Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Review: Social Media Overload by Corey Perlman

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

Purchase at Amazon

Book Summary:

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

My Review:

The first line of Corey Perlman's new book, Social Media Overload, is "You don't have to be on Twitter." I was all ready to pounce on that one as I see many advantages, but he has a valid point for some people - if your audience is not on Twitter, why bother? Even if your book is aimed at geriatric patients who don't use the computer, perhaps there are families of geriatric patients who see your tweets and buy it for these patients as a gift.  But, Perlman's idea is that because of all the social networks out there, you need to narrow it down to the ones who will do you the most good.  Good point!

Perlman's book focuses on showing you which social media to focus on.  He asks you to find out where your customers are online and suggests even sending out a survey to different categories of people who would be interested in your book and ask them where they hang out.  Great advice!

I loved his chapter on advertising in Google and Facebook, something I had heard about and was interested in, but never tried.  He walked me through the process so I could understand how to go about doing it and why it was important.

I also loved his section on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and what you can do to climb higher in the rankings.

But my favorite chapter was on attending online networking groups.  I have tried this myself and it's great.  His favorite is LinkedIn and I couldn't agree with him more.  

I loved Social Media Overload and am giving it 5 book trees!

My Ranking:

Grandmothers by Kelley Grant, author of The Obsidian Temple

Title: The Obsidian Temple
Author: Kelley Grant
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Kindle 

After a harrowing escape to the desert, Sulis Hasifel finds her calling is not yet fulfilled. Traveling to the Obsidian Temple—the site of an ancient divine battle—Sulis is tasked with mentoring Ava, a young girl with a troubled past. Together, they join a group of magically gifted warriors to re-make the very fabric of the universe. But the fate of the world hinges on whether Ava can harness her power, and some trials cannot be overcome.

 Returning to Illian, Sulis's twin Kadar finds that his lover, Farrah, has abandoned their newborn daughter for the revolutionary cause. Not willing to give up his dream of a family, Kadar vows to stay by Farrah's side. But when he finds that Farrah is willing to anger the gods to aid the Forsaken caste's uprising, and as she steps farther down a violent and dark path, Kadar must decide if he will help her…or let the world spin out of control.

 In this mesmerizing sequel to Desert Rising, Kelley Grant brings us back to the cities of Illian and Shpeth, drawing her epic fantasy tale closer to the trilogy's stunning conclusion.

ORDER INFORMATION The Obsidian Temple is available for purchase at


People usually want to know if my characters are based on real life people. I don’t do so intentionally – but characters are often influenced by my role models. In the Obsidian Temple, we finally meet the most influential person in Sulis and Kadar’s life – their desert priestess grandmother.

No one knew exactly how old Grandmother Hasifel was. Sulis wasn’t even certain of her first name—everyone just called her Grandmother Hasifel (or “your grandmother” if they were talking to the twins). Her spare, tall frame was still upright as a stick, but Sulis had seen Grandmother twist herself into impossible shapes while in moving meditation. Her skin was a burnished copper, her high cheekbones speckled with age spots and wrinkles. She radiated a restless energy, as though there was a raging river just barely contained under a thin layer of humanity. Her salt-and-pepper hair was oiled and pulled back in a tight bun now, but Sulis had seen it wild in an aura when Grandmother danced with the moon.

Grandmother Hasifel combines the strengths of both of my own Grandmothers. My paternal Grandmother was a slight, delicate-looking lady. She baked cookies, made us sweets and had a spine of steel. She was born in West Virginia and learned to care for herself and her father after her mother died. She held her own family together through poverty and strife. When she was in her late 80s she was still delivering meals and sermon tapes to the “poor shut-ins” who were usually about a decade younger than her. Like Sulis’s grandmother she was devout in her faith and did not waiver from the path of truth. She taught me the strength of loyalty, the enduring bonds of family and the value of hard work.

“How you find your path forward from pain and disappointment is a choice, not an inevitability. Living life without hesitation after failure is a choice. Loving after betrayal is a choice. Forgiving, even forgiving yourself, is a choice. It’s not an easy choice; no life changes are. A choice, nonetheless. Choose or be what you fear.”

Those words, spoken to Sulis by Grandmother Hasifel, could be words my maternal grandmother used. She was outspoken in her beliefs, and she did not hesitate to let her family know if they had veered off course. She loved her family and friends fiercely, but with clear eyes. I learned from her the value of speaking up and allowing my voice to be heard. I inherited her stubbornness and ability to stand up for what is right, even if it isn’t popular.

Writing the relationship between Sulis and her grandmother in The Obsidian Temple was a joy to me.  Creating the tension of a wise, but stubborn grandmother having to accept her headstrong granddaughter as an individual and an adult was a tribute to my own grandmothers. Both of my grandmothers are gone now, but they live on in the wisdom they shared and the love the spread to everyone in their lives.  

Kelley Grant grew up in the hills of Ohio’s Amish country. Her best friends were the books she read, stories she created and the forest and fields that inspired her. She and her husband live on a wooded hilltop and are owned by five cats, a dog and numerous uninvited critters. Besides writing, Kelley teaches yoga and meditation, sings kirtan with her husband, and designs brochures and media.

For More Information
Visit Kelley at her website

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Findependence Day by Jonathan Chevreau Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Title: Findependence Day
Author: Jonathan Chevrau
Publisher: Trafford
Pages: 290
Genre: Businesss
Format: Kindle/Hardcover/Paperback 

Get rich slowly! Financial independence is a marathon, not a sprint. The financial crisis revealed the hazards of financial illiteracy. Governments desperately want citizens to become financially independent so they’ll be less of a burden on them. Findependence Day presents personal finance in a “can’t put down” story format easily digested by young adults entering the work force and the world of money. Because money problems often cause marital breakups, it focuses on the financial journey of a young couple who experience the usual ups and downs of job loss, buying homes, raising children, investing and pensions, starting businesses, coping with stock market volatility and more.

The secrets of financial independence are critical wherever you are in the financial life cycle:
• Newlyweds embarking on family formation will discover the importance of financial planning.
• Debt-plagued graduates will be motivated to embrace “guerrilla frugality.”
• Home-owners will learn the foundation of financial independence is a paid-for home.
• Those in their first jobs will embrace employer 401(k) plans, traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs.
• New parents will discover the need for life insurance and saving for children’s education.
• Mid-life investors will learn how to cut costs in their portfolios while benefiting from the expertise of financial planners.
• Those near retirement will learn about advanced concepts like annuities and Asset Dedication.

Jonathan Chevreau is the editor of MoneySense magazine, former personal finance columnist for the Financial Post and author of nine financial books, including The Wealthy Boomer: Life After Mutual Funds. He’s active in social media and blogs at

“Once in a blue moon, a financial book is written that should be required reading for all. Such is the case with Findependence Day.” -- Peter Grandich, The Grandich Letter

“A tour de force: a personal-finance book that is hard to put down.” – Larry MacDonald,

“Having some fun while learning what's good for you is a double win -- particularly learning what we all need to know to live happier lives." – Charles Ellis, author of Winning the Loser’s Game

This revised all-American edition features end-of-chapter summaries of financial concepts learned, a glossary and bibliography of books that will boost your financial literacy – or that of your kids.


Findependence Day is available for purchase at  
Trafford Publishing

Jonathan Chevreau was an award-winning personal finance columnist for the Financial Post and National Post newspaper between 1996 and early 2012. He is now the editor of MoneySense magazine, Canada’s leading personal finance consumer magazine. He lives by the lake in Long Branch, Ontario. On a good day he can see Rochester. He has previously authored or co-authored nine non-fiction financial books. They include the Smart Funds series and The Wealthy Boomer: Life After Mutual Funds (Key Porter Books); and Krash! (McGraw Hill.) In 2012, his first e-book was published by National Post: The Best of Jonathan Chevreau.

He blogs at He is active in social media, tweeting as @JonChevreau, as well as Facebook, Linked-in and Google Plus. How to get other editions of Findependence Day The e-book you are reading is the all-American edition of Findependence Day, published in 2013. The original North American edition, published in 2008 only as a traditional printed book, can be purchased via PayPal and major credit cards through the web site at  

Jonathan is giving away a $25 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 Gift Certificate to Amazon
  • This giveaway begins July 27 and ends on August 7.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 8.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Book Review: My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me by Dr. Ruxandra LeMay #nonfiction

Title: My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution for a Happier Marriage
Author: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay
Publisher: LJAR Services, LTC.
Pages: 67
Genre: Nonfiction/Psychology/Self-Help
Format: Kindle/Paperback (available soon)

Purchase at Amazon

Is “not enough sex” a daily or weekly argument in your relationship?

Is sex at the bottom of your to-do list after mopping the floors, laundry, and packing the kids’ lunches?Would you rather catch up on your favorite show than have sex?

Then this book is for you.

Nowadays, women work more than ever; they juggle a career, a household, kids, bills, pets, their own parents and in-laws.  In a relationship, marriage to be precise, sex is on a continuum: from hot and sweaty to non-existent. The author has seen numerous couples in therapy, all struggling to make the transition from “I can’t breathe without you” to “I would rather sleep than have sex.” Although most couples experience these changes, many don’t know how to handle them. Women feel exhausted, guilty, and wondering whether they need medication to feel some sort of sexual desire again. Men feel unloved, misunderstood, and highly frustrated. Nobody wins. And sometimes, the table turns and the man has a lower sex drive.

This unique book offers a practical solution that is a great compromise for both genders. It’s fast and easy to implement and maintain. It’s the real deal. The goals are realistic, easily attained, and make an actual difference in the relationship.

Dr. LeMay also talks about the fact that the female and male sex drives are different but there is no reason to apologize for such a difference. There is nothing wrong with women that have a low sex drive and not all men are addicted just because they like sex.

This book offers a compilation of tips and ideas to increase assertiveness and honesty during sex. Finally, the author introduces 10 insights into what affects female sex drive such as husband’s participation in household chores, his effort in looking good for his spouse, and his willingness to accommodate his wife’s sexual needs.

My Review:

Let's see a show of hands whose spouse wants more sex than you do?  Thought so.  I would like to think I wasn't in the minority.  I don't know what it is about men when they think that they have to have sex all the time?  And what about the wife who takes care of the kids, cleans the house, prepares meals, takes the dog to the vet and on top of that works outside the home?  Thank God there is a new book out called My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution for a Happier Marriage by Dr. Ruxandra LeMay to help us figure out what to do about that.  Is there even a solution much less a 2-minute solution?

So why do men care about sex so much? In My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me, Dr. LeMay shares the truth and the differences between men and women in terms of sex.  Once we understand that, we are over the first hurdle.   Then she helps us understand each other's experiences to find the time, energy and motivation for sex.  What I liked about this book is that it didn't just deal with the woman's libido, it was eye-opening information about the men as well because the same thing can happen to them, too.

Dr. LeMay explains the different stages one goes through during a relationship which I found to be very informative.  I've read many relationship books before but she made really good sense.  If we determine which stage we're in at any point, that's a good first step.

I was most interested in stage three - the marriage section.  Although I am no longer married, that's the stage where everything fell apart for me when I was.  The dating process was great, the sex was great - it was the part after having kids when things started to go sour and had I had this book to help me understand what was going on with both of us, would breaking up have been the answer in the end?  That's water under the bridge now but I still needed answers.  All I remember is sex wasn't a top priority and raising kids and worry about bills was.

