling author named “Best Local Author” by the Boston Phoenix newspaper. He is a Director at Large of the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA). A real estate attorney, he resides in Westford, Massachusetts with his wife, novelist Kimberly Scott, and their two daughters. He coaches youth sports and Special Olympics and plays in adult hockey and softball leagues.

You can visit David online at www.davidbrodybooks.com and http://westfordknight.blogspot.com/.

“I was thrilled to hear that David was touring with us,” says Cheryl Malandrinos, Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations. “Cabal of the Westford Knight is a book you won’t want to put down.”

If you would like to follow David on his virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

David’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

New Book by Chet Galaksa Shows You How to Find Faith in a Skeptical World


Join author Chet Galaska as he travels the blogosphere in April 2009 with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on his first virtual book tour to discuss the issues in his new Christian nonfiction book, Finding Faith in a Skeptical World.

Chet Galaska was an atheist who became a Christian in his early fifties. It took several years of learning about the faith for him to shed his skepticism and become a believer.

Finding Faith in a Skeptical World covers subjects that once stood between him and faith. As he searched, he found that his skepticism was based on shallow perceptions he’d accepted at face value. One by one, troublesome issues were explained and they became reasons for belief instead of doubt. Eventually, the evidence for faith far outweighed the arguments for disbelief, and the case for faith became overwhelming.

Some chapters deal with matters of faith such as prayer, redemption, salvation and sin. Others address issues like Christian hypocrisy, why bad things happen, miracles, Satan and the Christian view of war. Some are about the seemingly contradictory relationship between science and religion that are discussed in chapters on scientific perception, creation and evolution. Other subjects like the sometimes violent and cruel history of Christianity, “Born Agains” and the Christian view of the Jewish people don’t fit neatly into any category. The common denominator is that each addresses an issue that can be misunderstood and create a distorted, negative view of the faith.

The book was written with the intent of providing brief shortcuts for curious unbelievers, those seeking faith, those new to it, and for Christians who may not be familiar with some of the ideas covered.

Praise for “Finding Faith in a Skeptical World”…

Finding Faith in a Skeptical World is one of the most practical, refreshing reads I’ve come across in a long time…down-to-earth but not condescending…I, for one, plan to give copies to my non-Christian friends… — Kathi Macias, Award-winning author of more than 20 books, including the best-selling devotional A Moment a Day

Every honest skeptic owes it to himself or herself to read Chet Galaska's Finding Faith in a Skeptical World, a critical component in charting an honest journey toward truth. - Daryl E. Witmer, Christian apologist and executive director of the AIIA Institute, Monson, Maine

Chet Galaska graduated from the University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He co-founded a company that grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise and was its President for 24 years. He also served as Chairman of the New England Chapter of the American Foundry Society. In 2003 he sold his interest in the company and now invests in real estate. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Massachusetts. They have two grown sons, Jon and Drew.

You can find Chet online at http://findingfaith.us/.

“Having read Chet’s book, I am proud to represent it,” says Cheryl Malandrinos, Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations. “I’m honored to have the chance to help him spread the word about it.”

If you would like to follow Chet Galaska on his virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Chet Galaska’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com/.

Keoni’s Big Question by Patti B. Ogden Shares Christian Message with Children


Join Christian children’s author Patti B. Ogden as she travels the blogosphere during the month of April with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on her first virtual book tour. Patti’s debut children’s picture book, Keoni’s Big Question, was recently released by Capstone Productions.

Keoni’s Big Question is the story of a boy who seeks answers about God’s presence in everyday life and finds his friend held the key to his revelation all along. This gripping tale follows a pair of dear friends on a fishing trip that turns dangerous, then miraculous, and leaves Keoni with more answers then he ever dreamed possible!

Praise for Keoni’s Big Question:

If you are searching for an enjoyable and meaningful way to share a Christian message with your child, then pick up “Keoni's Big Question” today. — The Book Connection

"Keoni's Big Question" is the first in Ogden's new MessageKids series of faith-based picture books for children…Based upon the first installment the series has great promise, filled with relevant and necessary spiritual lessons and fulfilling illustrations. — Jennifer Bogart

As an enthusiastic Sunday school teacher, there was only one thing Patti Ogden did not enjoy about the teaching experience; too often, her lessons would end with the children not grasping the concepts that they were intended to teach. With a genuine heartfelt desire to reach children’s soul realm, she unleashed her God-given creativity and began to break down her lessons into simple terms – added excitement and drama - and suddenly she saw the "lights go on!" Soon the kids were asking questions and wanting to know more!

With a background in journalism and a sincere burden to help kids seek their own spiritual growth, she is now the author of Keoni’s Big Question and two other Christian children's books due to be released in 2009.

She was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Patti is a devoted wife to her husband Jeff, of 35 years, mother of two and grandmother to five darlings that fill her life with joy. She and her husband Jeff enjoy life on their eleven acre hobby farm in Oregon, Illinois.

You can visit Patti online at www.capstone-productions.com.

“Patti has written a wonderful book,” says Cheryl Malandrinos, Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations. “The overwhelming interest in her virtual book tour and in “Keoni’s Big Question” is well deserved.”

If you would like to follow Patti on her virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Patti’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Giving Up--Cheryl Malandrinos Style

In case you're wondering what happened to this month's National Blog Posting Month--life happened. I am in the midst of revising my first children's picture book manuscript that is under consideration; I am writing the Vacation Bible School program for church; an article is due to my editor at Writer2Writer next week, and I am working on three books with my daughter's preschool for their upcoming art show on April 9th. Oh, did I mention that I have five virtual book tours that start on April 1st?

All my blogs have suffered this last week. I apologize if you wandered out here and didn't find a daily post; but April is coming soon and hopefully after the first week of the month I'll be able to get back into the swing of things.

Speaking of the first week of April, we have great stuff planned. T.E. Scott, author of The Losing Game: Why You Can't Beat Wall Street is our guest blogger on April 1st, followed by our participation in the Dan Fogelberg Retrospective CD virtual tour on April 2nd.

If you haven't checked out my review of Finding Faith in a Skeptical World by Chet Galaska, you'll find it here. Chet and many other authors will be touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion in April to discuss their books. Check out http://www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/ to see the entire list of April Authors on Tour.

Thanks for stopping by. I won't be posting over the weekend, so see you Monday!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March Special Feature - Giving Up, Little House Style

Some of my Little House friends are rereading the Little House books in order. These beloved children's stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder have been my favorites for years--though I admit they did not interest me as much when I was a child as they do now.

