Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Honor

On this Memorial Day, we honor the memory of Captain John Maloney, a high school classmate from the Chicopee High Class of 1986, who was killed in combat in Iraq on June 16, 2005.

We honor John, and the many men and women like him, who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom.

The Vintage Remedies Guide to Real Food Review and Giveaway at Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Ellen at Confessions of an Overworked Mom is at it again. More great giveaways are going on now, like this one for The Vintage Remedies Guide to Real Food by Jessie Hawkins.

Stop on by Confessions of an Overworked Mom and read Ellen's review. Then leave a comment about ways you try to eat healthy for your chance to win a copy of this book. You have to be a follower of Confessions of an Overworked Mom in order to enter.

You'll also find ways to increase your chances of winning. The last day to enter is June 7th, so you better hurry on over while you're thinking of it. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Product Review: Brinkmann 70 inch Premium Grill Cover

We purchased this cover from The Home Depot along with our new grill. It's much heavier and stronger than our old grill cover, which means we can expect several years out of it. The velcro straps on each side keep the cover in place, even with strong winds. We had severe thunderstorms last week with high winds. The grill cover didn't budge.

Our one concern is that the front vent lets in enough moisture that the grill doors might corrode faster than the rest.

The nice thing about ordering a grill cover from The Home Depot is it ships free with a $249 order.

I would definitely recommend this grill cover to anyone.

Product Review: Brinkmann 5-Burner Grill with Sear and Side Burners

We picked up the Brinkmann 5-Burner Grill with Sear and Side Burners based upon the many positive reviews on The Home Depot site. I've used it several times now and am truly enjoying it.

The heat on the ends seems to be more intense than in the middle, but I haven't used all five burners together yet. Assembly was easy, and despite being more difficult to clean, it's significantly better than our old gas grill. I find if I take a bunch of wet paper towels and place them on the burners while they are still warm, they wipe up easier.

My only complaint is that packaging and shipping could have been a bit better. There are several scratches on the back of the grill and the chain for the match lighter was broken off. The side burner will only match light, so we have to call Brinkmann to see if there is a problem with the connections. The delivery company left the grill on our front porch without even ringing the doorbell or asking for a signature. This didn't give me the time to inspect the packaging. The box was slightly torn on top, but otherwise intact.

Overall we are very satisfied with our purchase and would recommend this grill. With the new lower price on The Home Depot site, plus free shipping, this grill is definitely a great value.

Model #810-8501-S

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Year Round Gardening by Delilah Smittle and Sherri Ann Richerson Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Patty over at Broken Teepee has a lot of great giveaways going on. If you haven't stopped by her blog, you really should.

Today I wandered over there and found a giveaway for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Year Round Gardening by Delilah Smittle and Sherri Ann Richerson. I don't know if I've told you this, but I loved gardening, I just happen to have a brown thumb. I also can't design a garden plot to save my life. And every time I try getting the seeds going early in the year it is a disaster.

I need a book like this BAD!

If you really need a book like this too, stop by Broken Teepee and enter for your chance to win. There are ways to increase your chances of winning--like I'm doing now.

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. Deadline to enter is 9PM MDT on June 10th.

Awesome Giveaway at Write from the Soul & Visualeyes

Susanne Drazic over at Putting Words Down on Paper turned me on to this great giveaway Gale Handler is running at her blog Write from the Soul & Visualeyes.

Stop by Gail's blog by June 4th and follow the rules on how to enter for a chance to win gift cards, and book, and some chocolate. There are ways to increase your chances of winning, so make sure you take advantage of them--I sure am. Oh, and if you decide to enter after stopping by here, please let me know by leaving a comment on this post.

Stop by Gail's blog and enter today!

How Many Books Do You Read at A Time?

I've been trying to catch up on my reading--I'm not, by the way--and so I've been reading multiple books at one time. I don't usually do that, but my TBR pile is huge and there are so many great new books coming out that I want to read, plus several I am reading for virtual book tours, that I want to work my way through the older books.

Usually I take the older ones on vacation with me, but this time I have so many books for virtual book tour clients (not only my own, but for other companies too) that I'll be taking current books instead.

I'm curious how many reviewers juggle multiple books at a time. I don't find it very easy, as I like to immerse myself in the characters, and I feel pulled away when I am jumping between stories. So, what I decided to do instead was read one novel, a children's nonfiction book (I finished it yesterday), and a nonfiction account of abolitionist and women's rights activist Martha Wright.

So, how many books do you read at a time? If you read multiple books at once, do you have any tips on how to stay focused on the characters and plot?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CD & T-shirt Review and Giveaway at Confessions of an Overworked Mom

My friend, Ellen, at Confessions of an Overworked Mom is running tons of great giveaways right now. Wish life around here would lighten up a bit so I could review more products and giveaway some stuff of my own, but such is life.

My son turned 23 today and will be getting married on Saturday. I really wish I knew where the time went. The picture below is from his 21st birthday party that I threw here--well, the one without all his partying friends and the alcohol that he could finally drink. Not quite sure why he is eating that card. Maybe it was before supper.

When he was in high school and I think the early years of college, he played in a band. I remember the excitment of hearing their demos. We all bought t-shirts with the group's logo on them. Is it cool to call it a logo?

Anyway, my son's band is the reason that I believe it's important to support the up-and-coming bands. Who knows when your next local group of teens will become the next KISS, Poison, Slipknot, or Motley Crue.

One eskimO is a London-based alternative rock band. Inspired by the Beatles, The Fugees, Massive Attack and Nizlopi, One eskimO was chosen as an Artist to Watch for the month of November by iheartradio.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom is running a giveaway for a T-shirt and a One eskimO CD. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States. The deadline to enter if May 29th, so stop by Confessions of an Overworked Mom today for details!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Review: More Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias

Lives collide answering God's call in More than Conquerors by Kathi Macias.

Hector Rodriguez is the pastor of Casa de Dios, a church located on the outskirts of Tijuana. The situation in Mexico is tense, as those with Mayan beliefs grow more violent as 2012 approaches. Hector's mother, Virginia, lives in San Juan Chamula, the heart of the Mayan hostilities. When she disappears--not unlike other Christian witnesses--Hector finds it difficult to continue his work.

Marty, Hector's protege, arrives right out of Bible college hoping to help Hector expand his ministry, but Marty is still unsure of what God is calling him to do. It doesn't help that Marty's mother won't support his decision to follow his calling or even believe in the faith Marty holds so dear.

A woman, known as la Abuela, struggles with the knowledge that her grandson has sworn off the faith she shared with him and has turned to the gangs responsible for so much of the violence in Tijuana.

When tragedy strikes, these families are drawn together. While someone's faith wavers, the love and support of friends and family, along with the grace of a loving God, leads to the revelation of His plans for all and gives hope for the future.

In this explosive second installment of Macias's Extreme Devotion series, readers follow the journeys of three families whose lives intersect. With this book, Macias has created a beautiful, heartrending story which you'll want to read again the moment you're finished.

Proving what a masterful storyteller she is, Macias weaves the stories of her characters' lives in such a way that you can't help but care for them--even those who aren't always likable. You sympathize with these people, you understand their conflicts, and you want to see God's plan revealed in all its glory as much as these characters need to see it.

Having now read both books in the Extreme Devotion series--No Greater Love, More Than Conquerors--I eagerly anticipate the release of the next book in this series, Red Ink, this fall.

A contemporary thriller that will remain on your mind long after you've turned the last page, More Than Conquerors is one of the best books I've read this year.

Title: More Than Conquerors
Author: Kathi Macias
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
ISBN-10: 1596692839
ISBN-13: 978-1596692831
SRP: $14.99

Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell: Interview and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

Linda Weaver Clarke recently interviewed Michele Ashman Bell, author of Summer in Paris.

Kenzie Williams feels like she has it all: wealth, friends, popularity. But when her father tells her that he has declared bankruptcy, her whole world in New York City turns upside down. Her parents' solution while they sort out their problems is to send Kenzie to live with her relatives in Paris . . . Idaho!

Feeling like she's been sentenced to three months in Hickville Prison, Kenzie arrives in Idaho feeling like a square peg in a round, horribly podunk, hole.

Leaving everything she loves behind, Kenzie is forced to get up at the crack of dawn, do chores, etc. She feels like she's about to die until she meets handsome Adam White whose got a deep secret. He’s been accused of killing his best friend. She is determined to get to know him and find out his secret.

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. After marrying, she moved away from the warm winters of southern Utah to all that snow in northern Utah. As a young girl she was a devoted journal keeper. She said, “I would express my most personal thoughts and feelings in my journal in a way I could never express them verbally.” Michele is the mother of four children and the author of 20 novels.

You can visit Michele online at

For your chance to win a copy of Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell, stop by Linda Weaver Clarke's blog between May 24th and May 31st for details.

Summer Treasure Hunt: "Dig For Clues and Win" Contest! at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

Stop by Linda Weaver Clarke's blog during the month of June for the Summer Treasure Hunt: "Dig For Clues and Win" Contest! A prize will be given away daily for the entire month.

Prizes include books in the following genres:

* romance
* fantasy
* mystery
* suspense
* historical fiction
* contemporary
* non-fiction
* young adult
* middle grade
* children's

Other prizes include:

* hand crocheted book tote and cell phone case
* a book/jewelry combo
* Mary Kay cosmetic assortment
* The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe DVD
* a free edit/critique for the first 50 pages of an unpublished novel

Go to and follow the rules for your chance to win each day in June!

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

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Be A Publicist Bloggers Want to Work With

As a virtual book tour (VBT) coordinator, I try my hardest to give bloggers everything they might need to host our authors. I sure appreciate not having to search out information to host an author at The Book Connection or The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. I also figure that bloggers are more apt to host additional clients for Pump Up Your Book Promotion if I make it as easy as possible.

