Monday, 19 February 2018

The Importance of Downtime for Writers and Discovering New Books…

The East Coast of Newfoundland
In August 2017, one of the trips on my bucket list was checked off. Along with my hubby, son and his significant other, my brother and his wife, we headed out to Newfoundland for a week of fun, sun, and relaxation. Okay, so there was some sun, and the weather wasn’t too bad (glad I packed pants and a warm coat), but the experience proved to be unforgettable. It’s true what they say about Newfoundlanders. They’re friendly, accommodating, warm, and welcoming! Especially on George Street in St. John’s…

I’ve written about why writers need R&R before, and you can read that post HERE. Taking breaks between your writing projects and tasks is so important for writers. It gives your brain time to slow down, and quit thinking about what’s on your writer’s to-do list next. It’s important to recharge and take some time away from the keyboard, and I did just that when I went to visit Canada’s Rock.

Getting Screeched-In at Christian's Pub on George Street
Among the things we did were whale watching (what a treat!) and seeing the too-many-to-count puffins dive-bomb us in the excursion boat. We also went hunting for the last iceberg on the east coast and managed to find it, though it seemed a shadow of its former self. And the scenery! Well, it truly is breath-taking! I can only imagine what greeted the Vikings when they discovered this carbon copy of their homeland. Most of us got screeched-in (makes you an honorary Newfoundlander) through a special ceremony that you get to kiss a cod fish and drink a shot of screech. Still cringing.

I was lucky enough to meet a fellow author at the Inn we were staying at, and we conversed about the joys and perils of publishing. The author’s name is Andrew Peacock and he is a bit of a celebrity around Newfoundland. Now a retired veterinarian, Andrew wrote about his adventures (and misadventures) being the only veterinarian for miles around. Originally from Ontario, Andrew figured he and his wife, Ingrid would only be staying in Newfoundland briefly. Turns out he was wrong about the duration, and three decades later he and his wife still live on the Rock. Curious as to Andrew’s story, I bought a signed hardcover book, Creatures of the Rock, and immersed myself into his world. It was the perfect pick for the downtime I needed, and many of the places he mentions, I got to visit firsthand. So, I thought I’d share this gem with you.

About the book:

When you’re the only veterinarian in an area that’s 130 miles long and has a coast on either side, you never know what each new day might bring. A cow giving birth, a colicky horse, an aggressive lynx, caribou in need of pastures new, a polar bear in a bingo hall, a six-hundred-pound boar who won’t like what you’ve been asked to do to him… The only constants for Andrew Peacock are his faithful dog and his passion for his work.

When Andrew Peacock made the move from Ontario to Newfoundland, he thought he was kicking off his career as a newly qualified veterinarian with a brief adventure in a novel location. Turns out he was wrong about the duration—he is still in Newfoundland three decades later.  But it has certainly been an adventure. A whole series of adventures.

In his immense new practice—half the Avalon Peninsula—Andrew was the only vet for miles around, visiting patients (and their owners) on farms, in homes and zoos, and in the wild. 
A day’s work could include anything from performing a Caesarian section on a cow in a blizzard, to pursuing a moose on the loose, to freeing a humpback whale from a trap designed for cod. And, on the human side, anything from trying to impress a surprisingly large audience of farmers with your first boar castration, to taking care of the distressed owners of a stricken cat, to discouraging farm hands from helping themselves to hypodermic needles.
 
All this against the background of a domestic scene in which Andrew's wife Ingrid—also freshly qualified, as a “human doctor”—shares the adventure of making a new life, fitting in to a well-established community, and in due course of starting a family.

Andrew Peacock is a born vet, devoted to the care of animals, and in constant wonder as an observer of their lives.  Luckily for the rest of us, he is a born storyteller, too. Creatures of the Rock is a funny, thrilling, unflinching but ultimately heartwarming collection of tales about the connections between people and animals, and people with each other.

Sounds like an interesting read, right? In a way, Peacock’s novel is reminiscent of the book, All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. Incidentally, Herriot started writing his books when he was fifty, and penned fifteen books in the time that he could wrest away from his practice. They sold 50 million copies in 20 countries. But he continued his veterinary practice long after his books made him famous, and once said, “If a farmer calls me with a sick animal, he couldn’t care less if I were George Bernard Shaw.” I truly believe Mr. Peacock is in good company here.

If you’re an animal lover, I urge you to pick up either Andrew Peacock’s memoir, or check out James Herriot’s wonderfully written books that also spawned a long-running television series. Although my novel, Lost and Found is about a teenager possessing the psychic ability to talk to animals, my hope is that it brings awareness to the plight and needs of animal shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues everywhere. Have you ever discovered a great book or met an interesting author while on vacation or taking some downtime? Would love to read your input and comments. Cheers, and thank you for spending time with me by reading my blog!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Love is in the Kitchen with a Free Cookbook Offer: Sweets and Treats for Someone Special…

Remember the old adage, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’? There may be some truth to that, though I would update the phrase to say, ‘The way to a person’s heart is through his or hers’ stomach’. After all, food is an intimate experience. Good food creates memories, forges friendships, makes the heart grow fonder, and makes for good dinner table conversations. And food is one of the ways you can show someone that you care for them.

If the thought of cooking a romantic meal or baking a sweet treat for your true love makes you tingly all over, then have I got a gift for you! Cue a romantically-inspired cookbook written by the following fourteen proficient and prolific authors, of various ages and genres: Marci BoudreauxCarol BrowneHL CarpenterSara Daniel,  C.D. HershVonnie Hughes, Alicia JosephEmma LaneLizzie T. Leaf, Sharon Ledwith, Susan LodgeAnne MontgomeryChris Pavesic, and Sloane TaylorThese wonderful writers have created an array of tantalizing recipes that will make your loved ones beg for more, and even offer to wash those dirty dishes.

Sweets and Treats for Someone Special is your go-to recipe book for entertaining on Valentine’s Day, hosting bridal showers and engagement parties, or celebrating that special event with your true love. Compiled by Sloane Taylor—a gourmet cook in her own right—and designed by mother-daughter duo HL Carpenter, the included recipes offer a wide variety of mouth-watering treats, indulgences, and meals to satisfy your loved ones’ cravings and insatiable hunger.

Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE

So why not have your just desserts? Literally. You’ve got nothing to lose and sultry memories to gain when you download Sweets and Treats for Someone Special. There’s a recipe for even the fussiest lover in your life. Give yourself a gift during the season of love with a sensual cookbook from fourteen writers who would love nothing more than to share their favorite recipes, and fulfill your deepest desires. Bon Appetit!

Download your FREE cookbook at Smashwords, and Amazon


Monday, 5 February 2018

Come Celebrate my Birthday with a 99¢ Sale on ALL my Ebooks…

It’s that time again. You know, when Mr. Groundhog awakens on February 2nd to see if he can spot his shadow or not. Well, while he’s checking out to see if we’ll have an early spring or not, I’m kicking off my annual birthday celebration by doing something a little different this year. Starting February 2nd and running until the end of the month, ALL my ebooks will be on sale for only 99 cents through Mirror World Publishing, and all major online stores! Yup, you read that right! If you haven’t read any of my books in The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel adventure series or Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls teen psychic mystery series, please consider filling up your ereader devices with one, two, or all of my books for under $5.

BONUS: If you’d rather crack open a real book, Mirror World Publishing has graciously lowered the prices on The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis and Lost and Found paperbacks. This deal is only available on their website.

NOTE: Due to circumstances beyond my control, the third party online ebook prices for 99 cents won’t kick in until February 11th. I sincerely apologize, but the ebook sale is on right now over in Mirror World Publishing’s virtual BOOKSTORE in all available formats. 

To make it easier, below is a list of all my ebooks, and the online store buy links:

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis (Book #1):






Legend of the Timekeepers (prequel):






The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret (Book #2):




 

Lost and Found, Book One: Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls:







This amazing deal won’t last long! Plus, I can’t think of a better way to ride out the forecast that Mr. Groundhog gives us than relaxing with a good ebook (or paperback), a comfortable chair, and cozy blanket. Keep warm, and I hope you get to escape to the past and have a blast with one of my books! Cheers and thank you!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Not-Your-Usual-Caramel Corn...

Presentation suggestion
This version of caramel corn is truly the easiest, and most foolproof recipe you’ll ever find. Package this treat for gifts to friends and neighbors during the holiday season, and you’ll be the most popular person on the street. Perfect for stocking stuffers, giving to your special Valentine or hostess gifts too! Tie a bag of caramel corn to a bottle of wine, or fill a decorated mason jar for party favors. The gift-giving possibilities are endless!

What You Need:

7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups dry roasted peanuts or cashews or your favorite nuts, optional
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 cup margarine
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

What You Do:

PREHEAT oven to 250° F (120° C).

PLACE popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking/roasting pans. Add the peanuts or your choice of nuts (mix’em up if you wish) to the popcorn. Set aside.

COMBINE brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Boil for 5 minutes. Stir constantly.

REMOVE from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don’t worry too much at this point about getting all of the popcorn coated.

BAKE for 1 hour, removing the pans and giving them a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the popcorn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces.

ALLOW to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags.

So while the corn is cooling, and maybe you're doing a few taste tests, why not relax on the couch, and visit the small, tourist town of Fairy Falls, starting with Lost and Found, Book #1 of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls? Just don’t forget the bug spray...


Monday, 22 January 2018

YA Book Tour: Shadow Walker, Book 1 in the Shadow Walker Trilogy by Tiffany Shand...


Shadow Walker
Shadow Walker Trilogy, Book 1
Tiffany Shand


About Shadow Walker:

After her enforcer teammates are killed in a bust gone wrong, Denai witch Charlie McCray struggles to carry on working the job without them. Using her gift of communicating with the dead, she's determined to get justice and find those responsible no matter what. But her only clue to go on is a mysterious orb with a deadly reputation that everyone wants to get their hands on.

The only one who may be able to help her figure out their deaths, and the connection to the orb is the dark and sexy demon from her past. Convinced she's his life mate, to her denial, Charlie isn't happy to see him again. Can they really work together as partners to track down the truth whilst ignoring the ever-growing attraction between them?

Genres: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Length: 111 pgs.

Excerpt #4:
Someone grabbed her, pulling her backwards, clamping a hand over her mouth and wrenching her arms behind her. Her phone clattered onto the pavement. I don’t need this today! He pulled her gun from its holster, out of her reach. She tried to yank her arms free, but his grip proved too strong for her.
A flash of Nat’s smiling face then the burst of blue light ran through her mind. Charlie threw her head back, knocking into his jaw, then slammed her boot down on his foot. The man grunted but didn’t loosen his grip.
Charlie drew in a breath, reached for magic. Light shimmered over her as she fazed out of his grasp. She hit the ground hard as her body became solid and rolled away as her attacker made another grab for her.
“Come here, witch!”
Charlie took another breath, vanishing into the concrete beneath her. A world of grey swallowed her up, she could see every inch of dirt and cement surrounded her like tiny molecules of darkness. Her heart thundered inside her ears as panic took over. Light flashed, the roar of the bomb going off.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads

Purchase Your Copy from Amazon

Meet the Author:


Tiffany Shand started writing short stories when she was a child. She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.

Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance. She writes both non-fiction and fiction, and love helping writers to build their author platforms.

After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s, she is now a freelance writer and professional editor.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her family and two very spoiled cats.

Find Tiffany Online:

Tiffany’s Website

Tiffany’s blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads


Monday, 15 January 2018

The Power of Stories of Hope by Dianna Gunn...

The world today is awash in grim dark fantasy and dystopian science fiction, and we're sure to see an even bigger surge in both genres now that we've entered the era of Trump and Brexit. I personally know half a dozen authors who have been inspired to write new dystopian stories, including myself 

Keeper of the Dawn, my debut YA fantasy novella, is a different kind of story. It is a story of hope. There are many struggles along the way, even periods of hopelessness, but in the end hope always returns.

I don't believe that the timing of my publication is a coincidence. Hope is incredibly precious, and stories of hope are more important now than they have ever been. It is so easy to feel hopeless about everything going on in the world, with governments and corporations working together to destroy our planet and steal our rights. Stories of hope, even fictional ones, help us imagine a brighter future for ourselves.

My wish is that Keeper of the Dawn will remind you there is always hope, even after devastating failures.

All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to her beloved goddess. That's before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she's trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.

From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum – a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace.

Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshipping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai's own. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join the sacred order.

Falling in love with another initiate wasn't part of the plan.

Keeper of the Dawn is a story of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope.

EXCERPT

Lai practiced until well after dark, ignoring the call for supper. She tore a massive hole into one of the dummies with a training sword in her rage, but it didn’t make her feel better. She had spent most of her life training for this day, and Kaiden ruined it with a few words about their father.

Eventually she gave up and collapsed in a heap on the ground, pulling her knees up to her chest so she could rest her chin on them. She forced herself to breathe deeply, using all her willpower to push the rage into the ground. Bit by bit it drained into the soil around her, dispersing harmlessly.

She sat like that in the clearing until clouds engulfed the stars and rain started pouring, one of the last rains before the dry weeks of summer. Lifting the hood of her robes to cover her head, she rose and hurried towards the temple.

Her left foot caught on something and Lai flew through the air, losing her grip on her sword and landing face first in a puddle. Her nose shattered when it smashed into the tough ground, and when she grabbed it to feel the damage her hand came away covered in equal parts mud and blood. Her stomach churned as she picked herself back up, her whole body aching.

Something sharp pierced her back, tearing into her skin and muscles like sharp fire. She screamed and fell face first to the ground. She caught herself on her forearms, avoiding bashing her head against the rocky path.

Lai's attacker pulled the knife out of her shoulder. She screamed as warm blood flowed freely down her back, mixing with the rain. Fiery agony filled her body, blurring her vision. She gritted her teeth and flipped over to face her attacker.

She froze at the familiar sight of white robes with golden cuffs. Another initiate. Her hood hid her face completely.

Lai gathered her strength with a deep, ragged breath and reached for her training sword. The initiate kicked Lai in the back then stomped on her wrist, grinding bone under her boot, sending sharp waves of pain up Lai’s arm.

“You understand, it has to be me.”

Lai knew that voice, but she couldn’t focus on it through the pain, couldn’t remember who it was. 

The initiate seized a clump of Lai’s hair and yanked her head backwards. She knelt and raised her knife towards Lai’s exposed throat.

Something knocked the initiate into Lai’s back. Black spots appeared at the edges of her vision as agony surged outward from her wound. The other initiate didn’t move, suffocating Lai with her weight. Lai tried to lift herself up with her elbows, but a fresh wave of pain knocked the wind out of her. She col¬lapsed onto her stomach and closed her eyes, willing her body to die quickly.


Dianna L. Gunn is a young Canadian author who just release her debut novella Keeper of the Dawn. Passionate, hopeful, magical Keeper of the Dawn is a story of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope.

Dianna L. Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She had known she wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old. Dianna wrote her first novel for Nanowrimo at the age of eleven years old, but quickly discovered that writing books is not an easy way to make a living. So she decided to broaden her horizons, seeking another career that still allowed her to work with words.

Her freelance writing career started when she became a marketing intern at Musa Publishing(now defunct) in September 2011 and quickly became a staff writer in charge of multiple imprint blogs. Since then she has worked with a variety of small businesses and non-profits to improve their online brands and create long term marketing strategies. Some of her most notable work has been for the tech education non-profit STEAMLabs and natural dog care company ProPooch. She is dedicated to helping her clients build successful brands and making their dreams come true.

Need help creating awesome content for your business? Send an email to diannalgunn@gmail.com explaining what your needs are, and she will help you.

When she isn’t helping her clients bring their dreams to life, Dianna can be found working on her own dream of being a successful fantasy author.

Dianna blogs about writing, creativity, and books at The Dabbler. Learn more about Dianna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Monday, 8 January 2018

If you Could Talk to the Animals…

If you had the ability to talk to your pet, would you? Most people would probably jump on board and say YES! Some maybe not so on board. It all depends on the person and their relationship with animals. In Lost and Found, the first book of my teen psychic mystery series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, I introduce Meagan Walsh, a fifteen-year-old rebel without a cause. She has the ability to communicate with animals telepathically. However, she’d buried this psychic gift after her mother died tragically in an auto accident, and was only stirred to use it when confronted with a crusty shelter cat named Whiskey.

Apparently, psychic animal communication is natural—everyone can talk with animals! Say what? I guess like Meagan Walsh, most of us have simply forgotten how to channel our inner Doctor Doolittle. Yet the universal language of telepathy allows us to use our natural intuition and abilities to communicate with other species. So how does it work? The animal communicator uses energetic preparation and intentional connection with the animal. Information is then received in the form of thoughts, ideas, words, images, sensations in the body, sounds in the mind, emotions, and sudden knowings. Communication occurs regardless of the physical proximity on the conversing parties, and is a form of remote or distant communication that does not require being in each other’s presence.


What I found interesting while researching animal communication was that past issues affect animals when stored energies (such as memories or traumas) result in tensions that cause the animal to alter its authentic behavior and be in a distressed state. Unaddressed, that state of distress can manifest into symptoms and/or disease. Animals relaying descriptions of their symptoms, feelings, and pains (as location, quality, and frequency) can be helpful to veterinary health professionals in their diagnostic process. Depression and grief can manifest in emotional and physical health problems, and addressing these underlying issues appropriately can improve balance and well-being. Specific behavior problems can be investigated and understood through telepathic communication, and training techniques can be improved with the animal’s cooperation. Even assisting animals with transitions and environment changes (think about all those pet allergies nowadays) helps prevent anxiety and abandonment fears.

Somehow, I think we humans have become so far removed from nature, especially in the last few centuries, that we’ve disconnected from our telepathic abilities to commune with other species. And it’s truly a shame. Imagine how much good a psychic ability like animal communication could be beneficial at an animal shelter, a farm, zoo, veterinarian’s office, or even in a home? With this increased awareness, you can create more loving and joy-filled relationships with your animal friends and indeed all of nature. And it sure opened a new door for Meagan Walsh, Whiskey, and the rest of the furry residents at the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter that won’t close any time too soon.