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Archive for October, 2017

Fantasy has always been part of M. K. Theodoratus’ life, starting when she starting playing with an imaginary friend when she was three. Comics, books, TV, and movies followed throughout her life. A northern California girl, many of her Andor alternative-world stories are firmly rooted there. Today, she lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two lap-cats, and writes when she’s not wasting time on social media.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

 

Heroes come in all shapes.

The war for Andor has lasted a century. Humans and their allies, the Angeli, fight demons from another plane who need a warmer planet to hatch and raise their young. Trebridge becomes Ground zero when Abraxas, a minion of the demon Prince Vetis, opens a secret portal into the city. The demons’ goal is to build an army to subjugate the city before the humans realize they are under attack.

Standing in the demons’ way are two disparate groups: the humans of Andor and their Angeli allies who command gargoyle warriors.

Leading the four gargoyles guarding Trebridge is Gillen, a proven war hero who uses magic to fight demons. But Gillen is an outcast, mocked for his tuft of hair that normal gargoyles lack. It’s up to him to prove once and for all that he’s worthy of his command, in spite of dissention in his ranks. When Gillen asks the Angeli Commanders for reinforcements to fight the growing demon menace in Trebridge, headquarters send four human teens from the projects.

The leader of the humans is Britt, a 14-year-old half-Hispanic girl who is one of the four magic-possessing Chosen. But Britt was never trained in the art of magic, and like most girls her age, spends her days preoccupied with school and romance. Like Gillen, she must rise above her station in life–if she is to save the ones she loves.

But Gillen and Britt are facing formidable demon foes, Abraxas: a chicken-headed demon who possesses several humans as part of his plan to build the demons’ base in Trebridge and power-hungry Prince Vetis who is his commander. Neither will let the deaths of expendable humans get in their way of the conquest.

In There Be Demons, author M.K. Theodoratus spins a brilliant tale of good versus evil. In this thrilling Young Adult fantasy novel, unlikely heroes rise to challenge a relentless enemy. Join them as they risk everything to save their city.

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Amazon

Would you call yourself a born writer?

No. I’m a “lackadaisical” writer. I sit in front of my computer and people appear during my drafting stage. Then, comes the hard part. Putting all those craft skills writers are supposed to have to hone a story. I guess that writing outlines makes it easier, but I’m not organized to enough to write an outline that has all the character, setting, and motivation stuff needed for a coherent plotline.

I didn’t even consider myself a “reader” until I was in the sixth grade so I can’t picture myself a “born writer”, though I’ve read the term a lot.

Guess I should explain that. I’m dyslexic—not only do I reverse sideways but up and down, too. Not being able to complete those stupid reading sheets in the second and third grades convinced me I didn’t know how to read. I did like to look at the pictures in books, though.

What was your inspiration for There Be Demons?

I was wasting time looking at gargoyle pictures and started wondering.

Gillen [one of the four Gargoyle Guardians of Trebridge, it turned out] kept appearing in my mind while I played cat-lap. The guy had problems. Demons were invading his city, and his commanders were slow to send reinforcements, all the while one of his squad was plotting to usurp him. When I wrote the short story, Night for the Gargoyles, it turned out the reinforcements were four teens from the projects.

There Be Demons got written after I kept wondering how Gillen managed to survive. Must say the current published version is not the first interpretation of the story.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Now you’re getting into stuff I don’t know how to analyze. But my care for “the little guy” comes through loud and clear in There Be Demons. My editor told me Britt was a “reluctant hero”–after I’d spent years thinking she was a teen trying to put the shards of her life back together. Guess my mind doesn’t reach that level of abstraction.

Guess another way of putting it: people’s preconceived notions can be wrong more often than not. I don’t have much respect for “authority” figures, either.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Frankly, I can’t remember. I know I finished the short story that inspired the book, Night for the Gargoyles, before 2010. The semi-finished book was sitting in my computer when I had the second book of a possible trilogy ready to copy-edit [On the Run]. Out of sentimentality, I decided to let Britt and Gillen’s story see the light of day which meant I had to go back and rewrite and edit and rewrite again. That part took some six months.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Excuse me while I laugh myself silly. “Organized” is the last item on my list of character traits. Yeah, I try to write most weekdays…if I can avoid social media, news feeds, solitaire, and mahjong. On productive days, I get about 500 words written. Rewriting, another obsession, doesn’t count.

I squeeze the business and research bits of writing into the rest of the day. Evenings, I usually goof off because my brain is too tired to think.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Converting my ramblings into a coherent story.

What do you love most about being an author?

Why should I “love” being an “author”? Being an author is predicated on being published. More important is playing with ideas and watch it grow. Always love it when a character appears out of nowhere to take care of an important point in the plot.

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?

Okay, I’m an old lady. Most of my early friends are dead already. You think a traditional publisher is going to waste money on me? Get real.

