Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: Annabel's Story by Mary Jean Kelso

Mabel leaves the streets of New York when she is placed on an Orphan Train bound for the West. Separated from the one friend who journeyed with her, she arrives in New Mexico and is adopted by the Westerman family. She changes her name to Annabel and begins to learn more about herself, her new family, and her new home.

Unaware of the secret she carries, Annabel hopes she can find love and happiness on the homestead. But her secret could pull her back to streets.

Young Toby Meltonberger makes his living on the streets of New York as a newspaper boy. Hardworking and honest, he dreams of a better future. He doesn't know where Mabel has gone. He only knows he has to find her.

In this moving historical, author Mary Jean Kelso has created a story of a young woman searching for her place in the world. Torn away from the only life she's known, Annabel has no idea what the future brings. She can only hope it is better than the past.

Kelso has woven so many wonderful elements into this story: details of the American frontier, well developed characters, an engaging plot, sweet romance, and a young woman's desire to find the kind of life she isn't sure she will ever have. While this is definitely Annabel's story, Toby's motivation to find her plays an integral role.

Annabel's Story touches the heart. The fifth book of Kelso's Homesteader series, this historical  will be enjoyed by those who enjoy sweet romances and books set on the American frontier.

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Wing ePress (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613099231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613099230
  • SRP: $16.95
  • Ebook: $7.50

  • I received a free electronic version of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

    This is the 36th book I've read for the following challenge:

    This is the 22nd book I've read for the following challenge:

    Sunday, July 29, 2012

    Book Spotlight: Shelton's Homecoming by Dianne Hartsock

    Shelton’s coming home, but after seven months of living apart, can he and Nevil pick up from where they’d left off?

    Shelton’s grown tired of living a life separate from Nevil. So when Nevil is hurt in an accident at work, Shelton comes home for good. Feeling closer than ever to his lover, Shelton’s ready to make a lasting commitment to their relationship. But is that what Nevil wants? Nevil is less than enthusiastic when an old flame marries, leaving Shelton wondering if he’ll have to keep his dreams on hold indefinitely.

    Read the reviews!

    Arthur Bedwyr's review

    4.5 stars

    Shelton and Nevile is one of my favorite couples. After Shelton's Choice, I was a bit hesitant to read this book out of concern that the chaos in the third book was repeated here. Fortunately, it didn't happen.

    This book starts with Nevile was hospitalized after an accident in his working site. Shelton, who still lived in CO, came home fast and was struck seeing his boyfriend laying on hospital bed. That made him realized how bad his decision in last book was. The next day, when Shelton came to bring Nevile home, he was surprised to see Nevile's ex was there. But, Percy actually came to visit and brought a news: He was getting married in New York. He asked Nevile to be his best man and invited everyone to be in his wedding, this weekend. The trip to New York brought joy and sadness. Joy for Percy (and his fiance Brandon). Sadness for Shelton as he longed to have what the other couple had. But he knew Nevile had never been one to bother to say, "I do..."

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It returns to the style and feeling of the first two books: romantic, fun, and sexy. The writing is clear, the plots fit the length of the book. The issue is also interesting, not self-fabricated like in the previous one. With more and more states recognize gay marriage, the issue whether the boyfriends (or girlfriends) want to get married or not become a serious question for some couples. The only reason it lost half star is that the book could use less sex scenes. Still, it really didn't take much from my enjoyment (and relief) of this fourth installment of Shelton and Nevile's story.

    Looking forward to the fifth book.

    Mandy's review

    I love Nevill and Shelton, and this was a really sweet continuation of their story!
    Can't wait to see what the next one brings, although with how this one ended, I know what I'd like to see! :)

    My only niggle was this one was maybe a bit heavy on the sex for such a short, but I managed somehow! LOL

    Sadonna's review

    I liked this follow-up story for Shelton and Nevil. It's contemporary and really reflects the kinds of decisions all couples have to make regarding life choice that will affect their relationships.

    There were a few too many filler sex scenes in this one for my taste, but I really like this couple and I look forward to the next episode in their story.

    Purchase Shelton’s Homecoming at:

    Dianne grew up in a large, boisterous and loving family in California, spent ten years in the rocky mountains of Colorado, and now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon.
    She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to do her writing. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside and a fire crackles on the hearth inside that kindles her imagination.

    Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which she says is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

    Blog: http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/
    FB: http://www.facebook.com/diannehartsock
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/diannehartsock
    Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4850270.Dianne_Hartsock

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

    Summer Olympics & Whisper Privileges - Giveaway

    WHISPER PRIVILEGES is set for release August 8th!

    Miami,Florida is the venue for the Special Olympics National Games and Clay Rutledge’s son is competing in swimming. A sure bet to win the gold, father and son plan to ride their tropical victory to the World Games—until an unexpected turn of events jeopardizes their plans for fortune and fame.

    Tasked with managing the games,Sydney quickly learns that Clay’s quiet, sexy confidence demands special attention, something she’s more than willing to oblige. But a jealous ex-lover of a boss has other plans, as does her office nemesis.

