Sunday, March 31, 2013

Author Q&A: E.K. Prescott author of 9 Squares

E.K. Prescott, author of the book 9 Squares, stopped by for a Q&A.



Why did you choose New Haven, CT as the setting for your book?

Actually, my husband and I put a map of the US in front of me, and I closed my eyes, lifted my arm high, and put a finger down at New Haven, CT. Then I started researching the place. The history was so intriguing; I couldn't make it up any better. So that is where I started: a map and historical research.


How long did it take you to research the historical information for the book?

That is hard to say, because I was teaching full-time while I researched the book. And the research is continual even after you have the outline and start writing. I am always digging further. So as a rule of thumb, I would say I researched for a year, and built the plot outline and characters around the research.


What surprised you the most during your research?

The unbelievable truths I found as I delved into the 1920s in the US and England. I found so many connections that we hadn’t been taught in any history courses ... it was eye-opening.


What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from the book?

I asked several people to read an advanced copy and give me their thoughts. Not one came away with the same thing. As an English teacher, I know that is a mark of good literature, so obviously I was pleasantly surprised. There are many themes and subplots in the book, so what each person takes away is what is important, and I love to hear their thoughts and opinions!


Why did you decide to write a series?

One of the things about writing is to write what you enjoy, and I enjoy reading mystery series. I read them constantly. I love getting to know characters and seeing them move from book to book. I am always sad when the series comes to an end.


What was the most difficult part in writing it?

Bringing together the themes, subplots, characters, outline, and the history so it makes for a good story. I love the challenge! Now I have the base of the series and am moving forward to write the second book.


Who do you think would most enjoy reading this book?

Anyone who loves history, fiction, mysteries, and series books.


How did you develop the characters of Maize and Richard?

I knew I wanted a male detective from Scotland Yard ... thus I created Professor Detective Lord Richard Wikki. His many names make him who he is. I like to play around with names until they sound good to me, like my new Irish rogue character in book two, Tommy Mulhanney ... the name sounds delicious!

Maize (a common name in the 20s) is a Golden Era girl and wants a career, to vote, go to college, and marry later, unlike the elite Victorian women. In developing her ... I found that she became me.

I worked hard to develop the energy between these two characters in order to move them on through the series. I had fun with them. Read it and see for yourself!



How many books will be in the series? When will the next book in the series be available?

At this point, there are six books planned in The Ivy League Chronicles series. But if my fans want more, there is always a possibility. 


In 9 Squares, Maize has a reading done by a psychic. Have you ever had a reading and were you pleased with the experience?

In the 1920s, metaphysics was very popular - especially among the elite. Anybody that was anybody had a psychic at their events, even at baby showers. Since this series is historical fiction, it was only fitting to add this to the plot. In fact, during my book signings I am dressed in 1920s style clothing and have a psychic with me to help the history come alive! Anyone who buys a book receives a free five-minute reading.




About the book:

The year is 1923, and Richard Wikki, a former detective from Scotland Yard and now a professor at the prestigious Yale University in New Haven, CT, misses his days of crime solving.

Maize Judson has enrolled at Yale with hopes of becoming an investigative journalist.

When Maize and her friend find a skeleton buried in the sand at the beach with a mysterious amulet wrapped around its fingers, she and Richard set out to solve a murder.

But Richard soon finds himself following well-planted illusionary clues, and as he continues to investigate, a series of events shake the depths of his philosophical, religious and spiritual beliefs, as well as his perspective on life…forever.



About the author:

E.K. Prescott, Ph.D., has been an educator for almost 30 years, and has taught at the college level for the past 15 years. She spent many years as a high school English teacher, middle school principal, and national educational consultant. Among her many accomplishments, she has been awarded research grants, named director of a research institute, and her work was published by the S-STEP group of the American Educators Research Association. She was also asked to present her research in London, England at a S-Step conference.

Prescott earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri and her master’s degree at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI. She earned her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded a three-year, full-time Fellowship.

She is currently an online Associate Faculty member, mentor and residency instructor for the University of Phoenix-School of Advanced Studies, as well as a part-time professor for other online doctoral programs.

E.K. Prescott lives in a log cabin nestled in the mountains of northern Arizona with her husband, four horses, and two black labs.




Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: All is Well by Louise Hay and Mona Lisa Schultz

All is Well, the new book by celebrated authors Louise Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz, not only explores the medical science behind the affirmations in Louise Hay’s international bestseller You Can Heal Your Life, but also offers stories and practical advice for personal healing.

Structured around seven emotional centers, which mirror our chakra system, Louise and Mona Lisa examine the connections between these centers and the body. Drawing on years of research, they explore probable mental causes for the physical manifestation of illness associated with each center, and then lay out how to address these health concerns. Combining two complementary systems, Louise discusses new thought patterns and offers new affirmations to counteract specific emotional weaknesses, and Mona Lisa, who has worked for many years as a medical intuitive and physician, helps readers listen to their own bodies’ intuition and prescribes medical solutions that are based in Western science. They provide real-world examples of people who faced illness and outline the specific emotional and physical prescriptions that helped them heal.

Affirmations, intuition, and medical science form a powerful triad that enable readers to achieve maximum health and well-being, and to experience on a deep level that, as Louise always says, “All is well.”



E-galley received for review.

First, let's deal with the obvious fact that while this is purportedly co-written by Louise Hay and Dr. Schultz the book is actually presented as a first person narrative written by Dr. Schultz.