There Be Demons is self-published…but with a lot of help from skilled people who can do what I can’t and/or refuse to learn. I have a wonderful editor who used to work in film, teaches developing writers, and helps people break into the system. For the mechanics of putting a book together, I went to a local outfit called Wooden Pants. They do “co-operative” publishing efforts.

I think a decent book has emerged. If it isn’t, the faults my own for not getting all the craft pieces put together.

Where can we find you on the web?

I have a website at www.mktheodoratus.com which I’m in the process of revising, if I find the energy. I have begun to build a new blog at www.mktheodoratusblog.com, but I first have to figure out how to use all the sites web-building tools. Then, I have to learn how to collect email urls for a mailing list. Writing a book is only the first step in the publishing process.

My social media are confined to four places: Pinterest [https://www.pinterest.com/kkaytheod/], Twitter [https://twitter.com/kaytheod], and GoodReads [https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5067004.M_K_Theodoratus]. My Facebook author page is probably the best place to get a response from me. Search for M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer.

 

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Title: The Special and the Ordinary

Author: David Clapham

Publisher: iUniverse

Genre: Coming of Age

Format: Ebook

John Haworth, despite innate shyness, has floated upward in a comfortable English home environment under the influence of much older sisters and their friends. After he begins a new school in the early fifties, the seven-year-old is looking lost when a classmate, Martin Holford, decides to take him under his wing. And so begins a long friendship.



Ordinary rules of life apparently do not apply to the confident Martin except, perhaps, when he allows his mischievous humor excessive free rein against the self-important. While on separate coming-of-age journeys, Martin and John get on fine, despite John’s occasional resentment about Martin’s ability to bounce back after perpetrating ‘wrong notes’ against the wealthy while John slaves away attempting to make new music sound modern. John, who has no desire to be to be an apathetic musician like his viola teacher, unfortunately lacks the talent, personality, and love of limelight to match his glamorous piano teacher or Katherine, the singer he accompanies on the piano. Now all he has to do is somehow find his place amid an uncertain career as a ghost composer where chances come as infrequent as success.



The Special and the Ordinary shares the unique story of two young people as they come of age and step into the future, each with a different idea on what it means to be true to themselves.



iUniverse awarded The Special and the Ordinary the ‘Editor’s Choice’ designation. Here are excerpts from the enthusiastic editorial reviews:



“Definitely a worthwhile read, I recommend The Special and the Ordinary to lovers of literary fiction.” – Pacific Book Review



“…heartwarming and uplifting.” – Kirkus Reviews



“The writing is clear and refreshing, with clean sentences that move the story along at a brisk pace.” – Clarion Review


 


David Clapham grew up in in Sheffield, England and studied botany at Oxford. After working at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station in Aberystwyth, Wales, he moved to Uppsala, Sweden, where he still lives today. David and his Swedish wife Lena have two children. He has also published Odd Socks with iUniverse in 2013. 

 

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Title: MONSTERLAND
Author: Michael Okon
Publisher: Wordfire Press
Pages: 232
Genre: Monsters

BOOK BLURB:

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

The last couple years of high school have not been fun for Wyatt Baldwin. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An on-going debate with his best friends Howard Drucker and Melvin over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can rock out with vampires at Vampire Village, be chased by actual werewolves on the Werewolf River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Chapter One

The fire Billy created burned bright, rabbits roasted on a spit made from hickory, the juices dripping to hiss in the flames. Seven of his hairy friends lay in scattered repose, enjoying the late afternoon lull—two napped, the others tossed a stuffed fur in the form of a ball around the clearing, hooting with amusement when it rolled into the brush. They traveled in a pack, his group, his makeshift family, foraging together, hiding in plain sight. It had been that way for generations. But the glades were getting smaller, the humans invasive.

Mosquitoes droned lazily over the still water; frogs croaked while they sunbathed on waxy lily pads. The sun started its slow descent to the horizon, hot pink and lilac clouds rippling against the empty canvas of the sky. Here and there, fireflies lit the gloom, doing a placid ballet in the humid air.

Unseen, the men moved closer to the campfire as the sun sank into the western treetops.

A lone hawk cried out a warning, disturbing the peace of the glade. Huge birds answered, flapping their wings, creating a cacophony of swamp sounds. The area became a concerto of animals responding to the disruption of their home—wild screams, squeaks, and complaints of the invasion of their territory.

Billy stood, his head tilted as he listened intently. He heard a melody, that strange organization of sounds, predictable as well as dangerous. It had been years since he’d heard music. His stomach clenched with uneasiness. Where those rhythms originated meant only one thing—they were not alone in the swamp.

His pack rose, tense and alert, their eyes watching the waterway. Billy silently parted the thick leaves to expose a flat-bottom boat with dangerous strangers floating slowly toward them.

The boat was filled with people, excitedly searching the banks of the swamp, their expensive khaki bush clothes ringed with sweat.

Little John, Billy’s best friend, leaned closer and whis-pered, “Tourists?”

Billy noticed the rifles before the rest of the group. He held up his hand signaling for silence. “Not tourists. Enemies,” he replied.

Men’s voices drifted on the turgid air.

This was no good, Billy thought furiously. He was gauging the time, his eyes opening wide. It was late. They had to get out of there. It’s going to happen, and those people were going to see it.

The bald top of the moon peeked over the line of trees in the south, the sky graying to twilight with each passing second. Night came fast in the swamp, dropping a curtain of darkness, extinguishing all light except for the beacon of the full moon. The moon floated upward, indifferent to the consequences of its innocent victims.

A halo of lighter blue surrounded the globe, limning the trees silver, the cobwebs in the trees becoming chains of dripping diamonds in the coming night.

What did these strangers want? Billy fought the urge to scream.

This is our home. Humans don’t belong in the swamp.

The moon continued to rise, the familiar agony beginning in his chest. A full moon, a dangerous moon, Billy fought the demons churning within his body, feeling the pain of metamorphosis.

He curled inward, hunching his shoulders, the curse of his nature making his spine pull until his tendons and muscles tore from their human positions to transform into something wicked.

A howl erupted from his throat, followed by another, and then another. Grabbing handfuls of dirt, he tried to fight the awful change, but, as the sun set, the moon took control of his life, and the unnatural force tore through his unwilling body.

Reason fled; his heart raced. Falling on his hands and knees, Billy let loose a keening cry as his face elongated, his body changing into a canine, fangs filling his mouth. He raced in a circle in a demented dance, knowing his fellow pack members did the same thing.

Slowing, he regulated his labored breathing, forcing the icy calmness he needed to keep some semblance of reason. He peered through the dense brush. Lights from the search party bobbed in the distance. The odor, the stench of humanity, filled the clearing. The enemy had arrived.

He turned, digging furiously on the ground, throwing dirt on the campfire flames, hiding their existence. Discovery would ruin everything. No one could live with their kind.

Humans brought disease; humans brought anger; humans brought hatred. They were there; he could smell them, see their clumsy bodies splashing through the swamp.

“They’ve found us,” he growled in the unique language they used after transformation.

“Run!” he barked as he turned to his pack, watching his friends’ naked skin transform until it was covered with the same silvered fur.

They cried out in unison at the pain, howling with the injustice, and then ran in fear from the interlopers threatening their habitat.

They separated into two groups and took off in different directions to confuse the strangers.

Billy tore through the brush, thorns ripping his fur and in his adrenaline rush, he didn’t feel anything. He glanced back-ward; the humans were chasing them, one running with a huge camera, nine others, the long barrels of their rifles bearing down on them.

In the distance, he heard multiple shots and triumphant shouts, knowing that his friends were succumbing one by one.

With a frantic growl, he urged Little John, Petey and Todd to run faster.

Little John’s massive body was blocking him. Billy bayed at him to keep his head closer to the ground. He worried about Little John knowing that his big frame might as well have had a target painted on his back.

“Stay close together,” he urged. His heart sank when he heard Todd yelp loudly. The shot hit his friend from behind sending him careening into a trench. Billy wanted to stop but knew he couldn’t help Todd. The humans were on his friend’s fallen body seconds later. He had to find Petey and Little John a place to hide.

There was a loud scream as one of their pursuers stum-bled on a root to their left. Billy paused panting wildly to get his bearings next to the broad trunk of a cypress tree.

“Which way?” Petey asked.

Billy’s eyes searched the tangle of the mangroves for an opening.

A shot rang out, splintering a tree, sending shards of bark around them. Billy reared in surprised shock. It wasn’t a bullet. A red feathered dart was vibrating next to him sticking out of the wood.

“What is that?” Petey whimpered.

“It’s a dart,” Billy said. “They’re trying to capture us. This way!”

He and his pack mates took off disappearing into the twisted vines.

They clawed through the swamp, hiding behind clusters of Spanish moss, dipping under the water when the hunters approached.

One man in the group stood taller and leaner than the rest. His dark wolfish eyes scanning the dense undergrowth looking for them. The man paused, training his gun in Billy’s direction as if he could see straight through the foliage.

Billy held his breath, terrified of discovery, but the harried sounds of a chase in the distance distracted the leader of this group.

Billy and his pack skirted solid ground, their bodies quiver-ing. He glanced at the sky wishing for the sun to rise and he would transform back to being human.

The splashes of their pursuers seemed to recede. The pack waited in claustrophobic silence for the time to pass.

Billy spied a dinghy heading towards the flat-bottom boat as dawn approached. They heard the sputter of an engine being turned over.

“They’re leaving,” Little John said hopefully.

The rays of the sun lit the eastern sky. It was quiet once more. They padded softly toward the shore. Coming out of the water, they shook themselves of the muck. Early morning bird calls broke out in the thick stillness.

He barked a cry of dismay as shots rang out. Little John went down in a tumble of leaves and mud, a dart silencing him.

Billy veered right, squirming under a broken log, Petey barreling over it. The report of another shot and a loud thump told him that he had lost Petey too.

What do they want from us?

Billy dug his paws into the marshy land, his heart pumping like a piston. He leaped high over a somnolent alligator, a sharp pain ripping into his flank.

His eyes dimmed as he tumbled headlong into the boggy ground. He rolled over and over, coming to rest on a bed of rotting leaves. He couldn’t move, his limbs were leaden. His ears registered the sound of running feet.

Billy looked up into the triumphant black eyes of the man who led the attack. The hunter placed his boot on his neck holding him down.

“Got ya,” he heard the man say with a thick accent before everything went dark.

About the Author

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

His latest book is Monsterland.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Michael Okon is giving away 2 autographed copies of MONSTERLAND!

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 a copy.
  • This giveaway ends midnight December 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on December 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

 

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Fix Your Diet Fix Your DiabetesTitle: FIX YOUR DIET FIX YOUR DIABETES
Author: Tony Hampton, MD
Publisher: Windy City Publishers
Pages: 168
Genre: Self-Help

BOOK BLURB:

Want to fix your diabetes? In this book, I share with my diabetic and borderline diabetic readers that they have the power to reverse or prevent diabetes simply by changing their diets. It starts with how you think. By removing old beliefs to new ones that better serve you, the path to recovery from diabetes can be that simple. Once I provide the rationale for changing old beliefs to more productive ones, I then share with you ways to stay motivated as you journey to a new way of eating. You are then given a deeper understanding of why so many people have diabetes. This knowledge will allow you to remove thoughts you may have had where you blamed yourself for having diabetes. You are then given tips on how to maintain the motivation needed to make a successful transition to a diabetic friendly diet. Additional knowledge is given about the many complications which could occur when this condition is not well controlled. Empowered with the understanding of why diabetes occurs and its many complications, you will be given a case for changing how diabetes is treated. This is done by changing the focus of diabetes management away from the symptoms (elevated glucose), which is how we currently manage this condition, to treating the cause of the disease (insulin resistance). You are then given the rationale for increasing healthy fats in your diets while reducing starchy carbohydrates and processed foods. Once this is explained, examples of foods that should be considered for smoothies, snacks, and dinner are given so you will know how to choose foods which are best. Finally, tips on how to avoid being fooled by marketing labels and claims of so-called healthy foods provide the framework by which great dietary choices can be made. This new approach to reversing diabetes with diet will reverse diabetes in nearly anyone willing to make these simply lifestyle changes.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Chapter One:

Fix Your Motivation

“If someone is going down the wrong road,

he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up.

What he needs is education to turn him around.”

~Jim Rohn

Answering the WHY Question

So what is your motivation for reading this book? Is it because you feel it’s time to finally win your battle with diabetes and are looking for the steps you need to take to get you there? Or is it because the world has convinced you that the reason you have this condition is because you have not taken personal responsibility for the lifestyle decisions you have made? If only you would eat less and exercise more, right? That’s what you have been told for so many years and yet no matter what you do, you have not found a path to success.

I have some good news for you. You are not the problem. If that was so, we would be living in a world of unmotivated individuals unwilling to make the necessary changes to improve their overall health. I don’t believe this at all. My experience with patients is that most want to be healthy and are willing to do what’s needed to get healthy.

So if that’s true, what’s been keeping them from finding success? The answer is simple. It’s not a lack of motivation but a lack of information. Yes, the path to success is understanding how our bodies work, which is becoming clearer as more and more research is being done.

In the pages of this book I will share a way of viewing your diet that perhaps no one has taught you before. With this new information you can take the steps needed to make changes in your diet and lifestyle. As you learn how to approach your food options, you will give your body access to the right nutrition. This will help you keep your blood sugars down, ultimately reducing the need for insulin, whether it comes from your pancreas (your insulin factory) or the pharmacy (medication). And yes, eating healthier can be done affordably, as long as you are open to eating some of the things you normally walk away from when shopping.

As a physician, there were times when I blamed my patients for not being at their ideal body weight until I realized one important reality. Maybe their behaviors didn’t lead to their inability to process glucose biochemically, but rather their biochemistry led to the behaviors. You may want to read that last sentence again. In other words, relax and stop blaming yourself.

Once you understand how sugars affect your decisions, you will stop blaming yourself (or anyone else) for your diabetes or the effects it has on your physical condition. You will also learn that all calories are not the same and that some calories are good while others are bad.

For example, calories from sugars are not the best way to receive nutrition, no matter what you’ve been told about how much of your nutrition should be coming from sugars or carbs. In fact, an International Econometric Analysis of Diet and Diabetes found “sugar availability is a significant statistical determinant of diabetes prevalence rates worldwide.”

To put this in perspective, a 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9-1/3 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) has put together a maximum intake allowance for sugar, and according to the AHA, women should have no more than 6 teaspoons per day. Men can have up to 9 teaspoons of sugar daily. So, whether you’re male or female, drinking a single 12-ounce can of Coke goes over the maximum sugar allowance for the day.2 The average American consumes 22 teaspoons daily.

Keeping these facts in mind, it would not surprise you that drinking just one soda per day increases your risk for diabetes by 29 per-cent, regardless of your current weight. So I ask the question again, are you lacking motivation or lacking knowledge? I think you know the answer. Now let’s start by looking at ways you can stay motivated as you work toward your goal of fixing your diabetes.

Set a Goal

The first step is to define your goal. Your short-term goal may be to get your Hemoglobin A1c under 7. Or maybe you have a long-term goal of preventing many of the complications of diabetes, like blindness or kidney failure. Either way, defining your goals will be an important step in reaching them.

Keep your goals realistic and focused. Goals that are out of reach only create an unrealistic illusion. For example, I’m a tennis fan and dream of playing at Wimbledon someday. But the reality is that I am at an age and skill level where this is an impossible dream. Likewise, if your goals are not focused, you may find yourself trying to accom-plish more than your brain can handle. This results in mental fatigue, which will sap your confidence.

Now let’s look at the benefits of sharing your goals.

Share Your Goal

I must admit, this is risky. Even your friends and family, who should be your greatest source of support, can sometimes be your greatest source of discouragement. Many times they are not aware that they are harming you. They want to limit your expectations so they can protect you from failure. All the same, friends and family can be our greatest ally as we work towards our goals. We want them on board when we are trying to accomplish anything, so talk to them and let them know you are determined to change and succeed. They will help keep you from falling off the wagon whenever a little motivation is needed. Your diabetes control may depend on it.

Introduce Your Goal to Your Refrigerator

In a world where stainless steel is becoming the norm, I hope I don’t upset anyone with the idea of putting anything on that fancy refrigerator door. But this may be the best way to find the daily reminder you’ll need to stay motivated. Most of us will pass by that big ice box at least once daily. Why not repurpose it as a reminder of your personal goals? Such a reminder could be exactly what you need to get your day started on the right foot. Consider a picture of your diabetes medicines with a big X over it. This could serve as your aspirational goal of using your diet to get off medicines.

Partner With Others to Help You Reach Your Goals

Have you ever thought, “If only I had a life coach?” Imagine having someone to help you as you take your journey to a place you’ve never been before. How secure would you feel knowing that you’re not alone, but have a built-in support system to help you along the way? Partnering with someone can make this all possible.

Partnerships create an accountability that for some of us is not easily achieved alone. Not only will you benefit, but you will be return-ing the favor by providing the same support for the person you’ve created your partnership with. You are now accountable to each other, sharing both your successes and failures. Even the most successful motivational speakers, like Anthony Robbins, have life coaches. Think about the people in your circle and see if someone could fill this role in your life. If you can’t find one in your circle, consider hiring a professional life coach or joining a diabetes support group in your area.

Focus on What’s Important to You, Not What’s Important to Others

The reality for many of us is that we spend too much time focused on other people’s agendas—whether it’s doing activities you really don’t want to do, not knowing how to say no, or allowing others to dictate how you should live your life. The key is to reflect on your own goals and allow those goals to set your day’s agenda. Once you remove distractions caused by others, there will be plenty of time to do the things that are meaningful to you.

If you rarely feel motivated, making this shift could correct your energy levels. When you’re doing things for yourself, motivation will naturally be high because you’re doing what your own spirit desires. Doing other people’s work will never create the motivation you need to accomplish anything.

Be Careful of the Words You Use Daily

You are what you think or say you are. If you use negative words to describe yourself or your capacity to reach your goals, you will likely fulfill those negative expectations. When was the last time you recall a negative-thinking person accomplishing much or inspiring others? This doesn’t happen. Understanding that our thoughts become our reality is one of the most important keys to creating an environment that fosters success. If you believe you can fix your diabetes, you will.

Create a Positive Environment to Nurture Your Spirit

I listen to inspirational messages daily. Messages from those who have mastered the art of positive thinking. They are so easy to find— in books, with an Internet search, or on Youtube. This has changed my life and it will do the same for you.

All you need to do is take a few minutes each day to get the positive juices flowing. This will enable you to counter the negative forces you will certainly face each day. Whether it’s the local news, a negative co-worker, a mean boss, or an unsupportive family member, your ability to manage the negative energy they are emitting is made easier with the armor of positive thoughts in your head.

So take a moment to think about all your activities and the time and resources they use. Then start the process of removing those activities which don’t add value or help you reach your goal of better controlling your diabetes. By replacing activities which don’t serve you with activities that do, you will find it easier to reach your goals. Will you have the courage to take away those activities which have been part of your routine for so long? Sometimes it’s what we don’t do that harms us the most

Take a w a y s

  • Reflect and decide WHY you are motivated to fix your diabetes. Your motivation may be a person, or it may be a goal you are trying to reach.
  • Set a specific goal with a defined date to reach it.

This could be a target level of hemoglobin A1c.

  • Share your goal with someone who wants to help you reach it, to create accountability.
  • Write your goal on a sticky note and place it on your refrigerator as a daily reminder.
  • Get yourself a life coach.
  • Focus on your own priorities and not the priorities of others.
  • Speak encouraging language to yourself and others.
  • Make sure your day is started with positives messages.

 

 

 

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We’re really excited to be hosting Marguerite Ashton’s HER FINAL WATCH Book Blast today! Leave a comment below to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Title:
HER FINAL WATCH
Author: Marguerite Ashton
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 296
Genre: Crime
Speaking
second-hand truths can be deadly …
Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current
case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob
for prostitution and drugs.

But Lily’s usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.

Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom
she’d killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the
child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from
her colleagues.

Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a
local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before
Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and
another body is found.

When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled
into a conflict that swirls around the boss’s son who’s hell-bent on revenge.

To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might
still be alive if it wasn’t for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee
Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.

As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point
to Ibee and Jeremiah – placing Lily’s life and her unborn child in danger.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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Detective Ariel Weeks stabbed at the small block of ice
until it split into several pieces across the counter. She tossed the jagged
cubes into the glass and made her client a drink.
In less than twenty-four hours, Ariel would no longer have
to use the name Jasmine and keep men company to protect her cover. All she
needed to do was make it through this last night and she’d be allowed to be who
she was; a mom just doing her job.
After gathering evidence and recording all the data she had,
it would be hard to detah. Towards the end, she’d learned things she wished
weren’t true, leaving her stomach in tattered knots.
Back at home, there were two reasons Ariel would never take
on another undercover assignment.
Click.
Ariel ground her teeth as the door to Cabin D opened and
closed. She could feel Mikey Surace, the mob boss’s son, staring at the
backless white dress she wore at his request.
The man who smiled at the sight of blood was standing behind
her, breathing heavily.

 

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up
acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime
fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek
and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she
founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement
investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime
writers who need help with their book research.
She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic,
plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado
recipe. 

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in

Colorado, but is now happily
living in
Wisconsin and playing as much golf
as possible.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

Marguerite Ashton is giving away a
$25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering
    the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner
    will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway
    ends midnight October 31.
  • Winner will
    be contacted via email on November 1.
  • Winner has
    48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

 

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The Guardian-SMAmazon Bestselling author Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass heroes who defy their limits to protect the women they love. A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she splits her time between Colorado and Florida, where she lives with her indulgent husband and a very opinionated cat.

Anna loves to hear from her readers. Connect with Anna at:

Annadelmar.com

Anna on Facebook

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Anna@annadelmar.com

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INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Guardian. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: Sure! The Guardian is the story of Matthias Hawking, an ex-SEAL turned game warden, engaged in a fierce battle to end poaching in Africa. When Jade Romo, a beautiful, stubborn, fiery journalist defies the poachers, Matthias will do everything in his power to protect the woman who has captured his heart.

The Guardian was born during a holiday in Africa. It was supposed to be a no-laptop, no-writing vacation. But I get a lot of inspiration from my trips and this one was packed with inspiration. Tanzania is an amazing country. And who could resist the magnificent Serengeti as the backdrop for an epic love story?

Q: What do you think makes a good romantic suspense? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: I think a good romantic suspense novel has to have a strong, twisting plot, an awesome setting and smart, clever, conflicted characters who defy terrible odds and evolve to challenge and love each other throughout the story. The stakes must be high, that’s a big one for me, with issues that matter in and out of bed, to each person, but also to all of us, to the human race. Oh, and a sweet, happy ending. That’s key for me. That’s more than three things, isn’t it? I’m smiling.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: This is one of those cases where reality laid out the storyline for me. There have been so many cases of major poaching documented in the press. When I was traveling in Africa, several of these cases were in the news. The threats that Matthias and Jade confronted in The Guardian are very real.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Matthias Hawking’s character is based on a number of real ex-special forces operators that have collaborated with the global fight against poaching. Matthias’s skill set as an ex-Seal fit neatly into the storyline. As to Jade Romo, in her own words, she’s what happens when you meld Anthony Bourdain with Nat Geo and add heaping spoon of attitude to the mix.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: To create my villains, I read the African papers, scoured the news about the world of poaching’s principals, and talked to the people on the ground. My story is completely fictional and yet, regretfully, similar things happen all too often, for real.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I kept a quick pace and made sure the plot twisted in a few key places. I also peppered the story with clues and details that came together at the end. It helped that both Matthias and Jade were so action-oriented. Neither one was willing to take a backseat to the action. Both of them were in the middle of everything.

The conflict between them helped and so did their competitive natures. Some of the best, most exciting scenes in this novel are exactly that. In this case, creating an action-adventure male/female alpha pair was the perfect fit for the plot. Their romance fed on the action scenes in such a way that their respective skill sets came through. Jade learned to trust Matthias and respect his competencies and Matthias loved Jade as she was, a hurricane wearing boots.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Well, let’s face it. My setting was incredible and so well suited to showcase the characters in this story. Africa is an amazing continent. Tanzania blew me away. The Serengeti—come on!—the Serengeti is the third character in The Guardian. It offered infinite opportunities to the writer in me. The landscape, the wildlife, the people, I used it all to offer what I hope is a vivid, breathtaking background. In my mind, the Serengeti was an epic setting for an epic love story. In fact, if you’d like to see the images that inspired many of the pivotal scenes in The Guardian, click here to see my pictures of Africa.

Q: Did you know the themes of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Are these themes recurrent in your other work?

A: I’m very passionate about my heroes. I love to write about my amazing wounded warriors, who rise from the ashes like mythological Phoenixes. In The Guardian, I carried through the theme, which by the way, also implies that the experience of being wounded, challenged, and defied by life itself is something that we all share as human beings. It’s not about physical wounds. It’s about psychological wounds.

In that way, both Matthias and Jade are wounded warriors, even though neither one of them is likely to recognize themselves as such. The idea of sex and love as healing elements is pivotal as well. Most importantly is the recognition that we are all wounded beings in one way or another. My wounded warriors teach us about the courage of healing through taking on the ultimate risk: love.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: Writing is a craft and an art. The story demands both. A technically proficient novel without art reads like an instruction manual without a soul. An artistic work of fiction is unreadable when the writer neglects the craft. The novelist must be an artist and a technician of the craft at the same time.

As to editing, I think it’s always meant to be a force of good to the story. The problem ensues when editing becomes a way of censorship to the author. Self-editing can be particularly murderous to the creative flow, especially to a new, inexperienced author. The obvious prescription to overcome that is writing. You write now, and you edit later.

I’m also a huge fan of professional editing. I think an experienced, capable, professional editor offers the best and fastest opportunity to polish a manuscript. Notice the adjectives here, experienced, capable, professional. I would add to that the right editor is also genre-specific, meaning that she or he is in touch with your market and readers. Unfortunately, there are some editors out there who do not meet those parameters. They can do some damage, especially to a new writer’s confidence. I know a good editor when I see one. She or he seeks to build, not to destroy.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Guts, insight, and perseverance. Guts, because you’ve got to be able to stand for yourself, advocate for your stories, and defy the odds. Insight because you must offer more to your readers than what’s already out there, which—by the way—it’s a lot! And perseverance because you’ve got to be able to stick with it for the long term if you’re going to succeed as a novelist.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A: I hated doing homework when I was in school. I love writing.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Writing is an act of love. I’ve been saying that for a while. Writing is also an act of faith, I’d like to add, because—well—it just is.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Mark S. Bacon 5052 - smlrMark S. Bacon began his career as a southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.

After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing when he became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the freeway from Disneyland, and later for a Los Angeles advertising agency.

Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including Do-It-yourself Direct Marketing, printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs.  His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Denver Post, and many other publications.  Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Desert Kill Switch is the second book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with Death in Nostalgia City, an award winner at the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival.

Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words.  He  taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, University of Redlands, and the University of Nevada – Reno.  He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Desert Kill Switch. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A:  On an empty desert road, stressed-out ex-cop Lyle Deming finds a bullet-riddled body next to a mint-condition 1970s Pontiac Firebird. When he returns to the scene with sheriff’s deputies: no car, no body.  Does the answer lie in Nostalgia City where Lyle works? The Arizona retro theme park re-creates—in every detail—an entire small town from the early 1970s.  It’s complete with period cars, clothes, music, hairstyles, food, shops, fads, restaurants—the works.

Lyle swapped his job as a Phoenix homicide detective for a cab in Nostalgia City when the anxieties and disappointments of police work nearly pushed him over the edge.

Nostalgia City VP Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star, is in Nevada on park business when she gets mixed up with a sleazy Las Vegas auto dealer who puts hidden “kill switches” and GPS trackers in cars he sells—mainly to low-income buyers.  Miss a payment—sometimes by as little as a few days—and your car is dead.  Maybe you are, too.

Front cover - Full Cover DKS v3 (1)When Kate’s accused of murder in Reno, Lyle arrives to help his blonde, not-quite-girlfriend and they plow through a deadly tangle of suspects and motives.  Kate and Lyle hit one dead end after another as they struggle to exonerate Kate, catch a blackmailer, save a witness’s life, and help find the missing corpse.

What compelled me to create Nostalgia City goes back to one of my early jobs as a writer.  I’ve always been a mystery fan and when I worked at Knott’s Berry Farm I thought a theme park would be a great setting for a murder mystery—especially at night.  While working at Knott’s I saw, from  behind the scenes, what it takes to make a large theme park work—and what could happen if things went wrong. Scary.

Q: What do you think makes a good mystery?  Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: The answer to the first question depends on who you ask.  Raymond Chandler, creator of Philip Marlowe, thought that many British mysteries, such as those that take place at a manor  house in the country, lack interest.  You have to read to the end of a cozy mystery, he said, to find anything exciting.

I don’t completely agree, but here’s my take on mysteries. I love to read novels filled with a multiplicity of clues and puzzles to solve—stories that appeal to the head.  But I appreciate mysteries that move quickly, are filled with suspenseful action and keep you guessing about the safety of the protagonist—thus appealing to the heart.  To me, a good mystery must appeal to both the head and the heart.  That’s what I try to do with my novels.

That’s an outline view.  The guts of a good mystery must include believable characters—I prefer sympathetic protagonists—and a challenging story.  Add to that realistic, entertaining dialog.  Entertainment is a critical element, but it’s one of those eye-of-the-beholder concepts.  Some people get bored reading interviews with suspect after supect, others want the detective to move ahead ploddingly, examining every clue and every witness with a critical eye.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A:  I plot my books piece by piece and don’t start writing until I have many pages of notes including a plot outline and summary of each character’s personality, manner of speaking and goals in the story.  I know some writers just start somewhere and say their characters move the story along as they go.  My characters move the story along because I tell  them what they’re going to do ahead of time.

That said, many of what I think are the best plot twists or complications occur to me as I’m in the middle of writing.  If so, things change.  I may have to back up and rewrite, add a new character or whatever is necessary.  But I have the main story arch, and lots of details, written before I start chapter one.

This is the way I construct a complex mystery (or two) and have all the pieces fit together logically.  I think many readers analyze the plot along with my protagonists.  I want to play fair with them and not bring in some murderer or major clue toward the end, without giving clues or foreshadowing earlier.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A:  As I mentioned, I do various types of character profiles before I begin.  I did much more for my two protagonists when I wrote the first book.  Kate Sorensen, for example, is a combination of several people I’ve known.  She’s a former college basketball star, a six-foot-two-and-a-half- inch tall USC grad.  She’s also a corporate vice president of public relations.  My youngest daughter played college basketball for four years. She excelled at the game, played with passion and led her team to many last-second victories.  But she was a point guard and nearly a head shorter than Kate.  Some of Kate’s abilities to deal with pressure comes from my experience watching my daughter.  A little insight on being a six-foot-plus woman comes from listening to her teammates.

Some of the executive women I’ve worked with contributed to Kate’s personality.  Like Kate, they had to be the best at what they did in order to succeed in male-dominated fields.   Kate’s height poses another challenge, both personally and professionally and I explore that in this second book in the series, taking inspiration from a combination of sources.

I spent even more time on my other protagonist, Lyle Deming.  Anxious is his default setting.  He left the police department under a cloud of accusations of mental illness.  Actually, he’s not crazy, even though he talks to himself aloud and wears a rubber band on his wrist for stress.  I did lots research into anxiety-related disorders as I was creating Lyle.  I combined that with other experience early from in my career covering the police beat as a newspaper reporter.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: You can’t tell much about the villain in a mystery without giving away the secret.  Let’s pick Al Busick as my example.  He’s an antagonist, but not really the main bad guy in the story.   He’s devious, self-centered and lacking in business ethics.  But he’s also a self-made man who started at the bottom in the car business and worked his way up.  I explore his personality not only through his actions and words, but in how others describe him.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I designed the point of view structure I use in each book with suspense and reader interest in mind.  Lyle and Kate are each POV characters and I alternate them. So in one chapter Lyle may be getting into trouble or about to uncover an important  clue, then I switch to a Kate chapter.  The reader has to wait to find out what happened to Lyle.  My chapters are also short, so the story moves apace.  My first book, Death in Nostalgia City, had 74 chapters in 300 pages.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Nostalgia City is a 1970s town.  Everything from the look of a J.J. Newberry store to the sound of a Linda Ronstadt rock song blaring out of a record store is designed to impart a retro feel.  The characters communicate without the use of cell phones—unheard of in the ’70s.  The cars cruising the streets include Oldsmobiles and Plymouths, marques that ended decades ago.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A:  The value of the past, the role it should play in the present and present-moment living are recurring themes.  The concept of nostalgia, while the main attraction for the Arizona theme park, can be a burden.  I will continue to examine this as the series progresses.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: Of course editing can destroy creativity, but most professional editing is not designed to gut a story but to make it better.  Every good writer craves editing.  Every good writer can learn from editors.  I learn every time my work is edited.

In every job I’ve had, I worked with editors, whether they were called city editors, creative directors, or something else.  Writers need editors.  Period.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A:  The same things that make a successful novel make a successful novelist: characterization, plot and setting.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: At first I thought this sounded screwy.  Seems to characterize the occupation as a life sentence. I suppose the homework could be the constant revision of a piece of writing until you’re absolutely satisfied it’s the best.  Or it could be homework when you read for pleasure but actually analyze the writing to see what you can learn from it.  Maybe there’s something to this.  But writing is about words, about passion for words and for communicating.  Could you turn it off?  Possibly, but why would you do that?

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A:  I’ve read a lot of books on how to organize and write a novel.  Many are useful, particularly The Successful Novelist by mystery writer David Morrell.  The best book I’ve read on writing, one that shows simple yet effective techniques for telling a story, is The Art and Craft of Feature Writing by William E. Blundell.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A:  If you want to be a writer, you must be a reader.

 

 

 

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