    Trapped between a desire to mix business with pleasure and a boy who reminds her of a life she swore to move beyond, Sydney is at a personal crossroads. She can have career or love—but to attain both requires a consent she yearns to give but fears impossible…

    And to celebrate the release, Dianne Venetta is giving away a copy of her book, WHISPER PRIVILEGES, (ebook or print) along with a set of Malibu Wellness Swimmers Hair Care shampoo and conditioner. It’s the perfect shampoo for swimmers as it removes chlorine, minerals and salts from the hair and restores shine and manageability.

    You can visit her site at http://diannevenetta.com/772/summer-olympics-whisper-privileges/ to enter her giveaway. But wait! There are more chances to win.

    Shirley Hailstock will host a gymnastics-themed giveaway on July 31st followed by Barbara Phinney on August 9th hosting a football.  My blog, The Book Connection, will be offering up some hockey fun August 10th and Shari Brady will be serving up volleyball August 11th for our grand finale.

    So while you’re enjoying the competition of the Summer Olympics in London, be sure to stop by these author sites for your chance to win!

    Also, in light of the fact that Dianne has chosen the Special Olympics as the setting for her current novel, WHISPER PRIVILEGES, she is donating $1 for every comment made on her blog post during the entire two-week giveaway.

    For those who have yet to read JENNIFER’S GARDEN, the first in this series, Dianne is setting the ebook version FREE for the duration of the Summer Olympics. For your free copy, visit Smashwords.com and use code VP55P for a variety of versions compatible with most ereaders on the market today.

    Follow Dianne at:





    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    Tales of the Overwhelmed Blogger

    When The Book Connection started back in 2007 (celebrated five years on July 4th, but who's counting), blogging and virtual book tours were relatively new animals. Fastforward to present day and a new virtual book tour company seems to crop up every week and blogging of all kinds has become a phenomenon where people of all ages have learned how to brand themselves, created platforms, and even monetized their passions for books, movies, products and more.

    More options led to more blogs and more sponsors seeking representation for their wares. That's good news, right? In many ways, yes. It has offered us book-loving people a way to explore our passion for the written word without going broke. It allows us to discover new authors we might not have heard of if we stuck just to what lines the shelves of the large chain bookstores.

    But with more virtual book tour companies, a market flooded with self-published titles, and the explosion of electronic books, the world of book blogging has become one where more requests come in than one can possibly handle. As an author, I hate to say no to anyone. Even though I have a note on my blogs and posted with my review policies that I am not accepting new books, the requests keep coming in. Many of the requests are in genres I love, too, but I  owe some people reviews back to January of last year. I have to catch up.

    Usually catch up time comes over vacation. This year I brought my Kindle, my Kindle Fire and three printed books. Because we had extended family with us and due to my hubby contracting pink eye during our second week, I read only three books. Most times I read 10 or more.

    I can't imagine I'm the only one struggling to work through their TBR pile. How are you managing your workload? Are you receiving new requests? How do people respond when you say no? Are you finding it hard to respond to the sheer number of requests you receive?

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    Summer Reading: Sunstruck by Mayra Calvani

    Daniella is an architecture student living with her narcissistic artist boyfriend in San Juan. Abandoned by her father at an early age, Daniella always falls for the ‘wrong’ type of man. Her most enduring male relationship so far has been with her cat.
    Several strange mysteries are threaded through Daniella’s everyday life: her ex-husband, Ismael, has just opened an outlandish hotel for animal lovers that has her distraught; Ismael’s wife, a rich woman Daniella fondly refers to as ‘Lady Dracula’, has some gruesome ways to keep her skin looking young; Daniella’s mother is founding a revolutionary, feminist society called The Praying Mantises; the island’s national forest is being depleted of hallucinogenic mushrooms; meanwhile, young girls are disappearing and there’s a nut loose dressed as Zorro slashing the rear ends of women who wear miniskirts.  

    Oppressed by all these eccentric characters, Daniella feels herself falling into an abyss. Then something terrible happens, making Daniella wake from her stupor and take charge of her life.

    What reviewers are saying…

    “Dark and quirky humor coupled with quixotic characters adds to the surprising mix found in Sunstruck… I've never read a book remotely like it. Everything from the humorously weird to the acutely macabre can be found between these covers, and then some.” –Laurel Johnson, Midwest Book Review

    "Sunstruck is like a nutty Whodunit with a little twist. Who really is in the Zorro costume? With all the crazy characters I caught myself pointing fingers again and again. A great read that will make you forget where you are, while you giggle yourself to complete oblivion from all the silliness." Autumn Blues Reviews

    About the author…

    Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to satire to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. She has lived in America, Asia, the Middle East, and now lives in Brussels, Belgium.

