Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Amy by William A. Clifford Book Feature

Title: Amy
Author: William A. Clifford
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Pages: 268
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Purchase at AMAZON

 An experiment in creation, with some religious views, that shows the reasons why, we may not want, what we think we want. How plans take on a life of their own, and there is no going back.


  Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Raised in Ancaster, in the country setting. Attended Ancaster High and Vocational School, where I got my diploma. After that I enrolled in the working world until my retirement. I am married with three grown children and six grandchildren. I build miniatures and like to build landscapes of my own design. PUYB Giveaway

William is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins December 29 and ends on January 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, January 12.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Islam in the Heartland of America by Imam Omar Hazim

Islam in the Heartland of America Title: Islam in the Heartland of America
Genre: Religion/Spirituality
Author: Imam Omar Hazim
Publisher: Xlibris
EBook: 279 pages
Release Date: January 28, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-45685-798-1

"The purpose of this book is to inform and educate the general public of how Islam is taught in a mosque in the heartland of America. It includes the Friday khutbah (sermons) by Imam Omar Hazim and several other Imams (Spiritual Leaders). The hope is to help to clarify some of the misconceptions and distortions about the religion of Islam. In addition to the sermons, there will be articles from other publications, excerpts of sermons and photos. Included also is information about the diversity among the Muslim population in the Heartland of America. This book is very timely, as Islam has been reported as being the fasting growing religion in the World. For anyone who ever thought about or wondered what is taught in the Friday services at a Mosque, this book is a must read for them."  



Monday, December 15, 2014

Sagacious Teens by J. Thompson Book Feature

Sagacious Teens Title: Sagacious Teens
Author: J. Thompson
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 208
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook/Paperback
 Purchase at AMAZON

 Adolescents are wiser than we believe. Today’s youth face multiple challenges—many of which are portrayed in the adolescent drama, Sagacious Teens, that shares a multicultural glimpse into the lives of more than a dozen teenagers from diverse backgrounds. From Carlos who shares a far-fetched story of a weekend gone awry with his friend Ernesto to Richard who is having trouble balancing his girlfriend’s demands with his own needs. Seasoned teacher J. Thompson provides eye-opening insight into how teenagers face problems and learn to deal with them, either on their own or with the help of friends. Carmelita loves two boys – one who is a compulsive liar and another who connects with her soul. Aretha is frustrated with the police and her community’s lack of involvement. Artie and Rich are concerned about a school administrator who claims the students are his responsibility. Rob is upset when a well-liked teacher picks on him for wearing a hoody. Sagacious Teens offers a look into the compelling experiences of a group of teenagers that helps bring awareness to parents, other adolescents, and teachers about the lives, interests, and challenges of today’s youth.


J is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins December 8 and ends on December 19.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 22.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Sunday, December 14, 2014

When Santa Goes to Church by Sonja Grimsley Fambro Book Feature

Title: When Santa Goes to Church
Author: Sonja Grimsley Fambro
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Pages: 82
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook/Paperback
 Purchase at AMAZON

 Storytellers have long filled our imaginations with stories about Santa, Santa’s elves, Mrs. Claus, and Santa’s Christmas Eve trip. In fairy-tale land, it is no mystery that he, along with Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer, must have the busiest Christmas Eve night ever. After all, they are famous for going from town to town leaving gifts for good little girls and good little boys. Santa is a right jolly old fellow! Sometimes we’re told that he gets a plate of cookies for sliding down chimneys, or going through the back door, or whatever his entrance may be. Yes, fairy tales do what fairy tales are supposed to do; they take us on imaginary journeys. However, in this fairy tale about Santa, he remembers that Christmas IS NOT really about him. Do you know the real Christmas story? Well, in case you don’t, and even if you do, come and follow Santa as he hears the real Christmas story, which is NOT a fairy tale. It is the story about the greatest gift in the whole wide world! Do you know who He is?


 Sonja earned her B.A. degree with honors from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia. Later, after attending the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, she received her teaching certificate from the State of Florida. As an educator, she taught English in the Continuing Education Program for Norfolk Public Schools in Norfolk, Virginia. After returning to Florida, Sonja taught Business English at CareerCom School of Business in Jacksonville. Sonja is a multitalented writer whose literary works have intrigued audiences for the past several years. She writes plays, songs, essays, speeches, short stories, and poetry. Her poems entitled “Foolish, Bold, Prejudice” and “Operator, Get Me Jesus” have been published in anthologies. For two consecutive years, 1994 and 1995, Sonja received the Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry which was presented by the National Library of Poetry. Her poem, “The Church in the ‘Hood,” is a favorite among her friends. She has often been applauded for her inspirational speaking and her gospel plays, including Nobody, but Jesus. Sonja is also the author of another children’s book entitled Santa Spent the Night with Me! Additionally, she has plans for another project which will be on the market in the near future. In addition to writing, Sonja enjoys teaching, reading, spending time with her family, and traveling with her husband, Lewis. They have traveled extensively throughout the United States and to Canada, Mexico, Israel, and Europe. Sonja and her husband currently live in Dallas, Georgia.

Sonja is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins December 8 and ends on December 19.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 22.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Your Divine Fingerprint: The Force That Makes Your Unstoppable by Keith Craft Book Feature

Title: Your Divine Fingerprint: The Force That Makes You Unstoppable
Author: Keith Craft
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 277
Genre: Christian Life/Motivational
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Discover the key to all your future success and achievement, and learn that what makes you different, makes you great. According to science, 99 percent of our DNA sequence is the same as other humans. Pastor Keith Craft believes that the 1 percent difference in each of us is a type of glory that God has given us. Within the pages of his motivational and inspirational self-help book, Your Divine Fingerprint: The Force That Makes You Unstoppable, are the tools to help you discover a unique fingerprint that you have been given. These tools will help you deploy your unique difference that your family needs, your marriage needs, your job needs, your faith needs—that the world needs. And when you embrace and live in that uniqueness, you celebrate the glory of God.