In My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me, Dr. LeMay explains how female sexuality changes dramatically at this stage of a relationship.  As she put it, "Without sex, you might as well just be roommates."  Whoa.  That's calling the kettle black.

There is so much information packed in this book to help your love life, things that really opened my eyes, that I give this 5 book trees.

My Ranking:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reality versus Fiction by Linda Bond, author of Cuba Undercover

Cuba Undercover Book Banner

Cuba UndercoverTitle: Cuba Undercover
Author: Linda Bond
Publisher: Entangled: Select Suspense
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Kindle 

His revenge will change her life forever...

Cuban-American TV reporter Rebecca Menendez's success comes from playing by the rules. When she's kidnapped by a fierce and intensely handsome man who needs her help, however, all of those rules seem pointless. Nothing could have prepared her for being taken hostage...or the irresistible reward if she complies: information about her long-thought dead father. Antonio Vega has spent almost every day of his adult life dreaming of revenging his father's death. With his sister's life and freedom in jeopardy, Antonio isn't taking any chances. But once Rebecca and Antonio are in Cuba, they're immersed in a world of corruption, deceit, and betrayal. It's a deadly game...and there are no rules.


  Cuba Undercover is available for purchase at  
Available on iTunes
Reality versus Fiction  by Linda Bond

Both difficult when it comes to writing about Cuba

As a TV reporter, I have traveled to Cuba twice.  Both trips were inspirational and I fell in love with the Cuban people and their Culture.  I also fell in love with a Cuban American. But, reporting there was not easy. Either time – back in 1998 and more recently in 2011.  First, securing the proper paperwork from the Cuban government was difficult.  In 2011, you needed a license from the Cuban government to report in their country.  I arrived at the International Press office on a Friday and it was closed.  Getting the license took days, but I kept trying, and I am thankful I did.  On the third day in Cuba, in the Plaza of the Revolution, my photographer and I were stopped by a police officer. He asked to see that license.  I can’t even imagine what might have happened if we had not had it.

Another source of frustration: the Internet.  Couldn’t find Wi-Fi in most places, and even in the nice hotel in Havana where we stayed, it took hours to send video back to the United States.  I hope that has changed with the developing technology.

And on both trips, I never could line up a government official to speak to me.

All that aside, I’m glad for the opportunity to visit that magical country.

When I decided to write a fiction novel about Cuba, I knew part of the conflict in the story would be the continued tension between our countries. And just as I sold the manuscript to Entangled Publishing, President Obama opened up a dialogue with Cuba and the conflicts began to change. Travel restrictions were lessened, embassies were to open, and more business would be allowed to take place. Wow.  The changes happened so quickly I could barely keep up. I had to re-write the book three times! 

As a journalist, I’ve been so married to facts for so long, it was hard to let go of the book. Finally I had to realize this is a work of fiction.  It won’t represent the changing face of Cuba-America relations completely and readers will have to suspend some disbelief.

But what is real on both accounts is the love of family.  I hope that is what you take away from Cuba Undercover.

Thank you for reading,

Linda Bond  

Linda Bond and kidLinda Bond loves to read. She started with those great Nancy Drew books. Remember Nancy Drew and 'The Secret of the Old Clock?"  How about 'The Mystery of the 99 Steps?'  She really liked smart, gutsy heroines, even at a young age. In high school, Linda discovered historical romances by authors like the great Kathleen Woodiwiss.  She read at least three books a week.  So many her mother actually called a conference with her teacher, worried, and overwrought that her innocent little girl was reading those trashy romance novels.

What was she learning?  Linda's teacher just looked at her mom and said, "Your daughter reads three books a week?" Linda's mother said, "Yes, at least. And I don't know what to do."

"Let her read," Linda's teacher responded.  And, so she did.
Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins took Linda out of her high school hallways and into the glamorous Hollywood Hills.

John Grisham, James Patterson, and Harlen Coben can still keep Linda up all night. Turning pages, ladies, turning pages.

Linda lives for a good romantic thriller. Which is probably why she's a reporter.  She's addicted to the rush of adrenaline that comes with finding and crafting a great story.

Each day Linda writes about someone's unique life.  In Linda's world, 400 words must carry the weight of 400 pages. Linda writes a dreaded synopsis every single day- under deadline.

Now, Linda is retraining herself to do just the opposite.  She's punching up her pages with powerful passages. With each new chapter, Linda smiles, because she loves to tell a story.

It's really as simple as that.

The best way to really know Linda Bond is to read what she writes.  That's where the real fun begins.

For More Information
  Visit Linda at her website  
Google Plus

Linda is giving away a $25 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 Gift Certificate to Amazon
  • This giveaway begins July 14 and ends on August 11.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 12.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Beyond Duty by James DeVries Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Title: Beyond Duty
Author: James DeVries
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 334
Genre: Fiction
Format: Kindle/Paperback/Hardcover 

The continuing story of Lt. Jeff Lacy is dangerous and sad. The story opens with Jeff's participation in a Top Secret mission to observe Russian Submarine missile tests. When he has a change of duty station Jeff lands in the middle of a dangerous plot and his beloved wife Molly is killed. In despair Jeff retires from the Navy and soon finds himself working as an agent for the CIA in the United Arab Emirates. While there he becomes partners in the Mid East Construction Company which leads him into unexpected and interesting situations. Jeff finally tracks down Molly's killer.

ORDER INFORMATION Beyond Duty is available for purchase at  

Lt. James DeVries, USN, Retired, served 21 years in the Navy, 10 years in the submarine force and time in Special Warfare. The last year was with a Navy SEAL platoon setting up and operating a training facility on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean. Jim's retired years have been spent working as an International Field Service Engineer and 16 years for Fluor Daniel, Inc. as a Project Manager. Now fully retired Jim spends his spear time involved with amateur radio and writing. Jim and his Red Headed wife Claire live in Salem, Oregon in the summer and Mesa, Arizona in the winter.

James is giving away a $25 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 Gift Certificate to Amazon
  • This giveaway begins July 27 and ends on August 7.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 8.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Deception and The Siren's Touch Book Feature!

Deception and the Siren's Touch

DECEPTION_hi-res jpeg Title: Deception (Demon Hunters)
Author: A.S. Fenichel
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Kindle

  When Demons threaten Regency London, only a Lady can stop them.

 Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn . . .

 For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell. These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…

Deception is available for order at  Amazon, B&N,  Kobo and Google Play

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back. A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Multi-published in erotic, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. is the author of the Mayan Destiny series, Christmas Bliss and many more.

With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be brining you her brand of romance for many years to come. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.

For More Information

The Siren's Touch

Title: The Siren's Touch
Author: Amber Belldene
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Kindle/Paperback

One touch can change everything…

 Hitman Dmitri Lisko is determined to avenge his father. Once he takes out the man he believes is responsible for his family’s tragedies, he’s done killing for good. But a mysterious woman may tempt Dmitri to change his plan. Sonya Truss was murdered in a Ukrainian village in 1968. Now she’s reappeared in San Francisco as a rusalka—the ghost of a wronged woman. And she’s thirsty for the blood of her killer. But she has to make things right before she’s trapped between worlds forever. Sonya's enigmatic siren powers stir Dmitri's long-buried chivalry, and he finds himself compelled to help her. He also can’t resist giving her a taste of the pleasures she never experienced while she was alive. Soon they discover that touch has surprising consequences. Yet when their shared mission comes to cross-purposes, they must choose between deadly sacrifice—or surrendering to the one act that can save them both.


  The Siren's Touch is available for order at  Amazon,  B&N,  Kobo and Google Play

 I grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when I could pull myself away from a book. As a child, I hid my Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on me when I preach these days. I’m an Episcopal Priest and student of the worlds’ religions. I believe stories are the best way to explore human truths, and I’m passionate about the deep ties between spirituality and sexuality. Some people think it’s strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to me, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. I write paranormal, historical and contemporary romance and live with my husband and two children in San Francisco. My literary agent is the fabulous Becca Stumpf of the Prospect Agency.

For More Information
  Visit Amber’s website.
Connect with Amber on Twitter and Facebook 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Second Chronicles of Illumination by C.A. Pack Book Feature!

Second Chronicles of Illumination

Second Chronicles of Illumination Title: Second Chronicles of Illumination
Author: C.A. Pack
Publisher: Antiqua Press
Pages: 480
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Kindle/Hardcover 

When an alien invasion threatens the existence of all the knowledge in the universe, eighteen-year-old Johanna Charette and seventeen-year-old Jackson Roth must rely on their wits, guts, and pluck to save the fantasy-come-to-life world of the Library of Illumination. It wouldn t be so bad if Johanna and Jackson weren't the ones responsible for breaching the portals to a dozen distant worlds. Now, outside forces are causing shock waves in the space-time continuum, and if that isn t awful enough, someone from another dimension is trying to steal a book of powerful spells created by a very famous wizard. At first, traveling to other realms in a time machine seems like a fun perk. However, discovering some inhabitants want to obliterate the teens doesn't leave them with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Instead, they find themselves forced to sacrifice their own welfare and the safety of their loved ones for the greater good.


Second Chronicles of Illumination is available for purchase at  


What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
My last book Chronicles: The Library of Illumination was named to Kirkus Reviews” Best Book of 2014 and I cried when I was notified about that. Knowing someone other than my family and friends appreciated my efforts meant a lot to me.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My father encouraged reading and had me signed up for book clubs before I could read. Those books were for children, but up in our attic were piles of my father’s books. I remember trying to read the Iliad and the Odyssey when I was still young, but I wasn’t able to appreciate them. From the third grade on, my father drove me to the library every other week, so I could return the books I had and sign out new ones. I’ve always been a voracious reader and I have him to thank for it.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing my first story when I was seven for no reason other than I wanted to spin a tale. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I’ve always been a dreamer, so it’s easy for me to come up with stories and turn my thoughts into words. I didn’t choose to be a writer; it happened because I love books, I love to read, and I love imaginative stories.
What inspires you to write and why?
I’m inspired by almost everything. I’ll hear a snippet of conversation or see something a little out of the ordinary happen, and I’ll weave it into whatever I’m writing. I once watched as a friend on mine stalked a fly with two paper plates. He wanted to kill the fly, but didn’t want to get his hands dirty. It was very funny to watch and I eventually wrote it into a play I was working on called Women with Large Satchels. Inspiration is all around us.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I started out writing historical thrillers, then historical fantasy, and now young adult fantasy. YA fantasy is the most fun. I get my characters to say and do things that more experienced (uptight) people would never attempt, and being able to do that allows me to fully exercise my imagination.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first novel-length book stated as a joke. A friend and I would each write a couple of lines and email it back and forth. He quit by page five, but I enjoyed it so much I continued doing it by myself. I did it until I had a full-length novel. It was awful. I know, because one of my friends said, “I give you credit just for finishing the book. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I rewrote that book a dozen times, and while it improved each time, I was unable to get an agent to represent me. So I self-published it on Kindle. That was in 2009 and I haven’t stopped publishing my work since.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
I love writers’ conferences and writers groups for getting feedback from other writers and publishing professionals. There’s a conference held in New York City every summer call Thrillerfest and this summer I’ll be attending my ninth conference with them. It starts out with something called Craftfest, which is a series of seminars and workshops that teach the art of writing. It’s geared toward thrillers, but the techniques work for every type of writer, and I’ve learned a lot from attending. I also like writers’ groups. Here on Long Island we have the Long Island Writer’s Guild, and I’ve learned a lot from their critiques of my work, especially when I was writing the first Library of Illumination books.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The most challenging thing about writing a novel is finding time when you won’t be interrupted. Nothing is as frustrating as losing your train of thought when someone disturbs you. I refuse to answer the phone, and I turn down the volume on my computer so I won’t hear the ping of new email, but my cell phone will vibrate every time there’s a text, or my husband will knock on the door with a question, so there’s no such thing as pure solitude. And that’s what challenges me most as a writer.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Developing Myrddin’s Memoir, which is contained within Second Chronicles of Illumination required a lot of research into the legend of Kind Arthur and the origins of Merlin the Magician. I also did a lot of research into remote British islands looking for the perfect place to stage it, and learned a lot about the wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary on Skokholm Island in Wales. Then I created a kind of diagram with bits of factual information and fictional ideas that I could draw from while writing. So I can say writing this particular book taught me a lot about Arthurian legend and Celtic history.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Writing has always been my career. My first career was writing news. My current career is writing fiction. I prefer fiction. It’s way more fun.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
My greatest strength lies in my imagination and the way I can visualize scenes. I actually see them playing out in my head, like a mini-movie and I react to them, whether it’s with tears, excitement or anxiety. I live every emotion with my characters, and try to make their reactions as “real” as possible.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My favorite personal quality is my imagination.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I hate being shy—really, really shy. Some people think I’m aloof. I’m not aloof. I’m afraid. Engage me in a conversation and I’ll be your BFF.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger” —Friedrich Nietzsche

Carol PackC. A. Pack is the author of the Library of Illumination series of YA fantasy novelettes, along with Chronicles: The Library of Illumination (2014), and The Second Chronicles of Illumination (coming in 2015). Pack also writes for a general audience. Her first novel, Code Name: Evangeline—is an historical spy thriller which takes place in the 1930's. The author followed it up with Evangeline's Ghost—a fantasy about the death of that same spy. She recently completed work on Evangeline's Ghost: Houdini, and is currently working on Evangeline's Ghost: The Bridge. Pack is an award winning journalist from New York who worked as an anchor/reporter and educator (she considers herself the fairy-godmother of telvision news reporters)—and has written for WNBC, LI News Tonight and News 12 Long Island. She also worked on PBS documentaries, radio and television commercials and created and produced a pilot for a news show focusing solely on marriage and wedding trends. She's a past president of the Press Club of Long Island and a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. Pack has been a speaker or panelist for organizations such as Women in Communications, Fair Media Council, and the Society of Professional Journalists. The author lives with her husband and two picky parrots “on” Long Island, New York.

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Profit In Plain Sight by Anne C. Graham

About The Book

Title:  Profit In Plain Sight
Author: Anne C. Graham
Publisher:  Morgan James
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Pages: 289
Format: eBook / Hardcover / Paperback / PDF
ISBN: 978-1-63047-293-1 
Genre: Business

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Book Description:
  1. 84% of business owners and CEOs surveyed score a C, D or F on the Return on People Benchmark - they can't even give every employee a decent raise, let alone hire, invest in facilities, equipment or technology, or expand into new markets!
  2. 40% companies who increase their revenues in a given year will actually decrease their profits… and there’s a better way to increase both.
  3. 96% of companies will put their greater goals on hold this year with one simple phrase: We don't have the budget for that.
Imagine if leaders were able to break free of their profit constraints, stop being victims of exchange rates and oil prices, and be in control of earning all the profit they need to fund the growth they want.

Savvy entrepreneurs would never start a new business without a Business Plan.  Experienced executives would never try to lead their business without a Strategic Plan.  But almost every manager confesses that they don’t have a Profit Plan beyond their P&L, and that means that profit becomes the leftovers between disappointing revenues and higher-than-expected costs.

Profit in Plain Sight offers the Profit Plan that’s missing, with a step-by-step roadmap that enables these busy leaders to grasp the big picture, and to implement solutions in less time per week than they are spending on email per day.

Unlike many  business books, Profit in Plain Sight gives readers access to the “hows”, not just the “shoulds”, with downloadable training resources and action plans  at the end of every chapter, plus regular opportunities for the reader to reflect on how their thinking is changing and growing.

This book finally helps leaders who are passionate about their business have all the profit they need to fund the growth they want, with tough questions to start changing the conversations in everyday management meetings, with practical, actionable techniques that are quite different from conventional cost-cutting approaches or the all-too-dangerous “increase revenues at all costs” techniques.  Instead, Profit In Plain Sight offers take-it-to-the-bank results.    

Book Excerpt:

Prepare to Transform Your Most Persistent Market Challenges into Profit, Passion, and Growth

… with The Proven Leadership Path that Delivers Results

  • How much easier would igniting profit, passion, and growth be if everyone in your business embraced change and became part of it?
  • What would be possible if transforming your business felt more like play than like work?
  • How quickly could you turn good intentions into tangible results if you simply could take small steps that require less time than you are devoting to e-mail in a given day?

IBM is a legendary company, not only because of its enduring success for over 100 years in the fast-changing world of technology, but because it leads its category by a factor of four in terms of
profitability and continues to transform itself to generate growth opportunities. Customers are incredibly loyal, the company has a stellar reputation for quality, and, as the holder of more patents than any other high-technology company, its strengths in innovation are readily apparent. It seems that IBM has found ways to conquer some stubborn challenges, doesn’t it?

But it didn’t start that way. IBM’s roots go back to the 1880s and at one time its products consisted of employee time-keeping systems, weigh scales, automatic meat slicers, coffee grinders, and punched card equipment. Hardly the glamorous “Creating a Smarter Planet” organization we know today.

IBM’s secrets to success came from an unlikely resource who was named President in 1915: Thomas J. Watson, the second in command at National Cash Register. With just a few practical
tenets, Watson laid down the enduring foundation for IBM’s success — a focus on the customer and on customer service, a sales culture that built trust and respect, and an environment that instilled pride and loyalty into every worker. The result? Profit, passion, and growth, with integrity. In the 1990s, IBM had to reinvent itself or risk becoming irrelevant in the marketplace, which it did by reemphasizing its customer focus and creating clarity in its positioning.
In the 2000s, it had to reinvent itself again as the competitive landscape shifted once more, which it did by emphasizing its role in providing integrated solutions, not merely products.

This is not a book about IBM. But as subsequent legendary leaders have proven, those enduring, practical tenets can serve every business well.

How Many of these Stubborn Market Challenges Are Grinding You Down?

Each year a variety of organizations publish lists of the Top 10 CEO Challenges based on polling business owners and leaders. And inevitably, five stubborn market-related issues keep coming up again and again on these lists, although the order may shift from year to year:

1. Earning Customer Loyalty and Retention
2. Generating Sustained and Steady Top-Line Growth
3. Ensuring Bottom-Line Growth in Profit
4. Building a Corporate Reputation for Quality Products and Services
5. Stimulating Innovation and Creativity and Enabling Entrepreneurship

Why don’t we ever get traction and put those Challenges behind us? Because 70 years of thought leadership in the business press, from universities and in executive programs, has left us with more shoulds than hows and a lot of flavor-of-the-month distractions that sound promising but are hard to translate into bottom-line impact.

Let’s change that.

This Book Is for You When …

… most of the books you’ve read are sitting on your shelf and have not had any impact on your business;
… some of the books you’ve read have inspired you but you struggled when you tried to put them into practice because the author shared the shoulds but left you to figure out the hows; and
… you’ve tried to implement ideas in the past as an army of one only to run out of steam, run out of time, or run out of focus when you find yourself spending more time trying to get people to change and get on board than actually implementing anything.

Move Beyond the Myths

Here’s your wake-up call and a bold promise.

We’re Too Busy

FACT: All of us are busy. None of us have spare time. Or do we? Over 90% of executives polled admit that they spend between 1 and 2 hours a day on e-mail … often more. So here’s your wake-up call: unless you work in the order entry department, e-mail does not move the needle in your business because it does not create cash flow, profit, or growth. In fact, it leaves you working everyone  else’s agenda when, as a leader, it is up to you to set the direction and lead by doing. E-mail is a nice, easy, reactive way to start the day and waste most of the morning. And it’s killing your company.

We Have to Be “Always On”

FACT: We’re tethered to responding instantaneously to our phones, our e-mail, and other interruptions, and there are times when that’s appropriate, but more often it’s simply busy work. I’m not saying that you have to abandon e-mail — it’s a part of our lives in the 21st century, just as the telephone and voice mail became a reality in the 20th. But what is currently in your in-box or on your priority list that is more important than securing the future of your business for your employees, your family, and your community? What’s more important than building a profitable, growing business
that can weather any economic turmoil that global change can throw at it?

There’s No Way Out

FACT: The noise is getting louder now that texting and social media elements are also in the mix of e-mail, voice mail, and more. Yet one simple shift is all that’s required to completely transform
noise into results, and I invite you to share Appendix 1 with your entire organization to help them make that shift. In the meantime, here’s my bold promise.

If you have time for e-mail, you have time
to once and for all overcome the stubborn
business challenges holding you back.

When you follow the Solutions in Plain Sight outlined in this book and access the Rapid Results Resources that ensure you never have to waste precious time reinventing the wheel, you will transform your business in less time than you’re currently spending on e-mail.

Close the Gaps when you apply uncommon strategies and tactics that will shift your thinking forever

Our biggest challenge as business leaders at all levels is simply to overcome the thinking that’s kept us stuck with those Challenges. Many of us were taught old-world thinking, long before today’s realities of the Internet, globalization, recurring corporate scandals, all-too-frequent recessions, and a rate of change that’s difficult to keep up with. It’s time to hold our beliefs, myths, and common practices up to a very harsh light of uncommon sense and retool for the future. It’s time to replace them with a road map that delivers results. This first section, Possibilities, is going to give you two powerful tools to do just that.

Most businesses won’t succeed in making the shift. They’ll remain mired in the “we’ve always done it this way” paradigm, because they simply won’t invest the time and energy to be open
to new approaches, and they won’t take the time to build a road map that takes them to their Possibilities, step by step. They’ll continue to default back to “business as usual,” because they think it’s easier, even though they know it’s not working, and they need a new approach. Unfortunately, they’re unknowingly making their lives and the lives of everyone in the organization more difficult, and more uncertain.

Take a look at the shapes Figure 1. How many forms of transportation can you spot? Look carefully, as the shapes hold the key to your transformation. How many did you see? What were they? (Go to Appendix 2 for the answer.)

Rapid Results Resources: Put some energy into your regular meetings and start the process of
Transformation with “The 101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership Team.” Use a couple of the questions every week to get your team thinking about Profit, Passion, and Growth, and to get their creative juices flowing. Download your copy at

Solutions in Plain Sight: Inform. Inspire.
Motivate. Systematically Transform.

By opening the cover of Profit in Plain Sight, you’ve already taken your first step to becoming more open, more focused, and more successful. You’ve taken your first step towards creating a process for sustainable levels of increased profits. And you’ve taken your first step that will differentiate your business from your competitors’ when you implement well. Just keep turning the pages to make it happen.

Infuse Your Employees With Possibilities

What does it mean to Infuse employees? It means embedding the desire to be part of something more, to be the best, to behave every day in ways that add value to your customers, and to earn profit with integrity that will help the entire company grow and succeed in the future.

It means engaging them with the Drivers of Transformation that you’ll see in Part I, Possibilities, which will give them the powerful AHA! Moments of information, inspiration, and motivation.

It means involving them in creating the road map forward, because information, inspiration, motivation, and good intentions need to be turned into action before you can transform stubborn challenges into Profit, Passion, and Growth (see Figure 2).

People support what they create. When you Infuse your teams with the passion and talent to be part of the solution, you’ll divide and conquer the workload and transform your profit and growth more easily than you might imagine.

Enthuse Your Customers

What does it mean to Enthuse your customers? It means creating an environment where they love doing business with you and know that your success is part of their success, because you save them time, make or save them money, solve real problems for them, give them peace of mind, and make them feel good. It means being the path of least resistance and getting it right the first time. It means they’re happy to pay for the value you provide.

It’s what happens in Part II, Practicalities, when you take action with the systematic approach of the Profit in Plain Sight Framework to solve the five stubborn challenges that are holding you back from leading your market by industriously activating your road map to success (see Figure 3).

1.      Activate the power of Infused employees with the Two Drivers of Transformation.
2.      Trigger the factors that Enthuse customers as you systematically overcome five stubborn market-driven challenges with integrated solutions that build upon each other.
3.      Achieve Profit, Passion, and Growth … in less time than you’re spending on e-mail.

Overcome Your Biggest Obstacles

Right now you may be thinking you don’t have the time. Your people aren’t onside. You have other priorities that need your attention and focus. You’re uncertain of whether you can make a commitment to see this through. You don’t believe that significant profit increases are possible in your business or in your industry. Hogwash!

Bringing the voices of your customers into your organization is a powerful, counterintuitive, yet proven, approach to see what’s possible from a tactical perspective and will powerfully move you past “we’ve always done it this way” thinking with each of five stubborn market-driven challenges. In this book, you’ll learn exactly how to do that for results.

You’ll stop guessing at what it will take to keep your customers loyal for longer and know for certain how to become their preferred partner. You’ll stop guessing what they might value and know for certain how to deliver value to them that results in Top-Line Growth. You’ll stop applying bandaids to quality issues and get the sludge out of your system to stop the profit leaks and grow your Bottom Line. And you’ll know exactly how to avoid “me too” inventions that are passing for innovation and innovate in low-risk, low-cost ways that will set you apart from your competitors.

The Only Person Who Likes Change Is a Baby with a Wet Diaper

Even with technology, globalization, credit crunches, and economic turmoil, people still need to buy goods and services and people still do business with people. The need to enthuse your customers with the desire to do business with you and to infuse your staff with the passion and talent to deliver never changes.

What does need to change is how you tackle those five stubborn market-driven challenges, and therein lies the stumbling block.

Your people can’t buy into the typical approach of an endless stream of unrelated tasks, so-called best practices (which don’t differentiate you from your competitors), flavor-of-the-month management and proverbial silver bullets. Over 90% of business owners, leaders, and key employees polled admit they get lost chasing bright shiny objects, and those are simply the equivalent of trying to change nice, dry, comfortable diapers to icky wet diapers that don’t make sense to your people. Uncertainty, seemingly wasted time, wasted effort, confusion, and the feeling of a lack of progress simply causes fear and resistance.

Harvard Professor W. Earl Sasser was the first to refer to the plethora of stand-alone tactics as “Kidney Stone Management” (his lengthy list back in the 1990s has only expanded with time).
We’ve trained our staff to expect that whatever new idea is out there, it’s a kidney stone — it will only cause them pain for a while, it will pass, and business as usual can return. No wonder our people are burned-out and skeptical when so many new initiatives are launched, so many seem important, and so many run out of steam. Explain Kidney Stone Management to your executive and management teams at all levels. You’re guaranteed a few rueful chuckles of recognition and an AHA! Moment that indicates that approach is no longer going to be part of your leadership practices.

That’s the reason Profit in Plain Sight will make a difference when others haven’t — solving these Challenges for good comes down to realizing that you’re in wet diapers and wanting the dry ones you’ll get by shifting the way you do business. Dry diapers are the result of implementing the step-by-step road map of over 57 detailed, value-add Profit and Growth Accelerators for near term yet sustainable Profit, Passion, and Growth.

When your people have a mental map of where they’re going, and how they’re going to get there (see Figure 3), Kidney Stone Manage-ment is no longer a problem and they will be informed,
inspired, and motivated to get into the dry diapers. A systematic and integrated process rather than a series of disconnected events will consistently create successes and a sense of forward momentum and progress — the transformation you’re looking for.

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Unsuccessful businesspeople try to go it alone, reluctant to show their weakness by asking for help. Successful businesspeople ask for help all the time. They call it getting input and they know the value of not reinventing the wheel. Profit in Plain Sight is the window to Rapid Results Resources that are not just shoulds but specific hows — proven step-by-step instructions plus additional proven strategies and tactics that are beyond the scope of this book.

They deliver results more rapidly and easily than you might imagine. They deliver smart practices specifically implemented in the context of your unique company. All you have to do is commit to transforming conventional passive reading into active learning for results.

Every business leader who has succeeded in doubling their profitability or more — in less than one year, in less time than they and their team were spending on e-mail — has identified obstacles to success. And as they began the process, they found that each and every obstacle dissolved with the straightforward, practical approaches laid out in this book. At this point, all you need to do is finish reading the next two pages, and take the actions outlined. Then, turn the page and do it again. That’s it. Are you with me?


We’ve all heard that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. But I always say that you can make the horse thirsty or make the water sweeter. From the sheer fact that you’re reading Profit in Plain Sight, I know you’re thirsty.

Make Your Horses Thirsty Too

Embracing a process to transform challenges into opportunities doesn’t come from rigorous change management processes that try to force-fit people into a change that they haven’t bought into. That’s just leading the horse to water. Instead, it comes from naturally leading your team where you want them to go by building an infused culture that thirsts for excellence and that reflects their desire to find the easiest and most effective ways to achieve that end. When you share this book throughout your organization, you’ll help lead your teams’ thirst for where you want them to go.

Make the Water Sweeter

Sweeter water means helping you and your organization find ways to streamline complexity and stay focused on what really drives your business forward. That’s where the systematic Profit in Plain Sight Framework is extremely valuable — bite-sized modules are easy to implement, in less time than you’re currently spending on e-mail. Make the process painless and make the water sweet when you take an integrated approach rather than succumbing to Kidney Stone Management.

I’ve spent time in the trenches “doing,” and even longer with the responsibilities of leading others. I’ve experienced the frustration of dealing with these Challenges over and over, just as you have.  I’ve used every one of these Solutions in Plain Sight, as a leader in large and small companies and with my consulting clients. They’ve worked across a broad range of industries and they’ll work for you too.

Simply. Accelerate Your Results

There is really only one theme to this book — driving Profit, Passion, and Growth. We’re going to put many lenses on that theme, but never lose sight of that as our goal.

There are only two outcomes you need to achieve in order to realize Profit, Passion, and Growth — enthusing your customers, and infusing your employees. I’ll show you what you need to do to
accomplish both.

There are Two Drivers of Transformation that serve as wet diapers to motivate change and, in Part I, you’ll see Possibilities as you learn how to activate them to kick-start the process and help
you measure success and progress.

There are 15 practical, actionable Solutions in Plain Sight in this book and a total of 57 Profit and Growth Accelerators in the Profit in Plain Sight Framework. In Part II, Shift to Practicalities,
you’ll see your Profit in Plain Sight road map unfold as we tackle each of the five stubborn market-driven challenges.

Whether you take action on every Challenge or cherry-pick just those that are holding your business back the most, you will see impact on your Profit. You’ll impact the Passion your teams bring to the business. And you’ll sow the seeds for Growth.

There are no quick fixes … but Rapid Results are within your reach.

You can reach and exceed your goals. You can secure your business from the ups and downs of economic turmoil, and invest in everything you need to take your business to the next level and help drive our economy forward. You can finally feel confident in your plan for the future.

If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?

Work is slogging it out in isolation; play is getting support to achieve breakthroughs and feeling a sense of progress. So go ahead and put some play back in your day and some bucks on your bottom line.

This Works. You Can Do It. You Will Succeed.

Take these Actions

1.     Download your copy of “The 101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership Teams” at to start changing the conversations at every level of your organization. This is an ideal tool for executives and mid-level managers to use to spice up your regular team meetings and begin to shift your culture to one of profit and growth.

2.     See Appendix 1 for the secrets of achieving focus and transformation in less time than you’re
currently spending on e-mail.

3.     Check out Appendix 2 for the solution to the “forms of transportation” brain teaser at the beginning of this Chapter.

Small Steps. Big Impact!

Five Minutes, Five Questions:
Reflect for Deeper Learning

Reflective questions at the end of every Chapter offer powerful deeper learning on how your thinking is changing, so that you can generate the AHA! Moments to break free of the conventional thinking that keeps you stuck when trying to solve five stubborn market-driven

Reflection simply means taking the time to monitor what’s happening in your own mind, evaluate what you’re learning, and ponder what is shifting or changing in terms of your attitudes and behaviors, with the goal of eventually building a new mental framework of how things work. This will allow you to continually add relevant information and discard the irrelevant.

Your first step is internal transformation, to identify what attitudes have already shifted and what behaviors will follow.

But the reflective process only works if you use it.

Ask yourself these questions right now:

1. How can I use the reframing approach I saw in the brain teaser as a metaphor for opportunities hidden in our business?

Which items on the list of five stubborn market-driven challenges are top of mind for me right now — and why?

How effectively are we solving those challenges today?

How often do our people see our efforts as Kidney Stones because we fail to give them the big picture with a road map for implementation?

How committed am I to create an environment where my horses are thirsty and the water is sweet?

Inform. Inspire. Motivate. Transform.
Enthuse. Infuse.

Are you ready to get started with the Two Drivers of Transformation that deliver big wake-up calls and pave the way to transform your business more quickly and easily than you might imagine?

If you prefer, you can go right to whichever Challenge is your greatest burning issue today, and then work backwards to put the foundational work in place that may be required to trigger the

About The Author

Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more in less than one year, in less time than they’re spending on email.  Drawing on over 25 years of deep profit and growth expertise from her “in the trenches” and executive experiences with Fortune 500 companies and smaller firms, she closes the all-too-frequent gap between the good intentions vs. year-end results.  The solution is the roadmap she wishes she’d had - a Profit Plan that transforms “we don’t have the budget for that!” into a “YES!” to funding every greater dream and goal for their business as they create prosperity for their company, their employees, their customers, and their communities.

As a best-selling author, international speaker, and accelerator, Anne inspires thousands of business leaders each year to Profit… On Purpose by moving past conventional thinking to discover Profit In Plain Sight.  Audiences and clients love Anne’s fun and interactive approach based on value to the customer, NOT accounting, and her ability to create profound AHA! Moments so that participants leave with a new perspective of their possibilities plus practical actions they can implement for immediate impact.  Anne is the Managing Director of the Legendary Value Institute, a popular faculty member in an award-winning MBA program, and a passionate boater on west coast of British Columbia.

You can visit Anne’s website at 

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