    Purchase info…

    Title: Sunstruck
    Author: Mayra Calvani
    Author web site: http://www.mayracalvani.com/
    Publisher: Twilight Times Books
    url: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/
    ISBN: 978-1-60619-024-2
    Genre: Parody/Satire
    Format: ebook in pdf, ePub, Kindle, Mobi, PRC, etc.
    Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; BN.com Nook; eReader; Fictionwise; Kobo Books; OmniLit; Sony eBookstore, etc.
    Release date: July 15, 2012
    Price: $5.95
    Pages: 160
    Chapter excerpt: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/Sunstruck_ch1.html

    Interview with Scarlett Archer, Author of 1001 First Lines

    Scarlett Rugers (writing as Scarlett Archer) has just released a book 1001 First Lines which is now available at Amazon! You can purchase a paperback, .lit, .epub, .mobi and PDF versions here: http://www.1001firstlines.wordpress.com.

    She has been writing for over fifteen years, completed over eleven novels, and her main drive is in speculative fiction or its contrasting opposite romantic comedic novels. She has a passion for studying the art of story telling and is a grand lover of movies. Her focus in work is book cover designs which enables her to put all her energy in to the area she loves most- literature.
    You can visit her website at www.scarlettarcher.com.
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/scarandthetwit
    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scarlett-Rugers-Design/186669264687668

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself?  

    I used to want to be a singer. Much to the chagrin of my sig-other I have high hopes to become a wealthy cat lady. I should have been in the movie business, considering how much I love films. Maybe when I’m 60 and I have 30 cats I’ll start applying to be a director, or producer. 

    Where did you grow up?

    Melbourne, Australia.

    What is your fondest childhood memory?

    As the purely materialistic person I am, it would be waking up to find a Barbie Caravan Santa dropped off for me for my 8th birthday.

    When did you begin writing?

    When I was eight, but more seriously when I was 13. Thanks to my primary school teacher who made it a class project to write our own stories, it might not have ever happened.

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

    As a business woman whenever I can get a moment! My workflow ebbs and flows so sometimes I have a lot of time- so I’ll spend the whole day writing. And other times I can’t write for a good three or four weeks!

    What is this book about?

    1001 First Lines is exactly as it sounds. Fourteen genres of the best, words, and un-pigeon-holable first lines.

    What inspired you to write it?

    I wanted to write a really good first line. That’s it. One of the best things I learned was if you want to be the best, do the world’s best practice. Experience the average, the worst, and the ones that can’t be pigeon holed. That’s how 1001 First Lines came about.

    I wanted to compare different genres, not just display the best. Everyone can Google the best, there are multiple sites that’ll give that up. But what if you want to see the norm of your own genre? If you write chic lit, horror, or science fiction- what’s the standard opening line that so many others use?

    Who is your biggest supporter?

    My boyfriend, of course! Wouldn’t have come all this way without him.

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

    I don’t have a critique group- per say- but as a designer for self-published authors I’m friends with a lot of editors, copywriters, etc who are in the self-publishing business. So we get a lot of really positive feedback from each other!

    Who is your favorite author?

    Philip K Dick.

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

    I considered seeking an agent but I enjoy the process of self-publication! There may be a time when I will consider an agent, when I’m closer to my next work being completed. Depends on the feedback I get from my beta readers!

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

    It was a bumpy ride- thanks to my impatience. Reference books are entirely different from fiction and non-fiction. There’s no opportunity to break out in narrative or enjoy the simple writing process. I got through it with small, tiny goals. But I just wanted to have it over with!

    Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

    On Amazon- both paperback and Kindle versions. The paperback version comes with a list at the back of all the books listed under genre categories, so you can tick off what you’ve read as you go!

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

    I run a blog for authors who want to be interviewed about their experiences and opinions about first lines: http://www.1001firstlines.wordpress.com

    What is up next for you?

    The first is Oscar & Josephine, a love story about death. A quick fic novella about a brother and sister who, through desperation, end up cursed. They’re forced into immortality in their six-year-old and nineteen-year-old bodies. The story is how they cope through the decades, trying to adapt, doing what they can to kick start their aging once again. This will be published between July-September 2012.

    The second is a dark retelling of The Wizard of Oz, in a modern environment, which involves organ transplants, dirty alleys and a Guy Richie/Quentin Tarantino-style narrative. I’m aiming for this to be ready for publication by 2014.

    Book Spotlight: 1001 First Lines by Scarlett Archer

    Have you ever wondered which novels contain the most famous opening lines? Or how the writers of Science Fiction compare to those of Romance? Now you can compare for yourself, with 1001 of the best and worst First Lines from fifteen genres.

    1001 First Lines is for the writers and the readers of the world, providing inspiration and instruction. Purchasing the paperback gives you a checklist of titles to tick off as you go!

    Scarlett Rugers (writing as Scarlett Archer) has just released a book 1001 First Lines which is now available at Amazon! You can purchase a paperback, .lit, .epub, .mobi and PDF versions here: http://www.1001firstlines.wordpress.com.

    She has been writing for over fifteen years, completed over eleven novels, and her main drive is in speculative fiction or its contrasting opposite romantic comedic novels. She has a passion for studying the art of story telling and is a grand lover of movies. Her focus in work is book cover designs which enables her to put all her energy in to the area she loves most- literature.