This is really not a book for everyone as the cover text indicates. Many of the sections strongly suggest visits to multiple doctors, energy healers, acupuncturists, herbalists, dieticians, etc., all of whom can be incredibly expensive. So, unless you are a) upper middle class or b) have excellent health insurance coverage (see a) then this really is not for you. So, the book is a bit misleading there as well. Yes, the book's affirmations may help, but only if used in conjunction with thousands of dollars and a team of doctors and sundry "complementary health" practitioners.

I'm not saying that some information in the book isn't helpful, just that it is most likely not the cure-all it is presented as.

Louise's affirmations are educational, but if you're looking for an affirmation based health and healing book you really should just go with Louise's original book You Can Heal Your Life.

☆☆☆ = Just Okay



Friday, March 29, 2013

Featured Book: Tomorrow Is Now by Eleanor Roosevelt



About the book:

As relevant and influential now as it was when first published in 1963, Tomorrow Is Now is Eleanor Roosevelt's manifesto and her final effort to move America toward the community she hoped it would become.

In bold, blunt prose, one of the greatest First Ladies of American history traces her country's struggle to embrace democracy and presents her declaration against fear, timidity, complacency, and national arrogance. An open, unrestrained look into her mind and heart as well as a clarion call to action, Tomorrow Is Now is the work Eleanor Roosevelt willed herself to stay alive to finish writing.

For this edition, former U.S. President Bill Clinton contributes a new foreword and Roosevelt historian Allida Black provides an authoritative introduction focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt’s diplomatic career.



About the author:

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is widely considered one of America’s greatest First Ladies.

Allida Black is the preeminent Eleanor Roosevelt historian and the author of Casting Her Own Shadow: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Shaping of Postwar Liberalism and Courage in a Dangerous World: The Political Writings of Eleanor Roosevelt. She lives in Washington, D.C.




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: The Yankee Chef by Jim Bailey

The heritage of New England cookery unfolds in this charming collection of more than 550 traditional recipes tweaked for today's palate.

Compiled with insight and flavors from three generations of Yankee chefs, this cookbook for home cooks and professional chefs alike covers baked goods, beverages, seafood, desserts, and more. Create a range of comfort foods in typical New England style, including easy-to-follow recipes for classics like chowders, steamers, cornbread, and mincemeat pie.

This informative, engaging, and definitive guide to the feel-good food of the Northeast will offer a lifetime of classic meals for the family and is a great addition to any kitchen library.



E-galley received for review.

As a native New Englander I was immediately drawn to this and it did not disappoint!

This comprehensive collection covered everything from breakfast to dessert. There were muffins, stews, pies, pastas - simply everything you could possibly want to cook or bake was covered.

The recipes were clear, concise, and easy to follow. 99.9% also did not require any bizarre ingredients that you can't find at your local grocery store.

There were numerous recipes that I want to try, some of which are:

Lobster Fried Rice
Old Fashioned Dark Gingerbread
Old Fashioned Honey Cake
Stovetop Coconut Rice Pudding
Maple Custard Pie

And really, any and all of the other recipes that listed maple syrup as an ingredient!

This isn't just for us "Yankees" and would make a lovely addition to any cookbook collection. It would also make an ideal and thoughtful gift. I highly recommend this!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Featured Book: Tears for Nanertak by Skip Hofstrand



About the book:

For most of us, it’s hard to imagine our home vanishing. But for Nanertak, a polar bear cub, the melting of her Arctic homeland means that she has nowhere to live.

She and her mother, Nanuck, are forced to escape. Their exit by iceberg is full of danger – the beginning of an incredible journey of survival.

Many tears are shed along the way, but there is unexpected hope for Nanertak's future...along with a solution to the problem of her disappearing Arctic homeland.

Join Nanertak and Nanuck as they search for their new home in this beautiful story that is both educational and inspiring for children and adults alike.



About the author:

Skip Hofstrand has been a professional watercolor artist for 26 years. This is his first children’s picture book. The illustrations were painted using water from the melting Greenland Ice Cap, collected by Will Steger, polar explorer and winner of National Geographic’s prestigious John Oliver LaGorce award for exploration, science, and public service. Skip has served as medical director for all of Steger’s polar expeditions.

You can find further information on Skip’s watercolor style and biography at www.skiphofstrandartist.com.

A percentage of royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to The Will Steger Foundation, which educates our children about global warming.



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: The Scoop on Breasts by Dr. Ted Eisenberg and Joyce K. Eisenberg

Whether you want to augment them, lift them, reduce them, or embrace them just the way they are, you'll get the inside scoop about breasts and cosmetic breast surgery in this educational and entertaining book. Dr. Ted Eisenberg, a plastic surgeon who holds the Guinness Record for most breast augmentations done in a lifetime, candidly answers hundreds of actual patient questions like: Am I too old for breast augmentation? Will my implants boil in a hot tub? Do I need to replace them every 10 years?

Joyce K. Eisenberg offers up titillating titbits and extra padding about breast goddesses, go-topless days, and Great Britain, whose women have the largest breasts in Europe. Filled with close to 200 photographs and illustrations, The Scoop on Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths is an amusing and revealing read. By book's end, you'll consider the authors your BBFs: Bosom Buddies Forever.



E-galley received for review.

I'm sure most women have contemplated breast surgery of one kind or another, be it implants, reductions, or lifts. If you've ever had any questions about the options, surgery, or aftermath this is the book for you.

This comprehensive guide covers absolutely every question you could possibly have about any type of breast surgery. It covers everything from the decision to have implants, sizing, costs, the procedure itself, and beyond.

I really cannot recommend this enough to someone looking into breast augmentation. The author's fresh, friendly style will put you at ease and provide you with all the relevant information.

This is the go-to book for everything breast surgery related.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Monday, March 25, 2013

Featured Book: Pansy at the Palace by Cynthia Bardes



About the book:

Pansy’s life blossoms when she is adopted from an animal shelter by a loving family and little girl named Avery. Swept into her new life at the Palace Hotel in Beverly Hills, this smart and courageous puppy saves the day by solving a mysterious theft. Pansy at the Palace celebrates the spirit of curiousity and exploration, and teaches us that no one is too small to make a difference in the lives
of many!


About the author:

Cynthia Bardes and her husband, David, spend each fall at a Beverly Hills hotel with their toy poodle, Pansy. Inspiration for this story was born out of random misfortune. One day, when crossing Wilshire Blvd., Cynthia was struck by a car. Her injuries required surgery and a lengthy recuperation at the hotel.

While bedridden, Cynthia’s vivid imagination and Pansy’s popularity with employees and guests of the hotel made for a perfect story.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Cynthia is a former dress designer and interior decorator. When not in Los Angeles, Cynthia, her husband, and Pansy, live in Vero Beach, Florida.

Pansy at the Palace is her first picture book.




Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham

Eric Crowther knew everybody's secrets, so there was no shortage of suspects when he was found shot at the White Cottage.

Chief Inspector Challenor and his son Jerry had to look deep into everyone's past - including the dead man's - before they could be sure who had pulled the trigger.

With a country house, blackmail and murder, The White Cottage Mystery has all the making for a classic cozy mystery.


E-galley received for review.

For a book that is just over a hundred pages this took me a disproportionate amount of time to read. The writing just didn't flow particularly well for ease of reading.

The mystery itself was intriguing and well crafted. It had twists and turns and red herrings almost worthy of Agatha Christie herself, and the ending was certainly a nice surprise!

I highly recommend this for vintage mystery fans and Christie fans in general who will appreciate the familiar surroundings and the romantic angle.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Featured Book: The Mythfitz: Unee The Unicorn by Nicholas Julius



About the book:

Danger abounds, and Unee the Unicorn must make quick decisions when he finds himself trapped in a maze and must best the creature whom lives there.

This first book in a series of fantastic adventure tales, Unee the Unicorn takes young readers on a thrilling adventure as he travels to meet his friends, the Mythfitz.



Friday, March 22, 2013

Guest Post: Ted Kerasote author of Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs

Ted Kerasote, author of the book Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, stopped by to share with us a piece he wrote.



Key Elements for Healthy Dogs
by Ted Kerasote,
Author of Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs

In the months following the publication of Merle's Door, I received hundreds of emails from readers who had lost beloved dogs and closed their letters with a variation on this theme: "Why must our dogs die so young?"

Naturally, when most of us say this, we're not expecting an answer. We're expressing a rhetorical complaint: "Why do our best friends in the animal kingdom live so much such shorter lives than we do, only about an eighth of the normal life expectancy of a person in the developed world?"
However, I also received another question from many readers, which was more particular in its nature and much more heartrending: "Why did my dog have to die of cancer at three years old . . . at four . . . at six?" "Why," as one person wrote, "have four of my five Golden Retrievers died of cancer?"

What are the key elements of having a long-lived, healthy dog? Here are some pointers.
One of the best sources of information on keeping dogs healthy is Dr. Karen Becker's archives of Pet Health Articles.

Contaminants
Don't expose your dog to environmental pollutants, particularly the herbicides and pesticides that are applied to lawns and golf courses.

Nutrition

Rotate your dog's food on a weekly or monthly basis. Would you be healthy if you ate the same thing your entire life? Reduce the carbohydrates your dog eats (corn, oats, soy, barley, rice) and replace it with high-quality protein.

Helpful Links: The recommendations of an increasing number of veterinarians as summarized by Dr. Marty Goldstein and Dr. Karen Becker.

Vaccinations

Once your dog has gotten its course of vaccinations and boosters, eliminate yearly vaccinations except those required by law (rabies) and those that are recommended by your veterinarian for your area. If your veterinarian says that a full round of yearly boosters is a must (e.g., parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus, kennel cough, leptospirosis) get a second opinion.

Vaccinations 101: Dr. Ron Schultz shares his vast expertise in vaccines with dog owners.

(HEALTH): An article from: Whole Dog Journal

Genetics

If you're looking for a new dog and are getting one from a breeder take a close look at the dog's family tree, finding out how long its ancestors lived and what they died of. Case in point: 61.4 percent of Golden Retrievers in the United States die of cancer (http://www.grca.org/pdf/health/healthsurvey.pdf, p. 142). Researching your pup's ancestry before you even lay eyes on it can save a great deal of heartache a few years down the road. Take Dr. Karen Becker's 18-Point Assessment of a breeder and his or her facility before committing to a pup.

Spaying and Neutering

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that points to the harmful effects of spaying and neutering: shortened life span, increased risk of certain cancers, and increased incidence of ACL injuries. Depending on your situation, you may wish to delay the spaying or neutering of your dog until it is 14 months old or not sterilize it at all. If you're worried about not being able to control your dog when it becomes sexually mature, consider a vasectomy or tubal ligation, which will prevent your dog from becoming a parent, but retain the beneficial effects of the dog's sex hormones.

Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation - Ovaries & Longevity

Prevention

Run your hands over your dog every day. The instant you feel a lump take your dog to your vet and get the lump aspirated and an analysis made of its contents. If your veterinarians says, "Let's watch it," find a new vet. Tens of thousands of dogs needlessly die of cancer each year because their humans "watched" a lump that could have been easily removed before the cancer metastasized.

What do I do if my dog gets cancer?

When humans get cancer, they seek specialized care. So, too, should it be with dogs. For advanced cancer care go the the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine's website and search for an oncologist in your area by using the pop-down menu.

© 2013 Ted Kerasote, author of Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs



About the book:

From the best-selling author who offers “the most utterly compelling translation of dog to human I have ever seen” (Jeffrey Masson), a joyful chronicle of a dog that is also a groundbreaking answer to the question: How can we give our dogs the happiest, healthiest lives?

When Ted Kerasote was ready for a new dog after losing his beloved Merle — who died too soon, as all our dogs do — he knew that he would want to give his puppy Pukka the longest life possible. But how to do that? So much has changed in the way we feed, vaccinate, train, and live with our dogs from even a decade ago.

In an adventure that echoes The Omnivore’s Dilemma with a canine spin, Kerasote tackles all those subjects, questioning our conventional wisdom and emerging with vital new information that will surprise even the most knowledgeable dog lovers. Can a purebred be as healthy as a mixed-breed? How many vaccines are too many? Should we rethink spaying and neutering? Is raw food really healthier than kibble, and should your dog be chewing more bones? Traveling the world and interviewing breeders, veterinarians, and leaders of the animal-welfare movement, Kerasote pulls together the latest research to help us rethink the everyday choices we make for our companions. And as he did in Merle's Door, Kerasote interweaves fascinating science with the charming stories of raising Pukka among his dog friends in their small Wyoming village.

Funny, revelatory, and full of the delights of falling in love with a dog, Pukka’s Promise will help redefine the potential of our animal partners.



About the author:

Ted Kerasote, author of Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, is the author of several books, including the national bestseller Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog and Out There, which won the National Outdoor Book Award. His essays and photographs have appeared in Audubon, Outside, and the New York Times, among others. He lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

For more information please visit http://kerasote.com, and follow the author on Facebook and watch videos on YouTube




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Giveaway: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray Combo Pack




Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) joins Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a band of dwarves led by the brave Thorin (Richard Armitage) on a treacherous quest to reclaim their mountain home from the fierce dragon Smaug in this epic fantasy adventure adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved novel by the creative forces behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Long before Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) made his arduous journey to Mordor, his brave uncle Bilbo embarked on an adventure for the ages. Bilbo's story gets under way when the great wizard Gandalf appears at his front gate with a most unusual offer. Displaced from their massive fortress in the Lonely Mountain by Smaug - a greedy dragon who coveted their gold - a community of noble dwarves were decimated by a surprise attack by monstrous orcs, whose dreaded leader the Pale Orc slew their king in a gruesome battle. Now, Thorin, the descendent of the king, is determined to reclaim his mountain kingdom for his people. Together with a fearless team of dwarves, Thorin and Gandalf recruit Bilbo to aid them in their quest since Hobbits have the unique ability to go undetected when they wish to. Before Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves can reach The Lonely Mountain and defeat Smaug, however, they'll have to contend with trolls, goblins, stone giants, Gollum (Andy Serkis), and even the dreaded Pale Orc himself. Peter Jackson directs a screenplay he co-penned with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro.






Thanks to the publicist I have one Blu-ray Combo Pack to give away!

US only.  No P.O. Boxes.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Author Q&A: Ruth Ozeki author of A Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki, author of the book A Tale for the Time Being, stopped by for a Q&A.



What is your idea of perfect happiness?

World peace. Seriously. I’m waiting for the time when every last person finally realizes how stupid and deluded it is to waste our precious moments here on earth feeling angry and waging wars, and we all take a backward step and just give it up. However, I’m not holding my breath. In the short term, perfect happiness would be a day of unstructured writing time. A day? I meant a week. No, make that a month.



What does your ideal day look like?


I wake up alone in the sleeping loft of a tiny cottage in the woods. I climb down the narrow stairs, wash my face and sit zazen for forty minutes in the window seat, then I make myself a pot of green tea and open my computer. Maybe I listen to music—Baroque or early Renaissance at that hour, or, depending on the weather, possibly Gregorian chant. I noodle around for a while, rereading what I’ve written the day before, and then an idea that’s been flickering around the edges of my mind suddenly flares up and I follow it. Hours pass. Deep in the fictional dream, I have somehow managed to feed myself (miraculously, there is food in the house, granola and fruit, or toast and a poached egg), and now I need a break. I change into running clothes and go for a long run, stretch, shower, and then make coffee and lunch. The music is different in the afternoon, an evolving playlist of ambient songs that form the soundtrack to the fictional world. I spend the afternoon much as I’ve spent the morning, and then at 5:30, I close my computer and walk through the woods to a farmhouse, where a delicious dinner is waiting along with a small group of writers, good friends, who have been working all day in their own cottages in the woods. Together we eat and drink wine and talk about nonliterary things. In the evening I return to my cottage and listen to jazz, read a novel and go to bed.



What is your greatest extravagance?

My imagination.


What possession would you be heartbroken if you lost?

I have a string of prayer beads, called a mala, that was given to me by a dear friend. From time to time I misplace the mala, or the cat steals it and drags it off somewhere. The first time this happened, I was devastated. I searched everywhere. My husband helped. Finally we concluded it was truly lost. I mourned for that mala, but then, months later, my husband found it in his travel medicine bag. The only way it could have gotten there is if one of us—me, Oliver, or the cat—put it there. We know who did it. Anyway, the point is that I still misplace it from time to time, and every time the pang of losing gets a little less severe. It’s like that wonderful Elizabeth Bishop poem, One Art, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master;/so many things seem filled with the intent/ to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” I love that poem. Losing, she says, is something we should practice: “Lose something every day. Accept the fluster...” and that’s what I seem to be doing, because little by little, I’ve come to see the prayer beads as already lost, so that now when I put them on, I’m a little bit surprised and grateful that they are still with me.



If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would stop trying to change myself and everyone around me, and learn to be content with who we all are.


What childhood fear has followed you into adulthood?

Death. But I’m working on it.


Do you take comfort in darkness or light?

Darkness, the crepuscular Pacific Northwest variety.


Do you remember your dreams?

Sometimes. Sometimes they are so vivid, filled with such palpable and convincing detail, that I wake up convinced that Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds interpretation of quantum physics must be right. It’s as if, in the dream, I’m able to catch a glimpse of myself as I am in one of the array of multiple, alternate worlds.


How do you collect snippets of observations and ideas that come to you unexpectedly?

I have a system that I learned from a writer friend. I buy a stack of those little 3” X 4” Marble Memo books and ask the nice young man behind the desk at the copy center to cut the stack in half for me with his industrial paper cutter. Horizontally, I tell him, so as to preserve the binding. I’m careful to be clear about this because once he actually asked me which way I wanted them cut. He was nice, but not too bright. Once cut, they are small enough to tuck into a pocket, along with a small pen, and I capture ideas in these booklets. Later, when I’m at the computer and I get stuck or am doing housekeeping, I go thru the little booklets and transcribe the ideas into files where I can more easy access them.

But having said all this, more often than not, I forget to carry my little booklet, and when I have the idea, I can’t write it down and so the idea gets lost. This used to bother me, but it doesn’t so much anymore (see Question 4). Also, over the years I’ve come to know my mind well enough to trust that if the idea was really any good, it will come back to me.


What emotions do you experience when you sit down to begin a new work?

...the way I imagine it would feel when you first realize that you have gills and can breath underwater. You’re swimming down deep, say near an intact coral reef, gliding across a crenulated landscape of weird sponges and beckoning anemones, surrounded by brightly colored fishes, wanting to stay there forever, knowing you can’t, holding your breath, needing to breathe, until finally you know you must surface or die, and instead you...inhale. And you don’t die! You take another breath. No problem. Amazing.


What is your favorite way to avoid writing?

Filling out questionnaires.


Does being in love propel or postpone your work?

No.


How do you work under pressure?

Quickly.


What published book do you secretly wish you had written?

I hate questions like this! There are far too many either to keep secret or to list here, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just say any book by David Mitchell. Before he got all famous with Cloud Atlas, he was relatively unknown, and I felt like he was a secret. My secret. Now everybody knows. And Karen Joy Fowler’s new book We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which is coming out in May. Do not miss this one!


Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Sei Shonagon, author of the Pillow Book. She was a handmaiden to the empress of Japan about a thousand years ago, a documentarian, a contrarian, and famous for her lists. She made fabulous lists: things that gain by being painted, things that give a hot feeling, things that arouse a fond memory of the past, things that give a pathetic impression, things that make the heart beat faster, things that cannot be compared. The list of her lists goes on and on, and I think they are wonderful and poetic. I love taxonomies and I love list-making. The lists we make shape the way we see the world.


If you were reincarnated as a person or a thing, who or what would you be?

My cat. I would like to know what he is thinking. Or, rather, I would like to know if I’m right about what I think he’s thinking. I would like to know if he loves me.


Tell us one thing you can’t prove but believe is true.

Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.



About the book:

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.



About the author:

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of three novels, My Year of Meats, All Over Creation, and A Tale for the Time Being. Her critically acclaimed independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been screened at Sundance and aired on PBS. She is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She lives in British Columbia and New York City.

Visit www.ruthozeki.com and follow @ozekiland on Twitter.




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Excerpt: John's Gospel: The Way It Happened by Lee Harmon

Lee Harmon, author of the book John's Gospel: The Way It Happened, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.






About the book:

About 15 years after Revelation, a second, very different, work attributed to John the Apostle was published. It is the year 95, and Matthew, son of Samuel, is 28 years old. This book continues my first story, Revelation: The Way it Happened. Our task this time, however, will be much more complex than for Revelation, since we lack the historical clues required to settle on a determinative interpretation of the Gospel of John. We will be forced to dig deeper this time around, if we are to unearth John’s meaning.

Few people learn to read and interpret the Bible the way it was written: As a collection of individual writings compiled over hundreds of years, each having a unique agenda and expressing a unique opinion. As you read my book, I want you to consider an important question: What happens if we pull the Gospel of John out from under the shadow of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and grant John’s author a mind of his own? What will he have to say?

Careful reading of the Gospel will uncover an underlying thesis. John’s purpose is to show that, in some mysterious way, Jesus Christ is God Himself! In the flesh! God did return to earth as the prophets promised, and the new age has begun!

John’s Gospel is no less about the end times than Revelation, but with a new emphasis. Scholars call John’s perspective realized eschatology, a promise that the golden age has arrived, and is ours for the grasping.



About the author:

Lee Harmon lives in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, and blogs at The Dubious Disciple. He grew up in Oregon, in a strict Christian home surrounded by fundamental Bible beliefs. He is the author of Revelation: The Way It Happened and John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened.




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Giveaway: John's Gospel: The Way It Happened by Lee Harmon

About 15 years after Revelation, a second, very different, work attributed to John the Apostle was published. It is the year 95, and Matthew, son of Samuel, is 28 years old. This book continues my first story, Revelation: The Way it Happened. Our task this time, however, will be much more complex than for Revelation, since we lack the historical clues required to settle on a determinative interpretation of the Gospel of John. We will be forced to dig deeper this time around, if we are to unearth John’s meaning.

Few people learn to read and interpret the Bible the way it was written: As a collection of individual writings compiled over hundreds of years, each having a unique agenda and expressing a unique opinion. As you read my book, I want you to consider an important question: What happens if we pull the Gospel of John out from under the shadow of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and grant John’s author a mind of his own? What will he have to say?

Careful reading of the Gospel will uncover an underlying thesis. John’s purpose is to show that, in some mysterious way, Jesus Christ is God Himself! In the flesh! God did return to earth as the prophets promised, and the new age has begun!

John’s Gospel is no less about the end times than Revelation, but with a new emphasis. Scholars call John’s perspective realized eschatology, a promise that the golden age has arrived, and is ours for the grasping.



Thanks to PR by the Book I have one copy to give away!

US only, no PO Boxes.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, March 18, 2013

Featured Book: Lifesaving Lessons by Linda Greenlaw



About the book:

Famed swordfish boat captain Linda Greenlaw faces her greatest battle with nature—a newly adopted teenage daughter

Linda Greenlaw isn’t a woman who shies away from a challenge—a nationally renowned swordfish boat captain made famous in the film The Perfect Storm, Greenlaw is also a bestselling author and a television celebrity. Through hard work and determination, she had created a life of peaceful independence, living on a rugged island off the coast of Maine.

Then came Mariah.

A troubled fifteen-year-old, Mariah arrives on the island to stay with her uncle, an island newcomer and seemingly normal guy. The entire community is rocked when it is revealed that Mariah has suffered terrible abuse at his hands, and the island comes together to rescue the teenager from further harm. Alone and at risk, Mariah needs a guardian and the island residents nominate Linda, who is not exactly the picture of maternal warmth.

A remarkably candid and tenderly funny memoir, Lifesaving Lessons follows this unexpected mother-daughter pair as they navigate their new life together, learning to trust themselves and each other and forge the loving family that neither of them knew they needed.



About the author:

Linda Greenlaw is America’s only female swordfish boat captain and was featured in the book and film The Perfect Storm and in the Discovery Channel series Swords: Life on the Line.

She is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including The Lobster Chronicles, as well as two mysteries and two cookbooks coauthored with her mother, Martha Greenlaw. She lives on Isle au Haut, Maine.




Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta by Giuliano Hazan

Home cooks are once again looking to prepare well-balanced meals that include everyone’s favorite food—pasta. Few of us, though, have the leisure to create a classic Bolognese meat sauce from scratch. For those who are as pressed for time as they are starved for a toothsome bowl of beautifully sauced pasta, Giuliano Hazan has created 100 scrumptious pasta dishes that can be put together in half an hour or less. Hazan’s repertoire—hearty pasta soups, fresh-from-the-greenmarket vegetarian dishes, and meat and seafood sauces that take their cue from the classics of Italian cuisine—will let you bring healthful, hunger-satisfying pasta back to your family’s weeknight supper table. Included are recipes for last-minute dishes, as well as useful advice on stocking your pasta pantry, choosing cooking equipment, and figuring out which pasta shape goes with which kind of sauce.



E-galley received for review.

I adore pasta.  Seriously, it is one of my favorite things.  So, needless to say, I was thrilled to receive this for review!

There are seriously one hundred different pasta recipes covering everything from soup to more traditional pasta dishes.  There is even an entire section devoted to vegetarian dishes.  If you can't find something you like in this cookbook then you are not a pasta connoisseur.

I found several recipes that I am looking forward to trying:

Neapolitan Maccheroni Soup
Fusili with a Rainbow-Colored Sauce (this will be perfect for using up my garden bounty of zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant!)
Penne with Mushrooms and Zucchini
Fusili with Yellow Squash and Grape Tomatoes (another garden bounty recipe!)

I especially appreciated that most recipes do not require any freaky, hard to find ingredients.  99.9% should be available at your local grocery store.  A couple recipes do call for saffron which may be a smidge more difficult to find, depending on where you live.  The photos, while not provided for each recipe, are beautiful and beneficial in selecting recipes to try.

This is a wonderful collection of recipes and truly a must own for any pasta lover.  It would also make a lovely gift.  I highly recommend it!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Excerpt: Your Ultimate Life Plan by Jennifer Howard

Jennifer Howard, author of the book Your Ultimate Life Plan, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.






About the book:

Your Ultimate Life Plan will help you improve every moment of your life by teaching you how to build:

  • Confidence: Remove what's stopping you.
  • Strength: Move from your wounded ego into your sacred self.
  • Courage: Make smarter choices by embracing the Four Dimensions of Consciousness.
  • Success: Rise to your next level of happiness, clarity, and transformation.

Your Ultimate Life Plan is the distillation of Dr. Howard's 20-plus years of experience as a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher. This "workshop in a book" will help you do more than understand your Wholeness--you will experience it.



About the author:

Jennifer Howard, PhD, teaches the art of conscious living. She is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist, life and business coach, professional speaker, teacher, and energy healer. A leading expert on spirituality and psychology, Dr. Howard has appeared on numerous national network television shows and is a Huffington Post blogger. As creator and host of the award-nominated radio talk show, A Conscious Life, her wisdom, warmth, and sense of humor shine through. She lives in New York. For more information, visit: DrJenniferHoward.com and YourUltimateLifePlan.com.




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Book Excerpt: Your Ultimate Life Plan by Jennifer Howard

Jennifer Howard, author of the book Your Ultimate Life Plan, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.






About the book:

Your Ultimate Life Plan will help you improve every moment of your life by teaching you how to build:

  • Confidence: Remove what's stopping you.
  • Strength: Move from your wounded ego into your sacred self.
  • Courage: Make smarter choices by embracing the Four Dimensions of Consciousness.
  • Success: Rise to your next level of happiness, clarity, and transformation.

Your Ultimate Life Plan is the distillation of Dr. Howard's 20-plus years of experience as a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher. This "workshop in a book" will help you do more than understand your Wholeness--you will experience it.



About the author:

Jennifer Howard, PhD, teaches the art of conscious living. She is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist, life and business coach, professional speaker, teacher, and energy healer. A leading expert on spirituality and psychology, Dr. Howard has appeared on numerous national network television shows and is a Huffington Post blogger. As creator and host of the award-nominated radio talk show, A Conscious Life, her wisdom, warmth, and sense of humor shine through. She lives in New York. For more information, visit: DrJenniferHoward.com and YourUltimateLifePlan.com.




Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Excerpt: The Sister Accord by Sonia Jackson Myles

Sonia Jackson Myles, author of the book The Sister Accord, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.



...I wanted to share how my girlfriends and I used the principles of The Sister Accord to usher a dear sister through full restoration of health after a diagnosis of breast cancer. I wanted to share how I had a best friend since 1st grade, and how she has been a powerful force that keeps me balanced. I know that I have a confidant, someone who would drop everything in a heartbeat to be by my side if I needed her, someone I can trust with my life. I want girls and women everywhere to experience the power of sisterhood, and live a life that is filled with love and joy.



About the book:

Our world needs a resolution…Of Love….Our world needs a revolution…Of Love…Our world needs The Sister Accord: 51 Ways to Love Your Sister©. This beautiful and engaging book is the product of the vision and life purpose of Sonia Jackson Myles, Daughter, Mother, Sister, Friend, Corporate Executive, Mentor, and Author of The Sister Accord, The Promise That Will Transform Your Life!™ The Sister Accord is a resolution for girls and women to inspire them to have positive, loving relationships with each other. The principles of The Sister Accord have been woven into the fabric of the 51 Ways To Love Your Sister to give girls and women tangible tools and methods for establishing strong relationships with each other. Additionally, Sonia has used the power of imagery to bring the ways to life in a manner that will connect with girls and women from every part of the world. Celebrity Sisters, such as Mikki Taylor, Tasha Smith, Tatyana Ali, Hoda Kotb, and many other amazing, highly successful women share their insights on the importance of Sisterhood.



About the author:

Sonia Jackson Myles is the founder & author of The Sister Accord, The Promise That Will Transform Your Life!™ which has become a global movement centered on the power of loving, trusting and loyal relationships in transforming every aspect of the lives of girls and women.

Sonia is a summa cum laude graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU), and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and an MBA with a concentration in Marketing. She was named one of Essence magazine’s 25 Women of Power in 2008, was selected as a History Maker by Bloomberg News in 2009, and was awarded the Trumpet Award Foundation’s Women in High Heels Award & FAMU President’s Award in 2010.




Monday, March 4, 2013

Review: Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea by Lisa Martin and Valerie Martin

A swashbuckling story of two very different cat brothers and their adventures at sea.

Cat brothers Cecil and Anton are as different in personality as they are in looks. Cecil, stocky and black with white patches, thirsts for seafaring adventure as he roams the docks of his harborside home, taking day trips on fishing boats when the chance comes along. Slim, gray Anton prefers listening to the sailors’ shanties at the town saloon. But one day when Anton does venture to the port, he’s stolen off the dock, and the next thing he knows, he’s at sea.

Knowing little of the wide open ocean that lies beyond the harbor, Cecil boards another ship in hopes of finding Anton. But what begins as a rescue mission turns into a pair of high seas adventures, with thrills and danger bubbling under every wave.

Anton takes on a fierce rat, outwits hungry birds, and forges a forbidden friendship, while Cecil encounters dolphins and whales and finds himself in the middle of a pirate raid. On an ocean as vast as the one Anton and Cecil have discovered, will they see home—or each other—ever again?



E-Galley received for review.

I wanted to like this, I really did, but it turned out to be not as pleasant of an experience as I had hoped.

The story itself had an interesting premise and was reasonably well done, but had some continuity problems between scenes.  In one instance, two of the cats were in a box in a market to be traded and then they were back on a ship with no explanation of how they got there or why.  These leaps made the reading not as enjoyable as it should have been.

