Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dear Mother Nature, Please Stop Picking on Us

I'm not sure when I lost my sense of humor over this year's weather. Was it after the June 1st tornado that left us without power for 2 days right before we boarded a plane for Florida? Was it during the July 26th microburst that left us without power for another two days? By the time yesterday's unusually early snowstorm hit Western Mass, I had my fill of extreme weather. 

With 10 inches of snow, downed power lines and fallen trees, we've already been without electricity for over 24 hours, and National Grid hasn't been able to provide us with an update on when power will be restored. I'm sitting at my in-laws' house in a neighboring community--which was also hard hit, and yet, has power. The front yard is littered with broken branches. A medium-size tree crashed through the roof of their shed. I feel like drafting a letter to Mother Nature:

Dear Mother Nature,

Thank you for your most recent gift of an early snowstorm. The lack of electricity and heat are greatly appreciated. The blessing of snow-covered tree limbs, some of which were hanging in the middle of my driveway and front yard this morning, looked so lovely as I struggled to shake the wet globs of white off them so I could make it into the garage. I especially enjoyed that branch that swiped my upper lip.

I'm sure you were merely thinking of how much I was bemoaning my lack of exercise lately. Using the hand saw and hauling five trees into the woods certainly gave me that much needed workout.

While Western Massachusetts has certainly appreciated your generosity this year, perhaps other parts of the country are feeling a bit lonely.  We don't mind sharing your gifts.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Blogger: Dana Pratola, Author of The Covering

Today's special guest is Dana Pratola, author of The Covering.

Gunnar doesn’t think he’s worth saving – if there is such a thing. He doesn’t want anything from a God who failed him so bad in the past. Tessa is determined to keep him alive. But how much can she do when he refuses to be helped?

Opposites Attract by Dana Pratola

Tessa loves the Lord and does her best to serve Him. Gunnar wants no part of a God Who failed him so badly in the past. She’s genial and sweet, always willing to help. He’s arrogant and hostile and wants nothing more than to be left alone. Well maybe one thing…death. What better recipe for love?

The concept of opposites attracting works well in the pages of my book, but what is it that draws two people from vastly different planes and experiences to one another in real life?

Let’s look at a typical “good girl” falls for “bad boy” scenario. I took a poll recently, asking what makes a “bad boy”, and what is it that people find attractive about them? Most said a bad boy is someone who doesn’t conform to rules but does their own thing their own way. Also, a man who had a dangerous job or performed dangerous tasks could be considered a bad boy by some. Once the definition was established, I asked why someone (an opposite) would be interested. Excitement was the primary answer when applied to the bay boy.

What of men who aren’t skirting danger every day, or keeping women on the verge of temptation with their brooding eyes and crooked smirks? Those for whom excitement isn’t looming on the horizon? The every guy?

I’m sure there’s some clinical label that encapsulates the reason, but in my observation it’s human nature to want what we cannot have. It’s true of possessions, job opportunities, dietary restrictions, and I think it applies not only to people in general, but specifically to character traits. We’re often drawn to those who possess qualities we wish we had.

But I also happen to believe it’s God’s way of providing a means to develop those qualities we’re lacking in ourselves. If not for our mutual love of Christ and a love of walking in the woods my husband, Rob, and I would have virtually nothing in common. I’m pretty laid back, he’s intense; I’m not a big worrier, he stresses over most things; I’m always right, he’s always wrong. Yet somehow the relationship works, not always smoothly, but well-enough to maintain a 30 year relationship. Part of the reason is he had qualities I wanted. For example he’s an extrovert and thinks nothing of being the first to enter a room of strangers or confront someone on an issue. Things that make me – an introvert – uncomfortable.

Whatever your opinion, there’s no question opposites attract. Just keep in mind that on the novel page, opposites work best when they’re pitted against one another. In real life, not so much.

You can purchase The Covering at:

White Rose Publishing:

Barnes and

Dana Pratola is a 47 yr. old mother of 3, married 25 yrs. The Lord is her Savior, writing is her passion and publishing inspirational books that show the grace of God is her ministry. You can visit Dana online at

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: A Christmas Journey Home by Kathi Macias

After her siblings and parents are murdered in gang-and drug-related violence in Mexico, Isabella Alcantara's grandfather begs her to flee the country with her husband, Francisco. Her abuelo uses his life savings to hire a "coyote" to take a very pregnant Isabella and Francisco across the border. The young couple soon finds themselves alone in the desert and without a penny.

Miriam Nelson lives on a small farm along the Arizona border. Her faith is put to the test when her husband, a border patrol agent, is murdered in a skirmish with drug smugglers. Now the sole support of their son, Davey, the only help she has is her mother, whose health is in question.

As Isabella's due date arrives, she finds herself alone without any idea of how she will care for her baby. Their paths destined to collide, these two women soon discover a common yearning that binds them together.

Outstanding! A modern-day nativity story that blends a ripped from the headlines situation, a crisis of faith, and a grandfather's intercession. I think I have discovered a new favorite book by Kathi Macias.

With her masterful hand, Macias wows the reader with this story that tackles the issue of illegal immigration so prevalent in today's news. Portrayed in an even-handed way, you may never look at this issue the same again. Just like Joan Hochstetler did with One Holy Night, Macias weaves a tale that tugs at your heart and brings the reader to kneel before the feet of the Prince of Peace.

A superb story, don't be surprised if reading A Christmas Journey Home becomes one of your family's holiday traditions. Don't miss this one!

Title: A Christmas Journey Home
Author:  Kathi Macias
Publisher:  New Hope Publishers
ISBN-10: 1596693282
ISBN-13: 978-1596693289
SRP:  $12.99

Now that you've read how wonderful this book is, don't you won't to own one? Here's how you can enter for your chance to win a FREE copy from New Hope Publishers, Kathi  Macias, and The Book Connection!

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

2) Leave a comment including your email address (you can't win if we don't have your email address).

3) BONUS: Follow me on Facebook +1.

4) BONUS: Follow me on Twitter +1.

5) BONUS: Blog about this contest. Leave link here +3.

6) Winner must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the United States or Canada.

7) Each entry must be a separate comment.

Deadline to enter is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, November 13, 2011. Only those following the rules of this contest are eligible to win. Book will be shipped via USPS media mail. The Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.

