Sunday 31 March 2013

#OBSpringFling with Julia Park Tracey - Top Ten Travel Spots

Top Ten Travel Spots for Book Worms by Julia Park Tracey When I travel, I go all word-nerdy on my traveling companions (daughters, husband, sister, whomever). I have to go to at least one place, wherever we are, that has a literary association. That can be for five minutes of contemplation. Or it could be an afternoon walking in the midst of a city where a beloved author or poet lived. Here are my top 10 literary travel spots.


1. Paris – Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Of course the whole city is delicious, for the Lost Generation writers and artists, but this bookstore, which still exists, was a haven for ex-pat Americans. The last time I was there, I bought a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast (a book about Paris) and then I went to the Café Americaine and devoured it with my coffee and croissant. Truly, heaven.


2. London – London is nirvana for Brit-lit nerds like me (I got my master’s in early 20th century British literature.) Walk around Bloomsbury, where Virginia Woolf and her pals hung out. Walk through Hyde Park and stop at the statue of Peter Pan. Pause in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey to honor those brilliant names heralded there. Cross Westminster Bridge and meditate upon the lines composed there by Wordsworth. And by all means, go enjoy a tankard of ale near the reconstructed Globe Theatre, to visit shades of Shakespeare. Even Harry Potter is there, at King’s Cross rail station. Try running through at Platform 9 ¾. Go ahead. I dare you.


3. Bath, England – I’m a Jane Austen freak and my favorite Austen novel is Persuasion, much of which takes place in Bath. Whenever I’m in England, I always stay a night at Bath to walk around and absorb the atmosphere of this gorgeous Georgian city. Guidebooks call it “heartbreakingly beautiful.” I call it steeped in all things Austen. Have afternoon tea in the Pump Room, stroll around the Circus, or be a Jane-stalker like I am. I tracked down every house she ever lived in and took a photo of the front door, and pocketed a leaf or a pebble to enshrine at home. Somewhere. Wish I could find those. clip_image010 4. New York – This city is full of literary lights. When I’m in New York, I go to an open mic night at a bar to share recent work. I stroll through Central Park and enjoy the magic of Strawberry Fields and John Lennon’s memorial. I step into the Algonquin Hotel (59 W 44th St., New York) for a dry martini and read a New Yorker (that’s where all the cool folks of the Algonquin Round Table, that is, early 20th century American writers like Dorothy Parker) used to hang out. And I might find Sebastian Junger’s bar and restaurant, The Half King in Chelsea, for a bite to eat. (505 W 23rd St , New York) clip_image012 5. East Bay, California – There are many poets and writers in Berkeley and Oakland, and I happen to live here, too. Favorite literary spots include Joaquin Miller Park, named for the early 20th century poet; Jack London Square, where his actual Alaska cabin has been brought to rest as a tourist attraction, next to Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon – where London himself drank (48 Webster St., Oakland). Or I head to Telegraph Avenue near the University of California, where many creative people have studied, and street poets expound. Plus: Indian food, tie die, hemp bracelets and vintage clothing. Hell, yes. 6. San Francisco – I lived in san Francisco for five years and loved being able to drop in on the City Light Bookstore (261 Columbus at Broadway), where Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the Beat poets used to hang out, a la Shakespeare and Company. The Edinburgh Castle Pub (950 Geary St.) is central to the annual LitQuake festival ( and there’s always some kind of hip reading series underway. The San Francisco Library is a treasure and a jewel, again with guest speakers and a vast array of resources for writers. Which writers are from San Francisco? Too many to count: Robert Frost, Dashiell Hammett, Lemony Snicket, Armistead Maupin, Gary Snyder, Michelle Tea and more. 7. Salinas, California – Sweet and simple, here is the house where John Steinbeck was born and lived as a boy. Steinbeck, of course, wrote Cannery Row, about the nearby coastal city of Monterey, as well as The Grapes of Wrath and more. Within an hour or so of Monterey and the former canneries, this house is also a restaurant, and makes for a good stop on a California road trip. (132 Central Avenue, Salinas) 8. Salem, Massachusetts – Nathaniel Hawthorne lived here, well after the Puritan witch hunts, but he always felt a little guilty for his ancestors’ participation in those unfortunate days. Hawthorne’s visits to his cousin’s home are credited with inspiring the setting and title of his 1851 novel The House of the Seven Gables. The house is open for tours. The town is particularly fun and spooky during October. Halloween? Why not? (115 Derby St., Salem) 9. Scotland – Bagpipes give me a thrill, and so do the novels of D.E. Stevenson. Many of her novels are set in Edinburgh, including Listening Valley, The Marriage of Katherine, and more of her 40+ early 20th century women’s novels. If you can jump on the train to Glasgow, stop in at the Clutha Vaults (167 Stockwell St., Glasgow), one of the oldest pubs extant in Scotland, and listen to poets share their words. I read there once myself, and it is an experience to share poetry with people who love it. Even further from town is the city of Irvine, where poet Robert Burns once lived and began writing, and the first Robert Burns Club (28 Eglinton St., Irvine) is open for tours, lectures and history about the beloved Scots poet. 10. The literary places I have yet to visit include the smaller villages of England (where so many murder mysteries take place); Stratford upon Avon (where Shakespeare lived) and Oxford, England (the Inklings met there); and any of the locations of Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If I kept a bucket list, those places would be on it. Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist and blogger. Her novel, Tongues of Angels, is live at Amazon and your local bookstore now. Like her at Facebook/JuliaParkTracey or on Twitter@JuliaParkTracey. Photos (courtesy of Julia Park Tracey) At Shakespeare and Company, the bookstore at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie in Paris. Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross rail station, London. The door of one of Jane Austen’s houses in Bath, England. The John Lennon memorial in New York’s Central Park. Jack London’s Cabin and Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon in Oakland, California.

