Archive for the ‘Guest Blogger’ Category
There was the Tuatha De Danann, a secret Irish tribe of near immortals that were forced into hiding after being defeated by the Milesians.
Then that brings up the Milesians, a secret group of decedents from the original Sons of Mil that overpowered the Tuatha De Danann, that have sworn to keep them from ever returning to power again.
To avoid the Milesians, some of the Tuatha De Danann seek refuge within the secret society of the Irish Travellers.
In my story, Kieran and his family are the Tuatha De Danann that hide among the Irish Travellers. They are responsible for not only keeping their own identity hidden, but also for protecting the mysterious world of the gypsies that guard their secret.
Then there is Harmony, she’s determined to discover Kieran’s secret, but will the truth come too late?
As you can see, that is a lot of secrets! What are your favorite types of secrets to read about in books? I’d love to hear about them!
Beautiful. Secretive. Magical. You envy their freedom, but you are distrustful of their ways. A strange carnival has come to Corydon, Indiana and the Irish Travellers have captured the small town’s attention–but it’s Harmony who’s attracted theirs.
Harmony sees the Travellers everywhere and just like everyone else in town she’s curious. But once she meets the mysterious and captivating Kieran, Harmony’s life takes an exciting and chilling turn.
Up until now, Harmony never believed that fairy tales or myths were real, but Kieran and his family belong to an ancient tribe called the Tuatha de Dannan and someone else has discovered their secret.
An ancient battle is about to begin again, and now no one is safe, especially Harmony. Can Kieran resist the urge to be with her or will his feelings put her in the crossfire?
Dana Michelle Burnett spent most of her life writing short stories and sharing them with family and friends. Over the years, her work was published in numerous commercial and literary magazines including Just Labs, Mindprints: A Literary Journal, Foliate Oak, and many more. Her short story John Lennon and the Chicken Holocaust was included in The Best of Foliate Oak 2006.
Dana Michelle’s Spiritus Series introduced the idea of a ghostly romance and became a Kindle bestselling series. She’s an avid reader of anything dark and romantic. Dana Michelle lives in Southern Indiana with her dancing diva daughter and an assortment of pets.
In the biggest, most overt and most successful of these campaigns, a group of Michael Jackson fans used Facebook and Twitter to solicit negative reviews of a new biography of the singer. They bombarded Amazon with dozens of one-star takedowns, succeeded in getting several favorable notices erased and even took credit for Amazon’s briefly removing the book from sale.
“Books used to die by being ignored, but now they can be killed and perhaps unjustly killed,” said Trevor Pinch, a Cornell sociologist who has studied Amazon reviews. “In theory, a very good book could be killed by a group of people for malicious reasons.”
Because it’s so difficult to separate real from malicious or sock puppet reviews, Amazon and other sellers and book sites have so far refused to get involved. Streitfeld writes: . . . “Mr. Pinch, the Cornell researcher, said he got the sense that ‘Amazon is hoping that all these problems with positive and negative reviews will go away.’ He added: ‘But as more and more abuses come to light, the overall effect will be a slow undermining of the process. There are so many ways to game the systems.’”
Rabble Reads: A real plan to solve the review problem once and for all
With Rabble Reads, Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader, will legitimize book reviews, solving these problems once and for all. Like Metacritic, the popular review site for films, Rabble Reads will aggregate reviews from trusted, verified sources for both indie and traditionally published books.
Here are six ways we all–authors and readers–benefit from Rabble Reads
Real Reviews–legit reviews are tough to come by these days. The practices of posting sock puppet praise and leaving drive-by muggings fueled by anger or envy have left readers skeptical of consumer reviews. Rabble will be a straight-shooting, no subsidy, no BS site providing real reviews we can trust.
Accountability–reviewer names and websites will be published and linked to reviews, so readers can see–and compare–trusted critiques of a book. Readers can follow favorite reviewers, giving them the opportunity to compare reviews posted over time as well as reviews for books across and within genres.
Bias (elimination)–Rabble will aggregate reviews from experienced and reliable reviewers–from trusted clubs, bloggers, and professional reviewers–eliminating both bias and the assumption of bias.
Bump (in sales)–Rabble will offer readers a searchable database. A Metacritic search by review score or genre turns up great films we might otherwise have overlooked; Rabble will do the same for books.
Legitimacy–on Rabble, indie books will stand side-by-side with their traditionally published counterparts, finally earning self-published books the legitimacy and respect they deserve. Readers may be surprised to discover how well indie books stack up against their traditionally published counterparts.
Easy–Rabble will give readers an easy way to find reviews they can trust. With one click, readers will find honest reviews of popular books as well us great new books by established and emerging authors.
By pledging as little as $1 you can help change the publishing industry!
But Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition. If Rabble fails to reach 100% of its $10,000 goal by March 26–just a few days from now!–the project gets nothing and Rabble won’t get off the ground. For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you can change the publishing industry!
Time is running out. We have only a few more days to bring Rabble to life. Please pledge today–whatever you can afford, even $1–and please tweet, post and share as widely as possible! Thank you so very, very much for your help!
If I could make up a title for myself it would be “Life-Design Extraordinaire”. I believe life was meant to be wonderful… maybe not every day, maybe not even every week… but I believe overall our days should be more wonderful than not.
Ironically, this philosophy fits in perfectly with my Type-A personality and my obsession with planning everything. I’m not kidding. I plan everything. I believe I can conquer most anything if I am able to plan for it… and almost nothing if I’m not. Some people call that being anal-retentive… I call it being prepared.
I also believe in the philosophy of “Go Big or Go Home” – if I am going to do something, you best darn believe it’s going to be awesome. Well researched, perfectly planned and awesome. After all, if you are going to do something half-way, why even do it?
I say this all jokingly, but I really am serious. Too many people live on autopilot; in an endless cycle of dreading Mondays, hoping for Wednesday and praying for Fridays. To many people are stuck in lives they didn’t choose, and don’t know how to get out. My mission is to change that.
One of the passions my husband and I share is our love for travel. We’ve only been married a couple of years and make it a point to travel as often as we possibly can. Thanks to my obsession, every trip we take is planned months, sometimes years, in advance and always meets our three main criteria: low-crowds, great weather and under no circumstances will a trip EVER interfere with a Texas Tech Football home game (GO RED RAIDERS!).
Our trip to the Bahamas at the end of last October was no exception. I did one last weather-check the day before we left and was happy to see our planning had paid off — we were in for a beautiful week of sand and sun. We arrived and checked in to our ocean-view suite at The Cove (part of the Atlantis Resort) before hurrying out for burgers on the beach. It was paradise!
As we were getting ready for bed on the second night of our trip we decided to turn on The Weather Channel to get an update for the rest of the week. Imagine my surprise when we learned a tropical storm had developed… literally over night!
“No worries”, the weatherman said, “We expect it to dissipate before it turns into anything substantial.”
The next morning, the front desk attendant said the same thing, “Oh no, it’s not coming here.”
Fears far from being abated I checked the weather again after lunch. Not only was this thing NOT dissipating, it was growing. Fast. And it was headed straight for us.
Turns out the storm did develop into something. A little hurricane… maybe you’ve heard of it… Hurricane Sandy? And two days later we were videoing Jim Cantori impressions on our iPhones and sending them to our friends and family back home.
People say there are worse places to be stuck than in Paradise. Those people have never seen Paradise during a hurricane. Since no one could get in or out of the islands we ended up staying there two extra nights. Don’t worry… the “hurricane” room rate is 50% off.
It quickly became too dangerous to go outside, so we navigated the resort through the underground tunnels connecting the buildings. The one time we DID try to go outside, we got caught in a 70mph wind tunnel and I was blown off my feet, over a trash can and into a bush.
I’m not kidding. You can ask my husband.
Aside from the inconvenience it really wasn’t all that bad. We spent too much time in the casino, ate way too much food and actually found some fellow Red Raider fans to watch the game with us in the casino bar. We may not have had the vacation we planned, but we still came away with a story that will last us a lifetime. And the day after the storm we were blessed with the most beautiful blue ocean you will ever see.
I guess the lesson here is you can’t plan for everything. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t plan anything. For the past 5 years I have been living my life under the philosophy that we are responsible for the life we have. That is what my book is about. It didn’t happen overnight, but over time my life has become a reflection of the person I am aspiring to be every day. For the most part, my husband and I plan our work around our life, not the other way around. We travel, we go to football games and we spend time on a weekly basis doing things we enjoy. We pursue our passions, and we create the life we want instead of settling for the life we get.
This lifestyle is possible for everyone. It doesn’t have to be about money, it doesn’t have to be about flash, it’s just about happiness and whatever that word means to you. You deserve to create your life by design, my book shows you how to go out and make it happen!
About the Author:
Jordan lives with her husband Robert in Lubbock, Texas with their 3 dogs and two horses. Because both her parents have always been self-employed, she had an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age and began her first business at the age of 17. It was at that time that she first became fascinated with the subject of personal development and the impact a personal education can have on a person’s life. She grew up riding horses and competing in Dressage shows all across Texas and New Mexico. The sport continues to be one of the primary passions in her life and if she is not working or spending time with her family you can usually find her at the barn. Jordan has two younger siblings, Clayton and Paige, whom she is very close to, and she greatly enjoys spending time with her family. She and Robert enjoy entertaining friends at their home (especially during football season – Go Red Raiders!) and they love to travel the world and experience new countries and cultures together.
Her latest book is Lifetime of Achievement.
About the Book:
There are too many people going through life content with mediocrity. People going to jobs they hate, to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like. People who are dreading Monday, looking forward to hump day and praying for Friday; and let’s not even talk about those two weeks of paid vacation… those are gold!
How long have we been this way? Is this really what life is all about? I don’t believe we were created to be content with a mediocre lifestyle we never wanted in the first place. What happened to being a rock star, an astronaut, or an actor? What happened to the hopes and dreams we each had as children? Perhaps, over time, our dreams have changed… but our propensity for dreaming is still inside us.
Lifetime of Achievement outlines seven goal-setting strategies to help get you from where you are to where you want to be. In its chapters you will find knowledge from some of the worlds most popular personal development masterpieces, taken down to a level that is easy to read and simple to understand.
Learn the steps to discovering who you truly are, creating goals in perfect alignment with that discovery and implementing an action plan that, when followed, has been proven to produce results. Learn how to conquer fear, to activate the powers of the human mind and discover two of the most important factors shared by virtually every successful individual throughout history.
This book takes proven strategies and puts them into an easy-to-read, easy-to-implement format that can be read in as little as a few hours. Discover the steps, put them to work, and become prepared for a Lifetime of Achievement!
Time has a funny way of passing whether we are prepared for it or not. The sun continues to rise and set, signaling the beginning and the end of another day; what we do with the time that passes is up to us.
Fate. Chance. Luck. We live in a time where these words are passed around like a “get out of jail free” card; relieving people of the burden of personal responsibility. Instead of believing our choices shape our future, we turn a blind eye and believe the common thread connecting those successful people in our world is nothing more than some lucky gene one is either born with, or not.
What a horrible way to live!
People skirt the idea of personal responsibility because it frightens them. The idea of owning each and every one of our mistakes can be a tough one. What people miss though is the unexplainable freedom, joy and liberation that can come with the simple act of becoming responsible for your life!
It was right at 5 years before writing this book that the idea of personal responsibility took hold of my psyche. At that point, I had dabbled in personal development for several years, begun my own business and experienced very little real success. The idea began with a seed planted by my therapist (yeah, I’m not kidding.) when he said to me, “You are responsible for your own happiness. You must become your own secure base in this world.”
The idea confounded me. It took hold and, before long, began to grow rapidly as a result of the books I began reading and the philosophy I began to adopt into my life. Do you hear the freedom in those words? YOU are responsible for your own happiness. YOU ARE! Not your family, not your friends. Not your circumstances, not your environment. You! You are responsible!
Book Trailer Link:
Lifetime of Achievement Tour Page:
Energy flows where our attention goes. Therefore, no matter what age we are, we must continue to have big dreams, and actively pursue them. To that end, develop your own template for imagination, a format in which envisioning can easily take place. What works best for me is to mentally transport myself to somewhere I’ve actually been and felt a strong connection with, which of late are the ruins of the Temple of Alexander at Olympia in Greece. A small circular structure with only three remaining exterior columns, it is the perfect place to see myself envisioning my dreams, what I would will to be. Your special place may be closer to home or anywhere, from a lounge chair in your own backyard to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It’s inspiring, of course, to physically be in your power spot when you envision but that is not necessary. Any place, whether you have ever been there in person or not can be just as potent, as long as it has significance for you. Its potency lies in the power that you imbue in it. Once in your sacred space, anything is possible to imagine, just as it is when we sleep. I cannot stress enough how important it is to do this and, on a regular basis!
For most people, being as definitive as possible is highly desirable. By that I mean make a plan, every morning, for what you would like to accomplish that day, even if it contains only one or two action items. This, too, helps us anchor our reality in the NOW. As I recall how my parents and grandparents dealt with their so-called older age, it was to go blithely forward, remaining as engaged as possible in their daily activities. Nowadays, of course, we have so many more options. However, do not forget the joy that may be gained from even the most mundane of chores, all of which can be used as moving meditations. When you’re washing a dish, for example, look to the Zen of that, the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing something to maintain your environment and therefore a sense of well-being. And, each little dash contributes to making a greater splash. After all, a lot of full-fledged shticks are nothing more than a series of flourishes!
Going for Excelsior Blog Tour Information:
About the author
Wayne Hatford, B.A. in French and Spanish, M.A. in International Administration, is a teacher, writer, editor and author dedicated to bridging the gap between the physical and non-physical worlds. To that end, he channeled a friend, Janice Horn ~ Letters from Janice: Correspondence with the Astral Plane and, more recently, the spirit essence of Rudolph Valentino ~ Valentino Speaks: The Wisdom of Rudolph Valentino and Going for Excelsior: Thriving in Seniorhood, all of which are available via Amazon.com. Each of these works explores the “Other Side” while offering insight and practical suggestions on how best to make the most of this one.
A life-long student of metaphysics and transformation, Wayne has both taught in public school and been a personal property appraiser. Wayne Hatford now resides in Santa Rosa, California where he and the Valentino essence continue their collaboration.
His latest book is Going for Excelsior: Thriving in Seniorhood.
About The Book
What if you were as savvy as you could possibly be in matters of aging and, therefore, really soar, breeze through the final chapters of your life with flying colors? The ’senior’ experience, through only the most constructive and creative of lenses! Going for Excelsior” offers practical suggestions for successfully negotiating Seniorhood, a blueprint for active living ~ how to embrace where you’re at in your life, find hidden gems, turn up the voltage. Thriving in Seniorhood is about going beyond what’s expected or being directed at you by the host society and this book provides the reader with the tools and understandings to accomplish that goal. Conundrums solved. The sting removed from such phenomena as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Myths about Seniors debunked. These are only a few of the benefits that can be derived from reading this book which, hopefully, will serve to stretch your consciousness, something that’s rather elastic to begin with ~ in every stage of life.
‘Seniorhood’ ~ Where people often like to perceive us, once we have attained a certain age. Also, where we can choose to thrive, with clarity of purpose ~ and by design!
“Like all those who currently inhabit a body, you, too, are getting ready for Excelsior. Especially allow the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond of your ages to be magical in this regard, for you to be way-showers, preparing yourselves mentally, physically and spiritually for the next phase. There always is a next phase, by the way, and we are always getting ready for it. You are part of a grand design as am I. There is no other option!” ~ Rudolph Valentino
Now, let’s return to the more common definition of Excelsior, the loose packing material that is most associated with the shipping of fine art or antiques. It can come from many sources and, as a result, may have lots of different ‘looks.’ Metaphysically-speaking, however, Excelsior is a container for the soul and, being somewhat porous, allows for entry and exit, not only of the soul itself, but also of vibrations, both ours and those of other people. It might be easier to think of Excelsior as skin, that living, breathing, largest organ of the body whose properties model those of the Veil. Yes, once again our skin is a version of the Veil, that curtain of energy that separates the dimensions and whose function also is, under certain circumstances, to allow energy to pass through it. Our skin shields us from danger, yet it also allows us to shine our Light. Have you ever heard someone say that so and so’s skin was translucent? All of our skins are translucent. We shine, projecting the inner spark that is soul to the outer world while, at the same time, receiving Light from others, those we encounter in our daily lives. This is how we determine who to interact with, by what our impressions are of their Light. If, for example, we feel inundated or limited by their presence, it’s a sign that we ought to move on. So it’s about the quality of Light of each soul, which is the determining factor. This does not mean, however, that some souls have inferior Light. Rather, it simply signals that their frequencies are very different from ours and, as a consequence, are experienced as jarring. The converse could also be true ~ that we, too, might upset the applecart because our vibrations are not all that harmonious with theirs.
The following is perhaps a heady idea but, I think, very apropos. In lots of new age books, individual souls have often been referred to as Light workers. Indeed, that is exactly what we are, always putting on a show for our fellow travelers, those who happen to be in the body at the same moment as we. The skin, or Excelsior, monitors this so-called Light show, mostly on auto-pilot, but sometimes with the greatest of attention on our parts. What is it that throws the switch or adjusts the rheostat? A combination of factors, including, but not limited to, our own free will, emotional state of being and current degree of alignment. If we’re in sync with ourselves and our environment ~ in the flow, of course we glow. The soul is electric, like a dynamo or atom, independently functioning forever, and one of its modalities is to shed Light. That’s right, a soul cannot die, what we all know inside. It’s only the body that is capable of carrying out that task.
If you will, take a moment to focus on the porous nature of the skin. Not only does the soul make one definitive entrance and exit per physical body, but also countless others that are far more casual, such as each time we fall asleep or wake up. Yes, our soul or consciousness goes off to play in the Astral, in the so-called dream world when we sleep while remaining tethered to the physical body. It’s only when we die that the connection is broken and the soul can no longer re-enter the body. Some of you are more aware of the phenomenon of constantly leaving the body to dream than others. In the state we call half-sleep, people often sense their consciousness either floating close to the body or re-entering it with a thud when they suddenly awake. The skin, or Excelsior, breathes too, though in a more subtle way, in and out, mimicking the work of the lungs. Interesting that it’s the lungs, heart and skin that are the last bastions of movement before the body becomes inert, what we label as dead. At the very instant the first two stop working, the skin is poised to exhale the soul, ready to perform its final function.
Think of the skin that covers our bodies as millions of tiny mirrors, fractals with dampers that can be opened and closed at will. Yes, that is what we do when we emit Light, reflect it through the pores of our skin, and they are also the pathway for the Light of others to reach us. We are like solar panels then, forever in the process of reflecting and absorbing. What an exquisite landscape we wear! Who knew that packing material had such beauty, form, and function?
Going for Excelsior Tour Page
The most difficult issue I have as a writer is insuring that words going down on paper are telling a story and not just occupying space. Often, on idea will come to me as I’m writing and not a second before. I might have a general idea of the story, but the details come later. After writing, I might ruminate on what’s been written and go back later to delete it all. I’m in the process of doing just that with my current story, Alice’s Summertime Adventure. It sounds so bucolic. Alice lives in south Jersey, not far from the Delaware Bay. She is going to spend the day sunbathing in her yard. I could smell the mossy smell of peat and scrub pine, and even the motor oil of a trawler leaving for a fishing trip. And then reality set in and I remembered that readers want something more than the visceral memory I have of the Jersey shore. That is where the real story telling comes in; the journey of Alice and her children. It will not be a light hearted read.
The Greeks of Beaubien Street has its origins in my love for Greektown. It is the birthplace of my family’s traditions. We didn’t go to church like some Greek families; to the big Orthodox Church in Detroit. We also didn’t speak Greek, nor have many relatives around who spoke it, or go to Greek School. After my grandmother died, our relatives migrated to California, leaving my family alone in the Detroit suburbs. We no longer had the benefit of other Greeks around us. Our family still loved to eat however, and that meant trips to Greektown to shop, to the Eastern Market on Gratiot for fresh meat and cheeses, and to a little Greek grocery store on Joy Road. I distinctly remember refusing a night out with girlfriends as a teenager because my father was putting on a spread for my mother’s large, English extended family. They came in droves to eat. So our “Greek” life centered on food. It was what made us Greek. I wanted to capture that in my story, but realized that few people want to read my about childhood memories. I would have to come up with a story that was intriguing enough to spend precious time reading. I think I succeeded.
I fantasized about what Greektown meant to me and what it might have been like to live there. I imagined a community of people who lived in the apartments above their businesses. At first, I thought it might be a safe, warm loving place to raise children. By the time my characters are living in Greektown though, it is no longer inhabited by Greeks. They are isolated from other Greeks, just like I was growing up.
Over the course of the book she makes several heartbreaking discoveries about her family. They are in contrast to the horrors hidden by the rose gardens surrounding the house of murder victim Gretchen Parker. The white, cottage-like Cape Cod in the quiet Detroit suburbs was the antithesis of Jill Zannos’ home. The Parker’s house looks so inviting, but don’t be deceived.
I definitely don’t write warm and fuzzy. Where does the darker stuff come from? Today, another long conversation with my aunt revealed that she believes everything I have experienced in my life is leading up to these stories. It gives some meaning to some of those I regret. There are events in The Greeks of Beaubien Street that shocked me as I was writing, as though I were reporting the crimes committed. I deliberated whether or not to leave the more shocking material in the book when I came to the conclusion that the perverse stuff is purposeful. It forces the reader to make a judgment about the perpetrator, and hopefully, make a comparison with the simple, Greek father.
Yesterday, as I was writing Alice’s story, I started sobbing as a part popped into my head that was almost too much for me to contemplate. Where the idea came from is an unknown, but it is devastating. My husband came in to my office to make sure I was okay when he heard me crying. He asked me why I insisted on writing about topics that cause pain. The truth is that I am intrigued with the deepest of human emotion. Death, betrayal, humiliation; they are all experiences that I am eager to delve into. I want the reader to feel the emotion of the sufferer. All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
About the Author:
Suzanne Jenkins is the author of the Pam of Babylon Series. The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a new series about a Greek homicide detective who grew up above the family grocery store in Greektown, Detroit. Jenkins has fond memories of growing up in a Greek American household in the suburbs of Detroit. She currently lives in the west Michigan lakeshore area with her husband, two dogs and two sheep. Visit her website at www.suzannejenkins.net.
Visit her blog at www.2sheepinthecity.com.
About the Book:
Nestled below the skyline of Detroit you’ll find Greektown, a few short blocks of colorful bliss, warm people and Greek food. In spite of growing up immersed in the safety of her family and their rich culture, Jill Zannos doesn’t fit in. A Detroit homicide detective, she manages to keep one foot planted firmly in the traditions started by her grandparents, while the other navigates the most devastated neighborhoods in the city she can’t help but love. She is a no nonsense workaholic with no girlfriends, an odd boyfriend who refuses to grow up, and an uncanny intuition, inherited from her mystic grandmother, that acts as her secret weapon to crime solving success. Her story winds around tales of her family and their secret laden history, while she investigates the most despicable murder of her career.
The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a modern tale of a family grounded in old world, sometimes archaic, tradition, as they seek acceptance in American society. They could be any nationality, but they are Greek.
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The Greeks of Beaubien Street Tour Page
I grew up reading long series of books. Did I say reading? Make that devouring. Third grade was spent in Narnia, fourth in Mallory Towers. All of the Oz books – including the ones by Ruth Plumly Thompson – tottered in a stack by my bed. I copied the maps of Moomin Valley. I knew Middle Earth as well as, and perhaps better than, my own town.
So it was very natural to me to write a series. I loved the characters and friendships that were created in books like The Valley and The Mountain of Adventure, and I wanted to have the same sort of thing in mine–a group of kids who would have perilous adventures and yet remain kids throughout. They would perform acts of derring-do, yet at the same time they would squabble and perhaps even develop romantic feelings for each other.
When I read books in a great series, it was like putting on a comfy robe or huddling under a warm blanket. I knew the people in the books and I had a fair idea of what the writer had in store for them.
Characters and adventure, then, drove a series for me. Either there was a group of kids – in the case of the Adventure stories, two boy and two girls – or there was fevered action, as in the Narnia books.
My Crown Phoenix books started around the scene of Miriam, an orphan, reading a book in a large house. She was soon joined by two boys: Simon (with whom Miriam argued mightily) and Neil, Simon’s friend.
Miriam’s governess, Mana, acted as a guide to the three of them. She was dependable and a bit magic at the same time, but her position was hampered by being a woman of color in Edwardian society.
At this point the adventures began to kick in. A pair of thorough villains showed up. I love the dichotomy of beauty and badness, so the woman, Barbara, was breathtakingly lovely and utterly evil at the same time. The three children were separated: Miriam and Simon were kidnapped and put on the train called The Night Watchman Express, headed to a dire end.
Neil took off for the island of Lampala to have his own series of adventures. There he met Riki, a very skinny girl who was immature and what I would call “a pain in the butt.” Eventually, however, they became friends.
As I wrote the books, two things happened at once. The action advanced, but at the same time the characters grew up. Miriam flourished under Mana’s teaching. Simon realized that beauty can be a dangerous thing. Neil found that acting in an irresponsible manner is sometimes the best thing to do. And Riki – well, she will always be Riki. Still, she did learn to be a bit more polite. Neil had a great deal to do with that.
Perhaps it is a bit of an indulgence for an author to write a series. We have the luxury of not having to give all the backstory, since readers (hopefully) will have read them all along the way. At the same time, we do have to provide enough guidelines for those who pick up a book in the middle of the series, as well as enough story in one single book to make it satisfying.
I am close to finishing the final book of the lot, and won’t I be sorry when it’s complete! I’ll have to leave my mythical island, Lampala, as well as all the characters I’ve learned to love. I’ll miss them in the way you would miss a friend who moves away when you are very young – you wish you could see them again, but you know you probably never will.
School sports can be a wonderful opportunity for a child. Being on a sports team helps a child learn valuable lessons about hard work, self-esteem, physical discipline, team building, and competition. Sports are among the most popular extracurricular activities enjoyed by students, with more than 7 million high school students participating annually.
Yet, school sports carry with them a risk of physical injury. In high school sports, there are around 2 million injuries each year, with 500,000 visits to the doctor and 30,000 hospitalizations.
Here’s a look at some of the safest school sports, when factoring in injury rates:
1. Boys’ basketball
Interestingly enough, injury rates for boys’ basketball programs are lower than that of girls’ basketball. While girls’ basketball rates aren’t terribly high (see below for more information) they are statistically different. Injuries for boys’ basketball can include things such as jammed fingers, stress fractures, knee sprains, jumper’s knee, muscle strains, and eye injuries. In rare cases, the injury can be severe enough to keep the student out of school for a few days, but almost never more than one week.
Volleyball injuries aren’t especially common, either. Many volleyball injuries have to do with the repetitive overhead motions in the game, such as blocking or spiking. Finger injuries are common, too. Some of the specific injuries that can occur in volleyball include rotator cuff tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, finger jams, ankle sprains, muscle strains, ACL injury, and lower back pain. Like the other sports on this list, it’s rare for a volleyball injury to keep the student out of school for more than just a couple of days.
School baseball programs are highly competitive and physically demanding, yet they’re also one of the sports with the least amounts of injury. The most common injuries during baseball tend to be concussions or head injuries caused by the ball hitting the batter, collisions at home plate or in the base paths, or even when an outfielder dives for a fly ball. Arm injuries such as shoulder strains, tendonitis, and torn ligaments are common, especially for pitchers. Gashes and cuts are common, too. The quick motions in baseball also lend themselves to hamstring and groin injuries. Over time, repeated injuries of this nature can cause serious problems, but this is extremely rare in school sports.
Like baseball, softball lends itself to shoulder injuries. About 10% of softball injuries are shoulder-related. Ankle and knee injuries are common, as well, as are hand and finger injuries. Ligament sprains, muscle strains, contusions, and fractures can affect any of these areas. Softball injuries only very rarely result in the student being out of school for more than a few days.
5. Girls’ basketball
The incidence of injuries in girls’ basketball is higher than boys’ basketball (as well as all of the other school sports in this list). The common injury list is similar to the boys’ basketball list, with a notable exception: knee injuries are more common in girls’ basketball than they are in boys’ basketball.
6. Soccer (boys’ or girls’)
Soccer is somewhere in the middle in terms of injuries. It’s nowhere near as injury prone as football (which is at the top of the list), but it’s significantly higher than most of the rest of the sports above. Ankle sprains are by far the most common injury for both boys’ and girls’ soccer, accounting for around 20% of injuries for each. Concussions are common in both, although more common in girls’ soccer. Thigh and upper leg strains are common in both boys’ and girls’ soccer. Girls’ soccer also has an increased risk of knee sprains. In about half of cases, injuries put the student out of commission for less than a week, but in about 30% of cases the injury put the student on recovery for 1 to 3 weeks. The remainder – about 15% – had the student out for more than three weeks.
Preventing school sports injuries
While school sports injuries can’t be avoided altogether, they can be prevented. Strong conditioning programs, as well as programs that educate students about sports safety, have been shown to reduce the incidence of injuries in a given program.
If your student is considering school sports and you’re concerned about injuries, talk with your student about the rates and types of injuries. You may find that your student is willing to given another sport a try. At a minimum, raising the safety issue may encourage her to think strongly about safety, and focus on conditioning and avoiding injury.
About the Author
Dorothy Wheaton, PA-C, is the lead clinical provider for Careworks Health Clinics, an organization that offers multiple urgent care centers and walk-in healthcare clinics in the Northeast United States.
Hi, allow me to introduce myself; I am Kelly Preston, author of Real Dogs Don’t Whisper, this is my first book and I am still surprised at myself that I took a vision and made it possible. It all started one morning in December 2010, I had a “light bulb” moment that I wanted to share an incredible, rewarding journey with special need pets. The goal was to inspire the audience that no matter what may face us, with determination, unconditional love and support from others; and, opening your heart to allow love in when not expected, amazing and priceless outcomes will occur.
Once I determined the goal and the reason why I wanted to write this book, it took a little over a year to complete. I can’t even begin to share how many times I had to go back and redo, delete, pace back and forth; and, start over again. What I was finding that I was writing too much and it was too heavy, I needed to find a way to lighten up the content and add humor to a serious subject. I looked at my one dog, Mr MaGoo, my spunky Lhasa Apso and knew at that point he would be my co-author. After months of reworking the chapters, adding Mr MaGoo’s flavor, I was pleasantly surprised with the finished work. In fact, I am delighted to read the reviews that I receive; of course Mr MaGoo has now a strong fan base and his fans want more, which I am happy to share, they will see more of his writing in 2013.
Read the Book Excerpt
It was at that very moment I realized Carla Mae was not just an angry, aggressive little cuss I taught to play and dance and cut loose. I saw Carla Mae for the first time as she really was—a scared puppy who learned to mistrust those around her and who learned self-preservation the only way she knew how—by biting first and asking questions later. She was a frightened little dog who eventually found a greater lesson in letting go and learning to laugh and play and yes, of course—dance. Carla Mae found unconditional love in our family and along the way, she learned to trust. Anyway, as for Dim-Bulb King, cooler heads prevailed that day and, lucky for him, his human finally dragged him away from us. But I sure learned something about my new sister that day.
Carla Mae turned out to be a competitive little tomboy and fair adversary. We love to play Kibble Attack—a game that involves her patiently planning preemptive Kibble invasions, only to be taken off guard by a MaGoo surprise maneuver, overrun and forever a close second only to me. She’s quite the copycat as well, often mimicking our moves. I’m not sure if she’s mocking us all, doing the “when in Rome thing”, or a little of both. What I do know is that I have learned to love Carla Mae and Carla Mae has learned to accept love and even try to nudge in on my petting time with the human and even with random human strangers in the house. She is loved and cared for and Carla Mae is no longer afraid… well, maybe a little afraid of King Crazy Dog, but who wouldn’t be? Other than me, of course.
About Kelly Preston
Kelly Preston is, first and foremost, an animal lover. Raised on a ten-acre property in a small town inPennsylvania, she grew up with horses, rabbits, and – of course – dogs. When she left home after college, she acquired Gizmo, an irresistible Lhasa Apso that started her on a journey full of joys and sorrows, hopes and tribulations, frustrations, endless lessons in patience, and above all else, love. All of this has come at the hands (more precisely the paws) of Gizmo, Betty Boop, Buffy, Carla Mae, and the inimitable Mr. MaGoo.
Mr. MaGoois a nine-year-old Lhasa Apso and the book’s co-creator and co-writer. He is, in his own words, “the alpha and omega of all dogs – in the cutest and sparkiest, most fun-loving package ever.” Ignoring Kelly’s persistent eye-rolling, Mr. MaGoo has forged ahead with this project in an attempt to, as he puts it, “present the facts from a dog’s perspective. In other words, the correct, most accurate, most interesting, only-one-that-matters perspective,” to which he adds, simply, “Woof!”
Purchase Real Dogs Don’t Whisper at Amazon.
Website Address: www.realdogsdontwhisper.com
Blog Address: www.realdogsdontwhisper.com/blog
Last year there occurred on the San Antonio Riverwalk a series of unforgettable, horrific crimes that rocked our city to its foundations. None of us who experienced those events will ever forget the shock and horror suffered by so many during those terrible days of winter.
Today, we find ourselves in a continuing battle against the perpetrators of child abuse, testing the commitment of our citizenry and the resources of local – as well as international – law enforcement.
Tomorrow, as you know, many will be participating in a great gesture of remembrance: the public dedication of the Riverwalk’s Lost Children Memorial. We will, through this dedication, preserve the memory of those whose lives were taken along these very banks; at the same time, we must nevertheless be mindful of the great task which remains before us.
We must not forget what happened here, on the Riverwalk, or those whose lives were snuffed out by the brutal, unspeakable acts of a deranged monster. It is rather for us to remain vigilant and, with firm resolve, stand ready to defend against any form of evil, disguised or in plain sight, which might represent a threat to our most vulnerable and defenseless citizens, our beloved children. Meanwhile, we must also hold close and recognize those among us who have already held their own bar high, as leaders and as decent men.
Brother Bob, you carry your own peculiar collection of scars, some on skin’s surface, others far more deep and painful. But while those close to you chose the path of darkness and shame, you – to your everlasting credit – chose to step into the light of God’s forgiveness and give of yourself in a way that brought honor to your name. Your actions of last year speak for themselves. That you are able to carry on in your usual, unassuming manner is a testament to your remarkable character, as well as to your unshakable faith. Throughout your life, you have answered arrogance with humility; violence with peace; evil with unbounded love. Now, Brother Bob, because of you, the city of San Antonio has become a safer place for children.
Therefore, on behalf of the people of San Antonio and their children, allow me to extend to you our best wishes and eternal gratitude for a life well-lived and a job well-done.
We will never forget you.
About Bud Bradshaw
Bud Bradshaw’s fictional work, “RIVERWALKER,” is his second work, the first being “BRANDISHING,” the true-crime story of the California Highway Patrol’s worst tragedy. His previous formal writing experience consisted of med-legal report writing – chiefly as a Qualified Medical Evaluator and Disability Evaluator – and Intelligence report writing while he served as a Special Agent with the Army’s 109th MI Group from 1969-71.
As an artist, Bradshaw’s work focuses on military history and the American West. Many of his paintings, prints, and Giclees appear in private collections and museums in theU.S.,Canada,England, Europe, Hong Kong, andAustralia. He is a member of the Western Artists of America.
Along the way, Bradshaw worked as a professional musician while earning his B.S. and D.C. degrees. You may view his web site and blog at www.budbradshaw.com/blog or contact him on Facebook or via Twitter @budbradshaw1. Purchase the e-book at Amazon
RIVERWALKER features the character debut of San Antonio PD veteran detective Gifford Holloway, a former Special Agent with Army Intelligence. Holloway is in pursuit of the most despicable of criminals, a savage murderer who victimizes children and dumps their remains in the water and along the banks of San Antonio’s beautiful and world-renowned Riverwalk attraction.
Frustrated at the lack of progress on the case and spurred on by an encounter with the mysterious Madame Candelaria, a local psychic, Holloway contemplates calling upon his special gift of “seeing”, though officially off-limits within the SAPD, to help solve the case and end the terror. Along the way, Holloway finds an ally in the capable and sensuous newspaper reporter, Salma Veramendi, who carries her own history of abuse.
On the bend of the river looms Adler’s Antiques, a historical landmark owned and operated by Wolff Adler, a drug-pumping psychopath descended from a familial line of predators dating back to post-World War I Germany. Himself a victim of horrendous child abuse, Adler is the offspring of a Nazi father and a Mexican bruja, a witch who practiced the “old” religion. Operating from deep within his secret lair beneath the Alamo, San Antonio’s most recognizable and sacred shrine, Adler assumes the guise of Tlaloc, Aztec god of storm, thunder, and … child sacrifice. Adler’s demonic reign of terror, acting upon a distorted internal belief system – a synthesis of Norse mythology and ancient Aztec practices – has a stranglehold on the residents of San Antonio. Wolff Adler has become the RiverWalker.
When his own daughter is suddenly abducted, Holloway pulls out all the stops and, with Salma by his side, closes in on the killer in a gripping climax.
You may be wondering why I chose the title Next Year in Jerusalem! for my new novel. Why not Forbidden Romance or Romantic Travel or Spiritual Awakenings or Lust, Memories and Old Friends on Facebook? After all Natalie and Maggie are two women, both caught up in issues that many of us face: a somewhat dull but faithful husband; a bad marriage leading finally to a divorce; a desire for adventure; unsatisfied spiritual longings. They have a great friendship with each other, something research keeps confirming, keeps us young and emotionally happy, but life is far from easy for either women.
So again, why would I focus on a strange title that comes out of a book written thousands of years ago?
Here is one of the reasons. Next Year in Jerusalem! is actually a phrase that shows up at the end of the Haggadah. Those of you who are not Jewish may wonder what that is. The Haggadah is a book that the Jews have used for thousands of years to celebrate and relive the Passover experience. Many people know that the central theme of the story is how the Jews, who were slaves in Egypt, were finally able to escape and began their long journey of 40 years to get to the promised Land, which was Israel. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that this theme is universal and can be taken metaphorically for all of us. That is why when the Haggadah ends with the fourth glass of wine being drunk, and the words, Next Year in Jerusalem! the phrase becomes so significant.
We all have a struggle in our lives. We all are searching for personal freedom, whether we are unfortunately in a horrible situation, such as a prison, or whether we are simply trying to be true to our own selves as we age and develop. I’m going to talk a lot more about this theme.
However, to make this more real. Let me give you an example that somewhat parallels some of the struggles that Maggie goes through after her divorce.
Here is what a friend told me about a bad time in her marriage. She had gone to a lecture where the speaker talked about how we all have to go out of our own personal Egypt, at times in our lives. She said that was certainly how she was feeling, struggling through some bad days with her marriage where she often felt criticized or misunderstood. She felt that the language between them no longer worked. All words seemed to lead to further arguments and put-downs. She was trying to find ways to honor herself through speaking ‘her own language’. Again, I mean that metaphorically. For example, one day she went out with her fiends, shopping and having so much fun. She felt as if she and was leaving her Egypt for a day and meeting her own needs. She could speak in ways that were understood, and relax without fear of conflict. She could laugh. Her friends ‘got it’ -whatever ‘it’ was, they all understood each other. She quickly found herself feeling uplifted during that day’s outing.
My friend left her ownEgypt, at least for the time being, by maintaining a sense of her own needs and what made her joyful. In her case shopping, good conversation, and laughter with friends was a successful recipe for well-being.
She knew she hadn’t reached the promised land yet. She knew she had a difficult marriage to work on and/or ultimately leave, but she found a way to at least temporarily release herself and be was true to herself. And in this sense she was already on her way to her promised land. It might take another year or more, but she would get there. And by the way she did!
So for her, she could honestly say, Next Year in Jerusalem!
About Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known positive psychologist, inspires thousands with her ENCHANTED SELF®. Around the world people benefit from her techniques to enhance well-being, and to live up to their potential. Known for her ability to make complex psychological concepts easy to understand and to implement, she has now turned her talents to novel writing. “A great fiction read is a great escape, and yet, it is more! It is the gateway to new ways of thinking and behaving.”
Dr. Holstein received her Doctorate in Education from Boston University and her BA degree from Barnard College. Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist and taught first and second grades. She is in private practice with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Find her at www.enchantedself.com and www.next-year-in-jerusalem.com.
Her previous books include:
- THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy
- Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!
- The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
- Seven Gateways to Happiness: Freeing Your Enchanted Self
Next Year in Jerusalem Book Excerpt
Natalie didn’t tell David (her husband)about her other dream, the one about Jack, the Jewish fellow from Chicago who’d been around to save her from despair after she decided she wasn’t moving to Iraq. A diamond salesman, Jack now lived inLondonand traveled back and forth toIsraelall the time.
Natalie prided herself on staying in touch with lots of people from her past. Jack was one of them. Occasionally they e-mailed and he’d friended her on Facebook two years ago. Although they hadn’t written recently, if he read her Facebook page he would know she was going toJerusalem. What if he tried to see her? What if there was still an attraction? Would she tell David? Would he care? Would she act out?
Her life with David was so good and stable and predictable. And boring!
Did I just say boring?
No, she must have meant solid. Or did she mean solid?
Oh, I’m a wreck. I’m miserable and I can’t sleep, she continued to obsess. What about that cute secretary at the college? The one who has a sparkle in her eye whenever she talks to David? How old is she? Forty-two? Divorced and sexy. How would I know if something’s going on there?
I’m going crazy lying here, she began again. Where’s the Xanax? Already packed. Oh, that was dumb.