The author paid me to promote her book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. I have received no monetary compensation of any kind to provide my honest opinions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Interview: M. E. Patterson, Author of Devil's Hand

M. E. Patterson is an author of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and thrillers, as well as an information technologist. He received an English/Fiction Writing degree from Virginia Tech, where he studied under nationally-recognized writers and poets. He has published short stories on RevolutionSF and his first manuscript for his book, Devil’s Hand, placed in the top five in the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest.
You can visit his website at or his blog at

Connect with him on Twitter at  or Facebook at

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, in a fairly small rural town full of cows and pickup trucks. After high school, I went to Virginia Tech, where I received a degree in English, with a focus on poetry and fiction writing. Then, it was time to say goodbye to the mountains and head west, to Central Texas, where I live now with my wife and dog. Aside from writing horror, sci-fi, and fantasy novels, I’m also an accomplished web software engineer and designer, and frequently blog on the subjects.

When did you begin writing?

I think I began writing as early as 8 or 9 years old, when I wrote a five-page (badly) illustrated story about some friends exploring a cave. From there, it was off and on for years: a bunch of stories about a science fiction universe I dreamt up; some angsty teen poetry; you name it. It wasn’t until college that I really started to seriously consider writing as something beyond a sporadic hobby.

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

I write mostly late afternoon and evening. It always seems like I’ve got other, more administrative things to do earlier in the day, not to mention my day job.

What is this book about?

Devil’s Hand is a supernatural thriller that follows the return of a washed-up pro poker player to the city of Las Vegas, where he inadvertently ends up saving a strange teenage girl and is caught in a war between angels and demons that threatens to destroy the city and the world. My main goal was to write a story that was both dark and haunting while still remaining fun and exciting.

What inspired you to write it?

Devil’s Hand actually started with the protagonist. Dreaming up character ideas for a role-playing game with a friend one night, I came up with this notion of a guy who survived something impossible and then had luck sort of broken for him, where he never had bad luck happen to him ever again. Of course, that’s not exactly how it works out in the novel, but you’ll have to read it to find out what I mean.

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

At various times, I’ve been a member of two different critique groups: the Novels-In-Progress group and the SlugTribe SF/F/H Study Group, both here in Austin, Texas. I learned a lot from both about writing, reading, critiquing, and the most important lesson of all: understanding your readers. One of the most interesting aspects of writing groups for me has been the realization that everyone has an opinion, but you don’t have to try and act upon all of them. When you get two people giving completely opposite, extreme responses to the same aspect of your story, that’s usually a sign that you’ve hit your mark perfectly. Or, it can be a sign that there’s something subtle about your prose that isn’t working quite right that critiquers are having trouble explaining. Learning to figure out which is which is the real art of writing grops.

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

Like many indie authors I’ve talked with, my road to publication started with several years of going the ‘traditional’ route, through agent queries, form rejections, more queries, partial reads, more rejections, then finally numerous full reads and personalized rejections. After too many “this book is great and publishable, but not what my editors are looking for right now” letters, I realized that the market was shrinking too much to make it viable for many first-time authors. With a background in Internet technologies and viral marketing experience, I figured it was time to strike out on my own, and I haven’t looked back.

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

That’s an interesting question. I might have tried the indie publishing world a little sooner, but I’m not entirely sure that my hindsight is 20/20 here. The landscape has changed dramatically in even the last 12 months. It would have been nice to have been one of the earlier books on the crest of the wave that’s now breaking, but I don’t think I’m too far back, either, so I’m happy.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Devil’s Hand is available in both e-book and paperback. You can get the paperback and the Kindle version from Amazon. There’s also a Nook e-book available. Links to all the versions are on the official book website,

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

There are several ways you can engage with me and with Devil’s Hand:

The official book website is
From there, you can add your email address to the mailing list, head over to the Facebook Fan page, or start following @mepatterson on Twitter.

If you want to check out my personal blog, where I blog about both internet technologies and writing, head over to

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

No book trailer yet.

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

By now, it’s become pretty common advice, but I think it bears repeating: success is a result of reading a lot, writing a lot, and then putting yourself in the position to get lucky. You can have all the talent and all the drive in the world, but if you produce something and then just sit around waiting for your success, you’ll likely get nowhere. Get out there, make a name for yourself and your work, and put yourself in the position to be ready when luck knocks on your door.

What is up next for you?

The next thing out will be the sequel to Devil’s Hand (name forthcoming), which I’m hoping to have available early 2012. After that, some planning for the third book in the series, but I may take a temporary detour to finish up a sci-fi adventure novel I’ve been toying with, that will be marketed to both adults and teens.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Deliver Me From Evil by Kathi Macias Winner!

Our congratulations go out to Beverly Stowe McClure for winning a copy of Deliver Me From Evil by Kathi Macias. I'll email Beverly in a few. She'll have 72 hours to respond. If I don't hear from her in that time frame, I'll select a new winner.

Thanks to all who participated in this giveaway. Look for a giveaway of Kathi's other new release, A Christmas Journey Home, coming on Thursday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book Review: Ding Dong the Diva's Dead by Cat Melodia

Looking for a unique mystery? Pick up a copy of Ding Dong the Diva's Dead by Cat Melodia.

Fate and a good agent help struggling opera singer, Deborah de Lille, secure a small part in Offenbach's spooky opera, Tales of Hoffmann. She joins a well-acquainted cast of quirky characters, and soon finds herself the victim of smoke bombs, ghostly visitations, and booby traps, leading her to believe something sinister is afoot.

There's a great deal to enjoy in Melodia's Ding Dong the Diva's Dead. It has a unique setting and plot. I can't remember ever reading a mystery set on the stage of an opera. The attention to detail makes the reader feel like she is truly on stage and in the hotels and restaurants surrounding the theater. While steeped in detail, the heavy dose of humor keeps the reading light. The characters are definitely memorable. While I'm not overly fond of a first person narrative that speaks directly to the reader, it works for this novel.

One challenge I had with the book is that so much time is dedicated to details and character development that it slowed down the pace; especially since you're about 70 pages in before Debbie begins to wonder about things. I wasn't expecting a runaway freight train type of story, but I wanted a bit more than the speed of a railroad handcar in a lot of places. I also didn't care for how much attention sexuality garnered in the book. Perhaps this makes sense for the setting, which since I have no exposure to opera, I couldn't tell. I'm definitely not prudish about sexuality in books, but the focus on so many physical relationships in Ding Dong the Diva's Dead took away from the reading pleasure.

