Friday, November 29, 2013

Interview with Anthony Crescio, author of Christian fiction 'Just a Little Talk'

Anthony Crescio grew up in the small town of Randolph, Wisconsin.  In the winter of 2009, his best friend lost his life in a tragic car accident as a result of drinking and driving.  Anthony has since been inspired to speak to youth groups in the hopes of preventing other similar accidents from occurring.  He has also started writing books reflecting on his life story and delivering a Christian message of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love.

His latest book is the Christian fiction, Just a Little Talk.

Connect & Socialize with Anthony!


About the Book:

Dominic’s life was drastically changed eight years ago when he was released from prison after serving time for the accident that claimed his best friend’s life and in return destroyed his future.  Traveling through the neighborhood on his way home, rain falls which forces him into a church and an encounter with an old priest who used to know his family.  Together, they relive moments of Dominic’s past which brings up questions about his beliefs in God and Jesus.

Discover how one talk can change a man’s life in Anthony Crescio’s Just a Little Talk.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.

Interview with Anthony Crescio:

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?

My idea to write the book was inspired by a powerful reversion to my faith that took place after experiencing a great tragedy in my life.  After I had this life transforming experience I wanted to share the treasure I had found with others, and I wanted to do this in a creative way that was relatable to all.  The idea for the book’s basic structure is based on a prayer of the Catholic Church known as The Way of the Cross, this prayer provides the outline for the book, although it is never explicitly talked about or mentioned.

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?

Writing a book like this was very natural given that it’s framework follows much of what I was experiencing at the time.  That being said, the difficult part was not injecting too much of my own specific experience but instead trying to create a universal “everyman” that all could identify with or replace in the story with themselves.  My hope was that anyone could pick up this book, and replace the main character of Dominic with themselves, and wanting to keep that possibility open to the reader at times required restraint.  So letting the deep emotion I was feeling come out on the page while keeping the character’s experience general enough that all could identify with provided the main difficulty in my writing.

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

My publisher on this piece is Tate Publishing.  I found them by simply searching for publishers on the internet as I had little to no knowledge of the publishing industry prior to the publishing of this book.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Probably what surprised me the most was how involved of a process publishing a book is.  From editing to getting artwork done for the book, to finalizing everything there was quite a bit to get done.

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?

The feeling was of excitement, no question.  However more than that it was of hope that somehow what I had put down on paper would somehow help somebody somewhere who was struggling in their lives.

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

I have a couple of manuscript rough drafts written.  At the top of my list is a book called The Two Theives, having to do with the story of the thieves who were crucified on either side of Christ.  I hope to be getting that to publishers soon to look at.  I am also working on a book entitled Lessons, which is based on the witnessing of the final days of the life of my grandfather.  So many ideas, so little time to get it all written, but I hope to continue to have the opportunity to share the stories I write with others.

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?

If my book can contribute to making this world a better place it is probably in providing the reader with perspective.  Specifically the perspective that they aren’t the most important thing in the world and that living a self-centered life is a life of misery.  And perhaps more importantly that the obstacles we face in life are opportunities to grow as individuals; to become more loving and more focused on what truly matters in life and to be thankful for what it is that we have instead of focusing on what it is that we don’t have.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
C. S. Lewis wrote that, “Pain is God’s megaphone.”  My book is an exploration of this statement as well as a look into the transformation that can take place when we experience that initial encounter with Christ.  Coming to see the beauty and the hope that is found in a Christ centered life is a joyous occasion, but one that is often only found in the midst of trial and adversity.  It is said that there can be no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday; this message is pervasive throughout the book.  In addition the story lets readers know that no matter what trials they face or what difficulties they are dealing with, that God can use the opportunity for good, and that finding that good begins with an intimate encounter with Christ.

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

In today’s world I think it would be easy for readers to dismiss what I have said here or have written in my book as mere spiritual mumbojumbo that has no place in the “real” world.  My words may be dismissed as inviting people to share some illusion, or as trying to provide people with what Marx called, “the opium of the people.”  However I invite potential readers to set aside any preconceived notions of faith and religion, to ignore the loud voice of today’s culture, and to experience the beauty that is found in an intimate encounter with Jesus Christ and see how powerful that can be.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Take Charge of Your Life by William Glasser, MD Book Blast


9781938908323_COVER.inddTitle: Take Charge of Your Life
Genre: Self help/Personal Transformation
Author: William Glasser, MD
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 255
Language: English 

“A game changer for anyone ready to become the captain of their own ship.” —Dr. Phil McGraw, host of the nationally syndicated series Dr. Phil

 “Take Charge of Your Life urges readers to stop blaming and start accepting responsibility for choices.” —Jeannine Chartier Hanscom, ForeWord Reviews

 Are you seeking a happier and more satisfying life? In Take Charge of Your Life, author Dr. William Glasser explains choice theory—a science of human behavior and principles for regaining and maintaining a life you control—and how it can help you find personal freedom from relationship-destroying external control. Take Charge of Your Life, a revision of his 1984 book Control Theory, explains choice theory using personalized examples and illustrative stories that allow you to learn how to improve your relationships and take charge of your actions. Topics include marital and relationship problems, parenthood, addictions, pain management, and psychosomatic disorders. For each situation, Dr. Glasser ties behavior to the pictures people create in their minds of what they want. He explains how the pictures got there and how people can choose new behaviors to get what they really want. In Take Charge of Your Life, Glasser offers a real model of empowerment. He shows how you can become a part of the equation that adds happiness and connection to the world in which you live now and to the world of future generations.

Purchase your copy:



William Glasser, a world-renowned psychiatrist who employs a nontraditional approach, has written more than twenty books, including Choice Theory and Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage. Glasser is president of the William Glasser Institute and lives with his wife, Carleen, in Los Angeles, California. Visit him online at

Pump Up Your Book and William Glasser are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 and ends November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 2, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

5 Things You Should Know About Your Thyroid Diagnosis by Dr. Steven Hotze, author of Hypothyroidism, Health and Happiness


Have you ever thought to yourself, “I think I might have a thyroid problem. I’m tired all the time, no matter how much I exercise, I can’t seem to lose weight, my hair’s falling out, and overall I just feel blah.” If so, it is essential that you explore the very real possibility that indeed, you do have hypothyroidism. In Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness, Dr. Steven Hotze reveals how commonly hypothyroidism is overlooked, misdiagnosed, and mistreated in women and men, and gives you just the information you need to prepare yourself to obtain help.
Too often, individuals with all the signs of low thyroid are prevented from accessing the simple, inexpensive and effective treatment for hypothyroidism. Instead, they are told their blood work is “normal.” Find out why they owe it to themselves to believe what their bodies are telling them, rather than the results of their blood tests.
Dr. Hotze has been on a mission to get this message into the hands of women and men, particularly those in midlife, for more than 20 years. The answers you will find in this book about the signs, symptoms and treatment of low thyroid conditions are no longer a part of the conventional medical approach to hypothyroidism.
Inside, you will learn:
The historical basis for identifying and treating hypothyroidism Underlying causes of hypothyroidism Clinical signs and symptoms that may mean you have hypothyroidism The little-used thyroid blood test that identifies thyroid disorders in spite of a “normal” TSH Other individuals just like you who are now healthy, well, and thriving Simple at-home test you can do as a starting point towards discovering if you have low thyroid And more Dr. Hotze has a saying, “If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, then you owe it to yourself to take charge of your health and get your life back.” By arming yourself with the information in this book you can take the first step towards restoring your health, transforming your life and improving your world.

Purchase your copy:


5 Things You Should Know About Your Thyroid Diagnosis

1.   Lab results should not be the sole determining factor of your thyroid status. You can be hypothyroid even if your blood work reveals that you are in the “normal range.” The range is very broad and does not reveal your optimal thyroid level. Hypothyroidism should be determined by an evaluation of your symptoms and clinical history.

2.   There are several symptoms and chronic illnesses related to hypothyroidism: loss of energy, fatigue, muscle/join pain, difficulty losing weight, hair loss, dry skin, cold hands and feet, depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, heart disease and many more.  Because the symptoms are so varied, this is one reason why hypothyroidism is commonly misdiagnosed.

3.   You can be hypothyroid and not be overweight. This is a common misconception about hypothyroidism. You do not have to have every hypothyroid symptom to be diagnosed with this illness.

4.   Fibromyalgia is often caused by hypothyroidism and can be safely, effectively and naturally treated. Fibromyalgia is not a diagnosis, rather it is a symptom. The term “fibromyalgia” simply means muscle pain in Latin and there is no clear explanation of the root cause.

5.   Synthetic thyroid drugs, i.e. Synthroid, Levoxyl or Levothroid,  are not optimal treatments for hypothyroidism, because they only contain the inactive form of thyroid (T4). Desiccated thyroid which is natural dried thyroid, often derived from pig glands, is the optimal treatment for hypothyroidism because it contains both the inactive form of thyroid (T4) and the active form of thyroid (T3). 


