Wednesday, February 3, 2016

INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP

What? It's February already? January just started. Well, the calendar says it's Feb.2, so it must be.
It's also a very special day: INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.



Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
Our awesome founder of IWSG is Alex J. Cavanaugh.

His awesome co-hosts for the February 3 posting of the IWSG will be Allison Gammons, Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend!  

Insecurities. Do I have any? Not too much. Mostly it's hoping that my works-in-progress make sense. That I find the right words to tell the characters' stories. That the characters have a story to tell. A story that will touch the hearts of the readers.

In the meantime, while my characters are telling me their story, I put together this cat tree.
No, my stories don't have a cat in them. Both have a dog, however.

 
The cats aren't impressed. Patches sits underneath it.
Tiger climbs the "real" trees outdoors.
 
 
 
May all you insecurities be little ones.
 
Happy Reading!
 
 


Monday, February 1, 2016

##InkRipples and Chocolate!

Quote for the week: Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. Frank Lloyd Wright.


#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll. They post on the first Monday of every month with a new topic. They're all authors, but you don’t have to be to participate.

 


 

The idea of #InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, image, whatever into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. They provide the topics and will be blogging about them on the first Monday of the month. You can spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule, just be sure to include links back to Katie, Kai, and Mary.

 
Or you can simply share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #InkRipples. You might simply comment on one of their posts to play along. Tag them and they’re always happy to share your posts and thoughts to keep those ripples going and intersecting.

There is no wrong way to do #InkRipples (with the exception of following basic human decency!). It’s about having a conversation, sharing ideas, and connecting. So if this sounds at all interesting, please do participate in whatever way you can. And feel free to use any of the meme’s images (created by the wonderful Mary Waibel).

The topics for 2016 are:

 

February – Chocolate

March – Feminism
April – Poetry
May – Memories
June – Movies
July – Inspiration
August – Guilty Pleasures
September – Banned Books
October – Masks
November – Heritage
December – Cookies
 
 
 
Chocolate! What can I say? Dark Chocolate Kisses. Chocolate Easter Bunnies. Chocolate Pie. Chocolate Cake. You name it. I like it. I was curious as to where, when, and how chocolate came to be. So I did a bit of research and found this great site.
 
 
Year Published 2014
Publisher A+E Networks
 
The Sweet History of Chocolate by Christopher Klein 
 
Chocolate may be the “food of the gods,” but for most of its 4,000-year history, it was actually consumed as a bitter beverage rather than as a sweet edible treat. Anthropologists have found evidence that chocolate was produced by pre-Olmec cultures living in present-day Mexico as early as 1900 B.C. The ancient Mesoamericans who first cultivated cacao plants found in the tropical rainforests of Central America fermented, roasted and ground the cacao beans into a paste that they mixed with water, vanilla, honey, chili peppers and other spices to brew a frothy chocolate drink.
Olmec, Mayan and Aztec civilizations found chocolate to be an invigorating drink, mood enhancer and aphrodisiac, which led them to believe that it possessed mystical and spiritual qualities. The Mayans worshipped a god of cacao and reserved chocolate for rulers, warriors, priests and nobles at sacred ceremonies.


When the Aztecs began to dominate Mesoamerica in the 14th century, they craved cacao beans, which could not be grown in the dry highlands of central Mexico that were the heart of their civilization. The Aztecs traded with the Mayans for cocao beans, which were so coveted that they were used as currency. (In the 1500s, Aztecs could purchase a turkey hen for 100 beans.) By some accounts, the 16th-century Aztec emperor Montezuma drank three gallons of chocolate a day to increase his libido.


In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors such as Hernán Cortés who sought gold and silver in Mexico returned instead with chocolate. Although the Spanish sweetened the bitter drink with cane sugar and cinnamon, one thing remained unchanged: chocolate was still a delectable symbol of luxury, wealth and power. Chocolate was sipped by royal lips, and only Spanish elites could afford the expensive import.


Spain managed to keep chocolate a savory secret for nearly a century, but when the daughter of Spanish King Philip III wed French King Louis XIII in 1615, she brought her love of chocolate with her to France. The popularity of chocolate quickly spread to other European courts, and aristocrats consumed it as a magic elixir with salubrious benefits. To slake their growing thirst for chocolate, European powers established colonial plantations in equatorial regions around the world to grow cacao and sugar. When diseases brought by the European explorers depleted the native Mesoamerican labor pool, African slaves were imported to work on the plantations and maintain the production of chocolate.


Chocolate remained an aristocratic nectar until Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten in 1828 invented the cocoa press, which revolutionized chocolate-making. The cocoa press could squeeze the fatty cocoa butter from roasted cacao beans, leaving behind a dry cake that could be pulverized into a fine powder that could be mixed with liquids and other ingredients, poured into molds and solidified into edible, easily digestible chocolate. The innovation by van Houten ushered in the modern era of chocolate by enabling it to be used as a confectionary ingredient, and the resulting drop in production costs made chocolate affordable to the masses.


In 1847, British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons created the first solid edible chocolate bar from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar. Rodolphe Lindt’s 1879 invention of the conching machine, which produced chocolate with a velvety texture and superior taste, and other advances allowed for the mass production of smooth, creamy milk chocolate on factory assembly lines. You don’t need to have a sweet tooth to recognize the familiar names of the family-owned companies such as Cadbury, Mars and Hershey that ushered in a chocolate boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s that has yet to abate. Today, the average American consumes 12 lbs. of chocolate each year, and more than $75 billion worldwide is spent on chocolate annually.

12 lbs. of chocolate a year? That sounds about right. Happy eating, umm, happy reading.
 
 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

OUR LITTLE SECRET AND FAMILY SECRET REVIEWS

Secrets seem to be a popular subject these days. Do you have any secrets? Of course, you can't tell if you do, because they no longer would be secrets. So, let's take a look at a couple of books that both have serious secrets. I'm delighted to share these books with you.

OUR LITTLE SECRET

And boy do they have a secret that can change everyone's life.
 
OUR LITTLE SECRET Review
By Ashelyn Drake
 
“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” The quote is from Sir Walter Scott’s poem Marmion that was published in 1808.  Today, it could apply to Author Ashelyn Drake’s novel Our Little Secret. How? I’m glad you asked.
 
The characters in Our Little Secret might be found in almost any high school today. There’s Toby, the good-looking basketball star, loved by all the girls. His twin sister, Tori, who feels inferior to her popular brother, and who wouldn’t? Becca Daniels, the story narrator, has known the twins all her life. Tori is her best friend. Therein lies the problem. Becca would like to be more to Toby than just a friend. To do so, would ruin her friendship with Tori. Then there’s Meredith, his ex-girlfriend. You see where this tangled web is going?  The secret comes in when Toby and Becca start hanging out with each other, the beginning of something more serious, and pretending to Tori that Toby’s just tutoring Becca in trig.
 
One lie leads to a bigger lie to a bigger lie. Sometimes I was a little aggravated with Toby and felt he should have been honest with his sister. I also understood. Teens do not always make the best decisions. Is Becca willing to give up her friendship with Tori to get the boy of her dreams? And what about Meredith, who’s out for revenge against Toby?
 
Ashelyn Drake has written a story that most teens can probably relate to. They might even learn a lesson or two about honesty. A fun read with characters that aren’t perfect and make mistakes, like real people. I recommend Our Little Secret for teens and older folks too, who can smile with the memories.
###
 
Available at AMAZON and other places.
 
 
The next book is about a totally different subject, but it too has a dangerous secret.
 
FAMILY SECRET
 
 
This story is a bit spooky, as the cover shows.
 
 
FAMILY SECRET (Review)
By Kay LaLone
 
What’s a boy to do when his mother is murdered in a robbery at her antique shop, his dad sends him to stay with a friend for a while, and then sends him to live with his grandfather, all without any explanation? Why won’t his father tell him what’s going on? Does the necklace his mother gave him right before her death have something to do with the mysterious things happening in his life? She mentioned the amulet might have magical powers. To add to his confusion, Thomas Patrick Henry meets a ghost.
 
FAMILY SECRET, a paranormal mystery for young readers by Author Kay LaLone, will keep you guessing who the good guys are and who are the bad, at least it did me. There’s never a dull moment. Just when I thought we’d have the answers to Tom’s dilemma, the author threw in a twist.  As Tom attempts to solve the mystery of why someone is after him and why people keep getting killed, he discovers that his father has kept secrets from him all his life. Even his mother had her secrets. And he begins to suspect that the same person that’s after him may have killed his mother.
 
Kay LaLone has written a novel that will keep you guessing, along with Tom, if he can trust anyone, even his own father.. FAMILY SECRET is the story of a family that in protecting their son from the truth not only made him insecure but put him in danger as well. This is a good story for lovers of mystery and for those who enjoy a touch of magic.  
 
###
Available at AMAZON and other places.
 
So, if you're in the mood for teen romance take a look at OUR LITTLE SECRET by Ashelyn Drake and see how their secret turns out.
 
If a good mystery is more to your taste, try FAMIY SECRET  by Kay LaLone and meet a family you'll not soon forget.
 
Happy Reading!
 
 


Monday, January 25, 2016

BEING CREATIVE AND DISCOVERING YOURSELF

Quote for the week:  Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work, risking, and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful: yourself. Alan Alda.

Have you been doing anything new lately? With your writing, reading, hobbies, or other? The above quote is an interesting challenge. I'm not one to try new things; I'm comfortable with my same old routine. Or I was until I tried something new and enjoyed it.

Most of you already know, but for those of you that haven't heard, I did my first Podcast last week. Until recently, I had no idea what a Podcast was. Then I received a phone call, asking if I'd be interested. Why not? So I agreed. And had a great time. It was about:

I received my copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul, My Very Good, Very Bad Cat
Patches is looking them over. I hope she's not too upset that she's not in the book.
Tiger's not interested.
He'd rather play in the grocery sack. Maybe he'll find a treat inside.
 
Here are some books I've read that you might enjoy too.
Polar Opposites, Book 2 of the Super Villain Academy Series
by Kai Strand
 
The wishing Well, from Another Weaver Tale Series
by Kai Strand
 
More books to follow.  I have a lot that I've read, am reading, and will read. This wasn't my idea to show me reading them, but it is interesting. They say a picture's worth a thousand words. Are "they" right?
 
Reviews for latest reads on Wednesday.
 
Happy Reading!
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

UNHOLY BLUE BY DARBY KAYE BOOK BIRTHDAY

Okay, actually the book birthday for Award Winning Author Darby Kaye's UNHOLY BLUE novel was yesterday, but I was up to my eyeballs in edits. So, today, please wish Shay, Bann, Cor, and Darby a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

 
I think this cover is gorgeous.

UNHOLY BLUE is the sequel to THE STAG LORD, which I loved.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Strong and Irish.

That’s how Shay Doyle likes her whiskey. And men. As Healer to a clan of immortal Celtic warriors living in modern-day Colorado, she has been gifted with such a man: Bannerman “Bann” Boru. The only problem is keeping the stubborn warrior alive. For Fate seems to have it in for Bann, and his son, Cor, descendants of the kings of Ireland, and recipient of an ancient grudge from the mad god, Cernunnos.

But, with a bit o’ luck, Shay, Bann, and the rest of the Doyle clan—along with the aid of a legendary huntsman known as the Black Hand—might just suss out how to kill a shapeshifter that refuses to stay dead, prevent clan warfare, and make a choice that could change their lives.

If they don’t lose them first.


The book is on my iPad, waiting. I'm so excited to meet Shay and friends again.

Available at  Amazon  and  Barnes and Noble

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 18, 2016

.30 SECONDS AND THE INTER-GALACTIC GORMET REVIEWS

Quote for the Week:  A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.  Phyllis Dillar

Today I have two books to share with you. The Inter-Galactic Gourmet, short story by L. X. Cain, and 00:30 Seconds, short story by Chrys Fey.

 
Does the planet look like an eye to you?
 
THE INTER-GALACTIC GOURMET Review
By L. X. Cain
 
 
When I see the word “gourmet” I think of a gourmet meal, of delicious food. Well, sometimes a word doesn’t always turn out to mean what one thinks it means. Take Author L. X. Cain’s short story, THE INTER-GALACTIC GOURMET, for instance.
 
The reader meets Cynthia, who on her way home from work sees a small boy sitting on the curb, alone and hungry. So, she takes him into her apartment, an innocent, kind act, to feed a hungry boy, right? Maybe, but people are not always who or what they seem, and the story takes a little twist. Read on, if you dare.
 
L. X. Cain has a knack for writing spooky stories that have a surprise or two along the way. When you’re in the mood for a creepy tale, with a bit of gore, okay a lot of gore, take a look at THE INTER-GALACTIC GOURMET, a story with a different touch. You might want to read it on an empty stomach. But then, people differ in what their favorite food is. Happy eating.
 
### 
 
Available at:  Smashwords and other places.
 
 
 
 
I think a police car may be involved in this story. Do you?
 
 
00:30 SECONDS Review
By Chrys Fey
 
Sometimes people are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Or perhaps it’s the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time. Are you confused? If so, you might be able to relate to Dr. Dani Hart who faces such a situation in Author Chrys Fey’s novella 00:30 SECONDS.
 
All Dr. Hart wants to do is go home to her apartment after an all-nighter at the E.R. and relax. Instead, she runs into Blake Herro, a cop (yes, literally runs into him), six armed men break into her apartment, and she and Blake hide in a cedar chest. Very cozy, if not for the fact the men want to kill her, thinking she’s someone else.  From then on Dani’s life will never be the same.
 
The author has created characters with distinctive personalities. I love Dani. She has some great lines. One of my favorites is “She wanted to lie back down and drool on him some more.” Now, can’t you just picture that scene? And Blake is a true hero and not just because of his last name. Danger, the Mob, cops, romance, and a neat surprise at the end make for a fascinating read.
 
00:30 SECONDS is the first book by Chrys Fey I’ve read. This story is so fast paced, action filled, and have I mentioned romantic, that I plan to read more of the author’s work to see what they author’s other characters are up to.
 
###
 
Available at:  AMAZON and other stores.
 
What have you read lately?
 
Happy Reading!
 


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

THIS LITTLE PRESIDENT BOOK BLAST



Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the newly-released board book, "This Little President: A Presidential Primer" by Joan Holub and Daniel Roode.

this-little-president-9781481458504_hr

About the Book

Title: This Little President: A Presidential Primer | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Daniel Roode | Publication Date: January 12, 2016 | Publisher: Little Simon | Pages: 26 | Recommended Ages: 2 to 6

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Goodreads | Indiebound | iBook | Kobo

Book Description:

A board book primer on presidents

Learn about the US presidents with this bright and playful board book! Highlighting ten of the most memorable presidents—and featuring all forty-four on the last page—parents and little leaders-in-training alike will love sharing this fun primer full of age-appropriate facts, leadership skills, and White House history.
Leading our country.
Helping you and me.
Keeping all fifty states
safe, happy, and free.


Little presidents have a great big job.
See more at Little Simon


Sneak Peek

This Little President Joan Holub - Inside Page AThis Little President Joan Holub - Inside Page B


About the Author: Joan Holub


Joan-Holub-GG-264x300Joan Holub is the author of 140+ books for children including the Mini Myths series of 8 board books: Be Careful, Icarus!, Brush Your Hair, Medusa!, Make A Wish Midas! Joan also authored the acclaimed picture books Little Red Writing, The Knights Before Christmas, and Mighty Dads, a New York Times bestseller. Joan also co-authors (with Suzanne Williams) three series: Goddess Girls (ages 8-12, Greek mythology with a middle school twist), Grimmtastic Girls (for ages 8-12, fairy tale adventure with a middle school twist), and Heroes in Training (ages 6-11, Greek mythology adventure chapter books).

Author Blog | Twitter | Pinterest

Goodreads | Facebook


** Book Blast Giveaway **

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice

Giveaway ends: January 26, 11:59 pm, 2016

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Joan Holub and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


MDBR Book Promotion Services