Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'LEGENDS OF THE DRAGONREALM Volume 3' by Richard A. Knaak

LEGENDS OF THE DRAGONREALM Volume 3 
Author: Richard A. Knaak
Publisher: Gallery Books; on-sale November 22nd
Format: Trade Paperback Original
Pages: 688
ISBN: 9781451651386
Price: $18.99
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:

The classic Dragonrealm series comes alive once again in this heart-pounding, action-packed omnibus that features two complete novels and three bonus novellas!

In The Crystal Dragon, sinister dreams haunt the wizard Cabe Bedlam, leading him and Darkhorse to the desolate peninsula of Legar. Here a desperate band of wolf raiders, their empire in ruins, have discovered the resting place and sorcerous artifacts of the inhuman Quel. Now Cabe, Darhorse, and the Gryphon are trapped between two hellish hordes and to defeat them, Cabe must become the willing pawn of the oldest, most enigmatic drake of all... the Crystal Dragon.

In The Dragon Crown, the young, shape-shifting drake Kyl, heir to the dragon emperor's throne, is the focus of many who seek to control the realm's destiny. Cabe most of all hopes that this new emperor will be the signal for peace among drakes and men, but knows that he might just as well prove the spark that brings the land to war. However, first Kyl must survive and in trying to assure that, Cabe will have to confront a nightmarish foe from his distant past, one who can strike at him even from within the wizard's own sanctum...

This omnibus also features three novellas, now available for the first time in print: Past Dance, Storm Lord, and The Still Lands.

My Thoughts:
One of my favorite genres is fantasy, and it's been a long time since I snuggled down with a good fantasy that featured dragons. I just love reading those terrible, scary, scaly and all powerful types of creatures!

The Legends of the Dragonrealm III certainly didn't disappoint me. The volume is packed full of of dragon tales that will keep the most die-hard dragon fan busy for quite a while! Richard Knaak is truly a master at penning a fantastic story that kept me entranced from the beginning. 

Let's look at Storm Lord, one of the three novellas that wasn't covered in the synopsis, but appears to be the basis of the cover artwork...

This novella centers around the insane Dragon King that inherited the name Storm Dragon because of the constant storms he creates. His insanity makes him feared and not to be trusted, and others avoid his realm as much as possible.

Aurim is a son of a prominent line of wizards who is in love with Yssa, the half-human daughter of the Green Dragon. The green dragon is not in good standing with Aurium's family and they don't approve of Yssa, so they need to sneak off to spend time together. They meet in a forbidden territory and are discovered.

Their disobedience causes a whole series of horrible and heart pounding events to unfold that will keep the reader flipping pages to see exactly what happens next.  It is nicely paced, introduces characters and events that keep one on edge, and wraps up nicely. 

I truly enjoyed this book. I had never read any of Mr. Knaak's work before, and am now looking at adding all the volumes of Legends of the Dragonrealm to my collection!

About the Author:

RICHARD A. KNAAK is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling fantasy author of some three dozen novels and short pieces, including The Legend of Huma and Empire of Blood for Dragonlance. He has also written numerous novels for Warcraft and Diablo. He has also written a Warcraft manga trilogy for TokyoPop.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher to read and honestly review.

Soul Search - Bestseller for a Day


It's that time once again to celebrate Bestseller for a Day! Today, we are focusing on Amber Scott's wolfish novel, Soul Search. Amber pens a tale that will keep you enthralled and turning those pages all the way to the end. She will captivate you and leave you breathless with her mysterious main character, Grant, and for only 99 cents you can treat yourself to a werewolfish good time. (Beware - This novel is not for the kids.)


Soul Search 
by Amber Scott

Three years ago, one horrific night changed his life forever. And now the wolf soul that was invoked to save him is taking over his body, day by day.

Can he master his animal instincts in time to discover who is stealing children's souls before the delicate balance we all depend upon is shattered?

Or will he reject the one woman who can help heal his body and his soul?


Buy to Win!!!
Enter to win a Kindle!!!

That’s right!

By helping us drive Soul Search by Amber Scott to the top of the Kindle Lists on November 30th, YOU can win, too!

Because Amber is giving away a brand new Kindle!

Simply purchase Soul Search on November 30th, then head on over to http://bestsellerforaday.com and fill out the entry form (located at the top of the right hand column).

You will only need to enter your email address and the first five numbers from your Amazon purchase confirmation code.

And tah-dah! You just gained 5 entries to win a Kindle!


More Fantastic Books for Only 99 Cents!!

To celebrate Amber's big day, these amazing authors are also dropping their prices to just 99 cents!!!!


Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/39088

 


Fated by Carolyn McCray http://www.amazon.com/Fated-Apart-History-Eternity-ebook/dp/B0050VRK20/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321244740&sr=8-1






Tsunami Blue by Gayle Ann Williams http://www.amazon.com/Tsunami-Blue-Gayle-Ann-Williams/dp/0505528215/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321244668&sr=8-1





What the Heart Wants
by Kelli McCracken  http://www.amazon.com/What-Heart-Wants-Soulmate-ebook/dp/B006F75RHI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322613936&sr=8-1

This week only, you will be able to purchase these featured books for the unbelievable price of just 99 cents. Not only that, but you can win a Kindle and get the purchase price back for the books you bought! How cool is that?!! So what are you still doing here?

Truth and Dare Devotional by Ann-Margaret Hovsepian

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Truth and Dare Devotional

David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ann Margret Hovsepian is a published author, freelance writer and editor and amateur artist. She has published more than 210 articles for dozens of Canadian and U.S. print periodicals and has become a sought-after author of pre-teen girls’ devotional books. She has published Blossom: The Complete New Testament for Girls (Thomas Nelson, 2006) and The One Year Designer Genes Devo (Tyndale, 2007). She speaks at conferences and events and is actively involved on the board of Canadian Baptist Women of Ontario and Quebec, Canada. Hovsepian resides in Montreal, Canada.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Is your pre-teen daughter ready for more—more excitement, more adventure, more joy? Then dare her to discover the secret to a life that sparkles for God. Show her she’s got what it takes to make an impact on the world. Ann Margret Hovsepian’s newest book, Truth and Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Girls, is designed for girls 9 to 12 and filled with powerful wisdom on everything from godly friendships to worshipping God.

It can be easy for young girls to neglect their Bible reading. Perhaps they feel Scripture doesn’t directly relate to them. Maybe they may lack encouragement or accountability, or they may just have too many distractions in their everyday lives. This lack of spiritual food can stunt girls’ spiritual growth and make them vulnerable to the temptations and ungodly influences around them. It can also prevent them from developing a love for Scripture early in life, making it even harder to get into God’s Word when they get older.

Truth and Dare encourages tween girls to discover how exciting God’s Word can be. They will see it make a difference in their daily lives and experience the blessings that come from doing it and not just hearing it. Daily challenges (dares) based on Scripture (truth) will provide opportunities for them to make their faith come alive as they learn to serve others, build character and make a difference.

Scripture will be transformed from something learned to something lived. Girls will delight in discovering how God’s Word can become real in whole new ways as they learn to apply it with each day’s dare. It ideally suits anyone looking to inspire a young girl to boldly live out her faith. So encourage the tween girl in your life to take the dare and discover the truth! It’s her time to shine as a girl who knows what it means to live a fierce and fearless life of faith.





Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434702081
ISBN-13: 978-1434702081

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER (To enlarge, click on the images):






























My Thoughts: 

When my daughter was growing up, I had looked and looked for a devotional that would be both interactive and fun while learning. Sadly, I couldn't find anything that I really wanted for her. We ended up combining a few things, but it wasn't anything she could do on her own. How I wish this devotional was around while we were looking!

There are so many neat things about this devotional. The cover is eye catching and the inside layout has a newspaper/journal quality to it. It is easy to use, but the neatest thing is the dare section. The book is sectioned by week and then days. Each day has a reading, a subject title, a Bible truth and then 3 dares. Weekends are set up a little differently with an activity instead of a dare.

This book makes journaling a part of study and develops some great habits for Bible study and is a wonderful tool to give a tween. My daughter came home from college last weekend and looked at this devotional and said that it was "So cool" and she wished she would have had it growing up.

This devotional gets two thumbs up from our family!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Triple Dog Dare Devotional by Jeremy Jones

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:

Jeremy Jones

and the book:

David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jeremy V. Jones is an award-winning journalist who has served as senior associate editor of Breakaway magazine. He has authored several books, including Toward the Goal: The Kaka Story and The Keeper: The Tim Hoard Story. He also writes for magazines such as Clubhouse and Christianity Today. He resides with his wife and two children in Colorado.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Boys want action. They don’t want to sit around and talk—that’s for grown-ups and girls. They engage life and relationships by doing something: skateboarding, playing games or re-creating favorite movie scenes. So why should faith be any different? That’s why Jeremy V. Jones created Triple Dog Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys—to provide the action boys need in order to grow their faith.

The Bible is full of action. Remember how David slew Goliath, Daniel faced those lions, Paul survived a shipwreck and Jesus stood up for a woman about to be killed? God made boys to take His truth and do something with it, to man up and change the world. These action-packed devotions for boys ages 9 to 12 are filled with godly truth and bold spiritual challenges that transform time with God into the adventure of the day.

Triple Dog Dare connects God’s Word to boys’ hearts and hands with real-life scenarios and activities. Each day is filled with short Scriptures, concise biblical truth and a daily dare, all challenging them to put their faith into practice. Scripture readings from every book of the Bible open up the action-packed Word of God. Whether it’s drawing comic strips of biblical battles, dreaming up a life list of goals, making snack packs for the homeless or producing Bible-based movies, boys will go on daily dynamic experiences with God, taking faith off the page and setting it into motion. Themes cover the daily realities of pre-teen males, including bullying, peer pressure, girls, sibling rivalry, honesty and more.

These exciting devotions will inspire boys’ hearts toward godly characteristics such as integrity, generosity and kindness. Parents will appreciate watching Christ-like traits emerge as each dare is undertaken. It is a manual that will deepen boys’ friendships with Jesus as they look forward to spending time with Him every day. So if you know a boy who is up for the challenge, triple dog dare him!




Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781404576
ISBN-13: 978-0781404570

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER (Click on images to enlarge):


























My Thoughts:

Devotionals for tweens (9-12 years) is difficult to find, but try finding one for boys, and it gets even harder. When my son was growing up, we couldn't find anything that interested him. How I wish this had been available then.

Triple Dog Dare is an eye catching and totally boyish devotional that tweens will love (and use). The inside design layout has a textured and brushed quality to it. It is done in black and off-white with pictures of tools, screws, metal, and a tv in the bottom corner. When you flip the pages quickly - the tv has a moving picture (this is really neat!)

My son was back from college over the weekend and he had a look at this devotional. He said he wished he would have had something like this. He really though it was neat and suggested that it would work great to for devos at Christian summer camp.

This devotional gets two thumbs up from our family!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stay Tuned Holiday Tour - Interview with Lauren Clark



As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Stay Tuned eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 2nd, so you don’t miss out.


To Win the Prizes:


1. Purchase your copy of Stay Tuned for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (You’ll need it for the big contest on Friday)

2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes

3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!


…And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Radio Interview with Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We interviewed Lauren on our radio show Sunday night and have embedded the full podcast and blogged about its highlights. Give it a listen and then leave a comment on the blog post. This is a great chance to get to know more about this fun and bubbly author. One commenter will win an autographed copy of Stay Tuned. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. The winners will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet:  Take a break from the holiday frenzy, and read Stay Tuned. It’s fast, fun, and reduced to just 99 cents! http://ow.ly/7zA1e #whirlwind


Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. Two chances to win with just one click! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Stay Tuned either in paperback or on an eReading device, tag Lauren Clark’s Facebook page, and you can enter to win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the most creative photo, $50 to the best BFF photo, and $50 to the photo with the most people in it. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. If you need help learning how to tag a photo, you can visit Lauren’s Facebook page for detailed instructions.

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Stay Tuned: What happens when a #1 news team becomes the top story instead of reporting it? For TV producer Melissa Moore, crisis management comes with the job. From employee disputes to her high-maintenance boss, there’s not much she hasn’t seen or can’t handle. But no one—including Melissa—expects a fistfight during the ten o’clock news. When sexy-but-crazy Alyssa Andrews lands a punch on her co-anchor’s face, Melissa jumps on set to help. She’s determined that WSGA’s reputation won’t be destroyed on her watch. Both anchors are fired and Melissa agrees to fill in—but not before polishing her look from haircut to heels. While the new Melissa wows WSGA viewers, her personal life starts fraying at the edges. Melissa’s husband is away more than he’s home, leaving cryptic Post-it notes in his wake. Her mother’s antics spiral out of control at the nursing home and a stalker decides Melissa is her next target. What happens next? Stay Tuned to find out… Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Lauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Let’s get to know Lauren better through a rousing Q&A…


Did you always want to be a writer? 

Yes. For as long as I can remember. Of course, my parents always remind that I also wanted to be an Indian princess named Tiger Lily, but that dream was more short-lived. On a serious note, I do have fond memories of spending my summer days toting stacks of books back and forth from my house to our town’s library. It always seemed like a magical place, with endless stories to get lost in.

You worked as both an anchor and producer after graduate school. How did that influence the writing of Stay Tuned

So much! It was an accident, really, getting into broadcast journalism. I always thought of myself as a behind the scenes kind of girl, but after my first day on the job, I loved it and stuck with it for the next 6 years. Working in television is never boring. There’s always a story, always the next show. The camaraderie in the newsroom is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. It’s like living in a big, loud, mostly happy, very dysfunctional family every day.

What gave you the idea for Stay Tuned

True story:  A few months before I took my first television job as a part-time health reporter, the two main anchors at one of the local television stations (who were romantically involved) got into a fistfight. They were outside the building, in the station parking lot. Shortly thereafter, they were both fired. In the months that followed, the two of them bantered back and forth in newspaper editorials, threatened lawsuits, and fueled all sorts of crazy retaliation stories. I never forgot about that incident and always thought about what might happen if such a fistfight happened on air, during a newscast. What would happen? How would it be handled? Who would fix this kind of mess?

What did you learn from being on air? 

It’s very humbling, really. As a producer, especially, you are in charge of what’s being put out there—the news stories people watch and talk about each day. It’s a big responsibility to get it right. Not just sometimes, but all of the time. There were many sobering days—car accidents, house fires, school shootings—and those stories should be told with sensitivity and care. It’s someone’s son or daughter or parent. Everyone matters.

What was your most memorable experience as an anchor or reporter?  

I was on set during 9-11. I remember sitting there with our weatherman and waiting to be cued to go back on air after the commercial. CBS cut in and showed footage from a plane crashing into the Twin Towers. It was surreal and awful. We were all in shock. It didn’t seem possible. All I wanted to do was go home and hug my son.

Was it a difficult decision to leave television? 

Yes and no. I loved so many parts of broadcasting. I was able to meet fascinating people – Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro, then-New York Attorney General Eliott Spitzer among many others. I adored the people I worked with, especially the folks behind the scenes. I was also fortunate enough to win several AP awards for anchoring and reporting.

On the flip side, I worked crazy hours (2 am – 10 am) and, as is typical in the industry, I received very little vacation time. I anchored every holiday (Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, you name it) and wasn’t able to spend much time with my young son. After more than six years, I “retired” from TV news. It was then that I really started to get serious about writing fiction.

How long did it take to write Stay Tuned

About five years, all said and done. I wrote several other novels before that—and those manuscripts will never see the light of day! When I began Stay Tuned, I had just given birth to my second son, so my writing time was very limited. After putting it away for several years, I picked it back up about 12 months ago, brushed it off, and had an editor-friend look it over. We made some changes, tweaked the story, and fine-tuned the plot. A few months back, I was offered a contract with a small publishing company. Another friend introduced me to the talented and fabulous Emlyn Chand at Novel Publicity, who helped guide me through the entire publishing process. It’s been a wonderful journey!

What’s next? A sequel or a stand-alone novel? 

Dancing Naked in Dixie is next (stand alone title) and I’m so excited to share that it’s been selected as a finalist for the 2011 Chick Lit Writers “Get Your Stiletto in the Door” Contest (Winner will be announced December 20, 2011).

Dancing Naked follows the story of a talented but scattered travel magazine writer who returns from overseas only to find out she’s on the verge of getting fired. To save her job, she reluctantly accepts an assignment in the Deep South. She’ll be writing an article about Eufaula, Alabama’s annual Pilgrimage event, which is a long-standing spring tour of antebellum mansions (the location is featured in the Reese Witherspoon’s movie, Sweet Home Alabama). Upon arriving in Eufaula, Julia falls in love with the area, its cast of charming characters, and her handsome tour guide. When she discovers that a developer has big plans to buy up many of the historic homes and turn the area into a tourist site, it’s up to Julia to save the day.

What is your writing schedule like? 

With two growing, active boys and a busy husband, finding time to write is like looking for a missing Lego piece in a houseful of toys (Moms should appreciate that!) I often get up very early and write while everyone else is asleep or go to the lovely campus of our local university and shut myself in a study room. I love it there because I have to shut off my phone and I don’t have the password for an internet connection! No distractions! Of course, I do frequent two or three local coffee shops and draw inspiration from my daily dose of caffeine and good friends!

Who are your favorite writers? Favorite books? 

Gosh, there are so many! My all-time favorites include Emily Giffin, Sophie Kinsella, Jodi Picoult, Alice Hoffman, Jennifer Weiner, Chris Bohjalian, John Grisham, Amanda Eyre Ward, and Lisa See. I also love Lisa Scottoline, Janet Evanovich, and James Patterson. Favorite books include: Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, and Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (this is a children’s book that I’ve read over and over to my two boys).

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

Read. A lot. Write. A lot. Revise. A lot. I’m not joking.

Anyone can write. Writing well is different. It takes focus and tenacity and determination. I’ve heard Stephen King quoted as saying, “The first million words are practice. Malcolm Gladwell, in Outliers, says, “It takes 10,000 hours of purposeful practice to become expert at anything.” Just to be clear, at 4 hours a day (28 hours a week), that’s 7 years. I’m not quoting the experts to scare anyone or be a harbinger of doom. It’s the truth.

Pick up a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing. It’s brilliant and so true and funny in so many sections. If you’re serious about becoming an author, learn as much as you can. Read blogs and books about the craft, network with other writers, or go to a writer’s conference. Above all, write!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Three Things Every Traditional Christmas Tree Must Have

Three Things Every Traditional Christmas Tree Must Have
 
By Roxanne Hughes Packham, Co-Author of the Hospitality Book: Inspired Design
 
For Photographs of these ideas and
more for Holiday design, visit www.InspiredDesignPublications.blogspot.com.
 
I can remember back thirty years ago, as a little girl, getting dressed up with my sister in our matching Christmas plaid dresses, getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner, and posing for pictures in front of our brick fireplace in our first house. I can still remember how excited we were for Santa Claus to come and leave presents, how much fun it was to have our crazy, loud family all together for Christmas. There are so many memories of Christmases past, but mostly the beautifully set tables and decorated trees and presents are the forefront of my memories. Our family is so much fun, and there was always so much laughter, loud and often hysterical storytelling, great food, and mostly an appreciation for our blessings, not material, but the blessing of our family.
 
Sometimes the decorating during the holidays gets so overwhelming, it becomes more daunting than it does desirable. You must keep in mind that for most people the memories made by Christmas past is the sweet memories that it conjures up time with family, friends, surrounded with textural delights all in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. So keep that in mind when you are breaking out the decorations that you are simply setting the backdrop for memories for family and friends, not trying to get an award for the best tabletop design in the country nor the most amazing tree in the land. Most of our deepest desires for the Christmas Season are to make a lovely, festive memorable day for our nearest and dearest.
 
Keep the following in mind for your tree: There is no award for the most amazing tree (that I know of), but you will touch the hearts of all who enter your home and enjoy the beauty of your tree because your tree represents your family.
 
~ Family ornaments!
 
This may be funny to some who have more than 25 years of ornaments saved and carefully packed each year. Good for you! Even if you just buy one new ornament per year on a vacation, or special event someone in your family participated in it makes such a story once the tree is fully decorated. I like to take a permanent marker and write the specific event and year on each ornament, after purchasing, in case I forget all the little details. It makes decorating the tree quite a tradition as each person takes the ornaments out of the boxes and begins to reminisce about the event or trip. Even with shiny new ornaments the old ones really give a history for the family and meaning to the tree.
 
~ Sparkle! 
 
This might go without saying, but little white lights and colorful red Christmas balls really go a long way in making a Christmas tree look Christmassy! The lights reflect off the balls and the more the better, in my opinion. It is traditional for the tree to be mainly red and green. Since the tree itself is green, invest mostly in red ball ornaments. The more little white lights the better, especially important towards the back. Hang the simple round ornaments way back towards the trunk so that it sparkles all the way through. Don’t just hang the ornaments right on the front of the trees. Remember also to do a topper on the top! If yours broke, or you haven’t had one, use ribbon and make a large loopy bow and stick it almost on the very top. This one you will have to tie to the tree with the bow facing towards the front.
 
~ Candy Canes and Bows!
 
Although I often do themed trees throughout the house, it is always our big main tree that I like to be very traditional, red and green, with all the family ornaments. And, of course, no Traditional tree would be complete without candy canes and bows! Hanging the candy canes on last after the tree is decorated is the easiest, filling in every spot where there isn’t an ornament. They don’t even need a hanger, but can just be set hanging on a branch! Tying bows can be fun while watching a favorite Christmas movie or listening to your favorite Christmas music. While I know sometimes the teenagers have other things to do, they are always glad we took some time to make some more Christmas memories together. Lastly, tie the bows. I recommend something very “red & green” like polka dot ribbon with those colors, or something very Christmas-plaid! Those say Christmas-time more than any other types of bows. You can either tie the bows right onto the candy cane before you hang it, or tie the bows, and use an ornament hanger on it to hang the bow. I find it way too hard to tie the bows onto the tree. 
 
Enjoy your time together this Christmas. Time is the most precious thing there is with loved ones! Bless someone by asking them over for simple coffee and tea, and to enjoy your beautiful Tree. Practice Hospitality, Romans 12:13! Merry Christmas!
  


Inspired Design

by

Roxanne and Hannah Packham

Inspired Design Publications
ISBN 978-0-9844563-0-7
152 pages/hardcover/$40.00


Copyright: Roxanne and Hannah Packham. Article used with permission.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Two Moons of Sera Blog Tour


I am very pleased and excited to be part of this tour. Pavarti K. Tyler has created an exciting new series that will appeal to teens as well as adults. During this tour, she is hosting a giveaway that you won't want to miss! Make sure to check out the information below to see the prizes and how to enter.

Two Moons of Sera
Author: Pavarti K Tyler
Publisher: Fighting Monkey Press

About the Book:

In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother's water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one?

All the Fun of YA written for Adults

Two Moons of Sera is a Fantasy/Romance and will be released in a serial format.




My Thoughts:

Being a teen is difficult enough, but when you are a misfit or considered a mistake, it makes life even harder. Add in a war between races  (of which you are a product of both races and accepted by none) and you have Serafay's life - a life of seclusion.

Pavarti created a gripping story of a young girl's struggle to survive in a world that doesn't want her. She penned a tale so engrossing that I didn't put it down until I was finished. Being the first of the series, "Two Moons of Sera" ended in a cliffhanger and it is going to be agonizing waiting for the next book to come out!

Pavarti's writing style is delightful. She creates characters you want to get to know and she gives them some very wise and usual sayings - being quite poetic and philosophical. Her storyline is well paced and keeps one interested and turning the pages.

This is a great novella for both young adult and adult audiences!

About the Author:

Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number-cruncher who has been committed to causing trouble since her first moment on this Earth. Her eclectic career has flirted with Broadway, Teaching, Law Firms and the IRS. Author of many short stories, Pavarti spans genres from Horror and Erotica all the way to Fantasy. Currently Pavarti is hard at work establishing her Indie Publishing Company Fighting Monkey Press.

Pavarti K Tyler's novel Two Moons of Sera is a Fantasy/Romance and will be released in a serial format beginning this fall. Her next novel Shadow on the Wall is scheduled for release in early 2012. Shadow on the Wall is Book One of The SandStorm Chronicles, the saga of Recai Osman — businessman, philosopher, Muslim and . . . superhero.


You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or her blog




Order Your Copy Now

As a thank you to all of my amazing readers and supporters, I am hosting a month long rafflecopter giveaway on my blog!  Enter for your chance to win:


I received an e-copy of this book to read and honestly review for this tour.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Paranormal Turkey Tour

Ah yes, Thanksgiving. Nothing says the holidays like sitting around a fully decked out dining room table with mouthwatering temptations waiting to be gobbled up. Everyone waits anxiously for the big reveal… the turkey!

Lovingly prepared since early that morning, the turkey is brought out in a covered, silver serving platter. Aunt Edith smacks little Tommy’s hand as he attempts to steal a candied yam dripping with marshmallow. The collective breath is held as the silver cover is removed… revealing… a zombie turkey!

What—what? That’s right folks, this year, we are celebrating this American holiday paranormal style. And what says paranormal holiday better than a walking, talking zombie turkey?

This zombie turkey brings you important tidings of great prizes that shall be for all people… who participate and win of course.

November 25-27 you could win up to $200 in prizes!

Three days. Four YA paranormal books. Five chances to win!

And who are these crazy paranormal authors? Check them out. It’s like the Nightmare Before Christmas, Thanksgiving style!


Emlyn Chand, author of Farsighted

“Psychic or not, you’ll never see the end for this one coming! Emlyn Chand is pioneering ‘the next big thing’ for YA.” ~ Emily Reese, author of Second Death

Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.

Monster Mash: Emlyn says… I. AM. WEREWOLF! And why’s that you ask? First off, my name (Chand) literally means moon in Sanskrit. Next, werewolves are super cool–we can blend in with common folk, and then out of nowhere, kapow! I’m a werewolf, and I sure am hungry. Lastly, Team Jacob 100%. Now excuse me while I cock back my head and howl at my namesake.


Patti Larsen, author of Family Magic

“Patti Larsen is truly gifted because I read Family Magic cover to cover and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment!” ~  from Goodreads review

Sixteen-year-old Sydlynn Hayle is the daughter of a powerful witch and a demon lord, but she just wants to be ordinary. When her coven comes under attack, Syd must face the fact only her power can save her family’s magic.

Monster Mash: Patti says… I am a witch. Naturally. I weave spells with my words, cast incantations from my keyboard, mix up the very best potions in my cauldron of documents. You want to stay on my good side. Trust me. Unless you enjoy waking up as something… unnatural.


Kimberly Kinrade, author of Forbidden Mind

Forbidden Mind is a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment.” ~Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews

Paranormal teens with unimaginable powers. An evil organization with deep secrets. When Sam, a girl who reads minds, meets a boy who controls minds, she discovers her future isn’t what she thought. Together they must escape and free the others… or risk losing everything—and everyone—they love.

Monster Mash: Kimberly says… I may look like a demon, but I’m actually a succubus. Enchanting and seductive, I weave stories that will fuel your passions and make you fall in love. But be warned… once you fall under the spell of my words, your world will never be the same.


John Corwin, author of The Next Thing I Knew

Corwin does a phenomenal job of including humor throughout this novel. This book was like . . . Ghost (the movie) meets The Host (by Stephanie Meyer) meets MIB (Men In Black the movie). ~Maryann, Chapter by Chapter

The afterlife is the last thing on Lucy’s mind until she and every other human on the planet drop dead and find themselves in the hereafter. Lucy drags her social life back from the grave and enlists her friends to figure out the rules of the afterlife and, more importantly, to discover who or what killed everyone and why anyone would do such a mean thing.

Monster Mash: John says… I am a ninja. After all, vampires are simply ninjas with fangs. They can hide in plain sight, right in your living room. Jump out and scare the wits out of you. Drop a smoke bomb and poof! All you’re left with is stinky smoke in your house and soiled underclothes.



The Prizes

Four $25 Book Entries: For each of the four books in the contest, you can enter to win $25 (up to $100 in giveaways!) Simply buy a copy of the book (each is priced at just 99 cents for this special promotion) and email the proof of purchase for that book OR submit the first sentence of the fifth chapter for that book to ParanormalTurkey@gmail.com. Winners will be chosen randomly. Each person can submit one entry per book. Here are the links for each book:
And… if you buy all FOUR books, you are entered to win the Grand Prize!

The Grand Prize

One randomly selected reader who enters to win all four book prizes (Family Magic, Farsighted, Forbidden Mind and The Next Thing I Knew) will win the grand prize of $100.

So go on now and pick up a copy of these fantastic paranormal reads before the zombie turkey eats you!

What? Still around? Then enjoy these fun book trailers and Paranormal Turkey Tour trailer. (Then go buy the books.) Also, leave a comment and help your favorite blog host win a $50 prize!

Notes:
  • All winners will be chosen randomly using random.org.
  • Amazon links are provided, but books purchased through any online vendor will qualify with proof of purchase.


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