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Dystopian Giveaway Hop! (USA/CAN)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
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What can you win?  Your choice from this list!

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)

Matched (Matched, #1)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune by Craig R. Everett

Toby Gold is a seventh grader in Wallingford, Connecticut who has always known that he is good with money – but has no idea how good until he discovers a dangerous hidden society of money and intrigue that co-exists with the everyday world we all know.

Toby stumbles upon this dark financial world one day when he discovers secret messages encrypted into the stock ticker “crawl” that moves along the bottom of the screen on the financial news channel.

Toby’s shock only grows worse when he realizes that the secret messages are directed to him! His unique abilities with math and money have been noticed by the wrong people, and Toby is quickly sucked into a high-stakes life or death financial conspiracy that he is only able to resolve by using his amazing talent with money.

Goodreads Summary

Want to learn about finance and be entertained at the same time? Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune is able to provide the reader with basic financial literacy and entice the reader into a fantasy world. The book jumps right into action with a killer in the very first pages. Fast-forwarding years, the reader meets the older Toby. Most readers will find it hard to dislike Toby at all; he has had a very rough time in his short life and the foster family he is currently placed with can be abusive. His love for math starts getting him in trouble… people want to use his mind for wrong reasons, and Toby ends up with life or death situations.

I found this book to be fascinating! Personally, I stink at math and don’t read or watch the stock market, so I thought this book would be hard to understand for me. It’s aimed for children 9-15, so I figured it really couldn’t be THAT confusing. I was completely right, everything was explained in fine detail and I learned so much from it. You definitely read life lessons, which is surprising to me. I think a nine year old will somewhat get an understanding of what the author is portraying, but will not fully grasp the concept. It’s one of those books where the older you are the more you appreciate it.

The characters were also entertaining to read. None of them fell flat, I really felt every emotion they were feeling. I related to them, which sometimes doesn’t happen in a story for 9-15 year olds. Being in Toby's shoes is heartbreaking, and you just want to hug him.

The book also moved at a nice pace, so nothing was too slow or fast. Everett made room for a sequel or trilogy, which I’m very excited about. I recommend this to anyone… it really doesn’t matter what age you are, you’ll learn something from it.

5 Stars

*Reviewed by Rachel*

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Author Interview – Laura Lee

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Fiction / LGBT

Rating – PG13

More details about the book

Connect with Laura Lee on GoodReads & Twitter


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? I would be interested to go back in time and see what the historical Jesus was actually like. I think that would be quite illuminating.  It would be useful if the machine also gave me a working knowledge of Aramaic and a quick course in cultural taboos so I wouldn’t find myself getting stoned by an angry mob.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. It is probably not what you expect when you hear its subject.  It is worth giving it a look to see what it is.

What inspired you to want to become a writer? My father was a writer and he was of the opinion that I was a born writer.  I did not share that point of view.  I wanted to be a rock star or an actress.  As it happens I have no talent for acting and I hate being in the spotlight. It was as though I had never met myself.  I read an article in a psychological magazine recently that says that a skill for writing is an inherited trait.  Little by little it became clear that this was something not everyone can do and that my still for writing was out of proportion to my skill for other things.  Like water running into a groove in the dirt.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. I was first published in 1999, so since my first book was published I’ve had many rewarding experiences.  Most of them do not have to do with writing.  Being on tour with a Russian ballet company was probably the most rewarding experience.  Also working as a volunteer at The Guthrie Center in Massachusetts and getting to know some great people.  Touring with my partner, a Russian ballet dancer, and meeting people all over the country is rewarding.  Writing in flow is always worthwhile, and stumbling on the spark of inspiration that made my novel click after ten years working on it was the most rewarding part of the process.  The writing was a better experience than the publishing process.  The best experience connected to my novel Angel being out in the world was having the opportunity to join in a book club discussion about it.  People assume that you get a lot of feedback as a writer, but you really don’t.  You put out a book and you never really know who reads it and how they react to it. You tend to long for interaction with readers, at least I do.  I love my characters, and they seem more alive when other people react to them.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be? The thing about great novels is that they are full of drama and conflict, so I’m not sure I would want to live in the worlds of any of my favorite novels.  I would prefer to live in a collection of poetry.

What is your dream cast for your book? I told an interviewer once that I would like Michael Emerson who played Ben on Lost to be the protagonist Paul.  I admire him as an actor, although he is a bit older than the character.  But he has that “everyman” quality with a certain emotional intensity.  I could see him doing a good job with it. Ian, the second main character, would be played by the British actor Lee Williams as he looked in the film The Wolves of Kromer.  He is older than the character now.  Whoever played Ian in a movie version would have to be physically beautiful.  I have a much clearer idea of his “look” than I have of Paul’s.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? As a kid I loved “If I Ran the Circus” by Dr. Seuss.  I also loved Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? I listened to Calling All Angels by Train over and over when I was writing Angel.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Don’t do it!  Run, quickly, the other way!  Get out now while you still can!  If you fail to heed my sensible advice, you will most likely find your own way through the crazy world that is publishing.  I started a long time ago, with agents and traditional publishers, and the landscape is so different now I am still trying to figure it all out myself.  If I had any idea of what works I would tell you.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I liked living in the Berkshires.  I miss it sometimes.  The most beautiful city in which I have lived was Edinburgh, Scotland.  I miss it sometimes too.  I like the culture and pace of life in the UK.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? When I was about three, I told my parents I wanted to be “an astronaut or a babysitter.”I wanted to be an actress when I was a kid.  I even majored in theater in college.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? Heidi Klum because then people would think I looked like a Barbie doll.  The movie of my life would involve a lot of sitting and staring at computer screens.  It would be interesting to have it done by some avante garde director who does crazy art films.

Who are your favorite authors of all time? William Shakespeare, Milan Kundera, G.K. Chesteron, Douglas Adams, Rumi, Alain de Botton

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? The protagonist of my novel, Paul, is an introvert who is in a job that requires a certain extroversion.  Being a writer has elements of that.  What you are most suited for is being alone in a room, reading and writing things down.  But there is also a promotional aspect to being a writer that kicks in.  As a minister, you may have great insight, but if you are not able to get up and connect in the pulpit, it doesn’t matter.  So the introverted aspects of Paul are more like me.  I tended to think of him as like me and Ian as different, because he is an extrovert but when I started to work on a sequel to Angel from Ian’s perspective I decided to do a Myers-Briggs type test answering as Ian.  It turns out that his personality letters with the exception of the I/E scale (introversion/extroversion) are exactly like mine.  Paul’s came out quite different.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had? I wrote in my journal that I wanted to start a novel with the world “meanwhile.”

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? My father told me “Never, but never, underestimate publishers’ ability to delay payment.”

Hidden talent? I can juggle three balls.  I used to be able to make balloon animals, but I’ve forgotten how.  It is a hold over skill from my short career as a professional mime at Dorney Park in Allentown.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? When I got the advance for my forthcoming non-fiction book I ordered a copy of the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary on CD-ROM.  It’s not a read through in one sitting type of book, but I’m really excited to have that reference.  I’ve become a bit of an amateur Bible scholar since writing Angel.

How do you react to a bad review? I haven’t come across too many bad reviews of Angel that bothered me.  When I person gives two stars to it, it is just a measure of how she related to the book.  The negative reviews I’ve gotten have tended to fall into the category of people having different expectations.  They picked the book up because they were in the mood for a traditional romance novel and they found my book to be different than what they wanted.  Sometimes they get upset with me because they want the characters to do something different.  In those cases, I take it as a compliment because they are invested enough in the characters to get mad at me.

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy? A new car.  Mine has 222,000 miles on it.

Which authors have influenced you most and how? The most direct literary influence I had was my father, Albert Lee.  I was not formally trained in writing.  I was apprenticed.

What do you do in your free time?  My vocation and my avocation are the same.  So I don’t differentiate between my free time and my work time.  I don’t have a lot of hobbies.  I get uncomfortable when I am not producing writing.

How did you celebrate the release of your first book? Actually, I threw a book release party and nobody showed up!  I haven’t tried that since.

What is your guilty pleasure? I am a fan of Project Runway.  I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel guilty about it though.  I tend to think you should like what you like.  I like those little pizza roll things too.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is…. The DaVinci Code or Harry Potter.  Then I would have the money to devote myself to writing the other things on my “to write” list.  Of course, I might end up with a very confused audience.

Favorite places to travel? I’m on tour half the year with my ballet project.  I like that lifestyle.  We have especially liked West Virginia, South Carolina, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Duluth, Minnesota.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? Kundera seems like he’d be kind of grumpy and opinionated.  Douglas Adams is, alas, no longer with us.  I know!  How about Stephen Fry.  That would be cool.

What do you hope readers will take away from your most recent book, Angel? I am hoping that it is a book that is read quickly, but that stays with the reader.  I would like to hear a reader say, “You know, I kept thinking about this one thing in the book.”  I would love it if they close the book and feel little lonely because they know they are going to miss the characters.

 Did you find, as you were writing, that you drew upon any of your own life experiences or based any of the characters on people you know? There are some individual episodes in the book that come from experience.  For example, there is a moment early on when the character of Ian talks about growing up with a mother who had very strong, very conservative religious beliefs.  I don’t know if “conservative” is quite the right word.  She was a supernaturalist and believed literally in angels and devils fighting for men’s souls.  Ian tells a story about a neighbor giving them a couch and then later discovering that the neighbor had a Ouija board in her house and so they took the couch off to the dump in case the devil was in it.  I did have a friend growing up who told me a similar anecdote from life, and it stuck with me.  The idea of the devil taking up residence in the couch stuck with me.  So there were little things like that throughout.  Basically writing this book was like taking all of my life experience and putting it into a food processor and then seeing what came out.

Was there anything that you learned by writing from the perspective of a gay man? I talked about this on my blog recently.  I can’t say that I learned anything about what it is like to be a gay man.  But when the book was going to come out, people would ask me what it was about.  It is about a Christian minister falling in love with another man.  It never occurred to me not to write on this topic or to keep it under wraps.  Yet when people asked me the subject, there was a moment when I would size them up and try to decide if they were going to react badly to the idea.  If it was someone I worked with in my other career, would my answer potentially have any effect on that relationship?  As a straight person, I hadn’t really faced that before. Before I wrote the book, I had the luxury of holding but not voicing my opinion about gay rights when it was not convenient, of keeping quiet and letting people assume I agreed with whatever they believed.  Like most luxuries, it came at a high price: fear and inauthenticity.  So I am glad that I cannot hide in that particular closet any more.  It has spilled over into my life in other ways.  I’m less likely to worry about making everyone happy with what I think.  I have more confidence to just write what I’m called to write and hope that it resonates with at least some people.  I realized that people generally accept you as you are.  My conservative Christian friends have not said, “I can’t be your friend any more.”

Your central character is a Christian minister, what kind of research did you do to get the details of a minister’s vocation right? For the day-to-day reality of working in a church I didn’t need to do any research because I worked in a church for a number of years so I know a lot about the kinds of things that happen in the office.  The only real research I did was to look up some statements on sexual orientation from some mainstream denominations to be sure that I was depicting that correctly.  Since I wrote it, churches like the Presbyterians have changed their positions.  There is a great deal of social change happening in this area.  The language I ended up using was taken from the United Methodist Church although I didn’t want to identify Paul’s church as Methodist.  I didn’t want to get that specific, because it is not really a political statement about one religion or another.  Paul’s church is a mainstream protestant denomination.  Not Evangelical.  The kind of church that is trying to take a neutral position on the issue of gay rights.  Trying to welcome LGBT members while at the same time not allowing same sex marriage or the ordination of gay clergy. I also view his denomination as one that allows a pastor to stay as long as his church community still wants him to be there.  Some denominations assign pastors for a certain length of time.

Have you heard from any gay Christian readers and how have they reacted to the book? I have met some, yes.  The ones I have spoken to were positive on the book.  I have met people who have had the experience of being fired from positions with churches for their sexual orientation.  I’m sorry that art imitates life in that way.

The book is full of mountain imagery.  What is the meaning of the mountain and the nature imagery in Angel? For me, as a writer, it is helpful to have some kind of imagery and a central question to explore.  When I write fiction, I often start with some image.  I keep that in the back of my mind and when I get stuck, I do a couple of things.  The first is that I ask myself, “What am I missing here?”  And then I go away and let my subconscious work on that question.  The other is that I go back to my central image and I do a completely unrelated bit of writing.  How is this situation like the mountain?  I often find myself coming back to the characters and the drama at hand very quickly.  The stuff that I wrote about the mountain, or whatever image it is, tends to be cut out, but there are echoes of it in the end result.

How have Christian readers reacted to your book? I would love to hear from more Christian readers and see more reviews by people who identify as Christian.  The ones I have heard from had good things to say about the book.  For the most part they have been from the more liberal end of the Christian spectrum.  There are a lot of Christians out there who support gay rights because of their faith, not in spite of it.  Some of my friends are more middle of the road or conservative Christian and they have read the book because they know me.  They probably wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise, but some of them have said, “I didn’t know what I would think about this but I really liked it.”  I also know Christians who have a problem with the idea and would probably not like the book.  So Christians are not a monolith, in spite of what the pundits might have you think.

Healing Notes Book Feature and Giveaway!

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Forgiving yourself is the first step, but helping others forgive may be just too hard.

Rachel Cullen grew up in Scotland with a fiddle in her hand from the age of four. She couldn't imagine life as anything but a musician. When her husband brought her to America she was immediately embraced by the Celtic and Bluegrass communities. But after her divorce, Rachel's life is a mess.

A year of trying to prove to herself that she's woman enough for any man, and then a vicious rape while on tour with the band, leaves Rachel reeling. When she meets Noel Kershaw, an English teacher who is poetry in motion, she is definitely attracted. But he has a young child and he's suffering from his own divorce. The last thing Rachel needs in life is more baggage.

First, Rachel must reconcile who she is, what she wants, and how to get there. Maybe then she'll know how to be a part of the family she's always wanted.


As she reached for the handle, the door opened and a little girl rushed out, maybe six or seven years old, with beautiful long blond hair caught up in a blue denim bow.  She ran to a light blue sedan next to Rachel’s and giggled as she skipped through puddles circling the car. Rachel couldn’t help but smile at the child’s carefree innocence.

After three circles, the girl stopped at the back end of the car, cocked her head and waved two fingers at her. “Hi.”

“Um, hi.” Rachel raised her hand and waved back. “Did you forget somebody? Your mommy maybe?” 

“Claire, I told you to stay close.”

At the sound of the tenor voice beside her, Rachel started.  A man three to four inches taller than her had stepped out. In one hand he held several colorful ribbons attached to a bright pink, heart-shaped helium balloon that read Happy Birthday. He looked toward the car where the child was still giggling. 

The little girl raced back. Skidding to a stop in front of Rachel, they bumped and Rachel teetered slightly toward the wall.

“Careful there.” A weathered hand reached toward her and wrapped around her elbow. His touch was softer than she expected, but her knees still locked, ready to spring if she needed to move fast. He held her up with one hand. Deep brown eyes, emphasized by his full head of short, wavy blonde hair, looked at her then turned toward the girl.”

“Apologize, Claire. You almost knocked her over.” 

“I’m sorry.” A small hand lifted to touch her other arm.

“That’s okay. Really.  I should have been paying more attention.” Rachel smiled and pointed to the balloon. “Latha breith.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, I…” She had lapsed into Gaelic.  Something she hadn’t done in public since Kavan left her almost three years ago. “I said ‘Happy Birthday.’”  

Author Bio:

Maggie Jaimeson writes romantic women’s fiction and romantic suspense with a near future twist. She describes herself as a wife, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher and an IT administrator. By day she is “geek girl” – helping colleges to keep up with 21st century technology and provide distance learning options for students in rural areas. By night Maggie turns her thoughts to worlds she can control – worlds where bad guys get their comeuppance, women triumph over tragedy, and love can conquer all.

HEALING NOTES is the second book in the Sweetwater Canyon Series of four books.  The final two books will be available in 2013.

Twitter: @maggiejaimeson


Maggie will award one autographed cover flat to a randomly drawn commenter at each blog stop. In addition, she will award a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) as a grand prize to one randomly selected commenter on this tour, and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn host. You must leave an email address to be entered into any of the drawings.

Author Interview – Christine Nolfi

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? The future. I adopted my children from the Philippines and am sweetly aware of how one good choice can alter lives. Besides, who wouldn’t want to glimpse their great- or great-great grandchildren?

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Oprah and Bill Gates. Bill probably wouldn’t attend unless Melinda was invited.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? The complete works of Shakespeare, the Bible and enough protein drinks to last until a passing ship spotted a marooned writer.

What is one book everyone should read? The Bible for all the obvious reasons, if you’re so inclined. But also for an understanding of how theology—like mythology—influences literature.

If you were a superhero what would your name be? Honor. Feel free to draw your own conclusion.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose? The ability to raise human consciousness above the level of ignorance, avarice and hate.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Häagen-Dazs Rum Raisin. I hide it in the back of the freezer because I don’t like to share.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? It would be a joy to meet Gandhi. But I’d take care not to tell him that relations between India and Pakistan are still troubling.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cereal topped with fresh fruit. Pass the strawberries, please.

Night owl, or early bird? Early bird. On a perfect day, I begin writing by 5 A.M. and head to the gym by noon.

One food you would never eat? Only one? I’ll never eat snake or octopus. Add either to my sushi and I’m leaving the party.

Pet Peeves? People who rattle off problems but never suggest a solution. People who are rude to waiters or salespeople but have never hauled a platter of dishes or stood on a marble floor in heels while working the jewelry department. I’m a white gloves and party manners girl. I still try to reply to every reader kind enough to look me up on Twitter.

Skittles or M&Ms? M&Ms with peanuts.

What has most surprised you since beginning your publishing career? USA Today selected Treasure Me as one of the best of the Indies. I wouldn’t have known if a blogger hadn’t kindly sent mail. I was also pleasantly surprised when the book became a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Because you like books that make you laugh one moment and dab at your eyes the next.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?  Second Chance Grill, the next book in the Liberty series after Treasure Me, will be released in late October. I’m also midway through revisions of my fourth release, due out in early 2013.

What inspired you to become a writer? Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. My late mother swore I began reading at age two. Having met toddlers, I find this hard to believe.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Reading reviews by readers who’ve stumbled across my books. If that sort of validation doesn’t send you back to the computer to begin work on the next novel, nothing will.

If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which world would it be? Harry Potter, first year at Hogwarts. I’m not sure I could stomach life at Hogwarts in later years when he-who-is-not-named began stirring the soup.

What is your dream cast for your book? Funny you should ask. Lately I’ve been deliciously tempted to send Treasure Me to Whoopi Goldberg and beg her to play Theodora in the movie. Not that I’ve sold the film rights, but still.

What was your favorite book when you were a child or teen? Peter Pan. I was utterly convinced I could fly. It’s a miracle I didn’t fall out of Bobby Cooper’s treehouse while trying to demonstrate my gifts to the neighbor kids. Interestingly, Bobby and I both reached adulthood soaring above the clouds—he flies F16s and I’m still floating through the imaginary world of stories.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Don’t damage your health by pulling all-nighters pounding out fiction while gorging on carbs. This isn’t a college exam. Producing your best work comes with time, reading often and well, and having the courage to put emotion on paper.

List five suggestions or writing tips for aspiring authors.

1) Read often, and across genres.

2) Polish each draft relentlessly.

3) Join a critique group.

4) Read books on craft, and strive to improve.

5) Make time for your art every day, if only for twenty minutes.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live. Why? The Universe puts us exactly where we choose to ensure the greatest soul development. So I’d stay in the present.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? Zeus, of course. If you get the chance to be a god, why not go for broke and run the show?

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Thanks—already done. Last year I moved to Charleston, South Carolina. The Postells in Treasure Me are actually my French ancestors who settled here in 1681. Maybe I’ve come home.

What is your favorite Quote? My late father had a saying: Do you want to be a follower or a leader? As he lay dying, I grabbed his hand and shouted the only words that came to mind. “Dad, don’t go! Do you want to be a follower or a leader?” Despite the pain he was enduring, he smiled at me and said, “Always a leader.” I try to live by the last words to leave his lips.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? I’ve always known I’d write. During childhood I’d drift through libraries running my fingers across the spines of books in a dreamy sort of rapture. As my fingers glided across the covers, I felt like I was touching other souls. I wanted to be a part of that.

What led to your decision to self-publish? I worked with two agents, each for about eighteen months. Random House was interested in Second Chance Grill. A division of Penguin considered releasing Treasure Me and the other Liberty books in hardcover. Then Wall Street melted down. The interest fizzled, and my critique partners convinced me to self-publish. By then I’d read enough success stories to realize London and New York no longer held a monopoly on the publishing industry.

Who are your favorite authors of all time? It’s impossible to choose a favorite. Sue Monk Kidd, Nora Roberts, Ann Patchett, J.K. Rowling, Toni Morrison, Sarah Gruen—the list of remarkable talent is varied and virtually endless. I’m not a genre reader. If a novel is good, it’s on my TBR list.

Where do you get ideas for your stories and characters? Usually I get the kernel of an idea, a conflict. The characters most apt to struggle with that particular issue begin to appear in bits and pieces. It’s rather like molding a sculpture from clay, with the final result hidden for many months.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Theodora is my inspiration of the best way to age—with fire and sass. Birdie? One morning she simply arose from my subconscious, dangling from a window ledge. Hugh’s hard edge came from years in public relations when there was always another deadline to meet. Ditzy Ethel Lynn and the skillet-wielding Finney … they’re probably the bits and pieces of women I’ve known and loved. Landon and his all-consuming depression came from my experiences helping friends struggling with mental health issues. And Meade reminds me of any woman who has experienced great loss but deftly hides her pain behind elegant gestures and immaculate clothes.

What character in literature do you consider the most memorable? The abuse suffered by Celie, the poor, uneducated black narrator of The Color Purple, will always haunt me. Three pages into Alice Walker’s masterpiece, and I was in tears. Later in the novel Celie’s triumph over hardship becomes one of the most moving passages in literature. A truly stellar work.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had? It hasn’t occurred yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Hidden talent? I can make anything grow and can cook like nobody’s business. My house is a jungle of plants and my family hates when I’m deep in a novel and they have to fend for themselves.

Favorite Food? Lobster with drawn butter. Beluga caviar. Sushi. A steak seared to perfection, my homemade meatballs, a salad of baby greens with goat cheese sprinkled on top … I’m half Italian. This means I have a love affair with food and you shouldn’t make me choose.

Favorite Candy? Those chocolate covered macadamia nuts they sell at Costco. My husband and I will battle to the death for the last chocolate in the container.

How do you relax when you have free time? I was a single mother for many years. Even now, “free time” comes at a premium. I’ve learned to exercise daily and reserve time for my family. I love to cook, garden, visit museums, dance … and, of course, read. Everything from The Economist and Scientific American to the latest novel to catch my eye.

Nickname? During childhood my parents called me Chrissy-bird because I had a pet parakeet. I also believed I could fly, like Peter Pan.

How do you react to a bad review? I don’t. By definition art is interpretive. One man’s gold is another’s pile of manure. Of course, if I released a novel that didn’t garner predominately 4- and 5-star reviews, I’d pull the work from circulation for reassessment. I owned a public relations firm for many years and learned to emotionally detach from whatever I write.

In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good book? Depth of characterization. Flawless execution of plot. Succinct, creative prose and a relentless pursuit of editorial perfection. Great books are also character-driven.

What is your writing process? Describe your typical day. Creating a compelling novel requires mind-body balance. I start writing early in the morning then knock off around lunchtime to head to the gym. After I work out for an hour, I return home to edit the morning’s pages. And I eat well—lots of fruits and veggies. You can’t fully honor your creativity unless you honor yourself as well.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing? I wish I’d known it’s possible to thrive as an independently published novelist. My books don’t easily fit a particular genre—they’re part mystery, part romance, with both poignant and comedic elements. New York editors enjoyed several of my books, but never knew where to place the works on the shelves. With the advent of electronic publishing, I can build a readership without worry about where my books should sit in a physical bookstore.

What is the biggest obstacle you have to overcome when you want to write? This may sound strange, but my biggest obstacle involves knowing when to stop and rest. I get utterly caught up in my character’s lives. During the first 100 pages I’m able to conduct a normal routine. By page 250, all bets are off. I wake in the middle of the night with half of a scene spilling from my subconscious and hurry to the computer. Midway through dinner I leap up to scramble for pen and paper because I’ve suddenly solved a story problem. It becomes rather silly, but my young adult children and husband are very understanding.

You have won one million dollars. What is the first thing that you would buy? I’d pay off my children’s college loans. I have three kids in college presently, and the baby is a high school senior. Ouch.

What do you do in your free time? My husband and I are still discovering so much in our new home of Charleston, South Carolina. We live ten minutes from the beach, and we love to walk the dog there. Recently we toured a mansion downtown that miraculously survived The Civil War. By the way, genteel Charlestonians call the war “The Great Unpleasantness.”

What was life like before writing? My twenties and thirties were a blur—working in public relations, living from deadline to deadline. Then my now ex-husband and I adopted a sibling group of four children from the Philippines. Moving from career woman to fulltime mother was a shock. It took many years of doctor visits to The Cleveland Clinic to heal my kids. Today they’re all healthy, happy adults.

What is one thing your readers would be surprised to know about you? The age thing is usually a surprise. I’m fifty-three years old. People usually think I’m much younger. And the composition of my family always surprises. It’s not every day you see a white woman with four Asian kids. I affectionately refer to my children as ‘The Asian Invasion.’ We stand out in any crowd.

When is your next book coming out? Can you tell us about it? Second Chance Grill will appear on Amazon in late October. A prequel of sorts to Treasure Me, the book depicts the story of Dr. Mary Chance, who’s just inherited The Second Chance Grill, and Anthony Perini, a single dad with a precocious daughter. Of course the feisty women of Liberty will be featured. You’ll learn more about the “bad blood” between Theodora and Ethel Lynn. Their battle was “fur and feathers” in Treasure Me. In Second Chance Grill, they’re even wilder.

Do you have any writing rituals? Working for many years in public relations gave a love of constancy. No writer can create compelling fiction, book after book, without committing to a serious work schedule. Most days I’m at my computer early. By noon I need a break and head to the gym. Then I spend the afternoon editing the morning’s pages. That’s the first edit, mind you. I’ve never written anything that wasn’t submitted to an endless series of revisions.

Your character’s names—Birdie, Blossom, Wish—seem to hint at a bit of whimsy. How do you choose your character’s names, or do they choose their names? There’s no set pattern for naming characters. Some, like Birdie, arrive fully formed. Others start with an archetype employed to aid in fleshing out the character’s traits. In Blossom’s case, I wanted a name that conveyed “life” despite the struggle she faces. Wish is another play on opposites. I think of her as a nefarious criminal who destroys the wishes held dear by others, a sort of death wish in human form.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Nothing beats the experience of reaching the middle of a work-in-progress and becoming utterly immersed in the characters. They’re real by that point, flesh-and-blood people one might meet on the street. Yet I’m privy to their darkest fears and brightest hopes. It’s an exhilarating feeling.

What is your guilty pleasure? Taking a long, leisurely bath with lots of bubbles. Or scheduling a 90-minute massage. Give me both in the same day and I’m in heaven.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit? Wall Street Journal. Every morning except Sunday. Does this make me dull?

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in the self-publishing market? The biggest challenge is the allocation of time. Those long, leisurely mornings of writing are now encroached upon by marketing demands, creating a buzz, talking to readers—without the help of a New York editor or a publishing house’s marketing department, I must wear many hats. On the up side I can directly connect with readers, which is marvelous.

Favorite places to travel? I’m hoping to earn enough from my books to travel to Istanbul next year. I’ve written about fifty pages of a literary novel set in the city. I’d sorely love a first-hand experience to deepen the work.

What’s your cure for writer’s block? I think writer’s block is a misnomer. Writers are often overworked—if the pages don’t arrive on schedule, perhaps you need a night out with friends. A walk in the park to reconnect with nature. Or more exercise, and a bit more sleep at night. Here’s some motherly advice: Eat more fresh fruits and veggies. Oftentimes the well-balanced life produces the finest art. If you feel blocked, asked yourself, “What should I do to bring myself back into balance?”

If you could choose to be something other than a writer, what would it be? Already chosen! Sixteen years ago I boarded a plane, traveled to an orphanage in the Philippines, and adopted my kids. Becoming their mother was—and still is—an absolute joy. Today I view parenting as a privilege, the finest blessing in my life.

Any advice for aspiring artists? If you burn with the need to paint, sculpt, write—whatever your passion—find time to cultivate your gifts. Ignore the parent who questions why you’re wasting that expensive education on frivolous pursuits. Explain to your significant other that your inner muse requires some of the precious hours of your life. The world is made all the more beautiful by a ballad of human experience sung in a chorus of voices.

About the Author

Some writers are gifted with an unusual life and I’m certainly one of those. I’ve lived in Ohio, Virginia, California, Utah and now South Carolina. In college I was featured on the front page of the Houston Post for a lark that erased all my debt. I met my four adopted children for the first time in the sweltering heat of the tropics. I helped build several companies and was lucky enough to earn a living doing what I love best—writing—in a PR firm I owned.

In 2004, I made the wisest and most irrational decision of my life—I began writing fiction full-time. All those years of hard work pay off daily in sweet notes and comments from readers. Please continue the mail and the tweets. I cherish your support and love chatting with readers.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Christine Nolfi on Facebook & Twitter


GoodReads Author Page

The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge on Amazon

Free Book/Giveaway For Liking a Facebook Page!

Monday, October 29, 2012
Open Road is a new publishing company that started 2 years ago. They've been filming interviews of different authors and putting it on their website in order for people to know more about the book and their background.

One of the people who helps film is promoting a side project of his… a movie he's working on with his friends. In order for you to help him, just "like" his Facebook page, and whoever wins will get ANY book from The Book Depository 15 dollars or under. This means it's international!

Good luck!

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Winners from the 2012 Blogger Contest!


The Live to Read blogger awards are now closed and done for this year. Thank you to everyone who participated, it's been fun! The winners are:

Biggest Heart: YA Between the lines
Most Entertaining: My Home Away From Home

The winners will be notified what books they get soon, and the people who did not win this year... don't fret! We'll have this again. You'll also be notified soon with an address to send the book.

Until next time and thank you for participating,

Rachel & Krystal

YA Mythology Giveaway Hop!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What can you win on this blog?

Beta (Annex, #1)

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The Waiting Booth Book Blast and Giveaway!

The Waiting Booth by Brinda Berry

A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal... Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High-find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia's drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it's no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia's secrets, she begins to wonder if there's more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him...

Praise for The Waiting Booth:
"The book kept me on the edge of my seat with its perfect balance of teenaged angst, interdimensional portals, and a fractured family."
~ Author Christine Ashworth

"The description was so good I could easily see things as they a movie playing in my mind as I read. I just love Regulus. He's my kind of hero for sure."
~ Author Lynn Rush

Author Brinda Berry

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality. She doesn't mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter 

The Waiting Booth Book Trailer:

Book Blast Giveaway Details:
$100 Amazon Gift Card or $100 PayPal Cash from Author Brinda Berry
Ends 11/1/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it when you follow Brinda and leave the others blank.

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Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Evertaster by Adam Glendon Shout-Out!

Evertaster by Adam Glendon Sidwell

"Wonderfully talented writing; funny."
--Orson Scott Card, NYT Bestselling author of Ender's Game

"Sidwell is a talented comedian, and that is certainly reflected in his writing. The characters are quirky and likable." --Deseret News

When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother's casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late. 

 "One of the most original, well-crafted and imaginative MG stories I've come across in a long time." - WordSpelunking Book Review

About the Author: 
In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to
make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the
Caribbean, King Kong, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a
keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is
delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed
adjectives. He’s been eating food since age 7, so feels very qualified to write this book. He once
showed a famous movie star where the bathroom was. Adam currently lives in Los Angeles,
where he can’t wait to fall into the sea.

You can learn more about Adam and his writing adventures here:





 Blog Tour Schedule for Evertaster by Adam Glendon Sidwell, 2012

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