Monday, 30 April 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop


My giveaway is a $5 Amazon.com gift card.

Follow me on my Blog, Twitter or GoodReads

Leave me a comment so I'll know who you are.

*This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer 
& Eve's Fan Garden

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Guest Post - Memorable Characters? Who Needs ‘em?


By John Zunski         
   
I was recently asked during a radio interview about characterization. Wait, let me back up...  unless you’re already a fan and you’re reading this you maybe wondering who the hell is John Zunski and why should I care?  My short answer: If you like memorable characters, it might behoove you to introduce yourself to my imaginary friends. They make their residence in Cemetery Street and Shangri-La Trailer Park.

In my humble opinion, great characters are high octane fuel for the story engine. Without deep characters a high-performance plot will ping and knock. Not to mention, memorable characters come with their own stories. Think about your family, friends, or neighbors: the memorable ones all have great stories, or even better, they have unique if not bizarre traits. Ask Barnum and Bailey, they made a name for themselves promoting such characters.  

“John, they exploited those poor folks.” 

Maybe… but, let me ask you this.  Who’s more interesting? 

Granny A is navigating a shopping cart through crowded aisles. She’s tired, the two year-old throwing a tantrum in the candy aisle annoys her, and the inattentive parent angers her, but she says nothing and politely ambles by.
Granny B hops onto an electric shopping cart. She hangs her cane from the handle bar and pulls in front of young couple pushing a cart. “Watch where you’re going,” she snaps. She finds a crowded aisle and steers down it. “Get out of my way,” she barks grabbing her cane, threatening to poke those in front of her. “I’m in a hurry; I don’t have much time left.” 

I don’t know about you, I would rather know Granny A, she’s probably a dear person and bakes great cookies, but, boring! Without question, I want to read about Granny B. I find myself wishing that if I make her age that I’ll have such gumption. 

“John, that’s well and good, but Granny B isn’t believable.”

Dear reader, you haven’t shopped at my local Wal-mart.

Please help me save my sanity; help stop me from shopping at Wal-mart. How? Check out Cemetery Street. You may fall in love with my imaginary friends, and then I could shop at a real grocery store.
         

In a world where dreams are possible and nightmares come true, can you romance a memory? James Morrison thinks so. In a snowy cemetery, James reenacts a childhood ritual unleashing an avalanche of memories. Laugh, cry and blush with James as he recounts a late 20th century American life. 

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Contemporary / Coming of Age
Rating - R
Connect with John Zunski on Twitter & Facebook
Website http://johnzunski.wordpress.com/

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Other Side of Life



Anya and Leticia are partners-in-crime who steal for a living. Their world turns upside down after a chance encounter with fellow rogue, Ithilnin--the enigmatic leader of an Elven band of thieves.

A scuffle to prove who's "the better thief" transforms into more than Anya and Ithilnin ever bargained for. They retrieve the missing piece of an ancient poem, before getting caught in the secret dealings of a megacorporation. What they uncover threatens to alter the very essence of not just human life, but the other side as well.

Elven intrigue, cyberpunk action, and a deadly dose of danger come together in The Other Side of Life [Book #1 in the (Cyberpunk) Elven Trilogy].

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Cyberpunk / Urban Fantasy
Rating - PG13

Connect with Jess C. Scott on Twitter
Website http://jessink.com/tosol.htm

Guest Post - Libraries are Heavenly


By Terri Morgan

I pulled into the parking lot of the library with the best of intentions. Five days earlier I had downloaded four new books onto my Kindle. I had a stack of hardbacks passed along by a friend piled up and unread on the table in the bedroom. I had a heavy workload, with three big freelance writing projects all with looming deadlines. And I had chores galore awaiting me at home, including updating the reading list for my book club, which had met the night before.

'I'm just going to drop off the book kit,' I told myself as I lugged the Blue Bag stuffed with copies of the Mistress of Spices and a Reader's Guide out of the car. 'I've got plenty to read at home. This is just an in-and-out drop off.'

I was so convinced I'd be able to avoid the lure of the library that I left the car unlocked. My resolve lasted, oh about a nanosecond, after I entered the building. 'Hmmm, might as well see if they've got the next book club book,' I told myself. They didn't, but another title by the same author looked interesting. I tucked it under my arm and wandered over to the mystery section to see if there were any books from Henning Mankell's Wallander series I just had to read. I took a detour over to the books on tape section with two books now tucked under my arm.