While I have titled this article, "How to Be a Publicist Bloggers Want to Work With," the tips found here can also apply to authors who are contacting bloggers requesting a review, an interview, or a guest post.

1) Address your request to the blogger's name or Editor of (blog name).

Many blogs have profiles listed that provide the blogger's name or username. Considering you are asking the blogger to spend some of her precious time promoting your author's book, the least you can do is address your query to her directly. I rarely respond to an email that begins, "Dear Blogger."

2) Provide all the information a blogger needs to make a decision.

This seems like a no brainer, but I've had to go looking for information before making a decision on whether to review a book--thankfully, not often. Your email should include: the author's name, book title, a short synopsis, genre, the author's bio, a link to the author's website, and whether you are asking for a review to be posted in a certain time frame (as is often the case with virtual book tours). You can also include a short excerpt of the book if there isn't one on the author's website.

3) Make the blogger aware of controversial content.

This could also be included above, but I wanted to speak of it separately to include examples. It is important to let the blogger know--assuming you are aware of it--if the book you are asking them to promote/review contains specific religious beliefs, vulgarities, or obscenities. Sometimes this will be obvious by the genre, but in cases where it isn't, you'll save everyone time if you're up front about the book's contents.

My first example comes from my work as a VBT coordinator. I specialize in Christian fiction and nonfiction because they are genres I enjoy. One of my client's books however, wasn't listed as Christian fiction, but as an international thriller. A blogger agreed to review the book not knowing Christian beliefs played a significant role. My client sent out the book, but ended up with no review when the blogger emailed me to say she doesn't review Christian fiction.

The other example is from my role as a blogger/book reviewer. Last year a publisher sent me a review request for an author I wasn't familiar with. I was very disappointed when I found the book to be so vulgar and obscene that it turned me off. While I was able to provide a decent review, because the book was hilarious in many spots, I had to be honest and explain why it wasn't for me. There wasn't a link to the author's website included, so I made my judgment based upon what was written by the publisher. Big mistake.

4) Don't ship a book to a blogger without asking.

This, again, seems like common sense, but it has happened to me on more than one occasion. I'm a very flexible blogger. I rarely decline a review request. What irks me, however, is when a publicist who I have worked with in the past automatically ships a book to me without asking if I am interested. It's presumptuous to assume I am willing or have the time to review a book just because I have reviewed a book you represented in the past.

Along a similar vein, don't automatically ship a book just because you haven't received a response to your query. While I was on vacation last year, a publicist emailed me about reviewing a book. When I returned home, the book was in a pile of mail I picked up from the post office. I could have saved the publicist some postage, because I knew I wouldn't like the book. When I did review the book, I couldn't give it a decent review because I was so opposed to the content.

5) Send requested material in plenty of time.

Especially in the case of virtual book tours where a schedule is involved, you must provide the blogger with what she needs in a timely fashion to ensure the post will go up on the scheduled date. If I end up having to track down things last minute for an author's tour, I'm not interested in hosting him again.

With the popularity of virtual book tours and the increasing demands on bloggers, it behooves a publicist to make hosting authors as easy as possible. These tips will go a long way in helping to ensure bloggers will say yes when you ask them to feature your authors at their blogs.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

6 Tips on How to Be a Great Virtual Book Tour Host

As a virtual book tour (VBT) coordinator and blogger/book reviewer, I come to the online book promotion world from two different angles. Before I began working for Pump Up Your Book Promotion (PUYBP), I was just like any other blogger looking for ways to attract authors, publishers, and publicists to my blog in the hopes of sharing my love of books. In the early days that meant reaching out to writing friends and asking to interview them or review their books. There had to be a benefit for others to be willing to spend some of their precious time browsing around. Then I had to find a way to promote my blog so people would know about it.

In the three years I've worked for PUYBP, I've had the opportunity to foster relationships with many great bloggers. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I check my calendar and all my clients are right where they are supposed to be. While we have a regular group of bloggers who host a majority of our clients, we also add new bloggers all the time.

What separates the great bloggers from the rest? How do you make a good first impression so VBT companies will consider you to host their clients? And probably most important from your perspective, how do you drive traffic to your blog by being a VBT host?

Here is a quick list to help you in these areas:

1) Provide all the information a VBT company needs when you contact them.

Your initial email is the first impression you give a virtual book tour company. It should be professionally written, free of errors, and provide the company with the information it needs to determine if your blog is the right place for their client: title of the book you're interested in, author's name, your name, and the URL of your blog. If you aren't inquiring about a specific author's book, then be sure to include a list of preferred genres. Other items you might include is how you promote your blog, how long you have been blogging, and if you accept eBooks.

2) Respond promptly to emails.

If you've captured a VBT company's eye and they wish to work with you, then don't let their interest wane by taking a week to answer their return email. I typically respond to inquiries within 48 hours. Virtual book tour companies are working on deadline, planning one month's tours while the current month's tours are running. They will appreciate your fast response time.

3) Apprise the coordinator of any issues.

Things happen in the virtual world and in real life that impact our schedules. Sometimes books don't get shipped right away or you receive the book but don't have time to read and review it before the scheduled date. A quick email to the VBT coordinator at least two weeks in advance will eliminate surprises and allow them time to work with you on a solution. There is no worse feeling than reading an email from a blogger on the day a client is supposed to appear at a blog that says the book was never received.

I maintain a spreadsheet for the books I review at The Book Connection and The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. I also have a paper calendar that lists the scheduled date when I am hosting each author. I check my calendar first thing every morning. When I notice I don't have a book I am supposed to review, I zip a quick email off to the VBT coordinator to let her know.

4) Provide enough information in your review to help readers make an informed buying decision.

While I am going to write up a separate article on "How to Be A Good Book Reviewer," I feel it is important to talk about here. A book review should include a short synopsis of the book and your opinions on it: what you enjoyed about the book and where, if applicable, it fell short of your expectations. For the average size book, that can be done in 150 words or more. Any less, and you risk not providing enough information for a potential reader.

5) Be familiar with social media so you can draw attention to your blog and an author's review.

While Facebook and Twitter have been around for a while, it seems they didn't really start creating a buzz until a couple of years ago. Who's tweeting, what are they tweeting about, who's on Facebook, and what they are posting, have become part of the daily life of bloggers and virtual book tour companies.

The traffic at The Book Connection doubled within weeks of me beginning to use Facebook and Twitter. PUYBP uses Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to promote clients, attract bloggers, and for pre-promotion buzz.

What I found however, is that social media can be a huge drain on productivity. You could spend hours just on promoting to different social networks each day. Then I found, which allows me to promote to numerous social networks all at once. I post a message on my dashboard, and it is sent out to every social network I have listed with them.

Considering the sheer number of blogs out there, if you want people to know about your blog and what it has to offer, you have to become familiar with social media. In addition, you can pre-promote by using your sidebar to tell your readers who will be featured on your blog on which dates.

6) Go the extra mile.

The bloggers I find myself going back to time and again are the ones who work hard to make posts eye-catching. We ask all our hosts to include the cover art and a link to purchase the book from Amazon--or other online retailer--but many times I find author photos, author bios, book trailers, blurbs from reviews at other sites, a link to PUYBP's publicity blog, and links to the next stop on an author's tour posted as well. These extras make a big difference. While they aren't required, they are always nice to see.

Being a virtual book tour host is fun. You can get some great books for free, learn about authors you might never have heard of otherwise, and VBTs provide you with regular fresh content for your blogs.

Look for my next article in this series, "How to Be a Publicist Bloggers Want to Work With," coming soon.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Interview with Author Anne Bradshaw and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

My good friend, Linda Weaver Clarke asked me to let you know about the latest great giveaway she is running at her blog. Today, Linda interviewed Anne Bradshaw about her latest book, Famous Family Nights.

Here is the description from Amazon:

"Touching, inspiring, and often hilarious, the personal experiences in Famous Family Nights highlight family home evening as a priceless tool for building strong, faith-centered families, despite the many obstacles of modern life. Contributors sharing their stories are LDS entertainers, writers, radio and TV personalities, as well as LDS leaders in sports, business, and the community."

"Anne Bradshaw has collected a smorgasbord of FHE ideas to delight any and every family. From foil dinners to teaching scriptures and songs -- this book is full of ideas to make family time the best it can be. Ideas come from families worldwide, a sampling of ways to love those that love you the very most!" - Amy Freeze, Fox News Chicago

I know I want to get my hands on a copy of this book, so you better not enter so that I can increase my chances of winning.

Just kidding, go to Linda's blog where you can read her interview with Anne Bradshaw. Then leave a comment and your email address for your chance to win. This giveaway runs from today until May 24th and is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Stop by Linda's blog right now and enter for your chance to win a copy of Famous Family Nights by Anne Bradshaw!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

April New Releases from Guardian Angel Publishing

In this 4th book of the Andy and the Albino Horse Series, Andy and Spirit meet the rodeo queen while at the Nevada State Fair. The queen teaches Andy how to handle a lasso and he sees competitions between the Pee Wee Rodeo contestants.

A portion of the proceeds from this book are donated to Healing Reins of Bend, OR, a non-profit organization, and Horseplay of Fernley, NV.


Everyday Kantor Pegasus practices solving riddles. A tricky leprechaun attempts to outsmart him by giving him a next to impossible riddle to solve. To end his clumsy ways he must solve it. Children learn the benefit of practice and to focus on their strengths..


“You want us to do what?!” This fun, rhyming picture book teaches more than just a new way to drink water. The High Council of Hilltop wants the people to learn a new way to drink. But when the people find out why, everyone has something new to learn.


Kimberly drinks three cups of the magic tea and is disappointed when she sees no change when looking into a mirror. She falls into a large trunk and out the bottom. Surprised, she lands on lush green grass next to a loch in Scotland--Loch Ness--where she meets the "Monster".


SKOY Cloth Giveaway at Confessions of an Overworked Mom

My buddy Ellen is at it again. That woman gives away the best stuff on her blog. Today she posted a giveaway for SKOY cloths. This cloth is "100% biodegradable and natural because it's made from a unique blend of natural cotton and wood pulp cellulose. SKOY is non toxic, chlorine free and made using water based colors and inks."

If wasting paper towels isn't appealing to you, then stop on over at Confessions of an Overworked Mom to enter the giveaway for one of two sets of SKOY cloths. You can find all the details here.

Last day to enter is May 22nd, so you better pop on over right now while you're thinking of it. As always, Ellen gives you several ways to increase your chances of winning

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Author Spotlight: Nadia Sahari and Breakaway

Breakaway is the breathtaking and courageous story of one woman's survival of molestation, rape, repeated beatings, domestic violence, and other attempts on her life.

• Nadia reveals hope, courage and inspiration!
• A true story of personal freedom
• Highly revealing memoir - dramatic details of more than 18 years of abuse.

In Breakaway: How I Survived Abuse the author Nadia Sahari tells us the story of her life. Unfortunately, many of the events that she experienced in her early years were heartwrenching because they involved sexual and physical abuse. She bares her soul to us as she describes horrific events that she experienced.

"Nadia's touching story is one of admirable courage in the face of adversity. From a very young age, Nadia has had to endure brutal abuse, but she has emerged as a winner that really inspires. Indeed, success is the best revenge." --Sam, Sam in the Morning, LA Talk

"The hope that it filled me with was not only knowing I had the choice to leave the abuser, but that wanting to heal was also my choice." --Christa Jan Ryan, author of Silent Screams from the Hamptons

"Nadia teaches us how to forgive and move forward with your life." --Ebony Black, Producer and Director

"Hearing your story and the fact that you managed to survive and thrive later in life will hopefully be a beacon of hope for others who are living in similar hardships." --Peter Anthony Holder, Host, Holder Tonight, CJAD Canada

"It restores the soul." --Connie Curry, author of Give Me Back My Glory

Breakaway is an inspiration for any woman who dared to dream. Nadia bears her soul in this book, her raw emotions of overcoming domestic violence, family violence and incest I found very touching. Nadia gives of herself to her community, her sincerity radiates forgiveness. Breakaway is a must have for all people as this book transcends, gender and race. We have adopted this as one of or classroom's Text at Women Are Dreamers Too and the First class commencing August 8th will have a chance to read this so they may learn that in order to be free one must learn to forgive. The Story also has to be told in order to overcome and release one's soul from the bondage of domestic violence. All the above Nadia has done with this awesome classic. Proud to know this awesome, classy generous lady, a hard working woman with the heart of gold. Break Away is an awesome read with life lessons enshrined within the pages of this awesome book! Grab a copy folks you'll be glad you did. --Cindy Williams, Ph.D. Women Are dreamers Too

Nadia Sahari was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She came to America at the age of two. She speaks fluent Lebanese. Now, for the first time in years, she is living her dream of acting which she has had since the age of ten.

Nadia Sahari performed as a headliner belly dancer and choreographer. She was a featured guest on various television shows in Detroit, Michigan. The newspapers frequently featured her story and pictures in their publications. Nadia Sahari drew crowds from many states and received standing ovations wherever she headlined. Her dancing was professional, exotic, and true to her culture. She also taught more than two thousand women the art of belly dancing. She alone produced and directed live dance shows for the public as well as families and friends of her students.

In her late twenties, she ventured out to Las Vegas where she attended the Las Vegas School of Acting. Later she registered and trained at various universities and private schools to refine her craft. She was an entrepreneur for many years and was very creative in business in order to support herself and her family.

Nadia now resides in Austin, Texas. She has enrolled in filmmaking classes at the Austin Film School and is a member of SAG. She plans to film documentaries and short films in the future. She continues to train in acting, improv, film, and comedy classes.

Ms. Sahari has also been a guest panelist on the Oprah show. Oprah has requested a copy of Ms. Sahari's memoir. Currently, she is auditioning for commercials and film. Recently she has been cast as an Aunt for the movie Bandslam, and as a Reporter for the movie Conflict of Interest, both of which showed in the theaters in 2009.

In 2008, she was the cover girl in the FEB/MAR issue of The County Woman Magazine.

In addition to her busy schedule, she is an activist for women's rights, animal rights and the rights of children. She is active in trying to change the laws to give tougher sentencing to convicted criminals who abuse animals and children. In her words, she says: "I love all people and all animals. I believe that anything or anyone who has breath deserves life and freedom from abuse or control and should not be killed by anyone. God created us and only God can take us. No one has the right to end someone else's life."

Most of all, Nadia is thankful for the support and love of her husband of twenty-four years and her two sons.

This is the year for all things beautiful. Nadia loves this quote from Longfellow, "Ah, nothing is too late, till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate."

You can visit Nadia online at and

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Author Spotlight: Cindy Bradford and Promises Kept

Promises Kept is Faith’s story, an unforgettable young woman whose life’s journey has been filled with uncertainty, of searching for people and answers that others take for granted. Compassionate and courageous, she never gives up, showing strength and character beyond her years. It is also the story about the power of the human spirit, of family, friends and love.

The book is a sequel to Cindy Bradford’s first novel, Keeping Faith, but can also stand alone as an independent book. Avid readers of the romance genre will fall in love with Faith O’Brien’s gritty determination. After finding the father she never knew until adulthood, and graduating law school, she is focused on bringing down the priest who abused her father as a child. She wants the cunning, deceitful cleric put behind bars long enough that no other young boy will ever have to fear his touch. To do this, she takes on a veteran, highly experienced and shrewd Boston lawyer who will go to any means to win a case. But, he underestimates her passion for justice, her fight for right against a wrong.

The story transforms from the legal battle on behalf of her father into a beautiful love story as she falls madly in love with her colleague, Tyler England. Soon, her fighting instincts are called on like never before. Only this time her intelligence, perseverance and resolve may not be enough.

He knew that several years earlier she might have finished her sentence and gone a step further, but during the last few years, she had become more refined, softer around the edges. In law school she had learned cases, canons and codes, and she had acquired sophistication as well. Both made her more confident, determined, and firmer in her resolve. The refinement made her delivery poised and articulate, although she could still be brash and blunt with a comment. Undoubtedly, she was tough, but sensitive, a fighter with a heart. She cut no slack, yet she was generous in her compassion. It is the total package of complexity and contrasts that makes her a good lawyer already, before her first case, Patrick thought.

“When can you come to Maine?” Patrick asked.

“As soon as I get a ticket and pack. Where should I fly into?”

“Why don’t you see if you can get a ticket to Bangor? If not, then Portland. We’ll probably want a couple of days here to talk and plan.”

“Okay. I’ll call you back as soon as I know times and which airport.”

“Faith, hang on. How’s your mother?”

“Good,” she said. “She wants to come as soon as things begin.”

“Really? She really wants to do that?”

“Yes, she has a lot of vacation coming and she can stay with me.”

“Tell her that would be good and that I asked about her, will you?”

“Sure, Dad, but you could tell her yourself, you know.”

“Yes, maybe I will. We’ll see.”

But Faith knew he wouldn’t call Sue nor could she figure out why. She had asked him several times why he wouldn’t make the first move to mend the scars of their past, but he never had an answer. She wasn’t sure he knew.

Cindy Bradford, Ph.D., is also the author of Keeping Faith and Promises Kept. She lives at South Padre Island, Texas, and spends several months a year in Ruidoso, New Mexico. She is a retired public school educator and university professor. She often incorporates her knowledge of wine into her writings and shares the beautiful places she has visited with her readers. You can find out more about Cindy online at

We invite you to join us on the Promises Kept virtual tour and every comment you leave on the tour posts will get you an entry into a drawing for a copy of the first book in this series – Keeping Faith. Visit for the complete schedule. For more details about Cindy Bradford, visit and

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Getting Personal Presents a Unique Set of Challenges, As Well As Rewards by Robert Boich, Author of Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting

Today's guest blogger is Robert Boich, author of the self-help book, Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting!: A Bridge From Addiction To Early Recovery.

Making a resolution to address an alcohol or substance abuse issue is only the beginning. The real work begins when the alcoholic or addict acknowledges that something has to be done. As one counselor put it, “An addict only has to change one thing: everything.” More than mere abstinence or simply eliminating certain people and places from one’s daily routine, a successful recovery requires a brand-new approach in dealing with life. In this compelling, intimate narrative, Boich shares his struggles, and insights encountered during his first six months in recovery.

"Getting Personal Presents a Unique Set of Challenges, As Well As Rewards" by Robert Boich

When I opened up the e-mail requesting me to write a guest post about the greatest challenges and rewards associated with telling my story, I immediately began tallying up entries on the challenge side of the ledger. At first I was a little overwhelmed, but I stepped back from the task at hand and reminded myself why I began this project in the first place: to help people; other people like me, individuals saddled with a substance abuse problem.

That's how this whole thing got started--the book idea--that is. One of my counselors in rehab suggested that I use the materials from my personal journal to write a book about early recovery. This particular individual felt that my experiences would be able to help other struggling addicts and alcoholics take the first steps towards a new life. It all sounded great at the time. What could be better? Write my first book; I've always wanted to be a writer, and help fellow addicts and alcoholics find a better way of life.

