28 July, 2016

Party with a Plan by Randy Haveson -Book Spot Light

Book Description:


Finally! Here is a proven, practical way to drink alcohol and lower your risk for problems. Up until now, there have been two primary messages when it comes to drinking alcohol. One is “just say no,” which for the majority of the population is not an option. The other is to “drink responsibly.” But what does that mean? If you ask five random people to define responsible drinking, you will most likely get five completely different answers. This invalidates the term because it can be defined in so many different ways. Party with a Plan® gives a concise and research based formula that teaches people how to drink and lower their risk of negative consequences. It’s like creating a speed limit for drinking. If you stick to the speed limit, your chance of problems is minimal. However, the more you go over the speed limit, and the more often you go over the speed limit, the more you put yourself and others at risk. This book is long overdue!


Book Trailer:




Author's Bio:

Randy Haveson knows addiction. As an alcoholic in long-term recovery (May, 1984), he has dedicated his life to helping others make more empowered choices in their lives. He is a 25 year veteran in the substance abuse field with extensive experience as a counselor, Director of Health & Alcohol Education at highly accredited universities, and speaker on over 100 campuses, speaking about harm reduction, self-esteem, leadership, and supporting students in recovery.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Until next time,








27 July, 2016

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

Author: David Meredith

Genre: Fiction

Source: A free e-review copy from the author

Blurb:


What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

My Review:

This is the story of introspection of a queen through a magical mirror which can talk. The mirror says it shows only the reflection of her thoughts, her past scars which she couldn't forget, her positive attitude and courage which she forgot now.

We all have good times and bad days in our life. When we are in a confusing state or in depression, we should remember the days when we fought back in our life and won. Instead, if we are surrounded by the negative thoughts, the situation becomes tough. We always need to introspect regularly to know who we are, what we are capable of and how lucky we are to have our basic needs fulfilled. This is the gist of the book. The author conveys the message very clear through the magical mirror.

If you are looking for a story with twists, you can skip this. But, if you want to understand the importance of introspection in your life, this might appeal to you. 

My Rating: 4/5 

Ps: I have received this free review copy in exchange of an honest review and this is my unbiased opinion on the book.

Purchase Link:


About the Author:

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee as well as a Tennessee State Teaching license. He is currently a doctoral student in Educational Leadership. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

Until next time,





Linking this to #WritingWednesdays hosted by WriteTribe.

After the fire by Mary J Williams - Book Promo




Contemporary Romance

Date Published: June 22, 2016

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A STAND-ALONE NOVEL

In his lifetime, Gaige Benson has dreamed of only two things. Playing football and Violet Reed.

WELCOME TO THE NFL

The Seattle Knights have the hottest players in the game. On and off the field.

Second Chances. First Love.

Gaige Benson is the NFL's golden boy. He's done it all. Won every award. Except that elusive Super Bowl ring. This year he is hanging up his cleats and he plans on going out a winner.

Even a golden boy has secrets. Will Gaige's past be the one thing that derails his future?

Violet Reed almost lost it all. Her sight, her dreams of becoming a doctor, and the only man she ever loved. A miracle saved the first two. Sixteen years later she is getting her second chance at love.

Secrets kept them apart. Will the truth separate them forever?

Get your copy of the stand-alone sports romance readers are calling an emotional, page-turning thrill-ride.




Each book in the series is a stand alone novel. Other books in this series are:


