Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park (spotlight, excerpt, review and GIVEAWAY)


The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park, by Teko Bernard, is written to delight and challenge middle schoolers, ages 8 - 13.

Blurb:  All Bernard Jones wanted to do while staying with his grandparents for the summer in Elmdale, his father’s childhood hometown, was work on his basketball skills. When Bernard excitedly enters a team into the Annual Elmdale Park Basketball Tournament, he’s shocked to discover that the future of the park is at stake. The town of Elmdale hasn’t won the tournament in 20 years, and Victor Franco, a ruthless millionaire, is planning to shut down the annual tournament for good so that he can turn the historic Elmdale Park into a landfill for his own profit. It can all be stopped if Bernard and his team, the Elmdale Warriors, win the tournament this year. Can the courageous Bernard and his fun and wacky crew defeat their Oakdale rivals and save the historic Park?


      Bernard and Layla were sitting on a bench in front of the library and animatedly discussing their favorite movies when Layla suddenly groaned. “Oh, great…”
      “What’s wrong?” Bernard asked, surprised by this sudden change in her demeanor.
     “You’ll see.” Layla sighed and rolled her eyes.
     Three guys their age swaggered up to them. They wore Oakdale High sports jackets, caps, and all the current basketball sportswear ranging from the most expensive shoes to T-shirts and sweatpants.
      “There’s my baby! What’s up, Layla! You been waiting for me?”  The lanky guy who asked the question stood about six feet five inches with attitude to match. The vain expression on his face clearly indicated he viewed himself as a ladies’ man.
     Layla blatantly ignored him and refocused her attention on Bernard. “So what were we talking about?”
     “Yeah, what were we talking about?” the tall one interrupted as he obnoxiously plopped down in the tiny space between Layla and Bernard.
     “That’s right, Big Al, you’re the man!” hooted one of his buddies.
      “No, he’s rude,” Layla retorted. “No one asked you to sit down!”
     “Uh-uh, you got it wrong, babe…The dude next to me is no one. Hey, No One, thanks for watching my honey for me.”
     Big Al turned his back on Bernard and slipped an arm around Layla.
     Layla shoved his arm away. “I’m not your honey and his name is Bernard.”
     “Oh, forgive me,” Big Al replied sarcastically. “Does Burr-nard work with you? I swear I hear some library books calling for him. Wait…Listen…”
     Big Al cupped his hand over his ear. “Hey, dork—I mean, Burr-nard—we need you to come to the library pronto…so Al and Layla can have some private time together.”
     His buddies cracked up as Big Al reattempted to slide his arm around Layla. Once again she slapped it away.
     “No, we don’t work together. Bernard is my friend.”
Big Al still refused to look at him. “OK, Burr-nard. Maybe you’ve heard of me, and if you haven’t, you should have. I’m Allen Banks. That’s my boy Stephen ‘Smiley’ Drake.”
     Smiley grinned, except his smile looked more like a snarl. And his crooked teeth made him look like a reject from a Dracula movie.
     “The big dude is my homey Matthew McQuire. We call him ‘Biscuit.’”
     Bernard didn’t say a word and clenched his jaw and stared at the ground.
     “You know why we call him Biscuit? It’s because you can see by that three-hundred-pound model’s figure he loves to eat. He’s that way on the basketball court too. If you don’t feed him the ball…man…he gets downright maaaaad! And like the Hulk, you don’t want to be near him when he gets angry!”
      “Yeah. And you know what, dawg? I’m kinda hungry right now. What you got in that bag, short stuff?”
     It was more of a demand than a question. Biscuit lumbered menacingly toward Bernard’s backpack.
     “Don’t touch my bag!”
     Something in the ominous timbre of Bernard’s voice coupled with the granite stare made Biscuit stop dead in his tracks and actually step back. Big Al turned and acknowledged Bernard for the first time. Even Layla was stunned but seemed to marvel at the resolute tone in Bernard’s voice.
      Big Al raised his hands in mock surrender. “My bad, Burr-nard. We didn’t mean to mess with your bag. I had no idea you were such a sensitive fella.”
     Biscuit pointed at the backpack. “Hey, Big Al, I think I see a basketball poking out of dude’s bag.”

     “Whaaaaat? Are you serious?” Big Al adjusted his cap and jumped up from the bench. “Yep, I see a basketball too. Well now, fellas…this discussion has taken on a whole new life.”
      Layla pleaded, “Leave him alone, Al, and just go. He’s not bothering you guys.”
     “Oh no, Layla. This is getting good.”
     Big Al paced back and forth like a prosecuting attorney. “So what do you know about basketball, Mr. Burr-nard?”

