Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Journey to Publication - Part 5

When we last left this journey, I had partaken in my first Muse Online Writers Conference and secured a position as a regular contributor for Writer2Writer.

Writer2Writer, an online magazine for professionals and freelancers who want to generate income from their writing, now comes out twice a month; but back then it was a monthly issue. Cheryl Wright is the editor of this magazine. She was also a presenter at the first Muse conference. That's how she heard about me.

Participants of the Muse Online Writers Conference belong to a Yahoo Group, which allows the members to support each other. One discussion that came up at the Group was if writing for free was a good way to get clips. I responded by sharing how I had been writing time management and organization articles geared toward writers for Destiny3Fiction, a free online magazine. I felt the exposure was good, and I had only committed to six free articles, so it wasn't like I was going to work for free forever.

Cheryl Wright seized that opportunity to contact me about the articles for use at Writer2Writer. Destiny3Fiction has just stopped being produced, so there were no rights issues. Most importantly, this would mean--for the first time--I would get paid to write. Very exciting!

We swapped a few emails, she liked the writing samples I sent her, and we agreed I would write a column every other month. My first column appeared in December 2006. I still contribute to this great online magazine. If you're interested in learning how to generate income from your writing, it would be a good place to check out.

I also mentioned in my last installment that I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time in 2006. That will be the topic of my next story.

Read Part 4 here!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho Book Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

To celebrate Independence Day, author Linda Weaver Clarke is running a giveaway at her blog. One winner who leaves a comment about "what freedom means to you" will be able to claim one of the books from Clarke's A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho series as their very own.

There are five books in this series: Melinda and the Wild West--which we reviewed here, Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Jenny's Dream, David and the Bear Lake Monster, and Elena Woman of Courage.

This contest ends on July 5th. Don't miss your chance to own one of the wonderful books from this series. Stop by Linda's blog today!

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop”, encouraging others to write their family history and autobiography. Clarke is the author of the historical fiction series, A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho, and the new mystery series, Anasazi Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.

New Winner for Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

Pricilla was lucky enough to win a copy of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner at a different blog during the author's virtual book tour.

Our new winner is Karen! Congratulations. You'll have until Friday, July 2nd to respond to my email.

Thanks again to all who participated.

Winner of The Confesssions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

Our congratulations go out to Pricilla, who won a copy of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner.

I'll email Pricilla today. She'll have until Friday to get me her mailing address. If I don't hear from her, I'll pick another winner once I get back from vacation.

Thanks to all who participated. More giveaways will be coming after July 18th.

Getting Ready!

We're leaving on Friday for our annual trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We'll be gone until July 18th, but I still have several authors lined up to post while I'm away:

July 6th - Rebecca James
July 8th - Nancy Thayer
July 9th - Diana Raab
July 13th - Katie Salidas
July 14th - Vincent Zandri
July 15th - Marilyn Meredith
July 16th - G.F. Skipworth

I also hope to blog at least a couple of times from the beach. Giveaways will pick up again, once I return.

I hope you're enjoying your summer!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim - Book Review

If you are looking for a book that is funny, irreverent, and courageous, look no further than Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim. In a style you come to expect from the woman who portrayed Nellie Oleson for many seasons on Little House on the Prairie, Arngrim shares her story from her childhood, the years she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a relative, her years on Little House, and beyond. This is a woman who isn't shy about opening up, and you'll love her for it.

I found this great video clip a while back, which you'll find below. Watch this, and you'll pretty much know what to expect for Arngrim's writing style.

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch was a very enlightening read. I must live under a rock because I didn't know Arngrim came from a family of entertainers, nor did I know the identity of the person who abused her for years; both of which seem like fairly common knowledge.

Argrim provided a great deal of behind the scenes stuff and spoke of many of her co-stars. I wish she had been a bit kinder to Melissa Sue Anderson, but overall, I didn't feel she exposed any horrible or damaging secrets. She spoke lovingly of her time on the set, and shared how portraying Nellie helped her deal with the problems at home. She also spent some time talking about the late Steve Tracy, who played her husband, Percival Dalton.

As a fan of the show, I have always felt that Arngrim and Tracy had such wonderful on-screen chemistry. It is such a shame he passed away so young. Argrim speaks of that loss, Michael Landon's passing, her role as an AIDS activist, and her involvement in PROTECT.org.

I read Confessions of a Prairie Bitch in under a day. The minute it arrived, I opened it up, and I pretty much didn't stop reading until the kids cried of starvation. So, I tossed them a loaf of bread and some water and kept on reading. Just kidding. I didn't want to stop reading. I couldn't stop reading. As soon as I was done I was ready to read it again.

Alison Arngrim is a natural storyteller. I can see why her comedy act is so popular. If you're a fan of Little House on the Prairie, Nellie Oleson, Arngrim, or just want to read a hilarious book that you can't put down, pick up a copy of Confessions of a Prairie Bitch. You won't be sorry!

Title: Confessions of a Prairie Bitch
Author: Alison Arngrim
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-196214-1
SRP: $25.99

Friday, June 25, 2010

How to be Happy and Successful in Everything You Do! by Terry Drake, Author of Live Happily Ever After...Now!

Today's guest blogger is Terry Drake, author of the self-help book, Live Happily, Ever After... Now!.

Live Happily, Ever After… Now! uses age old, time tested secrets (found in NLP, Law of Attraction, Positive Psychology, and Hypnosis) to teach you how to create the life you want! Ask yourself: Are you in control of what you think, act and feel? Are you living the life you want? Would you like to be happy and successful in everything you do? The key is learning how much control you have over your life, your beliefs and attitudes about yourself, others and the world you live in. Once you understand that you are in control (and you will), then you can use the 9 simple steps to begin living the life you want.

How to be Happy and Successful in Everything You Do! by Terry Drake

What do all successful and happy people have in common?

They believe in themselves and their ability to accomplish whatever they want. Not everyone shares this belief about themselves and the world they live in. Several people actually believe the exact opposite about themselves, even though they experience success and happiness, they are unable to fully enjoy it, because they don’t believe they deserve it or that it won’t last or that they got lucky. Your beliefs can prevent you from doing the things that you want and enjoying the things you want, yet even though they are this powerful, they are completely under your control.

Yes, you are in full control of what you believe about yourself and the world you live in! The problem is you don’t fully understand this or how your beliefs were developed, so you don’t challenge or replace them and live as if they were true. In order to be happy and successful in everything you do, you have to first believe it’s possible and to do that you need to understand more about your belief system.

Your Belief System

The most interesting fact about your belief systems are that they developed during your childhood. Before you even entered adolescence and adulthood, your fears, concerns, and thoughts about yourself and others were already formed. You developed these by your interactions with the adults and peers who were involved in your life.

An example of how an un-useful belief is formed is as follows: A three-year-old child wants attention from his father, so the child jumps on his father’s lap and interrupts him. The father’s response is, “Hey, what are you doing?” followed by “Not now I am busy. Go bother your mom!” The child of three then internalizes this experience and tells himself that he is not good enough for dad. Then between the ages of 3 and 6 this message is reinforced by the father and other adults. The message then becomes, I am not good enough and should keep quiet. The boy begins to believe this and live as if it were true, maybe forever, or until he learns differently. This, most likely, wasn’t the message that the father wanted to pass onto his son. However, you must remember it was a young child who was processing the information. The messages you received throughout childhood affected who you are today. These messages were interpreted by you to mean something and that meaning was solely based on the self, because early in life it was all about you; how you felt about a message, then how it related to you, and finally how you fit into the world because of the message. Whether the message had a positive intention or was an act by an unhealthy adult taking advantage of a child, the child’s perception was internalized, processed, and the message shaped how the child thought about himself and others.

Once you have your beliefs, they will shape the choices you make and the chances you take. These beliefs become quick messages that automatically play in your mind when you think about making changes or trying new things. When the messages are un-useful they result in your being unsuccessful and unhappy. So to summarize it up, you are currently limiting yourself, based on thinking that was developed as a child and reinforced by the same thinking, resulting in your current attitude about yourself and the world you live in.

The ease in changing this

Your beliefs and the way you approach life has become habitual. Think about it, most likely you approach your various day-to-day activities with an already pre-programmed belief and attitude. Take Monday’s for example, how many of you dread Monday’s? Why? Have you ever thought about it? What has Monday ever done to you? Nothing, it is just a word that is used to label a day of the week and is most often recognized as the start to a new work week, the same as Friday, except Friday is the label for the last day of the traditional work week and most of you view Friday’s in a much different manner.

You have full control over how you think and feel about Mondays, but you first have to realize this and once you do you can pay attention to the reason you feel that way. Once you understand the reason, then you can challenge and replace it, finally practicing your new found belief about Mondays and this will lead to a new attitude about Mondays. In order to break a habit, you have to become consciously aware of it, understand it and then replace the behavior and practice the changes until it becomes permanent. Healthy and positive beliefs plugged into any scenario will result in different results. Beliefs will affect your thinking, attitude, and actions determining how feedback is perceived. Most importantly is the simple fact that you have control over all of these aspects, especially your beliefs, once you understand them.

Live Happily, Ever After… Now! Helps you understand how much control you have over your beliefs and gives you simple, yet concrete methods to change them. The reason you can do this with ease, is that you already use the same methods to get your current results, you just don’t fully understand how the process works. Once you understand the whole process and how much control you have over it, then it is just a matter of implementing the changes and practicing them, which the book also teaches you how to do.

Terry M. Drake is a Licensed Social Worker, National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Trainer of Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP. He has spent the last 15 years learning about himself and others, through his academic studies resulting in his MSW and his professional studies, as a family therapist, clinical supervisor and vast training and research into hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, the law of attraction and positive psychology. Terry is currently a Director of mental and behavioral health programs and a Life Coach, Hypnotherapist in private practice. He is also ready to put his skills to use as an author, speaker, consultant and coach. Terry lives in Wellsboro, Pa with his wife and children. You can learn more about the power of your mind and how to be happy and successful in everything you do, by visiting www.livehappilyeverafter-now.com and buying his new book, Live Happily, Ever After… Now! 9 Simple Steps to create the life YOU want!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why God Matters by Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert -- Book Review

For an easy to digest look into how God touches us daily, pick up a copy of Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life by Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert.

In this short book, authors Fabian and Lumbert invite readers along on a journey to discover through their experiences how God can be seen in our daily lives. From Deacon Steve's story of being a reluctant convert to Fabian's story of how she stopped being a martyr for the trivial, each chapter brings the reader that much closer to seeing how God impacts our lives, as seen through the eyes of two devoted Catholics.

Before I go further with my review, I feel the need to impart a bit of information to my readers. I spent thirty years in the Catholic Church. I was baptized into it, forced to attend Mass unless I was on my death bed, attended a Catholic school for eight years, taught religious education for 10 years and directed an elementary religious education program for 5 years. My decision to leave the Catholic Church was forced by my pastor explaining to me that after all those years, if I decided to marry the Greek Orthodox man I was engaged to, and didn't do it in the Catholic Church, I could no longer practice my faith: accept the sacrament of Holy Communion. To say the Catholic Church and I parted in not a good way, would be an understatement.

Books such as these are of interest to me because I'm always searching for that nugget of faith in God that surpasses the theology and catechism to bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. Why God Matters is definitely one of those books.

Each story included in this short book displays God's work in our lives. They reach beyond the rules and touch the heart. They discuss what it is like to have a relationship with God that allows us to come to Him in our times of need, knowing He will always be there. While books that discuss the Catholic faith often provide readers with dry theology, they don't allow the average person--especially one not familiar with the Catholic Church--a way to understand God and our relationship with him. Why God Matters changes that. It's written by a lay person and a deacon, both devoted to their faith, but in many ways able to express what that type of faith can mean to an individual better than straight theology or dogma.

I must point out a couple of stories that touched my heart. Chapter Five is titled, "Out of the Depths of Despair". Deacon Steve shares his dilemma as a father to be, when he prayed for someone to help him decide on whether to sign papers to allow doctors to perform an emergency cesarean section on his wife. The help God sent came from an unexpected person. Also, Chapter 14, "Influence", in which Fabian shares her husband's conversion to the Catholic faith and their son's decision not to believe. As she explains it, "...I trust in God that he will eventually find his way." Being in the same situation with my son, I understand where she is coming from.

Every chapter includes quotations, a Life Lesson, and a Bible verse. This helps to make this book a nice devotional. The book has also garnered the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.

While this book is targeted to a Catholic audience, I feel other denominations will gain something from reading this book as well. I know I certainly enjoyed it, and look forward to more collaborations between Fabian and her father.

Title: Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
Authors: Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert
Publisher: Tribute Books
ISBN-10: 0982256531
ISBN-13: 978-0982256534
SRP: $15.95

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Promotion Events for Nancy Thayer and Beachcombers

Nancy Thayer will be touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion in July with her latest release, Beachcombers: A Novel.

Here are some in-person events where you might catch her:

Saturday, June 26, 10-noon, Booksigning, Mitchell’s Bookstore, Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, June 30, 7:30 pm, Booksigning, Bunch of Grapes, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Thursday, July 1, Lunch Event, Bank Street Books, Mystic Connecticut

Thursday, July 1, 7 pm, Talk, Stonington Library, Stonington, Connecticut

Friday, July 2, Booksigning, Titcombs Books, East Sandwich, MA

August 18, 7 pm., Talk, Nantucket Atheneum

Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, The Hot Flash Club, The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again, Hot Flash Holidays, The Hot Flash Club Chills Out, and Between Husbands and Friends. She lives on Nantucket. You can visit Nancy Thayer’s website at www.NancyThayer.com.

At Home With Laurie Ann by Laurie Ann McMillin Ray -- Book Review

At Home with Laurie Ann certainly looks like it is going to be a book to live up to its subtitle, "A Decorator's Guide: Turning the Place You Live into a Home You Love".

I received an unsolicited, free copy of this book from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. Initially, this made me a bit cranky. I'm not a huge fan of people sending me books I don't request. That said, I had seen several giveaways running for this book, but I hadn't won a copy, so when this one arrived I figured God had intervened on my behalf.

This is a beautifully designed book filled with stunning photographs. As if Laurie Ann were standing in the room with you, the conversational tone of her words flow off the pages and encourage you every step of the way. From teaching you how to "spot your style" to motivating you to experiment with color, this book has exactly what you need to turn your house into the home you want it to be.

At Home with Laurie Ann touches upon decorating with a smaller budget, what to do if the paint store doesn't have the color you want, and gives you ideas on how you can use samples to try out your potential new style before you make the change.

Chapter 3 takes you "Room by Room", while Chapter 4 discusses colors, layers, and patterns. There's also a section on a look for every season, which includes decorating ideas for the holidays. This section also includes some great recipes. There's even a chapter on decorating your great outdoors. I also appreciated the Glossary included at the end.

While I have to admit that I glance at some of the photographs and think, "My house will never look like that," Laurie Ann's instructions and easy conversational style make me believe it's possible. I'll definitely be trying this book out.

Title: At Home with Laurie Ann, A Decorator's Guide: Turn the Place You Live into A Home You Love
Author: Laurie Ann McMillin Ray
Publisher: Laurie Ann Publishing, Inc.
ISBN-10: 0984074805
ISBN-13: 978-0984074808
SRP: $29.95

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner -- Book Review

A beautifully written historical novel that provides a different perspective on a legendary queen most famous for her ruthlessness, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici: A Novel by C.W. Gortner will pull you in from the very first sentence.

Catherine de Medici is known throughout history as being a ruthless queen who poisoned her enemies, arranged the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and who practiced witchcraft.

At the age of 14, the last legitimate descendant of Medici blood, Catherine departs Florence for France, to wed King Francois I’s son, Henri II. While knowing this was a political marriage, Catherine would hope for a good life with Henri; all too soon to discover he preferred his former governess, Diane de Poitiers, who he had taken as his mistress, and flaunted in front of his wife.

Together Catherine and Henri would have several children, before his unexpected death placed their sickly son, Francois II on the throne. Tragedy would come to Catherine time and again, as her power grew during a time of unrest in France. Always seeking peace, she attempted to bring Huguenots and Catholics together, though not always assisted by her children--some even plotted against her.

She would die having been accused of many things. The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is her story.

Having previously read The Last Queen: A Novel, also by Gortner, I was anxious for the release of this book. Gortner's latest is at least as good as The Last Queen, if not better.

Bringing Catherine de Medici's story to life through her own confessions pulls the reader in immediately.

"I was ten years old when I discovered I might be a witch."

And so opens The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. Gortner certainly knows the importance of hooking a reader. The important thing, however, is that once he has you, Gortner never lets you go. The abundance of historical details, the numerous complex characters that reside within the book's pages, the perfect blending of fact and fiction, all let you know that you are dealing with a master who has perfected his art.

I found it much more challenging to write a review of Gortner's book than some others because I became so involved in the story, so attached to the characters, I forgot I was reviewing it.

While history has painted Catherine de Medici as a power hungry, maniacal force during her years in France, Gortner paints a much more sympathetic image of the girl sent to marry a king who preferred his mistress. She was a woman who sought to keep peace in a time when war threatened to rip France apart. She was a mother who felt the need to protect her children after the death of their father. She even felt the sting of betrayal by those close to her.

Gortner gives Catherine de Medici a voice. He does so in an eloquent, intriguing manner that will captivate readers and leave them wishing to know more about this misunderstood woman of the Renaissance. I highly recommend The Confessions of Catherine de Medici to any lover of historical fiction and those interested in powerful women in history.

Title: The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
Author: C.W. Gortner
Pubisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN-10: 0345501861
ISBN-13: 978-0345501868
SRP: $25.00

Walker's Wedding by Lori Copeland Interview and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

Bestselling Christian author, Lori Copeland has recently released a new novel, Walker's Wedding (The Western Sky Series). Jilted by his fiancée, Walker McKay is determined to never let a woman near his heart again, but he needs an heir. Courting someone new is out of the question, so he’ll have to find a wife another way. Wealthy heiress Sara Livingston wants to marry, but her suitors are deemed unsuitable by her unreasonable father. So she answers an ad for a mail-order bride and grabs onto it with both hands. Will Sara’s deception about her background and Walker’s wounded heart keep them from finding what they are looking for? Or are they truly meant for one another?

Doesn't this book sound wonderful?

Copeland granted Linda Weaver Clarke an interview this week at her blog. Copeland's fans can consider themselves lucky, because two copies of Walker's Wedding are available for this. The giveaway runs from today until June 28th. This is also an international giveaway!

Visit Linda's blog here to find details on how you can enter to win a copy of Lori Copeland's latest.

Lori Copeland lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. Lance and Lori have three sons, two daughter-in-laws, and five wonderful grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

Lance and Lori are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.

Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market. To date, she has more than 95 books published.

You can visit Lori online at www.loricopeland.com

Author Spotlight: A Note from an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker

Brian Weller is a haunted man. It’s been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega-selling thrillers, Brian’s life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife’s prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair.

Everything changes the morning an e-mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short-lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book-signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains unsure where their reunion will lead. One thing is certain: the forces that tore their love asunder will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

Filled with tender romance and taut suspense, A Note From An Old Acquaintance is an unforgettable story about fate, honor, and the power of true love.

Read an Excerpt!

“Please tell me why you’re doing this, Brian! Please!”

He tried opening his mouth, tried to tell her the truth, but the words he’d always wielded with such effortless aplomb, failed him, slipping away like smoke on a windy day. His throat felt as if it were gripped in a vise, his mind a flat, cracked slab of flyblown desert; and her muted sobs echoing through the phone’s earpiece made him want to take it all back. Every word. But how could he do that, now?

“I—I’m sorry, Joanna…for everything….”


THE PHONE JANGLED, RIPPING Brian Weller out of the dream. He sat up, gasping, sounds and images jumbling in his groggy brain until none of it made any sense.

The phone rang again, startling him.

He grabbed it, his eyes struggling against the darkness in the room.

What time was it?

Jesus, it was only 6:00. It felt even earlier due to the late night he’d
spent at the computer.

Read the Reviews!

"A very touching novel that will make your heart ache."


"Mr. Walker’s book is a very entertaining and quick read...I really did find this book to be both heart-wrenching and heart warming."


"A Note From An Old Acquaintance is a beautifully crafted story of hope, determination and the belief that love can conquer all."


"Bill Walker has created a novel with interesting characters and a fascinating look at the inner workings of an artist's life...This book is recommended for lovers of romance as well as those who enjoy reading about moral choices."

-Booksie's Blog

Bill Walker is a graphic designer specializing in book and dust jacket design, and has worked on projects by Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. Between his design work and his writing, he spends his spare time reading voraciously and playing very loud guitar, much to the chagrin of his lovely wife and two sons. Bill makes his home in Los Angeles and can be reached through his web site: http://www.billwalkerdesigns.com/

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Working through My TBR Pile

Is it truly possible that I haven't updated this list since May 17th? I guess so, because I don't see any other posts about my ever-growing TBR pile out there.

Life has been crazy. School ends for the girls tomorrow and I have a bunch of virtual book tour clients to carry me through the summer, so I haven't read as much as I would have liked; though I'm still making fairly decent progress.

I ended up resorting my TBR spreadsheet without realizing it would mess up how I had my current list running, so now you'll see that it is alphabetized instead. That's what I get for being impulsive. I've also got to tell you about a funny thing that happened.

Remember on May 17th when I said I made a decision to donate one of the books from my TBR pile to the school's summer fun basket my daughter's class was putting together? Well, guess who won that basket. My daughter! So, the book is back, but I'm still not going to list it here. I guess I must be meant to read that one.

Since my last list, I've read 15 books and reviewed 13. I have a review for Why God Matters by Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert scheduled for Thursday. Not reviewed yet are The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner and Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson, Little House on the Prairie, NBC). Highlighted entries are books I've read since my May 17th post.


…And Night Falls by Tommie Lyn (won)
A Very Dangerous Woman by James Livingston
A Woman's Heart that Dances by Catherine Martin
A Woman's Walk in Grace by Catherine Martin
American Lion by Jon Meacham (rcvd for hosting author)
America's Black Founders by Nancy I. Sanders TC&TBC
Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib (bought from author)
At Home with Laurie Ann by Laurie Anne McMillin Ray
Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James **
Blissfully Yours by Diann Walker (won)
Cabal of the Westford Knight by David S. Brody
Calling the Dead by Marilyn Meredith (bought from author)
Capturing Karma by K.M. Daughters (bought)
Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure TC&TBC
Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson (bought from a book fair)
Confessions of a Rebel Debutante by Anna Fields (won)
Conflict with Interest by Michael Ruddy **
Copper and Candles by Amber Miller (bought from author)
Daughter of Liberty J.M. Hochstetler (bought)
Deadly Omen by Marilyn Meredith (bought from author)
Deadly Trail by Marilyn Meredith (bought from author)
DeadMistress by Carole Shmurak (bought from author)
Drawing Strength from the Names of God by Catherine Martin

Ebeneezer's Cousin by Kristen Zajac TC&TBC
Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano (won)
Escape in Passion by Shiela Stewart (bought from author)
Evenings on Dark Island by Rhett DeVane and Larry Rock
Exiles on Main Street by Lisa Kleinholz (bought from author)
Famous Family Nights by Anne Bradshaw (won)
Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
Finding Chandra by Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz (Amazon Vine)
For the King by Catherine Delors
Forever Christmas by Christine Lynxwiler (bought)
Glamour Girl by Carlton Scott TC&TBC
Grin's Message by Carlton Scott TC&TBC
In My Bath by Beth Bernice Reinke TC&TBC
Intervention by Marilyn Meredith (bought from author)
It's about Time by Harold Lloyd

Little Big Wolf by Carlton Scott TC&TBC
Main Street: Tis' the Season by Ann M. Martin (bought from book fair)
Martha & Chip by Katharine Sohler
Mercy in Passion by Shiela Stewart (bought from author)
More Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias
Mother's Day Murder by Leslie Meier (bought from author)
Murder on the Low Down by Pamela Samules Young (bought)
My Dog Tim: and other stories by Garasamo Maccagnone **
Native Son by J.M. Hochstetler (bought)
Never without Hope by Michelle Sutton (bought)
Plan B by Steven Verrier TC&TBC **
Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert (bought)
Preaching to the Corspe by Roberta Isleib (bought)
Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze (bought)
Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig (bought from book fair)
Rose of the Adriatic by K.M. Daughters
Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
Set Apart by Jennifer Kennedy Dean (won)
Shadow of Betrayal by Brett Battles
Silenced Cry by Marta Stephens (bought)
Sully's Topsy Tale by Donna J. Shepherd TC&TBC

Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant (won)
The Case of the Mystified M.D. by A. K. Arenz (bought)
The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner ** (****)
The Cowboy's Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne (bought)
The House on the Shore by Victoria Howard (free)
The Judge Who Stole Christmas by Randy Singer (bought)
The Last Child by John Hart (won)
The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble (Amazon Vine)*
The Revolunationary Paul Revere by Joel Miller
The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Faust (rcvd for hosting author)
The Strand Prophecy by J.B.B. Winner
The Target by J.P. Hauptman (rcvd for hosting author)
The Wildcat's Burden by Christopher Hoare
Three Weeks Last Spring by Victoria Howard (free)
Undone by Karin Slaughter
Unequally Yoked by Marilyn Meredith (bought from author)
When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty by Jackie Johnson **
Wing Beat by Marilyn Meredith (bought from author)
Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
Write from the Heart by Leslea Newman
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim ****

Coming in the mail:

Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young **
The Chill of the Night by James Hayman **

So, it looks like there are 66 books in my TBR pile and 2 more on the way. Thankfully our trip to North Carolina is only a couple of weeks away. I have a pile of books and my Kindle to bring along for the ride and the two weeks at the beach.

Until next time, happy reading!

* Currently reading

** Reading/Read as part of a virtual book tour

**** Read, but not yet reviewed

Friday, June 18, 2010

Trapped by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen Interview and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

In addition to the Summer Treasure Hunt: "Dig for Clues and Win!" Contest Linda Weaver Clarke is running through the month of June, she is continuing her weekly book giveaways.

You have until June 21st to enter her latest giveaway for a copy of Trapped by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen.

"Trapped is about a sheltered Florida girl who wakens to find a thief in her mother’s home. After she escapes, she discovers he not only stole two paintings, but he also left behind shrines dedicated to her and a mysterious note, a "trap," which eventually leads her and the man she loves to a mafia-like world within the Austrian Alps."

“Family secrets, magic, and a fascinating new setting. Well written and cleverly done, Trapped is a great example of what makes suspense novels so engaging.”
--Josi S. Kilpack

"Just like its title, Trapped, by Ronda Hinrichsen, snatched up my attention with its first sentence. Hinrichsen carefully presents absorbing characters, heart-tugging romance and mystical-laden riddles in a way that kept me turning pages way past bedtime."
--Jody Durfee

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen's numerous magazine and internet writing credits include fiction and nonfiction published by The Friend, New Era, Ensign, Guideposts for Kids, Class Act, and yourLDSneighborhood.com. She also enjoys teaching writing and speaking in various venues.

Ronda first knew she wanted to be a writer when she was in the 6th grade. Her English teacher had been reading S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders to the class, and when she reached the section where Johnny urged Ponyboy to stay “gold,” Ronda realized she wanted to write "golden” words just as Hinton had. More than that, she wanted those words to encourage the "golden" in others. That remains one of her goals.

Visit Ronda online at www.rondahinrichsen.com

Visit Linda's blog to enter this giveaway.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Wildcat's Burden by Christopher Hoare -- Book Review

In The Wildcat's Burden by Christopher Hoare, Gisel Matah, is now the military governor of the city of Skrona in liberated Tarnland. Married, and pregnant with her first child, she knows her enemies are waiting for her to go into labor so they can pounce. A leader in a dangerous game that pits Gisel against spies, thieves and murderers, her enemies seek to steal Plan Zero and perhaps rid themselves of the Wildcat for good.

In this well-written fourth installment of the Iskander series, Hoare has given Gisel a new side--that of mother-to-be. Unlike many women in her position, Gisel is not able to sit back and enjoy this time. There are too many issues that need her attention: enemies to thwart, plots to uncover, and peace to keep in a world filled with cheats, liars, spies, and worse. Her husband, Yohan, worries over her, all the while being annoyed, knowing Gisel doesn't share everything with him.

We also meet two other strong women in The Wildcat's Burden: Lizzie and Bluebell. Lizzie's unfolding story is perhaps my favorite, and she is vital in uncovering a plot that could change the world as they know it.

This is the first book of the Iskander series that I've read, but Hoare includes a Foreword that discusses the series up to the point where this book begins, so I didn't feel a bit lost picking up the series with Book 4. Even without the Foreword, The Wildcat's Burden is an excellent stand alone, but it is nice that the author included this for the the reader; especially since there are so many characters to keep track of. Also included is an extensive Afterword that brings the reader into Gisel's future and discusses the unresolved storylines of characters that did not appear in The Wildcat's Burden.

Hoare definitely created an interesting and diverse set of characters in this book. Having not meet Gisel before now, I'm curious to know more about her past and others I met along the way.

While I can't say I would go out of my way to fill my shelves with books of this nature, I enjoyed tackling a genre I rarely read. With The Wildcat's Burden, Hoare has written a science fiction/alternative world story that will draw in lovers of this genre.

Title: The Wildcat's Burden
Author: Christopher Hoare
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing
ISBN-9: 1-55404-729-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-55404-729-1
SRP: $5.99 Available in multiple electronic formats

Top Three Mistakes People Make When Dealing with the Media (And How to Avoid Them) by Jonathan Bernstein

Every media interview, whether on-camera, by phone or even by email, is a unique opportunity to communicate your key messages to your stakeholders. Such important occasions should not be taken lightly, and yet completely preventable mistakes are often made by spokespersons. Here are three of the biggest mistakes – and how to avoid them.

1. Failure to Prepare

Even the most naturally skilled interview subject has a dramatically higher chance of being unhappy with the results of media contact if he/she fails to prepare for that possibility. Preparation includes:

 Media training using realistic scenarios ranging from the mundane to crisis-level situations.

 Crafting and memorizing key messages for topics on which you’re likely to be quizzed in advance of any interview.

 Doing some research on any media interviewer before an interview is given so as to understand the type of reporting that journalist typically does (e.g., friendly or hostile, pro-business or anti-business, balanced reporting or clearly slanted).

 Practicing to refine skills in between actual media interviews. Long periods of time can pass between interviews for many spokespersons. One or two days media training does not turn someone into an expert spokesperson – practice and experience can do that, if the spokesperson has the necessary basic talent.

2. Underestimating Non-Traditional Media

Today, ‘media’ doesn’t just mean traditional media (newspapers, radio, TV), but also “social media” that takes many different forms, including blogs, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and FriendFeed. All of them featuring information – sometimes about you and/or your organization – on a 24/7 news cycle.

Additionally, the lines between print and broadcast media have completely blurred. First, all of them have websites, but on the LA Times website, for example, you’ll find video. On Fox News’ website, you’ll find print. All media sites archive their stories, sometimes for many years, so a single piece of bad news can haunt you for a long, long time. The ‘blogosphere’ can act as a repeater, and distorter, of traditional media coverage, and there’s been more than one traditional media outlet that used a blog as a source.

It’s a mistake to underestimate the impact of someone whose blog is popular, who has hundreds or thousands of friends in their Facebook or Twitter network, and/or who regularly expresses their opinions via YouTube or other social media sites. They can hurt – or help – you just as much as any newspaper or broadcast outlet.

It is critical that all organizations have someone on staff, or on contract, who understands how to both monitor non-traditional media and use it for communicating both routine and crisis-level messages.

3. Treating the Media Like the Enemy

If you want to make a major mistake, tell a reporter that you think he/she has done such a bad job of reporting on you that you'll never talk to him/her again. Or badmouth him/her in a public forum. Send nasty emails. Then sit back and have a good time while:

 The reporter gets angry and directs that energy into REALLY going after your organization.

 The reporter laughs at what he/she sees as validation that you're really up to no good in some way.

Most reporters are not out to get you and, even for those who are, its rarely personal; they are ego-driven and their goal is the same as any employee’s – professional advancement.

Jonathan Bernstein is author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training and president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy based in Southern California.

To learn more about the Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training by Jonathan Bernstein Tour, please click here.

Author Spotlight: Norman by Craig Gehring

Norman centers on the relationship between a cutthroat, inhuman journalism student and an artificial intelligence with a tremendous heart circuit.

Nothing will stop journalism student Clayton East from nailing down the perfect story. He is willing to sacrifice his friendships, his girlfriend, and even his integrity if it means he will get his “big money, big names, blood, sex and the three C’s of conflict, controversy and character assassination” that he’s sure will sell papers. His homecoming queen feature “Cheater by the dozen” made some waves, but he knows he’ll need to take down bigger fish to take his place with the media elite.

Clayton stumbles upon the story of the century while investigating a supercomputer lab. There he discovers Norman, an artificial intelligence in hiding, the successful result of a decade long experiment attempting to use random chance to generate A.I. Clayton starts compiling his exposé (which will doom Norman to essentially becoming a lab rat), but the tables turn when in the process of his late-night interview Norman inadvertently teaches Clayton what it means to be human. Clayton must finally confront the harm he’s wreaked upon those closest to him and make a decision that will put him on a course where he can live with himself once more.

Read an Excerpt!

Reading the pages brought back the memory of the night in full. It had been like a sleepover with a best friend, where at some point near three in the morning you start talking about the girls you like and the fears you have and things you know you’ve never told anybody and never will tell anybody again. Norman, the computer, heard all of that from me, and I heard all of that from him.

Norman didn’t have a love life or a woman to worry about like I had Raksha, but he did have his relationships. Computers obviously can’t cry, but I could have sworn the monitor got a little foggy when he talked about losing Eisenberg.

Norman thanked me afterwards for listening. I didn’t thank him, but I noticed I felt better than I had in a long time when I finally left the lab.

“Where’d you go?” asked Raksha as I walked back into the living room.

“I was just…reading…” She wore her dark hair in a ponytail. A few wispy strands strayed around the frame of her forehead. Her eyes were dark brown, almost black, and yet they shone bright. She’d been my pathetic crush since middle school.

Raksha looked different after my long night with Norman. I’d never looked at her the way I did at that moment. She wasn’t my crush, or my love, or the girl I worried over at all hours of the night. She was Raksha without anything having to do with me attached to her.

Somehow I’d always seen her as that girl in middle school. I’d seen her every day and yet missed the entire transition she’d made into womanhood. I had the awkward realization that I didn’t know very much about her.

I owed her something. The truth was, I’d never told her how I really felt about her. I’d worried that it would freak her out, that she would see me in a different light, that maybe she would take me for granted. Norman’s stupid essay echoed in my head. It shouldn’t be all about me. I owed it to her to tell her, even if it came to nothing.

“Raksha,” I croaked. I tried again. “Raksha, I need to tell you something.”

“What’s that?” she asked. She started to rise, concern tightening her face.

“No, stay there. I just want to tell you something, okay?”


I resisted the urge to say something lame like “I like your teeth.” I had to lay it all out. “Okay, here goes. I’ve never told you this because I’m basically a chicken, at least when it comes to you, probably because you’re the one person that can really get under my skin.”

She opened her mouth to say something but I kept talking. “I mean, you’re the one person that I let in, really. What you think…well, I care what you think about me. You’re very important to me. You’re my best friend and you’re more than that to me. So I’ll tell you this: I love you.”

“I love you, too,” said Raksha. Love is such a nonspecific word.

“No, I mean I love you love you,” I said. “Like I think about you all the time and really my secret desire is to spend the rest of my life with you.” Wow, I’m on a roll. “Like the only reason I’m still at this school is because you’re here. Like I wish every day that we were still together, I wish I could take back everything, I wish I could just have shut my ears and never overheard Maggie talking to you…” My body felt all mixed up, like my heart was doing my breathing for me. It was the cheesiest, most honest thing I’d ever done.

I stopped talking, though, because Raksha looked angry. It wasn’t the reaction I was expecting. I didn’t know what to expect but I certainly wasn’t expecting for her eye to tick.

“Well, take it back!” she shouted.

“I would if I could…”

Raksha stood up. “You can! Call her! Take it back!”

The thought overwhelmed me. Everything we’d been fighting over for the past year shot from her lips in a concentration of seven angry words. I couldn’t figure out what to say. I could tell she wanted me to just do it.

She gave me three seconds. I thought I saw a tear roll off her cheek.

“Fine!” she said. She grabbed her purse off the sofa and left.

I watched the front door glide to a halt in her wake. Had the ceiling become the floor? I wasn’t certain.

“Thanks, Norman,” I said to myself.

Craig Gehring lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his wife and one-year-old daughter. He writes fiction and non-fiction across many genres. Craig always loves to hear from his readers. His upcoming short stories will be featured in Short-Story.me!, American Fiction, and Liquid Imagination. He was most recently published in The Nautilus Engine. Craig's humorous sci fi novella Norman will be released by MuseItUp Publishing early 2011.

To find out more about Norman, visit www.normanstory.com


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Author Spotlight: Guardian by Katie Hines

Imagine you have made a secret promise that can lead you to the discovery of an incredible treasure and an ancient power. But in order to fulfill that promise, you must defeat an age-old sect that is determined to claim the treasure and power themselves.

Drew Newman is ready to tell his friends a secret, but two strangers burst on the scene, demanding an ancient, magical, book. He plummets into a world of uncertainty and fear as his home is invaded and he desperately tries to find the book.

Aided by the mysterious Jean-Paul, Drew’s search takes him and friends to Oak Island, Nova Scotia, where he continues his search. Joined with his Grandpa Ian and cousin, Zea, the tension ratchets up when Drew is kidnapped and he encounters the head of a sect that wants the book, a magical talisman and a treasure, for themselves.

Sprinkled with magic, Guardian explores the commitment of a boy determined to fulfill his promise to his mother and claim an uncertain destiny.

Read an Excerpt!


“This is a secret meeting,” Drew Newman whispered as he pulled his letterman’s jacket close about his lean runner’s body. He sat perched on a log beside the crackling fire at the edge of his backyard. His green eyes darted back and forth between his two friends. “You can’t tell anyone what we’re going to talk about.”

“Dude, I’m a ‘real man.’ Of course I can keep a secret.” Javon Manson ground out an ember that popped from the fire. He fiddled with his do-rag and dreadlocks threatened to spill out. He shifted his muscular body as he tried to find a comfortable position on his log.

Mattie Royz shivered as a chill wind tossed her red hair into blue eyes. She pulled her windbreaker tight around her petite, slightly plump frame. “Oh my gosh, Javon, you are so lame. I’m not a ‘real man,’ but I can keep a secret, too.”

“All right.” Drew slid the marshmallow off his roasting stick and popped it in his mouth. Hearing a noise, he turned toward the trees that stood beyond the flickering light of the fire.

At that moment, a tall, broad man carrying a sword stepped from the night’s shadows and approached the teens, a dark hood hiding his face. A gust of wind brought the smell of rain and tossed his long, black cloak aside, revealing a pristine white tunic. A red sash belted his waist.

Drew sucked in his breath as the man cat-walked up to him, sword held at his side.

“Stand up,” the man commanded, pointing his sword at Drew. Shaking, Drew gulped and stood, then tripped on a loose shoestring.

“Stand up,” the man said. When Drew stood, the man lifted the tip of his sword to Drew’s chin. “Where is it?”

“Where is what?”

“Don’t trifle with me. Where is the book?”

Drew was so nervous he couldn’t think. “What book?”

“Yeah, what book,” Javon said, surprising Drew. Drew glanced at Javon and Mattie, who had come to stand beside him, nervously shifting from one foot to another.

“Shh,” Drew whispered.

“It’s a very special book,” the man prodded again. “You know which one.”

Drew wiped his sweaty hands on his Levi’s, inhaling the familiar, pungent odor of the campfire. Only one book was special--a journal. His mom’s journal. He’d touched it, and when he’d done so, it had left a peculiar webbed scar on the back of his left hand. She’d cautioned him not to tell anyone about the book or how he’d gotten the scar. Since he had not told anyone about the book, what could this man know of it?

“Are you talking about my mom’s journal?” Drew asked.

“Your mom’s, hmm. Yes, that would be it. Where is it?”

“I don’t know. It must be lost because I haven’t seen it in years.”

“This book is not lost,” the man said, his voice flat and hard.

A second man wearing a black leather jacket and jeans slid out from the night’s shadows. His sword reflected the fire’s flames. The first man withdrew his sword from beneath Drew’s chin, leaned into his friend, and the two men whispered. The interrogator looked at Drew, who shivered in the damp wind. “You are fortunate, young man, that pressing matters require my attention elsewhere. I will see you again.”

At that, he sheathed his sword, and the two men disappeared into the darkness. The three teens stared at each other. Would the men come back? Were they in danger? A soft, cool rain began to fall as Javon hollered, “Run! Run!”

Katie Hines has been writing snippets here and there as long as she can remember. When in 8th grade, she wrote a short story called, “Underworld.” Then, in high school, she wrote several poems that were published in an anthology.

Marriage and raising two children contributed to putting away writing for a few years, but she came back to it while in her 40s. Since that time, she has been a contributing feature writer and columnist for a local newspaper, has written several features articles for another area newspaper, and wrote religious and humor articles for an online Catholic ezine.

Her short story, “My Name is Bib,” was published by the Loch Raven Review in October, 2008.

Having found a publisher for Guardian, a middle grade urban fantasy, Hines is currently working on another fantasy novel as well as a couple of chapter books, and is extending “My Name is Bib” into a full young adult novel.

You can visit Katie online at www.katiehines.com and at her blog, http://katiehines.blogspot.com. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Building Captain Bonny Morgan's World for The Novel Captain Bonny Morgan: The Cassandra Prophesy by Robert "Doc" Gowdy

Today's guest blogger is Robert "Doc" Gowdy, author of the science fiction novel, Captain Bonny Morgan: The Cassandra Prophesy.

I’m assuming that what is meant by “world building”, is how did I go about building the world that my characters inhabit in my novel, Captain Bonny Morgan: The Cassandra Prophesy? For me, building Bonny Morgan’s world in the novel was quite easy. Being a big fan of science fiction—novels, movies, and television—I had a ready template to work from, especially where futuristic galactic space travel and alien worlds are concerned. However, I wanted to do something a little different given my love of the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean at the turn of the eighteenth-century. I also used my Ph.D. to good advantage in that I put to work for me my knowledge of mythology, particularly the writings of Joseph Campbell in The Hero With A Thousand Faces, and supplementing that with Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey where Campbell’s Hero’s Journey (the monomyth) is readily explained in literary terms.

Nevertheless, I built my novel’s world around Captain Bonny Morgan, a beautiful, mysterious, fairy-like galactic pirate. I derived her name from the real pirates Anne Bonny and Sir Henry Morgan. As a result, given my love for the Golden Age of Piracy, I made her a true pirate, right down to the West Country brogue she speaks, and placed her in a high-tech, futuristic galaxy where pirates roamed freely among various pirate strongholds like the real Tortuga. But in my novel’s case, it became Spiller’s Point (where, by the way, they serve Spiller’s Ale—good to the last spilt drop). In the case of Spiller’s Point as a pirate stronghold, or safe haven, I drew on my love of the mountains, particularly the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Building around the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, I fashioned Spiller’s Point as a very green, vastly mountainous planet with dense, dark forests, and high mountain peaks with glaciers that produce spectacular waterfalls. On Spiller’s Point I placed a pirate tavern called the Pretty Red. The Pretty Red is an ancient tavern, perhaps several millennia old, created in log cabin fashion and hidden within a narrow valley among very mountainous terrain. The pirates must know its coordinates in order to get there, and its fairly hidden from most ships’ sensors.

However, to compliment Bonny Morgan, I had to create a pirate world, or galaxy, in which she could operate. Drawing on ancient Irish mythology, I took as my model for my galactic pirates, the mythic Fianna—mythic Irish warriors. As a result, I made the bulk of my galactic pirates descendents of the “ancient” Fenians derived from the Fianna. As Fenians, then, they are all basically of Irish descent, and speak with an Irish brogue—not all, but most of them, anyway.

As a result of all this beginning “world building”, I found myself very quickly sketching out galactic maps in order to situate the various pirate strongholds, the center of the Galactic Empire, and internal tavern diagrams and Brethren Hall diagrams in order to situate locations in my mind, various pirate shootouts, and spacecraft battle scenes. While doing this “world building”, I happened on creating the pirate Queen, Colleen O’Malley, who is the leader of the O’Malley Brethren (one of nine Brethren factions) and has a pirate hideout on the snow planet Prilla. She, too, has an ancient, but high-tech, hideout facility, in which she also has an in-house tavern. It is in Colleen O’Malley’s Brethren Hall in-house tavern that Bonny Morgan does much of her pirate business and planning (not to mention the Pretty Red on Spiller’s Point).

In effect, then, I created one huge galactic Caribbean in which my characters live and operate. And that “world” served as a wonderful contrast for my favorite character (and the most fun to write) Tink to operate in. Tink is my nod to both J. M. Barrie and his creation, Tinker Bell. While Tink is a full-grown, human woman, she is nevertheless very Tinker Bell-like. She is beautiful, mischievous, playful, and very much in awe of the “world” around her. And having Tink operate within an ancient (albeit highly technologically advanced) pirate world was a lot of fun. However, Tink is also a slave. She is the Princess Lysette’s favorite slavegirl, another main character in my novel. Nevertheless, since Tink is a slave, I had to also create within the galaxy a “world” in which slavery was an ancient practice and tradition. So I had to build a “world” in which slave rules, etiquette, and protocols are observed, including the buying and selling of slave. Hence the creation of Miin, the planet where one of the galaxy’s premier slave market’s is located. There Tink meets Jon Black, a pirate of the same species as Bonny Morgan, and who owns a café in the Miinian Slave Market. And there she also meets Lady Brit, a beautiful young Miinian noble who is drawn into Tink and Princess Lysette’s adventure, along with Jon Black.

So in addition to pirates and slavery, I also had to create “worlds” in which royalty and nobles exist. And it seemed that the more I wrote, the more the “world” I was creating, created itself. I was quite fascinated by how once the germ of an idea began to take shape, the darn thing took off and snowballed into a rather wonderful, and quite magical, “world” in which my characters exist and, to my mind, live.

Robert “Doc” Gowdy is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Ph.D. in Literary Criticism and Theory and an emphasis on Nineteenth-Century British literature. His specialization in literary theory is psychoanalytic criticism and theory, particularly Lacanian psychoanalysis, with further emphases on Milton and Eighteenth-Century British literature. Doc Gowdy is currently an adjunct assistant professor at Texas Woman’s University where he teaches various literature courses. His interest in writing is long standing, but aside from academic writing, his first novel, Captain Bonny Morgan: The Cassandra Prophesy is his first foray into fiction. Captain Bonny Morgan is based on archetypal themes and patterns from mythology, such as fairies, goddesses, and the Hero’s Journey, and based loosely on Doc Gowdy’s active duty service in the United States Marine Corps with special emphasis on the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean at the turn of the Eighteenth-Century.

My Facebook page is listed under Robert Gowdy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Interview with Author Laura Lyseight and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

Do you have a teen? Does a friend of yours have a teen? Is your grandchild, neice, nephew or cousin a teen? Then you better hurry on over to Linda Weaver Clarke's blog by Saturday, June 12th.

Linda interviewed author Laura Lyseight at her blog this week. Readers will have a chance to win a copy of one of Laura's excellent books for teens.

"Brimming with wisdom and sensible expressions, this compilation of wise, life-transforming quotes from various scholars and gifted personalities is designed to motivate, challenge, and help the teens in charting their successful path in life. These quotes will allow them to experience renewed energy, feel an explosive excitement, and be mystified by their passion to do more.

This collection of quotes has been carefully sourced to inspire teens worldwide to give their best in everything they do to make their life more meaningful and fulfilling. Every teen, especially those who desire to be successful must have a copy."
- from the author's website.

"In an apparently changing economic climate, succeeding in the world of business is everybody’s goal.

Hence, there is a need for the teens to prepare and equip themselves with vital knowledge before handling their own businesses in the near future.

But, what do these teens need to learn about entrepreneurship while they are still young to have a better advantage and a greater chance of succeeding in this field?"
- from the author's website.

"This edifying read introduces readers, especially the teens, to the ten comprehensible and proven methods to succeed in any examination with excellence.

The core of Don’t Learn for Exams! reveals the secrets of the highly successful teens which are shared to motivate, guide, and help the average teens in staying focused and inspired throughout their studies. Ten chapters tackling on the knowledge and ten secret codes of the successful teens will surely bring about a turning point in their academic endeavor and will raise their enthusiasm to excel in every aspect of their life.

The eye-opening and informative ideas found in this enlightening book will enhance their learning abilities and capabilities."
- from the author's website.

Read Linda's interview with Laura Lyseight. Then leave a comment for your chance to win one of Laura's book. This is an international giveaway, but you have to enter by June 12th to be eligible.

Laura Lyseight has been a source of inspiration and great influence in the lives of many youngsters both students and children alike. Her burning ambition to see teens find and reach their full potential has driven her to prolifically write books to challenge, empower and enrich their lives beyond their own expectations.

She recalls times in her life as a teen where she wanted to be the best, but lacked the exposure, especially exposure to the world of business. Now a serial entrepreneur, a private tutor and coach, and a best-selling author, Laura is mentoring teens to leadership and helping them create their own success stories.

Stop by Linda's blog right now!

Guest Blogger: Alysa Braceau (Dreamshield), Author of The Sorcerer's Dream

Alysa Braceau is our guest blogger today. She is the author of The Sorcerer's Dream: An Initiation into the Sorcerer’s World

This is the autobiographical story of a young woman bumping into the enigmatic sorcerer Running Deer and her initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming. It takes the reader throughout the magic realms of the unknown and gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers.

The riveting autobiographical account The Sorcerer’s Dream written by Dreamshield takes the reader throughout the magic realms of the unknown and mastering conscious dreaming. This book, following the traditions of Carlos Castaneda and others, gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers.

The author describes her initiation into the surrealistic world of dreaming and magic, following the teachings of ‘Man of Knowledge’ Running Deer. In the heart of Amsterdam, a thrilling stride unfolds in obtaining the knowledge of the Second Reality on the way to the ultimate goal: finding the Totality of the Self!

The combination of unusual instructions and experiences within the sorcerer’s world and the level-headedness of a very Dutch woman offers the reader excitement and contemplation on the way to the source of this reality, finding the ultimate self through the experiences and understanding of Dreamshield herself. Up until the last page the reader remains intrigued whether Dreamshield will reach her goal.

Right by the author’s side or facing her stands the character of Running Deer. Sometimes mysterious, then challenging, strict as a guru, or vulnerable as a visitor in a foreign country. However, the precise description of these distinctive steps on the road to her initiation stand like milestones in the landscape of this unique history.

"She Runs with Wolves" by Alysa Braceau (Dreamshield)

The Sorcerer’s Dream is my personal account about my initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming. It is an exciting spiritual adventure that takes you throughout the magic realms of the unknown. The next excerpt describes a phase of my learning process in which my dreaming teacher Vidar unfolds more about travelling to the second reality after I took magic mushrooms (named: the entity) in a special ceremony which is presented to those who are following the teachings of Totality.

“I found it exciting to see how bluntly you took the entity.” Vidar throws a kitchen towel over his shoulder, walks towards me and places his hands on the back of his chair.

“Exciting? What do you mean exciting?” Am I mistaken or is he giving me hungry looks.

The other day when we were talking on the phone I had no reserves when I told him I wanted to continue the training, but now I begin to doubt. Vidar returns to the kitchen counter, takes the mugs of red hot chai tea, places one on the table in front of me and sits down.

“You might also call it courageous.”

“What do you need courage for?” I ask him annoyed, “Its part of the training isn’t it? Tell me, what do you mean?” I hardly find myself courageous, rather impulsive, but never without feeling right about something.

“The entity taught you during the first encounter the art of the warrior. And the warrior has the attitude of courage and deals with everything as though it’s the most ordinary thing, but you are of a higher level,” he says presumptuous, “to be exact you are one step higher, because you have the courage of a person of knowledge and you only reach that through spiritual bravery.” Vidar goes over it again: “You have passed the level of warriors and are still in the stage of early infancy as far as a woman of knowledge is concerned.”

The only courage I can think of is admitting to him earlier on the phone that I have feelings for him, more than I can bear. I had finally put my fear of rejection aside. I was whining on the phone, telling him that I found all these feelings extremely confusing, but that I was proud of myself that I finally dared to admit it. I can still hear myself say with a trembling, peeping voice:

“I have such strong feelings for you!” It was really terrible to have to do, but there was no way around it. After the last session I felt an overwhelming love, my love no longer felt scattered, but glued together like a firm whole, as though at that moment I knew how love truly feels. Yes, in the end I had faith he would react in a positive way, what would it matter anyway. In the worst case he would reassure me by saying that it was all part of the whole process and that things would blow over spontaneously. At best he would say he shared my feelings.

I felt greatly relieved to hear Vidar requite my feelings. I was in heaven. “Of course,” he said “we are united on a spiritual level and are part of the same spiritual family.” But for the time being I had to put my feelings aside, because he was going to visit family at the Southeast Coast of the States for a month. Of course, this trial left every room for doubt. Impatiently I kick the table-leg with my foot.

Vidar sits down and watches me radiantly. A warm wave runs through my heart and I abandon my built up reserves. “Are you familiar with the expression ‘she runs with wolves?” he asks.

“It sounds familiar.”

“It’s important to show your true feelings, like a wolf breaking free from the pack, running across the tundra. The wolves play together, our feelings do the same. ‘She runs with wolves’ is one of the biggest compliments one can get, we need it to get to the second reality. We travel to the second reality through the lines of intent stretching out in front of us. Or it’s actually different,” he corrects himself, “you will see that the second reality comes to you instead of you going there.”

Dreamshield (Alysa Braceau) studied social work and is a freelance journalist who writes for newspapers and magazines. She has a Healing Practice and gives workshops about the Art of Mastering Conscious Dreaming and Dream Healing.

We invite you to join in on the virtual tour for The Sorcerer’s Dream by Alysa Braceau (Dreamshield). The full schedule can be seen at http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/05/03/sorcerers-dream. You can learn much more about Dreamshield and her work on her website – www.dreamshield.nl. The book can be ordered on Amazon.

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