After the Rain

After All These Years
EXCERPT


PROLOGUE

SHE HAD ONCE asked him if he believed in a higher power.
God? Buddha? Fairies dancing around a blazing fire late at night? Something. Anything bigger than us.
Gaige Benson hadn't known what to say. Not then. But as he stood in the empty open-air stadium—the stars lighting the evening sky—he knew the answer.
Football was his religion. The field he played on and the building surrounding it, his cathedral. If a higher power had a hand in it, then his answer was yes.
He believed.
Walking to the center of the field, Gaige took it all in. He found football at the age of thirteen. A boy who saw his future mapped out. Working in a factory. Drinking away his salary. Divorce. Doling out child support without maintaining a relationship with his children. A weekend father, who half the time didn't bother to show up.
The first time Gaige picked up a football, he felt a connection. The first time he threw it, it wobbled with the grace of a drunk leaving his favorite watering hole on a Saturday night. But it didn't matter. He threw the ball again. And again. Until he taught himself to make it spin in a perfect spiral.
At the time, Gaige didn't know his talent could be useful. Where he came from, Brooklyn kids didn't dream of bigger or better. Most of them didn't dream at all. Gaige was no different.
One day he was passing a playground when a football landed at his feet. The boys on the field yelled for him to toss it back. Without thinking, Gaige sent it sailing, a perfect strike. Then kept walking. He was wary of the man who ran after him. Strangers were the enemy—according to his father. They either wanted money or accused you of something you hadn't done.
Gaige took everything his father said with a big grain of salt. Don Benson didn't have a dime to his name. Why would anyone expect to get money from him? And if a man accused his father of something, chances were he was guilty.
But Gaige was a cautious boy. He fought when necessary and ran when he had no choice. The man trying to get his attention was big. His dark complexion didn't worry Gaige. In his experience, a man was either good or bad. The color of his skin had nothing to do with it.
It turned out that this man wasn't simply good. He was the best thing that ever happened to Gaige.
Terrance Aldridge coached the local Pop Warner football team. A boy with an arm like Gaige's shouldn't let his talent go to waste. Gaige listened. Play football? On a field? With other boys? Was such a thing possible? He didn't know if it were a scam—nor did he care. If there were the slightest chance, he would take it.
The only obstacle was getting a parent's permission. Terrance gave him the papers to be signed, telling Gaige to have his folks call him if they had any questions. Gaige didn't laugh aloud, but he wanted to. His mother never asked questions. Unless they were directed at his father. Wynona Benson hadn't made a move in fifteen years unless she received permission first.
His father was another matter. His word was law. Don Benson could do no wrong. If he drank too much and staggered home two days late, it was his right. If he backhanded his wife—just because—whose business was it? He earned the money. He made the rules. End of discussion.
Gaige hadn't asked his father because he knew what the answer would be. No! Not because he thought there was anything wrong with football. He watched it every Sunday—after laying down a bet that he never won. No, he wouldn't let Gaige play because he was a mean bastard who wanted everyone to be as miserable as he was.
Gaige got around it easily enough. He forged his father's signature. It wasn't the first time and it wouldn't be the last. There was no reason to think anyone would find out. His parents didn't care how he spent his days as long as the police didn't come knocking on the door.
He could steal. Lie. Cheat. Hell, his father wouldn't bat an eye at murder. Do what you want as long as you don't get caught. The mantra at the Benson house. 
Gaige had no intention of his father finding out. He tried out for the team and made it. The money for equipment was another matter. Gaige didn't steal. Or cheat. Lying was a necessary evil. He would have done almost anything to play but it looked like his first and only dream would die before it had a chance.
Luckily, Terrance was able to dip into a discretionary fund to help boys like Gaige. It rankled to take charity. Especially when the other boys on the team had families to pay their way.
"Don't let it stop you, Gaige," Terrance told him. "Remember. And one day, when you have the means, pay it forward, son."
Twenty-five years later, Gaige hadn't forgotten that kindness and generosity. When he saw someone in need, he did something about it. Over the years, the Gaige Benson Foundation paid out millions of dollars to charities and individuals. He had filled the board with people he trusted and could count on to distribute the funds judiciously and without prejudice. The first man he had recruited was the man to whom Gaige owed everything—Terrance Aldridge. Friend. Father figure. Teacher.
"Hey, Gaige." Logan Price called out from high in the stands. "You coming? The guys are waiting to go to dinner."
"Five minutes."
Closing his eyes, Gaige breathed in the air. February in Texas. Tomorrow he would play in his first—and last Super Bowl. Win or lose, he was hanging up his cleats. He was thirty-eight years old. He had more money than he would ever need. He had won every award from Rookie of the Year to league MVP—four times.
This season he put everything on the line to get here—including the possibility that he had lost the only woman he had ever loved.
Gaige Benson was known for his razor-sharp focus. Any distractions off the field were left there as soon as the first whistle blew. It wouldn't be any different tomorrow. Nothing would get in the way.
His gaze drifted to the section where she would be sitting. If she showed up. Gaige planned on going out a winner. But what about the day after? Or the day after that? His future stretched out in front of him. He had plans in place. There were hundreds of options for him to consider.
Do you believe in a higher power?
Her voice and that question had haunted Gaige for almost sixteen years. If there were a God, he prayed the woman he loved would find it in her heart to forgive him. He had a lot of years left. He didn't want to spend them alone.
In his lifetime, Gaige Benson had dreamt of only two things. Playing football. And loving Violet Reed.



Mary J. Williams is an author from Washington State who went to school in a small town on the Columbia River. She loves writing, reading, and football.  She always wanted to write a novel and she always knew it would be a romance novel. But it wasn’t until her favorite football team lost the Super Bowl on the last play with an interception, that this dream began to come to fruition. She was so depressed that she tuned out all the media. Without television, internet, or newspapers, she had nothing else to do, so she sat down and started writing. Her first romance series, Harper Falls contains four books. Mary has released two new series in 2016, Hollywood Legends and One Pass Away (which combines her love of football with her love of romance).

Contact Links


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On Sale for just $0.99 through the end of July!

