Thursday, March 31, 2011

Giveaway: win a pair of Wolverine Hiking Boots at Turning the Clock Back


Turning the Clock Back is running a great giveaway for a pair of Wolverine Hiking Boots. You can visit this blog at Giveaway: win a pair of Wolverine Hiking Boots for details on how to enter for your chance to win. Contest ends at midnight on April 22, 2011!

Blow 'em Away on April Fool's Day! Buy a Copy of Mama's Comfort Food by Rhett DeVane


The gang from Chattahoochee returns for another humorous,
heartfelt tale of love, courage and the love of family and friends.

When Joe and Evelyn Fletcher's deluded daughter returns home,
the family and community hunker down to help her through the fight for her life.

In the South, food equals love and comfort, and the cast of Mama's Comfort Food serve up heaping helpings of both.

A note from Rhett:

For some reason, this date has been pivotal in my life. I hope this year to make it as pivotal for women who are battling breast cancer.

My new novel Mama's Comfort Food is available online with Amazon as both a print and Kindle version.

This book holds a special place in my heart. It's about love, forgiveness, courage and the bond between a mother and daughter. It's also about overcoming breast cancer.

I have pledged a percentage of royalties to A Woman's Place, here in my city of Tallahassee. This amazing group of people provides support and encouragement for breast cancer patients in our area. First, local baby steps. Then, hopefully, to a more national outreach from one author to women (and men) everywhere.

If you were here, I'd invite you to the book launch. We could hug and share a few southern snacks, and I'd sign a book for you. Since you aren't, I invite you to help me blow Amazon away on April 1st. You will get a funny and touching southern story--one I have worked very hard on--and I will turn around and shift money to help breast cancer patients. How many times can you honestly say you know for certain that what you touch goes out to do good for others? Here's your chance. I will make it happen.

Please, do share this with your friends. If you are like me, you have loved ones who have received the shocking diagnosis, and sadly, many of us have lost friends and relatives to the dreaded disease. Help me strike back. I am one small southern voice (actually, I do have a pretty big mouth, in person) and I don't have the push of a huge New York publisher. My small independent publisher is wonderful, though, so I am fortunate.

I believe in the power of people. I see how networks of friends can change the world.

Mama's Comfort Food by Rhett DeVane

Blow 'em away on April Fool's Day!

Here are the links to the Amazon pages. See, wasn't that easy?

Mama's Comfort Food (Kindle version)

Mama's Comfort Food (print version)

My best to all of you.

Rhett DeVane

http://www.rhettdevane.com/

Rhett is a friend of mine. I've loved everything by her that I've read, and the two previous books featuring the gang from Chattahoochee have a special place on my bookshelf. I hope you'll consider purchasing a copy of Mama's Comfort Food on Friday, April 1st. I plan to purchase a copy in memory of my mother, Dorothy Jean (Fontaine) Gevry, who lost her battle with cancer on December 18, 1982. She was only 47. I also hope to honor my friend Lorrie, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is on the road to recovery, and I hope and pray she remains cancer free for many years to come.

March Paranormal and Fantasy Event: The Rose of Par Kluhnd by Linda Ash


Rose isn't sure she wants to be captain of her soccer team, much less queen of a strange place - that's about to be overrun by invaders. When Rose slips into a strange world where her grandmother may have been a queen, she just wants to get home. But when enemies seek her out, finding a way home may be the least of Rose's worries... and then, there's that empty throne waiting, possibly, for her.


Read the excerpt!

As the sun set and the light began to wane they moved outside to enjoy a mild evening on the back porch. Rose sank into the cushiony comfort of a lawn chair while Eris ran into the flower garden, begging her grandmother to come with her, “C’mon Grandma, let’s chase fireflies.”

Her grandmother laughed. “Okay,” she said, stepping off of the porch and into the garden. “But remember to stay close to the house.”

Eris turned back to her sister. “Come with us, Rose, don’t just sit there.”

Rose ignored her sister, though. She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. She just wanted to relax. Eris didn’t give up and kept calling every few minutes. Finally Rose opened her eyes. It did look like fun. It was getting quite dark. Her grandmother had just caught two fireflies at once and Eris was peeking into her cupped-together hands, watching the glow through a small opening between her grandmother’s fingers.

Rose got up and joined the fun, chasing first this blink, and then the next. She followed one firefly out of the garden and into the meadow, only to lose it. She waited until it blinked again, this time a little deeper into the meadow. She ran toward it and when it went out she kept her eye on its darkened shape as it drifted still further away. She caught up to the hovering shape and when it blinked, she reached out to close her hand gently around it in triumph.

As she did so, three things happened. She heard her grandmother’s voice calling to her. She realized that she was no longer in the meadow but had run two steps along one of the paths into the wood. And without warning a huge, antlered buck bounded suddenly out of the trees at her right.

The massive animal, snorting a warning, leapt across the path and disappeared into the darkness of the forest, leaving Rose’s heart pounding in surprise. Rose heard her grandmother’s voice again. It sounded frantic and far away. She turned to call back and got a shock, her grandmother wasn’t there. The meadow wasn’t there. She stared instead into a shadowy forest that melted away into the surrounding night. Turning completely around, she saw nothing but trees vanishing into dense darkness wherever she looked. And then she heard a growl.

She jumped when a voice sounded in her ear, “Quick, climb up on the rock!” She spun to see who was there and saw only darkness and forest.

“There isn’t time for spinning!” the voice shouted. “Climb up on the rock, now!”

Rose looked to her left and was surprised to see the looming shape of a large boulder. Another growl came from somewhere in the darkness. Immediately she did as the mysterious voice urged, and very quickly she climbed to the top of the boulder.

Confusion played with the fear that began to tingle through her body. She couldn’t remember any boulders this big at the edge of the wood by her grandmother’s meadow – and her grandmother’s meadow had just turned into a forest. She looked down from her perch at the boulder’s top. Shining eyes stared up at her. “A coyote!” she thought, and soon there were others.

Before she could even think of what to do, a small light, pulsing in a spectrum of colors, appeared suddenly at her shoulder and dove at the animals below.

Incredibly the light spoke, “This isn’t what you’re after,” it shouted. “Go chase your buck and leave us alone!”

Rose gasped as one of the animals leapt and snapped at the light. Suddenly the single light was joined by what seemed like hundreds more. They swarmed the animals, flashing and pulsing in a myriad of colors. The coyotes yelped and danced around, snapping at the lights before finally being driven off by them into the dark wood.

One of the lights rose up and hovered in front of Rose’s nose. She was astonished to see that it wasn’t a light at all, but a tiny, winged person – a man, in fact. Swirling patterns of luminescence whirled over his face and body, as if fluttering ribbons of light had been tattooed onto his skin. Multi-hued pulses coursed over them, shining through his clothing. Dragonfly wings of shimmery, translucent silver fluttered at his back. She stared in awe.

The tiny person’s brow filled with serious furrows. “The wolves may be back soon, come quickly and we’ll lead you to safety.”

