Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Self-Help Spotlight: Energize Your Life!

Energize Your Life!By: Del Millers, PhD
Are you suffering from a personal energy crisis?Are you constantly running through your day, feeling chronically exhausted? Are you desperately overcommitted? Do you find yourself sacrificing your health, family time and quality of life just to meet the never-ending demands on your time? Are you exhausted when you go to bed at night and still tired when you awake? If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, then you may be suffering from a personal energy crisis.

Unfortunately, this way of living — and working — not only robs us of our health and puts a strain on time and energy resources, it blocks our access to our most essential sources of energy, leaving us feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.
In his new book, Energize Your Life, Dr. Del shows you simple things you can do everyday to fuel your life and work with positive energy. Drawing from his years of experience consulting with executives, entrepreneurs, small business owners, career changers and self re-inventors, as well as the wealth of new research over the past two decades on positive psychology, employee engagement and play, Dr. Del demonstrates how you can program the brain — and the subconscious — for productive, beneficial action.
Energize Your Life is different from other positive energy books and personal energy management programs. Its unique advantage is that it shows you how to fuel your life and work with positive energy from seven distinct sources.
And why is it important to increase your daily dose of positive energy? Well, several studies have clearly demonstrated that chronic stress and negative energy shuts down the creative problem solving brain, slows your productivity and puts you in fight or flight mode where very little gets done.
Energize Your Life will challenge and inspire you to develop a personal action plan to fuel your life and work with positive energy everyday. Thereby, improving your personal well being, enhancing your work engagement, and helping you feel more alive.
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Dr. Del Millers is the founder of,, and author of eight books on nutrition, fitness, and personal growth.
A PhD Nutritionist with a Masters degree in psychology, Dr. Del teaches simple mind-body principles to busy entrepreneurs and professionals to help them energize their lifestyle, improve their personal wellbeing, and enhance their work engagement.
Dr. Del has appeared on FOX Television (Good Day LA), E-Entertainment TV (DR 90210), numerous nationally syndicated radio shows, and in magazines, and newspapers throughout the United States and Australia (LA Sports & Fitness, Australian Ironman, Health & Fitness, Stuff, Fighting Fat and others).
Dr. Del’s greatest passion is sharing what inspires him with others. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and three daughters.
Buy any of Dr. Del’s books and forward your receipt to for Dr. Del’s special bonuses worth hundreds of dollars. Subscribe to Dr. Del’s weekly podcast at
Follow the entire tour HERE

Interview with Christina Smith, author of 'Joseph's Journey'

Christina Smith is an entrepreneur, consultant, mother, and published author. "Joseph's Journey" is her first children's picture book.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, she grew up in a house with 3 children, WITHOUT the white picket fence and no dog! However, there was lots of love and laughs to go around. When she was about 10 years old, she thought she was going to be the "next coming" of Whoopi Goldberg! Well, "life happened" and "that" did NOT happen, but in 2014 she was able to cross ONE ITEM off of her bucket list and perform stand-up comedy in front of a live audience.

When she's not homeschooling her son or driving him all around town to his various activities, some of Christina's favorite things to enjoy are: PEET'S COFFEE, the local library, a throw-your headback, "that brought tears to my eyes" kinda laugh; organic, gluten-free, dairy free, non-gmo food (did we mention she's from the BAY AREA?) and good music.

Christina is a certified graduate/alumnus of, certified professional speaker/author, George Ramirez' "Present with Purpose" (2008) & two-time student of his "The Miracle in the Mirror" programs. She has received a Certificate of Recognition from California State Assembly in Honor of Graduating from the Women's Initiative for Self Employment and dedication to empowering the quality of her life and her community (2007). 

Additionally, she is a student of Certified Rebirthing-Breathwork Practitioner, Iris Nelson. She holds an Associates degree in Legal Administration/Paralegal Studies from
Heald Business College.


About the Book:

As a mother, how do you explain an absentee father to your child without blame, anger or
resentment? Empower them! Seven-year-old Joseph shares his story about when he first learns about the POWER of choice he possesses after his father leaves and doesn't come back. His mother teaches him the difference between his father’s choices and his own. Do Joseph and Mom become angry with Joseph’s father? Well, a belief is just a thought you keep thinking over and over...find out what happens on Joseph’s Journey!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Personal experience gave me the idea to write this book. 

January 2009 is a time I’ll never forget. My son’s father walked out & never came back.
Joseph was three years old. It literally changed my life. As time went on, Joseph started asking me where his father was.  I had heard about the harmful repercussions of speaking disparaging words about a child’s father in front of or directly to the child.  So, I consciously chose not to do that.  But still, I couldn’t think of ONE NICE THING to say about his father so instead, I chose to say nothing.  I was too consumed by anger to even talk about it. This was eye-opening.   Here’s what I knew at the time: 

I knew I needed help.  I searched the internet for answers, however, I found no children’s book that came close to what I was dealing with.

I knew Joseph was watching me and expected guidance and answers. I had to find the best words to talk to my son about his father not being around. I was also determined to not let this whole situation “take me out” emotionally.

Lastly, I knew wanted to deal with this situation in a positive way. 

Then divine inspiration hit me…you write the book Christina.  So, I did. 
I have a book trailer on my youtube channel, cnsmithauthor, that is a fantastic depiction of how Joseph’s Journey came to be.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

For me, writing this book was not difficult at all.  I simply say that for two reasons (1) I’ve enjoyed writing since my early 20s when I discovered I was good at it, which gave me a high level of confidence and trust in my writing abilities and (2) I didn’t put pen to paper until I was inspired and then the words flowed easily.

My first piece of advice for other writers is to write about a subject or in a specific genre that will come easy for them or that they feel comfortable with when first starting out.  Secondly, only write when they are inspired and feel a sense of calm, then their writing for the day will be easy, fulfilling and enjoyable.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published my 1st edition through Createspace and my 2nd edition through Ingram Spark.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Yes!  When I published my first edition of Joseph’s Journey, I wasn’t aware of the importance of including a Publisher’s CIP (cataloging-in-publication) block on my copyright page.  A CIP block allows librarians to catalog your book with ease into their cataloging system should they choose to purchase your book.  I also wasn’t aware of the importance of having your book included into as many distribution channels as possible.

Additionally, many self-published authors don’t know that if they utilize the Amazon Kindle Kids’ Book Creator, (which I did for my 1st edition eBook version of Joseph’s Journey) that their eBook will only be available on Kindle branded readers and through the Kindle app.  That drastically hurt my sales of my first edition eBook because iPhone/iPad, Kobo and Nook users were excluded from buying my book.  Even when they downloaded the kindle app on their devices, many people I contacted to test things out were consistent in telling me that it just wouldn’t work and an error message would come back.

I also think your readers would be interested to know that another unfortunate part of utilizing the Amazon Kids’ Book Creator software to create and self-publish your children’s eBook is the fact that the author will not be able to utilize the Look Inside the Book feature in the Amazon eBook Store.  I was told that by an Amazon Customer Service Rep that all eBooks created with the Amazon Kids’ Book Creator software generated a different type of file that was not compatible with the Look Inside the Book Feature.  I think this drastically hurt my sales too, because most people want to Look Inside the Book of a book they are considering purchasing; especially a children’s picture book!

Needless to say, I took all the pitfalls I encountered from the time I published the 1st edition and was able to navigate around them when I published the 2nd edition.  The second time around I utilized IngramSpark and I am pleased with the results.  Amazon is great for many things and based on my personal experience, I preferred publishing through IngramSpark.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am working on a parents’ companion book to Joseph’s Journey, a baby book, and a Pre-K through 2nd grade book that incorporates the teaching of the alphabet while incorporating social and emotional intelligence learning.  In the educational community teaching very young children the importance of controlling and understanding your emotions in order to navigate your social surroundings is huge right now.  There’s definitely a need and a demand for books, materials, teachings and support systems to assist educators with incorporating this type of learning in schools across the country.

As far as the parents’ guide is concerned, I’m writing this because I need parents to know that just because they buy Joseph’s Journey for their child it doesn’t mean that their problems are solved.  Joseph’s Journey is perfect for opening the door to having that difficult discussion with a child about their absentee father in a way that empowers the mother/guardian/caregiver and the child because here’s no blame, guilt or resentment involved.  In other words, social and emotional intelligence is used and modelled by the mother in the story to help the child.  So, the parents’ guide will assist the parent/guardian/caregiver of the child in need on the next steps to continue their journey in assisting their child along with resources that are available to them.

My goal is to publish these three books within the first half of 2017.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

Many people are surprised to learn that Joseph’s Journey is a true story based on my experience of my son’s father being absent and my talk with him when it came time for me to explain his father’s absence. Yes, my son’s name is Joseph and the characters in the book are us. Those illustrations are the illustrator’s depictions of me, Joseph and his father.  The opening illustration where the reader sees Joseph in his room is how is actual room looked when he was 7-years-old.  That’s our body language and everything.  The closing illustration where you see Joseph and me with two other adults; those are his maternal grandparents, whom we both lived with during this journey.  My father, has made his transition and passed on last year in August 2015. However, the reader is receiving a glimpse into our family’s life at a specific moment in time.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Joseph’s Journey provides the reader with a very personal snapshot of how I and my family are trying to raise Joseph; conscientiously, amidst what some could label or perceive as hard-luck or bad-luck circumstances…an absentee father. 

According to statistics, Joseph is most likely to be in poverty, will get low grades in school, act out, maybe even become anti-social and yet the opposite is true.  When one knows better, they feel like they can do better. This is what I’m modelling for Joseph and he’s the beneficiary of that knowledge which he simply copies.  I can do it, you can do it, we can all do it.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

To all the fathers who are absent in their children’s lives because they feel there is no other option and no other way but the way they have chosen— don’t be afraid to be amazing.

What Would I Tell a New Author by Mark Spivak

What Would I Tell a New Author

I’m actively involved in mentoring beginning writers. For the past year I’ve been hosting a Meetup group in my home base of South Florida. Participants send me samples of their work via email, and they receive an intensive, one-on-one critique at the session.
I usually start out by trying to get a sense of the person’s background, their life experience and literary training (if any). I try to discover how
much time they have to devote to writing, and whether their literary aspirations are hampered by real-life considerations such as jobs, families and economic pressures. I want to find out if they are someone with a particular story they feel compelled to tell, or whether they want to make writing a career. Either way, my role is the same: to help them master the craft and find their own voice.
At some point, I usually ask them if they are writing to express themselves, or if they want other people to read their work. Either situation is fine, but they require different decision-making processes.
I normally suggest that they pick one piece of work and stick with it until it is as polished as it can possibly be. This is particularly difficult for many people to accomplish. Part of the problem is the current popularity of self-publishing, where you can print anything whether it’s ready or not.
Speaking as someone who has a degree in literature, I think life experience is more important than formal education. If someone is lacking skills in grammar, sentence structure or composition, they can easily take a course at a community college or online.
When I started the group, I was dreading the process of delivering criticism to people. Part of the hesitancy stems from how difficult it was for me to accept criticism at many points in my career, but the truth is that becoming a writer is a long journey filled with criticism and rejection. What I discovered was that in cases where a piece of work was seriously flawed, the writer knew it. They had really come to the group to get a realistic idea of what they needed to do to go forward.
Many beginning writers are yearning to be told that they have talent. I have no problem telling them that, since most of them are indeed talented. Talent, though, is only part of the equation. Most of the process consists of hard work, which is something people tend to resist hearing.
The most important thing I tell beginning writers? Don’t give up. I never did, and I finally succeeded despite a long and difficult journey. With enough determination, it can be done.
About the Author

Mark Spivak is an award-winning author, specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants, and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 he has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the Food Editor for Palm Beach Illustrated; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 Spivak hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Spivak is the author of two non-fiction books:  Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). Friend of the Devil is his first novel. He is currently working on a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq.
For More Information

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Interview with David Lamb, author of 'On Top of the World'

David Lamb is a native New Yorker, born and raised, bitten with the writing bug since he was in elementary school and had handwriting nobody could decipher. Like Charles Dickens, David grew up a poor boy in the big city who found that the pen really is mightier than the sword. In middle school Lamb's hero was David Lampel whose velvet voice could be heard reporting the news over David's grandmother's radio. Whenever he heard him on the radio, David would substitute Lamb for Lampel and pretend he was delivering the news. Sure that he was destined to be a famous reporter David was happy to go to a high school with a journalism program. Like most kids, by the time he finished high school he had a whole new career in mind. After high school he went to Hunter College and majored in Economics because he wanted to be cool like that college kid who came to speak at his last year of high school. He was an Economics major, he was dressed sharp and above-all the girls thought he was the man! So like any unreasonable high school boy fueled by overactive hormones David figured if he majored in Economics they'd think he was cool. After finishing college David went on to law school at NYU, but all the time writing was still his heart. While working as a lawyer by day, at night he transformed into a writer and eventually wrote and produced the award-winning hit off-Broadway romantic comedy Platanos Y Collard Greens. Being a writer and having the chance make people laugh out loud while challenging them to think about the world around them, and inspire each of us to believe in the power of love and our own ability to overcome life's challenges is a great gift that David truly enjoys and thanks you for allowing him to share with you in On Top Of The World (Until The Bell Chimes).


About the Book:

2016 BEST FICTION-Pacific Book Awards. FROM THE FUNNY AND NATURALLY BRILLIANT DAVID LAMB, award-winning playwright of the New York Times celebrated play, Platanos Y Collard Greens, comes a modern spin on Dickens' classic tale that perfectly combines
humor and romance in a story re-imagined for our digital, consumerist age.  This version of Scrooge and Belle is familiar, yet unlike any you've come across before. Scrooge, or rather Scrooje, is music's biggest superstar, with one hundred million albums sold, fifteen million devoted YouTube subscribers, two and a half million Facebook likes, and twenty-five million fanatical Twitter followers known as Scroojites. Belle, is a legal shark who gulps down her opposition voraciously and whose beauty and stunning figure causes traffic accidents as she zips through the sidewalks of Manhattan stylishly adorned and taking no prisoners.   They never imagined being music's most powerful couple, but that's exactly what happened when Belle fell head over heels and gave the Coke-bottle glasses wearing, plaid and stripe attired, scrawny, biggest nerd on her college campus the ultimate makeover, turning him into a fashion impresario whose style sets trends from Milan to NY Fashion Week and who can be seen courtside at the NBA Finals sporting a perfectly-fitted cashmere suit.   Then it happens. Belle realizes too late that she's created a chart-topping monster as Scrooje's ego explodes and he starts acting a fool.   Now, it's been three years since they ve spoken. But tonight at Hollywood s biggest red carpet event, with the whole world watching, they'll be given a second chance.   Will Scrooje listen to the ghostly-advice of Marley, his best friend since the fourth grade, who at the time of his untimely drowning at his Brazilian poolside birthday bash was as big a star as Scrooje? Will Scrooje finally do right by his number one artist, Cratchit, a genius comedian, who Scrooje invariably rip offs every chance he gets?   And with twenty-five million viewers tuned in will Scrooje finally shed his ego, jeopardize his image and declare his love for Belle, the one he betrayed and let slip away?   Second chances don't often come around. Will Belle even give him a chance?   Mixing heart, soul, bling and romance in a fresh, original satire about race, class and celebrity worship Lamb establishes himself as one of the most talented and amazing writers today. And leaves no doubt that the Pacific Book Awards chose wisely when they selected On Top Of The World as the year's Best Fiction.

Purchase Information:

Amazon | iTunes | B&N

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Believe it or not it, even though On Top Of The World is a romantic –comedy, it was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Specifically, when a sculptor sympathetic to the movement created a sculpture of Jay-Z as Scrooge accusing him of capitalizing on the movement by selling t-shirts that said ‘Occupy’. I was fascinated that this guy from public housing in NY had momentarily become the symbol of the 1%. I asked myself, if Scrooge were alive today, what would he look like, my answer a handsome, egotistical music star with talent coming out the wazoo. And the love of his life, other than money, Belle, would no longer be a Victorian lady-in-waiting but beautiful lawyer whose love transforms the shy nerd that Scrooje was in college into a star, only to realize too late that she’d help create a top-charting monster. And the story would be a love story unfolding in both their voices and his road to redemption on the night of Hollywood’s biggest event, when he has to take the journey of a lifetime to heal his feelings of not being worthy of love and to become the man she originally fell in love with.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

One of the hardest parts was my own internal insistence not to write a scene until I had it completely resolved in my head rather than writing it down as it came to me and letting it transform on the page. I’ve learned to let the story come out when it comes and worry about revising it later. One of the things that made the trip easier was learning to edit on the computer than on page and then having to edit my notes that made it much easier. But I’ve gone back to editing on paper and it’s making it harder so I need to follow my own advice :)

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I’m self-published. I self-produce my plays so it seemed like a natural step though it is a lot of work.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m working on another re-imagination that will take a classic and spin it into a modern satirical romantic-comedy that comments on our society today.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

Over the years as audiences left my play Platanos Y Collard Greens (which is also a romantic comedy) they would tell me over and over. I didn’t know I could laugh so hard and learn so much!  And On Top Of The World is the same it is downright hilarious and very romantic. But it also has a lot to say about race, class and the vacuous obsession of Americans with celebrities. 

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

To believe that they are worthy of love. To know that love is worth it. That the decisions we make determine the course of our lives.  That laughter is one of the best medicines.  

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

In everything I write I hope to make readers laughers, make them think more deeply about the world and inspire them to believe in the power of love.

Colorado Dream Book Blast!

We're happy to host Charlene Whitman's COLORADO DREAM book blast today!  Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Author: Charlene Whitman
Publisher: Ubiquitous Press
Pages: 450
Genre: Sweet Historical Western Romance

Yearning to become a concert musician, a young woman from New York travels to Colorado to purchase a violin, but when she meets a wild, untamable cowboy, her dream is threatened and her heart torn ...
In New York in 1877, Angela Bellini longs to become a concert violinist and get away from her abusive father. When her dream takes her to Greeley, Colorado, to purchase a violin from a master instrument maker, she learns she must wait three weeks until her violin is ready before she can head home.
Angela is determined not to let anything or anyone waylay her dream, but when she meets rough-and-tumble cowboy Brett Hendricks, her heart is torn. He is her opposite in every way—uncouth, cocky, and reckless. But she is hopelessly drawn to him, like a moth to flame.
Brett Hendricks is on the run—not just from an angry rancher who is tracking him down for shooting his son but from a dark and troubled past plaguing him with guilt and shame. A wild, untamable cowboy, Brett can break any horse with a soft touch and soothing word, but nothing in the world can bring him peace. He fears he will never stop running, never see his dreams of ranching realized.
But then, one evening, he hears sweet violin music that seeps deep into his soul--music that floods him with peace. He falls hard for Angela but knows she plans to leave Colorado. All his attempts to win her heart fail disastrously, and though he buries himself in the cattle roundup, when he helps thwart a rustling outfit, his enemies multiply.
Somehow he must find a way to gain Angela's heart and trust. And somehow Angela must break past her distrust of men to discover the love awaiting her with open arms.
Pick up your copy at:


Book Excerpt:
Chapter 1

September 9, 1877
New York City, New York

The slap on Angela Bellini’s cheek burned, but not as fiercely as the hurt in her heart. The pain and disappointment smoldering there sizzled like hot embers, threatening to reduce her to a pile of ash. She glared at her father’s back as he stomped out of the room.
Why couldn’t her papá understand? She would not marry Pietro, no matter how wealthy his family was, no matter how many years her papá and his had planned such an arrangement. “It is our way, Angela,” he had told her again, his face hard and eyes dark and menacing, leaving no room for debate. “And you will marry him. You are twenty years of age—you are lucky he is still willing. You’ve made him wait long enough.”
When she forced her objections past the rock lodged in her aching throat, she knew what would follow. What always followed. Her papá’s rage erupted in a torrent of Italian curses that ended with a slap that knocked her nearly senseless against the foyer wall before he stormed out the apartment.
As she slid down in a heap by the front door, she had caught a glimpse of her mamá in the kitchen, her back turned to her in unspoken submission. Angela huffed. I will never marry and become like you, Mamá—squashed under the thumb of some man who wants only subservience and a crowded apartment full of squalling babies.
 She swallowed back tears. She would not cry—not today. Today she would take the first steps—real steps—toward her dream. And no one, not even the powerful and prominent Giusepe Bellini could stop her.
Their tiny stuffy apartment rumbled—as it always did six times a day and twice each night—from the Third Avenue El Train fifty feet away. The noise of the wheels clacking and the platform rattling mingled with the loud voices of her downstairs neighbors arguing—Mr. Paolino’s tenor to his wife’s shrill soprano. Outside her window, carriages clattered on cobblestones in sharp staccato, and shoppers and merchants carried on in boisterous conversation, sounding no more pacifying than an orchestra tuning their instruments.
On most days Angela could drown out the suffocating symphony of Mulberry Bend by rehearsing violin caprices in her head, imagining her fingers flying over the fingerboard, her right hand bowing the strings, eliciting the sweet and sonorous timbre of her instrument.
But on this stifling, humid September afternoon, the many pieces she’d memorized—no, absorbed into her very soul, as if food that nourished her—flitted away, out of reach, as she pulled down the heavy carpetbag from the hall closet—a bag that she’d found months ago stuffed behind a stack of wool blankets.
She stopped and listened. Her mama was humming in the back room as she folded laundry. Her two younger siblings were off playing with neighborhood children—in the street, no doubt, as the sweltering heat was worse indoors.
Angela’s hands shook as she dabbed her perspiring forehead and neck with a handkerchief and went through her mental list of all she would need on her trip. Not much—she’d only be gone ten, perhaps, twelve days, if all went as planned. She pushed from her thoughts her papá’s impending fury at her insolence and the resulting punishments that would await her upon her return. But she had made her decision, and there was no turning back.
Hurry, she told herself. Her papá had gone downstairs to the corner market, and while he often spent an hour or more on Sunday afternoons smoking cigars with the men of the neighborhood, discussing the politics of her close-knit Italian community and their various business ventures—and arranging their daughters’ marriages, she thought bitterly—he could return at any time.
In her bedroom, she gathered the neat stack of clothes she had put in her bottom dresser drawer, then stuffed them into the traveling bag along with her few womanly items, her prayer book, some sheets of music, and a spare pair of shoes. She checked her reticule and found the roll of bills—the money she’d earned over the last two years from babysitting and teaching music lessons through Signore Bianchi’s instrument shop on Second Avenue. She hoped it would be enough for the quality of violin she planned to buy.
Mr. Fisk hadn’t answered her inquiry regarding pricing in his letter. He merely assured her he would provide her with an exceptional instrument and that they would work out the financial details once she arrived in Greeley, Colorado.
Would her meager savings be enough? It had to be, for she couldn’t return to New York and face the audition committee without a proper instrument.
The director’s words still stung. “You’re a talented musician, Miss Bellini. But you bring shame to your craft by playing on such an inferior violin. Come back when you have an appropriate instrument.” The three committee members had politely frowned when she flustered an apology and hurried to the exit of the symphony hall, pressing down her humiliation and frustration as tears welled in her eyes.
Her papá could well afford to buy her a violin of exceptional quality, and every year at Christmas she begged him to indulge her love of playing with the purchase of a new one, but he only laughed in cool disdain and waved her away. “Give up your foolish dreams, Angela. Your place is in the home, with a husband and children. Not on the stage.” Her papá regarded music appropriate only at holidays and festivals and family gatherings, and only traditional song and instrumentation. He didn’t—couldn’t—understand this dream she nursed. The dream to play in the New York Philharmonic, to play on stage before an audience, to be a part of the creation of ethereal music that filled a great performance hall and moved listeners to tears.
To make matters worse, her older brother, Bartolomeo, sided with their papá, constantly nagging her to “get married already and stop being a burden on the family.” Although he was but two years older, he and Dora had three children. And Dora—and most of Angela’s other girlfriends from her school days, who were also married—gave her constant looks of pity, as if Angela was missing out on life’s greatest joy. But they just didn’t understand.
She had to fan the tiny spark of her dream to keep it alive, to prevent it from being snuffed out by her papá’s stern expectations and society’s demands. And it had nearly been extinguished a month ago, upon her papá’s brash public announcement of her engagement to Pietro—an arrogant youngest son of a successful wine merchant who had no love for music—none whatsoever. She harbored no hope that he would ever understand her passionate need to play the violin, and no doubt he’d forbid her pursuit of her dream.
And then she’d read an article in the Times about one George Fisk, a master violin maker in a newly founded town in the West—a place called Greeley. On a whim she’d written him. Why? She didn’t know. She could purchase a violin in Manhattan—one of sufficient quality. But there was something about the description of this man, Fisk. The way he spoke about the instruments he made. The care and time and love he put into each one. He built his instruments with a passion and love for beauty and music that resonated with her. For, she wanted more than a good violin. She wanted one that spoke to her soul, one made just for her. George Fisk promised he could provide just that. But she had to travel halfway across the continent. Was she willing? he’d asked her.
Yes, she wrote him. Yes, more than willing. Although, she’d never traveled outside of the city, and the thought of venturing into wild country, alone, made her stomach twist. But Fisk had told her not to worry. He would see to her accommodations and show her around his “wonderful little Western town.” And she had to admit—she was ready for an adventure.
She looked around her cramped tiny bedroom situated in a crowded apartment in a busy, noisy city. I’m more than ready for peace and quiet, and to get away from Papá’s mean spirit and violent temper.
What must it be like to stand under a wide-open sky spattered with stars, with no neighbors quarreling or trains rattling or horses’ hooves clacking on stones? Her heart yearned for such open space, for such silence. Silence that longed to be filled with beautiful music. She imagined nature itself performing a symphony of birdsong and coyote howls and water cascading over rocks. Those were some of the images her mind drifted to as she played, and she longed to merge her own musical voice to that of creation, if even just for a day or two.

About the Author

The author of "heart-thumping" Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado's Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George "Dix" Whitman, her love of thirty years. 

The Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in 1876) includes Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, and Colorado Dream (release date 11/15/16) and Wild Horses, Wild Hearts (release date 1/1/17).

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Cover Reveal: Diving In by Kristina Matthews

Inside the Book:

Title: Tracking You
Author: Kelly Moran
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Women's Fiction
Format: Ecopy 

The sweetest revenge . . .
He’s the Swift brother who got left behind, the son abandoned by his father. Now Kyle Swift is a man determined to destroy the whitewater rafting empire built by the half-brothers he never knew, the Swift sons who got the life—and the love—he was denied. Seducing Fisher Jones isn’t part of his revenge, but sharing a bed with the beautiful whitewater instructor is the one bright spot in his otherwise dark plan. That is, if he manages not to fall for the sad-eyed beauty . . .

Fearless when it comes to facing even the most daunting river rapids, Fisher never takes chances with her love life—until the night she gets swept away by a sexy stranger. But when her one-night stand unexpectedly shows up in her whitewater class, Fisher faces her greatest challenge yet: keeping her heart safe from a man determined to put an end to the family business—and the life—she holds dear. . .



Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.

While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member, or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books. She proudly tells her students she writes romance novels that they can read when they’re older.

Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. As a veteran road tripper, amateur renovator, and sports fanatic, she hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors, and someday throw out the first pitch for the San Francisco Giants.

Connect with Kristina: Website|Facebook|Twitter

A Conversation with Suzanne Eglington, author of 'Beckham 101'

Suzanne Eglington is the author of the Kate and Robert Chronicles series. The three-book series follows the unfolding romance of top cop Robert Beckham and the ravishing Kate Quinn. The titles in the series are Inceptions, You and I, and the recently released Beckham 101. A fourth book in the Kate and Robert Chronicles series is forthcoming.

Suzanne currently resides in Central Massachusetts with her family.


About the Book:

BECKHAM 101 is the third installment in the Kate and Robert Chronicles by author Suzanne Eglington. Eglington invites readers into the intimate inner world of the newly wedded duo as they learn to navigate life as a committed couple. Settling down brings new perspectives and people into Kate’s and Robert’s lives, along with the exposure of more of Robert’s mysterious past. For Kate, being married to a top cop means managing both desire and reality.
Following a one-week courtship, Kate submits to her love for Robert, an intense super cop who has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to seize the one women he truly desires. Their quick marriage means frequent amorous entanglements, but it also means that Kate’s knowledge of her new husband’s personal history is limited. Kate must steady herself to cope with the slow unveiling of her husband’s past.
Being the wife of an influential and respected police officer means a change in lifestyle for Kate. Robert is fiercely protective of his wife and enjoys spending as much of his free time with her as possible. Marriage to Robert means Kate has inherited a family of high-performing cops who not only open their hearts for her but also provide protection when ghosts from Robert’s past threaten to harm her.         
In BECKHAM 101, the author introduces new characters into the series, including Robert’s best friend, Jimmy and Kate’s wise and skilled Uncle Jack. As with the two previous books in the Kate and Robert Chronicles, Eglington’s mission is to offer readers a respite from their daily lives. “First and foremost,” Eglington says she wants her readers to feel “I have entertained you with my characters and possibly left a lasting enjoyable impression that fed the passion and intensity of the love between Kate and Robert. Second, that I was able to take you away from your everyday routine to enjoy some downtime with a story you are falling in love with.” Beyond the steamy intimacy and the thread of danger embedded in her stories, Eglington’s books also highlight the lives of cops. “My stories are about the lives cops lead away from the police department. I want readers to think of the men behind the badge and the people who could be in their lives.”
By gradually revealing some elements of Robert’s past in BECKHAM 101, Eglington is priming readers for the fourth book in this sexy and suspense-filled series.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  

 Beckham 101 is the third installment from my six book series of the Kate and Robert Chronicles. This installment serves as a gap filler from the first book Inceptions and the second book titled You and I.. I start it off by resolving the cliff hanger ending from the second book in my series You and I.. then entice you into more of the history of the main characters. This third installment sets my readers up for what I hope hit them from all the subtle clues I have been dropping in the first two books to take on the jaw dropping revelations being reveled in the 4th  installment, She’s got the Jack .
Where did you come up with the idea to write your book? In my living room, with the announcement, that my real life marriage could not be saved. My two main characters hit me square on and I could not stop writing.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers? 

For me, my story could not stop playing in my head. I have all 6 installments written within 1 year time frame. This industry is one of the  most interesting to learn and conquer. It feels like when you finish writing that should be it and everything should just happen and come to you.. This industry is like every other successful career available.. You have to earn your success, you have to prove yourself and be ready for the positive and  negative because everyone has an opinion and they are equally free to express it… believe in yourself.. bottom line.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish? 

My publisher is Xlibris.. I own all my rights.. Don’t make the same mistake I did. I am moving all my books.. Indie I believe is the best avenue as long as you can manage and lead your own destiny. .. so basically as an author’s point… You are going to make your most profit as long as you do your homework 

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published? 

Yes, everything surprised me. Especially all the mistakes I made on the way.. I am mostly a person who learns by my mistakes and to me those mistakes are what made me stronger and more aware of what I needed to branch off and take more control of what I was learning then all these aka, packages, being presented to me… Do your homework..

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published? 

The last three books in the Kate and Robert Chronicle will be out with in the year.. Book 4 She’s got the Jack will be out early December, book 5 by April and the finally will be the best hot summer read 2017.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people? 

The title.. It’s not about David Beckham… but believe me Robert is a close candidate

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book? 

Being the third installment in the Kate and Robert Chronicles I want to make sure the character that are being introduced are mainly to give more insight to who Kate and Robert are in preparation for the shoe dropping 4th installment She’s got the Jack.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?   

Yes and thank you.. I just want to thank my fans who constantly find me through my website, social media, google me and however else you find me.. and comment how much you love my characters and this story as it unfolds… I love your fan mail and all your request for the next book… you really make my day knowing I have entertained you..