Monday, 15 October 2018

In Proper Proportion by HL Carpenter...

So there we were, with a packet of strawberries threatening to go soft and the need for a recipe to make good use of them. None of the sauce recipes we found called for as many berries as we had.

 And then we realized all the recipes could be reduced to proportions. In this case, the proportions were 1:1:2, meaning that as long as we used 1 part water, 1 part sugar, and 2 parts strawberries, we could adjust the quantities to achieve the result we wanted.

Once the sauce was made and we were eating vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce topping, we began to think of all the ways we use proportions in our writing.

Here are two examples.

Book covers

The Golden Ratio or Golden Mean is a mathematical concept that creates a symmetrical, eye-pleasing composition. Yes, we know—math! EEK! Thanks to web-based calculators, you don't actually have to do the calculations.

But understanding the idea that proper proportions are an important design element will make your book covers naturally attractive. As a bonus, you can use the Golden Ratio to design your logo and website, and to choose the right text size and spacing for your printed marketing materials, such as bookmarks.

Time management

Much as we'd like to write ALL THE TIME, we schedule our days to include other tasks that go along with the business of being indie authors. For example, we allot 20-25% of our workday to marketing. We want to keep the results we achieve in proportion to the effort we expend.

We also need a lot of time to refill the creative well—or, as some would say, loaf around doing nothing. Here, the trick is to keep the proportion of time off to work time in harmony so we don't end up procrastinating instead of starting new projects.

Whether or not you like math—or strawberry sauce—we're sure you can figure out other ways to apply proportions to your writing. Tell us your tips in the comments!

And now a little from our fun Space Opera. We hope you enjoy it.

Flying frizzles! The year is 2176, a rebellion is brewing, and the boss wants a recon report. Ichann Count is all wet as a spy, but she plunges into the fray. Will she emerge with her memory banks intact?

Ichann Count is an expert at accounting warfare. She spends her days crunching numbers at the Etherworld Tax Bureau and crushing on her really cute co-worker. When the Water Tax Rebellion of 2176 geysers to the surface, Ike finds herself—and her really cute co-worker— drowning in trouble.

Can Ike save them both? Or will events continue to burble downhill?

EXCERPT

The biggest surprise about the Shewawa Water Tax Rebellion of 2176 was that no one on Xerios read the signs correctly.
Oh, the Celestial Council knew cosmic numbers of Shewawans were swelling the ranks of the opposition. Who could miss that? Long before the proposed Water Tax had taken effect, news reports overflowed with stories of protestors and frivolous arguments—well, arguments the Council called frivolous. The protestors were deadly serious. When civilized avenues of protest failed, they turned to more forceful ways of expressing displeasure.
Tax accountants who'd been posted to Shewawa on standard duty tour understood the brewing danger. We encountered antagonism every day, first hand. We sent urgent red-alert notices to Xerios. We nearly melted the tax hotline advising the Council's Senior Tax Commissioner of the agitation boiling in the colony.
The STC and the rest of the Council dismissed our warnings. They refused to believe a ragtag group of upstarts would challenge their authority to impose the Water Tax. So events continued to burble downhill, the way they do when no one has the courage to face the truth or the vision to chart a new course.
I never expected to get caught up in the rebellion. I was not a Shewawantologist. I was a Certified Etherworld Accountant, an expert at numbers warfare. Maybe I should have been less casual about the impact of the Water Tax, since I was part of what the protestors had begun to call the "oppressors." But in some ways, I was as blind as the Council.
As surely as my name was Ichann Count, I knew what was going to happen. I just didn't want to acknowledge my intuition or admit the protestors had a valid complaint.
Why would I? I was an ordinary Xerian, doing an ordinary job. Like a gazillion others across the Tri-Galaxies, I got up every morning, ate breakfast, brushed my ivories, and went to work. I spent my days crunching numbers at the Etherworld Tax Bureau with a hundred other CEAs. I also spent a considerable amount of time crushing on my hunky cubicle-sharer, Fifo Ventry.
The Monday the Water Tax went into effect, I sat behind my light-beam privacy curtain, working on an audit report and stealing glances at Fifo. Outside my little bubble, the office was in turmoil. My co-workers had abandoned their desks. They gathered in uneasy clusters by the main conference room, sipping hot fragrant Starshine coffee and muttering to each other.
We were all waiting for our boss to brief us on his morning's skull sessions. He was confabbing with the political factions on Xerios who wanted us to enforce the legislation as well as the Shewawan revolutionaries urging its repeal.
None of us expected the news to be good. We'd hoped to be back home in Xerios by now, but redeployment was doubtful. The Water Tax meant fathoms more work and the Tax Bureau was already short-staffed.
I wrapped up the audit report on the local branch of the AquaDrip Water Company and touched the moon-metal brooch I always wore. Dad had given it to me a few months after Mom died, when I was a skinny ten-year-old. I opened the ornate clasp and studied the hologram inside. I always studied the hologram of my parents on their wedding day when I needed strength or courage. That happened a lot.
In the picture, Mom wore a lacy bridal skinsuit. She was slender and tall, like a long drink of water, though she seemed tiny beside her imposing new husband. A cascade of dark blond hair flowed back from her intelligent face as she looked up at Dad. Her smile was insouciant and beguiling.
As always when I touched the brooch, Dad's words echoed in my mind. "Mom wanted you to have this picture so you can carry her close to your heart, Ike. When you're grown, you'll be exactly like her."
Though he too had long since passed and would never know, at least part of his prediction had come true. I missed out on Mom's beauty, but I inherited her mental acuity. Fortunately. I needed the advantage of Brainbox genes to figure out the problem at AquaDrip. The company was in serious financial difficulty.
I stared across the office at Fifo as I balanced the audit disk in my hand. Neither of the higher-ups I reported to would be happy to read my recommendation for fixing AquaDrip. Still, someone had to face the truth. I just hoped that truth wouldn't circle back and drown me.
At the same time, I knew it would.
The only question was how quickly the water would run downhill.


Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happeni ng in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, GoodReads, and their Amazon Author Page.

Monday, 8 October 2018

My Recipe Review Prepared from the Cookbook: Date Night Dinners by Sloane Taylor...


Book Details:

Publisher: Toque & Dagger

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

ASIN: B07DD5HDVL

Page Count: 136 pages

Genre: Cookbook

I added an extra bottle of Chardonnay...just in case.


So, I decided to take a chance and prepare Sloane’s special Chicken Cutlets from her Date Night Dinners, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening cookbook. This recipe drew me in for some reason, and I liked the serving suggestion that accompanies this meal. Plus, she had me at Chardonnay. Wink. Here’s what the Gourmet Goddess herself, has to say about this dinner choice: “This is a lovely meal for two to share by candlelight or with family and friends and rousing conversation. It’s also perfect al fresco on a Sunday afternoon.” Sounds good, right?

I went all in and used the suggested servings which included roasted potatoes, candied orange carrots, and my favorite white wine—Chardonnay. My mouth waters just thinking about this succulent supper! Below are the ingredients to create Sloane Taylor’s simple and tasty version of Chicken Cutlets and suggested sides, as well as my review. Bon appetit!


Chicken Cutlets

What You Need:
5 slices bacon, chopped
¼ (30g) cup flour
3 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
1 tbsp. (15ml) butter
4 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped fine
1 tbsp. (15ml) fresh rosemary, chopped or 1 tsp. dried
¼ tsp. (1.25ml) red pepper flakes
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
2 tbsp. (30ml) lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Candied Orange Carrots:

What You Need:
½ lb. (250g) packaged mini carrots
Juice from one medium orange
1 pinch nutmeg
¼ cup (60ml) maple syrup
4 tbsp. (57g) butter
Fresh parsley, chopped



Roasted Potatoes:

What You Need:
3 tbsp. (45ml) olive oil
3 tbsp. (45ml) cider vinegar
1 tbsp. (15ml) kosher salt
1 tsp. (5ml) dried thyme
1 red potato per person, quartered but not peeled






What I Thought: 5 Star Sizzle and Yum

My mouth still won’t stop smiling. Or watering. To be honest, meals like this overwhelm me for some reason. I’m not the greatest cook, but I thought I give it the old college try and throw myself to the mercy of the judges (hubby and daughter). The whole meal tasted excellent, and it got a thumbs up from my family. Mind you, I had a little help from my daughter with the preparation, but all and all, I loved the way this meal came together. Either one of the sides can be easily served with different main courses too.