    You can visit her website at www.scarlettarcher.com.

    Twitter: www.twitter.com/scarandthetwit

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scarlett-Rugers-Design/186669264687668

    Interview with this author coming soon!


    Wednesday, July 25
    Book Review at Avomnia

    Friday, July 27
    Book Review at The Book Faery Reviews

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Book Review: Listening to Africa by Diana M. Raab

    Journey to the heart of Africa with poet and essayist Diana M. Raab. This thought-provoking, moving poetry collection captures the essence of all that is Africa and more. Travel alongside Raab and her family as they take off from America, visit Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, and ponder the author's reflections of all she's learned as her family heads back to the States.

    Listening to Africa is an eloquent collection of poems that begs you to savor every word. From how she was drawn to Africa to reminders of her father, from balloon rides to how little things become big ones, and from giraffes to hippos, Raab's words make you want to embrace and understand a culture different than your own. Numerous photos from the family's trip are the pefect accompaniment to the lyrical prose.

    This is a collection you'll read more than once. The stunning cover art makes for a great conversation starter.

    I look forward to Raab's next collection.

    Price: $16.00
    Pages: 80
    ISBN: 9781936482184
    Publisher: Antrim House
    Release: April 18, 2012

    Amazon buy link:

    Antrim House buy link:

    Diana M. Raab is a memoirist, essayist and poet. She has a B.S. in Health Administration and Journalism, and an RN degree from Vanier College in Montreal, in addition to an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Spalding University’s Low-Residency Program.

    Diana has been writing from an early age. As a child of two working parents, she spent a lot of time crafting letters and keeping a daily journal. A journaling advocate and educator, Diana teaches creative journaling and memoir in workshops around the country. She frequently speaks and writes about the healing powers of writing.

    She’s the award-winning author of eight books, and the author of over 500 articles and poems. Her release is Writers on the Edge: 22 Writers Speak About Addiction and Depression, co-edited with James Brown, which is a compilation of essays by renowned writers discussing how addiction has influenced their literary lives. She is also editor of Writers and Their Notebooks, a collection of essays written by well-known writers who keep journals.

    Raab is the author of two memoirs, Regina's Closet: Finding My Grandmother's Secret Journal, winner of the 2008 National Indie Excellence Award for Memoir and Healing With Words, the 2011 Mom's Choice Award Winner for Adult Nonfiction.

    She is also a registered nurse who teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and at various writing workshops across the country. She is the author of four poetry collections, My Muse Undresses Me (2007); Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You (2008), winner of The Reader Views Award and an Allbooks Review Editor's Choice Award; The Guilt Gene (2009); and Listening to Africa (2012).

    Her poetry and prose have appeared in national journals and anthologies such as Rattle, Rosebud, Litchfield Review, Tonopah Review, Writers' Journal, A Cafe in Space, the Toronto Quarterly, Common Ground Review, The Smoking Poet, Snail Mail Review, New Mirage Journal, Lucidity, Blood and Thunder, Jet Fuel Review, Ascent, and The Huffington Post.

    Diana Raab's Web Site:

    Diana Raab's Blog:

    Listening to Africa's Facebook:

    Diana Raab's Twitter:

    Diana Raab's Goodreads:

    Listening to Africa's Goodreads:

    Diana Raab's Red Room:

    Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

    Listening to Africa blog tour site:

    This is the 35th book I've read for the following challenge:

    Book Spotlight: Betrayal and Forgiveness by Linda Armstrong-Miller

    In the Bible, the Lord asked that we not make promises unless we are sure that we can keep them. Lisa made a promise and has done everything in her power to keep that promise. a lesson her father needed to learn. Before he was able to practice keeping his promise, he lost the love of his daughter, his best friend, and he was about to lose the love of his son. Time was running out for all of them, but they didn’t know it.

    Linda Armstrong-Miller is a retired registered nursed. She lives in Ga. With her husband Mike and daughter Cayla. Jesus Christ is my Savior. He is the way the truth and the light. I Believe.

    Linda’s latest book is Betrayal and Forgiveness.



    Tuesday, July 24
    Book Review at Musings by Maureen
    Wednesday, July 25
    Book Feature at The Book Faery Reviews
    Thursday, July 26
    Friday, July 27
    Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea
    Tuesday, July 31

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    Book Review: Sea Change by Karen White

    Ava Whalen's whirlwind romance and marriage to Matthew Frasier strains the already tense relationship she has with her mother. Moving to Matthew's ancestral home on St. Simons Island doesn't help matters any.

    It doesn't take long for Ava to realize how little she knows about her new husband, especially the circumstances surrounding his first wife's death. Ava joins the St. Simons Island Historical Society and begins digging into Matthew's family history, while she tries to keep an open mind about his involvement in his wife's death. Unaware of her own connection to the place, her obsession with the past could very well destroy her future.

    Karen White has done it again! Sea Change is the perfect blend of past and present. A beautiful story, rich in detail and filled with memorable characters, this book is a must read for anyone who enjoys stories showcasing how the past and present are entwined.

    As a lover of history, I appreciated the moments where Ava acted on behalf of the historical society: visiting cemeteries, performing research, uncovering long-forgotten mysteries. These moments left me longing to do the same here in my town.

    The story unfolds from multiple points of view: Ava's, her mother Gloria's, and Pamela's. Pamela is a nineteenth century mid-wife living on St. Simons Island. White moves the story seamlessly through past and present, unfurling a story that keeps the reader turning the pages.

    Sea Change by Karen White is a riveting, eloquently told story of one woman's determined search to find love and happiness. Highly recommended!

  • Reading level: Ages 18 and up
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0451236769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451236760
  • SRP: $15.00 (also available in electronic formats)

  • I received a free copy of this book from the author's publicist in exchange for my honest opinions. No monetary compensation of any kind was provided for this review.

    This is the 34th book I've read for the following challenge:

    This is the 21st book I've read for the following challenge:

    Friday, July 20, 2012

    Interview with Kfir Luzzato, Author of The Evelyn Project

    Kfir Luzzatto was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney. He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis.

    Kfir has published extensively in the professional and general press over is the author of several short stories but now mostly writes full-length fiction. Books: CROSSING THE MEADOW (2003 P&E “BEST HORROR NOVEL”), THE ODYSSEY GENE(2006), HAVE BOOK WILL TRAVEL (2012). He got the idea for his new thriller, “THE EVELYN PROJECT,” from an in-depth research into the family archives. He has another book of fiction in the works.

    Visit the author online at  http://kfirluzzatto.com.

    What brought you to writing fiction? What's your earliest recollection of wanting to write a book?

    I actually wrote a short story when I was 12 years old. The plot was strong but, being honest with myself, I realized that the result stunk. So I hid it deep in my drawer and moved on. It took me some 30 years to sit down and do it again, and this time when I was done I liked what I read.

    Who are your favorite writers? Why?

    My list is very long but the four at the top are:

    John Wyndham, because he writes science fiction that reads like real life;

    P. G. Wodehouse, because nobody writes dialogue like him and because his are the best escapist books ever written;

    Franz Kafka, because of his genius in devising haunting plots with multiple layers, and for writing books that make you skip dinner;

    Robert A. Heinlein, because of his sparkling, down-to-earth, transparent (and often funny) writing.

    How did writing The Evelyn Project come about?

    Evelyn was my great aunt, who died of tuberculosis at 26. I have always been intrigued by her and her relation with my great-grandfather (her father). I have three daughters and one of them is her living image and will be 26 this year. That got me thinking and I started researching the family archives. One thing led to another and here we are.

    They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

    The picture on the cover is taken from my great aunt Evelyn's studio portrait that hangs on the wall beside my writing desk. The cover itself was designed by my daughter, Michal, who (in addition to being a lawyer) is a talented digital artist. In the past she also designed the cover for another book of mine, The Odyssey Gene.

    Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

    I’m always stuck on this question with all my books... This is a thriller that is woven around sad events that happened to real people and exciting events that, in the book, happened to imaginary people – but which in real life can and do happen to real people. In short, Life. So my main message is that entertaining books don't have to be shallow and detached from reality, and serious topics can be treated in an entertaining book, to make the mixture as close as possible to our reality.

    Where can you purchase a copy of The Evelyn Project?

    It is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in printed and electronic formats.

    Tell us about your next book!

    An Italian Obsession is a different kind of book. Different, I mean, from what I have written so far. It is drama written as a very personal slice of life of an Italian youth, who is growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although it is pure fiction, it is also a faithful testimony of middle class life in a healing post war society.


    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Interview with Linda Ferguson, Author of Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand

    Dr. Linda J. Ferguson is an author, speaker, coach, and seminar leader to support people leading a joyful and awakened spiritual life. Linda’s website, www.lindajferguson.com , contains videos, meditations, affirmations, and other useful resources for spiritual growth and personal development. Readers find inspiring and informative ideas in Linda’s blog to enrich their spirituality for everyday living- www.lindajferguson.com/blog/ .

    Dr. Ferguson is author of two books “The Path for Greatness – Work as Spiritual Service” and “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand- Awakening Soul Consciousness for the New Millennium“. Readers find the exercises at the end of every chapter valuable and practical. They can apply the ideas immediately in their life and see results. Linda has conducted three national book tours, presented at national conferences, and conducted worship services to inspired and appreciative audiences. Linda also leads Shamanic Journeys, spiritual study groups, and retreats for people who want to dive deeper into the insights and ideas offered in her books on spiritual growth and transformation.

    Linda has developed a seven step process of Transformational EmpowermentTM, for personal mastery. She developed this powerful process of manifesting and creating positive life changes from her own life experiences, her work with her coaching clients, and her study of mysticism.

    She uses the spiritual principles found in her Transformational EmpowermentTM process in her coaching practice so that her clients more effectively move through their important life changes. Her coaching provides a structured and consistent venue so that people can make positive changes in their life easefully and confidently.

    Linda has been on radio interviews and has featured articles in Interbeing, a journal of personal and professional mastery. She also writes a weekly blog to support people’s desire to integrate their spiritual life with their professional life- www.managementhelp.org/blogs/spirituality/

    Dr. Ferguson earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University (I.U.-Bloomington) in Organizational Behavior with a Masters also from I.U. studying Social Psychology. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and management. Linda did her coach training in 2004 from Coach Training Alliance, completed her certification in Team Coaching, and has CCE credits from International Coach Federation (ICF).

    In 1994 she traveled abroad for six months to Asia, Australia, Israel, and Europe before moving to Virginia where she currently lives. Her personal spiritual practice includes daily prayer and meditation, Sufi Dances of Universal Peace, Integral Yoga, Native American Sweat Lodges and other Earth-based ceremonies.

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

    I lived in Australia as a little girl and moved to IL when I was 3 ½ . Both of my parents were born abroad, so I grew up with a pretty international outlook. I’ve traveled abroad in high school, college, and grad school. Around age 30, I took 6 months off from work to go back to Australia and then on to Hong Kong, Thailand, China, India, Nepal, Israel, and much of Europe.

    I’ve also been to Malta and Israel to attend an international summer school for psychologists that my mother runs. Every year it’s in a different country and people from all over the world attend it. It’s a fabulous experience to get to know people in a deeper way.

    As a result of these trips and my upbringing, I appreciate diverse cultures and religions. My step dad is a philosophy professor (retired) so we get into wonderful conversations of religion, particularly Buddhism, and Native American spiritual ceremonies. He wrote several articles on Black Elk, the Sioux/Lakota medicine man.

    My training is in psychology (I have a BS and MA in psychology) with an interest in group dynamics. I later earned a PhD in management studying corporate whistle blowing.

    I’ve always been interested in people and cultures, how people interact with others in groups and at work. I first started being interested in spirituality in grad school. Since then it’s been a 20+ year journey studying and practicing from different traditions – Kabbalah, Sufism, Christian Mysticsm, Buddhism, Yoga, Native American and Earth-based spiritual ceremonies.

    I used to live on 19 acres of woods near the Blue Ridge Parkway and hosted a sweat lodge ceremony there with a man who was trained in the traditional Lakota way. I’ve also studied with a Christian mystic, a Medium, and a Cherokee shaman. Through these various paths, I’ve learned more ways to access the Divine as spirit guides, totem animals, Inner Wisdom, God Source Energy.

    I now do a combination of yoga, Native American Medicine Wheel prayers, and meditation as my daily spiritual practice.

    When did you begin writing?

    Of course I wrote a lot during graduate school. I started writing on spirituality and work after working for a few years. Writing came easily for me as I had a good training in clear, structured writing.

    What is this book about?

    Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand is an insightful spiritual guidebook that provides memorable stories and practical spiritual ideas for moving through life challenges to experience greater joy. Each chapter has valuable exercises, meditations, and affirmations. Readers learn the potent seven step process of Transformational EmpowermentTM that I developed working with my coaching clients and workshop participants.

    This book is written for those who are:
    ● ready to fulfill their soul contracts,
    ● desire to be a Conscious Co-creator for personal transformation,
    ● want to raise their energy for greater abundance, joy and healing,
    ● ready to awaken spiritually, and
    ● wish to deepen their spiritual practice

    What inspired you to write it?

    I wrote this book a couple years after Sept. 11th, 2001- When our country was in turmoil, we were just entering the war in Iraq, people had a lot of healing and anger to work through. I could see fear taking hold in people’s life.

    Also during this time, I was going through a divorce and dealing with deep emotional scars I didn’t even know were there. I also lost my job during the early years of writing the book, so had that to contend with too. Needless to say, I was feeling the shifting ground personally and socially.

    I had finished 3 national book tours for my first book and felt this nudge to start to address spirituality for everyday living to help people move through their fears, their stresses, and their life challenges. As I stepped through my own challenges and fears, I learned new ways of approaching life from a spiritual perspective.
    Every time I had some big lesson to work through or shifted into greater spiritual awakening, I knew I needed to write something related to it in this new book to support others in their life transitions. So everything I’ve written, I’ve lived and seen demonstrated in my life (and in the life of so many others over the past 8 years).

    I offer meditations and activities at the end of each chapter so that readers can practice a new way of being. It’s been fabulous to get reader responses that my book is right on target for where they are in their life, or that they used my ideas and it made a big difference in their life. There’s no greater satisfaction for an author than getting that reader feedback.

    Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

    My website is www.lindajferguson.com There are links there to my two books, which are available from the publishers – Balboa Press and Infinity Press. The books are also available on Amazon, and as ebooks on Nook and iStore.

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

    I post weekly blog features on my website for ways to live a life in balance, find greater inner peace, and renew your spirit in the busy-ness of your life. Check out these blog posts along with videos and audio recordings on my website of my presentations and teleseminars.

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

    This isn’t really a video trailer but it is a video I made for a competition two summers ago for the Next Top Spiritual Author. It gives an overview of my book – Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand.

    What is up next for you?

    I am giving workshops and sermons at Unity and related churches, as well as hold seminars in the Metro DC area. I’m developing study guides for both of my books so people can explore the ideas in more depth and with a group.

    I also hold teleseminars with guest speakers where we talk about topics related to my two books. They can get notices of these teleseminars when they sign-up on my website. They’ll also receive information on my Transformational Empowerment process that they can use right away in their life.

    Later this year I’m going to develop 4-5 webinar/ecourses for people to do a deep dive into the ideas in these books. Each ecourse will offer practical activities, meditations, and short videos where I share more about the ideas.

    These will be available on my website so stay tuned.

    Is there anything you would like to add?

    One main message I share is to ‘walk the path of Love not fear’

    That’s my mantra now with this second book - not only for Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand as a way to deal with life challenges and stresses, but to show up and step up to the abundance, beauty, joy and gifts we can experience every day. In this way we can truly experience the magnificence of Who We Are.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Interview with Kathy Leonard Czepiel, Author of A Violet Season

    Kathy Leonard Czepiel is the author of A Violet Season, a historical novel set on a Hudson Valley violet farm on the eve of the twentieth century. She is the recipient of a 2012 creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals including Cimarron Review, Indiana Review, CALYX, Confrontation, and The Pinch. Czepiel teaches in the First-Year Writing Program at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and their two daughters. Learn more about her at www.kathyleonardczepiel.com, like her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter at @KLCzepiel.

    When did you begin writing?

    I’ve been writing since before I could write. When I was a little girl, my mother would make stapled booklets and I would dictate stories to her, then draw pictures to go with them. Later I graduated to clacking away on an old manual typewriter after school, a very dorky childhood pursuit, but one that has paid off!

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

    My writing schedule is somewhat unique. I wrote A Violet Season mostly over the course of four summers. I teach during the school year, and I have two kids at home, so it’s hard to squeeze in time to write. I reject that old piece of advice that you have to write every day. Write whenever it works for you, but try to be disciplined about it. That said, in a sense I do write every day. I’m always writing in my head and grabbing a moment to jot down ideas for later.

    What is this book about?

    A Violet Season takes place on a violet farm in New York’s Hudson Valley at the turn of the twentieth century. It tells the story of a mother, Ida, and a daughter, Alice, who are struggling to help their family keep its share of the farm. Both of them are pushed to make increasingly great sacrifices which eventually set them against one another in a lifelong struggle for honesty and forgiveness. It’s about life in that time period not just for these two particular women, but also for women in general, who had shared struggles to overcome.

    What inspired you to write it?

    I grew up in the Hudson Valley, but it wasn’t until I returned to my hometown as an adult that I learned the area had once been known as the Violet Capital of the World. I was intrigued by the fact that such a booming industry could have existed and then so utterly disappeared. Learning more about the violets was the original seed of the novel, and the mother-daughter story quickly followed. I am, of course, a daughter, but I am also the mother of daughters. While Ida and Alice’s story is fiction, I think it contains some emotional truths about mothers and daughters and the ways in which they can fail one another without ever meaning to.

    Who is your favorite character from the book?

    I’m partial to Ida, of course; you have to like your protagonist because you’re going to spend a lot of time getting to know her and working with her. Despite her flaws, I admire Ida’s resilience and her strength. Of the minor characters, I’m especially fond of Mrs. Schreiber. She’s the kind of woman you want to have in your life, someone who isn’t afraid to be different and who knows the right thing to say and do, even in difficult situations. I want to be like her when I grow up. I like Claudie, too. She’s a little bit sassy. I enjoyed putting her in dialogue with the more reserved Alice.

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

    The main thing I’m doing differently in the process of writing my second novel is outlining more. I spent a long time thinking about the story and tinkering with it in outline form before I began drafting. Like many writers, I thought this might stifle my creativity and the element of discovery, but what I’m finding is that the first draft is coming much more easily because I’ve put in more forethought, while at the same time those little discoveries and surprises are still happening. They’re just not happening in such a big way that they change the entire trajectory of the novel. At least not yet! All that said, I don’t think I could have done it this way the first time out. The first book is inevitably going to take longer and require more fits and starts before you get it right.

    Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

    Always think first of your local bookstore, if you still have one! Be sure to support them if you value having them in your community. A Violet Season is also available from several booksellers online. You can visit my website at www.kathyleonardczepiel.com and choose any of the links on the home page to purchase it. A video trailer for the book is also there. Thanks for asking!

    What is up next for you?

    As I mentioned, I’m working on my second novel, which is set in 1929 and post-World War Two. This time, the inspiration comes from the story of the building of my grandparents’ house, which I loved visiting as a child. I hesitate to say much more, since it’s only in its first draft, and anything could happen!

