Unearthly by Cynthia Hand- A Review and Wow! another Contest

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand-review underneath the two announcements

If you haven't entered all the awesome contests from Monday's blog hop. You have until Midnight tonight. Go win!  Prizes

So, my cute friend Christine Bryant told me about a Cover Contest. Hop on over and vote for your favorites. You get to vote three times. I love to see the amazing creativity!

Or you can come to the Bountiful Costco this Thursday 11-5
or Saturday 12-5 and I'll sign a copy for you

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Clara's perfect life turns upside down when she starts seeing visions. She recently found out that she is a quarter angel and will need to fulfill her "purpose". The visions are meant to guide her to that "purpose."  The visions are full of terror as a wildfire burns bright, but also full of hope for the incredibly good looking boy she feels she is to save.

As she slowly learns about her angelic nature and how to harness her newfound powers, she also discovers there are dark angels that she must avoid at all costs. She also must live her teenage life and finds one distraction after another that seems to keep her from her destiny. She must decide to fulfill her purpose or deny it.

I LOVED this book. I listened to it and was riveted by the characters and the storyline. It is a cleverly written paranormal romance, gentle and unassuming. Go get this book.

(Review) A Girl's Life Online

A Girl's Life Online
Title: A Girl's Life Online
Author: Katherine Tarbox
Pub Date: September 2004
Publisher: Plum ( a division of Penguin)
Pages: 192

Source: I got this book from Tina who blogs over at Bookshipper .

About the book:

Katherine Tarbox was thirteen when she met twenty-three-year-old "Mark" in an online chat room. A top student and nationally ranked swimmer attending an elite school in an affluent Connecticut town, Katie was also a lonely and self-conscious eighth-grader who craved the attention her workaholic parents couldn't give her. "Mark" seemed to understand her; he told her she was smart and wonderful. When they set a date to finally meet while Katie was in Texas for a swim competition, she walked into a hotel room and discovered who-and what-her cyber soul mate really was.

In A Girl's Life Online, Tarbox, now eighteen, tells her story-an eye-opening tale of one teenager's descent into the seductive world of the Internet. Tarbox's harrowing experience with her online boyfriend would affect her life for years to come and result in her becoming the first "unnamed minor" to test a federal law enacted to protect kids from online sexual predators.
In an age when a new generation is growing up online, Tarbox's memoir is a cautionary tale for the Internet Age.
When I saw that Tina was offering this book up to anyone who wanted it I grabbed it because I was really curious to read it. I think this is a must read for any parents out there with kids and teenagers.
I admit I was cringing at times and just wanted to reach in grab Katie before she made a mistake that she would regret probably for the rest of her life.

Thankfully I grew up without computers so this was never an issue for my parents but being a parent now this really freaks me out and I worry but I think as parents we have to be diligent about what are kids are doing online as much as possible and try to keep an eye out.

Right now its not a problem because when Michael is online he is playing games on either Webkins or Lego. The one time he did go into a chat room on one of the sites he was on, he asked me about something and I came over and told him that if I ever saw him in a chat room again he wouldn't be able to go on the computer again. We talked about the dangers of it and I told him that no everyone is who they say they are.

This is exactly what happened to Katie. At first she thought she was talking to someone who was 23 (she was only 13) and at first there conversations were harmless but still this bothered me because what 23 year old would take the time to really speak with  someone who is 13 unless he was after something.

Over the course of the book we quickly see him "grooming" her and before long Katie is actually starting to fall for this guy and even agrees to meet up with him at one her swim meets without anyone knowing it but her friend. Thankfully nothing serious happened to Katie but she quickly realized that he really wasn't who he said he was.

I think so many young people don't really realize that and are too trusting and willing to tell anyone anything as long as they are getting the attention they are looking for. Honestly if something doesn't feel right then trust me its not right. Go with your gut instinct, trust it.

This really hit home for me because I actually went to school with someone who is now sitting in a US jail serving a long jail sentence for luring a child over the Internet. It was someone I never thought would do anything like this.

If your a parent then this is a must read for you and your teens.

(Give Away) Amish Values for Your Family

Amish Values for Your Family

I have an extra copy of Amish Values for Your Family to give away to one lucky reader of mine along with some swag I got from Suzanne Woods Fisher. It includes some postcards and bookmarks.

All you have to do is comment in this post and tell me what you would do if you were given the chance to Amish for a week. Do you think you could handle it?

Please note that this give away is only open to Canada and the US (sorry shipping elsewhere gets to expensive).

Please leave your email address so that I have a way to contact you should you be the winner. The contest is open until September 5 at 11:59pm. You will have 24 hours to reply back to my email with your mailing address failure to do so within that time frame will result in picking another name.

Good luck everyone

(Blog Tour & Give Away) Amish Values for Your Family

Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn from the Simple Life

Today I am very honored to be a part of the tour for Amish Values for Your Family. Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for allowing me to a part of the tour and for sending me a copy of the book.

I knew when I read this book that I wanted to do a review of Amish Values for Your Family but at the same time I had to think about a value or chapter that I wanted to incorporate into my every day life.

There are so many great values I could pull from the book that would be nice to add into our life but what one would make a difference the most and I realized that instilling a work ethic in Michael wouldn't be a bad thing to work on. It would show him how important it is to be a part of something and that doing some chores isn't a bad thing and that if we all do a little something to help each other out that there will be more family time for us.

I have started out with minor things and over the past few days he has asked me if there is anything else he can do to help so that we can do things quicker. He has realized that by helping means he can have more time with me then before.

Its nice to have someone set the table while I am cooking dinner and to have some clean up the table while I am putting away the left overs or helping fold the laundry (to the best of his ability). You can see the pride on their faces when they realized they are helping out and doing a good job.

About the Author:
Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D.Benedict, who was raised Plain. She has many, many Plain relatives living in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and travels back to Pennsylvania,as well as to Ohio,a couple of times each year for research.

Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme: You don't have to "go Amish" to incorporate many of their principles--simplicity, living with less,appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily-- into your life.

When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first newgrandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

A chance to win:
Enter 8/15 - 8/31!

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. "It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful." -Mary Ann Kirkby

Read the reviews here.

To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes:

* A brand new KINDLE

* A Signed Bill Coleman original

* Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away.
But, wait there's more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

Tour Dates: You can click Here to see other reviews of this book from the tour before today's date.

Renee at Doorkeeper http://reneeannsmith.com/
Brynna at Joy Filled Living http://joyfilledmama.blogspot.com
Amanda at Talbert Report http://thetalbertreport.blogspot.com

Debbie at Christian Stay at Home Moms http://csahm.com
Claire at Country Mouse In The City http:\\countrymouseclaire.blogspot.com\
The Literary Mama http://www.preslaysa.com
Dawn at Guiding Light Homeschool http://guidinglighths.com
Leland at The Cross Is All http://annawood.wordpress.com/

Kristie at Family Scrapbooks & Coffee http://needcoffeeplease.blogspot.com
Prerna at The Mom Writes http://www.themomwrites.com

To buy the book click on this link

(Guest Post) Suzanne Woods Fisher

Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn from the Simple Life

Guest blog from Suzanne Woods Fisher for “Amish Values for Your Family” (Revell)

Five Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:

Being Amish is not a lifestyle. Life among the Amish has to do with faith. Faith can’t be squeezed to an hour or two on Sunday morning; it infuses their entire life like a teabag in hot water. What they do and how they do it is rooted in the spiritual question: What is pleasing to God?

Amish proverb: “Letting go of earthly possessions enables us to take hold of heavenly treasures.”

The Lesson: To pray about my day’s activities and offer them to God, first, for His purposes. And then trusting interruptions (seeing a friend in the grocery store, for example) or de-railings (those days when everything goes wrong!) to be God-managed.

Cherish your family. A family that works together, grows together. Amish families spend a lot of time together and try to keep their work close to home. Children are valued as gifts from God, wanted and enjoyed. They’re included in all of Amish life—from barn raisings to three-hour church services. An Amish bishop once said, "We don't prepare our children for the future, we prepare our children for eternity."

Amish proverb: “Tomorrow’s world will be shaped by what we teach our children today.”

The Lesson: Involving children in chores and activities may not be the most convenient or efficient way to accomplish a task, but the benefits are long lasting. Look for ways to get everybody involved—cook together, sweep out the garage together, set the table together. And have fun while you’re doing it!

Draw a land in the sand. The Amish want to be good stewards of God’s resources—time, money, material goods. They know that convenience comes with a cost. They don’t want to be dependent on outside sources (such as electricity or gas!). Convenience means loss of something valuable. For example, fast food means less nutrition. More stuff means more maintenance. They’re willing to say no.

Amish proverb: “Things that steal our time are usually the easiest to do.”

The Lesson: Technology has its limits. And technology isn’t all good. Evaluate purchases more thoughtfully. Think of where a purchase or an added expense will lead your family. More time together or less? More stress or less? Reframe your view of time and money and goods as God’s resources.

Watch Your Words. The Amish continually stress the importance of filtering their speech.

Amish proverb: “Words break no bones, but they can break hearts” and “Mincing your words makes it easier if you have to eat them later.”

The Lesson: Say less. Prayer more.

Nothing replaces face-to-face visits. Back in the day when telephones emerged on the scene, the Amish bishops made a deliberate decision to keep the telephone out of the house. They didn’t want to interrupt family life. But they drop everything for a face-to-face visit.

Amish proverb: “Use friendship as a drawing account, but don’t forget to make a deposit.”

The Lesson: Nurture relationships by investing face-to-face time in them. No technology can substitute for the real thing.

Honor the Sabbath. An Amish person would never think of working on a Sunday. But it’s more than that—they truly cherish their Sabbath. They spend time on Saturday to make Sunday a smooth and easy day.

Amish proverb: “Many things I have tried to grasp and have lost. That which I have placed in God’s hands I still have.”

The Lesson: Strive to make Sunday a different day than other days. A day of rest is important on so many levels—time to worship, time to reflect, time to re-energize. A re-charge your battery day.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!

(Review) Amish Values for Your Family

Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn from the Simple LifeTitle: Amish Values for Your Family: What we Can Learn from the Simple Life
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Publisher: Revell
Pub Date: August 2011
Pages: 188

Source: "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and
Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker
Publishing Group".

From the Back Cover
"Amish Values for Your Family is charming! It will lift your spirits and bring you closer to the Amish."--Cindy Woodsmall, New York Times bestselling author of When the Soul Mends

When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish. Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions? In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life. In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours. Through their stories you'll discover how to:
  • slow down

  • safeguard family time

  • raise children who stand strong in their faith

  • prioritize what's truly important

Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy--without selling your car or changing your wardrobe.

As you know I love to read anything Amish and I always jump at the chance when I get to promote it and this book was no exception.

This was a quick read and I enjoyed reading it. What is nice about the book is that its one of those books you can pick up at anytime to read  a chapter or two any time you want to.

I have always had a fascination with Amish and there way of living. While I was reading this I realized that I share many of the same values with the Amish.

I think one of the many things I loved about Amish Values for Your Family is that every chapter begins with an Amish Proverb. Some of my favorites are:
  • The best things in life are not things.

  • A happy memory never wears out.

  • A happy home is more than a roof over your head, it's a foundation under your feet.

  • The more a child is valued, the better his values will be.

Suzanne broke the book down into sections:
  • Children are loved but not adored

  • Great Expectations

  • Daily Bread

  • Letting Go

Within each section there is several chapters talking about the specific topic and each chapter is a little story as told by an Amish person followed by Road Map (Getting there from Here) which summarizes the story and acts like a life application for the reader and following that is In Their Own Words which is written by Amish people that is taken from a weekly paper published for the Amish.

Not only did Suzanne do a fantastic job with the book but she also included so many neat facts that I was really surprised to discover. Did you know that within the last twenty years:
  • children's free time has declined by 12 hours/week

  • time spent on structured sports activities has doubled

  • family dinners are down by a third

  • that the number of families taking vacations together has decreased by 28%

  • and that we spend 40% less time with our kids

Some of those figures surprised me and some didn't. I think at times we do too much and don't stop to enjoy the basic things. I know for me we always have to sit down as a family to eat. I think this is something that we were raised to do and I want Michael to know how important that short time is for him and us to talk about things.

I am thankfully that I am able to stay home and not go out to work because that is one of my concerns is not spending enough time with Michael. I can honestly see the difference me being at home has made for him. Yes I admit it can be financially tight at times and it would be nice not to worry all the time but will that make us any happier as a family?

This is one of those books that you will pick up to read again and again. I know since reading this book I have picked it up a few times to read again and took any way something else from the book. This is something I think you would enjoy too.

Check back later today for my guest post with Suzanne, a give away and the tour for this book with my principle/value that I am taking away from this book.

It's Monday What are you reading? #34

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers to see what they have read and what they are reading this week.

The wonderful host of this weekly meme is Shelia from Book Journey. You can check out Sheila's blog to find out all the details on how to take part in this fun weekly meme. Although I should warn you that this can lead to an ever increasing TBR pile, wish list or borrowed books from the library.

Do you ever feel as though time seems to be passing you by? I have felt like that ever since we have gotten back from vacation. Its hard to believe that this week Michael goes back to school. (Wednesday 31st)

Last week I managed to read:
The Quest of the Warrior SheepSally's BonesThe Warrior Sheep Go West

All three were cute middle grade books that I would highly recommend. I was really happy because Michael said he would like to read all three of them very soon. So I will keep them for him.

Other then that not much reading got done because we had a busy week between dentist appointments for both of us, taking my mother to two appointments, the circus, problems with my computer (keep getting a display driver error so I have to call about my computer this week) and plastifying exercise books and duo tangs. Yes you read that right I had to plastify 8 exercise book and 8 duo tangs. I have no idea why they didn't ask for plastic duo tangs. This has baffled alot of the parents I have spoken with. Anyways its all done.

Hopefully this week will be a reading week for me as well as getting caught up on reviews. As of right now the only book I really have to read is:

Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn from the Simple Life

My review will be posted tomorrow as I am part of the tour for this.

Hoping to get to this one too this week since this just recently came out.
Little Black Dress: A Novel

This is what I have planned this week, what about you?

Lemon Bars and Prizes. Lots of Prizes

Welcome to the Awesome August Blog Hop, where bloggers from all over the Internet have come together to throw a summertime party!

Every blog on this hop is offering a fun prize, and entering is quick and easy. Simply follow the instructions on each blog, leave a comment, and bop right along to the next blog. You can win multiple times, so be sure to check out all the participating blogs!

On my blog, you can win Double Deceit by Stephanie Humphreys

To enter:

1. Become a follower of my blog.

2. Like my Fan page for Watched

3. Leave me a comment and tell me that you've done both things. If your e-mail isn't available through your profile, I'll need you to leave that, too - I can't tell you if you've won if I can't contact you!

This blog hop runs through Wednesday night at midnight, so be sure to enter before then! The winner will be notified by e-mail.

Now that you've entered my contest, come meet all my other blog friends and see what fun things they are offering!

Awesome August Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
2. Karen Hoover
3. Michael Young
4. Kristy Tate
5. cindy Hogan
6. Julie Bellon
7. Margot Hovley
8. Laurie Lewis
9. Mandi Slack
10. Melanie Jacobson
11. Joyce DiPastena
12. Renae Mackley
13. Debbi Weitzell
14. Donna Hatch
15. Carolyn Frank
16. Marsha Ward
17. Stacy Coles
18. Bonnie Harris
19. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan
20. Diony George
21. Lisa Asanuma
22. Susan Dayley
23. Christine Bryant @ Day Dreamer
24. Stephanie Humphreys
25. Ranee` Clark
26. Tamera Westhoff
27. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
28. Heather Justesen
29. Rebecca Talley
30. Jennifer Hurst
31. Aimee Brown
32. Cheryl Christensen
33. Rachelle Christensen
34. Imaginary Reads
35. Andrea Pearson

Learn more about Awesome August Blog Hop here.

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The Mailbox Post & Books Bought

Its hard to believe that is already that time for another In My Mailbox. Where does the week go?

The picture today represents whats happening outside right now (Sunday) as I am doing my In My Mailbox post. Montreal is getting hit with the lovely tail end of hurricane Irene. We are having high winds and heavy rain. Thankfully we have power but there are several areas in Montreal that are experiencing power outages.

As you know In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and Staci from Life in the Thumb. Staci is the August host of Mailbox Monday.

As you know In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and it also gives you the chance to discover some new blogs and bloggers.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

This week I decided to do another vlog but I have to admit in the end I almost didn't do one because I was having technically difficulties with my camera either it would shut off within a few seconds or minutes but thankfully in the end it worked out.

I apologize for zipping through it and for any names I mispronounced.

For Review:

Thanks Andrews McMeel
-Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking by Pamela Sheldon Johns (pub date Sept 13/11)

Thanks St Martin's Griffin
-Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (pub date Sept 13/11)

Thanks Atria
-Upper Cut by Carrie White (pub date Sept 20/11)

Thanks Sourcebooks landmark
-Plain Fear Forsaken by Leanna Ellis (pub date Aug 2011)

Thanks Simon & Schuster Canada
-The Joy of Spooking Fiendish Deeds by P.J. Bracegirdle (book 1)

P.J Bracegirdle is a Montreal author who will be doing a book signing here in Montreal on Sept 17th and I got the invite from Simon and Schuster Canada so I will be going (along with several other local Montreal bookbloggers). Plus I will be doing a review for the book.

P.J will be promoting his latest and final book in The Joy of Spooking series, Sinister Scenes.

So in honor of going to the signing I went out and bought:

-The Joy of Spooking: Unearthly Asylum (book 2)
-The Joy of Spooking: Sinister Scenes (book 3)

Michael also picked up another Phineas and Ferb book called Big Top Bonanza and a matching Phineas and Ferb bookmark.

This is what came to my house last week, what about you?

Revolution is a Potluck by Cindy Sheehan

Revolution is a Potluck
Cindy Sheehan

“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.” 
Mao Zedong

First of all, don’t worry, I am not advocating violent overthrow of the Robber Class in this piece—now that your mind is eased (or disappointed), I will go on.

Today, Peace of the Action, and our Re-Creating Revolutionary Communities or Bust Tour is wrapping up near Yosemite in bucolic (and hot), Oakhurst. We began in Eugene, Or. and stopped in Hood River and Newport before heading down to California where we had events in Arcata, Garberville, Fresno and soon in Oakhurst.

At each stop, a community potluck was included and I observed and heard many revolutionary acts being planned by members of each community stemming from the mere act of building community.

Back in the days of the Great Depression in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, “community” wasn’t a concept, it was a reality—with longevity in residence, no TV box, and multi-generational homes—for better, or worse, we needed each other. Since then, we have become Pod People—isolated and propagandized by the TV box to the point where many of us believe that if we need another person, we are weak. However, this tribal need for community is natural and we should pay heed to the impulse to gather in healthy community rather than suppress it with unhealthy activities.

Re-creating Revolutionary Communities is not about locking ourselves in our own homes with stockpiles of food and ammo and it’s not about confronting our current class-based diseased system head-on with heavy weaponry or ineffectual protests. It’s about, as far as possible for each of our own current circumstances, CREATING OUR OWN SYSTEMS.

On our tour, we have seen communities using local scrip, barter, community gardening and food co-ops, canning circles (fyi, canning is preserving food that you grow—it’s an ancient process making a comeback), community medical clinics, recycling, forest preservation, energy production, etc.

This Empire that we reside under is on the verge of collapse by institutional rot, fueled by avaricious greed. Removing ourselves from the diseased systems of the Robber Class is the only way we are going to survive the collapse.

Can it be any more obvious at this point that we cannot vote our way out of this mess? This system cannot be reformed to a place where it’s healthy, clean and safe for us.

Many people wrote to me in 2008 that “Barack Obama is our only hope.” Well, I don’t know how many more deaths and economic terrorism against our class it’s going to take before 100% of Obama supporters wake up to the fact that Obama was only “hope” for the Robber Class.

Now, I am being harassed with, “Ron Paul is our only chance.” Please, give it up, people.


We have been finding that many people are on this parallel path of localization and we feel that it’s imperative to connect our communities in solidarity to build a new paradigm of people before profit and anti-consumerism that has infected us in the Robbed Class.

“Dog eat dog” is dead. Have a potluck in your community and start fomenting your own revolution!

We are thinking of doing a West-East RevCom tour in late spring next year—let me know if you are interested in having the tour come through your town.

To get a free PDF copy of my Woman-i-festo: Myth America, 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution, please email me at:

(Give Away) Blogiversay

Well today, August 26th, Cindy's Love of Books is offically three years old.

What an amazing three years I have had. I have gotten to meet so many great people because of my blog and to work with so many amazing authors, reps and publishing houses. I have gotten to attend so many great book events as well.

You, my readers have been so fantastic and I truly appreciate all those that are following me because I have to admit when I first started blogging I really didn't think anyone would follow me or comment on my blog. So thank you.

In honor of my 3rd year blogiversary I am hosting a give away to you my readers. I am going to give away:

-1 lucky winner will receive $25 worth of Book depository books (international)
-1 lucky winner will receive $10 worth of Book depository books (international)
-1 lucky Canadian winner will receive a $5 Tim's gift card (this is for Canadians only)
-1 lucky winner will receive a swag package (international)

Please fill out this form (If the form is to big please click on your tab button to go through the form.)

Please note putting your entry in the comments will not be valid.

Thanks everyone and good luck. Give away closes at 11:59 Tuesday, August 31, 2011.

RevCom Event in Oakhurst, Ca on Sunday, August 28th

         Cindy Sheehan, best known as an anti-war activist, will visit Oakhurst from 1-5 p.m. Sunday at the Positive Living Center, 49269 Golden Oak Drive to discuss the "Re-Creating Revolutionary Communities," organization.
Sheehan is touring the west coast to bring together individuals in order to create a national and global network to promote successful approaches to generating peace and building of healthy, sustainable communities.

"I'm interested in people who are looking to unite communities and that is what Cindy is about," said Marianna Burrett of Tend the Earth, one of the speakers at the event. "This gathering is about building communities ... not so much about the war. This tour is focused on community food production and education. Oakhurst artist and presenter Judy DeRosa said Sheehan was invited to Oakhurst to participate in a discussion with people who are doing good work in the Mountain Area and to share the positive actions being taken in communities throughout the country.

Sheehan came to notice in August of 2005 when she spearheaded an anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside then President George W. Bush's Texas ranch. The anti-war activist was protesting the Iraq war following the death of her son, Casey Sheehan, during enemy action.

Although she is involved with building communities, the war is still a large concern to her.
"We have marched millions of miles," she says on her Re-Creating Revolutionary Communities (Revcoms) website. "We have signed thousands of petitions, we have worked for hundreds of candidates who promised 'change' and we are still being robbed of our basic necessities." Other presenters at the event include Barney Berrier, speaking on alternative energy; DeRosa, speaking on the Creativity Circle; Jimmy Collier, a performer at Carnegie Hall and Sesame Street; and peace organizer Jim Landis.

North Fork representatives will talk about North Fork Shares, the local currency alternative, the North Fork Studio, Upcountry Co-op, the Kern Family Farm, the North Fork School Garden and the North Fork Community Development Council.

There is no admission fee but attendees are encouraged to bring a dish for a pot luck. Details: Sue Kern, (559) 877-5800.    

(Author Interview) Kerry Sparks & Brian Taberski

Today I am so excited and honored to have one of my favorite authors stop by to do a Q&A with me. I first got to meet Kerry Sparks when she approached me to review her books Jen and the Frosted Friends and Frost Bites. Which are great middle grade books. You can click here to read my first interview with Kerry.

Thank so much Kerry for taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and do this interview with me.

I should mention that Kerry is promoting her newest book:

The Baby Inside Mrs. Maze

About the book:

Nina thinks her fifth grade teacher Mrs. Maze is absolutely fabulous! Cousin Freddie disagrees. Freddie's suspicions are confirmed when Nina spots a baby's bird wing moving around in pregnant Mrs. Maze's belly. What's inside Mrs. Maze? The kids don't know, but they're determined to find out. With the help of their gym teacher, Mr. Quick, the puzzle pieces start coming together. But as one mystery unravels, another folds. Can Nina and Freddie trust Mr. Quick? And what will happen to the community of Agua Azul when Mrs. Maze gives birth to this "thing"? Find out in this magical fantasy for middle grade readers.

You can check back later today to see my review of The Baby Inside Mrs. Maze.

Cindy: How did you come up with the idea for The Baby Inside Mrs.Maze?

Kerry: I wanted to try something different so I decided the kids would go to school on an island. I wanted the kids to have magical experiences at school like when Nina’s paper butterfly turns into a real butterfly. But there had to be some conflict so I decided Mrs. Maze would have a dark side. The kids don’t know what’s inside Mrs. Maze so it creates a mystery that doesn’t get solved until the very end of the story.

Cindy: I loved how you made the suspense last until the very end. This is so different from the Get Frosted series; do you see yourself writing more like that?

Kerry: The tweens that have read this book tell me that they like the fantasy style better. I like writing the fantasy style as well because you can be more creative with the scenes. I definitely think another fantasy style book is in store. I had too much fun writing this one.

Cindy: You can tell that you had alot of fun writing it. Could you describe The Baby inside Mrs. Maze in three words?

Kerry: Mysterious, whimsical, humorous

Cindy: Those are great words used to describe the book and they come to mind when I thought of the question. What are you currently reading right now?

Kerry: I am reading “Onward” by Howard Schultz. I love coffee…especially Starbucks. If I could be any flavored latte, I would be a pumpkin spice latte. J

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Cindy: I love Starbucks too and all of a sudden I have an instant craving for a nice Vanilla Bean Frapichino. Are you currently working on anything now? Can you share if you are?

Kerry: I am working on two pieces…another “Get Frosted” adventure and a follow-up to “The Baby Inside Mrs. Maze”. Both manuscripts are at approximately 50 pages each right now. I am having a lot of fun with the "Get Frosted" book. I have the most fun with girly style books. I think I'm truly a girly girl.

Cindy: I am so excited to hear that you are working on another Get Frosted book. I just love that series and I have to say that I am super curious about the follow up to The Baby Inside Mrs Maze, curious to see where that will go.

Thanks so much Kerry for taking the time out of your busy writing schedule to do this Q&A with me.

On top of being able to inteview Kerry I was able to ask Brian Taberski the man responsible for the cover design of The Baby Inside Mrs. Maze a few questions as well.

I truly appreciate that Brian was able to take a few minutes out of his super busy schedule to do this for me.

Cindy: Brian I have to ask where did you come up with the idea for the cover design?

Brian: I didn't have a model in front of me. But based upon the ideas and pictures Kerry had given me I looked around for bits and pieces of what I could throw together in my head to make it look some what presentable.

This is one of the inspirations for the cover. Mrs. Maze had to have red hair because of the fire that she carries inside. Image retrieved from www.artsunlight.com

Cindy: What a great image to use as inspiration. What is your favorite thing to draw?

Brian: Cartoons. Who couldn't love sitting in front of the television on a Saturday morning watching cartoons? I wanted to be Tex Avery and Fred Quimby growing up.

Cindy: I missed those days of sitting in front of the tv on a Saturday morning. Cartoons just aren't the same. Who is your favorite artist(s) that inspire you?

Brian: Norman Rockwell was an amazing artist, and who could forget BorisVallejo?

Brian thanks so much for allowing me to ask you a few questions.

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks-The First Plot Point

Writing-the craft by Cindy

I can't believe it's already Friday. School starts Monday. I so don't want to see my two cute daughters go out that door Monday morning.... As you can see, I was supposed to post this last Friday. Duh!

Larry says the first plot point is the most important moment in your story.

Some guidelines
  • It can't come too early or it becomes an inciting incident

  • It must define the hero's need and quest going forward

  • It is the bridge between parts 1 and 2

  • It shifts the story from setup mode to response mode

  • It is dependant on location and context shift

He emphasizes the power of the first plot point
  • The story begins with it

  • It is the call for the hero to do something he wasn't doing before

  • It defines the hero's journey and goal for the remainder of the story

  • It makes things more real and meaningful, thus forcing the hero to go after it.

But, something stands in the hero's way-inner or outer demons-that keep him from his goal

He describes the nature of the first plot point
  • It can be huge or simple, but it must change everything

  • It gives the hero a new quest or need

  • The reader must empathize with hero

A summary of the first plot point
  • What the hero thought was true may not be

  • The stakes for the hero are on the table now

  • It begins the hero's new quest in pursuit of this need.

  • It hooks the reader

Some questions for you:

What is your first plot point?

Is it in the right place?

Does it define and shift the need and quest of the hero?

Does it create and clarify the stakes?

Does it imply consequences?

Is there sudden risk and opposition that wasn't there moments before?

Happy first plot point analyzing!