The first pangs of doubt began early on in the process. I wasn't going to be writing about some fictional character. I wasn't going to be writing about some friend or acquaintance that I had met in rehab. No, I was going to write about myself. Furthermore, I was going to be discussing some of the most painful and trying times of my life. Why on earth would I ever want to do such a thing? Oh yeah, that's right! I almost forgot; I'm doing this to help others.

So I started writing; or should I say I started rewriting. For the most part--the story was already there--in my journal. All I had to do was expand on some of my entries and observations, personal things that I had experienced throughout my first six months in recovery. I actually began keeping a written record a couple of weeks prior to my last drink and drug, so there were some pre-sobriety recollections to deal with as well.

Two challenges in particular became obvious right away: how much do I want to divulge, especially about my failures. I mean it's one thing to write about the positive aspects of my battle with substance abuse, but what about the parts of my recovery that didn't go quite as planned. Was I obligated to write about those painful memories as well? Secondly, do I really want to put my name on this thing? After all, why not use a pen name? Surely I could achieve my goals of using my experiences as the basis for a book to help others without actually using my real name.

The answer to my first dilemma came quickly. In fact, it was there all along. The second chapter of the book is entitled Honesty. What was the point of telling my story if it wasn’t my story? How was I going to be able to help anyone by penning a self-help book that was merely based upon actual events? In order to be of any use to others I would have to tell it like it is; or rather, tell it like it was. So I did. To the point that I even included at least one incident that I had failed to record in my journal: my slip, my mini-relapse. In the overall scheme of things it wasn’t a big deal, but at the time it loomed larger than life. I didn’t write about the back-slide in my journal because I wanted to forget about it, to simply erase it from existence. I decided to include this episode, as well as several other situations where I stumbled along the way. I could still use a pen name to cover up my involvement in the event that the not–so-flattering portions of my tale became too overwhelming.

As I neared the completion of my manuscript I was still wrestling with the pen name issue. In the end I decided to go with the real me. As the project progressed I began to realize that if I was going offer up advice then I should be willing to take the credit for it. Good or bad, I was writing a book designed to help struggling addicts and alcoholics. I went through great pains to make sure that I wasn’t writing anything that could be detrimental or cause harm to my readers. I passed several copies of my manuscript out to professionals in the substance abuse field in order to ensure that my advice was sound.

This is where an unintended benefit of my project appeared. Having decided to take credit for my work I realized that I was taking out an insurance policy on my own sobriety. How would it look if I were to relapse after publishing a book on recovery? I had, in effect, created an additional incentive to stay sober. I know that should I stray from the principals set out in my book, and the additional tools I have acquired since publication, that my so-called insurance policy won’t be worth much. Nonetheless, I feel as though the situation has provided me with one more tool that I can use to help me make the right decisions, and maintain a sober lifestyle.

The last unique challenge I struggled with has to do with the additional tools I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Everything in my book, all of the information and observations were recorded either just prior to, or during my first six months of sobriety. By the time I had secured a publisher and began editing my manuscript for publication I had tacked on another year of sobriety. I learned a lot in that time. A lot of valuable information that changed the way I thought about certain things. It’s not that I had a different view of the materials I had written during my early sobriety, as it was that I had an expanded view of things. I had grown tremendously. I had a craving to expound on some of my original material. At times when it was necessary to re-write a section it was extremely difficult to remember exactly how I was feeling and what I was thinking back in the early days of my recovery. I had to go back to my journal entries, and to the best of my ability I kept things as they were. This was important because I was writing a book for the newcomer to recovery, by a newbie; not a book for the newcomer by someone with a couple of years of sobriety under their belt. I have to say that I am happy with the way things turned out. I really wanted to keep things simple.

At the end of the day, having navigated a few hurdles, I feel that I have accomplished my primary goal. It all began with an idea to do something that would help other addicts and alcoholics. Helping others is the big payoff, the brass ring, and is by far the greatest reward associated with this project. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. In helping others I was also able to help myself.

Robert Boich was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, and attended Ohio Northern University where he graduated with a law degree. The author also received his LLM in Taxation from Boston University. The Author is currently working on his second book, a novel based on World War I and the Battle of Verdun. He lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife and children. You can learn more about Mr. Boich and his first book, Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting! on his website at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Should There Be A Short Story Month in May?

The Emerging Writers Network will again be celebrating May as Short Story Month. According to this article from Poets & Writers, the idea for a Short Story Month began in 2003, with Larry Dark, director of The Story Prize.

In 2007, Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network and executive director and publisher of Dzanc Books, declared May to be “Short Story Month” and began online activities to promote the event.

According to the Reading the Short Story blog, this year, Wickett is enlisting the help of a number of short-story bloggers, reviewers, writers, editors, and publishers to participate in a joint discussion of stories from two new collections: Alyson Hagy’s Ghosts of Wyoming (Graywolf Press, Feb. 2010) and Pinckney Benedict’s Miracle Boy and Other Stories (Press 53, May 2010).

What do you think about a National Short Story Month? Do you support it? Would you participate in any of the events?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Creative Cooking for Colitis by Angela Breidenbach Giveaway at Recipes by Cindy

My father has suffered with colitis for as long as I can remember. I don't know that he ever did much to relieve his suffering, but a few weeks ago I discovered a new cookbook by Mrs. Montana International 2009, Angela Breidenbach, titled Creative Cooking for Colitis. I won this book in a giveaway and was very excited to look through it.

Creative Cooking starts off with "25 Tips on how to start living and eating confidently again". It then moves on to share 30 mouthwatering recipes. The Elegant Omlete, Spanish Tortilla, Caramel Apple Crunchy, and Grandma Bigelow’s Orange Rolls all sound yummy. I plan to put this book to good use, as I cook from scratch almost every day. Maybe I'll even be nice and tell my dad about the book.

Creative Cooking also includes the sections: Helpful Websites on IBD & Colitis, a Difficult Foods List, and The Creative Cook's Prayer.

So now that you know more about it, why don't you wander over to Recipes by Cindy and leave a comment and working email address for your chance to win.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drymate Litter Box Mat Giveaway at Confessions of an Overworked Mom

My buddy, Ellen, is doing it again--offering great giveaways and tons of excellent advice. Today she posted about the Drymate Litter Box Mat Giveaway. I don't know how messy your cats are, but if they are anything like mine, you'll want to enter this giveaway.

Stop by Confessions of an Overworked Mom for details on how to enter. This one is for U.S. residents only. The deadline is May 12th, so hurry on over if you want a shot at this great giveaway.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Importance of Promoting Your Book--Interview with Cheryl Malandrinos & Giveaway from Linda Weaver Clarke

Imagine my surprise when I received an email this morning from my friend, Linda Weaver Clarke, who asked me to post about an international giveaway she is running at her blog, along with a short interview with little ole me.

"Linda teaches a workshop that helps others to put their family history into a variety of interesting stories."

You can find out more about Linda's Family Legacy workshops by visiting her website.

In coordination with our interview on "The Importance of Promoting Your Book", Linda is offering a copy of her Family Legacy Booklet, as a giveaway.

Learn the most important elements of writing. Do you need help getting started writing your family history, autobiography, or want to develop your writing skills? Discuss setup, characters, plot, the importance of conflict and emotion. The secret of holding a reader is using emotion; it’s the difference between a slow or a lively recounting of a story. Make your ancestors come alive on paper. Make your family legacy something your children will be proud of.

This booklet contains the same rules for fiction and non-fiction writing.

The Family Legacy Booklet giveaway runs from May 5th through May 15th. You can read our interview and find details on the giveaway by visiting Linda's blog.

You can meet Linda in person at the following locations:

May 2010

5th: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Workshop at Tucker Branch Library, 5234 La Vista Rd., Tucker, Georgia, Contact library at 770-270-8234

8th: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Workshop at Roswell Library, 115 Norcross Street, Roswell, Georgia. Contact library at 770-640-3075

My thanks goes out to Linda for hosting me today.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad Contest at A Writing Playground

My good friend and writing chum, J. Aday Kennedy is running a contest at her blog, A Writing Playground.

Her essay, "A Real Dad", written under the name of Jessica Kennedy, is featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love, and Good Times

If you would like a chance at winning this book, please visit A Writing Playground today.

I didn't see an end date for this contest, so I'm not sure what the deadline is. I know I want a copy of this book. I might even get my hubby to read it.

Pump Up Your Book Promotion's May 2010 Authors on Tour

Join a talented and diverse group of 20 authors who are touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion during May 2010!

Follow these authors as they travel the blogosphere from May 3rd through May 28th to discuss their books. You’ll find everything from self-help to urban fantasy, from suspense to poetry collections, thrillers, picture books, women’s fiction, and more!

Look for thrillers from Kathi Macias, Vincent Zandri, Gary Morgenstein, Barry Pollack, and Pamela Samuels Young. Dr. John Bell returns with his novel, Invasion of the Baby Daddy, and Mary Carter tours for a second month with her women’s novel, My Sister’s Voice.

Josi Kilpatrick and J.P. White tour with their mystery novels. Suspense novels come from Becky Due and Graham Parke, and a relationship/self-help novel is being promoted by Doug and Jackie Christie. James Boyle and Katie Salidas tour with their urban fantasy novels, and Marilyn Randall returns with her book of poetry and prose, My Heart and Soul.

Also on tour in May are Robert Boich, Dale Robyn Siegel, Robert “Doc” Gowdy, Sara Jackson, and Tom Weston.

Look for a new monthly video trailer featuring books from all authors on tour in May 2010 on Pump Up Your Book Promotion’s YouTube channel soon!

Pump Up Your Book Promotion is a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service at an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at

Contact Information:

Dorothy Thompson
Founder of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague, Virginia 23336