Rose blinked. “Wolves?” A vision of them, large and dark and coming after her, filled her head, pushing out images of their more timid, yipping counterparts. “They aren’t coyotes?”

“Coyotes?” said the man, “No, they’re wolves and they may be back. Hurry! Get down and come with us.”

Rose didn’t argue. She half scrambled, half leapt off the boulder. “Are you taking me to my grandmother?” she asked as her feet hit the ground. Her bright companion hovered by her face. The other colorful beings, each with shimmering silver or gold or jewel-like wings, formed a perimeter around them and then went dark.

“I don’t know,” the man said, “if she lives in the town, then yes. Quickly, follow me, and keep up! The others are still around us, though you may not see them.”

The word ‘fairy’ had popped into Rose’s head. She began to form the question on her lips to ask if he was a fairy. The chance was lost when, quick as a flash, the fairy person flew down a path in the direction that should have taken Rose back to her grandmother’s meadow, but instead went on and on through a forest that should not have been there.

Read the reviews!

Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale is an innocent but intelligent tale. Written in the classic style of children’s writers such as C.S. Lewis the language is evocative of another age. ... Ash's characters are appealing and realistic, even the mythological beings which, along with Rose's happily ever after ending, make this story 'a fairy tale'."

- Books, off the page book reviews

Look for The Rose of Par Kluhnd at:
 
Amazon (Kindle edition and paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Rose-Par-Kluhnd-Fairy-ebook/dp/B004INHRJ2/


Barnes and Noble (Nookbook): http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Rose-of-Par-Kluhnd/Linda-Ash/e/2940011178979/


Linda Ash currently lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, two college-age kids, a few cats and one dog. She loves to read, write, garden, spin, knit, weave, and go for walks with her dog in the neighborhood park. Her background is in anthropology, but she has been known to dabble in physics and mathematics.

Visit Linda online at:


blog: http://www.blogofauthorlindaash.blogspot.com/

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Linda-Ash/131977026870650

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Purchase MuseItUp & MuseItHot Publishing Holiday Titles at 30% Off in March


Visit the Muse Bookstore at https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/ where you can purchase their holiday titles through the end of March for 30% OFF!

I purchased a copy of The Boys Upstairs, which I had been wanting to read since it came out.

Which book will you buy?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pump Up Your Book! Announces April ‘11 Authors on Virtual Book Tours

Join a talented and diverse group of 27 authors who are touring with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours during the month of April 2011.

Follow these authors as they travel the blogosphere from April 4th through April 29th to discuss their books. You’ll find everything from historical novels to thrillers, from children’s books to YA novels, and from travel journals to motivational books, and more!

Several authors are continuing their March tours into April. John Ames, Barbara Barnett, Laurel Dewey, Megan van Eyck, Emily Sue Harvey, Sheila Hendrix, Tom McLaughlin, Elle Newark, Emma K. Piers, Hayley Rose, Kath Russell, and Laina Turner-Molaski return with their books in a variety of genres.

Christopher Hoare returns to Pump Up with his new release, the high fantasy novel, “Rast”. Josi Kirkpatrick and Judi Moreo are returning for their fifth tours to respectively promote “Blackberry Crumble” and “Life Choices” Pursuing Your Passion.” Suspense thriller author, James LePore is promoting two books this month: “A World I Never Made” and “Blood of My Brother.”

Also on tour in April are Ethan Cross, Ron Fritsch, Susan Kronick, and Hans Lindor. Sean McCartney promotes his MG/YA novel, “The Treasure Hunters Club: Secrets of the Magical Medallions,” while Bill Myers talks about his supernatural/suspense/Christian novel, “The Face of God.”

Nancy Stewart will be discussing “One Pelican at a Time,” a current Amazon Hot New Release in the children’s books category. This is the first US children's book to address the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of April 20, 2010. Also on tour are Azuka Thomson, Nell Walton, Terri Wolffe, and Tim Vandehay & Annie Greer.

Visit Pump Up Your Book! on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_nak_9bPAQ to view a video trailer introducing our authors on tour in April.

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

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March Paranormal and Fantasy Event: The Sapphire Flute, Book 1 of The Wolfchild Saga by Karen E. Hoover

It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.


In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother's wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father's secret--a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father's greatest enemy.

At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C'Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls' paths are set on a collision course...a course that C'Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.



Read the reviews!

"Teens and fantasy readers will find interesting magic and a creative mythology in this book and readers of all ages will find appropriate content. It is a fun, safe read in a market where that is not always the case in YA fiction. Both girls face difficult decisions morally and ethically. Though they are not perfect, they learn from each mistep and are supported in each right choice. "

--Inking Cap

"My ultimate test of the quality of a YA book is whether I would recommend it to my teenage daughter. In the case of The Sapphire Flute, the answer to that question is a resounding “YES.” I can hardly wait for the second book in the series. Karen Hoover deserves congratulations for a wonderful debut."

--Craig Everett's Anopisthographic Chronicles

" it is very well done, creative, and delivers a satisfying, climactic ending with enough resolution to hold the reader over until the next installment. There's an anticipation for the sequel, but the characters are in a good enough place...for now. It was a good reading experience, and I look forward to the next book."

--Nancy Campbell Allen


You can read my review at http://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/the-sapphire-flute-book-one-of-the-wolfchild-saga-by-karen-e-hoover/.


Karen E. Hoover has loved the written word for as long as she can remember. Her favorite memory of her dad is the time he spent with Karen on his lap, telling her stories for hours on end. Her dad promised he would have Karen reading on her own by the time she was four years old … and he very nearly did. Karen took the gift of words her dad gave her and ran with it. Since then, she’s written two novels and reams of poetry. Her head is fairly popping with ideas, so she plans to write until she’s ninety-four or maybe even a hundred and four.


Inspiration is found everywhere, but Karen’s heart is fueled by her husband and two sons, the Rocky Mountains, her chronic addiction to pens and paper, and the smell of her laser printer in the morning.

Visit Karen online at http://karen-hoover.blogspot.com/ . Karen is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-E-Hoover/131784307933?v=wall&ref=ts and Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/karenehoover.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pump Up Your Book! March 2011 Facebook Party Tonight!


Pump Up Your Book will be hosting the March 2011 Authors on Tour on Friday March 25, 2011 at 9 - 11 p.m. (eastern time - adjust to your time zone). Tell your book friends that not only will this give them an opportunity to chat with their favorite authors there will be a huge giveaway at the end of the chat!


Here's how it will work:

The party will kick off at our Facebook Party Page with a 2 hour chat in which all authors will get a certain time slot to answer questions. All time slots will be listed on the party page so that you'll know who is going to be up next. After the party, everyone is invited back here to find out who has won our fabulous prizes with directions on how to claim them. Easy peasy!

What you must do before the chat if you're going to attend:

1. In order to participate in the chat, you must "like" our Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/pumpupyourbook.

2. Sign up before the chat so we have time to approve you which will be the second step.

3. Once you're approved, head on over to the Facebook Party page at http://www.facebook.com/thewriterslife#!/note.php?note_id=10150097454282449 and leave a comment so we know you made it in.

Note: If you wait to sign up too late, you might not get in because once the party starts, it will be nearly impossible to get back into email to see if anyone needs getting in, so do this early please.

What to do when the chat ends:

Once the chat is over, head back over here to find out if you have won a prize. All prizes and winners will be announced in the body of this blog post. If you are a winner, you have 72 hours to contact me at thewriterslife(at)yahoo(dot)com to claim your prize. If we do not hear from you during that time, we will find another winner.

Rules & Regulations Recap:
  1. If an author does not show up, prizes will still be awarded.
  2. If you do not claim your prize within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.
  3. You must participate in the chat in order to become eligible to win a prize.
  4. Leaving comments on this page does not make you eligible to win a prize. You must participate in the Facebook chat.
  5. Pump Up Your Book is not responsible for lost or damaged prizes.
  6. We will be using Random.org to determine winners and will be posted on this blog after the Facebook chat.
  7. This contest is in no way affiliated with Facebook and is promoted solely by Pump Up Your Book.
Our March 2011 Authors on Tour who are participating in the chat/giveaway includes:



Caitlin RotherCaitlin Rother is the author of true crime books Dead Reckoning, Body Parts, Twisted Triangle, and Poisoned Love, and the thriller, Naked Addiction. She is also the co-author of My Life, Deleted and Where Hope Begins, soon to be re-released as Deadly Devotion. She is now working on The Makings of a Monster, the story of the rape and murder of beloved teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois. Rother, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, worked as an investigative reporter at daily newspapers for nineteen years before deciding to write books full-time. She is the founder of the San Diego Writing Women blog, and her work has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Daily Beast. She has appeared as a crime expert on E! Entertainment, the Oxygen Network, Investigation Discovery, Greta Van Susteren's "On the Record," and America at Night." She also teaches journalism, narrative non-fiction and creative writing at UCSD Extension in San Diego. She is now working on The Makings of a Monster, the story of how John Gardner grew from a caring troubled boy into an angry man who couldn't control his compulsions to rape and murder beloved teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois." You can visit her website at http://www.caitlinrother.com/

Caitlin will be giving away a paperback copy of her true crime novel, Dead Reckoning!

John AmesJohn Ames has a master's degree in English from the University of Florida, where he was a Ford Fellow. After graduation, he built a rustic house and lived for several years on the edge of a spiritual community located near Gainesville, Florida. John's search for enlightenment ended when he decided that he was too far from a movie theater. He moved inside the Gainesville city limits and taught English and film for thirty years at Santa Fe College. He has produced and acted in numerous short films and videos, including the cable TV series the "Tub Interviews," wherein all the interviewees were required to be in a bathtub. For ten years he reviewed movies for PBS radio station WUFT. He has appeared as a standup comedian and has designed and marketed Florida-themed lamps. He coauthored Second Serve: The Rene Richards Story (Stein and Day, 1983) and its sequel No Way Rene: The Second Half of My Notorious Life (Simon & Schuster, 2007), and Speaking of Florida (University Presses of Florida, 1993). His recent book is a coming-of-age novel titled Adventures in Nowhere. You can visit his website at http://www.johnamesauthor.com/.

John will be giving away a paperback copy of his coming of age novel, Adventures in Nowhere!

Megan van EyckMegan van Eyck lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband and children. Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress is her first memoir. You can visit Megan's website at http://www.widowedmistress.com/.

Megan will be giving away a copy of her memoir, Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress!

Allan LeveroneAllan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E and many other venues, both print and online.

His debut thriller, titled FINAL VECTOR, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press.

For details, please visit http://www.allanleverone.com/ or his blog at http://www.allanleverone.blogspot.com/.

Allan is giving away an e-copy of his thriller, Final Vector, and 6 e-copies of Postcards from the Apocalypse!




Barbara BarnettBarbara Barnett is Co-Executive Editor of Blogcritics, an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more owned by Technorati Media. Always a pop-culture geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to TV's antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature. Barnett's regular column, "Welcome to the End of the Thought Process: An Introspective Look at House, M.D." features insightful episode commentaries and interviews with the House cast and creative team. It is the place for intelligent discussion of the hit television series starring Hugh Laurie. Barbara has had an eclectic career. With an undergraduate degree in biology and minors in chemistry and English, she pursued a PhD in Public Policy Analysis after spending a few years working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Her first professional writing gig was with a food industry trade magazine, and although it wasn't exactly like writing for The New Yorker, it completely hooked her on the profession of writing. She also writes lots of other things, including technology (from a non-geek perspective), the movies, politics and all things Jewish. Based in the north shore suburbs of Chicago, Barnett is married with two brilliant children and a dog. Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is her first (commercial) book. She hopes it's not her last. Visit Barbara's website at http://www.barbarabarnett.com/.

Barbara will be giving away a copy her television nonfiction, Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide of House M.D.!




Hayley RoseHayley Rose grew up in the beach side town of Pacific Palisades , California, to a family of visual artists. In the early 1990's she traveled the U.S. with her band Crush Violet. In 1994, after a family reunion, she was inspired to write a children's book. Looking for a cute and catchy name for a main character, she kept hearing “first in, first out”. Hence, the name Fifo was born. Hayley's mother would often ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up, so Hayley decided to start her series of "Fifo" books with that very question. Her first book, Fifo "When I Grow Up" was published in 2002. Her love of travel inspired her second book in the Fifo series, Fifo "50 States", published in 2010. Along with writing children's books, Hayley has been working in entertainment business management for the past 15 years, specializing in concert touring. She has worked with many "A list" musicians including Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Candlebox just to name a few. Hayley hopes to one day soon release an album of children's songs. She is a currently member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and resides in Los Angeles, CA. You can visit her website at http://www.fifothebear.com/.

Hayley will be giving away one copy of her children's book 'Fifo: 50 States' and one copy of 'Fifo: When I Grow Up'!

Kristina McMorrisKristina McMorris lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Her foray into fiction began in the fall of 2006 as a result of interviewing her grandmother for the biographical section of a self-published cookbook intended as a holiday gift for the family. Inspired by her grandparents' wartime courtship, Kristina penned her first novel, a WWII love story titled Letters from Home. This award-winning debut is scheduled for release in trade paperback from Kensington Books (2-22-11; U.S.) and Avon/HarperCollins (5-5-11; U.K.). The condensed book rights have been sold to Reader's Digest, and the film rights are represented by the prestigious Creative Artists Agency of Los Angeles. Prior to her literary career, Kristina acted in numerous independent films and major motion pictures. She began hosting an Emmy-award winning television show at age nine, and most recently served as the six-year host of the WB's weekly program Weddings Portland Style. Adding to her diverse resume, McMorris is a professional emcee, literary workshop presenter, and former owner of a wedding/event planning business. Her previous writing background includes being a contributing writer for Portland Bride & Groom magazine and ten years of directing public relations for an international conglomerate. A portion of Kristina's sales proceeds from Letters from Home will benefit United Through Reading®, a nonprofit organization that video records deployed U.S. military personnel reading bedtime stories for their children. She is currently working on her next novel. You can visit her website at http://www.kristinamcmorris.com/.