We are currently reading and discussing On the Banks of Plum Creek, the fourth in the series. The most recent dicussion centers around Chapter 12 - Christmas Horses. In this chapter, Ma talks to Laura and Mary about what Pa wants for Christmas - a set of horses to help him harrow and harvest the wheat. The girls want things too, but horses aren't on their lists.

But after talking with Ma about Santa Claus and being unselfish, the girls soberly agree that they will ask Santa for horses. And in the next chapter they are pleasantly surprised to find that while Santa Claus did bring horses, he also managed to bring a few treats for Laura, Mary, and their baby sister Carrie; so the girls have a wonderful Christmas after all.

It is this type of sacrifice for the good of the family that endears the Little House books to generations of fans. The way in which the Ingalls family always ends up pulling together and helping one another is inspiring and makes you want to have that type of family too.

When the classic televison series Little House on the Prairie aired in the 70's and early 80's, it is exactly that pull together and help each other, our love and faith will get us through type of mentality from the books that Michael Landon and the crew captured week after week. While over time the storylines were based less and less on the material from the books, the essence and tone of the television series never changed. This is what I fondly remember about watching the show on the one television our family owned.

My children live a life much better than the one I lived. Growing up we had few material possessions and our family is what would now be called dysfunctional, at best. There are few things that my children want for, though it seems their list increases by the day, and I often wonder if, as parents, we have been successful in teaching them to think of others. And then I ponder the meaning of the sacrifice made by two young girls living on the banks of Plum Creek, and hope that our family could pull together in such a crisis, where our livelihood and our future might depend on it.

The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder might have taken place during the 1800's, but for those of us living now, they not only entertain, they teach the values that will make our world a better place.

Monday, March 23, 2009

March Special Feature - Giving Up, Lucy Maud Montgomery Style

Anne of Green Gables is the first book in an eight-book series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. These books feature Anne Shirley, a feisty red-headed orphan girl who usually finds herself in a spot of trouble. Anne comes to Green Gables--the home of Marilla Cuthbert and her bachelor brother Matthew--by mistake. The Cuthberts had sent word to the orphanage for a boy to help with the farm work now that Matthew is getting on in years.

Little did they know how much that tiny mistake would change their lives.

Through this classic series for young girls, Anne grows and changes, but always remains true to the spirited young girl readers meet in Anne of Green Gables.

At the behest of Rachel Lynde--the Cuthbert's nosy neighbor--Marilla enrolls Anne in school. On the first day, Anne breaks a slate over Gilbert Blythe's head because the boy dare to call her "Carrots". And from this moment on, Anne and Gilbert's lives would always be connected, whether in rivalry or love.

But what has all that to do with our March theme of "Giving Up"? Well, both Anne and Gilbert will do a great deal of giving up as they travel through this series.

In the second book, Anne of Avonlea, Anne has grown up and done so well in her studies that she must leave Green Gables to go and study at Redmond College. Gilbert would also be going to Redmond, as he hopes to become a doctor. In Anne of the Island, Anne makes many friends during her time at Redmond and also attracts a few potential suitors. Her friends are all off getting married, but Anne's proposals are embarrassing affairs. After graduation, she returns home to Green Gables, leaving behind all the fun of college, but open to the future laying before her.

And then there is Gilbert, who Anne believes may have feelings for her; but their days at Redmond are often spent in the company of others, and Anne must admit he isn't her idea of the perfect suitor. Besides, there is talk that he and Christine Stuart will be engaged any day now, so what's the point of thinking on it any longer. But when Gilbert becomes gravely ill, Anne is forced to reveal her true feelings for Gil to herself, even if she may never have him.

The remaining books in the Anne series bring many more disappointments for Anne and Gilbert, but also many moments of joy and triumph. And when World War I threatens to change their lives forever, the faith and loyalty of Dog Monday is an example to all.

Many years after these books were written, Sullivan Entertainment, captured some of Montgomery's books on film. Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, were followed by Anne: The Continuing Story and Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning. While Sullivan totally went away from Montgomery's beloved books with the last two movies, the first two captured the essence of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne perfectly, even when the storylines were decidedly different.

Anne of Green Gables has remained one of my all-time favorite series of books. Through the work of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Institute, Sullivan Entertainment, and the many Anne fans worldwide, the feisty red-headed orphan girl lives on and will continue to attract new fans for generations to come.

Friday, March 20, 2009

French Letters by Jack Woodville London--Book Review

An engaging and edgy look at life in a small town during World War II is what you'll find in French Letters - Virgnia's War: Tierra, Texas 1944, the first book of a planned trilogy by Jack Woodville London.

In the little town of Tierra, Texas, the young boys play war while the men are already off fighting Hitler and the Nazis. But Virginia has a war all her own. Dealing with a spiteful brother, a manipulative father, and a dark secret that threatens to be revealed, she lives her life under the watchful eyes of the entire town. Sometimes the casualities of war are not wounded on the battlefield.

With French Letters, London captures the delicate and sometimes sinister intricacies of little town USA. The multiple points of view tell a story that is both riveting and tragic.

At times readers will sympathize with Virginia's plight, but at others they will find themselves disturbed by her actions; just as there are moments when they will feel sorry for Poppy (Virginia's father) even after despising him for a good portion of the book. This is truly a piece of work filled with a group of complex antagonists: Virginia's brother Bart, Poppy and Doc, who is fully aware of Virginia's little secret and helps Poppy to cover it up.

And flowing through Virginia's story is the one of war abroad. As Will Hastings, his brother Peter, Hoyt Carter, and Johnny Bradley have left Tierra to fight against an evil even deeper than the one that runs through Tierra.

Literary fiction and historical fiction fans will find French Letters by Jack Woodville London a poignant and engaging read.

Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah--Book Review

Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah is an eloquently written and moving story of a Muslim woman living in America, whose world is turned upside down on September 11th.

Arissa Illahi is a Muslim artist and writer living in New York City with her husband Faizan. Expecting their first child, they are happy with life. But on the morning of September 11, 2001, Faizan would go to work in the World Trade Center...and never return.

Always free to live as a Muslim in America, after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Great American Melting Pot doesn't seem to blend so well. People who greeted Arissa with a smile before that fateful day, barely look at her. Feeling adrift after her loss, Arissa wanders through the days awaiting the birth of her unborn son, a son Faizan would never hold. The discovery of her husband's unfinished manuscript may be the key to her survival. And perhaps by finishing Faizan's legacy, Arissa will redeem a race.

If ever there was a book more eloquently written than Saffron Dreams, I would like to see it. The words simply fly off the page and float into your consciousness; their power touching you in a way like no other book might ever touch you again. The struggles of being a 9/11 widow and a Muslim, come together in a moving story that will find you filled with every emotion ever experienced by a human being.