For More Information

Keith Craft is the founder and lead pastor of Elevate Life Church in Frisco, Texas. He speaks in the world’s largest business/success seminars and has shared the stage with former world leaders such as Bill Clinton, George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Margaret Thatcher. For the past twenty years he has spoken alongside Super Bowl–winning coaches such as Mike Ditka, Don Shula, Mike Shanahan, and Tony Dungy; MVP quarterbacks such as Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and Peyton Manning; and entertainers such as Jerry Lewis, Bill Cosby, and Goldie Hawn. As a leadership coach and strategist, Craft is also the founder of Leadershipology.com, an online quote service. You can visit Keith Craft’s website at www.keithcraft.org.  

For More Information

Keith Craft is giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Payment!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
  • This giveaway begins December 1 and ends on December 31, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, January 5.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Guide to the Study of Basic Medical Mycology by Kee Peng Ng Book Feature

Title: A Guide to the Study of Basic Medical Mycology Author: Kee Peng Ng
Publisher: Partridge Singapore
Pages: 92
Genre: Medical
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Mycotic diseases are gaining importance because of the increase in opportunistic fungal infections in patients whose immune systems are compromised. The identification of fungi isolated from clinical material has posed a variety of problems to many laboratories because of lack of expertise and experience, especially in the identification of recently emerged rare fungi that had not been previously reported. A Guide to the Study of Basic Medical Mycology offers an overview of the basic characteristics of fungi frequently isolated from clinical specimens. This comprehensive guide, developed by authors Kee Peng Ng, Tuck Soon Soo-Hoo, and Shiang Ling Na from the Department of Medical Microbiology, University Malaya Medical Centre, Malaysia, details the macro- and microscopic features of each fungus through graphics and illustrations. Including specimens not often found in all teaching modules, A Guide to the Study of Basic Medical Mycology serves to help medical students identify and learn to deal with clinically important fungi and fungal pathogens.



Kee is giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins December 1 and ends December 12.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, December 15.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Book Spotlight: Reflections by Jena Baxter

Title: Reflections
Author: Jena Baxter
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing / Jenabaxterbooks
Publication Date: October 31, 2013
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-0991167715
Genre: YA / Historical Fantasy

When Juliette has a domestic servant beaten for pursuing a young man above her station, she finds herself cursed by a witch to live in a world behind her own mirror. She is unable to leave except on the first night of a full moon.

Juliette is forced to seek what food and shelter the new world provides with the help of a unicorn, a man who is half bear, and a centaur. Together they struggle to survive against lions, wolves, and the challenges of watching their friends live and die through the back of the mirror, as their own world, family and friends moves on without them.

Reflections begins in Regency era London, and ends in Clover Springs, California, an all but abandoned Gold Rush town.

A tale of love, friendship, and facing unavoidable challenges.

Book Excerpt:

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” --Charles Dickens

Chapter 1

London, England. 1807

Juliette shut the front door behind her, and slowly climbed down the stairs of her home, cringing at every creek of the steps.  She walked down the paved road, back straight and chin up, until the house was out of view.  She looked around, pulled off her bonnet, and ran all the way to the beach.
Stopping to catch her breath, she scanned the riverbank until she spotted Emily, gazing into the clouds above the Thames.  It was a gray and dreary day, but a fisherman stood in the water trying to entice the fish, and a few people were scattered along the shoreline.  Sea birds flew back and forth, seeking a tasty morsel.  Juliette joined Emily, and sat in the scrub.
“It took you a long time to get here,” Emily said, smiling.
“Sorry, it’s my birthday and mother is hosting a party tonight.  I had to sneak out of the house, but no one saw me. Then I ran all the way here.”
Emily shrugged.  “Doesn’t matter.”  She held out her arm, and opened her hand.  “I made this for you.”
Juliette took the hair pin with a tattered yellow ribbon tied in a bow attached to it.
Emily’s cheeks colored.  “Sorry it’s not new.”
Juliette hugged her.  “It’s wonderful. Thank you.  I have to go back now, before they notice me gone,” she said, pushing the pin carefully into her hair.
“Okay, I’ll go with you. How old are you today?”
Juliette smiled.  “I’m six years old,” she said, as they made their way back to the road.  “How old are you?”
“Seven, since last month.”  She ran dirty hands down her tattered and stained black dress.
“Look!”  Juliette stopped, and pointed toward the water.
Emily followed the direction of her finger.  “Oh!  What a beautiful chestnut horse.”
Juliette shook her head, ringlets blowing in the wind.  “No, it’s not a horse.  It’s a unicorn sighting for my birthday.”  She continued walking toward the road.
“But unicorns aren’t real,” Emily said, looking back at the animal.
“How do you know they aren’t real?  That horse has a black horn.  Trust me, that’s a unicorn.”
They stepped onto the dirt road.
“I’ll race you there!”  Juliette yelled.
Laughing, they ran until they found Mrs. Barrows waiting at the front door of Juliette’s home.  Juliette went silent and ran to her mother.  Emily stopped in the road.
“Where have you been?  Look at your hair, it’s a mess … and what is that ugly thing sticking out of it?”
Mrs. Barrows swiped the pin off Juliette’s head.  She winced as strands of her hair fell with the ribbon to the ground.
Juliette followed her mother’s eyes as she glared at Emily, standing on the road.
“What have I told you about spending your time with people like that, Juliette?  That girl has no business talking to you, and you have no business playing with our domestic help.”
“But she’s not our domestic help, Mother.”
“The girl is as good as employed by this household with her aunt Zylphia, working here.”
“I don’t want to see you with her again.  Do you understand me?  What if someone saw you?”  Mrs. Barrows shrieked.  “You embarrass the entire family associating with people like that, Juliette.  Get in the house!”
Juliette jumped when the door slammed shut behind her.

