Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween with Last-Minute Costume Ideas

The Lil' Diva inspecting pumpkins

I enjoy Halloween. I'm not much into zombies and goblins, but the cute aspects of it are fine. We choose more of a harvest theme for our decorations. It's become a tradition around here that two weeks before Halloween we visit our local farmers market and pick out pumpkins. We carve them the week leading up to Halloween so they last. On Halloween night, the girls get together with their friends and walk through our neighborhood with their dads, while the moms stay home and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Then the girls and their dad hop in the car and visit their grandparents. 

What are some of your Halloween or harvest time traditions?

The Lil' Princess humoring her camera-toting Dad

Here are links to some last minute Halloween costume ideas:

Some of the ideas on this site are more adult than others, but most of them are good:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

End of Summer Giveaway! Tons of Books!

Best of intentions with posting these on a weekly basis, but it never happened. I am going to list separate Rafflecopter codes with each Book Package that is up for grabs in the End of Summer Giveaway. We will start with number 2, since I already ran one of these giveaways. Some of these books are ARCs; some I got through the Amazon VINE program; and others were duplicates of books we already had. Most of them have been read only once and a few of them not at all. I'll leave this giveaway running until Veteran's Day. Good luck!

Book Package #2

  • Belle of the Glades by Cheryl Abney (Christian MG)
  • Wright on Time®: Arizona, Book 1 by Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley (MG)
  • ARC of Bindi Wildlife Adventures: Trouble at the Zoo by Chris Kunz (MG)
  • ARC of Bindi Wildlife Adventures: Rescue! by Jess Black (MG)
  • ARC of The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi (YA)
  • Untimed by Andy Gavin (YA)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Package #3

  • A Quaker Cupboard by David Madden
  • Autographed copy of Sprung From the Soul by David Madden
  • Autographed copy of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia by Patricia Neely-Dorsey
  • Autographed copy of My Magnolia Memories and Musings by Patricia Neely-Dorsey
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Package #4

  • Autographed copy of Words to Write By: Author Devotionals compiled by Robin Bayne
  • Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers by Suzanne Woods Fisher, Debora M. Coty, Faith Tibbetts McDonald, and Joanna Bloss
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Package #5

  • Beside Two Rivers and Beyond the Valley, books 2 and 3 of Daughters of the Potomac Series by Rita Gerlach (each stand alone historical drama/romance novels with unrelated characters)
  • What Did Jesus Say?: The Seven Messages from the Master by Rev. Terry Allan Christian
  • Who I Be by Annie Brown
  • God's Special Forces: A Manual for Becoming a Young Woman of Quality by Darlene Laney

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Package #6

  • The Look of Love by Bella Andre (new)
  • All He Ever Desired  and All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey (new Books 5 and 6, stand alone novels in The Kowalski Family series set in Maine)
  • Bungalow Nights and The Love Shack by Christie Ridgway (new stand alone books 2 and 3 in the Beach House No. 9 Series)
  • Autographed copy of Traveling for Love: Searching for Self, Hoping for Love by Becky Due (women's fiction)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sharing: History of Christmas Ornaments

Lil' Princess, Nov 2009

I was browsing through blogs looking for blog tour hosts when I came across this sponsored post about the history of Christmas tree ornaments. Being the girl with the Christmas fetish, I simply had to share. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Product Review: Truvia Natural Sweetener

This product sample came to me through Crowdtap. I received two cellophane wrapped sample packets. Each one included two single use Truvia® natural sweetener packs and a coupon for 55 cents off on any size of Truvia natural sweetener. We used one sample packet and I shared the other with my mother-in-law, who uses calorie-free sweetener on a regular basis.

Because I like to get a good sampling from my household, I went ahead and purchased a box of Truvia on my regular grocery shopping trip, so that I could have enough packets to share here. I slipped the Truvia into coffee and tea, so no one else knew beforehand. Both of my girls felt the Truvia didn't provide as much flavor as our regular calorie-free sweetener, so they wanted to use two packets as compared to one of our usual brand. My husband and I didn't notice any difference between them in that regard, but Truvia has a nice taste to it and we both like that it is an all-natural product versus a product whose two main ingredients are Nutritive Dextrose and Saccharin.

For the time being, we are a two brand calorie-free sweetener family, but I'm hoping over time the girls will give Truvia another try and make the switch.

I received free samples of this product through Crowdtap. I also purchased additional product in order to sample my entire household. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

You've Got Mail Monday

What a crazy place it is around here. I'll be brief in my post today because I have a million things to do.

I've definitely made my way--for better or worse--onto someone's mailing list. I received a postcard about a new book by Chris Harlow (Full Court Press) in the mail. I don't believe I've read anything by him before, so that was a surprise. Also a surprise delivery was a box of children's picture books from Michael Neugebauer Edition.

Catalogs in the mailbox this week were from Grandin Road, Gardener's Supply Company, and a kid's catalog from Land's End. I also received Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano, which I ordered from Amazon. I enjoyed the movie Season for Miracles on Hallmark Channel last year. That movie was based upon Pappano's book of the same name, which was set in the little town of Bethlehem. This is another Bethlehem novel, so I hope I enjoy it.

Most importantly, presents for the Lil' Princess' birthday began arriving last week. We don't like to spend too much, especially close to Christmas, but I think she'll be happy.

That's it for now. Hope you have a great week.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Product Review: Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths

Through Crowdtap, I got a chance to sample Cottonelle® Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths. This is part of their "Clean Care Routine" that features Cottonelle Toilet Paper and the Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths. My sample pack included their One Touch dispensing tub and two trial packets of Flushable Cleansing Cloths to share. I gave one to my mother-in-law and the other to a neighbor. Each trial packet had a coupon for $3 off the purchase of Cottonelle Toilet Paper and the Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths when purchased together.

I have to admit, I don't really care for the television commercials for the Cottonelle Clean Care Routine, but they are memorable, and they are also how I learned about the Flushable Cleansing Cloths. While I'm not overly comfortable talking about bathroom habits, I have to admit these are such a great addition to the bathroom routine that I've bought a container for each bathroom in our house. My kids love them, too. You come out feeling totally clean. I don't always buy Cottonelle Toilet Paper, but it is one of two brands I use regularly.

There have been reports, like this one in the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, that says utility companies claim the use of these Flushable Cleansing Cloths (and other products like flushable toilet wand scrubbers) clog sewer systems because they take longer to disintegrate. I tend to toss many of them in a diaper pail in the garage that I use for bags of used cat litter instead of flushing them.

I received a free sample of this product through Crowdtap. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Guest Blogger & Giveaway: Marilyn Meredith, Author of Spirit Shapes (Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series)

Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

What I’ve Gone Through on My Writing Journey by Marilyn Meredith

Let me sum it up like this: many, many rejections, crooked publishers, agents who did nothing for me or my books, bookstores that never paid me for books I sold, publishers who died—and I’m sure I’ve missed a lot.

Rejections, unless you’re really lucky, are part of the game. You haven’t paid your dues until you’ve got a drawer full. Even after you get one book published that doesn’t mean the next book won’t get rejected. That’s what happened to me. The editor who accepted my first book, left the publishing house and her replacement didn’t care of the way I wrote.

Believe me though, I’ve learned a lot along the way and most of it because of my critique group. Yes, I read many, many writing books and attended writing conferences, but where I really learned the fine points of writing came from my critique group.

Crooked publishers and agents flourished for a while and I got tangled up with both. One publisher actually gambled away all the money that should have gone to his authors as royalties, and he did go to jail. Another published 50 copies of one of my books, which I sold at a book signing, then he disappeared. I could never get any more books.

A publisher asked me to get a book camera ready (this was in the days before print on demand) and I slaved away on a friend’s updated computer until I was done. When I called the publisher his wife told me her husband died.

Over the years I’ve had several agents. None of them ever landed a publisher for me.

The first publisher of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series produced four books, then she had a stroke and died. So sad. She was much younger than I was and a good friend. The next publisher of the series had some serious family emergencies and decided not to continue her business. Fortunately, I found Mundania Press who is publishing this series now.

I’ve brought my own books to bookstores for signings, both big chains and independent bookstores, and never been paid for the books that I sold. Oh, I’ve sent letters and email, but nothing worked.

Wouldn’t you think after all that, I would’ve given up? Sure I’ve been disappointed, at times angry, but I guess I have the tenacity of a pit bull. It’s called perseverance. If you want something bad enough, you just keep on going.

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Raging Water, the previous book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Use Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. She does like to remind everyone that she is writing fiction. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and follow her blog at


The person who comments on the most blogs on this blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting here:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tips on How Single Parents Can Save Money on Childcare

I've been very fortunate to be the supplementary income in a two-parent family for the past thirteen years, but for the eleven years before that I struggled as a single parent. In those years before my son was old enough to start school, and then in the hours between 3 and 5 PM when I was still working but he was too young to stay home alone, finding affordable childcare seemed almost impossible. Without some form of assistance, I never would have made ends meet.

Employers are slowly recognizing and appreciating the personal commitments of their employees, but it's still an uphill climb, especially for those hiking alone. In the article, "How Single Parents Can Save Money on Childcare," you'll find ideas on how to help you juggle working and childcare as a single parent.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Blogger: Encouraging Your Kids to be Active and Fit at a Young Age by Beth Waters

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 24 million American kids between ages two and 19 are clinically overweight or obese. This is directly linked to the rising prevalence of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems and autoimmune disorders. The worst part about all of this is that it's entirely preventable. While it may seem like an arduous task to get your kids to lead a healthier lifestyle, there are many things you can do to make it appealing to them.

Playing Outside

These days, it seems like fewer kids than ever are playing outside. This is sometimes due in part to parents’ desire to keep their children safe from any danger that could occur outside, but the allure of sedentary forms of entertainment as well as homework loads also play a large role. For your children's sake, encourage them to spend at least one hour each day playing outside.

Limit TV, Computer and Video Games

These are all very popular forms of entertainment, but it's possible to have too much of a good thing. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a study indicating that the average American child spends roughly 7.5 hours each day playing video games, watching TV and using the computer. To curb this unhealthy obsession, it's recommended to set strict time limits for these activities. They're sure to appreciate them more when they don't engage in them constantly.

Family Fun

The family that plays together stays healthy together. Part of having healthier kids means setting healthy examples. You can do this by planning fun family activities that encourage physical activity for everyone. Things like helping mom in the garden, going hiking, visiting the zoo and going to the park are all great ideas.


Have your kids displayed interest in a particular sport? If so, this is a perfect opportunity for them to get healthier. Sports don't just encourage strong interpersonal skills and a winning attitude. They also encourage a healthier heart, higher energy levels, better concentration and an improved mood.

Healthy Eating

Most children are exposed daily to a steady stream of junk food, and other unhealthy items vending machines offer at school can make matters worse. You can't always prevent them from eating unhealthy foods, but you can take steps to minimize it. With the exception of occasional treats, put a household ban on sugary or heavily processed junk foods and drinks. Instead, keep snacks around like dried and fresh fruit, nuts, cheese, low-sugar yogurt, veggies and other healthy alternatives. With large amounts of sugar out of the picture, kids are more likely to want healthier, more nutritious foods.

Beth Waters is the mother of two children and has a passion for health and fitness. Her hobbies are searching for new recipes, trying new fitness fads, and writing. She writes for medical companies such as Liberty Medical as well as her blog at Carrots Over Cake. She enjoys sharing with bloggers her journey to living more healthily.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays - Oct. 22

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!

This comes from one of my favorite mystery authors. Her witty, sarcastic female leads always make me laugh.

"...I don't know what the hell Carlisle was doing in the theatre at that time of night."

"Getting himself killed, for one thing."

~Location 110 from The Dagger Before Me by Heather Haven

Monday, October 21, 2013

You've Got Mail Monday

Bet you're wondering where I've been hiding? Well, maybe not. The title of this blog is The Busy Mom's Daily, so you can guess what's happened. Yep, busy as all get out. The Lil' Princess' last regular season soccer game was yesterday. She scored two goals and the team went on to win 3-1. Now we're waiting for the playoff schedule. She also cheered at the last regular football game of the season. Oh, and the local Taste of Greece festival was this weekend, too, so pretty much I had a lot of work to do because I knew I wouldn't be around all weekend.

The mailbox was filled with all kinds of goodies last week. The latest Land's End and L.L. Bean catalogs arrived, as did a catalog from LTD Commodities. I haven't seen one from them in a while. The Lil' Diva found a One Direction throw and pillowcase on one of the pages. Maybe Santa will bring them for her. Also in the mailbox was my latest issues of Health Magazine and Shape, the last of which I still have no idea why I'm getting. The ESPN magazine that also mysteriously appears each month--and gets promptly recycled--also showed up.

What I really want to know is whose mailing list I got on. Six books were delivered last week, only two of which were ones I requested to review. Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra Bricker and Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelly are books I'll be reviewing at Cheryl's Christian Book Connection. I honestly didn't know Landon was writing novels. This is his second one with Kelly. Traces of Mercy is set at the end of the Civil War, which already makes it appealing to me. And who can resist a seasonal read like Bricker's? The other books were all for kid's, which is great, but I am so far behind on reviews I don't know when--or if--I'll get to them. Here's the list:

  • Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes. This book was originally published in the United Kingdom and went on to win the Booktrust Teen Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian children's fiction prize. 
  • Guinea Pigs Online by Jennifer Gray and Amanda Swift
  • Frightfully Friendly Ghosties by Daren King
  • Sammy Feral's Diaries of Weird by Eleanor Hawken
These last three are chapter book series launched by Quercus Publishing. 

I'm excited to see all these new books arrive, but I am anxious that I'll get through my ever growing TBR pile.

That's it for now. Hope you have a great week. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WWW Wednesdays - October 16th

Here's another weekly meme from Should Be Reading. I try to participate every chance I get, but reading time was at a minimum for a while. Hopefully I can keep up the pace I'm moving at now because I have tons of books to review before the end of the year.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

It’s five years to the day after dear old Ebenezer Scrooge has passed away and left his thriving firm to his former clerk, Bob Cratchit. However, Bob’s overly-generous benevolence with lending and charity-giving has driven the company into the ground, on the verge of bankruptcy. And so the ghost of Scrooge returns one Christmas Eve to teach Cratchit the true meaning of money, with the help of visitations of three spirits – not all of whom are happy to be there. (It is Christmas Eve, after all, and they have other plans.) Making the swirling journey through Christmases past, present, and yet-to-be all the more of a chaotic ride for Cratchit are the dozens of characters from other Dickens novels woven throughout the story, together for the first time. God bless them, most everyone.

And it’s all augmented with footnotes of letters between Mr. Dickens and his publisher, along with notes from Dickens’s own hand and scholarly research. At least that’s what the editor tells us, though we’re a little skeptical of his honesty.

What did you recently finish reading?

"The Christmas Visitors": For spirited Martha Coblentz and her twin Mary, the snow has delivered the perfect holiday and birthday present to their door—handsome brothers Nate and Bram Kanagy. But when unforeseen trouble interrupts their season’s good cheer, it will take unexpected intervention—and sudden understanding—to give all four the blessing of a lifetime.

"Kissing the Bishop": As the New Year’s first snow settles, Nazareth Hooley and her sister Jerusalem are given a heaven-sent chance to help newly widowed Tom Hostetler tend his home. But when her hope that she and Tom can build on the caring between them seems a dream forever out of reach, Nazareth discovers that faith and love can make any miracle possible.

You can find my review at

What do you think you’ll read next?

From Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley, authors of The Silent Gift and creators of the hit television film Love Comes Softly, comes an exciting historical romance set in post-Civil War, and filled with suspense and faith-building values. At the war?s end, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy and wants more than anything to find out the truth of her past. But then a handsome stranger arrives, who may hold the key to everything she has forgotten. What he knows could devastate her future, and even end her life. Written by two proven storytellers, Traces of Mercy is perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction, prairie-based tales, or just a good romance.

Monday, October 14, 2013

You've Got Mail Monday

Oh my gosh, it's been busy around here. I've been finishing off registration for WriteAngles, a local writers conference I attend each fall. The mail carrier delivered the remaining plants for the backyard, which got added to the new flower bed yesterday. I've been taking in the rest of the herbs and freezing them or making herb butter so I have them for the winter. And of course, there is still soccer and cheerleading.

When fall arrives, it's kind of sad to watch as the plants die off, the patio furniture is put into storage, and all the leaves fall down. But it's nice to see the yard looking so clean after we rake up and blow the fallen leaves away and clean up the flower beds and vegetable garden. I'm also making plans for spring, so I have that to look forward to.

Like I said, the mail carrier brought in those remaining plants I was waiting for. The Lil' Diva helped me get these beauties into the ground yesterday. I can't wait to see what this looks like next year. This area is mostly shade, so I stuck with hostas, a brandywine bush, some lilac astilbes, neat-looking black mondo grass, and an ostrich fern.

Through Crowdtap, I received samples of Cottonelle's® flushable wipes, along with two small sample packs to share with neighbors. I'm reviewing these on their site. I have another sample package for Truvia® Natural Sweetener coming soon. I have to say that Crowdtap has been the most successful in the terms of winning prizes and being accepted to try free samples.

My Land's End Kids catalog and the Oriental Trading catalog arrived last week. I usually find value priced Christmas ornaments for my many trees in the OT catalog. Another great book arrived last week, too: Amanda Weds Her Man by Naomi King. I've been following the Cedar Creek series for a while and I'm always thrilled to see a new book release. I'll be reviewing this book at The Book Connection.

That's it for this week. Hope you have a great one.

Sharing Clean Teen Publishing's $100 Giveaway During Bullying Awareness Month

October is National Bullying Awareness Month. Clean Teen Publishing and Crimson Tree Publishing are hosting a series of posts from their authors that discuss bullying. You can subscribe to their blog and come back often during the month of October to participate in their Bullying Awareness Month Events and Giveaways.

For more details, visit

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"Parents Matter" Infographic

I was recently sent a link to this “Parents Matter" infographic. I've lived life as a single parent and as a married stay-at-home mom. I remember the struggles of my former life and I certainly wouldn't like to relive them. Some of the statistics included below are shocking.

Source: Best Psychology Degrees

Thursday, October 10, 2013

iPad Apps to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader

So, here is my iPad story. I'm not a technology person. My hubby dragged me to the local Apple store one day and the Lil' Diva had her display unit playing music before I even figured out the first screen of mine. I'm still learning, but the more I use my hubby's iPad, the more comfortable I become.

One of the great things about iPads is they truly are a learning tool. They aren't just juiced up video game systems. My girls use their devices to perform research for school and study their weekly Bible verses. I find my girls using their devices to read more often than they ever did before, especially because reading has now become interactive. I wish the iPad was around when they were learning how to read.

"8 iPad Apps to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader" is an article that discusses 8 iPad appls you can use to help your child become a better reader. You'll learn what each app offers and there's a hyperlink to each app's iTunes page. Click here to read the article.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Diary of a Busy Mom - Working from Home

How is working from home different from working outside the home? If you work from home:

·         Friends and neighbors don’t think twice about asking you to watch their kids;
·         Your children want you to drive them to and pick them up from school every day;
·         Your spouse thinks it’s cute that you call what you do “working;”
·         Potential outside employers think it’s quaint that you call what you do “working.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Guest Blogger: Cinta Garcia de la Rosa, Author of The Funny Adventures of Little Nani

Little Nani is a little girl who likes helping people. However, when she helps people the results can be a bit unexpected. Why is that? Little Nani is a witch! Or at least she wants to be a witch. With her magic wand, she will try to cast different spells to help her friends, but she won’t be successful all the time. Follow Little Nani in her funny adventures and meet her extraordinary friends. Funny ostriches, horses that love reading, super-fast turtles, grumpy zombies… Little Nani has lots of friends! You can also draw your own characters! Little Nani is willing to become a good witch. Will she manage to do it? Who knows? Read the stories and discover what happens next!

Purchase at Amazon!

The Creation of Little Nani and Her World by Cinta Garica de la Rosa

Lots of people ask me about how Little Nani was created. Well, she is a lot a reflection of myself, and I have already said in other blogs that her name is the nickname that the girls I was looking after in London gave me, due to my small size. But what about her world? How did I create the background for her adventures?

Well, Little Nani is a happy, positive, vitalist, and a bit naughty girl who lives with a horse and two ostrichres. Then, I thought that it would be perfect if she lived in the middle of the country rather than in a town or city. Her exuberant personality goes well with that kind of setting, since she has plenty of space for running, jumping, dancing, and doing all the silly things she likes doing.

But someone can say... “If Little Nani lives in the middle of the country, how can she meet people?” Well, I made her house be close to a town (where she will meet some extraordinary people), surrounded by cornfields, and next to a forest with a river. Both the cornfields and the forest are inhabited by amazing creatures that will bump into Little Nani at certain moments, creating hilarious, funny, and absurd situations.

So the creation of Little Nani’s world was kind of easy, since I just wanted something to reflect her personality: wild like the forest, easy-going like the river, playful like the cornfields, and friendly like towns can be. It just wouldn’t make any sense to make her live her adventures in a different setting. And every setting is created at the same time I am writing the story, without previous thoughts; it is as if the story or the situation I am creating ask me for a certain setting to happen.

Little Nani and her world may seem crazy, but together they make a lot of sense and contribute to the better enjoyment of the stories. Please, everybody, check the stories out and let me know.

Cinta Garcia de la Rosa is a Spanish writer who has loved the written word since she discovered she was able to read books at age 5. Since then, she has become a bookworm and reads around 100 books every year. She also writes, every day, compulsively, even in the middle of the night. You cannot control when inspiration hits you, can you? She writes in English because she is convinced that in a previous life she was British, so writing in English feels more natural to her than writing in her native language. Yes, she is crazy like that. Cinta Garcia is the author of “The Funny Adventures of Little Nani”, a collection of short stories for children, and “A Foreigner in London”, a short story published on Smashwords.

Visit her online at

You've Got Mail Monday

It's been a busy and sad week around the homestead. We lost a member of our extended family to cancer, my mother-in-law's only and older sister. Her sickness crept up and took her quickly, so there is a blessing in that, but it also reminds me how so many people I love have gone home to their Creator and I won't see them again on this Earth.

The Lil' Princess played soccer in the pouring rain on Sunday. The girls lost, but they still had a fun time. It was great to get back home and wrap up on a rainy day in front of the fireplace and read.

Our mail carrier brought some wonderful stuff this week. Some of the plants I ordered arrived. I want to put these in before the first frost. The Carmine Jewel Dwarf Cherry Tree and Younique Lilac Astilbe arrived from Spring Hill Nurseries, but I haven't been able to plant them yet because we are on our third straight day of rain. It looks like tomorrow will be a total washout too. Hopefully by Tuesday I can get them in the ground. The Ostrich Fern I ordered through Amazon arrived earlier in the week. The astible and fern will go in that shady area between the cellar door and the air conditioning unit that was mulched this year. The ride-on mower can't get in there, so mulching seemed like the thing to do.

I've been browsing my latest L.L Bean catalog. I've been eyeing their Fleece-Lined Flannel Shirt. I would love something for working around the yard that's warm, but not too bulky. I'm trying to decide if I want to spend $59 for something that is probably going to get dirty and torn. My mother-in-law asked me to order their Cowl-Neck Tunic in Orange Spice Heather. That color should look great on her.

For books last week, An Amish Country Christmas by Charlotte Hubbard and Naomi King arrived. I'm reviewing this book over at The Book Connection later in the month. This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky is a book I won from another blog. I've stopped entering a lot of these giveaways because I have so many books here, but when I find one that looks too interesting to pass up, I can't help but enter.

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

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guest Blogger: Juggling Family and Career by Jo Linsdell, Author of Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion from the Comfort of Your own Home

Virtual Book Tours are a great way to create a buzz for a new release or to put life back into an older publication. In this book I'll take you through everything you need to know to be able to set up and carry out a successful virtual book tour.

The book is divided into 4 main sections for easy navigation:

1) What is a Virtual Book Tour?
2) How to organise your own tour
3) Promoting a tour
4) Useful resources

You'll find it packed with links, tips, and advice to help make your tour a hit.

Product Details:

File Size: 384 KB
Print Length: 83 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

Purchasing links: (Kindle) (Kindle) (Kindle)

Goodreads link:

Facebook event page:

Author website:

Juggling Family and Career by Jo Linsdell

Being a writer is a pretty glamorous life right? You wake up relaxed and full of energy. Inspiration bursting out of you. You get to sit around all day drinking tea and the words just flow out of you on to your computer. Once the manuscript is finished, of course the first draft is already perfect and so there's no need to waste time editing, it's off to be published and available to your millions of fans in the matter of days. With the hard work out of the way you can now enjoy the many celebrity events and concentrate on which interview offers you're going to agree to do. Ah yes, being a writer is wonderful....

Sadly that's not quite how my days tend to unfold. Here's a brief summary of what happens on a typical day:

7 am (or earlier): Get woken up by 2-year-old son jumping on me and calling out "mamma." Try to convince him to have a snuggle so I have a minute to wake up properly. Fail miserably as he's already asking for breakfast and pulling me out of bed. Before I even manage to stand up, 5-year-old son has joined us and is asking for breakfast too.

8am: Kids have eaten breakfast, been dressed, teeth brushed, hair done, etc... and are ready for playschool/school. Time to put on shoes and out the door we go.

8:02am: Back indoors because we forgot something. School run take two.

8:45am: Home. Time to have a cup of tea and breakfast. Try to tidy up kitchen whilst kettle boils. Put load in the washing machine, and make beds.

9:30am: House now looks less like a bomb site. Turn computer on. Quick check of social media sites. Reply to all notifications and messages. Check have at least some content programmed for posting during the week. Next check blogs and schedule posts. Feel a bit more organised and eat chocolate bar to celebrate.

11am: Those books/articles aren't going to write themselves. Put on some music to motivate and inspire and open files. Doing well but get sidetracked when realise needed to buy stuff,make appointments, etc. for kids. Make mental note of shopping list whilst hanging washing out. Inspiration strikes and run back to computer.

12 noon: Starting to feel hungry but have too much on to do list and so eat more chocolate. Manage to tick off a few blog posts, record a quick video for YouTube, and send out queries for guest posts and blog interviews.

12:30pm: Time to collect 2-year-old from playschool. Quick stop at the park on way home to play on swings and slides. Son falls over and goes into panic that will need to go to hospital... again. Luckily nothing serious and can go home.

1:30pm: Time for lunch. 2-year-old has eaten at playschool but is still hungry. Prepare lunch for self, him, and hubby. Then put 2-year-old down for a nap as very tried and starting to act up. Need to lay down in bed with him until he falls asleep, as refuses to go to bed by himself. Once asleep, peel self out of bed without waking him and return to computer to get some more work done.

3pm: 2-year-old now awake again and full of energy. Put on Peppa pig, give juice and snack, and cross fingers that will keep him busy. Need to finish this part of text before forget what was writing.

3:30pm: With difficulty finish writing piece whilst 2-year-old mistakes me for a climbing frame. manage to remove child from around neck and get ready to collect 5-year-old from school.

4:45pm: Back home again and kids are demanding food and drink. Check school diary and mark important dates on calendar. 5-year-old announces that needs yet another book/stationary for school and so add to to-do list for tomorrow. Chat about school day and play games.

5:30pm: Kids looking tired and so put on cartoons so they can chill. Take advantage of quiet time to check in on social media sites, make some posts, reply to comments, and share some posts from newsfeeds.

6pm: Kids fighting on sofa. Time out for both. Peace made and after a quick game together both happy again. They then start asking when dinner will be ready. Time to cook.

7:30pm: Dinner eaten. Prepare bath for kids and get them in PJ's.

8:15pm: Prepare warm milk for boys and we read a story together as they drink it. Love being snuggled up together and remember how much I love being a mum.

8:30pm: 5-year-old in bed. 2-year-old refusing to go to bed. Take laptop to bed with me and try to get some more work done. Up and down about every 5 minutes putting 2-year-old back to bed.

9:30pm: 2-year-old has finally caved in and is asleep in his bed. Almost time to do a radio interview. Prepare notes and feel thankful that people can only hear me and not see me as looking far from glamorous.

10pm: Go live on air for radio interview. Have fun chatting with host and feel good about self and book.

11pm: Embed recording of radio interview on website and share link on social media sites. Feedback is good and so enthusiastically write up to do list for tomorrow. Ah yes, tomorrow will be amazing. Buzzing and can't get to sleep so write some notes with ideas for new books and blog posts.

12 midnight Why am I still awake? Force self to put laptop and notepad away and turn light off. Think through tomorrow's to-do list and slowly drift off to sleep knowing that yet another late night will make tomorrow's wake up call even harder.

I love my family and I love my job. Both keep me VERY busy. One of the great things about being a writer, though, is that I have the flexibility to be with my family and work around them. I write when I can and
thanks to the internet can market my books without leaving my house. I work late nights because I love my job and, although I don't want it to take away too much time from my family, it's part of who I am. I'm not just a mummy. I'm a writer mummy. It's not always easy to juggle career and family but it can be done and it's totally worth it.

Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event "Promo Day" ( and the Writers and Authors blog ( To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays - October 1st (Guest Blogger)

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

I'm handling things a bit differently today. In addition to Teaser Tuesdays, I am featuring Joe Sergi, author of Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures. He is my special guest blogger.

"Oh, it's not a coincidence; she's clearly here to torment me." DeDe slammed her locker hard, and the sonic boom echoed down the hallway."

~ Page 29 from the PDF version of Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures. 

Thanks for having me on The Busy Mom’s Daily to talk about my new book Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures. Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures is the sequel to Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy. In the first book, readers met DeDe Christopher, an ordinary teen with an extraordinary destiny to become Sky Girl. Being a teenage girl is hard enough, but for DeDe, it is proving impossible. In addition to cliques, books, and boys, she has to worry about capes, apes, and aliens. When we last left DeDe, she had just adopted the mantle of Sky Girl at the end of her sophomore year of high school. This book opens the day before she starts her junior year, so she's had the whole summer to practice and train with her best friend and self-professed comic geek, Jason. She’s actually gotten quite good at being a costumed adventurer—except for her banter, which still needs work. Now, DeDe must learn what it means to be a heroine as Sky Girl faces the all too real enemies and allies of SkyBoy, including the clever Quizmaster, the beautiful Penny Pound, the enigmatic Jersey Devil, and the magical MissTick. DeDe must also face personal challenges as she discovers the secrets of her late father and his connection to SkyBoy--secrets that will affect Sky Girl’s destiny.

Unlike the first book, which took place over the course of a week, this book covers the whole school year and allows for more diverse adventures. For example, Sky Girl faces off against Shadow, Jason faces off against Quizmaster, and they both have to face an angry horde of zombies. Each adventure stands on its own but is also part of a larger plot and expands on the mystery of what happened to DeDe's father and Evil Brain's plot for world domination. I guess the most important thing to mention is that you don't really need to read the first book to enjoy the second.

So I intended to write a post about a day in the life of DeDe, but I ran out of time. So, I snuck into my book and ripped a page out of her diary. I hope you enjoy it.

From the Diary of DeDe Christopher, July 15th.

“How I spent my Summer Vacation”

Dear Diary,

Today was a weird day. Then again, “weird” has pretty much become “normal” since I found out I had super powers. Since I decided to become Sky Girl, Jason has been running me ragged helping me try to get a handle on my powers. He’s also obsessed with trying to find out what happened to Commander Chimp's Gorilla Army (in his defense, they did lock him up in the girl’s locker room). Don't get me wrong. If it wasn't for Jason, I would be completely lost, he's just so intense. I mean he's my best friend and I love him, but I think he forgets that we aren’t characters in one of his stupid comic books.

Take, for example, what happened today.  After two solid weeks of practicing and patrolling, I finally convinced him we should go down to the shore and hang out at Point Pleasant Beach.

So, there we were on the sand. I was in my one piece bathing suit trying to catch some rays and get a tan (which is harder than you think when your body is invulnerable to solar radiation.) What was Jason doing? He was sitting under an umbrella and reading a comic. He was wearing long pants and a black T-shirt that said "Come along, Pond!" in white lettering. Seriously, who goes to the beach in long pants and a black shirt?

In an effort to break the mood, I yelled over to him, "Hey geek boy? We should get a funnel cake."

Jason continued to read, "No thank you. I am reading."

I raised my voice, "But, I want a funnel cake."

He barely looked up from his book, "You always want a funnel cake. Besides, you are in training."

"I am not in training! I’m Sky Girl no matter what I eat." I yelled back. He rolled his eyes. Just then I heard the noise. "Wait, what was that?"

Jason put down his book, "Wait. I know. Is it your stomach growling for funnel cake?" Then he saw I was serious. He leaned forward out from under the umbrella. "What is what?"

There it was again. "A noise." I said, "Like a high pitched roar." I described.

"It sounds like a sea monster, someone is in trouble." Jason announced. I have no idea how he knows these things. But with his help, I was able to pinpoint the location. It was a cruise ship two miles off shore.

            "You better get moving." He said as he tossed me my purple backpack. "You are going to need this."

"You brought the suit?" I exclaimed.


"To the beach. You took my superhero costume to the beach?"


"It’s my day off?"


“And I want funnel cake.”

"Can we argue about this later? Sea Monster!"

"But, funnel cake?"

"Sea Monster!"

He had a point. So, I grabbed the bag, ducked under the boardwalk, and changed at Sky Speed. Soon I was speeding out to sea in my costume: black spandex with matching purple cape, boots, skirt, belt, and gloves. (Pretty cool, I know-- I made it myself).

I have to admit, I’ve been flying for a while, but it still feels pretty cool. Kind of like when you nail a cool ballet move, but in the air.

We've also been trying some new masks. Today, I was wearing a leather purple tie with eye holes cut into it. (Another EPIC FAIL if you ask me). Through the eye holes, I could see the monster and the ship. I turned on my headset.

"The sea monster isn't doing anything. I think it’s sleeping." I announced. "I'm going to get a closer look."

"No, wait..." Jason started in the ear piece. But he was too late, I had landed on the creature.

"Yep it’s asleep." I observed. Then I saw something strange. "Hey geek boy, there are four monogrammed seats on this thing. Kind of like horse saddles"

"Saddles?" Jason asked.

I took a closer look, "Yeah. There are three little ones and one big one. The first little one has an H on it, the second has an L, and the third has a D.” I walked around and looked at the large one in the center. “And the big one says . . ."

"AD" Jason finished for me. I told you he knows these things. There was urgency in his voice, "Sky Girl, you have to get to the ship, this is not an attack. It is a robbery." And he says I’m a drama queen.

"Roger dodger." With a burst of speed I flew to the ship. My sky vision showed everyone was in one room tied up.

Then I saw them.

Three men dressed in what looked like those outfits Venetian gondolier drivers wear. Each one had a small black domino mask. Their leader was dressed in a bright yellow diving suit.

I relayed the information to Jason before landing on the deck. I put my hands on my hips and spoke in a deep voice, "It looks like the catch of the day is crime."

Jason groaned in my ear, "We really need to work on the one liners."

What? I was expecting a sea monster and not witty banter.

The yellow guy looked surprised. "Evil Brain was right. He's back!" (Yeah, he said “He.” How insulting). "You can't stop the Aquaduck."

Seriously, that was his name. The Aquaduck, I almost lost it. Jason told me later that he is "some grade Z villain from blah blah blah number blah."

Where was I, oh yeah, the Aquaduck pointed his yellow finger at me, "You will not catch me, SkyBoy. Get him boys." (Yup, he thought I was SkyBoy. I guess that diving helmet must be hard to see through.)

I didn't have time to react before the henchmen shot some kind of ray guns at me. Lightning-like beams came out from the guns and surrounded my body. I would guess it was about 1,000 volts that shocked me. I smiled at them and said, "It tickles."

Jason spoke in my ear, "Awesome reference to Superman #32." I had no idea what he was talking about. It really did tickle.

Soon, the guns exploded knocking out the henchmen. It's a good thing, too because the ray guns melted my leather mask so I couldn't see. I ripped it off and got it off in time to watch the Aquaduck running (more like hobbling in his heavy suit) across the deck. "Jason, he's getting away. But my mask is off." I stammered. "He'll see who..."

Jason's calming voice was in my ear. "Do not worry. The Auquaduck's vision is restricted by his suit. He needs a camera to see." I could hear his smile, "Now if only we had something that disrupted electrical equipment."

I smiled as I flew towards the running villain, over his head and landed between Aquaduck and the rail. I raised my hands and yelled "Lights out, ducky." Then I shot him with a Sky Pulse. His diving suit shorted out and Aquaduck fell over on the deck.

I could hear him murmuring, “Hello? I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”

Kind of anticlimactic, if you ask me.

After that, Jason made an anonymous call to the Coast Guard and gave them the location of the monster and the ship. I left the Aquaduck and his goons tied up in the anchor line with a note that read:

Dear Coast Guard Dudes,

The Aquaduck found out that crime isn't all it's quacked up to be. Please send them to the jail pond and find a nice home for their sleeping pet monster.

Sky Girl

As I flew back to the beach, I could see that the sun was going down. I was sure the funnel cake stand was closed--such is the life of a teenage superheroine: all sea monster no funnel cake.

Imagine my surprise when I saw Jason sitting on a bench with a of fried dough and powdered sugar on his lap. "Funnel cake?" he offered.

I did a quick change into my civvies (Jason’s word—not mine) and sat down on the bench next to my Jason.

I ate funnel cake with my best friend as we watched the sun go down over an ocean that I now knew was full of sea monsters. A great way to end the day, if you ask me.

Oh yeah Jason also told me about a new idea for a domino mask.

Hopefully, this one will work better, school starts next month and I need to be ready.

And that’s the end of the diary entry. Thanks for having me.

For those interested, Sky Girl is available at all online booksellers and can be ordered in brick and mortar shops and chains. It is also available directly from the publisher at I will also have copies and be signing the book at some upcoming show appearances, some of which include: The Collingswood Book Festival (October 5), New York ComicCon (October 10-13), and the Festival of the Book (October 19). These shows are great fun and a wonderful place to connect with readers. I’ve even had a few old and young cosplayers come up to my booth to show me their Sky Girl costumes, which was extremely flattering.

In addition, to the Sky Girl book, this year I edited a comic anthology called Great Zombies in History through McFarland Press. I also write regular articles on the history of comics and censorship for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund ( Great Zombies in History is a new graphic novel anthology released from McFarland Press. I met a talented group of writers through Andy Schmidt’s Comics Experience writing classes and we decided to form an independent comic imprint called Elevator Pitch Press to showcase our work. We have released several anthologies that have ranged from horror (Don’t Be Afraid) to grind house (Girls with Guns) to science fiction (Aliens Among Us). Great Zombies in History is an anthology of historically accurate stories, but written to include zombies. For example, I wrote The Zombie War of 1812, which features the real reason that Washington, DC, was burned during the war. Rob Anderson, writer of the best-selling Big Dog, Inc. book, Rex: Zombie Killer and who acted as editor on the original project, did a story about how zombies helped King Leonidas and his army of 300 Spartans hold their own against immeasurable odds.

I should also mention that I write regular articles for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund ( on the history of censorship in comics. It takes a lot of work to do those columns, but I believe the CBLDF is an important organization and am glad to help them in their mission to protect comic creators against censorship. I recently did articles on the rise and fall of romance comics, a before and after analysis of the comics code on reprinted books, and detailed histories of Sheena, Superman, and Wonder Woman. People with an interest in discovering the history of comics or censorship should check them out.

My author site is; Sky Girl can be found at, and the official site for Great Zombies in History is my monthly articles can be found at

Joe Sergi lives outside of Washington, DC with his wife and daughter. Joe is an attorney and a Haller Award winning author who has written articles, novels, short stories, and comic books in the horror, scifi, and young adult genres. Joe is the creator of the Sky Girl series of novels and the editor of Great Zombies in History. His first novel, Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy was selected Best of 2010 by the New PODler Review. Joe is a life-long comic fan who regularly writes on the history of comics and censorship for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. When not writing, Joe works as a Senior Litigation Counsel in an unnamed US government agency and is a member of the adjunct faculty at George Mason University School of Law.