Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review Spotlight - Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was not exactly what I was expecting when I purchased the Kindle version on the day of its release.

I have been a huge fan of Ms. Gilbert since Eat, Pray, Love and have devoured all of her books up to and including The Signature of All Things that I purchased a signed copy of. This is how much I adore the author.  I feel that she speaks volumes to me through her writing and have learned so much about life and myself from her words.

When I started reading Big Magic, I was excited after waiting for months following all of the hype on her Facebook page and website.  I was thrilled to get it on the day of its release.

After the first few pages, though, I was disenchanted and rather disappointed.  I am not sure why, but the words in the first chapters did not immediately resonate with me and I, hesitantly and unceremoniously, returned the book for a refund.  I know, I know, this is a sin and unheard of for a true fan of this wonderful author to return her book.

Then something MAGICAL happened. Seriously, folks, I cannot make this stuff up ...

Amazon normally removes the title and its contents from my device when I return an e-book.  When I went to sync my Kindle application, Big Magic was still on it. My conscience (or something bigger than myself?) kept prompting me to read the book and give it one more chance. I kept telling myself that it just wasn't going to get better and to not bother...

After a few days, I relented to this continually nagging voice and started reading the book where I had left off a few days earlier.  Mind you, I had already received a refund on the book and certainly was going to have Amazon manually remove it from my digital orders if I still could not get into the book with giving it a second look.

I kept reading past the first few chapters and before I knew it, I had read over half of the book - ingesting every word, every sentence and every paragraph.  I lost some sleep last night reading it into the wee hours of the morning. After reading over half the book and realizing that Amazon was not auto-magically removing it from my device, I went back and re-purchased the book. Because, 1) that was absolutely the right thing to do - to pay for a book that I was, indeed, reading and 2) since I am an author as well, I know how difficult it is to release a book and get returns and/or negative reviews when you work your heart out on a new release - so repurchasing it was a no-brainer for me.

I am a person who has a difficult time with being creative or allowing creativity to flow within me and Big Magic opened my eyes to the creative process (or at least the author's creative process) of writing.  I struggle with giving myself permission to take the time to write and also with giving myself permission to fail.

The chapter on perfectionism is a gold-mine of information and truly spoke directly to me.  The other analogies and lessons in the book are geared towards writers, artists and the like, but can easily be applied to any occupation in life.  The key is to apply these principles in everything that you attempt in life and watch the results turn into positive experiences.

The biggest realization from the book is that all of us are creators or makers, no matter what our occupations are and we need to own whatever it is in life that makes us who we are. I see now how this makes a difference in my own life.

I have to whole-heartedly say that I was completely WRONG  about the book after reading the first few pages and am so glad that the Universe tugged at me to try the book again.  I am happy that I did go back a second time as the words finally resonated with me even after my initial resistance to them.

Big Magic was working Big Time and I am thankful that I listened! Thank you Ms. Gilbert for writing Big Magic!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Book Review Spotlight - Alora: The Wander Jewel by Tamie Dearen

 Alora: The Wander Jewel by Tamie Dearen is a fast-paced and unique fantasy novel and one that will keep your interest until the final page.

Alora was brought to Montana by her mother under very mysterious circumstances. Alora is then raised by a couple who she comes to know as her aunt and uncle after her mother dies. Even more mysterious than the death of her mother, Alora was born with a small jewel in her belly button. At the age of fifteen, Alora begins to have visions of a boy who turns out to be her soul-mate.

During one of these visions, her soul-mate is brought to Montana from a far-off land back in time.

Alora must help her soul-mate and his clan fight the invading forces of non-other than her biological father. Can Alora set aside a daughter's love for her evil father or will she succumb to his sinister plan for her? From this point on, the novel is a definite page-turner and one whose ending will satisfy any reader of young adult fantasy books.

I went ahead and picked up the next book in the series and cannot wait to read that one as well.

About the Author: 

Tamie Dearen has been married to her very romantic husband since 1982. They have two beautiful daughters, two amazing son-in-laws, and one awesome grandson. She plays piano, flute, harmonica, keyboards, and guitar, and loves composing and art. And she hates housework. A dentist in private practice for thirty years, Tamie stays busy playing on her church's praise team and teaching graduate students each week. In her spare time, she escapes the real world by writing books.

Tamie met her husband as a freshman in college when she acted out of character on a whim. One night in the library lobby, she spied a cute guy with his first name written on the back of his shirt. She called out his name. When he approached to talk to her, she pretended that she'd met him before, asking about his classes and how he liked college. To her surprise and delight, he also pretended that he knew her, but of course he didn't know her name. They continued this false relationship for two months. Each time they saw each other,an event which occurred three times per week at the cafeteria, he would pretend he knew her. Meanwhile, all of Tamie's friends were careful not to reveal her name to him. When he finally admitted his ignorance of her name, he was astonished to learn the truth. And the rest is history.

Contact Tamie on Facebook at Author Tamie Dearen or her webpage at tamiedearen.weebly.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

If Social Media Followers Could Predict the Party Nominations in the Presidential Race


I am certain experts in social media have already thought about this, but I was curious who had the most followers on the top social media platforms. I wonder what this really means for the front-runners in the race for the Presidency.

My little bit of research indicates that if social media followers could predict the outcome of the Republican and Democratic party nominations, then at this point in time (with combined Twitter and Facebook followers), the nominees would be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

As of 9/22/2015

Twitter Followers:

Trump       4.25M
Bush           316K
Clinton      4.31M
Sanders      577K

Facebook Followers:

Trump     3,820,773
Bush           280,757
Clinton     1,391,288
Sanders   1,541,034

Let's see if this prediction comes to pass ...

What are your thoughts on social media as an indicator of the Republican and Democratic party nominations?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cover Reveal - I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak: Along the Bumpy Road of Rural Life

Mark your calendars for November 1st!

Or if you like, you can pre-order I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak: Along the Bumpy Road of Rural Life (Book 2) at the following link:



After ditching a full-time career and moving to a small hobby farm to enjoy a slower pace and a healthier lifestyle, isn't everything supposed to be idyllic or "peaches and cream" as they say in the South? Well, not exactly ...

In this second installment of the "I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak" series, follow the author as she holds on for the ride, "along the bumpy road of rural life" where her friendly neighbors become not so nice and her farm animals evolve into completely coddled pets - with her Royal Palm turkeys becoming the most pampered ones of all.

Enter the New Release Give-a-way!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author: 

S.A. Molteni is a retired systems engineer. She is also currently a hobby farmer, avid traveler and an author of several award-winning short stories. She lives on a small homestead with her husband and a menagerie of farm animals.

S.A. Molteni can be found on the following social media sites:

Blog - http://samolteni.blogspot.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/author.samolteni
Twitter - https://twitter.com/samolteni

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Book Review Spotlight - Thompson Road by Scott Wyatt

Thompson Road by Scott Wyatt is a wonderfully written, fast-paced and heartfelt story of love found and love lost with moments of happiness and grief thrown in for good measure.

The main love story of Raleigh and Mona could happen during any decade, but the time period of the 1930's through the 1950's is a perfect time for the setting of the novel. Not too give too much detail here, Raleigh grows up and lives his life and Mona also goes on to live the life of a mentally challenged young adult with many decisions in life forced upon her by other adults.

Both characters went through so much during the timespan of the novel that I laughed, cried and experienced every emotion in between. The realistic twists and turns that were dished out kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Many parts of the story had me reaching for tissues, but all in all a highly recommended read.

About the Author:

Scott Wyatt was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho. He earned degrees from Stanford University and the University of Washington, and became a lawyer 1976.

In 1999, years after traveling to the former Soviet Union, he founded the Companion Flag Project to elevate awareness of all that human beings have in common, their differences notwithstanding. The underpinnings of this campaign are reflected in the closing arguments of attorney Jason McQuade in Beyond the Sand Creek Bridge, and again in "The Sanori Flag Debate," the appendix to Dimension M.

Scott has four children and six grandchildren. His wife, Rochelle, is a talented Seattle-area actress. They are fortunate to live in a beautiful home overlooking Lake Sammamish, fifteen miles east of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Goodbye Summer

It seems that just yesterday, the temperatures were warming up for spring after a very mild winter here in Florida.  Summer went by way too fast this year, even though technically fall does not start until September 23rd.

Traditionally, in many parts of America the Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer.  The end of summer picnics, days at the beach or lake and the end of copious amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden.
Time sure does fly when you are out and about and busy with life in general during the summer.

The things I will not miss about summer in Florida is the stifling heat and humidity, the daily torrential rain showers and most of all, the swarms of blood-sucking mosquitoes that laugh at the taste of DEET.

I will also not miss the necessity to mow the lawn at least every few days. Seriously, if the grass grows beyond a certain point, nature takes over and the battle is lost for any type of manicured lawn for the remainder of the hot months. Glad I have a tractor and a 72-inch finishing mower for my fifteen acres of pasture and lawn.

Not that I dislike summer in Florida, but there are places in the country that I would rather be, away from the heat, humidity, mosquitoes and lawn-mowing. 
That place would be the Pacific Northwest.  Unfortunately, the wildfires there this summer were of apocalyptic proportions and may not have brought the relief from the heat I might have been seeking this year.

Maybe next year <sigh>.

Autumn is just around the corner and I, for one, cannot wait for it to get here.  Fall is my favorite time of the year, not only for the cooler weather, but for the Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving dinner.