Friday, July 30, 2010

Penguin Books Celebrates 75 Years with a Giveaway

The Book Connection would like to congratulate Penguin Books on their 75th Anniversary!

In 1935, Penguin founder Allen Lane took the publishing world by storm when he decided to follow through on his idea that quality literature didn't have to cost a lot of money. Lane lauched Penguin Books with ten titles. A year later, more than 100 Penguin titles were in print with more than 1,000,000 copies sold. Through many milestones and awards, Penguin Books continues Lane's dream.

Please visit their special 75th Anniversary website, which has a timeline of Penguin's history, a photo gallery, an article on where the original ten titles published by Penguin are now, and much more!

To help celebrate their 75th Anniversary, Penguin Books is allowing The Book Connection to run a giveaway for a copy of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love—a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Once again, we would like to congratulate Penguin Books on their first 75 years in business. We look forward to what the next 75 years will bring!

Here are the details and rules of this contest:

1) You must be a follower of this blog to win.

2) Leave a comment including a working email address for your chance to win a copy of The Secret Life of Bees. Entries without an email address will not be counted.

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

* Deadline to enter is 11:59 PM Eastern on August 6th.

* Winner will be notified by email. Winner must respond with a complete mailing address within 72 hours of being notified or another winner will be selected.

* Shipping will be media mail through the USPS. The Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.

* Even if you have recently won a prize from The Book Connection, you are eligible to enter this contest.

My Serbian Wolf by Charisma Knight

Niko sacrificed himself once for the sake of his pack, but will he discover another lesson of self sacrifice that may release him from his spiritual imprisonment?

Centuries later, he discovers his life mate, Rebecca, the one who can make him whole once again. For Niko and Rebecca, a second chance at love is just a breath away.

Read an Excerpt!

Clutching the bed furs, Rebecca shivered as she returned to the warmth of the bed. The cold air hardened her chocolate nipples, causing the silk to feel harsh against them. Candles adorned the room, and a slight breeze caused the flames to sway in a smooth fluid motion, in such a strange hypnotizing way. It was no secret, once again she'd been thrust into an alternate reality.

A growl made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Chills skittered down her spine, causing goose bumps to erupt over her flesh.

The bed sat adjacent to the entrance of the room, and within the door- frame she caught a glimpse of Niko's large silhouette. From what she could see, his eyes appeared to be silver, or perhaps the candlelight played tricks upon her eyes.

Seeking more warmth, Rebecca tucked the furs closer to her body. Her breath escaped her as the wolf man moved closer into view, leaning against the stone wall. Silver eyes pierced her soul, and her pussy clenched in anticipation. Hot cream flooded her silk panties when Niko finally came into full view, snatching her breath away like a thief in the night.

She smiled. "I've missed you. Her pulsed quickened, and her clit throbbed. She ached with want at the thought of his hardened body slipping and sliding against hers.

"And I've missed you, Ljubavnica (lee oo bav neet sa)."

Rebecca swallowed hard as the large, muscular man, who stood at six-foot-three appeared to float into the room. Every time Rebecca saw him, many memories invade her psyche, causing her to remember their past lives together. Tonight, he wore a blood red wool shirt, and black cotton knickers, that were pretty damned form-fitting against his chiseled body.

His features appear to be carved from stone and adorned with tell-tale signs of his age, sending her blood pressure through the roof. To Rebecca, he looked to be in his early to mid forties, but she knew Niko was centuries old. Gray streaks were prominent throughout his black, shoulder length hair. Rebecca shuddered, not from the cold, but from eyes that were now black as obsidian. She released a breath and shuddered in anticipation of what was to come. Those eyes possessed ancient unspoken secrets, and promised hours of forbidden carnal pleasures.

Purchase My Serbian Wolf here!

Charisma Knight lives in the Maryland area with her darling daughters and her overactive imagination. Her love for vampires prompted her to pursue writing in March 2009.

Vampires are her first love. Werewolves, ghosts, and dragons follow close behind. She writes of old or “cursed” souls who are reincarnated over the sands of time. Quite often these souls must atone for past sins they care not to remember before fulfilling their destinies.

Her stories contain an erotic wild edge with a little fantasy sprinkled within. On occasion, one will discover some stories deal with real life situations. There are certain trials and tribulations everyone faces while walking down that cobblestone road called life. Charisma enjoys writing about how her characters triumph over the hurdles in their existence.

You can visit Charisma online at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Accidental Millionaire by Gary Fong

The Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life Without Really Trying is the memoir of Gary Fong, would-be slacker who revolutionized wedding photography, inventor of popular photography aids, entrepreneur, contrarian, bon vivant and a man who really, really didn’t want to become a doctor. A first-generation Chinese-American, Gary was raised in one of Los Angeles’ least-desirable neighborhoods and was forced to deal—in his own quirky and often very funny way—with the burdens of poverty, crime and his parents’ relentless aspirations. These issues almost overwhelmed him until he had a dramatic epiphany. Spotting a bumper sticker that read “Since I gave up hope, I feel much better,” Gary promptly did just that.

He stopped trying and started succeeding. At turns hilarious, insightful and instructive, The Accidental Millionaire is Horatio Alger-meets-David Sedaris. Turning the traditional self-help principles upside down, The Accidental Millionaire disdains the goal-oriented approaches of traditional self-help philosophies. Sometimes not knowing where you are going is the best possible way to get there.

Read an Excerpt!

My life has not gone according to “The Plan.”

The Plan was for me to go to medical school and eventually pull down a respectable salary of about $150,000 a year.

Had I gone with The Plan, by this point in my life (I’m in my mid-forties) I probably would have just finished paying off my student loans and would be eyeing that thirty-two-foot Catalina sailboat with the FOR SALE sign that I passed every night on my way home from the clinic. I’d be settled into a comfortable home in the ‘burbs, with my wife of twenty years and my 2.3 kids, driving a Lexus sedan. And living the life of my dreams.

Well, my parents’ dreams.

Which I tried, for a time, to convince myself were my dreams too.

Following The Plan made me cry a lot. Eventually I found myself with a literal gun to my own head. That’s when I ran from The Plan and began an adventure into uncharted territory.

Uncharted territory goes completely against the grain of my upbringin.

My parents were first-generation Asian immigrants. Their lives’ territory was very well charted. And they’d charted mine too. My destiny was determined before I was born, and I had absolutely no say in it. My parents didn’t know (or particularly care) if I was going to be gay or blind or a violent psychopath. All they knew was that I was going to be a doctor. Secondarily to that, of course, I would be married at a young age to a nice Chinese girl whom my mother endorsed, and I would deliver my mother numerous grandchildren for her to spoil. ASAP.

While I was growing up, my family suffered through sobering bouts of poverty. My parents sacrificed everything to ensure that I could get a good education. All they wanted was for me to not have to face the same financial struggles that they had. As a side benefit, they also weren’t going to mind the privilege of saying, “My son, the doctor.”

I didn’t want to live in poverty either, so I gave The Plan a go for many years. I even got a degree in pharmacology in my attempt to become a physician.

I failed.

And what did I do instead? I became a wedding photographer.

You can imagine the songs of joy this caused to leap from my parents’ hearts.

And yet, spring-boarding from that career, which began with moving back into my parents’ apartment and shooting weddings for $150 each, I became a multi-millionaire within a fairly short period of time. And it happened due to one improbable accident after another.

Read the Reviews!

"This is not your typical “how to get rich” book. This is the story of a man’s life; an illustration of the major events that influenced his thinking and behavior. Fong’s story includes not only his successes, but also his failures in business and his personal life that drove him to constantly reassess his approach. This is a book that will shake up your way of being in the world, maybe even crack open a door for a few accidents of your own to tumble through. I highly recommend it."

– Melissa Levine, Independent Book Reviewers

"Fong has succeeded in narrating a gripping success story that offers insight after business insight. It is more than a tale about a shrewd businessman, but rather a story about a visionary that will inspire readers to think creatively and individually, and not be prevented from taking action by limited resources."

– Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor Bookpleasures

"It certainly is not an accident Gary Fong has succeeded in life, and has earned millions of dollars. A person of his wit, self-confidence, and integrity exemplifies the “American Dream” in our “Land of Opportunity.” Opposed to ego flaunting books of success by guys like Donald Trump, Gary Fong takes the humble route, full of self-mockery and modest remarks, as he casts his fate to the wind to free himself and let life lead his path. He is very unlike the Jack Welch type of millionaire that professes the full control of cognitive evaluation of risk approach, or the scores of books offering money making formulas investing in real estate."

–Pacific Book Review

"This book is one that I would highly recommend...the style of writing is extremely fluid and full of humor, intelligence, and the drive to succeed."

--Review from Here

Gary Fong is a world-renowned photographer, inventor and entrepreneur who has made multiple fortunes in business and real estate. From his inauspicious beginnings in a tiny, hairspray-saturated apartment that doubled as his parents’ wig studio, he went on to become, at a very young age, one of the world’s most successful wedding photographers. After making millions by revolutionizing an industry traditionally reserved for small businessmen, he “stumbled” upon serial successes in photo printing, software, real estate and camera accessories by making unconventional decisions based on his own quirky impulses. Gary has photographed celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone, Paul McCartney and Ronald Reagan, invented and marketed the Lightsphere, and co-founded Pictage, which became the largest dedicated online digital/web solution in the United States and sold for $29 million.

His latest book is The Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life Without Really Trying.

You can visit his website at

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's About Time by Harold C. Lloyd -- Book Review

How many times have you wished there are more hours in the day? While author, business owner, and professional speaker Harold C. Lloyd can't hold back time, he can show you how to find 5 more hours each week.

In this excellent addition to the numerous books available on time management, Lloyd provides business people with the tools they need to become more productive and efficient, while molding them into better leaders. It's About Time will teach you how to:

* ZAP Distractions

* Make To-Do Lists that work

* Delegate effectively

* Make meetings meaningful

* Recruit more carefully

and more!

By performing a 20-Minute Disappearing Act before starting each day, you'll be in the right frame of mind to tackle the never ending issues you'll face. And this act is not what you might think!

Learn the importance of never accepting an uncompleted task back from one of your subordinates, and what happens when you do. It's About Time will show you how to use progressive discipline, and will discuss the importance of addressing concerns right away. You'll also discover how you should spend the last ten minutes of each day.

I've read more than one book on time management, and I write articles on time management and organization geared toward writers on a regular basis. When Brigantine Media asked if I would be interested in this book, I wasted no time in saying yes. I'm definitely glad I got the chance to read it. I especially enjoyed how each chapter's concepts were explained to the reader using the experiences of two aspiring business people. This helped to show the reader how to apply the concepts from this book to his work routine.

It's About Time will make a difference in the type of business leader you are and it will make a significant impact on how effectively your business runs. Don't be surprised when those around you notice the change and begin wondering how they can find their five extra hours each week.

I highly recommend It's About Time by Harold C. Lloyd. Businesses of all sizes can learn a great deal from Lloyd's experience.

Title: It's About Time
Author: Harold C. Lloyd
Publisher: Brigantine Media
ISBN-10: 0971154295
ISBN-13: 978-0971154292
SRP: $19.95

The Rhythm of Selby by Marti Healy

A tragic train derailment, the dying words of one of its victims, a fabled ruby necklace, a strained childhood friendship, a turn-of-the-century attempted murder, a terrifying storm that washes a 150-year-old secret to the surface -- all come together as part of a tangled, multi-generational mystery that eventually takes an entire town to decipher.

Read an Excerpt from The Rhythm of Selby!

