Monday, September 30, 2013

Authors Steven Shrewsbury and Stephen Zimmer

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About Steven Shrewsbury: Steven L. Shrewsbury, from Central Illinois, enjoys football, history, politics and good fiction. Over 300 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media. His small press novels include OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, THRALL, BAD MAGICK, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR, GODFORSAKEN, the forthcoming PHILISTINE and BLACK SON RISING. These titles run from horror to historical high fantasy. He tries to drown out the rumors that he is Robert E. Howard reincarnated with beer. When not wrangling his sons, he can be found outside in his happy place.

Connect with Steven: Website * Facebook * Books on Amazon

About Stephen Zimmer: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author of speculative fiction, whose works include the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Rising Dawn Saga (epic-scale Urban Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon tales (Steampunk), the Hellscapes tales (Horror), and the Rayden Valkyrie tales (Sword and Sorcery).

He is also a writer-director in moviemaking, with feature and short film credits such as Shadows Light, The Sirens, and Swordbearer.

Connect with Stephen: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Books on Amazon

Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul, Volume 1 Book Synopsis: Journey into the dangerous and exciting world of Gorias La Gaul in this collection of short stories from highly-acclaimed author Steven Shrewsbury! Volume One includes the tales “Day of Iniquity”, “Ashes of the All-Father”, “Author and Finisher of Our Flesh”, “Insurmountable”, and “Beginning of the Trail” (a prequel story leading into the events found in the novel Overkill).

Fans of authors such as Robert E. Howard are sure to love the adventures of Gorias La Gaul, as he battles all manner of adversaries wielding two blades fashioned from the wings of angels!

Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul is Sword and Sorcery as the genre was intended to be!

Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1: Book Synopsis: Escape into the wonders of Ave in this first collection of short stories featuring the fantastical world from the Fires in Eden Series by Stephen Zimmer.

“Into Glory Ride” tells the story of a young Trogen Warrior who is called to go up against insurmountable odds when an Elven raid strikes his homeland. The Trogens have only begun training winged steeds for combat, but time is of the essence and a momentous choice has to be made by the young warrior.

In “A Touch of Serenity” a conscript laborer working on a massive wall constructed under the orders of the Divine Emperor begins to hear ghostly voices asking for help. His response leads him on a journey that will test his courage, wisdom, and compassion.

In “Moonlight’s Grace” a young man goes to help his people when a Midragardan raid strikes Gael. He seeks to prove his worth to the chieftain whose daughter he loves with all his heart.

The novella-length “Winter’s Embrace” follows a warrior-monk into the depths of dangerous woodlands in the heart of winter. There he will find his faith tested in ways he never anticipated, when he must help a forest witch against an enigmatic, immortal being known as the Undying.

“Lion Heart” introduces the heroic Sigananda of the Amazu people, who must confront things that transcend the laws of the physical world when powerful Wizards threaten his homeland.

In “Land of Shadow” a knight who is part of a band of Avanoran mercenaries discovers how perilous the mysterious Shadowlands are when they undertake a journey to locate a site to build a fortress.

A world of wonder beckons to be explored and fantasy enthusiasts are invited along for the journey in these half-dozen stories from the world of Ave!

Also be sure to take further adventures in Ave in the Fires in Eden Series, beginning with Crown of Vengeance, Book One!

Hellscapes, Volume 1: Book Synopsis: Journey into realms of darkness and explore the regions where angels fear to tread! Welcome to the Hellscapes, featuring tales of the infernal in settings where the horror never ends and the inhabitants experience the ultimate nightmare.

In “Blood Dreams” follow the tale of a woman who knew great political authority and influence in life, as she discovers the reward awaiting her in the next world.

“The Grove” welcomes a new arrival, a wealthy man who is looking forward to a weekend of indulging in lust and libation, as he has for many years in this secluded convocation for the elite. Something is different this time, though, and he soon finds that his visit will be taking a very different turn.

In “The Smallest Fish”, the story is told of a ruthless business mogul who finds himself in an abandoned, ruined version of the city he knew well, in life. This city won’t be remaining vacant for long.

“Drowning in Tears” tells the story of a young man’s unhealthy obsession for a suicidal girlfriend that leads him on a path of severe transformation.

The final tale of Volume 1, “Lords of War”, follows the story of a man who wielded military power on a worldwide scale as a Secretary of Defense, who now learns the deeper nature of war and what kinds of monstrosities it breeds.

Hellscapes, Volume 1 is the first release in an exciting new themed horror collection from Stephen Zimmer, the author of the Rising Dawn Saga and Fires in Eden Series.

Amazon Affiliate links were used in this post

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Inspiration to Pay Off Debt: 30 Days of Encouragement from the Queen of Free - Cherie Lowe

I first heard Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free, speak two years ago at my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. Cherie gave some practical tips, introduced many of us to Pinterest, and gave me a lot to think about in terms of our financial situation. I'd read some of the Dave Ramsey books already but hearing the story of a family so similar to my own in a direct fashion made an impact. I would love to say that I came home and quickly got to work reducing our spending and knocking out our debt but sadly that was not the case. I think progress has been made and we are moving in the right direction but there is certainly more work to be done.

In her new book, Inspiration to Pay Off Debt: 30 Days of Encouragement from the Queen of Free, Cherie Lowe continues to share her family's story of paying off over $127,000 in debt. Written in sections to be read one a day for thirty days, Cherie doesn't talk about the nuts and bolts of how the debt was paid but instead offers some of the lessons that she has learned throughout the process. This really is what Cherie would say to you if she could sit down with you at your house. It is personal and heartfelt while tackling the tough realities of an emotionally charged topic.

The only real formula for paying off debt is to spend less each month than you earn. It sounds so simple but can be so difficult to put into practice because it means saying "no" to what we have gotten used to having or to what society has taught us we should have. Cherie understands how difficult it is to look at each potential purchase and classify it as a true need or want. She encourages strength through her own stories but also through Bible verses. In talking so openly about her family's journey to pay off their debt while they were in the process and now that they have achieved financial freedom, Cherie Lowe provides an abundance of inspiration and encouragement to those wanting to get out of debt no matter where they are in the journey.

Buy Inspiration to Pay Off Debt: 30 Days of Encouragement from the Queen of Free on Amazon

I received a copy of this eBook from the author for review purposes. Amazon affiliate links are used within this post.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Anabel Unraveled by Amanda Romine Lynch

Anabel Unraveled is a story that mixes memories with the present. How the characters remember the events is nearly as important as the events themselves. In retelling their stories, Anabel and Jared must relive the events that brought them together and face the emotional consequences. The book moves effortlessly between characters, times, and places giving the reader a larger picture than the individual characters are able to see.

I never particularly liked Anabel but I got caught up in her story anyway. I even stayed up late to finish one night because I was so close to the end and wanted to see how things turned out. Although Anabel is not someone that I would probably relate to in real life, Amanda Romine Lynch provides her a great back story that explains why she reacts to situations the way that she does. So much of Anabel's life has been out of her control that it is no wonder she grabs on to control when she can.

Anabel Unraveled is an emotional, character driven novel with a bit of mystery and action. Once you start reading Anabel's story, you won't want to stop until you reach the end.

I received a copy of Anabel Unraveled from the author for the purpose of providing my honest review. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link and I earn a small commission for purchases made through this link.

Buy Anabel Unraveled on Amazon

Anabel Martin’s world was destroyed the day her father was murdered. After spending seventeen years of her life trapped on a Top Secret island in the South Pacific, she now finds herself in Washington, DC in the care of her former politician brother and his unwelcoming wife. While she wants nothing more than to be left alone, instead she is thrust into the limelight as a key witness in the Congressional hearings investigating the murder of her father and the very existence of her former home. For Anabel, it’s hard to concentrate on these proceedings when the thing she wants most in the world is for Jared Sorensen to die.

What's even worse is that Jared is the only reason she’s still alive.

About the Author:

Amanda Romine Lynch is a writer and blogger who grew up in Florida. After graduating with her degree in English from the University of Florida (Go Gators!), she and her husband moved to the Great North of Virginia and haven’t looked back (except when it snows). She is the EcoFriendly/Green Living Contributor at the Prime Parents Club and blogs about her days raising three beautiful boys and attempting to be friendly toward the environment in a world of disposable diapers over at her blog, The Semi-Organic Mom.

Connect with Amanda on Facebook and Twitter

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Celebrating Womanhood: Coming Together

Living, Learning, and Loving Life

The Celebrating Womanhood Event is being hosted by
Living, Learning, and Loving Life, Cabin Goddess, and Tea with Dee.

Have you ever witnessed the power of women to come together after a tragedy? It is truly a force of nature as the troops rally around the family that is hurting. Meals are prepared, visits are made, phone calls and twitter messages fly, and funds are raised all while shedding tears and sharing in the pain that can never be taken away.

I am still being introduced to the community of women bloggers here in Indiana but recently I saw their power in action. It was not their power to gain sponsorships, to represent brands, or their business savvy that grabbed my attention (although they are fabulous at those things too). It was the power of their community, their love, and the ability to rally around one of their own. On September 3rd and 4th, the Indy With Kids family lived every parents' worst nightmare when their beautiful 2 month old baby girl was taken to the hospital and failed to recover over night. Shaundi died and the Indiana blogging community wept with Katy, Jacob, LuLu, and Scout. Prayers started going up as soon as they were asked for and they haven't stopped since. Love For Shaundi started with a hashtag and a Go Fund Me donation site. Cookies were baked by the dozen to represent the birthdays Shaundi would never have and balloons carried messages to heaven.
Messages to Heaven Photo Credit WritRams

While nothing will ever take away the pain the Mann family is experiencing, these women are surrounding the family with love and walking alongside them on this difficult journey. I am humbled to be a part of this community and to know that I have friends who would jump in and do the same for me if my family were in need.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Help Fill A Food Bank with Monkey Do Project #monkeydo

Have you ever been hungry? I'm not talking the standing in front of a full fridge and saying there is nothing to eat kind of hungry. I'm not talking about the oh we haven't done grocery shopping this week so we'll just go out to eat kind of hungry. I'm talking about true hunger - when the cupboards are bare and you don't know where your next meal will come from.

Do you know where you would turn for help
if you truly couldn't feed your family on a regular basis?

Now imagine that you turned to a food bank for help and their cupboards were as bare as yours:

Empty shelves in a Clay, WV food bank.

This is the situation in Clay, West Virginia. The food bank there has NOTHING to hand out to people. Clay County is considered a distressed county which means that it is in the worst 10 percent of the nation's counties economically. This means unemployment and poverty rates are high while per capita income is low. These are families who need help and the organization that is set up to help them cannot do it alone.

Monkey Do Project has pledged to help fill the food bank in Clay, West Virginia but they need donations to do it. I am always amazed at how much good Monkey Do Project can do with small donations and how they add up quickly. If everyone reading this post makes just a small donation it will make a big difference in the life of a family in Appalachia.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Excerpt: Ninety-Five Percent Human by Suzanna Williams

Time runs in slow motion as the girl tumbles down the waterfall, a smear of colour against the rocks. If she makes a sound, it’s lost in the roar of the water and then she hits the catch pool and vanishes under the boiling waves. I stand scanning the moonlit surface of the river, waiting for her to reappear.

She doesn’t.

There’s still no sign of her by the time I’m clambering round the rocks edging the water and, without considering I might be doing a really stupid, dangerous thing, I kick off my shoes and dive in.

I‘ve swum in this pool a million times but never in the dark when it’s taking the run-off after a storm. I head to where she went under, take several deep breaths and dive downwards. It’s a black, muffled world underwater, with the raging torrent trying to drag me away. I have to work by touch and all I can feel are the sharp corners of the boulders at the bottom of the pool.

I burst to the surface, into the roar of the waterfall and the silver-tipped waves, and scan round. Why hasn’t she come up? Even if she’d knocked herself unconscious in the fall, why isn’t she floating?

I dive again. My arm scrapes on a rock. My knee grazes the bottom. My eyes sting. It’s too dark to see. My foot jars against a stone. The freezing water saps my strength. Still I find nothing. I grab a handful of slimy weed which comes off in my hand and, for a moment, I imagine I’ve pulled her hair off and it freaks me out. I let out a silent shout; a stream of precious air bubbles bursting upwards, leaving my lungs empty and aching. I’m starting for the surface when my hand brushes against soft skin; an arm.

I pull at the body, wondering why she’s at the bottom. Is she stuck? I wedge my feet on a rock and tug harder. This time we’re away. We burst to the surface into the moonlight and the cool night air. I cup my hand under her chin but I have to work hard to get her to the side and jam her half onto a rock. She’s a bit precarious but thankfully she doesn't fall off as I climb out beside her and pull her clear of the water.

The next few minutes are weird. I give her a shake but her eyes are shut tight and she doesn't move. I guess the lifeguard drills pay off because I know exactly what to do. I listen for any sound of breathing. It’s hard because the water is thundering but I don’t hear anything. I try to spot movement from her chest in the moonlight.


Airways clear?


I start CPR.

Breathing. Check if her chest rises.

Chest compressions.


Suddenly she splutters and coughs and I’m elated. I punch the air. I’ve saved someone. The lifeguard kicks in again. Reassure the victim, keep them calm.

“I’m Joe,” I say. “You’re going to be all right.”

She’s spewing up water like a fountain but eventually she turns to look at me. I expect her to be grateful I saved her life; instead, she lets out a strangled scream and starts to scramble backwards over the rocks.

“Hey. It’s OK,” I say.

She’s slipping all over the place then she has another choking fit and has to stop.I move over and slap her on the back until she’s finished and she lifts her head and watches me as though I’m a rabid dog about to bite her.

“Don’t worry.” I try to speak as gently as I can. “You’re OK now.”

And she dissolves into tears, huge choking sobs that shake her body. I put my arm round her but she tenses up so violently I take it away again. I must resemble Jack the Ripper or something; maybe I shouldn't have cut my hair quite so short. I clamber over the rocks and jam my feet into my trainers. The night breeze chills my wet skin and I realise we’re both shivering.

I've never seen the girl before. She sits, hugging her knees to her chest, her dark hair falling round her face, her body shuddering with every breath. She’s wearing jeans and a sweatshirt and she appears to be about my age. The roaring river drowns the sound of her crying and I can see her fighting for control. After a minute or so she takes a deep breath and straightens up as though she’s preparing to do battle.

“I’m Joe,” I say again. “Are you all right?” (Stupid question.) “What’s your name?”

Her teeth are chattering and she never takes her eyes off me, like she’s expecting me to turn into a three-headed monster.

I stand up, hold out my hand. “Come on. I live up the hill and my car’s over there. We’ll get you a blanket, get you warmed up. My brother’s a doctor, well training to be one; he’ll make sure you’re OK.”

She begins to slide backwards up the rocks at the mention of doctors.

“Hey, I only want to help.” I hold out my hand again. “Can you walk?”

Very, very slowly she takes my hand. Her fingers are trembling so much I can hardly keep hold of them. I put my hand under her arm and pull her to her feet. “Are you hurt?” I ask. She shakes her head.

I put my arm round her, half-expecting she’ll push me off again but she doesn’t and we walk to the Land Rover. She leans against the bonnet whilst I search for the fleece I left in the back. It’s an old one but I drape it round her shoulders and she gives me a flicker of a smile.

About Ninety-Five Percent Human:

Teenager, Joe Kendrick, thinks he’s got problems. The farm he’s looked after since his father’s suicide is failing and his brother wants to sell it, his girlfriend has dumped him and his normally down-to-earth Nan starts muttering about seeing UFO’s. And all Joe wants is a ‘normal’ life. Then he saves suicidal stranger, Sarah, from drowning.

What Joe doesn’t know is that Sarah is a human/alien hybrid, sent to test the viability of life on Earth, and, as she’s survived hostile aliens are already planning their attack.

Ninety-Five Percent Human is the first in a two-book sci-fi adventure.

Buy Ninety-Five Percent Human on Amazon

About the Author:

Suzanna Williams is a perpetually eighteen year old YA author who lives in the wild, wet, Welsh borderlands surrounded by ruined medieval castles and Celtic mythology where she looks for UFO’s amongst the stars and imagines all the people she meets have dark secrets.

When she is not inventing radical problems for her unsuspecting heroes and plotting their escape, Suzanna is a serial collector of random badly paying jobs and has never found a use for her BSc in Psychology whatsoever.

As a child, Suzanna filled notebook after notebook with stories and her first taste of writing success was a poem published in the local newspaper aged just nine years old. She has written and directed several plays and pantomimes before publishing her debut novel, ShockWaves, in 2012.

Suzanna loves sci-fi action adventures, playing the piano, believes Romeo and Juliet should have talked more and considers sarcasm to be the highest form of wit.

She has a daughter who is a drummer, another daughter who is a driving instructor, a son who is a dancer and a 'nearly' grandson she's dying to meet.

Connect with Suzanna: Website * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube

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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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