Kristina will be giving away a copy of her women's fiction, Letters From Home!

F.M. MeredithF.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of nearly thirty published novels. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is Angel Lost. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com/ and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/. You can like Marilyn on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marilyn-Meredith/276444167416.

F.M. will be giving away a copy of her mystery/crime, Angel Lost!




Cynthia KocialskiCynthia Kocialski is the founder of three companies - two fabless semiconductor and one software company. In the past 15 years, she has been involved in dozens of start-ups and has served on various advisory boards. These companies have collectively returned billions of dollars to investors. Cynthia has worked with established companies to bring start-up techniques and technologies to corporations desiring to process improvement and efficiency. Prior to her work in the start-up community, Cynthia has held a wide range of technical, marketing, and management positions at major corporations. At IBM, Cynthia began with financial software to facilitate the tracking of sales and inventory for international operations. She later moved into development and engineering management working of scientific workstations. Finally, Cynthia transitioned into technical marketing and strategic planning role for graphics and digital video components for personal computers. At Matrox, Cynthia was the general manager, overseeing the R&D area of digital video and image processing product lines, Cynthia graduated of the University of Rochester with bachelor's degrees in mathematics and applied statistics. She also has graduate degrees from the University of Virginia in both electrical engineering and systems engineering. She also writes the popular Start-up Entrepreneurs' Blog and has written many articles on emerging technologies. Her latest book is Start Up from the Ground Up: Practical Insights for Entrepreneurs. You can visit her website at http://www.cynthiakocialski.com/.

Cynthia will be giving away 10 paperback copies of her startup business book, Startup from the Ground Up!

LainaLaina Turner-Molaski is a businesswoman, mom, author, Professor, and a major supporter of shopping. She has an undying love for shoes and coffee, which is why she created her main character and alter-ego Presley Thurman. With a lot of letters after her name and a ton of student loan debt, she is always working to pay the bills. While she enjoys her day job, her passion is writing, and she uses a lot of company time writing her fiction or working on her social website for women, Chiczofrenic.com. She is hoping to sell her book before she gets fired from her day job for goofing off. Laina is currently living in Indiana, with her family, and is always writing something, whether it's blogs, articles, business journals and books or ideas for her next novel. She is continuously doing what she loves which is writing or drinking coffee. You can visit her website at http://www.lainaturner.com./

Laina will be giving away a paperback copy of her novel, Stilettos & Scoundrels AND a copy of The MS Project: Orange is the New Pink!

Pump Up Your Book will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate!!!!

More prizes to be announced!

If you have any questions, you may leave your question below or email me at thewriterslife(at)yahoo(dot)com

See you at the party!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Paranormal and Fantasy Event: The Wolf of Tebron by C.S. Larkin

All Joran wanted was to live a peaceful life in his forested village of Tebron. But when his wife, Charris, is captured by the Moon in a whisk of magic, he must go on a grueling journey to the four corners of the world to rescue her. On his way, he befriends a wolf named Ruyah who becomes a trusted companion while he solves riddles and eventually battles the Moon to save his wife.


Read the Prologue at http://www.gatesofheavenseries.com/

Read the reviews!

"If this first installment is any indication, The Gates of Heaven promises to be one of the best fantasy series to come along in quite some time. One of the signs of this potential is its ability to hook you into its world at page one and leave you saying, 'just one more page' or 'just one more chapter,' That has happened to me before with Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising. Now C. S. Lakin has done the same."

~ Jonathon Svendsen, Narniafans.com

"The Wolf of Tebron is a fine take on the fairy tale, highly recommended."

~ Midwest Book Review

"The Wolf of Tebron is a grand, sweeping tale of one man's journey to the truth and to rescue his true love. While I joined the dots fairly early on as to the wolf's true identity as well as what he represents in the story, it is carefully constructed to allow different readers to discover the connections at their own pace. This fanciful, whimsical, wild tale can truly inspire you to perseverance - highly recommended. My personal tip: watch this author, she's going places!"

~ Grace Bridges, Splashdown Reviews

You can read my review at http://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/the-wolf-of-tebron-by-c-s-lakin/.


C. S. Lakin writes novels in numerous genres, focusing mostly on contemporary psychological mysteries and allegorical fantasy. Her novel, Someone to Blame (contemporary fiction), won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel competition 2009, with a publication date of October 2010 and soon to be followed by a prestigious Christy Award nomination.


Lakin’s three fantasy novels in the Gates of Heaven series have been contracted with AMG-Living Ink Publishers. The first book in the series, The Wolf of Tebron, released July 2010. The Map across Time (March 2011) and The Land of Darkness (September 2011) are the next installments to follow in this stand-alone series of fairy tales for adults.


Her contemporary mystery, Innocent Little Crimes, made the top one hundred finalists in the 2009 Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest, earning her a Publisher’s Weekly review that noted her book was “a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through.”


Lakin grew up collating television scripts for her screenwriter mother. As an adult, Susanne assisted in developing series for television, and while raising two daughters and running a bed and breakfast inn in northern California wrote her first three novels and a cookbook. She currently works as a freelance copyeditor and writing mentor, specializing in helping authors prepare their books for publication. She is a member of The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), CEN (Christian Editor Network), San Francisco Editors Guild, CAN (Christian Authors Network—regular blogger), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and two regional writers’ groups. She edits for individuals, small publishing companies, and literary agents, guest blogs of the craft of writing, and is an occasional contest judge.


She recently completed her ninth book: Conundrum (her fourth psychological mystery) and her tenth: The Unraveling of Wentwater, book four in the fantasy series. She has also written the first book in a Young Adult sci-fi adventure series: Time Sniffers. She is currently writing Intended for Harm, a contemporary take-off on the biblical story of Jacob and Joseph.

You can visit the author online at http://cslakin.com/.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Confessions of an Overworked Mom is running a giveaway for Scunci Bendini Clips, a great new hair accessory.

This giveaway runs until March 30th, so hurry on over if you wish to enter. Just click on the link above.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Visit MuseItUp Publishing to Check Out Monthly Specials


I wandered over to the MuseItUp Publishing website today to check out the latest news. Imagine my surprise when I discovered they are running specials this month on some of their titles. I'm not talking a few cents off either.

You can pick up Be Good to Your Elf and Earthly Forces for only 79 cents each! There are great deals on other books too.

Visit MuseItUp Publishing at http://museituppublishing.com/ for more information.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

April is Historical Fiction Month at Books, Products and More!

April is Historical Fiction Month at Books, Products and More!

In honor of one of my favorite genres, I am hosting a special event in April that features historical fiction books in a variety of sub-genres: romance, westerns, family saga, time travel, children's books, and more!

If you would like to see one of your historical books featured here, please email the following to me at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com. Those are zeros, not Os.

* Book blurb - copied and pasted into an email or in Word format (.doc or .docx)

* Short excerpt (1000 words or less) - copied and pasted into an email or in Word format (.doc or .docx)

* cover art in jpeg format

* links to purchase the book

* author bio written in 3rd person - copied and pasted into an email or in Word format (.doc or .docx)

* author photo in jpeg format

* 2 or 3 review blurbs if you have them

* links to your website and/or blog, as well as to Facebook and/or Twitter

Please put "Historical Fiction Month" in the subject line of the email.

Thanks.

Cheryl

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Paranormal and Fantasy Event: Odessa by Rebecca Ryals Russell

17-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, struggling with inner demons resulting from an attack when she was 15, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s recent murder as well as many other atrocities in the news. She meets sweet and sensitive Michael, who explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island. He accompanies her on the quest, but harbors a secret past that ironically would destroy all the faith she has placed in him. A handsomely roguish Scientist with suspect motives haunts her dreams and makes sudden appearances in unlikely places, while a sensual dragon warrior defends her against her will.


Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

Read an excerpt!


Chapter One


I floated on wings of silence like a piece of driftwood at sea. Colored gases swirled around me like silk scarves, brushing against my bare arms and legs. It delighted my senses and tingled nerve endings. For as far as I could see, a myriad of colors swam and twirled dipping and rolling around particles of dark matter and glittering specs of sunbeams in miniature cosmos.

Was this a dream? I didn’t remember falling asleep. In fact, I didn’t remember anything at all. Soft singing and the sharp but pleasant ringing of bells echoed around me. I opened my eyes—had they been shut? Thousands of glimmering radiant beings hovered in the rainbow cosmic cloud. So beautiful. So peaceful. My eyes drifted shut.

“Mind the signs, Myrna,” echoed in my skull and repeated over and over in millions of separate voices in unison. “Mind the signs…Mind the signs….”



. I shoved the covers off with my feet and stood, stretching. The house was unusually quiet. Must be the first up. After showering I listened while I dressed. Still no sounds. I went to the kitchen. No one. This was not like my parents to sleep in, especially later than me. I made my way toward their room.

“Mom.” Softly I pushed on the door which was slightly ajar. “Dad? Anyone up? Hey, sleepy heads….” The room was empty. The bed was made. My stomach flip-flopped. Marcy’s room was next. I padded down the hall then pushed on the half-opened door.

“You’ll be late….” I didn’t finish because no one was there to hear me. Her room was immaculate—which never happened—and empty. Panic pricked my brain like a nest of wasps. My mind was a jumble of anger and fear. People don’t just disappear. Where are they? What happened to them? I ran to Jarrod’s room and found the same thing. I was alone. Sliding down the wall I crumpled in a heap on the carpet.

“Where did you all go without me?” I shrieked at the ceiling, tears burning my eyes. “Where is everyone?”Running to the foyer, I slid on the white tiles in my socks. Swiping at my wet face with the back of my hand I gasped a shuddering breath.

And flung open the front door, daring to look outside.

The slam rattled the dishes in the kitchen cabinets like bones in a closet as I threw it shut. My heart pounded against my ribs. This isn’t possible. I’m still dreaming. The deadbolt lock thudded with a satisfying crunch as I twisted the key. My breath came in short gasps. My mind reeled with the impossible unreality of what I had seen. Who were these people? They were people, weren’t they? Then why had I seen horns and tails? I ran back to my room. Crouching, in the corner behind my bed my head ached from crying and fear. My room was still dark and shadows wavered and squirmed across the walls like living shades. I shut my eyes and slid my hands across my ears to shut out the world. I had to shut out this world that was not mine.

* * * *

I must have fallen asleep again because I woke to a dark room, and knew the sun had gone down. I searched each bedroom along the hallway—not surprised this time to find them empty, but still disappointed. I was alone. Even when alone at home before, I’d known I was not alone. This was different. This was scary.

My stomach audibly rumbled and I jumped at the sound. In the kitchen I luckily found peanut butter and bread, and made a sandwich. The peanut butter stuck to my dry mouth. I drank some milk, diluted with salty tears as I tried to swallow. My eyes wandered across the spotless, silent kitchen until landing on the phone. I picked up the receiver. No sound. Cords and plugs seemed fine. I clicked the receiver button up and down. I always wondered why people in movies did that, but still, I did it again. No sound. I couldn’t even call the cops. Tomorrow I would have to find help. Find out what happened to my family. An unnatural, sudden drowsiness overcame me and I stumbled sleepily back to bed. Why was I so tired? How could I sleep when my entire family was missing? And what about what I’d seen outside earlier? I slept nearly all day so there’s no way I could be sleepy. My eyes shut, almost on their own and I fell into a fitful sleep.

Tossing and turning like a storm-tossed ship at sea, my bed was soon sweat-damp and rumbled. Dreams which morphed into nightmares writhed through my confused brain. Blackness that felt alive as it wove around me like an anaconda, squeezing out my breath, was filled with screeches and banshee wails of pain and suffering. All around, shapes moved in the darkness. Amorphous, slithering, scales on dry stone, sometimes as high as my ceiling, others low on the ground—shapes without shape. Voices that growled like the notes of a tiger beside my ear, whispering words I couldn’t understand. Running. Running. Through trees stacked so closely together I had to inhale to squeeze through them. Water, slimy and brown with more amorphous shapes wriggling through it and around my thighs as I walked through it. Skies heavy and dark, oppressive in their grayness, sucking all joy, pleasure, even satisfaction from my soul.

My eyes flew open and I sat up. In my bed. In my room. In my house. Deep breaths of fresh air filled my lungs, restoring my brain’s oxygen. Then I heard movement in the shadows. Saw the shadows slide across my wall in the vague moonlight that managed to streak through the closed blind. I stared hard, trying to see for certain, unwilling to believe my senses anymore. The dry scraping sound echoed around the room followed by a hiss. More shadows, black as a moonless midnight wove across the floor and walls. My throat, already dry from screaming in my nightmares, constricted—useless. Who would hear me anyway?.

Then the atmosphere in my room changed. The hair on my neck and arms stood up. My skin prickled as though with a soft electric shock. My breathing became ragged and my heart thumped so loudly in my chest I could hear it in the silence of the room. I hadn’t prayed since I was a very little girl, but something in me told me to pray hard right now so I said the only bits I could remember from the days, as a toddler, when Mom insisted I go to Bible School.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want …” my brain screamed for the next words. I repeated the phrase over and over trying to recall them but they wouldn’t come. The shadows no longer clung to the edges of the room but slid across the floor, around the corners of the walls, directly toward me.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” I screamed as loudly as I could, emphasizing the word Lord. “He maketh me to lie down in still pastures, He restoreth my soul. Yay, though I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff protect me. My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever” I knew there were parts left out, but it was the best I could do. I repeated it over and over, getting louder and more confident each time.

The room filled with the brilliance of a noonday sun. I screamed, shading my burning eyes with a hand. Other screeching and scrambling sounds filled the room for several moments until there was compete silence. The brilliance faded and I dropped my hand to see what had happened. I expected to see a gaping hole in my wall or maybe half the house missing with starlight streaming in.

Nothing. There was nothing. My room was empty. I could feel its emptiness. Total and complete silence. But I also felt better. I wasn’t scared. I knew there would be no more nightmares for the rest of this night.

When I woke again, that same gray light as yesterday pushed past the edges of my window blinds spitting its dullness into the room.

After several hours of fruitlessly contemplating last night’s events and finding no food in the kitchen to sate my ever-grumbling stomach I managed to work up the courage to go for help. After dressing I took several deep breaths before opening the door again. I thought I was prepared.

The murky gray light that filled the sky seemed watery and weak. Although there was no cloud cover, there was no sunlight. Several brown dragons swooped through the grayness, casually flying above the buildings of this strange city. I stared wide-eyed, heart pounding. Dragons? On Earth? Had I been taken backward in time somehow? Was this the Middle Ages and I was in a Fairy Tale? I glanced up again as one swooped directly overhead, its beady red eyes watching me.

I have to leave the house. If I ignore them, perhaps they won’t notice me. Heart beating a mad tattoo, I stepped onto the stoop and jumped when my foot landed on something soft. It was a folded newspaper. I opened it and read Jacksonville Times Union. With it securely tucked under one arm I stepped down onto dirt. Dad’s pride and joy green grass was gone.

My heart pounded and lungs burned like I’d just finished a marathon. I twitched and jumped at every sound, spinning from side to side. Squeezing my eyes shut tightly, I inhaled deeply several times trying to calm down. The air stunk of sulphur and coal dust. I opened my eyes. Standing at the end of the yard, a loud chug and zip then a puff of steam enveloped me. I leapt backward, nearly falling into the dirt. A triangular car with a glass top sped down the road. Another headed my direction on the opposite side. The driver sat in the front of the triangle managing the car with a joystick while two passengers sat side-by-side on the rear seat. It maneuvered surprisingly well and was quite fast.

Leading east and west at the end of the walkway, a crushed stone path lined a packed dirt road that ran in front of the house. To the left and right of the house stood tall and short buildings of every description. Some seemed to be stores, others apartment buildings or individual homes like mine. Tall brass street lights stood sentinel on each intersection.

“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore,” I murmured softly. I flipped a glance back at the house expecting ruby slippers.

A rumble overhead pulled my attention to the murky sky as a glass-enclosed egg with the silhouettes of seated people lining its interior floated by. At the rear spun a huge brass propeller. Occasional clouds of steam escaped into the atmosphere. I grabbed my chest and inhaled deeply several times, settling my nerves. I turned right and, with eyes lowered to avoid making eye contact, began walking down the path.

A layer of black soot coated the buildings and walkways reminding me of photos of Victorian London when chimneys belched black coal dust. Many of the grimy windows displayed new handbills showing a child with the question: “Have You Seen This Child?” underneath. It shocked me to realize each face was that of a different child. How many children had disappeared from this city and where did they go?

Glancing forward occasionally, I was surprised to see the odd assortment of costumes on the people who passed me. While some men wore bowler hats others had formal top hats and long-tailed coats. Women wore long dresses with pinafores and bloomers. Most wore wide-brimmed hats mounted with feathers and other doodads or jaunty small headdresses angled over impressive updoos. Many of these strange characters stared openly at me as they passed, causing goosebumps to roll up my arms and neck. I caught my reflection in a wavy window and realized why they were all staring. My jeans and Pink Floyd tee-shirt definitely stood out. I smoothed back my long black hair and wrapped the ponytail band around it, happy I’d thought to grab one on my way out the door and toss it onto my wrist. My younger sister Marcy showed me that trick. Thinking about her now made my eyes burn, blurring my surroundings. I swiped the back of a hand across them.

“Watch where you’re going, lunchmeat,” a low, menacing voice growled next to my ear. I turned my head to apologize. There was no one beside me. I fell against a building, scraping my arm on the rough siding. Someone had deliberately shoved me. But who?

“Imbecil,” the voice continued. I spun in search of the owner of the voice. I was alone on the walkpath. People across the street stared in passing. One last time, I looked back the way I’d come. I could still hear him like he was next to my ear.

“Mother’v pearl!” I muttered, eyes roving from feet to hat of a giant man who was walking away. He was easily over eight feet tall—not fat, just...big. A black top hat and full-length black cape added to the effect. I wondered for a split instant how he found clothes big enough. He spun a black cane with gold dragon-shaped handle and glittering diamond eyes. He must have realized I was staring because just his head spun backwards. He grinned maliciously at me with a flick of red eyes before his head swiveled back around.

ODESSA IS COMING SOON FROM MUSEITUPPUBLISHING.COM!



Rebecca Ryals Russell writes MG and YA Dark Fantasy and Horror while living with her family in a Victorian house on five acres of North Florida countryside. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property: Florida Black Bear Cabin. ( http://flablackbearcabin.com )



She is a fourth generation Floridian. She was born in Gainesville, grew up in Sunrise, lived in Orlando and Jacksonville before moving outside Lake City to care for ailing parents. The family now wishes to return to Jacksonville, which is why the house is for sale. (http://mcleranhouse.com )


The daughter of an Elementary-school principal and secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies as well as her own poetry, photography and stories. Her main interests are her four children ages 22, 19, 16, 11 and Irish hubby of 35 years. She enjoys spending her time writing, drawing, going to movies, reading, discussing philosophy with her 16-year-old son.


Over the course of the next few years she has several books being published.

Visit Rebecca online at http://rryalsrussell.com or the book's blog at http://seraphymwarsodessa.blogspot.com. Like the book's page on Facebook or follow Rebecca on Twitter

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Paranormal and Fantasy Event: The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances by Mary Andrews

PSIONIC SCI FI: the inevitable fusion of man, machine and the paranormal.

THEY’RE BACK


In The Fireborn Chronicles (book I) most everything about the Nemesis Team members’ lives was challenged—even changed. That was only the beginning.

Once again the Dark Ops crew of the Nemesis is called into action.

But this time it’s personal.

When a former team member is kidnapped on a Hive drug mining planet both the Universal Government and the new Corporate Overlord have to respond.

For the first time the Nemesis team and the Corporate Archangels join forces against a psychic vampire, his strange twin brother, and the Oracle menace threatening their universe.

But is anything truly what it seems?

BOOK II of THE FIREBORN CHRONICLES

Read an excerpt!

Chapter One

“Get away from that door!” Lord Deshon’s dark voice rumbled after Alandra.

With every step, she fought his smothering presence, felt her life force being ripped away, her senses seared. He engulfed her.

Heart pounding, Alandra threw the hatch open and dove out into the freezing sky. “I’ll die first,” she shot back into his mind.