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Until next time,

26 July, 2016

Scared witchless by Amy Boyles - Book Spot Light


Mystery, Cozy Mystery 
Date Published:  June 28, 2016


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A witch. A murder. A wedding dress?

Dylan Apel is having one heck of a summer. She knows her hand-made clothing is special, but magical? Discovering that she's a witch is bad enough, but when Dylan realizes there are folks who’ll kill to possess her witchy powers— that’s enough to make a girl want to hide out in the back of her boutique. Only problem is, Queen Witch is in town, itchin’ to make sure Dylan learns to cast spells, and this witch won’t take no for an answer.

Dylan must learn fast—someone just killed her best client with a poisoned gown meant for Dylan. Was it the tall, mysterious hottie in black, who's suddenly everywhere she goes? After all, the first thing Roman Bane says is he doesn't like witches. Is he here to save her, or kill her?

Dylan is barely getting a handle on her new powers when she finds herself surrounded by witches bossing her this way and that, local police nosing about, and wary clients—death by clothing is not good for business. And the solstice is coming … a time when witch powers are at their peak. Can Dylan survive the chaos long enough to figure out her new life?




EXCERPT


CHAPTER ONE

"If that ain't the other side of stupid, I don't know what is."
Reagan Eckhart, all platinum-blonde ninety-eight pounds of her, shoved a newspaper in my face. I winced, barely avoiding a massive paper cut to the nose.
"Those idiots put you in Arts and Leisure. You should have been on the front page of the Birmingham News." She tapped the newspaper with a single red fingernail. "With as much business as you do, Dylan Apel, you should have been the main story of the day."
"Don't you think technically they should have put me in the business section?" I said.
Reagan fluffed the foot of hair teased up at her crown. At least it looked like a foot. Okay, it wasn't a foot—only six inches. But those were a tall six inches. Big enough to practically be their own person. "Whatever," she mumbled.
The debutante was in rare form today. Reagan was dressed to the nines in a black halter top and pants that resembled Spandex. Personally, I was waiting for her to break out into the chorus of “You're the One That I Want,” à la Olivia Newton-John. Harry Shaw, her fiancé—a smallish, bald financial advisor—definitely wouldn't join her if she did. His idea of playing John Travolta probably resembled hot-and-heavy talk about how gross grease and lightning were and why would you want to put the two together?
I grabbed the paper and scrutinized the picture of me and my sisters, Seraphina and Reid. Bright, beaming smiles on our faces, we stood in front of our side-by-side stores—Perfect Fit and Sinless Confections. Seraphina, tall and slender, her hair shimmering like glass in the sunlight, looked absolutely perfect. Even Reid, my eighteen-year-old baby sis, looked cherubic and innocent, her doe eyes and cheeky smile radiating youthful exuberance.
Then there was me. I sighed. It had taken two hours to smooth my hair, and it had still frizzed on the edges. I wasn't as tall or slender as Seraphina. But what I lacked in athletic build, I made up for in curves. Good for me. I might not look statuesque and perfect, but I could put on a slutty dress and have enough T and A to get noticed.
Was that a zit on my cheek?
"When I realized you had this store, Dylan," Reagan said, "and I saw how beautiful the dresses were, I told Harry—I said, 'Harry, that's who's going to design my wedding dress.' Didn't I, hon?"
Harry, nose-deep in the business section, remained silent.
Reagan kicked him.
"Ow!" Harry rubbed his ankle. "What'd you do that for?"
"Didn't I, Harry? Didn't I say that?"
Harry shrank a little, his bald pate looking even balder under the fluorescents. "Yes, of course you did, dear."
Poor guy. He probably wouldn't last a year in the marriage. He'd be whipped, beaten down and likely castrated after two months. 
Did I say that out loud?
"Anyway," Reagan continued, flitting about the room. "I told Harry, Dylan Apel and I were best friends in high school—"
"Mortal enemies," I corrected.
"—and of course she's going to be the one to design my dress." Girlfriend didn't miss one beat. I don't think Reagan listened to what people said. Did she even hear them when they talked?
From the corner my assistant, Carrie Dogwood, snickered. I shot her a look of warning. She turned a deep shade of red and pretended to straighten a rack of sequined gowns.
"Reagan, do you want to see your dress again?" I asked.
"Of course," she squealed. "I can't get enough of it."
Carrie crossed to me. She leaned over, kept her voice low. "Wonder what she'll complain about this time."
I turned away from Reagan. "Hopefully nothing," I whispered. "Can you grab the dress?"
"Sure thing."
An unfinished blue gown caught my attention. The color of a robin's egg, the dress would be the envy of the Silver Springs solstice banquet, what with its deep vee neckline and overlay of chiffon. I needed to finish it before the dance, which was barely two weeks away.
I sighed. I'd been working a lot lately, thanks to Reagan's never-ending changes to her gown. There was less than a week until the wedding, and after that I'd have plenty of time to work on my own dress. That is, if I survived Reagan for a few more days.
I stared vacantly at the gown until a bodiless hand thrust the newspaper into my face once more. Reagan popped up in front of me and wiggled the now crumpled article. "But this reporter nails it. She absolutely gets it right. I could have gone anywhere for my dress, but there's just something about your gowns and your sister's food. It's like I'm transported to another place. I don't know how to describe it."
I had heard the same mantra over and over from clients. There's something about your clothes that I can't put my finger on. It's almost like they're magical.
Yeah. Right. Not that I didn't appreciate the compliment. Believe me, I did. So did Sera. If it weren't for the folks in our lakeside community of Silver Springs, Alabama, we'd be beggars. Hoboes maybe. Vagabonds most likely. And not the good kind. Not the sexy kind you see on the covers of romance novels.
Wait. There weren't hoboes on those. Well, anyway, we'd be dirty, covered in rags that smelled of oil and sweat, with grit under our fingernails that not even the best manicure technician could lift.
"Here's the dress," Carrie said.
Reagan's smile vanished. "Oh."
My dreams, my hopes, my wishes for a beautiful future crashed and exploded like a car careening off a cliff in a 1970s B movie. What could possibly be wrong this time—the hundredth time? I swear, every occasion this girl saw her dress, she found something to criticize. It was a wonder I hadn't strangled her before now.
I smoothed the lines of frustration that were forming on my forehead. "What's the problem?"
Reagan wrinkled her nose. "It's just…well…that's a lot of sequins."
I took a deep, cleansing breath and thought happy thoughts. "Last week you wanted more sequins. You said it didn't have enough bling."
Carrie bit back a giggle.
I flashed her a seething look. I mean, seriously. I knew it was funny, but it was only good service not to laugh at the customer while she's standing right in front of you. At least wait until the door hits her backside as she's leaving.
"Well," Reagan said, "last week there weren't any sequins. What were there? Like five on the whole thing?"
I steepled my fingers beneath my chin. "There were two hundred."
"Oh. How many are there now?"
"Five hundred."
"It's too many. Listen, Dylan, just because we were best friends in high school—"
"Mortal enemies," I said.
"—doesn't mean you can take advantage of me. If this dress isn't to perfection by Saturday, then I'm getting it for free. Right?"
Whoa, Nelly. "I'm sorry?"
Reagan batted her fake eyelashes. "That's just plain old good business. The customer is always right. I mean, we go way back. Too far back to let a little disagreement over some sequins ruin what we had."
I poked the air with my index finger. "Once again, we were mortal enemies. Reagan, you have brain damage when it comes to what high school was like."
A tittering laugh escaped her throat. It sounded like a thousand butterflies taking flight. That was right before I lifted my imaginary rocket launcher, aimed high and fired, sending the beauties crashing to the ground in a blazing explosion.
"You're so melodramatic, Dylan. We had a little disagreement about prom; that was all." 
I crossed my arms. "Reagan, let me remind you of exactly what happened in high school."
"Why don't you do that, since you're so convinced we had nothing to do with each other." Reagan pulled one of her eyelashes. Ouch. Didn't that hurt?
I shook my head and said, "You had Colten Blacklock ask me to prom for the sole purpose of standing me up the night of." I pointed to her and then to me. "You and I—we were never friends, and I'm not giving you this dress for free. We've done a dozen fittings, and you've found something wrong with each and every one. You can either take it or leave it."
Reagan's mouth fell. She swung to Harry. "Are you going to let her talk to me like that?"
Harry squashed the grin on his face and cleared his throat. "Ahem. Well. You have tried the dress on a lot, and Miss Apel has been more than accommodating."
Reagan stomped her foot. "You," she said, wagging a finger at him. "You wait until we get home."
Oh no. I didn't want Harry to be in the dog house because of me. I reached out and rubbed Reagan's arm, trying to soothe the savage bridezilla. "Reagan, I'll lose some of the sequins. Stop by tomorrow and see what you think."
She flashed a tight, bitter smile. "What you have better be good, or I'm taking my business elsewhere. And that means your sister won't be doing the catering, either." She squared her shoulders, swiveled on her heel and stormed out of the shop. Harry gave me an apologetic smile and followed. The little bell above the door tinkled as they left.
"Do you think she'll back out?" Carrie asked.
I shook my head. "Of course not. Not unless she wants a dress off the rack and a cake from Walmart."
Carrie laughed. "She's something else, isn't she?"
"She's certainly something.” I rubbed my neck. Tension latched to the cords of muscle. I'd have a headache pretty soon if I didn't take an ibuprofen. Extending my palm, I gestured for Carrie to hand me the wedding gown. "I guess I'll alter her dress."
Carrie stuffed the layers of silk in my hands and nodded to the blue cross-necked dress. "But when are you going to finish that one?"
I peeked out from behind the mass. "I don't know. We have, what? Two weeks until the summer solstice? I'll work on it soon."
The bell above the door tinkled. Seraphina crashed in, a whirlwind of flour following her. Her blue eyes sparkled with delight. How I envied those eyes. Mine were poo brown. Some said chocolate, but I knew better. Those folks were just being Southern polite.
"Oh my God! Did y'all see the article?" She waved the paper like a flag of surrender.
"I did!"
"It's incredible. The reporter went so far as to say our work is, and I quote…" She scanned the article. "Where is it? Where did that passage go? Oh, here it is." She jabbed it. "She said our work is 'inspired by the gods themselves.' Ha! You couldn't pay for better advertising."
"You probably could," I said.
Carrie flipped the ends of her chestnut hair. "Listen, y'all, I just got this new gel manicure machine in the mail. Do you mind if I go freshen up these bad boys?" She wiggled her perfect coral nails. To my eyes, they needed no refreshing. But hey, every girl has some sort of vice. Carrie's happened to be that she was ADD about her nails. In the three years she'd worked for me, I'd never seen one chip. Ever. Mine, on the other hand, looked like Godzilla had tried to paint them—there were broken wedges of color that Carrie would have deemed unforgivable.