Since the cover indicates this is "A Debbie de Lille Murder Mystery," I'm guessing we'll see more of Debbie and perhaps some of the other zany characters that filled this book. I would welcome reading the next one in the series. The unique setting and plot, combined with this fabulous cast of characters, more than make up for the few challenges I experienced.

Title:  Ding Dong the Diva's Dead
Author: Cat Melodia
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN-10: 1603818073
ISBN-13: 978-1603818070
SRP:  $16.95 (paperback)

Also available in hardcover and a Kindle edition!

Blog Tour web site:

Cat Melodia's blog:

Cat Melodia's Bio:

Cat Melodia is the nom de plume of a Seattle-based mezzo soprano and voice teacher. Like her heroine, she often wears the pants on stage. Three of her opera adaptations/translations have been performed at community colleges. She has a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude in German Literature from Princeton and a Master’s in Music.

Hardcover buy links:


Barnes & Noble

Paperback buy links:


Barnes & Noble

eBook buy links:

Kindle - $4.95

Nook - $4.95

Smashwords - $4.95

I received a copy of this book from the author through Tribute Books. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation of any kind.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Spotlight: Death with Dignity by Robert Orfali

In Death with Dignity, Orfali makes a compelling case for legalized physician-assisted dying. Using the latest data from Oregon and the Netherlands, he puts a fresh new slant on perennial debate topics such as “slippery slopes,” “the integrity of medicine,” and “sanctity of life.” His engaging writing style brings clarity to these issues. The content is thought-provoking; the arguments are well-researched, air-tight, and original.

This extraordinary book provides an in-depth look at how we die in America today. It examines the shortcomings of our end-of-life system. You’ll learn about terminal torture in hospital ICUs and about the alternatives: hospice and palliative care. With laser-sharp focus, Orfali scrutinizes the good, the bad, and the ugly. He provides an insightful critique of the practice of palliative sedation. The book makes a strong case that assisted dying complements hospice. By providing both, Oregon now has the best palliative-care system in America. Reading this book, above all, may help you or someone you care about navigate this strange landscape we call “end of life.” It can be your gentle and informed guide to “a good death” in the age of hospice and high-tech medical intervention


Robert Orfali, the guru of client/server systems in the early days of Silicon Valley, co-authored three best-selling books that demystified the complexity of these mission-critical systems and made them understandable to a whole new generation of programmers. The books sold over a million copies. In this book, Robert uses his analytical skills to deconstruct the most complex system he has yet encountered: our modern end-of-life system. He wrote this book after helping his soulmate and coauthor, Jeri, navigate her death from ovarian cancer in 2009. The deep emotions Robert felt allowed him to look at how we die from a different perspective, another angle. Robert also wrote Grieving a Soulmate.

Visit the author’s website and read more book excerpts at Death with Dignity

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Interview: Tamara Elizabeth, Author of Fabulous Fifty and Reflecting It!

Today begins a new interview format at my blog. Instead of an introduction, I will post the author's bio, followed by the questions.


Tamara Elizabeth is a speaker, author, self love coach, radio host, a master motivator of women in transition, conductress of motivational seminars, professional photographer, small space designer, lover of social media, mother of 5, and a fabulously loveable woman after her first 50 years. She is determined to create a revolution of women.

Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, she returned to the city life after 20 years away. She moved into a 500 sq ft apartment in the heart of downtown and lives her online business – Every Small Space is a Living Place. ESS is developing into a wonderful forum for people to come to find solutions to their small space challenges.

She is an esteemed member of the 2010-2011 Cambridge Who’s Who as one of 400,000 prominent net-workers in the world.

Visit her website at

Follow her on Twitter at and Facebook at

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a mother of 4 grown children, a certified Self-love Coach and Master Motivator of Women in Transition. I have worn many hats in my half century – daughter, sister, wife, mother of 7 (4 of my own and 3 I borrowed to raise just for the heck of it), fund raiser, travel photographer, globe trotter, and now a certified self-love coach and author. I have even thrown in “radio host” just so that I don’t get too comfortable in my zone.

I am 51 years young and I love life. I have had some challenges on my journey but I am coming through them just fine. I am an adventurer and that helps me stay focused in the present trudging forward in this enchanted forest of life.

My sense of humor has opened many doors to me and has helped me write a finishing chapter to each different story in my life. I really try to look at life with a spring in my step and a good laugh at each turn. Even through the tears I try to ring the humor bell and lighten things up a notch. Writing has been my greatest passion as I can finally be heard. I have been writing children’s stories since I became a mom but never had the courage to publish them. So they remained the bedtime stories for my children. Now my mission is to help inspire women to never give up no matter how challenging their life’s path has become.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in British Columbia. I reside in one of Canada’s many pearls – Vancouver on the west coast of our great Nation. I have had the luxury of being born to American parents and raised in the cultural backgrounds of both wonderful countries. My heritage is dug in deep with ties from Russia, United States and Canada.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

With a rich heritage in both Canada and the United Sates traditions – there was a lot of turkey eaten in our household with two Thanksgivings AND Christmas within 3 months of each other every year as I grew up. One US Thanksgiving has the most zing story. My relatives came up from Seattle to spend the holiday with us. They decided they wanted a fresh Turkey for the dinner so they smuggled a live turkey across the border and brought it to our house. When the Turkey gobbled from within the trunk and the custom’s officer asked what that noise was, my uncle stated that is daughter was practicing for a school play ad her part was of a turkey. I guess the customs agent bought the story because they all arrived for the weekend along with the turkey. Once the turkey was named – Matilda – we couldn’t kill it for dinner. So what were we to do with a pet turkey? Luckily we had friends that had farm. We asked them if they would adopt Matilda and they had no problem doing so with strict stipulation that she would not become Christmas dinner. Our friends raced racehorses. Matilda fell in love with one of their prized racers. She would ride his back while he rotted around the training ring to cool down after training. When the horse went on tour to race, Matilda would lose all her feathers with homesickness. Finally after an extended tour Matilda died of a broken heart.

With stories like these I my life, can you see why I became a writer?

When did you begin writing?

I have written all my life. I was raised in a strict household of the doctrine – to be seen and not heard. So I wrote to my imaginary friends and told them what I wanted to say but never allowed to express. Then as I got older and raised a large family of my own I encouraged my kids to tell all and with those wonderful stories I wrote children’s books. Then I became a travel photographer and created beautiful children’s picture books. But I never had the self-confidence to get them published so they sit on old floppies.

