Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013! Join me for gifts galore!

It's a blog hop with lots of stops and prizes!

Something for everyone!

I have an Amazon Gift Certificate for

for one lucky follower!

Announcing the 
Happy New Year 2013 
Giveaway Hop

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Babs Book Bistro

January 1st - 7th 2013

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I currently use Rafflecopter for all my giveaways.  The winner is chosen by Rafflecopter and will appear in the Rafflecopter form after the giveaway ends.  I send all winners an email. Winner have 48 hours to respond to claim their prize.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Get This Body in a Barn - FREE today on Amazon

Get This Body In A Barn: The Milkmaid's Guide To Fitness

Click me (below) I'm free today!!


If you're looking for a no thrills, no frills, tried and tested laywoman's fitness routine for the average everyday woman, you may enjoy this book. 

Call me a fundamentalist, in life and in physical fitness, which I find helpful in productivity and time management. I don't have much time for novelties. I enjoy capitalizing on the basics. Life doesn't have to be complicated, no more than does fitness. The fast-paced world in which we live has all of us chasing down the ever elusive element of time. “I don't have the time” is the number one reason/excuse people consistently cite for not working out. 

This book is my interpretation of working with what you have and making what you have work for you, in both your physical form and fitness resources, while keeping in mind convenience and time factors. This is a guide for beginners and intermediates, highlighting a few, very basic, yet specific resistance and cardiovascular exercises that are fully transportable across the gym and at-home fitness spectrums. Equipped with our bodies and very few essentials, we all have the capacity to meet our fitness goals. With those things, there is nothing left to do but to do it…get active. 

In its relativity, having the time has nothing to do with it. Working out boils down to will and commitment, making the time has everything to do with it. Personally, I find I am more inclined to make time for fitness if it is convenient, productive (yields results) and if I can capitalize on my gains (cash in on the best results in the shortest amount of time). To me, that outcome is worth making time for. These are the principles discussed herein, turning up the intensity for a shorter period of time, attempting to accrue more bang for your buck!

Inspired by a makeshift gym in a barn, all exercises and principles within the book are translatable across the continuum, be it a spare room, the garage, the gym or a barn. With an encouraging girl-next-door delivery, birds-eye view of my personal regimen and basic blueprints for constructing your very own weekly workout regimen, sculpting the body you desire is simply a matter of commitment, time management and follow-through. 

My fitness credentials include previous certification as a Personal Trainer and Massage Therapist. I am currently a licensed Registered Nurse. I have an M.A. in Commnication and a B.S. in both Animal Science and Nursing, with a minor in Athletic Training. However, my physical fitness education started in my childhood, growing up on a dairy farm...the impetus behind the book and its humble 'tongue-in-cheek' cover.

About the Author:

Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. Her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. The Vigilare trilogy is an adaptation from a short narrative film, inspired by vigilante movies, such as The Punisher and Boondock Saints. She is currently working on the last novel in the series, as well as another book and music soundtrack combination. All songs from the soundtracks are written/co-written and performed by the author. Listen free at or

There's been a comment or two about the book cover. I thought that might be a way to open up a discussion. What are your thoughts on the cover? Also, when it comes to buying a book on fitness, what type of cover are you looking for, or does it matter, especially if the content is good? Thanks for weighing in!
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Merry Writers Christmas

7 Reasons to spoil yourself with the Sullivans

Awesome reads and crazy awesome prizes!
Did you get a new eReader for Christmas, and are now looking for something awesome to read? Or, maybe you didn’t get anything good and want to spoil yourself a little with the chance to win that coveted eReader, some major gift cards, or other awesome prizes. Maybe you just need to relax after hurry-scurrying around all season. Well…
Wouldn’t it be nice to take a long hot bath or snuggle under your favorite blanket with a great read? Sounds like the perfect day, right? Hey, we can offer you something even better than that.
In fact, we can offer you something seven times better!
For starters, we can offer you up to seven review copies of Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today best-selling contemporary romance series The Sullivans.
We’ll introduce you to—not just one, but—each and every member of the Sullivan family on their quests to find happiness. Even though most of them aren’t even really looking for love, it has a way of finding them anyway. These sexy, emotional and funny novels will nurse all your literary and metaphorical desires. You’ll laugh and cry right along with the characters, and get hooked into these great stories right from the very first page. They even take place in lovely California, giving you the opportunity to travel by proxy and escape the windy winter doldrums.
What’s that you say? The books sound awesome, but you’re not sure why you have to join the tour to enjoy their awesomeness? There are so many reasons to sign-up. Since there are seven books (so far) inThe Sullivans series and seven that will be taking part in this extraordinarily large tour, let’s stay right on theme and discuss seven reasons why you need to join the fun, pronto.

Not only will you get to read a great novel—or two, or three, or seven—but you’ll also get…
1. The opportunity to network with other bloggers and avid readers.
2. The option to host a guest post, excerpt or interview with best-selling author Bella Andre. This will bring new readers to your blog AND give you content for your blog—what’s better, a post you didn’t even have to write yourself. If your New Year looks as hectic as mine, having a guest post is almost as good as reading an awesome book… because it means I’ll have TIME to READ that great book.
3. The chance to interact directly with the author through a number of social media activities, discussions, and awesome giveaways .

4. Literally, there are more books. If you love The Sullivans, you can find half a dozen more books just waiting for your eager hands and mind. AND REVIEW COPIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR ALL SEVEN! WOWZA!
5. Kick start your New Year’s resolution to read more! Plus you get hours of entertainment absolutely free—you may even win something (which makes the deal even sweeter).
6. The Sullivans will make you fall in love. You’ll love the writing, the humor, the characters, and the stories. You might even find hope for true love within these pages.
7. If you’ve ever wished for your own happy ending—heck, even if you’ve already found it—there’s something in each of these novels you’ll be able to identify with. We all know life isn’t perfect, and the Sullivans know that too. They’re so real, reading the book is almost like watching a movie or watching somebody’s real life unfold right in front of your eyes.

The prizes are ridonkulous. We’ve got romantic swag baskets, hundreds of dollars gift cards, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, AND a Sony eReader to name a few.
Well I guess there’s just one more reason to join us on the biggest tour Novel Publicity has ever put together. More books, more bloggers, more buzz and, of course, more prizes!

Sullivan Tour Badge
Learn what all the buzz is about when you receive review copies of the first 7 books in this on-going series. Read one, or read them all. Or, you could host an excerpt, interview, or guest post instead–and we’ll even put that together for you.
Tour Dates:  January 7 to 20, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: approx 300 pages each
CAUTION: Explicit language, very steamy love scenes…and lots of emotion!
The Prizes:
* iPad Mini
* Kindle Fire
* Nook Color
* Kobo eReader
* $100 Amazon gift cards (7 prizes)
* $50 Amazon gift cards (2 prizes)
* $25 Amazon gift cards (8 prizes)
* $20 iTunes gift cards (10 prizes)
* Custom prize baskets for EACH of the 7 books–including items such as wine gift set, silver bracelets, romantic photo books and photo frames, eReader and smart phone skins, and MUCH, MUCH more!
…and we’ve got special prizes just for participating bloggers
Read summaries and excerpts on the sign-up page.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Don’t Store Gloves in Coat Pockets

Oxblood Gloves
Even though it’s the most convenient place to stash them, to keep your gloves in the best condition you should avoid storing them in your coat pockets. Why? Because your hands perspire when you’re wearing gloves (yes, even when temps are below freezing), and they need to dry out once you’ve taken them off, which they can’t do wadded up in your coat pockets. Instead try putting them next to your keys on your entry table. That way they’ll dry out, and you won’t forget them when you rush out the door.

This is a reprint from Simply Stated (the link is here:

I thought I'd share this tidbit - because guess what!? I'm a confessed princess and that means there is a pair of matching gloves and a hat for each coat I have. And, guess where I've been shoving those little matching gloves? That's right! In the pocket of the matching coat!

I guess this proves that you are never too old to learn a new trick!

Do you have any little tidbits you'd like to share? Please leave a comment.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lonely Hearts by Amanda Stephan

Lonely HeartsOne lonely mother. Two matchmaking kids. Three eligible bachelors, and some very yummy apple pie! When widow Becky Callis moves to a new town, her intentions were to start over in a place where she's not reminded of her dead husband. Her kids, however, take it as a chance to help her start over romantically. They soon realize it's easier to find someone to like their mother than it is to figure out which man is best for her. To the delight of both kids, young and handsome cowboy Scott Boone makes his interest plain and starts courting Becky almost immediately.  

Jack Anderson and Becky have been friends since childhood. When they're reunited years after their lives have taken very different paths, this lonely preacher begins to wonder if God has brought her back into his life for a reason.  Pearce Morgan is a single parent raising his young daughter. Divorced and disillusioned, an unlikely friendship arises between him and Becky when his shy daughter decides she loves Becky and her kids. Lonely Hearts, is a heartwarming story of second chances and choices, and includes an exclusive apple pie recipe!


Becky Callis was new in town, and she felt her intrusion.

A bearded man outside the hardware store stopped sweeping, broom held in mid-air and watched them narrowly as they drove past, perhaps wondering if she were the type to plunder and loot his shop.

A couple of older women that had been chatting outside a tiny florist shop suddenly turned to stone, their mouths gaping open, snickering about what kind of woman would be caught dead in such an old pick-up truck. Becky even imagined one of their tongues hung out. She repressed a giggle and waved, receiving an incredulous half-wave from one of the women, and no acknowledgement from the others.

She hated being stared at, and tried to keep a somewhat pleasant smile pasted on her freckled face as she drove through. She could feel her fair skin literally burning with embarrassment. Her thirteen year old daughter, Jen, gave her a twisted frown.

"Mom, what is wrong with these people?" Her pixie face turned dark red as a teenage boy waved at her. "They act like they've never seen strangers before."

Becky's grin grew larger and more realistic as she gave a two-finger salute to the policeman leaning on his squad car with arms crossed as if daring her to go faster than the posted thirty mile an hour sign. Obediently, she stopped at the one red light the town could boast of and waited for it to turn green.

"I guess," she said with a shrug, watching an old man sitting outside a diner pretend to read a newspaper. He spit tobacco juice into a jar and set it down next to his chair, his bushy eyebrows making it very clear he was looking at them."They don't get too many newcomers here." Jen grimaced and pushed her sleeping brother's head off her shoulder onto the vinyl headrest instead.

"Well that's fine, but they don't have to stare. Makes me feel like we're pets in a pet shop."

"Or beef at a cattle auction." Becky laughed at her discomfort, noticing that the green light flickered faintly before going completely out.

Amanda Stephan

Image of Amanda StephanAward winning, bestselling Christian author Amanda Stephan is just a normal, everyday country girl. Amanda resides in Middle Tennessee with her husband and children, who closely resemble several of the seven dwarfs, (Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy/Happy), three cats, (only because hubby refuses to get one of his own) one dog, and multiple roosters that love to roost under their bedroom windows.

Amanda loves to laugh and have a good time, and loves to read a good book. She finds writing to be an opportunity to share God's love for others in a fun and entertaining way. Her first novel, The Price of Trust, was published in May of 2010, her second novel, Lonely Hearts was released at the end of October, 2011, and she is currently working on a Christian paranormal entitled The Haunting of Maddie Branson as well as a three book family saga series.

Connect with Amanda here:

Facebook author page


her website or

My Review

Not having read a "Christian" romance before, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with the wonderfully innocent love story that unfolded between the pages. The story was far from mundane due to a young confident, but impressionable young man whose anger at rejection was all too real, as well as an older, grandfatherly character who was an anchor to the story.

"And I think she likes him too. Well, now who do we pick for her? Jack, Scott, or Pearce? I didn't know it could be so complicated!"

"That's one thing I hated when I got into trouble. My mom was always so creataive in finding work for me to do. Weeding was the worst. What'd he do?" "He was misbehaving in school. Not listening. Giving an attitude. Sassing. You name it, he was doing it."..."Sometimes it's hard to fit into a new school. He was probably just trying to impress the other kids." "You know, I'd agree with you if he went to a pubic school, but he's homeschooled." If there were was a limit on how many times a person could be shocked in one afternoon, Scott was well on his way...His drawn out "Oh," told her...

The book was an easy read, reminiscent of a soft, afternoon breeze; the characters charming and human, along with a setting of a beautiful little town. There was just enough suspense thrown in to keep you on your toes. 

"...Most people would have turned their back on God." She picked up the picture and stared at the heartless woman who hid behind a beautiful face. "But why do you keep Eva's picture?" "To remind me that sin can look beautiful on the outside, but it's as rotten as a dead horse on the inside," he smiled at her, his eyes dark with pain and remorse. "I look at it everyday to remind me to seek God's will and guidance in my life before I make another huge mistake."

The writing was great, and I found the story to have a nice solid ending. The book reminded me a little of Little House on the Prairie, not the time frame, but the way it makes your heart feel - and that is important in a story of this nature. I definitely recommend the book to those of you who enjoy a soft, easy read with romance and faith thrown in.

"Dear Lord," she began to pray, sitting down dejectedly at the table. "I've gone and made a mess of things again. There were so many things I was hoping for, that I forgot to ask your will to be done. Please forgive me, and lead me in a plain path. I beg for your peace and comfort in this whole situation. Let me know what you would have me do. In Jesus' name, amen." She sat still for a few minutes, letting the peace that passes all understanding take hold of her and reassure her.

If you found my review helpful, please consider taking a moment and voting "yes" on my review on Amazon. (Follow the link below.) Thanks!!

Lonely Hearts can be purchased on Amazon. Click the icon below:

Other books by Amanda Stephen:

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bloggers Wanted: $50 Amazon Gift Card Give Away

Gift Card Giveaway
Participate in the "Beat the Winter Time Blues $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway" sponsored by author Terri Morgan.

Giveaway: January 16 - February 6
One winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card from Terri Morgan. 

All you need to do is to make an announcement about the FREE sign-up on your blog by grabbing the code under the graphic and then on January 16 post the giveaway (html post will be provided). This is a great way to gain more followers on your Facebook page. Sign up here:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista on Holiday Special

Extraordinary Rendition

For those of you that enjoyed the excerpt from Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista (see the link below), you will happy to know that it is on Holiday Special right now for just 99 cents! The book will be on special until January 7, 2013. 

You can purchase a Kindle or Nook copy by clicking on the appropriate link or icon below.

 Kindle - ; 

To read an excerpt or visit with the author, click on the link below and it will take you to the post.

My Life. One Story at a Time.: Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista (Spotlight, Guest Post, Excerpt)
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Twilight of the Drifter by Shelly Frome (Guest Post)

Twilight of the Drifter"Twilight of the Drifter" is a crime story with southern gothic overtones. It centers on thirty-something Josh Devlin, a failed journalist who, after a year of wandering, winds up in a Kentucky homeless shelter on a wintry December. Soon after the opening setup, the crosscurrents go into motion as Josh comes upon a runaway named Alice holed up in an abandoned boxcar. Taken with her plight and dejected over his own squandered life, he spirits her back to Memphis and his uncle's Blues Hall Cafe. From there he tries to get back on his feet while seeking a solution to Alice's troubles. As the story unfolds, a Delta bluesman's checkered past comes into play and, inevitably, Josh finds himself on a collision course with a backwoods tracker fixated on the Civil War and, by extension, the machinations of the governor-elect of Mississippi. In a sense, this tale hinges on the vagaries of chance and human nature. At the same time, an underlying force appears to be driving the action as though seeking the truth and long awaited redemption. Or, to put it another way, past sins have finally come due in the present..

Genre: “A laudable crime thriller with a Southern setting”—Kirkus Reviews
Publisher:  Sunbury Press; released in January 2012

Shelly Frome

Image of Shelly Frome  Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of mysteries, books on theater and film, and articles on the performing arts appearing in a number of periodicals in the U.S. and the U.K. He is also a film critic and a contributor to writers’ blogs. His fiction includes Lilac Moon, Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Tinseltown Riff and the trans-Atlantic cozy The Twinning Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are the acclaimed The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage.  Twilight of the Drifter, his latest novel, is a southern gothic crime-and-blues odyssey.

Connect with the author here:

Guest Post

            When I was a little kid, I often heard mothers say, “We’re out in public. Don’t make a scene.” At first, I thought it meant, I want you to behave yourself or I will tell your father. Or, Please, I’m only going to ask you once. Don’t embarrass me. Later on, it seemed some parent in question was saying, Don’t you dare do anything to draw attention to us. Later still, I began to wonder what it would take to not only draw people’s attention but to sustain it. What could the child do besides acting out? Which, by that point, had become so predictable in shopping centers everywhere that it just didn’t play. No longer was repression and strict behavior part of our cultural landscape.

            Interesting enough, after years of acting, teaching, directing and playwriting, each time I tackle a novel I have to confront this same problem. I still marvel over Brando’s performance in the movie On the Waterfront when, for instance, disregarding what Budd Schulberg had written in the script, he picked up Eva Marie Saint’s delicate white glove. They were outside in the freezing cold in a park not far from the Jersey docks. The two  had barely met. Brando was an illiterate dock worker and Ms. Saint was playing a former convent girl as delicate as her gloves. Intuitively, Brando knew he wasn’t good enough for her. Intuitively, the closest he could get, the only way he could hold her there was to pick up the glove she had inadvertently dropped (which also wasn’t in the written scene), slip his hand inside and, in that way, keep her from leaving.  

            The noted movie director Robert Altman was fond of saying that every time the actors did what they were told—said what they were supposed to say, followed the stage directions to the letter—he had no movie. It was only the happy accidents that made the storyline work. It was because of something other, some elusive ingredient that any given scene sprang to life. And, inevitably, those were the moments that moviegoers remembered.

            So here I am, approaching another scene in a new novel I’m writing. As far as I know, Jed, my wayward central character, who is in deep trouble, is about to approach Babs, a power supply store owner, for some information. The scene falls flat because each character is doing exactly what I expected. It’s only when I have Babs wheel out a reconditioned DR brush cutter trying to deflect that things start to happen. The more she attempts to pawn it off on him, placing it between Jed and herself, the more obstacles Jed has to navigate around literally and figuratively. And the more Babs finds little devices to ward Jed off, the more the scene starts to percolate.

            It wasn’t the answer. It was only part of the improvisational process. To put it another way, What’s it going to take to “jack this up” to use novel guru Larry Brooks’ unfortunate phrase. (An expression he kept using during his Story Engineering sessions at a recent writers conference in Portland.)  

            I myself would rather ask, What will make this encounter reverberate and propel the story on? How can I make a scene?           


            Wolf Creek was silent again, shrouded and hidden away in the fading early December light.  

            Then the cracking sound of wood as the old hunter’s blind gave way somewhere in the near distance, a sudden scream and a muffled thud. The cracking sound was not nearly as sharp as the first gunshot or the second, the scream not at all as piercing as the first cry or as grating as the moans that followed and faded.

            The coonhound took off immediately, ignoring the touch of frost in the creek water, the obstacle course of fallen tree limbs and bare forked branches, the muddy slope and the snare and tangle of vines and whip-like saplings. Within seconds, the hound was bounding higher until he came upon a prone scrawny figure totally unlike the one that had just fallen on the opposite bank.    

            Sniffing around, barking and howling, the hound snapped at the flimsy jacket and bit into it.  As the scrawny little figure began to stir, he tore into the sleeve, ripping it to shreds and barked and howled again, turning back for instructions. The sight of the skinny flailing arms sent the coonhound back on its haunches—half guarding, half confused as it turned around yet again, looking down the slope to the creek bed, still waiting for a signal.

            Presently, a tall, rangy man made his way across the same obstacle course, long-handled shovel in hand. But he was only in time to catch sight of a girl clutching her head, staggering away from the scene through the tangles and deepening shadows. Then again, it could’ve been a boy for all he knew, but he settled on a girl, a flat-chested tomboy, more like. Casting his gaze up to the snapped rungs of the tree-ladder, he spotted the broken edge of the rotting hunters blind some eight feet above where she could’ve seen everything.

            The coonhound began circling around him, displaying the shards of material dangling from his jaw.  Instinctively, the man rushed forward. Then he thought better of it as his overalls got snagged in the brambles. From the look of things, the girl was probably dazed and confused and wouldn’t get as far as the dirt drive, if that.

            Wrong guess. The slam of a hood as the flat-bed’s worn V-8 motor fired-up, the grinding of gears and the familiar whine and squeal of tires signaled the tomboy was away and well out of reach.

Twilight of the Drifter can be purchased on Amazon by clicking the icon below

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of My Life. One Story at a Time.
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