Guest Post: Journaling Every Week by Kelli A. Wilkins

Love the holidays? Can’t stand them? Want to vent about what bothers you? Try Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the hectic holiday season. For some people, it’s the “most wonderful time of the year”—filled with fun family gatherings, happy holiday parties, and shopping for sales. However, many people have a very different view about this time of year—it can be depressing, stressful, or trigger anxiety. Whether you love “the holidays” or not, it’s always healthy to set aside a few minutes each day to express your feelings and get in touch with your emotions. One of the best ways to do this is by journaling.

Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing will show you the way.This fun and innovative ebook is filled with hundreds of journaling prompts that cover your childhood, friendships, beliefs and values, your career, coping with grief, fears, forgiveness, your purpose, and much more.

Whether you are experienced in journaling or completely new to the process, this book is designed to get you thinking about—and writing about—your life, relationships, patterns, goals, and some of your fondest memories. You’ll benefit from writing about these thought-provoking prompts and learn something about yourself along the way.

Journaling is a useful tool for self-discovery. In your journal, you can explore a wide range of subjects, themes, and ideas, revisit the past, and vent about anything (or anyone). In a way, you play counselor to yourself by digging deep into your innermost thoughts and emotions and writing about how you feel.

Sample prompts include:

* Holidays always seem more magical when we’re young. Growing up, what were your favorite holidays? Did you look forward to trick-or-treating on Halloween? Couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving dinner? Loved celebrating your birthday? What made each holiday special for you? Free write about it for ten to fifteen minutes.

* List 25 favorite holiday memories from your childhood up until present day. In a few paragraphs, write about each event and what made it special. Who is celebrating with you? Where did you live? How old were you? 

* Make a list of five fun things you did or five fun places you visited when you were a child. Can you recreate these events with your own family now?

* Write for fifteen minutes about the changes in the last ten years of your life, and change in general. Do you embrace change? Resist it? Why? What feelings or emotions does the thought of change bring out in you?

* What parts of your life are working well? Relationships are going great, job is satisfying, etc. All too often we focus on our problems or something that’s troubling us. This week, write about all the positive things in your life.

* Free write about whatever emotions you’re feeling this week. Are you happy, sad, excited, loving, worried, or nervous? Why? What happened that caused you to feel these emotions?

Journaling Every Week makes a great gift for yourself or someone you care about. Order it today and get writing!

Order your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Journaling-Every-Week-Topics-Writing-ebook/dp/B08QH4HQPD

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/b5kBZA

Read reviews and learn more about the book here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/journaling-every-week

Happy Journaling!

Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was published in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

Like to write? Check out Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing.This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Follow Kelli on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and social media links.

Book Review & Giveaway: Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Publisher:  DX Varos Publishing (November 8, 2022)
Category: General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Family Secrets
ISBN: 978-1955065665
Available in Print and ebook, 479 (or less) pages

Between Before and After

Indie movie director Sebastian Foster has found his niche making movies based on the award-winning novels written by his estranged mother. However, his latest film, based loosely on the tragic death of his sister as a child, opens up old wounds best left under bandages.

Told in two concurrent timelines, now and when Sebastian was a teen, some twenty years ago in the mid-1990s, this story of learning unknown truths unwinds in the streets of Paris, where Sebastian lived as a teen and where he has returned to make his picture.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
DX Varos Publishing

Guest Review by Sal

The moment I started reading this book, I knew that I was going to enjoy it. Jessica Stilling’s marvellously-plotted, emotion-packed novel, ‘Between Before and After,’ is the type of book that you can recommend to anyone, because it has a little something for everyone.  

Set in Paris, this novel uses duel timelines to tell a story that leaves the reader guessing until you suddenly realize what exactly happened that night in 1994.  

In current day, Sebastian Foster is a director, who mainly makes movies using the plots of his famous author mother’s novels. But in 1994, Bastian was just a 14-year-old kid who lived in a dingy apartment in Paris with his mother and little sister.  

Moving to Paris from New York as a teenager, Bastian attempts to navigate a country where he doesn’t speak much of the language and eventually gets pulled into the seedy underground world of a prescription drug trade by a friend. Though he does not want to be involved at all, Bastian’s friend, Marcel, continues to pull him in, and, when their illegal activities are discovered, things become much more real than either of them could have anticipated.  

Meanwhile, in the present, Sebastian attempts to direct a movie centering around the tragedy of his sister’s death in a fire during the summer of 1994. How do these two things link up? You’ll have to read the book to find out, and I recommend doing so. 

This is one heck of a novel! I couldn’t put it down and read through it all in one night. Stilling’s evocative writing creates a world so vivid that I felt like I could reach out and touch it.  

This book is about a young boy trying to find his place in the world, and a man who is still trying to recover from a terrible tragedy, and both are the same character. Five stars for this wonderful story! 

About the Author

Jessica Stilling has written three works of literary fiction, Betwixt and Between, The Beekeeper’s Daughter, and The Weary God of Ancient Travelers. She also wrote poetry and short fiction for various literary journals.

Her articles have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Bust Magazine and she writes extensively for The Writer Magazine. She has taught Creative Writing in both high school and university. She also publishes young adult fantasy under the pen name JM Stephen.

Jessica loves Virginia Woolf, very long walks, and currently lives in southern Vermont where she writes for the very local newspaper, The Deerfield Valley News.

Website: https://www.jessicastilling.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaStilling
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.sticklor

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 3 print or ebook copies. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on November 24, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 1 Kickoff & Interview

Bookgirl Amazon & Goodreads Nov 2 Review

Lu Ann Rockin Book Reviews Nov 4 Excerpt

Sal Bound 4 Escape Nov 8 Guest Review

Gracie Goodreads Nov 9 Review

Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Nov 10 Review

Nora StoreyBook Reviews Nov 14 Guest Review & Excerpt

Denise Amazon & Goodreads Nov 16 Review

Mark Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 17 Guest Review

Lu Ann Rockin Book Reviews Nov 20 Review

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews Nov 21 Guest Review & Excerpt

Mindy Room Without Books is Empty Nov 22 Review

Bee Book Pleasures Nov 23 Review

Praise For Jessica Stilling

Bronx Council of the Arts Chapter One Award for The Beekeeper’s Daughter

“Stilling’s take on this familiar tale is provocative and poignant, rich with emotion and powerfully described, laced with profound contemplation about dying too soon and growing up too quickly.”- Publisher’s Weekly review of Betwixt and Between

“At turns happy and unbearably sad, Betwixt and Between is a beautifully realized re-imagining of a classic story that will enchant readers as the original did.”- Booklist starred review of Betwixt and Between

“A suspenseful read. Jessica Stilling sets the story among a backdrop of stunning scenes of Greece described as being almost visceral with a unique compilation of romance, mystery, and self-inspection. A compelling story that comes to life off the page.”-San Francisco Book Review of the Weary God of Ancient Travelers

Book Review & Giveaway: Evita and Me by Erika Rummel

Evita and Me by Erika Rummel

Publisher:  DX Varos Publishing (May 24, 2022)
Category: Historical Fiction, Crime, Women’s Literature
ISBN: 978-1955065320
Available in Print and ebook, 384 pages

Evita and Me

Evita Peron’s jewels are missing. Only three people know that they are in a vault in the Swiss Alps; Evita’s corrupt and brutal brother Juan, her bodyguard Pierre, and a teenaged girl Mona, her newest protegee. What happens if two of them team up?

Like Eva herself, Mona comes from a broken family and has to make her own way. Perhaps that’s why the two women feel close. Evita is at the pinnacle of success but already in the grip of a fatal illness. We see her life through the eyes of Mona and Pierre, two people she trusts — and who betray her in the end. Or can theft and murder be justified?

A story of love, adventure, and murder.

Amazon
DX Varos Publishing

Guest Review by Sal

This intimate look into the life of Eva Peron is well worth the price of admission!

Erika Rummel’s historical fiction novel, ‘Evita and Me,’ centers around a teenage girl, Mona, who becomes a friend of the famous Argentinian political figure Eva “Evita” Peron and the tumultuous ride that their relationship takes over the course of two weeks.

Mona is a teenager living in Toronto, Canada when she is sent to Argentina for two weeks to stay with a family friend. Despairing of her situation and not too keen on the family friend, Liliana, whom Mona views as a power-hungry and careless woman, things turn around for the teenager when she is introduced to Evita Peron. Liliana works as an assistant to Evita, but she is also the woman’s friend and it is through her that Mona meets Evita.

Instantly smitten with the incomparable woman, Mona accepts lavish gifts of clothes from Evita and basks in the woman’s maternal praise. When Evita asks Mona to go to Europe with her for a political tour, Mona jumps at the opportunity, although she worries about the woman’s seemingly ill health. But soon, the European tour is cut short when a very sickly-looking Evita asks Mona to take her most precious jewels and bring them to Switzerland where they will be stowed away in a vault.

Evita wishes for Mona to be one of three people in the world who know the location of the jewels and one of three who has a key. Mona agrees to do her friend and mentor this final favor, despite her confusion with the request. A few years later, after she discovers that Evita has died, Mona realizes that she is one of only three people who know where the famous woman’s missing jewels ended up.

This is a well-researched historical novel that captures the time, place, and characters beautifully.  A thrill ride from start to finish, ‘Evita and Me,’ is a gem of a novel that simply cannot be missed!

About the Author

Award winning author, Erika Rummel is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books and seven novels. Her seventh novel, ‘Evita and Me’ is being published on May 24, 2022.

She won the Random House Creative Writing Award (2011) for a chapter from ‘The Effects of Isolation on the Brain’ and The Colorado Independent Publishers’ Association’ Award for Best Historical Novel, in 2018. She is the recipient of a Getty Fellowship and the Killam Award.

Erika grew up in Vienna, emigrated to Canada and obtained a PhD from the University of Toronto. She taught at Wilfrid Laurier and U of Toronto.  She divides her time between Toronto and Los Angeles and has lived in Argentina, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Erika’s Website: http://www.erikarummel.com/
Erika’s Blog: http://rummelsincrediblestories.blogspot.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/historycracks

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 2 print copies and is open to Canada and the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on July 23, 2022, midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Book Review & Giveaway: Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan

Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan

Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan
Publisher: Adelaide Books, NY (September 6, 2021
Category: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Modern Fable, and Self-actualization
ISBN: 978-1955196635
Available in Print and ebook, 282 pages

Time and the Tree

Description

A modern fable about the nature of time and the quest for happiness. It’s darkly funny, deceptively simple, and a necessary read for testing times. In this gripping philosophical tale, a boy awakens beneath a tree in a forest in summer. He is soon joined by Time and his slave, a withered creature hooked on time and aching to disappear. The story evolves over the course of a year as a host of characters are drawn to the Tree for guidance. The unlikely cast grapple with choices and grope towards self-knowledge in a world where compassion is interwoven with menace. As the seasons bring great changes to the forest, we watch the child grow while the trials he faces mount.  Then the time for talk and innocence passes as the forces of darkness rally, threatening the lives of his friends. Lyrical, honest and heart-breaking, Time and the Tree confronts readers with a unique perspective on the challenges life presents. A wise and hopeful book, it is uplifting and unsettling by turns.

