Friday, August 31, 2012

We’re Two Years Old!


photo credit: LensENVY via photo pin cc
By “we” I mean my blog and actually the real Blogiversary was last week - but still! Can you believe it? Two years ago I thought, “Hmm - maybe I’ll start a blog.” I had no idea what I was doing or what I would write about. Come to think of it, not a lot has changed there! But here I am, two years later . . . still writing about . . . stuff.

I was trying to think of a great way to celebrate. Last year I posted my top five posts of the year. I started thinking – should I do that again? Maybe. But since *YOU* are the ones who keep me motivated to keep this blog going, I thought it would be fun if you told me what your favorite blog posts were over the last two years. But that’s not all :) You know how I just love to give stuff away! So of course, we’re having a giveaway to go with it!

You know the drill – leave me a comment with your favorite post from the year and enter the raffle below.

What are the prizes you ask? My two favorite things! Books and Swag! I’ll give away two prize packs that include signed paperback copies of Nate Rocks the World as well as some swag from my upcoming release Millicent Marie Is Not My Name (US &Canada winners). For International winners – you will get an e-copy of either Nate Rocks the World or Nate Rocks the Boat: your choice.




Once all the votes are tallied – I will re-post your favorites. Thanks for helping me celebrate and good luck!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Author Spotlight: Christine Nolfi - Interview & Review

Today, in the Author Spotlight, I'd like to welcome Christine Nolfi. Thank you Christine for coming on my blog today!

Tell us a little about yourself, Christine:

In 2004, I made the wisest and most irrational decision of my life—I began writing fiction full-time. My debut, Treasure Me, is a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Awards and appears on The Midwest Book Review’s Bookwatch as, “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.” My second contemporary fiction novel, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, is now entering contests and continues to earn 4- and 5-star reviews on GoodReads and Amazon. My third release, Second Chance Grill, is was recently released.




I so enjoyed reading Treasure Me . . .  in fact, here is my review:

When Christine Nolfi first told me about her novel, Treasure Me, she said "If you like Steel Magnolias, you'll like Treasure Me." Little did she know that Steel Magnolias is one of my favorite movies, and she was right - I really did love reading Treasure Me.

The story starts with Birdie Kaminsky trying to escape getting caught after stealing a wallet. The daughter of a con artist, and now herself a petty thief, Birdie sets out to Liberty, Ohio to search for a hidden treasure based on a clue passed down from her ancestors. A clue that will lead her to a fortune big enought to allow her to leave her life of crime once and for all - or so she thinks.

Christine Nolfi tells a wonderful story about self-discovery and friendships. I never thought I would find myself cheering on a thief, but I was every step of the way. Birdie, however, isn't the only loveable character in this book. I also fell in love with the pistol-toting, no-nonsensed curmudgeon - Theodora as well as Hugh, the reporter who can't hold onto a job or a woman. Those are only two of the many perfectly developed and enjoyable characters in this book. Like all good first books, this one ends with plenty of questions unanswered. I'm looking forward to book two in the series.


Okay. . . back to my questions for Christine:


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Early childhood, I guess. I wrote my first short story in elementary school. After college, I opened a small PR firm. I made the switch to full-time fiction writing in 2004.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I find writing bliss by creating both lighter novels, like Treasure Me and the other upcoming books in the Liberty series, and by also penning darker, more suspenseful novels like The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge. This is quirky in that I can’t help but swing from light to dark then back again.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Each novel germinates and grows in a singular way. One novel may appear in a logical, sequential fashion. The next book springs from my subconscious in a series of character vignettes. I’ve learned to trust the process each manuscript chooses to take.

Where did you get ideas for your books?

From living a full, rich life. I’ve traveled extensively, met a variety of “characters” throughout the years—frankly, I fear I won’t live long enough to pen all the novels rumbling around in my head.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’m about to publish my third novel, Second Chance Grill, and will follow soon after with the publication of two shorter romances. How many books have I written in total? I have no idea. Many of those manuscripts reside dusty and unloved in my file cabinet.

Which is your favorite?

Perhaps the novel I’ll return to in September—it’s contemporary fiction, set in Istanbul. The plot follows the journey of a professor trying to overcome a tragedy on a U.S. college campus she unknowingly set in motion. She shares the story with a teenage girl, newly orphaned by two revered scientists, who was raised in the Brazilian rain forest. The girl’s metaphysical take on life provides transformational healing for many of the characters in the book.

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters that resonate with the reader. Books that provide an emotional experience. Sparkling dialogue. Rich prose that flows through the reader like a symphony. A fast-paced plot is important too!

Author website: http://www.christinenolfi.com/
Twitter: @christinenolfi
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4811669.Christine_Nolfi

Treasure Me on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Me-ebook/dp/B004XMOP9I/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340740777&sr=1-1&keywords=Treasure+Me

Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky has arrived in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart. Yet with each clue she unearths, Birdie discovers a family history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she’d imagined.


The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Tree-Everlasting-Knowledge-ebook/dp/B007IO78QK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340741334&sr=1-1&keywords=the+tree+of+everlasting+knowledge

A savage rape on hallowed ground. Secrets buried for decades by the town’s most powerful family. Now Ourania D’Andre will learn the Great Oak’s secrets as construction begins at the Fagan mansion. She’s already juggling the most important job of her career with her new responsibilities as a foster mother for young Walt and Emma Korchek. And there’s a hard, older man on the construction crew with eyes void of emotion—cold and killing. The secrets of his brutal past will pose a grave threat to the children in her care. Will she find the courage to face him?


Second Chance Grill (book two of the Liberty series) - COMING SOON!

Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives—and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.



Thanks so much for joining me today, Christine!













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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Not Just An Author - I'm Also A (Stalker) Fan!

Anyone who has read any of my interviews knows who my greatest inspiration is - and in case you don't I'll tell you...



Judy Blume 


We've all read her books right? And if you're a 40 something women like myself, you sat in front of your mirror when you were 12 and chanted - "I Must.. I Must.. I Must Increase My..." Come on - you know you did! As a matter of fact, I can't imagine growing up without Judy Blume's books by my side!

I've had several reviewers tell me that my stories are written in the same style as and/or read like Judy Blume books. To me, this is a HUGE compliment. The biggest! I mean - who wouldn't want to be compared to their idol right?  Well, one day recently, after getting another such review, my friend said, "Why don't you send her one of your books?"

Could I do that? I don't know. I guess I could? Right?  So I went on her website, found the address to her publicist, and sent out a book (Oh yeah - I also sent her a two page letter that went on and on about how great she is ... can we say scary stalker lady?)

I really had no expectations, so I was so surprised to find this in my inbox yesterday:



How cool is that??! She also used the comment form on my website to send it to me. That's right, Judy Blume's assistant was on my website.  Uh -huh - Oh Yeah . . . I mean - no, I'm not a crazy stalker fan. I got this note. Whatever.    =D


*****

http://bit.ly/KPTbooks



Monday, August 27, 2012

Words of Wisdom (Teeth) From My Five Year Old

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of my son’s five-year-old-isms, but since he’s about to turn six in a few days, and he came up with a doozy this morning, I figured, why not – we can all use a giggle on a Monday, right?

So here was our breakfast conversation:


photo credit: get directly down via photo pin cc
S (My 11 year old): What do you want to be when you grow up

C: I would be a rock star, but I want to be a dentist.

(Note to reader – he’s been on this dentist kick since he was 4. I’m all for it.)

S: Why do you want to be a dentist?

C: Because that’s what I want to be.

Me: Do you know what a dentist does?

C: What?

Me: No – I’m asking you. Do you remember?

C: No.

Me: A dentist keeps your teeth healthy – like Dr. Angel. Remember? Is that what you want to do . . . have a job like Dr. Angel?

C: No – I want to be a rock star and sing about being a dentist.



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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pavarti K. Tyler Books: Give Away & Review

I know I usually reserve Author Spotlights for Thursdays, but today, I would like you to meet my friend and fellow author, Pavarti K. Tyler. Pavarti is the brains behind the fabulous Celebrate Community Blog Hop that I participated in last week. She is an award-winning author and writes a wide variety of books. Pavarti is graciously giving away copies of all of them this week, as well as an Amazon GC!

A month or so ago, Pavarti asked me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing Volumes 1 and 2 of her Two Moons series. Admittedly, I cringed, as I'm not a big fantasy lover. But since Pavarti is my friend, I decided to open my mind and give it a go. I was blown away!! I've posted my reviews below each of the Two Moons of Sera books below:

Volume One:



Book Blurb: In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother's water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one? All the Fun of YA written for Adults.


My Review:  Pavarti Tyler does an amazing job of setting the scene and developing the characters in this first volume. Pavarti's writing is flawless, and the story flowed beautifully with vivid scenes and plenty of build up. I was instantly and completely drawn in to Sera's world after just a few pages. In fact, my intention when I first started Two Moons, was to just read the first few lines, to see if it would be something I might be interested in, as I was already in the middle of reading another book, and as I said above, I'm generally not a big fan of fantasy. Well one hour later, my family was eating a very well done dinner - I had completely shut the rest of the world out to dig deeper into the lives of Sera and Tor.


Volume Two:




Book Blurb: Continue to follow the adventure of Tor and Sera! In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother's water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one? All the Fun of YA written for Adults. Exclusive to this giveaway - boxed set includes Volume 3 Two Moons of Sera

My Review: What I really loved about Volume 2 is the turn the story begins to take. I think anyone who read Volume 1 would agree when I say that I expected the story/relationship between Sera and Tor to continue the way it has, but there are some great new developments now involving Tor's background as well as some interesting side character story lines (that I'm guessing will somehow all be interrelated ...or maybe not!) I will say this though; I'm completely addicted to this novel and can only hope that the remaining volumes come quickly.


Good News: Volume 3 is now available! Review coming soon.

Other Books by Pavarti K. Tyler:




Book Blurb: Recai Osman: Muslim, philosopher, billionaire and Superhero? Controversial and daring, Shadow on the Wall details the transformation of Recai Osman from complicated man to Superhero. Forced to witness the cruelty of the Morality Police in his home city of Elih, Turkey, Recai is called upon by the power of the desert to be the vehicle of change. Does he have the strength to answer Allah's call or will his dark past and self doubt stand in his way? Pulling on his faith in Allah, the friendship of a Jewish father-figure and a deeply held belief that his people deserve better, Recai Osman must become The SandStorm. In the tradition of books by Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, Shadow on the Wall tackles issues of religion, gender, corruption and the basic human condition. Beautiful and challenging, this is not a book to miss.



Book Blurb: Consumed by Love is the story of a couple who must face one partner's supernatural transformation. This short piece is written in the style of a classic horror story with a dark take on the addictive nature of love. 18+ only.

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Author Bio: Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry as a freelance accountant for several international law firms. She now operates her own accounting firm in the Washington DC area, where she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not preparing taxes, she is busy penning her next novel. Author of many short stories, Pavarti spans genres from Horror and Erotica all the way to Fantasy.


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Author Spotlight: Anne Chaconas

Today, I am thrilled to welcome to the Author Spotlight Anne Chaconas  - Anne is a writer, book reviewer, blogger, and friend!

Today Anne joins us to talk about stealing borrowing books. Take it away Anne!

The Book Thief




My very first “big person” book—by which I mean a book that was longer than 100 pages and had words I had to look up in the dictionary to understand—was Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. I was twelve years old. The book was fantastic. I can still recall feverishly reading that book on the bus ride to and from school (which is a testament to how awesome the book was, since I get wicked headaches whenever I read on a moving vehicle). The story painted such vivid images in my mind that I was sorely disappointed in the movie—no amount of Hollywood magic could have matched what I had conjured up in my head.

I stole that book.

Well, not stole¸ exactly. More like borrowed. For a prolonged period of time. From my school’s library. Without officially checking it out.

I did return it though—eventually.

I have a long history of “borrowing” books. The very first book I “borrowed” was The Baby Sitters Club #26: Claudia and the Sad Goodbye. I found it under some bushes near my locker as I was getting my backpack ready to head back home from school. Of course, I took it. It was a book! You can’t just leave a book lying under some bushes. It could get wet, and therefore ruined. I saved it. In my defense, it was just thrown there, and whoever had lost it obviously didn’t care enough to find it. Obviously. Yes, it had the owner’s name inside it, and I did return it. Eventually. After I read it. Multiple times.

I also “borrowed” books from family members. I “borrowed” the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series from my grandmother (who was actually keeping it for my cousin, Ellen). I was naughty when it came to that one—I had been told not to touch it, since it was apparently composed of rare editions. Here’s the thing, though: If it’s all rare editions, shouldn’t it be in a safe somewhere? And, also, aren’t you tempting fate by telling an avidly reading child not to touch the book? You’re pretty much guaranteed yourself touching and immediate consumption of the book.

Unfortunately, this “borrowing” streak followed me to college, where I “borrowed” graphic novels (Watchmen, y’all. Literary masterpiece!) from my friends in classes like “Reading Comics as Literature.” Again, always returned. In due time, after devouring had taken place.
I completely understand if you choose to condemn me for this literary kleptomania. I condemn myself. But, you see, I can’t get too angry at my tendencies. Every single book I’ve ever “borrowed” has led me to such wonderful places:

Jurassic Park taught me that reading long, huge novels was enormously fun. That coming up with a completely brand-new story where the entire world had to be imagined was not only possible, it was amazing. It also led me to discover the rest of Crichton’s books—all of which are fantastic—and an entire genre.

The Baby Sitters Club taught me the joy of diving headfirst into a series and getting to know the characters as if they were your best friends. I laughed with them. Cried with them. Was jealous that Stacy got to visit New York City whenever she wanted. Tried fruitlessly to imitate Claudia’s cool style. Wanted to play sports like Kristy.

Little House on the Prairie (et al) showed me that living without air conditioning was possible. It made history fun. And it also made me demand of my parents that we move out to the wilds as soon as possible and learn how to make our own dresses and cheese (which my parents, to their credit, said they would “think about”).

Watchmen showed me that literature is not all about words. It’s about images, too—mental and otherwise. And that when those images are done right, the experience can be unmatched.

I wish there was a moral to this story that didn’t go, “If you must steal a book, steal the book—just make sure to return it later.” To all the kids reading this: Stealing is not good. Were I able to talk to my younger self, I would tell her that stealing is a bad habit. It’s much better to borrow. With the owner’s knowledge and consent. Or, better yet, share. Read a book together. Go on, do it now. Grab your parent’s or your child’s hand, sit down on the floor, and read a chapter of your favorite book.

Just, when you’re done, make sure you return it to the bookshelf you got it from.



Bio: Anne Chaconas was born in Central America, educated in the U.S. Northeast, moved to the Deep South for love, and is currently living on the East Coast (and spends most of her time missing winter). Her awesome husband, adorable daughter, three rambunctious cats, and two very adoring dogs keep her busy. Her debut novel, Salve Regina, will be available this fall. In addition to being a writer of things serious (and, sometimes, not-to-serious), she is also a snarky mommy blogger and a book reviewer extraordinaire. You can find her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and entirely too many other social networking sites.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Community Blog Hop: Sharing Happiness #CCEID



Hello all! For those who have been following the Celebrate Community Blog Hop, thank you for joining me again today! Today is the last and final day. I’d like to thank Author Pavarti Tyler and Fighting Monkey Press for setting up this wonderful event. Be sure and visit http://www.fightingmonkeypress.com/celebrating-community/ for an opportunity to win some amazing prizes!

Today’s topic is “How Do You Share Happiness?” 

This a great topic for today, because it happens to be my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary! What better way to share happiness then to spend the day with family to celebrate such a momentous occasion.

My family is spread out over several states, and it is not often that we all get to be together. My parents' one wish for this anniversary was to have everyone together, and I couldn’t think of a better gift. We’ll be spending time with them, my brother and his family, and my aunt and uncle at a resort in the mountains. As part of the festivities, my parents are having a vow renewal ceremony. What makes this ceremony even more special is the fact that my brother (who is a Rabbi) will be performing the ceremony. (He also officiated at my own wedding).  How can you not exude happiness at such an event? It’s milestones and events such as these that really make you stop and appreciate all of the happiness and good things in your life.

I’m so glad to not only be able to share in my parents’ happiness, but to share it with all of you as well.

Thank you so much for joining me for the Celebrate Community Blog Hop - I've loved sharing my culture and community with you over the past few days!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Community Blog Hop: Favorite Family Photo #CCEID


Welcome to day three of the Celebrate Community Blog Hop! This is a blog hop started by Author Pavarti Tyler and Fighting Money Press to help celebrate culture and community. Please visit http://www.fightingmonkeypress.com/celebrating-community/ for a complete listing of participating blogs and to enter the contest to win books, gift cards, t-shirts, and more!

Today’s topic is: Share your favorite community/family photo, and tell us the story behind it.

Today I’m going to repost something that I wrote up last year. The picture in the post is one of my favorites - it brings back so many wonderful memories.  I hope you enjoy it!

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In my household, my side of the family celebrates Hanukkah. My husband’s side of the family celebrates Christmas. My husband and I collectively with our three kids, celebrate both. It’s important to me that each holiday is celebrated separately – with equal importance and wonderful traditions that my children can take with them. 

That's me on my Mom's lap with my brother, Dad,
Aunt, & our giant Menorah!  1973? 
As a child, I always looked forward to Hanukkah. My parents decided early on that in place of a Christmas tree, we would decorate a giant Menorah that my father made out of wood and an old bed bolster. Our Menorah was about seven feet tall and four feet wide. We would decorate it with tissue paper first and then hang Hanukkah cards on it that we had received over the years. I loved looking at the cards every year, and we were pioneers in recycling! We were the only house in the neighborhood (probably the only house anywhere) that had a giant decorated Menorah – it was a big deal.

Then we would move over to our smaller ‘normal’ sized menorah, where we would light the candles and say the prayers. I remember it was always coveted to be the one to light the candles (and usually resulted in a fight between my older brother and myself.)

My Aunt would always come over, and at some point, my parents would start bringing out the presents. In many households celebrating Hanukkah there is a small gift each night of the eight-night holiday. However, in our household, my parents would pile up gifts around the giant Menorah for a single day celebration. That’s not to say I grew up in a wealthy household or was spoiled. In fact, I was neither. But my parents did want us to have gifts to open. I can remember one year in particular, my parents wrapped up grapefruit and oranges just to make the pile bigger. For us, opening was the best part.

The day of course would end with a great meal and a rousing game of dreidel. 

I don’t know whatever happened to our giant Menorah, but I hope that my children are enjoying the Hanukkah traditions that we have incorporated into our family.

Our tradition: the kids each have their own Menorah - we take turns lighting
each night, and on the last night - we light them all!


However you celebrate your holidays, I hope you find yourself surrounded by the people you care most about! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Community Blog Hop: What Does Community Mean? #CCEID





Welcome to day two of the Celebrate Community Blog Hop! This is a blog hop started by Author Pavarti Tyler and Fighting Money Press to help celebrate culture and community. Please visit http://www.fightingmonkeypress.com/celebrating-community/ for a complete listing of participating blogs and to enter the contest to win books, gift cards, t-shirts, and more!

Today’s topic is: What does community togetherness mean to you?

I live in a town that is huge on community. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to live here back when my family and I were house hunting. Admittedly, I don’t get involved nearly as much as I should, but I love and appreciate some of the things this township has accomplished through community support.

Here is a sampling of what my community has accomplished:

- fought against a group that wanted to purchase land around the corner from us to develop it in a way that would bring in more traffic than our quiet little neighborhood could handle.

- managed to close a budget gap in our school district without raising taxes.

- working on opening a community run co-op market.

- successfully brought a farmer’s market to our town every Sunday (this is one of my favorite things!)

-rallied together to build a new playground.


Here on the Internet, I have also found community through an incredible network of bloggers, authors, and readers. It is these people who have walked me through every step of this amazing journey. People that I now call friends. People whose overwhelming daily support continues to inspire me. People who I look forward to chatting with and hopefully will one day meet in person. They (you!!) are the reason I keep writing. So thank you for being part of my extra special online community.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Celebrate Community Blog Hop: Favorite Recipe #CCEID




I’d like to thank Author Pavarti Tyler and Fighting Monkey Press for inviting me to participate in the Celebrate Community Blog Hop! For the next four days, I will be writing about different topics to celebrate culture and community. There are several amazing blogs participating, so please take some time to visit http://www.fightingmonkeypress.com/celebrating-community/ for a complete listing. In addition, once there, you can enter to win one of a slew of amazing prizes including gift cards, books, t-shirts and more!

So for today, the topic is: Share your favorite recipe – religions and cultures and PARTIES revolve around food in some way.

Okay – so confession time. I’m really not big into cooking. I know how to cook, but to me it always just seems like a chore. I know – my poor family. Don’t worry, they don’t starve, I do cook for them, it’s just never anything fancy. I do have a couple of recipes however that I enjoy making when I have big groups of people over for holidays and parties. I actually love my crockpot, and anytime I get to use it, I get very excited! So... here is my not so world famous, but still yummy, recipe for chili:

One other thing before I give you this recipe. You may be wondering how this fits into a post about religion and culture. I’m kind of wondering the same thing – except that I do tend to make this when my family gets together for Hanukkah. I know that sounds strange as traditional Hanukkah food involves fried foods such as latkes (fried potato pancakes). Never fear - I do always serve latkes  but they tend to be either an appetizer or separate from the meal. The thing is, we rarely celebrate Hanukkah on Hanukkah. Instead, we find a weekend when everyone is free to get together. It turns into a great party with family, gifts, driedel playing, latkes, ... and chili.   I’ve also been known to make lasagna and quiche (not at the same time) for my Hanukkah meal. Don’t ask me what the connection is, I have no answer. All I know is that my family enjoys these dishes, and they are easy to make for large groups.

Now on to my recipe:

Into the crock-pot it all goes, in no particular order:

2 lb of ground turkey
1 can of black beans (drained)
1 can of pinto beans (drained)
1 cup of sliced carrots
1 can of corn kernels
1 cup of chopped green beans
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 can (14.5 ounce) chopped tomatoes (with liquid)
1 chopped onion
1 can (8 ounce) of tomato sauce
1-2 tablespoons of the following to taste:
Cumin
Chilli Powder
Add garlic powder, cayenne pepper and ground pepper to taste.
About half way through cooking, I’ll add water or chicken broth if it seems too thick.

Serve with chips, sour cream, and shredded cheese. Also yummy with cornbread -

I apologize for the lack of photo. But trust me - it looks, smells, and tastes fab! Enjoy!



Author Spotlight: Katherine Polillo

Today on the Author Spotlight, I'd like to welcome author Katherine Polillo:



Hello everyone, I’m author Katherine Polillo and my first book, Destine, will be available in eBook format through amazon.com on August 8th. I am incredibly excited about the wonderful opportunity Anchor Group Publishing has given me, and I thought I would share with you all what it has been like for me as a first time author.

Many writers will tell you that they have been writing since they were children and always knew that this is what they wanted to do. I was not one of these cases. I have been a lifelong reader and lover of books, but had never even attempted to write a short story, let alone a book, until I sat down to write Destine. I was a history major in college with a minor in English and had read everything from the traditional literary classics, to the modern cult classics, to drug store paperbacks, but if I’m being honest it was the genre of Young Adult Paranormal Fiction that grasped my interests the most. If I was going to read for enjoyment and pleasure that was the genre that I found most captivating, so it is with no great surprise that Destine is YA Paranormal Fiction, but this does not explain how I came to call myself an author.

I was teaching middle school social studies when the infamous budget cuts of New Jersey occurred and all non-tenured positions were eliminated. It was mortifying to be called to the principal’s office like a child and be told “you’re great, but there is no money to pay you, so we are not renewing your contract.” I felt cut adrift into a sea of uncertainty. I had gone to college, I had worked hard, I had done everything right, so why did this happen? As I struggled with finding a new job, I also buried myself in reading to escape the realities of my life. It was during this time period, where I found myself with an abundance of free time, that I decided to try to write. My husband had told me for years that I should write a book, but I had never made the attempt. I sat down at my computer and my characters seemed to flow from me, as if they had always been there waiting to make their entrance. I loved the feeling of creating a life for them that I had control over, when my own seemed out of my hands.

To my great surprise it was during this time that I developed a close friendship with a family member, and she sheepishly shared the secret that she was writing a book. I could not have been more shocked, and I enthusiastically told her I was as well, and low-and-behold her book was YA as well. My friend, Christy, quickly became my role model in writing. She finished her book first, she signed with a publisher first, and she was published first. She also continually motivated me to finish, and brought me with her to her publishing company, but all was not well.

The publisher we had signed with was full of amazing promise and confident, soothing words for two inexperienced and nervous writers. It was only a few months in when the writing was on the wall, so to speak. We had been lied to, made false promises, and deceived. Since Destine was not out yet the blow for me was rather small, but Christy’s The Many Lives of Avery Snow was published and she had to battle tooth and nail to save her book. It was at this time Stacey Rourke walked into our lives like a knight in shining armor. She too had been signed with this publisher, and she too was none to pleased, and that is the story of how Anchor Group Publishing came to be. One motivated, unhappy business minded author, two aggravated and hurt first time writers, and one quirky, cheery editor and ta-da Stacey had created Anchor Group. The family grew quickly since it was clear the Stacey not only knew what she was doing, but also had everyone’s best interest in mind. I finally finished Destine, and found another teaching job, and that is how I find myself here today.

My words of advice to first time writers are to stick with it, it’s going to be really easy to start and then walk away, stay focused and finish! But more importantly be careful whom you trust. There are going to be people out there that make you grand promises and offers, but don’t have you or your book’s best interests in mind. Take your time and look for a place where you and your book feel at home. I know I got lucky and fell into Anchor Group, but I am thankful that I have this supportive and hilarious family to take this ride with. Sails are hoisted, hatches are battened down, anchor is raised and Destine and I are ready to set sail with Anchor Group to navigate.



Destine website:http://www.destinewatcherstrilogy.com/default.html
Destine Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WatchersTrilogy
Follow Katherine Polillo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KPolillo

Check out the rest of Anchor groups books at: http://anchorgrouppublishing.com/

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Another Chance For Millicent Marie Swag!

Hi again - thanks so much for everyone who stopped by to help me celebrate my 70,000th view over the weekend. Congratulations to the winners! Your books and swag are on their way.

For those who missed out -I've got another opportunity for you to win some Millicent Marie swag. Up for grabs are two of these awesome mugs.


Here's the scoop - my Amazon listings for Nate Rocks the World and Nate Rocks the Boat are looking a little sad. They could really use some more reviews. In fact - I really want to get them up to 50 reviews each. Over 10,000 of you now have a Nate Rocks book in your possession.  Thank you!! So here's what I want you to do - READ the books and then head on over to Amazon and post an HONEST review!

Here's more info:

No Purchase is Necessary - you automatically get an entry to this contest just for being a Facebook Fan of Karen Pokras Toz. 

To gain additional entries you must post an HONEST review of either Nate Rocks the Boat or Nate Rocks the World on Amazon.com, having already read the book. You may post a review on behalf of your child. You will need to enter the permalink to the review to get the additional entries and unlock the giveaway to even more entries. If you have already posted a review - thank you - you may use that permalink for your entry. 

Once there are 50 reviews posted on Amazon.com for BOTH books, the contest will be over and the winners will be picked. Thank you so much for your continued support!




a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can also enter by going to my Facebook Page

Good Luck and Happy Reading! I hope you enjoy all of Nate's adventures!

Friday, August 10, 2012

70,000 View Thank You Party!!




Wow!! It seemed so unbelievable a few months ago when I hit the 60,000 mark, and here I am at 70,000!  I can't thank you all enough for coming to my little blog to read about "stuff" - really that's what it is because with the exception of the Friday Five (which I no longer do) and the Author Spotlights (which I started on Thursdays), I really have no idea what I'm going to write about from one day to the next and so usually it just winds up being me rambling in long-winded sentences (sort of like what I'm doing now lol)!

But I really do appreciate all of your support - more than you know. So to show you just how much, I'm doing a giveaway! Three lucky readers (in the US and Canada) will win not only a signed paperback copy of Nate Rocks the World, but also a sample of swag from my upcoming release: Millicent Marie Is Not My Name. For our International readers  - I didn't want you to feel left out - I appreciate your support as well, so you'll have the option of receiving an ebook copy of either Nate Rocks the World or Nate Rocks the Boat.






Sounds good right?  Entry is easy and will be open all weekend, so spread the word and thanks again!




a Rafflecopter giveaway




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10-11-12... GO!
Join the Millicent Marie Is Not My Name
Virtual Blog and Release Party
sign up HERE

Millicent Marie Tour

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Author Spotlight: Dawn Gray

Today for my Author Spotlight, I'd like to welcome Dawn Gray for an interview about her books and projects - Welcome Dawn!



Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.

I am a mother of 3 very talented children, and a full-time writer.



Out of all of your work, which is your favorite character and why?

Julian Deveraux, because he's been with me the longest, he is my other half.



What are your current projects?

Re-vamping "The Vampire Legacy" and working on "Malevolent Gateway" a S.P.I.R.I.T. novel



Do you have a specific writing style?

I was told it was something along the lines of Irish storytelling.


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

An escape from reality



Did you learn anything from writing your book(s) and what was it?

You have to let the world go and write from within, otherwise the world gets involved and its not an escape.


Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I have traveled to several places for research but I haven't been on a tour in a while.



Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

They just pop in my head.



How do you cope with writer’s block?

I work on marketing for the rest of the books until my muse decides to talk to me again.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, not in S.P.I.R.I.T.


Other than writing, what special or unusual talent(s) do you have?

I can make my 13-year-old laugh, for a parent that's the best talent in the world.


Favourite TV shows at the moment?

I try to stay away from TV.



If your house was attacked by feral zombies, and they were tearing apart your house with their Über super strength, what five items would you save?

Depends are we talking old time zombies who want brains only, in which case I would be completely safe, or the newer kind of zombies, which I would have the power to make their heads explode with my mind, garden zombie Gnomes as ankle bitters, a force field, immortality, and brains.



Dangerous this one: Five words a loved one would use to describe you?

Kind, caring, crazy, unstable, and way too much into my own world.



If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?


"Oh look, a Squirrel".

About S.P.I.R.I.T. Fire Storm:

When Samantha Ricketts finds herself placed in a town half-way across the country, her only worry is how did she get there, but when her life is saved by a handsome and mysterious man, the connection they feel is almost more than she can stand.

Zander Smith was only acting on his instincts and training when he moved the dark-haired woman to safety but what he got from his heroics wasn't the distressed woman he had thought he was helping but a fireball of fury that sparked a storm within himself.

Together they tap into the supernatural to uncover the mysteries surrounding the strange town they were slowly growing fond of before they became part of its history.




About Dawn:

Being raised in both the Northeast corner of Vermont and one of the larger cities in Massachusetts has given Dawn, a divorced mother of three, the unique ability to mix the spookiness of a small town ghost story with the fast pace action of city life.

Island Pond, Vermont was every child's wonderland, with looming mountains and small towns nestled in the valleys, its simple lifestyle gave Ms. Gray the ability to let her imagination run wild, thus creating her unique style of writing, where the stories speak for themselves.

Big city living, in her teenage years to the present allowed her to harvest that energy and creativeness to bring to life some of the most unique characters, such as Michael Raven and Julian Deveraux.
Although Vampires are her most used basis for characters and settings, Ms. Gray's novels also venture into those of other supernatural realms, with ghosts, witchcraft and werewolves coming into play in several of her upcoming manuscripts.

twitter: @Dgray3994
FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheVampireLegacy
website: https://www.Dawngrayauthor.com
Blog: https://www.blog.dawngrayauthor.com
goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1958588.Dawn_Gray

Book link: http://www.amazon.com/S-P-I-R-I-T-Fire-Storm-ebook/dp/B007SZR7T2/ref=pd_sim_kstore_2


Thanks Dawn!

*****************

10-11-12... GO!
Join the Millicent Marie Is Not My Name
Virtual Tour and Release Party
sign up HERE

Millicent Marie Tour




Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Week 7 of The Next Big Thing

Thank you to Coral Russell for tagging me in Week 6 of The Next Big Thing.  The Next Big Thing is a weekly post where tagged authors answer questions about one of their WIPs. I hope you enjoy this short interview:

What is the working title of your book?


Millicent Marie Is Not My Name

What genre does your book fall under?

Middle Grade Fiction. More specifically, 8-12 year olds.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?


Millicent Marie: Abigail Breslin 
Natalie: Hailee Steinfeld
Doogle (Millie's younger brother):  Jared Gillmore
Haylee: Elle Fanning 
Jordan: Sterling Beaumon

Can we talk about Nate Rocks for a minute? I really want Justin Tinucci!  Okay... back to Millicent Marie...

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book


Twelve-year-old Millicent Marie becomes her school's anonymous resident gossip/advice columnist after her younger brother publishes her private diary as an online blog.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


I am independently published by Grand Daisy Press.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?


About three months



What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm really not sure... 
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I have a twelve-year-old daughter. While this exact story never happened to her (as far as I know), I did address some of the issues I hear her talking about. Since I also love to blog, I thought it would be fun to add in that element. 
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are great lessons about friendship, bullying/gossiping, and respect
Tag you’re it!


Rules:
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
It’s that simple.
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?



***********

10-11-12... GO!
Join the Millicent Marie Is Not My Name
Virtual Tour and Release Party
sign up HERE

Millicent Marie Tour

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