Saturday, November 30, 2013

Guest Author: Matthias Wolf

For my first book, The Knife’s Edge, I had to see it. 

If I can’t feel, hear, taste or visualize it, then on how earth can I expect the reader to? And while this still holds true for the most part, something else has happened.  I’ve begun to crave writing pitfalls with no end in sight… even writing that phrase feels treacherous. 

Now when I write I’m blind to what’s going to happen and I love it.

By putting your character in a situation with no easy ending, I can promise your reader will not be able to predict ‘what happens next.’  Of course, there are often easy outs to this: a deus ex machina ending where a savior magically appears.  Or better yet, simply not having an out, i.e. killing that character (we all know that’s worked wonders for George R.R. Martin!)

Of course, it’s grand to have an escape rope.  I highly recommend planning at least roughly how to get yourself out of that sticky mess.  For instance, your main character heads into a deadly bar brawl, but you remember inserting earlier that our protagonist has a wicked throwing arm because he’s a baseball prodigy; a few whizzing pool balls later and he’s handled an otherwise fatal fight.  Or even more true-to-life analogy--one from The Ronin Saga, my series--is when the main character, Gray, has reached a literal dead end: a cliff.  Sadly, there's no way down aside from plummeting a thousand feet to his gory demise.  But when our trusted foil, Darius, yells at Gray to "just bloody jump" in a moment of frustration, the epiphany within our protagonist is acute and he realizes that's exactly what he has to do.  Fogged memories resurface when he had done something much like it before.  Something I, brilliantly or accidentally (you choose), had set up earlier.  And thus has the ability to overcome his fall of death.  (Sorry, no spoilers!) 

But if we’re to take a moral from this rant, then it’s this: when we put ourselves in difficult situations, like our hero, or like myself with writing, whether it’s asking out the girl or guy of our dreams, or standing up in front of a crowd, or simply doing what we know is right in our hearts, then we find out more about ourselves, we seek deeper.  The unknown is always terrifying.  Even now, I may still be afraid of putting myself upon that cliff or raising my lone hand in a thronged room, but I’ll probably still do it anyway.  For that beautiful cliché is often true: “whatever doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.”  Or put another way, I’ve accomplished something I otherwise never would have, and have proved that my strength? Well, it was always there, I simply needed to show it to myself.

Sometimes, all it requires to accomplish something great is to accept the fear of not knowing exactly where you are going.  And instead, having faith and tenacity to know where you want to be and that you’re going to get there.

Matthew Wolf
Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is a fun meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. This is where we share the books we have read the last week and our reading plans for this week.

Pride, betrayal, forgiveness . . . and the eternal sea. The Prodigal tells the mystical tale of four people on Ocracoke Island whose destiny is tied to an abandoned schooner, thought to have been lost at sea more than a century ago, that one day drifts ashore. Marcus O’Reilly, a renegade Catholic priest, must confront his inner demons. Ibrahim Joseph, a Bahamian fugitive, must face his past. Aidan Sharpe, a fallen lawyer, struggles with self-doubt and his growing affection for Molly McGregor, a fearless towboat captain who cannot find the courage to love. They will all be drawn into a 2,000-year-old mystery that unfolds with the reappearance of the ship.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Spotlight: Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques by Rebecca Welton

Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques 
by Rebecca Welton

Amazon Links UK / US 

Publisher: Spottiswoode Publishing


As a parent, what do you do if you are suffering sleepless nights but don't want to let your baby cry it out? Most families are left just trying to weather the storm. Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques: Alternatives to Controlled Crying offers families a new approach. The book provides effective options for helping parents teach their babies to happily settle to sleep on their own and sleep through the night – without leaving them to cry alone.

Mother-of-two, Rebecca Welton, knows all about sleepless nights. At five months, her youngest was still waking 8 to 10 times a night. With little information available, Rebecca set about devising a settling technique that worked for her baby and her family. Now a qualified child sleep practitioner, she has brought together the best tips on how to get your baby to sleep better and for longer. Rebecca delivers five different Trust Techniques, including one for co-sleepers, that build on the trust between you and your baby by ensuring that you always respond to their needs and never leave them to cry alone. Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques: Alternatives to Controlled Crying covers:

The best tips and ideas to help babies sleep, and nap, better and for longer.

Five different settling techniques, to suit all families.

The effects a sleepless baby has on other members of the family, especially older siblings,        and provides strategies for dealing with issues that can arise from this.

Ways of coping with sleep deprivation.

Chapter 1: Introduction

“Please, I’m begging you – go to sleep!”

Sound familiar? This is what I thought several times a night. My first child, Alexandra, had never been a good sleeper, but it was my second, Harry, who turned our family life upside down. At five months, he was completely unable to settle himself. Up eight to nine times each night, the longest he would sleep was an hour and a half; he would nap for only twenty minutes at a time and took hours to fall asleep at night. You can imagine the state we were all in!

