Tuesday, 23 June 2015

#PUYB #BookReview - You Won't Remember This by Kate Blackwell #ShortStories

About the Book 

The twelve stories in Kate Blackwell’s debut collection illuminate the lives of men and women who appear as unremarkable as your next-door-neighbor until their lives explode quietly on the page. Her wry, often darkly funny voice describes the repressed underside of a range of middle-class characters living in the South. Blackwell’s focus is elemental—on marriage, birth, death, and the entanglements of love at all ages—but her gift is to shine a light on these universal situations with such lucidity, it is as if one has never seen them before.

In “My First Wedding,” a twelve-year-old girl attends her cousin’s Deep South wedding, where she discovers both mystery and disillusionment and, in the end, finds she’s not immune to her family’s myth of romantic love. In “Heartbeatland,” when a young woman’s husband dies suddenly, she refuses to sell his Jeep to an importuning gay neighbor. The more she clings to the Jeep—and to the memory of her beloved David—the more he becomes someone she doesn’t recognize. In “Queen of the May,” a former belle looks for ways to assuage her loneliness in her large new house in the empty Carolina sandhills.

Amazon Kindle 

About the Author 

Kate Blackwell began writing fiction after a career in journalism. At first she wrote stories in order to learn how to write novels, but the strategies of the short form proved a pleasure all their own. She fell in love with the challenge of the story: compressing a life into twenty pages, finding the right ending. The twelve stories in her collection, You Won't Remember This, were written over twenty years. The short story "isn't just a short read versus a long one," she says. "I see it as the literary voice of the individual, the solitary, whose pain and longing often go unheard. My stories reveal the inner life of someone I wouldn't otherwise know. What I find is never what I expect."

My Review

"You Won't Remember This" is in the end a book about memories. As we move from childhood to adulthood, the memories we take with us are sometimes the most insignificant of things. A particular event, a smell or a person that everyone else seems to have forgotten. In a compilation of short stories, the author expertly shares these moments.

Personally, reading some of the stories made me think of my own memories so yes, I was definitely sucked in by the author's writing. The stories that appealed to me the most was "My First Wedding" and "Duckie's Okay." The former shares memories of the narrator's first wedding and her own marriage while the latter focuses on a single mother trying to make ends meet.

Aside from the theme of memories, the other common component in the stories were that they linked dysfunctional family relationships. The characters are all flawed in their own way which of course brings the reader back to theme of what you will remember about a person.

Would I recommend this read? Definitely. Whether you like Southern based American stories or not, this is a book for your heart and soul. Must, must read.

Overall assessment:
Content: 5/5
Editing: 5/5
Formatting: 5/5
Pacing: 4.5/5

Offensive content?: Based on language and settings, I would recommend this book for anyone aged 18 and up.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

#PUYB #BookReview - '89 Walls by Katie Pierson @katiedoodles58 #YA #Romance

About the Book 

Seth spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS that’s killing her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity. College-bound Quinn is finishing high school on top. That cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class, though, makes her doubt herself and her old assumptions. When their passionate romance takes them both by surprise, they keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs and each other—in the clear light of day.
Amazon Kindle
About the Author 

Katie Pierson freelances for local non-profits, using her background in public policy and grassroots organizing to overthrow the patriarchy one introverted step at a time. When she's not writing fiction, she returns library books, makes soup, and tries to be cooler than she really is by hip-hopping at the YMCA. She lives with her husband and two daughters in a suburb of Minneapolis. You can reach her through her website, www.katiepierson.net, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/89walls/, and on Twitter @katiedoodles58.

My Review

The eighties is a memorable time for many and where significant events were concerned this book was spot. The author included politics and world events in the story with ease. The characters became part of this backdrop and most older readers were able to take a walk down memory lane. Be it through research or her own experience, the author was able to invoke the feeling of 'where was I when this happened?'

What took me back about this book was that at some points the story felt cramped. Too many things were happening at the same time to the same people. You had the politics, the romantic relationship between Seth & Quinn and his mum. All big topics and in some chapters, one topic was sometimes sacrificed to make way for the other.

This is not necessarily a bad thing but for me, it felt a bit cluttered. Otherwise this was a good read where the author's words flow freely and her characters are lifelike.

Would I recommend this read? If you like a good portion of politics from the past couple with a strong teen romance, this is the book for you.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Formatting: 4/5
Pacing: 3.5/5

Offensive content?: Based on language and settings, I would recommend this book for anyone aged 18 and up.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

#LifeIn7Words - Blueberry Pie

Picture by Grimarika 

1. Dessert
2. Comfort
3. Sweet
4. Fruity
5. Crusty
6. Summer
7. Cream

Sunday, 7 June 2015

#LifeIn7Words - Frozen

Picture by Mark 22
1. Disney
2. Toys
3. Let It Go
4. Childhood
5. Parenting
6. Life Lessons
7. Good versus Evil

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Curious Case of the Professional 'Publicist'

In more than 20 years as a public relations practitioner, this is the least professional act on my part. But if it is not done, this matter will drag for longer with only one version publicly available. I for one have had enough of this nonsense.

Firstly, all views in the below post are solely my own and do not represent those who I have worked with or currently work with.

Secondly, if you are an Orangeberry author who is owed reviews or graphics, please email me - kurianandrea@gmail.com - so I can connect you with the book tour company who is in charge of your book. If you would like other updates about Orangeberry, please go to orangeberrybooktours.com

And now ...

I started helping Orangeberry Book Tours in December 2011. The blog's founder, Pandora, is an old friend and my help consisted mainly of seeking more reviewers and managing public events with her.

In June 2013, I played a more active role in assisting Orangeberry as Pandora was taken ill.

