Thursday, September 26, 2013

Author Spotlight: Rachel Tsoumbakos

Hi everyone! Today in the Author Spotlight, we're doing something a little different! That's because my friend, Rachel Tsoumbakos, has a new book coming out this December, and she can't wait to show off the cover! I think cover reveals are so fun, don't you? Are you excited to see it? Well let me tell you a little about Rachel and her book first, because it sounds very cool.


Rachel Tsoumbakos is a stay home mother of two. Her main passions are writing, reading and organic gardening. Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and seven chickens in suburban Melbourne, Australia. While she has had several articles published through mainstream magazines, she has also written extensively for Suite 101 and True Blood Net. In between writing novels, Rachel also runs a successful copy-writing and formatting business.

Emeline and the Mutants is her first published novel and available on Amazon: A new novel, The Ring of Lost Souls, set in an abandoned mental institute on the outskirts of Melbourne, is also available on Amazon:

Her current work in progress, Unremembered Things, is an edgy paranormal trilogy about a woman who is in charge of saving the world even though she suffers from amnesia. Make sure you follow her blog at for more information.

Her newest endeavour is Zombie Apocalypse Now! This is a zombie apocalypse serial written entirely from a female perspective – and these gals know how to kick some butt!

Follow Rachel:







One woman, two worlds and nothing but UNREMEMBERED THINGS separating them.

Indiana Shamira has a dark secret that could shatter her very existence and get her killed in the process. Now if only she could remember what it is…

When Indiana wakes with no memory of her past life and a vampire called Sam hanging from the rafters in her cellar, she knows things are about to get nasty. Not only does Sam know all about her previous life, but he seems intent on seducing her as well. Of course her boyfriend, Kurt, has different ideas – like making her open the portal to hell!

And then there is the nagging suspicion that Indiana is not entirely human, now she can see ghostly images from the Otherworld. Or could it be from her past life? They include the flickering effigy of Kurt and a redwood forest that conjures up repressed magic.

Not only will Indiana have to risk everything to keep the door to another dimension closed, she will have to decide whether she is ready to lose her heart to someone who has more secrets than herself.

Set in the lush Australian bush, UNREMEMBERED THINGS is a fusion of fantasy and forbidden romance.

Are you ready to see the cover??


Add Unremembered Things to your GoodReads "To-Read" list now:

Purchase Rachel's Other Books:

Emeline and the Mutants

Angus & Robertson:

The Ring of Lost Souls

iTunes: https//
Angus & Robertson:

Zombie Apocalypse Now!

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Sanitarium Magazine (Parts 1-10):

Thanks Rachel!



Monday, September 16, 2013

Celebrating Womanhood: The Power of Friends

Every year has its ups and downs, and while this year isn't over yet, I can honestly say that this year in particular had some very extreme ups and some very extreme downs. My "downs" were something I would not wish upon anyone and never want to re-live.

The situation was something I really didn't think I would get through ... but I did, thanks to the amazing women in my life. That's not to say I didn't have supportive men in my life as well, because I did, but there's something about women. Something I really didn't understand about women until this year: Women get women. I don't know how else to describe it. We get the emotion and the passion and the day to day stuff that we all go through - and we seem to have our own "spidey sense" when someone we love needs us - and we do what we need to do to help that person.

Living, Learning, and Loving Life

Of course there is family, and I appreciate everything my family does for me - they go above and beyond. However, the woman I'm talking about today are not relatives. They have no blood or other familial obligation to help in a time of need. Their support is purely friendship driven.

I never felt like I had a lot of girlfriends before - this year showed me just how wrong I was, and I am very blessed by the amazing women friends both near and far who are a part of my life.

These women picked me up, took me out, checked on me incessantly, ignored their own families - texting, calling, visiting, emailing, and doing everything in their power to make sure I was okay and got through each day in my darkest moments. They held my hand, lent me their shoulder and ear, and supported my decisions. They never once judged or questioned me. They only gave me love.

To these amazing women that I am so lucky to call friends: You know who you are - I love you with all of my heart, and I am eternally grateful. I would do the same for you any day. I celebrate you!

Women Rock!

Visit Living, Learning, and Loving Life for more Celebrating Womanhood posts and thank you for being part of this great event!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: Susan Berliner

Hey everyone! The Author Spotlight is back this week with an author who is not only new to you (maybe), but is also new to me - which I LOVE! New (to me) author = more BOOKS for me to read! YAY :)  So... today I would like to introduce us all to Susan Berliner. Susan is someone I met through a family member, and she was kind enough to let me interview her.

 Usually I start my interviews by asking the author to tell us about their newest release, but since Susan is a new author to me, I want to start by learning more about Susan, the author - so let's start there...


Susan Berliner has been a nonfiction writer for nearly her entire career. She had originally planned to be an elementary school teacher, but left after a year to become a newspaper reporter for Fairchild Publications. She covered men's retailing for Daily News Record, a men's wear/textile trade newspaper, which was the "brother" paper of Women's Wear Daily.

After Susan's children were born, she switched to freelance writing—mainly in education—publishing book series dealing with editing skills, language arts, and standardized testing. She also created teachers' guides, student activity sheets, and test passages. During this time, Susan was the project editor for a national science magazine for elementary school students and edited subject-related manuscripts for children in grades 7 and 8. In addition, she freelanced as a local reporter, covering board meetings for the North County News, a weekly newspaper in Yorktown Heights, New York.

When she returned to work full-time, Susan became the promotion manager for the Yorktown PennySaver, a job she held for 20 years. She created many original weekly contests including Phony Ad, Rhyme Time, and PennySaver Prophet.

After leaving the Pennysaver, Susan became a novelist. She is the author of three supernatural thrillers: DUST, Peachwood Lake, and The Disappearance.

Susan lives with her husband, Larry, in Yorktown Heights, where she is writing her fifth novel. Her website is

Welcome Susan! Tell us more about The Disappearance.

The Disappearance is a time travel thriller about a young woman, Jillian Keating, who is arrested for the murder of her missing boyfriend, Ryan Cornell. She discovers that Ryan has framed her and escaped into the past via a hidden time travel portal. Jillian first has to figure out why he hates her and then has to find Ryan and bring him back to the present. The solution involves an elaborate sting operation plus a trip through time.

Sounds exciting! What inspired you to write this book?

Since I've always loved reading time travel stories, I thought it would be fun to write my own. Time travel is a wonderful genre: Since it doesn't exist, you can be as creative as you want. People can travel through time in various ways—chairs, portals, dreams—and they can travel back to the past or forward to the future. And when they're in the "wrong" time, the rules can be whatever you want them to be.

I enjoy time travel stories as well. This one sounds great. What is the next story you'll be working on?

I'm writing my fifth novel, The Touchers, a doomsday story, also one of my favorite topics. It's told in the first person by Erin, a teenage girl. My version of the world's downfall doesn't involve a common form of annihilation—alien attack, meteor, nuclear explosion, or deadly disease. I won't give away my method of mass destruction, but I will say that it starts with bubbles. I thought I had finished the first draft, but my characters insisted they weren't done so now I'm writing Part Two. After I finish the first draft, I'll edit my fourth novel, Corsonia, which deals with mind control, another of my favorite fictional themes. In this book, two New York teen girls on a cross-country vacation stumble across a very strange town in the remote hills of northeastern Nevada.

You have a lot going on! When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I've been a writer for my entire adult life, working as a newspaper reporter, editor, educational writer, and promotion manager. But I became a novelist after I read a small article about a strange weather phenomenon called "dust devils," miniature tornados strong enough to toss dust and dirt into the air. In the news clip that inspired me, a dust devil lifted the roof off an auto body shop, collapsing most of the building, and killing the owner. Since the story was so weird—and it happened in Maine—I was sure Stephen King would write a book about some kind of supernatural dust. I put the article aside and forgot about it. When I found the story a few years later, I realized Stephen King had never written a novel about weird dust. But suddenly I had an idea, which turned out to be the basis for my first novel,

Stephen King missed out! Any advice to aspiring writers?

My advice is to treat writing as a job—something you have to do. Get into a writing routine and force yourself to work for a certain amount of time every day. That's what I do. Even if I don't feel like working, I close the door to my den, concentrate, and write. And it doesn't have to be for a long period of time. Set aside an hour, half an hour, or even fifteen minutes. There's always time to write. You just have to make up your mind to do it!

I couldn't agree more! Who is one of your favorite characters that you have written? 

I have two favorite characters: Monique in Peachwood Lake and Cheri in The Disappearance. They're both likeable young woman who support my protagonists.
Monique Atchison is a sassy African-American reporter for a trashy newspaper called Weird World Weekly. She provides female counseling for Kady, the lonely—and motherless—13-year-old main character. Monique is smart, hip, and fun—everything Kady wants to be.
Cheri Orchid (nee Anna Maria Buonoverduccio) is an exotic dancer, a "bad" girl with a kind heart who befriends Jillian, the naive heroine whose missing boyfriend has framed her for his murder and then disappeared. Cheri takes a genuine interest in Jillian's situation and is glad to help when she's needed.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I love sports, especially baseball, football, and college basketball. I'm not athletic so I never played ball, just always enjoyed watching talented athletes. I'm even in a fantasy baseball league. Unfortunately, my favorite teams are the Mets, Jets, and St. John's. Enough said!

Met? Jets? That's it - we can no longer continue this interview... Kidding! On to the important stuff: Coffee or Tea?

I was born in London, England so it's not surprising that I've always loved tea. My parents used to brew Earl Grey on weekends. I never drink coffee, just tea.

Hmm... I don't think I've ever had an author here on the Author Spotlight who didn't drink coffee. I enjoy Earl Grey tea as well .. and coffee ; )  Next question. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I'd want the ability to time travel. On the TV series, "Heroes," the aptly named character, Hiro, was able to travel into the past or future, even stopping time so only he was able to move. I think that would be an awesome ability, with the potential to be a real hero—transport to the past to prevent atrocities (murders, wars, accidents) or step into the future to see what's ahead and then try to change any upcoming disasters.

After the answer to your first question, I sort of had a feeling that would be your super power. Do you have anything additional you want to share with the readers?

My three novels—DUST, Peachwood Lake, and The Disappearance—are all fast-paced thrillers with touches of the supernatural. They're fun reads for women, men, and teens.

My website,, which is updated frequently, contains descriptions and reviews of each books, videos of recent TV appearances, blogs (I post twice a week on writing-related topics), upcoming events and photos, and creative contests.

Where can people find you and your books online?

You can buy The Disappearance, Peachwood Lake, and DUST online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The novels are also available as e-books for Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers. The direct online links are on my website's "Order" page:

I'm active on Facebook with a group page and individual pages for each novel. Here are the links:


When Jillian Keating is arrested for the murder of her missing boyfriend, Ryan Cornell, she has two immediate questions: Why did he frame her—and where is he hiding?

Using her own ingenuity, plus the help of a resourceful lady lawyer and a dashing young private investigator, Jillian discovers the surprising—and disturbing—answers. Her boyfriend is not what he appears to be. The real Ryan, consumed with hate, has devised an ingenious scheme to destroy her while he escapes into the past via a hidden time travel portal. But even knowing all this, Jillian is left with a more difficult question: How can she capture Ryan and bring him back?

Filled with memorable characters, bizarre twists, and riveting suspense, The Disappearance culminates with an elaborate sting operation as Jillian and her friends travel through time to lure Ryan into their clever trap. If they succeed, she will go free. But if they fail, Jillian will surely face murder charges for the death of Ryan Cornell.





Kindle ( & Nook (

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