Steven F. Hotze, M.D., is the founder and CEO of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center, Physician’s Preference and Hotze Pharmacy. His goal is to change the way women and men are treated in midlife through the use of bioidentical hormone therapy. His 8-Point Treatment Regimen has helped thousands of individuals to get on a path of health and wellness and enjoy a better quality of life in an environment of extraordinary hospitality and guest service.
Dr. Hotze is the author of the book, “Hormones, Health, and Happiness”. In it he describes his journey from using pharmaceutical drugs to actively listening to his patients and treating the root cause of their symptoms through natural approaches. “For an acute illness, such as strep throat or a sinus infection, the drug approach may be appropriate. However, few patients with chronic ailments ever really get well by taking drugs. How can they? Chronic illness and disease are not caused by deficiencies of prescription drugs.”
Suzanne Somers dedicated an entire chapter to Dr. Hotze in her New York Times best seller, “Breakthrough”. “This Texan doctor is going to steal your heart,” writes Somers. “He has so much energy he can’t wait to get to his office each day. He has built up a practice that is the envy of doctors everywhere.”
Dr. Hotze has appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows across the nation, including ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates, and CBS’ The Morning Show. He is also a regular guest on the KHOU Channel 11 morning program, Great Day Houston.
Dr. Hotze is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and is former president of the Pan American Allergy Society.
You can listen to Dr. Hotze and his colleagues on his radio program, “Health and Wellness Solutions”, which airs Monday-Thursday on KSEV 700 AM in Houston from 12-1 p.m. CST, or online on this website. – See more at:

Wordless Wednesday

{Book Blast} Map to Happiness by The Reverend Peter K. Stimpson - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


0595480578.qxdTitle: Map to Happiness
Genre: Inspirational/Self-Help
Author: The Reverend Peter K. Stimpson
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 206
Language: English

 What is my purpose? How can I be happy? For thousands of years, people have pondered these big questions, often finding the answers elusive. In Map to Happiness, Peter Stimpson, an Episcopal priest and experienced therapist, doesn't claim to have all the answers. Still, he generously shares a wealth of wisdom he has learned by counseling and ministering to people for more than thirty-five years. Stimpson anchors happiness in a pyramid of principles: insecurity, power, and success. He explains that by understanding everyone is insecure, we can take back our power from others to define our worth and reach for success in lasting values, not things. His message is clear: who you become is more important than what you attain. Stimpson illustrates the power of his trilogy by answering today's ubiquitous questions related to love of yourself, your spouse, your children, and life's challenges of stress, work, illness, anger, and death. Using both spiritual and psychological perspectives, Stimpson frankly discusses how we stray off the path to happiness, but more important, how we can get back on track. If you are confused or lost, open this map and begin your journey. You'll find help sifting through confusing issues with easy-to-understand explanations and ready-to-use solutions.

Purchase your copy:



Peter K. Stimpson is an Episcopal priest and a licensed clinical social worker. He has counseled people from all walks of life since 1972, has written a popular advice column since 1983, and is the director of Trinity Counseling Service in Princeton, New Jersey.

Pump Up Your Book and Peter K. Stimpson are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Amazon Gift Card
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 and ends November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 2, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


{Book Blast} Shared Stories From Daughter's of Alzheimer's by Persis Granger - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

0595297269.qxdTitle:Shared Stories from Daughters of Alzheimer's
Genre: Self-help/Alzheimer's
Author: Persis Granger
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 163
Language: English

Shared Stories from Daughters of Alzheimer's is a support group in print for those escorting a loved one on the Alzheimer's journey. Nine women map the passage of a parent through Alzheimer's disease, describing the evolution of their own emotional responses to the disease and the changes it effects in the patient and in her relationship with family members. The book invites the reader to take a first step in healing from Alzheimer's ripple effect by beginning to journal about the experience.

"Use the stories here as tools to understand your own painful situation. Employ them to help you empower yourself, sort through your emotions and begin to heal. Seize upon that which makes sense to you and disregard that which seems irrelevant. Then, pick up your favorite pen and notebook and 'talk' about what is going on in your journey with Alzheimer's disease. We wish you well." -Persis Granger, Editor, Shared Stories from Daughters of Alzheimer's

"An enthralling, ambitious and much-needed effort...most definitely the sort of work on Alzheimer's that needs to get public notice." -Karla Morales, People's Medical Society.

Purchase your copy:



The eleven contributors to this anthology hail from sites across the United States?Colorado, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont and New York. Each of these women has experienced the loss of a loved one to Alzheimer's disease.

Pump Up Your Book and Persis are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 and ends November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 2, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Soul on Nice by Norm Spitzig Book Feature - Win one of 2 $100 Amazon Gift Cards!

Soul on Nice chronicles the latest and greatest adventures of the Old Bunbury Golf Links & Reading Club's waitress extraordinaire Esther, the highly eccentric but undeniably lovable protagonist of his previous epic works. This time Norm's scintillating tale is truly global in scope, with Esther opening the novel zooming her merry old way to beautiful New Zealand. This titanic clash between good and evil is part playful and evocative travelogue, part staunch conservative manifesto, part clever and poignant mystery, part whimsical exposĂ© of the madcap world of private clubs, and all treasure trove of quirky good cheer. While anyone with a decent sense of humor will surely love Norm's latest story, readers who also understand and appreciate the fascinating world of private golf clubs will be doubly pleased.          


Norm Spitzig is internationally recognized as a successful entrepreneur; a leading business consultant; an eloquent, visionary, humorous, and engaging speaker on a variety of important business and lifestyle topics; and an all-around good egg. His groundbreaking book Perspectives on Club Management—now more than thirty years old—continues to inspire and challenge private club owners, directors, managers, and students around the world. Norm, qua Clive Endive Ogive IV, is also the more recent author of three very funny and insightful books, Private Clubs in America and around the World and Murder and Mayhem at Old Bunbury, both of which are available at, Amazon, many private club golf pro shops, and fine bookstores everywhere. The third, How Now, Norm's Tao, is Norm's autobiography, a book that has been recently hailed as a "powerful and poignant memoir by one of the most accomplished and unique writers to grace contemporary American literature." How Now, Norm's Tao, together with Soul on Nice, is available at and from Amazon and assorted bookstores. Norm’s leadership and professional contributions to the worldwide private club industry have been varied and significant. Elected a national director of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) in 1989, he served as its national president in 1995—the same year he became one of the original six general managers to earn the prestigious lifetime Master Club Manager (MCM) designation. Norm currently serves as a principal & senior partner in Master Club Advisors (, publisher of the premier newsletter for leaders in the worldwide private club industry, Club Management Perspectives, and now regarded by more and more leaders in the global private club industry as the “general manager executive search firm of choice.” Norm’s Board of Directors’ leadership orientations, strategic planning sessions, and inspirational talks have been very well received at national, regional, and local meetings of many professional associations, company retreats, and great individual private clubs on six continents. He has the singular honor of having been twice named the club industry's educator of the year. Norm, who doggedly continues his improbable, and admittedly weird, pursuit of logging one hundred thousand running miles before he ascends to the great private club in the sky, resides in the historic town of Mount Dora, Florida, with his beautiful bride, Cody, and ball-obsessed chocolate Labrador, Lucy.

Visit his website at


Pump Up Your Book and Norm Spitzig are teaming up to give you a chance to win 2 $100 Amazon Gift Cards!

Here's how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn't set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries. This promotion will run from September 2 - November 29. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on November 30, 2013. Each blogger who participates in the Soul on Nice virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)  What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Book Blast} The Silent Immigrants by Boniface C. Nwugwo, PH.D. - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

When Boniface Nwugwo left his hometown in Eastern Nigeria in 1980 to study in America, he had only $4600 to his name for his tuition, his faith in God and an unquenchable thirst to succeed in America. In this revealing, inspiring and compelling memoir, Boniface with uncompromising candor, tells his story of courage, insurmountable struggles, and triumphs that he and many West African immigrants faced before and after coming to America demonstrating that you can reach your dreams if you persevere. From modest beginnings as the son of a teacher in his native Imo State of Nigeria, Boniface Nwugwo overcame poverty to distinguish himself as a brilliant academic and achieve a respectable career in the information technology industry. Through his story and the sample stories of other West African immigrants, America’s promise as land of immigrants with infinite possibilities are rekindled in this self-revealing and self-fulfilling book.

Purchase your copy:



Boniface Chibuzo Nwugwo was born on February 16, 1960 at Alaenyi Ogwa, in the Mbaitoli Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State (part of what was the Eastern Region) of Nigeria. Popularly known as B.C. (as his parents refer to their children by their initials), he is the third of nine children born to Juliana and Christian Onwezi Nwugwo. His father, a retired elementary school headmaster, and his mother, a retired seamstress, live part-time in the United States, and part-time in Nigeria. Boniface attended different elementary schools in Mbaitoli LGA due to the fact that his father as a teacher moved from school to school. He attended Obazu Community Grammar School Mbieri in Mbaitoli LGA of Imo State, graduating in 1978. After graduation from secondary school he spent 18 months working for First Bank of Nigeria while waiting to gain admission into a university. After almost two years of waiting, he travelled to America to pursue his post-secondary education even though he did not have all the resources required to make such a trip. From the second month of his freshman year at the State University of New York at Brockport, he started working for the school’s Shipping & Receiving Department until his graduation. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 1984, with a B.S. in Computer Science. He found a job in Rochester New York and continued to pursue higher learning while working full-time, earning a Master of Public Administration in information management systems from State University of New York at Brockport in 1987, and a Master of Science in software development & management from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989. In 1995 he relocated with his wife to the Washington DC area. He continued to work and go to school until 2003 when he completed a PhD program in information technology management from Capella University, Minneapolis/St Paul Minnesota. Boniface and his wife and their four children live in Maryland. Boniface now runs an Information Technology Consulting business he founded in 2005. Boniface is also IEEE Senior member and member of the IEEE Computer Society and Past Chair of the IEEE Computer Society, Baltimore Chapter. He lives in Maryland with his wife Francisca and their four children – Brian, Allen, Jaine and Denzel.  

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 - November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Saturday November 30, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


{Book Blast} The Red Qipao by Ayo Oum Shanti - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Title: The Red Qipao
Genre: Historical Mystery/Suspense
Author: Ayo Shanti
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 343
Language: English

All the stories that filled my childhood, even the ones about my beloved Lemminkainen, were overshadowed by my growing obsession with the mystery surrounding Mother. And at the heart of her mystery was a red silk dress. 

At the end of World War II, five-year-old Carlotta "Carrie" Saari, who was boarded out during the war, reunites with her family. She and her older sister Beth are soon bonded by their love of stories, Finnish mythology, the different characters that fill their lives, and their need to solve the mystery that surrounds their mother. They secretly discover a red Chinese dress (qipao) in their attic. Soon Beth's awakening sexuality creates an undercurrent of tension with their mother, suddenly exploding when Beth appears in the red dress. The sisters' world then shatters when their mother mysteriously disappears.

Beth goes on to live a nomadic life, intermittently visiting Carrie, who becomes disturbed by Beth's blatant approach to sex. Their mother's red dress, which Beth had taken, appears from time to time throughout Carrie's life. While Carrie moves through the turbulence of the twentieth century, her quest to uncover the mystery of the red dress and her mother's disappearance takes her back to the Shanghai of the 1920's, on a journey to self-discovery and the healing power of love.

Purchase your copy:



Ayo Oum Shanti was deeply influenced by her Finnish father and the China experience of her maternal grandmother. Poet, writer, dancer, world traveler, Ms. Shanti has a special interest in spiritual practices and indigenous cultures. She lives in New York City.

Pump Up Your Book and Ayo Shanti are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 and ends November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 2, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Monday, November 25, 2013

How Many Books Do I Need to Sell to Become Kindle Bestseller?

I've watched this before but just in case you haven't, this is an excellent video by Marnie Pehrson who explains how to know how many books you need to sell to become a Kindle bestseller.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Writers Helping Writers

I just came upon this site that has a plethora of writing information that I would like to share with you.  It's called Writers Helping Writers and is run by Angela Ackerman.  Angela has really done her homework to save you, the author or author to be, a lot of time searching for this stuff.

Under their Writing Tools page, you'll find ways to:
  • Visualize your character’s flaws & associated behaviors
  • Organize and group your character’s positive attributes by category
  • Dig deep into who your character is by exploring his backstory & personality (love this one...I've seen other character profile sheets before but this one is way better)
  • Transform all those generic, boring verbs into power verbs (I especially loved this one)
  • How to get rid of those pesky overused words
  • How to get the most out of Facebook
  • How to get the most out of blogging
  • How to get the most out of Twitter
And her writers resource page was fantastic.

Don't finish your book until you read over the wonderful writing tips that Writers Helping Writers gives you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Interview with John Kerastas, author of 'Chief Complain, Brain Tumor'

JOHN KERASTAS has worked at a global advertising agency, at several technology start-up companies and as a free-lance writer. Now, in addition to non-profit work, he spends his time blogging (, speaking and writing about brain health, brain tumors and rehab.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing in high school and loved it. While my creative writing teacher didn’t quite know what to make of me and my sardonic sense of humor, I continued to write. Luckily I found out that the school newspaper, to my great surprise, would print anything and everything I wrote.

When did you first know you could be a writer?
My “aha” moment was the moment when accepted a piece I wrote on developing solar power projects in Ontario, Canada. Against all odds, this reputable, solid, business-first website published my sardonic and absurd view of dealing with provincial regulations. The best part was that some readers never understood the satire and posted comments thinking it was a serious recommendation.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
Bill Bryson and Carl Hiaasen are two writers I particularly admire and would love to be mentioned in the same breath as either of them, e.g. “That Kerastas, he’s no Bill Bryson!” Or it could be “Kerastas, he’s another Hiaasen wannabe.” I’d even love somebody to write, “Kerastas?! He’s a poor-man’s Bill Bryson.”
How did you come up with the title of the book?
My title, “Chief Complaint: Brain Tumor”, was the subject line in the memo from my neurosurgeon to my general practitioner. I did have a brain tumor, but the memo made it sound like I knew I had a brain tumor and that it was just one of several complaints, i.e. “I have a sprained ankle, a sore back and can you do something about this brain tumor?” As I wrote in my book, “I want the record to show that I didn’t even know that I had a brain tumor.”
Are there any current books that have grasped your interest?
While it may not be “current”, I love Rhoda Janzen’s latest book entitled “Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?” She tackles the thorny and knotty issues surrounding religion, romance, and Mennonites during the course of a survivor story. And she does it with wit, dignity and insight.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The first problem was remembering all the crazy things I did and said during my hospital stays and rehab (I was on heavy meds). The second problem was getting the courage to admit to all the crazy things I did and said. I mean, really, who wants to admit that they.
Did you learn anything while writing your book? If so, what was it?
If I ever go through another serious illness, I’m going to start journaling every day. Trying to remember which smart aleck remark I made to who was exhausting (I made a lot of them).
Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative, you can talk about your first job, something that inspires you, anything fun that might grab the readers attention.
I know everybody has a unique talent that others secretly envy. I can swallow pills without a glass of water. (I honed that skill during my multiple hospital stays and the hundreds of pills I swallowed.
Tell us a little bit about the cover art. Who designed it? What made you choose that particular image/artwork?
The artwork was created by the wonderfully talented folks at Gerard Design. I love the cover because it visually captures both the terror I experienced and the gallows humor I used to avoid thinking about the severity of my brain tumor. (You probably don’t want to know that the “flipping-my-lid” visual is close to being factually accurate … or actually factual, whichever makes the most grammatical sense.)


At 57 years old, John Kerastas thought he was the poster child for fifty-year old healthiness: he competed in triathlons, rode in 100 mile biking events and ate a healthy diet chock full of organic vegetables. Then he discovered that he had a brain tumor the size of his wife's fist. His memoir chronicles the first year he spent addressing tumor-related health issues: preparing for his first operation, discovering a dangerous skull infection, having the infected portion of his skull surgically removed, learning about his substantial vision and cognitive losses, undergoing rehab and radiation treatments, and learning to live with his "new normal." According to Kerastas, the phrase "new normal" is the medical community's code words for "You're alive, so quit complaining." As his health changed, so did his sense of humor. He writes that his humor started out superficially light-hearted prior to the first operation; transmogrified into gallows humor after several subsequent operations; and leveled out as somewhat wry-ish after radiation and rehab. This is a surprisingly upbeat and inspiring book for anybody interested in memoirs about people dealing with personal crises, for patients trudging through rehab, for caretakers helping victims of serious illnesses, or for anybody looking for an unexpected chuckle from an unlikely subject. JOHN KERASTAS has worked at a global advertising agency, at several technology start-up companies and as a free-lance writer. Now, in addition to non-profit and charitable work, he spends his time blogging, speaking and writing about brain health, brain tumors and rehab.

You can follow his blog or view his presentations schedule at

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Interview with Ellen Castro, Author of ‘Spirited Leadership’

EllenCastro_color_2509My guest is best-selling author, inspirational speaker, coach and global consultant Ellen Castro. Ellen’s clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to non-profits to schools and individuals. She has touched millions via keynotes and media appearances. She earned her MEd from Harvard and MBA from Southern Methodist University where she served on the faculty of the Edwin L. Cox Business Leadership Center for more than 15 years. Her first corporate experience was leading a $90 million profit center of 500 employees for Exxon in the 1970s, where she was the highest-ranking female in Marketing, with five promotions in just 11 years. Today she’s spreading the word about her latest nonfiction work, Spirited Leadership…52 Ways to Build Trust.
Welcome, Ellen! Tell us what got you into coaching.
Thank you! ! Delighted for the opportunity. I started coaching officially in the 1980s when I worked for this amazing start-up after earning my MEd from Harvard. As director of organizational and management development, I traveled throughout the US coaching the leaders of 30+ HMOs to create cultures of trust, teamwork and excellence in an industry that was facing many challenges.
Unofficially, I’ve been a coach since college. I was a sophomore advisor and resident assistant as well as actively involved in many leadership/mentoring organizations. Then at Exxon, as a leader of a $90 million profit center with 500 employees, I coached my team to greatness and success. In fact, we won several awards!
I love helping and encouraging others and giving feedback in a way that it can be heard – without crushing the human spirit.
What compelled you to write Spirited Leadership… 52 Ways to Build Trust?
I was compelled based on my experience at Exxon. I battered my head on the glass ceiling at Exxon in the mid-1980s while scrambling up the corporate ladder. One fateful, dreary day in Houston, my boss, Ray, called me into his corner office. As Ray doodled, he informed me he was blocking my sixth promotion in 11 years. Stunned and dumbfounded, I asked why. He simply stated he did not like me or my jewelry. The world I knew imploded. I quit during a massive reorganization a few months later. Within a year — call it luck, synchronicity or grace — I was attending Harvard University to earn my second Master’s. The devastating, demoralizing, humiliating experience of losing my spirit and soul at work became my launching pad to living a life of excellence, my rewarding career and enjoying a fulfilling life.
What I considered punishment was simply preparation.
3749999_orig I want others to be equipped to embrace inevitable obstacles and use them as breakthroughs, not breakdowns. The 52 Ways provide a personal power leadership workout and concise resource for success regardless of external forces.
We are our choices. We can live an amazing life of excellence, self-expression and success in all its many forms by harnessing our personal power.
What does it mean to live courageously and fearlessly and how can we achieve it?
Living courageously to me is living our lives, not the lives that others or the life society says we should live. Living our lives from the inside out based on values, respect, trust and love. Each of us was made on purpose for a purpose, of that I am sure. Each of us is given unique talents, skills, attitudes and aptitudes that are meant to change the world for the better.
Unfortunately, most of us are living in a state of fear and stress, I know I was —  I still have my moments. In the past, I was driven by external validation, approval, acceptance and society’s definition of success. Externals can change in a heartbeat.
By grace, faith and better choices, I am now living from the truth within. I am loved, accepted and far more powerful than I imagine. I am made in the image of God. WOW! The 52 Ways provide the blueprint and toolkit to live courageously and fearlessly, to do what is right and fulfill our unique divine purpose.
Trust is the key. Trust for oneself, trust that life is for you and trust that you can be all that you were created to be with better choices. Every choice counts.
The book facilitates the readers’ feeling comfortable in their own skin thus gaining increased confidence to live boldly.
How does your book help people release their energy and creativity?
It is amazing how much energy and creativity I have freed up by living from the inside out. By trusting myself and trusting that life is for me, I can trust others and bring out the best in them.
When you live from your passion and purpose, there is no competition. You liberate your greatness and allow others to live from their potential instead of living from fear, doubt and survival. We all have greatness. We were meant for greatness!
The 52 ways allow the readers to harness their personal power, gain leadership muscle and emotional stamina – they did for me – to live from their greatness, not their self-imposed limitations
My life went from tragic to magic, from surviving to thriving. I learned the hard way and have enough gray hairs for all of us. These are my learnings I am delighted to share to make others’ lives easier, brighter and lighter!
Executives and leaders worldwide have used your book to create cultures of trust, sensational teamwork, innovation and excellence. Can you tell us how your book has helped them achieve this?
This book increases the executives’ and leaders’ awareness and provides them the tools to build and develop their leadership skills, abilities, emotional intelligence and people smarts. Did you know that emotional intelligence is up to 90% of the differential between leaders and managers according to Dr. Daniel Goleman – the leading expert in the field?
Spirited Leadership takes emotional intelligence and makes it practical by providing a concise description of the behavior, characteristic, attitude and/or action followed by insightful questions, practical exercises and success applications.
Many leaders use it as their go-to reference guide to solving immediate problems and challenges. Some managers and leaders have chosen to use it as a weekly team activity to create stronger bonds of trust and collaboration while building the capacity of the team members. Others use it as a coaching and mentoring guide.
Leaders have told me that it has made them very conscious of the impact they have on setting the culture. Culture beats strategy every time. They become conscious that everything communicates. There are no neutral actions. Everything they do either builds trust and increases their credibility or destroys it. Everything they do either unleashes potential and builds healthy self-esteem and confidence in themselves, others and the future or destroys it.
I could go on and on! I’ve seen the success my clients have had – it is inspiring and motivating!
Who is your target audience?
Anyone who wants the competitive edge in today’s stressful, non-traditional and intense times, where competence alone has ceased to be enough to succeed in business or in life.
The initial target audience in 1998 with the first edition was executives, leaders and managers in the workplace. Over the last 15 years the audience has expanded. It now includes people who are aspiring to those levels as well as influencers and professionals wanting better, quicker and enhanced results. Individuals entering the workplace are using it as an invaluable resource for assimilating into the workplace. Students are using it as their leadership primer and self-confidence igniter. Entrepreneurs are using the 52 Ways as a blueprint for building their brand value. Community volunteers and parents give it rave reviews for building better relationships in the community and at home. Associations such as Project Management Institute (PMI) and non-profits such as the Komen Foundation are buying it to uplift and educate their members.
Regardless of position, title, sector or industry, this concise book is relevant.
You remain active in the Hispanic community and co-authored Tortilla Soup for the Spirit. Tell us about this.
You are right, I do remain active in the Hispanic community — it is very important to me.
Tortilla Soup was a delight and honor to co-author. The heart-warming book is a delicious collection of works by Latinas and Latinos from across the country.  The compilation reflects the many aspects of our heritage and culture, including our deep faith and love for life.
What important message you hope readers will get from your book?
We are our choices.
Every choice counts.
You are always on stage.
You are far more powerful than you imagine.
Live greater with trust!
Any last words you’d like to share with my readers?
Redefine failure.
Life is for you — promise.
You are meant for greatness!
Live empowered and energized.
Be a spirited leader!
Blessings and thanks!
Thank you, Ellen!
My interview was originally published in Blogcritics.

A Manual for the Modern Mystic by Rio Olesky Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: A Manual for the Modern Mystic
Genre: Spirituality/New Age
Author: Rio Olesky
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 360
Language: English

The modern mystic—the contemporary spiritual seeker—is always looking for ways to enhance and expand his or her consciousness. Using quotes from spiritual masters as well as personal stories and anecdotes, A Manual for the Modern Mystic shares practical, easily attainable tools that promote spiritual growth through consciousness development.

Rio Olesky, a professional astrologer and spiritual practitioner, offers a thoughtful guide through the mystical thought of several major spiritual traditions while exploring the ultimate goal of the mystical pursuit—the meaning of life. As he defines and discusses twelve universal laws—each reflective of a sign of the zodiac—he helps lead you to discovering a deep personal connection to the Divine while avoiding self-undermining behaviors that limit spiritual growth. Through Olesky’s explanation of universal laws, mystics will learn more about their connection to the physical plane, fascinating social behaviors, and the complexities of family dynamics.

Development of consciousness is perhaps the ultimate purpose and prime reason that life exists. A Manual for the Modern Mystic helps contemporary spiritual seekers tune in to a rich, intuitive awareness of the world around them that ultimately leads to peace of mind and happiness.

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Rio Olesky earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree from San Francisco State University. He has been an astrologer since 1976 and a teacher of astrology for several years. The author of Astrology and Consciousness and The Astroreader, Rio lives in Northern California.

Pump Up Your Book and Rio Olesky are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 and ends November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 2, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Soul Prints by Norman Hines Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!



9781475936575_COVER_V3.indd Title: Soul Prints Genre: Mystical Author: Norman Hines Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 148 Language: English Set within the backdrop of a mystical battle between good and evil, the lives of two young people unknowingly struggle to complete their soul prints on earth. The local high school has taken on the onerous task of mounting the musical MAN OF LA MANCHA. Infiltrating the lives of the members of the production is a force that threatens to exert a mind boggling influence on the cast. Nuri Lemuel, a girl with a sweet soprano voice, and chosen to play Aldonza, the tragic lead of the play, has always longed to touch the heart of her unavailable father. Nathaniel is a fellow student with whom she is ill-fated for involvement. Unknown to her, he is a lost soul from the world beyond. So much of his life and memory is an unsolved mystery. Their efforts to fulfill the demanding reason for existence take them into a fearful world of the unknown. Soul Prints is a poetic tale of grief, enlightenment and an underlying hope for peace.

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Norman Hines is a graduate of Acadia University and the Nova Scotia Teacher’s College and has worked as a high school counselor and director of school and community theatre. Norman is one of the founders of the NOSCO Academy of Theatre Arts and is the recipient of awards for his work with children and community service. He currently lives in Truro, Nova Scotia.

Pump Up Your Book and Norman Hines are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Amazon Gift Card
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 and ends November 22.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, November 25, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


AuthorVid with Mark Grant, author of children's book 'Lila: The Sign of the Elven Queen'


 Mark J. Grant, a graduate of Occidental College, has been on Wall Street for thirty-seven years in various senior management positions. He has run capital markets for four investment banks and been on the boards of directors of four investment banks. Grant also writes “Out of the Box,” a commentary on the financial markets that is distributed daily to approximately 5,000 large money management institutions in forty-eight countries. He is the author of Out of the Box and onto Wall Street: Unorthodox Insights on Investments and the Economy (Wiley, 2011). LILA: THE SIGN OF THE ELVEN QUEEN is his first novel.
Visit his website at
Connect & Socialize with Mark!


Lila is a polite six-year-old girl who lives with her mama and papa in New York City. She has two cats, and would now like to have a dog–except dogs are not allowed in her apartment building. After thinking about it for awhile, Lila asks her parents if she can have an invisible dog. Her parents agree, and together they decide to name the dog Fluffy. On their way to the pet store to buy invisible supplies for the invisible dog, a black and white Aussie appears from around the corner and introduces himself to Lila, saying, “My name is Fluffy.”
In a series of fun adventures that follow, Fluffy introduces Lila and her family to the invisible people of Iceland, who live inside the boulders of Central Park and the cornerstones of New York City buildings. One day, the invisible people discover that the birthmark on Lila’s left forearm is the sign of their Elven Queen, and just as she turns seven, Lila is made a princess. Can anything be better than that?

Purchase your copy at AMAZON