Archive for June, 2013


  1.  I hate the word “illegal.”  I far prefer “undocumented.  I mean, can a human being be illegal?
  2. A lot of people think that, yes, a human being can be illegal.  When my book was sold, I was profiled in the New York Daily News.  I shared my own story about being brought over the U.S. as a baby and overstaying my visitor’s visa (unbeknownst to me, of course.  I was too busy discovering my fingers).  Someone posted a comment suggesting I should be subject to the Son of Sam law, the law that prevents people from profiting from their “crimes.”  You know, like the guy who killed 6 people.
  3. Most people are really nice.
  4. When writing a book about an “issue” like immigration, you’ve got to forget about the issue and just write a story that is fun to read and makes people feel things.
  5. Telling a big secret about yourself (like the fact that you were once undocumented) is terrifying.
  6. Telling a big secret about yourself is incredibly freeing.
  7. M.T., the main character of my book, is a girl in the same predicament I was, but is entirely different than I was.  She’s got better calves (she bikes everywhere) and better business sense.  Also, she’s braver than I am because she gets the courage to share who she really is way sooner than I did.
  8. Writing a love story is fun.
  9. Getting an agent is an excruciating process but its glorious when it finally happens.
  10. Sometimes when the “worst” happens it’s the best.  I had my heart set on another title for the book for all the years I was pitching it and writing it, only to have it get taken by another book in my genre toward the tail end of my journey.  I was heart-broken.   Then I came up with the title:, The Secret Side of Empty, and I fell in love instantly.  Now I couldn’t imagine it being called anything else.


mariaMaria Andreu is an author and immigration rights activist.  She lives in beautiful Bergen County, New Jersey with her two wonderful middle schoolers.  At the age of 12, she wrote in her diary, “Most of all, I want to be a writer.”  Growing up undocumented and poor, she never imagined that dream might come true one day.  Her work has been published in Newsweek, The Washington Post and The Star Ledger and her first novel, The Secret Side of Empty, will be published by Running Press in Spring, 2014.

Read more of her work at http://mariaeandreu.com

Like to her Facebook page to enter to win a $250 gift card!  https://www.facebook.com/maria.andreu.books

**Read about the book and scroll below for details on how to enter to WIN a $250 Amazon gift card just by liking the author’s Facebook page!**

BOOK BLURB for “Secret Side of Empty”

You’ve heard the news stories.  Now hear the real story.

M.T. is starting her senior year with a lot going for her.  She gets great grades, has a best friend she met in kindergarten and a boyfriend who is sweet and into her.  But life – at least as she knows it – is about to end.

M.T. is what the news calls “illegal” – she came to the U.S. with her parents as a baby and never got the right papers that allowed her to stay.  She lives in fear of her family getting deported, in even more fear that she’ll have to go to the home country she doesn’t even remember, of people finding out her ugly secret and of the increasingly volatile situation at home.  When senior year is over, the protected world she’s found in her small parochial school will disappear.  Without a social security number, she won’t be able to go to college, get a job or, maybe worst of all, get a driver’s license.
But she’ll worry about all that later.  First, she’s got a senior year to take on.

A Note from the Author, Maria Andreu:

The fulfillment of great dreams feels best when shared, which is why I’m inviting people to Like my Facebook page and come along with me on the fabulous and improbable journey of publishing my first novel.  As my thanks, when you like the page by July 31st, you’ll be able to enter to win a fan-only sweeps for a $250 Amazon gift card!

Be the first to get updates on the cover, new tour stops, and fan-only content (plus enter a sweeps for a $250 Amazon gift card) by liking the author’s Facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/maria.andreu.books

The book is already getting industry buzz and news coverage, so Like the FB page to get updates on that as well.


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abundance triggers Pump Up Your Book: Abundance Triggers by Kanta Bosniak Book TourBook Description

Most people get that “happy” is the launch pad for personal and professional success. But, where’s the “happy button?” Author, minister and coach Kanta Bosniak has made a lifetime study of state-shifting and offers readers a whole toolbox of happy buttons she calls abundance triggers.”

“Abundance Triggers is a practical how-to for shifting negative thoughts and the emotions they produce to those good feelings which boost energy and support well-being. Bosniak begins with simple yet efficient physical awareness techniques and guides readers through a process of how to build their own more advanced and personalized triggers for relaxation, increased energy and sense of purpose.

Once the toolbox is built, she then delves deeper into disengaging those limiting beliefs and the habitual negative emotions they generate and replacing the old sad “stories” with more resourceful ones. Bosniak also shares entertaining anecdotes and personal stories. Her writing voice is warm, conversational and engaging and the book is filled with refreshingly lighthearted and whimsical doodle art as well as creative journaling exercises to help the reader anchor and habituate a feel-good new “normal.”

My Thoughts

Based on the New Thought philosophy of abundance, this book explores the ways by which we can make ourselves shift from a mindset of lack into one of abundance–all types of wealth, from material to emotional to spiritual. The authors stresses the importance of the daily practice of gratitude. This book is a light, inspirational and uplifting read for those of us who want to stay on the right path to true fulfilment and happiness. The true-life stories included in the book add to its benefits but at times barely touch the surface. I would have liked to read deeper, more detailed, emotionally charged accounts. There are a lot of exercises, and I cannot stress enough the importance of these self-reflecting questions. You won’t get anything out of this book if you don’t take the time to do them. Abundance Triggers will help with those limiting beliefs and negative emotions that often trigger us, and shift our consciousness into a more blissful, expansive state. Recommended!

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Joseph SpencerAs a boy, Joseph Spencer immersed himself in the deductive logic of Sherlock Holmes, the heroic crime fighting of Batman and Spider-Man, and a taste for the tragic with dramas from poets like Shakespeare and Homer.

Before Joseph took to spinning his own tales, he pursued a career in print sports journalism, graduating summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He covered such events as NASCAR’s Subway 500 race in Martinsville, the NBA Draft Camp in Chicago, the Junior College World Series, and Minor League Baseball’s Midwest League All-Star Game during a ten-year career throughout the Midwest. Now, he works as an emergency telecommunications specialist with an Illinois police department. The combination of years of writing experience with a background working with law enforcement professionals gave rise to his writing aspirations.

Joseph was married Dr. Amy (Waggoner) Spencer, an accomplished veterinary doctor, on March 14, 2012. He received word his debut novel was accepted by his publisher, Damnation Books, the next day. Joseph and Amy look forward to their honeymoon in Paris in September 2012. Murphy, a 15-year-old orange tabby, is perhaps the most vocal member of the family. The Spencer family enjoys reading Charlaine Harris, George R.R. Martin, Mary Janice Davidson, and most paranormal stories. The Spencers also enjoy quoting movie lines from “The Princess Bride”, “Rain Man”, “Bridesmaids”, and “Office Space”.

His latest book is the paranormal crime thriller, Grim.

Visit his website at www.JosephSpencer.com.

Connect & Socialize with Joseph!


GrimWould you call yourself a born writer?

I would call myself a born storyteller.  I worked as a reporter for regional daily newspapers in the Midwest for 10 years.  I worked mainly in sports, but I tried to go beyond the box scores and personalize the stories by telling people a part of athletes’ stories they couldn’t see just by watching the games. I focused on that aspect when I began writing fiction. I wanted to create characters which captivate readers. I want them so wrapped up in the characters they can’t put the book down.

What was your inspiration for Grim?

Grim started with the character Heath Grim. He was inspired by Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in Dark Knight. I wanted to create a character which created chaos like the Joker character, but had more of a sympathetic story. I’ve always loved gritty, edgy characters which are morally gray. I wanted to take my readers down a more chaotic path than what was explored in the Dark Knight.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing? 

My book attempts to make you take a closer look at the human condition. It’s a morality tale about losing your humanity when you become obsessed with personal loss.My message is that it’s easy for any of us to fall from grace. Without discipline, faith and hope, any of us can lose our way. In my story, great men fall victim to the temptation of one of the deadly sins – wrath. They lose everything but can’t stop themselves, even when they suspect what they’re doing is wrong.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I wrote the novel in about 3 to 4 months, but the publishing process took much longer. I had the honor of having the manuscript edited by Stephen King’s first editor, Michael Garret. Then, I began submitting it to presses which accept unsolicited manuscripts. I had a few different small presses accept it, and I selected Damnation Books.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day. 

With the responsibilities of my full-time job, it was difficult to devote time to write, too. I imposed a daily goal of writing at least three pages per day, and that steady commitment to it helped me finish. I’d never written fiction or before Grim, so it was an accomplishment to see it through. My best advice for any writer is to write every day, and never quit.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book? 

With my full-time career taking up so much of my time, I had to stop and start so much that often I read and re-read the material I’d already written to ensure I was staying consistent with the characters, the plot and the story driving toward the resolution.

What do you love most about being an author?

There are so many parts of life that are defined for you. What I love about writing is the freedom to create whole new worlds and characters. The only limits to what you can create are the ones that you place on yourself. It’s an exhilirating process to start with nothing but an empty white screen on my laptop, and finish with a story I made up on my own.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision? 

My publisher is Damnation Books, an independent horror trade press from Santa Rosa, Calif. I queried several houses which accepted unsolicited manuscripts, and right away they were excited to work on Grim. It was quite an exciting week for me because they accepted my manuscript on March 15, 2012, the day after my wedding. I am happy with my decision because Damnation helps me out so much, and they are quick to respond to my concerns with solutions.

Video trailer links:



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It’s a pleasure to have as my guest Juana Bordas today. Bordas is president of Mestiza Leadership International, a company that focuses on diversity, leadership and organizational change, as well as founding President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. After being a faculty member for the Center for Creative Leadership, she served as vice president of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and as a trustee of the International Leadership Association. Her book Salsa, Soul and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age was a International Latino Book Award winner in 2008. Bordas is here today to talk about her latest book, The Power of Latino Leadership. Visit her website.

Bordas is currently touring the blogosphere with Condor Book Tours.

JuanaBordas1What is Mestiza Leadership International and how did your work there begin?

I started Mestiza Leadership International in order to integrate leadership, diversity, and positive social change. In the multicultural age, achieving our potential requires tapping into the talents and assets of our rich diversity. Second, in our country today leadership is listed under business. There is no classification of leadership as a field in libraries, universities, or book categories.

This presents a challenge. The purpose of leadership is not just about business or the economy. Leadership is about creating the society we want to live in. It is about ensuring that the values we hold most dear–equality, justice, the common good, pluralism, community, and individual worth–are integrated into our society. Leadership is also a communal responsibility–everyone has something to contribute. Yes, we want to have a strong economy and good jobs, but we can’t let corporations highjack leadership–leadership has a much wider scope and that is to ensure the people’s well-being and to create the good society.

Mestiza Leadership International promotes leadership that empowers people to make a contribution and be more effective in their communities and organizations.

You’re also the president of National Hispana Leadership Institute. How did that come about?

I was the first president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) for the first seven years. NHLI is now 26 years old and I am proud to say has trained hundreds of Latinas from across the country for leadership. The NHLI network of Latinas is an hermanidad or sisterhood who assist and support each other. NHLI is creating a powerful leadership force for Hispanic community advancement and to build a more inclusive America.

Your second book, The Power of Latino Leadership: Culture, Inclusion, and Contribution has just come out. What was your inspiration behind this book?