Abdullah's masterful storytelling draws you in from the very first moment and does not release you until you've turned the very last page. Anyone who has ever loved and lost will be touched by this heartrending, yet triumphant story of one woman's difficult journey to pick up the pieces of her shattered life in a country that has suddenly put her and an entire race under a microscope in order to make sense of a monumental tragedy. The descriptions and details put you right alongside Arissa so that you are totally captivated by her world, her dreams, her struggles, and her triumphs.

The stunning cover art must be seen up close, as it is even lovelier and more striking in your hands than what you see posted here.

Saffron Dreams is destined to add more awards to Abdullah's portfolio. This is a must read book for 2009!

Title: Saffron Dreams
Author: Shaila Abduallah
Publisher: Modern History Press
ISBN-10: 1932690735
ISBN-13: 978-1932690736
SRP: $19.95 (U.S.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Members of Rocky Bluff P.D. Are Talking

Make sure you drop in at the Rocky Bluff P.D. blog. Barbara and Ryan Strickland, Detective Frank Marshall, and other members of the Rocky Bluff P.D. and their families are talking and you'll certainly want to hear what they have to say.

You might also get to hear from some of the other people in town that you'll meet in No Sanctuary, the latest release in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

Want another good reason to stop by the Rocky Bluff P.D. blog? The author, F.M. Meredith, is running a contest. Do you want to know the details? Well, you're just going to have to wander on over there to find out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jamie Glazov and United in Hate

United in Hate crystallizes the danger that a Barack Obama administration, if tilted too far left, presents to American security and global freedom.

As history shows, leftist beliefs have spawned mass carnage and misery. Put into practice, they have caused the deaths of millions. Until now, it has been extremely difficult for rational people who value personal freedom to understand the motivations of those who live in comfort and yet embrace monstrous dictators, ideologies, and policies that leave only death and destruction in their wake.

In United in Hate, Dr. Jamie Glazov presents startling new insights into the toxic beliefs and torturously contorted thought processes of the leftists who lust to destroy the very freedoms that allow them to exist. Glazov explains the Left’s love for and deification of totalitarian ideologies, from Marxism to radical Islam, with clarity and candor.

In this groundbreaking examination, Dr. Glazov at last reveals the vile and morbid forces that impel so-called “progressives” to embrace not just murderous ideologies such as Marxism and radical Islam, but the systematic elimination of all those standing in the way of their new utopia.

Advance Praise for United in Hate by Jamie Glazov:

An ambitious, original and well-documented study that addresses some of the most interesting and important political-historical questions of our times.

Paul Hollander, author of “Political Pilgrims" and "The End of Commitment.”

A must-read for those who care about truth, the rule of law, and any hope of ultimate stability for humankind. The redefining work for twenty first century readers of an eternal message.

Robert C. McFarlane, National Security Advisor to President Reagan. Chairman and CEO of McFarlane Associates Inc.

In years to come, this book will become a classic, not just for conservatives but for all Americans interested in the truth and how to combat a perfidious alliance.

Steven Emerson, author of "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Amongst Us" and producer of the documentary "Jihad in America."

Read and excerpt:

“The believer’s totalitarian journey begins with an acute sense of alienation from his own society—an alienation to which he is, himself, completely blind. In denial about the character flaws that prevent him from bonding with his own people, the believer has convinced himself that there is something profoundly wrong with his society—and that it can be fixed without any negative trade-offs. He fantasizes about building a perfect society where he will, finally, fit in…

A key ingredient of this paradigm is that the believer has failed to rise to the challenges of secular modernity; he has not established real and lasting interpersonal relationships or internalized any values that help him find meaning in life. Suffering from a spiritual emptiness, of which he himself is not cognizant, the believer forces non-spiritual solutions onto his spiritual problems. He exacerbates this dysfunction by trying to satisfy his every material need, which the great benefits of modernity and capitalism allow—but the more luxuries he manages to acquire, the more desperate he becomes. We saw this with the counterculture leftists of the sixties and seventies, and we see it with the radical leftists of today. Convinced that it is incumbent upon society, and not him, to imbue his life with purpose, the believer becomes indignant; he scapegoats his society—and ends up despising and rejecting it.

Just like religious folk, the believer espouses a faith, but his is a secular one. He too searches for personal redemption—but of an earthly variety. The progressive faith, therefore, is a secular religion. And this is why socialism’s dynamics constitute a mutated carbon copy of Judeo-Christian imagery. Socialism’s secular utopian vision includes a fall from an ideal collective brotherhood, followed by a journey through a valley of oppression and injustice, and then ultimately a road toward redemption.

In rejecting his own society, the believer spurns the values of democracy and individual freedom, which are anathema to him, since he has miserably failed to cope with both the challenges they pose and the possibilities they offer. Tortured by his personal alienation, which is accompanied by feelings of self-loathing, the believer craves a fairy-tale world where no individuality exists, and where human estrangement is thus impossible. The believer fantasizes about how his own individuality and self will be submerged within the collective whole…. As history has tragically recorded, this “holy cause” follows a road that leads not to an earthly paradise, but rather to an earthly hell in all of its manifestations. The political faith rejects the basic reality of the human condition—that human beings are flawed and driven by self-interest—and rests on the erroneous assumption that humanity is malleable and can be reshaped into a more perfect form. This premise spawned the nightmarish repressions and genocidal campaigns of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and other communist dictators in the twentieth century. Under their rule, more than one hundred million human beings were sacrificed on the altar where a new man would ostensibly be created.”

About the author: Jamie Glazov holds a Ph.D. in history with specialties in U.S., Russian, and Canadian foreign policy. He is the managing editor of Frontpagemag.com.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Author R. Scot Johns Talks About His Love of Norse Mythology and The Saga of Beowulf

Today's guest blogger is R. Scot Johns, author of The Saga of Beouwulf. Scot is a life-long student of ancient and medieval literature, with an enduring fascination for Norse mythology and epic fantasy. He first came to Beowulf through his love of J. R. R. Tolkien, a leading scholar on the subject. As an Honors Medieval Literature major he has given lectures on such topics as the historical King Arthur and the construction of Stonehenge. He owns and operates Fantasy Castle Books, his own publishing imprint, and writes the blog The Adventures of an Independent Author, where you can follow his progress as he writes The Jester’s Quest, his second novel.

You can visit his website at www.fantasycastlebooks.com.

About the Book: The Saga of Beowulf is the first complete and accurate novelization of the epic Old English poem Beowulf, chronicling the tragic wars of the rising Nordic nations, the endless blood-feuds of their clans, battles with mythic creatures in an ancient heroic age, and the final, futile struggle of one man against the will of Fate that made of him a Legend.

The story follows the young Norse warrior Beowulf as he embarks upon a fateful quest for vengeance against the creature that slew his father, setting in motion a sequence of events that will bring about the downfall of a nation, all the while fleeing from the woman he has sworn to love. Based on extensive historical research and steeped in Nordic myth and lore, the saga unfolds across the frozen fields of Sweden and the fetid fens of Denmark, ranging from the rocky heights of Geatland to the sprawling battlefields of ancient France, as our hero battles men and demons in a quest to conquer his own fears.

"An epic adventure 1500 years in the making," this classic tale now comes to life once more in a bold new retelling for a modern audience.

Scot's turn:

How I Came To Love Norse Mythology

Like most fantasy authors, I’ve been greatly influenced by the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. Unlike many of them, however, it was the academic work of Professor Tolkien that inspired me as much as his creative endeavors. Like most adolescent males I was, of course, familiar with the names of Thor and Odin from an early age, run across in fable tales and myths from illustrated children’s books or Saturday morning cartoons and adventure movies. What I didn’t know at first was that the names of Gandalf and more than half the Dwarves of Thorin’s band that I had read of in The Hobbit, derived from that same Nordic tradition.

Not until I delved into The Lord of the Rings and scoured thoroughly its many appendices did I begin to have a sense that there was more beyond the book itself that Tolkien himself had drawn upon for inspiration. From the Eddas has come the list of names that gave us Dwalin and Balin and their kin, and indeed, the race of Dwarves themselves. And thus began my fascination with Norse mythology.

Although the Nordic mythos has much in common with the classical Greco-Roman cycle, drawing as it does upon a proto Indo-European stock, there is in it a fatalistic outlook that is well at home in those cold, harsh, northern climes, an aspect that lends to it a host of cruel and ruthless elemental beings: where Greek myths give us nymphs and satyrs, the Norse tales sing of Frost Giants and Fire Drakes. The Icelandic sagas, that great repository of ancient northern folklore, present us with an endless litany of trolls and ogres and other foul demons, matched in each by equally hardy heroes, both human and divine. The Nordic myths are fraught with sorcery and spells, elves and enchanted treasure.

It is from the Volsunga Saga, for example, and its later Germanic retelling in the Nibelungenleid, that Tolkien drew his inspiration for the story of a mighty Ring of Power, a talisman whose curse of lust and greed is passed to anyone that wears it. This tragic tale would also provide 19th century composer Richard Wagner with the materials for his epic Ring cycle.

In the Old English poem Beowulf, a story set in 6th century Scandinavia, we find a dragon sleeping in a subterranean grotto on a pile of hoarded gold, awoken to fiery wrath by the pilfering of a jewel-encrusted cup by a solitary thief. Not the talking dragon Smaug we fans of Tolkien know so well, but his direct precursor. Indeed, in Beowulf we find a sword blade that melts under the corrosive touch of demon’s blood, a dark haired, dark eyed councilor who corrupts his king with poisoned words, and a confrontation with a mead-hall door-guard, all of which bear a marked resemblance to events in The Lord of the Rings. None of which is surprising, given Professor Tolkien’s status as one of the foremost scholars on Beowulf.

It was this, in fact, that led me on my ten year quest to bring the epic tale of Beowulf to a modern audience in my own heroic fantasy novel The Saga of Beowulf. As Tolkien relied heavily on Norse mythology and lore, and Beowulf in particular, in the creation of his Middle-Earth saga, I drew inspiration from Tolkien’s work in order to bring Beowulf to life once more.

Scot has an amazing website, so be sure to stop by.


THE SAGA OF BEOWULF VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '09 will officially begin on March 2 and end on March 27. You can visit Scot's blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in March to find out more about this talented author!

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 or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.

Monday, March 16, 2009

MGM Asks - Do You Have What It Takes to Join The Women's Millionaire Club?

Why do some Women make ‘Big Bucks’ in their Home Based Business and Others Don’t?

Is it Luck, Karma, or did they know something we don’t know? MGM opens the Gift of Possibilities in this scrumptious book, The Women’s Millionaire Club.

MGM shares the succulent Secret SUCCESS Recipes of Twenty-One Women Millionaires. Each Top Performing Home-Based Business Woman Millionaire stirred the right ingredients to mix up a batch of Million Dollar Success. You, too, can create that same luscious Million Dollar Success!

For the first time ever, MGM surveyed, assessed and interviewed Millionaire Women, from various home-based businesses, until she discovered the right combination of lipsmacking ingredients that created Million Dollar Success. Using their easy to follow Success Recipes anyone can create delectable possibilities to Make More Money and yummy opportunities to Make a Difference using the principles of ‘Friendship Marketing’!

The Women’s Millionaire Club is based on statistically validated information yet reads like advice from a friend showing women entrepreneurs how to take advantage of their feminine strengths to build and grow a prosperous and successful home-based business.

MGM opens the Gift of Possibilities so the Impossible Becomes Possible.

How ‘Ordinary’ women with NO Prior Experience in owning a Home-Based Business did the ‘ExtraOrdinary’-- MADE MILLIONS while MAKING A DIFFERENCE The Success Ingredients ALL the Women Millionaires had that You Must Have to Succeed in a Home-Based Business.

How YOU Can Create the SAME Success whether you are a veteran, ‘newbie’ or ‘wanna be’ Home-Based Business Entrepreneur using their amazingly simple Success Recipes to Make Money while Making a Difference.

Women entrepreneurs are the fastest growing segment of the economy, starting businesses at twice the rate of men. MGM, Maureen G. Mulvaney, is the industry leader in teaching entrepreneurial women the Learned Success Traits to Succeed. When she couldn’t find a book that provided validated data about the traits, ingredients and recipes to succeed in a home-based business, MGM wrote The Women’s Millionaire Club!

Join the Club…

Who is MGM?

Maureen G. Mulvaney lives up to her initials M.G.M….A Big Production.

- Author of The Women's Millionaire Club

- Founder of The Women's Millionaire Club Community and Website

- MGM is the industry Leader on the Learned Success Traits of Successful Entrepreneurial Women.

Years ago, MGM arrived in Phoenix, AZ… Flat Broke, Jobless and Licking the wounds from a divorce. If she can Make It…So Can YOU. Let her show you 'HOW'.

