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November 3, 2012

Excerpt: Fruit of My Spirit by Deanna Nowadnick

For those asking questions about our purpose in life, Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace offers hope and help. Author Deanna Nowadnick fills her memoir of short stories with humorous insights gleaned life’s missteps and misdeeds. Rich in Biblical quotes and references, the book shares a refreshingly honest look at Christian life. The author builds her story around the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to the people of Galatia: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23) .

This engaging personal growth book thus goes beyond the storytelling of a memoir; it employs vignettes that directly touch the heart. Readers instantly identify with the travails of a child who was brought up to be seen and not heard. Later hearts are touched as she recounts her time as a teacher of children with disabilities, “At that school, I found an unexpected contentment and a renewed sense of self, and in that room, with those children by my side I learned to speak—in love and compassion.”

What started as a single story for her sons about how she met their father quickly turned into a divine writing adventure in which she was able to tell of God’s love and faithfulness. Recalling the nine qualities of the Holy Spirit’s fruit, the author uses pictures to relate each attribute to its Greek equivalent. The chapter on “Joy” or chara (Greek for divine happiness) is paired with cherries; “Kindness” or chrestotes (Greek for goodness) is paired with strawberries. Charming black-white photos capture transformations through thirty years of marriage for Deanna and her husband Kurt, and family time with their sons Kyle and Kevin.

It takes a skillful writer to weave stories of personal transformation that resonate with more profound references from the Bible, and to that end, the book is part Bible study, part memoir, part confessional. The author’s wry sense of humor shines in poignant examples acknowledging that God is in the details. As she shied away from a more intimate relationship with Him and then as she was learned to accept His love and guidance, she found the strength and insight to reframe life in His grace. And then she found that answer to the really big question about her own special purpose in life.

Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace is a spiritual memoir providing readers with priceless insights and inspiration. More important, the author’s stories remind readers how they can find the enormity of God’s grace in the details of their own lives.
Paperback & ebook
Published: January 2012 by Rhododendron Books
ISBN13: 9780983589723
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon 

Excerpt:



Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace

Introduction

-----------------------------

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galations

I’m a mess. The highlights in my hair hide a pre-gray drab. One hip and one knee have been replaced and another knee should be. I’m overweight and under the illusion that I’m going to wake days I whine and complain more. I’m impatient whenever life has the audacity to thwart my plans. to 125. When I remembered that the Bible says Moses only lived to 120, I decided on 119. I can’t imagine God needing me around longer than Moses!

Life has its challenges. Life is a challenge. I know my existence is about more than this body. I know on the inside, but honestly, I’m not so sure that the inside stuff’s any prettier. Perhaps I’ve been expecting With on the forehead and magically transformed into a loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, and fresh nail polish. In thinking that, I’ve not only trivialized God’s love and forgiveness, but I’ve overlooked the fruit of His Holy Spirit that’s already a part of my own spirit in all that I do and all that I am.

So now what? Filled with His Holy Spirit, do I step back from life as I’ve known it? Do I need to If not wearing a white ensemble, something off-white? With His fruit, will I have this new aura about me that parts the seas and calms the storm within?

About the Author:

Deanna Nowadnick is a Pacific Northwest native and debut author. Fruit of My Spirit began as a love story to her sons. She just wanted them to know how she met their father. One chapter quickly became many chapters. One day, she said to anyone who’d listen, “I think I wrote a book.”

When not writing, Deanna serves as Client Service Coordinator for The Planner’s Edge, a financial advisory firm. Deanna is active in her church, playing the violin and editing the monthly newsletter. She loves to knit, adores chocolate, and most importantly, enjoys a blessed marriage to Kurt. They are the proud parents of two adult sons, Kyle and Kevin.

Deanna is currently working on Book 2. At the Corner of Grace and Mercy: Meeting God at Life’s Crossroads tells of those times when God has come alongside and guided, directed and turned her. The book is another collection of short stories, this time recounting how God has met her at life’s crossroads, when she’s been “on point” with God, not because of anything she’s done, but because a loving, gracious, merciful God was there time after time, again and again.