The offerings reminded me there were a couple of authors I'd recently discovered and enjoyed. I wandered back to the fiction section, and picked up two more novels. I told myself, 'well, since I'm here...' and wandered over to peruse the paperbacks. Finally, about an hour after I had come in I left with my arms bulging with books, mumbling to myself that 'the chores are just going to have to wait.'

I drove home pondering my lack of willpower, and wondering what exactly it is about libraries that make them so irresistible to me. As an avid reader---okay, an addicted reader---the site of all those books just waiting to be read is a powerful lure. I read so many books each week, that it would be impossible for me to support my reading habit if I had to buy each one.

Even if I could afford to buy every book I wanted, I don't have enough room in my house to hold them. Without access to a library, my life would not be as rich, as interesting, and as fulfilling. It amazes me that communities have set aside buildings and filled them with reading materials that anyone, armed with a library card, can borrow. It's my idea of heaven, a place where there is always something good to read.
              


Caitlin is happily married to her best friend, has two healthy children, and enjoys a rewarding career and the love and support of her extended family. Her seemingly great life is marred by an obsessive fear that Caitlin can't shake. Having grown up with two schizophrenic parents, she is terrified with what may be in her DNA, and haunted with the knowledge she may have passed the genes to the disease that robbed her parents of their sanity down to her children.

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - General Fiction / Medical
Rating - PG

Connect with Terri Morgan on Facebook
Website http://terrimorgan.net/

Friday, 20 April 2012

Book Review - The Other Side of Life


Cyberpunk
Different
Unique
Fantasy
Young Adult
Original
Non-conforming


Description
A thieving duo's world turns upside down when an Elven rogue uncovers the heinous dealings of a mega corporation.

Anya and Leticia are partners-in-crime who steal for a living. Their world turns upside down after a chance encounter with fellow rogue, Ithilnin--the enigmatic leader of an Elven band of thieves.

A scuffle to prove who's "the better thief" transforms into more than Anya and Ithilnin ever bargained for. They retrieve the missing piece of an ancient poem, before getting caught in the secret dealings of a megacorporation. What they uncover threatens to alter the very essence of not just human life, but the other side as well.

Elven intrigue, cyberpunk action, and a deadly dose of danger come together in The Other Side of Life [Book #1 in the (Cyberpunk) Elven Trilogy].

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Autism Awareness Giveaway Hope


Organisations in the United Kingdom that can help you
with more information about autism. 

My giveaway is a $5 Amazon.com gift card.

Follow me on my Blog, Twitter or GoodReads

Leave me a comment so I'll know who you are.

*This giveaway hop is hosted by  
~ I Am A Reader Not A Writer
~ Just Another Book Adict
~ Page Turners &
~ Fire and Ice

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Guest Post - Child and Dependent Care Expenses: Not Just For Kids Only

By Cora Parks

By now, everyone with a child under age 13 is familiar with Child and Dependent Expenses, a credit that will allow you to deduct up to 35% of the expenses that you pay on behalf of a qualifying person to allow you to work.  But I bet that you didn’t know that children are not the only ones that qualify.  Here are other lesser  known qualifying individuals that will also qualify you for this credit:

        Your spouse who is unable is unable to care for himself or herself mentally or physically (cannot dress, feed, or clean themselves or who may otherwise injure themselves or others) that has resided with you for more than half the year.

        An individual of any age:
o    That is unable to care for himself or herself mentally or physically (cannot dress, feed, or clean themselves or who may otherwise injure themselves or others)
o   Lived with you for more than 6 months.
o   That qualifies as your dependent 

o   That could have qualified as your dependent except for the following:
  Their income exceeded $3,700
  They filed a joint return

o   The qualifying individuals can be the following:
  Your older child
  Qualifying relative (niece, nephew, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather)

Now to address the qualifications to claim the credit:
1.     You must either have income from work or are a full time student for at least five months out of the calendar year.
2.     The expenses must be incurred to allow you to work.
3.     Other than for nursery, daycare, after school care, or babysitters, you may deduct payments made to the following that provided qualifying care:
a.     Your older child over age 18 that you cannot claim as a dependent.
b.     Other individuals that are related to you that you cannot claim as a dependent. 
c.      A dependent care center that is compliant with all state and local regulations.
d.     A household employee, such as a housekeeper, maid, or cook, whose services are in part related to the well being and protection of the qualifying person.  The expenses for these services must be separated from the expenses incurred for the upkeep of your home. 
4.      Your filing status must be one of the following:
a.     Single
b.     Head of Household
c.      Married Filing Jointly
d.     Married Filing Separately under the following stipulations:
i.      Legally separated from your spouse under a divorce decree or separate maintenance decree. 
 ii.      Living apart from your spouse and all the following are true:
1.     The qualifying person lived with you for more than half the year.
2.     You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the year.
3.     Your spouse did not live in your home for the last 6 months of the year. 

Every care provider, whether an individual or organization, must provide the social security number or employer identification number, name, and address on the Form 2441.  If the organization qualifies as a not for profit organization, you may enter “tax exempt” in the space provided for the employer identification number. 

Even if the care provider refuses to give you their social security number or employer identification number or are given an incorrect number, you will still be able to take the credit under the following conditions:
1.     File a paper return.   Without a number, you will not be able to file electronically.
2.     Show due diligence.  In other words, although you came up empty with the number, you tried to the best of your ability to obtain the information.   When you file your return, you will need to provide the information that you were able to secure, such as name and address on the Child and Dependent Care Expense Form 2441.  On the line for “Employer Identification Number/Employer Identification Number” write “see attached statement”.  The statement should include the following information:
a. Your name
b. Your social security number
c. You requested the information from the care provider but the provider refused to give the information.   You may also provide dates, times, who you talk to, and what happened on each occasion that you requested the number to show that you were persistent in trying to obtain the information.  If you attempted to perform research on the information, for example, you attempted to Google the information and was unsuccessful in finding it, you may also include these efforts as well. 
 
In short, not only your kids but others in your family that require outside care that would allow you to continue your education or being their provider benefit from the Child and Dependent Care Expense.  In shedding new light on this old credit, it becomes more than a tax credit; it becomes peace of mind and may be an additional way to reduce your tax time burden.   

For more information on the full scope of this credit, you may consult the following IRS resources, available at www.irs.gov or by calling 1-800-829-3676 to order by telephone.  



Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - NonFiction
Rating - G


How To Pay the IRS When You're Broke gives you various options to make payments to the IRS and the costs associated with them. Remember, if you do nothing, things will only get worse.


Connect with Cora Parks on Twitter
Website http://www.taxtodaypublications.com/
Blog http://blog.taxtoday.info/

Friday, 13 April 2012

Hoppy Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop


My giveaway is a $5 Amazon.com gift card.

Follow me on my Blog, Twitter or GoodReads

Leave me a comment so I'll know who you are.

*This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer 
& Once Upon A Twilight

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Book Review - Wishbone


Page Turner
Suspense
Sinister
Relationships
Drama
Captivating
Thriller


Description
A Manhattan power couple survive a tragedy and attempt a fresh start only to be plagued by unexplained and disastrous occurrences...be careful what you wish for.

At the age of nine, growing up in the French countryside, Julien Grenier witnessed the brutal murder of his grandfather. Now, at forty-five, he continues to be plagued by horrific nightmares and reenactments of that tragic event.
 
Living a successful though austere lifestyle on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Julien has recreated himself, building emotional walls that even his young wife cannot penetrate.

Though somewhat moody, Julien is a good man with a heart of gold, and a great sense of loyalty and responsibility; enabling his wife, Rachael, to turn a blind eye to his tightly-kept secrets.

Rachael is thirty-two years old; an art dealer and playful free spirit, but after a home invasion assault leaves her emotionally unstable and destroys their care-free and content world, they relocate to a safer environment with the hope of a fresh start.

Kings Hollow is a quaint town, nestled in the serene Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. At first, their new home appears to be the miracle they prayed for, until a traditional children's game begins to destroy their bliss; Rachael is no longer herself and Julien is experiencing a string of bad luck and unfortunate accidents.

At the center of it all is seventeen-year-old Sarah, a part-time caretaker on the property.

Can Julien and Rachael escape the nightmare of Kings Hollow...or is this just Wishful thinking?

WISHBONE is a multi-layered thriller incorporating several sub-plots; in the vein of Pet Sematary, What Lies Beneath, Misery and Stir of Echoes. Dramatic horror at its best, Brooklyn Hudson takes you on a suspenseful roller coaster ride of emotional turmoil and shocking events.
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