The Women's Millionaire Club, by Maureen G Mulvaney, is being offered beginning on March 17th, 2009 at 12:01 am. We invite you to go to this page - http://mgmsuperstar.com/wjtc/exclusive.html - to access the order page and then go back to this page to access the bonus page. On the Exclusive Private Invite page, enter your order confirmation code. That will allow you to gain entry to the FREE Pot o' Gold Bonus Items.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Litchenheld--Book Review

It's a duck. No, I think it's a rabbit. No, maybe a duck. It could be a rabbit. A fun new twist on the age-old optical illusion becomes the story behind Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Litchenheld.

Unseen narrators argue over whether the photo before them is a duck or a rabbit, each seeing it from his or her own perspective until they finally consider each other's perspectives, and that's when...

My daughter loved this book so much that she used it as a reading selection for school. Its simple design with just over 300 words is perfect for children who are close to reading on their own or who are already independent readers; but this book is also a superb choice to read to your child because it allows a parent to ask her child what animal he sees in each frame--which makes the book interactive. And as the story progresses, your child can witness how easy it is to let go of an argument and move back to playtime.

There are some cute additions that parents will get a kick out of. The inside flap has another exchange between the two narrators about whether a duck or a rabbit is shown on the front cover, and the combination dedication/copyright page is found at the end of the book and includes more of the authors' humor.

I look forward to more Rosenthal/Litchenheld collaborations...and so will your children.

Title: Duck! Rabbit!
Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lithcenheld
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN-10: 0811868656
ISBN-13: 9780811868655
SRP: $16.99 (U.S.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Keoni's Big Question by Patti B. Ogden--Book Review

Keoni's Big Question is a delightful and touching story of one boy's journey to understand God's presence in everyday life.

Keoni and Old Fisherman travel along the Ohio River in a small green dingy. Keoni admires the wildlife and loves nature, but today the Old Fisherman senses something is bothering him.

Suddenly, a storm rolls in and the two are forced to seek refuge under a thicket of pine trees. Soon, Keoni asks the Old Fisherman the question that has been on his mind--a question that he has hoped many would answer, but none have. As the Old Fisherman explains, Keoni finds his question answered in more ways than he ever dreamed possible.

Based upon story and sermon excerpts from William Marrion Branham, Keoni's Big Question will help children understand the presence of God in their lives in a simple and delightful way.

The unending curiosity of childhood and the beauty of nature is eloquently captured within this book's pages. Illustrator Mary Manning has excelled at bringing Keoni's story to life in pictures that perfectly compliment the text.

If you are searching for an enjoyable and meaningful way to share a Christian message with your child, then pick up Keoni's Big Question today.

Title: Keoni's Big Question
Author: Patti B. Ogden
Publisher: Capstone Productions
ISBN-10: 098167836X
ISBN-13: 978-0981678368
SRP: $12.00

Tony and the Pizza Champions by Tony Gemignani--Book Review

For some high-flying, twirling pizza action, your young reader should dig into Tony and the Pizza Champions by Tony Gemignani.

Tossing Tony is invited to a pizza tossing competition in Italy. So, Tony and his friend Quick Ken set off on a trip across the United States in their Pizzamobile to put together their team of pizza-tossing acrobats who must come up with a great routine if they are going to have a chance at winning.

With tons of talent and a heavy dash of teamwork, Tossing Tony and friends might just bring home the prize.

Tony and the Pizza Champions is as exciting as it is funny. Based upon and co-authored by the real Tossing Tony, this large hardcover book is filled with remarkable, and often hilarious, illustrations from Mathew Trueman.

Memories of 1960's campy superhero shows ran through my mind as Tony announced, "To the Pizzamobile!" And the kids truly enjoyed this book from beginning to end.

As Tony and Ken travel from Ohio to South Carolina and then on to New York City--"home of the first pizzeria in the United States"--young readers get treated to interesting pizza facts from coast to coast; a learning experience that is recreated worldwide as Tony and his team travel to Italy for the competition and readers are treated to pizza facts from England, Argentina, and many other places along the way.

One of the best aspects of Tony and the Pizza Champions is that it makes competition fun. The team is obviously having a great time as they practice their routine and perform it in front of the judges. This is an excellent message for young children and it is delivered with such subtlety that the reader won't even notice.

Also included are photos of the real World Pizza Champions who children met in the story, a recipe for Tossing Tony's Pizza Dough, instructions on how to toss pizza dough, and a recipe for The Big Cheeze Pizza.

Considering that pizza is often a staple for children, this inside peek into the world of pizza making will leave its audience hungry for more.

Title: Tony and the Pizza Champions
Author: Tony Gemignani
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN-10: 0811861627
ISBN-13: 9780811861625
SRP: $16.99 (U.S.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

B is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z--Book Review

Batter up! From Chronicle Books comes an alphabet primer that is sure to be a home run with young baseball fans. From autograph to knuckleball and from left field to zinger, this book filled with vintage photos from the American Baseball Hall of Fame and illustrations from David Habben, is one that should be on the shelves in every young baseball lover's home.

Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, Joe Dimaggio, Jackie Robinson, and other baseball greats fill the pages of this primer alongside terms like error, infield, and tag. And the back jacket includes a five-question quiz for kids to test their knowledge.

Just one in a series of alphabet primers from Chronicle Books, B is for Baseball will leave readers yearning to learn more about America's favorite pastime.

Title: B is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN-10: 0811860965
ISBN-13: 9780811860963
SRP: $15.99 (U.S.)

The Suburban Dragon by Garasamo Maccagnone--Book Review

What can keep the kids busy on a rainy, boring afternoon? How about chasing after a mommy-snatching dragon in Chippewa Valley?

Garrett, Anthony, and Aimee are bored. It's a rainy day with nothing to do and their mother says they cannot go outside. So Mommy pulls out their favorite story, snuggles up with them on the couch and begins to read. But it's not helping.

When a dragon suddenly appears from behind the couch and runs off with their mother, the three children plot a daring rescue to save her and capture the dragon.

Garasamo Maccagnone has come up with a funny, enjoyable story for young readers with The Suburban Dragon.

Readers will love this story of three children's adventures on a rainy, boring day. Through an imaginative storyline and magnificant illustrations, your children will follow along as Garrett, Anthony, and Aimee plot their daring rescue.

My children loved The Suburban Dragon and have asked for me to read it over and over again. The bright, colorful illustrations capture their attention and bring the story to life. And the surprise at the end is something they always enjoy.

If you're looking for a quick, enjoyable, and fun read for the children in your life, look no further than The Suburban Dragon by Garasamo Maccagnone.

Title: The Suburban Dragon
Author: Garasamo Maccagnone
Publisher: Crate & Fly
ISBN: 978-1-419660443
SRP: $18.99

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Solve Crimes with the Rocky Bluff P.D. and F.M. Meredith

The Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series is located in the town of Rocky Bluff, a small beach community between Ventura and Santa Barbara, but still situated in Ventura County. Anyone who really knows the real area will guess that the town might be like Carpenteria—and yes, it might, but it’s not.

The town of Rocky Bluff has not yet been discovered by many tourists. The houses by the beach are mostly run-down rentals that at one time were get-away cottages for people living in the larger southern cities of California. The northern portion of the town is a rocky bluff that gave the town it’s name—and is populated by large homes and the Rocky Bluff Community church.

To the south is a condemned pier, crumbling factories and a campground. Most of the homes are built on the hillside that leads to the 101 freeway.

Rocky Bluff P.D. is small, with a police chief, two detectives, one lieutenant, two sergeants, a public relations officer and several patrol officers. Among them is Officer Stacey Wilbur, a young widow with a son, who vowed when she came on the department to never date a fellow officer—a vow she broke when she met Detective Doug Milligan. Though there is a mutual attraction, they have difficulties finding time to be alone together—complicated by the fact that Doug rents a room of his house to a fellow officer, Gordon Butler, who once had a crush on Stacey. Gordon is sometimes too dedicated to following the rules.

In each of the novels, different officers are featured depending upon what is happening in Rocky Bluff though most have recurring roles.

No Sanctuary focuses on Detective Doug Milligan and Officer Stacey as they work together to solve the murder of a popular minister’s wife. Stacey is also called upon to help in the investigation of a suspected pedophile. She is called upon to make several decisions about her job and her private life—and one that nearly costs her life.

The Rocky Bluff P.D. series came about because of the interest in law enforcement created by the author’s police officer son-in-law who took her on a ride-along and came for coffee everyday after his shift and entertained her with tales about his job. She also has many friends in law enforcement, including members of the Public Safety Writers Association.

Author F.M. Meredith a.k.a. Marilyn Meredith

No Sanctuary is available from the publisher at http://www.oaktreebooks.com and Amazon.

For an autographed copy, visit the author's website.

View the No Sanctuary trailer:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Special NaBloPoMo Feature - Giving Up by Storyheart

Continuing with our March Special Feature about the topic of giving up, today we welcome Barry Eva, also known as, Storyheart.

In the Church of England like the Catholic church we have Lent. It starts after Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day when we eat pancakes. English pancakes are more like crepes, thinner than the every day American pancakes, and bigger. We normally have them with sugar and lemon juice. The idea is that you clear your larder of any tempting stuff before Lent .

So for Lent this year I have given up my morning egg and bacon roll, and believe me that is some hard thing to give up as it's the fuel that starts my day. Thank goodness I still manage my pint of tea. To give that part up would leave one cranky bear.


Barry Eva (Storyheart)
Author of Across the Pond
Book Site: http://across-t-pond.com
Blog: http://acrossthepond-storyheart.blogspot.com/

The author Storyheart shows his obvious background as a writer of romance stories and does a masterful job of adapting the genre to a juvenile audience. However, despite the target age group, I believe that readers of all ages will be drawn to the characters in this book and the strength that they show through a wide range of emotional situations.

The compelling story created by the author will quickly separate across the pond from the pack.

Amazon and Reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Across-Pond-Storyheart/dp/1436371767/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226497516&sr=1-1

You'll find out review of Across the Pond here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Special NaBloPoMo Feature - Giving Up by Margay Leah Justice

Here is another author's answer to, "The hardest thing for me to give up is..."

The hardest thing for me to give up is worrying about my family. You've heard the expression "worried sick" - well, I literally do that and I always have. I just want everyone in my family to be healthy and happy and when they're not, I worry to the point of taking on their pain at times. So the hardest thing for me is to let go of the worry and trust that everything is going to work out for them.

Margay Leah Justice is a first-time author of the book, Nora's Soul, and the mother of two daughters, one of whom has issues with bipolar disorder and Asperger's Syndrome. When not writing and advocating for her special needs child, she deals with the challenges of balancing her career and motherhood with her own struggle against the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. She lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters and their two frisky felines. You can follow her on Twitter, friend her on Myspace or Facebook, or check out her web home at http://margayleahjustice.com, where she loves to greet visitors. Come on in and stay awhile.

Check out our February special feature of Nora's Soul here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kim Hanks and Save the Best for Last

In Save the Best for Last, Zwick Lamps, a secret admirer to Whitney Barnes, got targeted by a genius son of the past evil family that had lived in Green Oasis Town for the past centuries. However, it was once before Zwick had finally discovered his supernatural powers that were only known by the isolated old woman Tabitha, a misfortuned lady whose husband died on their wedding day.

In the aftermath of a fire rampage, Zwick Lamps is framed and prosecuted. Karl Hamilton got convicted and he was beheaded to death, a capital punishment for his misdemeanors in the town. Though, all along elites had thought that their town was then safe. Unfortunately, they later realized the evil and the bangle had rose again which raised people tension and eye brows as the entity haunted the town. Screaming with frustration, it seemed unstoppable, untouchable and above all magic spells. It was on the bicentenary day when it had to reunite with its ancestors after the sacrifice.

But Zwick driven by pain of his own past experiences, and tragedy, He was determined to do everything in his own powers to save her and green oasis town from evil. He had realized how much ruthless it was on people's lives. He didn't want to see history repeating. But in the rush to the deadline, his efforts are halted by the moon eclipse. Making Zwick short of time to find her dead.

About the author: Kim Hanks is the author of Save The Best For Last, a fantasy adventure debut from the author! Critics have compared this book to an example of hugely popular genres and reality in the novelists craft and have described it as a strong, good, and multilayered fantasy adventure written with a hand that is both sure and light.

Kim has a full time job and is a graduate of Cambridge International College with a degree in Human Resource Management. He lives in Dubai.

For more information please visit his website at http://www.kimhanks.net/


The SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '09 will officially begin on March 2 and end on March 31. You can visit Kim's blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in March to find out more about this great book and talented author!

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 or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Special NaBlogPoMo Feature - Giving Up Colleen McCullough Style

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough tells the story of the Cleary family, who leaves New Zealand to live on Drogheda, a large Australian sheep station owned by Paddy Cleary's sister, Mary Carson.

Spanning three generations, the Cleary family's many triumphs and tragedies are captured in the near 700-page tome written by McCullough and published in 1977. In 1983, The Thorn Birds became an epic mini-series starring Barbara Standwyck, Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Plummer, and Rachel Ward, that aired during Holy Week, causing a huge controversy and raising the ire of the United States Catholic Conference.

While The Thorn Birds spans three generations of the Cleary family, it is mostly a story of forbidden love between a handsome priest whose ambitions bring him from an Outback parish to the inner circles of the Vatican, and Meggie Cleary, the only daughter of Paddy and Fiona Cleary. Father Ralph de Bricassart's love for Meggie, who is several years his junior, follows him no matter where he goes, until he is forced to confront Meggie and their desire for each other.

The Thorn Birds is a novel filled with great sacrifices that its characters make in the name of love, and therefore, it flows in perfectly with this month's theme of "Giving Up".

This story remains one of my all-time favorites. While I haven't read the book in its entirety in many years, I still remember many passages from it. And the mini-series was so well done that I am at a loss to decide which I like more--the book or the movie.

In 1996, Richard Chamberlain reprised his role of Father Ralph de Bricassart for the television movie, The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years, but this movie did not hold the appeal that the first mini-series did. In my opinion, that is because there really were no "missing years" to write about. In the book and the first movie, Ralph and Meggie were apart for many years while Ralph climbed the ladder at the Vatican and Meggie lived her own life on Drogheda; so the entire premise behind The Missing Years made absolutely no sense, unless we're talking dollars and cents.

If you've never had a chance to read The Thorn Birds or watch the mini-series, I highly recommend that you do. This is forbidden love at its best.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Special NaBloPoMo Feature - Giving Up by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

The theme for March's National Blog Posting Month is "Giving Up". This flows in nicely with the season of Lent observed by some of our readers.

To celebrate this theme, I've asked authors to complete this sentence, "The hardest thing for me to give up is..."

Here is what Phyllis Zimbler Miller has to say:

"The hardest thing for me to give up is candy. I'm suppose to avoid sugar as I'm apparently sensitive to it, but cinnamon jelly beans are so good! I can't buy too many though, because I immediately eat them all."

Phyllis is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION.

She blogs at www.MrsLieutenant.blogspot.com and her company builds book author websites -- www.CalltoActionWebsites.com.

Spring Ahead This Weekend

Well, if you're like me you are looking forward to spring. Winter cannot end soon enough. This week the Northeast had one of the worst storms of the season. Luckily this weekend it is supposed to hit close to 60 degrees and melt some of the white stuff.

The only bummer of spring being on the way is that this weekend we will lose an hour of sleep when Daylight Savings Time begins. Here is an article from 2006 where National Geographic talks about the history of Daylight Savings Time. It still seems strange to me that we spring ahead in March instead of the first week of April these days, but for a lot of young children springing ahead in March seems normal.

I think I've just made myself feel old. LOL!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shaila Abdullah Shares the Impact of 9/11 on Ordinary Muslims in Saffron Dreams

Today's guest blogger is Shaila Abdullah author of Saffron Dreams. I am in the middle of reading this book and I can't put it down. Look for my review of this touching novel...coming soon.

Shaila's turn:

There was a time before September 10, 2001, when I could jaywalk down 6th street in downtown Austin and blend in with the locals. I was colorless, stripped of ethnicity, even faceless at times. After all, diversity is what added to the flavor of the city––that and a certain cross dressing gentleman in thongs who once ran for the city mayor.

That was before some of the locals exchanged their world vision glasses with compromised ones and took a serious look around. What they saw terrified them. They were in a minority in their own land with a group of people they knew little or nothing about. It scared them that the color of their skin matched the ones who took the towers down. After all, didn’t all Muslims prostrate in the same manner as the attackers? Did they not worship at mosques as well? Then came the lumping-of-all-potatoes-in-one-sack epiphany. If all Muslims prayed the same way, surely they must share the same ideology as the terrorists. As the overly-corrected vision of the locals turned blurry from the daily input they received from the media and those around them, they learned to live in fear. With every change in color in the national security threat level, their hearts sank even more. Could they trust the friendly Muslim neighbor across the street, the one who greeted them every morning but sported a beard and whose wife wore a headscarf? The day after 9/11, Muslim-Americans woke up to a new America––the one where they were no longer regarded as locals but outsiders and lumped together with the fundamentalists. They struggled to know themselves, only to lose themselves in the interpretation of others.

The geopolitical concerns that have drawn Islam and the West into many conflicts since 2001 have also generated a thirst for fiction and nonfiction, with a Muslim angle. At a time when much of the world associates Islamic culture with oppression and terror, the new genre is tackling such universal themes as love, hope, and women's issues.

Saffron Dreams is the story of basic human desire to be accepted in society, no matter what your background, ethnicity, or race. The tragedy of 9/11 was a great shock to the American psyche. Some of that anger was directed towards those who shared the race and religion of the terrorists, especially those who publicly exhibited symbols of their faith such as veils, beards, even their own names. In the terrorist attack of 9/11, the shards of glass reached far and wide wounding the hearts of Americans who had been very accepting of the melting pot their country had become. The event put them at odds with a community that had come to this country with very simple objectives: to work hard and lead honest lives.

In Saffron Dreams I have attempted to capture how ordinary Muslims were affected by the tragedy of 2001—the silent majority who lead very normal lives and are law-abiding citizens of this land. They are the ones we never hear about because their lives are too ordinary to be the subject of the nightly news. The protagonist of my novel, Arissa Illahi, is a veil-wearing Muslim artist and writer in New York. Pregnant and alone after the tragedy of 9/11, she discovers the unfinished manuscript of her husband and decides to finish it as a tribute to him. In the opening scene, the protagonist discards her headscarf, which has become almost a scarlet letter for her following the attacks of 2001. In a courageous attempt to take charge of her life, she transfers “her veil from her head to her heart.”

Where the media instilled fear in the heart of the nation about Muslims, lately they have also attempted to learn the true purpose of Islam by bringing in renowned and respected scholars and researchers to interview. There still needs to be more dialogs with positive role models of Islam like His Highness the Aga Khan who stresses upon the importance of pluralism in a civil society and speaks about the clash of ignorance. Others like Karen Armstrong and Dr. Ali Asani who time and again have taken center stage to correct some of the misconceptions that exist around Islam. Much work still lies ahead but as with any wound on the psyche of a country, it will take awhile to heal. There is a great need in the U.S. for various religious entities to come together and build bridges of understanding and tolerance to find a common ground—work that Dr. Eboo Patel is doing through the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core.

And so, as the readers scramble to buy yet another book about Muslims in an effort to understand that group, they need to be clear about one thing: even the followers of mainstream Islam can’t tell them what drives terrorism. We are as clueless as the rest of the people but keep on reading. You might learn a thing or two about the true face of Islam.


Thank you and thanks to the readers of The Book Connection. For those with comments and questions, I can be reached at shailaabdullah@gmail.com. If you mention The Book Connection, you will receive a free e-book called A Taste of Saffron, containing recipes of dishes mentioned in Saffron Dreams. Readers who sign up for updates on my website will get a free excerpt of my 2005 book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Premio Dardos Award

Here's our first award. I am so excited!

Betty Jo Tucker from Movie Addicts Headquarters was kind enough to bestow this honor upon us.

Premio Dardos means ‘prize darts’ in Italian and it is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. The rules are:

1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person who has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgement, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

And now, I pass this honor along to:

Dorothy Thompson - Boomer Chick

Rebecca Camarena - The Real Hollywood

Tracee Gleichner - Zensanity

JM - Fiction Scribe

Mayra Calvani - Mayra's Secret Bookcase

Marta Stephens - Sam Harper

Ann Parker - The Silver Rush Mysteries

Marilyn Meredith - Marilyn's Musings

Linda Thieman - The Katie & Kimble Blog

Angela Wilson - Market My Novel

Dianne Sagan - Life as a Ghost(Writer)

Elysabeth Eldering - Elysabeth's Emerald City

Karina Fabian - Fabianspace

Heidi Hess Saxton - Mommy Monsters

Kim Smith - Writing Space

The One Thing I Wish I’d Known Before Taking a Virtual Book Tour

Today's special guest is Phyllis Zimbler Miller. She is going to share with you just a little bit of the knowledge she gained while on a virtual book tour to promote her book, Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel.

The One Thing I Wish I’d Known Before Taking a Virtual Book Tour
By Phyllis Zimbler Miller, author of Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel

I’ve often written about taking a virtual book tour because I think this is the best book promotion money that I’ve spent. The virtual book tour with Dorothy Thompson of www.PumpUpYourBookPromotion.com opened doors that I would not have even known about to try to open myself.

There is one thing that I would have liked to have known beforehand: Offer an extra free book – one for a contest/giveaway – to every blogger who is hosting you on her/his blog. This creates incredible goodwill with the blogger because you the author have just helped the blogger’s overall site.

How? Because increased buzz is created when people comment about a post, and then others comment about the comment.

The key to forging the best relationship with bloggers on your book tour, I found, was to put yourself in the mindset of what can you do to benefit the blogger and NOT what the blogger can do to benefit you the book author.

Besides offering an extra book, there’s the question of how you can enhance your book tour stop on a person’s blog. Let’s say the blogger is reviewing your book. Offer to write a companion post to be run the following day on a topic of the blogger’s choice. (Yes, this is more work for you, but you are a writer, aren’t you?)

Why does this make the blogger happy? Because you’ve provided related content to the blogger’s review. And if with the review the blogger announced a contest/giveaway for your book, you’ve just provided another blog post where this contest/giveaway can be announced.

Or perhaps you are being “interviewed” by the blogger. You answer the blogger’s questions ahead of time and the “interview” is posted on the blog. You can offer to be committed for the next two days to answering any questions on writing that blog readers may leave in the comments. And then keep your promise by visiting the post several times a day for the two days so that readers who have been promised a “dialogue” with you will in fact have that experience.

In conclusion, whatever you can think to do by your online activities to help the blogger attract readers to her/his blog will be much appreciated. The blogger will feel appreciated rather than possibly feeling taken for granted. And, of course, say thank you publicly in the comments for the review or interview – and also say thank you privately through personal email.

BONUS TIP: If you are on Twitter and/or Facebook include the link to the blogger’s review/interview. This is a great way to “thank” the blogger while getting more exposure for yourself and your book. A win-win situation.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center - Guest Blogger

Only three days into her virtual book tour and I can already tell that Katherine Center's novel, Everyone is Beautiful is a book that I'll be adding to my "to be read" list.

Katherine is our guest blogger today. She talks about her main character Lanie Coates. But first, here's a bit about the book:

Lanie Coates’s life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.

These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.

Lanie sets change in motion–joining a gym, signing up for photography classes, and finding a new best friend. But she also creates waves that come to threaten her whole life. In the end, Lanie must figure out once and for all how to find herself without losing everything else in the process.

Katherine Center’s Everyone Is Beautiful is a hugely entertaining, poignant, and charming new novel about what happens after happily ever after: how a woman learns to fall in love with her husband–and her entire life–all over again.

A word from Katherine Center:

At the beginning of my new novel, Everyone Is Beautiful, the main character, Lanie, has not had a shower yet. And she’s all about the husband: She’s wearing an old shirt of his with coffee all down the front, has just left all her friends and family to move across the country for his new job, and is trapped at the park with her kids waiting for him to unload everything from the U-Haul.

She is, as she’ll tell you, aching with loss.

She didn’t want to move. She wanted to stay home in their little rent-house in Texas, with its brick patio and its Mimosa tree. She wanted to stay close to her mom, who always helped her out, and her mom-friends.

But these are the things we do for love. And for family. And for husbands—who we know would do the same for us if we had made it into the graduate program of our dreams. If we could even remember what those dreams were.

So there’s Lanie, holding steady. Talking herself—and her boys—through the move. When a woman at this new park in this new town accidentally says something mean about Lanie’s appearance. Not mean-on-purpose mean. But mean all the same.

Sometimes, when somebody is that mean to you, you just crumple to the ground. And that’s what Lanie wants to do. But she can’t. Because life with little kids does not slow down for anyone. “My mother told me to pull myself together,” Lanie says: “That mothers didn’t get to sit around crying all day, no matter how much they felt like it.”

And so, instead, she pulls herself together. She starts making changes. She starts thinking about who she used to be. She decides that taking care of her family means taking care of everybody in it—including herself. Crazy as that sounds.

But it’s not easy with three kids under four. It’s one thing to be yourself and pursue your passions when you have access to free time. It’s quite another thing to pull that off when you can’t even go to the bathroom without two boys sitting on your lap.

But—brave girl—she does it anyway.

It’s scary to change your life. It’s scary to join a gym for the first time when you’re feeling frumpy, or sign up for a class that you don’t have time for. And it’s flat-out terrifying to let yourself think about all the plans you had for yourself that have slipped out of your grasp.

But these are the things we have to do sometimes. These are the moments when we have a chance to define what really matters. These are the times in life when we can gather up the best parts of ourselves we’ve dropped along the way, pull them in close, and promise, as best we can, not to forget them again.

The EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '09 will officially begin on March 2 and end on March 27. You can visit Katherine's blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in March to find out more about this talented author!

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 or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.

Check out this stellar review posted at Write for a Reader yesterday. This blog is also giving away a free copy of Everyone is Beautiful, so make sure you check it out.