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

I write in my living room with my laptop looking out my picture window of the busy city harbor in front of me. I watch the ferries travel to and from the mainland and imagine what challenges and transitions the passengers are facing in their lives at that moment. Life continues around me and inspires me to find creative things to write about.

What is this book about?

Fabulously Fifty and Reflecting It! – Discovering My Lovable me” is my story, a story of a woman who has discovered how through my reflections, the truly fabulously lovable me; the authentic me that I was born to be. I have moxie like the trail blazing women of the 20’s.

This book is the result of hard work and perseverance on a self-love journey. It is the reflection of my life and from these reflections I have created a workbook for the reader to assist her on her own journey to find the most authentic loveable you. I am the reader’s voice. I speak as her. I have been where she has travelled. I have finished licking my wounds and jumped back into the ring. I am MOXIMIZED!

My reflections shared are not to place blame on anyone in my path, for I take responsibility for my reactions to every challenge I have come across in my life. I just want the reader to understand that I have walked in their shoes and have never given up. I encourage the reader to understand that she can restart her life at any time she wants to and still find success in whatever she desires.

What inspired you to write it?

I found myself having to start life all over again at 50. My 2nd marriage crumbled under the weight of my husband’s addictions to alcohol and prescription drugs and I had to leave that life behind to save my soul. It was a difficult and scary decision to make but I new I had no other choice. With therapy and coaching I realized my level of self-love and then my self worth was only measured by me not the measuring rod of others. I took my essays that I had written as part of me healing process and created a workbook with the hopes that the experiences /I have faced head on will help other women hurdle their challenges and see the amazing light that is at the end of every tunnel.

Who is your favorite author?

Erma Bombeck – she taught me to take life as it is and not so serious. Laugh at myself and enjoy life’s roller coaster after all it is just a ride and every twist and turn is there for us to learn from.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

You can purchase it on amazon

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

You can find out more about me @

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

Youtube @

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

A Virtual Book Tour

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

With the increasing ease to get published today, every budding author has something of value to share with the world and the world is open and waiting to embrace your gift. So just do it! Publish your works and share your expertise no matter what it is with the world. Eventually this planet and its people will be a better place for doing so – one book at a time.

What is up next for you?

I have many different spoons stirring my creative soup bowl. We’ll just have to see which one comes out first.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Write from your heart and soul a follow the “bar stool test” -write, as you would tell your story to the person who is sitting next to you at the bar. Not to worry about the formalities of correct writing – just write the streams of thoughts that flow from your inner being, it can all be tweaked into a more formal way later if so desired. When you write to pass the barstool test you reach the masses and you relate better to the niche you are destined to write for.

Thank you for your time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview: Daniel Sullivan, Author of The Greatest Patriot

Joining us today is Daniel Sullivan, author of The Greatest Patriot.

After graduating from Oregon State University Dan worked for three years in Seattle and Portland, Oregon before quitting his job and spending three months backpacking around Europe in 1990. Upon returning from Europe, Dan moved to Boise, Idaho where he went to work in the Real Estate industry.

He earned his Scuba Dive Master certification and spent years traveling to destinations such as Fiji, Belize, Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean. Dan and his wife Amy enjoy the incredible natural wonders of Idaho and the Pacific Northwest with their two children.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Dan. It's wonderful to have you here.

Where did you grow up?

La Grande, Oregon…a idyllic little town nestled in a beautiful valley in Northeastern Oregon.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

In the winter, the city would block off Oak Street hill, a few blocks from our house. My brothers and I would sled down that hill over and over again until we were frozen. Then we would go home, warm up and do it over again. Sledding after dark was especially fun!

When did you begin writing?

I began writing short stories as soon as I could write. I wrote funny stories for my classmates and funny letters to friends and girls I liked. I remember telling stories before I could write.

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

I like to get up early and write. After about 8 pm, I’m toast.

What is this book about?

It’s a “What if”. I have always wondered what the world would look like if JFK hadn’t died in ’63…I simply changed that question to a statement, the world looks as it does today because he didn’t die in 1963.

What inspired you to write it?

I wanted to write an alternate ending to the tragedy of JFK’s death. Wouldn’t it have been great to have been there and be able to yell “duck!” before the shooting started.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

You can’t help but love Hal Rumsey, the Secret Service agent who was assigned to JFK for all those years after 1963. But I really like Demetrius, the island’s little caretaker who has a wonderful sense of duty and a unique sense of humor.

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

I’m not a member of a critique group. I have a large number of friends who provided great feedback throughout the writing process. I feel sorry for them, reading the first half of the book and having to wait for me to write the second half

Who is your favorite author?

Probably Clive Cussler. I like Tom Clancy and Dan Brown as well.

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

Neither. I wouldn’t have a problem using an agent, but I didn’t see any reason to beg somebody to read my book and represent me when I could do it myself.

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

Once I decided to self publish, it was pretty smooth sailing.

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

Not that I know of….can I answer this question again in a year or two?

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, all the e-readers or on my website

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

On the website!

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

The investment of time I’ve put into Facebook, Twitter, and being active on relevant blogs

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

If you are going to write a book that you want to sell, write something that is interesting. People will buy books that interest them, they won’t necessarily buy a book that is of interest just to you. I sat next to a kid on a flight a while back who was hoping to sell a book full of stories about he and his friends…but he couldn’t tell me what was unique about his group. When I got off the plane he had bought one of my books but I still wasn’t sure what he was trying to sell. Think sales first!

What is up next for you?

I’m just putting the finishing touches on a novel I wrote a few years ago, a sailing and drinking adventure (two things I know quite a bit about) that takes place in the Caribbean. I’m also about 1/3 of the way finished with the follow up to The Greatest Patriot. Jose Telleria is in a lot of trouble!

Is there anything you would like to add?

There is a book in everybody. If you want to write, sit down every day and write 250 words. After a year you will have a 365 page book. It’s easier than it seems.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Dan. We wish you the best.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Spotlight: My Life As Laura by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson

Kelly Kathleen Ferguson needed to know—was connecting with her lifelong heroine the key to knowing herself? She decided to find out. She donned a prairie dress and retraced the pioneer journey of Laura Ingalls Wilder. From Wisconsin to Minnesota, South Dakota to Missouri, Kelly explored Laura’s past and her own. Part travelogue, part memoir and part social commentary, Kelly discovered how an adult relationship with a little girl, who lived in little houses long ago, can give a sense of purpose for today.

Read an excerpt!

I admit that the origin of the dress mandate was fuzzy at best. All I can say is the instant I decided to retrace the pioneer journey of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I knew I would wear a Laura dress. When I first envisioned this costume, my intention had been to browse online, haunt thrift stores, contact a seamstress, research historical garb, etc. What happened: I was leaving the next day and needed a dress.

That afternoon I scouted the local Goodwill, hoping for a miracle in the racks. Nope. I resigned myself to a vintage shop. As a general rule I dislike shopping in a place where a bored employee has nothing to do but stare me down. Help galls me, as I possess a toddlerlike insistence that I can do it myself. A poorling, I do not belong in the specialty spending bracket, and I hate telling people no, so I rank boutique shopping on the comfort par of wool sheets. Waiting until the final hour, I barreled into Mr. Higgins’Vintage Clothing & Costumes of Missoula, Montana, all bluster and little intention

Which explains why I was unprepared for this challenge posed by the owner.

“Do you want to dress like Laura the little girl,” she asked, scrunching up her face and tilting her head, “or Laura the adult?”

The proprietor folded antique bandannas on a display case while I processed. She looked somewhere between forty and eighty, youthful despite the crinkles. I had met her type a few times now, the western woman who could charge an alpine escarpment, dragging her giant dog while I clutched a scrubby tree and panted.

Her unexpected question, and inescapable inflection, made me realize that a thirty-eight-year-old woman dressing like a little pioneer girl was odd. And not odd in a quirky, adorable way, but odd in a Whatever Happened to Baby Jane way.

I inhaled the aroma of antique, steam-pressed sweat and rolled the dilemma around on my tongue, as though contemplating a flavor. This Laura dress issue was getting complicated. A basic getup began with the red calico worn by little girl Laura, but as Laura became a young woman, her wardrobe expanded. Passages detail her outfits—the brown poplin with her ostrich-feathered poke bonnet, her pink lawn, the black cashmere that became her wedding dress, but even if I chose an “adult” Laura dress, I would only be fifteen. At my age the real Laura was a farmer’s wife in Mansfield, and those clothes were not part of the Books.

To my relief, the owner had not asked why I needed a Laura dress, a question way too involved for me to answer right then. She didn’t even blink. As it turned out, my request was routine—in Missoula, Montana, people needed Laura dresses all the time. There were Frontier Days, reenactments of homestead life, and you never knew when Hellgate High might rally for another production of Oklahoma! The more we discussed options, I found myself grateful for professional help. A prairie newbie, I had not considered that I would need a bonnet and apron, or even known that the nineteenth-century style was Victorian. The owner said she was usually buried in calico and gingham, except she had just made a huge donation to the historical society.


We leafed through her back stock of cowgirl outfits and flapper dresses with fringe. When I saw the rack of clown costumes, I began to panic a little. After an extensive search, we were able to roust out three dresses remotely suitable, not one of them a red calico or brown poplin with an ostrich-feathered poke bonnet. I took my options into the dressing room and drew the flowered curtain

Number One was a tiny yellow calico that had the girth of a sock. Number Two, brown with vanilla piping, looked doubtful (size and style-wise), but I tried anyway. It reached an impasse at my knees. I remembered yet another reason why I dislike vintage clothing stores: nothing ever fits. I confronted Number Three, my last chance—the floor-length, turquoise-blue-flowered dress with a scooped neck trimmed in ribbon and lace, cap sleeves, and a fluorescent-orange dust ruffle. Blue was Mary’s color, not Laura’s, but I rationalized that Laura had always wished she could wear blue. I chanted Laura’s mantra when facing the unavoidable—it couldn’t be helped.

In the end, the primary selling point of the blue dress was this: it zipped.

Read the reviews!

“Hilarious, perceptive and true, a homespun story as genuine as the ones that inspired it.”

—Judy Blunt, bestselling author of Breaking Clean

"You won’t detect any drawl in this Southerner’s voice. Ferguson is witty and edgy in a way that feels entirely fresh. This is stunningly, sharp, pitch-perfect writing."

—Neely Harris Lohmann, editor-in-chief of mental_floss magazine

"Grab your bonnet and plunk down in the sunny grass. Ferguson captures the high spirits and struggles of life on the prairie, then and now. A tribute to Wilder, a search for truer self, a twenty-first pioneer journey, My Life as Laura shows us how the books we love lead us to the life we need."

—Eric LeMay, author of Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese





Kelly Kathleen Ferguson is the author of My Life as Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself, a humorous memoir in which she retraces the pioneer journey of her lifelong heroine—in a prairie dress. Her work has appeared in mental_floss magazine, Poets & Writers, the Gettysburg Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Brevity, among other publications. She has an MFA from the University of Montana, and is working on a PhD in creative nonfiction at Ohio University. Kelly is a Libra, Cancer rising, Aquarian moon. She is Irish/French/German, lapsed Roman Catholic, and right-brained. Kelly once received a minority scholarship for a machinist certification program at Durham Technical Community College. When she was four, she ate a mothball and had to have her stomach pumped, or she would have died.

Visit her online at

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Spotlight: Beyond Broccoli by Susan Schenck, LAc

This new book by an award-winning author discusses the urgency in avoiding factory farmed animals for health and moral reasons. It also discusses vegetarian myths, how weight loss is easier with a nonvegan diet, why the human brain has shrunk 11% in the past 11,000 years, man’s dietary history, how the vegan diet may affect the brain and emotions unless carefully planned, critical nutrients found only in animal products, how it is possible for some to adapt to a “veg” diet, dangers of soy, how to eat raw meat safely, flaws in the China Study, different metabolic types, and much more.

Read an excerpt!

Vegetarian Myths Dispelled

There are some common misconceptions in the vegetarian community we will briefly address here. Some of these issues will be fleshed out in more detail later in the book.

Myth #1: We should emulate the diets of our mainly vegetarian primate cousins.

The most relevant difference between man and other apes is man’s relatively larger brain. Our brains are believed to have evolved precisely because we ate animal products rich in DHA, a critically important fatty acid which chiefly comprises brain tissue. To maintain our brains, we need to continue eating this crucial fat.

When man split off from chimpanzees, he traded an energy-intense digestive tract with the ability to digest cellulose for an energy-intensive brain. In other words, more energy was required to maintain this larger brain endowed with advanced, forward-looking frontal lobes. The energy used for the brain had to be subtracted from elsewhere, and it came at the expense of the digestive tract.