Eyes clenched against the wind’s frigid blast, she held her breath to stave off the terror until Deshon’s corrosive assault evaporated and her senses reawakened.

Freedom.
Alandra floated, high above everything, slipping gravity’s bonds for one glorious moment before beginning her descent; she swam through cold currents of air, allowing herself to fully experience the caress of the wind on her face...through her hair...along her body. It was intoxicating.
As the deafening grumble of Deshon’s airship receded, she opened her eyes to the blue sky, white capped mountains, the blur of landscape rushing ever closer, rocks jutting dangerously from crystal-blue water, the impending impact growing closer and closer and….

* * * *

Tristen bolted upright from the dream, her racing heart throbbing. “What was that?”
Her husband drew her into his arms and held her tight.

She felt his fear subside, taking hers with it.
Ira Haze relaxed his grip, and smoothed her long, tangled, black hair. “I’m sorry. It was my dream."



BUY THE FIREBORN CHRONICLES: RESONANCES FROM THE FOLLOWING ONLINE RETAILERS!

The MuseItUp Publisher’s Bookstore http://tinyurl.com/3aegz6z

BOOKSTRAND http://www.bookstrand.com/the-fireborn-chronicles-resonances

SONY READER STORE http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/mary-andrews/the-fireborn-chronicles-resonances/_/R-400000000000000324124

SMASHWORDS http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29520

AMAZON US (kindle/print) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004C438GI

KINDLE AMAZON UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004C438GI

DIESEL E-BOOKS http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000029520/Andrews-Mary/The-Fireborn-Chronicles-Resonances/1.html

ITUNES ( for IBooks, IPads, IPods) http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-fireborn-chronicles-resonances/id404209629?mt=11

BARNES & NOBLES (Nook)
http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=EBOOK&WRD=the+fireborn+chronicles&box=the%20fireborn%20chronicles&pos=-1&ugrp=1

COFFEE TIME ROMANCE http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookStore/index.php?main_page=pubs_product_book_info&cPath=98&products_id=3925&zenid=d4d7910e7bb358484b003b70eca91452


DRIVETHRU SCI FI http://scifi.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=88501&src=social_media_link&sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4d5e4b7b25c42569,0

FICTIONWISE (expected soon)



Mary Andrews, born in Salina, Kansas but raised in England, Hawaii, and Texas, was the eldest of seven children in a military family. Happily married for over fourteen years, she now has three sons who have grown into good men with great families of their own.



Mary is an unconventional thinker who thrives ‘out of the box.’ Her favorite question is: WHY, since once you find that answer, everything else makes more sense and can be dealt with. She claims little fear of change: in fact, she has adventured through many career choices, testing both the waters and distant horizons before finally realizing a love for writing.


Currently residing in Lubbock, Texas Mary continues to follow her muse, or rather, document its whereabouts, from a recreational past through the Society for Creative Anachronisms to the barely unfolding universes in her mind.


She heartily welcomes all input and comments at her website: http://mary-andrews.webs.com/
or at author.mary.andrews@gmail.com. You can also find her online at:

FaceBook http://tinyurl.com/2cpuwfc


Twitter http://twitter.com/FB_Chronicles


MySpace http://www.myspace.com/fireborn_chronicles



Linda Weaver Clarke: Lucky Leprechaun Book Giveaway Hop

Linda Weaver Clarke: Lucky Leprechaun Book Giveaway Hop: "Book Give-Away March 17th to 20th: To win a variety of books at my blog, read the directions below. International. E-books Versus Books!"

The Book Connection: Giveaway: Born Under a Lucky Moon: A Novel by Dana...

The Book Connection...: Giveaway: Born Under a Lucky Moon: A Novel by Dana...: "Born Under a Lucky Moon: A Novel is the tale of two very important (but distant) years in the lives of Jeannie Thompson and her (embarr..."

Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 3, 2011. Enter today!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Linda Weaver Clarke: Interview with Author Liz Parrish and Book Giveaway

Linda Weaver Clarke: Interview with Author Liz Parrish and Book Giveawa...: "Book Give-Away March 14 - 21: We have two books to give away this week. Be The Lead Dog is a self-help book and Crimp! On-By!! is a children's book."

Visit the link above and leave a comment by March 21st for your chance to win these books from Linda Weaver Clarke's blog.

Book Spotlight: The Heart's Lone Desire by Nicolai Due-Gundersen

The chill of ivory. The cold beat of light.

Aaron Carlson delivers the rare, the impossible, to the highest bidder. This promise is challenged, however, when he is asked to find a legend; an artefact that even time wants to forget.
For the right price, he agrees to assist the sultry Miss Worthing in her quest for eternity’s gift. He will deliver where those before him have failed.

The heart is what she craves. The ivory legend from 18th Century France; now no more than a cold whisper.

Aaron follows the trail of Trenton, his predecessor, and the heart’s latest victim. A man left empty, broken, by the heart’s perennial chill.

Aaron’s journey takes him through light, darkness and fire, opening old wounds and exposing him to new ones.

And all the while the heart watches. All the while the heart awaits.

Read an excerpt!

Chapter One

They had prepared the room as instructed. Tall candles littered the chamber, their light inviting shadows, and at the centre, the tub stood waiting, its deep brass polished until gold shone from its depth. Wisps of steam snaked from the water within. Hot, thick twists joining scattered shadows, playing among the bitter light.
Monsieur Lilac sipped his wine with deliberate slowness. His tired eyes went to the windows, longing for escape. Outside, the first fall of snow had begun. As Paris slept, dots dropped down from the heavens, the flakes of stars gracing the earth of mortals. He finished the wine in one slow gulp, savouring the burn of its taste. His hand trembled. Today he truly felt the pain of his years. It was the weakness in him; the weakness in all men. Mortality pulsed through his veins like a plague. It wrinkled his skin. Tightened his chest. Tonight, he would escape it all.
He disrobed, his servants taking firm hold of his frame. Water bubbled as his body met its warmth.
“The curtains,” he gestured with a weak hand.
Winter disappeared from view.
He breathed, and leaned further into the tub’s warmth. There was no further need for him to speak. His loyal servants knew what was to be done. Cold hands were upon his chest, nails marking his flesh with thick dots…something sharper. The chill of metal, of medical instruments. The skin underneath curled against the cold whispers of steel.

