Wednesday 24 July 2013

Tween the Weekend: Recharging your Child’s Battery…

Yay summer! School’s out. Vacation is in. Or is it? Summer can be just as crazy and crammed full of activities as the school year, and sometimes parents tend to over-schedule their kids throughout the course of the summer. Baseball, day camps, swimming lessons, and golf lessons are all part of the summer experience, but these activities can also suck precious energy levels from your kids and leave them feeling drained. Let’s face it the small child doesn’t know when he is excessively tired. But he surely shows it in his behavior and actions. And the adolescent may realize she is over-fatigued, but refuses to admit it—even to herself.

If your kids are normally well-balanced, their batteries may need recharging when they act and feel:

·         Unduly sleepy or tired

·         Tactless, unfriendly, suspicious

·         Querulous, insulting, hostile

·         Irritable, sarcastic, mean

·         Nervous, excitable, hysterical

·         Worrisome, fearful, jealous

·         Rash, ruthless, excessively selfish

·         Excessively emotional, depressed, or frustrated

When YOU are fatigued your usually positive, desirable feelings, emotions, thoughts, and actions have a tendency to turn negative. It’s the same with kids. And when you are rested and in good health, the direction is changed back to positive. Fatigue often brings out the worst in people. So how do you go about recharging your child’s battery (or your own for that matter) when his or her energy level is zero?
Relax: Going for a nice long walk is a wonderful way to relax emotionally and mentally. As you put your physical body into motion, your thoughts and feelings seem to relax all by themselves. Even something as simple as watching a TV show or a movie allows you to unwind and have some time to chill with the children.  

Play: Instead of an organized activity (baseball, tennis, soccer, etc.), do something fun, and that has no structure. Throw a Frisbee around the park or beach, go for a bike ride, fly a kite, or get the family together around the table for a board or card game. The possibilities are endless. 
Rest: Have some down time by reading a good book in a hammock or a favorite comfy chair. Pick an activity that’s not too taxing. Even a short nap can help rejuvenate the body and mind.

Sleep: Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I know this is a no-brainer when it comes to recharging your battery, but this is so important for a growing body and mind.
Can you add anything to the list above? Remember, EVERYONE needs a period of renewal to calm
your mind and rejuvenate your body, including our kids! Please click HERE or on the EMBLAZON icon on the right sidebar to go and meet other awesome TWEEN authors today…

Monday 22 July 2013

Guest Post: Summer Snacking with Nancy DiMauro...

This is a DiMauro family favorite. I have no idea where my Mom originally found the recipe or if she made it up herself. One of these days I’ll remember to ask. But summer always included barbeques on the grill and her marinated chicken wings. I have the recipe written down as both “single” batch and “double”. Can’t remember ever making a single batch. I wrote the recipe down from my Mom’s index card when I was still in high school (many moons ago). These wings went to Beach Week in college and what I was asked to make at most pot-luck parties. The steno book page with the recipe is stained with drops of soy sauce and lord knows what else from the years of use. While these are great hot, they’re amazing cold the next day. That’s why I always make the double batch. If you choose to do so simply double all the ingredients.

It’s one of my favorite recipes and I hope you like it too.
DiMauro Chicken Wings

Soy Sauce ½ cup
Oil ¼ cup
Meat Tenderizer/ Accent 1 tbsp.
Dry Mustard 1 tbsp.
Lemon Juice ¼ cup
Molasses 1 tbsp.
Crushed Garlic ¼ tbsp.*
Chicken Wings 2-4 lbs

* I always use more garlic than the recipe calls for. So if you like garlic, don’t hesitate to use more.

Mix all ingredients, cover, marinate at least overnight, and stir occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350°F Place chicken wings on foiled and greased cookie sheet.

Cook for 50-60 minutes and baste occasionally.

If you want something cool and smooth to go down with it, try this Cranberry Martini recipe from my second mom, Phyllis Hussey.

Cranberry Martini

Vodka 1 shot
Cranberry Juice 2 shots
Lime juice to taste – about ½ tsp.
Shaken not stirred.

That’s it - enjoy. Now relax. Nibble on these yummy wings while you sip a marvelous martini and read a little from Shots at Redemption my latest speculative fiction.

Sometimes even mythical beings need a second chance at love.

We all make mistakes. In this collection, a witch, a goddess, and a dragon each have a second chance at reclaiming lost love.

In "Best Dressed and Obsessed, Janelle, a graduate-level witch, chooses a magic dress to enthrall her professor. Sadly, the dress is cursed. At her graduation ball, will she kiss the man she loves? Or kill him?

Eons ago, Zeus decreed that Odysseus leave Kalypso. In "Kalypso's Song", Odysseus is reborn as a scholar. Can Kalypso convince him to reclaim the love they were denied? The sea dragon Ryu spares a ship crossing her domain when a human child aboard reminds her of her own lost children. Ryu finds an unlikely surrogate family in "A Sea Serpent's Tale". When her new family is attacked by another dragon, can Ryu save them? 

Shots at Redemption. Even supernatural creatures want them. But, do they get them?

BUY LINKS Musa Publishing Amazon Barnes and Noble

To read excerpts from Nancy's other Musa Publishing books, please click HERE.

Learn more about Nancy DiMauro and her impressive work on her website Falcons Fables and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday 15 July 2013

Thank Goodness for eBooks…

Authors work hard. Really hard. Sometimes years and years go into creating a book. First draft, second, third, maybe more, the revisions, rewrites, edits, and so on. It’s a crazy journey from start to the finished product, and we authors are downright proud of our accomplishment. So when I asked a family member what they thought of the paperback version of my debut book, I was told that it was still in the process of being read (had it for a year), and was most-likely sharing space at the bottom of a child’s knapsack. My jaw dropped. Really? My book, my baby, my blood is where? I honestly had to pinch myself.

So this got me thinking…
Thank goodness for eBooks. At first, I was a little leery of eBooks. You couldn’t hold or smell one. People—myself included—really didn’t understand the value in these strange new book formats. It’s hard enough to promote, market, and sell eBooks to schools or libraries, though that is slowly changing. When I signed my first publishing contract it was with a brand new epublishing house. There was the promise of paperbacks of course, but their main format was eBooks. I, like many other people, wondered if books would go the way of DVDs or CDs, and in truth the traditional publishing industry has taken an arse-kicking because of this new publishing paradigm. I even think the trees are yelling ‘woo-hoo’ as I’m typing this.

The point of this post is this: the life expectancy of a paperback can vary, but an eBook lives on forever. Try leaving an eBook in the bottom of a knapsack. Can’t be done. Yeah, you can leave your ereader or computer or cell phone or tablet in a knapsack, but you won’t leave any these electronic devices in there for long. They’re what this generation craves, uses, and needs. Plus they’re far too valuable to leave sitting in the bottom of a knapsack. And you know what? The book that took me over ten years to create is valuable too. It’s all a matter of perception.
So, thank goodness for eBooks. No mildew. No mold. No dog-earred pages. No ripped covers. No funny smell. No missing chapters. And guess what? They live on forever.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Guest Post: How Susan Lodge came up with the strange title of her newest book...

The Man in the Blue Flowered Shorts, is a contemporary romantic comedy by Susan Lodge. Because of the unusual title, I am compelled to ask Susan a few questions.

How do you decide the title of your book? Does it involve a lot of head scratching, pen chewing, and staring out of the window, waiting for a lightning bolt of inspiration? Or a laborious search for a snappy phrase that will encompass the spirit of the story and grab the attention of the e- book browsers?

That is how it was choosing the title for my first publication—but with the second it was easy. The Man in the Blue Flowered Shorts walked past me one day and wham! There was my book title and the seeds of a story all gained from a few moments of idle observation. I live on the coast and am quite used to holidaymakers ambling about in strange summery outfits, but this man cranked my literary detective into action. Who was this person who looked so on edge in his holiday clothes?

I never knew the real answer, as I only saw him once, but he had sparked my imagination with all sorts of questions.

He appeared to not want to be on holiday and he didn't seem to like his wardrobe, so who do you think advised him to wear socks with sandals?

I haven't a clue but would like to point out that I have nothing against men in sandals or shorts, especially of the blue flowered variety. But it’s that accessory thing. Shorts and sandals are fine—but worn with socks! The combination should be outlawed.

I know, especially here in the UK, the sandal wearing season is quite brief—in fact turning out be nonexistent this year due to the miserable weather. And that relinquishing the socks can result in strap chaffing to soft white toes and heels which have been cocooned for most of the year. But that is no excuse for socks with sandals, is it? After all, you can purchase those nice discreet clear plasters to protect those vulnerable parts of your feet.

I now feel this blog is getting a little shallow because we all know that clothes shouldn’t really matter and it’s the person inside that counts. And, to be honest, looking out on this freezing cold English July day, I might just get out those thigh high woolen socks I got for Christmas. Although I wouldn’t wear them with sandals—but then, I am not a man!

But however he was dressed, I will always be grateful to the intriguing man in the blue flowered shorts. He provided me with, not only a title to my latest romance, but the trigger for a sequel, The Man in the Buff Breeches. Then I might follow it with The Man in the ...well, I’m looking around right now for an inspiration!
Lyn enjoys reading romance novels, especially when she can combine it with relaxing in the Caribbean sunshine. But when a mysterious stranger joins the cruise ship, fiction and fact become dangerously confused.

When Lyn Redford’s sandal hurtles across the deck of the cruise ship, it makes her first introduction to Henry Matasie rather hostile. It wasn’t just that the man was seriously grumpy; he was a walking wardrobe disaster. Do you really need to wear woolen socks with your shorts in the Caribbean heat?

Following an embarrassing encounter in the cocktail bar with Henry, Lyn and her travelling companion Shona try to find out the reason for his strange behaviour. Later, when Lyn accidentally reads his e-mail, she is convinced the man in the blue flowered shorts is deadly dangerous.

When Henry swaps his awful holiday clothes for a dress suit to attend the gala dinner the transformation sets Lyn’s pulse racing. But she is convinced he still hides a guilty secret and she is intent on discovering what it is.

To read an excerpt from The Man in the Blue Flowered Shorts please click HERE.

Susan Lodge’s first publication was a story for a UK national woman’s magazine. Heady with this breakthrough, she went on to write her first novel Only a Hero Will Do. She loves writing contemporary and historical romance, usually with a large dose of humour. After working in several cities including London and Bristol, she moved down to the Hampshire coast to raise her family.

Once asked the most important piece of advice she had been given in pursuit of publication, Susan answered - The only difference between the unpublished writer and the published writer is the fact that the published writer didn't give up.

Catch up with Susan on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday 5 July 2013

Calling all MG and YA Book Bloggers…

Emblazon is a blog written by a collection of indie and traditionally published authors who care about producing high quality stories for kids. We have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. We call them Tweens. The purpose of Emblazon is to celebrate tween literature. We want to draw attention to this fabulous genre, interact with other enthusiasts whether child or adult, and encourage new writers.

Emblazon launches its first post on July 10. Please consider helping us spread the word by mentioning us on your blog that day. You may cut and paste from this email or the website and use our attached logo if you wish. All bloggers who participate are eligible to enter our $100 Amazon gift card drawing that will be held the following day. You can also treat your readers to our upcoming Sizzling Freebies bash that will be hosted on Emblazon on August 1 during which a great selection of ebooks will be free for one day only.
We hope you’ll join us in kick-starting this fabulous new adventure!

Thursday 4 July 2013

"The Tattered Flag" by Dusty Crabtree

What do you get when you cross a patriotic idealist and writer like myself with the sad vision of a tattered flag? A sad, patriotic poem about a tattered flag, of course. Through the sadness I hope I can spark some pride in our country and the flag that represents it. g320258000000000000ee4fb7c08513589350af11868609da2153daa0cf
“The Tattered Flag”

It flaps in the wind limply at one corner. The other is ripped to shreds, caught, hanging on a wire, dejectedly. Unable to break free.

It’s been windy. It’s raining. It’s nobody’s fault.

And yet…it just feels wrong. The moment I see it from my car, a whimper escapes my lips. A pain shoots through my chest. It aches. I want to cry. I might as well have witnessed a young kid being pushed down by a bully. How could someone treat the flag this way? A sense of injustice burns inside so strong that my world turns upside down.

Such a strong emotion for such a simple inanimate object. But it’s not simple, is it? It represents our country’s life. Our freedom. Us. So, I a isn’t just an object treated with disrespect. It’s a living and breathing representation of hope. And if that’s torn and tattered, then what do we have left?


Now that I've got you all warm and fuzzy, how about another riddle. What do you get when you cross an idealist writer like myself with a passion for teenagers and young adults? A YA urban fantasy called Shadow Eyes. For those of you (teens and adults alike) who love a good hope-filled, inspirational read but also love paranormal, romance, suspense, and mystery, check out Shadow Eyes this summer.
Shadow Eyes official cover art

Iris Kohl lives in a world populated by murky shadows that surround, harass, and entice unsuspecting individuals toward evil. But she is the only one who can see them. She’s had this ability to see the shadows, as well as brilliantly glowing light figures, ever since an obscure, tragic incident on her fourteenth birthday three years earlier.

Although she’s learned to cope, the view of her world begins to shift upon the arrival of three mysterious characters. First, a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows; second, a new friend with an awe-inspiring aura; and third, a mysterious and alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend.

As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, she must ultimately revisit the most horrific event of her life in order to learn her true identity and become the hero she was meant to be.

Check out Dusty's blog.

Find her on facebook. Follow her on twitter.

Buy Shadow Eyes and/or read its reviews at Musa Publishing or Amazon. (also available at all major online bookstores)

View the book trailer.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Cover Reveal: Legend of the Timekeepers…

It’s here….

Well, the cover is here anyway. Legend of the Timekeepers—the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series—will be available this August 30th through Musa Publishing, Amazon, and all other major on-line bookstores.
The end is near. Get your time portals ready…    

Monday 1 July 2013

My Canada…more than Maple Syrup and Mounties...

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians! Hope you’re kick-starting your holiday by planning to attend one of the many events July 1st has to offer around the area where you live. Most of the day, we usually hang out with family and friends on our dock until dusk—eat, drink, and be merry—then go watch the fireworks display in town. Note to self—bring the bug spray.

So what about you? Don’t know how you’re going to celebrate Canada’s 146th Birthday? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Sit down, grab a cup of whatever you please (hey, it’s a holiday after all), and check out the list of activities to choose from below:

• Go to the beach. Use the holiday to bake in the sun (don’t forget the SPF), enjoy the warm weather and cool water.

• Go to the park, fly a kite or walk your dog. Most Canucks spend this holiday outdoors so you’ll be able to take advantage of the summer heat and maybe make a new friend.

• Have your family and friends over for an old fashioned barbecue. Sip on your favorite brand of beer and appreciate what it means to be Canadian.

• Go to your town’s local parade. Show your pride by dressing up in all red and white—the Canada flag or maple leaf temporary tattoos are a favorite among celebrants!

• Go to a carnival. Eat fried dough, snack on cotton candy, drink beer, go on all your favorite rides (you may want to bring a puke bag) and play all the games.

• Look up local concerts in your area. Many cities and towns hold festivals where bands will play music at outdoor venues.

• Go for a ride in a hot air balloon. This fun activity lets you admire our beautiful country from thousands of feet in the air.

• Go to your local brewery. Canadians love beer, so there is no better way to celebrate our birthday than to take a tour of your favorite brewery. Many of these tours are free and come with samples. Lake of Bays Brewing Company and Muskoka Brewery are my top picks!

• Go camping. Take a couple days off work, and enjoy everything that the Canadian wilderness has to offer. Tons of provincial parks to choose from!

• There is nothing more Canadian than hockey. Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. Take an exhibit tour and honor your favorite players.

• Go to a citizenship ceremony. There is nothing more patriotic than watching new citizens take an oath to love, honor, and respect our country.

• Go to your local fireworks show. There is nothing more beautiful than watching the colorful explosions light up the sky. Plus saying ‘ohhh—ahhh’ is always fun.

• Go fishing. Canada is famous for their awesome bass (and pickerel) fishing and this is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate Canada.

• Go white water rafting (still want to do this one). Canada’s rivers offer a variety of different difficulty levels so whether you’re a rafting pro or a rookie in search of an adventure, rafting is always a fun activity.

• Last, but not least, lounge by the pool (or on a beach) and read a good book.

May I make a suggestion? The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis is a popular, family read, ready to download on your ereader at your pleasure. Take a peek:

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis. Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

To read an excerpt of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, please click HERE.

Check out The Last Timekeepers series Facebook Page.

BUY LINKS Musa Publishing Amazon Link Barnes & Noble Kobo

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, The Last Timekeepers, available through Musa Publishing. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.