We then began eating energy-intensive food that didn’t require such intensive digestion. For example, a cow has to devote so much energy to digestion that it has four stomachs! More energy is directed there than to the cow’s brain.

The area between the chest and legs of a gorilla is much bigger than it is in man. The gorilla has a larger digestive tract equipped to break down cellulose, a dietary fiber. A chimpanzee is somewhere in between a gorilla and a human, having more intelligence than a gorilla, but less ability to break down cellulose. A chimp also eats more meat than a gorilla, but less than a man.

Myth #2: Apes and chimpanzees are strict vegetarians.

Chimpanzees were once thought to be vegetarians. Jane Goodall, who studied them extensively, proved that this was not the case. We now know that 8-10 percent of their diet comes from animal foods: insects, bird eggs, and even meat. Flesh is thought to be about 1-3 percent of their diet.(1) Some say it is as high as 5 percent.

H. Leon Abrams, Jr., MA, EDS, Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Georgia and well-known nutritional anthropologist, relates the diets of monkeys and apes. He relates:

"Rather than being herbivores, these animals are now recognized as omnivores, and the reason that they do not eat more animal food than they do may be the result of a limited ability to provide it in great abundance. But in seeking the animal foods that they do consume, monkeys and apes are most likely driven by a basic need to meet nutritional requirements that are available only from animal protein."(2)

Abrams points out that golden marmosets in zoos were not breeding until given animal protein. Baboons often kill hares and gazelles. He claims that gorillas in the wild eat birds, rodents, and even small antelopes. In captivity, they prefer meat to their usual diets of fruit and vegetables. Orangutans eat insects, birds, and squirrels, while gibbons consume birds, small antelopes, and rodents. He relates:

"Apparently, all primates have a basic and fundamental physiological need for at least a minimum amount of animal protein."(3)

Myth #3: We haven’t adapted to meat.

The first homo genus, Homo habilis, was a meat eater 2.6 million years ago. Some vegetarians who are familiar with this fact will claim that we were originally frugivores in Africa, but have been “eating against our nature for millions of years.” Clearly they do not understand the principles of evolution: 2.6 million years is plenty of time to adapt! What we haven’t adapted to are grains and a high-carb diet.

Some speculate that our primate ancestors were frugivores over 5 million years ago, though others claim the African savanna was actually lower in plant life than the forests and arid regions. But even if the frugivore concept is correct, in 5 million years our digestive tracts have changed so much that one could very easily argue we are no longer adapted to a diet of primarily fruit.

Empirical observation indicates that this is the case. Our digestive tracts have grown shorter, our brains bigger. We need more protein and essential fats than a frugivorous diet provides. Most of us cannot tolerate the high carbs of a grain- and legume-based vegetarian diet, let alone a frugivorous diet high in sugar.

1 Billings, “Correcting the Vegetarian Myths about Ape Diets,”, accessed 1-21-10
2 Abrams, Jr., “Vegetarianism: Another View,”, accessed 1-24-10
3 Abrams, Jr., “What We Can Learn from the Diet of Monkeys and Apes in Their Natural Habitat about Human Nutritional Needs,” Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1979:4 #2

For more on this topic, please visit:

Susan Schenck, LAc, is a raw food coach, lecturer, and author of the 2-time award winning book, The Live Food Factor, The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet, which has gained a reputation as the encyclopedia of the raw food diet—as well as Beyond Broccoli, Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work.

The book Beyond Broccoli can be viewed on It was released on August 20, 2011.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Interview with Stella Vance, Author of Dancing with Duality

Joining us today is Stella Vance, author of Dancing with Duality.

Betrayed at the age of 21 by the first love of her life, Stella Vance embarked on a life of fearless adventure. She traveled the world, adding notches to her lipstick case with lovers from all over the world, and surviving harrowing experiences, including abuse, addiction, abortion, date rape, and cult involvement. Along the way, Stella underwent a spiritual transformation. Once awakened to the reality of nonduality, she gradually realized that life is just a game, that death is just another dimension, and that nothing “out there” can really hurt her.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Stella. It's great to have you here.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing at age 14, inspired by Anne Frank’s diary. Then a very traumatic event occurred at age 21 and I stopped writing for over a decade, just when I should have been journaling the most! I devote an entire chapter to this event.

What is this book about?

Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit is about the 30 tumultuous years of my life from 1970 (age 14) till 2000 mostly – though there is a bit after that, mostly of some of the characters’ deaths. My life included whirlwind relationships, world travels, and many adventures. But the book also details the confusion as well as excitement we women experienced while pioneering the sexual revolution, the pain of abortions and date rape, eating disorders, sexual harassment, and more. The tone, however, is one of adventure, healing, humor and discovering that life is a game to be enjoyed, with the ups and downs of a roller coaster. As I am in my 30s I discover more of who I am, thanks to spiritual teachers. Having parted ways with religious dogma, I finally discover a spiritual philosophy I can live with and thrive on. But this happens after being involved in a cult! The story has a very happy ending, however, with an optimistic view of freedom for humanity. The theme of the entire book is FREEDOM, but my view of freedom evolves from “freedom to indulge in pleasures” to “freedom from the mind with all its worries, fears, and judgments.”

What inspired you to write it?

I read Eat, Pray, Love---and though I enjoyed it, I thought, “You know, I could write a better spiritual/travel adventure book than that!” I had traveled to 20 countries as a single woman. I had also been on a spiritual path since age 15.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Well, since it is a memoir, obviously I am the main character, and one of my favorites! But the others include Alex, my husband. This true story includes me dating men from all over the world in search of “the perfect man.” I finally break through the Cinderella complex and illusion of romance that our society encourages women to nurture; it’s pure illusion! But the plot builds up to my discovering Alex, who in many ways is even a better husband than I had imagined. It’s just that I don’t expect him to fulfill me: only I can do that!

My mother is also sprinkled in each chapter, prodding me on with words of wisdom.

And then there is Michael, who in many ways was my animus, and the love of my life in the sense that he was my male counterpart (whereas my husband is my complement).

Who is your biggest supporter?

My mother, I feel, from the other side has encouraged me to write this. She always felt I had an exciting life, living fearlessly and craving adventure, pursuing my passions. She didn’t know the half of it, though!