Satisfaction guaranteed with every bite!
Just a few things to consider. If you have a gas stove, adjust your times accordingly. The potatoes were slightly burnt on the bottom, but this didn’t deter from the taste. We had to add a little flour to thicken the sauce with the Chicken Cutlets, and we’re so glad we did. Would I do this dish again? You bet! And next time, I won’t feel so stressed or overwhelmed. Cooking is all about the experience and experimenting with the ingredients. It’s almost like an alchemic dance with food. Yeah, sometimes it gets messy, but in the end it’s the satisfaction of creating a meal that’s not only sublime to your palate, but to your whole being as well. Cheers!

Cheers for creating this fabulous meal, Sloane!

Follow the tour to read reviews about many different recipes in the cookbook:



About Date Night Dinners:

Ready to ignite that old flame? Or perhaps spark a new one? Take your partner by the hand and turn on your stove. A true romantic, award-winning author Sloane Taylor brings her creativity to the kitchen with easy-to-make meals sure to spark the intimacy and quality time you want with your special someone. Cooking together is only the start of the fun!

Create 45 complete dinners for two or flavor your evenings with a new dish. These 80 recipes use everyday foods already on most kitchen shelves. The recipes are easily increased for those fun times friends or family join your table.

Date Night Dinners, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening, is an ideal gift for engagements, bridal showers, anniversaries, or for anyone who wants to spice things up.



Meet the Author:

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy. Taylor currently has seven romance novellas released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Her first solo venture into non-fiction is a cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening. Excerpts from her books can be found on her website, blog, and all popular vendors. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Guest Post: Believe in Your Writing, and Yourself by Andrew McDowell...



Sylvia Plath said the worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Yet the simple fact is every writer who is serious about his or her work will face it. I’m sure every writer can agree that they are their own worst critic. Ever since I became serious about my writing and getting published, I’ve been plagued by self-doubt and still am. Battling self-doubt is never easy, but it cannot be avoided either. So how can you overcome it?

Well, after you’ve invested so much time into a project, and so much passion, it becomes impossible not to see it through, which ties back to two of the Four P’s of Getting Published: patience and persistence. These virtues combined demonstrate the reverse of self-doubt: self-confidence. Certainly sometime it might not seem to exist, but even if you cannot see it, it must be there if you’ve waited and endured so long to see your writing become the best it can be.

Some writers see it instead as a challenge, one that you should enjoy taking on. Now that delight often only seems present in the moment; especially one has completed the first draft or the final one. But when it comes, relish in it, because you didn’t give up. You cannot sell yourself short, however much it or the world may seem to tell you to. If you give up, then self-doubt has won the battle, and your creativity will wither and die.

Yet as I previously stated, self-doubt is unavoidable. I continue to endure it even as I persevere. So what to do then? Well, self-doubt is rooted in fear – the fear of being rejected and criticized. We all feel fear. It too is unavoidable, something which Saershe states in my novel Mystical Greenwood. So the simple fact is it’s no use denying the presence of fear and self-doubt. And yet, that is how it can be defeated.

As Saershe tells my protagonists, one must accept that they feel fear to grow stronger, and only when acknowledging and face fear can one overcome it. That’s because by acknowledging you feel fear and self-doubt, it takes away its power to stop you. You will constantly battle it, and you won’t emerge unscathed, but you will emerge nonetheless, because your self-confidence endured and you believed in your writing, and yourself.

Further Reading
  1. Ambers, Lorraine. Dream Big and Don’t Hold You Back.
  2. Ambers, Lorraine. Positive quotes: Don’t Fear.
Book Blurb:
Mystical Greenwood, Book I of One with Nature

Dermot is a fifteen-year-old boy living in the land of Denú who has always longed for something more in life. His life changes when he encounters a gryphon and a mysterious healer. Drawn into a conflict against one determined to subjugate the kingdom, Dermot and his brother Brian are forced to leave their home.

A legendary coven must now reunite, for they are Denú’s greatest hope. In the course of meeting unicorns and fighting dragons and men in dark armor, Dermot discovers a deep, sacred magic which exists within every greenwood he crosses through, but his own role in this conflict is greater than he suspects. Can he protect those he loves, or will all that’s good be consumed by darkness?


Author Bio:
Andrew McDowell wanted to be a writer since he was a teenager. He studied at St. Mary’s College, and the University of Maryland for grad school. He is a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and an associate nonfiction editor with the literary journal JMWW. Andrew has also written and published poetry and creative nonfiction. To learn more about him and his writing, visit his website and blog at andrewmcdowellauthor.com.

Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Google+ | Tumblr

Monday, 24 September 2018

4 Successful Ways to Promote your Novel…

It’s not all about book reviews when promoting your novel these days. Yes, book reviews are valuable and securing them should be on any author’s book promotion to-do list. However, your book deserves more widespread, long-term, and on-going exposure than it can garner through reviews alone. And every writer knows that getting your novel to be talked about month after month is no easy feat. So what can authors do to get their books into the hands of their readers?

You need to generate the ongoing chatter your book deserves by seeing the publicity and promotion value in your fiction. There’s no question that promoting fiction is harder than promoting nonfiction—but because of that, it’s also more rewarding. Here are four ways to help you promote and manifest sales:

Nottingham Castle Caves
Find the nonfiction gems in your novel to use in creating newsworthy material for relevant media outlets. For example, in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I set the novel in Medieval Nottingham around the time Robin Hood was suspected to have lived. I found interesting tidbits that could be used for an opportunity to be featured on travel blogs. If you’re writing your novel now, make sure you work in some nonfiction gems you can capitalize on later.

Use your content to identify promotion allies. In Lost and Found, Book One of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, I wrote about the local animal shelter in the fictional town of Fairy Falls, and the tough task of continual fundraising to keep the shelter from closing. I contacted shelters and rescues in my area with the hopes of working with them, and bringing awareness to the ongoing struggle of lost and abandoned pets. Don’t just send them a note that says, “I’ve written a book your members will love.” Meet with them, or send a copy of the book with a letter outlining promotional possibilities and what’s in it for them.

Local Animal Rescue Promotion
Engage first. Focus on one or two social media networking sites. My two preferences are Facebook and Twitter, but there’s a whole slew out there to choose from these days. Make sure you master the most effective and appropriate ways to use social media to promote your book before spreading yourself too thin on several sites. Sometimes less is more.

Make the connection. Help readers connect with you by blogging (you do have a blog, right?) about your writing process and experiences. Get excerpts up on your website (you definitely should invest in your own cyber real estate) and read portions from your books via podcasts or YouTube videos so potential readers can get a feel for your writing and decide if the story is worth their investment. Give readers enough online (website, blog, YouTube videos, podcasts, free downloads) to convince them they’d like your book enough to hit the buy button.

Authors—how do you keep readers buzzing about your books? Can you add anything else to this list? Readers—what makes you want to invest your time and money in a certain book or author? Would love to read your input and comments. Cheers, and thank you for spending time with me by reading my blog! 

Monday, 17 September 2018

Guest Post: The Modern Book Tour by Nate Friedman...


