Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mystery Special Feature: Invisible Path by Marilyn Meredith

To kick off my Mystery and Crime Fiction Special Feature, I am spotlighting Invisible Path by Marilyn Meredith. This is a 2010 release in Meredith's Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. She'll have a new book in this series (Bears With Us) coming out soon, so I felt it was the perfect time to mention this one, which is one of my favorites from the series of those books I've read.

While Tempe’s son, Blair is home from Christmas break, he and his roommate from college do a bit of snooping to find out about the para-military group who’ve been seen driving through town. When a young popular Indian is found dead near the recovery center on the reservation, Tempe is called in to help with the investigation. Another Native American but a newcomer to the rez, Jesus Running Bear, is the only suspect. A hidden pregnancy, a quest to find the Hairy Man, and a visit to the pseudo soldiers’ compound put Jesus and Tempe in jeopardy.


Read an excerpt!

“Jesus, I need to talk to you.”

My grandma was the only one who could get away with pronouncing my name like Jesus in the Bible. My friends say it like “Hay-soos.” Grandma didn’t like it when she heard someone say my name like that. She usually corrected whoever it was by saying, “My grandson is not Mexican, he is Indian. His name is Jesus Running Bear.”

I don’t know what inspired my mother to give me such a name, and she wasn’t around to ask.

Grandma fixed her small dark eyes on me. When she smiled her eyes became crescent moons. She wasn’t smiling now. Whatever it was she wanted to say, it had to be important.

I put down the bowl I’d gotten out of the cupboard. Breakfast would have to wait.

“You’ve been thinking about something a lot. Something that’s going to give you problems.” Grandmother’s face was round, weathered, and brown as a nut. Her gray hair was pulled straight back and arranged in a bun. Wiry strands escaped and poked out around her ears and the nape of her neck. She wore a man’s red plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows, over a pair of faded blue jeans. Beneath the baggy clothes, she was slim and muscled. Her toes peeked out from a pair of worn leather sandals.

I loved my grandma; after all she was the one who raised me after my mother left me alone while she went on a three day drunk. My uncle found me and brought me to grandmother’s house where I’ve been ever since. No, I don’t miss my mother because I don’t even remember her. I only know what I’ve been told about her—not much of it good.

I wasn’t sure what kind of problem Grandma meant. Sure, I’d been going down to the beer joints with my cousin and friends even though I knew she didn’t want me drinking. Maybe that’s what this was about. I respected my grandmother, but I hadn’t obeyed her warning about never touching alcohol. She hated alcohol. Grandfather had died from drinking too much. Maybe my mother was dead too. No one had heard from her in years.

“Come. Sit down.” She motioned to the chair where I usually sat. In front of her was a cup of tea. “We’re going to find out exactly what is going on with you.”

I sat on the edge of the seat. She was going to do some weird Indian stuff. We were Miwok—though we didn’t live on or near a reservation. We lived in a small town in the foothills above Modesto which is in the Central Valley of California. Frankly, I didn’t know much about my heritage except what my grandma told me.


She was an amazing woman, and could do so many things. I was proud of most of what she did. She knew how to gather herbs that could cure most sicknesses. She wove beautiful baskets that she sold at Pow Wows and to tourists in gift shops in Yosemite and other places.

When I was a kid, she took me on camping trips into the back country. She could out hike me even today. But I wasn’t crazy about all the Indian stuff she did that I didn’t understand.

Grandma stared into the cup and began speaking in her native language. That’s what she always did when she was concentrating on something.

She lifted her head and fixed her eyes on me again. “You’re looking for a girlfriend. That’s it, isn’t it?”

Well, sure. What young guy isn’t trying to find a girl? But for once I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut.

Again, she peered into the cup. “I see all kinds of women. Be careful not to choose the wrong one. If you do, you’ll be miserable.”

She stared and her eyes looked funny, like she was seeing something far, far away.

I squirmed, wondering where this was leading. Maybe she already had someone picked out for me.

“I see a pretty girl with a nice figure. She has long straight hair, clear down to her waist. She’ll wiggle her plump bottom and you won’t be able to think. Women have power–especially young pretty ones. Don’t you so much as give her more than a passing glance. If you do, you’ll be miserable your whole life.” Grandma didn’t look up.

In my mind I could see the pretty girl walking down the street, her shiny black hair swinging back and forth like her hips.

After a few minutes my day dream ended when Grandma said, “There’s another one. Short and skinny like I was when I was young. But beware, she’s nothing like me. This one is sneaky. She’ll act like she cares for you when she has lots of other men.”

Interesting. This was more fun than I’d expected.

“I see another one, curly headed and laughing. She’ll welcome you to her bed.”

This was sounding better and better, and I risked a smile.

“Take my warning, grandson. Don’t marry her. She knows nothing about being a wife or taking care of children. She only knows how to have fun. She only wants to party, party, party. She’s not for you.”

I was beginning to wonder if there was anyone Grandma would see in that teacup who was good enough for me.

“Ah, there’s the one you must look for. She’s a sweet girl, with dark brown wavy hair and a dimple in one cheek. She knows and respects the old ways.”

“Where is she? Does she live around here?” I was ready to introduce myself to this wonderful woman.

“No, she lives far away. It may take a long, long while before you meet her.”

That wasn’t such good news. “How will I find her?”

“The path lies straight ahead. Sometimes it will be invisible, but it’s always there.”

Grandma’s discussion about my future seemed to be over.

She picked up the cup and dumped the dregs in the sink. Wiping her hands on a tea towel that had been draped through the handle of the old refrigerator, she asked, “Are you ready to eat?”

* * *

I almost forgot about Grandma’s predictions, because I started drinking more and more with my buddies. I became an embarrassment to her and my other relatives, and I didn’t care.



Read the reviews!

"Invisible Path is phenomenal!"

--The Book Connection

"The novel is in the classic traditional mystery mode with a lot of emphasis on character development and setting. Relations between members of different races and religious beliefs are very well handled with insight and care. This is another enjoyable and satisfying adventure with Deputy Tempe Crabtree."

--Carl Brookins, Crime Writers

"Author Marilyn Meredith's infusion of Native American legends and traditions into the story elevates Invisible Path to something more than just a police procedural. The reader truly gets a feel for the balancing act Tempe engages in every day between her job as a law enforcement officer and her Native American heritage. If you like murder mysteries / police procedurals but are looking for a change of pace from yet another one set in a big city, Invisible Path is a nice alternative with believable, well developed, sympathetic characters and a fascinating setting."

--All Purpose Monkey

"What I like best about Meredith's books is that they are all family friendly and yet, they lose none of their edginess in the process. She takes you to the scene of a murder but it doesn't turn into the detailed CSI gore that we are getting hit with in most all crime books. Readers will like the interplay between her deputy and her family as well as the criminals in the story. In this book she doesn't let on to what is really going on until she has woven you completely in the mystery of it all. The story takes several twists and turns and will keep you on the edge of your seat while you try to sort things out.

This is a must read. I fully recommend this book without any hesitation!"


--W.H. McDonald Jr, author of A Spiritual Warrior's Journey

PURCHASE INVISIBLE PATH AT:

AMAZON.COM
MUNDANIAPRESS.COM OR FROM THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE AT
http://fictionforyou.com/.

ALSO AVAILABLE IN A KINDLE EDITION!


Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, many award winning, including the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is Angel Lost, the third from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She’s also a been an instructor at many writing conferences including the Maui Writers Retreat, Central Coast Writing Conference and many others.


Visit Marilyn online at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com.

Am I The Only Mom Who Cringes at The Thought of Chuck E Cheese?


I really hope it's not just me. This weekend, our oldest got invited out by a friend, so the Lil Princess was left behind--again. I have to admit I have a soft spot for the Lil Princess. I was also the baby sister, and I know how much it stinks to be left out when your older siblings get invited somewhere and you don't.

Taking full advantage of my sympathy, the Lil Princess asked if we could go to Chuck E Cheese®. I cringed. Let me state for the record that I don't have anything against this restaurant chain. I just don't want to spend any of my day there.  Part of it is that I don't understand why children who have an X-Box 360, a Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DSs, need to go to a restaurant whose main appeal is to spend money playing games. Playing those games results in winning tickets that you can exchange for a variety of prizes they don't look at a day after they've won them.

Someone please explain to me the appeal of this place.

Usually I won't go there on the weekends because it's packed, but because of the nice weather and the early hour, it was nearly empty when we arrived. The pizza was decent, but for some reason every time I visit the local Chuck E Cheese the soda is flatter than the pea that the princess placed under her mattress.

On the upside, the Lil Princess was very happy, so it was worth the time spent. I always feel like a crank when I'm not enthused about doing something like this with the kids. Maybe I need to lighten up.

Pump Up Your Book's! August 2011 Authors on Tour



Join a talented and diverse group of 32 authors who are touring with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours during the month of August 2011.

Follow them as they travel the blogosphere from August 1st through August 26th to discuss their books. These tours include genres for everyone: historical novels, romantic comedies, horror novels, thrillers, and more!

The month of August finds us host to romance novels from Jeanette Baker, Greg Messel, and K.L. Brady. Hazel Statham returns this month to promote two Regency romance novels, “Consequence” and “My Dearest Friend.”

We have some great books for tweens, teens, and young adults in August. Kara Bartley and Theresa Wallace talk about their YA fantasy novels, while Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows promotes the first book in her middle grade fantasy series, “Alexander Drake’s Extraordinary Pursuit.” In nonfiction, Sherree Funk tours with her guided Bible study for teens, “Peter: Rock Star from Galilee.”

Women’s fiction comes to you from Debra Brenegan, Helen Laibach, Susan Still and Alretha Thomas. We also have some wonderful literary fiction titles from Lilian Duval, Phyllis Schieber, and Bonnie Trachtenberg. Thrillers are being promoted by co-authors David Fett and Stephen Landford, L.L. Reaper, and Pamela Samuels Young.

Also on tour are Melanie Benjamin, F.J. Dagg, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Dr. Jeri Fink, Joseph Garraty, James Mace, Malcolm Petteway, Caridad Pineiro, and Paula Wiseman.

On the nonfiction front, you’ll find self-help books from Michael Martel and Lynne McTaggart. Chamed continues to promote her survival memoir, “My Heart Stopped Beating,” and Tom McLaughlin returns with his travel journal, “Borneo Tom.”

Visit YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U06Pqelnxwk to view a video trailer introducing our authors on tour in August.

Pump Up Your Book! 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 http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/.

Contact Information:
Dorothy Thompson
Founder of Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague, Virginia 23336
Email: thewriterslife@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Product Reviews: Crest and Oral-B Samples from Walmart.com

I admit it--I can be a bit of a follower. I grew up on Colgate toothpaste because that's what my father used, but when I married my husband, an Aquafresh guy, I switched. Every time I went to the dentist for a cleaning, however, my only options for free toothpaste were Colgate and Crest. I tossed the little samples into the drawer in our master bathroom and eventually grew a collection large enough to send to my brother who was stationed in Afghanistan, along with some other toiletries.

While searching for free samples on Twitter, I came across this offer from Walmart.com for Crest and Oral-B products, so I sent in my request. After some dental work and three crowns, my teeth have become a bit sensitive, and the dentist recommended Crest or Colgate to help. I had tried the Crest Pro-Health Gel Toothpaste a while back and wasn't too thrilled with the taste, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Included in this box was: Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Invigorating Clean Mint Toothpaste, Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Clinical Protection Floss, and Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Invigorating Clean Rinse. I also received coupons for future purchases of these products.

The toothpaste has a great flavor. It's a paste, instead of a gel, and it leaves my mouth feeling fresh for a long time. I liked it so much that I bought a large tube last week when I went grocery shopping.

One of the main reasons I've never been a regular flosser is that my teeth--especially in the back and my bottom ones--are very close together. Floss tends to be difficult to wiggle into place. I've cut my gum on more than one occasion or been left with shredded floss stuck in my teeth. I tried one version of a smooth floss, but it was so slim, I didn't feel I was getting a good cleaning.

Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Clinical Protection Floss is different. It's more like a tape than a floss, so it's wider; but it also slides easily in between teeth. I've been flossing at least once a day since I bought a new package. Since flossing is no longer a hassle, I don't mind taking the time to do it, and it takes less time since I'm not struggling to jam the floss into place.


I'm not a huge fan of rinses, mainly because their minty flavor tends to burn the inside of my cheeks. I did, however, try out my sample of Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Invigorating Clean Rinse. Though I still had that burning sensation from the invigorating clean mint flavor, I'm considering purchasing a full bottle when I go to the store again. According to their website, when used in conjunction with Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Invigorating Clean Mint Toothpaste, it helps reverse gingivitis in 4 weeks. In addition, its clinically proven active ingredient protects against gingivitis, sensitivity, cavities, plaque, and bad breath.

That's why I'm making the change. Between sensitive teeth and my desire to keep my teeth healthy, Crest provides me with products that offer what I am looking for--and they taste great.


I received these product samples for free from Walmart.com. Neither Crest nor Walmart is aware I am posting a review. I have not received monetary compensation of any kind to provide my thoughts. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Review: How to Encourage Your Husband Compiled By Nancy Campbell

Nancy Campbell, editress of the magazine Above Rubies, compiles a wealth of information on how wives can encourage their husbands on a daily basis. Having dedicated her life to strengthening women in their roles as wives and mothers, Campbell fills this book with the same godly wisdom she has shared for over thirty years.