All About Family: A Gift for My Sister

A Gift for My Sister by Ann Pearlman
ebook
Published: May 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
ISBN13: 9781439171387
Source: Publicist
Read: October 2012
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

It seems wrong to say I enjoyed this book when it was filled with quite a bit of sadness. I had a heard a bit about the book - Ann had been on TIE Book Bloggers radio show and guest posted on my blog - from others. However, when I started reading it, it wasn't quite what I expected.

Pretty much right from the start you know it's going to be sad. I don't think I've ever connected with a minor character as quickly as I did with Troy. 

I've read other books from Atria, so I was expecting high literary women's fiction. (Not that there is anything wrong with that and I quite enjoyed my other Atria books that were high literary fiction). A Gift for My Sister is definitely literary women's fiction, I was surprised by how accessible the story and writing were. It kind of reminded me of when I would read the assigned books in school and actually enjoy it (admit it, on principle, you automatically hated everything on the assigned reading list).

The cast of A Gift for My Sisiter is very large and the book not very long. I was left wanting to delve deeper into several of the characters side stories, yet, we remained largely on the surface. Even the main storyline of Tara and Sky seemed only to be surface deep.

I thought it was a rather quick read. It only took me as long as it did because I didn't pick it up at all during the week I was on vacation. The story is sweet without being overly sugary. I liked the "recipes" at the end which filled in some of the gaps in the story line and made the characters seem even more real.

If you are feeling sentimental and "all about family" as the holidays approach, A Gift for My Sister would be an excellent book to pick up.

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. A free book was obtained from the source mentioned above in order to provide an honest and free review.

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November 2, 2012

Friday Fun: Dan O'Brien




As I sit down at my computer, I am struck by the eerie presence of someone behind me. Leaving behind the blinking cursor, I realize that the cast of my latest novel, The Path of the Fallen, are standing behind me. E’Malkai, sullen and burdened by the weight of the pilgrimage he has undertaken, stands behind the immovable figure of his Umordoc guardian, Elcites. Arms crossed over his chest, his gaze unsettles me despite how much time I have spent in his company whilst writing The Path of the Fallen. Arile, proud hunter of the north, leans against his spear and inspects the wall with a carefree look upon his face. Fe’rein, shrouded in the darkness that complements him so well, seethes with a dark mix of irritation and confidence.

E’Malkai: I heard that you wanted to speak to us.

Me: (clearing my throat) In a manner of speaking, yes.

Fe’rein: (glowering) What do you want? We have business left unfinished.

Me: I am releasing The Path of the Fallen, after nearly a decade hiatus, and wanted to let potential readers know a little more about it. Instead of giving them a dry summary or an adjective-laden exposition, I thought getting to know the characters might be a fun exercise.

Arile: (not making eye contact and looking away with a bored look on his face) What precisely would these potential readers want to know about us? We are an open book (snickers).

Me: Let’s start with something simple: Describe yourself to the readers.

Fe’rein: Darkness. Death. There is little else to know.

E’Malkai: (shifting uncomfortably behind his guardian) I do not know what to say about myself. I thought I knew what I supposed to do with my life, but there was always something missing. When I learned about the history of the Fallen and the journey my father began, I realized that I had to find out more, learn about where I came from.

Elcites: (grunting) I am no more than what is expected of me. I guard E’Malkai. That is all that matters.

Arile: I am the last of my people. We once could hear all the voices of the earth. The world has been broken. I can no longer hear what I once could. My people have been scattered into the winds, but I can still hear their distant voices. They speak of a new age, and of a final war.

Me: That all sounds quite dire. You make it seem like there is only darkness and sadness. Are there no happy moments in your life, memories that give you pause and hope when you consider them?

Elcites: The day I was given my charge, when I first met young E’Malkai, was the greatest and saddest day of my life.

E’Malkai: (looking up at the stoic look on his guardian’s face) I recall playing with my uncle once upon a time. (Pausing) The world changed, and so too did those memories. I cannot seem to look back upon the strained moments of my life and see happiness.

(Fe’rein scoffs and crosses his arms over his chest. He clearly is not going to answer the question.)

Arile: Each day is full of happiness and sadness, joy and terror. I find grace and importance in the simplest of tasks. This day is a gift. We must not look upon it with sorrow.

(I start to speak, but Fe’rein interrupts me, his power crawling over his skin like a swarm of frightening insects.)

Fe’rein: What makes this story any different than any of the other drivel available?

Me: That is a bit strong, isn’t it? I would like to think that my writing offers a fresh perspective on the fantasy and science fiction genre. I always try and include elements of ethics and philosophical assumptions in my novels, and this one is no different. I love to explore the elements of good and evil, as well as the murky gray area that is exposed when decisions and choices and are no longer easy. I think it captures the essence of the monomyth, or the hero’s journey, as well as being a rousing adventure tale that a reader of any age can enjoy.

E’Malkai: How is it doing so far?

Me: It is a bit early in the game to really say much about it. I released it almost a decade ago and it was well received, but it was in desperate need of a strong editing session. Now, I feel like it accurately reflects my growth as a writer and that it has a strong chance of being pretty successful, perhaps my most successful work yet. Let’s put the focus back on you: What do you want from life?

E’Malkai: I want to set things right…

(Fe’rein stands suddenly. Elcites turns, interceding between the Dark Creator and the youth. Arile moves soundlessly behind the mion.)

Fe’rein: There is nothing to set right. I did what was necessary. They took Summer away from me. They had to pay.

Me: (standing) It seems as though I have struck a nerve. Let’s try something a bit easier, shall we? What’s the most important thing in your life? What do you value most?

Arile: (lowering his weapon) The search for truth, questioning my place in this world. Complacency weakens the mind. I value knowledge, intelligence, and logic.

Fe’rein: (sitting once more with a huff) Solitude. The power to do what I must to keep what I have claimed. Once, I valued family and love, but those times have passed.

Elcites: My charge, my mission.

E’Malkai: My family, the people who depend on and believe in me, even if that faith is misplaced.

Me: Speaking of family, did you turn out the way you expected? The way your parents predicted?

(Elcites maintains his ambivalent stare and Arile inspects something deeper in the darkness of the room.)

Fe’rein: I did not know my mother and father well. I have memories of them, brief glimpses of who they were, moments in time frozen and exaggerated. I used to wonder how they would judge me, but that doesn’t matter to me any longer. I turned out the way I did because of the choices I made. My father could not have known what would fall into my path. His plan for me is irrelevant.

E’Malkai: (looking at his uncle, Fe’rein, with sorrow) I did not know my father, but as I traveled north I learned much about the man he was and who he wanted me to be. My mother was secretive of my past, but I do not blame her. I realize now that she did not want me to die as my father had.

Me: That is quite sad. The path of the fallen began when Seth, your father, was cast from the Fallen and then ends when you return. Were you afraid of traveling north by yourself, E’Malkai? What is your greatest fear?

E’Malkai: Not being able to do what is necessary. Turnabout is fair play: At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Me: A meaningful question indeed. I think I always knew I wanted to be a writer. When I was about six, I designed an entire play for my cousin’s birthday: sets, script, and little figures on Popsicle sticks. As the years went by, I found that the notion of storytelling was very attractive. This pursuit led me to writing my first novel in high school, a space opera that I published in 2002. Since then I have published ten novels and plan on telling stories until someone spreads my ashes over the sea. (Turning to Fe’rein) Fe’rein, what is your greatest regret?

Fe’rein: Beyond being summoned to this ridiculous farce, I would imagine the content of my life was the result of walking down a path to darkness. It was not sudden or abrasive, but instead incremental and engrossing. My greatest regret is taking my brother’s life. It was too late for me by then. I could only see darkness, despair.

Elcites: (clearing his throat) What was your intent with writing The Path of the Fallen? Why did you set us down this path?

Me: I wanted to tell a very particular story: one in which the line between good and evil become blurred and the consequences of a hero’s actions mean much more than defeating the bad guy. I liked the notion of a family saga wrapped up in an epic science fiction/fantasy novel. The hero’s cycle makes for a powerful story and often answers fundamental questions about the human condition. Hopefully, my book is successful to that end. (Taking a step forward and gesturing to Arile) Arile, how do you decide if you can trust someone? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?

Arile: Trust, like respect, is earned. When I first met E’Malkai, it was his naivety and simple manner that let me know that I could trust him. Generally, the test of whether or not a person is trustworthy is created by the environment, selected for by pressures that challenge a person. The idea of being predisposed to trust, or not to trust, is born of not trusting oneself. Have you written many more stories? Are we to carry on, storyteller?

Me: As the book closes, the story does not end. The path has ended, at least metaphorically, but the journey is far from over. Book of Seth returns to the beginning, giving us a glimpse of the life of Seth Armen, as well as Ryan Armen before he was corrupted. The sequel, which takes place after The Path of the Fallen, is called Breath of the Creator and weighs in on what comes next. There are several other novels with transient beings not of your dimension: a supernatural detective solving murders in San Francisco; a young man who discovers what it takes to be responsible as the world falls apart; a love story set in an epic fantasy world. (Spreading my hands wide, acknowledging all of them) This question is for all of you, what is one strong memory that has stuck with you from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

Arile: I will never forget when I returned home from a hunt and found my village decimated, wiped from this earth by Umordoc. I took the long walk into the tundra, to die, but found peace and a new home. The winds have been my companion ever since.

Fe’rein: Your question is foolish, storyteller. My childhood was a lifetime ago. I am no longer that frail boy who walked beside his brother on the tundra.

Elcites: I do not recall my childhood. I was born on Terra and raised in Culouth. My youth was devoted to learning everything I could about human beings and their ways so that I might one day protect E’Malkai.

E’Malkai: Once I had fond memories, but now they all seem like lies meant to obscure my path. Storyteller, do you read other stories? Are you reading anything right now, or have you read anything recently that is worth mentioning?

Me: I have been reading A Dance of Dragons by George R. R. Martin. I have become very invested in that world, though I will admit that the pace of the narrative has slowed dramatically. I find myself undulating between being surprised and intrigued by the story and then suddenly being quite bored.

Elcites: How did we come into being?

Me: I am assuming you are asking me about my writing process. For The Path of the Fallen I wrote it for four months straight, including Book of Seth. Generally, I like to create a living outline that evolves as the characters come to life and begin to guide the narrative. It is dependent on the world I am invested in at any given time.

E’Malkai: Are our names meaningful?

Me: They are not derived from other lore, if that is what you meant. E’Malkai was named as homage to the naming scheme of the tundra people. It really depends on what I am writing. For instance, The Journey has names that are quite significant in terms of their meaning. Otherwise, I like to invent names for a particular world.

Arile: How do you define success as a writer? Have you been successful?

Me: Success is elusive once you define it. It becomes something that you aspire for regardless of the process and the craft. I would like to think that success is writing stories that people in enjoy and connect with, even if it is negatively. I think I have been successful in a very limited way: people have read my books and enjoyed them.

E’Malkai: Do you have words of wisdom about writing that you want to pass on to novelists and writers out there who are starting out?

Me: Write what you love and learn from criticism. The publishing world has changed. I have been writing for nearly a decade and I find that every year there seems to be a new opinion on which way the wind is blowing for fiction. Stay the course and do what you love. If writing novels and telling stories is what you want to do, then do that.

Fe’rein: I have noticed that you ask this ridiculous question of other storytellers: What is your End of the World Playlist? Why do you ask this question?

Me: I like hearing what people think about the notion of an end-of-the-world scenario. Also, I have a zombie novella of the same name and I like having the vibes out there for it. Do you guys have anything specific that you want to say to the readers?

Arile: E’Malkai of the South will do what he must to set the world right. His story will be passed on for generations.

Elcites: The path of the fallen is filled with both adventure and sadness. Follow E’Malkai and be transformed.

Fe’rein: I will have my day, in this life or the next. I am not evil, nor is E’Malkai good. We are merely opposite perspectives. You decide who visited more harm upon the world.

E’Malkai: I would like to think that I have done the right thing, taken the right path. The storyteller will not give away his secrets, but he might give you a glimpse. The greater question is: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers, storyteller?

Me: I am honored for anyone to read my novel. I hope that it will foster and appreciation of reading and the arts that is slowly disappearing among children and adults alike. I love to hear back from readers, so if you would like to get in touch with me, please be sure to check out my links below.


About the Author:

A psychologist, author, philosopher, freelance editor, and skeptic, Dan O’Brien has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, Deviance of Time, The Portent, The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog at http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com.

He also works as an editor at Empirical, a national magazine with a strong West Coast vibe. Find out more about the magazine at www.empiricalmagazine.com.
Connect with the Author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordanobrien
Blog: http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorDanOBrien
Empirical: http://www.empiricalmagazine.com/
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November 1, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Schedule

Today's topic is so appropriate as it is almost 7 pm on Thursday as I write it. I schedule all my posts typically. I have pretty much the rest of 2012's post schedule figured out (I have 5 guest post slots open). The only wildcard is what I will read/review, but even then I have a pretty good idea for the month. So if I have all of this planned, why am I writing this post now?

Life got in the way? I'm pretty sure this has crossed the lips, er fingers, of every blogger. We love our blogs; we work hard to garner a following; we pride ourselves in good content. Yet, we are squeezing our blogs in between the rest of our lives. For few of us, blogging is a free endeavor (no pay) and difficult to justify spending hours away from friends and family.

As the holidays approach time will become even more scarce and precious. I'm a strong advocate of taking a break from blogging every now and again. This summer when I took a vacation I offered this tip.

Last week I was on vacation again and again saw no drop in traffic. I was able to schedule post of my posts. However, now I'm up to posting 13 - 16 posts a week. I wasn't able to get to all my posts last week - I posted 12 times though. However, this past week suffered. I've only posted 5 times (this will make 6 and I have a guest post for Friday), because I didn't have the weekend to schedule all my posts.

In addition to the holidays, I've also started getting more clients for my publicity business. My time is becoming even more limited. I have some tips that I'm hoping to implement to make the rest of the year run smoothly.

Tip 1:

I have 3 guest post features a week. Though I'm not writing the post, it does take time to format the post. I ask for authors to send me their information no later than 48 hours prior to posting. On occasion, authors miss the deadline. However, as the year end nears they, too, want to clear their desks & calendars. I have most of the guest posts for the month of November. I'm going to set aside some time to format those posts.  

Tip 2:

Have some draft posts waiting for when I don't have a review ready or other post. I have enough book trailers to post 3 a week through the end of the year. They are simple posts to format. Again, by spending a little of time now getting them ready will save me time later. If a guest blogger doesn't send me their info on time, I won't be lacking new content for the day.

I also do book features. Sometimes they are requested by the author/publisher and other times they are books in my TBR pile. If it is one of my TBR books, I gather info from Goodreads.com - summary, book cover, author bio and a couple of sentences from reviews. Voila! A post is done. Between book features and book trailers I have new content for the the rest of the year. Keeping them in draft allows me flexibility depending on what else I have going on. If my reading starts slacking because of limited time, a book feature can be a good substitute.

If you have a bit more time, you can write other type of posts just to have as backup if you week gets really crazy.

Tip 3:

Draft or schedule? Above I mentioned I leave the trailers and features in draft. The good thing about the trailers and features, they have no expiration date. It doesn't matter when the post. I do recommend scheduling a week's worth of posts. When possible, I schedule all my guest posts, reviews, and tips posts and fill in the schedule with the trailers and features. By leaving these "filler" posts unscheduled I can post them whenever needed - an author is having a free day I slip in their trailer I have in draft.

Tip 4:

Be flexible. I like keeping a schedule. Monday, Wednesday, Friday - guest posts, Tuesdays and Saturdays - reviews, Thursdays - tips, Sunday - Kid Who Reads. I also like the 7:30 am and 3 pm posting schedule I have going. Readers no when and what to expect each day. It builds reader loyalty and I have seen a lot more returning visitors since I've solidified this schedule. However, with the holidays coming I have to keep in mind I won't always be able to keep the schedule. Again, the "filler" posts in draft come in handy - I can slip in one at either posting time. I also know that if I miss both slots (like I did today) a post in the evening will still do well.

Happy Holidays!

I hope these tips help you as we head into the busy holiday season. Remember if all else fails, the world and your blog will not crumble because you fail to post new content as the rate you have been doing the rest of the year. Don't stress and enjoy the season!

   
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October 31, 2012

Writer Wednesday: J. C. Andrijeski

Everyone knows that writers are a bit crazy. I mean, come on. We essentially get paid to lie, live in our fantasy worlds, talk to ourselves, let our freak flags fly, revel in our eccentricities, build worlds that no one lives in but us.

We get paid for this.

The truth is, though, I actually think I'm pretty sane...more or less, anyway. Of course, the reason I am sane, in my opinion, is that I do write fiction. I think if I didn't have a means of plunging those depths in a (reasonably) safe and socially-acceptable way, I'd be almost unbearable to live with. In fact, one person I lived with told me I was unbearable to live with when I wasn't writing. He was the one who first pointed this whole thing out to me, in that, whenever we got into some pointless argument about something or another, he would pause at one point, think for a minute, then say,

"Wait. Have you written anything today?"

Usually my stumped silence was answer enough. He would then point me towards my office, and say something along the lines of,

"We'll continue this conversation in two hours...if it's still relevant."

I'm embarrassed to admit, it never was.

So yeah, you might think we writers are all nuts. But think of the alternative...writers who don't write...and be thankful that we have found a nice, healthy way to channel the demons that live in our collective closets. I can't help but wonder what a Stephen King or a Dean Koontz would have been like, had they not figured out that writing was a good outlet for them.

Actually, I don't really have to wonder...I know what I would be like, multiply that by a factor of ten, and just shudder a little, thankful for the invention of the printing press.

I'm honestly not sure if that means your average writer has more skeletons in the closet than other people, and thus a greater need for a means of siphoning off the excess. It's possible, sure. It does seem like a disproportionate number of us have had some pretty intense things happen in our lives, both of the good and the bad variety, both self-inflicted and inflicted by the world. Maybe our filters are thinner than most people's, or our ability to repress is less finely tuned. Maybe we have really good memories, like Ray Bradbury claimed the last time I heard him speak, where he detailed memories of being a baby and how he didn't realize how odd it was that he could remember such things until his mother told him to stop telling other people that he could. Maybe we're like high-functioning schizophrenics, and we've just learned how to manage whatever it is that other people seem to keep in check so effortlessly. Maybe we all got dropped on the head as infants...I honestly don't know.

Whatever the reason, I feel like in some ways, I get the best of both worlds, at least on the good days...and even sometimes the bad. After all, I get a safe, contained outlet for all of the depraved, dark, crazy, angry, devious, spiteful, villainous and oversexed parts of my psyche. I get an outlet for the heroic, optimistic, faithful, loving, yearning, happy, spiritual, philosophical, idealistic, analytical and altruistic sides of my nature, as well.

I get to explore all of it, and as long as I do it in this one way, I can do it to a depth that I might not dare to indulge in otherwise.

Afterwards, I can also write it all off, figuratively and literally, as "just a story" and not think about it again. It doesn't stay with me, not once I've written it down, so it doesn't get stuck in those less oft-used parts of my cranium, moldering and turning septic. Instead, it remains fluid, impermanent and always-changing, a part of the collective human experience rather than something that belongs to me, personally. It no longer requires me to understand it, or even to own it. It simply is, and I can let it go, and think about a different aspect of life and being human without letting that thing, whatever it is or was, weigh me down.

So yeah, maybe I'm crazy. Maybe we're all crazy. Maybe fiction writers are simply nuts enough to feel it's okay to voice the crazy inside, because we've all stopped asking ourselves that question.

Or maybe we've just stopped caring about the answer.

About the Author:


JC Andrijeski has published novels, novellas, serials, graphic novels and short stories, as well as nonfiction essays and articles, including the Allie’s War series and The Slave Girl Chronicles. Her short fiction runs from humorous to apocalyptic, and her nonfiction articles cover subjects from graffiti art, meditation, psychology, journalism, politics and history. JC currently lives and writes full time at the foot of the Himalayas in India, a location she drew on a fair bit in writing the Allie's War books.
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October 30, 2012

Now Playing: Basket of Hope by J. M. Powers



Find Basket of Hope by J. M. Powers at Goodreads and Amazon



Watch more trailers here

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. Book Trailers are a free feature. All videos are provided by the author who has granted Girl Who Reads permission to feature them on this blog.

 
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October 29, 2012

Keira Michelle Telford: My Life with Death (guest post)

I’m comforted by the smell of decomposition. It reminds me of my childhood, and I’m so desensitized to it that I sometimes don’t even realize that’s what I’m smelling. It triggers memories of sunny afternoons, spending time with my father, and playing in the fields beside my house. Let me explain...

I grew up in the countryside. We lived on the outskirts of a tiny village, beside several farms and small-holdings. One of the farmers, whose land extended up to our property line, had a problem with crows and magpies. To combat this, he trapped and killed several, strung them up by their necks, and tied them to the trees that surrounded his fields—including the trees that marked the edge of our property.

As a small child, I used to clamber about in the bushes around my yard, and happened one day to come across these decomposing corpses. They were firm to the touch, slowly desiccating in the summer sun. Their eyes were gone, leaving behind tiny holes that were filled with maggots and flies. From my recollection, this was the first time I’d ever seen anything dead, and I was fascinated. This experience also led me to the first major realization of my young life: all that lives, dies.

That was lesson one.

Lesson two came when, at the age of five, I found a dead blackbird in my yard.

I don’t recall whether it was at my request or upon his own doing, but my father put the blackbird inside an old plastic ice cream tub, poked a few holes in the lid, and stored it in the rafters of the car port. Every day, we’d check on it. The holes in the lid of the tub allowed flies to find the corpse and lay their eggs on it. The eggs hatched into maggots, and the maggots began to feast. They hatched into flies, and the cycle began again. Eventually, all that was left was feather and bone. I don’t remember what we did with the remains after that.

So that was how my life with death began, but there was much more to come.

When I was eleven years old, we moved to Wales. This new house was even more rural than the last one. Stuck halfway up a mountain, we were almost a mile away from our nearest neighbours, and we were surrounded by farmland. One day, while roaming the nearby fields, I came across the skeletonised remains of a sheep. It was sun-bleached, perfectly clean and intact. I still remember the way the bones felt in my hand: lighter and smoother than I’d expected. And of course, me being an incurably strange child, I collected them up and took them all home.

From then on, I was hooked. I spent my free time roaming the fields, scouring the land for animal remains. Some deep ravines ran along several of the fields, and these were a treasure trove of corpses. When it rained, the banks of the ravines were treacherous and slippery. Many sheep tumbled to their deaths here, and I picked over their bones as soon as nature was done with them.

To be honest, I was a very morbid human being. I still am. Death intrigued me so much that I began to write about it. Between the ages of eleven and fifteen I wrote hundreds of short stories, the subject matter of which mostly explored the moment of death, the biological processes that follow death, or the spiritual processes that I imagined might follow death. I wrote about ghosts and hauntings, demons and monsters, and all manner of other gruesome things.

And I never stopped. My medium changed from short stories to scripts to novels, but the subject matter was always pretty grisly. My obsession with death truly became a way of life for me— and I’m okay with that. I wouldn’t want to change a thing, because ultimately, if I’d never begun penning those dark stories in my youth, perhaps I would never have found the characters I’ve come to love as an adult.


About the Author:

Michelle is a British ex-pat, now living in British Columbia, Canada. She is the author of a 10-book series of post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction books, all centering on the lead character of Ella 'Silver' Cross. The first book (a novella) in this series, Acheron, was released Nov 2011. The next book, A New Age dawns (the fourth book in the series), is due to be released later this September.

Connect with the Author:

www.keiramichelle.com
www.ellacross.com
www.facebook.com/thesilverseries
www.facebook.com/silver.acheron
@mylostanddamned 
www.goodreads.com/keiramichelle 
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Vacation's over!



News:

I was on vacation last week and not much reading got done. But, oh, does my house look good. All sparkly clean and I didn't realize all the junk I've been "storing". Now I have so much more space in the house.

Kid Who Reads reviewed Millicent Marie Is Not My Name by Karen Pokras Toz. If you are an author of a middle grades or children's chapter book and would like a 10 year old (almost 11) to review it, please contact me.

BlogFlash Halloween 2012 is this Wednesday. You can get all the details here.


The Bunny's Review is hosting a fundraiser for the House Rabbit Society. All you need to do is make a donation to HRS and then you get to choose an ebook as a thank you gift. For more info, check out Books for Bunnies.

Are you following the Millicent Marie Tour with Karen Pokras Toz? It ends on Wednesday. Make sure you enter for the awesome swag and Amazon gift card grand prize. Check the schedule for all the stops. *author has paid for a publicity package from GWR Publicity.


I'm working with Terri Morgan, author of Playing the Genetic Lottery. If you are a blogger who would like to host an interview, guest post, or interested in reviewing, please contact me donna at girl-who-reads.com. *author is a client of GWR Publicity

Giveaways:

$100 Paypal Cash - LAST DAY
Keurig Vue V700 - LAST DAY
Millicent Marie Is Not My Name swag & Amazon gift card - END 10/31

Finished:


The Watchmaker's Daughter tells the story of a child of two refugees: a watchmaker who saved lives within Dachau prison, and his wife, a gifted concert pianist about to make her debut when the Nazis seized power. In this memoir, Sonia Taitz is born into a world in which the Holocaust is discussed constantly by her insular concentration camp-surviving parents. This legacy, combined with Sonia's passion and intelligence, leads the author to forge an adventurous life in which she seeks to heal both her parents and herself through travel, achievement, and a daring love affair. Ironically, it is her marriage to a non-Jew that brings her parents the peace and fulfillment they would never have imagined possible. Sonia manages to combine her own independence with a tender dutifulness, honoring her parents' legacy while forging a new family of her own. From Goodreads.com
Read my review. Find The Watchmaker's Daughter at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.

Reading:


Tara and Sky are as different as two sisters can be.
 

Sky, obedient and cautious, has worked hard to build her dream life: In her ideal job as a lawyer and married to handsome Troy, they live with their beautiful three-year-old daughter, Rachel, in a house on the beach.
 

Rebellious and impetuous, her younger sister,Tara, devotes herself to her music, falls in love with the unsuitable but irresistible Aaron, becomes pregnant, and embarks on a rollercoaster of a life as a musician.
 

But when tragedy besets Sky her life is turned upside down. Meanwhile, to Tara's astonishment, instead of facing a future destined to be foolhardy and risky, Tara suddenly finds herself on the brink of. With this reversal of fortune, everything changes between the two sisters. 

Sky is at a loss until Tara offers her to help her start over and move home. And so begins a road trip where tensions between the two sisters erupt, loyalties are tested and long hidden secrets revealed. From Goodreads.com
 Find A Gift for My Sister at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.

Tucker Lee Anderson’s boss needs him to check out a story over on the beachside. Not earth- shattering, it’s more of a follow up to the Ed Ventara case, he says. When Anderson, a staff reporter for a local Southern newspaper hears this, a red light goes off in his head. But wait, wasn’t Ventura the serial killer convicted of killing five children, even though they only found four bodies a few years back? Following the discovery of a child’s skeleton, what at first appears to be a straightforward case of suspected murder is anything but, when Anderson finds himself not only investigating the case, but also dabbling in ancestral research.

This laid-back divorced dad’s ordinary life soon takes a turn when in the process, he soon discovers family ties that bind him to both the present and the past—but what does this have to do with the child? Set in the Central Florida community of Brevard County, Beneath the Dune features an interesting cast of characters, and what Anderson uncovers is bound to shock a few upper class residents to the core. Steeped in suspense and blended with humor, the book has all the ingredients necessary for the making of mystery that is sure to hold you in its grip to the very end. From Goodreads.com
 Find Beneath the Dune at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.

Listening:


When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel. From Goodreads.com
Find 13 Little Blue Envelopes at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

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October 28, 2012

Kid Who Reads: Millicent Marie Is Not My Name

Millicent Marie Is Not My Name by Karen Pokras Toz
paperback, 150 pages
Published: October 2012 by Grand Daisy Press
ISBN13: 9780984860852
Source: Author
Read: October 2012
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

Millicent Marie Is Not My Name is about a 6th grade girl with a computer diary that her brother made into a blog.

I loved the fact that Karen Pokras Toz wrote a blogger. I like that the cover shows Millie on her computer.

It is funny.I like the girl and how she blogs. This book helps me understand a little about the 6th grade. I am going to the 6th grade next year and will keep this book with me.

It reminds me of Disney Channel's Radio Rebel. It is good for 4th through 7th graders.

I give it a 4.

Karen Pokras Toz is on tour right now (my aunt organized the tour). Today, Ms. Toz is answering YOUR questions at Goodreads.com

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. A free book was obtained from the source mentioned above in order to provide an honest and free review.
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