     “Enough to hurt your feelings,” Bernard responded icily, his eyes locked on Al’s.
     Big Al tried to laugh it off.
     “My, my…Look at ol’ Burr-nard jumping bad. You know, I ain’t ever seen you around here. Where you from, Burr-nard?”
     Bernard let the question dangle in the air for a few seconds.       “Right now I’m living in Elmdale.”
     “Elmdale?” Smiley snorted. “That explains the funky smell in the air. I thought a sewer backed up.”
     “It’s the same way you’ll be backing up if you ever get the nerve to face me one-on-one on a basketball court.”
     Smiley’s snaggle-toothed grin disappeared as he balled his fist and made a move toward Bernard. “Hey, chump, we can go at it right now…”
     Big Al held him back. “Uh-uh, Smiley. I like trash talk. Tell you what, Burr-nard, we’ll be defending our championship basketball title at the Elmdale Summer Jam soon. Since Elmdale ain’t had a team in years, I’d like to invite you to play some horse with us during our warm-ups before the game. And, if you’re real nice and bring your ball, we’ll generously autograph it for you after our game.”
     They howled so loud with laughter that they almost didn’t hear Bernard fire back. “You may not be in the mood once we beat you.”
Big Al wiped away the tears of laughter as his eyes narrowed.   “What did you just say? Are you telling us Elmdale is going to be in the tournament and led by miniyou?”
      Bernard stared blankly at him.
     Big Al clapped his hands and then rubbed them together. “Man, I can’t wait! We’ll be looking for you and the Elm-duds. What’s your last name, Burr-nard?”
     “Jones? You’re not related to Maurice Jones, are you?” Biscuit inquired, still holding his belly and snickering.
     “He’s my cousin.”
     Biscuit’s eyes deadened and he stopped laughing. “Do me a favor. Tell Mo I said hello.”
     Big Al patted Biscuit on the back. “Come on, y’all. Let’s take this party elsewhere.” He doffed his cap and blew Layla a kiss. “See you, girl of my dreams.”
     They strutted down the street, cackles of laughter trailing behind them.
     “What idiots! I’m really sorry, Bernard.”
     “No biggie.”

Layla affectionately rubbed his shoulder. Ordinarily Bernard would have melted at her touch, but the only thing on his mind right now was doing battle with Oakdale. 

The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park is available on Amazon:
The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park  (Amazon link)

This was such an enjoyable read! I love the nice, upbeat story, the realistic characters, and the fantastic humor. Bernard is such a relatable character, and he’s a great true-to-life role model. Readers are sure to appreciate the basketball lingo, his love of the game, and his determination to fight the good fight. - KIRKUS Reviews

About Teko Bernard:

For over a decade Teko Bernard worked as a creative director and graphic designer in the sportswear and sports events industries where he developed brand identities, marketing communications and apparel graphics for nationally recognized brands and events like ESPN, X Games, NCAA and the BCS. After an exciting career in the sportswear and sports event market, Teko set out to pursue his lifelong dream of creating the original kid’s entertainment brand and cartoon property that is Elmdale Park. Elmdale Park currently produces a unique brand of middle grade chapter books & activewear. The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park is the debut book from the brand. Teko lives and operates the company from Overland Park, KS, and collaborates with a team of seasoned writers, illustrators, editors and designers who all share the same passion for kids books, cartoons, sports and outdoor recreation. When he’s not designing or developing new story concepts for Elmdale Park, Teko is usually reading, listening to music, enjoying the outdoors or being an amateur movie critic.


My review:

The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park
by Teko Bernard and Wayne L. Wilson and illustrated by Gabriel Diaz

4 out of 5 stars

This delightful children's book is an uplifting tale of a dedicated young man named Bernard Jones with a love for basketball and his very unique basketball, G5000.  His skills come in handy when he visits his father's hometown and has to find a way to combat the ruthless man who wants to destroy the community park and convert it into a profitable landfill.  A pivotal tournament will pit Bernard and the friends he manages to recruit against the Oakdale champions who are used to ruling the court.  The question is whether the winner will be determined by skill or guile.

A fun fast-paced read that provides a great cast of characters who each have a different quirk and skill-set.  This was a nice combination of fantasy and reality and I loved the characterization of Bernard's coach.  The actions of one of Bernard's biggest rivals was a little surprising but the excitement of a hard-fought basketball game and the importance of strategy and determination is delightfully conveyed.  Hopefully there will be more of these entertaining stories.


One lucky winner will win an e-book version of this fun read.  Please leave a comment on what you enjoyed the most about your middle school experience along with a valid e-mail address.  Winner will be chosen after Dec. 7, 2013 using

Friday, November 29, 2013

Negotiation Tactics (Guest post, spotlight, review)


I am happy to present a guest post from the author of Negotiation Tactics, Lori Ryan who has shared with us things she is thankful for!

Here's Lori:

So much to be thankful for and so little time! No, really, I have very little time. I have a new series I’m working on so I have to get my butt back to work. Since Thanksgiving just passed by for another year, I thought I’d take a minute to let my readers know what I’m grateful for this year.

 Some of you may not know this, but I only began writing last December and I published my first book this past April.  It’s been a bit of a crazy ride! Along the way, I’ve had a lot of people help me out, a lot of people take the time to support me, and a surprisingly large number of readers contact me to tell me what they love about my books. I’m so grateful to everyone I’ve met on this journey.

My friends and family were the first group of people to help me and show me support. Not one person told me I couldn’t write or that I was silly for trying to publish a romance novel. They all told me I could do it and then asked how they could help. And help, they did! They listen to plot twists and character sketches, read early manuscripts and tell me what went wrong, and do a last proofreading after the final run through with the editor.

When I hit the Amazon bestseller lists in my genre, I was contacted by a group of other writers who were getting together to publish an anthology of book together. We worked like mad women for two months getting the boxed set ready, lining up blogs to feature us, and doing interviews and guest posts. We met weekly to discuss marketing and sales strategy, to make decisions about title and cover, and to make sure the formatting and preparation was running on track. Then, we hit the ground running and ran flat out for our release week tweeting, networking, and Facebooking like crazed lunatics.

It was, without a doubt, the most intense experience I’ve had as a writer to date. And, it was fabulous! I’m so thankful the group found me and that I’ve forged these relationships. Those are ten authors that I’ll share a tight bond with forever and that’s never going to go away.

One of the really cool things about that experience was the way other authors in the industry also got behind us and helped push us to the top. Oh, and push they did! We made the USA Today bestseller list two weeks in a row and the NY Times bestseller list one week (and counting!). We had help from our fans, bloggers in the industry, and other writers big and small. I’ll never forget the day one of my favorite writers – a woman who has sold over 25 million books worldwide and has tens of thousands of followers on Facebook – posted about us on her page! She congratulated us on our success and told her followers to go check out our book. How cool is that? I promise you, someday, I will pay that favor forward when I can.

And, last, but by no means least, are my readers! Oh, how grateful I am for all of you! I hadn’t taken the time to imagine what it would feel like to hear from a reader who loved my work until I got that first email. The feeling is incredible. When you write a book, it becomes your baby. And, then you have to put that baby out in the world and let people tell you if it was horrible or wonderful, or just plain uneventfully blah. So, you put it out there and you sit and watch your computer screen and pray. And wait. And hope.

When you guys email me or post messages for me on Facebook or write a review for me online, I do a little dance. I promise. Really, I do. It’s my happy dance. You guys bring me so much happiness. I see your names and faces on my page over and over, leaving comments and saying hello and I love seeing you all there each day!

So, in addition to my wonderful family, those are the things that I’m grateful for this year. I hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you’ll have a safe and happy holiday with your loved ones this year! Thank you all for reading. Oh, and go buy some books! It’s Black Friday, after all.


Fans of the Sutton Capital Series have been waiting for Jennie and Chad’s story for a long time and they won’t be disappointed! And, new readers are sure to fall in love with the series.

After the crushing heartache of losing her husband at a harshly young age, Jennie Evans had finally found a place to call home. She had a job she loved and new friends to support her. With the exception of having to continuously fight off the feelings she had for Chad Thompson, she was happy again. As happy as she could be anyway. When Jennie’s well-meaning friends meddle in her life, they send her world into a tailspin once again. Soon, she’s on the run from some very dangerous people with the one man she doesn’t want to be with.

Chad Thompson has loved Jennie from afar for the last year, but he’s maintained control. Jennie’s made it clear she wants nothing to do with him and he won’t cross the line she’s drawn in the sand. Until she asks him to. And, when that happens, their world is turned upside down. Chad’s left scrambling to keep Jennie safe as he tries to right their world again. Unfortunately, Chad has to accept the fact that his heart is likely to be crushed in the process and nothing will ever be the same again.



His dark looks – even with the smattering of scars that etched his skin from his time overseas – rivaled those of the biggest and brightest stars of Hollywood. In spite of that, there wasn’t an arrogant bone in Chad’s body. This, of course, made him all the more attractive.

The man was stunningly handsome, unquestionably kind and gentle, and he sent the bones in Jennie’s body into a puddle on the floor when he glanced her way. She didn’t want to be attracted to him. But, Jennie found she couldn’t ignore his effect on her no matter how she tried. And that, unfortunately, tore at her heart. Jennie wished with all her being that Chad Thompson didn’t have such a powerful effect on her.

When Jennie had first met Chad, she tried to find faults in him. If she could get herself to see him as an arrogant jerk, she might be able to ignore the physical attraction she felt for him. It would certainly make it easier, anyway. At first, Jennie thought he was just what she hoped for: a superficial jerk with no substance under the good looks and charm. Since Chad was born into the Sutton Capital family, he could have sat back and reaped the benefits of the family business without actually doing any work. Chad only worked until three o’clock many days, making Jennie assumed he was living off of trust fund money and not really contributing at all. That made it easier to resist the outward allure.

Sadly, her first impressions didn’t last and Jennie soon had to admit that Chad was just as attractive a person on the inside as he was on the outside. It turned out that Chad left work early to volunteer at a nearby veteran’s hospital. And the more Jennie got to know Chad, the more apparent it became that he was anything but a selfish, spoiled trust fund brat. That certainly didn’t make it easier for Jennie to resist him. But, she knew in her heart, she didn’t want a relationship with him or anyone else. She didn’t want the chemistry between them to exist.


My review:

4 out of 5 stars

This contemporary romantic suspense tale features two people who are attracted to one another yet tied to past events which prevent them from moving forward.  An assignment that is designed to force them into close proximity has very unexpected results, both in their personal and professional lives and they will have to struggle to make sure that they both survive long enough to determine where they want their relationship to go.

This was my first introduction to this series and, although there was a brief period of getting caught up on everyone's lives and connections, there wasn't an overwhelming information dump, but rather a feeling of catching up with friends.  I enjoyed the camaraderie displayed between all of the characters but confess to being a little disappointed by Jennie's struggle to face her feelings for Chad as it seemed to go on a bit too long.  Jennie's lack of openness to those who are important to her is a bit troubling but of course I realize that everyone deals with their issues differently.  For some reason, the characters occasionally seem to act a little inconsistent to me (e.g. Jennie's way of entertaining herself in the morning by trespassing) but this is a fun light read despite that and I would enjoy getting to know more about the rest of these characters.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lori is an award winning author and stay-at-home mom. Her second book, Penalty Clause, won first place in the romance category in Lcuky Cinda Publishing’s Annual Global Writer’s Contest in 2013.

Lori has had a number of careers before embarking on her newest adventure of writing novels. After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law, she practiced law for three years, working primarily in the areas of utilities law and intellectual property litigation.

More recently, Lori owned and operated a dog training business in Austin, Texas, where she specialized in aggression and became an expert in the field of dog bite analysis. Lori sold her dog training business in 2013 and is now a full time writer and mother of two.

Lori still lives in Austin with her husband -- who is endlessly supportive of her changing career paths -- and her two children, one cat, and three dogs.

How can your readers follow you?

Author page on Amazon

Want to be a part of my online street team? Email me at and put the words ‘street team’ in the subject line. I’ll email you back with directions for joining my team.

To join my email list to receive updates and news, including sneak peeks and free giveaways or contest news, visit!join-my-mailing-list/cdpp



Lori will be awarding a $50 gift certificate to Amazon to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  Please leave a valid e-mail address and tell us what you are thankful for or what you are hoping to be thankful for once Christmas is here, lol.

Other stops on the tour:

October 18: Unabridged Andra
October 25: Regina May Ross's Blog
November 1: Susana's Morning Room
November 8: Beyond My Writing Space - review only
November 15: Straight from the Library
November 22: Musings and Ramblings
November 29: Musings From An Addicted Reader - review only
December 6: Reading In Twilight
December 13: Crazy Four Books
December 20: Book 'Em North Carolina
January 3: Harlie's Books
January 10: Simply Ali
January 17: Booklover Sue
January 24: Brooke Blogs
January 24: Storm Goddess Book Reviews and More
January 31: Sharing Links and Wisdom

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! And...Perfect Fingers by Myron Night

I wish all of you who celebrate...Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hannukkah!

Today I have the pleasure to host Myron Night, who will share some words of wisdom and an excerpt from his book, Perfect Fingers.


Myron's Guest Blog

Authors, Characters and Relationships
It all starts when you, the author, decide on a viewpoint – are you inside the characters, riding around in their heads (first person), or outside the characters, looking down on them with god-like omniscience (third person)?

For example, in the novel Perfect Fingers, we are inside the head of the central character, Myron, and in the present tense: “The sun is shining on Wampum Corner. It is mid-morning and the day is yet cool. I walk out to get the mail from the mailbox by the road. The air is fresh, the birds sing, this is all very wonderful.”

There are great advantages and disadvantages to building a character this way. On the plus side, the immediacy of the first-person present tense draws the reader in, and it is easy to reveal the character’s innermost thoughts and reactions to the world outside, thus building a strongly defined character. On the negative side, everything has to be described from that character’s viewpoint so, as is true in life, we can’t really be sure what the other characters are feeling or thinking – we are limited by the observations of our central character, who may or may not be an acute or accurate observer. Once again, from Perfect Fingers: “Susie, sitting on the other side of the table, is curious. As she sips her coffee, she watches me. She watches me just a little bit, but not too much.” So we get a feeling for Susie’s inner being from Myron’s observations and how he describes what he sees.

Taking it one step further, how is it possible to build relationships between the characters if we only have access to the inner life of one of them? Once again, from Perfect Fingers, through the observation and reportage of our roving viewpoint, the “I” character:  “The distance between us shortens quickly. ‘Hi,’ I try to smile. My throat is tight. ‘Hi,’ he says, his drawl more curt than usual. I attempt to read the expression on his face. It looks like a mixture of pride, disdain, anger and amusement. I can only speculate.” So we get a feel for the relationship between these two characters, especially in the larger context of the novel itself.

This could be juicy, filtering a fictional reality through the thoughts and feelings of a fictional narrator. But even better, what if our narrator is “unreliable”? What if, through the progress of the story, our faithless floating “I” reveals that when he told us about “A”, it was actually “B”; that the whole time she, in revealing her innermost feelings to us, the readers, claimed to be in love with him, she actually hated his guts? And so on.

I am using this “unreliable” approach in the novel-in-progress, Sparafucile or The Assassin – even though it is written in third person, with an all-knowing narrator describing the actions and relationships of a number of different characters, the “omniscient” narrator is either a bumbling fool or a liar, because in many aspects of the story – the characters and their relationships -- we are led to believe that things are one way when, as the narrative evolves, they actually turn out to be quite another. Delicious!
 -- Myron Night

Book description:

What motivates twenty-something Myron and Susie, in 1971, to leave a Boston commune centered around a self-proclaimed messiah and travel aross the country in their refurbished school bus to a back-to-the-land commune in the Pacific Northwest?
Idealism? Rebellion? Apathy?