Recently Time, Newsweek, Parade and Rolling Stone all had Latinos on their covers. Salsa is America’s favourite condiment. Latinos were the deciding force in the last presidential election. Hispanics have the highest participation in the workforce and are the fastest growing small business sector. Moreover, the US is the fastest growing Spanish speaking country in the world. Because of their exploding demographics, by the middle of the century Latinos will make up a third of the US.

The Latinization of America is a real phenomenon–right now!

But how did this happen? What are the leadership lessons of those who advanced the Latino community? What are the contributions Latinos will make in the future…in other words what is Latino Destino? And how can leading with a Latino flavor be a valuable asset for everyone?

5140509The Power of Latino Leadership answers these questions. By understanding how Latinos have arrived to where we are today, and by embracing our unique form of leadership, Latinos can continue moving forward and bring their cultural assets into the mainstream.

Who is your target audience?

Latino leadership is a model for the 21st century. It has an inclusive community spirit that fosters contribution and service. It has an international, intergenerational scope and an immigrant spirit. The Power of Latino Leadership is for anyone who wants to embrace diversity and be a more effective leader.

Mainstream leaders will learn about the powerful ways Latinos have led their communities. Companies will better understand how to serve and connect with Latino consumers. Young Latinos can take pride in the accomplishments and integrity of our leaders. Latinos will know their history and see how leading from their cultural core will make them even more successful.

What would you like readers to learn from your book?

I want to change the “conversation” and focus of leadership. Most leadership books have been written from Anglo, male, and Euro-centric perspective. Historically, leadership has been hierarchical, the domain of the influential few, and associated with control and dominance.

This type of leadership is not strategically suited for the global multicultural age where change is constant and our problems are very complex. People are better educated and want to participate.

The Power of Latino Leadership provides a model that embraces diversity and promotes participation, social responsibility, and community. I hope readers will be inspired to join in and help build a world that cares for its people and values differences.

Tell us about your Latino Leadership Program and its benefits. Who would be a good candidate for this program?

The Latino Leadership Development Program (LLDP) was launched ten years ago. The purpose is to assist Latinos actualize their leadership potential and to increase their contributions to their organizations. The program includes individualized assessments and coaching. The LLDP integrates the best of mainstream leadership with the assets and lessons that come from the Latino culture and leadership.

You also have a program specifically aimed at Latinas. Could you give us a brief overview?

Latinos are the youngest population in America. To keep moving forward, leaders must prepare the next generation. This is the purpose of the Circle of Latina Leadership. Emerging leaders (25-40 years old) participate in a nine month community leadership program that builds their skills. Each participant works with a mentor to clarify what their contribution will be.

Latinas have always been the connectors and nurtures of family and community. By coming together, they can support one another’s journeys and build a network that benefits their communities and families.

What do you find the most rewarding about working as a coach?

I don’t do much individual coaching at this time. As a social worker I spent years coaching and assisting individuals and groups. I then moved to helping create organizations such as Mi Casa and NHLI that benefit more people and have continuity. The programs I design include coaching or mentoring as individual reflection and learning are key components of leadership development.

The most challenging?

Finding the right match for people is a challenge. We can learn from everyone, but there is a certain chemistry and connection that happens between folks that can really spark growth and development. Coaching is successful when both parties learn from each other.

What’s on the horizon for Juana Bordas?

Promoting The Power of Latino Leadership is numero uno. And if you are reading this you can help by buying the book. And Gracias!

People who read the book will understand that Latinos are a culture or ethnic group and not a race. Furthermore, Latinos are impeccably inclusive and can be Black, White, Brown, Indigenous, Mocha or Mestizo (mixed).

Because culture is learned, people can choose to “learn” or experience the culture. In my family, for instance, my sister’s husband, Karl has become a “Latino by affinity” or Corazon. He loves the extended familia, the music, food, and values such as celebration and generosity. I say if you are around Latinos long enough the rhythm is going to get you.

The Latino culture also has a bienvenido or welcoming spirit. We embrace people who want to share our values and way of life. My next book will be about becoming a Latino by Corazon. So stay tuned and get ready for the Latinization of America. We are all going to have a very good time!

This interview first appeared on Blogcritics

Follow the author’s virtual book tour!

Monday June 17 Condor Musings

Tuesday June 18 Hispanic New York
Wed June 19 Examiner
Thursday June 20 Latina Lista
Friday June 21 OC Gente

Monday June 24 L2L
Tuesday June 25 Latina Book Club
Wed June 26 Latina Geeks
Thurs June 27 Que Means What & Amigapreneur 
Friday June 28 Pa’lante Latino

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Pump Up Your Book and Lila Munro will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus a GIFT BASKET during Lila’s Love Vindicated Book Blast today ! This promotion starts at 12 a.m. June 20 and will end at midnight. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!



In 1980, Kyle Montgomery’s life was seemingly perfect. Heavily recruited by Force Recon fresh from the Naval Academy, he’d been working black ops for the Marine Corps for six years and was on the cusp of being promoted to Major. He was on the fast track to bigger and better things, had all the right people vetting him, and he’d married the woman of his dreams and was exploring a lifestyle which could have ended his career. With the Iranian embassy under siege and the Middle East in turmoil, Kyle was sent on a mission which would change the course of his life forever.

Returning home after three months of being invisible, Kyle finds his wife has been murdered by the very people he’d been sent to protect. And instead of the government retaliating, they hand him his walking papers with the agreement they’ll never speak of the events again. It’s like Kyle never existed. His wife never existed. And the people who maimed and tortured her never existed.

Resigned to never again walk that path, Kyle opens the first Steele Image club with the thought of providing a safe haven for others like him, those who were invisible to the public and most of the government. Those who had eclectic sexual tastes. Those who would later become his allies. And his enemies. And both will drive him back to the place he’d thought he’d let go of forever to vindicate his love…




Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual softer read to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, Three for Keeps, the Force Recon series, the Slower Lower series, the Identity series, and the Private Collection. Currently she is working on two new series set to release summer of 2013, the At Your Service line and the Steele Image line. She’s a member in good standing of RWA. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted at lilasromance@gmail.com .

Her latest book is the BDSM contemporary romance, Love Vindicated.

Visit he website at www.lilamunro.com.



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


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Michael Bigham photo

Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.

Would you call yourself a born writer? 

I’d call myself a born reader. I’ve always had a yen for books and have been known to read just about anywhere. I carry a book of short stories in the back of my car just in case I have time to kill. Since I read so much, I think that fired up my yen to write.

What was your inspiration for Harkness?

Nothing too original, I fear. Harkness is the name of my central character. Although it’s a mystery, the book is about Matthew Harkness’ perilous journey through life, how he reacts to murder in his county and tragedy in his own life.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

In Harkness, I take a shot at a couple of serious themes: discrimination because of sexual preference and race in rural America. In the early 50s, many small towns from Ohio westward to the Pacific coast and down into the southeast had ‘sundown’ laws. These laws stated that no person of color could reside within a town’s city limits from sundown to sunrise. I wondered what would happen if a black man stumbled into one of these towns just after the murder of a young white girl. Also, I wondered about how two gay men, lovers and pillars of the community, would live their lives within such a straight-laced community. Both men are married, but have to hide their sexuality. Gays and lesbians weren’t accepted back then.

How long did it take you to complete the novel? Harkness cover

Longer than it should have, several years. I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels trying the traditional route of finding an agent and mainstream publisher. Fortunately, the publishing industry is changing and writers are able to self-publish or work with small boutique publishers to get their books out.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Discipline comes and goes for me. Right now, I’m working hard on the next book in this series, Thunderhead: A High Desert Mystery, and writing on a regular basis. I usually head off to a coffee shop in the late morning or early afternoon and try to work on my manuscript for a couple of hours. I don’t have a set goal for the number of words per day, because some days I’ll spend revising and rewriting a scene that I’ve worked on previously.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Just keeping engaged. I have an 11-year-old daughter and I’m a member of the City of Portland’s Citizen Review Board, which is the community watchdog for Portland Police. Sometimes life can sap your creative energy.

What do you love most about being an author?

I love being creative, thinking about plotting and characters, pushing my mind in new directions. I also find it important to connect with other writers. Writing is a lonely art and we need to connect and get feedback on our efforts.

Where can we find you on the web?

My website is michaelbigham.com and I have a twitter address: @wassir

Thanks for taking the time to interview me. I appreciate it.

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Harkness cover

In this thrilling debut novel, by Michael Bigham, Sheriff Matt Harkness faces a perilous challenge. He isn’t your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he’s phobic of horses, he drives an old battered pickup and his faithful companion is a wiener dog named Addison. Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears. Harkness is the keeper of secrets in his little town and to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county’s most powerful man. But Harkness has a secret of his own: he’s in love with the Judge’s wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?


Three dozen young men, most of them towheaded, in football pads and cutoffs grunted as they pushed blocking sleds in the late afternoon sun. It must have been ninety-five degrees out, but thank God, not a hundred. It got so unbearable here ‘bout when it cracked a hundred, the snakes and coyotes hid in their holes until the sun went down.

“Pick it up, Rob,” Coach Conroy yelled in a high-pitched voice. “What are you? Some kind of pussy?”

I said my hellos to Conroy, an ugly man wearing a jarhead haircut, a permanent smile, and an Alabama sweatshirt—takes a special man to wear a sweatshirt in this heat. He asked me if I found Joey yet.

“We’re still working on it,” I said. “I understand that he disappeared after practice. Anything unusual happen yesterday? Anything that might relate to the boy’s disappearance?”

“Like what?”

“Like anything.” I felt a bit aggrieved. Smart folks playing dumb made my scalp itch. Good old boy drawl or not, Conroy was no dummy.

“Ordinary practice. Joey did break loose for a sixty-three yarder in scrimmage.” Conroy tooted his whistle twice and, without further prompting, the kids broke into groups for specialized drills. How could a man smile so much?

“Joey especially close with anyone here?” I asked.

“Ronnie, over there.” Conroy pointed at the quarterback, a lanky kid with fire-red hair.

“The Gearhart kid?”

“Good quarterback, nice kid,” Conroy said.

I thought of his old man sitting in my lockup. “Maybe being a drunk asshole skips a generation.”

Conroy looked at me quizzically for a moment. His masculine smell was overwhelming, like he was some great beast king. He opened his arms as if to embrace his team. “We’re going to State this year, mark my words. We’ll win State. Barnestown, State Triple A Champs, 1952.” I didn’t doubt him. He was a firecracker, but I found myself not caring. Ronnie Gearhart sprinted out on an option and tossed a clothesline pass down the field to a waiting receiver who muffed the catch. Linebackers and defensive tackles panted like Chihuahua’s chasing a greyhound.

“We’ll wrap up in half an hour.” Conway was already moving toward his team and seeming to forget me. “Okay, ladies,” he yelled. “Pick it up!”Michael Bigham photo

• Paperback: 198 pages
• Publisher: Muskrat Press (October 17, 2012)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0615721974
• ISBN-13: 978-0615721972

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Harkness-A-High-Desert-Mystery/dp/0615721974/

Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.

Visit Michael online at http://michaelbigham.com/.

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brandonwaterfallprofileBrandon Ellis grew up on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon in a little town known as Gladstone, where he graduated high school and moved on to college and has two great loves in his life – writing and sports.

After being declared an All State Baseball and All League Basketball player, he obtained his Therapeutic Massage License and became one of the most successful Sports Massage Therapists and teachers in the City of Portland. He’s now creating imaginative worlds of inspiration and art through his books.

Website: www.thepurelights.com

FB: www.facebook.com/BrandonEllis1212

Twitter: @thepurelights

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8xbVDZAzts

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The PureLights of Ohm Totem. What was your inspiration for it? 

A: That’s a long story, but I’ll make is short. My inspiration was an image in my mind that turned into an entire book series in a matter of seconds. I saw it all play out in my mind. I know, I know. That probably doesn’t make sense, so here goes my short version of how this book started.

It had been a long 10 hour work day. I’d just gotten home from work, dropped my keys off on the counter, then walked down the hallway toward my room. I was just entering my room, carrying my laptop, when I abruptly stopped. There, in my mind, came a single image—a tree in the darkness with snow all around. However, the snow wasn’t from clouds dropping flakes from above. It was from the tree itself, sprinkling snow from its branches and onto the ground. Then, like a movie, an entire story took place in my mind. I saw characters, action scenes, dialogue, and many other things. I quickly wrote down a synopsis of what I could remember, telling myself I’d get to it as soon as possible. When two years went by and I barely had anything, that’s when I started dreaming of the book. I saw ancient and sacred scrolls, more characters, more scenes, etc. I then wrote and wrote and wrote.

kdp4copyAs I wrote, I had the help from a friend, one that didn’t know she was helping me. This friend of mine—a very dear and close friend—had a Near Death Experience (an NDE). That’s when someone dies, goes up a tunnel, meets angels/guides, has a conversation, then comes back down into their body. Well, she had one of the longest and most detailed accounts of an NDE ever recorded. So, with all the years I’ve known and been around her, she planted seeds in my mind full of wisdom and insights—things she learned from her NDE. I, in turn, planted those seeds in the books as well, hoping to give those same words of wisdom to the rest of the world, just as she has done throughout her life.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist. 

A: The central figure of my book is a 12 year old girl. When she discovers a portal leading into a new world, she also finds that entering that new world changes her life entirely. Not only changing it mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. All Beings who arrive there—to the world of Ohm Totem—change into their spirit animal, which is something birthed in us the moment were born. Her spirit animal is a skylark, which is one of the most beautiful song birds out there. Figuring out how to fly, why she has strange magic that helps defend her and the tribe that adopts her, and why she is able to sing extraordinary things, start happening to her and everyone around her.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: My creative process was interesting. As you read above, I had many dreams that helped me complete this book. I felt my dreams were prodding me on, telling me that what I was writing wasn’t something silly, but something rather important that the world needs to read. At least, that’s how I interpreted it. I simply wrote down what I saw in my dreams and did my best to make an incredible book out of it. I hope I did a good enough job.

The biggest bump in my way was myself. I didn’t know if what I was writing was something absolutely absurd. From the reviews I’ve read from professional reviewers, my book is far from absurd. In fact, one professional reviewer said it was one of the best books she’d ever read.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: Action, action, action, coupled with twists and turns. My book starts out a little slow, but by chapter 6, you’re on a fantastic ride in a world of beauty, magic, wisdom, love, and imagination.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: I’ve heard many authors do experience this. I didn’t know I did until I was asked this question in another interview. They way I handle it? I simply write, then the jitters go away.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: My writing schedule is “when I can.” It’s usually after the kids go to bed and when my awesome partner does her late night job, answering questions about essential oils. She’s a consultant for DoTerra Essential Oil line. Her name is Lotus Hartley, look her up and get healthy real fast! There’s a plug. Oops!

Q: How do you define success?

A: Doing what you love and in the process, lifting people up with you.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: Look at deep withing yourself, because usually a partner is a mirror of you. Are you not supporting him/her in something they love? If so, then watch how things shift when you start supporting them. If that doesn’t work, then simply explain to them about your passion and ask for their support. If they still don’t give it to you, ask them why they don’t support you? Do so in a non-aggressive way. If you do that, then you’ll get a non-aggressive answer. If, still, you don’t find support with your partner, then get the book, “The Four Agreements,” by Don Ruiz. Read it. Absorb it. Use it. If you do, then you’ll learn not to ever take anything personally ever again.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Geeze! Not a bit. I love George Orwell, though I never knew he said that quote. For him, this was a truth. For me, it’s not. I find writing a great stress reliever and a wonderful experience.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: Yes, I’ll send a free e-book in kindle (mobi), epub, or pdf to the first fifty people who agree to read my book and post a review on Amazon before July 27th, 2013. Just go to www.thepurelights.com, click on CONTACT, and send me an email if you’re interested.

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The Fulton Incident banner
Jordan EkerothJordan Ekeroth is a young man with a clear voice, wisdom beyond his years, and always a story to tell. From a young age, you could find him either buried in books or bearing the adventure of his imagination into the great outdoors. He’s met some people and seen some things that have given him a radical desire to impact the world in a positive way. A person of deep faith, his dream in writing is to take people along on the adventure of a lifetime, while simultaneously creating a space for them to learn about themselves and the world around them.

His latest book is the adventure/suspense, The Fulton Incident.

You can visit Jordan Ekeroth’s website at www.jordanekeroth.com.

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I think it’s something that I was born better-equipped for than many are, but it was never a sure thing. It took a lot of determination and the decision to pursue writing over other hobbies and interests.

What was your inspiration for The Fulton Incident?

I was volunteering in Uganda and one afternoon, as I stood on the balcony of the guest house I was staying in, I wondered, what would I do if I went back into my room and discovered that my passport and my things had been stolen? My imagination started racing with intrigue and possibilities, and the plot was born.

The Fulton Incident smWhat themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I like to bring my characters to a place where they are forced to confront something they would rather avoid. People crave comfort, and none of us like to deal with our own issues. Even people that we describe as confrontational are actually those that are far more interested in other people’s problems than their own.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

About 10 months.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I wasn’t writing full-time while working on this project, I just found time whenever I could to continue writing and editing. I didn’t have the luxury of a typical writing day.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I would have thought that sticking with it until it was done would have been the biggest problem, but it was actually resisting the impulse to call it done when it was still in an early phase of editing. I was so excited to have finished my first couple drafts, I just wanted everyone to read them!

What do you love most about being an author?

I’d be lying if I said some of the benefits weren’t egotistical. But before and after anyone ever praises the book, I just love that I was able to create something that I’m proud of.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I self published because I wanted this to be a personal project from start to finish. Amazon made it incredibly easy, and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out.

Where can we find you on the web?




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17605079The Catholic Church fights the Legions of Hell in Mysterious Albion, Book I in Leone’s Vatican Vampire Hunter series.

American college student Lucy Manning is visiting the London nightclub scene when she loses her best friend to a vampire. Traumatized by her friend’s death as well as by the fact that she herself was almost killed, Lucy flights back to the States.

But soon after, she is visited by two members of the Church — Father Gelasius and Sister Anne — who make her an offer she can’t resist.

Against her family’s wishes, Lucy heads back to London and joins a secret society of vampire hunters. Together with Father Gelasius, Sister Anne, and two other young members like herself, Lucy begins to fight the vampires who haunt the streets of night-time London — of course, not without going through a tough training first.

As more innocent victims disappear, it becomes obvious that the situation is getting worse…for an ancient, powerful vampire has risen from her slumber, and she’ll stop at nothing to shed rivers of blood upon the earth.

Mysterious Albion is an entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable read. I used to be a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and this story, though different in many aspects, has a similar tone that will be relished by fans of the genre.

Lucy is a very real, sympathetic character, and Leone did an excellent job in bringing London and the English countryside to life.

I also especially enjoyed the traditional vampire lore where vampires are depicted as evil monsters and not sexy creatures — quite refreshing!

This is Catholic urban fantasy, so there’s also a lot of religious references. However, I didn’t find these detrimental to the plot.

Witty dialogue isn’t lacking and there’s a fair share of fun battle scenes.


More on the author’s website. Purchase on Amazon and B&N.

Originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.

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