Friday, December 19, 2014

Pre-Order Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester & Support the Wounded Warrior Project

Steven Manchester's next book will be out on January 6, 2015. Voted one of the Must Read Books of 2015 by Cyrus Webb PresentsGooseberry Island is sure to be the next hit from one of our #1 bestselling authors. The book looks at the budding relationship between Lindsay and David, who have to deal with David's deployment overseas and his recovery from the trauma he witnessed in the service of his country.

PTSD is one of the biggest problems facing soldiers as they return from war. As an experienced veteran himself, Steven Manchester understands that. That's why, during the promotion of this book, Steven and The Story Plant are going to be working toward helping returning veterans. And we need your help to do that.

From now until January 31, 2015, we will donate $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project for every copy of Gooseberry Island that is pre-ordered and sold. All you have to do is email us a copy of your receipt and we will make the donation. In addition to that, we will also donate a copy of the e-book to returning soldiers, one donation for each copy sold.

Here's the really important part - we need your help to spread the word about this campaign! Tell your neighbors, tell your family members, tell the person working the checkout line in the grocery story. Just tell as many people as you can and ask them to help spread the word too. We want this campaign to go viral! Let's do something good this holiday season and celebrate those who protect and serve our country!

You can read more about Gooseberry Island at our website. It is available for sale at AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKobo, and IndieBound.

Curious about Wounded Warrior or want to make your own donation? Visit their website here.

"Mr. Manchester handles [PTSD] with great compassion.  He brings to life the hardships that are suffered by our returning servicemen.  His characters have depth and the story is compelling.  It is not only a novel, it helps to inform the reader of the difficulties experienced and the silent life and death struggle that goes on every day around us." -From Book Bug Blog

"I’ve said it before – Steven Manchester has a very definite style of his own. His books all display beautiful descriptive writing, poignancy, and include an inspirational message, and this one will simply warm your heart." -From And The Story Unfolds

"This author did a wonderful job with this novel showing how war can change a person and how so many of these military people die of suicide and bringing to life the many hardships along with disorders(PTSD) that are suffered by many of our returning military men and women." -From Arlena, Goodreads member

“Steven Manchester has a gift for expressing through his writing the complicated and transcendent beauty of the human experience with poignant clarity,” says Yolanda King, eldest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King. “Steven Manchester writes about life as it really is and really could be,” adds Crystal Book Reviews. Steven Manchester’s work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Manchester writes deeply moving, intensely relatable novels that readers tend to remember and discuss for a long time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Little Shepherd Featured Today!

My first book, Little Shepherd, is featured today at the blog of author Janet Elizabeth Lynn. Hope you'll check it out at

Little Shepherd and my second book, A Christmas Kindness, make great gifts for your little reader. You can find out more about them at

Friday, December 5, 2014

PBS KIDS Survey: Less $$ More Family This Holiday


Millennial parents want a simpler season, with less shopping and more family fun 

ARLINGTON, VA, December 4, 2014 – Fatigued by a myriad of "hot gift" lists, millennial parents say that fewer gifts and more family fun top their holiday wish lists, according to the Millennial Parent Holiday Survey from PBS KIDS, the results of which were released today. The survey of millennial parents (ages 18 – 33) found that 82% crave more family time and 80% want to spend more time playing with their kids this holiday season. Conversely, many of these younger parents want to dial back gift prep and shopping, with 37% saying they would like to spend less time shopping. Even more parents (45%) would like to spend less time assembling gifts.

Learning and Eco Factors Rank High
When millennial parents do go shopping, more than half (54%) say that “hot toy” or “hot gift” lists aren’t as important in the purchasing decision as other factors. Almost all millennial parents (97%) want to buy their children gifts that will stand the test of time and toys that provide learning opportunities (another 97%). That’s especially true for parents of toddlers and preschoolers (68% of parents of kids 2 – 6 compared to 58% of parents of kids 7 – 8), according to the Millennial Parent Holiday Survey. The eco factor is top of millennial parents’ minds, too, when selecting gifts for their children: 70% say it’s important to purchase eco-friendly toys, and 61% are more likely to purchase an eco-friendly toy this year than in holidays past. 

Playful Family Holidays 
Technology is a big part of entertaining children and staying organized during the holidays, but millennial parents, especially moms, are also looking to balance technology with a broader array of playful solutions. This includes a return to the basics of creative, open-ended play, to connect with their children in fun and meaningful ways1. Based on the survey, almost all of millennial parents (95%) think it is important to give their kids toys that the family can enjoy together.  Millennial parents place high importance on playing with their children and actively participate in learning experiences, especially during the holidays.

Greener Dads
Interest in eco-friendly toys is even higher among dads, with 31% reporting that it is very important to purchase toys made from eco-friendly materials. This compares to 17% of moms who find it important. Dads are also more likely to purchase eco-friendly toys this year than in years past (74%), compared to 59% of moms. 

Millennial Parents Get Cooking!
Along with spending more time with family, topping the list of activities millennial parents want to do more of this season are cooking/baking (69%).

"We learned from this survey that during the holidays parents value quality family time and educational resources for their kids,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “At PBS KIDS we share these core values, and are dedicated to providing families with educational content and resources that they can enjoy together, not just during the holidays, but all year-long.”

Tips to Simplify the Holidays 
The spirit of the holidays can sometimes get lost in the hectic holiday season. But there are easy ways for parents to help their family simplify and embrace the season, including these tips from PBS Parents:

 Downscale holiday plans and expectations.  Keep the focus on family, on meaningful traditions and simple activities that replenish rather than exhaust. 

Ask your children what they most love about your family's holiday.  You may be surprised by their answers. 

Whether you're decorating, baking cookies, or making gifts for grandma, remember that the process is more important for your child than the outcome.  Keep it simple, and you and your child will enjoy it more. 

Create small special moments in every day. Go for a sledding adventure or a winter nature walk outside. Turn off every light in the house at dinner time, light candles, and invite everyone to be perfectly still and perfectly silent for a minute. 

Celebrate the holidays as a season of giving and doing for others.  Grab the kids and head next door to shovel an elderly neighbor's walkway; make Christmas cards together for the mail carrier; deliver soup to a friend with the flu and focus on gifts that give back. Watch as your children begin to discover the secret pleasure of small kindnesses, offered with love. PBS KIDS provides a unique solution for parents looking for presents with a purpose, offering a new line of sustainable toys in partnership with Whole Foods.

PBS KIDS Millennial Parent Holiday Survey Methodology
The 2014 PBS KIDS Parent Survey was conducted by Smarty Pants, November 14 - 17, 2014. A sampling of 500 US parents ages 18 – 33 with children ages 2-8, participated in the online survey.

About PBS KIDS PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

Atiya Frederick, PBS, 703.739.5147 /

Caitlin Melnick, 360 Public Relations, 617.585.5775 /

The Friday 56 - Week 205

Welcome to Week 205!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

I had picked this one up as a freebie back in November.

Angelina could see why they all flocked to Vince. As if his dark, wavy hair and coffee colored eyes weren't enough, his generous spirit, sense of humor, and gourmet chef abilities made him an even more terrific catch. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cultivate Fun and Love in Your Children by Eve Picquette, Author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships

How many times have you read or seen something that made you want to change your life and relationships – but you didn’t know how? Introduced by two angels, Hope and Impatience, Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys - What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries answers the “how” question. Eve Picquette shows readers how to:

  • Open their hearts to love
  • Shift their lives, using 10 keys—how-to-do-it ideas created with the help of angels of inspiration—to change in real and satisfying ways.

In this lighthearted, uplifting, and beautifully illustrated gift book, each chapter opens with images of the author’s angels and quotes she believes were angel-inspired sometime in history. Readers may also download companion MP3 Mini Meditations available on They are “Dared to Shift” their thoughts and behaviors and these shifts will improve lives and relationships: • Shift 1: Always Connect to Love • Shift 2: Just Stop It, Really • Shift 3: It’s All About You • Shift 4: It’s Not About You • Shift 5: Give Up on the Past • Shift 6: Expect the Best Future • Shift 7: Appreciate Everything Now • Shift 8: Re-Choose Your Relationships • Shift 9: Handle Conflict with Grace • Shift 10: Love So it Can be Felt.

If you are ready to try these simple shifts, the results will amaze you. Every encouraging and comforting word in this beautifully illustrated self-help book will lead you to the path of peace, happiness, and fulfillment. A treasure to own, it would also serve as a thoughtful, caring, and loving gift.

For More Information

  • Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

If you are like me – you want your children to see their childhood as happy and to know how much they are loved.  However with career and personal concerns and the pressure to raise perfect children – that can be hard to accomplish. 

I read an article the other day, “The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio” in the March 15, 2013 Harvard Business Review.  I greatly simplify – the researchers found what made the greatest difference between the most and least successful business teams was the ratio of positive comments to negative comments that the teams members made to each other.   The most successful teams made six positive comments for every one negative comment. 

Though this research was in a business setting – how much more important to have loving positive interactions between family members!  I look back on my daughter’s childhood and wish I had known more then.  I had a busy hospital career and a marriage that was not setting a very good example for happiness or peace.  I know I failed in many ways – but I did do a few things right!

• I realized that we needed to have fun together – so everyday I had Disney cartoons or other happy comedy for us to watch together as I exercised and started dinner. She has happy memories of that, and one of our favorite things now – even though she is grown – is to find some short and hilarious comedy to watch and enjoy together.

• I tried to praise and support her as much as possible. I was lucky enough to read a essay/book I can no longer find – There is Magic in a Word of Praise - which made a deep impression on me. Because of that - I did try to praise her more often than correct her.

If you have children at home – think about how often you have fun with your children and increase the fun, if possible.  Note your tone of voice and how often you look for the good and give praise, hugs and affection to your children.  Think how you could increase your positive and supportive comments.   I can’t go back and do better, but you can make a difference in your children’s lives today!

Eve Picquette, author of the Self-help/Inspirational book, Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships – 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries, available on Amazon

You are invited to visit my author page -, Facebook at AdvisorIsIn and my page at where I offer advice and techniques to help you open your heart for the happiest relationships and life, as well as Free Angel Readings and other gifts – click on Angel Messages!

Cyber Monday Deal: 12-month gift subscription to Cricket Magazine

A 12-month gift subscription to Cricket Magazine, filled with stories and activities that will make kids smile and foster a lifelong love of reading, is just $20, with the special #GiftofReading Cyber Monday Promotion code that saves shoppers 40% (subscriptions are regularly $33.95). That includes both a print subscription delivered to kids’ mailboxes monthly and a digital subscription too.

Cyber Monday Dec. 1: Code = NF12-002
Claim code at

And there are 13 other monthly magazine gift subscriptions to choose from – one for every age and interest – and dozens of high-quality, educational toys and games in the Cricket Media Holiday Gift Guide. Mom, Dad, Grandma and the rest of the family can “hop” to it with Cricket Media, doing their holiday shopping for less, in just a few clicks from the comfort of their couches!