Do you have a book? Then you can have a book tour! It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. Some will tell you it’s a waste of time. While it is true that most things are done online nowadays, I believe it’s more important than ever to be out there in person, sharing your book with the world. How else will people know you and your mission personally? The amazing conversations you have with readers, fellow writers and the smiles are all icing on the cake. Writing can be a lonely endeavor at times and being out there allows you put all of your hard work into perspective. And the cherry on top: free market research! Ask someone working at a bookstore what the hottest new books are, or watch your target reader and see how they navigate the shelves. That is all information you did not have before. It’s not about becoming an overnight success, it’s each successful day along the way. The challenge: selling as many books as you can at each stop. You might never feel like you are selling enough, however, what you get is information and learning, more than you ever could sitting at home or online. The most important part is progress - momentum. Remember this in all your creative endeavours: people want to get onto a moving train. Let me now outline some of the steps that will help you in getting your train started. I hope it helps you take that next step!
The Vision
The first thing you need to do is imagine your book tour and what you want it to be. Listen to your gut instinct and don’t rule anything out. Factor in time for yourself and make it just long enough to leave you wanting more. For some, this could mean taking a full year to peddle their book across the country. For others, this could be one event a week over a period of 6 months. For others still, maybe 10 bookstores in 10 days. Once your vision is created, that is what will help you sell the idea. People will feel you getting excited and will want to be on board. You’ll be the biggest party in town! Go to places that excite you, to places you’ve never been before, and even places you don’t want to go. Sometimes this resistance is exactly what you need to push through, to reach to the next level.
The Call
I am not talking about the call of the wild, but an actual phone call. Don’t think about it, just do it. We live in a time where we readily have access to copious amounts of information. Look up the phone number of bookstores near and far and call them (it’s free!). Don’t take any of these things for granted. The store managers you are calling want to say yes. They love you. They are probably as excited as you are, about having a new author at their store. Get a few no’s!? Good! That means you are heading in the right direction. You’ll feel even better when the next store you call is interested. If you’re the script sort here it is:
(smile: it comes through over the phone) “Hi I’m {name} author of {book name}. I was wondering who I would speak to about doing a book signing event. *gets person* “Hello there {say their name}. I’m {name} and I’m excited to be organizing a book tour! We’re looking to book {# of events} in {location} for the {insert tour name- makes it sound official}. We’ve already booked {insert stores booked already- remember moving train} and we’d love to have you on board. *wait, listen, really focus on the person you are talking to*
Final note: give them a date and time. If your vision is clear, you’ll know where they fit into your schedule. You’re not doing anyone favours by giving them an open calendar (it screams unprepared!) Also, have a backup date and time available, and if it doesn’t work out you still have a contact person for future tours. I always ask myself “How can I make this call fun?” before it’s made. Maybe you want to get an iced tea and sit on the patio with your legs up, GREAT! Life is about enjoying. Don’t just exist, THRIVE…. Oh, and at the end of the calls you’ll have a book tour.
The Preparation
This is where you use your writing and creativity skills to think of unique ways to advertise your events. I’m a bit old school when it comes to this: we put up these posters around where my events were taking place. There’s a multitude of ways to spread the word: internet advertising boards, local newspapers, your own website *hint-hint, nudge-nudge*, word of mouth, social media blitz including ‘what’s going on in {insert city}’ facebook group, book tour trailer. Anything and everything you think of, it will get people’s attention. We did t-shirts and colouring pages because it felt fun. Again, you have a style and a way you like to do things. That’s what makes you who you are, and the reason your book will sell a bazillion copies on your tour! Don’t forget to use your contacts: do you know anyone who is a news reporter? A school teacher or principal? Someone who advertises for their job/company? Ask for all the help you can!
There is also the question of whether to do paid advertising. You have to believe that anything you put in, you will get out. Sometimes these dividends take time to materialize. Decide on a budget. Be true to where you are at in your career and what you can realistically afford. My challenge here for you is to take what I call a “50-year approach”. Look at your career long-term and see how everything you do will help your career. Without a doubt, you know you will get where you need to go. It also allows the small mistakes and mishaps to be learning experiences, instead of career altering events. At the end, you only get one shot at each tour stop. Imagine yourself, sitting in that author chair on the day of the event, with less people than you wanted walking around. Think to yourself, “What more could have I done to advertise this event better?” Give, give, give, it all comes back in time.
The Event and Beyond
This is where the fun begins! Notice the excitement, the fear, the worry, the butterflies! These are all positive feelings. They mean growth in your career and increasing book sales. Don’t feel anything? I challenge you to build bigger- build something that scares you! Do the craziest thing you can think of!  Here you are, in a new bookstore and/or city. You’ve already won! You’re a working, traveling author, you are a professional. Your only job now is to be present, be yourself. People want to see your book succeed. They’ll even give you feedback directly, listen and weigh it. Try talking to as many people as you can. When you go home at the end of the tour, I guarantee you it won’t be the number of books you sold you think about. It will be the small moments and smiles along the way. It will be conversation that gave you your next great idea, the motivation you got from someone else, these are the things that will remind you why you write in the first place. And the book recommendations 😊! Ultimately, we’re all readers. It’s only being in the arena where you can learn and make adjustments. It does take a lot to put yourself out there, I don’t discount that, but it’s real. Take note of people’s names, make as many contacts as you can. Look at who publishes your favourite books in that genre and send them an email. Motivate people on their journey, tell people why you think your book is the coolest and why they should buy it! (Prepare a quick elevator pitch if you haven’t already and begin with your mission)
Also, take personal notes: what could we have done to improve in this location? What could we have brought? What worked? What didn’t work? Failing is not a tragedy, but failing to learn from it is. Take note on a deeper level, is this your thing? What part of the tour were you most excited by? Do you want to do more of these? How many should you do? Do you prefer reading and school visits? Be TRUE to yourself. This is all information you have now because you took the initiative and made that phone call. When the book tour is over, be sure to Thank everyone who was involved. They let you into their store and worked hard to make it possible, you have nothing to be but grateful. These heroes allow you to be an author.
At the end of the tour, and most importantly, DON’T STOP. Ride the wave. Sit down and plan the next one. You are one step closer to the Bestseller List (and if you’re already there, that’s one more person you shared your work with).
In closing, you are 100% responsible for how your book performs. 100%. Other people can help you along your journey but you alone are responsible. A book tour is a great way to spread your book to a larger audience and share your gift with the world. I once read that Tom Cruise, at one time the biggest movie star in the world, has a hand in every single movie he has ever been a part of. And you’re no Tom Cruise….yet (but those sunglasses you have look cool). The best way to approach your book tour, and your career in general, is that you are making it happen. Anything done by others is simply gravy. It is a lot of work. Seek the advice of professionals when it seems natural to do so, they want to help. The whole endeavour is rewarding. However, at the end of the day, you will be surprised by what you are capable of.
Let me be the first to congratulate you on YOUR book tour. Have any questions? E-mail me. I mean it, let me know about anything I can do to help you on your journey. Let me leave you with the best moment of my recent book tour. I’m teary eyed writing about it! So here goes: A young boy, of about five years, comes to the table to do some colouring pages I’ve left out. I’m thinking he’ll just draw some scribbles and be on his way. But instead, he focuses in and really gets into colouring. I joke with the parents that he’s really enjoying it. The mom says “Oh, he’ll do the whole thing” and she goes to sit down. As he is colouring we start talking about why he thinks he’s so good at colouring and what he wants to do when he grows up (he wanted to be an author, guys!). After doing a great job colouring, I decide I’m going to give this kid a book. I got to inscribe it saying “keep following your dreams - hope to work with you one day.” And then we took a picture together as he smiled. My heart melted. The fact I get to have moments like this that affect people’s lives is everything. I have been afforded the chance to follow my mission, which you’ll see in all my books: “I want to change the world one smile at a time.” What’s your mission? I guarantee a book tour will help.
THANK YOU FOR READING











Nate Friedman is the Author of “The Coffee Monster” and “The Last Hockey Fight.” He loves to travel and craves adventure in his free time. Along with making people smile and laugh, he is constantly pursuing his dream of being a writer on Saturday Night Live. You can find out more about his work at www.natetfriedman.com or www.facebook.com/natefriedmanauthor. Thanks again.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Book Tour and Recipe: Traveler's Zone, The Revelation Chronicles, Book 2 by Chris Pavesic...


Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles.

Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure.


About the Book:

In Starter Zone, Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure. Indeed, magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world. 

Time to play the game.

Genre:
LitRPG YA Fantasy 

Cantaloupe and Chia Soup with Mint

This vegetarian soup is a refreshing summer treat perfect for either lunch or dinner.


Cantaloupe and Chia Soup with Mint

Ingredients:
  • 1 large cantaloupe (about 3 lbs.)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, plus small sprigs for garnish
Materials:
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Blender
Directions:

1.  Halve melon, scoop out seeds and remove rind.  Cut flesh into large chunks. (About 6 cups)

2.  Working in batches if necessary, combine cantaloupe, honey, and orange juice in a blender.  Pulse or blend until smooth.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in chia seeds.  Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

2.  Just before serving, briskly whisk soup and stir in mint.  Serve very cold, garnished with sprigs of mint if desired.

Read an Excerpt:

I was born into a world where silicone still ruled. Where the products of the earth outshone those of the sea. Integrated circuits ran all electronic equipment and scientists strove to make the conducting lines smaller and smaller. Silicon Valley tried, and failed, to make chips fast enough to upload human consciousness.

The Revelation came a few years later from the hydrologists. They designed a system that did not use silicone, but instead worked with water molecules. The hydrologists managed to imprint the consciousness of a human mind on a single drop of water.

The water was to be kept in self-contained, sealed aquariums—pure, undiluted, eternal—where virtual realities were constructed to meet every need and desire. All of human knowledge encoded and stored in literal pools of data and integrated with the drops of human consciousness. It was, the hydrologists claimed, utopia achieved.

The obscenely rich were the hydrologist's first clients, many taken near the end of their lives. The procedure did not always work, but there were enough successes to spur people's interest. People suffering from terminal illnesses volunteered to be inscribed, and the hydrologists worked and refined their process. Private companies formed and competition forced price wars. Hundreds of customers grew to thousands, and then to millions. There were landmark court cases arguing whether or not health insurance should cover the cost of the inscription--whether or not this was a medical procedure designed to save lives or a form of physician assisted suicide. The law struggled to decide if life ended when the body was drained to a dry, leathery husk, or if life continued inside those glowing, sealed aquariums.

I was thirteen when the governments seized control of the laboratories, first in the Eastern European countries. Then the labs of Europe and the Middle East were swallowed up. Terrorist attacks soon followed and destroyed most of the civilized world over the next three years. The United States, Canada, and Greece, those bastions of democracy, did not fall until the very end. Of course, by then no one cared whether or not the government or the private companies ran the uploading programs. Many of the aquariums ruptured in the strife and the droplets, imbued with human consciousness, re-entered the water cycle of the planet.

The destruction of the aquariums led to a moment of serendipity. Once the hydrologists learned that the human minds survived outside of the aquariums, they designed a world-wide system of interlocking realms to host the inscribed human minds. Right now the realms exist in Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the Earth's seabed hydrosphere, but the hydrologists have plans to expand their reach into the rest of the world. Soon, the only life left on the planet will exist in the virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Purchase Links:

Smashwords

Watch the Book Trailer:


Praise for the Revelation Chronicles:

"She entered the game and I was hooked. I don't even play that kind of computer game, but the story was as addicting as I imagine a real MMORPG to be. Each level up, each new character, each new threat drew me in. I wish I could read the next book already!" --Kata, NetGalley Reviewer

"I love the dystopian genre, and a lot of the problem I run into is a lot of them are boring and follow the same storyline. This one is so different it's amazing. I cannot recommend this enough. It's sci-fi, it's dystopian, and it fresh. A definite must read that I plan on reading again!" --Liliyana S., NetGalley Reviewer

“Both sisters are strong female characters who are good role models for young girls.  This story is filled with suspense and adventure with a taste of the gaming world.  It is the first LITRPG book that I have read and I really enjoyed it." --Teresa O, Educator

"This book was amazing! The story line, along with the development of the characters was phenomenal. This book is very well paced, and easy to follow. Seeing the story play out for the characters, along with the lessons you gain from reading this book, makes it one of my new favorites. For, this book is more than just another dystopia novel. It's basis is on family love, and what you'd do to keep them safe. It's a young adult novel, yet is appropriate for anyone above the age of 10. I would highly suggest reading this book ASAP. You won't regret it!"--Almaz D, Reviewer

Book 1:

Starter Zone



Amazon

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Check out chrispavesic.com for updates on this and her other series.

Meet the Author:


Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, 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.

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2NlNJXB




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Monday, 10 September 2018

Book Tour: Mixter Twizzle's Breakfast by Regan W.H. Macaulay and Illustrated by Wei Lu...


Mirror World Publishing presents a 1-week book tour for Mixter Twizzle's Breakfast by Written by Regan W.H. Macaulay and Illustrated by Wei Lu!

Follow the book tour here:


About Mixter Twizzle's Breakfast:

Mixter Twizzle is an odd, red, round-shaped, mischievous creature. He lives in a hovel, beneath a rustic barn, underneath the chicken coop at Riverdale Farm. He’s a snoozing sneezer and a snoring barker---a peculiar sort that both annoys and pleases. At first, Mixter Twizzle is thrilled by his egg-gorging fests, delighting in his own wickedness, but he soon realizes he is lonely. He longs for companionship, but the hens will have nothing to do with him. Can this fiendish creature learn to make friends at the farm?

Genre: Children's Picture Book; Fantasy; Friendship

Publish Date: September 3, 2018

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Publisher Website: https://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Exclusive Excerpt:

But after he finishes his first breakfast, Mixter feels a twinge in his heart, “Mixter Twizzle, I’m bored being alone.”
            “Aloneness is goodness and more eggs to eat!” exclaims Mixter Twizzle to his heart’s whisper.  Confused by his feelings, Mixter tries watching the chickens, but the hens will have none of him.  They have no reason to trust thieving egg-eaters.
Purchase Links:

Amazon

Mirror World Publishing


Meet the Author:



Regan W. H. Macaulay writes novels, short stories, children’s literature, and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film, and television. She is an animal-enthusiast as well, which led her to become a Certified Canine (and Feline) Massage Therapist. Other award-winning picture storybooks by Regan W. H. Macaulay include Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese, Sloth the Lazy Dragon, and Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far. She is also the author of The Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham which includes Space Zombies! (based on her film, Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem!—available on iTunes and on DVD), They Suck, and Horror at Terror Creek.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/regan-%20%20macaulay-18989a34

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LxzSNt

Meet the Illustrator:



Wei Lu is an illustrator and graphic designer residing in Toronto. She grew up in China before studying at Nova Scotia’s College of Art and Design. She loves animals and make-believe characters of any kind and can bring them to life with a pencil and paper.


Monday, 3 September 2018

Building the Nostalgic, Tourist Town of Fairy Falls...

When I ‘built’ the mythical town of Fairy Falls over ten years ago, I drew from all of my childhood and adult experiences from vacationing and living in cottage country. When you think of a small, northern tourist town, what emotional cord does it strike? Vacationing with the family when you were young? Visiting your grandparents at their cottage? Camping in the backwoods with your friends? Whatever vision you conjure, I’m sure you have plenty of happy memories of that special place. That’s the basis of creating the town of Fairy Falls. I wanted to give my teen psychic mystery book series a nostalgic feeling coupled with a sense of adventure and…wait for it…the supernatural. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expected the unexpected.

Fairy Falls has always been a magical place, but for some reason it seems to be a haven for those with psychic abilities. In Lost and Found, the animals at the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter need a champion to save their shelter, and find one in rebellious Meagan Walsh, who’s a bona fide telepathic animal communicator. There are others with different psychic powers who have been (or will be) drawn to Fairy Falls, not to hide, but feel that they have been forced here by circumstances beyond their control. Or could it be a matter of serendipity that has brought them to this small, tourist town?

Fairy Falls is like any small town with a mayor, deputy mayor, and a selection of town counsellors. At the moment, Mike MacGregor is at the helm as this town’s mayor. Unfortunately, Mayor MacGregor is in mourning with the loss of his wife, Joy, who sat on as one of the counsellors for Fairy Falls. She was viciously attacked and murdered, and her killer is still at large. These characters are featured in the next installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, Blackflies and Blueberries.

There are four long weekends during the summer months, and Fairy Falls relies on these holidays to boost their economy enough to keep the town running all year round. The first long weekend is in May where firework celebrations dominate the skies. The second is at the beginning of July which includes more fireworks, street parties, and begins the farmers’ market season. The long weekend in August falls on the first Monday of the month, and is one of the busiest times of the year for Fairy Falls. Festivals are usually held during this long weekend, with the bathtub races in the Vista River as the highlight. The fourth is usually on the first weekend of September (Labor Day Weekend), when Fairy Falls hosts their famous fall fair which includes concerts, carnival rides, and a smash-up car derby. A word of caution: make sure you book a hotel/motel room or campsite early if you plan to come during these long weekends!

Lacrosse is very popular in Fairy Falls. Even the local high school has a winning team that’s hard to beat. Summer swells in population with the tourists and cottagers, so fishing, boating, water skiing, and tubing are favorite sports and past times. In the long winter months, hockey is the staple along with curling, as well as snowmobiling across the network of frozen lakes and trails. And believe me, you’d better have a sport or hobby to keep you busy during a Fairy Falls winter, because sometimes the ice doesn’t come off the lakes until May. Brrrr!

So what would I recommend tourists see or do in Fairy Falls? When we used to live in cottage country, we’d visit the local bakery in the tiny town five minutes south of us. The smell of fresh baking does something to a body. Sometimes it takes you back to when life was simpler. The downtown core of Fairy Falls hosts such a bakery, and is situated so you can sit at one of the ample tables beside the Vista River and enjoy your sweet treat, while watching the boats slowly putt by. Or better yet, book a boat tour to go on a three-hour cruise that takes you through a lock system, and into Blueberry Lake. Don’t forget to wave at Gertie Ellis if you catch a glimpse of her on the shoreline while she’s inspecting her blueberry bushes.

Other draws to this tourist haven include The Court Jester, the local bar and grill, serving up down-home, mouth-watering food that you can’t get anywhere else. I suggest you try their Jester Burger, topped with a slice of Canadian back bacon and pepper jack cheese, piled high with onions, garlic, and mushrooms, all fresh from the Fairy Falls Farmers’ Market. Add a pint of locally brewed Blackfly beer, and this meal will bring tears of joy to your eyes! Sit on the patio and enjoy the view of the Vista River where it may transport you to back to those good old days, and happy childhood memories. Oh, and make sure you don’t forget to stop by the Fairy Falls Farmers’ Market on Saturdays to score a deal from one of the crafters, produce, or food stands.

Tell them Sharon sent you…

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking... 

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS