Friday, September 30, 2011

Megan’s Way by Melissa Foster

Megan's Way (2011 Beach Book Festival Award Winner, 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist)

About the Book:

What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she'll be faced with the most difficult decision she's ever had to make. She'll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she'd made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia's world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there's nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan's closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts.

About the Author:

Melissa Foster

"Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal"--Author Jennie Shortridge

Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of two novels, Megan's Way and Chasing Amanda. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, and is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan's Way. Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written a column featured in Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa is currently working on her next novel, and lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Book Quotes:

"Though Megan's heart ached for the pain her death would cause her daughter and most treasured friends, and she longed to have been the one to tell Jack that Olivia was his daughter, she felt horribly conflicted because she was also strangely enveloped by a sense of peace and wellness. She had passed through her life with gracious friends and an amazing daughter, taking with her a small part of each of their beings, and stashing it away in her very own soul. She wept, not for her own death, but for the life she had shared with each of them and for the cumbersome job they would now have of putting her body to rest. Megan passed through on May 1st, the same day she had come into the world. She hoped that her friends would continue to celebrate that day for themselves in years to come, as they had for her."

“She sat up abruptly. Okay. That’s it. I can’t tell anyone. What’s done is done. I can’t tell Olivia, and Jack and Peter don’t need to know. It would only hurt them. And what would they think of me? of my deceiving them? It’s better left unsaid.”

“His voice was just above a whisper, deep and solemn. ‘There are some friends who are always there for you, even when they are not present. There are others that are always present, and yet, somehow never there.’”

“One will be released, and returned after death.”

My Review:

            Megan’s Way is about four life-long friends whose lives are so intertwined it is hard to see where one ends and the next begins. Yet, they end up harboring the deepest, darkest, secrets from each other.

            It is a game for me to figure out where the title of a book comes from. Sometimes I am consciously looking for it, and other times it sneaks up on me and all of a sudden, there it is – the reason for the title. That is what happened with Megan’s Way. I was so caught up in the story line that it snuck up on me. Megan is a free spirit that her friends would always describe as “what you see is what you get.” She didn’t hide or pretend. She lived her life as herself and to its fullest; something I think we all would like to do.

            When she became pregnant, the only change Megan made in her life was to change the focus from herself to her daughter, Olivia. Even when she was diagnosed with cancer, her focus remained on what was best for her daughter. Megan had a sixth sense when it came to her daughter, Olivia. She knew and felt when she was in trouble or in need of her. I understand that sense and I really enjoyed experiencing it in the book. Not to give the story line away, when you read about their connection and learn about the secrets, it will leave you pondering.

            I admired Megan’s decision not to continue treatment. I have often wondered about what my decisions would be and I always come back to the same decision. I lean in the direction of not taking treatments. The book gave me some insight into how it might affect those around me.

            I will tell you that I spent a lot of time crying. This book is a must read, but first, buy yourself a box of really soft Kleenex!

A conversation with the author – taken from the book:

What was your inspiration for Megan’s Way?

Many years ago, my mother went in for surgery that I was told was for several benign cysts on her ovaries. It wasn’t until a year later that she told me that there had been an oncologist in the operating room because they had thought she may have cancer, and that she had already determined that had they found cancer, she was not going to undergo treatment. This was over ten years ago, when treatments were not as advanced as they are now. My heart sank when she told me, and I hung on to that feeling and mulled over what it would have been like for both of us – I could not let it go. That’s how Megan’s Way was born.

What was the underlying theme you sought to impart to your readers?

There are so many. I think it is important that we do something in life that we enjoy, and that we make decisions based on what we feel is best in our own individual circumstances, rather than what others think is best. In this case, Megan thought that prolonging her death would, in the end, be more treacherous to Olivia than her passing on sooner and more quickly, and her decision was made. Forgiveness, belief in one’s self, the depths of friendship, and cherishing each moment as we live it – that’s what I was going for.

Did your own lifestyle influence the book in any way?

In some ways, yes. I paint, and therefore wanted Megan to live a very artful lifestyle, hence the art shows and flea markets. I think instincts are overlooked far too often, and that’s why I gave Megan a sixth sense with Olivia. If we are open to them, I believe these lines can become strong within our own minds. I cherish the few close friends that I have, and felt it was important to show their feelings toward Megan’s death.

Do you believe in life after death?

This will either turn off my readers or entice them. The truth is: yes, I do believe in a certain type of life after death. I do believe one has a certain amount of time to reach out and touch our loved ones. Weird, I know – but that’s me.

With six children, when do you find time to write?

I had to wait until my youngest was in school full time, and then I wrote for six hours each day, but Meagan’s Way wasn’t my first novel. My first novel was The Knowing, which has not come to print yet. Megan knocked on my door, and I had to let her in and set down The Knowing for a bit. I continued to write while my children are in school and after they go to sleep at night, or while they are doing homework otherwise busy.

What are you working on now?

I am working on my second novel, Chasing Amanda, a mystery with a paranormal twist about Tracey Potter, a seven-year-old girl who is abducted, and one woman’s desperate search to find her. Molly Tanner has had visions all her life, but never have they been this horrifying, unveiling images of a young girl being held captive. Guided by her visions, she weaves her way through the secret cavities of people’s lives, creating upheaval in the small town when dark secrets are exposed.

May readers contact you? Are you available to speak with book clubs?

Absolutely! I love to meet and chat with readers. They can contact me through my website(s):


Melissa is a very generous author and she is providing 3 e-books for an
International giveaway. The only requirement to enter is to follow this blog via
GFC or NetworkBlogs. Melissa would love for you to visit and sign up for her newsletter 

Please leave an email where you can be reached. The giveaway will run from September 30th
Through October 8th (my birthday!) I will post and email the winners on October 9th.

Any tweeting about the giveaway is greatly appreciated! (but not required)

If you absolutely must have the book NOW, you can purchase the book here:

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I loved you first by Renna Jacobs

I Loved You First

About the Book:

Alexandria (Alex) Carmichael guards two secrets close to her heart. One - she's in love with her best friend, Seth. Two - he's gay.

As a freshman in college, Alex looks forward to fun times with her best friend. When Seth decides cycling through girlfriends is the way to fit in with the straight crowd, Alex must make a choice: watch Seth give his affections to another while her heart breaks or come clean with her feelings and risk losing his friendship forever.

I Love You First is a new adult love story told through the eyes of an African/American/Caucasian student who takes a journey of self-discovery while watching her best friend come to terms with his sexuality. Turn the pages and find a message of hope, new beginnings, and positive change.

Book Quotes:

“I rolled my eyes so hard, my mama would have slapped them straight if she’d seen.”

“He faced forward and spread his arms. The wind caressed his blond hair as he tilted his head back. Spectacular was the word which came to mind – like the Greek God Hermes ready to take flight. I loved him all the more for his strength…his courage. If only I was the goddess to stand by his side instead of a shadow beneath his wings.”

“Seth was supposed to be my sympathetic ear, yet here I sat with The Red Goliath in the midst of a chow down session. Best friends forever, Yeah, right. My resentment grew by the moment.”

“Cheyenne popped up from her chair like a whac-a-mole. How I wished I had a mallet.”

“Take back your life – the first thing she’d said which resonated with me. I wanted my life back. Above all, I wanted to own person. Something other than a shadow. I climbed the stairs until I stood face to face to Bruce.”

“Seth has been my best friend since first grade,” I started, “You of all people-a member of one of the tightest knit fraternities on campus-should know a little something about loyalty….Yeah. I knew he was gay, but who was I to tell the world? And I certainly didn’t make him come on to you.” I gave a half laugh. “Go ahead. Hate me for standing by my friend, but you know what? I’d do it all over again. And if you’re worthy at all of living in this frat house, you would have stood by any of your frat brothers also.”
“Really? ‘Honor and Loyalty, Always.” I threw the slogan from the Alpha Epsilon brochure at him. “So now it’s not always? Only sometimes?”

“Whether I had one friend or a gazillion, I had to be enough for myself. So the big question: Was I?”

My Review:

I Loved You First was a beautiful book about unconditional friendship between a boy and girl, although Seth seemed to be a little more self-centered than Alex. He was the drama queen of the relationship. The book aptly depicted how some friendships keep you confined in a very small place, never allowing “you” to be “you”.        

Seth was, plain and simple – a drama queen. He came across as self-centered person caught up in his masquerade, seeming not to notice that he was suffocating the one person who cared the most for him.

Alex, devoted in every way to her BFF, Seth, did not mind being Seth’s sidekick until college. After a football/frat boy begins paying attention to her and telling her that she is noticed. She cannot appreciate the attention because she is love with Seth, her gay friend. Alex begins to want the individualism she has denied herself through the years. She begins to explore dating and realizes that she enjoys the male attention.

Alex also befriends a girl from one of her classes. Seth has consumed her world and this is all new to her – as many young adults figure out once they begin college.

College is a time of discovery, a transition time from childhood into adulthood. It is a time where we discover who we are; a time when new friendships are forged and we begin to blossom into the adults we are meant to become. The book was a good depiction of college life and the growing pains and changes that we go through. It was a good story and I think many people will enjoy the book.

About the Author (from the book):

Image of Reena Jacobs

Reena Jacobs is just your typical writer who loves to see her words in print. As an avid reader, she’s known to hoard books and begs her husband regularly for “just one more purchase.” Her home life is filled with days chasing her preschooler and nights harassing her husband. Between it all, she squeezes in time for writing and growling at the dog.
(My thoughts: This description of the author leads me to believe that the book had a little of her in it. Reena Jacobs sounds like a fun-loving person who has come out of the corner and lives her life to the fullest.)

An Interview with Reena Jacobs:

Do you remember the first story you wrote? What was it like?

Shadow Cat was actually my first. I know folks tell writers to throw away the first one, but I truly felt I had something good. I'm glad I didn't toss it. It's not perfect, and I would have done a few things differently now that I have a bit more knowledge, but the response it's received has been quite favorable. Shadow Cat would have been a huge waste in the trash. :)

Do you use paper and pen, old-fashioned typewriter, or computer/laptop? Is there a specific place that you like to write?

My fingers feel like they belong on a gnarled old woman after writing a few lines by hand. I go the way of the laptop. I took typing in high school, so after many years, I'm quite speedy - around 80 words per minute or so.

As for where I do the deed... mostly in the living room. I disappeared for a couple of months while writing Shadow Cat. When I mentioned writing another book, my husband was all sorts of huffy at the idea of me closeting myself away. Now I write in plain sight where he can see me, and I can harass him about stupid things.

What is the best part of writing for you?

I absolutely love plotting and character development. It usually takes a day to plan out a story, and the time passes way too quickly. I'm also quite fond of research. I can get lost in tidbits of unimportant information.

Tell us something about your books.

I love flawed characters and imperfect endings. I think my works reflect that. The characters experience personal growth or wind up in situations better than they started, but they never receive the picture perfect happily ever after. There's always more to the story (just like in real life), issues to settle in the beyond. No cliffhangers, but definitely more. Life doesn't end for my characters at "The End."

What is something that most people wouldn't necessarily know about you (that you would be willing to share here, of course!)?

When I was younger, I loved playing with bugs. Ants, spiders, bees, you name it. They fascinated me. When I was 12, I stomped on a spider in the bathroom. At the same time there was a horrible screech. I don't know what it was. Thinking back, it sounded like a cat, but I swore it came from the squashed spider. After that experience, I was terrified of spiders for the longest time, didn't even have the courage to kill them. The best I could do was cover them with a bowl or something and stare until someone came home to take care of it.

It wasn't until after my oldest (4 at the time) started crying after seeing a spider that I realized I'd passed on the fear to her.

It took years to squash my fear into something reasonable. I still can't kill most bugs, but I do have the courage to scoop them into a container and release them into the wild or give them the thrill ride of their life as 

I flush them down the toilet.

It's a shame. All my children have some degree of fearfulness toward bugs. All the fun I had playing with nature, and I know I ruined that for them because of my hang-ups.

Top 3 things on your bucket list. 
  • Go back to school. I absolutely love studying. I've been out for 3 years now, my longest gap ever and think about returning every day.
  • Move. I'm a North Carolina transplant and never took to the state. I'll take the rain in Washington any day over the humid heat and endless buzz of mosquitoes.
  • Travel Europe. My husband got me into British TV. I'd never been a fan of the UK before then, but some of the accents have rather grown on me. I especially love the dialects which articulate the 't' in words. And the countries are so close together in Western Europe, I can see myself visiting quite a few with one trip.
When you aren't writing, what are you doing? 

Being my preschooler's lackey. :) My life is pretty mundane. I read; I write; I do my family's biddings.

Where can we find you? (sites, links, FB, twitter, author page)

You can find me on my websiteRamblings of an Amateur WriterAmazonGoodreads,Barnes & NoblesSmashwordsTwitter, and Facebook. Look me up. I love to socialize. :)

leave a comment, then head over to Reena's blog for a chance to win a signed copy of 
I Loved You First.
follow the tour stops HERE 
*courtesy of aobibliophileTM  
Please mention that you are visiting from My Life. One Story at a Time. Thanks!

If you are impatient and want to read the book now, you may purchase it here:

Any tweets about the give away are appreciated!

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster

Chasing Amanda

Nine years ago, Molly Tanner witnessed a young girl's abduction in the busy city of Philadelphia, shifting her occasional clairvoyance into overdrive. Two days later, the girl's body was found, and Molly's life fell apart. Consumed by guilt for not acting upon her visions, and on the brink of losing her family, Molly escaped the torturous reminders in the city, fleeing to the safety of the close-knit rural community of Boyds, Maryland. 

Molly's life is back on track, her son has begun college, and she and her husband have finally rekindled their relationship. Their fresh start is shattered when a seven-year-old girl disappears from a local park near Molly's home. Unable to turn her back on another child and troubled by memories of the past, Molly sets out to find her, jeopardizing the marriage she'd fought so hard to hold together. While unearthing clues and struggling to decipher her visions, Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents--and the land itself--hold potentially lethal secrets, and exposes another side of her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart.

About the Author:

Melissa Foster"Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal"--Author Jennie Shortridge.

Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of two novels, Megan's Way and Chasing Amanda. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, and is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan's Way. Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written a column featured in Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa is currently working on her next novel, and lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Guest Post by Melissa Foster

The Genre Dilemma, by Melissa Foster

I’m what you might call a “genre hopper”. I’m lead by my stories and characters rather than being led by a specific genre. My debut novel, Megan’s Way, was a work of literary fiction, while Chasing Amanda was suspense. My next book, Come Back to Me (working title) is general fiction and my work-in-progress, Shades of Gray, is a women’s fiction/YA crossover. There’s no rhyme or reason for the genres I write other than what I’m feeling at the start of the project.

There are many authors, most, I believe, that write in one specific genre. They build a following in that genre, and their readers know what to expect with each book, while my readers are taken down completely different paths with each book.

Settling into a genre can be a very valuable avenue for writers. I’ve been told that it’s easier to build a loyal following by doing so. And, let’s face it; it’s an easier process to follow a genre formula than to recreate the wheel each time you write a book.  So why, you may ask, do I take the tougher road?

Nothing I do in my life is for the outcome that is typically expected. I don’t write to sell the most books or gain the loudest kudos. I write because it fills me with happiness. I write to share my stories with others, and I write because it allows me to continuously learn while doing something that I love. I follow my heart when I write, and I think my readers appreciate the diversity and raw emotions that I bring to them.

Is genre hopping okay? That depends on how you look at it. I don’t think that traditional publishers necessarily think it’s a wise or representable avenue, but then again, no one could have predicted the industry being overtaken by eBooks either. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a revolution (I doubt it, and I’m not looking to spearhead the notion, either). Good writing comes from the heart. Whether you’re a genre hopper or a tried and true monogamous genre writer, write what you love and your readers will follow.

Book Quotes:

It had been a cool October evening. Molly had left Walmart with an armful of groceries. She popped open the trunk and threw the bags in, trying to ignore the little girl’s screams coming from the black minivan two cars over. She settled herself into the driver’s seat, and rolled down the window. The deafening screams continued. Molly backed out of her parking space and inched slowly past the van’s rear bumper. The child’s father frantically tried to settle the little girl into the van, the little girl’s arms and legs thrashed wildly. The frustrated father’s eyes shot in Molly’s direction.
            “She didn’t get the dolly she wanted,” the man had said through gritted teeth.
            ….It was three days later, when Molly had seen Amanda’s face on the front page of the newspaper, that Molly put her nightmares and the image of the man together, and realized that it had not been the little girl’s father she’d seen, but Amanda’s abductor, her murderer.

“Are you going back already?” Molly asked Hannah.
“Some things are better left untouched,” Hannah said.

My Review:

            It has been a long time since I have read a book that truly held me captive. Chasing Amanda is a very well written book. The story line continuously delves deeper and deeper into a community of people and takes one surprising turn after another. Just when you think you have it figured out, wham! Another twist is revealed. It is not until the end of the book that the entire plot and cast of characters and their hidden secrets are exposed.

            The book begins with child abduction, one that Molly has had visions of happening. Unable to hone in on the specifics of her vision, she is unable to help the child. Years later, the past seems to be unfolding before her eyes when another child disappears. Even with the risk of destroying her marriage, she is drawn into her visions and her quest to help find the missing child.

            I began reading the book anticipating a simple storyline – child abducted, woman finds child through visions – but was pleasantly surprised as the story unfolded. The only analogy I can think of to describe Chasing Amanda is to picture the story line as a maze of intertwining vines leading downward to one stalk. There were a lot of surprises and twists and turns and entanglements with one discovery leading to another, each one more surprising than the last.

            Being quiet in tuned with my own sixth sense (in my own life) I have always been intrigued with books involving the sixth sense. Molly and her son, Eric, share this trait. While sometimes tugging at them, it proves to be a bond between them in the end. It is Eric, who finally convinces Cole, Molly’s husband and Eric’s father, that the visions are real and that Molly was in need of help.

            The use of Molly’s visions does not consume the book. The book also depicts the difficulties of having special abilities on a family, especially when family members do not want to believe or acknowledge the gift. Molly’s marriage is repeatedly pushed to the brink of collapse because of her gift.

            The loyalty displayed between some of the characters was impressive. It is very hard to find such loyalty and as a person who values loyalty, I appreciated this part of the story line. Chasing Amanda was also a story of understanding our human traits and idiosyncrasies, and learning to respect our differences.

            I could tell you a lot more about the actual story – but that would spoil the reading of the book. The book blurb tells you enough about the story, I hope my review seals the deal and makes you want to read the book.

Melissa is a very generous author and she is providing 3 e-books for an
International giveaway. The only requirement to enter is to follow this blog via
GFC or NetworkBlogs. Melissa would love for you to visit and sign up for her newsletter here

Please leave an email where you can be reached. The giveaway will run from September 28th
Through October 8th (my birthday!) I will post and email the winners on October 9th.

Any tweeting about the giveaway is greatly appreciated! (but not required)

If you absolutely have to read the book NOW, you can purchase the book on Amazon by clicking the icon below:

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

He Gave Me Pearls by Rochelle Fraizer

He Gave Me Pearls: A Journey to the Relationship for which Your Heart Was Designed

From my good friend, Rochelle Fraizer, the Author of Sweeteas, 
comes He Gave Me Pearls

About the Book:

In a time of desperation, I prayed believing for one idea to change my life, and He gave me the words and the images for the most precious cast of characters aimed at touching the world with their southern grace. The stories were pouring out of my heart. A heart that was physically failing and certainly had been broken, and as their stories healed me, my story would ultimately heal others. They are the Sweeteas, and they have, indeed, changed my life! My story is surely one that claims joy comes from suffering. A story many need to embrace in the times in which we live. However, far greater than the Sweeteas was this intimate love relationship that I found in Christ through this journey.

Through some very painful lessons and needing him more than breath, I found that his greatest desire for us is to know Him and love Him. Caught up in busyness and service, I missed his greatest gift of all, His presence and His love. A love He says transcends all understanding. I believe that it is by no accident that we have this longing to be loved wholly and unconditionally and even deeply. I imagine Him placing a piece of His heart in the depths of ours, so we would always long for Him, and upon reuniting, we find the love for which our heart was designed. It is the greatest love story of all. He comes in on the white horse, He draws you close to His heart, and His presence fills you with all-consuming love. My story is He Gave Me Pearls, and I pray these pearls will set you free!

You can purchase the book here:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Crazy Life – September 19, 2011 – So, I ran over a pecan tree…

            As I posted last week, Calypso and I began Obedience Training on Saturday at Pet Smart. My little rambunctious dog was the biggest dog and the most well behaved in class. We arrived a little early and toured the store. She loved sniffing at everything but surprisingly, she did not pick up one item. 
            The manager tried to give her a treat – flavored popcorn – and Calypso turned her nose up at it. She also turned up her nose at a second treat. I took pity on the manager and gave her one of the treats I brought along for training class. Calypso gobbled it up, no questions asked.

            We then went to the training room to wait for the other dogs and the instructor. I dropped Calypso’s leash and let her walk around to explore since we were alone. A couple of minutes later, another dog and owner arrived. The minute the woman opened the door and her dog (a Boxer) came face to face with Calypso he peed on the floor. She cleaned the mess only for the dog to look at Calypso a second time with the same reaction. I was like “Go Calypso” –not aloud -  I know, totally rude and inappropriate even it was only in my head. Calypso didn’t do anything; she was standing there being good.

            In our class, we have five dogs, some kind of yip-yapping terrier looking dog, an English bulldog, an Alaskan Husky, a Boxer, and Calypso, a German shepherd. Calypso did not care for so many dogs and all of the noise that accompany them. She sat down as close to my chair as she could and periodically tried to climb in my lap. She eventually ventured out on her own and growled at the other dogs. I was curious before we went about how she might react to other dogs, but she really did not want anything to do with them. Of course, we were not on her territory. That would probably have created an entirely different scenario.

            The instructor was very good and her instruction techniques were easy to understand and implement. Calypso was a willing participant and did very well. She is learning the hand signal for sit and is actually listening better. The woman sitting next to me was a trip. She would tell her dog to sit and give him a treat and then the dog stopped listening and lay down. She told him, “oh well, just lay there and be good.” I was wondering what in the world was she doing. We were clearly in obedience class and she was telling the dog it was okay not to listen. This class should prove very interesting, although we may not be there much longer. Pet Smart also offers private lessons and I am considering switching over. It is a four-week class as opposed to six weeks and Calypso is not fond of the noise and chaos of the other dogs. I have to admit also that the chaos and lack of space aren’t working well for me either. Another plus would be the individual attention for an hour and the chance to work more intensely with Calypso on learning the commands. That actually appeals to me more than the socialization of so many animals.

            I am having so much fun now with the “sit” command and sign language. I make them sit for everything. I am really being bad about it (laughing.) They come to the door and they sit. I let them in. They follow me around as I fill their bowls with their food (and make them sit). Then they race to the door to go out and I make them sit. I open the door and we go outside like ladies.

            On Sunday, Hubby decided to plow his garden and plant a few potatoes. Of course, he wanted help, so I loaded up the dogs in their wagon and we rode to the garden to watch. Yes! Watch! He really didn’t plant that much so my help – other than company – wasn’t really needed. I was the “dog’s driver”. I hooked up their wagon to the lawn mower and we made several trips from the house (front) to the garden (back) and back; and then several more trips around the garden (just for fun.) Don’t they look like they were enjoying themselves? I cannot let them out of the wagon because of all the tall grass. We’ve had an issue with ticks before and I am more than a little paranoid about them. Therefore, for their protection – and my delicateness – they stay in the wagon.

Hubby heading to the 'back' with the choppers to the garden.

A couple of rows after being chopped. That's our house in the 'front'.

Ryka (left) and Calypso in their wagon. They are nearly the same size now.

Calypso - 7 months

Ryka (front) and Calypso (back)

            Ryka likes to hang over the side and watch the tall grass go by. It is the funniest thing to watch. Calypso just stands there. She is beginning to get comfortable with riding. She is not crazy about lawn mowers or noise.

            On Monday night, I went to book club. We read a wonderful book, Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. It was a fabulous book. The story traveled back and forth between the United States and India. A couple (American and Indian) adopt a baby from India and the life they led. It was a very touching story. I am going to be writing a review on it this week. Our club host fixed authentic Indian food that was to die for. I will have to include a recipe for the chicken dish at the end of this post.

            Being the “duh” I sometimes am, I walked into her house and saw the dishes and was wondering why she was cooking Indian food. If you had read five books last week, you might have been confused as well. The dishes looked more festive because she cooked them in the different colors of Le Cruset pottery. I am always thinking that I need to “matchy match” my cookware and it was so Indian looking with the different colors. It made me re-think my decision. Why stick to one color when all of the colors are so vibrant, you can’t choose just one color. My decision – when I start buying new pots, I will not limit myself to just one color.

            And, the gossip (therapy)? Just as colorful and spicy as the food. You already know the code – “What happens at book club STAYS at book club!”

            That is about all that been going on this week. It is nice to have a calm week. OH! I almost forgot – Hubby and I had a date on Saturday night. We went with friends to a dinner theater. It was “Gone with the Hurricane.” I’ll be blogging on that later. It was so much fun that I cannot wait to go again.

Indian Chicken

Prep time: 10 minutes     Cook Time: 20 minutes

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-tablespoon curry powder
1-teaspoon ground ginger
1 (13.5 ounce) can light coconut milk
½ cup lower-sodium chicken broth or water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to:
Season chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion, garlic, curry powder, and ginger to the same skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. add coconut milk and broth; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. add chicken back to the pan and cook until sauce is thickened and reduced, about 5 minutes. serve hot.
Makes 4 (2-cup) servings.

Donna “Lucy”

P.S. I just realized I didn’t include the story mentioned in my title. I’ll have to include it in my next post. 

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dark Corners by Liz Schulte - September/October tour

Dark Corners Description

Ella Reynolds knew from the first moment she walked into the old house someone or something was watching her. Waiting. Her husband's violent murder sent her spiraling into a world of grief and isolation, but Ella isn't alone. Who or what is responsible for her husband's death is still with her. Darkness has engulfed the past year of Ella's life. Everyday reality slips a little more between her fingers as she struggles to break free from her memories.

She must look deeper into her past as well as the present to discover truth of her husband's homicide. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin as Ella follows the terrifying road to closure. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.

Guest Post by Liz Schulte

I love scary. I have my entire life. Perhaps it’s the product of being the youngest child of four, or maybe I was just born this way, but for as long as I can remember I have always liked everything scary. My favorite book as a child for my mom to read to me was Mickey and the Haunted House. I used to love the Halloween cartoons the very best, I even had the Legend of Sleepy Hollow on tape and would watch it all the time. I was also a huge horror movie fan, read everything RL Stine (I was the Fear Street generation not Goosebumps) and Christopher Pike ever wrote, and used to make up wild, chill inspiring stories about the woods surrounding our house. Something about scary just clicked for me and that has never gone away.

I still attend every new horror movie release with one of my very best friends, just like we did as kids. The only difference now is our standards have changed. Obviously, we are not expecting great cinematic feats or anything, but over the years and years of love and appreciation we have honed down the elements we find to be scary in movie, books, TV shows, etc.  This is part of my inspiration for writing mystery/suspense/horror. Judging by what is available, I saw an opening. It seems to me somewhere between Alfred Hitchcock and the 2011 version of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark we have lost a key element of scary.

For me the scariest monsters live in my imagination. Less really is more. I don’t want to see the bad guy until the very end if at all. I want the suspense, the mystery, the buildup to a big finale. Now this doesn’t mean that the big scary bad guy/monster/whatever isn’t scary. It also doesn’t mean the horrifically gory scenes are not gruesome enough to make me turn my head.  I love those movies too, but they don’t scare me. I find the elements that really stick with me and leave a lasting impression are the ones that don’t leave me when I walk out of the theater, or turn off the television, or put down the book. It’s those elements that I can identify with, those pieces of real life that are infused with something just believable enough that it makes me second guess something I would do in my life. The doorbell rings late at night when I am not expecting something, there’s a strange noise in the house when I am home alone, the phone rings and no one is one the other end. . .

I kept this in mind while writing Dark Corners. What are the things that happen to all of us that if accumulated would be terrifying? I was also careful not to show too much or tell too much because I want the reader’s imagination to run wild. I wanted the reader to feel what Ella was feeling, wonder what was real vs. what was her imagination running wild, and question everything. The best complement I get about my book is when people tell me it made them jump at the noises in their own house.  

So that’s what scares me, what scares you?

If that trailer made you want to run out and buy the
book, you are welcome to click on the Amazon icon below. Happy Reading!


I have a copy of the book to give away along with the contest listed below.
Just follow my blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs and leave a comment below
with a valid email address so that I can contact you. The contest for
an e-book is international or US/Canada for a hard copy.
A winner will be chosen on September 30th!

Liz's Info
                                                                           Blog - Bat Country

Dark Corners Contest

     Author Liz Schulte and Promotional book tours is pairing up to bring you an awesome prize pack for her Dark Corners Tour!
      Winner will receive a Signed copy of Dark Corners, a Signed Copy of Secrets - Guardian Trilogy Book one (Coming out in Nov), a $20 Amazon Gift card, AND a $20 Barnes and Noble Gift card. 

How do you win? Follow the book tour and leave your comment on any stop for a chance to win. The more stops you comment on, the more chances to win! Remember to leave an email to contact you!

                                    Contest is open to US/ Canada for signed prints or ebook and ecards Int. Must be 18+

It would be REALLY AWESOME if you took a moment to tweet
or post the giveaway on your Face book page. Thanks!

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