I decided to check out Prescott Publishing when I saw this review of Love Your Husband Love Yourself by Jennifer Flanders over at Confessions of an Overworked Mom. As a Christian, it is important for me to receive advice that is Biblically sound. When I visited Prescott's website, I also discovered How to Encourage Your Husband by Campbell.

This slim book (132 pages) is filled with advice from subscribers of Above Rubies. Campbell also includes some wise words of her own. Some of the advice I couldn't see me following through on. If I started placing love notes in my husband's lunch bag, he would call the paddy wagon to haul me away. He's not into that kind of thing at all.

What I also discovered, however, are many great insights into how to make my husband feel respected and loved. From making a point to tell him how much I appreciate that he goes to work, so that I can stay home with the kids, to making sure the house is peaceful and a place he wishes to come home to, these little things go a long way.

These women share their thoughts on the importance of making sure to take a few minutes to pick up the house before your husband arrives home from work, being sure to look nice when he comes in the door, and how vital it is to nourish your relationship and intimacy. Yes, there are passages about wives submitting to their husbands and creating an atmosphere where the husband is clearly the head of household, which  may or may not be well accepted, but How to Encourage Your Husband stays true to the Word of God in those respects.

The final chapter compiles some popular answers from a survey Campbell conducted asking what qualities husbands honored in their wives. I found this to be especially important, because it shows the results of what encouraging your husband can do. It also provides insight into how important it is to men when their wives embrace all God created them to be.

How to Encourage Your Husband can help you revitalize your marriage and make it all God desires for both of you!

Title:  How to Encourage Your Husband
Compiled by: Nancy Campbell
Publisher: Prescott Publishing
ISBN-10: 0982626940
ISBN-13: 978-0982626948
SRP:  $11.95

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Spotlight: My Heart Stopped Beating by Chamed

Fourteen year old Italian girl, Chamed, is a living miracle after fighting illness since birth to live a normal life. Now fourteen years old, she feels a thrill of freedom when she convinces her parents to let her stay home alone while they go on holiday. She soon regrets that decision when she receives a call from her aunt Patrizia that the worst has happened: her parents have died in a car accident.

Things only get worse for Chamed as she mourns the deaths of her parents and suffers under the care of her aunt and uncle. Her aunt repeatedly abuses her and convinces others that she is an evil child. When Chamed’s best friend’s father sexually harasses her, the blame is placed on Chamed. Deeply depressed, she attempts suicide, only to find herself waking up in a mental hospital. Her nightmare is only beginning as she is subjected to electroshock therapy against her will – and worse from the nurses and doctors.

Finally she finds hope again in Dr. Franco, but will he be enough to save her from this living nightmare?

Read an Excerpt!


“Why am I here? I am in a mental hospital! Dad, would you have thought it? Help me.”

I dragged my body out of that mortal icehouse.

With great effort I started walking, but my energies abandoned me and I ensconced myself on the ground.

Don’t remember where, but I was out, in the garden.

A man approached me, staring at me and crying. In his eyes I could see his soul shining.

He said: “You fell from the sky. And men have cut your wings!”
Weeping, I replied: “I’m afraid! Tell me why I’m here. How do I go?! Can you help me?”

“Angels are not afraid.” And he went away.




Praise for My Heart Stopped Beating!

“A strong, direct, fascinating story: it strikes and leaves its mark.”
 --Edmondo Rho, special correspondent for Panorama

“No person who reads this book could fail to be profoundly moved to reflect first of all on the very serious danger to innocent people of institutions which fail to maintain proper oversight against abuses to patients in mental health institutions. Secondly it shows how justice can fail to be served in modern society, where adequate protection for the interests of minor surviving orphans may be lacking or nonexistent.
[…]
Finally no reader can read this without great inspiration to the courage of the human spirit and the power of human love to defeat evil."


--Ed Carl, Editor

“Full of emotion!”

--Aurora Magnin-Roncada, Translator of the French edition

“A deeply moving story, incredible in its lucidity.”


--Carlo Castelli, writer and editor, author of Nervi d’acciaio

Chamed is not the registry office name of the author, yet it is not a pseudonym. She lives in Tuscany, she works mostly abroad, as a painter on canvas and porcelain. Some of her porcelain works are displayed in exhibitions in Italy, Sweden and Poland, France, Portugal and Brazil. My Heart Stopped Beating: A True Story, Teen Survivor Memories of Horror Mad Houses in Italy is her first novel. A second novel by her is forthcoming.

Just Jen Customized Shirts Giveaway at Being Alison


Being Alison is running a giveaway for a customized t-shirt from Just Jen. I saw this pink Diva hoodie and fell in love with it. I'm probably going to pick one up for a few of my friends for Christmas. They look great.

If you would like to enter this giveaway, please visit Being Alison at http://beingalison.com/just-jen-customized-shirts-review-and-giveaway for the details. Hurry, the deadline to enter is August 10th!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mystery/Crime Fiction Month in August!


This is my friendly reminder that we'll be celebrating mystery and crime fiction during the month of August. These have been two of my favorite genres since I was a kid. Check out our upcoming events page to see who will be here.

I hope you'll stop by during the month to read about some great books!

More Storms for Western Massachusetts

Photo by Mark M. Murray, The Republican

Though many homeowners and businesses in Western Massachusetts are still rebuilding from the June 1st tornadoes, on Tuesday, July 26th, many of the same areas were struck by severe thunderstorms with high winds that downed power lines, fell trees, and left thousands of customers without electricity. An 85-year-old man was killed in Hinsdale, MA when his motorcycle collided with a fallen tree that was entangled with live electrical wires.

Our neighborhood took a much harsher beating this time around. I saw the storm coming, so I rushed to picked up the girls from the library, where they were attending an art workshop provided as part of their summer reading program. By the time I left the library parking lot, the rain had begun to fall. Hail soon followed, and driving became difficult.

Luckily we are close by, so we made it home safely. No sooner had I secured the garage door, then we lost electricity. The hand-held radio came out, and I began searching the sky for funnels in case the girls and I had to head to the basement. By the time the storm had passed, our yard looked like a freak snow storm had hit because there were numerous piles of hail in the grass and flower beds. We lost a few small trees in the backyard and I spent some time picking up the debris in the front. Some of our neighbors lost trees that barely missed their homes or ended up blocking their driveways. Thankfully no one was hurt.

We spent the rest of yesterday and most of today without power. The hubby called from our house around 10:30 PM to say the electricity is back on. Thanks to the people at National Grid for working so hard these past two days to restore power to areas impacted by the storm. Thanks to all our public works people and police and fire for doing a great job of making sure life can get back to normal as soon as possible.

I ask you to keep the many families impacted by these storms in your prayers. Between the winter of record-breaking snow and these horrible recent storms, it makes you wonder who ticked off Mother Nature.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interview: Christine E. Schulze, Author of Bloodmaiden

Joining us today is Christine Schulze, author of Bloodmaiden. Her collection of YA fantasy books, The Amielian Legacy, is comprised of series and stand-alone books which can all be read separately but which weave together to create an amazing fantasy.

Christine has published several stories with Calliope and Kalkion magazines and is an active member of the WE book online writing community. She has also published several Christian/fantasy books which are available at various online retailers, as well as publishing several eBooks via Writers-Exchange.



Her latest and most exciting venture includes her publications with Old Line Publishing: Bloodmaiden and Tears of a Vampire Prince: the First Krystine. She also anticipates her upcoming publication with Old Line, Lily in the Snow, as well as releasing The Chronicles of the Mira with Writers-Exchange in both paperback and electronic forms.


Christine currently lives in Belleville, Illinois.

Welcome to my blog, Christine. It's wonderful to have you here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


First of all, thank you very much for having me; I am delighted to take part in this interview!

Well, that's one thing about me: I love interviews. As well as blog posts, character interviews, in short, anything to do with my books. That is because, ever since I was a small child, I've loved my books, both creating them and sharing them with friends, hoping to someday share them with the world.

I also love composing music for my books, photography, singing, playing piano, playing video games (okay, well, mostly games in The Legend of Zelda series), and hanging out with friends, especially my best friend and sweetheart, Jonny.

Oh, and as all authors, I'm full of quirks. I hardly ever write a book in order from chapter one to the end, I'm allergic to milk and sugar, I love to name everything (especially Kiwi, my favorite teacher's car), and I am a bit of a stalker when pursuing a new "character" of mine (hence my knowing what my favorite teacher's car looks like).

When did you begin writing?

I've actually been writing since I was around four. The first books I created were just full of illustrations telling the story. However, my first book with both pictures and words came when I was a flower girl in a wedding and the bride requested one of my books as a wedding gift. Thus, Jonny to the Rescue was born. It would spark the inspiration for my now-published series, The Legends of Surprisers (and, interestingly enough, Jonny turned out to be the name of my soul mate).


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

I write whenever I am inspired. Of course, this is rather difficult when one is still at one's day job--and very annoying. I am actually very cranky when I have a wonderful idea until I am able to get home and jot it down.

What is this book about?

Bloodmaiden is both fantasy and adventure, sweet romance and horror, humor and suspense. It tells the story of a young couple, Crisilin and Chalom, who must defy all odds--and a horrible tradition--to save their dynasty of Tynan, and thus all Sulaimon. Sulaimon is divided into four dynasties ruled by dragons who are meant to protect the human races living beside them. But something has gone terribly wrong in Tynan, and only the Aria, protective strains of an ancient song created by guardian fairies, can save Tynan. If, of course, Crisilin and Chalom can find all the parts of the Aria first.

What inspired you to write it?

Bloodmaiden came about through a variety of factors. First off, I was taking my first fiction class in college, and this spurred me to focus not just on the characters and plot, but more heavily on the writing of a book. The opening chapters of Bloodmaiden are full of rich, metaphorical imagery. They are also in first person, present tense, to make the readers really feel like they are "there".

Secondly, Jonny and I had done a photo shoot on myself in a red gown and cape; I always forget if the ideas for the book or photos came first, but doing the photo shoot really helped set the mood for Bloodmaiden. The photos can be seen on my blog and in a trailer I made for Bloodmaiden on Youtube, which also includes music to accompany the book. Yes, I went all out for this one and still envision it one day--hopefully--breaching the big screen.

A final factor included the fact that, while I had done fairies, elves, unicorns, vampires, banshees, genies, you name it, I'd never done dragons. Maybe because I'd never really liked dragon books that much. So, determined to create a book with dragons that I myself would enjoy, the four dragon dynasties were created and grafted into the book.

Who is your biggest supporter?

If I may, my biggest supporter(s) are my Mumsie and my Jonny.

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

No, I am not. But I have wonderful friends, a wonderful and very critical sweetheart, and have always had the opportunity to work with and learn from wonderful editors.

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

Definitely planning on procuring an agent. I'm not actively seeking right now, but hope to be able to in the next year or so. Right now, I'm working on beefing up my writing resume.

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

No, because even my mistakes or hasty decisions have provided great learning experiences.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Someday, I hope for Bloodmaiden, as well as all of my books, to be available in brick-and-mortar stores. Until then, readers can find my book on websites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, as well as the publisher's site; http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes. I always tell everyone to go to my page on Goodreads; not only do I have a blog there, but there are book reviews and I often host giveaways of my books.

I also have a blog readers should check out: http://www.thegoldenhealer.blogspot.com/.

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

Yes. Readers can find several on Youtube:

1. From Old Line Publishing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAd3ieiCKGc

2. From Apex Reviews

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzg-VSD-x30

3. Author-made (includes original music and artwork)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8s8HGXFPb4

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

Honestly, probably this and other blog tours. A great way to get good reviews and publicity. My giveaways have also been great to garner interest from brand-new readers.

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

Never give up! Whether you wish to share your work with the world like myself or just with family and friends, always be learning and perfecting your craft. God has given you a gift, so use it well.

What is up next for you?

Well, several exciting things actually. First off, a new YA fantasy release from Old Line Publishing, an anthology called Lily in the Snow and Other Elemental Tales, due out in October. Also, from Writers-Exchange, The Chronicles of the Mira, another YA Christian fantasy anthology due out sometime this year. In the meantime, I'm working on both a children's book and a YA book for Book By You, a publisher specializing in personalized books. This is an exciting new venture for me, one that will get me closer to my ultimate goal of building up a professional writing resume to present to a literary agent, hopefully in the near future.

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

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book Spotlight: The Fear of God by B.A. Chepaitis

On Prison Planetoid Three, Jaguar Addams enters the minds of criminals, chasing the shadow of their fears into the light. Her current case is Cult Leader Sardis Malocco, who used the children of her sect as living bombs. The testers say her fear is God, and she must face it in a Virtual Reality Heaven.

Alex assigns Jaguar to the case because he suspects that Sardis has real plans to bring on the Apocalypse, and only Jaguar can stop her. But Jaguar is enraged when Sardis critically wounds her best friend Rachel, and the interference of a holodemon on the VR site make the job almost impossible.

As the clock ticks toward the End of Days, Jaguar must utilize a Death Walk – one of the most dangerous empathic tricks in the book – to reveal the truth in this place of illusions.

Read an excerpt!

He grabbed her arm roughly and shook it. “Jaguar, what’re you doing?” he asked.

“Sardis—she’s gone over the edge. I have to bring her back. Show her something real. I have to bring her in to Rachel.”

“What? Empathic contact between Rachel and Sardis? But in Rachel’s condition, it’ll kill her.”

“Don’t tell me what I already know.” She jerked her arm away from his hold. “I need help. You said you did this before, right? Death Walk?”
She couldn’t mean it. A Death Walk? With Rachel?” He couldn’t comprehend it. “Jaguar,” he said, dropping three words like stones into her belly, “she’s your friend.”

“You think I’ve forgotten that?” she said with ice in her voice. She turned feral eyes to him and let him look. “What you see here, that’s the kind of woman I am. If you’ve been nurturing fantasies to the con¬trary, you’d better dispel them. Now.”

Accept it. That’s who she was. That’s why he gave her this assignment in the first place. She’d stop Sardis or die trying. But Death Walk was dangerous, and they had no margin for error here. Jaguar had to learn quickly and well. He put his hands on her face and called her wild eyes to his. Saw her shudder with relief at his touch. It would go faster this way.

Hush. Listen. This is how it’s done. Down into the darkness, naked. No protection. Entirely open. The motion is a wave. It’ll feel like falling a long way. Don’t try to stop the fall. Trust me without reservation. I’ll know when to call you back. And don’t hold on to Rachel. Do not attempt to bring her back.

He showed her the feeling of pull, when to let go. The texture of the space she’d be walking in. He put her hand on his chest so she could feel the beating of his heart.

Follow this, Jaguar. I’ll lead you back.

Then he looked at her hard. She was al¬ready exhausted, and the Death Walk took so much. There must be something else he could do. He touched her face, her lips, warm and alive.

Kiss of Life. As an antidote to death, there was only this. An exchange of passion. The transfer of his energy to her, life flowing from his body, his spirit, to hers. Would she misunderstand the gesture? Or was there any-thing to misunderstand? No. Nothing. It would be clear to both of them. It would have to be.

He put his hand on her face and pulled her close. Then he pressed his lips against hers, kissing her with more thoroughness than he had ever kissed a woman in his life.

Disturb me, Jaguar. Anytime. Under any circumstances.

She accepted it, straining her mouth to his, drinking him, tangling her hands in his hair, her body pressed hungrily against his like seeds deep in the earth, their bright leaves reaching up toward sun while their roots crawled deeper and deeper down toward the always burning center. They swam together, down and down, and he held her as if they would never touch again. They spiraled through waters that grew increasingly thick, increasingly se¬cret and dim.

Then he let her go, moving up and away toward light, while she remained deep, under the dark dome of what it meant to attempt a Death Walk.

Read the reviews!

"I found this book stronger than the first. The opening is incredibly gripping and suspenseful. It was nice to see the original set of characters from the first book and see how their relationships have evolved. There are also new characters obviously, who bring a lot of drama to the story, whether you’re actually rooting for them or not. Even more interesting was the timeliness of the story, which deals with the end times, since there has been recent talk from certain groups about the end times, etc.

Jaguar’s character is still as tough and intriguing as the first book, so fans of hers will not be disappointed."

--Coffee and a Keyboard

"With a riveting storyline, compelling characters and a dark, unique world. The Fear of God is a great addition to the series. I felt that the Jaguar's character grew in this book and hope to see her in another novel. Science fiction and urban Fantasy fans will enjoy this series!"

--Minding Spot

"What a great story that truly kept me on the edge of my seat!"

--Community Bookstop

"The writing is superb and the story will hook you from the very start and keeps you hooked the whole way through."

--Life in Review

PURCHASE YOUR COPY FROM AMAZON!
 
BARBARA CHEPAITIS is author of 7 published novels, including the critically acclaimed Feeding Christine and These Dreams, as well as the sci-fi series featuring Jaguar Addams. The fourth novel in that series, A Lunatic Fear was a finalist for a Romantic Times Bookclub award. Her first nonfiction book, Feathers of Hope, came out through SUNY Press in July.


She has optioned two scripts, and has recently been awarded a seed grant to develop a documentary titled Making Peace.
She is founder and director of the storytelling trio The Snickering Witches, and faculty with Western College of Colorado’s MFA program in creative writing.


You can visit B.A. Chepatis’ Facebook page and the Facebook page for Jaguar Addams and the Fear Series.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Interviewed at Through His Eyes on Saturday, July 23rd!


Dear Friends,

I wanted to let you know that I'll be interviewed tomorrow at Salena Stormo's lovely blog, Through His Eyes. I'm so thrilled to be there. I hope you'll join me while I spend the weekend at this wonderful blog.

I'm sure she would appreciate some followers too.

Blessings to all,

Cheryl

Headchefs Review and Giveaway at Being Alison



My girls and I enjoy spending time in the kitchen together. Whether it's cooking dinner or baking a birthday cake, I want it to be a fun time for all of us.

I visited Being Alison today, which is a blog I recently began following. She reviewed some of their products and is now holding a giveaway for a $30 gift card. I would love to pick up the Deluxe Baking Set that you see pictured above.

If you would like to enter this giveaway, visit Being Alison at http://beingalison.com/headchefs-review-and-giveaway and read the details. This giveaway ends on August 2nd so don't wait!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garasamo Maccagnone at A Book and A Chat on Thursday, July 21st!


Thursday July 21st – 6:30pm EST



Number you need to call is: 347- 237-5398


Set in a Michigan factory, the title story takes readers inside a workplace dominated by a ruthless bully and his cronies. While explaining the actions taking place around him, it becomes clear that the narrator yearns to escape the blue-collar life handed down to him from his father. “Perfect Game” unfolds during a minor league baseball game with Chi-Chi Gomez on the mound, a fearless pitcher who never fails to brush a few batters back from the plate–a space he considers his personal property. Along with other stories, the book also features original poems including “Uncle Nardo’s Store,” “My Father’s Foot,” and “The Malediction of Miss Holstein.”

Garasamo Maccagnone is a writer and entrepreneur. The founder of a successful airfreight business, Maccagnone now focuses on his literary career. He is the author of the novel St. John of the Midfield, the novella, For the Love of St. Nick, a collection of short stories entitled, My Dog Tim and Other Stories, and a children’s book titled, The Suburban Dragon. Sentiments of Blue is his latest short story collection. Maccagnone currently lives in Shelby Township where he is working on his second novel, The Sorrows of Pebble Creek.

Find the author online at http://garasamomaccagnone.com/.




Listen to Gary on A Book and A Chat tomorrow, Thursday, July 21st starting at 6:30 PM Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Across-the-Pond

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are You Prepared in Case of a Disaster?

Photo credit 22 News WWLP.com


When the tornado struck Western Massachusetts leaving 4 dead and dozens injured, I realized how dismally unprepared our family was to cope with a disaster. As I mentioned in this post from June 9th - http://booktoursandmore.blogspot.com/2011/06/counting-our-blessings.html - I couldn't even find batteries to work the main radios in the house. I had to settle for a hand-held radio that was powered by two AA-battery to keep me connected to the outside world.

Perhaps part of the issue is that up until recently, natural disasters haven't caused a great deal of problems in our area. While 152 twisters were recorded in Massachusetts between 1951 and 2008, according to this article in The Christian Science Monitor, the most severe occurred in 1953. It's been a while since our area saw this type of destruction. This follows a dreadful winter filled with record-breaking snowfall that caused some school districts--including ours--to sacrifice days from their April vacation in order to avoid attending school through the end of June or into July.

FEMA has an online guide titled Are You Ready?: An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness. You can find it at http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/

One of the things it mentions is assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit for home, work, and your car. As part of this move toward being better prepared, I ordered a review sample from Daily Bread. They offer 25-year worry-free food storage. According to the brochure I received with my Beef Stew sample, their gourmet entrees are made with real meats and vegetables and can be prepared with very little water. No cooking is involved.

Since we went on vacation right after our sample arrived, I haven't prepared it yet, but I plan to soon. I'll come back with additional comments after that. While purchasing food this way is definitely an investment, the peace of mind it offers can be worth it. I have to admit I didn't like feeling very helpless that afternoon as we lost all power and even cell phone service was sporadic at best. This is the year our family becomes better prepared to cope with natural disasters.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Spotlight: So You Want to Write a Guest Post by Jaime McDougall

The publishing world keeps on changing and, now more than ever, it is important for authors to have a presence on the internet.

But where do you start?

So You Want to Write a Guest Post is an easy to follow guide that will help you connect to bloggers and to write guest posts that get potential readers interested in your book

Read an Excerpt!

When Words Count: The Importance of Word Count in Your Post

In my work as a virtual book tour coordinator, I have seen some weird and strange things, but the thing that most often perplexes me is the length of guest posts.

The shortest guest post I have ever seen was about thirty words long. The longest? Easily topped 1500 words.

When you’re writing a guest post, remember that your posts reflect on you and even more strongly on your book. If you go too long and bore the readers, readers will assume your writing is long-winded and boring as well. If your post is too short, you risk insulting your host and the readers.

Yes, word count truly is that important. Many people aren’t aware of the many statistics out there showing how post length affects reader response.
The ‘golden range’ for almost any post – guest or otherwise – is 250 to 500 words. Given that the average reader’s attention span falls greatly the closer you get to 500, you’d do best shooting closer to 250 mark.

Read the Reviews!

"Now, I will share that the primary target of this ebook is an author.  But, the principals for guest posting hold true for anyone seeking to market their wares or services.  I know that as I grow this blog I will be utilizing many of the tidbits in the ebook."

--Day By Day in Our World

"...if you are an author with little marketing and blogging experience, then this book will give you the basics on how to guest blog properly."

NouveauWriter

Jaime McDougall is a citizen of the world, currently loving life in beautiful country Victoria in Australia. She loves eating sushi, kidnapping her husband and naming her pets in honour of science fiction authors. (So far, a cat named Asimov and a puppy named Brin.)
A love of fiction has always coursed through her veins and she told stories as a child even before she knew how to write them. Settling into one genre was never her style and she has plans for novels in women’s fiction, urban fantasy and more – all with a touch of romance.


She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: High School: The Real Deal and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles. She has also enjoyed writing a column called ‘The New Australian’ in local newspapers as well as various articles online.


Her fiction work and poetry has been published both online and off in places including The Oddville Press (no longer running) and The Filth zine.


So You Want to Write a Guest Post is her first ebook and is available on Kindle and at Smashwords.




Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zumaya Birthday Bash with Guest Blogger Kim Baccellia, Author of Crossed Out


Today we're helping Zumaya Publications in "Celebrating Five Years of Irresponsible Reading!"  We are featuring Kim Baccellia, author of the paranormal romance, Crossed Out.

 I’m Glad to be Part of the Zumaya Family

By Kim Baccellia

I’d known about Zumaya publishing house for some time. I heard from others that Liz is a hard working publisher. Her authors speak highly of her. One thing I’ve learned in this business is just because you’re with a small house doesn’t guarantee you’ll get more attention. I wanted a publisher that believed in me and my stories. I’d seen how easy it is to have your book hidden among other titles. I wanted more. The big thing for me was having someone that was willing to take a chance on me.

When I was shopping around my lighter YA fantasy, NO GODDESSES ALLOWED, I decided to try querying Zumaya. A writer friend of mine, Christine Norris, had just signed her orphan fantasy series with them. Christine’s main character shares something with my character Jordan. They both love watching old time movies. In Jordan’s case it’s her love and obsession with any Audrey Hepburn movie. I figured why not query Liz and see if she liked my story. I thought it would be a good match with her Threshold line.

Liz was great! She suggested some things to help my story stand out even more. One thing I really love about Liz is how she makes you feel that your story is something others will love to read. Her editing sessions are great too.

I found Liz is very business savvy and works hard for her authors. This is a huge plus for me. I’m glad to be a part of the Zumaya family.

Kim Baccellia has always been a sucker for the paranormal. She blames it on her families' love for such things such as having picnics at cemeteries, visiting psychics, and reading her mother's copies of the daily horoscope. She even had her own horoscope column in middle school, which was a big hit!


Kim's other works include her YA paranormal CROSSED OUT which is published by Lachesis publishing. Her YA multicultural fantasy, EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA, will be rereleased by Muse It Up publishing early 2012.


A member of SCBWI, Kim is currently writing the sequel to CROSSED OUT. She's also putting the finishing touches on a YA multicultural dystopia. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.


Readers can find out more about me at http://www.kim-baccellia.com/


My LJ: http://kbaccellia.livejournal.com/


Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ixtumea  


http://obscurekidlitauthors.blogspot.com/


Crossed Out is available at Amazon and for the Kindle.



Zumaya Publications was founded in British Columbia in 1999 by author Diana Kemp-Jones and artist/author Martine Jardin. Their goal was to develop a publishing company that combined the best of the old, traditional methods with the best of the new. For them, this meant developing an Internet-based house that utilized print-on-demand technology.

In 2006, Zumaya moved to Austin TX as Zumaya Publications LLC, under the direction of Executive Editor Elizabeth Burton. Over the next three years, Zumaya branched into seven imprints—Arcane, Boundless, Embraces, Enigma, Otherworlds, Thresholds and Yesterdays. In 2009, Marianne and Joyanne Moul replaced Jardin as partners in the company. Plans to implement a graphic novel imprint, Zumaya Fabled Ink, are currently underway as well as a line of artist-designed illustrated classics.

To date, Zumaya has published more than 200 titles in all areas of fiction as well as some superb nonfiction, many of which have won awards. Gideon by Chester Aaron was selected the silver medal winner in the YA-Cultural/Historical category of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, The Everdark Gate by Elizabeth Burton received the Dream Realm Award in Fantasy for speculative fiction in ebook format, and Busting Loose: Cancer Survivors Tell You What Your Doctor Won’t by Cheryl Swanson received the silver medal in the Living Now Book Awards.

Zumaya Publications is committed to two things: allowing undiscovered talent the opportunity to be heard and moving publishing into the 21st century by actively using and promoting new technologies and business models that have significantly less environmental impact than the traditional one. To accomplish the latter means developing new strategies for marketing and distribution, which are already being studied and implemented. The cost-effectiveness of inventory-free production, eliminating both the need for stocking large numbers of books and the subsequent need to dispose of unsold copies, allows the company to take risks with both new authors and content more often than is feasible for those using traditional methods.

Publishing 20-25 titles annually, Zumaya is one of a new breed of book publisher utilizing up-to-date technology in new ways.

Visit Zumaya Publications at http://www.zumayapublications.com/.

Connect with Zumaya at Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Zumaya-Publications-LLC/202820034854!


Summer of Gomez Winners!

Summer of Gomez Winners

"Every once in a while you come across a novel so fresh and new it reacquaints you with feelings of childhood wonder. The novel my neighbor, Warren, wrote was my first example of the exact opposite of this."
-- Gomez in 'No Hope for Gomez!'



Blogger Kindle Winner:
Serena from SavvyVerseandWit.com

Reader Kindle Winner:
Arthur Hall (US)

Reader iPod Winner:
Lynn Bassler (US)

Limited edition Winners:
Ebehireme Iyoha (US)
Yasmin Raad Muhi (Mal)
Sarah Bibi Setar (SA)
Gemma Richardson (UK)
David Lane (US)
Thanks to everyone who decided to make the summer of 2011 an official Summer of Gomez! I for one had a lot of fun and lost only a little bit of hair (and a few teeth) over the administration. A small price to pay of course.

Let's try something great next year as well.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Spotlight: Liberation: Book One of the Andrusian Chronicles by Maria Lucia

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


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

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

Click this link to read an excerpt from Liberation.  
 


Read the Reviews!

Ms. Lucia has written a captivating and enriching story. She has taken the reality we know and merged it with another that is out of this world. Her ability to engulf the reader in this alternate reality is a testament to her fantastic writing skills. I found myself rooting for Amora and Gabriel through each conflict, and hoping in crazed anticipation that everything will work out for both of them. Casey and Nia are delightful characters that, for reasons unknown to myself, had me smiling almost every time they entered the scene.

Liberation is a superb novel. Ms. Maria Lucia provided me an amazing escape from my reality. I look forward to the next in the series of the The Andrusian Chronicles."


March 2011 - The Paranormal Romance Guild
Miko Cabatic, Reviewer



"Once in awhile a novel comes along that doesn’t follow a traditional recipe. Liberation combines science-fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and contemporary politics into a metaphysical dish just right for the Aquarian Age palate. The story centers in Washington, D.C. and follows Amora Madre as she discovers the deeper truth of her own existence, and then becomes a key part of a galactic strike force battling to free the earth from the hold of dark forces. Liberation is a great read for those who enjoy using their imagination while reading fiction with a metaphysical twist."

March 2011 - New Spirit Journal

“Liberation is an exciting work of fantasy, highly recommended."

November, 2010 - Midwest Book Review

"This is definitely a story for someone who enjoys a good, thought-provoking science fiction fantasy. You have to keep those pages turning, because you just need to know what is going to happen next. Ms. Lucia did a wonderful job in creating her characters and I loved the dialogue, especially between Madre and her friends, Nia and Casey. The way she drew it out made it even more believable for their fantasy existence.

I would highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys paranormal fantasy reads with alot of science fiction involved."


Tracy's Treasure of Books

Maria is not affiliated with any one religion or spiritual way. Her mission is to empower the heart.


There have always been women throughout history who have held the heart of a country as their own, women whose hearts responded to the sound of service to their country and to their world. They held and still hold the courage to step forward and affect the destiny of a country. These women carry within themselves the passion of divine inspiration and, naturally, always strive to better the lives of others, their environment and their world.


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


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


In 1994 she completed a nine year position with the world renowned Howard Hanger Jazz Fantasy and left her music career to focus entirely on developing her teachings. She spent many years in private practice, facilitating her own seminars and counseling on creativity. Her experience includes programs for gifted children in the public school system and creativity seminars for musicians at the university level. She has been a musical director for church programs, composer of music, and a producer of concerts. She has traveled nationally, performing and delivering seminars for more than twenty years.
In 1997, Maria launched her first school focused on spiritual heart studies in North Carolina and became a full time spiritual growth teacher. She developed both her school and a personal national dream, The Foundation for the Evolution of America there until she re-located to Washington, D.C. to make this dream a reality. The foundation was kept alive for five years and held the mission to augment, empower and reinstate value for the heart as well as to teach Americans how to value the heart in themselves, in others and how to value the heart of the nation. As well as a respected speaker, Maria Lucia is the author of The Heart’s Unraveling and guidebook for her current school.


She presently resides in the Phoenix, Arizona area, and is working full time on her writings and on launching the new revised version of her novel, LIBERATION, Book One of The Andrusian Chronicles.


You can visit Maria Lucia at www.andrusianchronicles.com.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Review: The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett with George Barna

What if you could find the one thing in the world you were created to do? The Cause within You: Finding the One Great Thing You Were Created to Do in This World will help you get started.

Matthew Barnett was only twenty years old when he arrived in LA with his father, Pastor Tommy Barnett, to bring spiritual health to the declining Bethel Temple. Little did he know that this would be "the cause" that God had for him.

In this moving inspirational story, Barnett shows others through his own experiences as co founder of the Dream Center in LA, that God has a cause for their lives and shows them how to figure out what that cause is. From how to discover what God has created you to do, to motivation on how to keep you working toward fulfilling that cause, The Cause Within You has the power to change lives.

What I enjoyed most about this book is that it reminds the reader while we may have a cause we are passionate about, it must also be the cause that God has called us to. It reminds us to seek His will and not our own. As a Sunday school teacher and Vacation Bible School director, I truly appreciate Barnett's gentle reminders, as much as I am empowered by the message that fills this book. It is too easy to get so focused on your own vision that you forget God's vision is what is most important.

With tons of encouragement along the way, The Cause Within You will get you moving toward discovering what you were created to do and keep you focused on God's vision for your life. I highly recommend it.


Title:  The Cause Within You
Author:  Matthew Barnett with George Barna
Publisher: BarnaBooks 
ISBN-10: 9781414348469
ISBN-13: 978-1414348469
SRP:  $24.99 (hardcover)
Also available as an audio book and a Kindle edition.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Guest Blogger: Is It Like Listening To You Talk? by Graham Parke, Author of No Hope for Gomez!


As you probably know, to become an internationally best-selling author, you need to sell three books. This is not an easy task, but once you’ve managed to rack up these three sales, the rest is more or less a done deal.

Now, these sales themselves will not put you on the best-seller lists. They won’t even put you within a million spots of the bottom of the lists, but what they will do, and what they do every time, is spark a slowly growing buying frenzy that will get you there.

These three people will love your book, they will tell another five people, who in turn tell another seven. Within roughly four-and-a-half weeks, you finally make your first million.

That’s how it happens. Every single time.

But, how does an author tackle this monumental task? Where does he find these three readers?

I myself was quite lucky. When my novel appeared on Amazon I already knew over five people! What’s more, some of these people even liked me... somewhat. So I set out to become an internationally best-selling author by convincing at least three of these five people to buy my novel.

I started with my mother. Of all the five people I knew, I probably knew her the longest. I showed her my Amazon page and she nodded approvingly. She did not, however, make any attempts to buy a copy. So I logged on for her, navigated back to my novel’s page, and left the mouse pointer conveniently positioned over the BUY button.

She read the novel description again, searched-inside-this-book, and nodded some more. When I asked her if she’d like to buy a copy, she scrunched up her nose and said;

‘But what if I don’t like it?’
I told her not to worry. ‘It’s a really good book,’ I said. ‘I should know. I’ve re-written it like 50 times. It’s really funny and interesting.’
My mother wasn’t convinced. ‘I’m not really into comedy writing, though,’ she said.
‘It’s not just a comedy,’ I pointed out. ‘It has a real story; it’s a mystery. And it has twists and turns and believable characters.’
My mother hesitated. ‘Maybe I should just play it safe and buy another Stephen King novel…’

I ended up having to offer a personal money-back guarantee, and purchase a copy using my own credit card for the time being, but she finally cracked. I’d made my first sale!

Next, I prodded my wife. Although she did like words in general, she wasn’t sure she was up for reading and entire book full of them. ‘Is this like your usual stuff?’ she wanted to know.
‘What usual stuff?’
She shrugged. ‘I don’t know. Is it like listening to you talk?’
‘What’s wrong with they way I talk?’
‘Nothing. It’s just, well, sometimes you talk a lot of nonsense.’
I waved it away. ‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘I am much more interesting and ‘telligible’ on paper.’

Long story short; my second sale is almost in the bag. Now I just need to find one more person to buy my novel, and I’ll be set for life!


Check out the Summer of Gomez!


Get free books and win a Kindle or iPod.

As reviewers have been calling “No Hope for Gomez!” the perfect summer read - light, fast, fun - I decided to give this summer's Gomez readers some exclusive content and the chance to win prizes.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another Wonderful Day on the Outer Banks


This is the vacation where we've tried some new things. Maybe I'm just tired of doing the same old things every year or maybe the family is getting more adventurous. We headed out to Currituck Heritage Park where The Whalehead Club resides. We walked through the park, took some stunning photos, and saw the Currituck Lighthouse. We decided not to climb the lighthouse. Instead we traveled down the road to the Old Schoolhouse and Wild Horse Days. The girls got their faces painted and painted a wooden horse that was nailed to a tree. It was a bit expensive, but it supports the Corrolla Wild Horse Fund, so we didn't mind.

We stopped by Cosmo Pizzeria on the way back to the house. Awesome pizza and breadsticks. I have a feeling we'll be visiting them again.

After a brief thunderstorm, we headed out to a cheap supper at Taco Bell, then down to the beach to finish off the night. It's so much more enjoyable to sit and read when the sun isn't blazing overhead. The beach isn't crowded that time of day either, so the girls can horse around without disturbing anyone.

Today is our last day here. We're going out to the beach in a few and then the rest of the day is up in the air. The girls want to go down to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island in Manteo. We'll lunch it at the house and then find a restaurant for supper. Maybe we'll try La Fogata in Kitty Hawk. I've wanted to go the last few times we were down here, but the girls usually say no way.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Outer Banks Fun and Good Food

Today we didn't plan much. We slept in, took in the beach for a couple of hours, hung out at the beach house for a bit, and then visited Jockey's Ridge Crossing. The girls got some spending money from their grandparents before we left, so they stopped by the Outer Banks Bear Factory and came home with two new stuffed animals and some cute clothes for them. We also stopped by The Fudgery and picked up some chocolate and some cookie and cream fudge.

For supper tonight, the kids begged to go to the Kill Devil Grill. Checking out their website tonight, I discovered that this restaurant that is fronted by a 1939 Kullman dining car, has one of only 6 diners in the national registry of historic buildings. We've visited the Kill Devil Grill for the past few years and have never been disappointed. The food is fabulous and affordable. Tonight I broke my rule of not ordering something I could make at home and went with the grilled pork chops. It was served on top of mashed potatoes with a side of applesauce. For dessert, the hubby and I shared a delicious apple crisp.

I finished reading Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven today and I posted my review at The Book Connection.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Outer Banks Fun Continues


In case I've never mentioned it before, I'm a huge history buff. I'm partial to Colonial America and the Civil War era, but pretty much any American history fascinates me.

North Carolina is filled with history. You can't go much of anywhere along the Outer Banks that the past of this nation isn't celebrated. Last year we took in The Lost Colony show for the first time. Now in its 74th season, it is America's longest-running symphonic drama.

This morning, we traveled into the town of Duck to watch some of The Lost Colony cast talk about the show and give a musical preview. It was fabulous. After the show, they answered questions and we got a chance to chat with the cast a bit. They'll be holding these previews every Tuesday morning at 10:00 AM at the Duck Town Park Amphitheater. If you're looking to learn more about The Lost Colony or would like to take the kids to a family friendly event, this is a good choice.

We headed back to the beach house in Kill Devil Hills afterwards, had a quick lunch, and then enjoyed the beach. We wanted a chance to check out Tale of the Whale Restaurant in Nags Head, so we drove over there for an early supper. Loved it! Great atmosphere, fabulous food, and a wonderful staff.



Last on the agenda for today was our trip to Professor Hacker's Lost Treasure Golf, which is across Route 158 from the house. We've been golfing there since our son was little. The girls love it. You take a train ride up the mountain trail and then get a chance to choose between two courses that follow the good professor's treasure hunt.

Not sure what we're up to tomorrow, but it might be time to visit the Kill Devil Grill.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Vacation Time Reading


One of the best things about vacation time--in addition to getting away from the daily grind--is catching up on my reading. This year I took half a dozen printed books and my Kindle.

Here's what I've read so far:

Class Struggle: Journal of a Teacher In Up to His Ears by Steven Verrier

Voices from the Land by Jan Marquart

Born Under a Lucky Moon by Dana Precious

Do you take books with you on vacation? What have you read so far this summer?