Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Musings, Moments, and Misadventures by Gina C. Browning

Poet and author Gina C. Browning has put together a beautiful collection of poems about everyday life in Musings, Moments and Misadventures. Over 15 poems appear in this collection of stories about childhood pets, friends, love of home, nature, and more.

I admired Browning's work in her rhyming children's picture book, Moonbeam Dreams. Here, she takes her ability to string together words in a lyrical fashion and blends them with her stunning artwork to create a collection that adults will enjoy. From "Phystie, the Goose" to "Wishes," Browning's prose celebrates those everyday moments and misadventures that can easily be taken for granted.

Like her words, her artwork for Musings, Moments, and Misadventures is simple, yet beautiful. Colorful birds, glorious sunsets, and twisty water rides are just some of the illustrations readers will find within the pages of this lovely collection. This is a book you'll prefer to display rather than tuck into your bookshelf.

Title:  Musings, Moments, and Misadventures
Author: Gina C. Browning
Publisher: Eloquent Books
ISBN-10: 1612040659
ISBN-13: 978-1612040653
SRP:  $20.50

Also available in electronic formats.

This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation of any kind to provide this review.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review: Sprung from the Soil by David Madden

Take a trip back into days of old with Sprung from the Soil: A Series of Poems on Old Sturbridge Village by David Madden.

A childhood field trip to Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) inspired poet and author David Madden to develop his love of United States history. In this touching tribute, Madden shares 33 poems that take readers on a journey through OSV that leave you feeling like you've just paid them a visit.

I have visited Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts numerous times. I'm also a huge lover of American history. So when the author asked me to review Sprung from the Soil I was delighted.

With few exceptions, Madden has laid this beautiful poetry collection out in the order one would take walking through OSV. Sprung from the Soil, like the village it pays tribute to, takes us back to a time long forgotten; a time where televisions, computers, twenty-four hour news, and cell phones weren't even in the imaginations of Massachusetts residents. These were simpler times when children ran around barefoot unless going to church; where towns gathered in their meetinghouses; where apples were crushed into juice by mill stones and fermented into cider for Thanksgiving, and the blacksmith was a vital member of the community.

Madden celebrates this early America in every moving word of each verse. He paints OSV in the reader's mind, as vividly as the included artwork by Ian Newbury. His watercolor illustrations are stunning. From the Fenno House to the Thompson Bank, and from the Fitch House to the Saw Mill, Newbury's artwork is the perfect complement to Madden's lyrical prose.

Sprung from the Soil captures the importance of man living one with the land and the strength of a fine community. I would share this book with a friend, but I adore it too much to let it go. I know I'll be reading it again soon.

Title: Sprung from the Soil
Author: David Madden
Publisher: Garden Patch Books
ISBN:  978-0-9843119-0-3

Look for a reprint coming soon from Wild Animal Publishing!

This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation of any kind to provide this review.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gearing up for Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene has already been blamed for at least six deaths and leaving around a million people without power along the East Coast. The website for The Weather Channel reports as of about an hour ago that it is feared the Outer Banks will be come isolated from the rest of the state--not surprising if you saw the bridge in and out of the Outer Banks and how even a hard rain floods their roads. In addition, power is out in all of Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

Here in Western Mass, and specifically in our town, we sustained damage from a tornado in June and a microburst in July, where we lost power for at least a couple of days each time. We're still in the process of rebuilding, so even though we're not a coastal town, there is concern about widespread power outages and fallen trees and downed power lines.

Everyone impacted by Hurricane Irene remains in our thoughts and prayers. We also hope you'll keep us in yours. I will updated this blog once I am back online--which hopefully, God willing, is tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Abundantly More by Veronica Janus

Zachary seemed perfect the day he was born, but six days later doctors discovered he was suffering from the number one birth defect in America: Congenital Heart Defect. Over nine long weeks, Zachary battled as doctors worked to repair him, while his mother found her own broken heart in need of emotional and spiritual repair. Abundantly More shares the author’s journey of hope and healing, and offers practical knowledge on how to navigate life in a pediatric ICU.

Read an excerpt!
Chapter One

An army clad in blue scrubs filled the large fluorescent lit room. Its white walls and ceiling made it seem even brighter, like heaven. Despite the number of people purposefully going about their business it was eerily quiet. If not for the pumping sound of the bypass machine and the rhythmic beeps from the multiple monitors you could almost hear everyone’s heartbeat. As they carried out their own tasks the focus was still on the man hovering over the lifeless 7-pound body on the operating table. He was like god in that room. The slightest movement, twitch of the face or word that left him had immediate attention from those around him. He had full command and respect, and rightfully so. He was a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon and considered one of the best in the field.

The microwave sized black box next to the operating table kept the baby alive. The surgeon depended on its guaranteed function. If it failed, everything failed, including the baby. The tiny body had been cooled from a normal 100.4o F (39o C) to 82.4o F (28o C) using medication and ice. The heart was quiet and cold. The baby’s arms were stretched out to the sides like Jesus on the cross and his body was draped in blue surgical covering. Only his peaceful face and a small opening in his chest, the size of an orange, were exposed. The baby was technically dead. His state of being was necessary in order to give him life—life that only the man, who was now a step below the ultimate Giver, could grant. The man had performed hundreds of these surgeries, an impressive resume, but each case was unique and brought its surprises. He did not know what he was going to find deep in the center of the body until he had made a midline incision, broken the sternum, cut through the multiple layers of tissue and muscle to finally reach the most important of organs, the heart.

The man’s eyes were strained from not blinking for so long and he had an itch on the right side of his nose which he tried to relieve with a small facial wiggle. Except for his swiftly but steadily moving hands he remained completely still. The room was kept cool in the low 60s but a sweat pearl still rolled down his temple along the tightly covered head piece. Fog had built up inside his left eyeglass. As he held the tweezers, which was attached to the too-small-to-see needle in a firm grip and was ready to insert its sharp point into the last place along the patch, he raised his head toward the ceiling, closed his eyes for relief and absorbed the last bit of energy to finish mending this part of the infant’s broken heart.

The man gently poked and probed along the septum wall to see if there were any other apparent holes. He spotted a small one, low and deep, creating another opening between the right and left chambers of the tiny heart. He decided to leave it alone. It was too risky to go down there with a needle among all those invisible conduction systems buried in the heart muscle. He would do far more damage than the small hole would ever pose. His eyes left the defeated battleground and moved up to locate the atrial septum defect, another hole to close. He stretched out his right hand and the cold needle holder was placed in this cupped palm. He began sewing directly into the lifeless, and by now almost white tissue and muscle. Once finished, he had two minutes to spare before the bypass machine would stop its work, ceasing oxygen to the brain and causing brain damage to the baby. He signaled his team they were closing up the heart. The long chest incision was glued shut needing no stitches. The re-warming of the patient’s body began by covering him in warm thick cotton blankets. The baby regained perfect sinus rhythm and a clear tube was inserted into his mouth, through the trachea and into the lungs. He was now intubated and the baby was ready to be weaned from the bypass machine. It went without difficulty.

The man motioned to one of the nurses and she quickly left the room. She thought this was the best part of surgery, being able to deliver good news to the parents. Her chestnut colored hair swayed back and forth as she hurried down the hallway to deliver a long awaited message.

Abundantly More can be purchased at WinePress Books!

Veronica Janus is a mother of three young children and a self-taught expert on pediatric cardiac issues. Janus founded Forever Moments, a volunteer program in which she artistically photographs critical care babies that may never get the chance to be memorialized. She also has created a support group called Abundantly More to help families with children in the hospital. She holds degrees in Communications, Education, and Theatre, and was a journalist for 10 years.

For more information, interviews, or to review the book, please contact the author at:

Veronica Janus

If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this moving story, please read the details below:

1) You must be a follower of The Book Connection in order to win.

2) Your first comment should indicate you are a follower and why you would like to win a copy of the book. Be sure to include your email address. You can't win without one.

3) Bonus Entry: Friend me on Facebook (+1). Leave a comment here to let me know.

4) Bonus Entry: Follow me on Twitter (+1). Leave a comment here to let me know.

5) Tweet this giveaway  (can be done once a day for +1 each day). Leave a comment with a link to your tweet.

6) Blog about this giveaway (+3). Leave a link to your blog post here.

7) All entries must be made as separate comments.

8) Winner must be 18 or over and reside within the United States.

Deadline to enter is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, September 11, 2011. Only those following the rules of this contest are eligible to win. Book will be shipped directly to the winner by the author or her representative. The Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

A fascinating story of one of the world's most famous "little people" is what you'll find in The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel.

Mercy Lavinia (Vinnie) Warren Bump was only 32 inches tall, but she led a big life. Born during a time when a women of her size would have been hidden away to be cared for by her family, Lavinia desired more. As a descendent of families that had come over on the Mayflower, she was determined not to let her small stature define her.

She became a school teacher at the age of 16, where many of her students were larger than she. Of firm resolve and sound mind, her students admired and respected her. A visit from a cousin would give her life new direction. Lavinia began performing on a Mississippi showboat until the Civil War put an end to that career. It would be her letter to P.T. Barnum and meeting Charles Stratton (General Tom Thumb) that would catapult Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump to superstar status and bring her fame and fortune.

When Melanie Benjamin toured with Alice I Have Been in 2010, I couldn't work a review into my schedule. The book received so many rave reviews that I kicked myself for months. When I heard she was touring with her latest release, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, I knew I couldn't miss out again. Now I know why so many people loved her first historical novel.

In The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, Benjamin has blended historical details, with research from biographies and personal essays, and her insights into the life of Vinnie to provide a fascinating story that will draw the reader in from the very first page.

I have to admit to not knowing much about Vinnie until now, but reading this book has made me want to learn more. Benjamin portrays Vinnie as an intelligent woman determined not to let her size become an excuse or an obstacle to her leading the life she desires. The author delves deeply into Vinnie's psyche and emotions (something Benjamin says was lacking in anything Vinnie had written), so that the reader is totally captivated by her story.

As a lover of history, I appreciated the historical blurbs that began each chapter. These give the reader a sense for where the country was and what America was experiencing during certain points in Vinnie's life. I feel this was very important, especially for a book such as this, because Vinnie lived during an important time in America. The pioneering life was ending; the country was divided by war for years; the railroad companies were working to connect the east and west coasts; and Vinnie got to be a part of all this in some way or another.

Another thing I appreciate about Benjamin's portrayal is Vinnie's dedication to her younger sister, Minnie, who would end up leaving home and traveling with her sister and brother-in-law, along with another dwarf, Commodore Nutt and performing as the most famous quartet in the world. The two sisters were close, and the author truly brought that to life within the book's pages.

Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump Stratton led a much more glamorous life than expected. The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb creates a believable, engaging portrayal of many of those years. Benjamin is definitely an author I've added to my favorites list. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Title: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Publisher: Delacorte Press
ISBN-10: 0385344155
ISBN-13: 978-0385344159
SRP:  $25.00 (hardcover)

Also available in electronic format and as an audio book.

The publisher paid me to promote this book through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: My Dearest Friend by Hazel Statham

A superb Regency romance awaits you in My Dearest Friend by Hazel Statham.

Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, is filled with guilt and grief over the death of his younger brother, Stefan, in the Peninsular War. When Jane Chandler appeals to the Duke for help in bringing her gravely wounded brother home from Portugal, Robert insists upon joining Jane on the trip.

Little does he know how quickly their friendship will develop into love.

Their young love is soon put to the test by a treacherous tenant of Jane's former home, who fans the flames of jealousy that ignite Robert's intense emotions.

Can their love conquer the emotions that threaten to tear them apart?

What a fascinating conclusion to the Dukes of Lear trilogy! In My Dearest Friend, Statham has done what she knows how to do best: create characters you care about and wish to see conquer all in the name of love.

Robert is not only coping with the loss of his younger brother. This man of intense emotions was also once done wrong by a member of the fairer sex, making him certain not to be played the fool again. He does not expect to be drawn to Jane so deeply, but he won't let his love blind him. Jane is an independent, strong heroine, who is determined to succeed in her mission, despite the many obstacles that stand in her way. She is surprised by the level of assistance the Duke provides, but is thankful to have him along. When a former tenant creates problems between her and Robert, she's determined to be loyal to the man she loves.

My Dearest Friend is such a sweet romance. There are passionate moments, but the door is closed before things get too far, leaving the reader to explore the possibilities within her imagination. Statham has been steadfast in keeping her romances clean so that they my be enjoyed by a wide audience. I appreciate that about her work, knowing I don't have to be afraid to share her books with others.

Each book of this trilogy--Consequence, Dominic, and My Dearest Friend--is a perfect stand alone. They don't have to be read in order. I have only read two of the three. The remaining one (Dominic) is on my Kindle crying for my attention. I can't wait to read it. Regency romance lovers will definitely enjoy My Dearest Friend.

Title: My Dearest Friend
Author:  Hazel Statham
Publisher Write Words, Inc.

SRP:  $6.50

Will be available in paperback in November 2011.

The author paid me to promote this book through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interview with Lynda Fishman, Author of Repairing Rainbows

Joining us today is Lynda Fishman, author of Repairing Rainbows: A True Story of Family, Tragedy, and Choices. Lynda  is a trained clinical social worker who has spent over twenty years as a camp director. She is the owner and director of Adventure Valley Day Camp.

Lynda is a motivational and inspirational speaker and facilitator. She has published articles and training manuals on leadership, teamwork, bullying, trust, childhood health and wellness, communication and customer service.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Lynda. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your book?

In 1970, when I was thirteen years old, I lost my mother and two younger sisters in an Air Canada plane crash. They were flying from Montreal to Los Angeles and all 109 passengers and crew members perished.

As a determined young teen, I made a conscious decision to become happy again, and to lead a fulfilled and purposeful life. I managed to muster up the courage and strength to dream big, to be idealistic, to strive for more, and to live a meaningful life where I could make a difference in the lives of others.

I met my husband Barry when we were each 17 years old. He had just been orphaned and left alone to care for his brother with various special needs.

Our individual childhood stories are tragic and shocking but our story together is truly a story of tenacity and triumph. When we met as teens, we were two young people armed with courage and determination to create a meaningful life together. I am proud to say that we reassembled our shattered lives into something new and wonderful.

Despite Barry’s tragic childhood, he has succeeded in life beyond his wildest dreams. He spent his entire career working in the health care and pharmaceutical industry. He is President and CEO of the Canadian operations for the world’s largest generic pharmaceutical company, Teva Pharmaceuticals. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Childhood Cancer Foundation.

As a survivor of an unspeakable personal tragedy, I know only too well the horrific pain and profound sadness of losing a loved one. As a clinical social worker, an inspirational speaker, a summer day camp owner and director, and the author of Repairing Rainbows, I do everything I can to help people find a way, a path, a direction to take back into the world to truly live again. I give them some tools, tips and tricks to get their life on the “yellow brick road” to happiness.

Since the publication of Repairing Rainbows, I have set up the Repairing Rainbows Fund, which provides support for grieving children and their families.

Barry and I have been happily married for over 32 years. We have three children and three dogs. We are also an official kitten rescue foster home.

Repairing Rainbows captures my growth from a young girl into who I am now, and the steps I needed to take in order to live on, beyond the tragedy. It is about so much more than tragedy though – it is an inspirational story about marriage, family, love, hope, gratitude, and most especially, choices.

Another big part of Repairing Rainbows, is about my life-altering and life-expanding experiences with a Medium who connected me with my mother and sisters.

The effect that this book is having on people is unbelievable. I am at my computer for many hours every day, responding to emails and FB messages about Repairing Rainbows. Obviously, the book is having a profound impact on many, many people, and is providing them with hope and inspiration. Finally, some good is coming out of something tragic.

What inspired you to write it?

I had learned as a young teen, back in the early '70s and stricken with tragedy, that the topic of death and loss is not to be discussed. But as the years went on, I found myself writing my story over and over again, in my head. I always felt as if the story should be told, so that others could know what had happened, and could learn something from the opposing choices that were made by me and by my father.

Throughout my life there have been numerous people continuously encouraging me to write a book, tell the world my story, and inspire others who are faced with tragedy. And then when they hear about my husband Barry's childhood, they are further astonished. (Both Barry and I can attest to the fact that when a child loses a parent or a sibling, they also lose their childhood.) People are truly fascinated by our history, and curious about the details. How did you get through it? What was it like? How could you both be so normal?

Learning how to be positive and staying true to the goals you set for yourself are effective ways of working through tragedy and setbacks. It is my hope that there are important lessons in my journey that will provide others with hope and inspiration -- maybe even some tools to help them overcome struggles and obstacles, and fulfill their lives. By sharing some of our life lessons, our untiring search to bring positivity and meaning into our lives, and knowing that we always have choices, we think that our heartbreaking story is uplifting and hopeful at the same time.

I "officially" started writing the book in November 2008, because I finally had some free time. For me, too much free time is dangerous. I am always looking for things to do that will keep me very busy and distracted -- and I try to make sure they are things I enjoy doing and find meaningful. Since I always have to be busy, I thought that writing a book would be a perfect project. The other, perhaps most significant reason for me to have started writing this book is because in 2008, I was in a dark place in my life, having once again experienced profound loss. While the loss of my job was nothing compared to what I lost as a young teen, the familiar feelings that accompany any loss are the same -- heavy sadness, hopelessness, fear, and just an overall feeling of gloom and weakness. Those familiar painful feelings of loss and sadness brought back those horrible memories of my teen years - memories I had kept tightly bandaged for many years.

From the moment I sat down and started writing, I found myself instantly and completely immersed in the writing, every single day for almost a year. All I could think about was how I could best tell my story.

Why are so many people reading this book?

Repairing Rainbows is loaded with strategies, guidance and reassurance, teaching countless people that while at times life makes no sense, there is always a way to become happy again, and to lead a fulfilled and purposeful life.

As people, our power lies in how we respond to everything we are faced with. Throughout the story, there are tips and strategies for people dealing with grief, who want to choose LIFE over sadness, bitterness or basic existence.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Was the writing difficult or cathartic?

The whole experience of going back to times that were horribly painful has been both difficult as well as cathartic. Along with difficulties and challenges come important lessons. As I reflected back, it became obvious that the life lessons for me have been endless.

Repairing Rainbows reveals my positive and determined view of life with highlights of the insidious nature of its nemesis -- death -- in all its guises. There's a crucial difference between "truly living" and the existence that is so often mistaken for being alive. At every juncture, I had to decide whether to succumb to or overcome the sorrow. I chose LIFE.

I have to say that the most meaningful lesson I have learned through my life experiences has been the importance of focusing on the good, finding the rainbow in every storm. And in that rainbow, there is gratitude and appreciation. Making "thank you" a predominant thought and feeling was critical for me.

Even when my life completely collapsed around me, and hope seemed so far out of reach, I took baby steps. I believed that somehow things would get better. Instead of thinking, feeling and talking about all of the "bad" things that I had to endure - the hardships, tough times, difficulties and disappointments, I chose to look for and acknowledge the good or great things that I had, even when it felt like I was grasping at straws -- where and when I was lucky, blessed, fortunate, and joyful. I did my best to search for and find some form of peace and love in my life.

I never let go of my hope and faith in the future. Somehow I intuitively believed that despite the pain, I could make some good choices, write my own story, create my own journey.

I may have only had my mother with me until I was thirteen (in physical form, that is) but her impact on my life has been strong throughout my life. She showed me how to give, how to care, and how to trust. She taught me to find the strength and courage to soar like a bird above life's seemingly insurmountable obstacles and difficulties. She was a woman who left huge footprints for me to follow, a mentor, a guide. Her mother had shown her the path to living life with beautiful values and integrity.

I can only hope that these important lessons continue to be learned and appreciated for generations to follow.

Barry and I often talk about some of the other teachers we've had in our lives. Mitchell, Barry's developmentally-challenged brother, taught us so much - so many life lessons. He had a heart of gold, and despite all of his limitations and difficulties, if he could have, he would have done anything for anyone. I think he had more challenges in his life than anyone else I've ever known, yet he carried on with his life, doing the best that he could, constantly grasping at whatever he could find along the way to make his life, and [Mitchell's significant other] Tina's, more meaningful.

We've had other teachers disguised with frightening masks. People and situations that came into our lives and shook things up. Scared us. Tried to drag us down, grab our faith and run with it. Drained us of our energy. Knowing that adversity and hardship can be turned into an opportunity, and committed to choosing life, I found the strength to replace fear and panic with hope and dreams.

Barry and I both agree about the importance of on-going learning from experience and from others. We constantly look for opportunities to grow and learn by actively listening and being genuinely and keenly interested in what others have to say. Learn from others. Be curious. Explore.

What is up next for you?

The writing and publishing of the book is done, but this new journey related to Repairing Rainbows is far from done. In fact, Repairing Rainbows has opened many new doors for me, connecting me to many, many people who found hope and inspiration by reading the book. I am now doing speaking engagements on a regular basis, and providing help and advice to people dealing with grief. The most satisfying part of this whole journey is my new connection to organizations that help grieving children.

Now, a year after publishing the book, I know without any doubt, that my experiences have helped light the way for others, which makes me feel that the intensity of the writing was all worthwhile -- and that something good has finally come out of something tragic.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Throughout our lives together, people have been shocked when they hear our stories. When they ask how we've made it through all these years, and we seem so normal, we always said that you deal with what you have to deal with -- what choice did we have? But looking back, I realize that we did have choices. We always have choices. And we made choices. People don't always choose to deal with things the same way.

When I think back to those early teen years, I realize that it occurred to me, even then, that my life was comparable to Dorothy's in The Wizard of Oz. Like Dorothy, I intuitively understood that the decisions and the planning for the direction of my life was up to me.

Dorothy and her little dog Toto, were caught in a tornado and swept away to a land beyond the rainbow - the land of Oz. She didn't just stand there. She didn't walk aimlessly in circles. She embarked on a courageous quest to find a way to return home.

She chose to lean on the wonderful people she met as she followed the Yellow Brick Road - the people who were caring, positive and sincere - Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, the Munchkins, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Lion. Following the Yellow Brick Road together, they did their best to dodge the bad guys -- the ones who were miserable, negative or mean - The Wicked Witch of the West and the Flying Monkeys.

Sometimes Dorothy has to be rescued by her friends, and other times it's the reverse, with Dorothy rescuing her friends. Throughout the story, Dorothy chose a direction, she stayed focused and optimistic, and she held onto her hope with persistence and determination.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Lynda. We wish you much success.

Blog Tour web site:

Repairing Rainbows website:

Lynda Fishman's Twitter:

Excerpt link:

Reviews link:

Price: $18.00
ISBN: 9780986607400
Pages: 272
Release: June 2010
Buy links:

Lynda Fishman's Bio:

In 1970, when she was thirteen years old, Lynda’s life came to a disastrous halt when her mother and two younger sisters were killed in an Air Canada plane crash.

As a young teen, Lynda made a conscious decision to become happy and to lead a fulfilled life. Lynda chose to live. She was committed to learning, growing and making a difference. Determined to find meaning and purpose in her life, she managed to muster up the courage and strength to dream big, to be idealistic, to strive for more, and to live a meaningful life where she could make a difference in the lives of others.

Lynda Fishman is a trained clinical social worker who has spent over twenty years as a camp director. In the early 90s, Lynda was one of the first camp directors in the Toronto area to incorporate children with special needs into mainstream camp life. Lynda has devoted a lifetime to organized camping and is passionate about the positive role of camping in a person’s life. She is the owner and director of Adventure Valley Day Camp.

Lynda is a motivational and inspirational speaker and facilitator. She has published articles and training manuals on leadership, teamwork, bullying, trust, childhood health and wellness, communication and customer service.

Lynda’s husband, Barry Fishman, has his own amazing story to share, having been orphaned at age 17 and left alone to care for his brother with special needs. Lynda and Barry met as teenagers and have been together since then. They have three grown children, and the whole family is heavily involved in supporting children dealing with tragedy, cancer or other life-threatening diseases, fund-raising and charity events.

Barry has spent his entire career working in the health care and pharmaceutical industry. He is President and CEO of the Canadian operations for the world’s largest generic pharmaceutical company, Teva Pharmaceuticals. Barry serves on the Board of Directors of the Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Lynda is a woman of action. She has incredible enthusiasm for life. She is persistent, focused and faithful to her dreams and goals. She is willing to work for everything with patience, optimism and determination. She finds ways to be grateful and positive. Lynda goes out there and does what she has to do with a CAN DO attitude of gratitude, positivity, compassion, and honesty.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Interview with Dr. Jeri Fink, Author of Trees Cry for Rain

Joining us today is Dr. Jeri Fink, author of the historical novel, Trees Cry For Rain.

Jeri is an author, traveler and Family Therapist with over nineteen books and hundreds of articles to her name. She writes adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction. She has appeared on television, radio, book events, seminars, workshops and the Internet. Dr. Fink’s work has been praised by community leaders, educators, reviewers and critics around the country.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Jeri. It's lovely to have you here. Can you tell us where you grew up?

Bayside, Queens - in the shadow of Manhattan. I was taking city buses and subways when most kids my age were riding bikes and playing with dolls. City life was always an adventure, even in the "outer" boroughs. I walked to school, which always seemed like an endless trek for a little kid. I passed people in the street and made up stories about them. My favorite stories often involved Alex, the ice cream man. All the kids loved him. But in my head, Alex was plunging into dark, evil city parks, rescuing wild stallions with fiery eyes, and finding passionate love on the 7 train. I bought ice cream every day!

When did you begin writing?

I was eight years old and it was very late - long past my bedtime. Instead of sleeping, I aimed a flashlight on my notebook so I could write a new story. The black-and-white composition book was bursting with stories about people I knew and didn't know, strangers I saw on buses and subways, and characters I conjured up in my imagination. Behind me, there was a stack of notebooks. I filled every page with a story.

Then it hit me.

I was put on this planet to write.

I've done a lot of things since that moment. But I always knew what I was meant to do. That has never changed. I'm here to write. And that is something I will never forget.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I always write. Writing extends far beyond my keyboard and pen-and-paper. I'm constantly thinking, constructing new scenarios, visiting strange characters and being bombarded with ideas. My best (most energetic) writing is usually in the morning, from the time I get up until lunch - about five hours. The rest of the day is spent rewriting and editing. I'm one of those strange authors who actually ENJOYS rewrites and edits - it feels like I'm a painter using oils on a canvas. It takes more time for that process than writing the original manuscript! Frequently, in the late evening after 9 PM, I get a second wind and return for several hours to work on the original. If I hit any problems, I put the questions in my head right before I go to sleep. I wake up in the morning with the answers.

I'm writing this interview at 11 P.M.

What is this book about?

Trees Cry For Rain is a gripping historical novel that tells the story of courageous individuals who fought to survive the lethal forces of their times. The novel begins with one woman who gives her life to protect her three young daughters. Five hundred years later, this past ruthlessly crashes into the present where the ghosts of yesterday confront the newest generation.

What inspired you to write it?

Years ago, I read about a group of people in New Mexico who followed traditional Jewish customs although they were Catholic - lighting candles on Friday night, refusing to eat pork and playing Christmas games with a four-sided spinning top. Local historians traced their ancestry back to Secret Jews who had fled the Spanish Inquisition. I was haunted by their experiences. What was it like to live a double life - going to church with your neighbors while secretly practicing Judaism - a crime punishable by death? How did it feel to risk everything for religious beliefs? What happens when people keep dangerous secrets - live schizoid existences that span generations? Lastly, what would they look like today? It took me four years of research, travel, interviews and writing to answer those questions.

I chose New York City as the point of convergence - where the past crashes into the present. As a native New Yorker, I have always loved the mystery, challenge and contradictions of the city. It was a natural environment for my characters to find closure.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I edit every word, idea and concept multiple times. When I can't find any more errors, I send my completed manuscript to at least six readers - the last one is a professional editor - then rewrite again, based on their comments. I have lengthy discussions with and about my characters and check each historical fact in many different sources. When I can't correct another word, I know the manuscript is ready. Happily, Casey Swanson, my publisher, has validated my obsessive attention to detail. He said that the book hardly needed editing. That's one of my favorite compliments!

Who is your favorite author?

There are so many good books and authors that I want to read everything and everyone. Although I prefer some genres, like historical fiction and psychological thrillers, I try anything. Some of my favorite modern classics are by Steinbeck, Hemingway, Faulkner, Uris and Michener. Mark Twain was one of my earliest muses. As a teenager, I cried with Anne Frank and Pearl S. Buck, and read every word Kurt Vonnegut and Tolkien wrote. I'm a devoted J.K. Rowling fan! These days, I make sure to read books written by some of my favorite contemporary authors like Greg Iles, Naomi Regan, Jodi Picault, Harlan Coben, Nelson DeMille . . . the list goes on as long as authors are writing good books! My favorite journalist is Marge Mendel. Her work is awesome!

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I have had several agents over the years - and none of them ever sold a book for me! At one point, I had an agent with a fancy Manhattan address and a publicist - but no luck. Trees Cry For Rain was sold to my publisher (Dailey Swan) after I met them at BEA (Book Expo America) in New York. My first Trees book signing took place, pre-publication, at BEA!

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Is any road to publication smooth? I experienced the best (and worst) in the industry. My first professional job was a copywriter for Prentice-Hall. From there I went to Bantam Books, and eventually into free-lance journalism. The rigid requirements of copywriting helped enormously in developing the "craft" of writing. Since then, I've experienced everything from the joy of publishing fiction and nonfiction to the anger of having my work stolen and published under an in-house editor's name who had reviewed it for publication (No - I never filed a lawsuit. I didn't want to risk getting a bad reputation in the industry). I've met editors who are like the legendary Max Perkins (the man who edited Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wolfe) and kids out of college who need a course in grammar. I've come up against unscrupulous book doctors (people who charge money to edit an individual book) and haughty, competitive authors. I haven't had a New York Times bestseller yet, but who knows?

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would make my first book a bestseller! Of course, that wasn't in the cards :-)

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Trees Cry For Rain can be purchased at most online book retailers, like, and For those who like to support their local independent bookstores, go to Some local brick-and-mortar stores carry copies; if they don't, most will put in a special order to the major distributors that carry my book.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes. Please visit me at my website - - or feel free to email me at I'm all over the Internet - from Face Book and to Author's Den.

For those who want to have fun, check out my "Trees Travel" site, where readers send in photos of the book with family, friends, pets and colleagues from all over the world. You might find out why Wyatt Earp was late for the gunfight at O.K. Corral!

Go to:

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

My video trailer is at:

My video where I read from the book is at:

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Time - and the virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

What is up next for you?

I completed my next novel during the two years it took for Trees to be published. It's now on my publisher's desk. The working title is Jakob: A Perfect Psychological Storm. It's a different genre - a psychological thriller. I'm presently working on another historical novel, similar to Trees Cry For Rain, that begins in 17th century Manhattan.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Never stop reading, writing, learning, thinking and doing. It's all part of the final book. If you worry about writer's block, you'll get it. Each pause in the narration leaves time to reflect, review what has happened and visualize where it's headed. Writing is passion, craft and hard work. You have to really love it to create that special book.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Jeri. We wish you continued success.

Interview with Joseph Garraty, Author of Voice

Joining us today is Josephy Garraty, author of the horror novel, Voice.

Joseph is an author of dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He has worked as a construction worker, rocket test engineer, environmental consultant, technical writer, and deadbeat musician. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Joseph. It's great to have you here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure! Like the bio says, I’ve had a lot of day jobs, mostly of a technical nature. That keeps the left brain happy. Creative pursuits—writing and music, primarily—take up most of the rest of my non-day-job time and give me an outlet for the right brain.

I’m a speculative fiction writer by nature. I was always drawn to horror, fantasy, and science fiction growing up, and while I read a lot more widely these days, spec fic still feels like home. I know the tropes inside and out, and I’m completely comfortable playing around with them. Besides that, I feel like spec fic really lets me give my imagination free rein, which can be very rewarding.

Besides that, I play guitar and I’m learning to play the drums. The former I play pretty well, the latter—let’s not talk about that now. Maybe in a year.

When did you begin writing?

I’ve written short stories and vignettes for most of my life—imagine, if you will, a boy at age eight, writing longhand in a spiral notebook, bizarre tales of Mikhail Gorbachev piloting a flying jeep and even weirder stories than that. I continued writing little bits through high school and college, though I hope with a somewhat more refined choice of subject matter. I never tried to publish any of it—the thought never crossed my mind back then.

I didn’t try my hand at writing a novel until about six years ago, when an idea grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I’d got it all out. As first novels tend to be, it was a disaster. I (wisely, I think) chucked it in the trash, but by then I was hooked.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I typically get up a couple of hours before work and write. It’s a quiet time, with none of the distractions of the evening. Some days I’ll sneak a little writing in at the end of the day, if I can. Hmm. It sounds so unhealthy when I put it like that. . .

What is this book about?

Voice is the story of a group of young rock musicians. Johnny wants to be a famous rock singer more than anything. He hooks up with a hotshot guitarist, Stephanie Case, and she helps propel his band forward. The problem is, Johnny’s a lousy singer, and he’s in danger of being severely outclassed by his own band. But somebody’s been watching Johnny. . . Somebody who can make Johnny’s dreams come true, if he’s willing to make a deal.

But when you deal with the devil, you never get exactly what you bargained for.

What inspired you to write it?

Crazy rock musicians is the short answer. The long answer is that I’m a huge fan of rock and roll, and I’ve played in one rock band or another for over ten years now. From what I can tell, rock musicians are some of the most driven, egomaniacal, risk tolerant, creative, just plain crazy people on the earth. Throw a group of them in a small room, give them similar goals (though not necessarily the same goals), and stand back to watch the fireworks. Great conflict and interesting stories result, and bringing in the supernatural element was an excellent way of amplifying that.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Not really, no. I’ve dropped in on a few, and I used to attend one group semi-regularly, but critique groups haven’t worked for me very well as a way to get valuable criticism. I’ve found that writers are kind of like economists—ask six of them the same question and you’ll get seven different opinions (or more). In the groups I’ve tried, none of the seven opinions matched and they often conflicted. That didn’t really provide much in the way of helpful direction.

So, no, I haven’t had the greatest luck with critique groups. Instead, I rely on a handful of friends who really “get” my work and are merciless in their honesty. The results tend to be tightly focused and very useful.

Who is your favorite author?

Can I pick a few? I love Stephen King for his characters—I maintain that nobody anywhere does character better. I read Neal Stephenson and Charles Stross for their ideas. Both those guys can jam a book with more ideas than I can fully grasp, even after several readings, so their stuff is challenging and interesting. Caitlin Kiernan is great for the extremely creepy and subtle. And Charlie Huston is great for plot and breakneck pace.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon – Kindle format
Amazon – Paperback
Barnes and Noble ebook
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

You bet! My blog is at I update it regularly with news about my books, musings about writing and music, and random detritus that drifts through my head.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

The best investment has been time spent researching book blogs, corresponding with their authors, and getting involved in their sites, even just as a commenter. Book bloggers perform a tremendous service in hooking authors and readers up with each other, and I can’t say enough nice things about them.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Read everything! I write speculative fiction, but I’ve incorporated influences from crime and literary authors into my work at times, and I can’t even count the oddities that have crept into my work from random nonfiction, ranging from statistics textbooks to sociological treatises to impenetrable physics tomes. There’s always something new to learn.

What is up next for you?

I’m finishing up revisions on a nasty urban fantasy novel called The Price, which I expect to have available before the end of the year. It’s about a naïve kid who ends up as a wizard for the Mafia, thinking he’ll be able to protect his family and make a name for himself. He finds out, though, that the price of doing business with these guys is much higher than he’d expected, both in terms of blood and the wear and tear on his soul.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for the interview!

Thanks for spending time with us today, Joseph. We wish you great success.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Interview with Malcolm Petteway, Author of Homecoming - Osguards: Guardians of the Universe

Joining us today is Malcolm Petteway, author of Homecoming: Osguards: Guardians of the Universe.

Malcolm is a senior military analyst, a retired military officer and a twenty-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He flew B-52’s as an Electronic Warfare Officer and has 3,000 flight hours and 300 combat hours. In his distinguished career, Malcolm has used his knowledge in the art of war, military weapons and combat defenses in planning over 400 combat sorties.  Besides his Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and numerous other awards, Malcolm is the recipient of the U.S. Air Force Air Medal and the U.S. Air Force Air Achievement Medal for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom. Malcolm Petteway is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and California State University.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Malcolm. It's a pleasure to have you here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an avid reader. I don’t just read science fiction. I also read mysteries, action/adventure and religious fiction. I also love movies. The summer season is the best season for movies because Hollywood saves its best for the vacation season. But my favorite past-time is spending time with my lovely wife. She is the light of my life and the reason I breathe. She gave me two wonderful daughters that I enjoy being around. They are my pride and joy. And if I leave this world today, I know I gave it two bright gifts in my daughters.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Waterbury Connecticut. It is a small New England town with the picturesque downtown green containing statues and small monuments celebrating the country and the sacrifices made by the local populous in times of war. When I was growing up, Waterbury was just shedding its manufacturing roots. The local factories that attracted so many to migrate to Waterbury in the early to mid 20th century were just starting to disappear. I grew up in the seventies, where crime and drugs were making their introduction into the town. Seeing the transition from hardworking, tight knit families to families trying to survive the onslaught of unemployment, crime and drugs is one of the motivators that shaped my writing voice. My family survived, but had its challenges, and the Osguards is a loose adaptation of that survival, set in a science fiction fantasy world.

When did you begin writing?

When I was young, I was fascinated by science fiction stories on T.V., in the movies and in books. I was so fascinated by science fiction, I made up my own stories about two sisters running away from a war on their planet, only to find themselves in the antebellum south. Their descendants are then plucked from Earth and given the reigns to a universal peacekeeping organization…like a U.N of space. I would play these stories in my head on long car rides during family trips down south or when I was alone during the day and had nothing to do. To me at the time, this was just daydreaming; a way to pass the time. When I was in high school, I enrolled in creative writing classes. There I took my favorite science fiction characters and used them to spawn a couple of my projects. Boy, did I get razzed by the other students, but the teacher commended me for well thought out and very creative characters. During the Academy, on those long lonely nights, wondering what the hell did I get myself into, those characters and those scenes lulled me to sleep and gave me encouragement to put up with the rigors of the coming day. This continued well into my adult life. These characters and the action sequence I placed them in, began to invade my dreams at night, where I no longer controlled the outcome. Now they were telling me the story. They were old friends, and I welcomed them as part of a peaceful night’s rest. One day, in 2000, I had a setback in my Air Force career, at which time, I received some sound advice. Do something to keep your mind busy. So I decided to write down the stories that plagued me. Every day for three months, after work, I would lock myself in the office and type away at the keyboard. Until one day I emerged from the dark pit of imagination and dropped on the kitchen table a 450 page manuscript. I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

It is hard to find time to write. I mainly write at night after dinner. I schedule Tuesday and Thursday night to write and Saturday morning. The other days, I collect ideas and review what I’ve written.

What is this book about?

The 2011 Hollywood Book Festival recently recognized Homecoming with an Honorable Mention award. Homecoming is a military science fiction book; written in the same fashion as Star Trek, Star Wars and Star Gate books. It is the first book in a series of four novels. It tells the adventures of Michael David Genesis and his family, the Earth-born Osguards. They are leaders of a United Nations type organization in space, called the Universal Science, Security and Trade Association of Planets – USSTAP (pronounced ewes-tap). The Osguards administer diplomatic, economic and military tools of power to keep the peace throughout 60 galaxies of the known universe. Their adversary is a race of humans called Kulusks, who want to destroy the Osguards and take over USSTAP. Homecoming is set in the near-present day and people of Earth are unaware of USSTAP or the Kulusks’ existence. In Homecoming, Earth has become an unwitting pawn in the Kulusk Empire's thirst for revenge against USSTAP. Maxum Ritchen, the leader of the Kulusk Empire, has set into motion the destruction of USSTAP and with it the destruction of Earth. Michael and his family must prepare USSTAP, for the first time, to go on the offensive and wage an all out universal war. If he is successful, many people will die, and if he is not, Earth will be destroyed.

What inspired you to write it?

I am an impatient man who is discovering the power of perseverance. I conceived Osguards when I was young traveling to Jacksonville, North Carolina for a family reunion. There I met relatives I never knew I had from all parts of the country. The reunion was held on land that was the plantation my forefathers and mothers worked. More spectacular, we were celebrating being a family on that very land. It was so surreal and fascinating at the same time. I took that feeling and created the Osguards. Back then, I was fascinated with science fiction, so I placed my characters in a science fiction setting. Like I stated before, I would play these stories in my head when I was alone during the day and had nothing to do. I first put these characters down on paper in my high school creative writing class. Osguards were a family discovering their rich history and the awesome responsibility that history brought them. The characters, I created in high school stayed with me until one day, in 2000, I decided to expand those short stories into a novel. I wrote Homecoming and received some glowing support and calls for more adventures with the Osguards. I also found I had more to write. Therefore, I continued the series with Revelations, Armageddon and Revenge. In summary, my life experience, my family and friends as well as the need to tell a story with positive protagonist inspired me to write.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My wife, Karen Michelle Petteway, is my biggest supporter and fan. Her faith and love sparks me to continue on this journey. She is an associate editor of the first three Osguard books, and now works diligently as the Chief of Marketing for Rage Books LLC. Rage Books is the friends and family independent publishing company I started in 2009.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Unfortunately, I’m not a member of a critique group. However, my editor and friend, Mr. James Barnes provides a wealth of feedback on my work. He doesn’t just edit my work; he reviews, critiques and polishes my work. He is brutally honest, but supportive in his efforts. I have learned to grow a thick skin with him.

Who is your favorite author?

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series probably influenced me the most. Additionally, Alex Haley’s Roots left an indelible impression on my writing style. I also must include Octavia Butler and Steven Barnes as the sci fi authors who have influenced my thought process. Finally, James Patterson’s Alex Cross character is very influential in my own character development.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Homecoming and the other books in the series, Revelations, Armageddon and Revenge, can be ordered wherever books are sold. They are nationally distributed and can be ordered on the Internet as well through sites like Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Borders, and Amazon. You can also find savings when you order through Rage Books at,, or

Where can readers find out more?

My website is and I have a blog at

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it? 

You can find book trailers for the entire Osguard series on Youtube, Vimeo or on Rage Books websites. Simply search keyword Osguards. Homecoming at Homecoming at Vimeo:

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

The Best investment I have made is entering Homecoming into the Hollywood Book Festival. Homecoming garnered an “Honorable Mention” award for genre-specific category. Now, Homecoming is an award winning book, recognized by a national organization. Additionally, my wife and I traveled to Hollywood to receive the award and met with other authors, where we exchanged marketing ideas, struggling author stories and more. It was exciting and refreshing.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Never quit. I’ve only quit one thing in my life. That decision has altered my life and maybe even my very soul. Never quit. Fortitude sends a better message of who you are and what kind of character you have. Because once you quit, it becomes easier to quit again. Then all you are doing is quitting every time you are challenged.

What is up next for you?

I have a few projects in the making. Presently, I’m working on a different type of book. Working title is called Forever Changed. It is about two Department of Homeland Security agents who think they are chasing terrorists, but are actually chasing aliens. Another project I will probably begin writing will delve more into fantasy. I plan to do something with an angel, genie/gen, wizard/witch and ghost. I’m still playing around with the setup, but I feel positive about the concept. The third project I will work is about a military sniper, who comes home to his sister’s funeral. His sister was murdered and he uses his advanced training, weaponry and skills to hunt down the killers. Now, I still have to pay honor to the Osguards, and start another series. I just haven’t settled on the setup yet.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Although, I believe anyone who loves to read action, adventure and thriller books would love Homecoming, I think I have two main types of audiences that will find my books worth their time, intriguing and most of all exciting to read.

First I have the loyal science fiction fan. They will find Osguards is fresh, innovative and exciting with a new voice. My books capture the reader’s imagination, and challenge the industry. There is a quiet revolution taking place in the reading world. There is a new generation of readers, touched by advanced technology. Today, technological hunger, personal experience and raw attraction are what define this audience. They will buy my books because they are avid readers who can relate to the characters using advanced technology as they push through electrifying adventures. These characters are normal people pushed into extraordinary circumstances.

My second fan base consist of disciplined people, mainly military oriented. Between my time in the Air Force Academy, twenty years as an Air Force Officer and my time now as a military analyst, I daresay I know a little something about the military and how to speak to the military. Osguards is a contemporary blend of Science Fiction, Technical Thriller, and American History wrapped in Professional Military Science. My military experience, coupled with my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Masters Degree in International Relations, gives me credence to reach an untapped audience of Military Science Fiction fans and enhances my ability to compose exciting stories filled with scientific essence and political intrigue encircled in military conflict.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Malcolm. We wish you continued success.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with Quinn Barrett, Author of Invisible Snow

Joining us today is Quinn Barrett, author of Invisible Snow. Read until the end of this interview to see how you could win a free eCopy of her book.

Quinn is a native of Southern California, currently residing in the West Los Angeles area. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in English, she worked as a corporate business development strategist specializing in emerging growth technology, software and Internet companies. She is married and raising a teenage son. Her hobbies include reading, walking, golf, cooking, and travel. Invisible Snow is her first novel.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Quinn. It's wonderful to have you here. Can you tell us where you grew up?

In the Pasadena area of the Los Angeles suburbs.

When did you begin writing?

I dabbled in short stories during high school. A couple of interested teachers encouraged me to become an English major. I did some writing in college, too, but once I graduated, I was über focused on my business career for many years.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

All of the above. I prefer to write at night, but it can be hard with meshing with the family schedule so I end up writing whenever I can.

What is this book about?

On the surface, Invisible Snow is a family drama full of secrets and suspense. At a deeper level, the story explores conventional perceptions about family and the illusions we attach to them. In short, there is no such thing as a "perfect" family no matter how wonderful it may appear to someone from the outside looking in.

What inspired you to write it?

The idea marinated over time from years of sitting in work and church meetings, women's groups, booster club and PTA meetings. I sensed an underlying hostility from many dutiful women who performed their simple assignments with masterful precision, but seemed frustratingly unfulfilled. It made me realize that most of us lose ourselves in simple tasks to avoid walking our true path, living our own dreams. Kate's journey is about coming to terms with her choices and breaking free of her self-imposed limitations.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Each character is a part of me, so I love them all... even the more annoying ones, but Kate has to be my favorite (once she begins her journey of self-realization, that is) because she is the heroine of the novel. She is an extraordinary woman with resources beyond belief. She is capable of anything as long as she can stay out of her own way. And isn't that true for all of us?

A few other characters were also a lot of fun for me to write. Louise and Mary made me laugh a lot. Even I couldn't believe how ridiculous they could be as characters until I typed it. I also loved Walker and Joan's wisdom, but that's easy. Loving the darker characters is an interesting process.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I've had opportunities to join writing groups, but I prefer to work alone. I have an editor I work with closely, but also I have about eight close friends who are avid readers so once I'm far enough along I ask them to take a gander to get their impressions. After I incorporate their notes, I ask my first wave of readers to enlist their book-loving friends who don't know me to read my draft. You'd be surprised how many people are happy to participate in this process.

Who is your favorite author?

Harper Lee and Ayn Rand, but not necessarily in that order.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I considered various options as I was writing the book. There are definite pros and cons to whatever path I took. I spoke with a lot of writers—some established, some new—and got a lot of good advice. I also did a lot of research about the growing digital market and concluded that the ultimate responsibility for building a market for my book was mine. And because I have worked primarily in technology since the early 90's I decided to leverage my tech skills and created my own corporation, Wise Bear Media to publish Invisible Snow as well as all future books.

I wouldn't say the road is bumpy as much as it is long. There are a lot of little details that require a lot of attention, but I've actually enjoyed the process. Understanding the new paradigm within the publishing industry is a must for all new authors.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Invisible Snow is available at:

Amazon Kindle:

Barnes & Noble Nook:


Amazon Print Book:

Create Space:

Or directly through the Invisible Snow website . . .

PDF eBook, ePub, .Mobi, etc. available at:

Where can readers find out more?

Readers can also get more information about me at which provides links to my blog, Facebook, and Twitter account, too.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

I do . . . on the home page of It can also be viewed on YouTube via Wise Bear Media.

I used  to create the trailer. It was super easy and affordable.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

A good book cover design. And lots of word-of-mouth marketing via the blogosphere.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Just sit down and do it. If nothing comes, be patient and wait. It's kind of like fishing. Keep jotting down ideas until one gets hooked and then just start reeling it in. There may be boring gaps of time between nibbles, but it feels great to be in that current. I try to reproduce that sensation every time I write. It's addicting . . . although I'm not a big fan of actual fishing.

What is up next for you?

I'm working on a sequel as well as another original book, but I have lots of ideas in notes and journals that I plan to develop and write eventually.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thanks for the opportunity to introduce myself and Invisible Snow to your readers.

About Invisible Snow

Kate Snow married the wrong man for the wrong reasons. Paul Delacroix was smitten with Kate the first time he laid eyes on her and was willing to do anything to have her. She was raised in a large, impoverished family near the slopes of Sun Valley, Idaho. He was the sole heir to his family’s Los Angeles-based multi-billion dollar corporation. It should have been a fairy tale romance, but it wasn’t.

Kate’s marriage unravels when she discovers a mysterious safe room which harbors her husband’s darkest secrets. The legacy of the family business is at stake, but power is not always about money. Their showdown results in a shocking twist of fate—a destiny Kate never saw coming.
Invisible Snow is a classic family drama about wealth, power, greed, and redemption. Marriage is a delicate dance of power between lovers, but Kate and Paul Delacroix are strangers caught in a disparate union somewhere between betrayal and truth. Confronting their true selves for the first time results in an epic clash of wills where only one will prevail.

First-time novelist Quinn Barrett takes readers on a riveting journey about personal empowerment and self-realization. She explores conventional perceptions about families and the illusions we attach to them. This complex family drama challenges us to consider the personal choices we make and why we make them.

Quinn Barrett can be found on:

Invisible Snow Giveaway

Connect with Quinn on Facebook, like her Invisible Snow fan page, and follow her on Twitter to become eligible to receive an Invisible Snow eBook. Once you connect with her, email her at Her first 10 new friends, fans and followers will receive an Invisible Snow eBook in the digital version of their choice: PDF, .mobi or ePub.