Friends were adamant that we should use either the crying-it-out or controlled-crying methods with Harry. I resisted at first, sure that he would grow out of this stage of night-waking, but it soon became clear that it was affecting our family life. John and I were exhausted, and to be honest, we were not at our best in being parents to two small and wonderful children; Alexandra was exhausted – in a house with thin walls, Harry’s night-waking was disturbing her – and Harry was exhausted because he wasn’t getting enough sleep. All in all, we were not a happy family! So, in desperation, I tried controlled crying with Harry. He was six months old and it was a horrible experience for all of us. Harry was very distressed at being left alone. Alexandra was upset because, at just over two years old, she couldn’t understand why I wasn’t going in to comfort Harry, and I found it heartbreaking, listening to his cries and doing nothing to lessen them. I gave in after twenty minutes and resolved to never again leave my children to cry alone.

Quick Question!

I’ve heard a lot of mums talking about controlled crying or crying it out, but I’m not really sure what they mean. What do these techniques involve?

Controlled crying refers to methods that ask you to leave your babies for increasing intervals before responding to them. One example would be to place them in their cot at bedtime and then leave the room. If they cry, wait for five minutes before responding, then leave the room again. If they are still crying, wait ten minutes this time before responding. The next time, wait fifteen minutes. All subsequent times, wait fifteen minutes until you respond. 

Crying it out refers to methods that ask you to not respond to your babies’ cries. So you would place them in their cot at bedtime and leave the room. You would then not return until morning. 

But what techniques could I use instead? I spent any spare time I could find researching other options, yet struggled to find alternatives. I felt desperate. I needed Harry to sleep, but had no idea how to help him learn this skill. After many hours of searching, I finally came up with some ideas and set about helping Harry learn how to happily settle himself.

Soon after, I set up a support group for sleep-deprived parents – the Walking Zombies Club – and I came to realise just how many families face the same problems. Like me, they did not want to use controlled crying or crying it out, yet couldn’t find information on what to do instead. The parents I met wanted one resource that could provide them with a number of ideas and techniques that would help their babies to happily settle themselves to sleep, while building on the bond of trust between them and their children, rather than harming it; a book that would look at the family as a whole and address the effect a sleepless baby has on everyone in that family. So my aims in writing this book have been fourfold:

1. To gather together, in one place, the best tips and ideas to help babies sleep better and for longer;
2. To provide parents with a number of alternatives to controlled crying when helping their babies learn how to settle themselves and sleep through the night – my five Trust Techniques that build on the bond of trust between parents and baby, rather than damage it;
3. To look at the effect a sleepless baby has on other members of the family and not only offer techniques that take this into account, but give strategies for parenting more than one child; and
4. To look at ways of coping with sleep deprivation – a must when so often parents have to live with this day in, day out.

I have drawn on research, my own experience plus that of the families I have helped, and have used a wide range of authors, from Elizabeth Pantley and Penelope Leach, to William and Martha Sears, and Carlos González. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in parenting, and even less so with solutions to sleep issues. What this book provides are different strategies that parents can adapt to suit their own family, ones that you can trust will not harm your baby, you, or your family. There are four Trust Techniques for babies sleeping in their own cots and one for co-sleepers; each of them can be used to help your babies learn to happily settle themselves at naptime, bedtime, and throughout the night, giving your whole family a peaceful night’s sleep. If you – like me – want options that always let you respond to your babies’ needs, to comfort them and reassure them, and help them to sleep, then this book is for you.

Why not use controlled crying or crying it out?

Babies cry to get our attention, to tell us they are hungry, or wet, or too hot, or too cold, or in pain. It is how they communicate with us, and they trust that we will respond. Our bond with our babies is built up over time and has many different parts to it. Yet I believe that a fundamental aspect of this bond is the trust that develops from a parent always responding to a baby’s cry. The controlled-crying and crying-it-out methods can damage this bond by telling the parent to stop responding. If a baby cries and gets no response, what is she learning? Only that there is no point in crying because no one will answer her. And if a baby stops crying when she wants attention or food, or is too hot or too cold, that baby has lost her ability to communicate with others. Not only that, but she may lose the trust she had in you to always respond to her and her needs.

Research has shown that if left alone to cry for prolonged periods of time, a baby experiences panic and anxiety. In doing so, a baby’s brain releases a stress hormone called cortisol. If a baby routinely experiences prolonged periods of unattended crying and the anxiety this causes, this can lead to abnormally high levels of cortisol which can damage a developing baby’s brain. But leaving your little one to cry alone doesn’t just affect your baby. As parents, we are designed to respond to our babies’ cries (you must admit it is a very effective way of getting our attention!). Research has shown that stress hormones increase in the parent, especially the mother, as soon as our babies start to cry, and these increase the longer and louder the cries go on. Parents also find that implementing these methods can be heartbreaking. We have a strong, natural instinct to comfort a crying baby. Stopping yourself from doing so can be difficult and distressing.

Finally, controlled crying and crying it out do not take into account how it will affect other members of the family. Alexandra was upset and unsettled when I tried controlled crying with Harry because if I didn’t always comfort Harry when he was upset, would I always comfort her? By using controlled crying with Harry, I felt the bond of trust between Alexandra and me had been damaged – she had stopped trusting that I would always look after her.

It is easy to forget that babies have to learn how to go to sleep on their own. As a parent you have to teach them this skill. You wouldn’t teach your children how to swim by throwing them into a pool and leaving them to work it out by themselves. Equally, you don’t need to leave your baby crying alone in order for her to learn how to fall asleep.

So what is a Trust Technique?

My aim in devising these Trust Techniques was to have a selection of strategies that families can use to help their babies learn how to sleep better and for longer. Yet it was important that these techniques would not damage the bond of trust between a parent and her baby. Indeed, the techniques needed to build on Harry’s strong bond with John and me. From birth, babies trust that you will always respond to their cries. The Trust Techniques use that as the basis for teaching babies how to settle to sleep. While controlled crying says you must leave your baby to cry alone for increasing periods of time, using the Trust Techniques means you always respond immediately to your baby’s cries. This strengthens the bond of trust between you by continually demonstrating that you will always come when they call for you.

How to use this book

This book has been designed so you can dip in and out of it, and refer to it whenever you need to. The main chapters are Chapter 3: Sleeping like a Baby, and Chapter 4: The Trust Techniques. Chapter 3 contains lots of ideas and tips on how to help your baby to sleep better and for longer, while Chapter 4 details the five different Trust Techniques you can use to help your baby learn to happily settle herself at naptime, bedtime, and during the night.

Remember to stay flexible. All babies are different; what might work for your neighbour’s little one will not necessarily work for your baby, so don’t be afraid to tweak an idea or to try a different one if it becomes clear that what you are doing doesn’t suit your family. Having said that, make sure you give each idea and technique the chance to become part of your little one’s sleep-time rituals. Research has shown that it takes between five and seven days for a new routine to become established in a baby’s brain. So once you start using a new idea or technique, be consistent in using it every nap and bedtime for at least a week. This will give your baby the time she needs to learn the new routine, so that she can anticipate what is going to happen and recognise the signposts that lead to sleep.

Throughout the book there are two types of information boxes. ‘What worked with us’ details the ideas and strategies that worked for my family, and ‘Quick Questions’ cover those questions that I have found parents tend to ask most (often by saying, “can I ask a quick question?”)

Amazon Buy Links
 UK / US 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters Full Trailer

Oh shooot! Been on hiatus for more than a month now. Yay, didn't know Pregger released this video. Wohooo! Extremely excited for Blood Sisters to come out. . . . I want my Dimitri!!!
Looks soooo VA except I'm really worried about the humor of this movie. Rose and Christian's witty jokes made me love the first book... they better deliver those lines the same as in the book!

Click this link if video is not working

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Guest Author: Katrina Day

‘Blue Boat on the Beach’ is just a story told to the readers. I love getting inside people’s behaviour, character and see what drew a person into doing something. This  story is telling us about the life of a woman from her early days to her womanhood. It draws the path of her development. She, like the other characters in the book, fights for her rights to be a full member of society. This is a story of women’s rights in general. Annie, Celia, Vanessa are different women but they all have the same thing in common; at some stage life has tried to halt them and they are striving to have a loving partner, to have a job where they are appreciated and not harassed.

From her first kiss and falling in love, Annie ended up completely lost. Being too young, she was utterly disorientated in how to flirt with a man, how to get the reins of the game and of course, it all ended up in disaster. Annie’s beloved married someone else and she ended up trying to commit suicide. She survived and went through the anguish to explain what happened to her friends and family. After this, she decided to prove to herself and to him that she could achieve the same, in other words to leave the country and have the freedom of going anywhere she wanted; as she thought that the man who never cared about her had the same freedom. She felt she had less rights than him, thus she decided to change the route of her life completely and marry another man she did not love, just to show to her love that she could leave the country and be ‘worthy’.  Contrary to what she expected, she did not achieve much, she ended up trapped in a loveless marriage with a man who was used to the environment where the man ruled the roost and ordered women about. She would not put up with that and broke away.

Annie ended up in an unknown country without any rights or money and she had to survive or die. There she met other women who also had the same struggle on their hands, although this was their home country. 

The stories I have described are stories of people I have met and I knew, however I have changed the names, amalgamated characters, split them etc to suit the creative purpose of a novel. Altogether, I wanted to describe a plight of women in a Central American country to be taken seriously. The fact that they have such an ‘unprotected’ environment to live and work in unleashes the best traits and the richness of their inner self, their strength of character. Annie is the one who won’t give up and her life takes her elsewhere and she, again, ends up on the wrong side of the fence and with the fight for survival on her hands. She falls, gets up and something keeps her going. This is her quest for freedom as well as love. Will she find both? She, indeed, meets a man worthy of her affection who marries her and she starts leading a relatively settled life. However, her past haunts her and never leaves her in peace. All this gets to the point where this even drives the man who loves her so dearly, further away from her. Has Annie learnt anything from all her past experiences? Does she know how to appreciate true feelings? Or is it fate that holds the final say and sits in the driver’s seat?

The novel asks so many questions, unleashes so many issues. It spreads half way across the globe. The book is also about general human rights. ‘One shouts of the equality but some are more equal than others’.

Get into a fascinating adventure, life developing across both sides of the world, experience a love story that makes you think ...

Blue Boat on the Beach

Author: Katrina Day
Publisher: Olympia Publishers
Pages: 368
Amazon Link

About the book:

Escape from Soviet Georgia was possible for young ladies in only one way before late 1990s: marriage. But what kind of marriage? What kind of chance is Annie prepared to take if the man of her dreams is not available? Can she pay the price of things going wrong? Must she grin and bear Soviet rule? Or does she love her freedom more? Later, trapped in the role of domestic drudge in the patriarchal society of Costa Rica, can she make her peace with this new life or must she find a new one again? Are freedom and happiness sweeter when you've paid a high price for them, or do they both end in bitterness? In Blue Boat on the Beach Katrina Day gives readers the ground truth of the immigrant experience, helping us to understand it deeper. Blue Boat on the Beach is based on her experiences and observations of the people she met when she first travelled to Central America and Canada. Her move to Costa Rica made a lasting impression, even though at the time she was not aware of this. Although she constructed her book based on fictional characters there is a true likeness with regards to her surroundings then. As the author sketched her impressions, they had all the traits of being a true love story, which this novel, effectively, is. However, there are so many other related issues flowing side by side that Blue Boat on the Beach is more than just a love story. The book follows its main character from the early days to the complications in her married life. The depth of the story relates to women's issues and human rights. Katrina Day has been working and living in Berkshire for some time. Despite the fact that she has had to juggle several parts of her life she managed to 'snatch' time to devote her efforts to writing.

Guest Author: Clarkson Graham

The Wisdom in Mistakes

How many times have we said to ourselves, “If I knew then, what I know now, I would have made a different decision.”  I bet that there is not a single person on this earth who cannot think of one situation in their life where this applies.  We are human; and being human means that we are fallible.  We all make mistakes that we wish we hadn’t made.

I can certainly relate to making mistakes.   I make mistakes all the time; both big and small.   One of the biggest mistakes I have made in my life is marrying a suspected sociopath who almost destroyed me in the end.  This is one mistake that is not easy to forget.  In fact, I often look back on my decision to marry Crazy and ask myself, “What was I thinking?  I must have been crazy.”   The truth is, I did not know then, what I know now and therefore, I have to remember to put this decision into perspective.

It is easy to look back on our decisions in life and critique them.  We sometimes waste time evaluating why we did what we did or said what we said however; the truth of the matter is that most people do not set out to make mistakes.  We are not sadomasochistic by nature; at least most of us are not anyway.  We all wake up every morning and attempt to do our best by making choices that positively benefit ourselves and others.

The problem is that sometimes things do not work out as we had originally planned.  Even though we strive to do our best, the unpredictable or unplanned can sometimes get in our way.  We endeavour to evaluate the facts that we have available, we try to balance our “heads” and our “hearts”, we think about what our decisions will mean today, tomorrow and next week, and yet, sometimes we still make the wrong decisions.  We do our best, and we make mistakes.  We fail.

The good news is that there is a huge upside to failure that we often forget, and that is the valuable life lessons that we learn.  Oftentimes our failures take us down bumpy roads that in hindsight become our most gratifying life experiences.  We grow so much through our mistakes.  The truth is we become stronger, tougher, wiser and more resilient after making mistakes.  We often look back at ourselves with pride and say, “I can’t believe I was able to get through that mess.”

I think we have to be a bit easier on ourselves.  We need to learn to embrace our mistakes, and be proud of how we have grown and developed as human beings.  As my dad always told me, “Those who have never made a mistake, have never lived.” With that said, I encourage all of you to “live”.

Married to Crazy: 
A Man's Story of Abuse, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Recovery

Kindle Edition
Author: Clarkson Graham
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1560 KB
Print Length: 165 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Press Company; 1 edition (Feb. 25 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

About Married to Crazy:

Married to Crazy is how Clarkson Graham met and fell in love with Olga, the woman of his dreams. Their courtship, engagement, and eventual marriage followed. As their relationship progressed, Olga’s behavior became progressively more volatile and abusive. All along, Clarkson lived in the hope that he could “fix” her problems and live up to her perplexing expectations, until one appalling event drove him to his breaking point. Following therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, Clarkson finally put his life back together again and was then determined to share his experience, and especially what he had learned, with other people—and particularly with other men—who might find themselves in a similar situation.

About Clarkson Graham:

“I am not a victim, nor will I be. I am a survivor. As a survivor, I was able to subjugate my feelings of weakness and powerlessness and eventually discover the desire, courage, and fortitude I needed to access the support and resources that were necessary to begin the recovery process. I can say that my continuing growth and development has been defined, in part, by my ability to triumph over a complicated life situation, and now, with this book, I am sharing my knowledge and insight as I continue on my healing journey.“

Social Links:
Facebook / Twitter

Where to Purchase:
Facebook / Website (physical only) / Kobo / Amazon / Indigo

a Rafflecopter giveaway


First Prize
$50 Amazon Gift Card plus autographed copy of Married to Crazy

Second Prize
Autographed copy of Married to Crazy

Third Prize
Autographed copy of Married to Crazy

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guest Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos VBT

The Girl Obsessed with Christmas

Hello. My name is Cheryl and I’m obsessed with Christmas. Do they make a support group for people who have too much Christmas joy? If they do, I should be part of it. The only thing that has stopped me from starting a Christmas blog and talking about the holiday all year long is time.

I doubt it surprised anyone when the first book I wrote was set on Christmas—the first Christmas to be exact. Little Shepherd tells the story of Obed, a young shepherd in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. What might surprise readers is that this was never meant to be a children’s story.

When God first planted this idea in my heart, the story was of an adult Obed who seeks out the apostles after the Resurrection to see if Jesus is the Savior he met as a child. I decided to try out this idea in 2006 for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). My girls were little at the time (5 and 3), so I didn’t have enough hours in the day to perform the necessary research to give it a good go. I felt proud of the seven chapters I cranked out, but could go no further without stopping to get a feel for the world in which Obed lived.

That’s when I started talking to my pastor about the project. I can only guess God led me to say the right words or for the pastor to hear a different story concept than the one I told him about, because he asked, “Is this a book for kids?” I answered no, but then the wheels started turning. Why couldn’t this story be about the night Obed met Jesus? With some additional help from my critique group, Little Shepherd was born. The book was accepted by Guardian Angel Publishing and released in 2010.

I’ll tell you what, I don’t think anyone was surprised when my second book, A Christmas Kindness, came out either. There goes Cheryl again; that girl can’t get enough Christmas.

Thank you for letting me visit your blog today. Wishing you and your readers a blessed Thanksgiving and a joyful Christmas.

About the book:

Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem when the angels appear to announce the Savior's birth. Can he trust that the miracle of the first Christmas will keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?


Off in the distance, a wolf howled. Obed moved closer to his flock, scanning the hills for any sign of a pack that might race in and steal his sheep. His family depended upon the sheep for food and their wool for clothing. No sheep would be lost under his watch.

He shivered inside his cloak. While the days were getting warmer, the nights still chilled him. He walked over to the large fire blazing inside the pit. He rubbed his hands together and held them up to the fire to warm them.

Above him, the sky twinkled with millions of stars. Obed couldn’t remember a night so clear.

Suddenly, a bright light filled the sky.

Obed trembled. “Father, what is happening?”

Purchase your copy from:

Guardian Angel Publishing
Barnes and Noble

About the author:

Cheryl Malandrinos is a children’s author and freelance editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, released by Guardian Angel Publishing, and A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing, under her pen name, C.C. Gevry. A digital version of A Christmas Kindness will be released in 2013.

Since 2007, Cheryl has been an online book publicist specializing in virtual book tours. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger.

Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married. Visit her online at or

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review: The Blood She Betrayed by Cheryse Durrant

The Blood She Betrayed

Author: Cheryse Durrant
Kindle Edition
File Size: 723 KB
Print Length: 475 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Clan Destine Press (October 30, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Link

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the author, Cheryse Durrant. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

The Blood She Betrayed is the first book to the Heart Hunters series by a newbie author, Cheryse Durrant. The fact that this author is from Australia makes me want to jump for joy! LOL Honestly, ever since I've read Keri Arthur's books (Australian), I've been looking out for other books with Australia as the setting of the story. Or any other countries aside from the US. Setting is very important to me as this is sometimes my deciding factor whether to continue reading or to DNF a book.

Back to the story, The Blood She Betrayed is about Shahkara, a half-Taloner wanting to destroy the heart-devouring Taloners, her kind. Accidentally, when she entered Earth, she met Max McCalden, son of a billionaire and together they set out to find the Elnara death lantern that can kill all Taloner.

I loved the setting and so the plot of the story. Read the story in less than a week considering I was in 'hell' (busiest days of my work life) those times. I find all the characters interesting. As for the romance part, Shahkara and Max had good times together. Though the earlier part of the story I was annoyed with Shahkara's constant questions on every thing/gadget she sees. And like Max, I kept on forgetting she's from other world/dimension LOL. Love the twists and mystery on Shahkara's past. I highly recommend this book, your money is well-spent on this one.

About the book:

Book 1 in the Heart Hunters series. 

Thrust into the technology-driven Earthlands, Shahkara must find the ancient Elnara death lantern - the only thing that can save her homeworld from the heart-devouring Taloners. 

She enlists the help of geeky billionaire Max McCalden, but soon finds that, as a half-Taloner herself, her blood demands what she knows she can't have - a human heart. 

Shahkara longs for love, but as deadly enemies attack at every turn, will her lust for Max destroy them both? 

Or will she find the strength to free both worlds from a threat more horrific than the demons that share her blood?

About the author:

Hello! I'm Cheryse Durrant, author of the YA/NA urban fantasy Heart Hunters series, published by Clan Destine Press. I grew up on a farm in central Australia and wrote my first story on my aunt's bedroom wall when I was about five, but it didn't attract the literary acclaim that it deserved. I worked as an journalist for 15 years before trading my soul for fiction and now spend my days fighting my cat Scamp for the laptop. The Blood She Betrayed is the first novel in my Heart Hunters series and is described by Vampire Diaries creator LJ Smith as "ingenious and unique".

Book Spotlight: The Feast by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

The Feast 
A Parable of the Ring Vol. 2
by Kathyryn Elizabeth Jones

Paperback: 118 pages
Publisher: Idea Creations Press (September 27, 2013)
Amazon Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 3195 KB
Print Length: 92 pages
Publisher: Idea Creations Press (September 26, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Link

About the book:

Virginia had experienced the power and direction of the five stones; now, she would need to use them again.

For entirely different reasons.

Keeping her marriage together was not the only thing on her mind. Having a child wasn't going to happen in the usual way, and Virginia was determined that adoption was the answer. If she did all of the right things, said all of the right words; if she remembered the five stones in her journey to get her child, God would surely have to answer her.

It wouldn't be too difficult.

The Feast, chapter one:

Her marriage with Richard was over. This was something Virginia knew for sure. She also knew she must have imagined the stones' supreme power and her awakening with God.

As she sat on the couch that still sported a hole large enough for a rock to pass through, she smiled at it sadly, touched the worn fibers of the cloth filling it's gap and thought of Richard and how much she missed him. She thought of her life, alone again, without a husband, without a child.

They'd been married five years and during that time Virginia had used the stones and what they represented in her life with Richard. He'd agreed that they held a power, and they'd displayed them on the mantel for all to see.

Except the stones hadn't given them a child, and after three years of relentless doctor visits, tests and more tests, Virginia was tired of it all and Richard was gone.

He said he loved her. She said she loved him, but without a child their marriage seemed a void, a mistake. She thought of Richard, imagined him alone in a hotel room outside of town. It was winter and the air within Idaho Falls was bitter, icy and dry to her skin. Her skin felt like sandpaper and her throat practically closed off at night as she breathed in the stagnant air.

Just like her life.

Virginia walked to the bedroom and to her side of the bed. A tear dropped onto her pillow. The side next to hers still held Richard's pillow. She reached for it and pushed it against her chest, breathing in the scent of him, sort of an Irish Spring with a smattering of spruce.

It was the trees he loved best, and they'd spent many days following their wedding hiking the mountains and sitting next to plants and communicating with them.

It didn't seem so natural now, but then, right after she'd discovered it, it was like the power of the stones enveloped everything and everyone she knew. At the wedding, long lost friends and family who never dreamed she'd wed, and even the flowers and other natural growth near the lake, breathed in their love and she could feel their presence.

She knew God was there. She'd felt him too. In the days following her wedding she hoped he'd come to her again or direct her to meet with him, but he never did. The stones sat on the mantel, and although she was reminded of their glow or colors from time to time, life caught up with her and her business began growing faster than she could keep up with it.

Just Desserts. Using Richard's place, a log cabin built only 10 minutes from the city, she'd grown her business both in clientele and opportunity. Many people taking her awakening courses had found their lives improved and their own businesses and personal life, soaring.

But the fights and lonely nights without Richard had finally taken its toll. He hadn't returned and it had been a week.

She dared not teach, for in teaching she would see him. And so she'd cancelled her classes and hired a runner to take what she had baked from home to Richard's place on the corner of North Shore and Main. Though she'd done plenty of baking there since meeting Richard, now it just seemed awkward.

What would she do now?

She stood and reached for the white stone but as she stood there, feeling the veins in the rock's surface, it didn't speak to her. She wanted to hold the black rock, but hesitated. No, she'd leave it there. She wouldn't reach for the other rocks, she couldn't.

All was lost.

Amazon Buy Links

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guest Author: Sarah Renée

Female Protagonists: Kicking Butt and Taking Names

We all love a good, strong hero in our stories. But what about the strong heroines?

When I was a kid, I loved reading books that featured a brave female protagonist that wasn’t afraid to stand up to the bad guys – and I still do! But I didn’t just like to read about female protagonists who were tough for the sake of being tough. I liked to read about girls I could relate to, but who were brave enough to face things I could only dream of. (This is one of the reasons I loved Hermione from Harry Potter.)

I think it’s important for books written for any age – children to adult – to feature strong female characters, but I think it’s especially important that books written for children feature brave girls in the main cast. When I was that age, I loved it when I found a book with a tough female character I could relate to, and I couldn’t get enough of books like that. So I wrote my own.

When I was 10 years old, I came up with the idea for a story about a sassy, brave 10-year-old tiger Princess named Saderia. In the story, Saderia strives to search for clues about how her royal parents disappeared ten years ago, facing plenty of dangers and adventures along the way. When I was 12, I wrote the final draft of this story, which I went on to publish at the age of 13. The story is called The Tiger Princess, and it is the first book in my fantasy adventure series written for ages 8-12, of which there are now five books – The Tiger Princess, Dash, Hunted Home, Enchanted Home, and Rock Bottom. (The Tiger Princess is also currently free on Amazon for the Kindle if you’d like to check it out!)

Saderia is a brave character that I would have loved to read about – and did love to write about - when I was younger. She’s a curious tomboy with a penchant for trouble and a thirst for adventure. She’s unafraid to speak her mind and brave enough to face great dangers in her quest to solve the mystery of her missing parents, but she’s also relatable. She has her own insecurities about herself even as a princess. Despite her strength, she feels as though she can’t be herself, but she also strives to face her fears and do what’s right. My hope is that girls who read The Tiger Princess can relate to Saderia and cheer her on in her adventures – the way I did for my favorite book characters.

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Jenai, and thanks to everyone for reading and checking out The Tiger Princess. If you love reading stories with brave girl characters, let me know and tell me about some of your favorite characters. I’d love some new reading suggestions!

About the author:

Sarah Renée has loved writing from an early age. She has been writing short stories since the age of 4, and at the age of 10, she came up with the idea for The Tiger Princess. She wrote the novel when she was 12. She is fascinated with wild animals and the wild world outside her home, and has an obvious great love of tigers. She enjoys spending time with her cats, reading, drawing, and playing her violin when she is not writing. In her free time, she is constantly daydreaming about her many characters, creating new ones, and coming up with interesting adventure story ideas. She is now 17 years old. 

Visit Sarah Renée’s website at or her blog at to learn more about Sarah Renée, her books, and more! You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

The Tiger Princess 
by Sarah Renée

Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Tiger Print Books (October 14, 2009)

About the book:

Ten years ago, a devastating fire took the lives of Queen Karenisha and King Makero, leaving a young Princess Saderia orphaned. 

Nobody knows how the fire started, but it ignited quickly. Too quickly. 

In ten years, the truth has never been discovered...

Saderia is a curious 10-year-old tiger Princess. Her Aunt Cia and Uncle Jash have taken over the duties of Queen and King and have raised Saderia since her parents disappeared in a mysterious fire. Saderia’s aunt and uncle don’t understand the sassy, adventurous tiger, which she resents. 

At night, though, Saderia is haunted by dark nightmares about the fire - eerie, cryptic dreams that push her to start investigating her parents’ disappearance. As she uncovers strange clues, she soon becomes desperate to know the truth. Could her parents have been murdered? On a quest to uncover the truth about her parents’ disappearance, she soon realizes her forest has many other mysteries when she discovers a dangerous, ancient royal secret regarding her oldest ancestors - a secret that will change not only her life, but the lives of everyone around her.

Saderia doesn’t know who or what to trust, but she is desperate to uncover the secrets of the past. She will do whatever it takes to find the truth.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Book Spotlight: Test of Magnitude by Andy Kasch

Test of Magnitude
by Andy Kasch

Series: The Torian Reclamation
Paperback: 398 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 23, 2013)

Kindle Edition
File Size: 602 KB
Print Length: 400 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1492761788
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Andy Kasch (September 16, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

About the book

Revenge is only justice when it can be administered without hatred.

Welcome to the Tora star system, home of the spectacular Cardinal-4 space station overlooking Amulen and Banor, twin worlds that share the same orbit. One visit and you’ll understand why this station is the pinnacle of Torian achievement and a wonder of the Erobian Sphere.

Unfortunately, your timing isn’t great. Many centuries of peace and prosperity are on the verge of collapsing for members of the Erob coalition, as signs of the first interstellar wars loom. The half-breeds tell us it is because we are now forsaking the ancient law, and have thus allowed an evil infection to begin spreading through the galaxy. But those Erob half-breeds have always been a little over-dramatic, haven’t they?

Brandon Foss, an unhappily married Virginian in his early thirties, awakes from a strange dream to discover he has been abducted from Earth and kept in cryonic preservation on Amulen for two decades. One other resuscitated human is with him, a knucklehead who almost seems as alien to Brandon as their reptilian captors. A friendship of convenience forms as the two Earthlings soon become unwittingly intertwined in Torian politics and military affairs—at a time, it turns out, when the Torians desperately need just such intertwining.

This full-length space-adventure novel has been professionally edited and specially formatted for all Kindle devices (including the latest Torian lightpads). We promise a smooth and enjoyable electronic reading experience, complete with a click-able table of contents. Download it today and embark upon your own personal test of magnitude.


Brandon and Derek’s hunger eventually overpowered their fear, so they ate again when it seemed their captors were not returning. This time, there was a meaty substance included with the flatbread that felt and tasted like dried fish, along with a new variety of spreads. At least they were being fed well. There was also a pitcher of what looked and smelled like red wine next to the water pitcher on the cart.

The temperature in the room remained at a constant comfortable level, perhaps even a little on the warm side, so their lack of clothing had not become a serious issue until now. Brandon mentioned he felt naked and vulnerable in his underwear, and Derek readily agreed. They ventured into the white room to check out the clothing selection after dinner. Two medium-sized beds had been placed against the far wall, each with a large pillow and several layers of different types of covers. Brandon inspected the bedding material and thought it felt silky.

In the middle of the room were two plastic boxes full of clothes. The selection was less than thrilling. The first box was full of costume clothing, probably stolen from a dinner theatre or stage set somewhere. It must have been a Shakespeare play, as it all looked like something one might wear to a renaissance fair. Most of it was men’s clothes, thankfully—although, by modern clothing standards, only a woman could attempt to seriously adorn any of it in public.