"Go ahead. We'll be here," I said. She picked up a shipping box and exited to the back.
I hung Reagan's wedding dress on a rack and brushed my hands of any rogue sequins that hadn't been sewn on properly, which was actually impossible since I'd done the work myself. But my grandmother had always taught me to be humble, so that was my attempt.
Sera chewed her bottom lip. "The reporter says, 'Dylan Apel's dresses will transport you to another time and place. A claim I can attest to personally, for I experienced this peculiar phenomenon first-hand when I tried on one of her gowns. When I saw my reflection in the mirror, for a split second I was taken back to the cotillion ball where I met my husband thirty years ago. If that wasn’t enough to put a spring in my step, one bite of Seraphina's baked treats and I was back in my grandmother’s kitchen as she created confections on the stove. Truly a magical experience.'" Sera paused, looked up at me. "Seriously. That's some good stuff."
"Yeah, it’s good,” I said. But the reporter’s description about trying on my clothes bothered me. I shrugged off the uncomfortable feeling and smiled. "Though I have been accused on occasion of drugging my clothes."
Sera frowned. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
The bell tinkled. I stepped forward, my most welcoming smile on my face.
My sister glanced at me. "You look like a piranha. Tone it down."
I settled into a half smile. "Good morning! Welcome to Perfect Fit."
A towering redhead sauntered into the store. Bangles covered both her arms, clinking pleasantly as she walked. Emerald-green eyes fixed on me and Sera. I squirmed. Couldn't help it. At five-five I wasn't short. Not by any means. But this was a tall woman. Five-ten easy. And all that hair. A cloud of silky crimson and honey curls cascaded down her back. I don't even think she had any product in it. It was a totally natural head of hair.
I hated her.
Kidding. But envy did surface.
She smiled brightly. My envy turned into instant like. "Mornin'. I wanted to try on some clothes," she said in a throaty voice, the kind that drove men mad. I'd never seen her before, and Silver Springs was a minuscule town. From the look of interest on Sera's face, I guess she hadn't seen this woman before, either.
I stepped forward. "Absolutely. What are you looking for?"
"Just some regular day-wear stuff."
My time had arrived. I had a knack, a sixth sense really, about clothes and people. In one try I could create an entire body-fitting wardrobe and not even know the size of the person. What can I say? It came naturally to me.
"Are you looking for sportswear or business?"
"Both."
Cha-ching! "Let me pull a few items and see what you think."
"I'm gonna head back," Sera said. "I'm sure there's something I need to make."
I waved. "Bye."
She waved back and left, leaving me to focus on my client. Five minutes later I had two armfuls of pants, jackets, and blouses. "Let me get you in a dressing room. After you're done, come out and see what you think in the three-way mirror."
None of my dressing rooms had mirrors. People thought it weird, but I wanted to be around when my clients saw themselves in my clothing for the first time.
The woman disappeared behind the door, a roomful of clothes at the ready. Two minutes later she reappeared in a pair of jeans and a loose blouse.
"Take a look."
She stepped forward. The air contracted as if the very atmosphere had been sucked away. The mirror shimmered, and the woman's image bowed and straightened. It happened fast, so fast no one ever noticed. No one except for me.
So, this is where I tell you what that's all about. I would if I could. The easiest explanation is that my clothes make people feel great. From what Sera's told me, putting on one of my garments reminds you of an amazing time in your life. For instance—you're a fifty-year-old woman buying a dress for your daughter's wedding. You try something on and poof, you're transported back to the wondrous feeling you experienced at senior prom. Of course, that would be you, not me. My prom stank thanks to Reagan Eckhart.
At least, that’s what I’d always thought. It’s also why the reporter’s story bothered me. She saw her younger self in that mirror. That had never happened before—at least not that I knew of. My clothes blanketed clients in a wondrous feeling. They didn't make anyone see visions.  
Sera's baked goods do something similar. Every time I eat something she's made, I feel amazing, like I could take on the world. One bite of a buttery croissant and I'm totally superwoman. Minus the red cape. And the tights. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't be caught dead in that outfit.
But why are we like that? We're gifted; that's what our grandmother always called it. We have a gift.
"What do you think?" I asked.
She stared at her image. After a long moment her lips curlicued into a smile. She licked the bottom one, her eyes shining.
"Your clothes are breathtaking."
Thirty minutes and three hundred dollars later, I placed the last package in the redhead's hands.
"How'd you hear about us?" I asked.
"I saw the article in the paper."
I clicked my tongue. "Wow. News travels fast." Sweet. Today might be a crazy, busy day.
She smiled, her eyes glittering. "You don't even know the half of it."
"Oh?"
She pinched her brows together, giving her a dark, ominous expression. "In one week I guarantee you won't recognize your life."
An awkward laugh escaped my lips. "Oh. Ha-ha. I hope it's all good."
She shook her head. "That little article that came out about you? The one that was supposed to help your business? Well, you just did the opposite. You stirred up a bed of fire ants." She leaned forward and gave me a stern look. "And in case you need remindin', the sting from a fire ant lasts a long time. Take this as your warnin'."
I was so confused. "What do you mean, a warning?"
"Watch your back."
With that she left, her cloud of hair billowing behind her. I stood stone still. Numb shock tingled over my body, filtering down into my fingers and toes.
What the heck just happened?





