Friday, March 29, 2013

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2013)



I wasn't going to participate this year. Not only is it a huge commitment, my stats at this blog began going down during and after I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge last year. I don't blame the challenge. Maybe the content just wasn't what my readers were looking for.

This year, the challenge allows for categories. I chose History. I will do my best to make it interesting, but be forewarned, I prefer talking about Colonial America and the Civil War era more than anything else.

Hope you'll join us and follow along!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday Books: Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book: The Best Sandwiches Ever--from Thursday Nights at Campanile



When Nancy Silverton began serving sandwiches one night a week at Campanile, her and husband Mark Peel’s award-winning restaurant, she envisioned a laid-back and intimate evening when she’d be able to relax, chat with customers, and have some fun devising new and creative recipes. Well, she hasn’t had much time to relax: Sandwich Night became one of Campanile’s busiest nights, a vastly popular weekly tradition in Los Angeles and the place to be on Thursdays. And since then, sandwiches have become the latest craze to hit the American food scene.

The reason for Sandwich Night’s success is easy to understand: the sandwiches are incredible. They’re gourmet meals that happen to sit on bread, the furthest thing away from the boring old sandwiches that we usually content ourselves with. Instead of PB&J or tuna salad, how about Braised Artichokes, Ricotta, and Mint Pesto with Pine-Nut Currant Relish? Or Eggplant, Seared Tuna, and Anchoïade? Or even Bacon, Avocado, and Watercress? These open-faced sandwiches are innovative dishes that taste wonderful, look beautiful, and are perfect for entertaining.

The closed-faced sandwiches are delicious new takes on well-loved standards like the Croque Monsieur, the Monte Cristo, the Reuben, and, of course, everyone’s favorite, the Classic Grilled Cheese. Also included are Nancy’s creative sort-of sandwiches—Fondue the Swiss Way, Snackbreads, and Skewered Mozzarella—and tea sandwiches, wonderful creations that will banish memories of limp watercress and insipid egg salad forever. As if this isn’t enough, there are the mouthwatering sandwich cakes and cookies, like the Open-Faced Berry Brioche Sandwich, Chocolate Cake Club Sandwich, and Almost Oreos.

There are recipes for some truly addictive bar snacks, like Cheese Fritters and Candied Spicy Walnuts, to serve before the meal. And there are also recipes for tantalizing spreads and condiments that go well beyond the ordinary. Finally, for the cook who wants to make everything from scratch, Nancy has included recipes for different breads, from Brioche to Hot Dog Buns, based on those from her world-famous La Brea Bakery.

Written in Nancy’s charming, down-to-earth style, these recipes are versatile and easy to follow. As good to look at as they are to eat, these sandwiches offer a new, creative solution to entertaining and will be a valuable addition to the home cook’s repertoire. The result: Sandwich Night is sure to be a hit in your home, too.

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Knopf; Reprint edition (September 6, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375711147
ISBN-13: 978-0375711145

Monday, March 25, 2013

You've Got Mail Monday




The postman was working overtime to deliver mail to my house this week. Between catalogs and books, the poor guy must have broken his back.

Gardner's Supply Company, Burpee, and Ballard Designs all sent me their latest catalogs. I'm seriously thinking about what I can do for edging in between my raised beds this year. The grass grew all around them last year, making it a chore for the hubby to take care of. Maybe some Coco Fiber Edging will work. I still haven't ordered my seeds yet, either, so I better get started.

A plethora of books arrived last week. I'm doing my Snoopy dance over it, even if I won't get to read them right away. Tiger tales sent me many of their spring books to review at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. I ordered two used books from Amazon: Black Women in White America edited by Gerda Lerner and Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America by Sara M. Evans. A prolific writer, Lerner was a pioneer of women's history. She passed away at the age of 92 this January.

I'll be reviewing This is How To Get Your Next Job by Andrea Kay over at The Book Connection. The publisher accidentally sent me two copies of the book, so I'll be offering one as a giveaway here soon. Finally, Philip Rock's Greville Family Saga was re-released due to the popularity of Downton Abbey. I won this trilogy and can't wait to start reading it. I know it will be awhile, but I might try to squeeze the books in between my other books for review.

I think that's it for this peek into my mailbox. I hope you have a great week.


Interview and Giveaway with Rachelle Ayala, Author of Hidden Under Her Heart


Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle Ayala has written three novels. Michal’s Window is a powerful and emotional journey as lived through the eyes of Princess Michal, King David’s first wife. Broken Build is a story of redemption and healing where a man learns to love and trust the woman who destroyed his life. Finally, Hidden Under Her Heart is concerned with forgiveness in the face of judgment over abortion.

Visit her at: Website: http://rachelleayala.me Blog: http://www.rachelleayala.com or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.

When did you begin writing?

Writing has always been a part of my life, but until a few years ago, I never thought about releasing any of my writing to the public. I used to type up a story and share it with my friends, or at the most, e-mail them to friends and acquaintances who’d encourage me. However the thought of finding a publisher held me back and I had other priorities in my career and family. This all changed when I was drawn into the story of Princess Michal, the daughter of King Saul. Her story jumped off the pages of Scripture and compelled me to take a deeper look at her. She was the first wife of King David, the princess who he married after paying in Philistine foreskins, and the only woman in the Bible that loved a man. Once I started writing her story, I became obsessed with perfecting it. I self-published it February 2012 and have since published two more novels and haven’t looked back.

What is this book about?

Hidden Under Her Heart is a story about a young nurse struggling with her decision to abort after being raped. It shows the emotional consequences of abortion on both men and women.

What inspired you to write it?

2013 marks 40 years of legalized abortion in the United States. 53 million lives have been lost and countless others have been impacted. I decided to write a non-political fictional story exploring both sides of the abortion decision. One out of every three women of childbearing age in America has had an abortion. I would bet that a similar percentage of men have been touched by it. I came up with the idea while brainstorming a romantic suspense story about a woman who wanted to catch a rapist by keeping her baby. The story transformed into something different when I realized prenatal testing could very well extract the baby’s DNA, so there went my plot!

Who is your favorite character from the book?


None other than the hero, Lucas Knight. He is the ultimate swoonworthy romantic hero: athletic and hot, but with morals. He’s concerned about Maryanne and is willing to sacrifice his own short term goals to ensure she does not make a mistake she would regret.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

It is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Diesel and Smashwords. Readers can find all of the links at my Book Page: http://www.rachelleayala.com/p/hidden-under-her-heart.html

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write true to your heart. You are the best person to tell the story you’re writing. Believe in your uniqueness and that you have something worthwhile to say.

What is up next for you?

Another romance. I love romances because they are optimistic stories with a happy ending. That said, I like my characters to face tough issues and challenges, grow and change for the better before granting them the victory. The story taking shape involves a woman who cannot fall in love because she suspects her father is a murderer. The hero, who used to be a player has suffered a crippling disability and ironically, is ready to fall in love, even though he now feels he is unworthy of love.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes, thank you for featuring me and my story on your blog. To the readers: I sincerely hope that my stories will touch your life and your heart. Everyone has a story to tell, and I can’t wait to hear yours.

Enter the 
Hidden Under Her Heart Giveaway!
Chance to win one of three great prizes!

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. 



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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Follower Giveaway Winners!



We have some winners! Here is the list of winners in the Follower Giveaway.

Annah S. won the $25 Amazon gift card

Susanne D. won Prize pack 3

Tayet won Prize pack 1

Patty W. won Prize pack 4

Janet E. won Prize pack 2

I used Rafflecopter do run the giveaway and then selected which prizes went to which winners by using Random.org. All winners have been notified.

Thanks to all who participated. More giveaways are coming soon.

Why I Decided to Go Back To Washing my Lights In Warm Water



I started washing in only cold water a few years ago. Talk of cost savings influenced my decision. Recently, however, I decided to go back to washing my lights/whites in warm water.

Why?

The cost savings wasn't substantial enough to justify the additional chemicals I had to use to get my family's clothes clean. I've tried detergents meant specifically for washing in cold water, but they didn't cut it. Maybe my family is just a bunch of messy Bessys. I've tried different stain removers, but in cold water they weren't as effective as they are in warm.

I went ahead and read this article about washing in hot versus cold. The only time I wash in hot is when washing sheets, but it's rare I do that. When we had that lice scare I did it, but I feel warm water works fine most of the time. Here is what I learned from the article:


  • "...cold water weighs more so natural fabrics like cotton actually soak up more water, which will add to your drying time"
  • "When you are washing at 80-60 degrees Fahrenheit, soap works 70-90% less effectively within the same amount of time time as it would in warm water."

I also followed a link from the article to this website that allowed me to calculate the cost of washing my clothes. At our current rates, we were only saving around $3 a month by washing in cold. Those savings were eaten up by additional washings when clothes didn't come out clean and purchasing a variety of stain removers.

In addition, this website suggests washing your clothes in the right temperature will help them last longer. Here is what they had to say about temperatures:

"Choosing the Right Temperature
Selecting the right water temperature for your wash is important to keep clothes clean and bright without fading, stretching or damaging the fabric.

•Hot Water: Choose “hot” water for the initial wash cycle on white cotton fabrics such as underwear, socks and sheets. Hot water (120 to 140 F) will kill the bacteria and keep whites bright.
•Warm Water: Pick “warm” water for synthetic, wrinkle-free and permanent press fabrics to prevent them from fading and damaging the material. Warm water (85 to 105 F) will keep colors bright while protecting the fabric.
•Cold Water: Use “cold” water for dark colors and delicate fabrics, as well as for the final rinse cycle on all fabrics. Cold water (65 to 75 F) will help prolong the life of delicates."

This won't work for everyone, but I felt it was the right decision for our family.




Tips from a Busy Mom: Taming Morning Madness


I don't know how it is at your house, but mornings are crazy around here. It's easy to get overwhelmed. With two kids going to school at different times this year, I have to make sure our mornings run as smoothly as possible. Here are a few things I do to make mornings easier:


  1. Makes lunches the night before. Right now, I have one child who eats school lunch almost every day (not sure how she stomachs that), one who has a homemade lunch, and a hubby who takes lunch to work three to four times a week. There is no way I could get everyone off to where they need to go on time if I tried to make lunches in the morning. And actually, I've found it much easier to make the Lil' Diva's lunch right when she comes home from school these days. I'm already downstairs because I try not to work in my office when they're home. She has her afternoon snack and I pack her lunch for the next day, which makes my evening less crazy, too. 
  2. Set out clothes the night before or have some idea of what the kids are going to wear. When the girls were younger, I would set their clothes out the night before. At this point, they are old enough to choose their own clothes, but one day I won't be waking them up for school or picking clothes out of their closets for them, so while they still want me to do it, I will. When I shag them out of bed in the mornings, I grab an outfit I know they like from their closets and carry it downstairs with me. It's part of our routine and works well. 
  3. Keep their backpacks in the same spot every day. Each of my girls has one spot that their backpacks go once they are done with homework. That way we aren't searching high and low for backpacks--or homework--in the morning. 
  4. Plan the morning menu the night before. My husband gets his own breakfast, but the girls don't yet. If I plan what I will make for them the night before, then I'm not bugging half-asleep children to tell me what they want to eat. Each night before bed, they spend an hour watching TV with their dad and read with me for half an hour. In between those activities, we discuss breakfast, so we always have a morning plan.

Do you have any morning madness tips?

Tom Weston's Feathered Book Blast and Giveaway


Whenever Alexandra Caroline O’Rourke, AKA Alex, met with trouble, she generally blamed her younger sister, Jackie. And Alex’s sudden engagement to marry a Viking prince, against her will, probably classified as trouble. If nothing else, a wedding held in 11th century Ireland would make it difficult to invite her friends from San Diego. Regardless of blame, Jackie was the only person who could help Alex, but Jackie was still in the 21st century. And Jackie had her own problems, which included uncooperative fairies and strange songs which only she could hear. But most of all, if Jackie could not find a way to make it rain, marauding Vikings would be the least of their worries, because this is Feathered: being a fairy tale and this is an Alex and Jackie Adventure.


Purchase your copy:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE 



Hardcover: 326 pages
Publisher: tom weston media (December 5, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985036109
ISBN-13: 978-0985036102


Award winning writer and film-maker, Tom Weston, returns to the fantasy genre for his 3rd novel in the Alex and Jackie Adventure series, FEATHERED: BEING A FAIRY TALE. Originally from England, Tom now resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Before turning his hand to fiction, Tom had a successful career as the CEO of a consulting company, conference speaker and writer of industry articles and business books. But determining that the business world lacked a sense of humor, Tom decided to hand in his jacket and tie and instead turned to the world of literature. His novel, FIRST NIGHT, set in Boston during the New Year’s Eve festival, introduced the unlikely heroines, Alex and Jackie, and the ghost of a 17th century Puritan named Sarah Pemberton. FIRST NIGHT won an Honorable Mention in the Middle-Grade/Young Adult category, in the Writers Digest 17th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards. The sequel to FIRST NIGHT, called THE ELF OF LUXEMBOURG, was published in January, 2010. As with FIRST NIGHT, THE ELF OF LUXEMBOURG is also a supernatural mystery, with a blend of humor and history that has become Tom’s trademark. Following the publication of THE ELF OF LUXEMBOURG, Tom turned to the medium of film to produce and direct the award winning animated short, THERE BE MONSTERS!, based on one of his TALES FROM THE GREEN DRAGON TAVERN. Tom also wrote the critically acclaimed and award winning, Historical Fiction novel, FISSION, based on the true life story of scientist, Lise Meitner. Tom is now working on a new animated short called DANCING DAISY DAY.


Visit Tom Online:

WEBSITE | TWITTER


Pump Up Your Book and Tom Weston are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Here’s how it works:


Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 4 – 29. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on March 30, 2013. Good luck everyone!


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If the Rafflecopter form doesn't load, please visit the Feathered tour page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/02/pump-up-your-book-presents-tom-westons-feathered-book-blast-win-25-amazon-gc-autographed-copy-of-feathered/

January Justice Book Blast and Giveaway


Reeling from his wife’s unsolved murder, Malcolm Cutter is just going through the motions as a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood’s rich and famous. Then a pair of Guatemalan tough guys offer him a job. It’s an open question whether they’re patriotic revolutionaries or vicious terrorists. Either way, Cutter doesn’t much care until he gets a bomb through his window, a gangland beating on the streets of L.A., and three bullets in the chest. Now there’s another murder on Cutter’s Mind. His own.

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AGAW6EC

Athol Dickson’s mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol’s They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013.

Critics have favorably compared Athol’s work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California.

Website: http://www.malcolmcutter.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AtholDickson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Athol-Dickson/416622918355206

Pump Up Your Book and Athol Dickson are teaming up to give you a chance to win a fabulous prize!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 18 – Mar 22. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email, and announced on March 25, 2013. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

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If the Rafflecopter form doesn't load, please visit the JANUARY JUSTICE TOUR PAGE to enter the giveaway: http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/27/pump-up-your-book-presents-athol-dicksons-january-justice-book-blast-%E2%80%93-win-25-amazon-gift-card/


JANUARY JUSTICE BOOK BLAST SCHEDULE

Monday, March 18th
Tuesday, March 19th
Wednesday, March 20th
Thursday, March 21st
Friday, March 22nd




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guest Post and Giveaway: Starseed Blog Tour with Liz Gruder

Tour Schedule


Starseed

Author: Liz Gruder

ISBN: 978-1937178291

Publisher: WiDo Publishing

Published: February 2013


SUMMARY

Starseed concerns a sixteen-year-old girl who falls in love with a starseed boy who reveals that she, too, is half extraterrestrial, and is forced to choose her allegiance between Earth and her star family.

Kaila Guidry has always known she is different. When she meets Jordyn Stryker at school, she finds out just how different.

Jordyn was born and raised far from Earth, a starseed, one of six new students sent to Louisiana's Bush High to learn human ways. But Jordyn didn't count on meeting someone like Kaila.

When Kaila is pushed to her limit by high school bullying and cruelty, Jordyn awakens her to a new reality—and to love. But to prove herself, Kaila must look the other way as the real purposes of the starseeds unfold.

As the horrific plan behind the starseed visit to Earth moves inexorably forward, Kaila and Jordan, caught in an impossible love, must determine where their true loyalties lie.


Working Modern Day Topics (bullying) into a Sci-fi Setting by Liz Gruder


I set Starseed on Earth, taking place in high school, because when reading science fiction, it’s important to relate to the situation and characters. It’s also why I had the protagonist, Kaila Guidry, who is half-human and half-extraterrestrial, raised in Louisiana and unaware of her ET origins. Yet, from chapter one, it’s apparent to the reader that Kaila is different and has heightened abilities such as telepathy, as she can communicate with her dogs and receives a vision of her mother’s abduction with the aliens. The reader has a sense when Kaila rebels from homeschooling to go to school, that there will be problems. This is a science-fiction set-up for a real-life situation of bullying.

When I was in elementary school there was this boy who was overweight and stuttered. People made brutal fun of him. We had to give others a valentine and he tried to give me a heart necklace. He got so red and he stuttered “I-I-I” … He could not speak. I took the necklace and thanked him. He couldn’t look me in the eye and finally ran away, leaving the bullies to open prey. His discomfort stayed with me to this day.

When I asked my daughter about the worst bullying she’d seen in school, she told of a girl who had a "secret" crush on the quarterback. In our town, it’s a custom that players can get on the loudspeaker and make announcements if they win a game. The quarterback got on the loudspeaker and announced to the whole stadium that he knew this girl had a huge crush on him, but that she was the biggest LOSER and he wouldn't be caught dead with such a NERD and she should just DIE.”

I couldn’t imagine a worse public humiliation—being attacked in front of a packed football stadium. I used that scene in Starseed. So imagine being telepathic and an empath--to feel what another feels. Imagine that this girl is someone you know from your physics class and she’s sitting behind you while the quarterback calls her a LOSER and to DIE. What would you feel?

Though it’s not fair or right, we see people judged on how they look, how they’re dressed, how they think, what they believe. If you fall out of the mainstream notions of looks, interests or beliefs, you can subject yourself to ridicule—and there is nowhere this is more true than high school.

Kaila is a normal sixteen-year-old in that she wants to have friends and know what group she fits in. When she understands she is half human AND half extraterrestrial, this not knowing where she belongs grows worse. There’s this mentality that we have to have a “group” because that defines us, and gives a sense of security. That’s why I made Kaila’s friends, Melissa and Pia, as saying they are “undefinables” because they can hang with every group.

When Kaila goes to school, she meets Jordyn Stryker, who is a hybrid too, but he is part of a “hive” who was raised far from Earth. It’s not hard to imagine how he and his fellow aliens would view the school “groups” and bullying. But even within the alien students, there are differences and disagreements. Isn’t it alien bullying if you judge human students as primitive animals that you can rip out of their beds at night and do mind control experiments on them like lab rats?

I don’t take the stance that the aliens are either all good or all bad—there are both in Starseed. So by using this idea that we all judge each other, I believe it’s our task to soften our belief systems and open our hearts to create a more loving world—and universe. Without it, we can never hope for peace. And certainly not first contact. We’d likely bully the aliens away, calling them LOSERS, because they don’t look or believe like us.

Purchase



Author Liz Gruder

As a youth, Liz Gruder saw a series of UFOs with her best friend while riding bikes. Ever since, she’s held a fascination for the stars. An avid reader, she used to hide under her covers and read with a flashlight. She has degrees in English and Psychology from Tulane University, a nursing license and a yoga certification. After going through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Liz realized how short life is and is now slowly fulfilling her bucket list: she’s been to the Egyptian pyramids (totally awesome and thought provoking) and is now teaching yoga and writing speculative fiction. Starseed is her debut novel.








Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/10/13



Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays - March 19th

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!



She went into the cute little apartment, set the box down and then looked out the peephole. He was gone.

~ Page 195 from The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Before I Formed You Foundation



If we can turn just one mother’s heart toward God and save an unborn life, what is that worth?

Temecula, CA – March 2013 – The Before I Formed You Foundation, a not-for profit organization, has a mission . . . to reach out to every Crisis Pregnancy Center, Abortion Clinic, Planned Parenthood center, Legislator and OB/GYN in the nation.

Renowned Christian artist, Ron DiCianni and his son Grant developed the foundation around Ron’s painting titled “Before I Formed You In The Womb . . .” (Jeremiah 1:5). This beautiful painting is a celebration of life and shows God's design behind each unborn child. The painting was crafted by the hands of an abortion survivor to visually showcase that each life is precious to the Creator.  

You can read Ron’s story of abortion survival on the foundation website: www.formedyou.org

A picture does paint a thousand words and it's our hope that by using this image we can visually impact every single person involved in the abortion process.

Both Ron and Grant DiCianni (co-founders) are available for interviews.

For more information on The Before I Formed You Foundation and how you can pray, share, donate or sponsor go to:  www.formedyou.org

You've Got Mail Monday



Spring. Spring. Where for art thou, spring? I am so ready to get out into the yard and clean up, but the weather isn't cooperating. They are calling for 4 - 8 inches of snow/sleet starting tonight into Tuesday afternoon. Really? The snow from the last storm hasn't all melted yet.

Two things arrived in the mailbox last week that reminded me of spring, too. The Womanswork catalog, which carries garden gloves and gardening supplies and my April 2013 issue of Traditional Home. This issue features a series of garden rooms in Charleston's historic district.

I've been tossing around ideas for this year's garden. Last year, we bought raised beds, which I think I will do again this year. I'll keep the ones we have and maybe buy three new ones. That would give me 6 - 42 x 42 inch gardening plots. The raised beds I bought from The Home Depot last year worked great, so I would be buying the same ones. I didn't like the pest control netting I used last year, so I'm open for suggestions on what would be good to try. I don't want to add something too permanent, since I never know what the hubby has planned for the yard.

That's it for this week's edition of You've Got Mail Monday. Hope you have a great week.




Friday, March 15, 2013

Little House on the Prairie's Nellie Oleson Interview Tonight at HuffPost Live


Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson, Little House on the Prairie NBC) will be interviewed tonight at 4PM Pacific at HuffPost Live.

Nellie Oleson was the girl everyone loved to hate. She caused trouble for the Ingalls girls, most notably Laura. Who could forget how Nellie abused Laura's beloved pony, Bunny, or how Nellie feigned being paralyzed after being thrown from Bunny, turning Laura into her slave? How about the time Nellie secretly recorded Laura with her talking machine and then revealed Laura's secret crush to the entire class? And it was Nellie who convinced Laura that the test for her teaching certificate would be all vocabulary instead of history.

Come learn more about Arngrim and how playing Nellie Oleson saved her life. For more information visit this link: http://live.huffingtonpost.com/#r/segment/alison-arngrim-little-house-on-the-praire-/513f7f272b8c2a0bc50000db



Thy Kingdom Come Book Blast and Giveaway with Lakesha Monique Ruise


After petitioning the Father for answers to basic theological questions about the universal church, she took an eight-year journey with the Holy Spirit to provide clarity for herself about His vision.

Thy Kingdom Come provides readers with that clarity.

For anyone wondering what has happened to the Church, for anyone whose faith in God has been diminished, for anyone whose life has been destroyed by the yolks of bondage, Ruise offers new answers. She encourages her readers to follow along in the Bible itself to see how each of her lessons is validated by the Word of God.

“We perish because we don’t know how to survive,” writes Ruise. Thy Kingdom Come offers not only an apt diagnosis of the problem, but equips readers with the cure, as well. It is an excellent source book for Biblical history and spiritual revelation and it prompts valuable internalizing and soul-searching for veteran Christians as well as for new converts.




Link to book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1432787683/

Link to book at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thy-kingdom-come-lakesha-monique-ruise/1114171729



Lady Ruise is a native of Thomasville Georgia. She is the First Lady of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ in Macclenny Florida. She medically retired from the U S Navy in 2007. Since her retirement, she obtained a degree in respiratory therapy and works as a Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner. She has a strong Christian background. She dedicated her life to the Lord at the age of 9 and became a minister at the age of 14. She has been licensed through the Holiness Church and the Baptist church as a minister for the past 24 years. She has been mentored by countless Pastors and Elders in the COGIC, Holiness Church, and the Baptist Church. She currently labors in ministry with her husband Pastor Joe Nathan Ruise as a praise team leader. She is also the president and founder of the Baker County Circle of Sisters in Macclenny, Fl. Lakesha Ruise is a prayer-warrior and intercessor, who is holy-ghost filled with an assignment from Jesus Christ to build his church!

Website Address: www.theerrorproofchurch.com

Twitter Address: https://twitter.com/ThyCome

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/#!/lakesha.ruise.5

Pump Up Your Book and Lakesha Monique Ruise are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 8 – Apr 8. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on April 12, 2013. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the Rafflecopter form doesn't load, please visit the THY KINGDOM COME TOUR PAGE to enter the giveaway:

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/24/pump-up-your-book-presents-lakesha-monique-ruises-thy-kingdom-come-book-blast-win-25-visa-gift-card/



Thy Kingdom Come Book Blast Schedule

———————–

Friday March 8th
Monday, March 11th
Tuesday, March 12th
Wednesday, March 13th
Thursday, March 14th
Friday, March 15th
Monday, March 18th
Tuesday, March 19th
Wednesday, March 20th
Thursday, March 21st
Friday, March 22nd
Monday, March 25th
Tuesday, March 26th
Wednesday, March 27th
Thursday, March 28th
Friday, March 29th – OPEN
Monday, April 1st
Tuesday, April 2nd – OPEN
Wednesday, April 3rd
Thursday, April 4th
Friday, April 5th – OPEN
Monday, April 8th

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Books: The Thursday Friend by Catherine Cookson


Hannah and Humphrey Drayton were regarded by all who knew them as the perfect married couple. However, all was not as it appeared on the surface, and after years of tyranny and loneliness, Hannah could no longer bear this stuffy City broker. The only relief she had was from his absence on Thursday evenings, when he played bridge with a group of acquaintances, and at weekends, which he spent with an elderly couple who regarded him as the son they had never had.

Hannah, in despair and in the face of her husband’s ridicule, took refuge in her writing, and it was the completion of a book for children that took her to the office of a publisher, a visit that was to change her life. There she was to meet David Graventon, an assistant to the publisher, and a man she was soon to think of as her Thursday Friend.

Taking advantage of Humphrey’s absences, she and David would meet and talk, visit the theatre and the cinema – activities she had never enjoyed with her husband. He, of course, knew nothing of Hannah’s ‘other life’, being preoccupied with protecting what he imagined were his future interests. And even when he became aware that she was seeing someone his thoughts of revenge were hamstrung by a secret of his own.

Then an event occurred that was to destroy all his prospects, causing him to plan a bitter retaliation for what he regarded as his wife’s betrayal. As for Hannah, her Thursday Friend was to become the saviour of her very existence – but would he manage to resolve his own not inconsiderable personal difficulties and offer Hannah the happiness she craved? With its deceptively simple theme, The Thursday Friend is a remarkable novel that explores the complexities of human relationships.


File Size: 537 KB
Print Length: 380 pages
Publisher: Peach Publishing (March 24, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B004TO6DNQ


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday




Starseed Book Blast and Giveaway with Liz Gruder


Starseed

Author: Liz Gruder

ISBN: 978-1937178291

Publisher: WiDo Publishing

Published: February 2013


SUMMARY

Kaila Guidry has always known she is different. When she meets Jordyn Stryker at school, she finds out just how different.

Jordyn was born and raised far from Earth, a starseed, one of six new students sent to Louisiana's Bush High to learn human ways. But Jordyn didn't count on meeting someone like Kaila.

When Kaila is pushed to her limit by high school bullying and cruelty, Jordyn awakens her to a new reality—and to love. But to prove herself, Kaila must look the other way as the real purposes of the starseeds unfold.

As the horrific plan behind the starseed visit to Earth moves inexorably forward, Kaila and Jordan, caught in an impossible love, must determine where their true loyalties lie.

Praise

"You know from the opening paragraph that something very strange is going on… We see Kaila try to live the life of a normal teen, and we see her "otherness" pull her back into an increasingly tangled web of questions, deceit, and hidden intentions. Liz really shines as a writer, lining the closets and drawers of everyday life with spine-chilling suspense that springs out at you when you least expect it. Starseed is an entertaining read. I highly recommend."

--Patricia B. Smith. Author “What the Animals Tell Me” and “Fifty Shades of Santa” (clean romance fiction)

"Liz Gruder’s characters come alive through youthful, spunky narrative, and her headstrong heroine, Kaila Guidry, elicits a reader’s encouragement from the first page. Fans of Amanda Hocking will find themselves similarly transported into Gruder’s exploration of the dark sides of faith, love, higher dimensions, and, of course, high school."

--Jadie Jones, young-adult fantasy author


Purchase



Author Liz Gruder

As a youth, Liz Gruder saw a series of UFOs with her best friend while riding bikes. Ever since, she’s held a fascination for the stars. An avid reader, she used to hide under her covers and read with a flashlight. She has degrees in English and Psychology from Tulane University, a nursing license and a yoga certification. After going through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Liz realized how short life is and is now slowly fulfilling her bucket list: she’s been to the Egyptian pyramids (totally awesome and thought provoking) and is now teaching yoga and writing speculative fiction. Starseed is her debut novel.








Tour Schedule








Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/7/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 11, 2013

Call for Submissions for Writing and Your Spouse Anthology


You see it all the time in dedications and acknowledgements of books: Words like: “To my dear husband, who has supported my writing all throughout the years in spite of the odds,” or “To my wife, who never stopped believing in me.”

But what happens when your ‘significant other’ doesn’t support your writing, either because he thinks you’ll never make it or because she thinks you’re wasting your time and efforts for nothing?

Writers often talk about their supportive spouses/partners, but seldom do we hear about the unsupportive ones—mainly because it is a cause of great sadness and shame to the writer.

I’ve heard of cases where a husband told his writer wife flat out, “You’ll never make it.” I even once heard a story about a husband who was so jealous of his wife’s ‘writing world,’ that he burned her manuscript.

Though I don’t have a working title yet, I’m looking for 2,500-3,000-word (or longer) honest, poignant first-person accounts in the style of Chicken Soup for the Soul series. That is, true stories that are ultimately inspirational and show a great deal of perseverance and determination from the part of the writer in spite of the odds—in short, essays that will offer hope and moral support to writers who are experiencing a similar situation. The essays will be compiled into an anthology.


  • Does your significant other totally ignore your ‘writing world’ or view it with contempt either because you’re not making enough money or because they feel jealous?
  • Does he/she refuse to consider your writing as anything other than a ‘mere hobby?’
  • Does he/she belittle or demean your ‘writer dreams?’
  • Does he/she believe you’re wasting your time and should be spending that time in something more ‘valuable?’
  • Does he/she make you feel guilty for those hours you spend writing?
  • Does he/she say they understand, but then they put demands on your writing time and don’t respect it?
  • Is he/she jealous of the time you spend writing at the computer?
  • How does their behavior make you feel as a person and as a writer?
  • To what extent does their criticism contribute to your insecurity, anxiety, and maybe even depression?
  • How do you cope with their behavior?
  • What keeps you writing and persevering in spite of all the odds?
  • What would you like he/she to understand about you as a writer?


I talked about this idea with my agent and she’d be interested in representing this type of project providing I come up with a compelling set of personal essays. Of course, submissions will be treated in confidentiality and real names of people and places can be replaced with fictional ones.

Deadline: March 31st 2013

If you’re interested in submitting or if you have questions, you can drop me an email at:mayra.calvani@gmail.com.

Book Spotlight and Kindle Fire HD Giveaway for Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic by Richard Blunt

Grand Theft Magic 2

After a field trip suddenly turns into a near catastrophe Lucas and the others shift into high gear to avenge their injured friend. But when an unexpected foe arrives at the scene they quickly find themselves in a life or death situation that not even their extraordinary skills can solve. Realizing that they have bitten off more than they can chew Lucas desperately starts looking for trustworthy allies, just to find out once again that things are never as easy as they appear at first.

Can they survive the battles at hand? Will they be able to tell friend from foe? Or will the epic quest they have stumbled into be too much for them to handle?

Follow Lucas Trent and his friends through an action-paced story of mysteries, secrets and deceptions and find out…

Purchase at Amazon!



Publishing under a pen name to keep his personal life separate from his writing life, Richard Blunt was raised in the heart of Europe, in a nation where English is not the native language. Like his heroes, Richard blunt is nothing more than a shadow – a specter that whispers a story for everyone to hear.

His latest book is Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic.

You can visit his website at www.lucastrent.com and his blog at http://richardblunt.blogspot.com/.

~ ~ ~ NEW KINDLE FIRE HD GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~

Pump Up Your Book and Richard Blunt are teaming up to give you a chance to win a new Kindle Fire HD!

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from December 3 – March 15. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on March 16, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




If the Rafflecopter form does not load, please visit the Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic Tour Page at
http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2012/11/25/pump-up-your-book-presents-lucas-trent-3-grand-theft-magic-virtual-book-publicity-tour/ for your chance to enter and win. Good luck!


Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

Tuesday, December 4
Interview at Literarily Speaking
Wednesday, December 5
Book Trailer of the Week at Pump Up Your Book
Thursday, December 6
Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Friday, December 7
Character Interview at Beyond the Books
Monday, December 10
Interview at Blogcritics
Wednesday, January 2
Book Trailer Reveal at Delphina Reads Too Much
Thursday, January 3
Book Trailer Spotlight at If Books Could Talk
Monday, January 7
Interview at The Dark Phantom
Wednesday, January 9
Thursday, January 10
Monday, January 14
Interview at Between the Covers
Wednesday, January 16
Interview at As the Pages Turn
Friday, January 18
Interview at Broowaha
Monday, January 21
Tuesday, January 22
Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, January 23
Friday, January 25
Monday, February 4
Book Trailer Reveal at Library Girl Reads
Wednesday, February 6
Book Feature at Book Marketing Buzz
Thursday, February 7
Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Monday, February 11
Book Trailer Reveal at Hardcover Feedback
Tuesday, February 12
Interview at Book Marketing Buzz
Wednesday, February 13
Interview at Examiner
Friday, February 15
Guest Blogging at The Top Shelf
Monday, February 18
Book Trailer Reveal at The Writer’s Life
Tuesday, February 19
Read-A-Chapter at As the Pages Turn
Wednesday, February 20
Guest Blogging at Literarily Speaking
Friday, February 22
Interview at The Writer’s Life
Monday, February 25
Interview at Bunny’s Reviews
Monday, March 4
Guest Blogging at Chapter by Chapter
Tuesday, March 5
Book Review at Offbeat Vagabond
Wednesday, March 6
Book Trailer Reveal at Celtic Lady’s Reviews
Friday, March 8
Monday, March 11
Book Feature & Book Giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily
Tuesday, March 12
Book Spotlight at Plug Your Book
Wednesday, March 13
Interview at American Chronicle
Thursday, March 14
Guest Blogging & Book Giveaway at Bookhounds YA
Friday, March 15
Guest Blogging at YA Book Addict
Book Trailer Reveal at Miki’s Hope
Guest Blogging at PageTurners