Category Archives: Uncategorized

Book #Review of Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin (#NetGalley)

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Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition

by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin

Release date: February 16th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin from NetGalley and F+W Media/Writer’s Digest Books in order to read and give an honest review.

If you are an aspiring writer who wants to publish your first book, Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition is a perfect guidebook for you.  Some of the biggest challenges a writer faces often just boils down to a lack of knowledge.  This book is a very comprehensive how-to guide that which walks you through every step of the writing process. From creating a positive mindset, idea creation, POV and dialogue to finding an agent and publishing.  I loved the tone of the book, it was easy to read and comprehend.  The authors offer examples from well known published books to illustrate each section as well as reading lists of other books that focus on that specific aspect of writing. I don’t think they leave any aspect of the writing process out.  Although it leans primarily towards traditional publishing it does feature an informative chapter on self-publishing.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book which I know will become a reference that I will refer to time and again.

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#Review of  The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) by J.D. Horn #UrbanFantasy #Gothic

Book Cover King of Bone and Ashes

Review

 The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) 

by J.D. Horn

Release date: January 23rd, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) by J.D. Horn from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

The King of Bones and Ashes was the first in a new series from Author J.D. Horn.  Although I haven’t read his first series “Witching Savannah” I have heard good things and was intrigued when I read the description of his new book

The King of Bones and Ashes is a fascinating and suspenseful supernatural story set in New Orleans. This novel has a bit of everything, it is a combination family drama, southern gothic and urban fantasy which although slow to build, keeps you captivated from page one to the very end.  J.D. Horn has graced us with such strong, unique and multifaceted characters you connect with them within the first few chapters.

The story opens during Katrina, then jumps to modern day where we meet three unique and interesting women, three witches to be exact, all of whom are from different families yet connected through their family’s magic. We meet Alice, a girl who has been locked in an asylum for years, Evangeline an owner of a strip club who once dated Alice’s now deceased brother and Lisette the daughter of a famous Voodoo practitioner who has taken over the family’s voodoo shop.  We also meet a great deal of other interesting characters both good and evil (and even feline) who come alive on the page and leave a definite impression on the reader. Perhaps the most mysterious and disturbing character is the creature who haunts Alice, Babau Jean (“the boogeyman”), a childhood legend who becomes very, very real.   When magic appears to be dying and many elder witches are losing their powers these three witches remain as strong as ever. Each of them remains low key and try to hide their abilities but everyone suspects they are more than capable. When Alice’s grandfather, the main patriarch, and head of most powerful coven dies, there is a desperate attempt from the elder witches to usurp his magic.  Murder, mayhem, and secrets come to the surface putting everyone in danger, especially Alice, Evangeline, and Lisette.  Add that to sacred texts, warring witches, feisty felines, bitchy birds and hidden realms and you’re faced with a book to be read with the lights on.

I recommend this to anyone looking for something a little different, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I’m looking forward to reading the next in this series and now more than ever I’m motivated to check out his Witching Savannah series.

#Review of The Lost Plot(The Invisible Library #4) by Genevieve Cogman #UrbanFantasy #TimeTravel

Review

The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library #4)

by Genevieve Cogman

Release date: January 9th, 2018

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The Lost Plot Cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy of  The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library #4) from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

This is the fourth book in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series and I have to say it was perhaps my favourite.  Travelling through time and dimensions librarian Irene along with her assistant Kai find themselves in New York City during the 1920’s a time of prohibition, gangsters, and guns.  This time they face their toughest assignment yet, walking a fine line between dragon and fae politics.  When the Minister of the dragons dies a contest to fill the spot requires them to find a rare book. The challenge issued will give the winner power over the land and the contenders both approach Irene for assistance. Dragon politics is contentious at best, and the library has always maintained a neutral stance but when evidence points to the involvement of a librarian breaching that rule, Irene and Kai must find this rogue librarian. They are given carte blanche to investigate but must do so covertly and without the official backing of the library. If they are discovered, the library will deny all knowledge of the mission, leaving Irene and Kai alone to suffer the consequences. When murder and mayhem ensue, raising tensions place Irene and Kai right in the middle as well as putting the library in jeopardy.

I really enjoyed this entry in the Invisible Library series and would highly recommend it. In my opinion, it had it all, wonderful character development, intriguing plot lines and fast-paced action.  My one complaint was a lack of one of my favorite characters, Vale, hoping to see more of him in the next installment.  The Lost Plot also ended with a game-changing situation that has me curious as to where the next book in the series will go.😊

 

#Review of Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire #UrbanFantasy

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Review

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

by Seanan McGuire

Release date: January 9th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire from NetGalley and Tor in order to read and give an honest review.

Seanan McGuire is definitely one of my favorite fantasy authors. Her books have it all, perfect prose, masterful plots, exciting worlds and engaging characters and the same is true for her Wayward Children series. This dark and whimsical series like all of her work is so well written that it grabs hold of you and takes you twisting and turning into fascinating new worlds. McGuire addresses, race, sexuality, religion, illness, disabilities, mental health etc. and handles it with such nuance.  Her characters are multifaceted and each face personal challenges that so many can relate to.  

The series revolves around students housed at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.  The Home for Wayward Children is a safe haven for children who have traveled to different portal worlds so different from their own. The other worlds are nothing like our world, some are underwater worlds, worlds made of confection, worlds of death, some are logical ones with order and others nonsense worlds, where chaos is plenty and rules don’t apply. Often when the children return to this world they are lost or traumatized, their parents unable to help them and at a loss, send them to the home. Often, these children long to go back, biding their time waiting for the opportunity when the door back reveals itself again or actively searching looking for clues. 

In this story, we hear from characters from the previous award-winning “Every Heart a Doorway” and we get to meet Cora. Cora, overweight and insecure, came to the home from an underwater world where she enjoyed being a mermaid. Cora although worried at first, finds she fits in just fine at the home, each of the students so unique in their own way.  As Cora is getting used to the home, a girl falls from the sky looking for her mother, a former student who had passed away recently.  The group band together to help her embark on a quest to find her mother, through time and multiple worlds, the reader catches glimpses of the group’s experiences as they travel through the different doors. 

I have loved each book in this series and as a series, it is definitely 5-star.  However, I would give this story 4.5 stars only because I found that some things seemed a bit unnecessary and detracted from the story. Information on the logical, nonsense aspects of the worlds as well as Cora’s insecurities kept re-appearing a little too often for me, but reading is subjective and others might not mind it as much.   All in all, this was a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it.  

#Book #Review – Daily #Writing Resilience 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan Robinson

 

Review

Daily Writing Resilience

365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers

by Bryan Robinson

Release date: January 8th, 2018

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Daily Writing Resilence


I received a complimentary ARC copy of   Daily Writing Resilience ~ 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan Robinson PhD from NetGalley & Llewellyn Publications in order to read and give an honest review.

I loved this book and found it to be incredibly motivational. Bryan Robinson’s inspirational book is a daily devotional for writers. Daily Writing Resilience offers a writer 365 days of prompts and advice, sure to help get their creativity flowing. The book is dated containing daily quotes, valuable snippets of wisdom and what the author calls “Today’s Takeaway” which are tips to help any writer be the best they can be.  It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned writer, battling writer’s block or just starting to get your feet wet, I would definitely recommend Daily Writing Resilience to anyone looking for motivation.

Making the Most of 2018! #AmWriting #CreativityCoaching #Studying #BookReviews

 

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ~ Albert Camus
 January 2018

Finally, 2018 is here and with it a renewed sense of spirit. 2017 had more than it’s share of challenges, sadness and loss but it’s time to move forward into a bright and shiny New Year.

I decided although I have goals to some degree I wasn’t going to make all of the usual resolutions which in all likelihood would fizzle out when more pressing things popped up.  I decided on one simple focus: to just be a better person than I was last year.  I hope to be healthier, more at peace, more creative, more positive, more knowledgeable…just more. No constraints, no competition, no self-doubt…no stressing about where I am. If last year taught me anything it’s that life is too short to spend it trying to be perfect, I just want to be me, a better version, not perfect…just unapologetically me.

I have already resumed studying, reading, volunteering, creating and writing. In the next few months, I will be working on some new programs and packages at IgniteYourCreativity.net.   Both of my coaching programs:“Ignite Your Core Creativity” & “Art As Therapy”  will be relaunching in February and I will be adding several new e-courses in the Spring. 

Over at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, we will be publishing our January Newsletter this week. This month, as usual, we will share some great book recommendations, literacy tutoring information and writing inspiration for our young writers. 

Also be on the lookout for new book reviews, guest posts and articles on BelindaWitzenhausen.com.

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We will also be resuming our  “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB on January 26th .  We are so thrilled about the fantastic response we are getting and send out a huge thank you to all those who have participated. If you are tired of all of the negativity online please join us and help be the change.  🙂

Wondering what #WATWB is all about? The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their positive stories led by five co-hosts. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. Again, #WATWB is back on January 26th, 2018!

Wishing everyone a fantastic January!

Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you are living in and loving the moment.

Live, laugh & love!

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou 

#amwriting #researching #urbanfantasy #CelticMythology #mystery #historicalfiction #learning #studying #archaeology #egyptology #manuscriptstudies #palaeography  #codicology #history #journaling #yoga #meditation #arttherapy #coaching #WATWB #bookreviews #art #volunteering #transcribing #amreading  #blogging #authorinterviews

My Spotify Playlist ~#AmWriting #UrbanFantasy ~ Moon of Morrigan Trilogy

A New Year is Coming, What Are Your Goals? via @LynnHallbrooks

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Calendar year 2017 is coming to a close. Many people make goals for the New Year. Some want to lose weight. Others just want to be healthier. Some want to be more organized or clutter-free. Lynn Hallbrooks’s book, Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human, may not help you lose weight but there are a few tips in there for staying healthy while cooking and cleaning. As for organizing, there are some thoughts on that too.

For only 99 cents USD and equivalent around the globe, from now until 1 January 2018, why not get it for yourself or share it with a loved one.

Direct link to Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Helpful-Household-Hints-Harried-Human-ebook/dp/B01H68UEW2/

Here’s a link that can take you to the Amazon Marketplace closest to you: myBook.to/HHH4HH

Don’t know how to share an ebook via Amazon, try this link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201964280

Lynn Hallbrooks wishes everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Lynn Hallbrooks posing

Lynn Hallbrooks

Lynn Hallbrooks wrote short stories for fun during her High School years. After serving in the U.S. Air Force she continued her Health Information Management (formerly known as Medical Records) career into civilian life. In late 2009, she and her writing partner, David McKoy began the Call Sign: Wrecking Crew series. In 2010, they founded Call Sign: Wrecking Crew, LLC which Lynn runs. Along the way, she has stayed with some friends and earned her keep by doing household duties such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. She realized she might be able to help others with a few pieces of advice, thus Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human was conceived.

Below are some locations where you can follow Ms. Hallbrooks:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Hallbrooks/e/B0050ZOGAA

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LynnHallbrooks

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynn-hallbrooks-39207934/

Twitter: @LynnHallbrooks: https://twitter.com/LynnHallbrooks

Website: http://cswcllc.weebly.com/

Holiday Wishes 🎄

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Wishing those who celebrate…

A Very Merry Christmas & a
happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Thank you to everyone for their love, kindness and support this year.♥️
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Wrapping up 2017! #AmWriting #Coaching #Studying #BookReviews

“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” ~ Maya Angelou
December

Hard to believe that 2018 is just around the corner.  This past year has definitely had some huge challenges on all fronts, as well as having to say goodbye to some dear friends and loved family members.  There have been days that have seemed darker than others, but there comes a point where you have to take what you’ve learned, pick yourself up and do your best to make your own happiness.  Personally, I am looking forward to 2018 and I am hopeful for what it brings.  Although this year saw some plans change or be delayed,  I have found that challenges often provide windows of opportunity and I am so thankful for those.  I am setting goals and will be exploring those opportunities in 2018!

In the new year, I hope to resume studying, volunteering and writing as well as launching some new coaching programs over at  IgniteYourCreativity.net.   Both of my coaching programs:“Ignite Your Core Creativity” & “Art As Therapy”  will be relaunching and I will be adding several new e-courses in the Spring. 

This year I also beat my 2017 Goodreads Challenge of reading 125 books in the year. I don’t know if anyone else finds reading fantastic therapy, but it definitely helped this year. I also began doing more book reviews for NetGalley and I plan to continue. 🙂

Over at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, we recently published our December 2017 NewsletterThis month features some great book recommendations, literacy tutoring and writing inspiration for our young writers. 

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On November 24th, we celebrated our ninth instalment of the “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB.  We are so thrilled about the fantastic response we are getting and send out a huge thank you to all those who have participated.  

My November post was titled It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”~W. Mitchell #WATWB”  about an inspirational man who overcame two back-to-back tragedies with grace and humour became a motivation speaker helping others.

Wondering what #WATWB is all about? The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their positive stories led by five co-hosts. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. #WATWB is taking a break this month but we’ll be back on January 26th, 2018!

I would like to thank all those who have been so supportive this year, your love and kindness mean the world to me (you all know who you are).

Wishing everyone a wonderful December and Happy Holidays!

Cherish your loved ones and may you make some new and heartwarming memories! Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you are making each and every moment count.

Live, laugh & love!

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” ~ Christopher Reeve

#amwriting #researching #urbanfantasy #CelticMythology #mystery #historicalfiction #learning #studying #archaeology #egyptology #manuscriptstudies #palaeography  #codicology #history #arttherapy #coaching #WATWB #bookreviews #art #volunteering #transcribing #amreading  #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling

My Spotify Playlist ~#AmWriting #UrbanFantasy ~ Moon of Morrigan Trilogy

Cover Reveal~Battered Mind by Sylvia Stein (@sylvia_stein07)

Hello, my name is Sylvia Stein and I am an Indie Author.   I have exciting news.  This week I am doing the cover reveal of my book which I hope will be released in late 2018.  I have been working with this book for awhile.  It is a story I have been doing extensive research one and because of the topic I am covering, I want to be sure I do it justice.  It is a work of fiction and for today I will be revealing the book cover which was designed by the very talented and amazing Michael Dangremond and his title of his artwork the cost of love.   When I saw this portrait I immediately saw what I was looking for for my main character of Sadie Martin Carlyle.   The title of this my first thriller is Battered Mind and I hope you all enjoy the cover reveal.   I absolutely was blown away by it.  I hope you are too! 

Thank you so much,
Sylvia Stein

Cover Battered Mind

Synopsis: 

Sadie Martin Carlyle is on trial for the murder of her husband Dante Caryle. She claims she killed him in self-defense and that he was a monster. She was a battered woman and if she had not defended herself he would have killed both their young daughter and her.  In short, She feared for their lives.

However, there is more to this case than meets the eye. Sadie Martin is not your typical woman. Her family consists of her Criminal lawyer father Jackson Martin from Atlanta and her mother Barbara Reece Martin is one of the main leaders of the Southern Belles of Atlanta. From the very start, there are secrets that are hidden that no one will see coming. Sadie’s story will take the reader through a very emotional journey throughout. Once the case begins, everything you think you know about what happened between Sadie and Dante Carlyle will have you asking many questions and is everything being said the truth?

Excerpt from Battered Mind:

“As I lie here holding on to my sanity.  I have to say never in a million years would I have thought all would turn out the way it did. You see for most of my life I had been searching and hoping that one day I would find the one and be able to finally lead “the normal life.” However, nothing could be farther from the truth.  My name is Sadie Martin Carlyle and on May 27, 2010, I was charged with the murder of my husband Dante Carlyle. 

The thing that makes this so horrific is that I do not even remember committing the crime.  

All I know is that when I awoke the next morning, My husband Dante was dead and I was found next to his body and the murder weapon.  As of now all I can do is await my trial which will not be for a few months. 

Sadly because of the circumstance of the crime, I will have to sit in a jail cell until my trial.

You must be wondering why I seem to know so much about the law in particular.  One second, “Can you please let me finish talking.” Sorry being locked away in this cell has made me a bit paranoid. Well in any case as I was saying.  The reason I know so much was that my beloved husband was a lawyer and before I got married.  We both met in law school. Oh, it was so simple back then. If only I could go back to the beginning. Things were easier.  At least I thought they were.   However maybe if I can just go back to the beginning I can try to salvage a bit of my dignity. Besides, I was born and raised to be a good girl. But right now I am really placing a damper on all the years my parents spent trying to make me something I never wanted to be.   

You see I was born and raised in Atlanta Georgia. It’s too damn bad I was never able to lead a normal life.  Thanks to my dear parents! My mother was born to parents of money and my father was no different.  However, he was known for being one of the best criminal defense attorneys in all of the state of Georgia. He was deeply admired for his hardcore antics.  My father was never one to give up on his client and he is both loved and hated throughout the community. On the other hand, my dear mother Barbara Reece Martin has always been in the public eye.  

As a child, her parents owned several wineries all over the state of Georgia and North Carolina and she was left with a trust fund and decided to invest in stock and has done pretty well.  She is now the CEO of The Reece Winery and overlooks them along with my father and she is also one of the main members of the Women of Atlanta social club.  All in all, she is always busy and thinks that I am just spoiled.   My mother and I are not close. She was always gone when I needed her.  The only person that seemed to care and worry about me was my father Jackson. 

He always made time to see me and for that, I am very grateful.  My father has always said I was his everything.   At the time I thought I was but then I discovered it was all lies.  I will get to that later. As I was saying my mother was never around as a kid.  She was always out and busy with all her numerous work and charitable events. “I hated her, and I still do!” As you can see I get a bit angry being cooped up in here.  I mean there are many criminals in here and I know they are women like me. But I am not one of them. I am different and I want to do is start over again. 

Let me outta here.”

About the Author:

Sylvia Stein Bio Pic

 Sylvia Stein is a published author with several anthologies with her Writer’s group 750 on LinkedIn.  Stein obtained a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University this past July 2015.   She is a mother of three beautiful children Paul 10, Michael 9 and Consuelo 6.   She resides in the city of Fuquay Varina with her amazing husband Jeremy.  Stein has also published two solo books one was her first novella Closure which she worked on while attending SNHU and published in July of 2014 and the other her first YA Chasing Clarity was published this past October 2015 and it was created during National Novel Month (Nano) in 2013.  Her latest book is entitled, The Diary of a Broken Father that came Out in February 2017.  Her new thriller that she has been working on since 2014 will be out late 2018 and is entitled Battered Mind.

About the Artist:

Artist Michael Dangremond Bio Picture

Artist Michael Dangremond and his lovely wife Alanna.

My name is Michael Dangremond and I am mostly a self-taught artist. My professional Media is tattooing. I’ve been involved in art for the better span of my life. I grew up in a small town called Hopkins in the state of Michigan. Growing up had its challenges and equally; it’s lessons. After high school I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan to begin a career in the culinary arts. After bouncing from kitchen to kitchen and climbing the ladder, I decided to reinvest myself in the art my heart called me to pursue. I am happily married to my wife, Alanna and I am blessed with my daughter, Sophia. This story of mine continues as I continue growing in my passion to my brand of art.

 

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