Monday 24 February 2014

Hitting the Mark with this Steamy Stew...

I LOVE this recipe. I used it for my first book launch party in May 2012. My reason? The characters in my time travel series The Last Timekeepers got to sample a 13th century version of bread bowl rabbit stew, so I thought for my book release—why not imitate art? Since rabbit is a bit harder to find at the local supermarket, I settled on beef for the main ingredient. I believe my party-goers were happy with that decision as my recipe went over fabulously even though it was a tad hot to serve on the sunny, humid day we experienced. But on those cool, damp days, this steamy stew will bring a smile to your face, and comfort to your soul. This recipe takes about fifteen minutes to prepare and eight or five hours to cook. Serves four.  

Bull’s-Eye Beef Stew
4 bread bowls (or if you prefer, large Kaiser buns). Click HERE to see how to make one.
1 cup 25%-less-sodium beef broth
½ cup Bull’s-Eye Guinness Draught Beer Blend Barbecue Sauce you can substitute this sauce with your favorite brand
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 lb. (450g) stewing beef, cut into 1¼ inch cubes
1 lb. (450g) red potatoes (about 4), quartered
4 large carrots (1 lb./450g), cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 large onion, cut into chucks
3 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. water

Mix broth, barbecue sauce and oregano in slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients except flour and water; toss to coat. Cover with lid. Cook on low 8 to 9 hours or on high 4 to 5 hours.

Transfer meat and vegetables to bread bowl with slotted spoon; cover to keep warm.

Mix flour and water until blended. Stir into juices in slow cooker; cover. Cook on high for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Spoon over meat and vegetables and serve.

While you’re waiting for the stew to cook, there’s plenty of time to relax, get cozy, and delve into that novel you’ve been planning to read. Time travel story, anyone?
If you haven’t already read my novel, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, here’s the blurb… 

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.

Monday 17 February 2014

3 Ways for Authors to Build Successful Relationships with Readers…

Say Thank You. I know. Floored you, didn’t I? Everyone wants to hear ‘thank-you’. The easiest way to say thank you is verbally—but the most powerful and memorable way is with a hand written note. So, the next time you’re doing a book signing event, always thank the reader for taking the time to come out and meet you, and then include the words ‘thank you’ when you’re signing the book they’ve purchased from you. It’s an easy give and take, and by saying and writing thank you, you’ve created the feeling of gratitude between you and your reader—a relationship that will hopefully last a long, long time.

Have Post Cards, Trading Cards, or Book Marks ready to send out. On my website, under my FUN STUFF page, I mention that I have free signed trading cards available upon request. I have been approached by readers on a few occasions for these signed freebies, which made me feel on top of the world. Depending on what genre you write, it’s a good idea to have something to autograph to send to a reader whether it’s a post card with your book cover and blurb on it, or book marks with a list of your books and head shot, or book cover trading cards so readers can collect them as the books come out. This is a terrific relationship builder, and a no-brainer!

Give Away the Good Stuff! Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t like getting something for free? I certainly do! And the best way to do this for authors is to giveaway their books. I’ve had many Goodreads giveaways, and they are by far one of the best ways to reach out to readers. Now, you must have your book available in paperback in order to qualify to have a giveaway with Goodreads, so if you only have an ebook format, then you must find other ways to give your book away. Book blog hops and Book blog tours are an inexpensive way to build new relationships, and Rafflecopter makes the art of giving away book swag, ebooks, or paperbacks a painless endeavor. I also have a free short story available for download on my website to give away to potential readers of my books. That’s the power of FREE—try before you buy!

What ways have you utilized to build relationships with your readers? What works best for you? Would love to hear your comments and get more ideas to connect. Cheers and thank you for reading my post!

BTW—There is still time to enter my Goodreads Giveaway which runs until February 25th.  Did I mention I’m signing the book, and throwing in a couple of trading cards to sweeten the pot?

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Introducing YA Author Chris Weigand and her Palace of the Twelve Pillars Series…

I want to thank and welcome YA fantasy author, Chris Weigand for sharing the newest book from her PALACE OF THE TWELVE PILLARS SERIES with us on my blog today. The third book in the series, Sanctuary of the Nine Dragons is available for purchase from MuseItUp Publishing, and through Amazon, and other on-line bookstores beginning February 7th.

