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Didi Oviatt

Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.

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#review ONE PEDAL AT A TIME, by CJ Golden 5 stars

My Review:

 

If there were ever a person with an undeniable blend of humble determination, illuminating love, and a never ending dedication to those who hold meaning in their life – CJ Golden would be her. One Pedal at a Time is, in my opinion, a must read for any and everyone who is, has been, or may in the future be facing any sort of medical trauma that requires ongoing care. Not only for the insight of do’s and don’ts while caring for a loved one, but also to soak up the tremendous example of positive attitude and personal interaction.

As weird as it is to label a book about Novice Caregiving as a lovely read, I’m going to do it. From cover to cover this book offers so much to learn from in terms of relationship and family values. And, yes lovely is the word I’m going with. Let me tell you why!

The beginning of One Pedal at a Time offers a run down about how CJ found herself married to Joe, as well as a little background of their lifestyles. Before courting, the two had known one another from group interactions while each were in their previous marriages. Once dating, they ultimately clicked, took their time in growing close, learned from one another, as well as respected the fact that their union was centered on more than just the two of them. Joe’s and CJ’s children, and grandchildren clearly hold the utmost importance in their lives.

One thing I love about this book is that CJ paints a clear picture of Joe before Leukemia and strokes took them for a loop. Joe is an accomplished, witty, up-beat, wholesome, and extremely supportive man. He’d helped CJ through medical difficulties of her own, and was a very prominent Cyclist. He even rode across the U.S. merely a year before strokes debilitated him.

A large portion of the book consists of emails that CJ had written to friends and family throughout Joe’s treatments and stays during the hardest year after diagnosis. This approach of writing helped to round the entire story. It allows us as the readers detailed insight on real time emotions as well as detailed treatments, good days vs. bad days, and more.

Together CJ and Joe face the world head on, in sickness and in health. Their relationship and their approach to life is general is, as I said before, absolutely lovely.

 

Description:

Watching her husband, Joe, regress from crossing the country on a bike to cheering him on as he navigated his wheelchair around the kitchen, CJ Golden had much to learn about caregiving. And she did – through her characteristic determination, quest for knowledge, boundless love and relentless optimism.

Within these pages the reader finds a balanced mix of somber reflections and light moments that highlight a very real passage in the lives of a husband and wife who love each other unequivocally. Golden shares the lessons she learned, the emotional and physical strain upon her heavily burdened shoulders, and the realization that, through it all, their connection and love have grown stronger.

Joe’s motto for getting through life’s most trying times has always been, “one pedal at a time” – referring to his days traversing the country, for months at a time, on the two wheels of his road bike. Thus, the title of this book and, hopefully, a philosophy that will help carry others through their own caregiving struggles.

One Pedal at a Time speaks to caregivers who need a place to turn to for information, inspiration and hope. And who enjoy a good love story.

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Feel Me Fall, by James Morris #Blitz #excerpt

Genre: YA/ Thriller/ Survival

Publication Date: May 2017

Blurb:

Secrets and survival in the Amazon

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she’s the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we’ll go in order to survive.

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Excerpt

I have tried so hard to forget, but memory is a stubborn thing. Memories linger no matter what I do. They’re there all the time—and worse. Even my dreams aren’t safe. I have vicious nightmares, and they’re real—too real—and suddenly I’m back there. I can’t will them away, I can’t squeeze them away, and the more I try, the more they burrow in my head. I want to cut open my skull and dig my fingers into my brain and just pull them out.

I press the Call Nurse button.

This place, this room; it’s no better than a white coffin. Sometimes I feel like the walls are closing in on me and I have to remind myself nothing’s moving. Nothing at all.

Breathe, I tell myself. Just breathe.

A nurse enters. She’s got skin the color of rich walnut. She says, “It’s late, you should be asleep.”

“I can’t.” She tilts her head, knowing it’s a lie. The truth is I don’t want to. “Can I have some coffee?”

“You’ve got to sleep sometime, honey.” She walks over and gently grasps my bandaged hand. “Do you want me to stay with you a while?”

Usually my mom is with me, but she must’ve had to run home. Reduced to a little girl, I nod.

I close my eyes, but my mind runs and runs. Tubes and fluids enter my body, but there’s nothing to stop the anxiety. My heart pounds and sometimes I fear I’m on the cusp of crossing into whatever lies on the other side of sane. Being in the hospital makes it harder. The white walls and sick people only remind me that I am so far from normal. My mom’s apartment in Los Angeles is less than five miles away, but it might as well be a million.

The nurse, staff, doctors, everyone; they all know me for one thing. The thing that will define me for the rest of my life. I am a survivor. The only survivor of Air Brazil, the plane that crashed in the Amazon jungle carrying 134 passengers; 37 of them students, teachers, and chaperones from Riverdale Academy High. I used to hear about plane crashes and wondered how the victims felt in the seconds before impact, wondered what it was like to know you were about to die.

Now I know. And I’d give anything not to.

I knew those people from school. Every. Single. One.

They aren’t faceless names. They are people and they are dead.

The counselor didn’t help, either. She told me not to feel guilty. Survivor’s guilt, she called it. She warned I could expect to be angry and sad. I could expect to be confused. I wanted to tell her I was angry and sad and confused long before I got onto that plane.

My counselor told me to write my story down. By writing I could make sense of all that happened. I keep thinking if I remember everything the way I need to that the memories will fade away. That I can accept what happened. I can accept that I survived and everyone else died.

The laptop on my nightstand is waiting for me. I’m scared to touch it.

###

I was dead to the world and when I came to I was drowning. Water gushed into my mouth and I was tumbling, flailing, not knowing what end was up or down. I heard the sounds of screaming and the roaring of water and then nothingness. Coming up for air, I held something, something rectangular. The seat cushion I was holding kept me afloat. I was in a river and I didn’t know why. I kicked and kicked and it made no difference. I never believed in God, an all-powerful being that allowed so many horrible things to happen, but as I saw the rocks up ahead, I prayed.

The current sped faster, churning like boiling water and I thought I was going to die.

I was 17 and I was going to die.

All the time wasted. All the things I never got to do.

I had one thought over and over: I don’t want to die. Someone else, but not me.

I held onto that seat cushion for dear life and plunged into the rapids. I was a human rag doll. The torrent sucked me into a watery hell and I couldn’t breathe; my eyes shut, mouth shut, face tight against the murk, willing everything to stop. I couldn’t breathe. I started to panic.

Someone else, but not me.

I needed air, my body screamed for it and I opened my mouth about to take in water when I bubbled up to the surface and gasped. As quickly as I was brought above, I was taken under again. I slammed against the rocks and buried my face deeper into the cushion. I saw nothing, heard nothing, and imagined I was in a womb. I could only wait for the terror to pass. There was no outlet; my fear was so deep and tangible I couldn’t scream. It felt like an actual substance that enveloped my body, my brain, my very being. I receded further and further within myself, a dark hole, my entire body a taut muscle.

Suddenly, I took a shot to the head and saw stars. A high-pitched squeal rang in my ears. I fought the growing sensation of darkness that threatened to overcome me, but I knew to give in meant death. I was tempted. So, so tempted. I forced my eyes open and saw the water, the dark water and wondered in that emptiness if I hadn’t died already.

My prayer must’ve been heard.

The water calmed and I was spit out near a bend. I realized I had to give up the cushion, my lifeline—it was holding me back. I let go, cursing myself as it floated away and I swam, giving everything I had. My body had nothing left but I commanded it, willed it, to swim. As I approached the shore, my shoes finally touched bottom and I heaved myself onto land.

I don’t know how long I lay there catching my breath. But there is no greater feeling of security than the sensation of the earth beneath your stomach, hands grabbing dirt. The scent of decay and wet leaves smelled like a bouquet. All this time I’d taken the ground beneath me for granted. Now I was thankful for this place to rest.

I was soaked. My jeans pressed against me, my hair drenched, my socks squished against my feet. I didn’t understand. I had left on a flight from Los Angeles with a layover in Panama City and then on to Asuncion, Paraguay for a year-end class trip. We were traveling as an inter-disciplinary trip for history, international relations, foreign language and biology. We were going to have the trip of a lifetime.

Then it hit me, a delayed reaction: I almost drowned. I almost died. My body seized and I was overwhelmed. I cried; I didn’t even know why or for what, but I sobbed on that little stretch of dirt. I heaved, gasping for breath. Every inhale was a wheeze, and I caught myself hitting the ground, my hands balled into tight fists, pounding and pounding.

Moments passed and I cried myself empty. I told myself: get up. You have to get up.

I placed my hands in the dirt to help me stand and looked around thinking: What is this place? There was green everywhere, too much green, and a river the width of three football fields in front of me. The air was heavy, a physical pressure against my skin. I was in the jungle, a tangled web of trees and totally foreign. Any other time, I might’ve been amazed by its majesty, only now I felt small. Trees towered behind me, the river flowed in front, and I was trapped.

It was then I felt the weight of my cross-body bag. I’d been wearing it the whole time. Not very heavy, I managed to unhook it and was about to open the zipper when I heard screams.

Floating down the river were more people. I wasn’t alone! A ripple of joy overtook me until I saw their faces reflecting what I sensed my own might look like—bruised, bleeding, and utterly thrashed.

Exhausted, I shouted my voice hoarse, “Over here!” I waved my hands over my head. “You can do it,” I encouraged. “Almost there!”

Some didn’t move at all. They floated, faces down, rolling through the current, lost in the rapids, disappearing for far too long. Those were the ones who didn’t thrash. Others were swept in the rapids, their screams barely heard over the rushing water only to be silenced on the other end. I was watching people die. The bodies were like a slow leak, trickling down the river a few at a time, and yet almost none of them emerged alive on the other side of the rocks. I couldn’t save them. They were too far away.

Someone else, but not me.

I didn’t mean like this.

Then I saw Viv and my heart nearly stopped.

She struggled in the water, past the rapids, a bobber about to go under. She was never athletic even though she was stick thin. Water gurgled from her mouth and she barely moved. I couldn’t bear to lose her. I wouldn’t allow it. I was terrified of my own exhaustion, but I jumped into the water and found a strength I never knew. I swam out to her. Her head dipped under the water and I would not let that be the last time I saw my best friend alive. I grasped her flotation cushion and then headed back to shore.

She looked at me, dazed. “Emily, it’s you.”

“Yes, it’s me.” I could barely contain my relief.

The sun shone over my head, reflecting in the ripples. “You look like an angel.”

I knew Vivian was out of it. “Stop talking now. Just swim. We’re going to be okay.”

I reached the shore for a second time and pulled her up with me. Once on land, she pulled me into a hug and nothing had ever felt better. Always shorter than me, her face burrowed into my chest and I felt I was protecting an abandoned baby bird. Her inky dark hair, usually so pretty was now plastered to her head, her make-up had washed away, and she was just this tiny thing. Her whole body shivered. “Tell me it’s a dream, tell me it’s a dream….”

“I wish it was, Viv.” I would’ve stayed hugging her if not for the other people in need of help.

Nico, Viv’s immature boyfriend, splashed ashore, his glasses gone, his nose bloody, red streaks smeared across his face. He was panting and heaved over, and I thought he might throw up. We had a history, but there was no time for irritation. Any familiar face was cause for celebration. He seemed surprised to see me. “You made it.”

He then eased Viv from my arms and into his.

Further down the river there was movement. It was Derek, all limbs and urgency, his face pockmarked with acne and not a hint of stubble. He splashed onto shore, his fingers digging into sand and he kissed the earth.

Twenty yards away, Ryan Wray followed. One of his prosthetic legs was missing—he’d lost his legs below the knee after contracting a rare case of meningitis a few years earlier—and he crab-walked onto land, his one pant leg empty, wet, and flat. He wasn’t alone. He helped guide Mean Molly with him. She was far from mean then, almost drowned, flustered and frantic. Once she got out of the water, she toppled in the mud, curling into a fetal position.

I stayed where I was as Ryan, Molly and Derek staggered along the shore, finally meeting up with us.

There was no time to rest or reflect. The river scattered more survivors along the shore. I pulled in a man and stopped in alarm when I saw that one of his arms had snapped off. I gently laid him down and he didn’t even notice until he turned his head. He said with an eerie calm, “That looks painful.” I recognized him from the plane. He’d sat a few aisles in front of me and slammed back drinks whenever we hit a patch of turbulence. On land, he didn’t even scream. His face was pale and blood spurted in rhythmic pulses from below his shoulder.

“What do we do?” Nico said.

I had no clue. I only knew we needed to do something. “Derek, your belt!”

Derek looked from his perch on the mud and shook his head. I couldn’t believe it.

“Derek, give me your belt! He’s losing too much blood.”

Derek, in shock or otherwise, didn’t move.

I searched for anything that would act as a tourniquet, but my efforts were in vain. The man’s blood had dwindled to a dribble, leaving a red puddle in the mud.

Another woman emerged from the water like a swamp creature, stumbling. We sat her down and she gazed at the water. She had a head injury like mine. Blood ran from her scalp and there was a small spot where her hair had been chafed away. It wasn’t a wound. It was a hole. Looking closer, I could see something I didn’t want to—her skull and what lay within. Her eyelids fluttered and she swayed, falling unconscious. I tried to grab her, but gravity took her to the ground. I nudged her once, twice; she didn’t respond. “Wake up,” I pleaded. “Please wake up.” She never moved again.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to run from this place.

It seemed like a Halloween parade. They had to be in costume or using special effects; the injuries and deaths couldn’t be real.

They were all too real.

One man drifted to shore, his face down in the water, his wispy gray hair splayed out on the water’s surface. We grabbed ahold of him and he was heavy, far too heavy for his slender body. We saw why. The flotation device had kept him afloat, but he’d drowned somewhere along the way.

The last man we helped suffered so many burns his face was charred and etched in pain—I had the horrible thought of grill marks on steak. Once on land he jumped back into the water. Maybe the water had soothed him. I tried to reach out and grab him. “Let me help you!” But he was hysterical, too fast, and we watched as he floated away. I tell myself that he would’ve probably died anyway.

It’s terrible that I only knew them as The Woman, The Old Man, The Man Without an Arm and The Burned Man. Somewhere people knew their names, their histories, secrets and loves. Many of them rested at our feet, their chests still, mouths open. We were among the dead, and I found that we all, consciously or not, distanced ourselves from the horror.

###

The six of us stood on the shore, a hodgepodge of strained relationships, but I hoped the past meant nothing now. Silence fell over us. My voice felt robotic. “What happened?”

They looked at me as if I was stupid and in that moment I knew.

You’ve been in a plane crash.

You’ve been in a plane crash and you survived.

Viv broke down crying. “Where’s everyone else?” I asked.

“Where do you think?” said Ryan.

There had been a whole planeload of people, 37 of them from our school including my English teacher, Mr. DeKoning. We couldn’t be the only ones left. Things like this didn’t happen. At least not to us. To me.

I struggled, trying to remember, and yet there was only me sitting in my cramped seat, my body wracked with discomfort after such a long flight, the recycled air making my skin feel plastic, and then this. “How did we end up in the water?”

Ryan looked at me, stunned. “You don’t remember?”

I shook my head.

“Maybe it’s better that way.”

Derek rose. “The plane crashed in the Amazon. At least that’s what the map on my seat showed. You don’t remember bracing yourself? The flight attendants freaking out?”

“She said no, Derek!” This from Viv.

Derek said, “The plane broke apart. Flooded. We were lucky to get out.”

I didn’t remember any of it. “How did I get out?”

“Same way we did,” Derek said. “We were all sitting near each other. Near the exit rows. Threw on our life jackets or grabbed seat cushions and jumped in the water. A lot of people….” He paused. “A lot of people didn’t.” Derek looked at the dead adults. “They did, though.” He spit near the dead bodies.

“What are you talking about?”

“You should’ve seen ‘em claw over everyone. Trampled over people. They scratched and pushed their way out. There were no heroes on that plane. Not them, at least. They deserved to die.”

Nico shot back, “No one deserved to die. No one.”

“I don’t know,” Derek said. “Bet if you checked under their fingernails, you’d find human skin.”

Ryan interrupted, “Anyone see Conlin?” We shook our heads. Pete Conlin was Ryan’s best friend. “He was sitting right next to me. He was right there.” Ryan peered out over the water, as if he could see Pete in the distance. “He was right next to me.”

I don’t remember what I did next. Maybe I cried. Maybe I fell on the ground. I receded back inside myself where nothing could hurt me. It didn’t make sense. None of it made sense. Beyond the wreckage and bodies, we were in some kind of Garden of Eden, untouched by humans, as pristine as anything I’d ever seen, canopies of trees, and plants and flowers like colorful origami, a perfume of nature, and yet we’d fallen from the sky. I hunched over, shivering, saying to myself I am safe, I am safe, I am safe.

Our layers of clothes were so wet there was no point in wearing them. Derek was missing a shoe. Most of Nico’s pants were ripped from the waist down. Viv’s designer sweatpants clung to her body. Ryan fiddled with his remaining prosthetic leg, knocking sand loose from the joints and making sure it moved properly. Disjointed and detached from his body, it looked out of place, like the rest of this nightmare. With his jeans rolled up, I saw his stump covered in scar tissue.

Derek stood near the jungle’s entrance, a quizzical look on his face, almost scientific. He didn’t seem all that fazed, and even ran his hand over some of the trees, feeling their bark. I wondered what was wrong with him.

Molly sat on the shore, plopped down like a scoop of soft-serve ice cream, her head in her hands. She sat alone, and I felt bad for her, but she had earned the nickname Mean Molly for a reason. I got up anyway and approached her. Even as I asked it, I felt stupid. “Are you okay?”

She ignored me. Then she spoke. “I never wanted to come on this trip.”

Molly didn’t once look at me. She just kept staring ahead. I left her alone.

Viv, Nico and I formed a triangle on the ground. Viv and Nico leaned into each other, and Viv’s crying went from a soft cry into heaves of despair. “I just want to go home. I just want to go home.”

We didn’t know it then, but the jungle was to become our home for far too long.

Feel Me Fall is Available on Amazon!

About the Author

James Morris

James Morris is a television writer who now works in digital media. He is the author of the young adult thriller What Lies Within, the dystopian love story Melophobia, the young adult suspense Feel Me Fall, and the young adult horror Screams You Hear. When not writing, you can find him scoping out the latest sushi spot, watching ‘House Hunters Renovation’, or trying new recipes in the kitchen. He lives with his wife and dog in Los Angeles. Catch him at jamesmorriswriter.com.

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Giveaway Time!!!

James is giving away a print copy of “Feel Me Fall to one lucky winner, so don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Review: Midnight Blue, by L.J. Shen 5 sexy unforgetable stars!

MY REVIEW:

Midnight Blue is as crude, filthy, graphic, and nasty as the rest of LJ Shen’s work and I freaking loved it! Going in, I honestly didn’t believe that L.J. could ever have topped herself on her work in Sinners of Saint… I. Was. Wrong. Oh, so wrong!! This book was just as beautiful, and just as raw and sexy as that series. Possibly even better. Possibly. I’m still undecided. This author has quickly worked her way up my personal later of favorites, and is neck and neck with Colleen Hoover for my top spot. (Sorry Colleen).

I think my favorite feature of L.J.’s writing is the authenticity in character development. She is always able to take powerful, rich individuals with broken souls, and f*cked up moral values and somehow manage to mold them into decent human beings with the kind of passion that most humans only dream of. With Midnight Blue I even wound up with a bit of a (okay okay a huge) book crush on the douchbag, and that really says something about the way she’s painted him.

Alex is a huge rock star with big addictions and even bigger grudges. He’s pissed at the world, but mainly the man who cheated with his fiancé in front of the entire world. His main prerogative is to sink his teeth into the sweet taste of revenge. Indi is the girl who is hired to babysit him during a world comeback tour. Her job is simply to keep him clean and sober. Yet, anyone who has ever spent any real time with an addict knows that this job isn’t as simple as it sounds. What neither of them expected to find on this tour is the undeniably electricity between them.

I love Indi! I love her independence, dedication, big heart, and sass! She could be my favorite character thus far this year! Excellent book!

DESCRIPTION:

NOW A WASHINGTON POST, AMAZON MOST SOLD, AND TOP 3 AMAZON BESTSELLER

“Heartbreaking…soul-shattering.” – Diary of a Book Fiend.
“Hands down my top favorite rockstar romance ever.” – Dirty Girl Romance Blog.

From bestselling author L.J. Shen, comes a new, standalone, contemporary romance.

It should have been easy.
I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death.
I was cherry-picked especially for him. Responsible. Optimistic. Warm. Innocent.
The worst part is that I should have known better.
Alex Winslow. British rock star. Serial heartbreaker. Casanova with whiskey eyes.
“Don’t get near the devil in a leather jacket. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”
Guess what? I didn’t listen.
I signed the contract.
World tour. Three months. Four Continents. One hundred shows.
My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god.
Problem was, my soul wasn’t enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too.
Then he took my heart.
Then he took my all.

WIN $500!!

You guys this is so exciting! CTM (the magazine I write for) IS BOOMING!!!  I’m so thrilled, I can’t hardly breathe! As a part of celebrating our growth this month and forward, the CEO and Editors have decided to offer this amazing promotion! All yearly subscribers will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 gift!!

ALSO

Do to the popularity of book reviews, the awesomeness of previous author interviews, and new author requests coming in to review books, CTM has decided to offer a program for authors! CHECK THIS OUT!

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Birthday Blitz!

Happy book birthday to Deity’s Soulmate! I’m thrilled to celebrate the first year of this whimsical fantasy!

Review: Deity’s Soulmate, by Angelina Kerner 4 of 5 stars

34802584.jpgDeity’s Soulmate

Publication Date: April 3rd, 2017

Genre: Fantasy/ Mythology/ Young Adult

From author Angelina Kerner (Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted) comes an all-new fantasy series about Gardenia, a daughter of Athena, and her 100 years of coursework on how to create whole new worlds and subjects of her own.

A sheltered school child in a realm of condescending gods and goddesses, Gardenia goes to Earth on a dare to witness the unsavory side of mankind for herself. Believing she can do better, she undertakes the formation of an entire galaxy, but without permission from Zeus.

Zeus disciplines her by assigning an epic 13-fold creational lesson destined to take her a century to complete. But he is taken aback once more when she makes an odd choice. She vows to fulfill this knowledge quest by tracking down a lost race of dragons, and discovering the secrets they’ve kept since time began.

Searching the universe to meet even one dragon may be a fool’s errand, but that’s the least of her worries. For ancient wartime resentments linger between the nations of dragons and deities, and some dragons would attack Gardenia on sight!

Yet she ventures out undaunted, learning unexpected things about nomadic life, tender love, and mortal peril along the way. The biggest surprise of all, though, goes by the name of Ri. Ri may be the man of her dreams, the voice in her head, the dragon she’s seeking, or all these things and more…

Meanwhile, the Fates brew sordid plans of their own and Hera jealously sets traps and trials for Gardenia at every chance. What’s a young goddess to do? Flight or fight?

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Giveaway!!!

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To celebrate the anniversary of Deity’s Soulmate, the author is giving away 3 digital copies of her latest book Follow the Snowflakes!

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About the Author

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ANGELINA KERNER is a self-published author of paranormal and lighthearted romance. She’s the wife of a photographer/physicist, and the mother of a cute little toddler, but she’s also been a dancer, a psychologist, an anthropologist, a geographer, a dreamer, and an adventurer. She does her best writing while being bothered by her cats, taking care of her son, in dressing rooms while waiting for family to try on clothing, and at home in sunny California. Angelina loves to play goddess-dragon matchmaker, transporting readers to a place where young goddesses have lovable flaws, the Fates plan to dethrone, the universe is endless and untamed, and dragons roam free! She also loves to write carefree romance where one can finish reading with a smile.

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Review: Antony, by Bethany-Kris 3 stars (Filthy Marcellos, book #0.5)

MY REVIEW:

I picked this book up after a friend of mine was ranting and raving about how amazing the entire series is. I was super excited, because usually all of my recommendations come from blogging, Netgalley, or whatever other virtual group that I’m a part of. So, to have an in person discussion about some in your face juicy romance novels, of course got me all excited about reading it.

Unfortunately, I think my expectations based on her rec was a little too high. I’m not even sure if I’ll finish the series. It’s still up in the air for me, and if I do then it won’t be any time soon. The OCD in me wants to keep on going, because ‘how could you’ not actually finish something you’ve started. Yet, the ‘I’m too busy to dick around with something that I don’t feel invested in’ side of me says to just put it away… for now.

Antony (Tony) is a no-nonsense, vicious, sexy, and powerful man. The Italian mafia runs his life, or in a way he runs it… either way is a fit. I like him, and I like his wife too! Cecelia is one of two of daughters of the big boss. The main man. It only makes sense that they end up together, as she is limited on whom she’s allowed to date. Yet, they are actually a great couple. They work well together. Their love is real. The sex is great. They have a beautiful family together, with the perfect home. Their hardships are devastating, and their good times are glorious.

So, you’d think with this premise, backed by a bunch of bloody mobster lawlessness it would be a great read. For me, it came up lacking.  I felt like it left out too many important things. It was missing the sharp edged suspense I was hoping for.  Granted, it’s hard to cover such a long length of time and still insert important details… but I feel like too much was left out. It bounced around in weird places, and came up short where it was important. I felt detached from the characters, and had a hard time forcing myself to take the time to read it.

Ultimately, I’ll probably finish reading the whole series, but it will be a while before I get to it.

DESCRIPTION:

Filthy Marcellos: La Cosa Nostra is not just a choice of regime and routine, it’s a culture. Born as mafia royalty, the Marcello brothers were raised ingrained with the beliefs and rules of what it meant to be a Mafioso prince. It is for life. Their status is considered a given right. They will always be these people. They will always be Marcellos.

Family first. God second.

From bosses and sons, to husbands and lovers. Made men, fathers, and killers. Life is a chess board in Cosa Nostra and these men are the kings.

You can’t be a Marcello if you’re not filthy.

 

The Complete Collection features the short novel Antony, and the three full length novels Lucian, Giovanni, and Dante. It also includes the 20k prequel to the Legacy series, featuring the Filthy Marcellos next generation.

Shabby Sunday 3/25/18

The Shabby Sunday meme was created by Mischenko over at Read Rant Rock & Roll blog, which I love!  I first noticed the Shabby Sunday posts a few weeks ago, and I fell in love with the idea of vintage/childhood features. So, naturally I had to join in. This is my second Shabby Sunday post, and I’m sure over time there will be more! 🙂

The book I’m choosing today is The War of The Worlds, but not JUST for the reasons you’re probably thinking. Yes, it’s a classic. Yes, its a great book. Yes, it was made into a movie where Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning acted upon direction of Steven Speilberg!

I mean, as if all of those reasons aren’t enough. There’s more!

I’m actually choosing this book because the paperback I came across in my collection gave me a laugh! That’s right friends. Check it out. The sticker on the front of this possibly original version is actually NOT a sticker! LOL  That two for a dollar Walmart special emblem is in fact printed right into the cover of this book!

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For those of you who have never heard of this book (which is maybe no one) this is what it’s about:

The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. It first appeared in serialized form in 1897, published simultaneously in Pearson’s Magazine in the UK and Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. The first appearance in book form was published by William Heinemann of London in 1898. It is the first-person narrative of an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and that of his younger brother in London as Earth is invaded by Martians. Written between 1895 and 1897, it is one of the earliest stories that detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon. The War of the Worlds has two parts, Book One: The Coming of the Martians and Book Two: The Earth under the Martians. The narrator, a philosophically inclined author, struggles to return to his wife while seeing the Martians lay waste to the southern country outside London. Book One also imparts the experience of his brother, also unnamed, who describes events as they deteriorate in the capital, forcing him to escape the Martian onslaught by boarding a paddle steamer near Tillingham, on the Essex coast.

No #Writer Is An Island – Guest Post, by Rhia G. Adley

I’m thrilled to welcome Rhia as a guest today! Rhia is such an inspiration to writers, and her advice is beautiful. Enjoy!

Rhia G. Adley is a creative writer and blogger who works with fiction to inspire writers to “live out the story they want to tell.” She strives to find the connection between fiction and real life, encouraging people to creatively write from the heart. She is currently working on several fantasy novels and is a big Tolkein fan. As an aspiring author, she is always learning and finding ways to grow in the art of fiction writing. You can read her short stories on her website and discover her mental meanderings on her Instagram and Facebook. She has always enjoyed writing stories for as long as she can remember, and today she is excited to share her work with you.

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It was a simple text I sent to someone with whom I had had very little interaction with before. I knew she enjoyed fan fiction, so I thought I’d shoot her a simple text asking her for her thoughts on my main character’s rough draft. I wasn’t sure how she would respond to a list of questions like what are your thoughts on my main character’s personality, situation… what about secondary characters? Up until point, I had never sought the council of another – I preferred to do things alone. My blog, my short stories, all my creative WIP’s were created by a single mind – mine. It wasn’t until I actually ran out of inspiration I realized that, well, maybe my friends had some.

No man is an island. No writer is an island. Ask the professional best-selling authors and they will tell you it takes perseverance as well as interaction with others to create polished prose. Writing is a task that requires only one individual. Writing excellent work is a task that requires more than one person. Sure, you can sit on your comfy desk chair in your robe and snuggly sweatpants in front of your painfully bright computer screen while sipping green tea and enjoying your solitude. After all, isn’t that the public image of many professional writers? All alone, hacking away at the keys, brow furrowed, concentrating only on what is before them and not around them.

That was me. And in some ways, that’s still me. But the one text changed it all for me because I realized I needed others. A couple thousand texts later my friend and I still brainstorm, write and discuss our stories and WIPs. (We’ve even even tried to cross our stories despite the fact they are two completely different genres.) Interacting with someone who shares the same passion inspired me to reach out through my blog via several outlets. I joined groups on Facebook and used social media to connect with people. The experts say this is how you grow your fan base, but for me, it is how I increase my knowledge of fiction writing and what it takes to become a skilled writer.

Am great at this whole thing called communication and interaction? No. There are times when I would rather just do this alone, mainly for fear of criticism of my work. But how do I grow as a writer if I cannot learn to receive feedback as well as critique others’ works? How do I expect to increase my awareness if I am simply focused on myself?

I can’t do this alone.

I need to be part of a community, part of something bigger than me. We all want our stories to bring readers to a greater realization of life. We want them to believe in themselves and maybe even something greater than that. But how can we, as writers, do that if we don’t even seek to believe in the potential and inspiration of others that we are not even aware of? How do we expect to connect with readers if we cannot connect with our fellow writers? They are often our first readers.

No man is an island, they say. No writer is an island. People are full of inspiration. Sometimes they just another to come alongside them to encourage them to write down their ideas. Who knows where one sentence could lead? Who knew that one text would lead me to be more confident in my writing, take pleasure in it, and ultimately be more proactive in finding and sharing it with others? It is so seemingly simple, yet everyday I try to, in some way or another, interact with other authors and writers which can be difficult. I have so much learn.

You have a story to tell.  Share it will others. They have a story to tell; help them find it. You are not an island. Neither are they.

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Thank you so much Rhia for your excellent advice to writers!

My Interview With Colleen Hoover!!

That’s right, my friends, it’s true. I actually got to do an interview with my all time favorite author, Colleen Hoover!!  I absolutely adore this woman and when she agreed to answer my questions on behalf of The Conscious Talk Magazine I almost died!

Author Colleen Hoover’s Thoughts On Giving Back

As anyone who follows Colleen Hoover knows, she is a HUGE on giving back to the community. Which is really only half the reason that I love her so  much. Because lets face it, she’s pretty much the one of the best writers alive on this planet right now!

Our interview focused on her program The Bookworm Box, as well as her specialty book store that is compiled solely of signed books donated by the authors who wrote them, and the proceeds are all DONATED to charity!!  AMAZING!

READ THE INTERVIEW HERE!!

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