Monday, 11 November 2019

Guest Post: Remembering the Importance of Trees by Carol Browne...

I’m a tree hugger and always have been. There’s something in my nature that draws me to them like old friends. How gratifying it is for me to see so many other people waking up to how important and precious trees are.

Photo by Studio Dekorasyon on Unsplash
Every oxygen-breathing organism on Earth benefits from the work done by these forest denizens. Their fallen leaves not only nourish the ground they stand in but also feed a network of fungi, plants and small critters essential to the circle of life. The trees hold the land in their roots, preventing soil erosion and landslides. They suck up water and protect the land from flooding. They provide shade, shelter and homes to countless animals, birds and insects. They give us fruit, nuts and medicine; wood for building and fuel. In the rainforests they even create their own weather.

Trees are amazing. And now we need them more than ever. Their ability to capture carbon from the air, to use and store it, while releasing life-affirming oxygen, is vital in the battle against climate change.

We must plant more trees. Anyone with a garden can do that. If you can’t, donate to an organization that will plant trees on your behalf and support campaigns to protect ancient woodland.

We have lost our connection with Nature, that fellowship experienced so profoundly by our ancestors. For far too long we have looked down upon primitive cultures that talked about nature spirits and the wisdom of trees. We dismissed the Druids for worshipping trees. It was all superstition. But we were wrong. The trees have been our allies all the time, even when we turned our backs on them. They remained the guardians of the planet and quietly went about the business of preserving its ecosystem. Now it is imperative we embrace them again as our friends and rediscover that lost connection, before it is too late.

There is a close relationship between trees and writers; don’t they provide us with the paper on which we write our stories? They can even give us the ink to write them with. Ink made from oak galls was favoured by scribes during the Middle Ages and Renaissance because of its permanence and resistance to water and it still enjoys a niche market today among artists.

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction, but dabbles in non-fiction and is a contracted author with Dilliebooks.

 Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Being Krystyna; A story of survival in WWII

It’s 2012, the year of the London Olympics, and for young Polish immigrant Agnieszka, visiting fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home is a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and the death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive, these are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.
Will Agnieszka find a way to accomplish her task, and, in this harrowing story of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links Dilliebooks - Amazon UK - Amazon US

Monday, 4 November 2019

Author Guest Post: Pondering Villains by Chris Pavesic...

I like to read writing advice from other authors. Many times, I find really great ideas that help improve my own abilities. For example, in On Writing, Stephen King (2001) recommends listening to music to help a writer block out the world and focus on the work at hand. I have multiple dedicated writing playlists for just this purpose.

Certain advice, though, does not resonate with me. For example—certain writers suggest modeling villains after people in your own life that you dislike. I would find that difficult advice to implement in my writing.

First—there is the time factor. Writing a novel generally takes time. Even if a writer aims for a thousand words a day of good, solid prose, the writing stretches into months. Imagine this time actively thinking about people you do not like. This would not be an enjoyable activity in my perspective.

As a writer, I want to like my villains. Not everything that they do—many of their activities to me would be morally objectionable. But I need to understand them—to know why they are doing certain activities so that I can put this down on the page. I need to sympathize with their motivations and to realize that, in most instances, the villains do not see themselves as evil. These characters need the same depth as the heroes or, in my opinion, they will never be more than a caricature.

In Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett (1991, p. 185) has the villain of the story, Lilith, make the following comparison: “She wondered whether there was such a thing as the opposite of a fairy godmother. Most things had their opposite, after all. If so, she wouldn’t be a bad fairy godmother, because that’s just a good fairy godmother seen from a different viewpoint.” Later in the story, readers learn that Lilith firmly believes she is the good fairy godmother and is not the villain. It’s a matter of perspective, and in her viewpoint, those working against her are evil. She’s trying to improve people’s lives, and those working against her are trying to impede progress.

This is not the only type of villain in literature, but it is the type that I tend to find the most interesting. It is why I can sympathize with Khan in Star Trek (both in Into Darkness and in Space Seed) and Loki in The Avengers while at the same time being morally appalled by many of their actions.

There are obvious exceptions to this—Sauron in The Lord of the Rings trilogy does not generate sympathy for many readers, (although Tolkien does give him a fascinating history in The Silmarillion that explains his fall into darkness) but the Nazguls always had a touch of sympathy to their story for me because they were tricked by Sauron into becoming the Ring Wraiths. The detail and care that Tolkien invests into the story keeps these characters from being caricatures.