The war in Vietnam; Watergate and the Nixon scandal; open marriage and co-parenting; sex and drugs and the commune. Overflowing with sights, insights, sentiments and sensations of the early ‘70s, this twenty-first century novel emerges as a crystalline illumination of that critical cusp in the American evolution.



I’M ON MY WAY. MY OLD CHEVROLET rumbles on toward the

Farm. Port Manley is behind me. Like a seed sprouting, determination has taken the place of indecision.

The Chevy wagon, loaded with my meager possessions, carries

me along the pitted road out of the valley, past the lake and up the


The rough pastures, lush with the warm rains of spring, comfort

me; the thick alders and lofty cedars restoreth my soul.

This is it, then. I have decided. In the long escape from the

womb, every step has required this act of faith. Like the trees, I am

thrusting up into the sunlight. There is no point now in asking

questions, in trying to decide my fate. The weighing of the issue is a sham. There is only destiny, an ineluctable drawing onward. Is it the mystery of time, its unidirectional flow, which propels me up the mountain roadway?

Unstoppable time.

Alone in my holy-of-holies, my inner sanctum, my old Chevrolet, sealed from the world by tight neoprene gaskets at the
doors and windows, I am motionless, a suspended point of

consciousness, the still center of the universe, wrapped in solitude

as space, time and the world streak by. Things pass at such speed

I will never remember them. Each leaf, each twig, each spill of sunlight—all will be lost in the onward rush. The infinite impeccable detail of life fades, forgotten, behind me.

How can I remember this, I wonder, and this, and that, and this

now? The movement of a cow’s head, the whisk of a cedar branch 

rushing past the car? It is too much, the world is too much, endlessly approaching, then rushing by, then disappearing into time, forever lost behind me. And there is nowhere, no-when, to stand firm.

The scene widens, to a vast rippling continent, green and woolly,

with this slow mite of a car climbing the miniscule wrinkle of this one hill, and where am I? Lost in it all. My history, my being, disappears into the past as quickly as it arrives. This rushing oblivion is terrifying.

At last the eroded driveway bumps to rest under the old Chev,

arriving as expected, in the proper time and place in the flow of

events, with its cargo of dead and dying communal cars. How long

has it taken to get here? How far have I come?

I get out of the car. I see Steve and Pete in the upper terrace of

the garden, near the Common House, under the huge lone poplar

tree. They are pulling weeds. When they see me walking toward

them, they work faster, scrabbling at the weeds, like large furry

animals, with frizzy hair and fluffy beards.

I enter the garden and close the gate behind me, squatting to pull

weeds alongside them. I say nothing. Neither do they speak. There

are only furtive glances, their moist brown eyes darting at me from

behind all that fuzzy hair.

Finally, Sarah passes on the Common House path. I stand and

greet her.

“I’m here.”

“Myron!” She seems glad to see me. “What are your plans?”

“I have no plans.”

But I need a place to stay. Sarah suggests I talk to Madelyn, who

owns property around the mountain from the Farm, not far from

Susie’s A-frame cabin.

I get back in the Chev and drive to Madelyn’s place. She agrees

to let me pitch my tent in her woods.

From the path which leads to her house, I climb onto the trunk

of a long fallen hemlock which extends out over the dense brush. As though balancing on a tightrope, I walk its length to where it crosses a fallen cedar. I step down onto the cedar and walk some more, weaving between upthrusting branches which radiate from the horizontal trunk. The long trunk ends in the midst of the thick
undergrowth. I jump down to the ground. I look around. I have

disappeared in the forest.

I remove brush, gouge out a clearing, grubbing up roots and

smoothing the ground, until I have a level place, where I set up the

tent. It will do very well in lieu of a house or apartment or unit of

any other sort.

From the mouth of the tent, I survey my domain. Sword ferns

and salmonberries, vine maple and alder. Lush greenery everywhere, broken only by the brown of tree bark and the blue of sky. Yes, the bright blue nylon of the tent clashes, but I am certain that this is just the beginning of that long descent into the wilderness which I have always sought, and eventually I will no longer need the tent.

Already, the sickness of society has been left far behind. This is the frontier. Unseen birds sing their songs, and all around me

incomprehensible creatures, invisible, are living their lives. Isn’t this

it, then? Isn’t this the beginning?

Sweaty from all that exercise, I climb out of the tent and take off

my clothes. It feels strange to be naked out here, like falling into an

unknown world. Gentle movements of the air tickle me in unfamiliar

places. My body twitches like the snout of a dog.

With my bare feet, I feel the many things which make up the rough

forest floor—twigs, stones, leaves, clumps of moss and chunks of rotting wood. Before, they were undifferentiated crunch under my boots. But my naked feet are organs of perception, and now, as though through a microscope, I have an intimate view of these things of the earth.

Naked, I am less afraid of the oblivion of time. The forest soothes

the soles of my feet. The fear of falling endlessly into nothingness


In front of the tent, I clear the twigs and stones from a space the

size of my body. I drop to my knees and level the humus with bare

hands, shuffling like a bear, until I have smoothed a place large

enough for me to lie and stretch out.

Cautiously, I settle onto my back on the bare soil. The damp cold

earth chills me deliciously. The underside of my body is like an

earthworm, long, wet and cold, but very much at home. Above, the

trees nod, etching the far-away sky in wispy green.

Now is the time. It begins. 

I stand and open my arms to the sun, moving effortlessly into

the first yoga posture, the Sun Salute.

Amazon link

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Harper's Wish by Krista Ames (cover reveal)

The lovely Krista Ames has a new Christmas novella and I am happy to share in her cover reveal...

Harper’s Wish
A Montana Series Christmas Novella
Krista Ames

Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year, but for Harper Donaldson it’s just another day.  Orphaned at an early age, she doesn’t have a single good memory of Christmas.

But, when a Santa’s Mailbox mysteriously appears in the lobby of the post office where she works as postmistress, Harper wonders what it could hurt to send her own letter to Santa.

Could he bring her the family she’d always wanted?

**  Coming soon (tentatively Dec 20th) to Roane Publishing  **

About the Author:
Born and raised in Northern Indiana, Krista now resides in Northern Lower Michigan.  She is married to a very supportive man who allows her to follow her true passion of writing and never complains when she is pirated away on her computer for hours.  Krista is also a mother of 4 ornery children who keep her plenty busy.  With an addition of 2 beautiful chocolate lab sisters and a playful kitty, there is never a dull or spare moment in her household. 

Krista has always loved to read and would often sit up for hours into the night not able to put down a book until she was finished.  She still reads when she can but her main focus is creating her own stories to share with the world. 
She loves to communicate with her readers so please feel free to drop her a line anytime at or visit her
The Ladies’ Cave  
Amazon Author page
TRR Author Page 

A visit from another Elf, featuring her title Lord Monroe's Dark Tower


I am delighted to feature a post from another Elf, Elf Ahearn, here to talk about her deliciously spine-chilling tale.  Without further ado, here she is...

Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower

  by Elf Ahearn

WARNING! This book is darker than most romances, kind of Gothic-y and has aspects of a psychological thriller. I made sure there’s a happily ever after, but it’s earned through a lot of grappling with a deeply disturbed villainess.  Just saying… Okay, read on…
Two years of bewildering silence have passed since Claire Albright met powerful, brooding, Lord Flavian Monroe. On the brink of her debut he suddenly summons her. Can her knowledge of healing stop his ward from hoarding?  Embroiled in a desperate attempt to curb the child’s madness, Claire cannot understand Flavian’s burning kisses yet cold demeanor. Will she reach his heart before his ward’s insanity undoes her chance at love?

When he was fourteen, Flavian made a mistake so devastating it ruined all hope for happiness. Years later, he’s still paying for his sin. But before his ward’s troubled mind destroys his home and family, he must see Claire once more. Vowing to keep their relationship professional—she the healer, he the guardian—he finds the bonds of his resolve snapping. Somehow, he must content himself with memories of her . . . but he cannot resist . . . one final embrace . . .

      Abella grasped the reins of Robespierre’s bridle just under the bit and pulled him into a stiff-legged trot. The change in stride forced Claire to concentrate on staying in the sidesaddle. “Release the reins. I’m capable of steering my own horse.” 

      Abella ignored her. “We go dis way,” she said, turning off the lane. Robespierre shook his head and pulled to go back.

      “This is not the way we came.”

      “Is a short cut.”

      “But it’s taking us onto the moor!”

      Abella pretended not to hear.

      A sudden lurch pitched Claire onto Robespierre’s neck. Her jaw snapped hard—teeth on teeth. Slipping in the sidesaddle she found herself falling into a fetid bog. Time crawled as she struggled to stay on her mount, but Robespierre, panic stricken, plunged and heaved in the muck. When she hit the mud, it closed over her head, black, cold, and horrifying.

       She fought her way to the surface, the heavy skirt of her riding outfit weighing her down. One breath and she went back under. Don’t panic. Don’t panic! 

With frantic fingers she undid the suspenders and found the hooks on the skirt. Already her lungs begged for air.

      First hook undone, she pulled down, but the skirt would not go over her hips. Lungs bursting, she yanked on the second hook. It wouldn’t give. As she fumbled with the fastener, reason whispered to give up, to let the muck take her in its welcoming arms. Then the hook came free. She flailed at the surface, swimming against the weight and suck of ooze. The skirt fell away and her hand hit Robespierre’s saddle. With all her strength, she hauled her head above the watery surface. Gulp after gulp of air filled her lungs. She coughed bog mire; spitting, gasping, yet so happy to be breathing, she could have laughed.

     Astride her mare, Abella sat watching.

     “Help!” Claire cried.

     “I find someone,” replied Abella. But she didn’t move.


      Robespierre snorted. The old horse’s eyes flashed white, spittle foamed at the corners of his mouth and he thrashed heavily in the mud. The animal’s jerky movements sucked Claire closer to its hooves.

     She kicked to get away and went deeper into the mud instead. 

Frantic, she looked to see how far Abella had galloped. The girl was still there—watching with an odd, distracted look. “Go! You must get help,” Claire screamed. 
     “Si, si,” Abella said, eagerly. But still she didn’t turn the mare.

      With the clarity of a whip cutting the air, Claire knew Abella wanted to see her die. “Please,” she begged. “Please, please help me.”

A rain of Spanish curses was the only response. The girl opened her mouth for a new tirade, and Claire hurled a clot of mud that smacked between the parted lips. Sputtering and coughing, Abella spat, “You die now!”

     Claire scarcely heard her.

     “I get help,” the girl taunted. “Look, I leave now. I get your lover to help you.”

Too tired, Claire clenched her teeth and refused to open her eyes. Every ounce of strength was gone. She lay back in the mud and felt it seep slowly into her hair.

     “Watch me go!” Abella screeched, “Gallopy, gallopy up de hill—down de dell. I find Vav. I tell him, ‘She in trouble. I so scared.’”

      Soon, Claire thought. Soon the mud would fill her ears. Soon she would no longer hear Abella’s jibes, and oh so terribly soon, ooze would cover her eyes, slide down her nostrils, and cram her mouth. Soon . . .

Buy Links: Lord Monroe's Dark Tower (Amazon link), Barnes & Noble, iTunes

(Note from ELF, The Reading Night Owl Review is at this link)

The first book in the Albright Sisters series is A Rogue in Sheep's Clothing but Lord Monroe's Dark Tower can be read as a stand-alone.



Now, for a chance to win a free download of Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower, I want to know, what’s the scariest near miss you’ve ever experienced—almost in a car accident, nearly fell off a cliff, barely escaped a mugging, etc. Or, tell me the most horrifying moment of your life. I adore scary stories.

(A note from the ELF who lives on this blog:  Elf Ahearn is saying the above, I personally do NOT like scary stories, lol.  Please remember to leave a valid e-address for the giveaway and good luck!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Author's Guide to Working With Book Bloggers by Barb Drozdowich (GFT REVIEW)



The Author's Guide to Working With Book Bloggers
                        by Barb Drozdowich


Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers? They are the New Gatekeepers to book publishing success – but how can you tap into that source of free promotions by putting your best foot forward?

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of 215 blogging professionals collected in a survey covering all aspects of communication between authors and Review Blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let us demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog.

You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, and the following:

The Query,

The Review,

The Giveaway,

The Author Interview,

The Guest Post,

The Book Blurb Excerpt and Cover Reveals and more!



The Guest Post

What is a guest post and how can it promote your book?

As we have discussed before, book bloggers are the new slush pile. They are inundated with review requests. Their email inboxes seem to magically fill up with emails from publishing houses, PR people, authors, and their assistants. Book blogging is a hobby, and while I personally feel that it’s the best hobby a person can have, it shouldn’t take over a person’s life.

Some bloggers read faster than others, so posting 4 or 5 reviews a week is doable. Some blogs have multiple reviewers and they can post 10 or 15 reviews a week, as they post multiple times a day. We can assume that most book bloggers post reviews because they want to share their love of books! But there are other ways to publicize your book.

In today’s publishing environment, readers want to get to know authors. Well, we want to get to know the public persona of the author. We don’t really want to know the day to day minutiae of the author’s life, but we want to know what they are like as an author, what their interests are, how they research the books they write, and how they come up with ideas (especially totally non-creative people like myself). I’m continually fascinated by the over-used question of where do your ideas/inspiration come from? We want to know what books they’ve written, and what’s coming up next. Many of us want to go to book signings or author chats. We want to be able to get a feel for their writing before we spend money on a book.

One way we can do this is by reading a guest post the author has written. Guest posts are a little window into the thoughts and ideas of an author. And to the addicted reader, they are a source of fascination and entertainment

My review:

I found this work to be a wealth of information that addresses many of the aspects of book bloggers and the symbiotic relationship between authors and these dedicated readers who are delighted to help promote them.  I think this is a great reference work that provides a quick overview of dos and don'ts that authors should take to heart.  I do object to the fact that the author only consulted those bloggers on Facebook and Twitter as it underscores the tendency to exclude those of us who don't use these forms of social media but I understand that this was probably the easiest way for her to get a large response.  I admire the author's efforts to facilitate the process and hope that authors take her suggestions to heart.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Social Media and Wordpress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at University, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

Bakerview Consulting (Business Site)
Barb Drozdowich (Author Site)
Sugarbeat’s Books (Book Blog)
Facebook (Author blog)
Facebook (Bakerview Consulting)
Facebook (Sugarbeat’s Books)
Amazon Author Page

Buy link:


GIVEAWAY!  (my apologies, I forgot to add this!)
Please enter the Rafflecopter and also leave a comment about whether you pay attention to reviews when looking for your next read!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please visit other stops on the tour.
November 19: Reader Girls
Decembr 3: A Pen and Fire
December 10: Teena in Toronto
December 17: Nana Prah's Blog
December 31: Rambling Voices in My Head
January 7: Brenda Maxfield's Blog
January 14: Sharing Links and Wisdom 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Asking for Trouble (release day blitz)


The Queen of Dirty Talking is back! Whether this is your first experience with Tessa Bailey’s dirty talking heroes or you’ve been following her all along, you don’t want to miss out on meeting Brent and Hayden. Their banter is witty, filled with sexual tension, and the sex itself is “fan-your-face” hot, according to an early review from USA Today Happily Ever After. 

Here’s a dirty talking snippet just for you guys:

He leaned forward and spoke right against her ear. “Come for me right now and I’ll let you ride me as hard as you want later. I know what gets you off. I saw it in your eyes last night. You want to throw me down and fuck me, duchess? Good. I’m in the mood to let you.”

Now you see why she’s been dubbed the Queen of Dirty Talking! 

Asking for Trouble

Brent Mason and Hayden Winstead can't stand each other. She plans exclusive parties for her rich family’s charities. He’s a rough and tumble cop who rigs explosives for a living. Could two people be any less suited for conversation? They think not and prefer to keep it that way.

Unfortunately, their two best friends are deeply, disgustingly in love. Forced together, the mutual attraction simmering beneath the surface of Brent and Hayden’s non-relationship grows with every argument until it explodes into a scintillating night of mind-blowing sex. And it won’t be the last, as far as Brent’s concerned.

Hayden has a secret, though. Her father’s company is relying on a merger to save them from financial ruin, and only Hayden’s marriage to the CEO’s wealthy son can secure the deal. If she’s to protect her family, she’ll have to forget Brent. And he has no intention of being forgotten. 

Amazon link | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo

In celebration of her new release, Tessa Bailey’s first book Protecting What’s His is on sale for only 99¢ for two full weeks! (11/24 - 12/7) Just in time to gift it to everyone who appreciates a dirty talker. I am trying to find out what went wrong with this...if you leave me a comment with your e-address, I will contact you when I find out more info!

Protecting What’s His


She’s running from the law, and the law wants her bad.

The opportunity was just too damn delicious for Ginger Peet to pass up. The purse full of money she finds—$50,000 to be exact—could give her and her teen sister the new start they need. So she grabs the cash, her gothy sibling, and their life-sized statue of Dolly Parton, and blows outta Nashville in a cloud of dust. Chicago, here we come...

Turns out, Chicago has some pretty hot cops. Hot, intense, naughty-lookin’ cops like Derek Tyler, who looks like he could eat a girl up and leave her begging for more. And more. Tempting as he is, getting involved with the sexy homicide lieutenant next door poses a teensy problem for a gal who’s on the lam. But one thing is certain—Derek’s onto her, and he wants more than just a taste.

And as far as he’s concerned, possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Buy links:   Amazon link| Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Isaac Asimov's I Robot: To Obey (review)


Isaac Asimov’s I Robot:  To Obey by Dr. Mickey Zucker Reichert is the second in the series of science fiction books that have their basis in the Three Laws of Robotics.  This story continues after the horrific losses experienced by Dr. Susan Calvin, who is now a second year Psychiatry Resident embarking on a series of rotations, beginning at a facility that cares for dementia patients.  Serving with her is fellow resident Kendall Stevens, who has supported her through the radical changes in her life and continues to support her as a series of increasingly dangerous situations propel both of them into examining the sanctity of the Three Laws and the danger inherent in their failure.  Nate, the extremely advanced robot with a positronic brain as well as Susan’s father, continue to be pivotal influences on Susan’s decisions and actions as she is forced to make choices that may end up being life-or-death for far more than just her immediate patients.

This entertaining and thought-provoking tale continues to explore the parameters of an iconic set of rules established by one of the most influential authors in the science fiction genre.  The interesting revelation of certain facts were relatively predictable and I have been waiting for confirmation since the last book but there is definitely a lot of emotionalism that leads up to it.  The medical puzzles that we are exposed to are fascinating examples of the importance of both a well-grounded education and a willingness to ‘think outside of the box’ but I must confess to wondering about the mental status of Susan’s supervising physician, who is not given much depth and seems a very two-dimensional character.  Somehow, I didn’t really feel that the change in Susan’s relationship with her fellow resident was quite in character with their personalities and the shift and its consequent repercussions seemed a bit forced and awkward to me.  I did like getting to know some of the secondary characters better and I still enjoy the overall story but this one didn’t quite have the same enthralling sequence of events for me as the first story did.  That being said, there are quite a few very emotional scenes that definitely required that I have tissues available and I am still fascinated by the premise of the series and quite curious to see what other adventures are in store for the brilliant doctor and her colleagues.  I look forward to reading more stories in this imaginative series.

© Night Owl Reviews

I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.

Isaac Asimov's I Robot: To Obey (Amazon link)

Holiday Kindle Fire Giveaway

Holiday Kindle Fire 
Just in time for the HOLIDAYS - Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)
Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
Or $229 Gift Card (International)
Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
Holiday Kindle Fire Giveaway #1 Sponsors:
    Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway:
    Giveaway Details
    1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).
    There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7".
    Ends 12/18/13
    Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.