Juliette picked up a glass of punch and sat with the children attending the party.  She watched her mother laugh and sip tea with her guests.  The children chattered beside her, she ignored them.  Her mother had made it clear that the only reason she hadn’t received a strapping was so she could sit down at the party.  Juliette struggled with the sting of tears, holding them back, but just barely.
Margaret sashayed over, and stood with her hands on her hips.  She always has something to say about everything.  Juliette frowned, waiting.  All of the children stared at her.
“I heard you were playing with a servant girl today.  Robert Beale said he saw you running and laughing on the road like it was the most normal thing in the world.  You’re liable to get a disease spending your time with something like that.”
“It’s not your business, Margaret.  I’ll spend time with whomever I want.”
“Suit yourself, but I don’t want any part of that, or you.”  Margaret lifted her chin and joined the other children.
Juliette turned to see her mother, who had been just out of view.  Her knuckles white as the dish she held.
“Go to your room, Juliette.”
Tears spilled down Juliette’s cheeks.  She tried to think of something to say, but couldn’t.  She ran to her room.
Minutes later the razor-strap slammed into her bare buttocks.  The humiliation of knowing the party heard her screams was part of her punishment.  When the governess finished, she had been instructed to return Juliette to the party where she remained until the last guest departed.
Her mother turned to her.  “Get to your room.  I don’t want to see your face again tonight.”
Juliette obeyed moving much slower than before.  Her bottom and the back of her legs stung with welts.  She crawled onto the bed, and wept into her pillow.

Ten Years Later
Juliette grunted, eyebrows narrowed as Emily tightened the laces on her corset, pulling her breasts straight and high.  She slipped the heavily embroidered bodice on each arm, then smoothed the fabric with her hands.  When she was finished, she bowed her head, and backed out of the room.
Juliette moved right and left, twisting at the waist to admire herself in the mirror. She was wearing her favorite dress, white embroidered muslin, with a gathered bust, tiers of ruffles at the bottom, and long sleeves with small puffy shoulders.
“I’ll be ready to go in five minutes, Emily,” Juliette called, from her bedroom door.  “Be sure to get a basket from the kitchen.”
That girl always has her head in the clouds.  Let’s see, all I need now is she fumbled through a small grey hatbox on the bureau … a head dress.  Juliette turned back to the mirror, pushing the comb through her hair to hold the head dress in place.  When her ensemble was finished she smiled.  Perfect.  She looked good, but the sun was streaming through her bedroom window and the layers of the shift and petticoat were already making her hot.
Rushing down the stairs, underskirts rustling with every movement, the wooden planks creaked with every step.  She called for Emily, and found her at the bottom, putting on her plain white bonnet.  The picnic basket sat on the floor beside her scuffed black shoes.  Juliette’s mother stood at a table near the hearth, brown ringlet curls hanging perfectly down her back, her deceptively warm brown eyes belying the severity of her anger.  She threw some coins into a small purse.  Ignoring Emily, Juliette went straight to her mother, and held out her hand.  Mrs. Barrows dropped the beaded, pink and yellow purse into it.
“It is absolutely absurd,” Mrs. Barrows said louder than she needed to.  “That I should have to send my own daughter to buy what is needed because of dishonest servants.  My husband pays a generous wage.  You have no reason to steal from us or anyone else.  All of your salaries will be fined a farthing.  Not just this time, but every time I send Juliette to the market.”
She turned back to Juliette.  “Don’t be late, darling.  The dressmaker needs to take some measurements for a new dress,” Mrs. Barrows said, fingering some of the new materials she had purchased, sitting on the back of a pink and white sofa.
Juliette grinned as her mother kissed her cheeks.
“Don’t worry, Mother.  I won’t be long.”
Juliette walked out the door with Emily trailing behind her.

Juliette closed her eyes at the bright morning sunshine.  She crinkled her nose and opened them again at the smell of fresh baked bread.  There were vendors with carts selling household goods and colorful linens, and a cobbler had a table set up along the street.  A woman with chubby cheeks and braided corn silk hair, sold flowers of every color, and across the road a young boy knelt, breeches tight, as he shined the shoes of a man in a brown suit and hat.  A black carriage drove through the village square, horse hooves clip clopping on grey and brown cobblestones.
Emily cried out and crashed into Juliette.  Juliette pushed her away, then slapped her without a thought.  A thin young man with dark hair, brown eyes, and the longest eyelashes Juliette had ever seen jumped in front of Emily.  Emily’s hand rested on the angry red mark forming on her right cheek, and she was weeping.  Juliette smoothed her skirt mumbling under her breath.  I am going to kill her when we get home.  The stupid little sheep.
“Please excuse us, Jonathan, this fool of a girl--“
Jonathan’s hands waved back and forth.  “No, Miss Barrows.  Please, I am sorry.  The fault was my own, not the servant girl’s.”
Juliette smiled.  “This one is inept and bumbling at times.”
Jonathan reached into his bag and pulled out a muslin pouch.  He held the contents in front of Juliette.  “Turkish Delight.  Would you like one?  A small offering to make up for the trouble I caused.”
Juliette’s smile lit up her face.  “Yes, thank you.”  She chose a red square powdered with sugar from the pouch.
Jonathan held the bag out to Emily.  Juliette’s eyes flashed.  What is he doing?  Why is he even speaking to her?  She’s a servant!  Emily shook her head back and forth, then looked away.  Jonathan held them closer.
“Please, I insist.”
With a trembling hand, Emily took one, but before she could eat the sweet, Juliette pointed to the basket.
“We need to go.  I have an appointment this afternoon.”  The courtesy was a show for Jonathan’s sake.  She would take care of Emily at home.  “If you’ll excuse us Jonathan, we really must be on our way.  Thank you for the sweetmeats.”
Juliette purchased the potatoes and carrots Cook required, the dirty-faced farmer extended his thanks, and she turned to see Jonathan smiling at Emily.  The girl looked away, but not before her cheeks colored.  Juliette had had enough.  She grabbed Emily’s arm.
“Good day, Jonathan.”
Juliette had never been so embarrassed in her life.   A servant girl! And one that was stumbling all over the place.  What was he thinking?  No!  What was she thinking?
Juliette stormed up wooden steps and through the door without waiting for Emily to open it. “Mother!”
Emily wept openly.
“Emily was flirting with Mrs. Walsh’s son.  She even received a gift from him.”
Mrs. Barrow’s porcelain face darkened, and her fingers clutched the folds of her dress as Juliette recounted the story.  Moments later, Juliette’s mother grabbed Emily’s arm and pulled her to the Governess’ room.  A heavyset woman in a plain black dress and long white apron, her brown hair tucked beneath her bonnet, sat at an old oak desk looking grim.  The room was modest, with only a narrow bed, and a plain wooden bureau against the opposite wall.  The only color was a handmade quilt the woman had made for herself, and a full-length blue dress hanging in a tiny closet.
Agnes stood when Mrs. Barrows entered the room, and stared at Emily, blue eyes icy cold.  The Governess opened a drawer, and pulled out the razor strap used for disciplining the household.
Emily’s sobs grew louder, her eyes wide.  She grimaced, shaking her head frantically. 
“No,” Emily whined, looking at the thick leather with three long flexible straps. “No, please.”  Her sobs grew louder still as the Governess dragged her out the door to a wooden shed.
Juliette’s mother smiled as Emily began to scream incoherently.  Standing by the new material, they heard the whack of leather meeting the flesh of Emily’s bare backside.
Juliette fingered the soft new pink and yellow fabrics, frowning.  I’m not fond of yellow.  Mother knows that.
“Emily will be indisposed for a while, Mother. Could you send Bessie up, please? I really need to freshen up before we leave.”
“Of course, dear.”
Juliette bustled up the stairs, hands clutching her skirt, listening to Emily scream.  That’s too bad.  She won’t be flirting or accepting treats from boys above her station anymore.  But she shivered inwardly.  Juliette knew well what it meant to be on the receiving end of that strap.  She had been beaten for spending time with Emily when they were girls.  Juliette was younger then, and hadn’t understood how important it was not to entertain people below her station.  She knew better now.  Emily wouldn’t be able to sit for a week.  Perhaps then she would learn her lesson and not entertain people above her station.
Juliette entered her room, letting the door shut behind her, and took off her head dress.
Bessie entered the bedroom, picked up the brush and pulled it through Juliette’s curls.  Her hands trembled and she winced at every thwack of the strap on, Emily’s, bared flesh.  At one point she wiped a tear from her eye.  Juliette smiled, and ignored her.

Zylphia dusted a lampshade trimmed with burgundy roses.  She had already gone over the end tables and swept the floors.  She tucked runaway strands of brown hair under her already loose bun, and saw something smeared on the wall.  Emily walked in, concealing her face, and staring at the floor.
Zylphia motioned with her hands as she spoke.  “Emily, go get me a cleaning cloth for the wall.  Bessie will get one for you.  They’re in the kitchen.”
Emily nodded her acknowledgement to the floor, stiffly leaving the room.  Zylphia stared after her.  What is wrong with her today?  Emily had always been a shy girl.  She was quiet, but that was expected of a domestic servant.  You did what you were told, bowed and backed out of the room as quiet as you could, hoping that no one would hear you.  These things had never been a problem for her niece.  That was why Zylphia had brought her here.  She got along with everyone, was quiet, kept her own counsel, and took her work seriously.
Emily returned with the cloth.  Zylphia watched her shuffle across the room.
“Why are you walking like that?  Come here.”
Emily’s speed picked up.  She whined and winced, until she slowed down.  She gave Zylphia the towel.
“What is wrong with you?  Look at me when I talk to you, girl!”
Emily looked up.  Zylphia saw chocolate brown eyes, similar to her own, except they were red, sad, and swollen.  Her brown hair was a tangled mess.  She took Emily’s hand.
“Come with me.”
Emily obeyed, but wept all the way to, Zylphia’s, bedroom.  Zylphia removed Emily’s white apron, and black uniform dress.  Zylphia gasped, fire red welts blistered, and covered Emily’s buttocks and the back of her legs.
“Who did this to you?”
Emily told Zylphia about the boy at the marketplace, the candy, and Juliette’s anger.  “I tried to say no, but he insisted.”  Tears fell down already swollen cheeks.  “I t-tried to s-s-say no.  I didn’ know what t-to do.”
Heat flushed through Zylphia.  She pulled a jar of ointment from under her mattress, and slathered it over Emily’s welts.  The response was immediate.  Zylphia couldn’t take away the welts, that would have been too obvious, but the swelling went down, and the redness faded.  Emily shuddered, then sighed with relief.
“It’s over now.”  And I’m going to make certain it won’t happen again.  “Go back to work.  It’s alright.”
“What are you going to do?  Please don’t curse her Aunt Zylphia.  We were friends once.  She even gave me a doll when we were small.”
“Juliette isn’t the person you used to know, child.  She’s grown to be callous, and cruel.  Trust me to know what to do.  She needs to pay for what she’s done.  You need to help in the kitchen.  Now go.”
Emily looked skeptical, but did what she was told.

“Why can’t I take Bessie?”  Juliette demanded.  “I don’t want that insolent girl anywhere near me.”
“I’m sure you don’t, darling, but Bessie has chores to do for your father.  The only other servant I can send with you right now is Zylphia.”
“I don’t want Zylphia.”  Juliette stomped her foot.  “She’s not normal.”  That one hardly knows her station, and the way she looks at me is frightening sometimes. I don’t trust her.  “Mother!”
“That’s enough, Juliette.  Take both if you choose, but Bessie cannot go.”
“Emily!  Zylphia!  Get down here.  Now!”
Moments later, Emily and Zylphia entered the room.

Purchase The Book:

Born in Ojai, and raised in the San Fernando Valley, California, Jena always loved to read, and dreamed of writing a novel. Having the ability, but lacking the confidence to do so, she enrolled in the UCLA Writer's Extension, and soon her first novel was in process.

Jena writes YA, historical fantasy, and paranormal romance. She is also a screenwriter, and reads for a screenwriting contest annually. She spends her free time with her husband, amazon parrot, and toy maltese. You can visit her website at www.jenabaxter.com.

Connect with Jena:

Author Website

Book Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDUm-9IDiN8

Monday, December 8, 2014

Culture Without Accountability- WTF? What's The Fix? by Julie Miller & Brian Bedford Book Feature

Culture without Accountability Title: Culture Without Accountability - WTF? What's The Fix?
Author: Julie Miller & Brian Bedford
Publisher: Criffel Publishing
Pages: 142
Genre: Business
Format: Kindle

 What happens when businesses, families or individuals fail to be accountable for their actions and decisions? It can be devastating for business results, relationships and reputations. Culture Without Accountability - WTF? What’s The Fix? is full of real life stories of what accountability looks like, what can go wrong without it, and offers a proven process for installing an accountability-based culture—a platform for success in business and in everyday life. Drawing on their combined years of experience in senior global leadership roles at Motorola, Julie Miller and Brian Bedford founded MillerBedford Executive Solutions in 2001. MillerBedford addresses issues that are limiting the progress of organizations, and increases business success by improving strategy, culture, and leadership. And their clients actually report having fun in the process!

For More Information

JulieIn 2001, drawing on their respective years of experience in senior global leadership at Motorola, Julie Miller and Brian Bedford joined forces to establish MillerBedford Executive Solutions. MillerBedford helps businesses and organizations improve strategy, culture, and leadership, while addressing issues that limit success. And their clients actually have fun in the process! Their latest book is the business book, Culture Without Accountability - WTF? What's The Fix?

  For More Information

Get Hooked: The Temple of All Knowing by Lee Papa #GetHooked

Title: The Temple of All Knowing
Author: Lee Papa
Publisher: WaveCloud Corporation
Pages: 186
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

The Temple of All Knowing is a memoir of one woman’s passage from personal and professional turmoil to spiritual awakening. A compelling straight forward and sometimes humorous account of the most personal of journeys as this 40-something woman finds herself in Sin City with promise of a new life, new husband and elderly mother living with her. She instead is uncovered as a central character in the deepest of possible challenges only to break through to discover her authentic spiritual self through a near death experience and a personal mission in Soul CityLas Vegas.

Book Excerpt:

The phone rang; it was Delphine. It was a Sunday afternoon early 2008. I took the call and moved to the denim-covered glider that was in my 3-year old son’s room to have the conversation.
            My sister calling was not odd, but she opened with “Can you talk? I have an urgent message from Aunt Beatrice.” 
            My sister practices meditation in which she regularly communicates with Spirit beings and our dead relatives. In everyday conversation, Delphine would mention things like, “I spoke to Dad or Uncle John …” (both had passed), and relate a story or an emotional healing process she went through while receiving the communication. I thought this was amazing and believed in the possibility, when Delphine, or De for short, would discuss this other worldly messaging.
I would find myself having an internal dialogue debating if she was actually making this connection or was she delusional. When she would speak of something that she “received” from the Spirit world, and I would come to realize she could not have otherwise known, a fleeting twinge of jealousy peaked in the window of my subconscious. Could she really be speaking with Dad and Aunt Bea? And if she is, how come SHE is the one with this ability? I was not proud of it, but I was most definitely questioning the decision of the Universe to have Delphine be the messenger of heaven. 
            My sister was not the one of the three of us girls whom you would consider to be the “good” one or the most religious growing up, but actually to the contrary. She would have been described as the Bull in the China Shop by my mother, as the one most apt to finger point or cause trouble. Sophia, the eldest, had the first born light shining upon her by my mother and father, even though, she was what some would consider a problem child for she pushed the envelope of life in so many ways. Her antics included jumping out of the 2nd story building of our private high school to skipping class and developing the first female tackle football team in her teenage years, to much more complicated and explorative behaviors that provided my parents with reasons to call on prayer and saintly assistance. 
            Delphine was the quiet one as the middle child of our youth, until she found her voice later in her teens. She was often over-shadowed by the exuberance and manipulation of Sophia when she was being used as a co-conspirator for our eldest sister’s secretive escapades of the 1970s.  When I came around, my role of the “baby of the family” was not always appreciated by my older sisters, and as I matured, the less they liked this pedestal I was propped up on as “the good one.”
            How is she doing it?  I thought. How is De getting these messages from Aunt Bea?
            My elderly Aunt Bea had died more than 10 years earlier while in the presence of my mother, my sister, Delphine, one of my older female cousins, and me in the living room of our family home. I had lived in that house from the time I was born until I got married to my first husband, Anthony, at age 20. 
            Our house was a 3 bedroom, middle class row home in Baltimore City, Maryland. The 12 by 12 foot front room, where I grew up and where we watched TV programs on the console television that offered just three major stations for your viewing enjoyment. Although the room was small, when we were little and the family piled in to watch Sonny & Cher, it felt huge. As the entry room to our family home, I experienced most of my fond memories there. This is where we opened our Christmas gifts under our decorated 5-foot Frasier fir tree that stood seemingly tall, as if it could reach the stars on a wooden platform, to set the stage for this holiday focal point. In reality, the Christmas tree was no taller than the height I currently stand.  
            Christmas was a very special time in our Catholic family. Not overly religious, mind you, but the whole Santa Clause phenomenon was beautifully orchestrated with all the mystery and wonder that a child could hope to receive. The Christmas tree was secretly stored in the basement well of the stairs until we kids were all asleep and then my parents would work through the night to make a spectacular show of lights and hand-wrapped presents from old paper bags and twine adorned with our names scribbled on by “elves.” This was a tradition handed down from my mother’s family who grew up during the depression and fancy wrapping paper was a luxury. Christmas was magical! 
            After my parents would signal that Santa had indeed arrived, my sister Sophia and I would rush down the stairs to witness the light show of the tree, and we would tear through our presents leaving no time for individual gift lingering. Delphine, on the other hand, was not so quick; instead, she would slowly and methodically use her scissors to gently unwrap each gift with all the appreciation of an unwrapped Tiffany blue box that none of us had ever experienced. Later as we became adults, Delphine would prop herself preciously on the couch, and while filing her nails, would direct me to the spots on the tree that were missing lights and Christmas balls.
            This is the same living room where my nature-loving father would let our hamster out of the cage while directing us three children to lie on the floor and make a circular barrier with our arms. That little chubby, furry rodent was a family pet, and we loved him. My dad loved animals, so we had a bunch of them from Dutch rabbits, to hamsters, cats, and frogs - but never a dog. My mother was afraid of dogs. The hamster outing was strategically orchestrated during the time of my mother’s weekly visit to the Farmers Market in downtown Baltimore across from the corner row house where she grew up, and where several of her sisters still lived. Mom would not have tolerated such nonsense and activity on her prized oriental rug. This was the room where my Aunt Bea allowed me to lie down on the sofa when I was a child, and she would stroke my head and rub my back until I would fall asleep. She had such a loving and confident manner. I always felt safe with her. 
            My mother’s side of the family was the most involved and influential in our lives, especially Aunt Bea. She was the family matriarch, our lifeline and leader.  She was loving, intelligent, strong, certainly had her opinions, some may say controlling ones, but if it weren’t for her emotional and financial support, we and her sisters’ and brother’s families would not have had as many essentials provided for and certainly not any niceties. 
            She was a savvy businesswoman, so deferring to her made sense. For her era, Aunt Bea was super cool and open minded, rising to heights in her profession at C&P Telephone Company when women were just starting to be acknowledged in the workforce. She was a petite woman with an incredible sense of style and pep in her step that oozed confidence and excitement for the possibilities of life. It also made it difficult to walk with her as she was down the block before you had taken your first step. Aunt Bea never married, but made her siblings’ families her own. Sometimes the involvement would have been considered today as “too much.” There is usually a price to pay when you are being rescued. But I loved her and I thought she was amazing, just as my mother did.  Aunt Bea was my mother’s best friend.
            Aunt Bea believed in reincarnation before it was an accepted concept to consider openly, as this was the 1950s and 60s when my sisters and I were born. We were raised in a devout Catholic family, and such things were not dinner topics, nor was it on our radar at that time. 
            As easily as it was for me to pull up these cherished memories, it was the hope and promise that communication could continue from beyond death.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Actor by Douglas Gardham Book Feature

Title: The Actor
Author: Douglas Gardham
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON

 It is 1991 when Ethan Jones finally wins the role of his dreams in an upcoming, big screen movie. With the envelope holding the script clutched in his hand, he arrives at his California apartment where he can hardly wait to tell his girlfriend the exciting news. But when he finds the door unexpectedly ajar, he has no idea that in just a few seconds, the life he has fought so hard to obtain will be shattered. Eight years earlier, Ethan is attending university in Ottawa, Canada. One evening after seriously contemplating suicide, he finds his way into a club where he meets Mila Monahan, a beautiful acting student who saves him from himself. After he watches Mila rehearse a university play, Ethan catches the acting bug and decides to pursue his own creative passions, causing a collision with his more secure ideals. But when Mila suddenly disappears, Ethan vows he will never stop chasing the dream she inspired in him, believing in a world entirely different from the one he is living in. The Actor is a gripping tale of a young man’s unforgettable journey of self-discovery in overcoming the trauma of a personal tragedy. It is a story of love, hardship, persistence and overwhelming joy where The Actor learns he can portray anything he can imagine.

Douglas Gardham is a writer who loves music, movies, and books. He lives near Toronto, Canada, with his wife and dog. This is his first published novel.

Social Media Overload by Corey Perlman Book Feature

Title: Social Media Overload
Author: Corey Perlman
Publisher: Garnet Group
Pages: 169
Genre: Business
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 You shouldn’t be on any social media site without a clear direction or purpose. This book will help you: • Determine which sites are right for your business and ignore the rest • Avoid website mistakes that are costing you business • Attract more prospects by outperforming your competition on Google • Stay “Top of Mind” with prospects using content marketing • Strengthen customer relationships and earn referrals using Facebook and LinkedIn

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 Corey Perlman is an entrepreneur, author and nationally-recognized social media expert. His most recent book, eBoot Camp, (Wiley) became an Amazon.com bestseller and received global attention with distribution in both China and India. Corey’s company, eBoot Camp, Inc., provides digital marketing services to small and mid-size businesses. A proud member of the National Speaker’s Association (NSA), Corey conducts his critically acclaimed Social Media for Business Keynote to audiences around the world. He’s the proud father of a 3-year-old daughter who has already tweeted, has a youtube channel, and asked for a Mark Zuckerberg doll for her brithday. The apple truly doesn’t fall far from the tree.
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Love is Poetry: My Dreams and A Tribute to My Dad by Charles and Boyd Hooks

Title: Love is Poetry: My Dreams and A Tribute to My Dad Author: Charles and Boyd Hooks
Publisher: Xlibris
Pages: 188
Genre: Poetry
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR…..That was my oath to my god and country in August 1963. I was an infantryman and a paratrooper for the U.S. Army. I fought for my country in Vietnam. After my discharge I was a self contractor and had a son and daughter. To this day that has been my life. Literally no legacy to be remembered by maybe my great or great great grandchildren. Now I need something so if someone asked them who I was, they could prove I was a real person and maybe I’d be noted for something special. I dream constantly and write poetry and would like to publish a memoir. It has to start now at the age of sixty nine as my life has consisted of nothing special to this point. I would like to continue writing and publishing more poetry and a novel. My heart has stopped five times and now I am obsessed in having a legacy to put me in a category where I may be extra special for something. Maybe in thirty or forty years someone may say “OH Yes, I Do Remember Him” He…..??  


Charles and Boyd are giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins December 1 and ends December 12.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, December 15.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Review: Welcome to Nursing HELLo by Joel Craig

Title: Welcome to Nursing HELLo: A Graphic Memoir
Author: Joel Craig
Publisher: Joel Craig
Pages: 190
Genre: Graphic Memoir/Nonfiction
Format: Paperback


This nurse is not out to save the world. He’s too busy dodging bed pans and urine containers. 

What happens when all the jobs for movie star have been filled. The next best thing is to become a registered nurse and that is exactly what Joel Craig did. Here is Joel’s journey through the pitfalls, quicksand, and joy(s) of his profession told in a graphic memoir format. The book begins in the year 2007 with Joel’s story unfolding in chronological order.

Such topics are discussed: dirty needle sticks, intimidating preceptors, job stress, and cursing on the job. Joel has imaginary conversations with rockstar Madonna, who is preparing to play Nurse Ratched on Broadway, who gives him advice along the way. Nursing students and new nurses can learn from Joel’s mistakes and what NOT to do as well as what to do. But they will get a little peek into what it’s like being a new nurse. This is almost like a small shock absorber to make the transition to new nurse not so bumpy.  Also actors, writers and any creative person who appreciate the struggles of an artist in a world where art and commerce are seldom friends, will appreciate this book.


“Some people just know they want to be a nurse.  I’m not one of those people.”
Joel Craig’s new book, Welcome to Nursing Hello, had me in stitches.  Oh how I remember those days back when I was looking for a job that actually paid enough to live off of.  I started my own journey to become a nurse by attending college classes but chemistry got me.  Never could understand it and dropped out.  I got an A in English and I should have known nursing and me wasn’t going to work, but writing and publishing books was certainly easier believe that or not.
Joel begins his own journey as a nurse not because he wanted to be one, either.  He wanted to be an actor, but as we all do, he needed money and soon.  Welcome to Nursing Hello is Joel’s journey and because my daughter ended up pursing her career as a registered nurse because she felt the calling, the terminology Joel used regarding the nursing field I was familiar with which helped me relate to his escapades in the first years of his nursing career.
Joel explains there were a lot of mistakes in those first years and his wonderfully drawn graphics included in the book helps you to visualize which I really loved. 
He takes you on his journey leading up to why he even chose nursing in the first place.  Joel is the typical man on the street just trying to get by.  Just trying to pay bills legally.  My goodness I know I have mentioned this before but I love these illustrations which tell the story.  Must be the old comic book junkie in me – it adds does not detract from Joel’s story.
Joel is straight up – he’ll tell you he went into nursing for the money and this only leads to funny situations once he became one.
I loved Welcome to Nursing Hello and would recommend it to anyone who goes into nursing for the money. ;o)
Welcome to Nursing HELLo by Joel Craig is available at Amazon.
 My Rating:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Paradox of Spinal Cord Injury and Fitness by Steven Fujita, author of Toe Up to 10K

Toe Up to 10K 1Title: Toe Up to 10K
Author: Steven Fujita
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 168
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Ebook

 In June 2012, Steven Fujita went to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with meningitis. After four days of improvement, he was scheduled to be discharged when his condition worsened dramatically. His blood pressure, body temperature and sodium levels all became dangerously low. He started to lose consciousness. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. He had suffered spinal cord damage at the T4 level. Upon regaining full consciousness, Fujita could not speak, eat, breathe independently, control bodily functions, nor move his legs. “Once we understand what we have to go through, become resolved to see it through, and know we will survive, we feel our ordeal is not so bad,” Fujita writes. In this book, he takes the reader on a journey of recovery from a spinal cord injury. It is not only a journey of determination and hard work, but of positive attitude, of drawing inspiration, of gratitude towards those around him: his family, his friends, co-workers, and medical professionals.

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 The Paradox of Spinal Cord Injury and Fitness

Not that I was ever an athlete, but I could at least run, and when attending beach parties in the summer, could participate in a game of volleyball.  Since injuring my spinal cord in 2012, I haven’t been able to do either.  However, I consider myself more fit now, than before my injury.
When I was still in a wheelchair, my occupational therapist incorporated upper body weight training.   I would later learn that the more strength the upper body has, the less pressure would be placed on the legs, and learning to walk would be easier when the time came.  Also, as light as modern wheelchairs are, they still require lots of arm strength and endurance to roll around all day long. A co-worker point out to me, “no wonder you see a lot of people in wheelchairs with these huge arms.”  As for me, I am no longer in a wheelchair, but still work out the arms with a kettlebell.  My legs are strong enough to do a 5 mile walk, but I still cannot run. And considering what they went through, I think they deserve to not have to work as hard anymore.

Once I regained movement and some strength in my legs, my physical therapist had me do leg lifts and bridge exercises to strengthen my core.  I was paralyzed in the abdominal area, so the muscles in this area did need to be rehabilitated.  However, balance continued to be a major issue with me, and after I had been walking with a cane, I saw a physical therapist who specialized in balance rehabilitation.  He started me on a planking program.  Planking is considered one of the best exercises one can do to strengthen the core.  It is also one of the hardest.  I continue to plank, and currently up to 4 sets of 100 seconds – which I know is more than what I could have done before my injury.
Currently, I try to go out for a walk each day of at least ten blocks.  A few times a month, I try to walk at least two miles a day, and once every couple/three months, I will try to do a 4 to 5 mile walk.   Except for the really long walks of 2 plus miles, this is actually less than what I did before my injury, but I think it is still adequate movement.

Fitness oriented people talk about “leg day,” or “core day,” or “arm day,” when talking about their exercise plans for the day.  For spinal cord recovery patients, it is “leg day,” and “core day,” and “arm day,” everyday.  All these parts must be worked on a majority of days.  For mobility purposes, the legs (feet, ankle, knees quads, rear end) do most of the work.  But for spinal cord recovery patients, all the upper body strength contribute, thus the balance of work is more balanced.  If upper body strength is absent, the legs will not be able to support the body on its own. This is way it is important for spinal cord recovery patients to continually work on the upper body. 

So here is the paradox.   Before my spinal cord got injured, I could do so much more physically, but post-injury, despite the limitations, I do actually do more physically. 

Steven Fujita was born in Los Angeles and raised in Torrance, California. He attended college in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Long Beach, California.

 Listen to Steven Fujita's interview on the Book Club with John Austin, which aired November 2, 2010, about his novella, Sword of the Undead, a re-telling of Bram Stoker's vampire novel, Dracula. http://www.internetradiopros.com/bookclub/?p=episode&name=2010-11-01_zbookcub_for_110210_1st_segment_steven_fujita.mp3

 His other book, $10 a Day Towards $1,000,000, is available on Kindle. This book promotes the idea of using time and savings to build wealth. His new book, Toe Up to 10K, was released in September 2014. This book chronicles his recovery from spinal cord injury he sustained in 2012. Visit his website at: www.stevenfujitaauthor.com   

Character Interview: Droswain from Tom Stacey's 'Exile'

We’re thrilled to have here today Droswain from Tom Stacey’s epic fantasy, Exile. He is coming to us all the way from the distant land of Veria. It is a pleasure to have him with us today at The Literary Nook!

Thank you so for this interview, Droswain. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I think it’s fair in the main. Short of the ramblings of that idiot woman and her beloved lunatic, most readers will be able to see that I care about one thing above all others: truth. I fight for it — perhaps not with my fists, but in any way I can. I was banished for searching for it, and in so doing I found the route to Veria’s salvation. Anyone with a jot of sense will be able to see that.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My faith. In the gods, in myself, in those I feel have a role to play in my life. I am a fast friend and a strong ally because I believe in people. Perhaps some may see it as a weakness, but I have no time for such small-minded people.

Worst trait?

It could be said that I am sometimes over-zealous. If so, it is only because I am a passionate person. I am working towards a greater end than most, and nobody must be allowed to get in my way.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

No. I don’t have time for frivolity. Such things weaken the mind.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I can’t honestly say I was ever ‘nervous.’ You see, I’m dealing in absolutes, in the work of the gods, rather than the works of man. I know I am following their path. However, I have been worried about my personal safety, largely when I first met Callistan. He is a mad dog and it would be better if we put him down.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

The girl, Riella. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be ruled by your loins. Still, it must be hard for her to accept her place in all of this.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Now wouldn’t that be telling? All I can say is that I am eager for the next one, so people can see what happens next. This part of Veria’s history will fill more than one page.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

I already know that he is writing another book with me in it, and I would urge him to consider focusing more on those actions that do not include bloodshed. Far too much stock is put in the brutish and the violent, while we greater minds are left by the wayside. My kind may not win as much glory, but we are the key players. Without me Veria would be completely lost already.

Thank you for this interview.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Oh, most certainly. I walk hand in hand with history. Whatever happens will happen on my watch.

About the Author:
Tom Stacey is an English author of the fantasy novel, Exile. Tom was born in Essex, England, and has lived there his whole life. He began writing at school, often taking responsibility for penning the class plays, or writing sketches with his friends. While attending university to read history, Tom developed his writing by creating several short stories, some of which would later become to basis for his debut novel, Exile.

Tom self-published Exile in summer 2014 and is currently working on the sequel as well as another unrelated novel. He earns a living as a video producer in London in the day and writes at night, a bit like a really underwhelming superhero.

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About the Book:

On the fringes of the Verian Empire, two small boys stumble upon a strange altar, buried in the heart of a mountain. There they awaken a horror unseen for generations, that will descend upon the realm of men while it is at its weakest. For Veria is a nation at war with itself, only recently recovered from a bloody rebellion, and the time of heroes has passed. The empire is in a state of chaos, and while its ruler, the Empron Illis, rids the land of his remaining enemies, unseen forces are gathering at the borders. However all eyes are turned inwards. The Empron is not a well man, and there are whispers among the common folk that his advisors are spies; demons that only wear the flesh of men.

Yet there is hope...

In the distant mountains, a forester who has buried his past learns that he has not been forgotten, and that his crimes have sought him out at last. But he is no simple woodsman. He is Beccorban the Helhammer, Scourge, Burner and the Death of Nations, and his fury is a terrible thing.

For when all the heroes are gone, Veria will turn to those it has forgotten, before all is lost. 

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Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads