Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Fearless Factor by Jacqueline Wales

What would it mean to you if you:

- Had a stronger more loving relationship?

- Could communicate more powerfully with the people in your life?

- Made more money?

- Built a successful career?

- Could be more productive and satisfied at work?

The Fearless Factor will show you how to turn off the fear, doubt and anxiety and turn on the confidence so you can Live Your Best Life Now.

Fear is one of the most powerful motivating forces in the human experience. Why then do we run from it, hide from it, pretend it’s not there? Because we believe it’s real. Fear is mostly imagination based, and if you change your thinking, you can change your life from being run by fear, to embracing the challenges that fear ignites within you. The Fearless Factor shows you how you can gain control of your life and start creating your best life now.

Who Needs to Read The Fearless Factor:

- The Fearless Factor addresses issues that any age can understand although many of the people are women in the 40s – 60’s range with a wide variety of interests

- Women concerned with self-improvement but they avoid doing the needed work, but they are looking for answers.

- People who buy self help books and they may have complete libraries of books they have never read, but with the intention that they will.

- People who are in denial or avoiding how much work needs to be done

- Whether these people are making changes, they know something needs to change.

- People in the workforce, or are self-employed either successfully or not.

- Many of these people are not financially sound.

- They are married and single, but are in a kind of relationship that may or may not be working

- Women in their 50’s having major changes involving their job, family, relationship, meaning in life.

Topics Discussed In The Fearless Factor:

Personal Development, Women, Health Care, Mental Health, Career Transitions, Public Speaking, Confidence Building, Emotional Health, Peak Performance, Achievement, Relationship Building, Self-Esteem

What can you learn from a former alcoholic, mother of four, author, singer and global nomad who earned a black belt in karate at age 49, has performed in front of thousands of people, and developed a system to help people go beyond the fears, doubts and anxieties that hold their lives in limitation instead of abundance? - Plenty!

A lifelong adventurer, Wales began her motivational career on the tenement steps of her building at age 9 giving advice to the neighborhood children. After a few detours she began singing at age 40, writing at age 41 and at 43 she took up martial arts. At 49 she had earned a red belt in Tai Kwon Do and a black belt in Shotokan karate. Who says life begins at 40! She also sang in front of thousands of people as a lay-cantor for synagogues in Paris and Amsterdam, and recorded an album of original material. At 54, Jacqueline decided she wanted to go into business and began her first motivational company Fearless Fifties which later reinvented to The Fearless Factor. Jacqueline has been a global nomad for over forty years and has lived on three continents and six cities including London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, New York and Bali. By applying the skills she learned in over thirty years of making change in her own life, Wales has gone on to achieve remarkable success after a lifetime of overcoming the odds. She presently lives in New York.

Jacqueline Wales is known the world over as The Fearless Lady. Her unique programs have helped women around the globe develop strong personal success, confident communication and clear visions of their goals. Jacqueline has successfully made the leap from author and caretaker to being an extraordinary force in the women’s self-help movement and succeeds with a winning personality and a commitment to help others achieve their goals. No theorist, she is a practical, hands-on, been there – done that lady who shares her knowledge and expertise with everyone she presents to.

http://www.thefearlessfactor.com and

Friday, September 25, 2009

Interview with Wendy Burt-Thomas - The Query Queen

Joining us today is Wendy Burt-Thomas. She is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her third book, The Writers Digest Guide To Query Letters hit stores in January 2009.

Can you tell us about your book?

The book was a great fit for me because I'd been teaching "Breaking Into Freelance Writing" for about eight years. In the workshop, I covered a lot of what is in this book: writing query letters to get articles in magazines, to land an agent, or to get a book deal with a publisher. Since I'm a full-time freelance magazine writer and editor with two previous books, this was incredibly fun to write because it didn't require tons of research. I was lucky enough to receive lots of great sample query letters from writers and authors that I use as "good" examples in the book. I wrote all the "bad" examples myself because I didn't dare ask for contributions that I knew I'd be ripping apart!

In addition to the ins and outs of what makes a good query, the book covers things like why (or why not) to get an agent, where to find one and how to choose one; writing a synopsis or proposal; selling different rights to your work; other forms of correspondence; and what editors and agents look for in new writers.

It was really important to me that the book not be a dry, boring reference book, but rather an entertaining read (while still being chock full of information). I was thrilled that Writer's Digest let me keep all the humor.

Why are query letters so important?

Breaking into the publishing world is hard enough right now. Unless you have a serious "in" of some kind, you really need a great query letter to impress an agent or acquisitions editor. Essentially, your query letter is your first impression. If they like your idea (and voice and writing style and background), they'll either request a proposal, sample chapters, or the entire manuscript. If they don't like your query letter, you've got to pitch it to another agency/publisher. Unlike a manuscript, which can be edited or reworked if an editor thinks it has promise, you only get one shot with your query. Make it count!

I see a lot of authors who spend months (or years) finishing their book, only to rush through the process of crafting a good, solid query letter. What a waste! If agents/editors turn you down based on a bad query letter, you've blown your chance of getting them to read your manuscript. It could be the next bestseller, but they'll never see it. My advice is to put as much effort into your query as you did your book. If it's not fabulous, don't send it until it is.

You're also a magazine editor. What is your biggest gripe regarding queries?

Queries that show that the writer obviously hasn't read our publication. I'll admit that I did this when I was a new writer too – submitted blindly to any publication whose name sounded even remotely related to my topic. One of the examples I use was when I submitted a parenting article to a magazine for senior citizens. Oops! A well-written query pitching an article that's not a match for the magazine isn't going to get you any further than a poorly written query.

There's an entire chapter in the book about agents. Do you think all new writers should get agents?

Probably 99% of new writers should get an agent. There are lots of reasons, but my top three are: 1) Many of the larger publishing houses won't even look at unagented submissions now; 2) Agents can negotiate better rights and more money on your behalf; 3) Agents know the industry trends, changes and staff better than you ever could.

You've been a mentor, coach or editor for many writers. What do you think is the most common reason that good writers don't get published?