It was during this time, that I had interactions with Orangeberry's 'publicist' who will further be referred to as KB. While on the most part it was a delight to work with this person, there were some red flags that later appeared to be more than just bad vibes kicking in.

On the issue of Quality Reads UK
This is a book club I belong to and while members were reluctant to bring the book club online, it was agreed in December 2012 that we would give it a try with Pandora managing social media for the book club. KB played an active role in this. It was her responsibility to manage the blogs and their social media. This was an unfruitful process for all concerned as it later appeared to be more work than necessary within a short span of time. Up to June 2013, none of us had any interaction with KB. All communications were through Pandora. After June 2013, I would have daily conversations with KB in Pandora's off and on absence.

In July 2013, members of a writing forum questioned the validity of Orangeberry and the blogs belonging to book club members. In hindsight, members should have played a more active role in managing their own blogs instead of depending on someone else to do it for them something which is slowly coming to pass now.

During the exchange on the forum, KB made it a point to stand up for the book club. Her exact words were, 'By the way, I think you should get a life. If you have time to do detective work on 200 blogs and its owners, clearly you have nothing else happening in your life. I was NOT pulled in to anything. I honestly thing (sic) the people here need to get a life and STOP harassing others. But then with all bullies they only harass and bully to make themselves feel superior. *screenshot available upon request

After this incident and Pandora's continued ill health, Orangeberry did not receive enough sponsorship to cover admin costs. As with others who contributed to Orangeberry, KB was told she could leave anytime she wanted as her time could no longer be paid for. KB's response was that she was not doing it for the money and would continue to contribute to Orangeberry for as long as she physically could. It was then Pandora's intention to eventually handover Orangeberry to KB in the New Year of 2014.

KB's disappearance and black mail
KB disappeared on 4 January 2014 saying she had no electricity due to bad weather. I use the word disappeared because it would be at least a month before Pandora or I heard from her.

Several attempts were made to contact her directly, and when a suspicious sign in using her login details was discovered on the Orangeberry website, I contacted her mother who said she would call back within the hour, nothing happened.

It was then pointed out by an author that KB did have Internet connection because she was seen interacting on Twitter. As of this time, instalment payments were being made to her via PayPal to settle outstanding monies owed to her.

In April 2014, further email communication was received that from KB that said if the outstanding sum was not paid in full with interest, KB would continue to email Orangeberry clients to inform them that the book club was in fact sock puppets.

Her exact words were, 'Forget the lawyer, I am having to much fun sending emails to ALL authors about the sock puppet accounts! :)  :-) Yep! until I receive FULL payment plus interest I will email past authors about the sock puppet accounts.  But I have emailed all authors currently on tour! :-D :-D Believe me I have nothing and I mean nothing to lose.*screenshot available upon request

The content of her email to Orangeberry clients included the list of blogs she had managed, social media accounts and passwords. Ironically, she also included her own blog in the list with proxy IP addresses she had procured.

Had the book club been a matter of such importance to her integrity and if the matter she was highlighting was in fact true, why wait till a year later when she had specifically stood up for the book club in July 2013?

As KB had disappeared in January, Pandora in ill health and I did not have time to keep Orangeberry running, Orangeberry was set to be sold to a UK publishing house. This deal would have ensured enough funding for admin costs and for all authors to receive their pending book reviews far more quickly than it has currently happened. Unfortunately, this deal fell through when it was discovered that KB was still emailing former and current clients of Orangeberry creating widespread panic among Orangeberry clients.

This continued until June 2014 when Pandora hired a US-based attorney to contact KB. Since April, Pandora had attempted to call her and when emailing KB, both of us received the filtered response of, "not read, just deleted."

It was intended for the lawyer to contact her and inform her that the amount she was asking for was not the amount owed to her. KB had downloaded her Google Docs payment sheet in April 2014 but after the first black mail request, she was removed from the Google sheet and payments were still made after this.

Beyond this, I was not involved in correspondences between Pandora, her lawyer and KB. Being in different countries (Pandora was back in the UK after seeking treatment in South East Asia and I had moved to Sydney with my family) legalities were involved for me to be privy to such communications.

Pandora also then made the decision to acquire the assistance of two other book tour companies in helping her complete her commitments to the authors she had worked with.

What happened then was beyond bizarre because instead of communicating directly with an attorney who was in the same country as her, KB continued to send us emails such as these alongside more emails demanding money.






If you have gotten a glimpse into the mindset of this person, more is to come.

Through all my interactions with her, KB was very clear that she had a son. It was later found out that something was not right with this statement because the son was seen wishing someone else for Mother's Day.*screenshot available upon request.
An old news clipping of a wedding in KB's family also raised more questions than it answered as there was no mention of KB.*screenshot available upon request.

But why bring up such personal matters, you ask? KB has made it a point to reveal everything she could about Pandora in the past few months including offering to reveal a home address she thought belonged to Pandora on a public forum. While bringing up this information is not tit for tat, it highlights the thought process of the individual concerned.

Unknown to KB, her red flags were so prominent, no one in Orangeberry gave out actual home addresses even when sending KB birthday, get well and Christmas gifts. Given the issues KB has created in the past 15 months for Orangeberry clients and volunteers, this was a decision nobody regretted.

There is also the issue of her past job experience where she has numerously indicated that she worked in the auto industry until 2012. An eBay seller profile for KB with several negative feedback about items not received indicates that she was in the auto industry up to 2010. *screenshot available upon request.

It is evident from her interactions that something is amiss with this person and it is not the intention of this post to troll her as she has done with us the past 15 months.

It is my intention to clearly state that whatever arrangements she had is with Pandora and her lawyer. I may have helped Orangeberry but this situation is now beyond my control. Trying to blackmail me is not going to achieve anything.

KB sent an email to me this morning to state that if payment is not received, 'I will post all emails on a blog, post the payment sheet and each payment received. Paypal payments show I have not been paid in full!' *screenshot available upon request.

Maybe I am naive but blackmail is a serious offence in any country. To continue to demand money AFTER you've gone out of your way to cause distress to so many people is also beyond me.

The other thing that bothers me no end is KB refused any kind of dialogue even after I had spent hours and hours trying to locate her after her disappearance. Pandora or I did not receive a single text in return to acknowledge our efforts so why keep contacting me when you have full access to the attorney who is able to help you?

Then comes the ethics issue. As a so-called professional publicist, going against everything the profession stands for, that just makes this issue even more scary for the authors KB currently works with. Revealing personal client information, leaving anonymous comments using proxy IP addresses and of course, blackmail. If you think I'm playing, yes, there is a code of ethics for public relations practitioners. The US version of this can be found on the PRSA website.

Bear in mind that KB has also done similar acts to at least one other book tour company and three other individuals, that I know of.

KB has actively spent time promoting her grievances against Orangeberry on Twitter and several complaint forums. On some days, she has had a fantastic audience which has thrilled her to bits I think.

To this audience, I say this, you are each entitled to your own opinion. But you cannot form judgment based on one side of the story. Encouraging blackmail based on someone who lies then calls someone else a liar is not just funny, it is ludicrous.

If you need to consider the situation a little further, allow me to ask you this. If in fact, everything that KB has voiced out is true and Pandora is all smoke, how was Pandora a non-US citizen able to receive legal representation in the US but KB has not been able to hire a lawyer for 15 months?

Fact : If such a case is strong enough, the lawyer would work pro bono then take his / her fees out of the settlement received. This applies in any country including the US. Makes you wonder isn't it?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Violet Midnight #Excerpt (The Enchanters Series, Book 1) by Allie Burke @allieburkebooks #PNR


A warm welcome to Allie Burke as she shares an excerpt from Violet Midnight, Book 1 of The Enchanters Series

“Hey, Auntie.”

“Elias! Don’t call me Auntie, it makes me feel old. I’m so glad to hear from you! Did you get the spices and the tea I sent you?”

“Yeah,” he whispered, a quiet attempt to hide any skepticism or awkwardness that may be in his tone.

“What’s wrong?”

Elias closed his eyes. She was too good. There was no point in answering her. He had no idea how to explain how he was feeling at the moment.

“Has your mom called?”


Jeanine let out a long sigh, which Elias could hear through the phone. She didn’t say anything further on the subject. There was nothing to say.

“Listen,” Elias said, “I’ve heard about this great place. Come out with me; I’ll buy you dinner.”

“Sounds great, honey. I’ll be ready in ten.”

Elias walked out the door, and got in Liam’s black Aston Martin. Liam had left everything he had to Elias, except the firm. He knew Elias didn’t want it.

He reversed from the driveway, and started making his way to Devonbrook, a small town right next to Hazel Grove. Gray County consisted of three towns: Devonbrook, Hazel Grove, and Jasmyn Lake. Hazel Grove was the party town, Devonbrook the family town, and Jasmyn Lake—Jasmyn was just really weird.  

After a few minutes of driving, Elias reached a small residential area. He turned onto Church Street and pulled into the driveway. He smiled at his aunt’s house. Most of the small houses on this street were painted different shades of brown. Jeanine’s house was fuchsia with lilac trim and royal blue stairs leading to the porch. The yard was a mess. The grass couldn’t have been mowed in years. A small piece of white cloth distracted his view, and he looked up the tall oak tree in the yard. Hanging from the branches were shredded pieces of toilet paper, looking battered and weathered, like the tree had been teepee’d several weeks ago. Someone had used a screwdriver to draw a large X on the tree’s trunk.

Elias walked across the yard, the weeds attacking his knees, and went up the stairs. Two dead rats were next to the welcome mat, and several broken egg shells were scattered around the porch.

Avoiding the dried egg goo, Elias knocked on the green door.

The door opened, and Jeanine smiled at him. She was sixty-two, not a gray hair on her head. Her fine brown hair was long, but she never let it down. She wore a long dress, every color known to man coming together on it. A bright blue scarf circled her neck, and her brown eyes were lined with pink shimmery makeup. He let out a long breath, relieved at the sight of her.

“Look how handsome you are,” Jeanine said. “It’s been too long. Come here.”

Elias stepped forward, hugged her and kissed her cheek. They walked to the car. Elias opened the passenger door for her, and drove back to Hazel Grove.

“Why don’t you move to Hazel, Jeanine?” Elias asked her in a very strict tone. They were thoughtless pranks, the neighbors clearly upset that Jeanine lived in their town without a family and with her crazy antics. Elias worried that it could turn to something dangerous. If Jeanine was harmed—Elias shivered, unable to complete the thought in his head.

“You know, I was going to. I was looking for a new house, so I rented this place temporarily until I could find something I liked. But I decided to stay the first time I found dead rodents on my porch. So I painted it pink.” She was smiling.

Elias just laughed. She was completely serious, and would not be influenced. That was just her.

“So. Do you want me to mow your lawn, at least?”

Jeanine laughed. “No, I like it. It scares the neighbors.”

Elias shook his head at her. She did sound crazy sometimes, but she wasn’t. She was the only sane one in their family, as far as he was concerned. She was nothing like her younger sister, Elias’s mother. Jeanine was a free spirit. Her paintings were amazing; she sold them to Hollywood celebrities and wealthy people all over the world. She never married, had no children, and didn’t regret a minute of her life. Of course his mother didn’t approve, but Elias could care less. He admired her.

After a few minutes, they reached Ruby’s Diner. He parked in the back, ignoring onlookers’ stares. They were looking at the car, not at him. They went into the diner, and found a small table in the corner. A young girl in a red polo shirt walked up to their table. She was a little plump, like she enjoyed food, but not fat, just comfy. Her nametag introduced her as Audrey.

“Welcome to Ruby’s. What can I get you?”

Elias looked across the table to Jeanine. She shrugged. “Whatever you think.”

“Are the rumors true?” he asked Audrey. “Is The Ruby as good as everyone says?”

“Yes,” she laughed nervously, “absolutely.”

“We’ll both try that.”

“To drink? We have a special blend of iced tea. It’s fused with rosemary.”

Elias’s throat crackled, and his laugh was so loud it was almost obnoxious in the setting of the quiet diner. He cleared his throat and forced a calm look on his face.

“That sounds great,” he said carefully, short pauses bubbling composure between each of his words. 

Audrey narrowed her eyes at him before she walked away, as if she was assessing if he was insane. Elias covered his eyes with his hand. He felt Jeanine’s eyes on him, but he didn’t look up until she spoke.

“Tell me what’s going on, Elias.”

He just stared at her.

“I’m waiting.”

“You’ll think I’m nuts.”

“I’m going to think your nuts? Really, Elias? Look at me. Look at me and tell me that anything you could say would make me love you any less.”

Elias breathed deep, and gave in. He told Jeanine about the strange encounters at the art gallery and in his studio.

“I want to see her,” he heard himself say.

Audrey arrived with the food, her presence preventing Elias from seeing Jeanine’s reaction. He didn’t want to worry Jeanine too much, so he ate. Even with his lack of appetite, the sandwich was surprisingly delicious; there were at least three different meats, and a variety of cheeses in between each layer. The grease dripped from the bottom of the bread onto his plate. The tea paired with it well; it was very unique.

Halfway through his meal, Jeanine finally spoke. “Elias, I want to tell you a story. No questions. Just listen.”

The Enchanters Collection
Buy the box set on Amazon 

American novelist Allie Burke brings her readers the genre-defining Enchanters Collection which paints the beautiful complexity of true love through auras, darkness, and magic.  

Violet Midnight Book 1: Look into the world of the Enchanters, where water has a sense of humor, trees scare people, and love... is destiny. Beautiful Jane is hovering at the edge of content in her life of solitude in the quiet town of Jasmyn Lake, but when her energy sends her on a journey to meet the man she has been dreaming about for months, she cannot resist. Meet sexy artist Elias, who moved to Hazel Grove, California to get away from the rain, his parents, and everything that was taken from him in Hayward, Washington. But he thinks he may be losing his mind when he starts seeing purple glitter in the air, the scent of rosemary is everywhere, and he is hearing a beautiful voice. But all is not flowers and ease for the newly joined couple. With a woman who prefers night to day and a man with heartache from his past, they must learn how to create their own world with grace and the occasional water feature. Written with humor and intensity, book one of the three part trilogy will leave you yearning for more and daydreaming shades of purple.  

Emerald Destiny Book 2: What happens when the girl you've loved since you were six-years old runs away from you, effectively breaking your heart again? Evan is about to find out.  Nineteen-year old Evan spends his time in the woods of Dare Forest where the trees have personality, as close to Abby as he can be. But love has a cruel master and everyone around him has forbidden he contact her. Abby's nights are stressed with her Enchanter life, her dreaded nightmares, and her enduring will to save her brother from his own inner darkness. But when Evan speaks to her for the first time in fourteen years, she finds his voice too painful to bear. Countless times before them, the union between their opposing families has failed and caused unfathomable destruction. The love in their hearts strives to be together forever, but will their destinies break them apart? Allie Burke's second novel in The Enchanters Series breaks through the Paranormal Romance genre to not just entertain her readers but empower and inspire them to embrace the momentous question: What would you do when faced with an impossible love?

 Amber Passion Book 3: With a modern touch, Allie Burke’s third and final novel in the Enchanters series plays off the age old question: How far is too far to protect those you love? True love can be demonstrated in a multitude of actions or a multitude of sins. You choose. Daniel is lost without his other half, his twin sister Abby, who is pregnant, depressed, and oh so far away, struggling with her own demons. Seeking a ray of sunlight in his dark world, Daniel visits Hazel Grove and for the second time experiences the sun shining in the middle of the night. But this is a sun with a different name. A sun with blonde hair and an orange aura and with a bright light that scares the darkness right out of him. The blackness that had been his heart for the duration of his life, is…fading. Can the enchanting Claire bring passion and comfort to a man who yearns for her without even realizing it? As the next generation of Enchanters make their choices, the outcome will change the course of their people forever. Only time, and love, will tell if they made the right choice. With a culmination and a turn of events you never saw coming, Amber Passion answers the questions you wondered about and leaves the reader forever changed and daydreaming in every shade imaginable, starting with darkness, and ending, at the end of the tunnel, with light.  

 About the author
An American novelist, book critic, and magazine editor from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can't find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a "kickass book that defies the genre it's in", Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal. Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie's fairytales. From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.  

You can find Allie on 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

#PUYB - Eve Picquette's Top Ten & "Open Your Heart for Happy #Relationships @AdvisorIsIn #Life

About the Author

Eve has been looking for love, joy and fun all her life. Along the way she has had lots of experiences - some with more fun than others! A licensed attorney, she served as director of risk and quality management at hospital corporations in California and Arizona for thirty years. She is also a certified NLP life coach, matrix and EFT practitioner. Eve Picquette received her MSN in community mental health at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis.

Author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships - What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries...., and companion Mini Meditation MP3's, she lives in Arizona, and her present happy work is writing and advising clients regarding having more love and joy in personal and business relationships. .

For More Information
Visit Eve Picquette’s website.
Connect with Eve Picquette on Facebook and Twitter


Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About  
Eve Picquette & Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships

  1. Book – Is a practical guide – gives easy shifts that improve relationships.
  2. Book – Distills wisdom from ancient philosophers to modern scientists.
  3. Book – Was written because we all need to leave “crumbs on the path” for those who follow. 
  4. Book – The angel paintings were so beautiful – the book had to be published for them alone.
  5. Book – The Prayer of St. Francis inspired the author “…let me sow love… where there is darkness, light….”
  6. Eve – is a licensed attorney and has a master’s degree in community mental health.
  7. Eve – read all the Reader’s Digests from World War II as a teenager.
  8. Eve - makes the best potato salad
  9. Eve - likes apple pie best, made with maple syrup, cinnamon and a dash of allspice.
  10. Eve – has older brothers who are physicians and encouraged intellectual inquiry. 

About the Book
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 – 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 Meditation available on Amazon.com. Readers are “Dared to Shift” their thoughts and behaviors and these shifts transform lives and relationships and increase happiness.

If you are ready to try these simple shifts, the results will amaze you. Every encouraging and comforting word in this inspiring and beautifully illustrated self-help book will lead you to the path of peace, happiness, and fulfillment. This is a heart based and spiritually based self help guide at it's best. A treasure to own, it would also serve as a thoughtful, caring, and loving gift.
For More Information
Visit Eve Picquette’s website.
Connect with Eve Picquette on Facebook and Twitter

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

#PUYB - Madeline Wynn's Top Ten Favourite Movies #NowWatching #AmReading #YA @madwynn

About the Author
Madeline Wynn holds a master's degree in procrastination.  When she's not writing, she can be found ghost hunting, gardening and parading around her home state of Connecticut with her husband, dog and two kids.
Her latest book is the YA paranormal, Daughter of the Fallen.

For More Information
Visit Madeline Wynn’s website.
Connect with Madeline on Facebook and Twitter.


Top 10 Movies 

There are some movies that I remember loving as a kid, like THE NEVERENDING STORY and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK that would hold my attention for hours and hours.  No matter how many times I watched them, I couldn’t wait to see them again.  But now, as a mom of two, I admit that some of my favorite movies I now view with a “mom lens” that can change everything. 

I’ve recently watched a few old favorites with the kids and I thought that I’d share some of my interpretations so that other moms can go into re-watching these old favorites well aware of some things that might stand out once you have kids.

10. Star Wars

Somehow, as a kid, I missed the charred bodies of Aunt Behru and Uncle Owen.  My kids, however, picked up on it right away.  But this movie was just as good as it ever was, and the kids use it as one of their go-to movies for long car rides.

9.  Back to the Future

Where is this kid’s mother?  She just lets him hang on to the back of cars while riding a skateboard with no helmet? Mommy had to run and grab a TUMS over that bit. His dad fell out of a tree while spying on his mother as she got dressed?  Isn’t that just a tad stalker-y? The need to point out that we in NO WAY approve of or DO things that we see in movies was overwhelming as we watched.  And honestly, the scene where his mom tries to kiss him has always sort of freaked me out.  But despite all the weirdness, the kids and I both enjoyed this flick.

8.  The Dark Crystal

Hot damn, the Skecsis are just as scary and as hard to spell as they ever were!  Make them go away!  Those weird bird-like murderers gave me nightmares for years and now my own children enjoy the same fears.  But this movie gets mad awesome points because even though the special effects were all puppets and miniatures, the kids still loved it.  Great story, great film.  A winner.

7.  The Princess Bride

I take great personal joy that both my kids now throw down quotes from this movie in random conversations.  Sure, no one else in first grade may know what my son is saying when he shouts, “Inconceivable!”  But it makes me smile inside. 

6. War Games

Explaining the concepts of pay phones and floppy drives was depressing, but the story is epic.  My kids and I were captivated by the story.  And wow, was Michael Broderick young.  Like really, really young. 

Though I did feel obliged to point out to the kids that if they ever thought to hack into a school’s computer systems and change their grades, if you change an F to an A, they will catch you. 

5. Goonies

Hey, you, guys!!  This movie rocks!  Still, if my kids ever rode off on their little bicycles and disappeared all day, I would freak the heck out.  But treasure maps?  Corey Feldmen? Creepy pipe organs made of bones?  Pirate ships?  Creepy bad guys?  This movie is the real treasure.

4. Gremlins

Being the sort of neurotic mom that I am, it took me a while to be able to allow my kids to watch this one.  And still, it was just my oldest and I who watched it one day when he was home sick from school.  And it was great!

That mom with her mad 80s hair kicks butt!  She tossed that gremlin in the microwave and zap!  Heck yeah, moms rock!  See, son?  We’re more than just your minivan-driving, dinner making, tantrum-calming worker bees, we can kill us some monsters!  Heck yeah, Gremlins! 

What?  That sad Santa backstory?  Hide your ears, boy, she meant that her father was pretending to be Santa when he got stuck in the chimney and died.  Look!  Is that Spike riding a motorcycle?

3. Legend

The romance in this movie really sweeps me away, but yes, those elf kids are creepy, and kind of mean to that little fairy.  But damn, Tim Curry’s monster can steal mommy anytime. 

Talk about a muscle-bound hunk of man-meat.  I can totally get past the horns. Think about it, he gives her a chest full of treasure, a killer dress and then demands that she eat?  Sign me up! 

Tim Curry and Tom Cruise can work that unicorn thing out, mommy’s going to be in her room rolling around in pile jewelry and dancing with her new dress.

2. Well, I was going to pick The Little Mermaid, but the kids refused to watch it because it was a “princess movie”.  So, we watched GHOSTBUSTERS.

Bill Murray, what are you doing to your students!  Egads! Eww!  And there is sex in this movie, I didn’t remember the sexy time.  But the flick really is funny, and has it’s truly freaky moments, too.  Good fun, the kids really enjoyed it, and demanded that we eat marshmallows after that last scene, so it was a win. 

1. Labyrinth

All I have to say is, forget the baby, take ME, David Bowie!!  I will dance baby dance all night with you in those hot little pants and funk-tastic wig!  Please? 

Great film.  Great fun.

Also, those guys that toss their heads still creep me out.

About the Book
Most sixteen-year olds aren't worried about the fate of their immortal souls. May Krieg should be.

Typically, honor student May's biggest problems have revolved around her super-hot arch-rival, Jack. But when a school project takes them ghost-hunting in a local cemetery, she discovers that an ominous force roams in the darkness around her.

And it follows her home.

It claws its way into her life, burning messages into her wall and imprinting them onto her body. Even worse, she can't tell if it's trying to possess her... or protect her.

May's thoughts soon become actions, causing the target of her anger severe physical pain and giving her a rush the likes of which she has never experienced.  She quickly realizes that she needs to find a way to reign in this power before she kills someone. May hates the pleasure it gives her, hates herself for hurting others, but she can't stop.

As her entire world shatters around her, she is forced to ask what her soul is worth-- and who would she risk losing her soul to save?

(For readers who enjoy: teen paranormal romance, teen horror, teen romance, nephilim, demons, YA, YA horror, YA paranormal, YA romance, ghost stories)

For More Information
Daughter of the Fallen is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

#PUYB - 10 Things You Will Explore in The Temple of All Knowing by Lee Papa #Religion #Occult

About the Author

Lee Papa’s start in the corporate world was in sales for the Hyatt Regency Hotel chain, which led to being head hunted by a NY based real estate developer. Lee spent the next 11 years as a key employee working in commercial real estate leasing and management in Baltimore, Maryland. Although, commercial real estate was now in her blood and she loved the art of the deal, a different road in the industry was presenting itself and that brought her to heading up the benchmarking division for a Los Angeles based real estate consulting firm. Her job had her traveling nationally and setting up programs to benchmark customer satisfaction. Understanding there was not a one shoe fits all approach to customer surveying, she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey and started with consulting to serve the customized needs of her clients.

Lee’s first book, The Temple of All Knowing, is a memoir of her several years journey prior to her near death experience, through the completion of the 6,000 square foot Ganesha Center in Las Vegas. The book details the roadmap from personal darkness through spiritual, emotional and physical transformation.

Since the completion of the manuscript the Las Vegas Sanctuary for the Spirit evolved by moving to a downtown Las Vegas location and now offers targeted classes and workshops while focusing on a Virtual Ganesha Center supporting individuals and corporations with programs and a Referral Network with expansive reach for optimal awareness.

For More Information
Visit Lee Papa’s website.
Connect with Lee on Facebook.
Visit Lee’s blog.
Contact Lee.


10 Things You Will Explore in The Temple of All Knowing

1 Death


3 Meditation

4 Channeling

5 Psychic ability

6 Energy healing

7 Meaning of life

8 Synchronicities

9 Signs and markers

10 Spiritual development


About the Book

The Temple of All Knowing is a memoir of one woman’s passage from personal and professional turmoil to spiritual awakening. A compelling straight forward and sometimes humorous account of the most personal of journeys as this 40-something woman finds herself in Sin City with promise of a new life, new husband and elderly mother living with her. She instead is uncovered as a central character in the deepest of possible challenges only to break through to discover her authentic spiritual self through a near death experience and a personal mission in Soul City – Las Vegas.

For More Information
 The Temple of All Knowing is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

7 Questions with #Author Kat de Falla @KatDeFalla #AmReading #Fantasy #Series

1. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
That writing can be likened to growing as a person. With every word, sentence, book, and review, I can get better.

2. Will you write others in this same genre?

There are six more coming in this series!

3. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
Be careful, you never know who you’re talking to!

4. How important do you think villains are in a story? 

5. What are your goals as a writer? 
To grow to be a stronger writer with each book.

6. Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?
I just finished Inferno by Dan Brown.

7. Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

The Seer's Lover

For years, Calise Rowe has been able to sense unusual energy from people, making her believe she is different. Pulled into an ancient war raging for centuries between demon hunters and seers, she's about to find out she's right.

Her search for the truth leads her to Lucas Rojas, a seer of angels and demons who walk the earth shrouded from normal human eyes. He's hidden his gift for years and refuses to endanger Calise by sharing it with her.

In the sultry Costa Rican Jungles, their worlds collide. As their passion and desire ignite, so does the ancient war between demons and seers. Will their combined efforts be enough to save themselves and the entire human world, or will their new found love be their downfall?

**Download free music for The Seer's Lover at http://www.bayafaya.com/

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Dark Fantasy
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Kat de Falla through Facebook & Twitter

Monday, 17 November 2014

#PUYB #YA #Giveaway - 10 Things You Don't Know About Erna Mueller @theerna7 @pumpupyourbook

About the Author

I was born in Austria and my family immigrated to the U.S. I loved living here as a child and considered the U.S. my home. My family returned to Austria and of course I had to tag along. I missed the friendly faces and the cultivation of the free spirit which America symbolizes. In Austria I completed my education but always wanted to return, so here I am.

I traveled the world and lived in many exciting cities such as Paris, Munich and London. I currently work as an accountant for a large pizza company in Seattle by day and passionately pursue a career as a writer in my spare time.

My new book, K-9 Cop, is adapted from my multi-national award winning screenplay. The book has won several awards including first place in the 2009 National Good Read Competition sponsored by awomenswrite.com.

Please visit my web site at http://www.k9cop-woofwoof.com for more reviews

• Connect with Erna on Facebook and Twitter.


10 Things You Might Not Know About Erna Mueller

1 I was born in Austria and immigrated to the U.S., returned to Austria to finish my education and happily returned back to America.

2 I had a difficult time adjusting to my homeland Austria; yes the U.S. can spoil a girl.

3 I love good books, especially the classics.

4 I love screenwriting and have won many awards

5 I am a mild mannered accountant by day, but a passionate writer by night.

6 I live in Kirkland Washington, a burb of Seattle. Yes it rains but the beautiful scenery makes up for it.

7 I love the 60’s music and fashion. Yes, the 60’s are calling me and want their Gogo boots back.

My cat Snickers is very grouchy but I love him anyway. What can I say? I am his slave.

9 I dream of becoming a full time writer. Anyone rich want to adopt me?

10 I’m a Christian who will fight for the rights of gays, and although I personally would not have an abortion, I will fight for every woman’s right of free choice. If we only selectively disperse freedom, one day our religious freedom will be selectively taken away.


About the Book

No one thought as highly of Lieutenant Spencer Watley as he did himself. This selfish cop met 14 year-old Justin Andrews during an important stakeout. Determined to nab a group of cyber killers, he wasn’t going to let anything get in his way, especially a smart mouthed teenager like Justin.

After Spencer bids him good riddance, he is killed by the hackers and stands before the gates of heaven. But - what’s this? After a life of putting dangerous criminals behind bars, he’s locked out?

He yells at the angel blocking his entrance, only to find out he needs to go through the J.R.P. program before he can enter. That’s the Jerk Redemption program, otherwise known as sensitivity training boot camp, which to his horror consists of non-stop Oprah and Dr. Phil reruns. Or he can go back to earth and help Justin’s dysfunctional family. Spencer opts for the lesser of two evils, to help Justin.

But the Angel pulls a fast one on Spencer. He can only go back to earth in the body of his K9-Partner. Spencer refuses, but like it or not, Spencer becomes a dog. He falls back to earth and is slowly morphed into a dog that closely resembles a mop.

And if being a dog wasn’t bad enough, Spencer also swallowed an important microchip his killers need to hack into PC’s and steal millions. Now the criminals are hot on his trail for the only existing microchip that’s logged in his belly.

Justin and Spencer butt heads constantly; both are stubborn and willful, neither one wanting to give an inch. Spencer needs to find out what the killers are up to, so he swallows his pride and forms a bond with the boy. Spencer relays to Justin his past and together with the help of Justin’s girlfriend, Shahla; they discover the hacker’s plans. Spencer has broken down Justin’s reserve and he finally learns the meaning of unselfish love.

But it’s too late, the hackers have captured them.

Can Spencer maul the shins (and other choice areas) of his kidnappers and stop them from their evil plan?

Can a selfish man find a heart?

You bet. He just has to become a dog first.

For More Information

• K-9 Cop is available at Amazon.

• Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

• Watch the book trailer at Youtube!

• Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.


Erna is giving away one audiobook of K-9 COP!

Terms & Conditions:

• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.

• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.

• This giveaway begins October 6 and ends Dec 19.

• Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, Dec 22.

• Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

7 Questions with #Author Christopher Mannino (School of Deaths) @Ctmannino #AmReading #YA

Can you tell us about your main character?

Susan Sarnio is a 13-year-old girl who’s losing weight inexplicably. Though her doctors fear anorexia, a much darker cause reveals itself, when a Death brings her to the World of Deaths, and tells Suzie that she’s a Reaper.

Suzie starts as the object of derision and bullying. The men, even her teachers, don’t accept her, since she’s the only female Death. Suzie’s character is resilient. The bullying only serves to make her stronger, and by the end of the first novel, she has turned into a leader. Suzie is also very curious. Her curiosity both propels the plot and sometimes gets her into trouble.

How did you develop your plot and characters?

In the earliest draft, the main character was actually a boy. However, I didn’t feel that he was isolated enough. I rewrote the story about a girl, focusing on a single female alone in a world of men. The mystery elements of the novel then started to develop. I envisioned the entire trilogy at about the same time, though I wrote the first novel as a standalone.

Who designed the cover?

The cover was designed by Anna Spies of Celairen Art, in Bamberg, Germany. She was contracted by my publisher, and did a fantastic job creating a stunning cover.

Who is your publisher?

My publisher is Muse It Up, an independent “small press” in Canada. Muse It Up houses about 300 authors, making it one of the larger small presses. They release books in ebook format first, and then release them in print, pending sales. I’ve found MIU to be a very supportive group of authors who constantly communicate and support each other.

Will you write others in this same genre?

Absolutely, though I hope to branch into other genres as well. I have at least twenty novel ideas in me, which I plan to develop.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Taking a stand for yourself, in even a difficult situation, is admirable. Most people suffer from bullying at some point in their lives, and how we cope with those challenges helps define us.

How much of the book is realistic?
I’ve been bullied, and also know what it’s like to feel completely alone. Those traits are taken from my experience. My experiences as a teacher have helped me bring realistic teens to life. The first chapter, where Suzie deals with weight loss, is loosely based on a girl I knew who suffered from diagnosed anorexia.

School of Deaths

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - YA Fantasy
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Christopher Mannino through Facebook & Twitter

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Girl Who Came Back to Life by Craig Staufenberg @YouMakeArtDumb #Excerpt #MGLit #AmReading


Sophie was twelve years old when her parents died. Three days later, she sat on a hill overlooking her town’s cemetery and watched the gravediggers chip away at the hard winter ground for the better part of the day.

Sophie watched as the sun began to set and two holes appeared in the ground, large enough to fit her parents’ bodies. When she saw the small procession of mourners carry two cheap wooden caskets out of the funeral hall and down the crooked path to the cemetery, she stood up on that hill and walked the other way.

Though they had taught Sophie about the pilgrimage north to the City of the Dead, and though they told their daughter she would have to Send them one day, her parents had died suddenly and never fully prepared her for the realities of life, death, and the journey that lay ahead of her.

In her innocence, she didn’t understand the full weight of her parents’ death. It was just another problem to solve, and as she walked away from the cemetery, back into town and towards her grandmother’s house, she settled on the single obvious solution to her parents’ passing. She would take the pilgrimage north, yet, while the other mourners would travel to say “Goodbye” to their loved ones, Sophie would implement a different plan. She would find her parents’ spirits in the City of the Dead, remind them where they belonged, and return them back home to be with her once more.

Sophie had never heard of the dead coming back from the north, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming of returning to life what death had claimed from her.

When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says “Goodbye,” and Sends you to the next world. 

After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her. 

Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Middle Grade
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Craig Staufenberg through Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

7 Questions with #Author Kate Bracy (That Crazy Little Thing) #AmReading #WomensFic

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in Northern New York, on the border with Ontario – not “upstate” as people say, but “Northern” – and it influenced me tremendously. The winters are harsh, the people are real, and there is a Canadian influence that I see in my worldview. We had to travel to many services (good healthcare, education, concerts, etc.) and it helped me understand the value of urban resources. I live in Washington State now, near Seattle. I appreciate the nearness of cultural riches, growing up so far from cities, but I also seek a place where there is a “small town” friendliness and a general willingness to know and help neighbors.

How did you develop your writing?

I developed my writing by writing at every opportunity by taking many, many classes; by reading many, many books on writing; and by being willing to hear painful critique. I think that combination has served me well, but none of it is easy. I also think it’s important to say that learning about writing can be a comfortable substitute for doing the actual work, so at some point you have to put on your big-girl panties and glue them to your chair. The only way to become a writer is to sit there and write.

Do you plan to publish more books?

I hope to publish more novels and probably some essay collections. In my ideal world I would publish one book a year. (And knit one sweater a year. And make one quilt a year. And take one course a year.) But I don’t live in an ideal world, so I hope no one is keeping track.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…

I am a nurse. I’ve worked as a staff development coordinator, as I do now, and have also worked as a nurse-practitioner, a clinic supervisor, a psychiatric nurse and a medical writer.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I’ve done lots of things that have nothing to do with writing except that, as Nora Ephron’s mom said, “It’s all copy.” I’ve been a babysitter, a line worker in a paper plate factory, a nurse’s aide at a large psychiatric hospital, a waitress in a pizza place, a secretary, a seamstress, and a high school English teacher. Whatever it took to stay employed, I did. Growing up in a small town, the choices were limited. Once I finished college, I had more options.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Right now I live on an island near Seattle. I have to say, I’m pretty happy here. I love the peace it offers, there is a strong writing community, the weather is moderate and it is close enough to the city to take in cultural events. While there are many places I’d like to visit, I’ll probably live here happily for a long time.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

Short answer: yes. Longer answer: it depends. Expanded answer: I write on the desktop computer whenever I can. I have a nice office with a view, and I’m comfortable at the desk and can save the files any way I like, and go back to them later. I use a laptop when I travel or go to classes – I like the portability of it, and the flexibility of what I can do with the material for sharing with others. I have notebooks that I keep near my bed and near my TV chair, so that I can jot down ideas and brief thoughts when they occur to me. Sometimes I take the laptop to a coffee house and write for hours.

I did the final edit on my novel in various coffee places on the island where I live. I also like to take a journal and hike to a quiet place and write. Especially when I’m puzzling through something emotional, this seems to help. So it really depends on where the urge strikes and what I am trying to get down and whether I will wake anyone up if I sit at my computer. I like all these ways of getting things down, but I prefer to do it directly to a computer so that I don’t have to transcribe. I’m not very reliable when it comes to transferring hand written material to electronic files, so much of that writing will be forever stuck in notebooks.

Winner of four independent publishing awards, including the IndieReader Discovery Award in Women's Fiction, this debut novel hits the mark for smart, discerning readers.

There's nothing about her life that doesn't need a little work, so Melanie Davis thinks of herself as a "fixer-upper." Her history with men leaves her gun shy; her teenaged daughter can't string two civil words together; her best friend Donna just found out she has a life-threatening illness. When Donna also reveals a decades-old secret that still haunts her, Melanie makes it her mission to solve the mystery and reunite Donna with a precious link to her past - before it's too late. 

Along the way Melanie discovers with startling clarity the pricelessness of love and friendship. With a finely-tuned emotional compass, Kate Bracy carries us through a trial-by-illness as funny as it is touching. Her narrator, Melanie, comes to realize the enduring power of love - between men and women, between mothers and daughters, between friends. Through her vivid, endearing characters Bracy creates a small-town world in northern New York where old loves rekindle, friendships prevail, and secret wounds are finally healed. This debut novel will leave you with an awakened heart and a strong urge to send postcards to all the people you love.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Women's Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kate Bracy through Facebook


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