Monday, 31 December 2012

This Year: Dream Bigger, Start Smaller By Steven Furtick

I’ve met a lot of people who knew what it was to burn plows and set out to live for God but didn’t know what to do next. They prayed, they made a commitment—and they got stuck. As a pastor, I’ve seen it over and over again. As a man trying to live for God, I’ve experienced it over and over again.

I’m guessing you’ve made plenty of resolutions about stuff you needed to start doing or stop doing. Maybe you were going to start praying or reading your Bible more.

Or maybe you were going to stop smoking or boycott carbohydrates or stop looking at pornography or stop saying mean things about family members behind their backs. Maybe you decided to break away from a relationship you knew was unhealthy for you.

The way I see it, there are two major reasons why well-intentioned people like us get stuck after we burn our plows.

One, we don’t think big enough. Two, we don’t start small enough.
 

Friday, 28 December 2012

Why The Undead Are Still Alive by Lindsay J. Pryor


I’m a British author of dark, paranormal romances. The first three books in my Blackthorn series were recently bought by London publisher, Bookouture. The first two are about vampires – the ‘romantic’ type, in an ever-so-slightly disturbing type of way. And I love my genre. Because of that, I can’t help but feel defensive when others say this vampire obsession is just a trend – that fans will eventually get bored. That this current epidemic will fade to nothing.

The evidence screams everything to the contrary.

Vampires are embedded in our society’s psyche. In fact, they’re embedded in the psyche of many societies outside our own. Nearly every country on our planet has its own version of the vampire myth. Even before Dracula was penned over a century ago, real tales of vampirism had been rife in Eastern Europe for decades. And when those stories (along with the Serbian term ‘Vampire’) infiltrated our society in the 1800’s, apparently any newspaper containing such tales sold by the bucket load. But why? Admit it or not, on some level we all have an instinct to be fascinated with the mysterious and the macabre. We’re all a little bit intrigued by the supernatural, not least our lack of ability to explain it.

So what is it about vampires in particular? What is it that has made them such an iconic romantic figure? Whether it’s the social fascination with bad boys or the psychoanalytic view that vampire fantasies are no more than subliminal repressed sexual fantasies, vampires have got an incessant appeal. But let’s be honest, our current vampiric heroes are a long way from archaic tales of hairless beasts with protruding ratty teeth and rank breath. So when did it change?

The Friday 56 - An Angel by Her Side



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Resolve to Love By Kerry and Chris Shook

Right now, there are three relationships in your life that trouble you. Perhaps a good friend said something to you yesterday. It felt critical, but you’re not sure what she meant. The two of you used to be so close, but lately you’ve been drifting apart. Something’s not right. Oh, and your mother called. There’s that. You know you should return her call, but you haven’t. Why? You know there are things you should have said before, you avoided them, and now you feel it’s too late. It’s always so hard with her. Always messy. And then...your son has been missing. Not missing physically, but he’s been distant, quiet, silent. Missing emotionally. What’s that about? What’s going on in his life? You want to reach out, but he pushes you away. It worries you.

Maybe the relationships in your life aren’t exactly like these, but I’m guessing these remind you of someone close to you, a problem relationship in your life right now. Maybe it’s not your mother but your father, perhaps not your son but a daughter-in-law. It could be your best friend. Whoever it is, he or she is someone who matters to you—or else the relationship wouldn’t trouble you, gnaw at you on the inside, make you question and grumble, or even bring you to tears.

So take a moment and think, who are these three key people in your life? Which meaningful relationships are troubling you? Relationships you wish were closer. Relationships you’d like to be deeper and richer. Relationships that trouble you, bother you, even make you a little crazy right now.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Review - Vicious Circle

Vicious Circle
By Linda Robertson
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pub. Date: June 30, 2009
ISBN: 978-1439154281
ASIN: B002CT0TS0
Pages: 384

Review:  

I had a limited knowledge of what fantasy/paranormal books were out in the market. I grew up reading a few Anne Rice books and I was addicted to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie-in novels, but I only began reading paranormal a few years ago starting with the Southern Vampire Mysteries. When Pocket Books offered me to review the Persephone Alcmedi series by Linda Robertson, I eagerly accepted.

Vampires, werewolves, faeries and witches have already been outed out in Vicious Circle. The main heroine is Persephone Alcmedi (or as her friends call her, Seph), whom pays her bills by writing a syndicated newspaper column under an alias, reading Tarot cards, and running a werewolves' kenneling service in her basement on full moons. Her life is busy and it becomes even busier when her Nana moves in with her. Oh, I forgot to mention that she also practices witchcraft.

