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Saturday, August 27

Great Finds Issue #96


The Gift: Home for Christmas / All I Want for Christmas
The Gift 
by Nora Roberts


Phantom of the French Quarter (Harlequin Intrigue Series)
Phantom of the French Quarter 
by Colleen Thompson

Scene of the Crime: Widow Creek (Harlequin Intrigue Series)
Scene of the Crime: Widow Creek
by Carla Cassidy

Out for Justice (Shotgun Sallys, Book 1) (Harlequin Intrigue Series #774)
Out For Justice
by Susan Kearney

A Wind in the Door (Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet)
A Wind in the Door
by Madeleine L'Engle

Take Two (My Sister the Vampire)
My Sister the Vampire: Take Two
by Sienna Mercer

Friday, August 26

Friday Ramblings and Blog Hops

Last week, I was offered a free canvas print in exchange for a review, click here to read the review, from Easy Canvas Prints, My first thought was go get a print of the illustration by Melissa Stagi-Zepeda from my award winning short story, Full Moon, that appeared in the October 2008 issue of Stories for Children Magazine. After getting permission from the author, I placed the order. In less than a week I received the cute canvas print that now hangs near my desk.

Absolute Write is having a Kids Lit Back-to-School short contest. The contest is now closed, but you can vote for your favorite entries here. I entered a story in the contest. All entries are anonymous, so I can't give out my title.

There's a new upcoming author named John Hansen. He has a new intriguing flash fiction trilogy. The first story titled Lobotomy is available to download free on Smashwords. Check out John's blog at 

Thirst No. 4: The Shadow of DeathOverbiteI finished reading Overbite by Meg Cabot. I own the first book Insatiable, which I have never read. I easily figured out who was who and what was going on. Basically, Meena knows how someone is going to die and creatures of the night want her, including her ex Lucien Antonescu, the son of Dracula. She now works for The Palatine Guard, a powerful secret demon hunting squad. A new threat is on the rise and Meena doesn't know who to trust. When I saw Overbite sitting in the new section of the library, I eagerly grabbed it. I knew Meg Cabot had written the popular Princess Diaries and Avalon High Series, so Overbite has to be good. Well, I was completely wrong. The overall plot has merit, but the characters are bland and boring. I couldn't tell the difference from one character to another. To me, it seemed the author was telling more than showing. I don't want to be told what Meena is feeling, I want to feel what she is feeling. Another huge problem for me was that the novel never felt like an adult book. The main character, Meena, is an adult, but the novel flows like it was written for younger readers.

BloodlinesLancaster County Christmas, AIn the Mailbox this week: Thirst No. 4 by Christopher Pike; Simple Secrets by Nancy Mehl; Love Finds a Home by Wanda Brunstetter; Backyard Horses: Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall; A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher; The Betrayal by Jerry Jenkins; Vigilante by Robin Parrish; and The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead. There was a new mail carrier this week, and I felt sorry for her, as you can see, I had a lot books in the mail this week. The Betrayal is an ARC, in which I can wait to start reading. The Realms Thereunder is from Thomas Nelson; 90 Miles to Freedom by K.C. Hilton; Vigilante is from Bethany House; and A Lancaster County Christmas is for an upcoming book tour. I was surprised to receive Backyard Horse, as it was a complimentary copy from Tyndale. On Tuesday, I bought Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.

Bloggers of the week: and

Question of the week: Some books like the Sookie Stackhouse series, the paranormal creatures in question "comes of the closet" and makes itself know to the world. Which mythical creature do you with this would happen with in real life?

My Answer: I would like to see Zombies crawl out their graves and run for Congress.

Book Blogger Hop

Question of the week: Do you have any pets?

My answer: I have two cats named Fred and Gaby, one parakeet named Sparrow, and one goldfish, nameless.

Thursday, August 25

Easy Canvas Prints

Earlier this month I received an email from Melissa Pont from 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, August 22

World of Ink - Guest Post - 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:
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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!

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Resource on drug abuse for help talking with your teen:

Saturday, August 20

Great Finds Issue #95

For the past few weeks, the thrift store has been having a by 12 books for 25 cents sale. Well, I took advantage of it of today. I was surprised to find the nocturne novel Holiday with a Vampire II and my new favorite author, Debra Webb's Guardian Angel.


Holiday with a Vampire II
by Merline Lovelace and Lori Devoti

Guardian Angel
by Debra Webb

Alyssa Again
by Sylvie Kurtz

A Silverhill Christmas
by Carol Ericson

Deadly Gift
by Heather Graham

Virgin for Sale
by Susan Stephens

Wife Against Her Will
by Sara Craven

The Best Laid Plans
by Sarah Mayberry

The Overlords
by Matt Braun

Ghostville Elemetnary: Class Trip to the Haunted House
by Marcia Thornton Jones & Debbie Dadey

The Keys to the Kingdom: Drowned Wednesday
by Garth Nix