Posted in Creativity

Elizabeth Gilbert~Interview on Big Think

Although a few years old, this is one of my favourite interviews…enjoy!

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Phantom Tree by @NicolaCornick ‏ #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel #Mystery #Romance

Review

The Phantom Tree Cover

The Phantom Tree

by Nicola Cornick

Release date: August 21st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Phantom Tree
by Nicola Cornick
 from NetGalley and Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada) in order to read and give an honest review.

“A fantastically plotted, intriguing, mysterious and well told time travel novel with evolving, strong, yet relatable characters…. “

This is my first time reading Nicola Cornick’s work and I have to say I have become a fan. Being a student of history and archaeology, I was drawn in by The Phantom Tree. A fantastically plotted, intriguing, mysterious and well told time travel novel with evolving, strong, yet relatable characters, it keeps you turning pages until the end.

Set in present-day London, bouncing back to mid 16th Century Wiltshire England, the author introduces us two girls Alison Banestre and Mary Seymour, both cousins, forced to live with relatives at Wolf Hall for different reasons. The two girls, forced to share a room, tolerate each other. The two girls could not be more different in personalities, an older Alison is wiser, bolder, rebellious and exudes a cold indifferent attitude.  Mary is sensitive, introverted, naïve and prone to visions and hearing voices. Although cold and indifferent towards her, Mary decides to cover for Alison when she slips out for a romantic interlude with her lover.  Alison’s’ interludes with her rich and well established distant cousin Edward, result in Alison becoming pregnant. After giving birth, Alison has her son Arthur taken away and is discarded by her lover, forcing her to return to Wolf Hall. Upon her return Mary notices Alison has changed, the girls still not quite friends seem to bond over their loneliness and despair. Alison discovers a time portal at an Inn in Wiltshire and hatches a plan to go into the future to establish herself then return for her son. Upon returning to her time Alison tries unsuccessfully to find where and with whom her son has been placed but to no avail.

Not long after in one of Mary’s visions, she foresees the death of one of Wolf Hall’s servants and when it occurs she is painted as a witch. In order to protect the girls, Alison arranges for her and Mary to be shipped to live with another cousin at Middlecote House but en route Alison arranges to secretly escape and go to the future. Right before leaving Mary in the carriage she makes Mary promise to find a way to let her know what happened to her son.  When Alison attempts to return she finds the time slip is gone and she is stuck in the future.

While Mary endures her life at Middlecote with her cousins, one being an opportunistic and vile male cousin bent on finding fame and fortune by whatever means possible, Alison forges her way in modern day London. Alison goes into care, graduates college has an unsuccessful relationship yet manages to carve out a life for herself, independent with a good job and home.  Alison is determined one day to get back to Wiltshire to retrieve her son but has no information to go on.  While passing a Wiltshire gallery Allison is shocked to notice a portrait of Mary Seymour mislabeled as Anne Boleyn on display in the front window. While Alison is shocked she stares at the portrait realizing it is rife with clues as to what happened to Arthur. Her ex, Adam a successful archaeologist and TV Historian is connected to the show and when Alison corrects him of his error he reluctantly helps her as she begins to unravel the clues that will tell her what happened to Arthur and Mary.

A bittersweet emotional roller-coaster, I would highly recommend The Phantom Tree to anyone looking for a fantastic time travel novel that balances mystery, romance and drama. Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series might be interested in giving this a try.

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#Interview & #BookRelease from #Author Chrissie Parker ( @Chrissie_author ) #WindAcrossTheNile #historicalsuspense

 

Recently, the wonderful and talented Chrissie Parker, a familiar face on my blogs, took a moment out of her busy schedule to share and answer a few questions about writing as well as her new release  “Wind Across the Nile”.  

Welcome, Chrissie!

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I understand you have a new book, WIND ACROSS THE NILE, a historical suspense.  Please tell us a bit about it?

Yes, as you say Wind Across the Nile is a historical suspense predominantly set in Egypt, as well as London and Scotland. The book centres on Cora, a young woman who tragically loses her entire family and has to learn to live with the aftermath. Whilst sorting out her family’s belongings she comes across some items she’s never seen before that takes her to Egypt where she learns about a family heritage she never knew existed. The readers will learn more about Egypt, its culture and incredible sites, as well as discovering a story that covers a family tragedy, its history and life on an archaeological excavation.  

What was the inspiration behind the book?

The inspiration for the book is my love of Ancient Egyptian history. I’ve not only visited the country, but I’ve also completed two Egyptology courses with Exeter University. The concept for the story was devised from a number of things; my love of ancient Egypt, the history of the people who used to treasure hunt in the country in the 18/1900’s and continuing issues regarding thefts of archaeological artefacts. I merged them all together to come up with a story that focuses on Cora our main character and her experiences in the country and how it related to what she was going through.

Tell us a bit about your approach to writing a novel? What are the biggest challenges and what do you enjoy the most? 

My approach to writing, that’s always a difficult question as I seem to treat each book a bit differently. With most of my historical books, there’s lots of research involved so I can’t just write the book in one go. I have to take research breaks, so it means that I have to plan the work a lot more than I do for my thrillers, which are normally straight writes.

I do really enjoy the research side of things though, and I’m always learning something new. The only downside to research is knowing when to stop, sometimes you can start researching something, and then discover something else in a document, that then leads you to something else, and before you know it the entire day has gone!

My biggest challenge is that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to work on my books as I have a part-time job, and also do a lot of volunteering, so I have to fit my writing in around it. When I do get to write though I can write anywhere between 3,000 and 8,000 words a day, as long as there aren’t too many interruptions. When I work on my books, it’s either in my office or at a portable table in another room (for a change of scenery) or on a picnic table in the garden if it’s nice sunny weather. I will always have a pot of tea on the go, some chocolate to snack on, and often one of the cats asleep on my lap! For me, writing is a lot of fun, and even though I do plan my books, my characters have a tendency to take over sometimes and things end up happening in the story that I never expected! The hardest thing though is when you finally publish a book, all that work is over, and I have become to know my characters so well, it’s almost like they are real people so I feel like I’m saying goodbye to people I know and I’ll never see again. It’s one of the strangest feelings.

What are some of the biggest challenges you authors encounter in general?

There are many challenges authors face. I think the most common one is wanting to be successful and measuring that success. Writers write because they want to, because they love to entertain and they have a passion to do so, but many authors worry about not being good enough or think that because they aren’t making enough money (to live off) or haven’t received enough reviews they aren’t successful. It’s a huge challenge and one that can cause many authors concern and detract them from what they’re doing. I think success isn’t about money as such, it’s about your readership, interaction and engagement with readers as well as sales. It’s also about achievements connected with your writing. One of my biggest is learning that one of my books is a textbook in Greece for TIE International ESOL exams, which is incredible! I’m lucky that I have some amazing and loyally supportive readers, who want to know what’s coming next and stand by me rooting for both the current and next books. That to me is success.

Whilst it would be great to be able to earn enough money to write full time (and not have another job), I’m so happy with how my writing journey is going and I’m grateful for all the support I have.

What message do you hope your readers will walk away with after reading this book?

I hope to be able to show readers what an incredibly interesting place Egypt is and inspire them to visit and see the sights for themselves. I also hope to be able to highlight the difficult past and present that Egypt’s had in regards to its culture and theft of artefacts for monetary gain. Sadly, black market artefact theft is an ongoing problem across the world and it’s sad when ancient items are looted and sold off for financial gain, instead of ending up in a museum for everyone to see and learn from. Protecting heritage is so important.

Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?

I have a lot coming up in the future. I’m currently co-writing a factual history book about the Greek island of Zakynthos, called Zakynthos Flower of the East, with a writer colleague of mine, Louise. We’re doing a lot of research, which is great fun and hope to release it in 2019. I’ve also recently announced that there will be a follow-up to Among the Olive Groves, this was a request by many readers as they wanted to know more about the character of Athena. So, I’ve started my research and I’ve written about 17,000 words so far, I hope to finish it by next summer (unfortunately it’s going to require a lot of research!), and then it can go to my editor.

I’m also in the process of finishing a thriller Retribution, it’s the third and last book in the Moon series. There are also a number of other books planned, so I have plenty to keep me occupied!

I have a big presence online and can be found on my website http://www.chrissieparker.com as well as all the usual places on social media. My fan base is on Chrissie Parker Book Group on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/chrissieparkersbookgroup/, and that’s where I make most of my announcements before rolling them out across other streams.

Thank you for hosting me today Belinda.

My pleasure Chrissie, thanks for sharing with us! 

Chrissie Parker Bio Pic

Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband. She has published six books including Integrate and Temperance (books one and two of The Moon Series), Among the Olive Groves, Nabataea and The Secrets, a collection of Poems and Short Stories. Wind Across the Nile is her sixth book.
Other work includes articles for the Bristolian, The Huffington Post and The Artist Unleashed. Chrissie also writes regularly for the Zakynthos Informer. Chrissie’s poem Maisie was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013.
In 2016 Among the Olive Groves won a historical fiction award in the Summer Indie Book Awards.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two Egyptology courses and an Archaeological Techniques course with Exeter University.
To find out more about Chrissie visit her website www.chrissieparker.com

Social Media links

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ChrissieParkerAuthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/Chrissie_author

Blog https://chrissieparkerauthor.wordpress.com

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/chrissieparkerauthor

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/ChrissieAuthor/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/27035030-chrissie-parker

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Previous mentions and visits from Author, Chrissie Parker: https://bit.ly/2BpMnX5

 

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#Review Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley #NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Romance

Review

Bellewether Cover.jpg

Bellewether

by Susanna Kearsley

Release date: August 7th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark in order to read and give an honest review.

“…a slow unravelling, yet compelling story with unique, strong and resilient characters that truly make this a pleasure to read. “

Although not new to Susanna Kearsley’s work it has been a while since I’ve read her and I have to ask myself what was I waiting for.  Ms Kearsley is a master at weaving intricate, emotional and character-driven historical dramas that span centuries. She weaves a delicate tapestry rich with historical details that don’t feel like an info dump but is so carefully blended as to drive the story along.

In Bellewether, we meet Charley a historian from Canada who returns to her ancestral home to care for her 19-year-old niece after the sudden death of her brother. She accepts a job as a curator of the Wilde House which is currently going through the restoration process. During the story, we are also introduced to two characters from the 1750’s on opposing sides of the seven-year war.  Jean Phillipe a captured soldier being held as a prisoner of war with his colleague at the Wilde family home and the daughter of the home Lydia who tragically loses her fiancé during the war are forced to live under the same roof. Lydia is at first disgusted that she must live under the same roof but with time they become less enemies and more just human beings trying to live.   The author also gives us insight into the main issues of the time time,  such as slavery, treatment of the Acadians and the general climate of the war are all used to build and shape a vivid description of life during the war.

Charley is also facing a war during her time. An unhealthy relationship on the rocks, strained familial ties, battling bitter board members and mysterious events that make her wonder if she is losing her mind.  She also tries to get to the bottom of a tragic legend that surrounds the old Wilde House and the phantoms therein.

Ms Kearsley gives us such a strong atmosphere, a touch of romance and a mystery that keeps the reader intrigued. Although this story isn’t a fast-paced thriller it’s a slow unravelling yet compelling story with unique, strong and resilient characters that truly make this a pleasure to read.  I would definitely recommend it and will be keeping Ms Kearsley’s books on my reading list!

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#BookReview of The Book of Unwinding (Witches of New Orleans #2) by J.D. Horn #UrbanFantasy #Gothic #NetGalley

Review

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The Book of Unwinding

(Witches of New Orleans #2)

 

by J.D. Horn

Release date: June 26th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Book of Unwinding (Witches of New Orleans #2) by J.D. Horn from NetGalley and 47North in order to read and give an honest review.

After reading and reviewing The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans), the first in the series from Author J.D. Horn, I  find although I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the first, I still found it to be a fantastic entry in the series.

As I mentioned in my review of book one, J.D. Horn has graced us with such strong, unique and multifaceted characters which you easily connect with, and this book was no exception. I love his ability to depict strong, flawed and resilient characters, especially the way his female characters come across. In this book, as with the last, there are quite a few characters and I appreciated the character list included at the beginning for a handy reference.  Those who survived the last book are present and we also see the return of a certain feisty feline.

The story opens months after the massacre that occurs in The King of Bones and Ashes. Magic is still dwindling and the hunt is on for the Book of Unwinding. We learn of Alice’s time on Dreaming Road and Daniel’s battle to get her back. Natalie is learning more about her abilities and coming into her own. A serial killer is revealed when the author reveals the gruesome details of  “The Dollhouse”. Fleur holds a dinner party where a secret Manon has been hiding from Lisette is revealed and we get front row seats for the fallout that ensues. We also follow Evangeline as she struggles to cope with what she has become as well as meet a few new characters who will play an important role in the future books I am sure.  My only issue in this book is some events seem to be drawn out and often it felt like too much was going on…it often lacked breathing room.

Sacred texts, warring witches, feisty felines, bitchy birds and hidden realms are again rampant in this entry and frankly, I loved it! I can’t wait to see where some of the continuing plots lead us. I recommend reading book one before this one, in my opinion, it wouldn’t make a great standalone.  I recommend this to anyone looking for something that is unique and engrossing. I’m looking forward to reading the next in this series.

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#Review of The Body in the Ballroom (An Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2) by @RJKoreto via @crookedlanebks #NetGalley #Mystery

 

Review

Body and Ballroom Cover

The Body in the Ballroom

(An Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2)

by R.J. Koreto

Release date: June 22nd, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Body in the Ballroom
(An Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2) by R.J. Koreto from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Having read and reviewed Mr Koreto’s first book in the series, Alice and the Assassin, I have to say he has outdone himself, this book is fantastic!

Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of President Roosevelt, after being banished to Washington due to her exploits in “Alice and the Assassin”, has returned to NewYork with Joe St.Clair, her re-assigned secret service agent in tow. While attending a debutante ball a murder occurs forcing Alice and St.Clair to plunge headfirst into the start of an intriguing, thrilling plot that will keep you guessing. Mr Koreto has done an amazing job at combining history, fiction, intrigue and humour in his work as well as tackling some relevant (then and now) issues such as racism, misogyny and antisemitism with tact and class.

Although at first, I was sure I knew who did it, I was left second guessing with all of Mr Koreto’s cleverly placed red herrings. I also love the development that has taken place in Alice. At eighteen years old now, still young in many ways, she is coming into her own with her intelligence, fearlessness and pride. Still precocious in so many ways, there is a softer side, a genuineness, blooming that endears you to her.  Agent St. Clair is also showing development and you have to appreciate him for his patience…and oh what patience he has. This time around there was also a nice secondary cast of characters, although some made appearances in his last book, this book I felt more of a camaraderie between them.

I have always been a fan of authors such as Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, in my opinion, R.J. Koreto is joining them.  This book would be great as a stand-alone, but I do recommend reading the first as it is also a fantastic read, both I feel are suitable for most ages.  A fun, brilliant read that will keep you turning pages!

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#BookReview of The Relic Hunters by David Leadbeater #NetGalley #Thriller #Archaeological

Review

Relic Hunter Cover

The Relic Hunters

(The Relic Hunters Series)

by David Leadbeater

Release date: June 21st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Relic Hunters by David Leadbeater from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

Fast-paced, this book is non-stop action…

I’m new to this author and it’s a bit outside the genres I normally read but being an armchair archaeologist as well as a history student the description caught my eye.  Honestly, the archaeological component, action, and mystery were fantastic, very reminiscent of the Davinci Code. However, I had a few issues with it that I will address later which knocks my rating down to about a 3.5 stars.

This story starts with our protagonist Guy Bodie, relic hunter and master thief being set-up and languishing in a Mexican prison. While his elite team of thieves tries to mastermind a breakout he is rescued by the CIA. In return for breaking him out, lead agent, Heidi Moneymaker needs him and his team to help track an important relic which would lead them to the remains of the infamous Statue of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the world.   Bodie faces betrayal at the hands of an old mentor but presses on with his team to follow clues leading them to the relic.  The hunt takes them around the world, Istanbul, Bavaria, London and Greece all the while facing assassins from a centuries-old order still in existence who will stop at nothing to keep the relic hidden. It was full of intrigue, fast-paced non-stop action, very detailed fight scenes which really did keep me reading to the end.  My issues don’t come from the story as much as the characters interactions. Much of the dialogue felt very YA to me, bordering on being bantering you’d hear on a schoolyard. Immature nicknames (aka Frizz-bomb), unnecessary bullying of the geek on the team and the constant allusion that anyone over 40 is old and decrepit (really????). Despite the great story, these issues were a turn off for me I’m afraid. Now reading is very subjective and although I didn’t enjoy those particular points, some readers may find it refreshing.

All in all, despite my issues mentioned above, it was entertaining to some degree and if you’re out for a quick and easy-to-read thriller this might be for you.

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#BookReview of A Little History of Archaeology (Little Histories) by Brian Fagan #NetGalley #Archaeology

Review

A Litte History Cover

A Little History of Archaeology

(Little Histories)

by Brian Fagan

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Little History of Archaeology by Brian Fagan from NetGalley and Yale University Press in order to read and give an honest review.

I have been a fan of Brian Fagan for a long time. His books are always enjoyable, packed with information and written in a way that is entertaining yet educational. In A Little History of Archaeology, Dr. Fagan does it again.

In A Little History of Archaeology, he walks us through history, showing us the humble beginnings and evolution of archaeology. His style is that of a person who loves his subject matter and he takes a subject which to some may seem complex and tedious and breaths life into it.

Dr. Fagan takes us along a journey traveling through time and visiting the far reaches of the earth. We begin with Napoleon’s scientists aka “donkeys” in Egypt before “archaeology” had really begun. The “donkeys” who were a collection of experts in agriculture, art, engineering, and botany although methods somewhat crude were one of the first to explore with curiosity.  We meet the likes of Darwin, Clark, Kenyon, and Kelso, all of whom have paved the way to the advent of archaeology.

We get introductions to carbon dating, travel far a wide and learn so much along the way. Whether you are an armchair archaeologist or in the field, there is something in A Little History of Archaeology for everyone.

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#NetGalley #Review of #Outbreak (A Nightshades Novel #3) by @MelissaFOlson #UrbanFantasy

Review

Outbreak by Melissa Olson Cover

Outbreak

(A Nightshades Novel #3)

by Melissa F. Olson

Release date: June 5th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Outbreak (Nightshades #3) by Melissa F. Olson from NetGalley and Macmillan/Tor in order to read and give an honest review.

Fast-paced, this book chills and thrills…

Being a fan of Melissa Olson and in particular this series, I enjoyed this latest entry in the Nightshades series.

Dealing with the aftermath of the events of Switchback, Hector is on the loose and both Alex and Lindy’s reputations and lives are in jeopardy. The BPI looking to imprison Lindy, both Alex and Lindy go into hiding while trying to find a way to put an end to Hector’s freedom. Hector’s ego drives him as he seeks to hunt down Lindy trying to gain adoration, respect and ultimately become ruler of the shades.

As always Olson’s plotting keeps you on the edge of your seat but she also does a fantastic job of creating multifaceted characters, strong, fierce, intelligent yet with a touch of humour and compassion.

In this book, we learn a bit more about the dynamic between Lindy and her brother Hector as their pasts come back to haunt them.

Fast-paced, this book chills and thrills culminating in a perfect ending. The end introduces new possibilities for Lindy and Alex and I can’t wait to see where Olson takes us next.

 

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Attention All Book Lovers via @CSWCLynn #MilitaryAppreciationMonth

CSWCLLC logo by Grindhouse Media

Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC is made up of former US military as such we tend to honor Active, Reserve, Retired, and Veteran military. In the US on Memorial Day, we have paid tribute to those that “gave all” in a ceremony or two. We have also made it an annual thing to reduce the price of our books. This year, Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Storm Warning, the first book in the series will be available via Amazon Kindle to all for free from 25 May 2018 through 29 May 2018. The Kindle version is also available via Kindle Unlimited, meaning if you are a member of this program you can get it virtually free at any time.

CSWCSW via Amazon

Here is the US link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004INHK2G

Here is the Global link:

myBook.to/CSWCSW

By all means feel free to download the complete three book series.

Authors Supporting Authors

Lynn Hallbrooks

Recently, Lynn Hallbrooks connected with the author/owner of the Diabolic Shrimp website – https://diabolicshrimp.com/ – and along with the Call Sign: Wrecking Crew series, she included her non-fiction work, Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human. Because Diabolic Shrimp is about sharing authors’ work with readers, they have a waiting list for books being displayed in the footer of each page. It so happens that her book will be featured in one of the slots. Because of this, the upcoming two year anniversary, and the multitude of graduations, she will be lowering the price of the book from now through the whole month of June. Whether you are an author or reader, check out Diabolic Shrimp’s sign up here: https://diabolicshrimp.com/avid4/

Cover for Helpful Household Hints

If you would rather go directly to Amazon Kindle or Kindle Unlimited, here is the US link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H68UEW2

Here is the Global link: myBook.to/HHH4HH

Latest Release

In case you missed it on social media, there is a new book in the Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC line-up. It is a collection of quotations compiled by Lynn Hallbrooks and written by Israel O. Okundaye. The title is The Heartbeat of African Rhythm and is available for various eReaders (i.e., Nook, Kindle, and Kobo) through Books2Read here:

The Heartbeat of African Rhythm via Amazon

https://www.books2read.com/u/b5MdGA

Appreciation

If you want to learn more about Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC you can always visit their website:

https://cswcllc.weebly.com/

Let it be known that the founders of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC appreciate Belinda Witzenhausen sharing about our work and the work of other authors. We hope that as you read the various books that you have seen on her website, that you will take a moment or two to reach out to the authors with some positively written feedback.