Thursday, 25 August 2011

Easy Canvas Prints




Earlier this month I received an email from Melissa Pont from BuildASign.com offering me an opportunity to review one of their canvas prints from their new division called Easy Canvas Prints. Normally I don't do product reviews, but I received a very nice street sign from them earlier in the year, so I thought I would check out their website. They offer a wide range of prints from fine arts to nature scenes, and a variety of different sizes, like 10x8, 8x8, 20x16, 24x36, or customize your own size. If you're not interested in any of their prints you can create your own by using a family photo, a picture of your pet, wedding photos, vacation photos, etc..

I'm an author of children short stories, and I've always admired the illustration by Melissa Stagi-Zepeda from my first published story, Full Moon. After getting permission from the illustrator, I clicked on the Start Designing button. I selected the 10x8 size, then the 3/4 inch wrap thickness (there is also a 1.5 inch wrap), I clicked continue, and then uploaded the picture. I selected what border I wanted, and then went through the shipping stuff. Overall, it took me less than five minutes to place the order. The site states that the production time is between 3-4 days, but my order was only two. The order was placed on Friday and I received a shipping confirmation email on Monday. It arrived yesterday afternoon by UPS in a neatly safe package. I smiled when I saw my characters staring back at me. The print was much better than the small .jpg copy I had saved. I hung the canvas near my desk. 


Monday, 22 August 2011

How to Talk to Teens by Tal Yanai



How to Talk to Teens 
by Tal Yanai

 How I’m going to talk to my kids when they become teenagers is a thought most parents have since the kids were born. They change in front of our eyes, rebel, and become independent, wanting to spend less time with the family and more out with their friends. And if this is not enough, many start to drink, smoke, and experiment with drugs and sex. You remember; you were there a few years back.

 But talking is only one component of the relationship you have with your kids. Try to see them as what they really are; children of God you have the privilege to raise, care for and guide as they find their way in the world. In that sense, your soul and theirs are equal, having different roles to play in life. Being aware of it you would raise them respecting who they are, bringing them to respect you and your role as their parent. Having relationship which is based on mutual respect is a key for healthy dialog with teens.

Seeing them as God’s children will also give us the patience and composure needed so much if we are to succeed in our role as parents. Remember that teenage rebellion is a normal part of their growth. We have the experience; they still need to accumulate it. Still, the parent is the mature one in the relationship, so even if they seemed unwilling to listen, make sure they know you are always there for them. It is important to remember that all that God is asking of you is to do your best, and that ultimately how each person ends up is between his or her soul and God.

Nurturing healthy relationships with kids from an early age will help you to survive the turmoil of the teenage rebellion. No one likes to hear orders al the time, and parents who constantly give them (“Because I said so”), will find it harder to deal with teenagers who are much less impressed by threats and punishments. So talk to them, open yourself and when possible explain your reasoning for making a new rule, or setting new restrictions. It is your home and your rule, but a wise leader lets everyone feel included.

You are the pillar of the family, and your kids don’t need you as their best friend. They even don’t need to love you; they need to respect you, and hopefully overtime they will come to admire the role you played in their lives. Hearing her saying, “You are the best parent in the world” because she got what she wanted would make you feel good, but is not a sign of a decision well made. Make what you consider to be the right decision and over time they will learn to respect you for it. Most people grow up to by like their parents, so while guiding them as teens; you are also showing them how to do the right thing as a parent later on.

There are many ways to raise teenagers, and the one you will adapt has a lot to do with how you were raised. Try to remember what worked and what didn’t. Try hard not to repeat the mistakes you parents made, and if useful to you, use those things that worked. And when you feel overwhelmed, it is a good idea to seek professional help. But above all, listen to your inner voice, and seek God’s help. It is where the endless wisdom of the universe is to be found. And we need every bit of it if we to be successful raising teenagers in the 21th century.



Author Bio


Life Is Not a Candy Store; It's the Way to the Candy Store: A Spiritual Guide to the Road of Life for TeensDuring his formative years, Tal Yanai was not happy with his reality. What he was creating in his life was not in alignment with what he wanted in his heart or what he knew and deeply felt was possible.