Also, the cats were very roughly treated by the humans.  There were multiple instances of humans kicking and hitting the cats.  Not to mention interspecies violence as in a fight between a cat and a rat.  The violence and cruelty bordered on the sadistic at points which was completely unacceptable in a so-called children's book.

And, since much of the book took place either on the docks or on ships there were many sailing terms used, but hardly any were explained.  As an adult I had practically no idea what many of the terms meant and that really took away from the story.  You can only imagine how difficult it would be for a child.  You should not need a dictionary nearby when reading a children's book!

Overall, I wanted this to be a better experience than it was.  It is certainly not the happy adventures of The Wind in the Willows, but rather more similar to the darker books by Avi.  If you like Avi's books, then this would be a great read, but if you're looking for a happy animal read more along the lines of a George Seldon (The Cricket in Times Square, etc.) you need to look elsewhere.

Frankly, I was going to rate this as two stars right up until the final chapter which was the deciding factor to bump it up to three stars.  The final chapter did not contain any of the violence of the rest of the book and wrapped the story up quite nicely.  If only middle of the book had the quality of the first and last chapters I would happily recommend this.  As it is, I have to say it is really only suitable for a very select group of readers.  If I had children I would not consider this appropriate reading material for them.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Witch Twins by Adele Griffin

Claire and Luna may be witches, but there’s no easy spell to stop a wedding!

Though identical on the outside, ten-year-old twins Claire and Luna Bundkin are as different on the inside as peaches and peanut butter. Claire is mischievous and Luna is a dreamer, but they do share a favorite hobby: witchcraft. Whether it’s making breakfast or washing dishes, there’s nothing a five-star witch can’t accomplish with a wave of her pinkie finger. But there are two strict rules: Don’t tell Mom, and don’t try any spells without Grandy—their magical grandmother—watching.

When Claire and Luna’s father announces that he’s getting remarried to a loudmouthed Texas woman named Fluffy, the twins know they need to do something to stop the wedding. Fluffy wouldn’t be a bad stepmother, but Claire and Luna know that she would lure their father to far-away Houston. A spell might be the only way to save their Dad, and they’ll try anything. Even if magic usually lands them in a pot of trouble.



E-galley received for review.

I just love children's books about magic and this was a joy to read!  It was utterly adorable with fun characters and a light, positive, yet educational, message that generated many smiles while reading!  This was the most fun I've had reading a children's book in quite some time!

I thoroughly enjoyed this and am definitely looking forward to reading the other books in the series!

I highly recommend this!  It would be a perfect gift for the little girl in your life.  Really, this is a must read (or gift)!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review: Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle

Will Hillary uncover the secret of the elf village in Sara-Kate’s backyard?

No fourth grader trusts Sara-Kate Connolly. Her boots are dirty, her clothes are weird, and she’s so maladjusted that the school had to hold her back a grade. But Hillary is her next-door neighbor, and can’t say no when the unusual loner invites her over to play. In Sara-Kate’s overgrown backyard, Hillary will find proof of a world of magic—the kind that can only blossom between true friends.

Among the rusted car parts and wild plants, a miniature village has sprung up. It has tiny houses made from string, sticks, and maple leaves; a well with a bottlecap for a bucket; and even a little playground with a Popsicle-stick Ferris wheel. But there’s absolutely no sign of who built this miniature world. To Sara-Kate, the answer is clear—only elves could be responsible for something so enchanted. As she and Hillary watch for their elusive new friends, they learn that friendship, like magic, springs up where you least expect it.



E-galley received for review.

Of course I had to review this book, how could I not with "elves" right there in the title?

I was anticipating a light, fluffy read about elves reminiscent of a Borrowers book but what I got was something ever so much more. It was a story about friendship and loss and the things we do for those we love. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and very, very good. Be prepared for some tears with this one, for sure!

I have to say that this is not for everyone. Really, it is not for those upper middle class readers who have lived a privileged life, which is sad because they would benefit most from its message. This is for people who have experienced some hardship and loss in their lives and can fully appreciate the circumstances presented. For those of you familiar with The Lying Game (either the books or the television show) this is for the Emmas of the world, not the Suttons.

I highly, highly recommend this! I actually think adults will enjoy this just as much, if not more, than the intended younger audience. Keep a box of tissues nearby and I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy this fiction masterpiece.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Friday, March 1, 2013

Giveaway: The Mapmaker's War by Ronlyn Domingue

This will be the map of your heart, old woman. In an ancient time, in a faraway land, a young woman named Aoife is allowed a rare apprenticeship to become her kingdom’s mapmaker, tasked with charting the entire domain. Traveling beyond its borders, she finds a secretive people who live in peace, among great wealth. They claim to protect a mythic treasure, one connected to the creation of the world. When Aoife reports their existence to her kingdom, the community is targeted as a threat. Attempting to warn them of imminent danger, Aoife is exiled for treason and finds refuge among the very people who had been declared her enemy. With them, she begins a new life surrounded by kindness, equality, and cooperation. But within herself, Aoife has no peace. She cannot share the grief she feels for the home and children she left behind. She cannot bear the warrior scars of the man she comes to love. And when she gives birth to their gifted daughter, Aoife cannot avoid what the child forces her to confront about her past and its truth. On this most important of journeys, there is no map to guide her. In this tale—her autobiography— Aoife reveals her pain and joy, and ultimately her transformation.



Thanks to FSB Associates I have one copy to give away!

US/Canada only. No PO Boxes.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway