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<<August 2014>>
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Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 211,813
7951. Is Your Teen Stressing Out? Assure Them They Have What It Takes

Is Your Teen Stressing Out?
Is your teen feeling overwhelmed with school, relationships, or work? Transitioning into young adulthood can be stressful. How can parents assure their teens, they have what it takes?

Moreover, how can parents help, but not too much? In a recent article on USA Today’s website, "Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well" , psychologist, Michael Bradley commented on the level of parental help:

“‘Some parents set out on a mission to get rid of stress in their kids, but the fact is, some degree of stress is very therapeutic and an appropriate amount of stress is what helps us become strong. The hard part is what's appropriate. We do know the more we try to mitigate all stress in our children's life the less resilient that child becomes and they feel hopeless about their own future." [i]

Numerous articles, such as this one, point to the symptoms, and the reasons for the anxieties teens face. Helpful suggestions are offered on how to curtail the stress, such as cutting back on activities and minimizing negative factors.
However, I suggest Christian parents counsel their teens to add more to their lives. That’s right—more. Allow me to explain. 
The following suggestion is presupposing your teen already has a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. If he doesn’t, this is a great time to explain our need for Christ. However, this post is addressing the hearts of Christian teens.
Teens may become anxious about the uncertainties of life, especially when it concerns their future; whether that’s the prom this spring, or making education choices for a career ten years from now. Quite often we hear young people express, “But, I don’t know what God wants me to do with my life!”
Parents can encourage their teens by looking at 2 Peter 1:

“For this very reason, make every effort to addto your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)

Ask your teens what they think God means by faith, goodness, and knowledge. How can we increasethese?Will something have to decrease in order for this to happen?
What does self-control, perseverance, and godliness look like in their day-to-day lives? In what ways can they strengthen these qualities? How will that affect others around you?
What are examples of brotherly kindness and love we show at home, at work, or at school? Which area do they find it most difficult to show love? Why? What do they think will help them show more kindness and love to people?
Based on scripture, what do they know about God’s love? Encourage them to make a list and post it where it’ll remind them of the magnitude of His powerful love.
At some point in this conversation, a slight eye roll or a heavy sigh will may place. It’s okay. Just tell your teens the same thing Peter told his “children.”

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them…I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live…and I will make every effort to see that…you will always be able to remember these things.” 2 Peter 1:12-15 (NIV)

Teens Need Parents Refreshing Their Minds and Hearts
No matter what they say with their lips, it means a great deal to teens when parents show they care.
There's not a one-size-fits-all answer for reducing stress. Occasionally, teens may need a little parental guidance in time management and decision-making. Ultimately, they need godly, loving parents refreshing their minds andhearts.
Assure them if they increase in God’s ways, there is no need to stress out. Everything is going to be okay, because they have what it takes.
Does your teen have what it takes?
Do you?

[i]Jayson, Sharon. “Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well.”USAToday.com. Web. 2014/02/11

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7952. Call for Entries: 2014 PBBY-Alcala Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2014 PBBY-Alcala Prize.

The winner shall be given a cash prize of P25,000.00, a gold medal, and an opportunity to be published. Prizes will be awarded in an appropriate ceremony to be held during the celebration of National Children's Book Day on July 15, 2014.


1. The contest is open to all Filipino citizens except those who are related to any PBBY member up to the third degree of consanguinity.

2. Entries must be based on any of the following, all honorable mention winners of the 2014 PBBY-Salanga Prize:

        "Ang Misay sa Aming Bahay" by Susan Anne Alegro Quirante
        "Gaano ba Kalayo Patungong Paaralan?" by Genaro Gojo Cruz
        "Reyna Elena" by Michael de Guzman

3. Copies of these stories may be requested from the PBBY Secretariat or downloaded from the PBBY website.

4. All entries must be original unpublished illustrations that have not won in any previous contest.

5. All entries must consist of three (3) illustrations that are of the same size and medium. Entries do not have to be based on consecutive spreads/parts of the text.

6. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.

7. Each entry must be signed by a pen name only, preferably on a small piece of paper pasted on the back of each artwork. Entries with a signature or any identifying marks are automatically disqualified.

8. Together with each entry, contestants must submit a separate envelope, on the face of which only the pen name of the contestant shall appear. The envelope must contain the contestant's full name, address, contact numbers, short description of background, and notarized certification vouching for the originality of the entry and for the freedom of the organizers from any liability arising from the infringement of copyright in case of publication.

9. All entries must be sent to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, 109 Scout Fernandez cor. Scout Torillo Sts., Quezon City by April 14, 2014.

10. Winners will be announced no later than May 12, 2014. Non-winning entries must be claimed no later than June 13, 2014, after which they will no longer be the responsibility of the organizers.

For more details, interested parties may contact the PBBY Secretariat by calling 352.6765 or emailing pbby [at] adarna.com.ph.


April 14, 2014 (5:00 p.m.)

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7953. Inspirational Quote of the Week

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.

-Bruce Garrabrandt-

Moments matter – Every single one of them. I try to use each one wisely.




kissing vic






teddybear playing

And helping.

photo 2

This past weekend we lost 60 moments of sleep for daylight savings. Well, the humans did. I got those moments back in spades 60 times over.


Mom uses one hour of moments each day for work. And by work I mean she sits there and types on the computer and talks out loud to herself. Sometimes the Creativity visits her during that hour. I love visitors. I’m not sure I’ve ever met the Creativity Visitor, though. Maybe tomorrow…..


If the Creativity doesn’t visit at that exact work time, Mom still works. Each month, she makes a new story and fixes up an old story (or two or three) for her 12×12 Challenge. She also reads books about writing books, and reads books like the books she writes. Wait. What?


Writing time is not for blogs, not for Facebook, not for email, not for Words With Friends, and not even for TV.

photo 3

It’s just working on stories in one way or another – writing them, reading them, fixing them, thinking about them, submitting them to agents and publishers, and giving me cuddles and treats…. (See what I did there?) If the Creativity doesn’t come – Oh well. Maybe tomorrow…..

We’ll be ready.


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7954. Making Peace with Sorrow

I've been crying off and on for two days, hosting a lavish pity party for myself, as I contemplate all the changes this broken foot is bringing to my life.

I review five children's books a month for the online review service Children's Literature (I also find a lot of my reviews for them posted on the Barnes & Noble website). The book I read and reviewed yesterday is a sports novel by Mike Lupica called Game Changers: Heavy Hitters. Toward the end of the book, the main character says, "My dad [is] always telling me to appreciate these seasons [of sports] because nobody ever knows how many they're going to have." Well, that sent me balling for half an hour, mourning the end (at least for now) of my walking season. Walking is one of what I call my "four pillars of happiness," the four things that bring happiness to every day: writing, reading, walking, being with friends. How can I lose one of these beloved pillars for six whole weeks and maybe even longer?


Then this morning I went to church. Our family made quite the entrance with me in the wheelchair I borrowed from church (I can't do the crutches, I just can't) and Christopher and Ashley proudly carrying in baby Kataleya for her first appearance. I'm in love with the wheelchair already. So much easier to navigate than the rolling desk chair I've been using at home. Everyone had broken foot stories to share with me; apparently I really was long overdue for mine, as everyone else on the planet has had one or two already. And everyone had smiles and hugs and prayers.

I taught my tiny middle school Sunday School class. By some sweet coincidence, the topic prescribed in the curriculum for this week was "encouragement." My three students and I shared some problems for which we need encouragement: a broken foot, an upcoming move, a stressful test at school, and having to get up an hour early for the time change! We took turns giving each other encouragement. The best piece of encouragement I received was from Tyler. He told me this would all work out for me, because "You're good at things. And this is a thing."

Yes! That will be my new mantra. I'm good at things. And this is a thing.

During worship I presented the children's message. I talked about this being the first Sunday of Lent, the 40 days of preparation for Jesus' suffering and death on the cross, followed by the joy of Easter Sunday. I told the children that even though we know that Easter is coming, that light and love will return to the world, there are still seasons of sadness and sorrow in our lives; no human life escapes them. Lent is the time in the church year where we create a space to make our peace with sorrow.

If the doctor's estimate is accurate, Easter sunrise should happen just as I'm allowed to be weight bearing again. Lent this year is going to be my own season of sadness, my own time to make peace with sorrow. It's okay for me to be sad right now. While Tyler is correct that "I'm good at things, and this is a thing," it's also a hard thing. It's permissible for me to whimper a little bit. Maybe it's even okay to wail. Forty days of this, and then the Alleluia of Easter.

I can do this. I can.

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7955. Blog Tour: The Fire and the Light (Guest Post)

Series: Souls of Aredyrah, Book #1

In the world of Aredyrah, things are not what they seem. An ancient Purge has plunged the island into darkness, isolating its cultures by superstition and fear. Dayn lives in the northernmost region of Kirador and knows nothing of the great city-state of Tearia far to the south. All he knows is the Kiradyns are the only survivors of a god’s fiery wrath, and he looks nothing like them. Meanwhile Ruairi, a prince destined for greatness, resents his Tearian obligations, longing for a life he can never hope to have. But when tragedy takes his beauty as well as his name, he finds himself exiled by the very beliefs he once held dear. Both boys long for acceptance in societies that cling to religious ideals, but when fate throws them together, Dayn and Ruairi discover some unwelcome truths: not only are they bound by blood and prophecy, but the teachings they have been raised on are nothing more than lies. Will they reveal what they have learned, risking their lives and the security of those they love? Or will they keep silent, denying their destinies and the future enlightenment of their world?
Buy the Book
Ebooks: Kindle | Smashwords | Nook | Sony | Diesel
Paperback: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

In Consideration of Dayn
Written by Reiv, former prince of Tearia

I have to say, the first time I met Dayn I was not in the best of moods. I had been burned, disowned, and unnamed, had lost my crown, the girl of my dreams, and had been betrayed by my own twin brother! To make matters worse, I had run away, hoping to find some respite from my misery, but ended up facing hunger, exhaustion, and a stranger named Dayn instead. It was bad enough that Dayn looked like my estranged brother, (I am still not sure he has ever quite forgiven me for pressing my blade to his throat,) but the comments that came out of his mouth were so stupid at the time, I thought for certain he must be some kind of simpleton. Needless to say, we got off to a rather rocky start. After a number of arguments about what he knew or did not know, I came to realize he was not stupid, just inexperienced, especially with the ladies. That topic of conversation, which took place much later, was what broke the final tension between us, mainly because the thought of a young man his age having never kissed a woman made me laugh out loud. Afterward, we got along fairly well, we even managed to dodge a few close calls together, but still Dayn’s naiveté made him seem younger than his years, and it made me feel responsible for him somehow. I did not like the feeling of it, in truth we were very nearly the same age, yet over time Dayn has proved to be far braver than I could ever hope to be, so now I think it is he who feels responsible for me.

Tour Schedule

March 3

Indie Hoopla Gala - Interview

March 4

My Fae-void Demon - Review

March 5

Indie Author How-to - Tens List

March 6

Carpe Diem - Spotlight Foxultely Reviews - Spotlight

March 7

Njkinny's Blog - Interview

March 10

My Inner Muse - Guest Post

March 11

A Saintz Dream - Tens List

March 12

My Inner Muse - Review

March 13

The Blood Flow - Review

March 14

Hell Fyre Risen - Guest Post

Tracy A. Akers is a former language arts teacher and an award-winning author. She grew up in Arlington, Texas, but currently lives in Florida with her husband, three naughty pugs, and a feisty chihuahua. She graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in Education, and has taught in both public and private schools. She currently divides her time between writing, lecturing, spending time with her family, and costuming at fantasy and science fiction conventions.

Ms. Akers has won numerous awards for her Souls of Aredyrah fantasy series for young adults. As a Florida Book Awards winner, she was acknowledged for her contribution to YA literature by the Governor of Florida during the 2008 Florida Heritage Month Awards Ceremony. Books One and Two of the Aredyrah Series are included in the Florida Department of Education’s 2008 Just Read Families Recommended Summer Reading List. In addition, Ms. Akers has been an invited guest author at major book events and writers’ conferences, a panelist at fantasy and science fiction conventions, and was on the steering committee for Celebration of the Story, a literary event held at Saint Leo University.

The Souls of Aredyrah Series is Ms. Akers’ first series of novels for young adults.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


$25 Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Card or Paypal Cash, Ebook/paperback giveaway Ends 03/28/2014. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kisha from Indie Hoopla Services & Promotions, http://indiehoopla.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7956. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish book giveaway via pragmaticmom.com!

Pragmatic Mom is giving away copies of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish! Check out her blog post, that covers author Skype visits from the parent's perspective, to learn more!

Check it out!

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7957. Interview Across a Breakfast Table: Macaroni, cheese, and…

Today, Jenny picked for me the following Loaded Question:

What was your favorite meal when you were growing up?

Macaroni, cheese and hot dogs. We’re talking homemade cheese sauce, and a package of hot dots cut up, boiled, browned in a skillet, and baked in with the macaroni and cheese.

I’m kind of surprised I don’t make that more often than I do. But then, I feel the same about French toast, which I used to get every Thursday morning.

Who knows what meals our own kids will remember fondly, but not make all that often for their own families?

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7958. Press is Important Facet of Reaching Your Target Demographic

News of my hardcover book release is being picked up across the nation, thanks to a well written press release and the help of my publisher, Mira Publishing, who worked swiftly to get our news out. Press is an important facet of getting books into the hands of your target demographic, and to extend a book’s newsworthiness and reach beyond an author’s own network.

Please contact me if you are an author struggling with garnering effective press. I may be able to offer insight. It takes a community to raise an author! I lean on others too, wherever I can, for help and mentorship.

World News/San Francisco Chronicle/Tonia Allen Gould Book Release

Keep writing! Keep Pressing!

Tonia Allen Gould


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7959. Checking the Spam Box

I hadn’t checked the spam box on my e-mail account in years (I deleted spam mail, unseen, by pressing the trash icon), but the other day, I peeked into my spam box. I had two e-mails: one from an agent and one from an editor.

Eleven years ago, I had submitted a two-novel proposal to the agent. Now, she was cleaning her office and came across my submission. She must have looked into the current status of the novels (A Shadow in the Dark and Living It Up to Live It Down) because she congratulated me on their publication. She asked if my address on the return envelope was still current and if I wanted my proposal back. I had moved but I gave her my current address. My submission from years ago came back with handwritten comments in the margins. Overall, these comments were positive. One or two suggested further plot developments. This is helpful information to me, even though it came too late for these novels.

The second piece of mail in my spam box, from a magazine editor, requested me to resubmit a short story to her magazine even though someone on the staff had rejected it more than a year ago. I knew the magazine editor’s name and e-mail address was legitimate, so I resent the short story. A few days later, I received a paying contract.

Both incidents strike me as strange. I can’t believe many agents are contacting writers years later to return submissions or that editors are tracking them down to request manuscripts they’ve already rejected. Because I’m a believer in God and I haven’t been writing or submitting much in the past few years while working full-time, I see both incidents as encouragement from him that he believes in my writing.

I’m also left wondering how many other legitimate pieces of mail I may have deleted from my spam box, resulting in the loss of a sale or valuable contact. I’ve started skimming over my spam messages.

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7960. Spotlight and Giveaway-March Bliss Releases!

We’re thrilled to announce two new stories releasing today sure to melt readers’ hearts: Her Summer with the Marine by Susan Meier and Stealing the Groom by Sonya Weiss. Both stories are full of the emotion, humor, heartwarming moments, and relatable characters that have come to define Bliss.
We’re particularly excited, however, to announce that Susan’s novel will be the first in an expansion of the Bliss line called Red-Hot Bliss: the same focus on the nice, but with a bit of naughty added in for good measure. We’re opening the door at Bliss, and we can’t wait for you to see how sexy sweet romance can be!
Don’t miss out. Both books are on sale for a limited time.
Pick each title up for just $.99 each!
Her Summer with the Marine by Susan Meier
Their competition has never been so irresistible
The last person Ellie McDermott wanted to run into after returning to her hometown is Finn Donovan, her high school nemesis and the guy she crossed the line from enemies to lovers with one night years ago. Now ex-military, tattooed, and still sexy as hell, Finn is a complication Ellie doesn’t need—she needs to concentrate on saving her family business.
Finn’s entire life, Ellie was there, going head-to-head with him in every class, bee, and test. So it’s no surprise she’d show up just as he was about to take over her father’s struggling business. It is a surprise, though, that his attraction to her is even more explosive than it had been. Acting on their attraction is one thing, but Finn has to turn a profit to save his own family, and nothing—not even love—will get in his way.
Find Her Summer with the Marine Online:
Find Susan Online:



Win a Her Summer with the Marine beach bag – includes a Kindle, beach towel, sun glasses and sunscreen. Everything you need for the summer! (Intl winners will receive a gift card in place of the gift bag).
Stealing the Groom by Sonya Weiss
Friends don’t let friends marry the wrong woman…
Chad Walker may be a take-no-chances man with a plan, but there’s no way Amelia Snyder is going to let her best bud marry Mean Girl #1—even if the wedding is solely so he can secure the controlling shares in his family’s company. But free-spirited Amelia’s at-the-altar groomnapping scheme takes a surprising turn when she ends up as the blushing bride instead.
Suddenly, with Amelia living in her handsome husband’s home—in his bedroom, no less—she starts to reconsider their strictly platonic arrangement. But Chad’s always been anti-risk and definitely anti-love, and betting a lifetime of best friendship on the chance at forever might be the biggest gamble of all.
Find Stealing the Groom Online:
Find Sonya Online:

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7961. Some More on the Bestselling Womens Book Club or BWFBC

Thanks so much everyone for all the fabulous suggestions in response to my previous post. Lots of great ideas there. We really appreciate it.

Your suggestions clarified two things for us:

1) We realised that we want to stick to the twentieth century. So we’ve decided to only read books from after WW1 up to 1994 (ie twenty years ago.) After WW1 because that’s when women across classes1 were joining the workforce in larger numbers; because I’ve done a lot of research on the 1930s; and because there’s an argument that that is when you see the beginnings of what is now called women’s fiction.

2) As much as possible we’d like to do books that are available as ebooks because that makes it much easier for everyone to take part. We will, however, make exceptions for books we’re very keen to read. Such as Han Suyin’s A Many Splendoured Thing.

We’re also making a decision about historicals. On the one hand I think they say a tonne about contemporary women’s lives and feminism and like that. But on the other hand I really do think they’re their own genre. Plenty of historicals by women never get talked about as women’s fiction. Hilary Mantel, Dorothy Dunnett etc. So I’m leaning against. Especially as women’s fiction today basically means fiction about women’s working lives that don’t fit the romance category. Also we’ve already got too many books to choose from! But like I said we’re still thinking about it.

Looking forward to talking Valley of the Dolls with you this Wednesday night (US time) and Thursday afternoon (Australia time).

  1. Working class women have pretty much always been in the workforce.

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7962. Countdowns and Love Lists

Today is March 9th. Which means that there are:

6 months
184 days
4, 416 hours
264,960 seconds

...until FALLING INTO PLACE comes out and my head explodes. Wow. Like, I see the numbers and I have a vague concept that months/days/hours/seconds are divisions of time or something, but I can't actually wrap my head around the idea that this thing I made in my head is going to be...bound? On shelves? Available for purchase? In SIX MONTHS?!

I am terrified and excited and happy beyond words, and to celebrate, I'm going to do a love list, which is a non-exhaustive list of the things you love about a manuscript (inspired by my wonderful CP Mark O'Brien, who was inspired KK Hendin, who was inspired by Rachel, who was inspired by Stephanie Perkins). 


chalk drawings on the roof
scenic towers
jumping off the swings
a 1967 Ford Falcon
being wrong
being right
bouncy balls
wire crowns
twenty-three missed calls
running through the rain
second chances
seven days
fifty-eight minutes
F = ma
green sweaters
flute players
black eyes
the sky
matching friendship rings
cause and effect

Fears Quote



Scenic tower, where Liz once made wishes on sunshine.



Hide and seek behind the old brown couch

beyond the sky...


the cover

the interior

(for more pictures, visit my Pinterest board for FALLING)

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7963. Inspirational Quote of the Week

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.

-Bruce Garrabrandt-

Moments matter – Every single one of them. I try to use each one wisely.




kissing vic






teddybear playing

And helping.

photo 2

This past weekend we lost 60 moments of sleep for daylight savings. Well, the humans did. I got those moments back in spades 60 times over.


Mom uses one hour of moments each day for work. And by work I mean she sits there and types on the computer and talks out loud to herself. Sometimes the Creativity visits her during that hour. I love visitors. I’m not sure I’ve ever met the Creativity Visitor, though. Maybe tomorrow…..


If the Creativity doesn’t visit at that exact work time, Mom still works. Each month, she makes a new story and fixes up an old story (or two or three) for her 12×12 Challenge. She also reads books about writing books, and reads books like the books she writes. Wait. What?


Writing time is not for blogs, not for Facebook, not for email, not for Words With Friends, and not even for TV.

photo 3

It’s just working on stories in one way or another – writing them, reading them, fixing them, thinking about them, submitting them to agents and publishers, and giving me cuddles and treats…. (See what I did there?) If the Creativity doesn’t come – Oh well. Maybe tomorrow…..

We’ll be ready.


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7964. Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Scientific illiteracy will kill us all. It's not a nuclear blast we have to fear but the blast of ignorance that characterizes the Republican Tea Party and the religious right. Scientific ignorance is the greatest threat to national security, global security and personal security. Yet, we have members of Congress celebrating such ignorance and trying to pass it off as public policy. Some of the statements coming out of politicians' mouths are so stupid, a fiction writer could hardly make them up. In recent months, Congresspersons, ex-Congresspersons and political candidates have made statements that are downright scary. Here's a sampling:

On Rape and Women's Bodies"From what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," proclaimed Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri), the 2012 Republican Senate nominee from Missouri. Thankfully, the voters in Missouri shut down Akin's bid and reelected Senator Claire McCaskill.

On Wind Energy and Climate Change"Wind is God's way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler. That's what wind is. Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can't transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It's just something to think about." This came out of the mouth of Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas)

This same Congressman told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee: "I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don't deny that climate is changing. "I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what's causing that change without automatically being either all in that's all because of mankind or it's all just natural. I think there's a divergence of evidence. . . I would point out that if you're a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn't because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy."

Jim Sensenbrenner (R=WI) called research on climate change "an international conspiracy." Sensenbrenner is on House Science Committee.

On Science

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) said: “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” In the same speech, Broun claimed “I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.” This shining light of knowledge is also on the House Science Committee.

Just so I don't leave you in this muddle of negativity, here's a smart comment from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Natural History, New York City.

“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”

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7965. Owl Sighting In My Own Backyard

Owl - Mar 7 (3)

Right at dusk . . . with a pink sunset fading behind him, the owl swooped into our backyard.

Owl - Mar 7 (7)

Unlike the other day, when I’d caught a sleepy owl around 3pm, this one was quite active.  He almost didn’t look real, as his head swiveled from side to side looking for an early supper.

Owl - Mar 7 (10)

We watched until we couldn’t see him through the darkness any more.

Owl - Mar 7 (11)

Oh, how I wished he’d shown up earlier so the pictures were clearer.  Still, I was honored by his visit.

Now I can’t stop looking out my back window, hoping for signs of his return.

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7966. Cover Reveals and Excerpt-The McDaniels Brothers by Christine Bell

I have cover reveals for Christine Bell’s New Adult series, The McDaniels Brothers.  What do you think of them?

“Fresh, sexy, and addicting–you won’t want to put it down!”—New York Times Bestselling Author Jen McLaughlin

FIX YOU is part one in the new adult McDaniels Brothers serials from USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Christine Bell. Fans of Monica Murphy, Jen McLaughlin, and H.M. Ward will be seduced by Bash and Olivia’s story and will look forward to a new installment in this ongoing family saga every month!

About FIX YOU, Bash and Olivia Book One:

Olivia Beckett’s once-charmed life is falling apart. Her family is about to lose everything, and she has almost no chance of continuing her college education. She can’t even seek solace from her high school sweetheart. He’s changed. She doesn’t recognize the boy she used to know— his violent behavior is escalating and it scares the hell out of her. Her whole world is crumbling, and she has no one to turn to……
Sebastian “Bash” McDaniels is an up and comer in the boxing world working nights at the local college bar until he can land the fight of his dreams that will get him the hell out of Boston and away from his family’s tragic past. He’s weeks from his goal when Olivia Beckett comes tumbling into his life in a flash of silky dark hair and haunted eyes. When he saves her from a potentially brutal beating, they begin to grow close, but Olivia’s ex isn’t ready to let her go so easily.
Bash can’t bring himself to walk away, but fixing Olivia just might leave him broken…

Add FIX YOU to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

FIX YOU, Bash and Olivia Book Two

FIX YOU, Bash and Olivia Book Three

About Christine Bell:

Christine Bell is a USA Bestselling Author of contemporary romance novels and one half of the happiest couple in the world. She and her handsome hubby currently reside in Pennsylvania with a four-pack of teenage boys and their two dogs, Gimli and Pug. If she gets time off from her duties as maid, chef, chauffeur, or therapist, she can be found reading just about anything she can get her hands on, from Young Adult novels to books on poker theory. She doesn’t like root beer, clowns or bugs (except ladybugs, on account of their cute outfits), but lurrves chocolate, going to the movies, the New York Giants and playing Texas Hold ‘Em.

Writing is her passion, but if she had to pick another occupation, she would be a pirate…or, like, a ninja maybe. She loves writing fun, sexy romances, but also hopes to one day publish something her dad can read without wanting to dig his eyes out with rusty spoons. Christine loves to hear from readers, so please feel free to get in touch with her via the Contact Page, or find her on Twitter@_ChristineBell.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


“What are you doing, Liv?”

His breath was warm against my lips and I tipped my face toward him like a flower to the sun. “I don’t know. I just…”

And then I did it.

I leaned in that last little inch.

I wish I could say I thought it through, but my brain wasn’t part of the process. It was all feels. Like my very soul was straining toward his, and my body was just a shell waiting for direction from somewhere deep inside me. I couldn’t have stopped it if I tried.

When our mouths touched what felt like an eternity later, the night sky seemed to let out a sigh. Thisss. This was the thing I’d been waiting to feel. The thing people wrote about in books and sang of in songs. The thing that made the pain of the past few weeks fade away until there was nothing there except me and Bash.

A low growl came from deep in his throat and he closed his hands over my hips, thumbs pressing into my flesh in a way that turned my stomach into a pool of taffy. But an instant later, the kiss went from sweet to off the rails. His mouth slanted over mine, teeth and tongues clashing like it was war.

And it was. A war inside me, at least. My brain had popped back into gear and I knew with every fiber of my being that what I was doing was wrong. I needed to stop, but my body was so not on board with that plan. Instead, I pressed closer, mashing my breasts to Bash’schest, moaning into his mouth when the heat of his hard body seeped into mine.


He anchored me to him, crowding me backward until I felt the hard scrape of brick against my back. Our bodies were flush now, and he speared a hand through my hair. It was madness. All-consuming madness.

“Liv?” He’d pulled back a scant inch to mutter my name before dipping back in to nip my bottom lip hard. I gasped, stunned at the sensation. It stung, but sent a bolt of need slamming through me so hard, my knees trembled.

“Liv?” he said again, before tracing my bottom lip with the tip of his tongue.

“I-if you want me to answer you, stop doing that,” I whispered desperately.

“Doing what?” His voice was low and husky, like his throat was raw from screaming. Or tight with need. He was as far gone as I was. Every nerve ending fired at once and, helpless to stop it, I flexed my hips against his in a slow grind.

“Kissing me,” I croaked, and paused to moisten my throbbing lips. “And…touching me.”

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7967. Look! A quick one with bargains in it.

posted by Neil Gaiman
A Quick One -- over at Amazon they have a Gold Box Special on for Books that Inspired Our Passion For Reading. It's only for today.

They have American Gods in it, and Coraline, but I'm plugging this as they have 36 books altogether, all for under $2.99 and most for $1.99, which are pretty much all books that you'd want on your virtual shelves. Click here to see the full list.

Right. Off to be interviewed.

While I'm gone, enjoy learning what the most popular book is in each of the 50 American States, and ponder what it tells us about the state in question...

Share on Twitter   Share on Facebook   Share on Tumblr   Pin it on Pinterest   Share on Google+

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7968. Monday Mishmash 3/10/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. Perfect For You Cover Reveal Sign-ups  I have a YA contemporary romance titled Perfect For You, written under my pen name Ashelyn Drake, coming out in September through Swoon Romance. The cover reveal is March 14th. Want to be part of it? Sign up through YA Bound Book Tours here.

2. Free Monthly Newsletter  So last week I was supposed to send out my newsletter, but I sort of forgot to schedule it. I mean, there was so much awesome I had to wait another week. Yeah. Okay, I forgot. If you aren't signed up to receive one but would like to, you can sign up here.

3. Revisions  I'm revising the sequel to Into the Fire to send to my editor. I can't express how much I LOVE this book. I've never had so much fun revising before.

4. The Monster Within is about 3 months away!  How did that happen? I created this awesome button. Feel free to snag it and post it on your blog if you want to help me spread the word. There's a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde theme in this book. :)

5. Luna Love Cover Reveal  Brenda Moguez is having a cover reveal for her first book, Luna Love. I LOVE Brenda's voice. It's so unique, and I can't get enough of her writing. Check out Luna Love coming soon from Wild Rose Press.

Celia Mendoza is not living La Vida Loca. She put her college dreams on hold after her father died. Now she dishes out advice in her e-zine column, Luna Love, Loving is Good. The problem is, she hasn’t had a second date or a kiss in over a year. Then Gabe Mercer, a modern-day Adonis, shows up, daring her to take a chance. The string of broken hearts in his wake turns Celia off, but his relentless encouragement to pursue her dream of becoming a serious journalist contradicts his reputation, making it hard to fight the pull of his topaz, come-hither eyes. He’s everything Luna Love tells her readers to take a chance on, but Celia can’t decide if a chance encounter is worth the gamble. But life has a will of its own, and hers is pushing Celia to accept the uncertainty and run towards her destiny. 
6. Surrender the Sky by Meradeth Houston Cover Reveal & Giveaway
Gabby lives by two unbreakable rules: don’t expose her kind, the Sary, and don’t fall in love—too bad some rules are made to be broken.

When Gabby’s most difficult charge accidentally shoots her in front of a class full of students, the event exposes her carefully hidden identity. She shifts from looking like a normal teen to her secret Sary form, revealing her wings and the existence of her kind—immortals who try to keep people from committing suicide. Her incident attracts the attention of the next leader of the Sary, Jassen, who offers her an impossible bargain: she can keep her wings if she makes amends with those who know the truth. Things get more complicated when a rebel Sary, intent on exposing them to the world, starts interfering with Gabby’s work. And there’s no denying her attraction to Jassen, who is torn between his duties and his heart. With threats at every turn and her immortality on the line, Gabby has to find a way to save the Sary or surrender the sky forever.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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7969. Character Motivation: What is Her True Journey?

Some people believe that we incarnate in the world to heal a specific wound that, at birth, we forget. Most of us spend our lives unconscious of this deeper destiny.

The opposite is true when writing a story. What happens throughout the story makes it impossible for the protagonist to remain unconscious. The Crisis in the Middle forces the protagonist to consciousness. This gives her the ability to face the greatest challenge of the entire story -- the Climax at the End and not only survive but to triumph.

The Climax at the End usually hits a scene or chapter from the last page of the project. By then, the protagonist has learned everything she needs to know, scene-by-scene throughout the entire story, to do what she came here to do.

The End feels inevitable because every scene that comes before the Climax has led the reader scene-by-scene to that very moment.


Answer the following:
1) What is your protagonist's true journey? Purpose?
2) What is it that only your protagonist can do? Deliver? Conquer? Overcome?
3) What is the gift only your character has (granted they have to go through all the trial and challenges throughout the story to get there, but...)?
4) Why your character?
(Excerpts from the Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories)

Today I write.
A PATH to PUBLISHING using the Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
Choose the NOVEL TRACK or the PICTURE BOOK TRACK for 4, 10 and 16-week workshops to ensure you understand concept, plotting, character development, scene development, action and emotional arc development, as well has how to pitch your work to agents, editors, and readers. Live online video chat technology. I recommend writers of all genres and all ages take at least one picture book plot workshop. Narrows all plot concepts down to 28 pages and 500 words for clarity.

WRITER PATH PLOT and SCENE RETREATS in the heart of the Santa Cruz MountainsYour story deserves to be told. Your writer’s soul needs to be nourished. Over a weekend you’ll learn how to identify and write the key lynch-pin scenes that build a page-turning story, master crucial scene types and go deeper into your plot by applying the three key layers that run through all great fiction: action, emotion and theme. Reserve your spot now for the 1st Annual Writer Path Retreat.

For more: Read my Plot Whisperer and Blockbuster Plots books for writers.

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7970. Now Reading... Lots!

I have a pile of TBR a mile high, including two of Paul Collins' Maximus Black tales(and two TB reviewed picture books from Ford Street, which I'll do as soon as I find them in my messy lounge room.)

Right now, I'm reading several - among others, including several downloads, a review copy of Tank Boys by Stephen Dando Collins, a boys' novel of World War I, The Cracks In The Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty - quite readable, though it's Volume 2 of a series and I haven't read Volume 1 and when I put it in the library, the kids will ask for 1, another one which is the second in a series which is quite impossible to read without the first - I did ask for the first and promise to review it, but no response so far - and this week's more-or-less random read, Sonya Hartnett's Children Of The King.

 I never got around to reading it when it was on the CBCA shortlist. See, I'm not a great Hartnett fan, I hate the way her books end depressingly and even when they don't, like The Silver Donkey, the only one I liked, she imagines them ending depressingly! (The book is donkey stories told to some children in France during WW1 by a downed British pilot and she told children who asked about him in her school visits that the pilot would be shot for desertion! Thanks, Sonya, for spoiling for me the only book of yours I liked, not to mention spoiling it for your young fans. Kids generally enjoy depressing, but this was a book for younger readers and the pilot would be a character they cared about). So no, I don't care greatly for this author's work, no matter how many awards she gets for her depressing fiction. And I am a Richard III fan, as you might have noticed if you've been following this blog, even if he never wrote any children's books. And this one has a link to the story of the Princes in the Tower. But my friend and fellow Ricardian Anne Devrell recommended it, so I picked it off the shelves and took it home. So far, so good.

I'll get back to you with my report!

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7971. Review – Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett

9780060572150After reading Ann Patchett’s This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage I had to go back and read this book. Firstly because I learnt Ann writes non fiction just as beautifully as she does her fiction and secondly she talks in the book about a controversy surrounding Truth & Beauty.

In 2006, Clemson University assigned Truth & Beauty to the freshman class and Ann was invited to give the Convocation Address. However one parent deemed the book inappropriate, the media got involved and mass ignorance ensued. Ann details the events in ‘“The Love Between the Two Women Is Not Normal”’ in her frank and forthright style, her humour keeping you from boiling with outrage. After reading the book the whole incident seems even more ridiculous and also I sense more hurtful that Ann let on in her piece.

Truth & Beauty is the story of Ann’s friendship with Lucy Grealy. Lucy had a highly aggressive form of cancer when she was a child which left her with a badly disfigured jaw. Lucy had numerous operations throughout her life to try and correct and/or alleviate her disfigurement.

Lucy’s whole life was (rightly and wrongly) dominated by her face. It defined how people treated her and it defined how she saw herself. It was a part of who she was and shaped her as a person, good and bad. It was also a burden that became impossible for her to bear but her friends were always there to help pull her through.

Ann met Lucy at college but they became friends when they both attended the Iowa Writers Workshop together. Their lives and careers became entwined from that day forward. Ann writes about her friendship with Lucy warts and all. The good times and the bad. The times when Lucy was on top of the world and vice versa. How they supported each other through thick and thin and all the difficulties any friendship faces along the way.

Ann tells the story of her friendship with Lucy with clarity and emotion, with honesty and understanding. Heart breaking and gut wrenching. Truth and beauty. Ann Patchett at her best.

Buy the book here…

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7972. Avoiding Common Mistakes in the First Five Pages

first five pagesWe’ve been talking a lot about how to format your manuscript, so I bought The First Five Pages: A Writers Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman to see what other things might be good to share and already he has reminded me of things I forgot to mention to you that you should do before submitting.

He says, “There are no rules to assure great writing, but there are ways to avoid bad writing.” He also points out that agents and editors don’t read manuscripts to enjoy them; they read solely with the goal of getting through the pile, solely with an eye to dismiss a manuscript.

So obviously, we want to do everything to look good and make our first contact a professional one. We want to make sure our manuscripts do not signal carelessness, sloppiness, ignorance, or defiance of the industry’s standards; that the writer doesn’t care enough to do the minimum amount of research to make a manuscript industry presentable. An editor or agent will assume that the careless presentation continues in the manuscript.

Avoid rejection in the first few minutes by making sure your manuscript is presented properly:

Paper: 8 1/2  x 11 inch standard 20 pound bond white computer paper.

Text: 12 pt. Times New Roman font.  Printed only on one side of the page.

Clean: Do not send out a manuscript that you have sent out to other agents or editors if it appears the slightest bit worn.

Eliminate: Make sure you do not send out a manuscripts filled with boldface, underlined, capitalized, or italicized words everywhere, unless you purposely want to drive the agent or editor crazy.

Printing: Do not try to squeeze the last drops of ink from your printer and send out dim/hard to see and please if anyone still has a dot-matrix printer, throw it out and buy an ink-jet or laser printer.

Spacing: Double spaced lines with 1 inch margins. New paragraphs should be indented and also dialog should always be indented. Make sure you indent enough spaces (8-10 spaces on my computer). Nothing is worse than trying to read a manuscript when the indentations are so slight it is easy to miss them. Leave a half of a page between chapters. Line breaks between paragraphs scream amateur.

Do Not Include: Artwork or illustrations throughout the pages. It screams amateur. You might feel that adding some clip art helps the editor or agent get a feel for what you book is really about, but it is not professional. If you text needs a picture to explain what is going on, then add an illustrator’s note. Try to keep them to a minimum.

If you are an illustrator and have written and illustrated your book and have a book dummy; make sure you mention this in your query and give a website link where they can visit to see your art. You might want develop a page on your website exclusively to give to editors/agents, so they could view it online. Never send in original art.

Rights: When you present a manuscript to an agent or editor you are offering all rights. Do not put “Copyright” on your manuscript. It makes you look paranoid and besides it is not necessary.

Avoid Overuse of: Question marks, exclamation points, and parentheses. The abundant use of foreign words or phrases. Noah also say to avoid the inappropriate use of fancy words; crude of vulgar language or images; graphic blood and sex, but most of all cliché. Doing this in the first five pages can lead to instant rejection.

I think this covers all of the instant cosmetic rejections. Hope this helps.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, Book, demystify, How to, inspiration, reference, rejection, Writing Tips Tagged: Formatting your manuscript, Noah Lukeman, Staying out of the Rejection Pile, The First Five Pages

8 Comments on Avoiding Common Mistakes in the First Five Pages, last added: 3/12/2014
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7973. Recipe for Disaster - Ruff Life Style

The Doglet Academy introduced a new class this term.  It certainly wasn't my idea of a fun class.  I mean what famous doglet needs to learn how to cook?  I have a chef for that called Seamus.

This class was worth a lot of credits and it was an easy way to give me top marks for the end of the year.  And you know me, there's no way that I will come in 2nd best at anything. So I enrolled in the class.  I now wish I hadn't.  I'd have been far better off taking a Spanish or French class, or at least my beautiful paw nails would have been; participation in that class made them all soft.

The first thing the teacher said was that I had to get rid of the painted nails, as if...  So I used a pair of latex gloves.  Have you ever tried to work with latex gloves over your paws?  It's a recipe for disaster; the extra fingers flap around and get caught up in everything.

We made pastry but I kept getting my gloves caught under the rolling pin.  Eventually I put the pasty in a pie tin and filled it with some nice looking meat.  It looked great when it was finished.  Even the teacher said how nice and well presented it was. Of course, I made it, how else was it going to look with my natural style of flair?  I couldn't wait to take it home and gloat at Max as to how much better I was than him .  In fact I was going to eat some of it in front of him while he sat salivating.

When I got home I put my plan into action.  I went to find Max.  "Hey I've got something to show you."  I took a bite out of the pie.  The meat was nice but the pastry was hard. "This is really delicious." I then found a chewy bit, which seemed to take for ever to chew. Oh no, I thought when I realised that I had just eaten some of the latex gloves.  "Would you like some?  I made if for you."
"Thanks, what's wrong with it?"
"Nothing, I was just sampling it to show you how delicious it is." I said as I waked away.

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7974. A Prayer In Need

In August 2012, I had posted a blog based on Mastocytosis. I mentioned that my friend fights this disease everyday. Unfortunately, it appears as though Mastocytosis is winning at the moment. She is fighting for her life in the hospital. Doctors had to induce her in a coma-like state. Unfortunately, her family indicated to all of her friends that she is not doing well at the moment. Her prognosis does not look too promising. That is the reason why I decided to write this blog today. In 2012, my friend requested that I blog about her condition, which to be honest I did not know too much about. Naturally I agreed to do it and I was able to educate myself on the disease. Her main request for telling me to write about it was so that people would become knowledgable about this condition that many people are not aware of. I am also writing this as a means of reaching out to whomever decides to read this blog and put a prayer out there because you never know. I decided to not include any pictures or videos in this particular blog. I wanted it to be just plain black and white to represent the solemn message behind this blog. Do you have a close friend or relative that is going through something similar? Please think about them and think about my friend as well. Thank you.

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7975. Press is Important Facet of Reaching Your Target Demographic

News of my hardcover book release is being picked up across the nation, thanks to a well written press release and the help of my publisher, Mira Publishing, who worked swiftly to get our news out. Press is an important facet of getting books into the hands of your target demographic, and to extend a book’s newsworthiness and reach beyond an author’s own network.

Please contact me if you are an author struggling with garnering effective press. I may be able to offer insight. It takes a community to raise an author! I lean on others too, wherever I can, for help and mentorship.

World News/San Francisco Chronicle/Tonia Allen Gould Book Release

Keep writing! Keep Pressing!

Tonia Allen Gould


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