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Genre – Romantic Suspense (PG13)

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Orangeberry Free Alert - Swimming with Maya - Eleanor Vincent


Swimming with Maya - Eleanor Vincent

Amazon Kindle UK

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Memoir

Rating - PG13

Free until 1 April 2013

Previously available only in hardcover, Swimming with Maya demonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent - and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter.
Then at age 19, Maya mounts a horse bareback as a dare and, in a crushing cantilever fall, is left in a coma from which she will never recover. Eleanor's life is turned upside down as she struggles to make the painful decision about Maya's fate.
Ultimately Eleanor chooses to donate Maya's organs. Years later, she is able to hear Maya's heart beat in the chest of the heart recipient. Along the way, Eleanor re-examines her relationship with her daughter, as well as Eleanor's traumatic life as a child and young woman. In a story that has been called "heartbreaking and heart-healing," Eleanor Vincent illuminates the kind of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity it takes to find one's balance after unthinkable tragedy.

Author Interview – Edward Mrkvicka

Tell us a bit about your family. I live in a small rural town in NW Illinois with my son, Eddie, my daughter, Kelly, our dog, Gus, and our cat, Puddin’.

What is your favorite color? Royal purple.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Our house.

When and why did you begin writing? Professionally since 1982. I had retired from banking, which finally gave me time to write as I had always wanted to.

How long have you been writing? All my life, but, as I said, I started writing professionally in 1982.

When did you first know you could be a writer? When I was about 8 years old.

What made you want to be a writer? It’s something I’ve always enjoyed – mostly because I like helping people, and writing is a means to that end.

Do you intend to make writing a career? I intend to keep writing, but I don’t think of it as a career per se.

Have you developed a specific writing style? Informative and conversational.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? Reviewers often note that my books are an “easy read.” I think this is critical for non-fiction writers like myself; i.e., what good is knowledge committed to paper if the reader cannot understand what you’re talking about?

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Genre – Christian Life

Rating – G

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Estelle Ryan – Finding Time

Finding Time

by Estelle Ryan

About ten years ago, I started joking about a get-rich-quick scheme I had thought up. I was going to sell time. I knew this was a fail-proof plan to become a multi-millionaire overnight. I mean, who wouldn’t want longer weekends? A few hours extra every day to wind down after you’ve done all the chores? Right? Well, I ran into a few problems with my scheme – I couldn’t find a supplier. But everyone I spoke to was lining up to buy time from me. It really would’ve worked. Sigh.

So, where do we find time to write? Most writers are not in the fortunate position to be doing it full time. Even those who can afford to, hold on to their day jobs. Then you still have the spouse, kids, house, family, friends and other activities to all take little bites out of your time until you are left with barely enough to sleep.

All logic points to organisation and discipline. But those two words bring forth all the negative associations and rebellion against it. In our everyday lives we are often forced into little boxes. When we have to add another box to our private lives… no, it will destroy all the pleasure we derive from writing.

And this is when I listen to a dear friend of mine who one day blithely gave the most fabulous nugget of wisdom. *Let it become an unthinking habit*. She compared it to brushing your teeth. Every morning and evening you brush your teeth and don’t even think about this. It’s part of your day, part of your ritual that has become automated, mechanical over years and years of repetition. This method of finding time to write also applies to exercise, studying, preparing healthy meals, etc.

At first there will be some thinking and organisation (and discipline) involved. You have to sit down and think of when the best time is for you to write. Next you have to create the perfect, or close to perfect environment for that. And then you have to DO this. Again and again and again and again until it become part of your daily routine.

This is what I did: My best time to write is before 3pm. Any later than that and I have trouble sleeping with my mind being too stimulated. Because of this, my writing time is in the mornings. Where? At home there are simply too many distractions. I work almost exclusively in coffee shops. There I can focus for hours without the sudden need to check something on the internet. You can see loads of photos of these places on my Facebook page. I choose my café’s carefully – music, ambience and the lack of internet are important. But, after years of doing this, I’m now so conditioned, that even with internet, when I sit down at a coffee shop table my focus is on writing, not surfing or fooling around on the internet.

Possibly the most important action I took in finding/making time for writing was when I became selfish, protective and not-negotiable about my writing time. To friends and others it might seem to be a fun time, but in actual fact I am working. That time is now booked as a business meeting and I communicate it as such. Yes, I have loads of fun while writing in a coffee shop, but that time is mine to work, to write! If I had not been as selfish and protective of that time, I would not have published 11 books in less than 6 years.

This might work for you or not. Consider adjusting this to fit into your life, your daily routine and give it a go. With the exception of crazy situations, there is always time if you really want to find it.

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Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG13

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Saturday 30 March 2013

#Orangeberry Book Review - Veiled MistVeiled Mist by Eleanor T. Beaty

Veiled MistVeiled Mist by Eleanor T. Beaty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is as if Sabrina, The Teenage Witch crossed paths with the brothers from Supernatural. Hanna is at an age where impressions are everything. She wants to make a good impression and is shocked at what she slowly finds out about Omelia. I loved the character development of both characters although the Mummy Man did come across as a underdeveloped in some sections.

I loved the way the author has added a contrast to each of her characters. It becomes easy to tell them apart and even easier to connect with. The story flowed well and if you are a YA fan, you will love the twists and turns this book offers.

Would I recommend this read? Oh yes, definitely.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Formatting: 4/5
Pacing: 3.5/5
Offensive content?: PG15 onwards for theme and content.

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

Ten things you don’t know about I Have People by Taylor Dean

Ten things you don’t know about I Have People
by Taylor Dean

1. I Have People is about ‘out-of-control’ anger. In spite of the happy cover, I Have People deals with the sensitive issue of domestic abuse.
2.      I Have People is also about memory loss.
3.      I Have People is about recognizing a good man versus a bad one.
4.      The title, I Have People, was born when I found myself with an empty nest for the first time. As my children called home incessantly, I realized I HAVE PEOPLE and I always will.
5.      My inspiration for I Have People came from a strong dislike for people who can’t control their temper.
6.      My hope for I Have People is that women will read it and realize that verbal and physical abuse is NOT OKAY! EVER!
7.      I’ve written TWO different versions of I Have People. The published version is the first version and it is my favorite.
8.      The second version of I Have People is NOT an amnesia story. Turns out, amnesia was the way to go! Hence, the second version will never see the light of day. I’ve already forgotten about it. What other story?
9.      My heroine’s name, Holly Noel, came from a friend who had a Christmas baby and named her Holly Noel. LOVE!
10.  Gabriel (the hero) and Holly (the heroine) both have Christmas names. Holly Noel (obvious) and Gabriel (the annunciation).

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance (PG13)
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Orangeberry Spring Fling - Dark Lady of Doona by Christine Frost

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Known as “Granía of the Gamblers,” Granía O’Malley makes a high-stakes bet to buy her freedom and the ability to continue her livelihood as pirate queen on Ireland’s west coast. She enters into a dangerous agreement with Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, and soon finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue that is plunging her country, as well as her family, into chaos. 

At war with a cruel governor while serving as one of Walsingham’s many spies, Granía struggles to maintain stability within her family and fleet and provide an enduring legacy for her heir to the seas. A story full of adventure and passion, Dark Lady of Doona portrays the life of a formidable woman who defied traditions by commanding her own fleet of ships and leading her loyal followers into rebellion.

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Genre – Historical Fiction (R)
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Orangeberry Free Alert - Black Hole Sun - David Macinnis Gill

No one, except Durango.

Genre - YA

Rating - PG13

4.0 (20 reviews)

Free until 1 April 2013

Mars stinks.

IThe air reeks of burning fuel; the rivers and lakes seethe with sulfur. In the shadows, evil men plot terror and beasts hunt the innocent. Out on the barren crags of the terraformed planet, there is nowhere to hide. No one to heed a call for help.

Eleanor T Beaty – A Surprise Across the World

A Surprise Across the World
by Eleanor T Beaty
In the late 90’s I wrote a novel called Rangur. My initial intention was to use Polynesian mythology as a central theme along with spirituality. I picked the Polynesian culture because they are very spiritual so I could fit my theme in with their culture and beliefs. I purchased a book for the research on the Polynesian people to learn more about their social behaviors. I did know they ate dogs, which already upset me somewhat— okay, a lot—but I had no idea that in some of the islands they practiced cannibalism. They invited their enemies with the pretext of forging a peace treaty and then ambushed and ate them. I wonder how many time they used that tactic!
I decided the antagonist would be a pirate and also researched pirate activity in that area. As my father was a pirate buff, I had an old book of his and found out that in that area of the world the treasures were not gold so much as weapons and whiskey.  They used these to trade in Asia for spices and silk. And there weren’t that many famous pirates as in the Caribbean to choose from, however I did manage to find an especially interesting one.
Rahmah Bin Jabr was an Arab corsair known as the butcher chief. I love history so the research was fascinating. As an Arab, Rahmah Bin Jabr was not allowed to steal from the living, a very serious offense in his religion, therefore they never pillaged ships until everyone on board was dead. He found a creative way to get around his religion’s rules! Reminds me of the queen in Alice in Wonderland  – off with the messenger’s heads!
Once the book was finished, my cousin—who at that time was traveling often to Turkey—sent me an email saying he had met a guy, whose wife worked for a publisher who was interested in YA books and told me to send my books to her.
I thought this was all a bit far fetched, and I feared Rangur would offend them, as the protagonist was Arab. I had no idea that Turks have a very strong dislike of Arabs, so they actually enjoyed that the bad guy was an Arab.
Still, I thought getting published in Turkey was a long shot, but it happened two years later.
Unfortunately I have a very hard time saying the Turkish title to the book—Karanligin Gozleri, which means Through Eyes of Darkness. It’s in the 5th edition and in the school system. I have an FB fan page for the book based on the number likes it has Rangur is a favorite. Unfortunately I can’t answer my young fans’ messages as I don’t speak Turkish and most don’t speak English. Even so I am moved by their attempt to reach out. A few years later I rewrote the novel, which was just released as Souls of Darkness.
I’m still in awe of how this all went about, that someone across the world would want to publish my novel, before it was published anywhere else. But that’s life, full of surprises!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA / Paranormal 
Rating – PG13
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA / Paranormal 
Rating – PG13
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA / Paranormal 
Rating – PG13
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Jessica Bell – My Top 4 Rules for Being Creative on a Deadline

My Top 4 Rules for Being Creative on a Deadline

by Jessica Bell

Ever struggled with being creative on a deadline? Find yourself pulling your hair out getting those revisions back to your agent/publisher/editor on time? I certainly have. So I’d like to share a few things that helped me push through the pressure.

But first, I have to say, everyone is different. Everyone writes at different speeds, deals with stress in different ways, has different expectations of themselves. So you need to figure out what works for you. But perhaps reading about what my experiences might help you find a procedure you’re comfortable with.

  1. Stop thinking about what other people will think of your work. And write honestly.

Trust me. My first version of my debut novel was written for an audience. It kept being rejected again and again—for five years. And then I found a publisher who saw something in me and made an effort to get to know me. She said my book was good, but that it felt like she was watching the characters through a window. She said: “Go deeper.” So I dug deeper and dragged the truth from my heart and soul. A truth I was afraid to even admit were there. But it resulted in an honest book—a book I didn’t know I had in me. And one, I hope women will be able to relate to. It’s glory-less, but real. And real steals hearts.

  1. You will write faster if you focus on one paragraph at a time. I will never forget Anne Lamott’s advice from Bird by Bird (best book on writing I’ve ever read): write what you can see through a one-inch frame.

The reason I say this, is because knowing how much you have to revise can sometimes be overwhelming, and you might try to get through as much as possible and forget to focus your attention on the quality of your work. If you make each paragraph the best it can be before you move on, you won’t have to return to it..

  1. Divide your revision time into short bursts.

I find that if I give myself only one or two hours a day, sometimes even shorter periods of time, I’m forced to come up with solutions to troubled areas that I wouldn’t normally think of. The brain works in mysterious ways when it’s under pressure, and sometimes a little self-inflicted pressure can push you to great heights. Can you believe I wrote the first draft of The Book in only three days? I did this because I experimented with this idea. It worked. But be careful not to expect too much from yourself. There is nothing worse than becoming unmotivated due to not reaching personal goals. Which brings me to my fourth rule …

  1. To start with, set your goals low.

Set goals that you know for a fact you can reach. If you set them too high, and continuously fail to meet them, you are going to feel really bad about yourself. This may result in neglecting your goals all together. I know this from personal experience. If you later realise that you are meeting your goals with ease, gradually make them more challenging. But I strongly urge you to start small. It’s better to meet easy goals, than to struggle meeting difficult goals. It’s a major hazard for self-esteem, motivation, and creativity.

How about you? What rules do you live by when revising your work?


If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written.

Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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#Orangeberry Author Interview - DA Serra

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? Never doubt that a small group of committed, thoughtful people can change the world.  It is, indeed, the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead
This is one of my favorite quotes because of the underlying paradox, which doesn’t immediately occur to most readers. How people react to this quote tells me much about their unconscious nature:  do they see this thought as positive?  Or negative?  I do not believe that Dr. Mead meant it negatively – but words, you know, slippery creatures.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I am an intrepid traveler and I especially like exotic solo travel. I feel most accomplished as a person when I step off of a plane by myself in the middle of China, or Russia, or the Czech Republic, and although I do not speak the language, and everything around me is strange, I push myself into the unknown thinking “I can do this.”

When did you first know you could be a writer? It took me a long time to commit to writing as a way of life and not simply a personality trait.  I tried numerous other jobs while always writing on the side.  Then, I got “down-sized” while working at an advertising agency in New York City.  I was about twenty-five years old.  I decided I needed to figure out how to actually making a living as a writer.  I knew all of the steady work was in Los Angeles and so I moved there and began screenwriting.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? My writing friends have been known to call me a stem cell writer.  Where many of them specialize in particular genres or formats, I have had assignments in nearly every genre: comedy, horror, drama, thriller, docu-drama, children’s, and in all categories:  fiction, non-fiction, adaptation…I am most happy when switching around.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? In the beginning, it was all about getting paid.  I needed to support myself first.  I understood that very practical exigency, and so I was influenced to write what I believed would sell.  Later on, I began to do more of what appealed to me.  Not surprisingly, when you must make money writing, the drive to turn-out pages is enhanced, and so I do not think that was a negative at all.  While I was creatively frustrated at the time it taught me so much, and it has influenced the way I work ever after.

Who is your favorite author and why? Sounds like a simple question – it’s not.  Writers are so different it is like asking what is your favorite thing to eat?  I’d ask for which: breakfast, dessert, dinner, on a hike, a picnic?  You get the picture. I admire and appreciate so many writers for different reasons: if I’m reading history I love Thomas Cahill and I’ve read his hinges of history series several times; for essays, to my mind, there is not a living or dead writer who can match David Foster Wallace in psychological insight, humor, vocabulary, or erudition; for fiction, I will always read Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver.  All that said, if I were forced to choose one writer, just one, I would choose Charles Dickens. Dickens is in a world of his own.  His fiction writing literally changed society, influenced child labor laws, helped to abolish debtor prisons, and gave a human face (however ugly) to both sides the French Revolution and Reign of Terror.  He makes me laugh and cry while composing some of the most beautiful and often recited passages in English literature.  Can anything more be expected of a writer?

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? On my Kindle I’m reading Justine by Lawrence Durrell, on my iPhone I listening to Kafka on the Shore by Murakami, and in paperback I just picked up The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley.

Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why? Yes, I just read a book by Alice Albinia titled Leela’s Book.  Albinia is a British writer who spent a number of years in India.  This is a captivating modern take on an ancient epic text.  She is a beautiful writer.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? Try to read outside your usual genre.  I run into readers who say they only like thrillers or romance or fantasy.  I believe this is more habit than reality.  Dabble a bit.  Now that you can do this inexpensively with ebooks I encourage you to reach out and about.  You may surprise yourself.

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Genre - Thriller
Rating – R
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Friday 29 March 2013

Orangeberry Spring Fling - Playing the Genetic Lottery by Terri Morgan

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"Caitlin’s story touched me deep in my soul" ~ Marina

"Terri Morgan's depictions of the disorder are realistic as well as haunting." ~ Allizabeth Collins

At fifteen, Ava ran away from home and changed her name to Caitlin to escape the chaotic childhood of having two schizophrenic parents. However, she lives with the constant fear of what lies in her DNA. Will she succumb to the disease that robbed her of a normal childhood? Will her children be the next victims of the family curse?

"its a roller-coaster ride of emotions" ~ Sandra

Looking for an emotional and touching story of human strength and overcoming obstacles? Read Terri Morgan's fictional memoir PLAYING THE GENETIC LOTTERY.

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Fictional Memoir (PG13)
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Tamara Carlisle – Top 10 Real Locations from Away from the Spotlight

Top 10 Real Locations from Away from the Spotlight
by Tamara Carlisle
I thought that it would be fun to show ten of the real locations I used as a basis for some of my fictional ones in Away from the Spotlight.
1. The Royalist = Ye Olde King’s Head Pub, Santa Monica, California
One of my favorite places in the world is the Ye Old King’s Head Pub. I met my Scottish husband there. A frequent destination for foreign travelers and ex-patriots, I thought it was the perfect place for Will and Shannon to meet.
2. Callaghan’s = O’Brien’s Pub, Main Street, Santa Monica, California
Another great pub is O’Brien’s on Main Street in Santa Monica. In light of the dim lighting and the bands that play there, I thought it would be a good place for Will to go where he could feel relatively safe from being recognized.
3. Sweeney’s = O’Brien’s, Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, California
When my husband played for the Santa Monica Rugby Club, O’Brien’s on Wilshire was the club hangout. Since Will and Colin both played rugby (like my husband), I used this pub in Away from the Spotlight.
Area, I have
4. Mexican Restaurant = El Cholo, Los Angeles, California
This place has the best margaritas in the world and was close to where I lived when I was in law school. The seasonal green corn tamales are one of my favorite meals. It is a popular place to go for drinks or a meal after USC football games. I travel to Los Angeles for two USC football games per year and my friends and I always go to El Cholo afterward whenever possible.
5. Chinese Restaurant = Chin Chin, Brentwood, California
I love Chin Chin and used to frequent the Beverly Hills location. The peanut noodles are one of my favorite foods in the world. Since Will MacKenzie lived in Pacific Palisades, I decided to use the closer Brentwood location rather than the Beverly Hills location.
6. English Manor House Hotel = Cliveden, Taplow, England
The hotel where Will and Shannon got engaged is based on Cliveden which, as you can see, is absolutely breathtaking. I attended the wedding of one of my best friends from USC there (that friend is the basis of Annie in Away from the Spotlight).
7. London Wedding Reception Location = Claridge’s, London, England
The London wedding reception takes place at an unnamed art deco hotel. I based the hotel on the gorgeous Claridge’s. I have never stayed there, but would love to someday.
8. California Wedding Reception Location = City Club, Los Angeles, California
I used the venue for my own wedding as the venue for Will and Shannon’s wedding reception in Los Angeles. As you can see from the photo below, the view from the top of the Bunker Hill high rise that houses the club is spectacular.
9. Shannon’s Apartment = West Los Angeles, California
I lived in an apartment building that looked like this after I graduated from law school so I thought it would be a good one for Shannon when she moved out of Will’s housel.
10. Will’s House = Pacific Palisades, California
With the exception of the brown trim and garage door, and the apparent lack of close neighbors on either side, this is how I imagined Will’s house:
I hope you enjoyed this Away from the Spotlight sightseeing tour. Thank you for joining me and I hope you like the story.

away from the spotlight
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Genre – Contemporary Romance (PG13)
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Author Interview – Lori Stevic-Rust


How did you come up with the title? Greedy for life is my grandmother’s philosophy of life. She lives life with purpose and passion. She never settles but rather absorbs moments in life like a sponge. As her 101 year old birthday approaches, she still claims that she want to see more, do more, love more and live more.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? Everything about writing this book was different and often difficult for me given that my other books were clinical in nature. First, writing in the first person was uncomfortable. But the trade- off was there was no research, footnotes, or reference sections to be concerned about which allowed me to concentrate more on the story and the message.

What was the most difficult? The most difficult part of writing this book was revealing my personal life stories.  I felt exposed and vulnerable but Nana reminded me that it is through the sharing of our stories that we inspire each other.  That said, I found myself awake at 2:00am the day before this book was to be released thinking—- —oh my God my dad is going to read chapter 7.

Will you write others in this same genre? The response to this book has been overwhelming. I had no idea what to expect going into this. I often thought who will care about my life stories? Surprisingly, it seems that we are all walking down similar paths in our lives and many of the stories resonate with readers.

Since the book was released last month, I have been offered many speaking opportunities to talk about the themes in the book—not only from the perspective as a psychologist but as a middle aged woman of a five generational family. It appears that the topics are of importance to many. So, I am “polling the audience” during my speaking engagement for topics that readers want to hear more about….stay tuned.

Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor?” yes. Dr. Deborah Plummer was my high school psychology teacher who set me on my path as a psychologist. As a fellow psychologist and author, she has served as my mentor for many years. In fact, she was the one who encouraged me to write a memoir and has continued to support me through this process. But above all she has been one of my most treasured friends.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Love to garden, golf, read, spend time with my family.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? Produced a book filled with a compilation of stories about my family and they love it. Promotion for the book also included the creation of beautiful professional photos and videos of my grandmother–valuable for promotion of the book but priceless for us as a family.

Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us? I am giving several talks and television interviews in the greater Cleveland area.

4/1/13 Fox 8 news in the morning 8:00-830am

4/1/13 Entrepreneur Club Radio 430pm

4/4/13 Cleveland City Club event—sponsored by Kent State University

4/24/13 Female Entrepreneur Summit—sponsored by CBC magazine and Ahuja Medical Center, COSE  —Cleveland Oh

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? To embrace my grandmothers philosophy and live greedy for life by maintain a purpose and absorbing moments with gratitude.

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Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

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Thursday 28 March 2013

Author Interview – Sunny Benson

Tell us a bit about your family. My family consists of a husband, a two-year-old son, a set of ten-month-old twins, and two dogs. The kids outnumber the adults. The dogs side with the kids. My husband and I are doomed.

What is your favorite quality about yourself? That I value my family above all else.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I’m sometimes too analytical at the expense of the emotional side of things.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “Chance favors the prepared mind” by Louis Pasteur, a quote chock-full of sagacious truth and delightful irony.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Having my kids. So adorable, so squishy, so smiley, kids make the world a happier, less jaded, and more magical place.

What is your favorite color? Red. Santa Claus, fall leaves on fire, handsome firemen on fire trucks, so many things to love.

What is your favorite food? Cheerios. My idea of nirvana involves lounging on a couch with a good book in one hand and a box of Cheerios in the other.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Hiking on any scenic and peaceful nature trail with my family.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I grew up in a blue collar, middle class family in the Fargo, North Dakota metro area. The protagonist in my mystery series possesses a similar upbringing and resides in the same setting. I’m a computer scientist with degrees in computer science, biology, and chemistry, so I gave my protagonist a background in chemistry and computer science to enable me to integrate those subjects into storylines.

When and why did you begin writing? I started writing a decade ago, when I needed a break from reading. Many authors would probably concur that the functioning of the subconscious mind while writing is fascinating. My favorite part of writing occurs when the story takes a twist my conscious mind doesn’t see coming.

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Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG13

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Wednesday 27 March 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - Temptation (Under Mr.. Nolan's Bed) - Selena Kitt


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Genre - Romance

Rating - MA

4.4 (29 reviews)

Free until 29 March 2013

"Lead us not into temptation..." ~Matthew 6:13
What happens when you fall in love with your best friend's father?
Leah is a good, Catholic girl, and she and Erica have been best friends since their first communion. Sure, Erica's father is handsome and charming, but Leah spends so much time at the Nolan's--just Erica and her famous, photographer father now, since Erica's mother died--that she's practically part of the family.
Both girls have led privileged, sheltered lives and are on the "good girl" track at St. Mary Magdalene's Preparatory College, Leah pursuing her love of dance and Erica sating her endless curiosity as editor of the newspaper. Neither of them could have ever imagined that one fateful discovery will not only push the boundaries of their strict, repressive upbringing, but the bonds of their friendship as well.
Leah certainly never could have imagined finding herself torn between her best friend and her best friend's father. Sure, Leah's mother had always talked about Mr. Nolan as "a catch," but Leah herself had never thought of him as anything other than just Erica's dad--until the girls discover something darkly erotic under Mr. Nolan's bed, a deep, shameful secret that will not only lead them into temptation, but will deliver them into a far greater revelation than any of them could ever have imagined.

She danced with the memories, she danced the sin and shame of her own lust, the final acquiescence to her body's need, and the sweet triumph of reaching that peak. The dance was hers now, no longer anything she had learned. It was the pure expression of her essence, every feeling and thought that had been running through her head on some endless loop.
When she finally collapsed in a heap in the middle of the floor, breathless and panting, she felt like crying, as if her body had been filled to bursting and it must now have some sort of deliverance. The dance she had hoped would exhaust and deplete her had simply served to energize her further. Leah lifted her head, opening her eyes slowly, and saw him standing there in the shadows, like a dream.
Her heart fluttered to her throat like a trapped butterfly and her hand leapt there, as if she could catch it. He was watching her, just outside of the circle of lamplight, leaning against one of the tall supports she and Erica used to dance around that ran floor to ceiling throughout the warehouse.
"Mr. Nolan?"
She heard the click of his throat as he swallowed dryly. "You're so beautiful."
The look on his face was the one straight from her imagination, like he worshipped her, and at the same time, like the big bad wolf accosting an innocent red riding hood, like he wanted to eat her all up.
"I didn't mean to wake you." Her voice was barely a whisper. "I just... couldn't sleep..."
"So fucking beautiful."
She was stunned to silence, lips parted with words she couldn't speak, staring at him as he took a step toward her, the light on his face now, a wolfish look in his eyes making her skin bristle all over. She had never heard Mr. Nolan swear before. Ever.
"Leah..." Her name on his lips was like a caress. His gaze moved over her, no tights, no leg warmers, no toe shoes. He'd seen her like this a hundred times of course, but she had never felt so naked. The look on his face changed when he met her wide eyes. She saw the emotions cross his features, from horror and shame to something like anger. "Jesus. Go to bed."

Orangeberry Book Of The Day – Playing Nice by Rebekah Crane

Martina “Marty” Hart is really nice. At least, that’s what people think.

It’s Marty’s junior year at Minster High. Minster’s a small town where making great grades, smiling pretty, helping old people, running the new-student Welcoming Committee, and putting up decorations for all the dances–including the totally awful Hot Shot fall hunting celebration–gets you … what? Marty’s not sure.

Instead of dreaming about a sororities-and-frats future at nearby University of Michigan, she’s restless, searching for a way out of the box her controlling mother and best frenemy Sarah have locked her in. When Lil–don’t call her Lily!–Hatfield transfers to Minster, Marty gets her chance. Lil’s different. She smokes, wears black, listens to angry punk records, and lives in a weird trailer with her mother. Lil has secrets–secrets that make her a target for all the gossiping and online bullying Minster can muster. But so does Marty. And Marty sees something different in Lil. Something honest. Something real.

Playing Nice is the achingly real story of a girl who’s been following the rules for so long she’s forgotten who she was when she started. It’s about falling in love with the wrong people and not seeing the right ones, about the moments in life when you step out of line, take a chance … and begin to break free.

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Genre – Young Adult / Bullying

Rating – PG13

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