Chapter One

Reverend Ridley Knox leaned in closely to the dying lips, trying desperately to hear this poor man’s words. He’d known Dennis Robecheaux all his life.

Dennis’s last coughing spasm had been a rough one. Ridley, a hospital chaplain for more than 20 years, judged it would, indeed, be the last. The chemical stench of chlorine still rose from Dennis like a public pool. It came from his hair, his breath, the very pores of his skin. Twelve had already died. Dennis would be number 13. Dear God, let him be the last, Ridley prayed.

Five days and 12 hours ago, at exactly 12:06 a.m., a Southern Railways freight train, carrying 70 tons of toxic liquid chlorine, had been sent by mistake to a side rail, ramming three stationary rail cars and spilling a cloud of deadly fumes over a 2-mile radius just outside of Selby, South Carolina. The epicenter of the accident was less than 100 yards from the town’s primary industry, a brick production facility, Carolina Bricks.

The night shift at Carolina Bricks, 25 men and 18 women, were trapped. Heroic efforts by the plant workers themselves, as well as Selby’s Public Safety officers and the County Sheriff’s Office, got them out. And then they evacuated the town’s northwest side of more than 6,000 residents. But 11 died in the process. Eight employees and three rescue workers. The train’s engineer made 12. And now, one bystander, bringing the toll to 13.

In those first horrifying hours following the crash, Ridley remembered thinking about the Biblical passage, John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man, than he would lay down his life for his friends,” because that’s exactly what happened. No one died in the accident as a result of a selfish act. All who perished were thinking of, or trying to help, someone else. They laid down their lives for each other.

Even Dennis, who wasn’t a safety officer and didn’t work for Carolina Bricks, was found with his body wrapped protectively around a stray dog. He succeeded in saving the dog’s life, but was losing his own – here, today, after suffering untold misery for 5 days and 12 hours. For the most part, Dennis had been incoherent. But within the last 24 hours, he had become surprisingly lucid. Then, about an hour ago, he asked repeatedly for Reverend Knox. Ridley had been at his side ever since, but Dennis had slipped in and out of a merciful coma.

While Ridley waited, his mind went lovingly over the memories of those lost in the tragedy. Harry Jackson, Carolina Bricks’ night foreman, had been the first to grasp what was happening. He rang the alarm, dialed 911, and called to his co-workers to run to the break room – the farthest, most air-tight part of the building. Jenna Busbee, who lived just a few blocks from the plant, tried instead to reach her home, her sleeping husband, her two kids, and their four dogs. The Coroner thought Jenna was probably the first of the eight plant workers to die. She was found in the parking lot just a few feet from the exterior door.

Robby Cadwalader, a night-shift regular, was found behind the wheel of his jeep. Everyone knew he lived with his only brother, a man who “never grew up” the townspeople said. His brother, called John-John, depended on Robby for everything. No one was surprised that Robby’s first thoughts were to get to John-John. But the car’s systems reacted as fatally to the fumes as human ones. It simply died in the middle of the street, Robby with it.

Despite the employees’ attempt to seal themselves into the break room, the toxic gas crept through every crack and crevice. Its choking effects were instant. Breathing was impossible. Uncontrollable vomiting compounded the other hideous bodily reactions to the poison. Panic was as hard to fight as the tears that blinded eyes shut as tightly as humanly possible. Flesh burned as if it had been in a raging fire. Even deeply colored clothing bleached in the saturated air to a faded, ghostly white.

Death came soon to five more. Of the Carolina Bricks employees, Jules Thompson was next. Father of a newborn, Jules’ wife and their infant daughter were still in the hospital a safe 5 miles away. Jules tried to find out if there were other workers outside of the plant. Twice, he left the relative safety of the room, and came back with at least one other person.

The third time, he never returned.

Then came Bubba Newcome. Bubba was six months away from retirement. His boat was sitting in his driveway a few blocks away. It was his pride and joy, his retirement dream. He spent hours polishing and primping that boat to shining glory. By the time Bubba was buried, the chlorine gas had completely corrupted the finish on the boat and even compromised the structure of its Fiberglass. Paint bubbled and peeled.

Wiring corroded and disintegrated. Bubba’s wife just left it where it stood, a crumbling memorial to Bubba, their dreams, and their lost future together. They said he kept encouraging everyone to hang on and tried to pray for them, until the fumes prevented him from speaking at all.

Public Safety volunteer, Big Jake Dooley, was the first rescue worker to arrive on the scene. He knew the drill; you wait until you have protection for yourself before you enter a dangerous situation – and never, ever, go in without backup. But he also knew just about everyone that worked at Carolina Bricks. And he knew they were dying. He carried 10 to safety in his truck, but it gave out on the way back. On foot, he staggered in one more time. Reaffirming his name “Big Jake” with honors that morning, he carried one more out on his back, got her to a clean air pocket, then collapsed and died on the spot.

Deputy Carrie Jo Tanner had only been on the job for less than 6 months. No amount of training could have prepared her for this. And no amount of instruction could have taught her the kind of courage she demonstrated. Without regard for her personal safety, she began hosing people down with water, covering their faces with wet towels, and pushing them toward streets that would lead them out of the chemical massacre. She was 21 years old. She was personally responsible for saving at least eight lives.

Johnson Aubrey was working night shift to finish putting himself through school. He, too, had called emergency 911, but could barely speak through the choking poison. His recorded blurred words and pleas for help for his coworkers were played over and over on the television newscasts with heartbreaking regularity in the days that immediately followed the accident. He died trying to help two others: Esther and Estelle Jameson.

The Jameson sisters were finally pulled unconscious into the break room by foreman Harry Jackson. It was his last act on this earth. Esther and Estelle were among the first to be transported to the hospital, but died later that day. In life, they had been devoted to each other. Neither married and they fought like only sisters can – constantly, cruelly, yet always just short of doing any real emotional harm. When Estelle fell, Esther refused to leave her, and was destined to prolonged inhalation of the chemical. In death, they were still inseparable, and died within two hours of each other.

Marcus Antony Vawter, a 15-year veteran of the volunteer rescue workers, and a survivor of Desert Storm, died two days after the event. One by one, he led or carried half-a-dozen people from the plant, and then went door-to-door in the surrounding neighborhood waking people up, telling them to close all their doors and windows, to bring their animals inside, and to turn off any air-conditioning or vents. He promised he’d be back to help them to safety as soon as he could. Ruthie, his wife, said Mac kept trying to get out of his hospital bed to keep that promise. His burned lungs eventually gave out, but not his will. His eyes were blinded, but he still could see the faces that needed him.


At exactly 12:04 a.m., Jonathan Tolbert, the engineer of the Southern Railways freight train carrying the load of chlorine, finished a second cup of coffee and came into view of the lights of the Carolina Bricks facility. Rounding the bend, he carefully checked his speed – the required 30-miles-an-hour in a populated area. He thought about how much he would hate a confining plant job like that. No excitement of traveling through the night air. No discovering new places, new people. He loved how his family greeted him every time he came home after being gone for days, sometimes weeks.

In the last minute before impact, John had time to realize something was very, very wrong; the train veered to the left instead of traveling straight. The lights were green. The train hadn’t jumped the track. His brain ticked off the possible causes. Someone must have left the switch open by mistake. Then he saw it. There was something ahead in the darkness. Something on the track.

In the final seconds, John prayed for the people in the plant. He was the first to die that night.


Reverend Knox brought himself back to the moment as Dennis’ hand tightened on his. He leaned forward again. What was Dennis trying to say?

“Not real,” Dennis whispered. “Blood isn’t real. Forgive us.”

“Dennis, I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” Ridley replied. “What blood? Forgive who?”

All he could think of was that Dennis was somehow asking for forgiveness for the three railroad workers who had been responsible for not switching the track from the side back to the main after they had off-loaded the empty cars. The three men who had to live with the idea that the loss of more than a dozen lives rested on their shoulders. Two men, now. The third had not been able to live with the guilt, and had taken his own life just days later.

Ironically, in his sad and remorseful note, this man had found the one bright spot of the tragedy. “Thank God,” he had written, “that it was not a few hours later. Thank God, the children were not in school. But God forgive us for causing them to lose their mothers and fathers.” His hunting rifle had put his anguish to rest. He was never counted in the official death toll.

He was right. Within a few hundred yards in the other direction of the track was Lincoln Elementary School, with over 150 students. Less than eight hours after the crash, the bell rang for the first class. It sounded haunting and hollow in the empty halls and playgrounds. And people thanked God.

But Dennis had no connection with these men or the crash, as far as Ridley knew. So why was he asking for forgiveness for them?

Dennis struggled to raise his head a few inches and whispered even more desperately into Ridley’s ear: “Please … tell Big Jake … I’m sorry … sorry.”

Ridley remembered the words. Pondered them. Wrote them down on a piece of yellow paper a few days later, and put them carefully in a drawer. And then went to bury poor Dennis.

Dennis was laid to rest in the old cemetery next to the Presbyterian church where six generations of Robecheauxs preceded him.

Read the Reviews!

"Marti Healy’s novel, The Rhythm of Selby, is as warm and comforting as a morning bowl of grits. This is not a story of murder and mayhem, but a much more sedate mystery that speaks about the people of the South and their culture ... It is a gift to be opened with care and treasured word for word.”
~ Jeffrey B. Wallace - Editor, Aiken Standard

“With her gift of capturing details of places and painting pictures with words, author Marti Healy puts the reader on the scene, capturing a sense of place in a small Southern town. Once you read The Rhythm of Selby, you may never again look at your own home town in the same way.”
~ Idella Bodie - Author of Carolina Girl, and numerous other historical novels set in the South

“In this wonderfully imaginative novel, Marti Healy has captured the quintessential nature of a small southern town. Her ever-curious mind led her to diligently observe people, places and events and she has woven them into an intricate interactive story. Her personalities evolve subtly with insight, love and humor, so that one senses that you have known them all your life. The mystery that is pondered in the opening pages sneaks up on you slowly, gently and compassionately. When you finish this story, you want to immediately go back to page one and read it again.”
~ Penny Alexander - Aiken, South Carolina

Marti Healy has been a professional award-winning copywriter for more than 30 years. The majority of this time was spent with The Design Group, Inc., a total communications firm, where she served as vice president and senior writer.

She has also been a contributing columnist for The Aiken Standard daily newspaper since 2004.

The God-Dog Connection was her first published book. Her first novel, The Rhythm of Selby, won a 2009 Bronze Medal for Popular Fiction from the Independent Publishers Awards for Excellence, and two Indie Awards in 2010 for writing and design. Her second novel was launched in June 2010, titled The Secret Child and is appealing to a wide range of readers, including Young Adult and Adult; it was selected as a 2010 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA).

Marti is a popular speaker on the topic of her books as well as her columns and on writing in general. She has also appeared on numerous television talks shows and special features on news broadcasts in the southeast.

Currently, Marti lives in Aiken, South Carolina, with dogs Sophie and Teddy, and cat Sparkey.
She is actively developing a new animal-oriented faith-based book, as well as a new novel.

You can visit Marti online at

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Book Giveaway! -- Book Pack 2 (Gifts for Him)

Sorry about being so late posting this today. Spent some time at the dentist getting a tooth fixed. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

As I mentioned last week, these giveaways will run once a week through Labor Day week. There are a total of 10 Book Packs up for grabs. Each Book Pack includes a minimum of 3 books.

Last week's giveaway was for the kiddies, so we're switching gears and offering a great selection of books that the guy in your life should enjoy. Not that the ladies won't like these--I've read a couple of them--but when I put these together I was thinking of my husband.

Book Pack #2 includes:

An unopened, plastic wrapped copy of Citizen Dick by Richard Arneson.

Dick Citizen, an unambitious, twenty-five-year-old with an obsessive hatred for his first name, an uncanny ability to hit a golf ball long and straight, and a bizarre skeleton in his closet, stumbles backwards into the last place he should be—Corporate America; more specifically, he stumbles into a PR position at CommGlobalTeleVisa, the 3rd largest telecommunications corporation in the United States, its name synonymous with ineptitude and shoddy, C-level leadership.

For Dick, boredom soon sets in, so he writes farcical press releases—to pass the time and for the enjoyment of his co-workers—about outrageous, bogus product offerings CommGlobalTeleVista has in the works.

But when one of the press releases gets leaked to the press, Wall Street responds favorably to the moribund corporation for the first time in several years. And when Noble Tud, the sleazy, hirsute, golf- and prison-obsessed CEO discovers Dick is uncannily lucky—he’s had fourteen holes-in-one—he decides to carry out the press release’s claims that CommGlobalTeleVista is about to take over a large meat company. And if doing so edges their stock price north of $75/share, Tud will receive a $100M bonus.

An ARC of Conflicts with Interest by Michael Ruddy. You can find my review of this book here. It's a journey into the deep, dark underbelly of law firms and insurance companies, as told mostly by a building contractor who has to live through it all.

Next is an autographed copy of The Target: Love, Death and Airline Deregulation by J.R. Hauptman. I received this book as a thank you gift for hosting the author while he was on a virtual book tour. I really wanted to read this one, but I have so many other books I am committed to reviewing that I've decided to let it go. The reviews for it on Amazon have been good.

Set in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West, this book tells the tale of the tumultuous first years of airline deregulation and the effects it had on that industry and the people who worked there.

Also included is a hardcover of The First Patient by Michael Palmer. This was the first book of Palmer's that I've read. If I ever get time to read for sheer enjoyment again, I'll definitely pick up a copy of another one of his books.

Years ago, Andrew (Drew) Stoddard and Gabe Singleton were roommates at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Then their lives took very different directions. Drew became a war hero, a governor, and soon President of the United States. Gabe ended up a country doctor living on a ranch in Wyoming, surviving various addictions as he lives with the fact that he killed a woman and her unborn child while driving drunk one night; an accident that sent him to prison.

When Drew and Marine One touch down on Gabe's ranch, Gabe learns that the president's personal physician has mysteriously disappeared and Drew wants Gabe to temporarily replace him. Not without reservations, Gabe agrees to go to Washington...but nothing could prepare him for the mess he dropped into.

While Drew is embroiled in a tight race for reelection, he might also be going insane; and Gabe will have to make the decision whether or not to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment.

The retail value of Book Pack #2 is $74.84!

Here are the rules and entry details for Book Pack #2 in The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Book Giveaway!

1. You must be a follower of this blog to be eligible to win.

2. For your first entry, leave a comment here indicating you are a follower.

3. Blog about this contest and receive five additional entries. Comment must include a link to your blog post about the contest.

4. You will receive two additional entries for every friend you refer to this contest. Your friend must become a follower of the blog and leave a comment indicating who referred him/her. Use Blogger ID's when listing who provided the referral, so they are easily traced back to the correct person. No anonymous entries are allowed.

This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States and Canada. No emails will be sent to notify the winner. The winner can claim his/her prize by clicking the Contact Me button in the sidebar and sending along his/her mailing address. All winners have 72 hours after their names are announced to claim their prizes. An alternative winner will be selected after the 72 hour window has passed. If you win a prize, please wait one week before entering another giveaway. Prizes will be shipped media mail through the United States Postal Service. We are not responsible for lost or damaged goods. Deadline to enter is 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, July 31st.


Interview with Romance Author Marcia Lynn McClure and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

I know you're impatient to hear about the next Book Pack in The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Giveaway, but I didn't want you to miss out on this one.

Linda Weaver Clarke has another international giveaway going on right now, this time with romance author Marcia Lynn McClure. Up for grabs is a copy of Weathered Too Young.

When Lark appears on the Evans’ porch, Tom instantly hires her to keep house and cook for himself and his cantankerous elder brother, Slater. It doesn’t take long for Slater Evans to unknowingly capture her heart. Lark’s true age is not the only truth she has kept from Slater and Tom Evans. Darker secrets lay imprisoned deep within her heart. However, secrets are made to be found out. Would Lark discover the love she’d never dared to hope for?

Now, this sounds like a romance novel I can certainly get into. McClure has this to say about one of the Evans brothers, "Slater Evans is delicious! Masculine, brooding, and hiding secrets…yet with a clever wit and sense of humor!"

Who doesn't like delicious, masculine, brooding, and secretive men who are witty and have a sense of humor?

How can you win a copy of Weathered Too Young? Follow this link to Linda's blog and leave a comment that includes your email address.

This giveaway ends on July 2nd, so you better do it right now while you're thinking about it. Go ahead, you know you want a copy of this book!

Marcia Lynn McClure is surrounded by the gorgeous and captivating desert land of New Mexico, creating the perfect mood to write her romance novels. Her parents and grandparents were a great influence. She grew up hearing “tales of runaway buckboards, mule-drawn plows; stories of hardship and tragedy, love and loss.” These family legends led Marcia to writing novels. She is the mother of three children and has one grandson. Marcia is a romantic at heart and the author of 22 “clean” romance novels.

You can visit Marcia online at

Winner of Book Pack #1 in The Book Connection's Big Summer 2010 Book Giveaway Announced!

Congratulations to Pricilla, the winner of our first Book Pack in The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Giveaway!

Pricilla now has 72 hours to contact me via email with her mailing information--see contact form in sidebar or email addy in my profile.

Look for the next set of prizes to be posted in The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Giveaway later today!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Last Day to Enter to Win Book Pack #1 in The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Giveaway!

Today is the last day to enter for your chance to win Book Pack #1 in The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Giveaway!

All entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, July 24th. Click here to enter!

Friday, July 23, 2010

After by Ann Putnam, Author of Full Moon at Noontide

Today we welcome guest blogger, Ann Putnam, author of Full Moon at Noontide: A Daughter's Last Goodbye.

After by Ann Putnam

On Friday the 13th of September, my father had a stroke and I knew that losing him had begun in earnest. But as these things go, he was eventually sent off to the hospital rehab to learn how to walk through life dragging a leg and an arm. On the fourth weekend, when my father had been in the hospital a month, he got a pass to go out for dinner. He had not been in the world since that morning he slipped from his chair to the floor. This is the memory that rises up: It’s his first time out in the world in a wheelchair. But he’s dressed up in his camel blazer, brown wool pants, oxfords, blue shirt and tie. It’s all new to us, pushing a wheelchair. It’s all new to him, too, the view from the chair. But then we’re seated around a lovely table that looks out over the river shimmering in the late afternoon sun. All that sunlight, that brilliance spread for us. The sun sinks lower until it reaches the windows of the office buildings across the river and shatters into a mosaic of light. The office building is a cathedral now, casting its light across the river in wavery patterns of radiance. I can’t speak. A holy moment, because here we are, all together, crossed over to safety at last. “Dad, look!” I say. What I mean is, the world is still a beautiful place. You still have your life. I’m feeling expansive, blessed in some way. I take this as a sign that everything will be all right. My father looks around astonished. Life as it had been before.

It’s dark now, and little white lights have come on all over the restaurant. Such enchantment for an October night. The restaurant lights flicker across the water. If I were my father, I would never want to leave. I would never want to go back to that hospital. But he does. He’s had enough of everything. His back is getting tired and he looks a little frightened. He wants his hospital bed, the pillows and covers just as he likes them, the TV bolted to the corner of the wall, the TV remote by his steady left hand, the nurses to pat him and take his temperature and blood pressure and listen to his heart, and tell him that all is well.

Ann Putnam holds a Ph.D in English from the University of Washington. She teaches creative writing and gender studies at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She has published short fiction, personal essays, literary criticism and book reviews in various anthologies such as Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice, and in journals including the Hemingway Review, Western American Literature and the South Dakota Review. Be sure to check out her website at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Different Than Any Other City in the United States, an Article by Maria Lucia, Author of LIBERATION

Our guest blogger today is Maria Lucia, author of LIBERATION,BOOK ONE OF THE ANDRUSIAN CHRONICLES.

Amora Madre is content in the Smokey Mountains pursuing her teaching of love, things of the spirit, and metaphysics. Her childhood invisible playmates, Casey and Nia, are always by her side. But when soul mate Gabriel Ephraim enters her life, she is drawn into the heart of a horrific encounter with the spirit world in the skies over Washington D.C. Catapulted into service for the Intergalactic Supernatural Intelligence Agency, ISIA, the kindred lovers soon discover the existence of an invisible wickedness over the city, its galactic origins, and its evil designs for national and world events.

As part of an Andrusian galactic strike force, assembled to dismantle the malevolent legion’s brutal matrix, Amora and Gabriel, seasoned and accomplished, embark on a dangerous adventure filled with Onaweyans, Scorpillians, historical figures, and a confrontation with the dark supernatural syndicate over the fate of the United States and the earth.

With journeys into dimensional worlds, interactions with fantastic characters and creatures, and revelation of the current struggle between the spiritual forces of good and evil, LIBERATION draws the reader into a world where the spiritual dimensions and reality converge.

Setting is an important decision for writers. I asked Maria to discuss why she chose the skies above D.C. as the setting for her story. Here's what she had to say:

Different Than Any Other City in the United States by Maria Lucia

D.C. is different than ANY OTHER CITY IN THE United States. It holds within its very core the energy that founded this nation. It’s amazing. When you walk the streets you feel that something is different, that something goes deeper than the avenues and buildings. This is particularly true in the mall where you can see the monument of George Washington and the capitol. Something is kept alive in D.C., something that began 234 years ago and that we are a part of. This book is about today’s world. It holds within it pages powerful challenges that the human race is facing as well as the nation. There was no other setting for the story. I had to have a place that was meaningful to the challenges of today and to the voices calling out nationally and globally.

Born in Havana, Cuba, and having immigrated to the United States in 1960, Maria possesses a true and in-depth understanding of the power and unlimited potential of evolving and beginning again.

A University of Memphis education graduate and a professional musician and vocalist, Maria moved deeply into the study of music and launched a very successful musical career in 1984. It included experiencing music on the performance level and the educational level as well. She began her studies of the deeper aspects of music immersed in the wisdom of Stephen Halpern and the integration of the healing effects of music and sound. She developed her voice simultaneously with her ability to teach others how to create and bring out their own voice and soul through music.

In 1994 she completed a nine year position with the world renowned Howard Hanger Jazz Fantasy and left her music career to focus entirely on developing her teachings. She spent many years in private practice, facilitating her own seminars and counseling on creativity. Her experience includes programs for gifted children in the public school system and creativity seminars for musicians at the university level. She has been a musical director for church programs, composer of music, and a producer of concerts. She has traveled nationally, performing and delivering seminars for more than twenty years.

She presently resides in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and has taken a sabbatical from teaching. She is working full time on her writings and on launching her new book, LIBERATION, Book One of The Andrusian Chronicles.

You can find out more about Maria Lucia at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Capturing Karma by K.M. Daughters -- Book Review

The Sullivan Boys series by K.M. Daughters continues with a powerful new installment titled, Capturing Karma.

While racing to get to his brother's wedding, Brian Sullivan's car is struck by another vehicle. Instantly Matilda (Matty) Connors, the woman with the hypnotic eyes who had once delivered a message from his dead brother, is quickly back in Brian's life. She has a message about the case he has been working on for the past few months. Determined not to get involved, Matty shares the message but wants nothing more than to go back home and back to the veterinarian clinic where she works with her brother. The last time she officially got involved in a case, she ended up with a murdered fiance and nightmares that never go away.

Brian is the reputed ladies man in the Sullivan clan, but Matty quickly lays claim to his heart. She's quite taken with him too. The problem is that Brian isn't so sure about her abilities, despite the fact that history has proven her to be right every time. And when it appears that Matty might be leading the investigators down the wrong path, trouble arises in their budding romance. Then once Brian fits all the pieces together, he's not sure he'll be in time to save the woman he loves.

For some reason I thought this was the fourth book of the series, but it is the third, and what an outstanding addition to a spectacular series this is. In Capturing Karma, Brian Sullivan is the main focus of the story. A woman from his past returns with a bang into his life and he's instantly reminded of his attraction to her.

Matty's gift is so impressive that Danny Sullivan teaches a class to the Academy about how she lead the police to the Firing Squad Rapist. Brian isn't too sure about her methods, despite his brother, fellow officer, Joe Sullivan, and half the force singing her praises. This sets up a nice source of conflict between Brian and Matty; a conflict that could have tragic circumstances.

What I've loved about The Sullivan Boys series from the beginning is that it always offers a riveting plot surrounded by complex characters you really care about. There's the job aspect for each of the Sullivan men, the big family angle with people offering all types of support and unwanted advice, and also the conflict with their romantic partner to deal with.

Even though in Capturing Karma the reader is quickly introduced to the huge Sullivan family, you're never lost. K.M. Daughters brings them in, and whether through physical characteristics or banter, you know who is who, who is married to whom, and exactly where it all falls into place. The authors, because K.M. Daughters is a sister writing team, sprinkle in enough backstory that if you pick up this novel first, you won't be lost; but for a reader like me who has been with the series since the beginning, it's nice to see how each character is developing over the course of time. And since each book focuses on a different Sullivan brother, you get to see how their romances impact the family as a whole.

I have to admit, this time, I had the villain figured out way before it was revealed. I didn't know why this person did what he/she did, but I knew he/she did it. It didn't matter, however, because the suspense came from seeing if Brian could make that final decision to accept Matty as she is and then find her in time.

Capturing Karma is another fabulous addition to a great series. I can't wait for Book 4!

Title: Capturing Karma
Author: K.M. Daughters
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
ISBN-10: 1601547218
ISBN-13: 978-1601547217
SRP: $10.99

Evenings on Dark Island by Rhett DeVane and Larry Rock -- Book Review

If Fantasy Island was set in Florida and hosted by a flamboyant party planner turned reluctant vampire, you might just get a taste of what Evenings on Dark Island is like.

Patrons return each year to the Spa at Dark Island where the many amenities rejuvenate and replenish them and provide an escape from their real lives. Vincent Bledsloe is their smoking jacket wearing, Cuban cigar smoking host, who along with his rat-faced gardener, Arby, and the tight-lipped but pleasant staff, caters to the clients' every need.

Enter DEA agent Reanita Geneva Register, posing as the daughter of an oil baron to uncover illegal activities on the island. This week she is spending time with an actor well past his prime, a vamp starlet, and the wife of a well-known senator. If Vincent and Arby can keep their newest guest, Ms. Register, from tramping through the trails and being attacked by alligators and bitten by snakes, perhaps planning for the Blue Blood Ball will go off smoothly. Well, that is if Vincent can keep a redneck NASCAR loving vampire away and tame his high-maintenance vampiress lover and her ill-tempered undead Chihuahua.

In this entertaining vampire spoof, authors Rhett DeVane and Larry Rock have combined the vampire craze with everything southern, tossing in some quirky characters along the way to bring you a book you'll want to read more than once.

I had read DeVane's earlier work (The Madhatter's Guide to Chocolate and Up the Devil's Belly), and while her flair for bringing the south to life is definitely a big part of this novel, it is her characters that shine through once again and make this a spectacular read. One cannot attempt to read a book by this author without getting involved in their characters' lives.

Rock appears to have provided a great deal of research to this novel in the form of party planning and gardening. The reader soon discovers that the rat-faced Arby, who has been accepted by no one until Vincent came along, is in the midst of preparing the largest event of the year, the Blue Blood Ball. He also mixes and breeds different and unique species of plants, many of which he uses in his herbal remedies.

My only tiny complaint about Evenings at Dark Island is that the setting almost became like a character in and of itself. I like having a detailed picture painted for me so I can be immersed in the story, but overdone it gives you pages of narrative that interrupts the action.

That aside, I loved this book. I think the television show Angel ruined me to read anything serious about vampires. I absolutely devoured that show and fell in love with the brooding Angel, who was cursed with a soul. The thought of picking up one of the Twilight books turns my stomach. This fang-in-cheek novel is much more my style.

Evenings at Dark Island is definitely a book worth spending time on.

Title: Evenings at Dark Island
Authors: Rhett DeVane and Larry Rock
Publisher: Infinity Publishing
ISBN-10: 0741459310
ISBN-13: 978-0741459312
SRP: $17.95

Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training by Jonathan Bernstein -- Book Review

A new edition of the definitive "how to" guide that will help you improve the success of your dealings with the media, Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training by Jonathan Bernstein is a necessary tool for any business person involved in media relations.

Taking into account that the term media has changed in the many years since the first edition of this book was published, Keeping the Wolves at Bay will provide you with tips on how to handle the media as it is defined today, in a world that includes 24/7 news coverage, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media.

Keeping the Wolves at Bay gives the reader insight into the minds of journalists, offers tips on how to get ready to be interviewed, discusses the Three C's of crisis communication, touches on how body language can impact interviews and the importance of developing your message, provides keys to media interviews, and more.

Bernstein takes the time to discuss dishonesty during interviews, along with the price you'll pay. This books also provides examples of the "right way" and the "wrong way" to handle a crisis.

Keeping the Wolves at Bay is chock full of information for a book that is under 100 pages. Bernstein has taken his many years of experience and turned it into a book that business leaders will certainly want to read and refer to frequently. I also felt that those involved in public speaking in general would find this book helpful.

For much more information about Jonathan Bernstein, visit –

Website Address:

Primary Blog Address:

Buy Your Copy of the Book –

Title: Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training
Author: Jonathan Bernstein
Publisher: Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.
SRP: $29.95 (PDF) $49.00 (Print)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wanted: A Healthy Interaction between Writers and A Fresh Young Audience by Steven Verrier

Today's guest blogger is Steven Verrier, author of the novel, Plan B.

Life was good to fifteen-year-old Danny Roberts. He was a model student, playing violin in his high school orchestra and earning straight A’s on the fast track to university. But then things went very wrong very fast. The problems started when a teacher wouldn’t let Danny out of class to go to the bathroom – even though he said “I’ve really got to go!”

Danny responded by defying authority for the first time in his life. That shocking act of defiance earned him a suspension, and Danny’s troubles snowballed from there. But Danny isn’t your typical student, and he doesn’t take his lumps lying down. He fights back on his terms as he plots a course through uncharted waters.

Wanted: A Healthy Interaction between Writers and A Fresh Young Audience
by Steven Verrier

During the past few years I taught English at a high school on the east side of San Antonio, Texas. While I had some good students who liked to be challenged and who’d read anything they could get their hands on, I had far more students who weren’t much interested in reading anything that couldn’t be broken down to simple text messages. Even if they wanted to read books or other materials considered suitable for readers their age or older, they just didn’t have the background for it. The vast majority of my students, according to standardized tests and what I saw daily in the classroom, weren’t able to read anywhere near ‘grade level.’

As a teacher, I had to adjust certain expectations as I went along. Some students, for example, had to be provided simpler translations of Shakespearean plays in order to get anything out of Shakespeare. They could be introduced to the Elizabethan language, but in order for them to get any sense of ‘story,’ well, the language had to be simplified and the ‘story’ often had to be shortened or summarized.

Nobody would suggest, though, that summaries or simplified versions should supplant Macbeth or any other piece of literature young people nowadays may find difficult. It’s a real tragedy that so many young people are unequipped for serious reading, but writers aren’t the ones most at fault. Schools and parents should set their sights on producing a new generation of strong readers, and writers should set their sights on producing a new generation of strong literature. Only when both parties succeed in doing their part will we have a healthy interaction between writers and a fresh young audience.

Steven Verrier, born in the United States and raised in Canada, has spent much of his adult life living and traveling abroad. Publications include Plan B (Saga Books, 2010), Tough Love, Tender Heart (Saga Books, 2008), Raising a Child to be Bilingual and Bicultural (Hira-Tai Books of Japan), and several short dramatic works (Brooklyn Publishers, USA). Currently he is living with his wife, Motoko, and their five children in San Antonio, Texas.

You can visit his website at

Look for our review of this book coming to TC&TBC on July 30th!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview with Author Kersten Campbell and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

My friend, Linda Weaver Clarke is up to her tricks again. This week she has a fabulous international giveaway that every mother I know will want to enter. I really should keep it under wraps so I can win this book, but I know even if I don't win, I'm picking up a copy of Confessions of a Completely (In)sane Mother.

"Confessions is a book full of humor stories about life with five kids and a mother who is far from perfect. In fact, that's why I wrote the book, so that women would be inspired to relax and enjoy motherhood and realize that nobody is perfect. I hoped it would inspire them to laugh at the little disasters that happen every day in family life. The message is: Just do your best, enjoy your family, and rely on the Savior to make up the difference."

Now, I'm sure not a perfect mother. My kids will eagerly tell you that. But I really like the message this book shares. It's something I try to remind myself of every day.

So, how can you enter to win a copy of Confessions of a Completely (In)sane Mother? Visit Linda Weaver Clarke's blog and leave a comment with your email address.

This contest ends on July 26th, so hurry on over. Wait, I take that back. Stay away so my chances of winning the book are increased!

Kersten Campbell has always loved books and chocolate doughnuts. When she was a young girl her parents had her hearing tested because she would be so involved in reading a book that she couldn't hear what was going on in the outside world. There was nothing they could do about the chocolate doughnuts.

She grew up in Wisconsin until she turned sixteen, when her family moved to Boise, Idaho. When she protested the move, her father said, "Don't worry, you'll probably find some nice Mormon boy to marry."

Confused, Kersten replied, "What's a Mormon?"

She soon found out, and joined the LDS church at age twenty-one. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Idaho in English Literature and has written many articles and stories for church publications and other magazines. When not writing, she enjoys reading, painting, family history research, playing the clarinet in a city band, playing with children, and eating chocolate doughnuts. She is currently working on more humor essays, a young adult fiction novel, and a spiritual book about motherhood.

She and that "nice Mormon boy," live in Washington with their five beautiful children.

Visit Kristen online at

Australian Outback Fiction Contest at Down Under Views

My mate JM at Down Under Views is running a great contest right now. Author Fleur McDonald donated some excellent prizes and JM added a few other lovely things for this giveaway that includes three prizes including books, journals, and chocolate! Every writer's or reader's dream.

Stop on over at Down Under Views and read the ways in which you can enter and increase your chances of winning.

This is an international giveaway! Anyone with a valid email address can win. Deadline to enter is Saturday, July 24th at 11:59 PM AEST, so check out the Australian Outback Fiction Contest at Down Under Views now!