After living in Chicago, Louisville and New York, Amy Boyles finally settled in North Alabama with her husband.

Along with writing, she has a passion for cooking ridiculously fattening food and complaining about weight gain. She loves to connect with readers.


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Until next time,

22 July, 2016

The Conscious Enterpreneur by Laura C Canon - Book Spot Light

Book Description:

In this profound introduction to conscious entrepreneurship, author and business coach Laura C. Cannon teaches you how to harness your unique gifts and the power of your own consciousness to maximize your satisfaction - and deepen your enjoyment - of your business and your life. Grounded in research from the fields of modern psychology, eastern philosophy, and personal development, this book explains six core principles necessary for radical, transformational change - personally and professionally.


By teaching you to use your business as the vehicle for your personal growth, The Conscious Entrepreneur delivers timeless wisdom and practical exercises to help you think, act, and live the path to your highest potential - without adding to your already-packed schedule. Forget work-life balance, get ready to shift into work-life integration for more happiness, stronger relationships, and a higher return on your investment in every sense of the word.

Get Laura C. Cannon’s free new video and workbook.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Author Website

Author's Bio:

Laura C. Cannon is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and coach with a deep passion for bridging the worlds of spirituality and business. In her new book, The Conscious Entrepreneur, Laura showcases a collection of practices and perspectives for entrepreneurs and business-people to change their relationship with their working life.

A member of the prestigious National Speaker's Association with more than 15 years of experience as a professional public speaker, Laura has a knack for delivering engaging and informative presentations. She's spoken to groups ranging from 12 to 1200 on a wide range of topics, from office productivity to motivation and empowerment to mindfulness and meditation. Her true passion as an author and speaker lies in bridging the gap between business and spirituality, finding practical, down-to-earth applications for timeless universal wisdom. She has been a guest speaker for colleges, civic organizations, businesses, and associations.

Laura holds a B.S. from Towson University and an M.A. in Human Sciences (Psychology) from Hood College with a specialization in Thanatology and Grief Counseling. A lover of all things that blend the practical and the spiritual, Laura is also a 200hr RYT yoga and meditation instructor.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Until next time,








20 July, 2016

5 tips to manage fussy eating kids #WritingWednesdays

Fussy, choosy or picky, whatever the name you choose, this is a dreaded word for parents. Feeding kids is a big problem to parents.

Is it a problem with this generation itself ? Or toddlers love play over food?
Did you observe? Toddlers pop everything in their mouth, be it a toy or food that's spilled on the floor but they are not interested in the food served on their plate.

I think, half of my parenting time went on trying different things my kids love to eat and feeding them. I am talking about kids below 3 years of age. I hope, things will get better in future. My both kids are fussy eaters from one and half  years of their age. It was so easy to feed milk and cereal then ☺

I found that the lack of interest in their food is directly proportional to their increased interest in physical play, toys, videos and learning new words and new  skills. Their inclination towards other things is making them less interested in food. They want to eat very less and go back to play. Whatever may be the reason, here are the 5 tips which helped me to be sane while feeding them.

1. Maintaining same meal times every day
This helped me a lot. Breakfast between 8 to 9, lunch between 12 to 1, snacks at 5 and dinner between 8 to 9 pm. I found this to be the best timing that works. By making them eat at the same time every day helped me to feed them quick. It's taking more time to feed them after the set timings with added crankiness due to hunger.

2. Feeding more fruits and encouraging them to drink more water
Water melon, strawberries, and oranges increase appetite and make them feel more hungry by meal time. The increase in water intake also helps a lot. This also keeps constipation at bay, which is the main reason for low appetite.

3. Introducing different food varieties between 6 months to one and half year age
This is very important. If we don't introduce all types of foods at an early age, there is very less probability of them eating all varieties as they grow up.  Please note allergies for specific food if they have and try new food at least 3 times within a few days gap in small quantities even if kid rejects it.

4. Not force feeding
This is not as easy as said. If kid rejects to eat at least 1/4th plate per meal, what will the poor parents do? If not force feeding, the only other option left is giving a gap and trying after some time or trying some other food variety altogether. The most difficult thing here is not losing sanity and having patience. Making their meal time enjoyable is also another part. Dining together as family, reading story books while feeding might help.

5. Giving them proper exercise
Kids should be encouraged to play a long time so that they feel hungry. If they play whole day sitting with toys or watching videos, how will they feel hungry? They should walk, run and play outside. With tab, laptop and smart phones in every home, we are not realizing the importance of physical play. Parents should spend more time with kids taking them to a park or a play area and encourage the kids for free play.

These are some tips which might help to an extent though every child is different and their appetites may vary. There are other tips too which I will share in my future posts. 

Any tips that you follow to feed picky toddlers? Please do share in comments. Also, let me know if any of my tips work for you.

Until next time,


Linking this to Writing Wednesdays hosted by Write Tribe.


PS: Images from google labeled with non-commercial reuse.

19 July, 2016

The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt - A guest post

Book Description:

See the enchantment of the Disneyland resort in a whole new way with "The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt." From Main Street U.S.A. to New Orleans Square, Walt Disney lovingly designed every detail to immerse guests in the magic of his theme parks.

See Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure through new eyes when you discover fantasy, thrills, and dreams around every turn. Whether you’re perusing the shops, waiting in line, or riding attractions, there’s plenty to uncover for even the most knowledgeable Disney fan.

If this is your first visit or your five hundredth, you will discover something new with "The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt."

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Books-a-Million ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Powell's Books ~ Chapters.Indigo.ca


Author's Bio:

Catherine Olen has enjoyed a love affair with the magic of the Disney theme parks for as long as she can remember, counting herself among Disneyland passholders for the last twenty-five years. Previously, Olen owned and operated Hollywood Grave Hunter and is the proud author of The Final Curtain: Celebrity Deaths and The Upside of Undertaking, chronicling her previous career experiences. She has been a correspondent to Entertainment Tonight (US and France), The Biography Channel, Reelz Network, and the Mark & Brian radio show.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Guest Post:

Recently I was asked, “What would you say is the funniest experience you have had in writing The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt?”

After giving it some serious thought, well, as serious as I ever am….I could not come up with a funny moment but rather came to the realization of how fun my life has been writing this book. I continually enjoy the rides, shows and attractions, but there is one aspect of my life visiting Disneyland that I enjoy more than anything else.

Engaging guests to become present during their time at the theme parks is one of my private joys. So often I have witnessed families that forget they are visiting the happiest place on earth. The frustrations of the day start to overwhelm anyone. Heat, long lines, crying children can distract from the magic of Disneyland. More often it is the crowds themselves that offer tremendous stress on even the happiest day at Disneyland. At some point, guests will fall into line with others without even knowing what attraction they are waiting for.

How do I fit in? Here are just a few of my favorite moments helping people find the joy again.
On one particular day I watched a family having a bad day. Mom and dad were frustrated, the kids were hot and they had forgotten their purpose for the vacation. As someone not involved in the moment I gentle walked up and said, “You spent thousands of dollars to come here, remember to have fun.” It was then I visible saw the shift from anger to realization. “Thank you” was all the father said to me and hugged his wife.

Another aspect of theme park life is watching guest fall into a line even though they may not know what attraction people are waiting for. In my pin trading days, we would line up to purchase a limited edition item first thing on a Sunday morning. When other guest would get in line and ask, “What ride are you in line for?”

My response would be, “This is not a ride, it’s soft taco Sunday.” So often, the guest will thank me and begin to walk away. They take just a few steps and I can visibly see the wheels in their head turning as they realize what has been said. Usually I will answer their stare with a small mile to let them know I am playing and mean no harm.

Writing The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt was another way for me to engage the guests to be present on their adventures at Disneyland, to enjoy the moments that are so important when the children are little. Walt Disney’s vision to have parents and children interact to form memories that would last a lifetime still lives in Disneyland to this day and I hope I have added to that joy with this book.

Interacting with cast members has become another important part of my day when visiting Disneyland. I have formed many friendships over the years and love to tease with cast members when they working.

“Excuse me, can you help me find the line for Daffy Duck?” I asked a manager. I caught the visible moment when before he spoke when he realized I what had been said. With a cheeky smile I apologized and let him know I was just entertaining myself.

It is with an air of fun, never malice that I love to engage people, it adds to my fun and hopefully give a little laugh to others during their time. 

Until next time,








The Empty Room by Sarah Clemens- [Book Review]

Mystery/Romance

Date Published: July 23, 2016

Publisher: Off the Page Publishing

Source: A free e-review copy from the author through ReadingAddiction Virtual tours 




Blurb:

The small town of Eastbrook, Maine seemed like the kind of close-knit community where newlyweds Dean and Elizabeth Montgomery could begin their lives together, and the 1930s Victorian seemed like the house they’d always dreamed of owning. The only condition for purchasing the property was that it was sold in “as-is” condition. But when the couple arrives in Eastbrook, they receive anything but a warm welcome from the local residents. And when they realize that as-is condition meant that the previous owner of the house had left every worldly possession behind, the dream of the small town life starts to take a mysterious turn. Day after day, Dean and Elizabeth uncover more truths than they could have ever imagined, or ever wanted to know about the secrets that were hidden in the small town of Eastbrook. And as neighbors become growingly hostile with every encounter, this young couple searches furiously to uncover what the residents are trying to hide. But what they find instead is that the home they thought they were getting a good deal on has a much higher price than they could have ever known, and that some secrets are better off hidden.

Trailer:



My Review:


The story is about a newly wed couple Dean and Elizabeth moving to a remote town Eastbrook which didn't see any visitors from last 4 years.  The hostile behavior of neighbors and people in the town seems strange. Meanwhile, they find a dead body inside the house in an empty room . With no one to help, where will they go and whom would they ask? This forms the remaining story.

I expected it to be a horror. But this is a mystery/ suspense. This a quick read with around 160 pages.  The book cover and title look apt. The story seems to drag a lot. The characters are convincing, especially Dean with his subtle sense of humor and Elizabeth as a newly wed wife trying to adjust to the new household.


The climax is good and unexpected. The only drawback is it is too much boring in the middle. The narration is fine and easy going.


I would recommend this to someone who love a quick light read.


My Rating:
3/5

About the Author

Sarah J Clemens is the author of the debut novel, THE EMPTY ROOM. She began writing THE EMPTY ROOM in 2008 and formed her own publishing company in 2016 called Off the Page Publishing. Sarah was born in California and now lives and works in Boise, Idaho. In addition to writing fiction, she is a legal assistant with an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Contact Information

Website: http://www.sarahjclemens.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/offthepagepublishing.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/53406864-sarah-clemens
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sarah_J_Clemens
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sarahjclemens/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarah_j_clemens/

Purchase Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Empty-Room-Sarah-Clemens-ebook/dp/B01FPRS72A?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-empty-room-sarah-j-clemens/1123835884?type=eBook

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-empty-room-4

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/0iqIcb.l



Until next time,

18 July, 2016

A bodyguard of lies by Donna Del Oro - Book Spot Light







Romantic Suspense
Date Published: 06/08/2016


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FBI analyst Jake Bernstein is recruited to go undercover and investigate an American grandmother wanted for war crimes during WWII but currently on a tour of England and Ireland with her granddaughter. Jake joins them and runs into complications when his growing attraction to the woman's granddaughter challenges his obligation to remain emotionally detached. As the investigation intensifies, a neo-Nazi group tries to prevent him from learning the truth and Jake struggles to stay alive long enough to either prove the woman's guilt or exonerate her.

Despite Meg Larsen's mounting passion for the stranger who has joined their tour, she suspects he's not who he claims to be. When she realizes her grandmother, the woman who raised her, is the target of the man's investigation, her first instinct is to protect her. Eventually, however, Meg must face the possibility of her grandmother's lifetime of lies while forced to trust a man who has become both their nemesis and bodyguard.






NY Times bestselling author Brenda Novak says of A BODYGUARD OF LIES, Book One in the Jake Bernstein Mystery Thriller series, "The past and the present collide in this intriguing romantic thriller that captures the angst and pain a lifetime of lies can cause...combines politics, romance and history. This story positively captivates!"


Contact Links


Purchase Links

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Until next time,

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