The other box was worse. Stretchy spandex pants, flashy open-chest shirts with big collars, and several denim suits in white and pastel blue, some of which included vests and sport coats with rhinestone studs.

“Disco clothes!” Brandon said. He shook his head as he held some of it up with both hands. “This stuff was obviously taken from some trendy retailer in the mid-seventies.”

“What’s disco, man?” Derek asked.

“Nothing a Hendrix fan would be interested in.”

They both went with the renaissance fair costumes, which had the advantage that they were easy to adjust to fit comfortably. Brandon picked out some brown burlap pants, a big puffy white shirt with an attached small leather vest, and a wide, waist-high belt. It made Derek laugh.

“You look like Robin Hood, man. You just need the hat with a feather in it.” There was indeed just such a hat in the box, but Brandon declined on the headwear.

“Well, you look like a monk” Brandon replied, “which I find to be rather appropriate.” Derek had chosen some long brown robes that included a hood and a cord belt. He opted not to wear the hood.

“Yeah—a lot of what’s in there is knight costume stuff, for fighters you know, and I’m a man of peace. This ain’t so bad, brother.”

Dressed and feeling a little better, they meandered back to the video area and settled into the chairs in front of the screens. There was an animal program on one of them that was fascinating. Most of the creatures had leather skin, even some of the birds. There were several fearsome carnivores as well. One of them resembled a giant frog—about the size of a dog—only with many sharp teeth. The majority of its body consisted of its huge brown head. It would blend in with the plants and bushes, and then ambush prey by suddenly springing up six or eight feet and grabbing a bird out of the air, or a squirrel-looking mammal out of a tree, with its mouth.

That program ended and one about marine life began. Brandon walked over to the cart and came back with the pitcher of wine—assuming that’s what it was—and two cups. Derek looked up at him and reached out his hand to signal acceptance of the drink. It tasted like good red wine.

“That is some righteously exotic sea life,” Derek said.

“Yeah,” Brandon replied, “but really, so is sea life on Earth. I have seen shows like this about crazy ocean creatures that are just as fascinating. I mean, there’s a perfect example—a flying fish. We have flying fish on Earth, too, although they are much smaller and can’t fly nearly that far out of the water.”

“You think we’re really on another planet?”

“It’s as reasonable of an explanation as any about what happened to us, I suppose. Only…”

“Only what, man?”

“Only …Derek, what year was it when they kidnapped you?”

Derek laughed. “It’s 1968 of course.” He took another sip of wine, and then looked at Brandon quizzically.


This time it was Brandon who laughed. “No, man.”

“Well what year is it then, brother? I know what show I had tickets for.”

“If we really are on another planet,” Brandon said, “It could be any year. I mean, we have no idea what year it is here, on this planet—what was it they called this place, Amulen?”

“Sounds right.”

“But what I really mean is, it could be any Earth year by now as well. We may have been sleeping a very long time. Especially you.”

“Why especially me?”

“Derek, I wasn’t even born yet in 1968.”

Derek’s eyebrows furled. He set the cup of wine down and stared at Brandon. An ugly grimace gradually formed on his face.

“I get the feeling we have both been in a coma for decades,” Brandon continued. “However long it’s been, it’s been longer for you—like forty-something years longer. It was New Year’s Eve the year 2012 when they got me.”

“No way, man.” Derek just sat there with a rebellious look on his face. “No way.”

“I didn’t want to mention it earlier, because I didn’t want to freak you out.”

“Well whose side are you on, man?”

Brandon was a little irritated by that question. “Look—whatever happened to you happened to me, too. We are in this thing together, and I haven’t seen any other humans around. I am on your side, if for no other reason than out of necessity.”

“If you’re on my side, brother, then tell me what else is going on that I should know about!”

“I don’t know anything else. That’s it. I remember my abduction now, and I know when it happened. They apparently got you a long time in the past from when they got me. Now we both seem to think we are about the same age as we were when we were kidnapped, but I don’t think we really are. Just how this is even possible, I don’t know. I can guess, but—”

“Well go ahead and guess then, future-man, ‘cause I sure got a lot less to go by than you would.” The tone in Derek’s voice suggested that he no longer trusted Brandon.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.” Brandon stood and walked around in circles for a few moments before continuing.

“I’ve been interested in astronomy and science fiction some, so I do have a tiny bit of knowledge to guess from. Albert Einstein’s physics theories have held firm to my time, so the scientists of my day still agree nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. That film we watched earlier showed we were quite a distance across the galaxy from Earth. If that is indeed where we are, it would have taken a very long time to get here, like maybe hundreds of years, even travelling at the speed of light. They must have frozen us, or maybe put us into some kind of a deep preservation sleep, in a state that stops the aging process. Otherwise, we would be a lot older now. Hell, you should have been getting to be an old man even by the time I was kidnapped. It could be that we were put into a cryogenic state or something on board their spaceships for the trip.”

Derek just kept staring at him.

Amazon Buy Link

Related Posts with Thumbnails