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

I am a member of two writing groups and they have helped me immensely with their feedback on this book.

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t really have a favorite author, but rather favorite genres (ie: spiritual, inspirational, health, spiritual memoirs, dreams, astrology, reincarnation, etc.) However, there are some authors that I buy ALL of their books. These include Stuart Wilde, Don Miguel Ruiz, David Hawkins, PhD, Brian Weiss, MD, Byron Katie, and Michael Newton, PhD. These are spiritually inspirational books.

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

For this book, everything just flowed! I hired only the best to help me with editing. I am deeply grateful for all the help I received.

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

Nope---it all just came together with wonderful synchronicity!

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?Not yet, but I plan to have a blog soon.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

They can get it on or request it at bookstores.

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

The best investment is the time: putting in four hour days on the computer seeking reviewers and bloggers who will read my book and post reviews.

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

I have enough advice to writers to give a workshop! But the main one is to save everything you write because you never know when you will use it. Parts of my book were written in 1999! I am so glad I saved those writings. You might write something now and use it years down the road in an article, blog, or even a book! Just keep writing. The more you write, the more inspiration that comes to you. Don’t worry about who will read it. Years later it may come in handy!

What is up next for you?

I plan to market this book heavily for at least a year. I never know when writing inspiration will come, or what direction it will take. But I love to write. However, it is also fun when people read what you write, which is why marketing is so critical.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I encourage everyone to write their memoirs. Just take the highlights of your life: the trauma, drama, comical events, intense relationships, adventures, emotional experiences, etc. It’s like having a life review, the kind people have in near death experiences! It clearly gives you a chance to forgive others, and most of all, to forgive yourself. You certainly benefit by doing all of this before you die.

While writing my memoirs, I was especially surprised to notice all the psychic experiences I had. I don’t consider myself a particularly psychic person, but as I wrote, I recalled all these inner voice prompts, prophetic dreams, etc. Each of us experience these things. We just don’t realize how much till we take the time to write our memoirs!

Thanks for spending time with us today, Stella. We wish you the best.

Guest Blogger: John Cline, Author of The Last Confederate Battle

Today's special guest is John Cline, author of The Last Confederate Battle. For those who might have missed it, I am a Civil War buff. I have an entire bookshelf in my home dedicated to nonfiction titles about the conflict and Abraham Lincoln. I also own and have read several novels set during this time period. It remains one of my favorite time periods in American history, despite it being such a dark time for our country.

Look for my review of The Last Confederate Battle on November 14th.

History records that the last battle of the Civil War was fought on the red clay soil of the Rio Grande River at Palmito Ranch, near Brownsville, Texas. That battle took place in mid-May 1865, more than a month following General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Virginia. There are factual accounts of skirmishes that took place long after Lee’s surrender. The historical attention to detail is highly accurate giving the reader a front row seat to life before, during and after the Civil War.

The Last Confederate Battle brings to light the perspectives from both sides, revealing the positive and negative natures of men. Conflict within our own country is remarkably described through the writings of John Cline; the main characters of this multifaceted story come to life as real historical experiences are interwoven into each page.

The Story, Inspiration and Research Behind The Last Confederate Battle by John Cline

First, let me thank The Book Connection for the opportunity to talk about my book, The Last Confederate Battle. I think readers will be surprised to learn that the book is not so much about war, as it is about people – individuals in a wartime setting. Also, I guess it should be revealed here that no one was more surprised that I wrote a novel in a Civil War setting than me. While I have always believed that the Revolutionary War may have been our nation’s brightest moment in history, I have similarly believed that the Civil War was our darkest years with Americans fighting (and killing) fellow Americans, and the country ripping itself apart in an epoch that didn’t have to happen.

Regarding the story behind the story, there are several: By 1861 the United States was entering the Industrial Revolution. Some forward-thinking Southern planters were realizing that they could make greater profits by getting away from slave labor and turning to machinery; they were severely shunned for their beliefs. The fictitious stories of U. S. Senator Hill and his Chief of Staff, Winston Harrison, highlight the effects of unelected power brokers called “staffers” within the network of Congressional offices. And the liaison of really big business and individual Members of Congress depict how corruptible the lure of money from the private sector can be, and how that corruption can effect Main Street and the average citizen. And lastly, the expansion of railroads across the country during the Reconstruction Period was sometimes laced with accounts of violence that have largely gone untold. The economy, following the Civil War, played a major role in westward expansionism. But it was the Panic of May 9, 1873 that was so devastating, especially in the West. It did, however, allow me to start thinking about a sequel, tentatively titled, Rebuilding American Dreams.

The inspiration for The Last Confederate Battle, came from a mental image of a Confederate soldier squatting beside a small campfire near midnight on what had been the lawn in front of a grand plantation house that had been put to the torch during the war. I gave it little regard at the time, but the image would not go away, so I did the most dangerous thing a writer can do. I began asking questions. Why was he there? Why was he alone? What had happened to the plantation that was only miles away from Madison, Georgia, one of only seven towns that had not been put to the torch during Sheridan’s March to the Sea? Those questions, and a lot of later research, resulted in the book being written.

What methods of research were used? First, I am a product of the South, having been born in Memphis, Tennessee, so I was regaled with many Southern stories. As a boy, I spent summers visiting the battlegrounds of the Revolutionary War, upon which many of the Civil War battles were fought. I didn’t care for History in school because classes were all about the rote memorization of names, dates, and places without stories. So as a child, I went to the battlegrounds in search of those stories. I was fortunate, again as a child, to meet survivors and relatives of survivors who had Civil War stories to tell. I guess those people and their stories remained in the deepest storerooms of my memory, lying dormant these many years. The computer and several city, county and university libraries became my greatest sources of information. As a matter of interest, the antebellum house on the cover of the book, a house that actually survived the Civil War, is located in Madison, Georgia where several stories in the book take place. A friend, with whom I served in the Navy, and with whom I remain in constant contact, detoured on a road trip to stop by Madison where he and his wife took several pictures and emailed them to me for use in the book.

John J. Cline
The Boise Author

Following a twenty five year career in both the enlisted and officer corps’, John Cline retired from the U.S. Navy as a Limited Duty Officer (Mustang) in July 1993 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was the director of the Idaho Bureau of Disaster Services until he retired in 2005.

He has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Workforce Education and Curriculum Development from Southern Illinois University, and a Master of Art degree (M.A.) in National Security Studies; Homeland Security and Defense from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (140th Session), and was nationally certified by the National Coordinating Council on Emergency Management and the International Association of Emergency Managers. He is an avid Amateur Radio Operator with the call sign W5USN. John and his wife Pat have three children and four grandchildren.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interview with Vincent Hobbes, Creator of The Endlands

Joining us today is Vincent Hobbes, creator of The Endlands.

Vincent has been actively writing since he was fifteen years old. His roots lay in horror, but he has recently branched out into other genres. In 2007, he was published. The Contrived Senator was the first book in a fantasy series. In 2008, he released Exiles, the second book in the series. Short stories have always been a favorite of Vincent’s, and in 2010 he teamed up with 11 incredible authors, and created The Endlands. This horror anthology is an ode to the kooky and bizarre.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Vincent. We're thrilled to have you with us. Let's start by having you tell us where you grew up.

I was born and raised in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. I currently reside north of DFW, a bit out in the country, away from the madness.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing in my teenage years. I was good at it, and had an English teacher who encouraged it. I always loved reading, so it made sense. I’ve been writing professionally for about five years.

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

I usually write at night, sometimes very late. It’s quiet and I seem to work best at that time. It seems my imagination is at its best at night.

What is this book about?

The Endlands is a short story anthology, an ode to the strange. I dedicated it to Rod Serling, who was a huge inspiration to this project. The Endlands is a collaboration of seventeen stories written by twelve authors. I personally included five of my own. Each story is different, unique—mind bending tales that will leave the reader in awe. This project is about something that seems to be lost: The short story. I think anyone who loves a strange tale will instantly love The Endlands.

What inspired you to write it?
The original intent was to write a short story novel myself. Over time, I realized I wanted to do something more, something bigger, and the project took on a life of its own. We gathered some amazing authors in the industry, and the project turned out greater than I could imagine.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

There are many characters in this book, but I’d say my personal favorite is Charlie, from my own story, “The Hour of the Time.” There’s just something strange about the man. Considering it is a short story, he is a very developed character with many idiosyncrasies that make him just a little odd.

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

I have a team of content editors who are extremely critical, and of course my wife, who’s my biggest critic and biggest inspiration.

Who is your favorite author?

Probably typical of a horror author to say, but without a doubt Stephen King. He is an amazing story teller. That’s what I love about his work; I feel like I’m listening to story, not just reading a book.

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

It was a bumpy ride. I presented the idea of this project to my publisher years ago, but nothing came of it. It took some time and convincing, but finally he agreed, and the rest is history.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

The Endlands is available on all online major retailers. It is also available in eBook format. Copies can also be purchased through the official website,

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

My personal website is:

The book’s website is:

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

A trailer will be released when the next volume is ready. In the meantime, you can view a trailer for my short story, “The Hour of the Time”, on YouTube at

What is up next for you?

We’ve finished the submission process for The Endlands: Volume 2. These stories are absolutely amazing, and the second book promises to please fans. I’m currently working on my own stories to be included, as well as two other solo novels. One is a dystopian book, the other a horror novel.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I appreciate your time and I appreciate the support of all my fans. Without them, none of this is possible. Stay tuned for more of my work and be sure to visit:

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

Guest Blogger: Karen Simpson, Author of Act of Grace

Joining us today is Karen Simpson, author of Act of Grace.

Why would Grace Johnson, an African American high school senior, take a bullet to save the life of a Ku Klux Klansman named Jonathan Gilmore?

The question hovers unanswered over Grace’s hometown of Vigilant, Michigan. Few people, black or white, understand her sacrifice, especially since rumor has it years ago a member of Gilmore’s family murdered several African Americans including Grace’s father. Grace doesn’t want to talk about it, but the decision to speak is not hers to make. Ancestor spirits emerge to insist, in ways Grace cannot ignore, that she bear witness to her town’s violent racial history so that all involved might transcend it.

With hindsight made telescopic by the wisdom found in African American mythology and the book The Velveteen Rabbit, Grace recounts a story of eye-for-an-eye vengeance that has blinded entire generations in her hometown. Faced with the horrific crimes that have disfigured her life, Grace wonders if in the end, she can do as the spirits have asked and lead Mr. Gilmore, the town of Vigilant and her own soul on a journey toward reconciliation, redemption and true grace.

"The Grace of Cake" by Karen Simpson

I love to cook and this passion reveals itself in my writing. My novel, Act of Grace, is full of descriptions of food, particularly pastries and cakes. On the page there are descriptions of tarts, pies and a cornucopia of cakes. Each baked good has its own meaning in the story, even if it is only to convey to the reader the idea that there can be sweetness, joy and hope during the darkest times of our lives.

One of my favourite cakes to bake, eat and write about is the pound cake. Now, many folks consider the pound cake to be an ordinary baked good, the kind of cake you bake if you don’t have a lot of time or fancy ingredients. But sometimes simple foods are best; pound cake batter can be the perfect blank canvas upon which an imaginative cook can demonstrate their culinary expertise. A well-made pound cake can be stunning and in my novel, the protagonist Grace describes such a cake:

“My cousin Aesha’s cake was considered a family treasure, and it was encased like the culinary jewel it was, in a tin she had decorated with beads and glitter. The aroma of pure butter perfumed with expensive vanilla and rose water spilled out to herald the arrival of a tall pound cake wearing a lacy sugar glaze veil complemented by an impressive crown of slivered almonds. It seemed almost a sin to cut it.”

Grace's pound cake is beautiful; however, it's not just a simple cake because she will come to realize that it symbolizes the beginning of her spiritual journey.

Below is my favourite pound cake, a recipe given to me by my Mom.

Pound Cake


• 1-1/2 cups butter
• 6 eggs
• 1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4-teaspoon baking soda
• 3 cups sugar
• 1-teaspoon vanilla


Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees

1. Allow butter, eggs, and sour cream to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Make sure the butter is soft. Meanwhile, grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside.

3. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter with a stand mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually( and I do mean gradually) add sugar, beating about 10 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to egg mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition until just combined. Spread batter in the prepared pan.

5. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 1-1/2 hours or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in a pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. If you like, garnish with ice cream, chocolate, or some fruit.


Karen Simpson, author of Act of Grace, lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She earned a Masters Degree in Historic Preservation at Eastern Michigan University. An avid historian, her speculative fiction is base on African American folklore and history. In 2009 she was awarded the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Older Writers Grant.

You can find her at: