Giving This Dream to You

dad

I couldn’t end this week of giving thanks without thanking the one person who always believed in me; my dad, Fernando Reis. Unfortunately my dad left this earth fifteen years ago, but he is and always will remain my hero. I’m sure I broke his heart by moving across an ocean and giving up my career (at least for a while) to follow my husband. Not that he ever said anything, but I know he expected me to reach for the sky and catch a star.

I think I am finally catching that star. I am about to have my first book published. It took me a lifetime but I did it. I know my novel is not the best thing ever written and I have moments when I question my publisher’s sanity for giving me this chance. My dream is coming true and I can’t deny the fact that I am ecstatic with joy that my father’s name is going to be on the cover of a book; my book. I feel that I finally am able to pay my dad for all he has ever done for me, for guiding and supporting me. Ethereal singer, Enya says it better in her new album Dark Sky Island,

So let me give this dream to you
Upon another shore
So let me give this dream to you
Each night and evermore

(So I Could Find My Way)

Thank you, dad.  You will always live in a special place in my heart. I love you and miss you. This book is for you.
 

Frog Hollow

FROG-HOLLOW-Cover Reveal

FROG HOLLOW by Savannah Blevins
Series: Witches of Sanctuary #1
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: January 5, 2016
COVER DESIGNER: Deranged Doctor

= = SYNOPSIS = =

It’s a sign. No one is safe.
 
At just twenty-two years old, Wilhelmina Daniels inherits a house, a family of eclectic witches, and a death sentence on the same day. As revealed by Reid Thomas, her shy but smoldering neighbor, Wilhelmina is a descendent of the Innocent—a line of gifted women who are to be admired, feared, and above all else, protected.
 
Death, mayhem, and The Haunted
 
The murder of Wilhelmina’s mother—the family matriarch—sends the small town’s rumor-mill into a frenzy. Suspicions fall on The Haunted, a rival force with dual personalities, one of them beingJulien Cote.
 
It’s difficult to believe the charming boy has a sexual deviant with a hankering for violence lurking inside. 
 
Rumor has it Julien can seduce an angel out of her wings. Wilhelmina doesn’t have wings, but if he calls her cheri d’amour one more time, she’s liable to lose something of equal importance—her heart. But with Reid hailing from her clan, will she stay close to her own, or venture into the unknown?
 
Even a powerful spell can’t seal Julien’s fate…
 
Julien knows an incantation that just might help Wilhelmina to solve her mother’s death, but when an unidentified stalker is spotted spying in her house, her family is certain it’s Julien’s dangerous alter ego come out to play.
 
Wilhelmina must decide—is risking her life worth the possible heartbreak of discovering the truth about Julien’s fate and her mother’s death? Or will she cast aside her desire for Julien and vow her love to Reid.
 
Leaving her past forever buried in the murky depth of…Frog Hollow

= = ABOUT THE AUTHOR = =

Savannah was born in Hyden, Kentucky. She received her M.S in Speech Language Pathology from The University of Mississippi in 2009. She’s been writing since the early age of nine when she begged her parents for a type writer for Christmas.

She now lives in Corbin, Ky with her husband of eight years, John, and their two wonderful daughters, Delilah and Gracie.

When she isn’t working, or running after her kids, she spends her free time traveling the country with her husband. There is nothing better than a day of football in the grove, a late night of basketball at Rupp Arena or slapping the glass to celebrate another Washington Capitals goal.

She is a strong believer that with enough hard work and determination you can accomplish anything.

Limitless Publishing: http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/savannah-blevins/

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The Art of Stillness

Enlightenment in nature

For my week of thanksgiving blogs I would be remiss if I did not mention yoga and its effects in my life for the last couple years.

I started yoga half-accidently a little over 2 years ago. A friend of mine happened to mention that she had started attending a class of spa yoga in a local studio and that she had immediately fallen in love with the peace it gave her. I was in desperate need of peace. Between the madness that always permeates my family life and the pressure at work, I was at the end of my rope.

At that time the young woman who taught the yoga classes was someone who had been gifted with a voice that was like medicine for strained nerves. I swear, listening to her while holding a tree pose or doing your sun salutations was the non-drug equivalent of taking a muscle relaxant. I faithfully attended yoga several times a week throughout that summer. When winter came the studio proved to be too far and in the wrong direction from my house to be practical for me. My yoga instructor left the studio and I stopped going, as well.

I missed it. I just loved the feeling of inner peace and the way my bones and my muscles just seemed to lose years of rust and old age after a session. Imagine my joy when I found out that a brand new studio had opened just down the road from me.

I then came back to the wonderful world of silence and stillness. If you have never tried yoga I strongly suggest you give it a try. It’s hard to explain how you feel. It’s a rare chance of emptying your overloaded brains, of shutting the world out and just focusing on the basic life-giving act of breathing. I suffer from Reactive Airway Disease (a term used by doctors when they cannot quite diagnose a breathing disorder) which, in my case it means I cough all the time (okay, maybe not all the time, but about 95% of the time). It is triggered by allergies, strong smells, changes in temperature, you name it. But most of all it is triggered by stress.

No, I am not about to tell you that yoga has cured me. However, when I am in yoga my lungs forget I have a breathing disorder and I breathe normally and never cough. I am at peace, so my lungs are happy.

If the stillness and peace are not enough of an attractor for you to give it a try, think of this: yoga is by far the one physical (and mental) exercise with the quirkiest and coolest names for positions. Where else would you be doing a tree right after a chair? Or an eagle followed by a warrior one? Can you walk the dog or do a crow in circuit training or jogging? I didn’t think so…

So it is with a grateful heart (body and mind) that I come to honor yoga, the art for stillness, and my wonderful instructor, the beautiful Aliya who have both changed my life and offer me some of the peace I so desperately crave in my life. Thank you, thank you…

Namaste.

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Sippy Cups and Semantics

 

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Writing is nothing new to me. I always remember myself as a writer even as a young girl. I recall taking great pleasure in writing creative essays in elementary school while all my fellow students groaned and moaned. I wrote my first poem when I was in 3rd grade and lived in Angola. As a teenager I wrote several novellas (I didn’t know back then that’s what they were called). They were not very original romances, but I spent a lot of time writing them. For one of them I had the good fortune to have my best friend, Susana, as my “consultant”. As a young adult I wrote a fanfiction (again, no idea it was called that when I wrote it) piece about my favorite rock group, The Styx (they wouldn’t be happy about it, trust me) and a short fantasy story (and my very first in English) inspired by Kate Bush’s song Delius (I wish I still had that one. I loved that piece).

I stopped for a while to make room for marriage and motherhood. But with my first baby, inspiration returned and I wrote my first novel-length story; a historical fantasy set in Scotland. It turned out to be a prophetic piece since I actually moved to Scotland shortly after finishing the novel. This was also the first time I ever tried to get published. It was a great idea, but I’m afraid it was poorly executed. One day I may revisit it. While in Scotland (where you cannot NOT be inspired) I wrote another fantasy and a romantic suspense novel. By then I didn’t think I would ever be published and I wrote just for fun.

For some years I didn’t have a chance to write much. I was busy bringing up two boys and rediscovering great new things like art and education. I started several novels but didn’t finish them. My muse had left me, it seemed.

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A little over a year ago, the Sippy Cups and Semantics (is that a great name or what?) came into my life. This small group of local writers invited me into their fold and the rest is history. I didn’t know any of them personally at the time. We had met in a book club and we knew that we all shared a passion for reading and writing. It was like they had lit a fire in me. I couldn’t stop writing. My muse was back.

Through them I heard about the National Novel Writing Month. I had written a flash fiction piece I really liked and I wondered whether I could expand it into a full novel. This short piece is soon (January) going to be published as a full length romantic novel. My dream is coming true.

I really owe it to the Sippy Cups. They are one of the best things that ever happened to me and I am so proud to be part of this amazing small group of women writers. Mark my words, one day we will all be (semi) famous authors; Sydney Everson, Genevieve Powell, Johnie Dreaire, Janna, and Jessica. At that time I suggest renting that beautiful farm house in Elkton again and have another writer’s retreat. With all this talent gathered under one roof who knows what amazing things will be written.

 

To All the Ladies

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About 6 years ago my marriage fell apart. It was so serious that my husband and I were separated for a few months and had already taken care of all the legal documentation for a divorce. Through those terribly painful times I discovered a few things I hadn’t really noticed before, the most surprising and prevalent of all being that I had given so much of myself to my family, I had nothing left of my own. I had no social life, no friends, no hobbies, no family close by. I was very lonely.

Like bad things often do, this situation led me into doing something I probably would have never done otherwise; I joined a women’s social group and actually went to a meeting. For an introvert like me this was HUGE! And really, really hard. I am so glad I did, though.

So here’s a shout out to the wonderful and diverse women in my Meetup group (you know who you are) who have been a steady source of encouragement, social interaction and just plain companionship throughout these few years. I may not say it often (or at all. I am an introvert, after all) but I am so grateful for your friendship (and my newly-found skills for poker. I can always use that as my backup career should my current one not pan out). Through or because of them I re-discovered my love for many things I had left behind; dance, knitting, reading, and just relating to others.

Ladies

We just had our monthly poker night. We don’t play for money (none of us could really afford it) and we don’t take it very seriously at all. But the few hours we spend together, making jokes, trying to (normally unsuccessfully) bluff each other, or just relaxing are—like the ad says—priceless. The little things like the “loud table”, the sudden interjecting of off-the-wall words that makes all of us stop and listen (not an easy task), the stampedes to the kitchen in search of strawberry shortcakes, the look on our hostess’ eyes when another player trumps the already awesome hand on the table, and the amazing snacks make a difficult day so much easier to swallow.

My marriage has thankfully been mended and we never went through with the divorce, but I will be forever grateful of its unplanned “side effects”. Sometimes we all need a kick in the butt to learn what life is all about. Like Kate Bush’s song Them Heavy People says:

They arrived at an inconvenient time.
I was hiding in a room in my mind.
They made me look at myself. I saw it well.
I’d shut the people out of my life.

(…)

Them heavy people hit me in a soft spot.
Them heavy people help me.
Them heavy people hit me in a soft spot.
Rolling the ball, rolling the ball, rolling the ball to me.

 

My ladies’ group was IT and for that I thank you.

Life Is Beautiful

 

My life has been a bit nightmarish for the past few months. Life as I knew it, and as I had hoped for myself and my family, took a turn in the other direction about 10 years ago. Lots have happened; some good, a lot of bad, probably nothing very different than what a lot of people experience in one shape or another. I guess I just wasn’t ready for it. I had a very happy, very “normal” childhood and part of me (a big part) believed that with the right attitude I could fix just about anything. I have since discovered I can’t fix everything no matter how much I want to, or how much I work for it. I can’t say I’ve totally accepted that, but I am learning to live with it. You know the prayer, God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I have tried and it’s a mixed bag of results. Sometimes I can, sometimes I just curl up into a human ball and cry my eyes out.

A friend posted a clip from the online (at least I think it’s an online thing) movie/documentary Human where a French Jewish woman, who was in a concentration camp as a child, retells this amazing story of what a simple gesture can do to change someone’s life forever. It got me thinking about how fortunate I am. I have never been imprisoned, I was never a victim of violence, I was never really hungry (well, I came close one time but it didn’t last long. A story for another day), never had to wear rags or go naked, always had a roof over my head, people who love me in my life… Therefore, as hellish as my daily life sometimes is, it pales by comparison to many others. That’s when I decided to go back to my original plan; to focus on the good things I have rather than put all my energy into the bad.

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner I thought it was the right time to write a series of blogs (bloggings???) about things, events, or people  I am so very thankful to have in my life. For those “other” things that keep me up at night, cause me awful stress headaches, and make me cry ever so often, make no mistake; your time on (virtual) paper will come. But for now let’s smile and focus on the bright.

I start you off with a picture of serenity. Vermeer is by far my favorite painter, even more than Leonardo DaVinci (even though I am his #1 groupie). Vermeer’s paintings convey such serenity, such peace of mind, staring at his work is like therapy for me. So, I give you the Milkmaid. Bask in the quiet of the morning, the tender brightness of the new sun, the sweet promise of fresh milk; the calm before the storm of the daily madness. Namaste.

 

 johannes-vermeer-the-milkmaid-1355338007_org

 

Love or Justice by Rachel Mannino

LoveOrJusticePicQuote1

“How do you hunt down a killer when he’s also hunting you?”

Laurie Shelton is the only person alive who can identify Hawaii’s most notorious mob boss…

After stumbling into a deadly kidnapping, Laurie’s life is in grave danger, and it falls to US Marshal Dante Stark to keep her safe until she testifies against Kaimi Quamboa—assuming he can be captured.

Dante knows he’ll lose his job if he becomes romantically involved with a witness…

But when he has to comfort her through constant nightmares, he finds it nearly impossible to fight his attraction to the beautiful, strong young woman he is sworn to protect. Laurie feels it too, but aware she’s in a high-stress situation and that when the danger is past she’ll never see Dante again, she tries to ignore his easygoing smile and the security he offers.

Laurie and Dante are forced to flee again…

When Kaimi’s men descend on their hideaway, they escape to a second safe house, only to be tracked down there as well. Dante now knows there’s a mole inside the US Marshal Service, and the only thing left to do is disappear.Kaimi will never stop looking for Laurie, and if he’s caught, showing up to testify could be the last thing she ever does. With each choice as dangerous as the next, Dante and Laurie must confront the boundaries of what they’re willing to sacrifice, and which is more important…

Love or Justice.

Rachel Mannino 3

Rachel Mannino – Biography

Rachel Mannino is a passionate writer who creates characters and settings that allow readers to explore power dynamics in relationships, the empowerment of women, and the ethical and moral dilemmas love can create in our lives. Rachel also uses her writing skills to raise thousands of dollars for entities that enrich our lives and create community change around the world.  She has worked for the Peace Corps; the Humanities Council of Washington, DC; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; and the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events in Boston, MA. Her first novel, Love or Justice, will be published by Limitless Press in 2016. Her second novel, Fractal, will be published by eTreasures publishing in the spring of 2016. Rachel has a BA in theatre studies and writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College, and she has used it every day since graduation.  She lives with her husband, author Christopher Mannino (http://www.christophermannino.com/), and their adorable dog and cat in College Park, Maryland.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rachel.mannino02

Author Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorrachelmannino

Twitter: @RachelMannino02

LoveorJustice Front Cover

The Ghost FIles

Release Date: December 1, 2015

SYNOPSIS: Tick tock…

 

Mary Cross has been forced to accept the world of the supernatural because of an experience that left her with the ability to hear—but not see—the supernatural. She survived three weeks of being kidnapped and tortured, and it has left her emotionally and physically scarred.

Across the street from her house, strange things are happening…

Mysterious noises haunt the residents, faucets turn on by themselves, and footsteps can be heard running up and down the stairs. It all centers around Noah, a two year old child. Babysitters have run screaming from the house.

Caleb Malone has been dumped into a teeming hornet’s nest…

He’s always been the good son, done everything asked of him, and even gave up graduate school to join the family business of hunting supernatural villains. He’s convinced himself he’s happy, that his duty to his gift should come before anything else.

Until he meets Mary Cross.

She gives him hope that things can be different, that he can be different.

Together, the two of them must solve the mystery of the two shadows stalking the child and save him from whatever has attached itself to him. Time is running out and to save Noah, forcing Mary to face her own demons.

But in doing so…has she put a target on her back?

FRONT

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::: MEET THE AUTHOR: APRYL BAKER :::

So who am I? Well, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies. My friends laugh at me when I scare myself watching them and tell me to stop watching them, but who doesn’t love to get scared? I grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees, and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to sleep.

Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there’s always someone to tell your mama you were seen kissing a particular boy on a particular day just a little too long. So when you get grounded, what is there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel. It was a romance titled “Lord Margrave’s Deception.” I remember it fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main characters.

Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my niece and nephew and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats start yelling something fierce…lol.

I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.

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Undercover in Six Inch Stilettos

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★★ SYNOPSIS ★★

Every woman has secrets, and Cyndi Mills is no exception… 

Cyndi has a beautiful daughter, and her husband Jason is totally hot for her, but something is missing. As a cop, Jason is extremely vigilant about safety and security, and Cyndi longs for some time to herself, so she takes a Friday night job.

Jason thinks she’s cleaning offices, when she’s actually dancing in a red bustier and six-inch stilettos at a club called Sugar Shakers, something only her three best friends, also police wives, know.

When club employees start disappearing, the truth comes out…

A young runaway, Jade, and a military widow, Lola, vanish, and Lola’s body is later found in the ocean. Cyndi begins investigating—with some help from her friends—but when anonymous threats put her daughter in jeopardy, she has no choice but to confess her lie to Jason, rocking their previously solid marriage.

Jason is furious, but Cyndi has to ask for even more if she hopes to solve the mystery…

Cyndi convinces Jason to sign her up as a confidential informant, and she officially goes undercover at the club, while Jason struggles to control his jealousy. As the evidence mounts and the danger becomes all too real, Jason fights to keep Cyndi safe.

But no amount of security can protect someone when lies are more common than the truth and no one is who they appear to be.

FULL WRAP

★★★ #OneClick ★★★

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MEET THE AUTHOR: CAROLYN LAROCHE

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.

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