He closed his eyes, wheezed his last sigh. One by one, the candles were extinguished. He prayed for the comfort of nothingness.
The hands were upon his own, holding him down. Thick cloth closed the charm of his mouth. The aristocratic mouth that had argued, threatened, loved. The pain in his chest was sharp, as expected, his flesh folding to metal wielded by loyal hands. Old blood spilled from fresh wounds. His weakness was being ripped open.
He forced his eyes to remain closed. The sound of tearing flesh, breaking bones.
And underneath it all, the weakest form. His poor heart, still thumping, not knowing when to stop, not knowing when life had become a patient death. Hands dug into the redness of his chest, and with twists and tugs, the heart of old was finally disconnected.
A gasp escaped from his still suppressed lips. It was enough to make him open his eyes. He watched it fall to the floor, and waited for the gift of light.
* * * *
Miss Worthing returned the cognac bottle to the table. Her manicured fingers nudged it forward, ensuring it stood between them. “So ends our story,” she smiled. “The first known tragedy of the ivory heart.”
Across from her, Aaron Carlson sank further into his seat, careful not to appear too disinterested, or too credulous.
“So, he ripped his own heart out,” he smiled. “He got that far, at least?”
“Yes, Mr Carlson. Indeed he did.” She leaned forward, her shadow flowing toward him, touching him. “He was not worthy,” she whispered. “Not worthy for the gift of light. And so he failed.”
Aaron nodded, gripping his glass. “I see. So, the ivory heart—”
“Oh, he did try, Mr Carlson. Indeed, he tried.
Aaron suppressed a grin.
“The heart did not glow,” she sighed. . “No light came forth from its shape, nor did it fill his veins with its whiteness, as he’d so hoped.”
Aaron uncrossed his legs. His own shadow leaned forward to meet hers.
“Miss Worthing, so far you’ve given me a fairy tale. A sick story of an ivory heart; of its supposed immortality.”
“And one man’s attempt to use it,” she added.
“Right.” He breathed sharply. “May I be blunt, Miss Worthing?”
The thick lips of her beauty drained her glass before answering.
“Of course, Mr Carlson. Do be honest.”
So he was. Despite the wealth of her home, despite her erudite accent, he let his impatience fuel his words.
“What’s the damn point? Surely, you’re aware of my profession?”
“Of course,” Miss Worthing laughed. “You deliver that which is not for sale—”
“Only at the right price,” he declared firmly. He set down his glass, pushing it away. “Enough stories. Tell me what you want, and I’ll give you my price.”
Her blue eyes turned cold. Only a flicker, yet enough to detract from her charm. There was bitterness underneath it all, a determined rage, and he felt anxiety soften the tone of his voice.
“Tell me,” he said again.
She refilled his glass, pushed it roughly back to him. The marble table groaned.
“I want the heart, Mr Carlson,” she said. The smile had grown sour. “It should be obvious, from my story.”
Aaron shook his head.
“You really believe all this...”
Her chilled eyes blinked.
“You’ll have your price,” she said. “Whatever it may be. For I assure you, my request is serious. You see, I have the benefit of my fortune to assist me. Over the years I have found information pertaining to the heart. Information I have paid dearly for. Oh, and for the record, Mr Carlson, I make sure such information belongs to no one else.”
Aaron was startled by her intensity, the fire in her voice matching the chill of her eyes.
“Why me?” he asked. He sat back now, as if comfortable.
“Believe me, my dear, I have tried others.” She glanced at her nails, at the deep red of their manicured tips.
“They failed?”
“So to speak, Mr Carlson. Their efforts, however, have yielded opportunities, brought me closer to my goal.”
A deep laugh escaped her lips, as if she were victim of her own fantastic mind.
“I have no reason to believe all this,” Aaron sighed. He made to leave.


THE HEART'S LONE DESIRE IS COMING IN MAY 2011 FROM MUSEITUP PUBLISHING!


Nicolai De-Gundersen is an author of dark fiction currently studying Literature at the University of Oslo. Having been raised in England and having attended an international school in Norway, his work often finds inspiration from diverse cultures. He has been writing for circa 3 years, penning various tales that explore the human condition under supernatural circumstances, thus merging the rational and the real with the hidden world of the fantastic and macabre.

Join The Heart's Lone Desire Facebook Group page!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Is Olive Garden Becoming the Disney of Restaurants?

I've been meaning to write up this post for weeks now. Our favorite family restaurant is Olive Garden. Not only is the food great, I can honestly say I've never received bad service in any Olive Garden we've visited--ever!

The last time we visited our local Olive Garden, it was just the hubby and me. This rarely happens, but it was school vacation week and the girls were sleeping over at their grandparents' house. It was after normal dinner hours--probably close to 7:30 PM by the time we arrived, but the place was still fairly busy. The hostess greeted us within moments of our arrival, took our name, and gave us a pager.

We probably waited about 5 minutes, and a gentleman, who appeared to be the manager on staff, apologized for our wait as the hostess guided us to our table. Our waiter, I think his name was Owen, arrived moments later.

We had a wonderful time. Owen took our drink order first. When he returned with our drinks he took our meal order. If I remember correctly, I had the Mixed Grill, which is, "skewers of grilled marinated steak and chicken with a rosemary demi-glace, served with grilled vegetables and Tuscan potatoes." The hubby had the Venetian Apricot Chicken. This dish featured, "grilled chicken breasts in an apricot citrus sauce" and served with broccoli, asparagus and diced tomatoes. We rounded our entrees out with a house salad and breadsticks.

The food, as always, was absolutely amazing. It arrived in record time, and Owen checked on us from time to time to see if we needed anything. We decided to forgo dessert, but after we paid the bill and several members of the staff wished us goodnight, I got to wondering if Olive Garden was quickly becoming the Disney of restaurants.


The training program at Disney is unmatched, from my understanding. One of my college classmates gave a presentation for our public speaking course on their training program, which she had attended when she worked there.
 
If you've ever been to Disney, you'll know just what I mean. They have been trained to excel at customer service; to anticipate your needs before you even realize you need anything; to fix any problem that could possibly arise--and do it all with a smile.
 
That's how I felt that evening as we strolled out of Olive Garden, my belly full of great food after a relaxing and enjoyable dinner out with my better half. I don't know anything about their training program, but I know we'll keep going back to visit as long as they keep up the great work.
 
 
Blogger's note: These are my honest opinions. I was not compensated in any way for sharing these thoughts.

Book Spotlight: The MS Project Compiled by Dr. Laina Turner-Molaski

The MS Project is a collection of stories written by people afflicted by MS or who have loved ones afflicted. This book is meant to be informational regarding the disease as experienced by real people and to showcase the amazing strength people find when facing adversity.

Read an excerpt!

Chair-Dancing and Other MS Adventures by October Clarke Craig


“How do you keep such a positive attitude?” It’s a question I’m often asked, and it deserves an answer. Depending on the occasion and audience, my answer is either simple (“Being a grump isn’t a whole lot of fun”) or quite a bit more complex. Here’s how I came to be diagnosed with MS (now secondary progressive)… and some tools that help me stay out of emotional quicksand – most of the time.


PURCHASE A COPY OF THE MS PROJECT HERE!

Dr. Laina Turner-Molaski is a Faculty Chair with Capella University. In this role Dr. Molaski manages the Human Resource and Retail Management Specializations in the School of Undergraduate Studies. Dr. Turner-Molaski is also an author of both fiction and non-fiction and a business consultant.


Laina’s mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1985. She passed away in 2000 from an indirect cause after years of suffering from effects of the illness. Laina is committed to bringing more awareness to the disease.


Visit Dr. Turner-Molaski online at http://www.themsproject.com/.