Friday, November 30, 2012

The Sons of Jude by Brandt Dodson VBT & Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

When Chicago detectives Frank Campello and Andy Polanski are assigned to investigate the murder of Trina Martinez it seems like an ordinary homicide. An unfortunate young girl in the wrong place at the wrong time has been brutally murdered. But their investigation is halted by a wall of silence, a wall erected by powerful interests that will render their inquiry a lost cause.

Then they enlist the support of reporter Christy Lee – and come under immediate fire. Polanski is arrested. Campello threatened. Christy is attacked.

It’s the case that every cop gets. The one that changes his life. The one where justice is elusive and the hunter becomes the hunted.

Frank Campello and Andy Polanski are The Sons of Jude.

Brandt Dodson was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which he would later choose as the setting for his Colton Parker Mystery series. Although he discovered in grade school that he wanted to be a writer, it would be another twenty-one years before he would put pen to paper.“I knew in fifth grade that I wanted to be a writer. Our teacher had given each of us a photograph which we were to use as inspiration for a short story. The particular photo I was given was of several young men playing handball in New York City. I don’t remember all of the particulars of the story now, but I do remember the thrill that writing it gave me.” Later, while in college, one of Brandt’s professors would echo that teacher’s comment. “But life intervened and I found myself working at a variety of jobs. I worked in the toy department of a local department store and fried chicken for a local fast food outlet. Over the course of the next several years I finished my college degree and worked for the Indianapolis office of the FBI, and served for eight years as a Naval Officer in the United States Naval Reserve. I also obtained my doctorate in Podiatric Medicine, and after completion of my surgical residency, opened my own practice. But I never forgot my first love. I wanted to write.”
During his early years in practice, Brandt began reading the work of Dean Koontz. “I discovered Dean’s book, The Bad Place, and was completely blown away by his craftsmanship. I read something like 13 or 14 of his back list over the following two weeks. It wasn’t long after that I began to write and submit in earnest.” Still, it would be another twelve years before Brandt was able to secure the publishing contract he so desperately desired. “I began by writing the type of fiction that I enjoyed; I wrote edgy crime thrillers that were laced with liberal amounts of suspense. Over the years, I’ve begun to write increasingly more complex work by using broader canvases and themes. Since securing his first contract, Brandt has continued to pen the type of stories that inspired him to write when he was a boy, and that have entertained his legions of readers. “I love to write, and as long as others love to read, I plan on being around for a long time to come.” Brandt Dodson’s latest book is the crime thriller The Sons of Jude.

Visit Brandt Dodson’s website at

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A book excerpt can be found here.


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Keegan's Chronicles Trilogy Set Book Blast and $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash Giveaway!

Keegan's Chronicles Trilogy Set
Books 1-3


Sixteen-year-old Keegan is struggling to keep her huge secret from her friends--she's an elf, descended from a long line of elves that live in secrecy alongside humans.

In elfin society, mates are predetermined but not allowed to meet until they are eighteen. Against tradition, Keegan's brother Thaddeus told her Rourk's name because his visions warned him she'd need Rourk's protection, especially since Keegan will play a key role in the coming war between the dark and light elves.

Keegan, is only alive now due to Black Magic, and her bond with her Chosen is broken. She cannot remember Rourk at all.

For the first time, she feels like a normal teenager. She is dating Donald, her long-time crush, and everything seems perfect. But Rourk still feels their bond, and despairs for the woman he was always meant to love.

Keegan's best friend Anna is determined to find a way to use her powers to return Keegan's bond, no matter what it takes. The question is does Keegan even want it?

Keegan has dealt with a lot over the last two years: Death, black magic and the loss of her bond to her chosen mate. But on her eighteenth birthday, the bond with Rourk returns.

Now, Keegan faces her hardest decision. Tradition requires elves marry at eighteen. If she accepts the path laid out for her, she will be spared a lifetime of physical and emotional pain. But will that life ever really be her own?


Really enjoyed this book. The story draws you in, and the characters are engaging, especially Rourk. I've never read a book about elves, so I wasn't sure what to expect. This was really good. Would recommend to anyone interested in a quick, fun, paranormal read. 
-- Amazon Reviewer

I am not one for Elves or Fairies but yeah these Elves RULE! What is not to love? You have an age old prophecy, destined loves, a great family and amazing friends. Not to mention .... Rourk *yummy* All that is left is the amazing way it all is put together into this fantastic story. 
-- Amazon Reviewer

If you pick up this book, I'm sure it will not disappoint, it had everything, it was cute, yet dark..and well that combo just makes for a perfect book on my shelf, Julia has truly written an amazing read. (: 
-- Haley @


Author Julia Crane

Julia Crane is the author of the YA paranormal fiction novels: Keegan's Chronicles, Mesmerized, Dark Promise and Eternal Youth. Julia was encouraged by her mother to read and use her imagination, and she's believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Julia has traveled far and wide to all the places her grandmother told her about, gaining inspiration from her journeys to places like Nepal, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Italy, France and many more. And who knows? Maybe the magical creatures she writes about are people she met along the way.

Julia Crane has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Although she's spent most of her life on the US east coast, she currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three children.

Book Blast Giveaway Deatils (Starts November 29th)

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/9/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it for the first person you follow and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WSJ Wednesday - Christmas Trees

This issue of WSJ Wednesday is going to be fun. In case you never noticed, I love Christmas. I haven't had a lot of time to blog about decorating, but my goal since we moved in is to have every room in the house decorated. I came close one year, but then I lost a couple of my trees.

In the Wednesday, November 7, 2012 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Shelly Banjo wrote an article titled, "Svelte for the Holidays." This article discusses the fad of slim Christmas trees. Retailers claim real and fake trees in leaner sizes are very popular this year. In response, some retailers are only carrying slim models or expanding their offering of slim trees. Christmas tree growers are cultivating slim versions of popular species.

One of the reasons slim trees are growing in popularity is that they complement sleek, modern decor. They also fit nicely in apartments. Banjo says that suburbanites buy in quantity, placing trees in every room of the the house. Now, that's what I'm talking about.

Family room tree - handmade ornaments

The article also mentions themes, which is something I do each year. We have trees with the following themes: angels, snowmen, collectibles, handmade ornaments, and snowflakes and icicles. The Lil Diva and the Lil Princess have their own trees: pink and purple respectively.

Each year, I try to do something a little bit different. I have tons of decorations. Some years I put out everything. Others, I leave some of the older items in the basement. This year, I'm switching around where I place the trees. The large one will remain in the family room. Though I prefer it in the formal living room that faces the street, so it can be visible from the window, the rest of the family likes it in the room we use most.

Usually the snowman tree sits on the hope chest in the bonus room, where it is visible from the street. We have a long driveway, so more lights in the windows make our house look more festive. The tree with the collectibles usually is placed on the balcony looking over the foyer. Even though the collectibles tree is relatively small (6 1/2 feet), it sticks out more than I would like, blocking the entrance to the Lil Princess' bedroom. That's part of why I'm switching them this year. The snowman tree is only 4 feet tall, so I can push it closer to the corner of the stairs.

What I've really wanted for a long time is a slim, pop-up tree like the ones featured at Brylane Home. Talk about easy. The main reason I haven't done it is because I'm not a huge fan of pre-lit trees. When they first came out, I thought they were great. Having owned several, I can tell you I'm not hot to purchase any more. I can rarely find the bulb that has burned out, so I ended up buying new lights to string on the tree anyway. In addition, when you have to remove the pre-strung lights it's a pain because they are clipped on. There's also the challenge of moving a pre-lit tree. They sometimes come in two pieces, so you if you need to take them apart to move them, the lights get moved around. I would much rather buy lights I can take on and off each year, even if it takes me extra time to put the tree up.

How many trees do you put up for Christmas? What's your favorite decoration?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - November 27th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"For that matter, how did she manage to..." His voice trailed off and he threw a nervous look at Alice.

~ Page 155, Scoop to Kill by Wendy Lyn Watson

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox Giveaway at TC&TBC

Title: The Magic Warble

Author: Victoria Simcox

Blog: The Children's and Teens' Book Connection

Genre: Middle grade fantasy

Giveaway Dates: Nov 25, 2012 - Dec 2, 2012

Open to: International

Wisteria Book Blast Giveaway - $100 Amazon Gift Card

Title: Wisteria
Author: Bisi Leyton
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication:  Aug 2012
Number of pages: 275
Cover Artist: Olivia Smith

Wisteria by Bisi Leyton:

Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.

Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows.

Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.

Praise for Wisteria:

“I love the buildup of this story, getting to know the characters and watching their connection grow. I had no idea which way the story was headed and I was kept in suspense right up to the very end! It has plenty of action and a fascinating plot and I can’t wait to see what Bisi Leyton has for us next!!” 

“There are a lot of great things in this book, so much more than zombies and a struggle for survival. At it’s base core it is about star-crossed lovers, literally and the supporting characters roles… Ms. Leyton brings to Wisteria a mixture of science fiction, fantasy, dystopic world with a twist to the paranormal romance angle!”

“The book was full of nonstop action from the beginning until the end, and I did not put it down until I had finished it. I loved the book.” 


As she walked back to the ridge of the roof, Bach’s heart went with her. Someone had tried to hurt her. Tried to damage what belonged to him, and who he belonged to.
He started to feel dizzy from the volumes of strangle weed planted in the front of her house.
“Thank you so much for coming and for the guitar. It’s perfect.” She gave it back to
“No, it is yours, Wisteria.” He refused to take it. “Do you not like it?”
“No, I love it. It’s so beautiful.”
“Then keep it.” He kissed her neck. Knowing—hoping—his touch would soothe her pain, but he hadn’t come here to comfort her.
“Bach.” She used her instrument as a shield as she moved away from him. “It’s a bad idea. You won’t understand.”
“You are right. I do not get why you would refuse something you apparently love,” he whispered while rubbing her forearms and taking in her scent.
“If I accept your kindness, then I’ll have to face the consequences. I don’t know if I can face those.”
“You cannot face accepting my kindness, or is it accepting me that you cannot face?”
“Tell me that you do not feel the same,” he whispered. “That the moment you first saw me that I did not get inside your head. Tell me that you do not think about me all of the time when we are not together?”
The dark-eyed girl did not answer.
Wishing he could will her to speak, he pressed her against his chest. Briefly, he noticed a black spot at the base of her neck, where he had kissed her, and then it was gone. “Okay, Wisteria. Then tell me that you want me to leave, and that you do not care if you never ever see me again.” He felt like someone else was speaking for him, once again. The questions became pointless as he found himself still planting kisses along her neck and the sides of her face.
“I can’t tell you that, Bach,” she replied softly, her voice breaking. “Because it’s not true.” She  wrapped her arms around him and held him tightly.
Desperately wanting to kiss her luscious-looking lips, he leaned into her.
Wisteria reached up to him, tugging his head down as she stood on the very tips of her toes,  seemingly just as eager to taste his lips.
“Wisteria, I cannot.” He broke away before it happened. “I do not want this.”
* * * * *
Wrapping her arms around herself, she moved away from him. Once again, humiliated and
feeling foolish. “Goodnight, Bach!” She strode angrily to the side of the roof in order to climb down.
He grabbed her and held her back.
The guy came here just to tease her, yet again! Didn’t he know he was hurting her? Didn’t he care? “I’m tired of all this nonsense. I’m actually tired and need some sleep. I’m done with this. All of this!” She should’ve left the roof when she saw him appear. “Let go, so I can go.”
“Wisteria, it is not that.” Exhaling heavily, he released her. “My people could kill you if they knew I wanted you.”
This wasn’t at all what she’d expected him to say. “What?”
“I am in love with you. I do not know why, but I am. And it is selfish, because I just want you for myself.” Sadness filled his eyes as he spoke.
“Why would they do that to me?”
“Because you are human and because we see humans as Terran, or dirt people.”
“And you believe that too? So why are you here, living among us, if we’re so disgusting?”
“You are not disgusting. You are beautiful.” Rubbing his temples, he seemed troubled and bewildered. “I came to Terra as a rite of passage. To be considered a man, to take a journey and experience the wild.”
“The wild?”
“I chose Terra, or Earth, because I came here as a child. Your people treated me so badly in the past. When I learned about the Nero disease, I wanted to see your world.” He paused. “You were right when you said there was something wrong with me.”
“Bach, it cannot be that bad.” Stepping up to him, she stroked her fingers along his biceps.
The sweet motion made him smile at her, but he still looked distressed.
“Like about Garfield, you let him live with you. And now you’re here with me.”
“You are not like the rest.”
“Neither are you. You’re not so cold and cruel like Enric or patronizing like Felip. They think they’re better than us. You just hate people because you’re a jerk, Bach.”
“Ha.” Bach laughed. “A jerk?”
“You’re a big jerk.” As the final word rolled from her lips, he kissed her.
She was stunned for a second. His lips tasted like a strange, tantalizing spice.
He squeezed her against his larger frame and rested his right hand on the small of her back.
She fidgeted, unsure about what to do with her hands. She tried to kiss him back, but she struggled because she was so short.

Book Trailer:


Author Bisi Leyton:

Bisi Leyton was born in East London in 1978. She grew up in London, Nigeria and the States, listening to the stories life and love from aunts, cousins and big sisters.

She lives in London, but has worked around Europe including France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic. She has a fondness for reading graphic novels.


Kindle Fire Giveaway Details:
Bisi is currently running a Kindle Fire giveaway on her blog until November 30, 2012

Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/5/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it for the first person you follow and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Free for All Friday: Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias Giveaway

Never expecting to be homeless, Josie Meyers and her children are shocked when circumstances force them to live on the streets. Rick, a down-and-out disabled vet, befriends them, reawakening memories of a faith Josie had in childhood. But can she reconcile her once-held beliefs with her current situation? Will she and her children even survive long enough to try to rekindle Josie’s faith?

Read an excerpt!

The late November sunshine was thin and tepid, but a welcome interruption to the gray skies and constant drizzle that usually hung over the small Washington town of Riverview for the better part of eight or nine months each year. Josie Meyers shivered as she stood in line behind her two children, waiting their turn for a free Thanksgiving meal.

Tears bit her eyes at the memory of past Thanksgiving celebrations, particularly the most recent one the previous year. Though they had all been grieving the passing of Josie’s mother, they still managed to turn the day into a festive occasion, as the four of them gathered around the table to give thanks for the spread that awaited them.

Sam, she thought. You stood there that day, offering a brief prayer of thanksgiving to a God I’m not sure you even believed in, and never let on for a moment that you hadn’t a clue where our next meal would come from or how we’d make the mortgage payment that month. How in the world were you able to carry it off for so long? If you hadn’t gotten sick, would you finally have found a way out of the mess we were in—or would you be standing here with the three of us now, begging for a hot meal and wondering where we’d sleep tonight?

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband. Unexpected Christmas Hero will be released in October. You can find out more about Kathi or contact her via her website:

Follow Kathi on Twitter:!/alandkathi

Like Kathi on Facebook:

Order a copy of Unexpected Christmas Hero from Amazon:

Order a copy of Unexpected Christmas Hero from

Enter to win a copy of Unexpected Christmas Hero!

Please use Rafflecopter form below.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WSJ Wednesday - Kitchens

Can you imagine having a 5,000 square foot great room with plush furniture, fireplaces, multiple flat screens and hidden appliances? No, me either, but the pictures are great to look at.

In Candace Jackson's article, "The Kitchen That Ate the House," featured in the Friday, November 16, 2012 edition of The Wall Street Journal, we get a glimpse of some mighty fine eating spaces and open floor plans. I'm much more of a traditional than contemporary kind of person, so the sleek Artesio kitchen didn't do much for me. I loved the conversion of a two-car garage into an 800-square-foot kitchen. I like how the white makes it seem more roomy, but I know that would also make it harder to keep clean.

When we built our house, I didn't think much of how small our kitchen would be. I worked full-time and spent only a couple of hours in it a day. Now that I'm home, and considering how the kitchen seems to be the place everyone hangs out when we entertain, I'm hoping we get a chance to add on and make the space more user friendly. I've been saving clips from magazines to inspire ideas. While it's unlikely I'll ever own a home worthy of being featured in the paper or a magazine, I can still make the kitchen something I love.

Mix and Match Birthday Themes

What kind of party do you plan for a child with diverse tastes and interests? How about mixing and matching themes.

The Lil Diva (9) discovered soccer this year. She bugged me for years to play, but each time it came to sign ups, she bowed out. This year, we made it through sign ups and she loves the game. She's also very quick, so once she gets down all the rules of the game, she'll be a powerful player.

She knew she wanted a soccer theme for her party, but since it was at night and it's cold out now, we struggled to come up with sports related activities for the kids. So, we mixed her soccer theme with a tea party for the girls and their American Girl dolls.

In addition to the snacks, we served sandwiches. Then after presents the girls had tea with their cake. The dolls were their guests.

We all had a fun time. And the best part, even though it was the weekend before Thanksgiving, most of my cleaning is done for tomorrow, so all I have to do is wash the kitchen floor.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 19, 2012

You've Got Mail Monday!

It's Monday again. Time to peek into my mailbox. It was a bit slower this week, but the catalogs keep coming. A new American Girl catalog arrived. The girls are hoping for this year's doll of the year, McKenna. Oriental Trading's Fun & Faith catalog came too.

A postcard about the 2013 New England SCBWI Conference had me doing cartwheels. I didn't get to attend this year's, but my goal is to make sure I am there for 2013. I also received my latest issue of Children's Writer.

Lastly, The Christian Alphabet by Tracy Sands was delivered. I'm reviewing that one at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. I've been posting my picture book ideas for Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) there if you would like to check out potential picture books I might be working on next year. One of the books from when I participated in 2010, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, is under contract. You can find this blog at

Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations goes out to Melanie. She won the two children's picture books from tiger tales and a copy of Next Year in Jerusalem! by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. The winner has been notified by email and has 72 hours to respond.

Thanks for your participation.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Cleaning

Fall is my favorite season. Homemade applesauce, the smell of wood burning stoves, and all those leaves to jump in. The one thing I'm not overly fond of--fall cleaning. There are only two times a year I wish we had a maid--spring cleaning and fall cleaning. At least then all the basic areas would be clean and I could merely tackle the big jobs.

This year's big job--the basement. Now, you have to understand, I am the type of person who believes if I haven't used an item in a couple of years, I'm never going to, and therefore it is to be donated. The rest of the gang, however, are pack rats. I love them dearly, but I'm not overly fond of the clutter. Since we are seriously talking of finishing off the basement, I decided some decluttering was in order.

A big job like that needs to be handled in small chunks, if for no other reason than my severe allergies don't allow me to spend hours at a time in the musty, filthy basement. The first day, I tackled unused clothing. The Lil Princess (9), doubled her wardrobe thanks to my project. I found two bags worth of clothes that the Lil Diva (11) had bagged up for her little sister a year ago. Now it's all washed and hanging in the Lil Princess' closet. Clothes that would no longer fit either of them were donated to the church tag sale that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Then I tackled the shoes. We had four bags of old shoes--many still in fine shape--that the girls don't/can't wear any longer. I wiped them off, matched up pairs, and shipped them off to the church tag sale.

My lovely pack rats tend to save boxes for everything they buy. There are boxes for stereo components we no longer own. There are boxes for dishes that have long since been broken. There are boxes for the larger toys that I'm fairly certain are never going to be disassembled and put back in those boxes for any reason. Over the past two days I've made a bit of a dent in the pile, but this is one area I don't like to allow my throw away nature to run wild. If we ever move, those small appliance, computer, and other large boxes will come in handy.

Now, if I can just get my husband to part with all those spare computer parts that he's really going to do something with someday, we'll be in business.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WSJ Wednesday - Wind Power

Everyone talks about "Going Green" these days. I've made changes in our home as far as what cleaning products we buy and increasing the amount we reuse and recycle, though there isn't a lot of support here. This opinion piece by Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, talks about what happened after Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey.

Though many people and groups continue a war against oil and gas, Bryce claims the disaster-response efforts indicate there is no substitute for oil. He mentions that one of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's first requests to the federal government after the storm was quick delivery of motor-fuel supplies. Bryce goes on to state that some groups' claims that we can "run our economies solely on renewable-energy sources such as wind" is not truly a viable option. After including statistics to back up his opinion, he drives home a biting conclusion:

Sandy left millions of East Coast residents in the cold and dark. If any of them have been demanding "green" energy, I haven't heard about it. In the storm's aftermath, the most hopeful sound of recovery is the joyous racket that comes from an internal-combustion engine burning fossil fuels.

I'm on the fence about this article. Part of me says he's right. We don't have a reliable energy substitute. Having used solar-powered products in the past, I can attest to their unreliable nature. It's frustrating when you purchase a product hoping to do your part to save the planet, and then discover it doesn't work very well.

That said, I look at the Outer Banks Brewing Station, which is a totally wind-powered brewery and restaurant, and see how under some conditions, wind power is viable. They have the advantage of being close to the ocean, so it must be windy enough to supply their needs.

It's not fair to say alternatives won't work, because they can. I just don't see us ever getting rid of oil and gas entirely.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this issue.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Joyful Break Giveaway at A Family Friendly Blog

Title: A Joyful Break

Author: Diane Craver

Blog: Linda Weaver Clarke’s A Family Friendly Blog

Genre: Humorous

Giveaway Dates: Nov 12 - 19

Open to: U.S. and Canada

Teaser Tuesdays - November 13th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And wow. Who'd have thunk it?

~ page 121, The Proxy Assassin by John Knoerle

Monday, November 12, 2012

You've Got Mail Monday

I figured if I didn't share the contents of my mailbox pretty soon, you might be thinking the mail carrier doesn't love me anymore. Actually, that's far from true. The holidays will quickly be upon us, which means the arrival of catalogs galore from places I've never heard of or ordered from before.

One of those unknown places catalogs came from HearthSong®. They have some neat things, like this Putter Pool Game. I want one of those! I'm thinking of getting these Sno-Paints to put in the girls' stockings. Another new catalog in our house came from FrontGate®. I am seriously considering this iPad Caddy for the hubby. It looks stunning.

In addition to the plethora of catalogs that seem to arrive every day--so much for the world going paperless anytime soon--I received three books:

I read the second book of Knoerle's spy trilogy and was thrilled to learn the last book was out. My father-in-law has read the first two books and loved them. I haven't read the first one yet.

Melissa Francis was a name I heard from the years I watched Little House on the Prairie. She and Jason Bateman were brought onto the show late in the series run, becoming the adopted children of Charles and Caroline Ingalls (Michael Landon and Karen Grassle). I hadn't heard the name for years, until I spotted Francis on the Fox Business Network, looking much different than her LHOP character, but still with those huge, beautiful eyes. I haven't had a chance to dig into it yet, but I'm trying not to overload my review schedule in the new year, so I might have time to read it before too long. I've purchased the memoirs of three other Little House on the Prairie stars: Melissa Gilbert, Alison Arngrim, and Melissa Sue Anderson. I knew I wanted to add Francis's book to my collection.

That's it for now. I hope your preparations for Thanksgiving are going well. It will be here before you know it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Free for All Friday: Giveaway of Next Year in Jerusalem! by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

You can enter for your chance to win a copy of the romance, mystery, spiritual awakening book, Next Year in Jerusalem! by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein.

You may be wondering why I chose the title Next Year in Jerusalem! for my new novel. Why not Forbidden Romance or Romantic Travel or Spiritual Awakenings or Lust, Memories and Old Friends on Facebook? After all Natalie and Maggie are two women, both caught up in issues that many of us face: a somewhat dull but faithful husband; a bad marriage leading finally to a divorce; a desire for adventure; unsatisfied spiritual longings. They have a great friendship with each other, something research keeps confirming, keeps us young and emotionally happy, but life is far from easy for either women.

So again, why would I focus on a strange title that comes out of a book written thousands of years ago?

Here is one of the reasons. Next Year in Jerusalem! is actually a phrase that shows up at the end of the Haggadah. Those of you who are not Jewish may wonder what that is. The Haggadah is a book that the Jews have used for thousands of years to celebrate and relive the Passover experience. Many people know that the central theme of the story is how the Jews, who were slaves in Egypt, were finally able to escape and began their long journey of 40 years to get to the promised Land, which was Israel. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that this theme is universal and can be taken metaphorically for all of us. That is why when the Haggadah ends with the fourth glass of wine being drunk, and the words, "Next Year in Jerusalem!" the phrase becomes so significant.


Natalie didn’t tell David (her husband)about her other dream, the one about Jack, the Jewish fellow from Chicago who’d been around to save her from despair after she decided she wasn’t moving to Iraq. A diamond salesman, Jack now lived in London and traveled back and forth to Israel all the time.

Natalie prided herself on staying in touch with lots of people from her past. Jack was one of them. Occasionally they e-mailed and he’d friended her on Facebook two years ago. Although they hadn’t written recently, if he read her Facebook page he would know she was going to Jerusalem. What if he tried to see her? What if there was still an attraction? Would she tell David? Would he care? Would she act out?

Her life with David was so good and stable and predictable. And boring!

Did I just say boring?

No, she must have meant solid. Or did she mean solid?

Oh, I’m a wreck. I’m miserable and I can’t sleep, she continued to obsess. What about that cute secretary at the college? The one who has a sparkle in her eye whenever she talks to David? How old is she? Forty-two? Divorced and sexy. How would I know if something’s going on there?

I’m going crazy lying here, she began again. Where’s the Xanax? Already packed. Oh, that was dumb.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known positive psychologist, inspires thousands with her ENCHANTED SELF®. Around the world people benefit from her techniques to enhance well-being, and to live up to their potential. Known for her ability to make complex psychological concepts easy to understand and to implement, she has now turned her talents to novel writing. “A great fiction read is a great escape, and yet, it is more! It is the gateway to new ways of thinking and behaving.”

Dr. Holstein received her Doctorate in Education from Boston University and her BA degree from Barnard College. Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist and taught first and second grades. She is in private practice with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Find her at

Please use the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win a FREE paperback copy of the book. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Personalize Your Holiday Table with Chronicle Books

Make your Thanksgiving table unique with personalized placemats from Chronicle Books. Now 25% OFF!

Visit them online at and click on "Placemats" in the sidebar. Use promotion code: GOBBLE12!

While you're there, check out the other personalized items they offer that will make great gifts!

Fall Cleaning at The Busy Mom's Daily

You might have noticed a few less banner ads in the sidebar. That's because I got rid of a bunch of them. Some will remain, but I won't be seeking to provide more advertising space in the future. I don't have the time to seek sponsors and work on a regular schedule to provide all kinds of reviews and giveaways.

That said, I will keep updating this blog with its regular features and some product reviews. I hope to be able to keep the giveaways running. I have a new one for tomorrow and there is already one running right now.

Hope you enjoy the fewer ads.

GPS With Benefits by Vanessa Morgan Giveaway at A Family Friendly Blog

Title: GPS With Benefits
Author: Vanessa Morgan
Blog: Linda Weaver Clarke’s A Family Friendly Blog
Genre: Humorous
Giveaway Dates: Nov 5 - 12
Open to: International

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WSJ Wednesday - Four More Years

Our copy of The Wall Street Journal is at work with the hubby right now, but the front page of today's paper--like all papers--is talking about the re-election of President Barack Obama. I'll admit to being disappointed, but not surprised.

I haven't talked much about politics here, though I'm fairly certain most people know which way I lean. One thing I saw in the WSJ article by Peter Nicholas and Carole E. Lee caught my eye: "Propelling Mr. Obama to victory was the unique coalition he forged four years ago, one that reflects the changing nature of the U.S. electorate—notably, the diminished influence of white Americans and the rising clout of Latino voters." The article went on to cite certain statistics: "According to exit polls, Mr. Romney won 60% of the white vote. Mr. Obama won 38%, five points less than his 2008 showing. Not since Walter Mondale, who was swept aside by Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential race, has a Democrat recorded a smaller share of the white vote."

While TV networks will spend the next several days discussing the players in this election cycle and offer their opinions on why it turned out the way it did--How much did that 47% comment truly hurt Romney? What impact did Hurricane Sandy have on the outcome of the election? Did New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's praise of President Obama's handling of recovery efforts in his area tip the scales in the president's favor?--the average person like you and me need to move forward and find ways to cope with the lack of jobs and rising costs of living.

Honestly, no matter who won this election, politics seems to come down to two people who are so far removed from the average person's life they couldn't hope to understand where we're coming from. Running for office--even local races--takes money. Candidates running for local offices where they are faced with opposition can spend thousands of dollars. Ask me. I know. That's part of why I haven't been hot to get back into it.

Hopefully for now, politics can take a back seat to helping residents of New York and New Jersey, who are preparing for a Nor'easter while still trying to return to normalcy after Hurricane Sandy.

What did you think of the outcome of the election? Disappointed? Surprised?

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - November 6th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Among the patriots of the American Revolution, there are heroes and there are larger-than-life heroes. And then there is Nancy Morgan Hart.

~ page 51, American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom by Rick Santorum

Monday, November 5, 2012

Free for All Friday? - Children's Picture Book Giveaway

Yes, it's Monday. My excuse is that it is the Lil Princess's birthday today and I was busy this past weekend. Don't you love excuses?

To celebrate her birthday, we have two children's picture books to give away to one lucky winner.

Explore the animal alphabet from Angelfish to Zebra in this rhyming romp! Critically acclaimed team Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz have combined the popular poems of their bestselling picture books Commotion in the Ocean and Rumble in the Jungle into one dazzling collection. Also included are lots of fabulous new verses and more eye-popping illustrations. (Ages 3 - 7).

You can find my review here.

Who's afraid of the fox in the dark? Rabbit is. So are duck, Mouse and Lamb. They all squish into Rabbit's house to hide. But is the fox really as scary as they think? This is the perfect bedtime book for rabbits, ducks, mice, lambs...and children! Foil artwork highlights the stars and the title on the cover. (Ages 3- 7).

You can read my review here.

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. These books would make great presents. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Test Kitchen Thursday - Raspberry Butter Braid

In the spring, one of our daughters' schools sold Butter Braid® products as a fundraising event. Because it took time to prepare, I had kept mine in the freezer until I had time to make it. In the end, it wasn't very difficult.

You remove the Butter Braid from the freezer and place it on a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan or  11 x 17 cookie sheet. Loosely cover in plastic wrap and allow to thaw and rise at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 22 to 27 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool, slice, and drizzle icing (packet included) over braid. I ended up drizzling the icing on before I sliced it.

This was absolutely delicious! Even my girls, who aren't big pastry fans, loved it. I choose the raspberry version, but they come in a variety of yummy flavors. These are only available through fundraisers, so if you're looking for something new and unique you might want to consider Butter Braids. If I knew they were this good, I would have ordered more.