In this world, vampires are the higher ups in society, faeries keep to themselves and werewolves are treated as second class, which is one of the reasons Persephone has taken an interest in helping them.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Friday 56 - Hallowed Circle



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Interview with author Vivenne Westlake


What or whom inspired you to become a writer? 

I’ve loved writing since I was a child. I used to have a typewriter that my grandparents bought me and I would write stories or make up a newspaper on it. But as far as my career in romance, I would say my inspiration was Elizabeth Lowell and Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz). The first romance I ever read was Only His and I fell in love with it and decided I wanted to write romance, too. 

What types of books do you read? 

My house is filled with books. Most of my books are research related. I collect books on the Tudor period, Middle Ages, Victorian England, and Regency England. As far as romance, I like erotic, paranormal, and historical romance. Thrillers and mysteries are fun to read. I also collect self-improvement and spirituality texts. 

What well-known authors do you admire most? 

I have a lot of authors that I enjoy reading, but as far as someone I really admire, I am grateful to Beverly Jenkins. Beverly has been writing African-American historical romance for decades. She was the first person I ever saw writing it and as a teenager, I loved reading her books, loved that someone had the courage and foresight to write them. 

What were your writing habits while writing A Marquess for Christmas? 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Review - Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine

Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine
By Sands Hetherington
Publisher:Dune Buggy Press
Pub. Date: February 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0984741724
Pages: 320

Review:

Earlier this year, I reviewed the delightful children's book titled Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare for a book tour, and last month, Bostick Communications and Dune Buggy Press nicely sent me an advanced copy of the sequel in exchange for my honest review.

Crosley, the red crocodile in a yellow jacket and his young friend John Degraffenreidt are back in Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine. Picking up where the first left off, Crosley returns to John's house for their second Night Buddies program. Once again, time is almost still inside the Degraffenredit home, making it easier for John to leave for his new mission along with Crosley as when he returns only a few seconds would have gone by.

Crosley is in shock when he checks into the Night Buddies Headquarters as it seems he had already checked in earlier that night. How could this be? Did he forget that he already checked in?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Review - Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
By James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub. Date: November 12, 2012
ISBN: 978-0316210683
ASIN: B007BGQBFY
Pages: 352

Review:

It’s been several years since I have read a James Patterson novel. My grandmother was a huge fan of his books and after her death I have continued to buy each new release. The latest Alex Cross novel has been sitting on my coffee table for a few weeks. With some free time on my hands, I started reading it yesterday afternoon.

In his nineteenth outing, Detective Alex Cross is looking forward to spending a quite Christmas Eve with his family, but one phone call will change his holiday plans. A distraught man, Henry Fowler, forced himself into his ex-wife's home on Christmas Eve. Henry has taken her hostage along with her new husband, Dr. Barry Nicholson, and her three children. Alex knows that man is on a short fuse and could begin killing the hostages at any second, but Alex is their only hope of surviving the night.

Just as Alex is ready to return home to his family, an enemy from his past emerges from the shadows and intends on bring deaths millions.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Three Things That Really Get Done During Christmas Vacation by Suzan Butler


We see all these blog posts about what to do with our time during those two weeks when the kids are out of school and you’re trying to spend that vacation time before the end of the year. We all have grand ideas about cruises and skiing and visiting family and such.

In my book, O Christmas Three, my characters did exactly that. They packed up and spent Christmas in a lovely cabin in the woods. But unfortunately, that’s not possible for people the majority of the time. We have obligations at home, kids that have things going on, or pets that need tending to, or maybe we’re just not in the financial position to go anywhere that year.

Here’s three things I do during Christmas vacation:

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Review - Changing Fate Through Reincarnation

Changing Fate Through Reincarnation
By Gerald Sze
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Pub. Date: November 30, 2012
ISBN: 978-1938690150 
Pages: 328

Review:

A few months ago, out of the blue, I received Changing Fate Through Reincarnation in the mail. I review many books a month from authors, publicity groups, and publishers, so occasionally I forget about agreeing to review a book, but it turns out that I didn't agree to review the book at all. I received an email from Two Harbors Press's publicity a few weeks later asking me to review the book in exchange for my honest review.

Even though I'm a Christian, I do occasionally read about other religions. Changing Fate Through Reincarnation is a mix of Buddhism, Western science and Han Chinese that the author has weaved together to help others have a more meaningful life. Have you ever heard of Karma? The basic principle is that if you’re nice to others, nice things will happen to you. The premise of the book is that a person can completely change his or hers life in the present by changing the way he or she thinks and how he or she reacts to everything and everyone.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Book Blogger Hop December 14th-20th

The Book Blogger Hop meme was created by Jen from Crazy For Books and nicely let me be the guest host for this week. Read the history and rules for the meme here. 


What to do:

Review - A Hidden Truth

A Hidden Truth
By Judith Miller
Publisher: Bethany House 
Pub. Date: September 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764210006
ASIN: B008B9HGI6
Pages: 352

Review: 

Over the years, I have become a fan of historical fiction, many involving the Amish, the Mennonites, and the Shakers, but I have never read a book about the Amana Colonies. A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller is about the Amana Colonies and is one of the reasons why I wanted to review it, courtesy of Bethany House in exchange of my honest review.

A Hidden Truth takes place in East Amana, Iowa in 1892 and centers on two women, Karlina Richter and Dovie Cates. The colonies are very strict, with no access to the outside world or the "outsiders". Karlina has lived all her life in Amana, but has always been curious of what life was like outside the colonies.

Just as her father wants to move from Ohio to Texas, Dovie Cates gets permission to visit the Amana Colonies, where her birth mother grew up. She wants to learn more about her mother's past. She stays with the Richter family.

The Friday 56 - The Intercept



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

My Top 5 Favorite Christmas Films

  • 5. A Christmas Story - This 1983 film is based on the short stories by Jean Shepherd (who also does the film's narration) and is played for twenty-fours straight on TBS around Christmastime. I've seen the movie probably a half dozen times before I found out that my parents had never seen the movie before. I bought it on DVD  several years ago and made them watch it. My dad didn't care for it, but mom thought it was funny. I think every kid can related to what Ralphie went through just to get that perfect gift that he dreamed of.

  • 4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - I remember going with my parents and grandparents to see Christmas Vacation at the theater back in 1989 (Just writing this makes me feel old.). It is the third film out four of the National Lampoon Vacation series and it is the best out of the sequels. It later spawned a spin-off sequel with Cousin Eddie, but it was dreadful to watch. Christmas Vacation is played to death thanks to CMT and Comedy Central. I would rather watch the unedited version on DVD. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

My Top 5 Holiday Cartoons

When my parents first got a VCR in the 1980s, my mom recorded all the Christmas animated specials, with the commercials taken out, onto one VHS tape. I would watch it every year during the holidays until a certain age when I lost interest in cartoons. As an adult, I attempted to watch these classics on basic television, but I was disappointed that some of my favorite scenes were deleted in exchange for advertisement. Over the years I have bought most of these childhood classics on DVD.

Honorable mentions that didn't make the list are: How a Grinch Stole Christmas, Bah, HumDuck!: A Looney Tunes Christmas, Pluto's Christmas Tree, and Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. 


  • 5. A Charlie Brown Christmas - This is one of the few Christmas specials that is still aired every year and is one that drove my mom crazy when I was young because she found Charlie Brown to be annoying. After forty-seven-years since it debuted, it still receives millions of viewers. It is one of the few cartoons that gives kids the real meaning of Christmas.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Christmas Movies

  • 5. Christmas with the Kranks - I saw the movie when it originally came out back in 2004, which is based on the non-lawyer novel by John Grisham. The movie centers on the Kranks (played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis), who decide to skip the holidays and take a trip instead. Yes, it is predictable, but it has its funny moments.

  • 4. The Santa Clause - I saw this movie starring Tim Allen eighteen-years-ago at the theater with my parents. I later owned a VHS version, but it went bad many years ago. Every year I look for it on DVD, but I could only find it in a 3-pack with the second and third films, which I already own on DVD. Luckily, I finally found The Santa Clause on DVD this year for ten dollars and it is just a funny as I remember it. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

A Gamer's Christmas Gift

Christmas is only two weeks away and the shopping days are numbered. If you have a gamer in the family, you might want think about getting a monthly subscription at $25 dollars a month for a new social networking site for online gamers called Face Up Gaming.

Face Up is a brand new entertainment group for playing online poker games, but besides from the month subscription fee, you never have to pay for anything else, unlike other online poker sites that want you to keep spending more money.

DVD Review - The Legend of Zelda: Ganon's Evil Tower

The Legend of Zelda: Ganon's Evil Tower
Studio: United American Video
Release Date: July 22, 2003
ASIN: B0000AZT6I
Running Time: 45 minutes

Review: 

During the middle 1980s and early 1990s there was an animation boom on television. Very few made it past the first season as was the fate of The Legend of Zelda, based on the popular video game, which aired as a fifteen minute segment during The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! on Fridays on mainly Fox stations in 1989. There were only thirteen episodes aired during the series run, but it aired for a few more years in syndication.

Even though I did own a Nintendo game system when I was a kid, I wasn't a big fan of The Legend of Zelda game, but I do recall watching the short-lived animated series. If I remember correctly the series aired in the mornings as I believed I watched it before going to school.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Music Review - Hello My Name Is... Bridgit Mendler

Hello My Name Is...
Artist Bridgit Mendler
Label: Hollywood Records
ASIN: B008R14YBK
CD Release Date: October 22, 2012
Total Length: 42 minutes 11 seconds


It seems like every teen star of a Disney series will eventually bring out an album, such as Hilary Duff, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus, and others. Some have had a mild success at a singing career and others have bombed.

Now Bridget Mendler of Disney's Good Luck Charlie has released her debut album. One would think she would face the marketing curse of the other ex-Disney stars/singers, but unlike the others, Bridget actually co-wrote all twelve songs. 

I've been a fan of Disney's Good Luck Charlie every since it began airing in 2010. I was aware that Bridget Mendler, who plays Teddy Duncan, was releasing an album, but I just happened to stumble upon yesterday for ten dollars. I was having a bad day and listening to music always cheers me up, therefore I bought the Hello My Name is...Bridget Mendler.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Guest Post - Best Ways and Places to Store Your K-Cups

Keurig Cups, or K-Cups, are very popular with coffee lovers. These individual cups allow you to easily brew your own personal cup of coffee, and there are many flavors to choose from. The problem with K-Cups is that they are often difficult to store, and you’ll like have about 20 or more cups scattered around your kitchen if you don't place them somewhere. This article will tell you the best places to store your K-Cups, and the more attractive ways to organize them.

Places
K-Cups are small. You can easily store them anywhere in your kitchen, but there are a few places that are best suited for K-Cup storage. If you prefer convenience or if you want to use an attractive display, then you should store the cups near the coffee maker. You can place the cups to the side of the coffee maker, or you can place them within arm’s length.

If you prefer organization or if you don’t have much available space on your counters, then you should store the K-Cups in a drawer or cabinet. These areas keep them out of sight, but they are still easy to access.

Layered Baskets and Boxes
If you are looking for organization without much flair, then layered baskets and boxes are perfect. There are many boxes and baskets without layers, and this can be useful if you just have one K-Cup flavor. At the same time, layered holders look much more attractive, organized and you can easily store your different K-Cups on different layers. For example, one layer can be for hazelnut while another is for regular coffee.

What is Your Favorite Festive Season Read?

Guest Host: Anglers Rest

Question: We are well into the Festive season, so what is your favorite festive reading?

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Friday 56 - Merry Christmas, Alex Cross



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Review: Tales of Tremora: The Shimmering

In the tradition of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Harry Potter franchise, and the Lord of the Rings, comes the award-winning first book in Tales of Tremora series titled The Shimmering. 

Exactly one year to the date, Michael's father, a forest ranger, went into the forest close to their house and mysteriously disappeared. The authorities did everything they could, but there wasn't any evidence to his disappearance. It was just like he went "Poof" and he was magically gone. 

On his fourteenth birthday, Michael went into the forest, just like his father did, and without realizing it, he steps into another world called Tremora, where he meets a strange individual calling himself Tracker. It seems this person was more than aware that Michael would appear into Tremora. As he is led deeper into the stranger land, he meets other odd characters, such as Wazalops and wizards.

Review - Not Quite Dating



Not Quite Dating
By Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pub. Date: November 13, 2012
ISBN: 978-1612187143
ASIN: B008J2IS0K
Pages: 258

Review: 

Typically, I like my romance reads to be either historical or paranormal, but after I saw that the story was set at Christmastime, I thought I would give it a chance, so I signed up to review Not Quite Dating courtesy of Bewitching Book Tours and Montlake Romance in exchange for my honest review.

Jessie Mann grew up not having much. She works the midnight shift as a waitress, struggling to make a living as she is caring for her son and her younger sister. Her family is the most important thing in her life and she has no time to dwell on a man. That is until Jack Morrison steps into the diner and into her life.

Jack is more than financially stable as he is the heir to the Morrison luxury hotel empire. You would think someone with his money, charms, and good looks would find it easy to find a woman, but he is tired of women wanting him just for his money. Late one night, along with his buddies, Jack goes into the diner and runs into Jessie, whom he is instantly attracted to. Now all that Jessie sees is another Texas with big dreams and she is instantly not attracted to him.

Despite being slightly rejected, Jack befriends Jessie and her family, but he doesn't tell her that his is wealthy. To find out, Jessie really does want to find love, but all the men she meets are never her type. Jack takes it upon himself to help Jessie with her money woes and he eventually plays matchmaker in the hope of finding her the perfect man. But the more time he spends with her, the more he loves everything about her.

Review - Every Perfect Gift

Every Perfect Gift
A Hickory Ridge Romance
By: Dorothy Love
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: December 4, 2012
ISBN: 978-1595549020
ASIN: B008GVYWC2
Pages: 320

Review:

I missed out reading the first book in A Hickory Ridge Romance series, but I did read the second book, Beauty for Ashes, which wasn't my kind of read. Why did I agree to review Every Perfect Gift courtesy of Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review? Actually, I didn't realize that the book was part of the series. I've been in a Christmas mood and the beautiful cover reminded me of the holidays. That being said, I eagerly signed up to review it.

Set in 1886, Sophie Caldwell returns to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, where she grew up in an orphanage. She never knew who her parents were and her slightly dark complication made her an easy target of bullying from other children at the orphanage. Luckily, she was adopted by a loving couple, Wyatt and Ada Caldwell, and moved to Texas, but she has returned to Hickory Ridge to start a new life and maybe find some resolution to her past.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Review - A Home in Drayton Valley

A Home in Drayton Valley
By Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764207884
ASIN: B008B9HLV8
Pages: 352

Review:

I have the majority of Kim Vogel Sawyer's novels, so naturally I was eager to sign up to review her newest book courtesy of Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I'm also a fan of historical novels, so I adored the beautiful cover with the young woman sitting in the grass with the steamboat floating down the river in the background.

Twelve years ago, Tarsie Raines arrived in New York from overseas to start a better life. It is now 1880; the only family she has is her best friend Mary Brubacher and her children. And then there is Mary's good for nothing husband Joss, an alcoholic and gambler. Mary's health is failing and Tarsie helps take care of her and the kids, when she isn't too busy dreaming of moving to Drayton Valley that she read about in James Redpath's Handbook of Kansas.

Joss's gambling debts leads to trouble for them; therefore they must flee the city, along with Tarsie. They travel by wagon, heading to the state of Kansas. Mary's health turns for the worst. Before Mary dies, Tarsie promises to care for her children and help Joss find faith in the Lord.

DVD Review - Safe

Safe
Director: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Robert John Burke, Anson Mount, James Hong
Studio: Lionsgate
DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012
ASIN: B008E70EES
Running Time: 95 minutes
Rated: R


Jason Statham is back as the down on his luck Luke Wright, who happens to cross paths with a young Chinese math prodigy, Mei (played by Catharine Chan). The girl knows the combination of a safe code belonging to the Chinese Organization that she has been forced to work for. The Russian Mafia wants the safe code and they will do anything to get the little girl. To make things worse, there are corrupted NYC cops that also want the code. Mei's only hope is in the hands of Luke Wright.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Review - Whispers in the Wind

Whispers in the Wind
Wild West Wind book 2
By Lauraine Snelling
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: August 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764204166
ASIN: B0073UPPAK
Pages: 352

Review:

Cassie Lockwood returns in book two of the Wild West Wind series from author Lauraine Snelling. Cassie had traveled in the Wild West show that her father co-owned. With her shooting and riding skills, she became a major attraction for the show. After her father died, ticket sales declined and the show was cancelled. Before the bank investors could repossess her wagon and horse, she discovered a land deed belonging to her father. It seems he owned some land in North Dakota. Cassie packs her belongings and heads to the land of her father's dreams.

Whispers in the Wind continues Cassie's journey to North Dakota, where she finally arrives at the hidden valley, only to discover that someone else has already built a ranch on the land. The family includes Mavis Engstrom and her three children, who may now lose their home because Cassie is the rightful land owner.
Cassie learns a startling discovery that Mavis’s husband had co-owned the land with her father. Now she must try and share the land with these strangers.

Mavis's oldest son, Ransom, doesn't trust Cassie. Her daughter, Gretchen, is more accepting of Cassie as she has always wanted an older sister. The youngest son, Lucas, more than accepts Cassie, as he has fallen madly in love with her.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmastime Romances by Lisa Mondello


I love Christmas stories. I’m one of those readers who will stockpile Christmas books and read them one after the other during the holidays. So it only stands to reason that I would enjoy writing them. The problem with writing a Christmas story vs. reading one is time. I can read a book in 4-6 hours. It takes me 4-6 months to write the book!

Since it takes so long to write a Christmas book, that means I’m writing the story out of season. For All I Want for Christmas is You, I actually began plotting the story one hot August day when I was caring for a small kitten who was injured in my yard. I started singing the Mariah Carey Christmas song (I often break into song at odd times!) and little Max the kitten turned into Max the stray St. Bernard. A whole host of other stray characters started crowding my head and the story unfolded.

Stories just come to me as they are and time of the year can become a character in and of itself, adding the drama of the story. Who doesn’t love a Christmas reunion more than any other. Hope, lost loves reunited, family. It’s all good and can add to the drama of the story.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Guest Post with Author Michael Loyd Gray


What or whom inspired you to become a writer?

I’m not sure exactly when I decided to become a writer. Even though I began reading and enjoying reading at a very young age, I didn’t think at the time about writing. I even flunked out of college the first time. Too much beer, too many parties. But a few years after that I went back and finished and became a newspaper journalist – a professional writer getting paid to do it. It wasn’t until a few years before I went to graduate school that I started writing short stories. Now I have written eight novels and three have been published, but the first one was written just five years ago. Eight in five years—not bad. That’s the power of motivation and commitment. That’s how novels get written. You write on one every day and you never give up. You adopt Tom Petty’s lyrics as a mantra — “You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down.”

Interview with Chloe Carpenter from I Kissed a Dog by Carol Van Atta


1. Chloe, when people read about you in I Kissed a Dog, they seem to either adore you or hate you. How do you feel about that?

(soft laugh) I can’t say I’m surprised. I can be a bit of a brat, and my sarcasm hasn’t won me any awards. I think it was the way I was brought up. I was rushed off to a child psychologist simply for having strong feelings. I love my mom, my stepdad, too. They’re just so anti-emotion. I’m not sure how else to describe them. They weren’t sure how to handle me and my moodiness. Even as an adult, I’m sure my mood swings and strong opinions can be annoying, but let’s face it; I’ve been through a lot. I came out of my coma with more than the ability to chat with animals, as if that wasn’t enough; I was impacted in too many ways to possibly share. And to put it bluntly, I’m not here to win a popularity contest, most days I’m just trying to survive and stay out of trouble. I’m sorry if you find me offensive, bitchy, or annoying; I’m really not trying to be any of those things on purpose. Bottom line, though, knowing that Zane sees me as a “good woman” is what really matters. I’ll never forget the first time he called me that. (deep sigh) His love makes me a better person everyday we’re together. So there’s still hope the haters will grow to like me too. (more soft laughter)

2. Your feelings about Zane were pretty mixed up throughout your story, tell us about that, if you don’t mind … 

I really was confused, wasn’t I? My first major relationship ended so badly that I was terrified to get involved with another man, especially one who seemed so perfect. Zane is beyond gorgeous, he’s thoughtful, kind, charismatic, and he makes me feel like a princess. I guess I simply couldn’t believe he was for real. And if he was the real deal, why in the world would he want a mixed up, emotional woman like me? I guess my self esteem was suffering more than I care to admit. Then came the secrets. Big wolfy secrets. As a multi-cultural woman, I’m all for interracial relationships … but inter-species? I’ve definitely overcome that little concern. I love my werewolf. Now, anyway. I think at first I was confused because everything happened so fast. I’ve never been a big believer in love at first site, but when I saw Zane behind the wheel of that vintage Corvette, something clicked. And no matter how hard I tried to turn it off, the light (love) just kept shining brighter. Corny? Yes. But true. And the danger we faced together only served to strengthen our bond. 

3. What about Valamir, the master vampire? 

Wii U Nintendo Giveaway!


We have an exciting Giveaway for you! Just in time for the holidays. We are giving away a Wii U Nintendo gaming system. With the Wii U you can play games while experiencing up to full 1080p HD for the first-time ever on a Nintendo gaming console. And of course, you can interact and share with your friends, family, and the world! The Wii U Game Pad, which connects wirelessly, can also be used as the remote control for your TV.
The Wii U Nintendo Gaming System - New For 2012!

Mommy Bear Media has teamed up with several bloggers to bring you this fabulous prize. 2012 has been a year that we grew to love and respect bloggers, new customers, and social media. Through social media we have met many of you and we do know that many of you have purchased family friendly movies through us, and we thank you!

Mommy Bear Media is branching out- we will be bringing you family friendly video games in the very, very near future! You will want to stay tuned for this. Mommy Bear Media offers family themed entertainment to everyone in your family. Mommy Bear Media continues to educate and keep parents informed in regards to good, clean, family entertainment. This is sure to be one of the hottest items this holiday season!

We want you to win.....

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Friday 56 - Not Quite Dating



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Review - Walking on Water When You Feel Like You're Drowning

Walking on Water When You Feel Like You're Drowning
By Tommy Nelson and Steve Leavitt
Publisher: Tyndale House Books
Release Date: October 18, 2012
ISBN: 978-1589977228
ASIN: B008VTTYA4
Pages: 176

Review: 

I received Walking on Water When You Feel Like You're Drowning back in October courtesy of Tyndale House Books in exchange for my review. I meant to review the book earlier in the month, but I got swamped with other things and the book got shoved aside until I started reading it a few nights ago. The book covers anxiety & depression, which are something I have dealt with for most of my life and the reason why I wanted to review it in the first place.

Unlike the majority of anxiety/depression books that are written by doctors, Walking on Water is written by two men who have both experienced anxiety and depression. Tommy Nelson has been the senior pastor at the Denton Bible Church for past thrifty-five years and Steve Leavitt is a Christian Biblical counselor in New Braunfels, Texas. Together they have co-written Walking on Water which details their struggles with depression and how a biblical approach can help you crawl your way out of depression.

Anxiety and Depression can occur to anybody at anytime. Sometimes it is triggered from a life changing event, like being bullied or abused, or the death of a loved one. Other times stress can cause anxiety that leads to depression.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Blu-ray Review - The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Director: Peter Hedges
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams
Studio: Disney
Release Date: December 4, 2012
ASIN: B005LAIIL2
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 2 
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rated: PG

Review:

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is making its way onto DVD and Blu-ray on December 4th just in time for Christmas. I recall seeing a few advertisements for it when it was released to theaters, but I never got a chance to see it until I watched it on DVD last night. Disney was nice enough to send me an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

At first I thought The Odd Life of Timothy Green was based on a book, but I was mistaken as it was based on the concept by Ahmet Zappa. It was written and directed by Peter Hedges (What's Eating Gilbert Grape).

Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner star as Jim and Cindy Green, a couple living in the small drought-stricken town of Stanleyville, North Carolina. Jim spends his days working at the town's historic pencil factory while Cindy works at the local museum. The couple desperately wants to have children, but they find out they cannot conceive a child.

Heartbroken, they write down their dream child's characteristics onto pieces of paper, put the pieces into a wooden box and buried it in their garden.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Review - Resurrect

Resurrect
By David E. Stevens
Publisher: Monarch Books
Pub. Date:October 2, 2012
ISBN: 978-0857212498
ASIN: B008M4ISD2
Pages: 384
Buy Link: http://ow.ly/faaOD
Blog Tour: http://litfusegroup.com/author/DStevens

Review:  

Resurrect has been sitting on my desk for a few months, as I received a free copy from Litfuse Publicity Group and Monarch Books in exchange for an honest review, and I recently got around to reading it. The book is written by Commander David E. Stevens, a navy fighter pilot, and by the fighter jet on the book cover, I thought Resurrect might be a war novel, but I was completely wrong. I don't want to give away too many spoilers, so I'll leave the synopsis short.

Navy Commander Josh Logan is the main character in Resurrect and he is testing out a new fighter jet. After a malfunction, Logan quickly avoids crashing into civilians' homes, but ejects from the jet a few moments too late.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Music Review - Kelly Clarkson: Greatest Hits - Chapter One

Greatest Hits - Chapter One
By Kelly Clarkson
Label: RCA
Release Date: November 19, 2012
ASIN: B009LXEBD4


I wasn't even aware that Kelly had a new CD out until I stumbled upon it tonight at my local Walmart at their Black Friday (well, Thursday night) sale. I've been a fan of her music since she one the first season of American Idol. All of her best songs are here including my favorites, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Already Gone, Breakaway, and Don't You Want to Stay.

As a bonus there are three new songs, Catch My Breath, Don't Rush, and People Like Us. Her holiday song I'll be home for Christmas is also the CD. Overall, I really enjoyed listening to the CD and I recommend it to others.

The Songs Are:

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Music Review - Music From Another Dimension!

Music from Another Dimension!
By Aerosmith
Label: Columbia
Release Date: November 6, 2012
ASIN: B0085RQLXK

Review:

I saw Music From Another Dimension at Walmart a few weeks ago, but I it didn't pick it up until today during the Black Friday sales for five dollars. The retro B-movie album cover is cool, but covers can be misleading. I made the mistake of reading several bad reviews, so my expectations were low. It seems that fans think the band will crank out hit after hit, but you have to realize that it has been eleven years since their last release. During that amount of time people can change and so can their style of music.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A Very Merry Golden Records Christmas Review & Giveaway



Do you remember your parents or grandparents playing those vinyl records? Then you probably remember the Golden Records for children, containing classic stories and songs for young ones and old ones young at heart.

Golden Records have been making a comeback this year by releasing old and new records onto CDs and MP3 for a whole new generation of fans to enjoy. They were nice enough to let me listen to A Very Merry Golden Records Christmas, which is part of their Celebrity Series, free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

With Christmas just only a few weeks ago, there is nothing better to get your family in the holiday spirits than listening to wonderful Christmas music. A Very Merry Golden Records Christmas brings back twenty timeless classics, blending in new celebrity voices with the original music and sound effects. Some of the voice talents are Ed Asner, Didi Conn, Cheryl Hines, Wallace Shawn and Dermot Mulroney. 

The Tracks List Includes:

  1. Merry, Merry, Merry, Christmas (Didi Conn and The Golden Orchestra) 
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (John O Hurley)  
  3. Jingle Bells (Malin Akerman) 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A Nifty Gift Idea - Custom Posters

*This is sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.

The holiday shopping season has begun. If you are like me, I try to avoid shopping in the crowded stores by buying gifts online. Typically, I have most of my of my shopping done a month before Christmas Day, but there are usually a couple of people that are hard to buy for. So I have to think outside of my comfort zone and find a unique gift.

Everyone loves photos, right? A unique Christmas gift idea I came up with, is a custom poster. What do I mean by a [custom poster]?

You can take any family portrait, a pet's picture, a school photo, a vacation photo, etc., and have it blown up to 18 x 24 or a 24 x 36 for custom poster printing. This will make a thoughtful gift, perhaps more than an ordinary gift card.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Review - Call the Midwife: Season One DVD

Call The Midwife: Season One
Starring: Jessica Raine, Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, Judy Parfitt, Miranda Hart, and featuring Vanessa Redgrave
Studio: BBC Warner
ASIN: B0093I913W
ASIN: B0093I5QG8 (Blu-ray)
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Running Time: 360 minutes 
Not Rated

Just in the time for the holidays is the release of the new hit series that aired on BBC in the UK and on PBS in the United States. I recall reading an article in the TV Guide a few months about the show, but I had forgotten it was being aired. Luckily, I got an opportunity to receive a free copy of Season One in exchange of an honest review courtesy of BBC Worldwide Americas.

The series was created and written by Heidi Thomas (also created Upstairs Downstairs) and is based on the memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth. Set in the poverty-stricken East London in the 1950s, the series centers around a young Jenny Lee (played by Jessica Raine), who believes she is going to be working at a small hospital called Nonnatus House, but to her surprise, it is actually a convent. She quickly befriends the other nurses, Trixie and Cynthia, the handyman Fred, and the Sisters, Julienne, Evangelina, Bernadette and Monica Joan. Jenny is there mainly as a midwife, but she has other duties to attend to as well. Just like the other midwives, Jenny must ride a bicycle to visit her patients.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Review - The Breath of Dawn

The Breath of Dawn
By Kristen Heitzmann
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: November 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764210426
ASIN: B008B9HQL8
Pages: 448
Buy Link: http://amzn.to/VkkqTX
Blog Tour Link: http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/breathofdawn

Review:

The Breath of Dawn is book three of the series that started with A Rush of Wings and Still of the Night. I have only read A Rush of Wings, in which I wasn't the biggest fan of at the time. I hesitated before I signed up to review the third book from Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Even though I hadn't read second book, I still figured out who was who and what was what. In the third entry, Morgan Spencer had a wonderful family and a successful business, but every thing changed the moment his wife died, leaving him as a widowed father to a two-year-old daughter, Livie. His daughter is his entire life, until fate changes things once again for him.

Review - No Safe Harbor

No Safe Harbor
by Elizabeth Ludwig
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0764210396
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
Pages: 336
Buy Links: http://ow.ly/eh4Xf
Blog Tour Link: http://litfusegroup.com/author/ELudwig

Review:

Set in the year 1897, Cara Hamilton thought that her twin brother, Eoghan, was deceased until she gets an unexpected letter from him, in which he urges her to come find him and warns her to trust no one. She boards the ship called the Servia and travels across the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland to America.

When Cara arrives in New York, she meets a stranger named Rourke Walsh. She takes refuge at a boardinghouse where she befriends most of the women whom are living there, all except Deirdre. Why would a woman that hardly knew her, hate her so much? There has to be here than meets the eye about this woman. Cara is determined to learn more about Deirdre, especially when she catches Deirdre prying in her room.