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    A Violet Season'
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    Price: $15.00 paperback, $9.99 ebook
    Pages: 272
    ISBN: 9781451655063
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Release: July 10, 2012

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    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Free Kindle Books for Today!


    TWO action-packed ebooks from Twitter’s @ceebee308 and @LukeRomyn for your Kindle for FREE!


    THE DARK PATH sees Vain, an assassin without peer, placed into an impossible situation. Coerced into the protection of a young boy, Vain finds his skills of death and torture useless against a force of evil which threatens the very Earth. The Souls of Sordarrah - a zealous cult fronted by their mysterious leader Empeth and a group known only as The Four - are pitted against him, intent upon sacrificing the boy Sebastian in order to raise their demonic lord Sordarrah from the pits of Hell.

    The Consultant - Book 2 of the Barry/McCall series: The friendly takeover of CSS Inc. leaves computer executive Chris Barry unemployed, very wealthy and pleased with the situation. But the hiatus is short-lived… As a result of his involvement in the recent Vigilante investigation, Barry is approached by Jonathan Addley and invited to join Discreet Activities, a government agency of the clandestine variety. Accepting, he promptly takes on his first assignment under the guise of an IT consultant, to investigate possible links between a local import business and the murder of its MIS director. As he discovers the firm is being used to import narcotics, his cover is blown and things get personal, spurring him to show that murderers, drug lords, biker gangs and kidnappers are no match for… The Consultant. Note: You really should read Vigilante first.

    Guest Blogger: Natalie Wexler, Author of The Mother Daughter Show

    At Barton Friends a D.C. prep school so elite its parent body includes the President and First Lady - three mothers have thrown themselves into organizing the annual musical revue. Will its Machiavellian intrigue somehow enable them to reconnect with their graduating daughters, who are fast spinning out of control? By turns hilarious and poignant, The Mother Daughter Show will appeal to anyone who's ever had a daughter - and anyone who's ever been one.

    The Fun and Challenges of Writing Satire by Natalie Wexler

    There’s no question that writing satire is fun. All those biting observations you’ve kept to yourself about the little foibles and hypocrisies that inevitably surround you, all those jokes you’ve made to your closest friends … now you get the chance to reveal them to the world.

    The challenge is in making sure that instead of recoiling in horror, or lashing back out at you, the world will find your jokes and observations as funny as you do. Of course, no matter what you do, there’s no guarantee that everyone is going to be amused. A sense of humor is a very subjective thing.

    But I think one rule of thumb is to do your best to ensure that you’re laughing at yourself as much as you’re laughing at anyone else. I certainly tried to do that when writing The Mother Daughter Show. It’s set in a milieu—an elite private school—that I was very much a part of, and of course I was a participant in the actual show that inspired the book (a musical revue written by mothers of graduating senior girls). Like one of my main characters, throughout my kids’ school years I found myself volunteering, or getting drafted for, various roles in the Parents Association, even serving as co-president of the upper school one year. Like another character, I sometimes yearned for control of the rather messy process of planning the show. And like the third, I got so caught up in writing funny song lyrics that I kept churning them out even after it was pretty clear they weren’t going to be performed on stage. Throughout these experiences, I had one eye on the absurdity of the situation, and that’s the eye I relied on in writing the book.

    Of course, to make the book funny, I had to exaggerate. Rarely does life hand you ready-made satire. And that’s where things can get tricky. A couple of early readers of the manuscript advised me to make my satire broader, to make my characters more extreme. They thought it would make the book funnier.

    But it was always my intention that while my characters would be flawed—after all, there’s no humor without flaws—they would also be three-dimensional and fundamentally sympathetic. I wanted my book to be a satire with a heart, one in which a reader could identify with every character while at the same time finding her amusing.

    Maybe some would have found a broader satire funnier, but I don’t think I’m one of them. To my mind, broad satire works best in small doses. It’s very hard to sustain over the length of a novel. And as a writer—and a reader—if I’m going to spend as much time with a character as you do in a novel, it has to be a character who seems human.

    I also was aware of the possibility that, even though my characters truly are fictional, there were going to be some people out there who would think they recognized themselves or others in my book, given that it was inspired by an actual event. In fact, that has happened, and some outrage has been expressed over the way I’ve supposedly portrayed real individuals. I can only imagine how much greater the outrage would have been had the characters been rendered with less sympathy in an effort to get a bigger laugh.

    Natalie Wexler is the author of The Mother Daughter Show (Fuze Publishing 2011) and an award-winning historical novel, A More Obedient Wife. She is a journalist and essayist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post Magazine, the American Scholar, the Gettysburg Review, and other publications, and she is a reviewer for the Washington Independent Review of Books. She has also worked as a temporary secretary, a newspaper reporter, a Supreme Court law clerk, a legal historian, and (briefly) an actual lawyer. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband.

    Price: $19.95 paperback, $9.99 ebook
    ISBN: 9780984141296
    Pages: 274
    Release: December 2011

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