Blurb for Sanctuary of the Nine Dragons, Book 3:

Joachim banishes Brandan to prison island of Hyogo. His infant son, Prince Airyn disappears from his cradle. A chain of events is set in motion that will pit brother against brother, friend against friend, parents against children as Brandan and Joachim struggle for control of their sanity and their very lives.
With Brandan declared dead and his son missing Joachim sinks into despair and anger, where those close to him fear he may never return.
Is Brandan really dead and if he is, who is manipulating the Mantion and enemies of Crato?
Can Maeve save her country and her husband from the tentacles of evil pervading the land?

Video Trailer link:

Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is
also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania, returning there after a short sabbatical in Washington. Currently, she’s working on fantasy novels and inspirational writing. Through her writing, she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

When she’s not writing, she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, or with the church theater group, volunteering at her daughter’s school helping the children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing.


Twitter: @CAWeigand

Monday 10 February 2014

In the Limelight with Middle Grade Author L.R.W. Lee

I want to thank and welcome author, L.R.W. (Linda) Lee for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. So let’s get this book launch party started…

How long have you been writing, Linda?

Professionally, I’ve been writing since 2012, but I’ve written lots before that.

Wow, that’s not too long ago, you’ve certainly come a long way! Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Book 2 of the Andy Smithson Series: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning?

I’ll address that more from an overview of the series rather than book 2 alone. Andy Smithson is a seven-book allegorical, coming-of-age, fantasy adventure. When I was 8, I read C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and I knew I wanted to write a children’s fantasy adventure, but not just any fantasy adventure. I wanted to write one that was also an allegory with a deeper meaning. The specifics were not clear, but the passion was there.

I remember having a sense that I did not have a narrative of deeper meaning to share as I grew up, but I always looked for one. It was when I brought on a partner to help me grow a multi-million dollar company I had founded that I observed that my partner/mentor was teaching me philosophies for business, but also narratives that were significantly changing how I lived my life, making it more peaceful and meaningful.

After selling the business in 2012, I knew I wanted to share the uncommon life principles my mentor imparted to me with readers in the hope that after spending several hours with me, their lives might be better, not just having been entertained, but impacted longer-term. A few of these uncommon principles include overcoming frustration, impatience, fear, and jealousy. As well, they include understanding why it makes practical sense to tell the truth, and understanding that success in life comes from responsibility, diligence, and dignity to name a few. As you can tell, this is my passion to accomplish through my books!

As for the specifics of the Andy Smithson series, I’ve always loved books set in medieval times with castles and sword fighting, so the world of Oomaldee evolved easily in my mind. The specifics arose as I thought through what scenarios might help me create a riveting tale while also accomplishing my objective of imparting uncommon life principles as part of the story line without hitting kids over the head with lessons that killed the story line.

I believe there’s a memoir in your future, Linda! What sets Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning apart from other books in the same gene?

This series includes uncommon life principles and does not just entertain. Hopefully, parents will understand that allowing their kids to read this series will not only help with reading practice, but will also reinforce principles they seek to impart to their children. I don’t know of any other book that accomplishes this as an explicit objective of the author. It’s what I call a “full move”, accomplishing multiple objectives at once.

As an author, Linda, what is your writing process?

I start by inventing what a specific book needs to accomplish in the grand scheme of the seven-book series. From that, I put together a rough outline of the book. I think through the various characters that exist and think about how each needs to grow. This then has me invent the events I will use to produce said growth. From there, I flesh out more details with the scenes. For example, if a chapter needs a character to use a specific tool, I look back in the outline and invent where I will introduce said tool earlier in the book. Once I think I’ve got a solid outline, I go back and force myself to justify each chapter and specify how it moves the action along while accomplishing the goal of character growth. If I find I can’t justify a given chapter I nix it - no sense in writing a chapter that doesn’t accomplish anything. By the time I’m done with this process, I usually have the full book in my head and can move and dance with it. Only then do I begin crafting sentences.

Some people prefer just sitting down and writing. I can’t do that. I need to work through this process so I know where I’m going. It also significantly reduces rewriting and editing, which I do not enjoy. I also find that as I have the whole novel in my head, the characters start doing things I didn’t expect and the plot evolves from there. It always amazes me how rich the characters make the book when you let them loose in this structure.

Yes, sometimes those characters have a mind of their own. How long did it take for you to start and finish Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning?

It took me approx 7 months to write the second book, including the outline. I’m hoping to reduce my time further for book three and beyond.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Believe in what you’re doing and stick to it. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. And, if there is a reason you are passionate about writing (like me sharing uncommon life principles), only you can hold that narrative and see it through.

What’s next for L. R. W. Lee, the author?

Book three, Andy Smithson: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor is in process. I’m hoping to publish it in Fall 2014.

And I wish you success with your next book release! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

I’d definitely go back to medieval times or maybe renaissance times (accommodations were a lot nicer) when people lived in castles. I’d love to experience life in a king’s castle with hidden passages and all manner of mysteries as well as go on adventures with knights. Of course, I wouldn’t want to have to face off against a valiant swordsman… oh my…

Synopsis of
Andy Smithson Series: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2
Eleven-year-old Andy Smithson returns to Oomaldee to retrieve the second ingredient needed to break a 500-year-old curse enacted to punish the current ruler for murdering his older sister when she was 15. Not one to forgive easily, Imogenia’s spirit is bent on thwarting Andy to preserve the curse and naively aligns herself with the evil, scheming Abbadon. Things go from bad to worse when a creature Abaddon conjures from the darkest magic steals the Stone of Athanasia, the source of the ruler’s immortality, causing the king and his wizard Mermin to fall gravely ill. Andy is forced to choose between retrieving the stone to save those he loves or obediently going after the second ingredient. What will he chose? Will he be able to save the King and Mermin?
Smithson Series: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2 is available at:
All other eBook versions:

Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Book 1 is available at:

FREE eBook (all versions):

L. R. W. is excited to announce that the free serialized podcast of book 1, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is now available at:
 iTunes store at
Her website at!podcasts/c18hh

As well,
as part of the book launch tour, you have the opportunity to win 9 fantasy adventure ebooks from highly acclaimed authors. To enter go to L. R. W.’s website at!giveaway/chq4.

Friday 7 February 2014

Calling All Book Lovers...

Fall in Love with Musa Publishing
Grand Prize
Four $10.00 Musa Gift Certificates
All entrants are eligible for Grand Prize Drawing February 14, 2014
Winners announced February 16, 2014
Enter daily to win free books!
Musa Publishing is giving away two Promotional Paperback Books daily!
PLUS each winner receives a download of Cooking with Musa.
No particular order to the daily drawings for the books below
For His Love by Nya Rayne Marisa's Choice by Kadee McDonald
Only a Hero Will Do by Susan Lodge Storm's Fury by Nya Rayne
Taming Angelina by Helen Hardt Treasuring Amber by Helen Hardt Trusting Sydney by Helen Hardt a Rafflecopter giveaway Winners of paperback books who reside outside the Continental United States will receive their prize in e-book format. All paperback book prizes must be claimed by February 20, 2014 or they are forfeited. Giveaway begins February 6, 2014 and ends midnight CST February 13, 2014

Sunday 2 February 2014

Celebrating My Birthday Month with a Goodreads Giveaway…

As the winter season continues to hold us in her frigid embrace, I thought I’d set up a Goodreads Giveaway and give you something to curl up in your favorite chair by the fire to read. It’s also a perfect opportunity for anyone who hasn’t had a chance to read the first book in my middle grade/YA time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. Presently, I’m in the process of getting the prequel to this series, Legend of the Timekeepers—which recently took home Honorable Mention for LR CafĂ©’s Best YA Book of 2013— into paperback format.

There’s plenty of time to enter as the giveaway runs from my birthday February 2nd (a.k.a. Groundhog’s Day) to February 25th, which incidentally is my son’s birthday. All shares and tweets would be most appreciated! Did I mention I’m signing the book, and throwing in a couple of trading cards to sweeten the pot? Now only if I can find a way so that groundhog doesn’t see his shadow…

Cheers and keep warm!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends February 25, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win