Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mother of the year


3:00 pm. Mommy installs a kickstand on Child's bike, which is newly liberated from its training wheels. Best mommy ever!  Victorious biking commences.

3:15 It begins to rain.

3:20  Child asks for the password to the tablet.  Mommy declines to provide it.  Worst mommy ever.

3:20  Child informs Mommy that refusal to divulge said password will result in the withholding of the cuddles and the hugs . . . FOREVER!!!!  Mommy informs Child that the tablet decision has not been overturned.

3:22  Child pretends to fall down the stairs.  Wailing commences.  Mommy arrives, only to be told that hugs are forbidden.  Mommy shrugs and walks away.

3:23  Wailing continues.

3:24 Child informs Mommy that the only way to regain the cuddle privileges is for Mommy to slide down the stairs on her butt.  With no pants on.  Mommy declines.

3:25 Wailing recommences.  On account of Mommy refusing to strip for a slide down the stairs.

3:30  Wailing continues.  Child claims to have rug burn on his face.  Mommy advises that he discontinue rubbing his face on the carpet.

3:45  Child invites Mommy to play with Play Doh.  Mommy accepts and begins playing.  Child steps out of the room, only to return a moment later.  Completely naked.  Mommy shrugs.

And scene.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Launch: Reflections by John Fioravanti

It's so easy to get lost during the holidays.  We get spun up over the shopping, the parties, the travel, the family conflicts.  We become overwhelmed.  We lose sight of what is really important.

My fellow author and Rave Reviews Book Club member, John Fioravanti, is coming to your rescue.  Tomorrow he releases his second book of nonfiction, Reflections.  He provides his thoughts and interpretations of fifty quotations, both historical and contemporary.  It's been my pleasure to work with him to create launch graphics for this book, and I'm excited to see his latest endeavor come to fruition.



John is a tremendously thoughtful and creative individual, the published author of two science fictions novels as well as a memoir about his teaching career.  I'm excited to see how he draws out meaning in this new work, and how he will inspire us all to do the same.



As we head into the holiday whirlwind, I suggest you grab yourself a copy of Reflections, to serve as a calm in the storm . . .  or perhaps as a bunker, depending on your family circumstances.  Happy reading!  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

RRBC Writers' Conference and Book Expo

The Rave Reviews Book Club is getting ready to host an online conference, December 1-3.  It's a chance to make connections with your fellow indie authors and service providers as well as to attend insightful educational programming.



I've helped create two of the educational sessionss: "Intro to Canva" and "Anatomy of a Book Cover."  For "Intro to Canva," I've created a video tutorial on using Canva to create social media graphics.  "Anatomy of a Book Cover" is a presentation I've been working with author/designer Jan Hawke.  They are both super informative, full of good advice and examples, and will get your creative juices flowing.
 
Other planned sessions include
  • Building Your Author Platform
  • Why Your Brand is Important and Why Protecting It Is Even More Important
  • Why You Should Never Refuse LIVE Media Interviews
  • Blogging for Success
  • Literary Lingo 101
  • Marketing 101
  • Indie vs Traditional: Which One Wins?
  • Social Media Dos & Don'ts
  • Editors: Sniffing Out The Right One
  • Formatting Made Easy
  • Your Best Self Promotion Tool...
  • Writing In The Senior Season
  • Writing the Perfect Book Review
  • Book Blurbs Do's & Don'ts
You will also find Author Booths and Vendor Booths.  You can discover great new books to read, and you can look for the publishing professionals you need to complete your current work in progress or to help you market your catalog of published work.

Even if you are not a member of Rave Reviews Book Club, this event is worth checking out.  You can register for sessions here.  If you want to have an author booth, you must first join the club here. The registration deadline for the conference is November 23, so don't dawdle.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Girl Power Day 5

In the fighting spirit of Saturday night, So What by Pink.  Warning for language.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Girl Power Day 4

In honor of the Right Wing Conspiracy and the fact that they never manage to knock Hillary down, today we have Avril Lavigne's cover of Bad Reputation.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

RRBC Spotlight Author Robert Kimbrell

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome horror author Robert Kimbrell. 

He's a super supportive fellow member of the Rave Reviews Book Club.  His protagonist, Annie, is a vampire vigilante who eases her moral qualms by feeding only on those who deserve to die, saying, "Is it still morally wrong to kill? I know it is. But choosing my prey by the fruit they bear is the only way I can justify the way I must now live."  Check out the excerpt below, and find out more on his great website.




“Annie?”

“Hi!” I am truly excited to connect with her, but surely my enthusiasm doesn't come across as authentic. It isn't. Too many things weighing on me to be overly social.

“I cannot believe you finally called.” Elisa then becomes serious. “Annie, are you in trouble?”

“No, why?”

“Have you seen what's happening in the news? Girl, that woman looks exactly like you. I thought you lost your mind or something and that's why you never got back to me.”

“Oh, I know, she looks just like me. Weird.”

She laughs. “Well, I didn't see you going to a party like that either. I'm glad you called, but I'm at work, how about we do lunch tomorrow? We can catch up.”

“Where and when?”

“How about Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Ave, eleven-thirty?”

“See you then.” I know what I did. I made plans after Marcus gave me explicit instructions to stay in.
***

The moment, while I sit huddled on my bed looking out my bedroom window, is reminiscent of my first feeding. Distant lights flicker, and stars, countless in the black sky, play the game in which they nearly disappear when you look directly at them. Interrupting the scene is a pair of headlights, bouncing their way up the lane. My phone buzzes.

“Yes, Master Marcus?”

“Passive-aggressive?” An easy guess, and correct.

“A tad, Master. That you coming up my lane?”

“It is.”

“With pizza?”

“With sex.”

“Sex is good.”




Book Blurb:
Because Annie has no recollection of her birth parents, her life is full of unknowns. Still, she seems relatively content with her simple existence in Washington, DC. Marcus, her new Italian boyfriend, adds much desired spice to her life despite secrecy about his position at SecureVest. But when Annie becomes mysteriously ill, it is the catalyst for a life far from simple.

Seemingly by luck, Annie discovers that she is maturing into a dhampir (a vampire/human hybrid), and to survive she must feed on fresh human blood. With Marcus fully aware of Annie's predicament, they concoct a scheme: find the evil living among us and act where justice does not.

Vigilante Annie is born.

Amazon Link:



Author Bio:
An only child, (in the seventies, mind you), little Robert could be seen running in the backyard playing superhero, with a bed sheet serving as his cape. He also spent many hours drawing or writing in his mid-sized Ohio town. Having also battled depression earlier in life, Robert now sees how his low points have brought him to a more creative, stronger sense of being. Now he is where he wants to be, and is telling the stories he is meant to tell. His other interests include reading, motorcycle touring, fitness and classic movies.

Twitter:  @VAAuthor



RRBC Spotlight Author Robert Kimbrell

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome horror author Robert Kimbrell. 

He's a super supportive fellow member of the Rave Reviews Book Club.  His protagonist, Annie, is a vampire vigilante who eases her moral qualms by feeding only on those who deserve to die, saying, "Is it still morally wrong to kill? I know it is. But choosing my prey by the fruit they bear is the only way I can justify the way I must now live."  Check out the excerpt below, and find out more on his great website.




“Annie?”

“Hi!” I am truly excited to connect with her, but surely my enthusiasm doesn't come across as authentic. It isn't. Too many things weighing on me to be overly social.

“I cannot believe you finally called.” Elisa then becomes serious. “Annie, are you in trouble?”

“No, why?”

“Have you seen what's happening in the news? Girl, that woman looks exactly like you. I thought you lost your mind or something and that's why you never got back to me.”

“Oh, I know, she looks just like me. Weird.”

She laughs. “Well, I didn't see you going to a party like that either. I'm glad you called, but I'm at work, how about we do lunch tomorrow? We can catch up.”

“Where and when?”

“How about Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Ave, eleven-thirty?”

“See you then.” I know what I did. I made plans after Marcus gave me explicit instructions to stay in.
***

The moment, while I sit huddled on my bed looking out my bedroom window, is reminiscent of my first feeding. Distant lights flicker, and stars, countless in the black sky, play the game in which they nearly disappear when you look directly at them. Interrupting the scene is a pair of headlights, bouncing their way up the lane. My phone buzzes.

“Yes, Master Marcus?”

“Passive-aggressive?” An easy guess, and correct.

“A tad, Master. That you coming up my lane?”

“It is.”

“With pizza?”

“With sex.”

“Sex is good.”




Book Blurb:
Because Annie has no recollection of her birth parents, her life is full of unknowns. Still, she seems relatively content with her simple existence in Washington, DC. Marcus, her new Italian boyfriend, adds much desired spice to her life despite secrecy about his position at SecureVest. But when Annie becomes mysteriously ill, it is the catalyst for a life far from simple.

Seemingly by luck, Annie discovers that she is maturing into a dhampir (a vampire/human hybrid), and to survive she must feed on fresh human blood. With Marcus fully aware of Annie's predicament, they concoct a scheme: find the evil living among us and act where justice does not.

Vigilante Annie is born.

Amazon Link:



Author Bio:
An only child, (in the seventies, mind you), little Robert could be seen running in the backyard playing superhero, with a bed sheet serving as his cape. He also spent many hours drawing or writing in his mid-sized Ohio town. Having also battled depression earlier in life, Robert now sees how his low points have brought him to a more creative, stronger sense of being. Now he is where he wants to be, and is telling the stories he is meant to tell. His other interests include reading, motorcycle touring, fitness and classic movies.

Twitter:  @VAAuthor



Girl Power Day 3

Today, dance to Salute by Little Mix.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Day 2 of Girl Power Songs

Today's girl power installment, "Run the World (Girls)" by Beyonce.



Siren Allen's Promo and Giveaway


I'm pleased to welcome to the blog today, sci-fi romance author Siren Allen, who is promoting her new novel Silver. Take it away, Siren.



Blurb

All Malia Valdese wants to do is survive in the Outlands and serve food to the patrons of her diner. She doesn’t want anything to do with the handsome silver-eyed stranger who keeps showing up after closing, asking her weird questions and making her feel something she hasn’t felt in years, desire.

She doesn’t care that he’s the sexiest male she’s ever seen or that he stares at her like she’s the main course. Steering clear of him is her plan. Well, it was the plan, before he turned her world upside down with four words…. You’re coming with me.

Apparently she has no say in the matter.

She’s not on the menu. But she’s what he hungers for.

Her scent tells him she’s his and the wanted pictures popping up all over the dark-net tells him he needs to lay low for a while. Having her next to him in bed while he tries to clear his name is the plan. Unfortunately, his enemies are closer than he thought and now they’ve found his weakness…. her. Can he shield his mate from the consequences of his dark past? Or will she flee to his enemies to escape him and the intense emotions he stirs inside of her?

No matter what she chooses, he has no intention of letting her go, ever.

Excerpt

Silver traced his fingers up her arm. Shivers raced over her body. She found herself leaning closer to him, needing to feel every inch of him.

“Tell me to step away.”

Why would she do that? No rational female would tell a creature like him to step away. Wait, she should do that. She wasn’t trying to be with him for real. This was pretend.

“Say it and I’ll do it. I promise Malia.”

She couldn’t say it. The words wouldn’t come. Instead, she reached up and touched his face. His eyes closed and he leaned his forehead against hers.

“I don’t want to say that.” Even the rational part of her was falling for this male.

“Good, because I don’t want you to say it. I want to keep you all to myself,” he whispered. “I don’t want to share you.”

“You don’t have to share me. I’m all yours.” Yep, she’d just said that. And right now, she meant it. She’d deal with the consequences of her words later.

“All mine,” he mumbled, opening his eyes. “And I’ll destroy anyone who threatens you.”

Stars, that was the most violent statement she’d ever heard, yet it made her feel safe. What was she turning into?

“Say you believe me, Malia.”

“I-I believe you.”

“I won’t let anything happen to you. Say you believe this.”

“I believe it.”

“Good.” He took a step back, her hand still resting on his cheek. His hand covered hers. “I will go and get the crew. I will try my best not to kill any of them for getting too close to you.”

“Please behave. I don’t need you dirtying up my new kitchen.”

He smiled, before pulling her hand away from his face and placing it over his heart. Her breath caught.

“This is all yours,” he told her. “I promise.” He released her hand and went in search of his crew, leaving her breathless.

Buy links:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZJG2P3
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LZJG2P3
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01LZJG2P3


Author bio

Hi, my name is Siren Allen. I’m a writer and lover of all things supernatural and romantic. I reside in southern Mississippi where I write steamy romances that are guaranteed to make you blush. When I’m not listening to the characters in my head and jotting down their adventures, I am busy working as a Clinical Laboratory Technician.

I love to travel, preferably with my husband, so he can do all of the driving. I enjoy time with my family, who are just as silly as I am. My hobbies are reading, writing and shopping, though I hate trying on clothing. If I wasn’t a writer or a Laboratory Professional, I would probably be a Secret Agent. But that’s the beauty of being a writer; you can create your own world and be whoever you want to be. In my imaginary world, I am Queen and my siblings are my minions.



AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – www.amazon.com/Siren-Allen/e/B00ELF795O/

WEBSITE – http://sirenallen.com/

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/authorsirenallen

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/SirenAllen

PINTEREST – http://www.pinterest.com/sirenallen/

Siren’s Newsletter: Join to stay updated on my new releases and giveaways:

http://eepurl.com/Wr6Jn

Siren’s World: Join my Facebook group to chat with me about reading, writing and whatever else comes to mind: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1787481798155719/?ref=bookmarks



****Siren’s Sci-Fi Giveaway: Be sure to enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a gorgeous Sci-Fi necklace.



https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a576fb1c12/
?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Two Weeks of Girl Power

In honor of the upcoming election, in which it appears we will elect our first president with two X chromosomes, I will be sharing a girl power song each day on my social media accounts.  I am certain that November Snow, girl vampire extraordinaire, would approve.  Even if you're not a Hillary fan, enjoy the music.

Here's today's offering, from the Muddy Magnolias: American Woman.





Monday, October 24, 2016

Atlantis A New Beginning: A Royal Love Story

Lisa Kulow is promoting her recently released book, the sequel to Atlantis after Midnight.  This mythological romance is available for only $1.00 on Amazon.



Here is the blurb for your perusal:

Prince of Atlantis, Kyrian, has moved to his new kingdom in the Amazon with his soon to be queen, Yew’ll.
He wants to begin his new life with his lady love and live happily ever after, but evil forces have other
plans for Kyrian and Yew'll and their new friends, Shea and Leode.Their happily ever after is interrupted by
heart-wrenching threats to their love and their new home that will leave you shaken.

Many Atlanteans are gifted with impressive powers of the mind and the ability to create, conjure,
shape shift, and heal; yet some choose to serve the Darkness by using their gifts to increase their own power.
As a result, terror and sickness return to reign over the land.

Shea, Kyrian's servant and friend, uses his final gift to save the world as they know it. In that process,
the whereabouts of some of the Atlanteans is realized. Can they come together to keep their race alive,
or will the once great empire be doomed to fall yet again?


A word from the Author:

I have always loved to read! I hoped to one day become an Author.
That has finally happened. If you're here thank you for your support.
I love most genre's fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, historical, and
mythology is a passion of mine.
Romance of any kind including Dianna Love, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K Hamilton.
I love horror as well. Stephen King, and Dean Koontz , Kimberly Shursen among many others.
you can follow or contact me at.
https://www.facebook.com/lisakulowauthor/
https://twitter.com/nobody06
https://plus.google.com/u/0/100492900521013915385/posts
http://lisakulow2016.wixsite.com/lisakulow
authorlisakulow@gmail.com
I would love to hear from you and answer questions you have or requests.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please if you would leave a review that would be amazing!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Boost: Letting Go into Perfect Love by Gwen Plano

Stalwart Rave Reviews Book Club member Gwen Plano is the author of a powerful memoir about recovering from abuse.  Letting Go into Perfect Love is a profound piece of work, and even if you haven't been personally touched by domestic violence, this book could be a source of wisdom and insight.  Check out the blurb below.



Blurb:

Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space--but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering--every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten--but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent.

Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity--one woman's uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgiveable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy--and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek.

The story that unfolds is not a blow-by-blow account of savagery hidden within a twenty-five-year marriage; rather, it is a walk through innocent dreams betrayed--to courage found. "Tragedy spares no one;" Gwen points out, "it just courts each of us differently. One way or another, it finds a path into our hearts, and there we do battle with the intruder." As a survivor who came out of her unhealthy relationship determined to start over, Gwen artfully depicts the challenges of balancing the obligations of motherhood and career with her family's healing process, while offering hope to anyone facing monumental challenges.

Integral to Gwen's journey is her faith. Because of her Catholic upbringing, she struggles with the scandal of divorce, but finally makes her peace. When her daughter reveals her molestation by clergy, however, her fragile sense of serenity dissolves. We walk with Gwen as she tries to make sense of this horror. The agony experienced by the entire family is devastatingly palpable. Against all odds, Gwen emerges confident of her faith and begins to see the threads of meaning in even the darkest moments.

This is a book for all. But, for those who have been in a destructive relationship, Gwen's story will be heartbreakingly familiar. For those who have been spared such diminishment, it will provide insight into the often misunderstood phenomenon of domestic violence. Since one in every four women will experience such threat in her lifetime, understanding that murky world may provide the reader with the skills needed to help his or her sister or friend or neighbor. Whether victim or friend, though, readers will be inspired by the author's courage and ultimate resolution of her predicament. And, you may see your own challenges a little differently.

Find out more about Gwen, her journey, and her work by following her on twitter or Facebook.

Find out more about the advantages of joining the Rave Reviews Book Club, where I met Gwen, by clicking here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book review: With Angel's Wings by Stephanie Collins

Talk about keeping it real!  This novelized memoir tells the true story of the author's struggles as a young mother of a severely ill baby and an older child with special needs.  She pulls no punches about the resulting exhaustion, anxiety, guilt, and depression.  Laura’s family, and especially her husband, are unable or unwilling to give her the kind of support she could literally die without.  You want to just go back in time and give the author all the hugs and everyone else a kick in the pants.  Thankfully, in the midst of all the heartache and second guessing, Laura finds love, and it becomes her lifeline.  And don't worry, there are heartwarming moments amidst the struggles.  I couldn't stop turning the page to see what would happen next, and my next stop may need to be the author’s blog so I can see how they’ve done in the intervening years.

This book can speak to anyone, and I think it would really be of benefit to parents of children with severe medical problems and their friends and family.  I think every NICU in the country should have a copy.  It provides validation of the hurricane of emotions parents in that situation have to deal with.  Even if you don't have a personal connection to such a child, the book gives you a glimpse into the reality of being a caretaker for the severely ill.  It fosters empathy in people with more ordinary life experiences.  This is a story than can touch any heart.

My RRBC Spotlight Tour

I just completed a blog tour organized by the Rave Reviews Book Club.  This is a group of indie authors who have come together for community and mutual support.  Every month, active members have a chance to be chosen to be highlighted by the club in a number of ways (Spotlight Author, Members of the Month, Book of the Month, Member of the Week, etc.).  The choice is based largely on the quality of support you provide to your fellow members,  so the more you put into helping others, the more you get out of participating in the club.



The tour was a blast.  My hosts were lovely and generous.  They gave me a chance to share about my life, my process, and my work.  I got a nice uptick in sales as well as a chance to strengthen my online presence by being featured in so many different blogs.  Additionally, it was gratifying and heartwarming to get to know some of my fellow writers via our discussions of my posts.  I was also thrilled to be interviewed by the inimitable Bill Ward on the Rave Waves Internet radio channel.

I encourage you to check out my posts and interview, as well as the Rave Reviews Book Club itself.  I've had great fun since I joined at the beginning of 2016, and I've learned a great deal from my fellow members.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Book Review: The One Discovered by Yvette Calleiro

This YA fantasy novel follows the awakening of high school senior Sofia, who discovers that she is not the normal teenage human she always thought she was.  Half-brothers Angel and Ar’ch turn up in her small town, and all heck breaks loose.  They are on a mission to bring Sofia and her mother home, so that Sofia can save their people, the Diasodz. Naturally, some evil forces have a real problem with that plan.



I found Sofia to be a relatable, true-to-life, and interesting protagonist. I thought her relationship with her mother was touching and realistic. I appreciated the sensitivity that the issues of adoption, egg donation, and surrogacy were explored, specifically with how the author highlighted Angel's healthy, honest upbringing as compared to the unhealthy secret-keeping in Sofia's family.

Overall, the story is well-written and the characters sympathetic.  The pacing is good, and the ending sets you up to want to read the next installment.  The descriptions are effective, and the author reveals just enough information about the Diasodz to pique your curiosity, much like Ar’ch arouses Sofia’s own curiosity.  I will definitely be reading the sequels.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

RRBC Recruitment: My Responsibility as a Writer

Today is Recruitment Day for one of the author groups to which I belong, the Rave Reviews Book Club.  It's a great group if you're looking for some marketing and learning opportunities and you're willing to help out your fellow authors.  The theme this time around is "My Responsibility as a Writer."

It should go without saying, but my first responsibility as a writer is to write good stuff; that means you need both good ideas and good execution.  One without the other is pretty pointless.

I also feel an obligation for my books to have some socially redeeming value.  I write supernatural fantasy at the moment.  I'm not ashamed to say that it is escapism at its finest.  Even so, I try to say a few things about life in the course of the adventure.  I include characters that are gay, lesbian, and bisexual, and I make them real people, not caricatures consigned to serving only as villains.  I include people of color as well as biracial individuals, and they aren't just there to be the first people to die.  Representation matters.  It matters to people of color to see themselves represented in stories.  It matters that most pop culture is often white people from cover to cover.  Diversity enriches the reading experience for everyone.  It teaches empathy and an appreciation for what makes America great.  It isn't tokenism to believe that the default race of every character needn't be white.

I feel that one more responsibility that I have as an author is to promote reading and literature in general.  One way I do this is by promoting my fellow writers.  RRBC is a great place to do that.

So, writers and readers, I recommend you give the Rave Reviews Book Club a glance.  You might like what you find.  Tell them I sent you.  ;-)

Monday, September 26, 2016

My Happy Hysterectomy

When you have gynecological problems severe enough that you start googling things like "hysterectomy," you quickly find that the internet is a wast expanse of horror stories.  There is an endless supply of women who feel like they have ruined their lives by removing their misbehaving uterus and/or ovaries.  You find yourself reading one tale of woe after another.  You find people who make surgical menopause sound like a curse from the devil himself: warping your personality, ruining your sleep, and killing your sex life.  You'll find whole groups devoted to keeping women "whole."

Well, I'm here to tell you that I am perfectly fine with my total hysterectomy and oophorectomy.  Thrilled, even.  Delighted.  Relieved.  Happy.  You get the picture.

I had the trifecta: uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and recurring complex ovarian cysts.  The fibroids made me severely anemic.  The cysts would twist and bleed, sending me to the emergency room in agony in the middle of the night.  All of them conspired together to make my periods a nightmare of pain punctuated by rivers of blood to rival the book of Exodus.

Now, I could have been more conservative in treating these problems once they were finally diagnosed.  I could have had the cysts surgically removed for biopsy, saved some ovary, kept the uterus.  I could have treated with hormones and prayed that would be enough, and if I had been interested in preserving fertility, that would have been the way to go.  But our family is complete, and I was weary of managing problems that could possibly be eliminated with surgery.  I didn't want this all to continue hanging over my head, leading to future suffering and future surgery down the line.

So, at 36 years old, I decided to get rid of the whole shebang.

And I am totally fine.  I'm better than fine.  I feel better than I've felt in ages.  I certainly feel more "whole" than I did with garbage organs junking up my abdominal cavity with blood and inflammation all the damn time.  And I've been lucky that my estrogen patch works like gangbusters: no mood swings, nor hot flashes, nor insomnia.  I haven't gained so much as a pound.  I don't feel like less of a woman.  None of the dire things I read about have some to pass.  I am perfectly happy with my decision.

Would your surgery go as well as mine did?  Who knows?  Only you can decide how to treat your own problems, in light of your own particular situation and desires.  Surgery always has risks and always causes pain, even if you're lucky enough to go the minimally invasive route, as I was.  There is a sense of loss in forever closing the door to childbirth.  That grief is real, and it's something you need to have a plan to process, preferably before you go through with the surgery.  If you lose your ovaries, it might take you time to balance out your hormone replacement with the help of a good doctor.  You may not luck out on the first patch you try like I did.  But please don't let the internet terrify you out of considering surgery if you and your doctor think it will help you.

There are good stories, too, among the Hystersisters.  It's just that most happy people don't bother talking about it on the internet.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Author Profile: Julie Watson

It's my pleasure today to profile New Zealand Author Julie Watson.  Her book Born for Life: A Midwife's Story serves as both memoir and history, detailing both her personal journey as a midwife and a mother of loss and the changes in maternal care that have taken place over the course of her life.  Very well-reviewed, I commend this book to anyone interested in exploring both the miracles and tragedies of childbirth.



From her bio:

"Julie grew up in a small rural town in New Zealand.
She started work in the local maternity annexe on leaving school at the age of sixteen. She met Barry and was happily married until the unexpected death of her second baby at birth. This tragic event in her life led to depression loneliness and despair.
Life was full of challenges and it was during this time that Julie became a Christian. In her late thirties she did her training to become a nurse and a midwife fulfilling a life long dream. 'Born for life' tells her story and she hopes it will encourage others to follow their dreams even with life's difficulties.
Julie has traveled extensively and has worked in several countries around the world, caring for women of different cultures and nationalities. Midwifery continues to be her passion and love."




You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Moment of Gratitude for Singing in the Car

I was singing along to the car stereo the other day, and I had a revelation: I hadn't enjoyed that simple pleasure in months.  Months, people.  Like, at least six of them.  I've been feeling so cruddy this year that I hadn't even had the energy to sing in the car.

Those of you who know me know how much I love music.  I've been singing in groups and choirs since I was a kid.  But before my surgery, I was so anemic that I couldn't get through a hymn without getting dizzy from shortness of breath.

So, here's to you, Dr. Nguyen, gynecologic surgeon extraordinaire, and thank God for modern medicine.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book blogger profile: Patricia Green

Avid readers and indie authors know that book bloggers make the world go round.  Patricia Green is one of those bloggers in the trenches of the internet, helping to highlight the great books that deserve attention.  She wears many hats, serving as an editor, beta reader, and writing coach in addition to being a veteran reviewer.



Her blog, entitled Room with Books, features reviews, naturally, and everything else book-related, from interviews to blog tours.  A faithful member of Rave Reviews Book Club, she's built connections with many independent authors.




If you're a lover of the written word, stop by her site, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.  Happy reading!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Author profile: Staci Troilo

It's my pleasure today to profile fellow Rave Reviews Book Club member Staci Troilo. She's a prolific writer as well as an editor, and, unlike many of us, she actually has a degree in this whole writing thing.



The author is a proud Italian-American, and her Medici Protectorate Series brings you paranormal thrills with a taste of Italian heritage.  Her Cathedral Lake Series contains themes of family, tragedy, and redemption.


Her Amazon bio tells us:

"Her fiction combines dark, dangerous heroes and strong, capable heroines woven together into a contemporary tapestry of tantalizing romance. Compelling villains and gripping mysteries engage the reader from page one of her novels and her short stories feature ordinary characters conquering the odds in extraordinary situations."


Sounds fun, don't you think?

If you want to keep up with the latest from this gifted and successful writer,  be sure to check out her blog and follow her on twitter.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

She Dies at the End (November Snow Book 1) wins some awards

Being a self-published writer is not an easy gig.  It is really hard to break through and find an audience.  You pour so much of yourself into your work for very little in the way of financial rewards, and sometimes it feels like no one is reading your stories at all.  So when nice things happen, it is a great boost for the old self esteem.



Some writer friends encouraged me to enter book contests this year, so I took the plunge on a few.  It's been so gratifying in recent weeks to learn that She Dies at the End was selected as a finalist in the Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards.  This past week, I was even more thrilled to discover that She Dies at the End took Bronze for Supernatural Fiction in the Readers' Favorite Book Awards.

It was especially encouraging considering how much I broke all the indie author rules on this book.  I edited it myself, which is super dangerous, and you should never do that.  I designed the cover myself, which is also a pretty bad idea.  I just couldn't justify the expense at the time, not knowing if anyone would ever read it.  It's nice to have some strangers think I might actually know what I'm doing.

So, if you haven't taken a chance on me yet, please do.  And don't forget to leave Amazon reviews.  They mean as much or more to me as any award, I assure you.  Thanks and love to all my readers.  I couldn't keep doing this without you.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book Review: Charms and Witches by Herb Mallette



Charms and Witches lives up to its title. It's truly one of the most charming books I've read in some time.

In a land where magic is real but somewhat rare, Cirie is a young charm maker eking out a living, struggling to pay down a debt incurred during her late master’s terminal illness. Though the grief and debt are a lot to carry, she manages to do so without bowing under the weight. Her somewhat monotonous existence becomes a lot more interesting when a traveling stranger named Lanton appears at the inn where Cirie lives and works. Immediately taken with one another, affection blooms over a board game and deepens over the revelations of Lanton’s secret mission. When the witch queen finds out what he is up to, it will take a remarkable love and determination to produce a happy ending. It is something of a romance within a romance, bright and diverting.

The author has created a fun and detailed world without resorting to dumps of exposition. The magic is described in a lovely yet unpretentious fashion. He has deftly drawn a cast of characters with whom you can't help wishing to spend more time, and for whom you can't help wishing for happiness. Even the money lender seems like an okay guy. Though the world is fantastical in its way, the characters behave like real people. There are no contrived conflicts between the romantic leads, which was a relief to me, as I am no fan of comedies of errors. It's also a bit of an achievement in this day and age to create an engrossing book containing no explicit sex or gory violence.

I loved this book, and I cannot recommended this author highly enough.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Harry Potter and the Mediocre Fan Fiction

I love me some Harry Potter, so when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out, I was excited to read it.  I have to say, though, that I was disappointed in many ways.  If you haven't read it and desire to do so, take warning of spoilers and snark ahead.

There were some things I liked.  I liked Scorpius.  I liked that we had two Slitherin children who were basically decent people.  I enjoyed seeing beloved and not-so-beloved characters as adults.  I especially liked seeing Snape again in one of the alternate timelines.  That's about where the liking stops.

Let's talk Hermione.  In one alternate timeline the boys create with the time turner, Hermione and Ron never got together, and we're supposed to believe that without the power of their majestic love, Hermione winds up bitter and mean and miserable, teaching at Hogwarts. 

Seriously?  Ron's love is her salvation, and no one else in the world would have made her a happy and well adjusted adult?  Ron?  That Ron?  The redhead? 

Their getting together was already like those sitcoms where the idiot husbands have impossibly awesome wives, but I was willing to let that go at the end of Book 7 for the sake of sentiment.  I just find it obnoxious to imply that there were no other paths to happiness available to the most important female character in the whole series.  In addition, Hermione was a kind person throughout the series.  Are we supposed to think the lack of a suitable husband changed her basic personality? Don't break up with your high school boyfriend, kids, or you'll wind up like mean Hermione.  If you miss your chance at one true love when you're 17, you might as well pack it in. 

Shoot, at least in the other, more dystopian, timeline where they aren't together, she's a badass rebel instead of Professor Umbridge 2.0. 

I just really felt this choice was tone deaf, showing a lack of understanding of the character's basic qualities as well as sending an ugly social message.  There were plenty of other things I took issue with, but this was the one that really got under my skin.  What did you think of the Harry Potter play?  Let me know in the comments.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Welcoming Lincoln Cole

I'm so pleased today to be welcoming Lincoln Cole to my blog.  He's a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club and the author of the excellent Raven's Peak, which was recently chosen by Kindle Scout.  I just finished it last week, and if horror is your thing, it is a must read.  So, take it away, Lincoln.




Raven’s Peak is the first book I built a trailer for. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to for my other books, it was just that this one felt like it needed the trailer to bring it to life. And, I didn’t want a cheap and short video that would just glide over a couple of images, show some text, and then end: I wanted something that developed the world of Raven’s Peak and set the stage for everything that was to come.

I reached out to a designer and offered a couple of ideas about what I wanted. One thing that was important was having live action moments in the trailer, not only still images, and enticing music. The designer went above and beyond my expectations, finding amazing images and live video that really brought the world to life.
My favorite thing about the trailer is how effectively the music aligns with what’s being shown. Everything starts with a sort of twilight feel and gradually turns darker until the end. I loved the live action moments and the video of the raven instead of just using cover art to convey the imagery.




Would I get another trailer made by the same designer? Probably. Maybe not for every book that I release, but for all of my important ones I think it is completely worthwhile having a little extra to help entice people to visit the world!

Author Links



"This tour is sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com."

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Welcoming RRBC Spotlight Author Micki Peluso

I'm delighted to welcome to the blog today Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author Micki Peluso.  Her well-reviewed memoir,  . . . And The Whippoorwhill Sang, is available on Amazon.



"Angel at a Book Signing"

My first book signing was quite an adventure. I had just recovered from the flu and wasn't feeling too perky. The mall was crowded and hot, filled with hordes of people intent on finding Valentine presents. Borders bookstore was running a sale on every best seller, offering half price, buy one, get one free--so even I would have preferred not to buy my more expensive first book. Still, as suggested by my publisher, I set up my table, looked pleasantly classy, and displayed great promo stuff up --along with a gorgeous poster of my book on a tall easel, just outside the bookstore and in the actual mall. Many passed by admiring the poster, asking if it was for sale--few stopped to buy the book. The bargain hunters that day, dressed in less than their finest, seemed harried and hungry--proven by the way they sneaked valentine chocolate hearts from my crystal bowl as they dashed past my table. The candy was free, but it entailed listening to my sales pitch for a book they didn’t seem inclined to buy.

After an hour I was getting dejected. This was not fun. Root canal was more fun. I forced family and friends to suffer through it with me but it still did not even border upon fun. My grandkids with their sweet faces and big blue eyes handed out flyers and bookmarks, asking people to buy my book. If that didn’t work I figured nothing would. The potential book buyers threw away the flyers and kept the bookmarks. I signed and sold about a half dozen books and was getting hungry and bored, when someone ran up to me, all smiles and excited. I could not tell if it was a boy, adult or teen. He introduced himself as John, still smiling that amazing smile on his elfin face. "I loved your book,' he repeated over and over.”I cried and cried and cried. "

          He didn't have his book with him so I signed a book plate for him and gave him a bookmark and a chocolate heart. He leaned over with both arms stretched out to me. I instinctively reached out and hugged him back, something I would never do to a stranger in a Mall.

          "Don't you dare stop writing books!  You can't not write books. You're a good writer and you must keep on writing books!" I wondered how he knew that this was my first book and I didn't plan on another.

          “I’ll think about it,” I said, smiling back at that wonderful face of his.  I glanced away for just a second and when I looked back he was gone. He seemed to disappear as strangely as he’d appeared. I turned to my daughter who was sitting right behind me and asked," Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" She nodded. This was not the first time we had encountered an "angel unaware" concerning my book and the story it relates. Another time was at a cemetery when we were lost while searching for my younger daughter’s gravesite. There was no way to explain those beatific smiling faces either time. I had a feeling this would not be the last encounter. From the moment he left, my energy returned, all pain left and I was able to continue signing books for another hour and a half, ending up selling all of them. I hope my angelic being shows up at all my future book signings. I want to tell John that I have started my next book—but somehow I think he knows.

Author Bio


Micki Peluso began writing after a personal tragedy. This lead to a first time publication in Victimology: An International Magazine and a career in Journalism. She's freelanced and been staff writer for one major newspaper, written for two more and has published short fiction and non-fiction, as well as slice of life stories in colleges, magazines and e-zine editions. Her first book was published in 2012; a funny family memoir of love, loss and survival, called, . . . And THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG which won the Nesta CBC Silver Award for ‘Writing That Builds Character’, won third place in the Predators and Editors Contest and first place for People's Choice Monthly Award. This book is close to her heart since it’s a deathbed promise to her dying child. It has the humor of ‘Cheaper by the Dozen,’ with the heart of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird. Some reviewers liken her writing to a cross between Erma Bombeck and Harper lee. She has over a dozen short stories in 'Women's Memoirs', 'Tales2inspire', and 'Creature Features'. Two of her short horror stories were recently published in an International Award winning anthology called "Speed of Dark." She is presently working on a collection of short fiction, and slice of life stories in a book collection called, 'Don't Pluck the Duck', due to be released in late 2017. Her first children’s story, ‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ will be released in June of 2017. Author Peluso is a multi-genre and speculative writer who plans to tackle novels next.

To learn more about Micki Peluso, or to purchase her book, …AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG,
please visit:
Twitter: @mickipeluso
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndTheWhippoorwillSang
Website: http://www.mallie1025.blogspot.com/