As a struggling student, he was considered a troublemaker in school. Then one day, during a bike trip from the kibbutz to the sea, he was asked to take charge and make sure none of the other kids lagged behind. For the first time in his life, at age fifteen, Tal got a taste of what it meant to assume responsibility and be a leader. This one experience planted the seed for his goal to assume a leadership role in his later life. After finishing high school, having been raised on Kibbutz, Einat, Israel, he volunteered to serve as a leader in the Kibbutzim Youth Movement, which focused on principles such as volunteering, mutual help, and giving to one’s community and country.

In tenth grade he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained his learning difficulties but it did little to ease his frustration with himself and his everyday struggles. He had no mentors he could confide in or look up to. And no matter how hard his parents tried, his living on a kibbutz meant they had little influence during his teenager years.

At the age of twenty-three, when he moved to the U.S., Tal found solace in a higher power and started on a spiritual path, which has led him to align himself with his soul’s essence and mission.
For two years he worked as an historical analyst at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg after the filming of Schindler’s List. As part of his job, he listened every day to testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Many were children or teenagers during WWII and their stories greatly influenced Tal’s decision to become involved with educating youth, so he proceeded to get his Teaching Credential in Social Studies.

Bringing two wonderful children into the world gave him a new sense of urgency to share and teach everything he’s learned about God and spirituality. Today, Tal teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Temple Beth Hillel in the San Fernando Valley as he continues his quest to explore the meaning of soul and achieve his full potential as a spiritual teacher.




Book Lovers Blog Hop:
Make friends, share the love of reading and be entered to win a FREE book!

All you have to do is post the Book Lovers Blog Hop and World of Ink Tour Banners below to your blog. Promote the Book Lovers Hop and World of Ink Tours on any social network. Tweet it once a day, share on Facebook and then follow others back that leave you a comment. By joining the Book Lovers Blog Hop, you are automatically entered in our Book Giveaway!

There will be two (2) winners for this Book Giveaway.

Note: One book per winner.

Hop Rules:
1. Follow the Top link of the hop! Hop Host: Families Matter
2. Grab the button for the hop and place it in a post, sidebar, or on a blog hop page and let us know where it is in the comments section below. This will help the hop grow and gain us all new followers. It's a Win-Win for everyone!
3. Grab the buttons for the World of Ink Tours and place it in a post or side bar. Make sure you let us know where it is in the comments section below.

Book Giveaway Rules:
· Join the Book Lovers Blog Hop. (One entry)
· Follow the World of Ink Tours and leave a comment per tour blog stop. (must leave a real comment about the author, tour or book. Saying “this is cool” or “I love your book” will not count.) Make sure to include your safe email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Example: vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com. (One bonus entry per blog stop)
· Ask a question per World of Ink Tour blog stop. (One bonus entry per tour blog stop)


Resource on drug abuse for help talking with your teen: http://blackbearrehab.com/substance-abuse/

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Book Review - Releasing Gillian's Wolves




Releasing Gillian’s Wolves
BY: Tara Wooply
PUBLISHED BY: Bats in the Boathouse Press
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 9780983203308
Pages: 282
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

In this debut novel, Gillian Sach has raised two grown kids and has been a loyal wife for thirty years to her now United States Congressman husband, Jack, who hasn’t remain faithful. Gillian has always suspected of her husband’s infidelity, but was never for sure until she found the hotel keycard in his pocket. Soon, she learns of her husband affair with a young staff worker. With the support from her friends and family, she leaves Jack shortly after his campaign and takes time for herself, focusing on her art and some traveling. Gillian returns to the states feeling renewed, but is instantly thrown into a political scandal.

The plot of Releasing Gillian’s Wolves could have come from a news headline. It seem like every week a political congressman or governor announces that they had an affair or have been involved in some questionable activities, making the novel’s plot more real than fiction. The author, Tara Wooply, is the daughter of the Idaho State Senator Mary Lou Reed, so she had knowledge about the political campaigning route. She has written an inspiring main character, Gillian, in which despite major life setbacks, the character has the strength and ambition to reboot her life. As a male reader, I liked Gillian from the first chapter and cheered her on when she finally left her adulterous husband. I recommend the book to anyone enjoys a good read.

* I would like to thank the author, Tara Wooply, for sending me a copy to review.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Review - Life is Not a Candy Store





Life Is Not a Candy Store; It's the Way to the Candy Store: A Spiritual Guide to the Road of Life for TeensLife is Not a Candy Store: It’s The Way to the Candy Store
BY: Tal Yanai
PUBLISHED BY: Bat-El Publishing
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9832025-0-9
Pages: 72
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Life is Not a Candy Store: It’s the Way to the Candy Store is a Spiritual Guide to the Road of Life for Teens, intended to be a self-esteem aimed at young adults, but the book’s message can easily reach most adults. Peer pressure from friends, and even your teachers and parents can be overwhelming for any teenager. Author Tal Yanai uses more of a Christian/spiritual approach in dealing with these matters. Being at an adolescent age can be difficult for anyone. Do you follow your peer group? Or do you follow your own road/path? In order to find your road, but you must first understand yourself, where your ‘soul come into the physical body.’ You’ll be faced with many challenges while trying to achieve your life goals, but with God’s help you can be guided in the right direction.

Having faith is one of the main messages of Life is Not a Candy Store: It’s The Way to the Candy Store. Personally being a victim of High School torture and bulling, I was eager to review the book. Life has many trials, some you’ll conquer and others you’ll fail. As a teenager, you’re not fully emotionally developed, and you won’t react to life’s hardships the same way as an adult would. I recommend the book to teenagers and parents.

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a review copy.


Don't forget to stop tomorrows blog: http://blogcritics.org/books/

Author Bio


During his formative years, Tal Yanai was not happy with his reality. What he was creating in his life was not in alignment with what he wanted in his heart or what he knew and deeply felt was possible.

As a struggling student, he was considered a troublemaker in school. Then one day, during a bike trip from the kibbutz to the sea, he was asked to take charge and make sure none of the other kids lagged behind. For the first time in his life, at age fifteen, Tal got a taste of what it meant to assume responsibility and be a leader. This one experience planted the seed for his goal to assume a leadership role in his later life. After finishing high school, having been raised on Kibbutz, Einat, Israel, he volunteered to serve as a leader in the Kibbutzim Youth Movement, which focused on principles such as volunteering, mutual help, and giving to one’s community and country.

In tenth grade he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained his learning difficulties but it did little to ease his frustration with himself and his everyday struggles. He had no mentors he could confide in or look up to. And no matter how hard his parents tried, his living on a kibbutz meant they had little influence during his teenager years.

At the age of twenty-three, when he moved to the U.S., Tal found solace in a higher power and started on a spiritual path, which has led him to align himself with his soul’s essence and mission.
For two years he worked as an historical analyst at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg after the filming of Schindler’s List. As part of his job, he listened every day to testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Many were children or teenagers during WWII and their stories greatly influenced Tal’s decision to become involved with educating youth, so he proceeded to get his Teaching Credential in Social Studies.

Bringing two wonderful children into the world gave him a new sense of urgency to share and teach everything he’s learned about God and spirituality. Today, Tal teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Temple Beth Hillel in the San Fernando Valley as he continues his quest to explore the meaning of soul and achieve his full potential as a spiritual teacher.





Book Lovers Blog Hop:
Make friends, share the love of reading and be entered to win a FREE book!

All you have to do is post the Book Lovers Blog Hop and World of Ink Tour Banners below to your blog. Promote the Book Lovers Hop and World of Ink Tours on any social network. Tweet it once a day, share on Facebook and then follow others back that leave you a comment. By joining the Book Lovers Blog Hop, you are automatically entered in our Book Giveaway!

There will be two (2) winners for this Book Giveaway.

Note: One book per winner.

Hop Rules:
1. Follow the Top link of the hop! Hop Host: Families Matter
2. Grab the button for the hop and place it in a post, sidebar, or on a blog hop page and let us know where it is in the comments section below. This will help the hop grow and gain us all new followers. It's a Win-Win for everyone!
3. Grab the buttons for the World of Ink Tours and place it in a post or side bar. Make sure you let us know where it is in the comments section below.

Book Giveaway Rules:
· Join the Book Lovers Blog Hop. (One entry)
· Follow the World of Ink Tours and leave a comment per tour blog stop. (must leave a real comment about the author, tour or book. Saying “this is cool” or “I love your book” will not count.) Make sure to include your safe email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Example: vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com. (One bonus entry per blog stop)
· Ask a question per World of Ink Tour blog stop. (One bonus entry per tour blog stop)


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Book Review - How to Forgive: A Practical Guide



How To Forgive: A Practical GuideHow to Forgive: A Practical Guide
BY: Lynda Bevan
PUBLISHED BY: Loving Healing Press
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61599-030-6
Pages: 98
Reviewed by Billy Burgess



How to Forgive: A Practical Guide is aimed at people, young and old, with emotional problems of letting go or suffering from a terrible trauma like abuse. Do you blame someone for hurting you? Do you have built up anger? Have you hurt somebody else? If you said yes, then you might have a problem with forgiving. Its not easy forgiving someone for emotionally or physically damaging you, but it is possible to forgive when you can fully understand your true self. It’s difficult to let things go, but life can be so much better without this guilt on your shoulders.

During my thirty year of life, I have had problems forgiving people for the emotional trauma that I endured while being bullied through my childhood. Years after graduation, I still blamed them for my life’s problems, but eventually I was able to forgive and continue with my life. Author Lynda Bevan, just like the title suggests, uses a practical approach to help you fully understand why you can’t forgive, and how you can. I recommend the book to councilors, teachers, and readers of all ages.

*I would like to than Loving Healing Press for sending me a review copy.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Review - Not Fat Because I Wanna Be






Not Fat Because I Wanna BeNot Fat Because I Wanna Be
BY: LaNiyah Bailey
ILLUSTRATED BY: Laura Perez Ricaud
PUBLISHED BY: CreateSpace
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1461006763
Pages: 42
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Not Fat Because I Wanna Be is written by six-year- old LaNiyah Bailey, and the story is based on her own life. The main character Jessica is made fun of by her preschool classmates because of her size. She wonders “Why Did God give me this big tummy and bow legs?” This is a big question for a girl to ponder with at such a young age. The name-calling at preschool gets worse and Jessica begins hiding in the bathroom. Even some of the teachers poke fun at her. Then one day, Jessica visited her new doctor, Dr. Middens. After a few tests, Jessica learns that her colon was swollen and that she would have to take a special medicine to make her better.

Writing a book at the age of six is a major accomplishment, especially with such a meaningful message for children and adults. The old saying ‘Stick and Stones may break my bone, but words can never hurt me,” is completely false, and both children and adults should know this. Not Fat Because I Wanna Be is a wonderful debut picture books that I recommend for readers of all ages.




Author Bio

LaNiyah Bailey is a 6‐year‐old author with a message for children like her – just because you are bigger than other kid, that doesn’t mean that people have the right to bully you.

In her debut book, Not FAT Because I Wanna Be, LaNiyah details the struggle of Jessica, a fictional girl who has an underlying medical issue that causes her to gain weight. Bullied by her peers, Jessica learns to accept her body and eventually opens up about her condition to her classmates.
Not Fat Because I Wanna Be
LaNiyah is not only speaking to other children through her book, but has become an advocate for anti‐bullying organizations.

With a message that words can hurt and that not all weight gain is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, LaNiyah hopes her book will enlighten and entertain her young readers.



You can purchase Not Fat Because I Wanna Be at www.NotFatBecauseIwannaBe.com.

Other Links: http://gumbumper.com/2011/03/6-year-old-author-laniyah-bailey-talks-about-being-bullied-wow/






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Make friends, share the love of reading and be entered to win a FREE book!

All you have to do is post the Book Lovers Blog Hop and World of Ink Tour Banners below to your blog. Promote the Book Lovers Hop and World of Ink Tours on any social network. Tweet it once a day, share on Facebook and then follow others back that leave you a comment. By joining the Book Lovers Blog Hop, you are automatically entered in our Book Giveaway! 

There will be two (2) winners for this Book Giveaway.  

Note: One book per winner.

Hop Rules:
1.      Follow the Top link of the hop! Hop Host: Families Matter
       2.      Grab the button for the hop and place it in a post, sidebar, or on a blog hop page and let us know where it is in the comments section below. This will help the hop grow and gain us all new followers. It's a Win-Win for everyone!
      3.      Grab the buttons for the World of Ink Tours and place it in a post or side bar. Make sure you let us know where it is in the comments section below.

Book Giveaway Rules:
·         Join the Book Lovers Blog Hop. (One entry)
     ·         Follow the World of Ink Tours and leave a comment per tour blog stop. (must leave a real comment about the author, tour or book. Saying “this is cool” or “I love your book” will not count.) Make sure to include your safe email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Example: vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com. (One bonus entry per blog stop)
·         Ask a question per World of Ink Tour blog stop. (One bonus entry per tour blog stop)






Friday, 5 August 2011

Book Review - Master Self-Publishing 2011 Edition

Master Self Publishing 2011 Edition: The Little Red BookMaster Self-Publishing 2011 Edition
BY: Owen O. Daniels
PUBLISHED BY: the Small Business Zone, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9829036-3-6
Pages: 110
Reviewed by Billy Burgess



Thanks to the internet, more writers are using the self-publishing route instead of going with the traditional publishing houses. It should not take a degree to self-publish your book, but there are some 'how to' books that are extremely detailed, therefore may scare off potential authors. Master Self-Publishing is ‘The Little Red Book’, which is just over 100 pages. The author lays out the simple rules that you should follow by, from determining what size book to go with, to where to get your novel edited. There is a reasonable publishing timeline, giving an estimate from when you start writing the book until the publication. You will learn about obtaining an ISBN Code, obtaining a copyright, obtaining a Library of Congress Control Number, and obtaining a cataloging publication program. There are three print on demand companies listed, Createspace, Lula, and Lighting Source.

I have reviewed several books on self-publishing and Master Self-Publishing is the shortest, but the simplest of them. Each chapter has been carefully written for any reader to understand. My favorite chapter is Chapter 8: Get The Book Reviewed, where there are several review sites listed. I recommend the book to any writer who is interested in non-traditional publishing.

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a review copy.

Book Review - How to Raise Your New Puppy in a Cat Family

How to Raise Your New Puppy in a Cat Family: The Complete Guide to a Happy Pet-Filled HomeHow to Raise Your New Puppy in a Cat Family
BY: Jackie Sonnenberg
PUBLISHED BY: Atlantic Publishing
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60138-401-0
Pages: 288
Reviewed by Billy Burgess



If you are excited about bringing your new puppy home, your cat probably has a different opinion. How to Raise Your New Puppy in a Cat Family: The Complete Guide to a Happy, Pet-Filled Home is aimed for families who want to bring a puppy into a cat’s environment. Do you remember those old cartoons where the dogs and cats do not get along? Well, that was just a myth. Cats and dogs can get a long in a household. If your cat is already set in its ways, then it will take some time for the cat to adjust to having a dog in the home.

The author list different dog breeds, and which ones are more suitable for a family. The early chapters give guidelines to make sure you get the right dog for your family. You might have to take things slow at first. Let the animals meet and see how they react, then, slowly move the puppy into the home. Keep a close eye on your cat’s behavior. They are very emotional and may not understand why another animal is in their home.

I am a cat lover, so I was eager to review the book, and I was surprised to find many cat tips through out it finishing the book, I would have to say I would never keep a puppy and a cat in the same household. It would be too much stress on the animals, and especially on me.

*I would like to thank Atlantic Publishing for sending me a review copy.