Poor marketing skills. I see so many writers that are either too afraid, too uniformed, or frankly, too lazy, to market their work. They think their job is done when they write "the end" but writing is only half of the process. I've always told people who took my class that there are tons of great writers in the world who will never get published. I'd rather be a good writer who eats lobster than a great writer who eats hot dogs. I make a living as a writer because I spend as much time marketing as I do writing.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions that writers have about getting a book deal?

That they'll be rich overnight, that they don't need to promote their book once it's published, that publishing houses will send them on world book tours, that people will recognize them at the airport. Still, you can make great money as an author if you're prepared to put in the effort. If it wasn't possible, there wouldn't be so many full-time writers.

What must-read books do you recommend to new writers?

Christina Katz (author of Writer Mama) has a new book out called Get Known Before the Book Deal - which is fabulous. Also, Stephen King's On Writing and David Morrell's Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing. Anything by Anne Lamott or my Dad, Steve Burt.

What's the biggest lesson you've learned as a full-time writer?

Seize every opportunity - especially when you first start writing. I remember telling someone about a really high-paying writing gig I got and he said, "Wow. You have the best luck!" I thought, "Luck has nothing to do with it! I've worked hard to get where I am." Later that week I read this great quote: "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." It's absolutely true. And writing queries is only about luck in this sense. If you're prepared with a good query and/or manuscript, when the opportunity comes along you'll be successful.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing the "bad" query letters. I've read – and written! – so many horrible ones over the years that it was a little too easy to craft them. But misery loves company and we ALL love to read really bad query letters, right?

What do you want readers to learn from your book?

I want them to understand that while writing a good query letter is important, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can break it down into parts, learn from any first-round rejections, and read other good queries to help understand what works. I also want them to remember that writing is fun. Sometimes new writers get so caught up in the procedures that they lose their original voice in a query. Don't bury your style under formalities and to-the-letter formatting.

To learn more about Wendy or her three books, visit www.GuideToQueryLetters.com. If you have a writing-related question, you can also post it on http://AskWendy.wordpress.com.

Flavors of Ecstasy Anthology Released Featuring Eight Seconds by Sherry James

Ellora's Cave Publishing has just released the Flavors of Ecstasy III.

This anthology includes stories from Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks, Courtney Bee, Fiona Jayde, Cheryl Dragon, Lyla Sinclair, and past guest at The Book Connection, Sherry James.

In Eight Seconds, erotic writer Taylor Westfall needs fresh inspiration. Who better to help her research sexual techniques than professional bull rider Devlin McCord? Devlin’s red-hot reputation proves his riding skills aren’t limited to the arena. Taylor’s sure he can get her juices—creative and otherwise—flowing if she can find the nerve to proposition him.

Devlin is tired of one-night stands and life on the road. He wants the girl he’s loved since high school. When Taylor tells him she needs to have sex with him, he’s ready…and he’s got more than eight seconds in him.

We'll be interviewing Sherry again soon, and also reviewing this book. If you visit Sherry's website, you'll find out how to enter to win a Sherry James T-Shirt and a print copy of this anthology! This contest ends on September 30th, so hurry on over now!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Working With The Exemptions to The Freedom of Information Act by Jacqueline Klosek

Today's guest blogger is Jacqueline Klosek, author of The Right to Know: Your Guide to Using and Defending Freedom of Information Law in the United States.

The Right to Know is a resource book for citizens seeking to understand, use, and defend their right to know their rights under the freedom of information laws in the United States. It educes practical lessons from dozens of case studies of how the reader can use our freedom of information laws in order to protect the environment, public health and safety and to expose governmental and corporate crime, waste, and corruption.

Working With The Exemptions to The Freedom of Information Act by Jacqueline Klosek

In my recently published book, The Right to Know, I examine the role of freedom of information laws, including, primarily, the federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). I explore the provisions of the FOIA and examine its application, showing how the FOIA has and can be used to uncover information in the following main areas: (i) protecting the environment; (ii) protecting human health; (iii) protecting safety; (iv) fighting corruption and government waste; and (v) protecting human rights and civil liberties. In addition to exploring these examples, I offer information and tips as to how people may use the FOIA and similar state laws to obtain information from the government about issues that are important to them.

The general premise of the FOIA is that information held by the government should be accessible by the public. There are, however, exemptions to this general right of access. There are nine main exemptions: (1) classified matters of national defense or foreign policy; (2) internal personnel rules and practices; (3) information specifically exempted by other statutes; (4) trade secrets, commercial or financial information; (5) privileged interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters; (6) personal information affecting an individual's privacy; (7) investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes; (8) records of financial institutions; and (9) geographical and geophysical information concerning wells.

Recently, legislators had been considering an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act to include “terrorist identity information” as another exemption to the FOIA. This would be an unnecessary addition to an already broad list of exemptions and, fortunately, efforts to add yet another exemption failed when on September 16, 2009, the US Senate unanimously passed the Intelligence Authorization Act without amending the FOIA exemptions.

The FOIA is a very powerful tool of which all citizens should be aware. By virtue of the FOIA and similar state laws, citizens are able to access information from the government that they can then use to protect themselves, their families and their communities. The current exemptions to the FOIA are already very broad and can detract from some of the power and effectiveness of the FOIA. Individuals are thus advised to make themselves aware of the exemptions and learn how to work with them to ensure that, notwithstanding the exemptions, they will still be able to effectively pursue their right to know.

Jacqueline Klosek is Senior Counsel with Goodwin Procter LLP and is the author of the recently published, The Right to Know. She is the author of three other books (War on Privacy; The Legal Guide to eBusiness; and Data Privacy in the Information Age) and is currently working on a fifth book, a work that will examine privacy in health information. Klosek may be reached at: jacquelineklosek@gmail.com or through her web site at: www.jacquelineklosek.com.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Misconceptions About Christianity by Teresa Jones, Author of Return to Your First Love

Today's guest blogger is Teresa Jones, author of the Christian self-help book, Return to Your First Love.

As a Christian, I oftentimes come into contact with people who have preconceived notions about Christianity and Christians. And my friends who are non-believers sometimes treat me differently or are afraid to offend me because of my faith. I've had more than one good laugh over things people assume about me because of my faith in God, but's not only non-believers who jump to conclusions. Christians can do it too. So, when I heard about Teresa's book, I thought I would ask her to write a post about some misconceptions by and about Christians.

Return to Your First Love is not the typical self-help/relationship book filled with anecdotes and quotes from experts. Readers are invited to sit in the front row to experience actual events that dig deep and expose carnality and misconstrued ideas about Christianity, which will in turn guide them to a path of true intimacy with God.

Author Teresa Jones walks readers through decades of her life, and shares valuable lessons that have been both beneficial as well as costly. Her life experiences will speak to anyone no matter the stage of life. Return to Your First Love is a timely message that edifies, exhorts and encourages in times of uncertainty. Readers will be compelled and encouraged to seek a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Three Misconceptions About Christianity by Teresa Jones

Money is not evil:

Many Christians look at those who are rich and decide that money is evil because of some of the negative and destructive behaviors some of them have. Money, in and of itself, is not evil. The purposes for which money is used is either good or evil. When one compromises to obtain it, the motive to have it becomes destructive. The desire to have it becomes a problem then. Money is dangerous in the wrong hands, and it only messes up a fool.

When money is in the hands of the wise and those of high moral character, money can accomplish great things. He that has the gold makes the rules. I wish more money was in the hands of responsible Christians. One can feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and provide shelter for the homeless. Character promotes a purpose and avoids waste. God does everything with a purpose. If you have no Godly purpose for desiring wealth, God will not give it. For those that say they can get money without God, beware. Satan blesses too.

Holiness is not a technique:

Holiness is not a technique or a method to look godly. No one has ever seen God, He is a Spirit. Therefore, no one has a clue as to what it means to look holy. Holiness is not long dresses and no makeup. Avoiding entertainment such as movies and secular music doesn’t make one holy. However, there are some forms of entertainment that should be avoided. God wants us to enjoy life, as long as it is done within His Will. His Holy Spirit leads us unto all truth. Holiness is a state of the heart. Holiness causes us to treat our neighbor right. Holiness is having the mind of Christ.

Pastors are not super beings:

We are to honor those to whom honor is due. With that said, we should honor our pastors. God assigns pastors to watch over our souls. They are our leaders, our guides, and they model godly behavior before us. Some also refer to them as the angels of the house of God. However, pastors are not to be worshiped. Worship only belongs to God.

In today’s church, the role of the pastor is construed in the lives of some church members. Oftentimes, some perform services to vie for the attention of the pastor. Some want to be known as the pastor’s favorite, which creates competition, and ultimately division within the body of Christ. Without a doubt, a pastor serves a special role in the life of a believer. But, he or she is a believer as well. One day, pastors will have to face God’s judgment like everyone else. Only God has a heaven or hell to put us in.

Teresa Jones is a writer for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA), which publishes the award-winning Journal of Ordinary Thought (JOT). Teresa is a member of Toastmasters International and the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE). Teresa is faithful member of the Apostolic Faith Church, where she serves as a prayer counselor for the Prayer Line Ministry. She and her husband, Alexander, have been married for 16 years and have two children. You can visit Teresa R. Jones website at www.teresarjones.com. You can contact Teresa at teresa.jones@revelation2-4.com.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dispel the Mist by Marilyn Meredith -- Book Review

In this latest installment of Marilyn Meredith's award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, a Tulare County supervisor dies under suspicious circumstances. With her Mexican and Native American roots, Lilia Quintera was certainly a person to have on your side. Because of Tempe's ties to the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, she is called in to investigate Lilia's death. Tempe soon discovers that several people, including Lilia's husband, might have wanted her dead.

Tempe's unsettling dreams bring back memories of her grandmother's stories about the legend of the Hairy Man. Wishing she had thought to ask her grandmother more about the Hairy Man, Tempe wonders if these dreams predict the future. Once again, Tempe finds herself in danger. Only now, she fears no one will come to her rescue in time!

Dispel the Mist is an excellent new addition to the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. I have been a fan of this series since Judgment Fire--the first of these books that I read--and they just keep getting better.

Hutch and Tempe are on track with their marriage, but that certainly doesn't mean life is dull. A new golf course and hotel project planned at the Bear Creek Reservation could threaten the amount of business heading to Bear Creek Inn, owned by Tempe's friend, Claudia Donato, who also runs the inn with the help of Nick Two John. The opening up of a home for women with disabilities in the new gated community of Shadow Hills has some of the residents up in arms. And Lilia Quintera had connections to both projects. So, again, Tempe doesn't expect things to go easily when Detective Morrison asks her to investigate the possibility that Lilia died under mysterious circumstances.

The unsettling dreams that Tempe experiences, along with continued involvement at the reservation, bring in the Native American elements that flow through the Crabtree books. One can certainly tell the level of research Meredith has undertaken in order to create this series. In addition, the author's past experience as a caregiver may have played into this book as well.

If you're looking for an excellent fall read, look no further than Dispel the Mist by Marilyn Meredith. Filled with suspense, mystery and legends, you'll keep turning pages until you reach a satisfying conclusion.

Title: Dispel the Mist
Author: Marilyn Meredith
Publisher: Mundania Press
ISBN: 978-1-59426-402-3
SRP: $12.95 (U.S.)

Dobie The Canine Saint by Dr. Paul Greenbaum -- Book Review

A touching and heartwarming story of one man and his dog is what you'll find in Dobie, The Canine Saint.

Just a few days prior to a visit to his friend, Tom, Dr. Paul Greenbuam had to put to sleep his beloved canine companion. Was it any wonder that when Tom showed him the abused and neglected puppies in their dirty cage, Paul didn't want to talk about them? Tom tries to convince him to take one of the puppies, a female they had named Vicious--who was anything but that. A week later, Paul drove home with Vicious in tow. Renamed Dobie, this lovely book shares the story of her life and death, revealing her own healing process and how through that process, she healed Paul.

There were so many emotional moments as I read through Dobie The Canine Saint: reading of her healing process, how she and Paul went through so much together, and how she held on when she knew Paul still needed her. It is obvious they shared a special connection, and I believe the author honors Dobie well.

The text has an almost lyrical feel to it, as you float from one experience to the next, eager to learn more about their special connection. It's truly an inspiring story.

I believe that anyone who has loved a pet or loved and lost a pet will find many things to enjoy in Dobie The Canine Saint.

Title: Dobie The Canine Saint
Author: Dr. Paul Greenbaum
Publisher: Healing from the Heart Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9796483-8-0
SRP: $13.95 (U.S.)

Coming for Money by F.W. vom Scheidt - Book Review

In the fast-paced world of international finance, the money never sleeps.

In Coming For Money, international investment broker Paris Smith finds himself in a high-stakes gamble to save his career. In order to close this multi-million dollar deal, Paris must travel halfway around the globe and back again, unaware of the treachery and deceit that shadows every move he makes. Still reeling from the sudden death of his wife, Paris has thrown himself into his work. Always the star of his firm, people think he might have lost his edge. Can this deal put him back on top again? And where there is new hope, might there be love?

In this literary novel by F.W. vom Scheidt, the reader is treated to eloquent writing and a list of complex characters and situations. Intriguing and unique, Coming For Money is claimed to be part John Grisham and part John Updike. And though I see comparisions to The Firm, I also find the work original in its ability to depict one man's battle against himself. While his wife complained that he followed the money, and he never could quite deal with her depression, he seems powerless to break the cycle. When the stakes are this high, can he afford to?

Vom Scheidt puts his years as director of an international investment firm to excellent use in Coming For Money. It is obvious to the reader that those experiences formed a strong foundation for the novel. While a tad heavy on the similes and metaphors, this is an engaging read.

I am interested to see what F.W. vom Scheidt comes out with next.

Title: Coming for Money
Author: F.W. vom Scheidt
Publisher: Blue Butterfly Books
ISBN: 978-0-9784982-8-3
$24.95 (U.S. and Canada)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Arnie Berger from Widow's Walk by Ken Weene (Giveaway)

We have a very special guest dropping by today, Arnie Berger from Ken Weene's novel, Widow's Walk.

I’m Arnie Berger. I live inside Ken Weene’s new book, Widow’s Walk. Ken asked me to write an essay about being happy. Much as I wanted to, I couldn’t turn him down. I’m not a happy guy. I was once. When Mary was alive, when we were dating, when I thought we’d get married: boy was I happy. It wasn’t just that I was looking down the road and seeing a good life. I was truly happy. It wasn’t just the physical side of our relationship – good as that was; it was the meshing of kindred spirits, of two souls asking the same questions.

I have this card. It was from Mary’s first adult ed class. The teacher had asked for the students to spell out their questions. Mary wrote, “How do you balance the commitments to God, to others, and to yourself?” As if that wasn’t grand enough, then she asked, “How important is love?”

How could I not love a woman who asked questions like that?

Once I had told her I’m better at questions than I am at answers. Well, she was quite the questioner. I’ll keep that card forever just like I’ll keep those memories. To be honest, it’s those memories more than anything else that keep me alive. To be in love, to truly feel that you and another are as one: that is the highest moment, what I call a peak experience.

There are other great moments. I still have a few. Sean and I have stayed close. He and Karen have been great parents. I see so much of Mary in them and in their kids. Robert is a special joy. He’s in college now. We get together and talk about life. He considers me a grandfather, and that’s pretty wonderful. It isn’t like life has lost all meaning. But, I don’t think I’ll ever have another love – not one like I had with Mary.

Then I was alive – alive in the anticipation of the moment and open – so open – to the possibilities. In some ways I was a boat at harbor, snug and safe against my mooring yet yearning to be at sea. Knowing the joy of the moment while eager for the future. Great metaphor! The only glitch is that I get seasick.

I guess there’s a point here. If you’re happy, truly happy, then live in that moment. Enjoy it to the fullest because you can never know how choppy the sea might get. At least then you’ll have the memory of that safe harbor and the joy of that wonderful moment to think back on and to cherish.

Life goes on. I tell my students that. As a college professor I feel I have an obligation to let them know. Life goes on. Be careful to load up on the memories that will be there for the long and often painful run.

I guess that’s why Ken wanted me to write this little note – to remind me to hold fast to those memories, to the moments of our love, to the joy that was Mary. Tonight I’ll cry over those memories, but I will smile through the tears.

For more of Mary and my story read Widow’s Walk, by Kenneth Weene and enjoy the love within.

Giveaway Details:

Author Kenneth's Weene's Widow’s Walk is a story of good people's struggle – sometimes successfully and often not – to deal with the challenges in their lives. The novel reflects how family, friendship, love, faith, and character affect that struggle.

Join author, Kenneth Weene, on his blog book tour September 1-30. Take the time to leave comments along the way and you'll be entered in a drawing with a chance to win two different prizes.

The first giveaway is Kenneth Weene's poetry book which will go to a few different commenters.

The second giveaway is a copy of his book Widow's Walk to one lucky commenter

A New Englander by upbringing and inclination, Ken Weene’s career – primarily in New York – included teaching, pastoral care, and psychology. Throughout his career Ken has also been devoted to writing. His poetry has appeared in a number of publications – both print and web. He authored a number of professional publications. His short stories and essays have also been published. One of his short plays was recently workshopped. An anthology of Ken’s work, Songs For My Father, was published 2002. His novel, Widow’s Walk, has been published in 2009. Ken and his wife, Roz, now live in greater Phoenix where he spends much of his time writing.

He started writing, primarily poetry, in the 1980s. Regarding Widow's Walk, Weene says, "Stepping away from full-time work was the best decision I ever made. Writing this story has given me tremendous personal satisfaction, and it has shown me an avenue for expression I will always treasure."

If you haven't already read Widow's Walk, be sure to pick your copy up at Kenneth Weene’s Author Website - http://widows-walk.webs.com/ or Amazon.com.

You can connect with him on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.weene or Twitter - https://twitter.com/Ken_Weene.

For more information about Kenneth Weene and his virtual tour, check the schedule at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/08/widows-walk-blog-tour.html

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Melinda and the Wild West Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

A couple of weeks ago we interviewed author, Linda Weaver Clarke. You can read that interview here.

Linda's latest release, Elena, Woman of Courage is now available for purchase at Publisher Direct.

To celebrate this new release, the last book in her Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho series, Linda is holding a giveaway at her blog. Melinda and the Wild West is the first book in this series and you'll be entering to win a free copy. This book was a Semi-finalist for the Reviewers Choice Award 2007.

In 1896 Melinda Gamble—a very elegant, very naïve young woman from Boston—decides to give up her life of monotonous comfort for the turbulent uncertainty of the still untamed Wild West. Driven by her intense desire to make a difference in the world, Melinda takes a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho, where she comes face-to-face with a frightening bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and an intense blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it is a ruggedly handsome and very mysterious stranger who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love.

To enter the Melinda and the Wild West book giveaway, visit the blog of Linda Weaver Clarke at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/2009/09/free-book-give-away.html

For more information about Linda and her books, you can visit her online at www.lindaweaverclarke.com.

A Historian Writes A Historical Novel by Ruth Rymer, Author of Susannah, A Lawyer (Guest Post and Giveaway)

Today's guest blogger is Ruth Rymer, author of Susannah, A Lawyer - From Tragedy to Triumph. You can read an excerpt from this novel by visiting the author's website. Make sure you stick with us to the end though, because we're ofering you a chance to win a free copy of this novel that has been called "a gripping historical novel which is difficult to put down."


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write a historical novel. As a history major, I traced my ancestors back to 1720 colonial Pennsylvania. When I graduated in 1966, few colleges hired women as history professors, so I headed to law school. After being admitted to the California Bar in 1971, I discovered that law firms rarely employed women as lawyers. I was fortunate to establish my own practice without worrying about having to please a boss. I specialized in family law and enjoyed my career until 2000 when I retired to marry, travel and write.

Originally I had wanted to write a biography of my great-grandmother, Pollyanna Mead Reynolds (1857-1918) but I couldn’t find enough material about her. With Susannah, I retained my great-grandmother’s birth year, 1857, her status as the fifth child in the family, and her birthplace of upstate New York.

I had long admired Myra Bradwell of Bradwell v. Illinois (83 U.S. 130). Jane Friedman’s biography of Bradwell, The First Woman Lawyer in America, portrayed how lawyers practiced in 1860-1890 Chicago. The then common, now criminal actions of jury tampering and embezzling from clients’ settlement funds seemed inappropriate to Mrs. Bradwell, but were no more scandalous than divorce. Historic Myra Bradwell provided an excellent model & mentor for the fictional Susannah Reed.

Professional historians are strict about two rules. First, sources must be from primary material that is, created contemporaneously with the event. Second, the use of speculation and imagination are not allowed.

As a novelist, I could break the history restrictions. Still, I did not want to vary too far from the primary source rule. Two of my favorite historical novelists, Jane Kirkpatrick and Florence Weinberg, rely heavily on original documents.

W. Howells, in A Modern Instance (1882), was the first American novelist to address divorce and describe a fraudulent procedure common in Indiana. Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie captures the atmosphere of 1875-1890 Chicago, paints a vivid picture of how folks lived, where they ate, and how much they earned, as well as what happened to someone unlucky enough to be the “other woman.” Much of Dreiser’s world I verified by reading classifieds in the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune reported unusual divorces from all over the country and even described some lurid cases, especially when fraud or murder was involved. Susannah addresses situations similar to those described in the Tribune. The classifieds also gave me an accurate picture of women’s jobs at the time--cook, nursemaid, factory worker, and “typewriter” (a woman who owned a typing machine and hired it and herself out to businesses on an hourly or daily basis).

Of those who are acknowledged for helping create Susannah, the most unusual person is Warren Newman of the Cody Firearms Museum in Wyoming. I would describe a potential scene to him and he would tell me what model of gun the character could have used.

An early women’s rights scholar, Ruth Rymer practiced Family Law and lectured on “Women and the Law” in California under the name of Ruth Miller before retiring to write.

She holds a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from The Fielding Graduate University and wrote her dissertation on the historical, sociological, and psychological aspects of divorce.

Dr. Rymer, listed in the "Best Lawyers in America," 1988-2000, is Past President of both Queen’s Bench (Bay Area women attorneys) and the Northern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

The author lives in the Bay Area with her husband. Susannah is her second book. Visit the author at http://www.susannah-a-lawyer.com/index.htm.

Here's how to enter our giveaway:

1) Comment here with your working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

2) Get one additional entry for blogging about this contest. Leave a comment here telling us where you blogged about it.

3) Get two additional entries for tweeting about this contest. Don't forget to let us know here that you tweeted!

This giveaway will run from today until midnight (Eastern) on September 30th. A winner will be announced in early October.

This contest is open to all residents of the United States and Canada.

Follow Ruth's virtual book tour. Look for her at:

9/15-10/1 GoodReads - www.goodreads.com/giveaway?genre=historical-fiction

9/15 Gather - Booklovers Forum -

9/15 Reading & Reviewing Blog -

9/16 History Buff Blog - www.historicalfictionauthorinterviews.blogspot.com

9/17 Curled Up with a Good Book - www.curledup.com/win.htm

9/17 Curled Up with a Good Book - www.curledup.com/intrymer.htm

9/17-9/30 Library Thing - www.librarything.com/topic/73341

9/17-9/30 Library Thing - www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list

9/19 The Book Connection - www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2009/09/historian-writes-historical-novel-by.html

9/20 Beth's Book Review Blog - www.bethsbookreviewblog.blogspot.com

9/23 Coffee Thoughts Blog - http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts

9/23 Coffee Thoughts Blog - http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts

9/23 Coffee Time Romance - www.coffeetimeromance.com/reviews.html

10/5 Lyrique Tragedy Review Blog - www.lyriquetragedy.blogspot.com

10/5 Dawn Papuga - www.dawnpapuga.com

10/8 Pop Syndicate Book Blog - www.popsyndicate.com/books

10/20 Calling All Authors Radio - www.globaltalkradio.com/shows/callingallauthors

TBD Audible Authors - www.sacramentobookreview.com/audible_authors.php

Friday, September 18, 2009

Douglas Jacobson, Author of WW2 Historical Novel, Night of Flames, Shares How It All Began

Today's guest blogger is Douglas W. Jacobson, author of the WWII historical novel, Night of Flames: A Novel of World War II.

In 1939 the Germans invade Poland, setting off a rising storm of violence and destruction. For Anna and Jan Kopernik the loss is unimaginable. She is an assistant professor at a university in Krakow; he, an officer in the Polish cavalry. Separated by war, they must find their own way in a world where everything they ever knew is gone.

Anna’s father, a prominent intellectual, is deported to a death camp, and Anna must flee to Belgium where she joins the Resistance. Meanwhile, Jan escapes with the battered remnants of the Polish army to Britain. When British intelligence asks him to return to Poland in an undercover mission to contact the Resistance, he seizes the opportunity to search for his missing wife.

Through the long night of Nazi occupation, Anna, Jan, and ordinary people across Europe fight a covert war of sabotage and resistance against the overwhelming might of the German war machine. The struggle seems hopeless, but they are determined to take back what is theirs.

Night of Flames, How It All Began by Douglas W. Jacobson

A funny thing happened on the way to college. My daughter’s college, that is. In 1991 we sent our daughter off to the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, an excellent mid-size university campus four hours from our home in Milwaukee. It was difficult at first having her that far away, but like all parents of college-age kids we took a deep breath thinking it could be worse, she could be going to New York or California. Hah! Little did we know!

As time passed, a nice young man entered her life, a nice young man who was not from New York or California . . . but from Antwerp, Belgium. And so, the journey began.

As it turned out the young couple got married and eventually moved to Belgium. That was fourteen years ago. If having our college-age daughter four hours away by car was tough, having our newly married daughter an eight-hour plane ride away was a bit tougher. The remedy, of course, was traveling to Europe . . . often.

Now I have always been interested in WW2 history. Over the years I’ve read everything I could, both fiction and non-fiction, about this incredible world conflict which changed the course of human history. As I’ve often said in the talks I give about my book, for an American interested in WW2, spending time in Europe changes your perspective. As an example, consider this: In the memory of most Americans, WW2 began with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. By that time, more than three million Europeans had died in the war. By the time the war ended, four years later, that number would be more than thirty million . . . and eighty percent were civilians.

Over the years, as my wife and I traveled to Europe 2-3 times a year, we developed many relationships, including a very close friendship with my son-in-law’s parents who were children during the German occupation of Belgium. They didn’t talk about it at first; in fact they never talk about it all, except when someone like me-—whom they know and trust is really interested and really wants to know. And, in time, they did tell me about it. They told me about living in the cellar during the shelling of their working-class neighborhood near the port of Antwerp. They told me about foraging for food in the streets then rushing home before the German snipers could shoot them. They told me about the day in 1941 when the Gestapo barged into their home during dinner and took away my son-in-law’s grandfather. Four years later he returned, having walked home from Hamburg, Germany where he’d been a forced laborer.

Much has been written about the great battles of World War Two in Europe, the epic clashes of great armies at Normandy and Stalingrad, in the mountains of Italy and the deserts of Africa. But what has really inspired me were the stories of courage and perseverance of the common people caught up in this titanic struggle. Stories like those of the women and teenagers of the Comet Line who rescued hundreds of Allied aviators shot down over Belgium and Holland. Stories like those of the Armia Krajowa, Poland’s Home Army who risked their lives every day for six long years trying to preserve what little they could of their humanity.

In his book, World Crisis, Winston Churchill said, “When the trumpet sounded every class and rank had something to give. But none gave more, or gave more readily, than the common man and woman.” In those eloquent words lies the essence of what I have tried to honor in my historical novel, Night of Flames.

Douglas W. Jacobson is an engineer, business owner and World War Two history enthusiast. Doug has traveled extensively in Europe researching stories of the courage of common people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. His debut novel, Night of Flames: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007 by McBooks Press, and was released in paperback in 2008. Night of Flames won the 2007 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD from the Wisconsin Library Association. Doug has also published articles on Belgium’s WW2 escape organization, the Comete Line; Poland’s 1st Armored Division; and the liberation of Antwerp. Doug has just completed his second novel set in Europe at the end of WW2. You can visit his blog at www.douglaswjacobson.blogspot.com.

To see where Douglas stops next on his virtual book tour, visit http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Meggie's Remains by Joanne Sundell - Book Review

Meggie's Remains (Five Star Expressions) is a superb romantic suspense novel that will capture you from the very first moment you enter Colorado Territory.

Meghan McMurphy flees Boston and her past with few belongings and her copy of Jane Eyre. Arriving in Denver, she hopes to lose herself in the city where the nightmares might not reach her. When dashing Ethan Rourke stumbles upon Meggie on a snowy Denver street, he believes the woman must be insane. But Ethan has no idea of the life she's lived or the secret she is determined to keep hidden.

Assuming the name Rose Rochester, Meggie is hired as a teacher in an isolated mountain town in rugged Ute country. Settling in to make a life for herself--and hoping for a life simliar to that of the main characters of her beloved romance novel--Meggie knows that somehow and someway, the monstrous changeling from her nightmares will find her, killing any possibility of a life at all.

My total unprofessional opinion of Meggie's Remains is that I loved it! I couldn't put it down; I read the last chapter three times; and I wished I had time to read it again the moment I was done.

Sundell creates two multi-faceted and intriguing characters whose experiences are as different from each other's as night is to day, develops feelings between them that neither is willing to accept or act on, and comes out with a huge winner.

Meggie's story is one of pain and terror while Ethan's is a story of tragedy and loss. Battling against their growing feelings, each time that it seems Meggie and Ethan will end up together, Sundell tears them apart and keeps the reader turning the pages. And as if that isn't enough, Meggie's past is slowly creeping up to get her, and she knows it!

In addition to historical accuracy and attention to detail, Sundell's ability to create realistic characters makes Meggie's Remains an excellent read. You can tell that she has lived and breathed each of the characters she has created: Meggie and Ethan, their friends and associates, even the villain.

With a touch of the paranormal, this book becomes an engaging and intriguing read. Anyone who enjoys romantic suspense, an historical love story, complex characters and a book that you can't put down will want to read Meggie's Remains.

Title: Meggie's Remains
Author: Joanne Sundell
Publisher: Five Star-Gale
ISBN-10: 1-59414-788-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-59414-788-3
SRP: $25.95 (U.S.)

Back-to-School Giveaway - Life After College by Chachanna Simpson

Like the last giveaway I posted, this one is geared toward those who are done with school--at least for now anyway. LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: What Your Parents and Professors Never Taught You* is a wealth of information for twentysomethings on how to go from college life to the real world. In less than 150 pages Simpson manages to provide advice on moving back in with your parents, finding your first apartment, getting that first job, opening up a bank account, and so much more. This book even covers how to set up a budget and how to protect yourself from identity theft. There are also chapters on physical and emotional well being, how to provide for retirement, information about insurance, and how to set up a will. And all this is information is provided to the reader in a language that will be appreciated and easily understood.

To read more of my review of this title, visit The Book Rack. For a slice of what you'll find in this book, check out this guest post from Chachanna's virtual book tour.

Moving beyond college life will certainly be easier with this book!

Here's how to enter:

1) Comment here with your working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

2) Get one additional entry for blogging about this contest. Leave a comment here telling us where you blogged about it.

3) Get two additional entries for tweeting about this contest. Don't forget to let us know here that you tweeted!

This Back-to-School giveaway will run from today until midnight (Eastern) on September 30th. A winner will be announced in early October.

This contest is open to all residents of the United States and Canada.

* This is an autographed copy.

Back-to-School Giveaway for Christian Young Women

Maybe this September didn't mean going back to school for you, perhaps for the first time. There is a lot to learn when living on your own. It's a totally different ballgame than living with Mom and Dad.

Let On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debtfree and Regretfree provide you with some help.

In this interesting and thought-provoking exploration of the book of Proverbs, Schillinger takes young women along a journey that will help them to make better, safer, and more sound decisions.

You can read our review of this title here. Schillinger visted The Book Connection in April during her virtual book tour. Read her guest post on how young women can use Proverbs as a guide by clicking here.

Look below for rules on how to enter for a chance to win this excellent resource for young women.

Here's how to enter:

1) Comment here with your working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

2) Get one additional entry for blogging about this contest. Leave a comment here telling us where you blogged about it.

3) Get two additional entries for tweeting about this contest. Don't forget to let us know here that you tweeted!

This Back-to-School giveaway will run from today until midnight (Eastern) on September 30th. A winner will be announced in early October.

This contest is open to all residents of the United States and Canada.

Back-to-School Giveaway - Two-pack of Books for Teenage Girls

I remember being a teenaged girl, and I certainly didn't think it was very easy. The age of twenty couldn't come fast enough. Here are a couple of books that could make those teenage years a bit easier to cope with.

The first book in this two-pack is a funny, thought-provoking and inspirational book from Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein.

Dr. Barbara has been a guest at The Book Connection in the past and we've reviewed several of her books, including this one. The Truth: I'm a Girl, I'm Smart and I Know Everything tells the story of a young girl who shares everything she thinks and feels about life at home and at school, her dreams for the future, and her knowledge of The Truth.

You can find our review of this book here.

The second book in this giveaway is by Nikki Goldstein. Goldstein has worked as a beauty editor and writer for Marie Claire, Vogue, Elle, InStyle and Cosmopolitan. She used those experiences to write GirlForce, a modernized version of India's ancient medical system, Ayurveda, which offers a complete system of living.

You can read our review of Girlforce here.

Have a teenage girl? Know a teenage girl? Enter this giveaway and get a chance to win them some great books!

Here's how to enter:

1) Comment here with your working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

2) Get one additional entry for blogging about this contest. Leave a comment here telling us where you blogged about it.

3) Get two additional entries for tweeting about this contest. Don't forget to let us know here that you tweeted!

This Back-to-School giveaway will run from today until midnight (Eastern) on September 30th. A winner will be announced in early October.

This contest is open to all residents of the United States and Canada.

Back-to-School Giveaway - The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Middle School by David Borgenicht, et al.

It's the most favorite time of the year for many parents--myself included. The kids are back in school and families are adjusting to their new fall schedules. What better time than now to have a few giveaways!

Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, The: Middle School (Worst Case Scenario Junior Editions) is your guide to surviving middle school. Here's an excerpt from our review:

This quick read is full of advice on how to survive:

The First Day,
Homework Overload,
Bullies and Cliques,
Getting in Trouble,

and so much more, including special "Girls Only" and "Boys Only" sections.

You'll find tips on how to:

memorize your locker combination,
fix a problem with a teacher,
rescue a sinking grade,
challenge a cheater,
prep for a test in your toughest class,
try out without freaking out,

and so many tips that will make your journey through middle school easier and more enjoyable.

You can read the entire review here.

If you know a youngster who entered middle school this year, you'll want to get your hands on a copy of this book.

Here's how to enter:

1) Comment here with your working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

2) Get one additional entry for blogging about this contest. Leave a comment here telling us where you blogged about it.

3) Get two additional entries for tweeting about this contest. Don't forget to let us know here that you tweeted!

This Back-to-School giveaway will run from today until midnight (Eastern) on September 30th. A winner will be announced in early October.

This contest is open to all residents of the United States and Canada.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Interview with Bob Brooker and Kaye O'Dougherty, Authors of Football is for Lovers

Joining us today are Bob Brooker and Kaye O'Dougherty, authors of Football is for Lovers. I’m not sure how football and sex are related, but the authors will be able to provide us with some humorous insight, I’m sure.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Bob and Kaye. Why don’t you start by telling our readers a bit about yourself?

Bob is an old saloon singer who, as Bobby Brookes, recorded for RCA Victor and Capital back in the day; Kaye has trouble carrying a tune in a bucket. Even so, after we met at a recording studio on 42nd Street (yes, that 42nd Street), we began a decades-long partnership as Brooker and O'Dougherty, collaborating on a variety of theater, film, TV and video projects, performing, writing, directing, managing, and producing. Football is for Lovers (which can be found at www.footballforlovers.com) marks our debut as book authors.

You’ve collaborated on a variety of other projects, but this is the first book you’ve written together. Why?

Yes, Football is for Lovers is our first book. After years of being an entertainer, Bob's stroke a few years back ended his life on the wicked stage. His light-footed days treading the boards were definitely at an end. And Kaye has never spent a light-footed day in her life. So a book seemed like a good idea.

What do you enjoy most about your collaborations? What are some of the challenges of working together?

Although one of the pluses of the collaborative method is that it brings broader, more diverse perspectives to the table, it is nonetheless true that, at the end of the day, it can only work if the collaborators have the same ultimate vision. That is, to use interior decorators as an analogy, if one wants to do a French Provincial room in shades of off-white and mauve, and the other is more into psychedelic retro post-modern in hot pink and chartreuse, there could be a problem. So even though we fight – a lot! – about how to get there, we always seem to agree on where we're going. Even so, the preliminary fighting before we get to our goal can get a little intense. So I guess our greatest challenge over the years has been not to kill each other.

Tell us about Football is for Lovers?

We thought it was a shame that a cool game like football was apparently causing conflict in a lot of relationships. Val, our favorite bank teller, admitted she didn't know anything about the game, but she still swore she hated football. Well, obviously, if Val didn't know what the game was about, it couldn't really be football that she hated, now could it? A brief discussion of the subject revealed that it was being ignored by her boyfriend from August pre-season through the February Super Bowl that was putting a strain on their couplehood. So we wrote Football is for Lovers as an antidote to what seems to be a rather common problem. In the book, we not only make understanding the game as easy as buttering toast, but also we give you the tools to make football work for your relationship, not against it. Football is for Lovers gives you a whole new way of looking at football that can end the TV clicker wars, spice up your love life, and maybe even get you some M&Ms into the bargain. Not bad, huh?

Where did you find the inspiration for this story?

Football is for Lovers is humorous non-fiction, so there's really not much of a story line. But since it reflects our rather off-kilter view of life, I guess you could say we're our own inspiration. For us, human behavior is a constant source of . . . well, many things. Most of it defying logic. So we can't help but laugh . . . especially at ourselves. And we kind of like the idea of the rest of you crazy humans laughing along with us.

I’m one of those women who dreads football season. Not so much because the hubby ignores me, but because I really don’t understand football and don’t find it very interesting. Can your book help me?

Absolutely!!! It's like the stop action button when you're watching the running of the bulls at Pamplona. And what makes it even easier than the bull thing is that where everybody is running to is more clearly defined. Plus each team wears a different color uniform, so you can tell the bad guys from the good guys. Better yet, you get to pick which is which! We note in the book that football is chess on Astroturf. And at one level, it can be. But it can also be understood and enjoyed at the checkers level. Maybe even the sub-checkers level. In Football is for Lovers, we bring it down to the sub-checker basics. As one of our readers notes, it's nice to learn something and be able to laugh at the same time. If you read the book, you can – and you will!

There’s also some humor in this book. How does it all come together to make football widows happy?

It makes them widows no more! Really, that's the point. Speaking of basics, the basic premise of Football is for Lovers is that sharing is good. And when there's something this easy and this much fun to share – and believe us, it is – why choose widowhood? The thing is, we take the pain out of the learning process. Not only does this book give you sufficient education in the fine art of football so you can follow along with the action on Sunday night, but we've even included some fine art of the more classic variety (two illustrations of works by Jean Dubuffet), plus a Burma Shave sign and enough weird factoids to help you sound clever at cocktail parties. As if you weren't clever enough already. So why be a widow when good times can be yours just by flipping a few pages? Oh, and did we mention there are some rather hot . . . uh . . . relationship tips in there as well? Hey, it's all good!

Will men enjoy this book too?

We think so. Football is for Lovers offers so many one-up tidbits that we're pretty sure most men will get something out of it. We're willing to bet there are facts in there that they don't know. Like Terrell Owens' middle name. Or who the Cleveland Browns are named after. That's another thing: if you know the answers first, these items are great for making bets. We even suggest some interesting pay-offs. Plus the book is well-researched and accurate, and treats the game of football with respect. Because we do.

Where can readers purchase a copy Football is for Lovers?

They can order the book online on our website, www.footballforlovers. There's a direct link to our publisher for shipments inside the United States, plus a link to Amazon for our International clientele.

What else will people find at your website?

Besides the links for ordering, the site has excerpts from the book, a Family Album, attire to wear while watching the game (which we explain in some detail in the book), and a bunch of articles. So y'all come see us, hear?

What is up next for you?

We're working on our second book – also humorous non-fiction – He's Not the Guy (God Didn't Do It!). It bothers us when we hear those stories about things like, say, a building collapsing and ninety-nine people being killed. And the sole survivor says, "It was a miracle! God saved me!" So - uh – exactly what does that mean? God killed the other ninety-nine? We think not. And we intend to set the record straight.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Might as well pull out the old cliché: life is short. The thing is, if you have the chance to share something – yes, like football – with someone you love, we say: for goodness sake, do it! Because . . . yeah: life is short.

Thank you for stopping by today. Good luck with your book!

To see where Bob & Kaye are stopping next on their virtual book tour, visit http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.