Guest Book Review by Sal

First, we are introduced to the Boy and then, to the Tree.

Róisín Sorahan’s eclectic and enchanting tale has a truly timeless aura. This is the type of story that will be immediately familiar to anyone who read fairy tales as a child. The forest setting, the child protagonist, the struggle, and the morals that he learns along the way. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning as all good stories should.

This story begins with a boy waking up in the forest. He is parched from thirst and a wise, old tree tells him where to get a drink of water. The Boy and the Tree quickly become friends and achieve ultimate peace and harmony as they watch the clouds and the Boy sleeps in the Tree’s branches. However, the world soon intrudes.

Of course, any good fairy tale has to have conflict. This fairy tale’s conflict comes in the form of time itself. Not ‘time’ as the inexorable concept, but Time as an actual physical manifestation.

Time is man who wears a brass hat and silk cravat. He has a creature that follows him around who is called Shadow and who he jauntily refers to as his slave. Time is strange, obviously, and Time is manipulative.

But Time is not the last of the travelers that the Boy and the Tree meet. Lots of wanderers happen by the Tree and not all of them are so rude or spiteful. But ultimately, the seasons pass and the Boy must learn many lessons about himself and nature that give the story its moral backbone.

When I tell you this story is magical, I’m understating it. Sorahan tells a tale that seems both familiar and new, and one that would be treasured by any reader. Definitely add ‘Time and a Tree’ to your list if you haven’t already!

About the Author

Róisín Sorahan is an Irish author currently living in Vermont. She has published numerous stories about her adventures on the road, as well as life as an English teacher in China. Prior to becoming a nomad writer, she pursued a decade-long career in public relations. She holds a Master of Letters from Trinity College Dublin, specializing in Samuel Beckett. Time and the Tree is her debut novel.

Website: https://roisinsorahan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/roisinsorahan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roisin.Sorahan.Author
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roisinsorahan/

Buy Time and the Tree

Amazon.com
Amazon-UK
Barnes&Noble
IndieBound
BookDepository

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 3 print or ebook copies, One for each of 3 winners. Print is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on March 12, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Feb 1 Tour Kickoff & Interview
Jas International Book Promotion Feb 2 Review
Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Feb 4 Travel Essay
Am Goodreads Feb 8 Review
Laura L. Celticlady’s Reviews Feb 10 Guest Review & Excerpt
Kim C. Amazon Feb 14 Review
Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Feb 16 Review
Carrie P. I Can Has Books Feb 18 Review
Gracie S. Goodreads Feb 21 Review
Joystory Feb 22 Review & Interview
Linda Lu Goodreads Feb 24 Review
Gud Reader Storybook Reviews Feb 28 Guest Review & Travel Essay
Bookgirl Goodreads Mar 1 Review
Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Review Mar 3 Review & Guest Post
Sal Bound 4 Escape Mar 7 Guest Review
Bee Book Pleasures Mar 8 Review & Interview
Betty Toots Book Reviews Mar 10 Review & Travel Essay
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Mar 11 Review

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Guest Post by Bruce Calhoun: The Many Reincarnations of Cinderella

Perhaps the most famous fairy tale in Western literature, Cinderella, has been retold and reimagined in a staggering number of books and movies. The books and movies fall within two categories: modern day Cinderella stories featuring an underdog heroine and historical Cinderella stories with a twist – such as telling the story from the point of view of a mouse that gets turned into a horse. Cinderella has also become part of a catchphrase for any sports team that attains great success against all odds or any individual who goes from rags to riches. I will confine myself to commenting on a few historical Cinderella books, including my own, Ardennia: The Unlikely Story of Cinderella’s Prince.                                                                        

Let’s start with Cinderella and the Prince by Bridget Cantwell.  In a sentence, this version of Cinderella is about childhood friends James and Gabriella reuniting to save the kingdom of Essenia from an evil prince (we authors love to have titles like Narnia, Ardennia and Essenia).  The plot comes down to Gabriella – the Cinderella in this story – preventing her stepmother from stealing her inheritance. The magic that overcomes all obstacles in this story comes from Gabriella’s courage, loyalty, and love for her friends.

The Prince’s Diary by Renee Ting simply takes a peek at Cinderella’s prince’s personal diary to tell the tale from his point of view. This novella of 32 pages is geared towards juveniles.  Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, however, was written for older readers and was made into a popular movie. In this take on Cinderella, the magic flows from the gift of obedience that is given to her by a fairy. As you can imagine, this gift complicates life for Cinderella and is something she must overcome. To spice things up, various mythical creatures such as elves, ogres, gnomes and giants were incorporated into the tale.

Recent Cinderella spin offs are: Cinderella is Evil (2020) by Jamie Campbell (tells story from viewpoint of Cinderella’s sister), Creating Cinderella (2020) by K.A. Mitimore (twelve retold stories by twelve different authors), Cinderella is Dead (2020) by Kalynn Bayron (two hundred years after Cinderella found her prince a new generation of teen girls attend an annual ball) and, of course, Ardennia (release date October 5, 2021).

Ardennia, in a nutshell, captures the magic, brutality and earthiness of the age of chivalry as it chronicles the many adventures and tribulations of Cinderella’s prince.  It uses the same point of view as The Prince’s Diary, but adds original tales about pixies, trolls, dwarves, fairies and nymphs.  It also has secondary and tertiary love stories that feature a buffoon and a hunchback.  In addition, Ardennia brings to life an amazing number of memorable medieval characters that include a bean counter who wagers his gold tooth in a dice game, a merchant who can never be too prosperous, a band of female brigands, pilgrims that argue over who is the most pious, a cobbler who has come into the possession of a goose that lays golden eggs, a hermit who is mistaken for a hobgoblin and a beggar who has been cursed with leprosy for committing all the cardinal sins.

What makes Ardennia unique is that it adheres to the following tenant: there is much that is magical in this world, but hardly any real magic to be had. This nuance allows for a great deal of realism in my novel and keeps the magic – most of the time – at the periphery of the action.

About Bruce Calhoun

I am a literature-major drop out who received a Bachelor’s degree in biology and science education from the University of Wisconsin.  I taught marine biology in Puerto Rico, worked as a diver for the Australian Institute of Marine Science, wrote an award winning play and founded Save the Rainforest in 1988 www.savetherainforestnow.org.  In my spare time I read, bicycle, cross country ski and write plays and novels. 

To get the book,follow me or to see reviews of Ardennia  go to:

www.literaryworksbrucecalhoun.com/novels.html

Guest Post by Carl Buccellato, author of To Every Page a Turning

Book Title:  To Every Page a Turning: One Life’s Journey
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +),  284 pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Mascot
Release date:   April, 2021
Content Rating:  PG. Content not suitable for young children.​ 



Book Description:

A parallel to Buccellato’s own life, the main character in To Every Page A Turning: One Life’s Journey considers the trials and tribulations throughout his life, beginning in the 1950s. Traveling through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth, the novel also recounts the travel of a generation as they move through time.​

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N
add to Goodreads

Guest Post by Carl Buccellato

A Most Memorable Birthday

I suppose all birthdays are somewhat memorable just for the sake of aging one year older. The mere fact of aging, rather than the clear end, is a win.

I have often said, “I never had a birthday party as a child.” To my memory, I never did —a cake, yes, but not a party.

It was a hot evening in July of 1992. I arrived home from work after a long week of travel and meetings. I parked my car in the garage and attempted to enter the house, only to find the inside garage door locked (wise security, but not the habit at the time).

I walked around to the main entrance of my home. Entering, I heard a surge of cheers and loud cries of “SURPRISE!!” I was shocked as I look around seeing smiling faces of friends and family — some having traveled great distances to be here to surprise me and celebrate my 50th birthday.

I then notice something very odd. All of these people were dressed as children and the rooms were filled with balloons and toys, joyfully eating candies and popcorn. This was indeed a child’s party—my childhood party that I never had as a child. The menu was filled with youthful selections, PB&J sandwiches, hot dogs, tons of candy and ice cream, and dozens of toys that would later be donated to a local church. I was given a change of clothes: a t-shirt, shorts, and a cap with a propeller on top. I laughed and sang songs and just had the most wonderful time being celebrated and being a child again.

The crowning event was the presentation of my birthday cake, ablaze with candles and decorated with toy cowboys and Indians.

All in all, a great memory!

About the Author

Carl Buccellato was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1942, and is of Italian-American descent. Throughout his career and travels, Carl has met a broad array of different people. Some, down on their luck, some at the pinnacle of their careers and personal lives. Many of the people and their stories left a mark on Carl’s heart and mind. It is from some of these encounters that Carl has drawn inspiration for a few of the fictitious characters in this novel. Today, Carl resides in Coral Springs, Florida, with his wife Mary Ellen. She is an award-winning multimedia artist and speaker. Together, Carl and Mary Ellen love traveling the globe and looking for new inspiration for their gifts and talents given to them by their loving God.
​​
connect with the author: website ~ facebook  ~ youtube ~ goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of TO EVERY PAGE OF TURNING! (one winner/USA only)

https://gleam.io/l3YLk/to-every-page-of-turning-book-tour-giveaway

Tour Schedule

July 6 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 6 – The Momma Spot – book spotlight / giveaway
July 7 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
July 8 – @twilight_reader – book review / guest post
July 8 – Kam’s Place  – book spotlight
July 9 –Bound 4 Escape – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 12 – Books for Books – book review
July 13 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / guest post / giveaway
July 13 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
July 14 – Welcome To MLM Opinions Reviews – book review
July 14 – I Read What You Write – book spotlight / giveaway
July 15 – Instagram: Read With Me – book review
July 15 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
July 16 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
July 19 – JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder – book review / guest post / giveaway

Book Review & Guest Post: Silence of Islands by W.M. Raebeck

Book Title:  Silence of Islands — Poems by W.M. Raebeck
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +),  170 pages
Genre:  Poetry
Publisher:  Hula Cat Press
Release date:   July 2020

Content Rating:  G. this book of poems is ‘grown-up’ but nothing violent, explicit, illegal, profane or hardcore.

Poetry for the summer day, poetry for the dark night. Poems that cut a walkable trail through the forest of life. Always with a nudge and a wink, “It’ll be okay.” This collection reflects a lifetime of nature, love, travel, death, joy, art, family, and the eternal questions. A potion of emotion to soothe and move you.

Buy the Book:
Amazon  ~  B&N  ~BAM  ~ KOBO   
Add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Silence of Islands is a book full of poetry that I enjoyed. The poems are all so different. They are about art, nature, travel, relationships, family, loss of loved ones, and more. You can feel her emotions throughout the years. These personal reflections of the author have the power to move the reader in one way or another.

Here’s a short, cute poem from May 22, 1989, when she was in Venice:

Trouble

Oooh we got trouble
size thirty Jeans
trouble at five foot eleven
trouble on that motorcycle
trouble in that kiss

Here comes trouble
with a capital T
Trouble
you’re trouble
total trouble

I love trouble

I think my favorite poem out of all of these is “Close Friends.” It’s a funny poem about friends and their interconnecting relationships.

I read Silence of Islands in one sitting, but I will keep it on hand to pick up occasionally to read a poem or two once in a while. I’m glad that the author decided to publish her poetry. It’s definitely worth a read.

Guest Post by W. M. Raebeck

“Always Wanted to do Yoga?”

      Way before my first yoga lesson in 1972, yoga always seemed ‘right’ to me. And after learning and practicing it a few decades, I wanted to go deeper. But the only avenue for more in-depth yoga—from asana variations, anatomy, and chakras to pranayama (breathing), meditation, gurus, Sanskrit, mudras (hand positions), and yogic philosophy and history—is teacher training. So, in 1997, I mustered the guts for that and never looked back.

      Later on, becoming a massage therapist, also, I always offered private yoga sessions on my business card. This led to discussions with people long interested but who’d never tried yoga. Hearing their complaints of stiffness, decreasing range of joint motion, or apprehensions about age, extra weight, and other limitations, I eventually came up with 4 key suggestions for how to start a yoga practice:

      1.  Start at the beginning.

      Bopping into a crowded 6 p.m. class at a trendy Main Street studio, you’re risking a) getting hurt, because the teacher doesn’t cater to beginners, b) being intimidated by buff 20-somethings in scant Lycra, and c) never going to another yoga class because “it’s just not for me” or “it was too hard” or “I got hurt.” Indeed, that class is NOT for you. You need either a true beginner class where you can learn the basics in a safe environment, and/or a warm, caring, old-school teacher who isn’t showing off his/her contours or sizing up potential soul-mates, but loves yoga, loves teaching it, and understands newbies. Not so complicated, but sometimes hard to find. This teacher will probably be female and over 45, but truly could be anybody.

      Seek out said instructor. Ask around for the right class. And check if a local college might offer a yoga course—schools are about education, and more likely to start from the beginning, plus might even have additional info about yoga as well as teaching the poses. If you’re over 50, a Senior Center can be a resource. I know…sounds frumpy, but they often offer ‘Senior Yoga,’ someplace you won’t get hurt, won’t get intimidated, and won’t be the only one in baggy pants. And whoever teaches Senior Yoga almost certainly teaches elsewhere, too, and will invite you to their ‘regular’ class nearby. Then you can be a normal yoga student who already knows the teacher.

      2.  Find a class near your home or workplace.

      Once you’ve broken the ice by attending a few classes—Senior Center, college, or wherever you find that safe, intro-type class—your next challenge is to continue going on a regular basis. Make that easy by finding a class nearby. If you have to drive 30 minutes to and fro, do you think you’ll always have time, always feel like it after a long day, and always be up for squeezing it in when there’s a dinner party that same night?

      3.  Start with once a week.

      Many think of ‘real’ yogis as boney, sarong-clad, deep-breathers in Himalayan caves. For weeks, without food, in full lotus. If this is your vision or your goal, you’re in the wrong hemisphere and the wrong century. Los Angeles, not India, is today’s world center for yoga. Think urban yogi, health food eater on a bike, yoga mat under arm. Forget the cave, denunciation, and turn-blue inhales. We’re not aiming for transcendence anymore (though it can be a pleasant side effect), just increased mobility, stress relief, and more peace. Practicing yoga isn’t extreme, it’s a cool 90 minutes you work into your week (once you find your sympatico teacher). The stakes aren’t that high, but the rewards can be.

      Commit to once a week. Buy the 10-class pass to save money, and Tuesday night becomes yoga night or Saturday morning is yoga morning. That’s how you develop a practice. You don’t move to Tibet or fast until your third eye is searing passers-by. A year or two from now, you may decide to go twice a week, but once a week is a legitimate, beneficial, affordable yoga practice.

      4.  You should love your yoga class.

      You should exit your class wearing a smile. Yoga is a great thing and doing it should make you feel good. If you feel grumpy, anxious, sad, hurt, or embarrassed during or after the class, find a better one. (There are a plenty of inadequate or ego-driven instructors to be avoided.) I’ve attended classes of over 100 different yoga teachers on my journey, most not wildly memorable, but some magnificent, and even magical. The best ones had plenty to offer.

      Take these tips and you’ll do FINE!

      Namaste.

. . . . . . . . .

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Book Review & Giveaway: Artt of the Black Card by Anthony Ryan Sadana

Artt of the Black Card: No Bullsh*t Guide to Business by Anthony Ryan Sadana

Publisher:  Artt Press (January,  2020)
Category: Self-help, Motivational, Entrepreneurship, LBGTQ, Business, Memoir, & Non-Fiction

ISBN: 978-1734311006
Available in Print and ebook, 140 pages

“The Artt of the Black Card” is a fresh, concise, irreverent instruction manual on how to succeed as an entrepreneur based on the author’s own original insights and his risk-taking record as a businessman and innovator. This is not a cookie-cutter business book filled with tired advice and worn-out clichés. “The Artt of the Black Card” is a contrarian guidebook for a new generation of business owners and leaders — anyone with the smarts, guts and passion for making money. You don’t need an MBA to get rich, and “The Artt of the Black Card” proves it.

Employing nine vital work/life lessons using the exclusive and legendary American Express Black Card, aka the Centurion Card as a framework, author and serial entrepreneur Anthony Ryan Sadana explains how to make money while the world around you is going to hell  and emerge stronger than ever. It’s the perfect antidote to today’s extraordinary challenges.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
IndieBound

Guest Review by Sage Nor

‘The Artt of the Black Card: No Bullsh*t Guide to Business’ by Anthony Ryan Sadana is a financial guidebook like no other. Sadana’s straightforward talk and decisive writing style taught me more about business in the span of a couple of chapters than similar books that I have read managed to do overall.

Sadana is an entrepreneur who talks about getting his start in the business world by selling microwave dinners to his friends in boarding school as a kid. With such business savvy at such a young age, it’s no wonder that Sadana would later go on to experience the success that he has in life.

One of my favorite messages in the book comes pretty early on, in the first chapter when he talks about never brushing off anyone that you meet. Never assuming that someone is worthless to you as a contact just because they don’t seem to be connected on their own. There is a lot of great advice in this book and I really appreciated how Sadana made it relevant to today’s market. He gives advice about using things like Craigslist and Facebook in a way that a lot of older financial advice books obviously don’t.

Of course, like anyone, Sadana has made his fair share of bad deals and he devotes time in this book to talking about them, and what he learned from them in a candid way. He claims that he has learned more from losing money than by making money, a feeling I’m sure most of us can identify with.

Overall, this book was informative, witty and easy to understand. I read through it quickly and was left with a sense that I had really learned something from it, which I can always appreciate from a self-help book. Definitely not one to miss! I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I received the e-book for my honest opinion.

Other Praise for the book

“Irreverent, honest, and right on the money. Powerful business insights from a man who’s seen itall. If you want to make a lot of money on your own terms, this is the book for you.”– Robert F. Burris, Film/TV Producer

“Incredible book; every person looking to be successful in business needs to read this book. The story is engaging and educational. Not a long read, perfect for reading on a plane or train ride. You will ask yourself why you have not followed this advice before. Cannot say enough about this book; read it as soon as you can.”– Julio Garcia, MD

“Anthony Ryan Sadana has no difficulty speaking his mind in The Art of the Black Card. And he has no filter on his voice or words, which perhaps describes “the no-BS guide to business” that serves as subtitle.
His message is positive. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and fail. It happens to the best of us. When hardships occur, as they inevitably will, be prepared to lift yourself off the ground and get back in the game. No excuses allowed. Learn from the experience and work harder (and smarter) next time.
Sadana’s experiences bring to mind a couple of lines from the Van Halen song, Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love – “I been to the edge, an’ there I stood an’ looked down, you know I lost a lot of friends there, baby, I got no time to mess around.”
The author’s answer to everything is to outwork the competition, to pivot when necessary to find new sources of income. There is a confidence to his voice that some may mistake for arrogance. Whatever you call it, he has discovered ways to channel that trait and his own savvy to become a successful entrepreneur who has overcome multiple setbacks, one of which left him flat broke and millions in debt. Several of his lessons, his roller-coaster life and his willingness to lay it all on the line make this a fascinating and worthwhile read.”-Brian Rouff, Imagine Communications and Author

“Authentic, to-the-point, easy to read because of its anecdotal style. Sometimes funny, sometimes controversial, sometimes preachy, sometimes arrogant. Not for the easily offended. Has some very honest truths and good points about how the business world really works.”-Christina, Amazon

About the Author

At the tender age of 23, Anthony Ryan Sadana received an exclusive invitation to apply for the fabled no-limit American Express Black Card, which represented, in his mind, “the pinnacle of my financial success and the ultimate recognition for measuring any sort of achievement against your peers.”

A scant two years later, he found himself flat broke and millions of dollars in debt. Today, this entrepreneur, innovator, author and influencer enjoys a multi-faceted, successful career on a global scale in a wide range of businesses. He’s run retail operations, consults for large and small companies, owns his own real estate investment organization, and is involved in a series of high-ly profitable online ventures.

Sadana’s hard-won knowledge and insights, applied properly and with the right amount of motivation, will help budding entrepreneurs and seasoned business veterans alike create their own success stories.

Sadana currently lives in Las Vegas with his faithful sheltie, Lucky.

Website: https://www.arttonline.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arttonline
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Arttonline
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arttonline/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNrusVnZ10I1e-I7uZMK7CA?view_as=subscriber

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 1 print copy for 3 winners and is open to Canada and the U.S. only. This giveaway ends November 14, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Sept 29 Kickoff & Interview

Andy K. Amazon Sept 30 Review

Infantina Periodical Gazette Oct 5 Review & Excerpt

Tricia Amazon Oct 13 Review

Katy Goodreads Oct 16 Review

Sage Nor Bound 4 Escape Oct 19 Guest Review

Nora S. eBook Addicts Oct 22 Guest Review & Excerpt

GudReader Goodreads Oct 26 Review

Mark S.Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 27 Review

Lisa Lisa’s Writopia Oct 28 Review

Lisa Lisa’s Writopia Oct 29 Guest Post

Becky W. Amazon Oct 30 Review

Sol A. Celticlady’s Reviews Nov 2 Guest Review

Betty Toot’s Book Reviews Nov 9 Review & Interview

Miller Amazon Nov 10 Review

Linda Lu Goodreads Nov 12 Review

Bee Book Pleasures Nov 13 Review

Guest Post: How I Became a Writer by Robert M. Roseth, author of Ivy is a Weed

                As someone past 70 and six years retired from my day job, I’ve enjoyed shifting gears, moving from wage slave to word slave. I’ve learned that becoming a writer, a novelist, later in life has some distinct advantages for me and, I hope, for my readers. I’ve also learned that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.

One big change in my life post-retirement (we really need a better word to describe that time when a fulltime job is no longer a necessity) is that I spend more time reading fiction and, until the pandemic, attending readings by local and visiting authors, as well as visiting websites such as LitHub and reading magazines such as Poets & Writers. Although I don’t feel like a full-fledged member of the writing community, I like to think of myself as an affiliate. As an about-to-be-published author, I can participate in The Writing Life from a distinct perspective.

                My first career was in public relations/public information at the University of Washington. Some people love what they do and love where they work. That isn’t how I’d describe my experience. Even though I did this for many years, I was never captivated by enthusiasm for my work. I was good at what I did, and I enjoyed the camaraderie of my coworkers. I relished the opportunity to stretch my mind in conversations with university researchers as they patiently explained their discoveries in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology, which I then translated into language that your average newspaper reader could understand. It was a kick.

                But did I love it? Did I jump out of bed in the morning and jet off to work, eager to face the day? Not really. It was fun but not soul nourishing. So when a financial advisor told my wife and me that we had enough money to retire, I made immediate plans. I approached what they call in Spanish “la tercera edad,” which roughly means “the third phase” of life, with a mix of relief, curiosity and anxiety.

                When I began thinking about the opportunities and challenges I wanted to take on, I thought about the novel I had penned in my 20s. I had no desire to reread it (and still haven’t), but I recalled the joy and compulsion that caused me to sit, night after night, filling blank pages with scenes from my imagination. But after decades of writing nothing over 1,000 words, did I have the attention span, let alone the wellspring of ideas, to stay with a project for more than a few days? Had my fiction muscles atrophied from years of disuse? I decided to find out.

                But what would I write about? What was the story I wanted to tell?

                At this point, I realized that waiting so long to resume writing fiction had advantages. The truth was, as a twentysomething I didn’t have a whole lot to say. I could put strings of words together in a clever manner, but to  what end? Some 40 years later, thank God, I had matured to the point where I had fully-formed ideas and observations which I wanted to share with others.

                In my spare moments at my day job that final year, I mused about what might be the essence of my first story. I would free-associate as I was eating lunch or heading to meetings, discarding most of the images that flashed across my brainscreen. It wasn’t long before I hit on what in journalism they call the “nut graf,” the essence of the plot in a few sentences. It was birthed out of two notions

The first was my decades of experience in a large bureaucracy. If you don’t find office work absurd you aren’t paying attention. Moreover, I think universities provide a particularly fertile ground for appreciating that absurdity. That’s because higher education is society’s temple of rational thought. What goes on in its laboratories, seminars and scholarly discussion is based on observations that are designed to be objective, critically reviewed and replicable. The scientific method is followed because, for its practitioners, it is the best path for finding truth – develop a method of investigation, let others critique what you’ve done and attempt to repeat it. What could be more rational?

                What I found at a university was a gaping disparity between the rationality of the lab and what transpired in administrative offices. While scientific progress is based on vigorous debate, the bureaucracy often rewarded the powerful and those whose ideas were “The Flavor of the Month.” Once a policy position was adopted, it was treated as Holy Writ and was defended with a zeal that defied logical thought. In other words, universities operate like every other institution in society. Dilbert would be comfortable working at a university (as comfortable as he is anywhere). If you don’t find situations like this funny, then you may feel like crying. But reaction, my defense, had always been humor.

The second source of inspiration was a cartoon I had read in the New Yorker eons ago. I could tell you the details, but then I’d be spoiling the denouement of my novel. How these ideas fused in my brain, I have no idea. But when they did, I heard a bell ring. Not metaphorically, but literally I heard the sound of a bell in my head.

So I began with a premise and kind of an ending. But did I have the stamina to create a book? Just after retirement I began writing, with no outline, no plan. I knew where I wanted to begin. Then something unexpected happened: my characters began to live a life of their own, in my head and on the page. It was magic. I continued, day after day, following them and writing down what they did. I didn’t know where I was going exactly, but the process itself lifted my spirit and became addicting.

                And about eight months later I had a novel, or at least a first draft. The path to publication has been circuitous and frustrating, but I think that’s what it is like for most novelists in the 21st century. Writing has become a key component of my “tercera edad,” in a way that I hoped for but never could have predicted.

More fun stuff about Ivy is a Weed and Robert Roseth is at https://robertroseth.com/

About Robert’s first book

Was Jeremy Ronson, a top-ranked university official, defenestrated (tossed out a window), or did he defenestrate himself? The police decide his death was accidental, but Mike Woodsen, the university’s PR director, is not convinced. He decides to investigate the death on his own. Woodsen interviews Ronson’s colleagues, an odd collection of administrators, nerds, suckups and misfits, and learns that Ronson had a justified reputation as a sonofabitch, earning many enemies in his chequered career. Meanwhile, Woodsen’s day job gives him a bird’s-eye view of campus life in the 21st century. He works inside a stifling but sometimes-comical university bureaucracy. that seems intent on its own self-destruction by advertising questionable claims—“Hey, we’re better than Harvard! Really we are!”–to enhance its reputation. Woodsen’s investigative skills lead him down several dead-end trails, but just when he is about to throw in his sweaty towel he comes across some clues that could be the skeleton key for unlocking the mystery. Has he solved a puzzle that police say doesn’t even exist? The conclusion he reaches is simultaneously absurd and totally logical. Ivy is a Weed is a murder mystery that will tickle your funnybone. It is in the tradition of Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End and Jillian Medoff’s This Could Hurt. Fans of Dilbert will find the novel a logical extension of its humor, teleported to a university campus, while those watching reruns of The Office will detect a familiar aroma of absurdity and sarcasm.

Book Review & Giveaway: Trek by Rand Bish

TREK by Rand BishopTREK by Rand Bishop

Publisher:  Weightless Cargo Press (August 20, 2019)
Category: Memoir, Travel, Politics, Culture
Tour dates: Oct-Nov, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-7330299-0-2
Available in Print and ebook, 384 pages
Trek by Rand Bishop

 

Description 

2017, America was turning mean. Heartsick, Rand Bishop couldn’t sit idly by. His action plan, however, had friends and family questioning his sanity. At 67, on bad knees and arthritic feet, with minimal camping experience and zero knowledge of long distance hiking, Rand set out to walk 900-miles, from Southern California to the Central Oregon Coast.

How an aging pilgrim managed to survive a 90-day test of will and endurance is only a fraction of this inspiring tale. The newfound hope Rand gained by listening to and interacting with a thousand people from nearly every walk of life is the true heartbeat of the TREK story.

 

Guest Review by Sal A.

Some books take you on a journey. Sometimes, you start reading in your comfy chair with the daylight streaming in around you and the fire burning in the woodstove and before you know it, you look up again and it’s pitch black outside and the fire has completely gone out. With some books it’s just like that.

Rand Bishop’s ‘Trek’ took me on a journey. And this time it was literal.
Two years ago, Rand Bishop noticed a problem. He wasn’t sleeping very well. He decided that the reason was the discontent and anguish that he was feeling about the current political situation in the United States. This was shortly after the 2016 election, when bigotry, racism and sexism (among other ‘isms’) seemed to suddenly come roaring back to life in full force. Bishop refers to this as a “culture of meanness” and it’s something that he felt was rising up and smothering all American people.

The only problem was, he wasn’t sure what to do about it.  Bishop was no politician. He was (and is) a regular guy with a love of playing guitar and a dog named Millie. So, he decided that he would protest peacefully in the form of a walk. Bishop’s ‘Trek’ took place during the summer of 2017 and went all the way up Highway 101 from Southern California to Oregon. All told, this route goes for about 1,500 miles along the coast, but Bishop was not deterred by the length of the journey. He was determined to make some sort of difference in the way he knew how.

Along the route, Bishop met with many interesting people and heard their stories. The book is filled with that charm and charisma that make up Americana in its purest form.  I can’t recommend this highly enough and I think you’ll find it just as enlightening as I did.  I give it a solid 5 out of 5 stars.

 

 Advance Praise TREK by Rand Bishop

“I love this book. I laughed, I cried, I walked down memory lane. I drove a big truck for 12 years, many by myself. I know those roads and my feet hurt just reading about this journey. Thank you, Rand, for sharing your story.”-Nancy B. Thompson, Amazon

“The author’s musings on this once in a lifetime adventure make the reader feel as if she is on the trail alongside, experiencing all the emotional highs and lows without getting blisters on her feet. I loved every word; every page; every chapter! TREK is a delightful a book ~ I didn’t want it to end!”-Robyn Taylor-Drake, Amazon

“I loved turning to TREK when I couldn’t take the news any longer. It was like I was able to follow along in my worn down tennies — go at the pilgrim’s pace, meet the people he was meeting, see what he was looking at, while feeling the swoosh of trucks zooming by way too close and way too fast. More than a trek, this is a journey of discovery!”-Randall Platt, Amazon

 

Writing Awards 

First Place Nashville Screenwriting Conference for the original screenplay Tin Roof.

Three Star Award The Tennessean.

 

About the AuthorTrek by Rand Bishop

Oregon native Rand Bishop is a Grammy-nominated songwriter, platinum music producer, musician/singer, author, and lifelong activist for peace, justice, and equality. In his 45 years as a music-business professional, Rand recorded for major labels, shared stages and harmonized with legends, contributed compositions to more than a dozen feature-film and TV soundtracks, several stage musicals, and amassed more than 300 tunesmithing credits.

Rand has authored five published books, is an optioned, award-winning screenwriter, a produced playwright, and, for six years, penned a bi-monthly column for American Songwriter Magazine. He has served on the boards of directors of three non-profits and currently acts as music director for the Central Oregon Coast Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. In June, 2019, Rand premiered his original, one-man, musical, stage performance, TREK on Stage.

Website: http://www.randbishoptrek.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randbishoppage/

 

Buy TREK 

Amazon
IndieBound

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