Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guest Blogger: Cherish D'Angelo, Author of Lancelot's Lady (Giveaway)

Today's special guest is Cherish D'Angelo, author of Lancelot's Lady.

A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Five Things Readers Should Know About Lancelot's Lady by Cherish D'Angelo

Thank you for hosting me during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour, which launches my romance novel Lancelot's Lady. There are five definite things readers should know about Lancelot's Lady, so today I'm going to share these with you.

1. Lancelot's Lady is a CONTEMPORARY romantic suspense, not a historical romance. I know the title may make some of you think it's a historical romance set in Arthurian times, with Sir Lancelot as the leading man, but that's not the case here. However, there is a tie-in to Sir Lancelot, one I think you'll find sweet and charming. There's also a name connection. And lastly, though our hero doesn't go riding to the rescue on his trusty white steed, while he carries a sword, he does go riding to the rescue via another mode of transportation and he carries a...well, I'm not gonna tell ya. You'll have to read it to find out.

2. Lancelot's Lady won an award long before it was even published. CEO and literary agent Stan Soper and his editorial team at Textnovel thought Lancelot's Lady deserved some special recognition and awarded my romantic suspense with their Editor's Choice Award.

3. Lancelot's Lady was a semi-finalist in the Dorchester Publishing "Next Best Celler" contest. It was the only Canadian romance entry to make it this far out of hundreds of international entries. For the first 3 months of the contest, readers who visited, where the contest was held, voted Lancelot's Lady as #1 Most Popular. For the remaining 3 months of the contest, it was voted #3 Most Popular.

4. Lancelot's Lady is written by Cherish D'Angelo, which is the pen name of award-winning, bestselling Canadian suspense author Cheryl Kaye Tardif. While Cherish lives on a private island in Bermuda and wears flowery dresses, sips champagne, eats chocolate covered strawberries and plots fifty ways to satisfy a lover, Cheryl endures cold winters in Edmonton, Alberta, and wears dark jeans and jackets, downs three cups of coffee, eats a sandwich and plots fifty ways to kill another.

5. Lancelot's Lady was originally titled Reflections and written in 2002. In the original unfinished draft, the main character's name was Jessi McLellan, named for my daughter Jessica. In 2009, I changed her name to Rhianna McLeod because it was too close to Jasmine McLellan, the heroine of Divine Intervention (written in 2004).

Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at  and

Prizes & Giveaways: Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.

Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.

So tell me five things I should know about you, dear reader. Fair is fair.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guest Blogger: Steven Honigberg, Author of Leonard Rose: America's Golden Age and Its First Cellist

Today's guest blogger is Steven Honigberg, author of Leonard Rose: America's Golden Age and Its First Cellist.

Leonard Rose (1918 – 1984) the great American cellist, was considered one of the most important teachers and musicians of the twentieth century.

Author Steven Honigberg, who studied at The Juilliard School from 1979 to 1984 in Leonard Rose’s final class, examines the multifaceted American artist and the classical music context dominating Rose’s twentieth century.

This eagerly awaited biography portrays a complex individual during a period of tremendous individualism. Honigberg explores his sympathetic nature, his unyielding devotion to the cello, and, inevitably, his failings. Throughout, the reader sees Rose among the countless musical figures he affected as well as those who affected him.

Meeting an Idol by Steven Honigberg

I was 16 years old, visiting my friend in Michigan AND hearing my idol, the great American cellist, Leonard Rose, with the Lansing Symphony performing Dvorak’s magnificent cello concerto. I was terribly excited. I had only heard and seen him on record covers, and I was in awe. His music-making spoke to me in mysterious ways. At home in Chicago, I had worn out several records of his, trying to fashion my style like his: long bows, lovely vibrato, both of which produced scores of luscious colors.

His walk on stage was confident. I was breathless for a moment immediately struck by how handsome he looked as he adjusted the endpin of his unique 17th-century Amati cello on the raised platform in front of the large audience. His trail blazing beautiful round, smooth sound and accurate technique struck me. Little did I know that he had just 5 years to live and that I was hearing him at the tail end of his superb career. Unexpectedly an oboe missed an entrance toward the end of the second movement, only to have Mr. Rose play the missed woodwind entrance himself. Clever move – as if he had done this before. Backstage, heart fluttering, in an unattractive fluorescent light-filled room, I approached him. I could barely speak as he put out his cigarette into a Styrofoam cup, slightly burning his hand in the process.

“What?” he asked me.

“That was wonderful,” I stammered. “My name is Steven Honigberg, and I will be playing for you tomorrow. Where shall we meet?”

The next day from 2.5 feet he listened to me play for 20 minutes. I can’t remember what I played or whether I played well. I just remember his encouraging words to come to Juilliard right away to study with him. How could I? In 4 months? I had one more year of school remaining at Highland Park High School.

The audition studio at Juilliard was filled with smoke and with illustrious cellists: Claus Adam, Lynn Harrell, Channing Robbins, Harvey Shapiro and Leonard Rose. After I played I received a note that I had succeeded in getting into the school and that I was expected to become a  "great player."

"The more you learn about the cello and the miracle of great music, the more you will want to learn. We must always strive for perfection, knowing that perfection is almost impossible.”

It was written by hand and signed by Leonard Rose. It was the start of something special and at times somewhat frustrating. Leonard Rose was a famous artist, which meant that he still performed around the world. He was at Juilliard to teach yet he heard me infrequently. His personality was tough to figure – once he invited me to his house to try bows and the next instant the date was cancelled. One time he played on the stage of Carnegie Hall with a student from the class – that was not me. He was generous, complimentary, passionate, insecure, cynical, and bitter. I was young and didn’t have the capacity to sort it all out. All through these moments I never forgot who the Master was, sitting 2.5 feet in front of me.

As author and professional cellist, Steven Honigberg, complements his biography’s subject with a musician’s ear for language and the highest technical expertise. He currently plays on a 1732 Stradivarius (the “Stuart”), holds degrees from The Juilliard School, and combined with experience writing about legendary cellists, has produced a comprehensive first biography of America’s “first cellist.”

In 1984, the author was handpicked by cellist-conductor Msistlav Rostropovich to join the National Symphony Orchestra, a position he holds to this day. Within months, he graduated from college, presented his New York recital debut, appeared as soloist in Alice Tully Hall, and accepted the Washington job. And Leonard Rose died.

The author’s writing career began shortly after he settled in Washington, D.C. Most of his published work has focused on short biographies of renowned cellists. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, for a professional music trade publication, he wrote a series of columns under the heading “Remembering the Legends.” A few subjects were Leonard Rose, Pierre Fournier, and Frank Miller (who was Rose’s cousin and during Rose’s teenage years, a mentor).

His latest book is Leonard Rose: America’s Golden Age and Its First Cellist.

You can visit his author page at

Love Turns the Tide by Gail Pallotta at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

Well, it's been a while since I've shared one of Linda's giveaways with you. Book promotion for Little Shepherd is keeping me very busy. I hope, however, that you are checking Linda's blog once a week because she's always running a giveaway.

This week she is giving away a copy of Love Turns the Tide by Gail Pallotta.

Cammie O'Shea faces a traumatic split-up with her fiance and has to leave her family and friends to take a job in Destin, Florida. Heartbroken and alone in a place where she knows no one, she needs God more now than she ever has. But, for some reason she can't explain she feels more estranged from him. A feature writer, she dreads meeting her new boss, the editor of The Sun Dial newspaper. However, her real source of angst turns out to be Vic Deleona, the influential real estate developer she must write about to generate interest in the paper. While she refuses to open herself to another painful relationship he attempts to court her. Even though she sees him as pompous she goes out of her way to maintain a good business relationship. Then, break-ins occur at her friend's condo and her unit. However, Vic comes to their rescue. He even launches his own investigation into the crimes, and Cammie sees a different side of him. But, she gets an offer to return home to her old job. Will Vic find the perpetrator and win Cammie's heart, or will she leave Destin?

Doesn't this book sound wonderful? I sure want to read it.

So, how can you win a copy of Love Turns the Tide? Visit Linda's blog by clicking here. Then leave a comment with your email address.

Deadline is October 4th, so stop in now! By the way, Linda's blog has a brand new look, so check it out.

Gail grew up in a small town at the foothills of the North Carolina mountains. The granddaughter of a minister and niece of several English teachers, she inherited their interests in storytelling along with her mother's love of people. Her first writing appeared in a grammar school newspaper she and a friend put out about their classmates. Much later at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., she enrolled in the college's first professional writing class, placing several poems in the literary magazine and one in The Anthology of American Poetry, published by Royal Publishing Company in Dallas, Texas.

After graduation she worked in Atlanta, Georgia, as an editor and copywriter until she married and started helping her husband, Rick, with his business. In her spare time she wrote freelance articles, most of them about people; others, historical. While some were selected for anthologies two historical pieces she wrote ended up in museums. After being nudged by others to do more with her writing Gail published her first book, Now Is The Time, a Christian novel. In 2004, the year it was released, The American Christian Writers Association named her a regional Writer of the Year. She also has been listed in Who's Who in Writers, Editors and Poets; Who's Who in the South and Southwest; Cambridge Dictionary of International Biography; and The World Who's Who of Women. Married for thirty-eight years, she and Rick live in Georgia. When Gail isn't writing, she enjoys swimming, reading, traveling, and visiting friends and relatives.

Visit Gail online at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Spotlight: Dare to Take Charge by Judge Glenda Hatchett

For nearly ten years, Judge Glenda Hatchett has delighted TV audiences with a brand of justice that turns the everyday into something eminently watchable.

Her message can be distilled into the following two words: Dare Yourself. Whatever obstacles or fears one faces, Judge Hatchett’s prescription implores readers to write their own story in this life. With care and conviction, Judge Hatchett uses real life stories from the courtroom and her personal life to counsel readers. Shows them how to find their true purpose and gifts, to be real about their reality and its potential outside of challenging circumstances, and to always be true to themselves.

Interactive as well as inspirational, Dare to Take Charge: How to Live Your Life on Purpose challenges the reader to ask self-reflective questions that lead to moments of self-discovery and a defined pathway to healing. Daring her audience to study the positive with the same interest and intensity that they study the negative, Judge Hatchett uncovers the potential for grace and success in lives that are now punctuated with despair and unfaithfulness.

Read the Reviews!

"Judge Hatchett's book, DARE TO TAKE CHARGE, is a primer of common sense loaded with inspirational stories and cautionary tales aimed at folks interested in changing patterns in their lives. It is a personal guidebook from a very wise woman on how to take step one and step one hundred. It comes at exactly the right time in our tough economy." (Geraldine Laybourne, co-founder and former CEO/Chairman of Oxygen Media )

"Glenda does a wonderful job of blending her own inspirational journey with the stories of those who have appeared in her courtroom. Clear, practical, and daring suggestions. Exactly what we need right now." (Robin R. Roberts, co-anchor, Good Morning America )

"Glenda Hatchett has done it again! Energizing and potent, DARE TO TAKE CHARGE is a treasury of inspiring stories, insight and wisdom that helps us get unstuck and navigate the journey to emotional growth and joy. The Judge's ready guide is worth a hundred times the price." (Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief emeritus, Essence magazine; founder and CEO, National CARES Mentoring movement )

"An amazing book by an amazing woman, with amazing stories and experiences from her amazing life and career. Judge Hatchett shows you how to dare to take charge of your life. I dare you to read this book. It will amaze." (Robert Allen, author of the New York Times bestsellers Creating Wealth, Multiple Streams of Income, and The One Minute Millionaire )

After graduating from Emory University School of Law and completing a coveted clerkship in the U.S. Federal Courts, Glenda Hatchett accepted a position at Delta Air Lines, as the company’s highest-ranking African-American woman. She served in dual roles as a senior attorney for Delta, litigating cases in federal courts throughout the country, and Manager of Public Relations, supervising global crisis management, and media relations for all of Europe, Asia and the United States. In fact, her outstanding contributions were recognized by Ebony Magazine, which named Glenda Hatchett one of the “100 Best and Brightest Women in Corporate America.” She made the difficult decision to leave Delta Air Lines in order to accept an appointment as Chief Presiding Judge of the Fulton County, Georgia Juvenile Court.

Upon accepting the position, Glenda Hatchett became Georgia’s first African-American Chief Presiding Judge of a state court and the department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. Glenda Hatchett is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and has been recognized as a distinguished alumni and awarded an honorary degree by the college. She also attended Emory University School of Law and because of her commitment to excellence and service within the community, Glenda was awarded the Emory Medal, the highest award given to an alum by the university. Currently, Glenda Hatchett presides over the syndicated show, “Judge Hatchett” currently in its 8th season (Sony Pictures Television), and is author of the national best-seller, “Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say” (HarperCollins). She has previously served on the Board of Directors of Gap, Inc. the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), and The Service Master Company.

Presently, Glenda Hatchett is a board member of the Atlanta Falcons Football Organization and serves on the Board of Advisors for Play Pumps International. She also serves on the Boys and Girls Clubs of America National Board of Governors and she resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her two sons.

Her latest book is Dare to Take Charge: How to Live Your Life on Purpose.

You can visit her website at

Monday, September 27, 2010

Join Me Tonight as a Guest on Red River Radio - A Good Story is A Good Story

Join me tonight when I am a guest on Red River Radio - A Good Story is a Good Story. The show begins at 9 PM Eastern/8 PM Central. I'll be talking about the release of my first children's picture book, Little Shepherd, and about promoting your book online through virtual book tours.

Marsha Cook, President of Marcus Bryan and Associates Michigan Avenue Media and Marcus Maxwell Inc., will be joined by her co-hosts Freda Roberts and Virginia Grenier. Freda is a writer and creator of Literary Lounge on Facebook. Virginia is the Founder and Owner of Stories for Children Publishing LLC. She is also an author and editor and writes a successful blog as well as an online magazine.

Join in the fun either by phone or online. The call in number is  (646) 595-4478. I'll be dialing in around 9:20 PM Eastern. Hope to hear from some of you!

Book Preview: All's Fair in Love and Law by K.M. Daughters

Coming in December 2010, the Sullivans return in the fourth installment of The Sullivan Boys series by writing team K.M. Daughters!

The senseless death of their brother-in-law, Mike Lynch, has left the Sullivan boys reeling. Still coping with the death of their brother, Jimmy, they are pulling together to help their sister Kay deal with the loss of her husband as she slips into depression.

During an outing with Kay's twin girls, Patrick Sullivan, a new captain at the Chicago Police Department, comes face-to-face with a woman who gets his body tingling all over. Little does he know he'll see this woman again all too soon--in the courtroom.

C.J. Demarco, also known as, Charlie, is a shining star of a defense attorney at Schotz, Pearson and Freemont. When she gets a perp off on a technicality, Patrick's department isn't looking too good and he has to answer for it to the media. But he has much bigger issues to deal with. Someone is brutally killing prostitutes and dumping them in the trash in the city's alleys. The Garbage Man Murderer case is going  to take all of Pat's limited resources to nail; not an easy task considering the recent budget cuts.

Despite working on seemingly opposite sides of the law, Charlie and Pat can't deny their attraction to each other. When Charlie is set to defend a high-profile case, Pat can't believe she would be involved in trying to get such a creep off. But Charlie isn't about to reveal why she does the type of work she does or the reason getting too involved with Pat scares the hell out of her. Their budding romance is threatened. And for Charlie, one mistake, could be a fatal one.

In one word, this book is, "Awesome!" I have loved this series from the get-go and each book keeps drawing me in. The Sullivan Boys series blends intriguing plots, complex characters, and loads of conflict to keep you turning page after page.

In All's Fair in Love and Law, a new Sullivan brother takes the spotlight. Patrick is definitely the type of hero every woman has been waiting for. Strong, sexy, and with a deep sense of right and wrong, Pat isn't the kind of guy to abuse the law. He hasn't exactly been looking for the perfect woman, but she finds him, and he's totally captivated by the alluring defense attorney who is part teddy bear, part barracuda.

K.M. Daughters proves over and again that they have mastered the art of storytelling. I can't put one of their books down, despite the late hour, despite the fact that I'm facing an early morning with my kids, despite knowing I'll be sitting at my desk gulping caffeinated soda the next day just to stay awake at my PC.

The cover art on this one isn't my favorite, but I'm willing to forgive that because the story is superb.

The perfect blend of romance and suspense is what you'll find in All's Fair in Love and Law!

Title:  All's Fair in Love and Law
Authors:  K. M. Daughters
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
ISBN:  Not yet available

Keep an eye on the K.M. Daughters' website for information on this book's release. The final installment is on its way too. I'll be sad when this series is over, but I would read them again in a heartbeat.

Book Review: Grounds for Murder by John Russo

An enjoyable cozy mystery set in a quaint New England hamlet is what you'll find in Grounds for Murder by John Russo.

When several residents in Eastport, Connecticut become seriously ill, Nora Huggins decides to investigate. A wife, mother, and lover of mysteries, she soon discovers the one thing all of the victims have in common is a trip to the new coffeehouse in town, Café Caffé.

When Winnie Miller dies and her twin sister, Ginnie, doesn't hold the coffeehouse responsible, Nora becomes suspicious, fearing that Winnie might have been murdered.

Can Nora and the local police follow the clues to prove Nora's hunch?

Author John Russo blends an interesting plot, a popular setting, and an engaging set of characters to create a short cozy that readers are sure to enjoy.

Nora is the perfect amateur sleuth: involved around town, a wife and mother, and a lover of mysteries. She flows freely about town asking the right questions and uncovering the clues that lead her to the newly opened coffeehouse. While it seems she's discovered a motive for the attacks on patrons of the coffeehouse, once Winnie Miller dies, she's afraid there's more to this mystery than meets the eye.

Since this is a such a short e-Book (43 pages), the character development suffered a bit. As a character driven reader that put me at a bit of a disadvantage. I wanted to know more about Nora and her family. A plot driven reader would like how quickly the story moves along. It's definitely a book that keeps you turning the pages as Nora uncovers more clues.

I was a bit surprised how much Nora worked with the local police department to solve the crime. Typically a cozy has the amateur sleuth butting heads with the local police who want the untrained citizens to leave the investigation to the professionals. A sergeant allows her to view Winnie's autopsy report, which seemed more than a bit unusual to me. With today's privacy laws, how could that happen? I tried to pick up a copy of my father-in-law's car accident report recently because he lives out of town, and I had to answer so many questions before they would release the two-page document to me that you would think I was trying to uncover Kentucky Fried Chicken's secret recipe.

That aside, I hope to see Eastport's favorite amateur sleuth back in action again soon.

Title: Grounds for Murder
Author: John Russo
Publisher:  MuseItUp Publishing
ISBN:  978-0-9865875
SRP:  $2.50 (e-Book)

Winner of Don't Learn 4 Exams by Laura Lyseight

Congratulations goes out to Martha, winner of a copy of Don't Learn 4 Exams by Laura Lyseight.

Martha will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond with mailing information. If I don't hear from her by that time I will select another winner.

Thanks to all who entered. Look for more giveaways coming soon!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Faith and the Supernatural by Joshua Graham, Author of Beyond Justice

Today's guest blogger is Joshua Graham, author of Beyond Justice.


Sam Hudson, a reputable San Diego attorney, learns this when the authorities wrongfully convict him of the brutal rape and murder of his wife and daughter, and sends him to death row. There he awaits execution by lethal injection.

If he survives that long.

In prison, Sam fights for his life while his attorney works frantically on his appeal. It is then that he embraces the faith of his departed wife and begins to manifest supernatural abilities. Abilities which help him save lives– his own, those of his unlikely allies–and uncover the true killer’s identity, unlocking the door to his exoneration.

Now a free man, Sam’s newfound faith confronts him with the most insurmountable challenge yet. A challenge beyond vengeance, beyond rage, beyond anything Sam believes himself capable of: to forgive the very man who murdered his family, according to his faith. But this endeavor reveals darker secrets than either Sam or the killer could ever have imagined. Secrets that hurtle them into a fateful collision course.

Beyond Justice, a tale of loss, redemption, and the power of faith.

Faith and the Supernatural by Joshua Graham

I’ve been asked to speak about how I combined faith and the supernatural into my novel Beyond Justice. It’s an interesting topic for me because I don’t view the two as mutually exclusive topics. Quite the contrary.

Now, I might get into hot water with some members to the religious community who believe that religion is based solely on rituals, human intellectual understanding, or social action/justice. While I see the value on all those elements, for me, faith is much more than that.

Someone once told me, “Faith is a verb.” That’s a catchy phrase, but it is true. Faith is not what you profess. It’s not what you say you believe. It’s not even what you feel or think you believe. Faith is the hope for things of which you don’t have physical evidence AND are willing to take action towards.

Prayer and faith go hand in hand. Here’s an example my father, a great evangelist and preacher, once taught me: If you pray to God for rain, and don’t walk outside with an umbrella, then you don’t really have faith. Faith goes hand in hand with action. The Bible says, “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

The supernatural and faith go hand in hand. I have witnessed many miracles in my life and the lives of others. What most consider “supernatural” really isn’t that esoteric, if seen through the eyes of faith. Some of the supernatural elements in Beyond Justice include visions, words of knowledge, spiritual warfare, and prophecy.

It stands to reason that if one believes in God, and as a Christian believes in Jesus, then they must also believe in God’s omnipotence—He can do anything, and cause anything to happen to and through people. The scriptures clearly talk about spiritual gifts which are given to believers. The only purpose for these gifts is to build people up and help them.

Jenn Hudson, a character in Beyond Justice said, “Miracles are happening every day, if you know how to spot them.” It’s really true. Some of them are great, some are small. There are healings, prophetic messages that warn, that encourage and bring emotional healing in miraculous ways. But the biggest miracle is the changing of the human heart.

I don’t compartmentalize my faith. It’s not like I go to church on Sunday and act one way, and then act completely different on other days. People who know me, know that I strive to honor God and follow the teachings of Jesus. I don’t push my beliefs on others, but I’m not shy about sharing my faith either, if they are interested. So writing a book with a supernatural journey for my protagonist came very naturally to me.

That said, I’m glad that various reviews have said that Beyond Justice, while having strong spiritual themes, does not come across as preaching. That’s my goal in writing as it is in life. I would like to honestly present a sincere perspective of spirituality for my reader to consider, but let them draw their own conclusions. Everyone was created with free will to choose what they believe. I just want to give them a chance to look at something they might not otherwise have cared to examine, without any pressure or sense of obligation.

Here are two spiritual insights that I received over the past seven years that have found their way into Beyond Justice.

When my mother passed away, the pain of losing her was deep. She had been my number one fan in life, always spoke life to me, always loved me unconditionally, and was always kind and loving. Losing her was so difficult. I knew I would see her in Heaven one day, but it felt like it would be such a long time to wait. Then, a quiet voice whispered not in my ear, but in my spirit:

It’ll be like waking up from a dream.

I knew this wasn’t my own inner thoughts. They were definitely from above. As I contemplated it, I understood. When we dream, the actual REM state is very short, measured in minutes. But during the dream, we can be there for what seems like hours, days, even a lifetime. As soon as we wake up, the dream is over. We are awake, and the dream which felt so real instantly becomes a fleeting memory that dissipates like a vapor in the wind.

Now, if we are asleep for about 6-8 hours, and all that you dreamed suddenly vanishes into a distant memory, how much more so will it be when we enter ETERNITY? Compare the difference of 8 hours asleep vs. 16 hours awake with 75 some years vs. Infinity. When we enter heaven and eternity, our entire mortal life will be even more vaporous than our dreams which happen over the course of a few minutes of REM sleep. You think life feels so real now? Imagine how it will be like in Eternity.

This is why the scriptures say, “O Death, where is thy sting?”

I was given this insight and it has given me hope in Christ that I will be reunited with my loved ones who passed away. This mortal life will suddenly become a distant memory, a dream. On that day, I know we’ll smile when we sing “Life was but a dream.”

The second insight came during a time when a couple of friends of mine’s two month old baby daughter Charlotte was dying of a brain tumor. We prayed and prayed for her to be miraculously healed, but in the end, she passed away. I remember that night, when I got the phone call that she had passed, I went up to my room and wept. I prayed asking God why he hadn’t healed Charlotte as He had healed others.

The answer came in the form of a vision. I saw a beautiful verdant meadow, a sparkling stream, and on the other side, Jesus Christ in a glowing white robe. He was holding the hand of a lovely young girl about six years old. I knew right away I was looking at Charlotte, her body completely healed and restored, beautiful and whole. I knew in my spirit that where she was, things were so much more real and better, and I was existing in a place that is temporary by comparison. My tears turned to joy. I thought, “that really is the better place.” And baby Charlotte’s little excursion to Earth was just long enough to encourage us, and point us to where we all can be one day, if we believe.

These two glimpses into eternity have changed my life. They have given me hope beyond all circumstances in life. It was so wonderful I had to incorporate them into my book and share. I realize in sharing this, some readers might think twice about reading Beyond Justice, but I promise you, it’s not a bunch of Bible-thumping preaching. It’s a sincere sharing of my life and faith in the form of a story, or a parable, if you will.

Miracles, healings, prophetic words, visions and dreams do happen all the time. We were created as spiritual beings. Some of us just don’t realize it yet.

Joshua Graham’s debut novel Beyond Justice is taking the world by storm, one reader at a time. Many of his readers blame him for sleepless nights, arriving to work late, and not allowing them to put the book down.

Publishers Weekly described Beyond Justice as:
“…A riveting legal thriller…. breaking new ground with a vengeance… demonically entertaining and surprisingly inspiring.”

Suspense Magazine:
“This book was so much more than a mystery novel; it was an exercise in faith, understanding, joy and mercy in their purest forms.”
“…twists, turns and surprises to be found here.”
“…filled with so much in the way of emotion.”
“…Take the time to read this book. You will not be disappointed.”

Under other pen names, Joshua has been published in three Pocket Book anthologies. Joshua’s short fiction works have been also been published by Dawn Treader Press.

He's a graduate of the Oregon Professional Writers Masterclass run by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Joshua grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he lived for the better part of 30 years. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree from Juilliard and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.

You can visit his website at connect with him on facebook at or twitter at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interview with Angelia Menchan, Author of Re-Rambled

Joining us today is Angelia Menchan. She is an author, publisher, mentor, wife and mother. Though formerly employed as a Job Corps Counselor and currently employed as a Fiscal Officer, writing is what brings joy and allows her to mentor through the written word.

We'll talk to Angelia today about her journey to publication, her work, and what the future holds.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Angelia. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an avid reader, since age four and writing is like therapy for me. I have been married 32 years and have two sons. I love mentoring young girls in my community, because I truly believe it is personal responsibility to pass on what has been learned or given.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Ocala, Florida.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

My fondest memory is of the times, my younger sister and I would pile in bed with my mom on cool mornings and wriggle next to her.

When did you begin writing?

I have been a journaler for over forty years but didn’t publish any work until 2006.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write when inspired throughout the day. Mostly I write on Fridays since I don’t work or schedule any activities on that day.

What is this book about?

Re-Rambled: Food and Thought is a non-fiction account of experiences and thoughts as they have occurred to me.

What inspired you to write it?

Years ago when I started blogging, I entitled my blog ,Ramblings and I was encouraged by so many to write my blog in book form. I wrote volume one and it did very well. Earlier this year I was asked to write volume II and a cookbook, so I compiled the two and it has been an absolute blessing for me.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I will have to say my husband, but I have many readers and literary people who are avid supporters.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I do. Reading and Writing Sisters, also local author groups.

Who is your favorite author?

Colin Channer.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I do not. I may at some point.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

It has been a mixture. Once I started my own publishing company it became smoother, however, owning oneself is a grand bit of work.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Absolutely, I know I would have moved a bit slower.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

My website and all online booksellers.

What is the link to your website and/or blog where readers can find out more?


Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes, on my blog.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

My time and learning to listen to and respect the advice of others who were on this journey before me.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

To read as much as you write and understand the all books do not appeal to all people. That will save you much pain. And write, write, write!

What is up next for you?

I am working on Zen Cooper, Girl Genius, and am very excited about it. I started it with a short story and the readers are clamoring for more. YES!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I simply want to thank you for extending such a gracious offer. I am so appreciative.

Be the Peace You Seek!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Slang in Fiction Writing by John Knoerle, Author of A Despicable Profession

Today's special guest is John Knoerle, author of the spy thriller, A Despicable Profession: Book Two of The American Spy Trilogy.

May, 1946. America is basking in hard-won peace and prosperity. The OSS has been disbanded, CIA does not yet exist. Rumors swirl about the Red Army massing tanks along the Elbe in East Germany.

Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder gets an offer from Global Commerce LTD to be a trade rep in Berlin. He flies to New York to meet his new boss. Hal’s jaw drops when former OSS Chief Wild Bill Donovan strides in. Schroeder, who survived perilous duty behind German lines, says he is no longer interested in being a spy. General Donovan assures him that’s not part of his job description.
Hal comes to doubt that when he meets his immediate superior in Berlin. It’s Victor Jacobson, the case officer who sent him on repeated suicide missions in WWII.

John Knoerle's Glossary of Slang

As I fiction writer I love slang, there’s a certain poetry to it. And as a writer of late ‘40s spy and mystery novels I especially love the argot of the underworld of that era. I put a glossary of that slang together from reading everything from Black Mask magazine to Mickey Spillane novels. The films noir were also a good source.

Here’s a sample of what I found. For a more extensive list visit my website at

--John Knoerle

“The buttons don’t like it when a slewfoot gets topped. Especially with his own gat by a gowed-up twist in a rib joint.”

To translate, see below:

arm-breaker - hired muscle

bangtail - racehorse, also a prostitute

basted, boiled, oiled, out on the roof, roofed, tanked - drunk

beezer - nose

berries, cabbage, plasters, snaps - cash money, dollar bills

bindlestiff - hobo, migrant worker

bitch kitty – an obnoxious woman or girl

bones - dice

box job - safe cracking

bughouse - insane asylum

bulls - railroad police, prison guards

burleycue – burlesque show

busted flush - a bad deal, a failure

butter and egg man - the man with the money

buttons, elbows, goms, Johns, muzzlers - cops

buzzer, potsy, tin - a policeman’s badge

C, C-note - hundred dollar bill

caboose, icehouse, jug, sneezer - jail

cackle-broad - a society woman

cake eater - a dandy, a ladies’ man

California bible, California prayer book - deck of playing cards

Chicago overcoat - a casket

Chicago typewriter - a machine gun

to chill, clip, grease, ice, push, set over, spot, top, top off - kill

Chinese angle - unusual twist

to clank - panic

clean sneak - a successful getaway

coffin nail, gasper, pill - cigarette

coffin varnish, panther piss, phlegm cutter, tarantula soup - cheap liquor

corn, cush, geetus, jack - money

creep joint - a gambling parlor that migrates to avoid detection

croaker - doctor

dangle, drift, dust, dust out - go, leave

darb - a beautiful woman, anything of high quality

deek - detective

ding donger - aggressive person

dipsy doodle - chicanery

dog wagon - cheap restaurant

eightball - a loser

have your elbows checked - get arrested

fin - five dollars

frail, jane, twist, wren, x-ray - a woman or girl

frogskin - a dollar bill

to gaff - shortchange

gams, pins, stems - a woman’s legs

gat, heater, iron, piece, rod, roscoe, tickler - a handgun

get a can on, tie a bag on - get drunk

gink - a stupid man

to glim, to hinge - see, take a look

to glom - seize, steal

goozle - throat

gow, hop - heroin, any narcotic

gunsel - an armed criminal, also a young homosexual

Harlem sunset - a fatality with a knife

head fulla bees - crazy

heaters, peepers - eyes

highbinder - a corrupt politician

high pillow - the boss

hotcha - desirable, especially a woman

ing bing - a fit, an outburst

in jigtime - quickly

jingle brained - addled

to jug - to incarcerate

juice dealer - a loan shark

kelly, lid, skimmer - a man’s hat

kick - complaint

the lay - the setup, the arrangement

to lay paper - to pass counterfeit cash or bad checks

left handed - dubious, unlucky

loogan - a hoodlum, especially Irish

lunch hooks - hands

map - face

meat wagon - ambulance

the mop - the final word, the summation of events

mush, yap - mouth

nance - an effeminate man

to nick - take money from

nippers - handcuffs

on the nut, on my uppers - broke

on the pad - on the take

orphan paper - a bad check

oyster fruit - pearls

palm oil, salve - a bribe

to peach, to squeal, to turn up - inform

pissing on ice - living well

plaster - a tail, also a banknote

poke - wallet, bankroll

pro skirt - a prostitute

rats and mice - dice, craps

rib joint - a brothel

rub joint - a hall with taxi dancers

rug joint - a fancy nightclub

What’s the rumble?- what’s going on?

sawbuck - ten dollars

scatter - a room or hideout, also a speakeasy or club

second-story man - burglar

to send over - betray

to shag – tail, chase

on the shake, to shake - blackmail

shamus - private eye, also a police informer

sheever – a traitor, police informer

slapman - an undercover cop

slewfoot - a cop

to smoke - to kill with a gun

table grade - said of an attractive woman

tag - an arrest warrant

taped - under control, cinched

throw a bop into - have sex with

tip your mitt - show your cards

torpedo - an armed thug, a hit man

under glass - in jail

woo bait - attractive female

wrong gee, wrong number - an untrustworthy person

in a yank - in a rush

yard - $100, sometimes $1000

yegg - thief, safecracker

zazoo - a man, a sharp dresser


all aces, or all silk so far - everything’s okay

all wool and a yard wide - first rate

beat down to the ankles - worn out

cut me a huzz - tell me what’s happening

dogshit and razorblades - junk, worthless information

from hell to breakfast - thoroughly, all the way

grab a cloud - raise your hands

the squeeze ain’t worth the juice - not worth the effort

What’s the wire on this guy? - What’s the background, the story?

John Knoerle’s first novel, Crystal Meth Cowboys, published in 2003, was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, The Violin Player, won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction. Knoerle is currently at work on “The American Spy Trilogy.” Book One, A Pure Double Cross, came out in 2008. Book Two, A Despicable Profession, was published in August of 2010.

John Knoerle currently lives in Chicago with his wife, Judie.

Find out more about the books of John Knoerle at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lise Meitner: a physicist who never lost her humanity by Tom Weston, Author of Fission

Today's special guest is Tom Weston, author of the historical fiction online series and upcoming novel, Fission.

In a world that tries to deny her because she is a woman, tries to kill her because she is a Jew, Lise Meitner rises above it all to discover nuclear fission and spark the race for the atomic bomb.

But, with the world now at her feet and a Nobel Prize almost in her grasp, her betrayal by the man she trusts the most may prove the hardest test of all.

Lise Meitner: a physicist who never lost her humanity by Tom Weston

So says the headstone at her grave in Bramley, England. It seems an odd, sleepy, backwater sort of place for her to be buried. She was born in a Vienna of imperial pomp and circumstance. She spent thirty years in Berlin. She moved with the rich and famous and powerful: President Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein and Max Planck, to name a few. She made the discovery that would hurl us into the nuclear age. For an all too brief moment, she was the most famous woman in the world. And yet, the rest (as Hamlet said) is silence.

The inscription on the headstone was chosen by her nephew, Otto Robert Frisch. Along with her good friend, Niels Bohr, Frisch spent many years trying to wrong the rights that were done to Lise during her life, to get the world to recognize and honour her scientific achievements; and while she is still far from being a household name, it is thanks to them, and to the determination of biographers as Ruth Lewin Sime and Patricia Rife, that the world has not entirely heard the last of Lise Meinter.

The clue as to why I picked up the story is to be found in the headstone. No, it isn’t the physics. For, as much as I like science, the scribbling of mathematical equations on blackboards and the clicking of Geiger-counters does not make for riveting story-telling. What drew me to the Lise Meitner story is the humanity.

Imagine if you would a story of greed and betrayal, intrigue and danger, war and destruction, the slaughter of the innocents on a biblical scale and the collapse of empire. And imagine at the centre of it all one little woman, brilliant but shy, victimized but resolute, and ultimately vindicated. What a story that would make! Well, you don’t have to imagine it, because that is the Lise Meitner story. And I didn’t have to invent any of it – it’s all true.

Lise shunned the spotlight; she would probably have disapproved of my version of her story, dismissed it as too gaudy, but I think her story is now much more important to the rest of us than it is to her. The world’s powers may have been content to let Lise rest in silence in the village of Bramley, but humanity is such a scarce resource that we cannot afford to lose any examples of it. If humanity is to flourish, Lise’s story and others like it need to be told, repeated often, and kept in our hearts and minds.

My version of the Lise Meitner story is called fission. I feel so strongly that this story needs to be told and shared that I have made a serialized version of fission available on-line for people to read, free of charge. Obviously as a writer, I want my story to be read by as many people as possible, but more important is to get as many people as possible to know the name, Lise Meitner.


Tom Weston

Tom Weston’s work includes the fantasy based Alex and Jackie books, First Night and The Elf of Luxembourg. His latest project is fission, a novel based on the true life story of scientist, Lise Meitner. Prior to its scheduled paper publication in 2011, fission is being serialized online for Tom’s fans. To find out more about Tom and his work, or to read fission, please visit or

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Spotlight: Grandmother's Rings Series by Kathye Quick

Widow Tess Archer, a 55 year-old mother of three who is not willing to abandon her flower-child roots, has decided she wants to be a grandmother. After all, all her lady friends have grandchildren! Deciding that her children need serious help to find their perfect mates, she calls a family meeting and gives each of them one of their Grandmother’s Rings.

AMETHYST (Book One) – promotes calmness and is given to the oldest, Somer. Somer, a newspaper reporter, must tackle her disconnected side in order to have the career she always wanted. Little does she know that in order to do that, she first has to tackle the problem of Nick Daultry, a New York police officer who has come to New Jersey as part of a Homeland Security initiative that allows rural police officers to train in the city while the city officer trains in a rural setting to help understand the differences between city and town situations. While cops and reporters are natural enemies, Somer and Nick find out that they can’t solve the problem of local home invasions without each other; she has the local knowledge, he has the resources. And along the way, they also discover that they need to solve the problem of their growing attraction and admit that they just might be made for each other.

SAPPHIRE – (Book Two) - promotes harmony and loyalty – given to Trent. Trent is unhappy enough that Sommer has fallen under his mother’s spell and is marrying Nick, but now he also has to be in the wedding party along with his sister, Ali. Ali and Trent vow not to let the same thing happen to them, but Trent didn’t count on meeting Linda Wolff, Trent’s partner on the New York police force. Linda is a streetwise cop, toughened from years on the beat. She is also sure that no guy wants a hardened police officer for a wife. She has set aside any plans she might have had for a family and is focusing on moving up the ranks. Linda and Trent start out as rivals, each ready to one-up the other at every turn and sparks fly; competitive sparks and passionate sparks. When Linda goes back to New York, Trent admits that she just might be the one he’s been looking for. He follows her intent on making her see that not only can a tough lady cop be an asset, but she can also be a wife.

CITRINE – (Book Three) –cools excess anger – given to Ali. The last one left, Ali is determined not to let Grandmother’s Ring get her. But first she has to go to her new nephew’s baptism and face the whole family, including Trent and his new fiancée, Linda. No way is she going to be in that wedding. One was enough. As everyone coos over the baby, Ali pastes on her best face and accepts the teasing of her brother and sister about the last holdout. When she retreats to the backyard to escape them, she finds another deserter, Jake Daultry, Nick’s cousin. Jake, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, leave joined the family festivities on his way home to enjoy a thirty-day leave. Ali, a self-proclaimed peace activist like her mother and Jake, a red-white-and-blue soldier, clash in a contest of wills that ends culminates in a kiss on the front porch. Shaken by her sudden reaction to Jake, Ali leaves. Later that day she finds Jake waiting outside her townhouse to apologize. For the rest of his leave, each tries to get the other to see the other side of war and peace as the attraction between them becomes enough to melt any cold war. As Jake gets ready to return to his unit, Ali discovers he’s taking her heart along with him. Can the peace activist and the solider find some neutral territory in order to follow their hearts or will Ali and Jake just have to settle for some combat wounds that may never heal?

Visit the publisher's website or Kathye's website to find out more.

My Biological Clock is – Stomp, Stomp, Stomp, Ticking by Romance Author Kathye Quick

Today's special guest is Kathye Quick, author of Cynthia And Constantine and the Grandmother's Rings series.You'll find out more about the three books in her new series in separate post, but here's a great article on meddling parents you might appreciate.

My Biological Clock is – Stomp, Stomp, Stomp, Ticking by Kathye Quick

I have a thirty-nine year old son. He’s successful, newly single, has his own house, has paid off his student loans, is a commercial airline pilot who lives in Arizona and I want grandchildren. Any takers?

I know, I know, leave the poor guy alone. He has to adjust to single life. But as Mona Lisa Vito said (sort of – same concept) in My Cousin Vinny, my biological clock is – stomp, stomp, stomp, ticking and at this rate I ain’t getting any grandchildren.

And that was the inspiration for Grandmother’s Rings, my three-book contemporary romance series for Avalon Books.

The original concept was nothing like the final product. In it, a heroine talked to her grandmother, who was a ghost. Only the heroine could see her. Gram then decides it’s time for the heroine to find the right guy and sets out to do just that for her favorite granddaughter using otherworldly happenings. But when I pitched the concept to my editor at Avalon, she gently reminded me that the story sounded too paranormal for the line. She was right, of course, but I wasn’t ready to let go of the idea; I just needed to rework it somehow.

So then I thought – write what you know. What would a post-hippie parent who still likes to smell babies’ heads do if her children weren’t cooperating and ready to settle down yet? I knew I had the perfect mother-type from which I could draw some characterizations (C'est Moi). All I needed were a few reluctant ‘children’ who wouldn’t recognize themselves in print and try to get even.

Then, because my head hurt from all that thinking, I sat down to watch Gem Week on my favorite shopping channel – QVC – and a beautiful amethyst ring was being featured. As soon as the show host mentioned “birthstone,” my problem was solved. I would write a series in which siblings were directed by their mom to use one of their grandmother’s rings to find love and happiness

Enter Google. A few searches later and I found that birthstones actually do have characteristics associated with them that are said to be germane to the personality of the child born. It then became a family affair. Amethyst is my mother’s and grandmother’s birthstone, Sapphire is my sister’s and Citrine is my dad’s and mine.

So, while running up my QVC credit card, Amethyst, Sapphire, and Citrine, the books in the series, were born. If I didn’t have children who will cooperate with me, I could make them up. That way I could actually get them to do what I want them to do including reproduce.

Those having the Amethyst, birthstone are said to be intelligent, clever, determined to reach goals, daring and stubborn. Somer Archer, the oldest, is all of these things. She’s a newspaper reporter hoping someday to be a news anchor and is determined and focused on achieving that goal before she’s thirty. Nick Daultry is a New York City police officer, temporarily assigned to rural New Jersey as part of Homeland Security Training. Reporters and cops are natural enemies but a perfect recipe for romance.

A Sapphire is said to promote clear thinking and wisdom and can help center a person. Since Trent Archer, the second sibling is a local police officer, he needs everything a sapphire can give him. Provided, that is, he can get through the torture of being in his sister, Somer’s wedding, and his pairing with Nick’s NYC partner in the wedding party, Linda Wolff, a veteran female cop who looks like anything but fun. But as the wedding weekend progresses, Trent sees something he likes in Linda’s eyes.

A Citrine is believed to protect from injury and offer beauty, and joy. Ali Archer, the youngest and most free-spirited of the three Archer siblings, is counting on it. She is the last one standing and determined not to fall for the new family curse. But at her nephew’s first birthday party she runs headlong into Nick’s cousin Jake, a red, white and blue hero soldier on leave for 30days before returning to his unit in the Middle East for another tour of duty. Can the self-proclaimed environmentalist and the soldier find a middle ground to share or will they just have to settle for some combat wounds that may never heal?

I enjoyed writing about the Archers and getting to know them, But now, it seems like three of my children are leaving me forever. Over the last 18 months, Somer, Trent and Ali became as real to me as my actual kids. But now, with the publication of Citrine, the last book in the series in August, the Archers have other things to do than hang out with me. I’ll miss then; I really will. But I have other people in my head screaming to get out.

I hope all of you who get to know the Archer’s will enjoy their adventures as much as I did. And who know, maybe we’ll run into them somewhere in our own travels because maybe somewhere out there, the Archers really do exist.

Kathryn Quick has been writing since the sisters in Catholic School gave her a #2 pencil and some paper with ruled lines.

From stories about her family for Writing Week in fifth grade, to becoming editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper, The Blueprint, to 1999 when she realized her dream of being published, Kathye’s love of the written word span numerous genres.

She writes contemporary and career romances for Avalon Books, romantic comedy, historicals and urban fantasy for Wings Press, and medieval historical romances for The Wild Rose Press and Lyrical Press.

Kathye is one of the founders of Liberty States Fiction Writers, a group launched in January 2009 to help writers of all fiction genres in their journey to publication. She had been a member of New Jersey Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America since 1988 and considered it an honor to have been NJRW President in 1992 and 2001.

Kathye’s fifth hardcover romance for Avalon books, ‘TIS THE SEASON, a holiday romance complete with Santa Claus, a sleigh ride and a New England snowfall earned a 2006 HOLT Medallion nomination. SAPPHIRE, the second book in her GRANDMOTHERS RINGS series was a 2010 National Readers Choice Finalist.

Her debut historical romance DAUGHTERS OF THE MOON, from Wings e-Press has been heralded as a flawless glimpse into the world of the ancient Greeks.

Writing as P. K. Eden with writing partner, Patt Mihailoff, FIREBRAND, an urban fantasy based on the fall of the Garden of Eden, has won two Reviews Choice Awards and many five-star ratings.

While writing romances has been her dream for many years, the book of Kathye’s heart, is a non-fiction work entitled, Hi Mom, How Are Things in Heaven, a book that developed after the death of her mother and deals with coping with grief though humor. She is currently still working on the concept for this book.

In her “other” life, Kathye works for Somerset County government. She is married with three sons.

You can visit Kathye online at

The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J. Miller -- Book Review

A superb biography of an American hero is what you'll find in The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J. Miller.

A poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow recounts Revere's famous ride to alert the colonists that the British were coming, but there is so much more to know about this American revolutionary. Thankfully, Miller saw fit to write it all down for you in this dramatic and engaging new biography.

The book opens in 1797, with Revere as an old man writing to Reverend Jeremy Belknap, a minister, historian, and secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society, in which Revere fulfills his promise to provide Belknap with facts and anecdotes of events that took place before the Battle of Lexington.

The book then swiftly moves back in time to when people were arriving from England to settle in the new land. Paul Revere's father would arrive in 1716, change his last name from "Rivoire" to "Revere", and marry the daughter of a neighbor. In December 1734 they welcomed their second child, who elevated himself above that of a simple tradesman to become an entrepreneur, freemason, and express rider carrying important messages for the cause.

In The Revolutionary Paul Revere, Miller brings the reader through the high-points and low-points of Revere's life, and he does so in such a way that the reader can't help but turn page after page. Each chapter begins with a short blurb, a summary, if you will, of what part of Revere's life will be discussed or what political events are shaping the young nation and leading it closer to a revolution. An example from Chapter 3:

In which our hero grows up, learns
his ABCs along with his father's trade
of goldsmithing, shows self-determination,
and gets a whupping for going to church--
all before tragedy strikes the family.

Miller brings Revere and pre- and post-Revolutionary America alive in this swiftly moving story of an American hero and the war that would finally make the colonies free and independent states. I highly recommend this book to lovers of early American history and anyone who wants to read a biography that reads like a novel.

Title:  The Revolutionary Paul Revere
Author:  Joel J. Miller
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN-10: 1595550747
ISBN-13: 978-1595550743
SRP:  $14.99

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Pack #10 Giveaway Winner

I apologize for being so late in announcing the final winner in The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Book Giveaway. In case you missed it, my first children's picture book, Little Shepherd, was released at the end of August. I've been tied up with book promotion tasks and promoting my current list of wonderful authors on virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

Okay, enough about me. Congratulations goes out to scottsgal, the winner of Book Pack #10! The winner now has 72 hours to contact me with her mailing information. If I don't hear from her during that time, I will select another winner.

Thanks to all of you who participated in this year's summer giveaway. I hope you'll be back next year.

We already have another great giveaway running now. This is for a copy of Don't Learn 4 Exams by Laura Lyseight. Click here to find out how to enter.

Renters Win, Home Owners Lose by Tom Graneau -- Book Review

In Renters Win, Home Owners Lose: Revealing the Biggest Scam in America, author and financial management coach, Tom Graneau explains what he sees as the "biggest scam in America"--home ownership. In pursuit of the American Dream, buyers purchase their homes, thinking they're making a good investment. That is, after all, what lenders, the government, and the media have been telling them all these years.

Instead, Graneau says, "...owners lose an enormous amount of money on the deal, driving themselves even deeper into debt as they pour their hard-earned income in mortgage payments and maintenance costs."

Using tables, graphs, and statistics, Graneau attempts to show readers what he believes are the definite advantages renters have over home owners.

This is a challenging review for me to write, for a few reasons. The first is that it is difficult for me to remain objective when I feel I have enough experience as a home buyer to refute, in some cases, the author's claims. In addition, I don't know of anyone who believes purchasing a primary residence is going to make them financially well off. Then again, there were times while reading that I agreed with Graneau. Then there is the assertion that potential buyers have allowed lenders, the government, and the media to bamboozle them into buying homes outside of their means, all in the name of pursuing the American Dream. Finally, the lack of a bibliography, does not allow the reader to fact check easily. If you're going to base many of your arguments on facts and figures, that information is necessary, even when you briefly cite a source within the confines of the text.

Let me begin by highlighting some aspects of the book. Renters Win, Home Owners Lose is well-written and well-organized. It also provides a great deal of information on real estate finance. It is broken down into three sections: The "American Dream," An Illusive Chase, The Solution Creates the Problem, and Recommendations. The last section provides winning strategies for both home buyers and renters.

I can't say I really buy the author's assertion that the majority of us feel obligated to purchase a home because renters are branded as hopeless, but it fuels his logic that we have been brainwashed by the real estate industry, lenders, the government, and the media into purchasing a home at any and all cost.

Graneau presents four advantages that renters have over home owners.

Renters Advantage #1 is that renters don't have to pay property taxes. The author asserts that this roughly $2,000 a year savings will provide a renter with a comfortable lifestyle if invested. While this might be true, having already discussed our cash-poor culture in a previous chapter, where consumers are using credit cards for even the smallest of purchases, who's to say this savings will ever be realized? Why wouldn't Joe just go out and spend his yearly savings on the next toy he desires?

Renters Advantage #2 is that renters don't pay home owner's insurance. Again, this is very true. However, having rented for 11 years before moving into our home, I carried renter's insurance for most of that time. While not as expensive as home owner's insurance, that reduces my potential savings by $150 or so a year. In addition, when I was renting, I was a single parent, working three jobs to make ends meet. I didn't have $5 to put into a savings account, never mind $500. My situation wasn't unique.

Renters Advantage #3 says that renters don't pay home owner's association fees. Also true, but a potential buyer can avoid purchasing a home in a neighborhood that has an association if he chooses, so this doesn't always apply.

Renters Advantage #4 is that renters don't have to pay the cost of repairs and maintenance. I can't argue much here. Within the first nine years of owning our home, we replaced the hot water heater, washing machine, dryer, and microwave. We also had a sump pump installed when a freak weather pattern caused our basement to flood, and had to pay someone to haul away everything we threw out. If we're talking just dollars and cents, then Graneau is right. I just know that during my time as a renter, my car was broken into; my car was hit in the parking lot of my apartment complex; I repeatedly found someone's car parked in my assigned parking spot and was told by the property manager my car would be towed if I parked elsewhere; dealt with obnoxious neighbors; raised my son right alongside gang members; and had no backyard for my son to play in. Some of those things could happen anywhere, but others are specific to renting, and I will never do it again. And some of them cost me money to fix.

My largest criticism, however, is that the flow of money example is based upon an exaggeration. A fictitious family has decided to stop wasting money on renting and begins looking for a home to purchase. Based upon their gross income and the two-and-a-half times gross income formula, the Smiths can afford to purchase a home for $250,000. They have a choice between two homes--one costing $250,000 and the other $500,000. According to Graneau, people who can afford a house like that won't be satisfied with owning the $250,000 home because they have been conditioned not to be for at least one of five reasons. Two of the reasons encourage you to believe that lenders and real estate agents are out to screw you.

Even though the formula indicates that the Smiths can afford a $250,000 home, the greedy lender agrees to lend them $500,000. The equally greedy real estate agent encourages the Smiths to think bigger and better, so the Smiths, who are willing to risk falling into an economic black hole, purchase the more expensive home. My own experience did show that the bank was willing to lend my husband and I more money than we felt comfortable with spending on a home, and the real estate agent did show us several houses that were above the maximum price range we gave her, but we're talking $20,000 to $40,000 dollars, not $250,000. In addition, this asks the reader to believe that lenders are intentionally writing mortgages for people knowing they won't be able to pay them back. While, I'm certain each year they have a figure in mind for loans that will be unpaid, it's not good business sense and not profitable to lend money to people knowing they won't pay it back. That's not greed, it's stupidity. In a later chapter of the book, Graneau admits, if the Smiths had bought the $250,000 house, they would be fine.

One other thing to mention, too, is that while the author discusses government influence on the real estate market, he didn't discuss specific legislation that could have played a role in the housing crisis.

The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 forced lenders to provide equal opportunities to borrowers that included low- and moderate-income families. These people may not have qualified under normal circumstances. Changes to the law in 1992 also required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two government enterprises—to purchase and securitize mortgages devoted to supporting affordable housing. There has always been pressure on society to close the gap between the haves and the have nots. Was it truly greedy people within the real estate industry that caused the walls to come crumbling down?

How can there be a scam when a consumer knows she can only afford X, and decides to buy Y and Z too? How can there be a scam when since the beginning of time people have wanted more than they have? Is this not really more a societal issue than a scheme foisted upon American consumers by businesses and organizations standing to profit from home sales?

While I don't agree with all of Graneau's arguments, I found Renters Win, Home Owners Lose to be a thought-provoking book. Anyone who is considering the purchase of a home would benefit from reading it, to obtain the real estate finance information found within its pages. I enjoyed this book and will definitely be on the lookout for more books by Tom Graneau in the future.

Title: Renters Win, Home Owners Lose
Author: Tom Graneau
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN-10: 1438993188
ISBN-13: 978-1438993188
SRP: $17.98

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Author Spotlight: Renters Win, Home Owners Lose by Tom Graneau

Tom Graneau, a financial management coach, pinpoints owning a home as the black hole for the American dollar. This timely masterpiece exposes the biggest shakedown in consumer spending—home ownership.

Driven by the American dream of grandeur and prosperity, buyers purchase their homes as “smart investments” when in actuality, the best they can hope to get is zero percent return. More commonly, owners lose an enormous amount of money on the deal, driving themselves even deeper into debt as they pour their hard-earned income in mortgage payments and maintenance costs.

In Renters Win, Home Owners Lose: Revealing the Biggest Scam in America, author Tom Graneau prudently shows readers how to avoid getting trapped in the biggest scam in the country, endorsed by national and local governments and the housing and mortgage industries. Tables, graphs, and various statistics are prominently laced throughout the book to expound the obvious, tangible advantages that renters have over anyone preparing to buy a home.

For those already owning a home—fear not. Graneau concludes by outlining winning strategies and solutions to make their experience a little more agreeable.

Renters Win, Home Owners Lose is a perfect eye-opener for renters, first-time home buyers, and those who plan to upgrade to a second or third home!

Read the Reviews!

“A real game changer, eye-opener, and timely. MUST read before buying!

This book may upset your way of thinking, but that’s often a good thing.

We always felt that home ownership was good for us over the years; I’m pretty sure it generally was good at the time, but not so good as we thought. Glad I got out when I did (now a happy renter). The equity we build up is fragile (now very obvious). The tax deductions are not as beneficial/large as we like to think. The extra costs of owning can be really large. And anytime you re-finance to take out equity, your new lender is doing very well on the deal.

We were all propagandized by the government, the lenders, the realtors, etc. This book will help you to take a fresh look at the process. You cannot afford to overlook this book before buying, not any more. And it is very clear and well-written.

If you are presently underwater or upside-down in a mortgage, I am sincerely sorry. You may stay underwater for a very long time. Talk to your lawyer (first!) about the possibility of walking; stop paying right now, save money, live for free, pay off the credit cards instead. It will be (probably) many months before your lender takes any action at all. The book does NOT discuss this for you, and so perhaps I should not either. But the book will help open up your thinking.”

--T. Erwin

Tom Graneau was born in Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean with a population of roughly 70,000 people. When Tom was seventeen years old, he and his mother immigrated to the United States. After two years in the U.S., he became acutely aware of his need for an education and aggressively began finding a way to be in school.

During his fourteen years of service in the Navy, he became increasingly concerned about his financial situation. Things became worse when he left the service. His house went into foreclosure. With added pressure from credit card companies, he ultimately filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Eventually, he found work as a Financial Management Consultant. In his last employment, Tom spent roughly ten years working as a financial management coach and educator. During that time, he conducted numerous workshops, presentations, and private consultation with members of the military, government employees, and others in the community.

Tom enjoyed working with his clients, but they caused him to wonder about the financial condition of Americans, as a whole. His research proved that money problems extend well beyond what most people are willing to admit or see.

In short, most Americans are broke. Various surveys have shown that roughly 90 percent of working Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, no matter how much money they make. In most cases, the problem is directly related to financial misconceptions, poor training, and lack of knowledge. Home ownership is one of the biggest financial misconceptions in personal finance. Hence the book, Renters Win, Home Owners Lose: Revealing the Biggest Scam in America.

You can visit Tom’s website at

Look for our review of Renters Win, Home Owners Lose coming tomorrow!