Allow me to introduce you to my villains. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I did writing them.
4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Psychometry 101...

The second installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, Blackflies and Blueberries, features Hart Stewart—a teenage psychometrist who has no problem reading the energy imprints from an object like a ring or watch, but struggles with the most basic reading skills. In world-renowned, late psychic Sylvia Browne’s book, Phenomenon, she explains—“Psychometry is the ability to sense and interpret the living energy that’s been absorbed by inanimate objects. Perceptions of that energy can come in the form of visions, smells, sounds, emotions and even specific empathic physical sensations like pain, heat and cold.”

So how does this psychic ability actually work? By handling objects, the psychic receives impressions through clairvoyance, telepathy, retrocognition (knowledge of a past event that could not be learned or inferred by normal means), and precognition (future sight). The act of reading an object in this manner is called ‘psychometrizing’. The term ‘psychometry’ comes from the Greek words psyche, ‘soul’, and metron, ‘measure’. It was coined in 1840 by Joseph R. Buchanan, an American professor of physiology who saw psychometry as a means to measure the ‘soul’ of objects.

Supposedly the best ‘psychically’ conductive materials are metals. So jewelry would be great picks for a psychometry reading. If an object has been owned by more than one person, such as an antique, a percipient may pick up information about different people. Psychics who specialize in psychometry when working with law enforcement, for example, can hold an article of a missing child’s clothing or piece of jewelry and, by reading the child’s energy contained in that clothing or jewelry, receive images or smells or sounds from where the child is, sense whether the child is feeling frightened or is with someone who makes them feel secure, and/or perceive any injuries the child might have. Cue The Twilight Zone music.

Believe it or not, you’ve used psychometry at one time or another. Think about when you’ve shopped for a purse or article of clothing—you pick up the desired item, and depending on whatever feeling it gives you, there might be something about it that makes you put it back and keep looking. An odd feeling. A weird thought. A shiver. That’s psychometry. Or you’ll be house-hunting or apartment-hunting and walk into a place that’s perfect and ideal in every way, with the one exception that for some reason you can’t wait to get out of there. That’s psychometry too.

You may think of psychometrists as modern day time travelers. With one touch of an object in an antique shop or museum, they can be whisked away into another time period. Oh, think of the things we could learn about history and historical events. And think of the cold case crimes that could be solved. So the next time you pick up an object, remember that it always has something to say. Even if you don’t like it.

Ready to receive a little foresight into Blackflies and Blueberries, the second installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls teen psychic mystery series? Here’s a glimpse…

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder. Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice.

Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.


Monday, 28 October 2019

Book Tour: Pagan Light Series by JoAnne Keltner...


Pagan Light Series 
by JoAnne Keltner

About Possessed (formerly titled Goth Girl, Virgin Queen), Book 1:


Calling Jackie psychic makes her cringe. But Jackie’s no normal seventeen-year-old. She picks up emotions from people and objects like a freak. The emotions make her sick, and the guilt she feels for lying to her church when she was twelve causes her to deny her psychic abilities. But when her jealous friend Trish invites a demon to help her steal Jason's love for Jackie, Jackie must learn how to use her gift to protect Jason and herself and to heal the negative energies around them. To do so means she must overcome her guilt and accept who she is before the demon claims her soul.

Print book page count: 335

Purchase Your Copy:


About Spellbound, Book 2:


After battling a demon from her great-grandmother’s past, Jackie Turov, a psychic and healer, accepts that all things are possible—even a romantic relationship with the young seminarian, David. But after an elderly church member, an immigrant from Russia, accuses Jackie and her great-grandmother, Babu, of being witches, Jackie questions if Babu was once an evil witch or just someone blessed with healing light. As Jackie sets out to find the truth about Babu’s troubling past, and ultimately about herself, her future with David hangs in the balance.

Print book page count: 376

Purchase Your Copy:


Read an Excerpt from Possessed:

Jackie spent another night in the hospital and was released the following afternoon. As soon as she stepped into the house, Babu dropped her needlepoint to her lap and crossed herself. Babbling in Russian, she hobbled over to Jackie in her slippered feet, grabbed Jackie’s head with both hands, and kissed her on each cheek.
“I’ll leave you to two to talk,” Mom said and then disappeared into the kitchen.
Babu put her arm around Jackie. “Prikhodi,” she said, leading Jackie to her room. She waved her hand at the bed. “Sidi.”
Jackie sat down. Babu opened the bottom dresser drawer and took out the photo album she had showed Jackie the day she had passed out in the haunted bathroom. Babu opened the album to the photo of the three young women dressed in black. She pointed to the second woman and then tapped her chest.
Eto ya,” she said, and then, with a pitiful look in her eyes, she explained something to her.
“I’m sorry, Babu. I know that the woman in the picture is you, but I don’t understand what you’re telling me.”
Babu sighed, looking tired and frustrated.
She had never read Babu. The only vision she had ever picked up from her was pure white light, and the only emotion she had ever picked up from her was peace.
Jackie slid the photo album from Babu’s lap to her own and then held her fingers above the picture. “May I?”
Da.”
Jackie touched the black-and-white photo and closed her eyes. In her mind’s eye, she saw the three women, solemn and still. It was almost as if they were afraid to move, to even wriggle a nose or blink an eye—that, if they moved, evil would overtake them.
From the corner of her inner vision, a black mass floated into view, obscuring the three women. She waited for the darkness to pass, for the women to reappear, but the darkness hung in the center of her mind’s eye, expanding and shrinking as if it were breathing. Concentrating, she tried to reclaim the vision of the women, but something seized her chest. In the split second of opening her eyes, a dark voice whispered, “Witches.”
She stared at Babu, mouth hung open.
Babu, a frightened look on her face, took the chotki from her bed stand and pressed it into Jackie’s hand. “Molis’.”
The chotki was lightweight and tickled Jackie’s palm. It reminded her of the lock of hair she held after cutting her long tresses. She held it, knowing it had once belonged to her and thinking she could never reconnect it to her head. It was gone from her for forever.
“I understand, Babu. I know things aren’t right with me, but I can’t take your chotki.” She tried to give it back to her, but Babu kept shoving it into her hand.
Jackie showed her the chotki and then patted her chest. “I have one of my own. I’ll pray with my mine,” she lied. She made prayer hands and then gave the chotki back to Babu.
Her forehead and eyes creased with worry, Babu took the chotki.

Jackie thought about how Madam Sophie kept trying to get her to take the crystal. She couldn’t take that either. Somehow, it just felt wrong, as if she would be committing idolatry. How ironic. She couldn’t take the chotki because it was no longer a part of her, yet she couldn’t take the crystal because the teachings of the church were too ingrained in her. Madam Sophie was right. But she wasn’t going to go to her for help. She didn’t ask to be born this way. If all this misery was caused by the solar storm, she was sure the energy would eventually die, and everything would return to normal. Until then, she would just have to tough it out. Maybe, wear Mom’s rollerblading helmet.

Follow the Tour:


Make sure to enter both giveaways at the bottom of this post!!

Meet the Author:


Enter the Giveaways:

Rafflecopter Giveaway for a Kindle version of Possessed, Book 1:


Goodreads Giveaway for Spellbound, Book 2:






Thursday, 24 October 2019

Book Tour and Giveaway: A Bestiary Alphabet by Felix Eddy...


About A Bestiary Alphabet:

From Al-Mi’raj to Zlatarog, The Bestiary Alphabet features a different mythical creature for every letter of the alphabet, lovingly drawn and illustrated by the talented Felix Eddy.

Like the medieval bestiaries of old, the Bestiary Alphabet collects mythological creatures from all over the globe. Some are household names, others are delightful obscurities, but all will move and inspire you to dream of a world that you have never seen. Felix Eddy’s trip through the alphabet will show you the magic, mystery, power and beauty in all the things that might have been.

A Bestiary Alphabet is an illustrated guide to mythological creatures for a general audience.



Follow the Tour:

https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2019/10/virtual-book-tour-schedule-bestiary.html

Book Details:

Hardcover: 92 pages

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Publish Date: October 17, 2019

ISBN-10: 1987976614
ISBN-13: 978-1987976618

Read an Excerpt:



The al-mi’raj is a Middle Eastern beast that looks like a very large yellow rabbit with a long black horn growing from its head. Sometimes called simply a-mi’raj, they are said to kill and eat horses, and are very deadly to humans. They are featured in Islamic poetry and said to live on a mysterious island somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

Highly skilled traveling witches were the only ones able to destroy these creatures and prevent them from returning to an area. In fact, it’s likely that these “highly skilled traveling witches” actually spread rumors of these creatures so they could use their “skills” to exterminate them— for a price. They didn’t have to stretch the truth too far, though, because the al-mi’raj was possibly based on real life “attack bunnies”.

There are a few diseases that afflict rabbits, causing lumpy growths or making their fur matt up painfully, appearing like horns, or like bumps where a horn fell off. These rabbits are often driven mad with pain from their twisted and matted fur, which can make them unusually aggressive. While it’s doubtful that a rabbit could kill a horse, even if it was mad with pain, certainly a rabbit that was acting insane and rushing at people would cause some real alarm— perhaps enough to start the myth of a monstrous horned rabbit.

Horned rabbits have been translated into modern use by a number of fantasy writers and game companies. They are featured in video games and role-playing game books, both as monsters and as humorous creatures, called “horned rabbits” or “bunnycorns” or “unibunnies”.

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing

Amazon

Meet the Author:



Felix Eddy is an artist from Upstate New York. She is the illustrator of several books, including Dragonbait, The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum, Bark’s Mulberry Socks, and Witches Witches Everywhere. You can find out more about her work at www.felixeddy.com.

Enter the Giveaway:

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Sign up to be a tour host here:

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Monday, 21 October 2019

Get Ready for 'A Halloween Party' by Tina Ruiz...

This is definitely a treat. Tina Ruiz has a new children's book out just in time for Halloween! The amazing illustrations are done by Ishika Sharma.

The pictures are bright and the story is fun. It was written not only to entertain kids, but also to challenge their minds.

Every character has a name with a double meaning. Such as: Mr. Noah Lott, Mrs. Faye Ding, Mrs. Frieda Livery, Upton O'Goode, Adam Zapel, and Ella Vader, to name but a few.

Here's a hint to help you solve the puzzle, Ed Zortails is his name really heads or is it tails? You'll have to buy the book to find out.

Solving the double meaning of the words will be delightful for children and adults alike. On the off chance someone can't unravel a name, Tina supplied a cheat sheet at the back of the book.

As with all of her children's stories, there's a moral at the end.

Tina Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children's stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz wrote twenty-seven books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor's office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor's Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It's usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary's New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children's Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children's books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Book Blog Tour: Once Upon A Bowl Of Oatmeal Cookbook by Annie Douglass Lima...

Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal (paperback cover)
My latest writing project is very different from anything else I've written. It's a cookbook! But those who know how much I love fantasy might not be surprised that this cookbook ended up with a fantasy theme. Many of the recipes have names inspired by fairy tales or fantasy stories, and I love the hints of fantasy in the two covers designed by the awesome Savannah Jezowski

Why two different covers? The paperback version of the cookbook is an unusual shape, due to the unusual recipe format (more information about that below), so it couldn't share a cover with the ebook.
Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal (ebook cover)
Some people might be surprised, though, that the whole book is focused on oatmeal. After all, isn't oatmeal that boring goop that nobody really eats if there's anything else available? 

NOT ANYMORE! In this book, you'll find recipes for delectable dishes like creamy mango coconut spice oatmeal, cinnamon almond oatmeal, blueberry cream cheese oatmeal, and (my personal favorite:) caramel banana oatmeal with peanut butter. (Okay, so that one is a little closer to the dessert end of the spectrum than the porridge end!) 

Take a look at the book blurb below for more details:
Are you tired of high-sugar, low-health-value instant oatmeals in tiny serving packets full of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives? Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal contains 70 hearty recipes packed with natural ingredients and brimful of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. All are gluten free, assuming you use gluten-free oats, and vegan (or they come with a vegan option). Most require no salt so are perfect for a low sodium diet. Almost all of these recipes can be prepared in ten minutes or less, saving you time in your busy morning.

Oh … and no more math! Whether you’re cooking just for yourself, for a family of six, or any number in between, every recipe comes in the form of a handy table that shows exactly how much of each ingredient you’ll need for however many servings you want.

Tasty enough for kids to crave, but wholesome enough to appeal to health-conscious parents, these mouth-watering recipes will give you plenty of energy for your day while pleasing your taste buds too. Download Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal now and say goodbye to artificial breakfasts that don’t fully satisfy.

Take a peek at a few of the fun recipe titles (with pictures courtesy of photographer Denise Johnson). Then scroll down for a free recipe!
And now for a free oatmeal recipe in the unique format I use in Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal:



Ready to grab your copy? Click here to download the ebook for your Kindle or to order the paperback cookbook. And if you enjoy the recipes, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or Bookbub!


About the Author:

Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, Bible verse coloring and activity books, and now a cookbook. When she isn’t teaching, writing, or experimenting with new flavors of oatmeal, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima Online:
Sign up for her mailing list so she can let you know when new books are available. When you sign up, she’ll send you a free copy of one of her fantasy books! http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates