Richard-Norton-with-quote-296x300Another set of student essays. This time, on Integrity:

Stella –

I think integrity is practicing you hardest and doing the moves the correct way. It is about not fighting with or being mean to my brother even if mommy and daddy are not watching.

It is also about doing what the teacher says, like standing quietly in line when the teacher is helping someone else.

Helping others when you say you are going to help is also a way to show integrity.

I think mostly, it is trying your best, working hard, having fun to get better and learn more about karate.

Noelle –

What is integrity? Well, the definition of integrity is basically honesty and knowing what’s the right thing to do. Integrity is when you are honest to someone. Integrity is a good attribute to look for in a friend.

You can use integrity wherever you go – school, outside, at home, or even in the small, unimportant place. Integrity is a key characteristic that you should look for in people. If you see honesty shining out of someone’s personality, you know that they have great integrity quality.

At school, integrity is seen all over. If someone forgot to do their assignment and is afraid to tell the teacher when she asks if the assignment was completed by everyone, integrity is being honest and admitting to it.

If, at a friend’s house, I am called to come home because I didn’t clean my room like I was supposed to, integrity is doing the right thing honestly by telling your friend that you need to leave and why and not making an excuse.

Integrity is being honest and always doing what your heart tells you to do. It’s telling the truth even if you don’t feel like it instead of lying. Integrity is showing people that you are trustworthy. There are many examples of integrity all around in your life. You just need to look for them.

Elijah –

The definition of integrity is: being honest or having strong moral principles. Integrity is a good thing to look for in a friend.

If I want to go to a friend’s house, but I have to clean my room, I don’t lie, I clean my room. In the same way, if you ant good grades, you do your homework. You don’t just lie and say, “No, I don’t have any homework.” You do you homework.

If my instructors ask me if we practiced our form, but we didn’t we don’t say we did, we tell the truth and say we didn’t.

Integrity is shown all around you. If you don’t tell the truth, the consequences are greater than they would have been if you would have told the truth.

Madison –

I love doing the right thing. At school, I pick up paper towels off the ground. AT home, I play with my sister and use kind words. At swim practice I share the lane and let others in front of me unless they’re scared.

Amber –

The meaning of integrity is being honest and having fairness to others and share with your friends and also show people your courage and strength no matter what you’re going through. Be honest if someone asks you something, do tell the truth. Always return things if you find them. Don’t keep it. Show strength and courage no matter what situation you’re going through.

Saleena –

Integrity is about sharing with others and being fair to your friends and taking turns and honor the things you do at home or with your family and teachers. Integrity is about being honest about things, being trustworthy to other people.

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Chapters – XI

The Latin Quarter, Paris, FranceThe roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”

Okay, I just don’t know what to say about this.

Anyway, I wanted to relate this to how reading has always been one of my enjoyments. I think one of the best jobs I could have would be one where I did nothing but read books. Maybe for review (which I do for free nowadays) or just get paid to enjoy a book.

This brings me to my book collection. I don’t know how many books I own both in print and various computer files. However, I thought I might share some of them with you. First off, you get an insight into what enjoy and second, it makes for an easy blog when the majority of the blog is copy and paste or listing authors. Lol.

All of the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators books in the series.

Most of the Doctor Who novels.

Many Bill Bryson books

Many of the Dave Barry books

The James Herriot books

Several of the Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers books

Most of the Hardy Boys books

Some of the examples in the horror and sci-fi genres include:

L.A. Banks

Tom Allen

Clive Barker

Algernon Blackwood

Most of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Karen Chance

Brendan Hay

Dean Ing

Stephen King (of course)

David Morrell

Bill Pronzini (include him in the mystery genre)

Dave Watson

F. Paul Wilson

H.P. Lovecraft

Mystery authors include:

Nevada Barr

Lawrence Block

C.J. Box (saw him at Killer Nashville one year)

Donald Bain (ditto)

Jeffrey Deaver (ditto)

Lee Child

Clive Cussler

Every Dick Francis book

Erle Stanley Gardner

Rex Stout

Jack Higgins

Reginald Hill

John Lutz

Lisa Lutz

Steve Martini

Ellery Queen

John Sandford

Dorothy Sayers

Jon Trace

Stuart Woods

I also have many Star Trek and Star Wars stories.

Wow, I just realized that I could go on for several weeks like this, just listing books and authors. Again, I could go through my inventory and count but that would take way too long.

I can do this for you. When I started collecting books, I made the decision to put the horror novels separate from every other genre and start numbering them. I don’t know why I decided to do that. Some OCD thing early on. Anyway, every book I deem a horror or something very similar gets a number. As the years have passed I have realized that some of those early choices probably should have been placed in the mystery or sci-fi section, but I’m not going to go back and change the list.

What I’ve done with every print book I’ve bought is place ½ of an index card with the number I’ve designated for it just inside the cover and the other half with the same number showing on the back of the book when I wrap it in plastic for storage. When the eBook files started rolling in, I just included them. Now, I will admit that some of the stories listed in the horror section are not full length books. Some are short stories that have been published on their own and some have been included in anthologies. Again, I wasn’t going to take the time to research. However, the vast majority of the numbered horror stories are full length books. At the time of this writing, I am up to number 1585. That’s just in the horror genre.

Currently, in my ‘to read’ collection I have a bookcase that is approximately three feet wide with six shelves, double-stacked with paperbacks. I also have a metal bookcase approximately four feet wide or so, three shelves full of hardback with a three foot stack of hardbacks on top. Then I have a video case about a foot wide with, I think, six or seven shelves for the rest of the hardbacks. Then I couldn’t even begin to guess how many of the eBooks are on the ‘to read’ list.

In storage, waiting for my dream library, are at least twenty boxes of various sizes of wrapped already read books.

So, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll get back to reading.

What are some of the books in your inventory?

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Spotlight On L. M. Pruitt

Wicked Button 300 x 225


A Damned Novel

LM Pruitt

Release Date: April 2017

All things truly wicked start from innocence.

Ernest Hemingway

Book Description:

Being a demon isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Especially when you make a massive mistake your first month on the job.

Even more so when your sister is one of the all-star players on the other team.

Add in the rumors of not one but two coups and it’s not hard to see—something wicked this way comes….

pruittAbout the Author:

L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. She knows this because she’s killed bamboo. Twice. She is the author of the Winged series, the Plaisir Coupable series, Jude Magdalyn series, the Moon Rising series, and Taken: A Frankie Post Novel.






Excerpt 1

Julie, is it? When you died, what did you see? And please don’t insult us or waste our time by claiming you saw nothing.”

I studied him for a moment, torn between doing just that and telling the truth. There was something about meeting the be-all-end-all as far as the creation of everything went which made me want to keep our conversation to ourselves. On the other hand, I didn’t relish having to go through the whole dying thing again and I had a feeling the key to my miraculous return rested in those few minutes when I was, to quote the younger dead, all dead.

There was a white room. And a woman.” I paused, hesitating another moment before continuing. “She said She was the Power.” I took a deep breath, holding it a few seconds before exhaling. “And when I asked if She was going to kill me, She said no, it wasn’t my time to die. And then I was back here.”

It’s not enough.” Joanne shook her head, her hair sliding over her shoulders. “Michael, it’s not enough. You know how She is. She could have been playing one of Her fucking word games and any minute now—.”

I know, girl.” The almost giant next to her knelt down, kissing the side of her head before murmuring something in her ear. Whatever he said reassured her enough to have her letting up some of the death grip on my hand although she still didn’t let go. Michael turned to Gabriel, standing silent and watchful in the back of the room. “Can you speak with Her?”

You think She’s less likely to lie to me?” Gabriel snorted. “You know She doesn’t play favorites.”

And we all know that’s a lie. She was willing to sacrifice innocents to keep you whole, if not happy.” Gideon’s gaze flicked to the tall redhead who, if I was keeping up with the names being thrown around earlier, had to be Lucinda. “She’ll answer your questions, even if She doesn’t want to.”

I didn’t say She wouldn’t answer me. I said there was a good chance She would still lie to me.” Gabriel sighed. “But fine—as the patron saint of women and children—.”

We already know your resume.” Joanne’s voice was so acidic every person in the room, archangel or not, flinched. I lifted my brows but stayed silent. This Joanne wasn’t the one I remembered. This Joanne seemed as if she could not only reduce a person to tears with a few words but she would enjoy doing it. “Now go do your job.”

As the queen wishes.” Gabriel offered a bow which was just a shade shy of mocking, his smile dying away when he glanced at Joanne. “Right. I’ll be back as soon as possible.”

His departing flash was enough to blind me but thankfully sulphur free. Although I was feeling less and less like death with each passing second, I wasn’t quite ready for the scent of brimstone.

You had to piss him off, didn’t you, Mom?” Olivia widened her eyes, blinking rapidly. To be fair, the majority of the people in the room were reacting the same way, the only exceptions being Joanne, Barry, Raphael, and Michael. “You know how he feels about being ordered around.”

Much the way you feel.” Joanne’s face softened ever so slightly, her lips curving upward. “In case you wondered where you get that particular quirk from.”

Yes, blame it on my brother.” Michael kissed her cheek again, tucking her hair behind her ear and studying her face. Whatever he saw there had him nodding. “Why don’t we all go in to the other room for a few minutes? Leave the two of you alone?” He glanced over at Raphael and Gideon, standing silent and watchful with matching looks of suspicion. “Do you think that will be a problem?”

If she were human, hell, yes—she had multiple seizures leading up to a massive cardiac episode and she was dead for damn near ten minutes.” Gideon paused, sighing and shaking his head. “But I’ll admit, I don’t have a goddamn clue what’s happening here. Even when the Power is generous enough to provide a miracle, She still tends to make it hurt, just so you don’t mistake her kindness for weakness.”

Gideon, please.” Joanne’s voice broke and once again the entire room responded, although this time there was a definite degree of panic. People all but tripped over themselves in an effort to exit the room, the sole exceptions once again being Michael, Raphael, and Barry. “Just a few minutes.”

Fine. Yes. Fine.” Gideon shoved Lucinda toward the flap which apparently served as a door, nodding rapidly. “If anything happens, yell.”

If you need us, we’ll be outside.” Olivia scooped up Douglas, ignoring his whines to stay with Nana. She paused with one hand on the flap, glancing over her shoulder. “Do you want me to go get the others?”

Not yet.” Joanne shook her head, clearing her throat before continuing. “I need a few minutes.”

Okay.” Olivia shifted her gaze to Barry. “Are you coming?”

In a moment.” Striding across the room, he nudged his way between me and Joanne, kissing the top of her head and then mine. “Let me know if you need anything.”

It was a tossup as to who his statement was directed toward and right then it didn’t matter. Joanne nodded, stretching up and kissing his cheek. “I don’t know why you were there but thank you.”

His only answer was a nod before he followed Olivia out of the room.

We’ll be right next door.” Raphael leaned across the bed, giving Joanne a hard, brief, almost possessive kiss. Glancing at Michael and lifting his brows, he said, “Call if you need anything.”

Don’t be a hero, girl.” Michael didn’t kiss her, instead simply pressing his forehead to hers. “Call.”

We’ll be fine.” She glanced at me, her smile clearly forced. “I promise.”

The two men exchanged another look before leaving the room, the flap dropping shut behind him. For long minutes, there was only silence. Finally, Joanne sighed and shook her head.

Julie—what the fuck have you gotten yourself in to?”

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Let’s Talk Cars

talk carsIn my role as an assistant graphic designer, I see a multitude of ads come through on a daily basis. Since I began processing ads, I have done many auto ads. It didn’t take very long to realize that the style of cars has changed in the last decade or so in one particular way, at least in my opinion.

Some years ago, I remember seeing an article about an actor who had souped up his pickup and turned it into a ‘sport utility vehicle’. Soon after, the average Joe wanted one, so car makers responded.

Now, I think over fifty percent of the vehicles I see are SUVs. And style? Well, I think they’ve lost a lot of style since this trend started.

I realize that the ‘SUV’ has been around for awhile, even if they weren’t always called that. Jeep Cherokee, Chevy Suburban, Land Rover, etc. Aside from those, what I remember are basically five choices in cars: Pickup trucks, vans, sedans, sports cars, and station wagons. (I’m excluding motorcycles for this discussion.)

Today, the first four are still around. The pickups went from being large clunky, sharp-edged looking things in the 60s and 70s to small zippy lightweight things with an attempt to be gas conscious in the 80s. Now, they’re back to full-sized monster trucks without the giant wheels. Gone are the Chevy S-10s and smaller pickups of which I used to keep a running count of on the highways.

The sedans, have, for the most part, gone soft curves on the fenders and trunks and roof lines. The new Lincolns and models from Lexus try for class and somewhat achieve it. I do sort of like the new Impala.

The sports cars are the only ones that are still sporty. I like the curves and the low slung frames, the convertibles, the chrome, the style.

The vans have softened and the cargo vans are just plain weird.

1969-mercury-montego-mx-station-wagon-original-3There are still a few station wagon type cars, very few. Nothing like the old long station wagons of the 70s. The Country Squires, the Impala Wagon, The Malibu Wagon, The Town and Country, and the battleship gray Mercury Montego wagon my grandmother used to own. You know, the cars that demo derby drivers craved. Now, they’re soft curvy Outbacks and Foresters.

However, those have begun to look very similar to today’s SUV. I’m sorry, but sometimes I have difficulty telling the difference. Terrain, Equinox, CRV, Murano, Pilot, the new Cherokee, Escape, Edge, Explorer and on and on. There are differences, but on the road, they tend to blend into one vehicle.

yukon denaliAnd the Suburban has its clones: Deanli and Escalade. Different logos, but the same vehicle with the same hefty price tag.

And most of these SUVS do not have much cargo room behind the back seat when you open the hatch. Even the big ones, although some have a fold down third row.

But the thing I’ve noticed is the lack of style. Once one company has an idea, the others jump in with their own and the originality is lost. The style, the classiness, the unique-ness are gone.

However, this isn’t a new trend. I saw it back in the 70. Some of the late 60s and most of the 70s vehicles were featureless boring pieces of steel. The 80s became bland fuel efficient I-want-to-be-a-cool-car-but-I’m-not cars. (’84 Dodge Charger for example).84 charger The 90s tried, but like that decade’s Top 40 music, became a jumbled mess. The new century  brought in the early era of SUVs and soft curves.

I want fins and edges and length and chrome and fender skirts and flare and hood ornaments and whitewalls and custom jobs and STYLE!

Now, I can hear my dad saying, “But son, I see two problems with your argument.”

The first would be that I give my heroine Mallory Petersen her dad’s car, a 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger. Wasn’t that from the era of boring? Yes, and I will admit to a bias that I thought my family’s blue with white hardtop Swinger was cool. 75 coronetAnd our ’75 Coronet, though it had lost its edgy style, was a tank that pulled trailers and went through snowdrifts. Too bad the alternator decided to conk out at 100,000 miles and I couldn’t afford to pay for it.

The second would be that I own a Dodge Caliver, one of the modern smaller SUVs. What do I think about that?

I will admit, it doesn’t have much storage room in the back. It has soft curves. It and the Dodge Journey remind me of a grown up Chevette or at least a teenage Chevette. But mine is Mango Tango Orange, so i’ll give it a grudging pass.

See, the only cars today that could be worth looking at are the sports cars. The Camaro, Challenger, Charger, a few Mustangs all remind me of the 60s muscle cars. But I’m talking cool sports cars. The Corvette, the new Miata, the Acura convertible, the Cooper. They still show some style.

My hope is that America and the car makers will move through this SUV phase and get back to some decent looking cars or that they will stop being so alike and offer more choices to make their brand stand out.

What sort of car do you own and what do you think of the SUVs?

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Friendship“True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.”
– Charles Caleb Colton

I often think of the friends I’ve made throughout the years. Those in high school, some of whom I see either annually or every five years. Those in college, most of those I’ve never seen since graduation. Those in the workplace, through my association in the American Taekwondo Association, through my writers’ group meetings. I could never name all of them but I’d like to highlight a few:

Clark, Jennifer, Paul, Marvin, and the girl who lived next door: 1987. Keystone, SD. I spent a summer working at a burger/chicken place attached to the Ruby House Cafe. Clark was my cook mate. Jenny was his girlfriend. Paul worked inside the restaurant. Marvin was my supervisor. Somewhere, I still have a placard the girl who lived next door to my bunkhouse placed on my car the day I left to go home. We all had some good times and I wish I still was in contact with them.

Allan Allsup: A guy who had the first room on the left when you stepped into the 3rd floor west hall of the Iowa Wesleyan men’s dorm. He re-introduced me to backgammon. We talked music and philosophy and I’m 0-21 against him in ping-pong. Some of his life was troubled and I’ve kept my eye out for his name ever since he left to go experience what the world brought to him. Allan, I’d love to sit and talk with you some more if you’re ever in the area.

Gary Petersen, Dave Stone, Roy, and that girl who wore the miniskirts: First real job out of college (not including the month I worked at the Amoco shop.) WKEI/WJRE in Kewanee, Illinois. I was there less than two years, and when I worked the morning shift on the FM side, oh, the fun we had. Gary was the AM board operator. Dave was the newsman. The receptionist/office worker who wore the tantalizing clothing didn’t stay around long enough. The fun Dave, Gary, and I trying to make each other laugh on the air. Sportscasts, splitting up the holiday schedule. Roy and I tormenting that one guy (all in good fun, but no, we probably should not have done that. I don’t think it had any lasting effects) on the late shifts. I honored Gary a bit by giving my heroine his surname.

Becky and Jim (don’t call me James) Gaskill: She was a coworker for a time at the Oskaloosa Herald. He worked in CAD. The dart games. The card games. The dinners. The one time we all went to dinner with some of his coworkers and I got as drunk as I’ve ever been and will never be again. (Sorry about the waste basket and the knit pillow.) I saw them when they came through on a family vacation. Everybody’s a little older, but nothing’s changed, and that’s just great.

Yvette: No, that’s not her real name, although for a time I thought it was. She was an assistant when I attended a photography course in Iowa City one week before my senior year in high school. I met her four years later when I was doing my internship at a Quad Cities radio station. She lived in the metro area and the one day I stopped by I was ‘conned’ into helping her move.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention a bunch of other people (sorry if I omitted your name but not by choice. I’m just brainstorming here and am bound to leave out a few): the entire class of ’84 Danville High (that’s Danville, Iowa, folks); Kim, Roger, all family (yeah, the pesky in-laws, too), Angi, Mike, Karen, everybody in any writers’ group of which I’ve been a member, Peter (Chicago!), all the ATA instructors/students at all of the camps/business meetings/tournaments; Robert (you hug-able friend), Mary, Rod, Kim (with a different last name), Mrs. Rieke (sorry, can’t get used to calling you Mary, even after all these years), Matt, Nik, Crystal, Kurt (You think I wouldn’t mention you four? Think again!), Dan, that guy I played tennis with at 1 a.m. in Keystone, those wonderful people at the AME church in Kewanee, the pre-press folks at Sutherland Printing, the other Boatheads on third floor west at Wesleyan…

…and all the rest.

Cultivate your friendships because they will make memories to last a lifetime.

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Chapters – X

C10We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”

Uh-huh. Really? Well, before I get into my main topic, may I dip a toe into the social/political arena? Some people wonder why Americans won’t easily accommodate Spanish speaking people when the majority of Americans speak English. The above quote shows the absurdity of some people but makes a point – if we’re to speak Spanish to accommodate Spanish speaking people, then should we expect the majority of foreigners to speak English when we’re in their country? If I was going to take a job in Germany, I darn sure would take a bunch of German classes to be able to communicate.

Anyway, please, please do not think that I am putting down Spanish speaking people and I want to move away from the political/social/immigration issue. When I saw the ‘complaint’ quoted above, I immediately thought of some of my former coworkers who were Mexican. I found it difficult to converse with them because they knew minimal English, but that didn’t mean I didn’t like them or that they were not excellent workers. They were constantly getting Employee of the Quarter awards and for 2013 the main laundry guy received Employee of the Year.

I took my required Spanish classes in high school and didn’t go any further. I know some Spanish words but not enough to have a coherent conversation. I took a semester of German and sort of wished I could have delved deeper because I did enjoy it.

A friend took his Spanish classes in high school, then went on to take more in college, and subsequently became a Spanish teacher…in Juneau. Why he wanted to teach Spanish to Eskimos is beyond me. (Kidding! I’m kidding. Don’t write nasty replies and emails. I love the guy and he’s doing what he wants and is darn good at what he does. If he wants to live in the frigid north, that’s his business. And don’t be telling me lies about how mild Juneau winters are. I’ve seen the pictures.)

The reason I bring up this topic is to say that because I live in America and have had the opportunity for foreign travel come up once. I’m interested in foreigners. If you were born and spent a fair amount of your life in another country, I want to get to know you. I had the pleasure of meeting a Brit in college (very cool guy, by the way), an Indonesian (his plans were to graduate Wesleyan, then go onto Iowa University, then go home to Jakarta. I hope you made it, dude.), a Swede (a foreign exchange students), a student from China (ditto), a woman from Taiwan (who, at one time, completely misunderstood what I was trying to ask her. Whew, talk about embarrassing.), a German, and throughout my years as a desk clerk, I’ve met Hollanders (is that the correct terminology?), Australians (love that accent), Canadians (no accent, they were not from French Canada.), Indians (Asian), Egyptian (excellent computer guy), Africans (not sure from which African country, and yes, I know Egypt is part of Africa.), and many more.

I have enjoyed hours and hours speaking with them about their life and their country. I may never be able to visit, so to talk to someone willing to share information is so wonderful. I ask everything from weather to employment to cultural interests. When Yahoo still had their games with the chatting capability, I discovered people from all over the world. I conversed with a guy from Scotland. I mentioned to him that of all the accents in the world, I thought that when women spoke in a British or Irish or Scottish accent, that was the sexiest thing. I could listen to that for hours. Following a close second is a Southern accent. Georgia/Mississippi, etc.

Exchanging words with someone over a computer chat box is okay but it’s the face to face time I enjoy. Shouldn’t that be part of life, meeting new people, sharing thoughts, ideas, information. Not just in a business setting, but over coffee or a couple beers (okay, give me a Dr Pepper and YOU drink the mocha espresso latte frappi-machiato with skim milk and extra whipped cream concoction).

Just talk to me about your country because I want to know.

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How To Succeed in…Book Tours

secrets-of-successful-virtual-book-tour-banner-851-x-315Another week, another blog idea, another knock on the door. When I open it, I receive a real surprise.

“Ms. Rhoads,” I say. “I expected another author for a guest blog.”

“Well,” she says, “here I am.”

I should explain that Roxanne Rhoads has been sending a lot of those persistent authors to my doorstep on occasion to  take over my coveted blog for a guest post. She also schedules my appointments with some authors for interviews.

“Uh, hey, I want to apologize for last week. Blizzard. Camp.”

“No problem,” she says.

“Uh, come in. What can I do for you?”

“I’m here for this week’s blog.”

And with that she does what every other author does: nudges me away from my computer and takes control.

So that’s where they learn it.

Excerpt Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours by Roxanne Rhoads

The world of publishing is continuously evolving thanks to technology and the Internet. It is now easier than ever to publish a book. But with the growing number of new books being released every day it is also harder than ever to get your book noticed in the crowd.

If your line of thinking includes- “If I publish it, people will buy it,” think again.

Indie publishing requires a dedication to self-promotion. Gone are the days an author hermits them self away to write, then hands the book to the publisher who does all the leg work for promotion. Even NYT Bestselling authors and those with contracts through the big publishers still have to do a certain amount of self-promotion.

There are many ways to promote: social media, advertising on popular websites and blogs, print advertising in trade magazines, attending reader oriented conventions and events…but one of the best ways to get your book out there and build name recognition as an author is through a virtual book tour.

In this Quick Tips for Authors Guide, you will learn why a virtual book tour can be an author’s most effective marketing tool.

coverSecrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours

Quick Tips for Authors Guide

Roxanne Rhoads

Book Description:

Are you considering a virtual book tour?

Not sure where to start or exactly what an online tour will entail?

Roxanne Rhoads, book publicist and owner of Bewitching Book Tours, shares her virtual tour expertise in this Quick Tips for Authors Guide.

Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours will guide you in utilizing the best marketing tool available- a virtual book tour, which can create online exposure for your book, jumpstart your book sales, help build your author brand, and expand your network.

rhoadsIn this guide you’ll learn:

  • what you should do before a tour
  • the components of a great author website
  • the best social media outlets for authors to utilize
  • tips for building your author brand
  • how to write great guest blogs
  • what to expect from an online book tour
  • the secrets of successful book tours
  • how to schedule your own virtual book tour

And you’ll receive in-depth details about what to do during a virtual book tour to guarantee success.

What Readers Are Saying About Secrets of Successful Book Tours

As a book blogger, I am often surprised by the number of new authors I meet that do not really promote their books. There are a lot of inexpensive and free ways for them to do so. Roxanne Rhoads does an excellent job of laying these ideas out. The book is well-organized and easy to follow. She points out author mistakes and faux pas. She speaks from her past experiences. I have a background in marketing. Roxanne Rhoads has a strong understanding of marketing and does a great job of explaining her suggestions and ideas. I highly suggest this book to all authors. There are many great ideas in this book that can help brand you as an author as well as get your books noticed. There are so many books out there. It is absolutely necessary for an author to promote themselves.” ~ Diane Lynch, Book Blogger

Jam-packed with useful tips that had be scrambling for my calendar. And the conciseness is frankly another selling point for a busy authorpreneur. Who has time to wade through a bunch of fluff? Not me. And Roxanne doesn’t waste our time with that — she gets straight to the business of book tours. Want to run your own tour? No problem. The book provides advice on DIY’ers as well. From lists of blog ideas to the legal in’s and out’s of using images, Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours has something for novices and old hands like myself. And I believe her branding advice was spot on.” ~ Kirsten Weiss, Author

This is a must have for any author planning to do a virtual book tour. Most of us wouldn’t even think of half this stuff. Roxanne’s advice is golden.” ~ Serena Synn, Author

This book is packed with information on how to not only promote your book but also promote yourself as an author.” ~ Bonnie Amazon Review

I have been doing blog tours with Roxanne for quite some time now and I can say her organization and skills are without a doubt top notch. If I ever actually get around to writing my novel I can assure you that I will use this as a guide. She covers everything from building your brand to what to expect on a blog tour.

Her knowledge is well shared and I think every author that wants to build their brand should read this guy. Simply put this is a must read for any author that wants to exposure that can come with a blog tour. ~Jen Brooks The Cubicle Escapee

In this era of self-publishing, an author needs to do as much as they can to get themselves noticed. Enter the virtual book tour, a tour of blogs on the Internet – as opposed to visiting book stores – with the aim of increasing an author’s online presence and ultimately increasing book sales. Roxanne Rhoads guides you through the dos and don’ts of virtual book tours, with great advice on providing fresh material for each tour stop. She covers both tours run by established tour companies and tours you plan yourself, and she includes a list of sites where you can find book bloggers to contact. She also gives you some great advice about setting up your online and social media presence, as well as social media mistakes to avoid.

Roxanne Rhoads is the guru behind Bewitching Book Tours, the first book tour company I ever signed up with. If you’re interested in a well-organized blog tour, be sure to check out Bewitching Book Tours. As Roxanne states, “Publication is only the beginning of the process … promotion is the road to success.”

An excellent quick guide for all authors. ~ Lynda Dickson – Books Direct

Recommended reading for anyone considering a blog tour. There is information here that I didn’t know and have never come across before. If you want to do-it-yourself, there is a section to help with that as well. How to write a good guest blog, do’s and don’ts, even copyright information. It changed the way I think about blog tours and I will be doing things differently the next time around. ~ kmontemayor Amazon Review

This little gem was borne out of Ms. Rhoads’ experiences and speaks for itself. It is a must-have reference for authors old and new. ~ AoBibliophile

Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours is fantastic compilation of tips, tricks, and learning tools for ensuring your book tour is to your liking. The guide is filled with do’s and don’ts as you navigate your tour whether it’s your first or your 10th. Learn what a book tour is all about, how to market your author brand, write guest posts, and much, much more. Highly recommended for authors and bloggers, alike. ~Amber Marr Saph’s Book Blog

About the Author:

Roxanne Rhoads has been working in the world of online book promotion since 2005. She has worked as a freelance writer, author, book reviewer, book blogger, editor, self-publisher and book publicist. She has a unique advantage of knowing how multiple sides of book publishing and promotion operate.

Roxanne understands how book bloggers work and what they want to make their jobs easier while also understanding that authors need promotion to be streamlined, easy, and less time consuming.

Roxanne shares some of her knowledge in Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours.

Author Website: http://www.roxannerhoads.com

Bewitching Website: www.bewitchingbooktours.com

Blog: http://www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/

Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/RoxanneRhoads

Bewitching: http://www.facebook.com/BewitchingBooktours

Twitter @RoxanneRhoads

Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/0z3z1

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healthOnce again, I present some student essays on one of our monthly themes. This time around we discuss health.

Stella –

I think that being healthy means you need to exercise and eat good fruits and veggies before you eat chocolate for dessert. I like to eat corn, tomatoes, berries, apples, strawberries, oranges, and mangoes. I eat them as part of every meal

I like to exercise every day by riding my bike, running around, go swimming at the pool. I play every day and exercise with my mommy and daddy at home.

I do not currently practice karate at home, but want to try practicing more to get better at pivots because they are hard for me.

I like practicing every week at practice.

Amber –

Eating vegetables and fruits. Doing my karate class. Brushing my teeth. Going out for a walk. Playing at the park. Going on vacation. Having a pet to play with and going to the pool. Reading books. Jumping on the trampoline.

Saleena –

Exercises. Swimming. Eating the right food. Taking a shower every day. Brushing your teeth. Taking a vacation. Have a pet around. Doing karate class. Fruits and vegetables.

Madison –

Why do we exercise? Health. Good health is important. If you don’t have good health, you could get sick easily.

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Hard Act

winterblizzardSo, I’m rush in on a Sunday afternoon because I had neglected to put up anything on Friday. Sitting on the steps is a man who gives me a peeved look.

“I’ve been waiting here all weekend,” he says. “Where have you been?”

“Uh, driving in a blizzard to attend a Black Belt Camp. Was I expecting you?”

“Well,” he says. “Not really, but I wanted to get something up on your blog on Friday.”

“I do apologize,” I said. “Would you like to come in-”

Of course he would.

And again, I apologize to Mr. Glover for not being here on Friday for him to be a guest.


hard-act-banner-851-x-315Hello! This is Glover Wright hailing from that small island just 14 miles off the coast of France, called Jersey – one of the British Channel Islands . . . and it’s a beauty. It’s where the famous Jersey cows come from, where the USA’s “New Jersey” got its name and which, during WW2, was occupied by Nazi Germany who left the massive indestructible concrete bunkers of their “Atlantic Wall as their legacy. Jersey is also, these days, an international offshore banking centre – so you get the glass-sided high-rise towers along with the green beauty of the island with its granite cliffs, secluded bays and stretches of golden sand beaches with surfing waves. I love it. It’s where – after years of travelling wherever my former music career took me –I settled permanently to write the thrillers which have taken over my life. My new book, the latest of nine, is finally done, dusted and out, published, first, there in the USA on Feb 21st 2017 by Fiery Seas Publishing and simultaneously as an EBook, worldwide.

I say “finally” as it has been some journey completing ‘HARD ACT’. At one point I thought I was done with it but, after switching representation from London to New York’s dynamic ‘super-agent’ Linda Langton, I heeded Linda’s sound advice and, literally, went back to the beginning and started over – the hardest thing I have done in my entire writing career. But the extra effort was well worth it. What Linda had picked up on – which I had been blind to for almost two years – was that the strongest character was actually never seen! He existed in the shadows, unnamed, creating havoc across the world: a rogue CIA agent, switching sides, serving two masters – both US and Israeli Intelligence – while working only for himself with the sole aim of winning, by any means including murder, the secret of where the bounty the US president had paid for the capture or death of Osama bin Laden was hidden. A dangerous man obsessed, not just by the money but also with the clever, successful Geneva-based fund manager, mistress of the Saudi Prince and terror-funding banker whom both sides wanted alive or, if necessary, dead: an exquisitely beautiful woman named Serena Lashari who could unlock the vault to $25,000,000 dollars.

I named my rogue CIA agent Ben Markstein and as soon as I had done that he stepped from the shadows and owned the story from page one to the final denouement. “Hero” he definitely is not! But if you read HARD ACT I guarantee you’ll never forget him. And to think I never even gave him a name? Enjoy the book – I certainly did, writing it!

coverHard Act

Glover Wright

Genre: Thriller

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Book Description:

Only the CIA knows the truth, and all it would take for the president’s legacy to be tarnished forever is for one agent involved to turn rogue and reveal everything . . .

In 2011, American Seal Team Six killed Osama bin Laden in an ultra-secret CIA operation hailed as the outgoing US president’s crowning achievement. Pakistan’s chief investigator into US Operation Neptune Spear concluded Bin Laden was betrayed by Al Qaeda itself, fooling the CIA and gaining the US president’s bounty on their ailing leader’s head: $25,000,000, which may have given birth to deadly ISIS.

Loner, Agent Ben Markstein, betrayed and primed for retribution by his obsession with the Pakistani beauty at the dark heart of HARD ACT, an unsanctioned covert black operation planned by former US Senator Wendell Strachan to save the president and regain the $25,000,000 held in a Liechtenstein bank account by Saudi Prince Faisal bin Sharif, CEO of a billion-dollar Islamic charity trust and secret terrorist money-launderer.

Markstein learns that Serena Lashari, the beautiful, clever, successful Geneva-based fund-manager is Prince Faisal’s lover and has the account codes. He acts ruthlessly, manipulating Wendell Strachan and the black operation to win Serena and the money for himself.

Against a background of political conspiracy and escalating violence across Europe, culminating in potential catastrophe at a nuclear-armed U.S.A.F air-base in England, Ben Markstein plays HARD ACT’s ruthless game to win – even at the cost of the lives of all who stand in his way.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/iWQquXlhBk8

wrightAbout the Author:

Glover Wright has a background in entertainment. He was lead-guitarist in the 1960’s for American Rock Legends Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent on their British tours, recorded as Buddy Britten & the Regents, was with the Beatles in their early Hamburg days and, through his friendship with John Lennon, became composer and producer with The Beatles Apple Music. After the Beatles split, he signed with Mercury records USA, had success as Simon Raverne and toured widely entertaining US troops, an experience he remembers with pride.

With writing in mind, he broke from music in the 1970’s and spent time with contract soldiers and British SAS units in Oman, resulting in his debut novel The Torch, which was accepted immediately by Putnam USA and published worldwide including many translations. During his extended period in the Middle East he met many figures later to shape world events, including Libya’s Moammar al-Gaddafi and in Beirut’s celebrity-haunt nightclub Le Cave de Roy was invited ­– after being recognized and asked to perform a song on stage – to join the table hosted by a wealthy young Saudi Arab named Osama Bin Laden.

Glover Wright has had eight novels published to date and lives now in Jersey, British Channel Islands. He still performs musically at charity fund-raisers for servicemen and women wounded in action and is proud to do so.

HARD ACT is his most hard-hitting and timely thriller to date. World best-selling writer Jack Higgins describes it as: “The most ingenious thriller I have read this year.”







5 ebook copies

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Women In Fiction

fictional-femalesThis morning, I’m trying to decide what to blog about, when what happens? You know what happens. I receive a knock of the door. Who’s outside? You know who. Another pesky author after the coveted keyboard.

“I want to write about women in fiction,” she says. “I know you may not understand, but I think women’s roles and attitude and character have changed throughout the years.”

“Ma’am, have you read my book? Female protagonist? Kicks butt in martial arts?”

“Hmm,” she says. “Might be interesting. Anyway, would you mind?”

Well, you know the answer to that.

the-guardian-banner-851-x-315What you read as a teenager is probably not what you read as an adult. When did this change and what have you noticed in your reading list that is different?

Although I was mostly into horror books as a teenager, I rarely read that genre anymore. Don’t get me wrong I still like a good scare, it’s just that no one has elevated past the initial bumps in the night which enamored me as a teen. The Shining, Carrie, Ghost Story, Watchers, Phantoms—these books were eye opening thrills for someone on the cusp of adulthood. Romance wasn’t really my thing; a few Danielle Steel books here and there mixed in with some Catherine Coulter were tossed into my TBR list. However, my problem with the genre at the time was mostly the women were damsels in distress. Since my mind doesn’t work that way, I stuck with the creatures under the bed.

Around college a shift happened where suspense became my main focus—dominant women who had to hunt down the killer before the maniac turned the tables and hunted them. These books were fun to read, and my feminism card was never called into question. Unfortunately, the backdrop was always dim. Wallowing around in the darkness of suspense took a toll on my imagination, which forced me to find lighter fare. I stumbled upon Nora Roberts, Jennifer Cruise, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. These masters of romance don’t do victims. Instead, they do fierce women in screwed up situations. I can deal with that more so than the chick who needs to be saved. A lot of historicals use this device, since real history wasn’t so hip to women’s lib it was just easier to put the heroine in the hands of a strong buck of a man.

As of late my reading list has taken another shift—kick ass witches, werewolf shifters, and a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like who doubles as a detective. I must need a good laugh because all these books are light and fun and not one damsel in distress. Don’t get me wrong, if any of my horror peeps put out a new book I’ll be the first in line. If Beverly Jenkins decides to give me a feisty heroine in an era that didn’t have working plumbing I’m there. My reading list is ever-changing and I am open to almost anything. The one thing I know for sure is I will never give up on a quick thinking women.

coverThe Guardian

Las Vegas Tales

Book 1

Amber Malloy


Genre: Action Adventure, Suspense, Guilty Pleasures, Interracial, MultiCultural

Book Description:

Jack Stone has inherited his family’s casino. The only problem? The mob wants it more than he does. If he doesn’t play his cards right, he’ll end up dead.

When his high school sweetheart drops back into his life, Jack’s got an even tougher decision — should he trust the beauty with his life and heart — again? This time he’s hoping the odds are in his favor.

Excerpt: Copyright ©2017 Amber Malloy

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

The last remains of the Vegas nightlife surrounded his bar, where the showgirls from the Bellagio ignored last call. Jack Stone cleaned off the glasses with a smile. He had no choice; this town was a world of its own. Only in Las Vegas would a baby shower at the witching hour be acceptable. The star act of the Night Review was not blessing a new life with just any old nightclub but one where old Hollywood had once clamored to get in.

“To Mindy, for getting out of the dance race before she got tossed out on her pregnant ass!” The pack of Amazons cheered at their captain’s toast.

“Last ones, lovelies,” Jack called out. “It’s time to go.”

“Aw, come on, Jack, one more?” they whined practically in unison.

“Sorry, girls, the big boss would have my head if he knew I kept us open this late.”

“We could only make it over after the show.” The tallest of the tribe reached across the dark bar to touch his shoulder. “I’m sure you can pull a few strings.”

Jack kept his smile firmly in place, without allowing them to know he was immune to their charm. “Last one,” he repeated with a wink to soften the blow.

“Okay, you win.” Still sparkly from her performance earlier, the replacement showgirl took her Peppermint Schnapps down like a pro. “What do you say to dinner tomorrow night after last curtain?”

Since his return to Vegas three years ago, this was the same song and dance he went through nightly. He was hip deep in friends with benefit offers. At first he indulged in the available pool of beauties, a distraction from his true mission. It would have been easy to keep going, but the sexy woman who had just stepped into Pauline’s consumed his mind and heart.

Lena Mercier walked upstream of the thin dancers. Toned with curves in all the right places, she was an artistic statue painted in the vibrant hue of milk chocolate.

“Thanks for the drinks!” The showgirls headed out of the bar doors in a peal of giggles.

“You’ve got something of mine, Jack,” Lena said in a subtle tone that stopped the mindless chatter in his head. The Lululemon leggings cupped her perfect ass. It was her usual travel uniform. She must have just gotten off a plane. A fancy tank top and light leather jacket topped off her outfit. Her sleek black hair fell in a swoop in front of her right eye — a sophisticated cut that showcased her elegant neck. Jack noted how perfect she looked. Except for the fact she had left town two weeks ago, and he had no idea where she had gone. It still aggravated him.

He wiped down the deep wood and concentrated on the high polish, instead of the sexy woman in front of him. “Just put your lips together and blow.”

She gave him a cheeky smile before she put her fingers to her mouth and ripped a high-C whistle. In a matter of moments, the heavy panting of excitement filled the damn near empty bar. A squat, furry toad ran at full tilt in her direction. Lena’s Frenchie, Harry, hopped on the chair, then the table before he took full flight through the air. Lena caught the little fucker in the crook of her arm.

Since he never tired of that circus trick, Jack chuckled. “Nightcap?” Happy to see his neighbor had made it back home, he tried not to compete for her attention with the dog.

“Sorry, Jack, I’m beat.”

“You want to talk about it? After all, bartenders are great listeners.” He nudged to get her to open up about her work. Once high school sweethearts, they’d spent more than a decade apart, and then one day she was back. Since he didn’t believe in coincidence, he had his suspicions why Lena had suddenly showed up in his life.

“If only that were true.” Lena smiled before she headed toward the door.

“We’re not good listeners?” He wished she would stay and keep him company.

“No,” she turned around, stopping short of disappearing into the cool night, “the part where you’re just the bartender.”

About the Author:

Amber Malloy dreamed of being a double agent but couldn’t pass the psyche evaluation. Crushed by despair that she couldn’t legally shoot things, Amber pursued her second career choice as pastry chef. When she’s not writing or whipping up a mean Snickers Cheesecake, she occasionally spies on her sommelier. Amber is convinced he’s faking his French accent.

Amber loves to talk to her readers and can be found at www.ambermalloy.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authambermalloy

Website: http://ambermalloy.blogspot.com/

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