All Government Workers Are Essential!

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For the benefit of those who might have fallen under the sway of some of the vicious anti-government worker propaganda that has sometimes spilled out of the mouths of our elected officials, I say this: try to pick up your own garbage, inspect the meat and milk in your super market, keep the highways safe, take care of your relative traveling abroad, and thousands of other things that government workers do 24/7, not just here at  home, but around the world. Are government workers essential? You’re damn right they are!

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If you agree, reblog or ‘share’ this with everyone on your list.

 

A retired, but still ‘essential’ government worker.

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Review of “Thomas Clayton” by Randy J. Harvey, PhD

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When 15-year-old Thomas Clayton Gurley’s parents and sister are killed in an auto crash in Florida, he is sent to live with his father’s half-brother, Boats, in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Thomas and Boats take an instant dislike to each other, and the boy is sent to live with Buck Hagen, a foreman at the oil rigging company that Boats owns. It is while living with Hagen and his family that Thomas begins to regain a sense of family – and self.

It is also here that his troubles truly begin. In a new high school, he has to prove himself to Boats and to a murderous rival for the affections of Mar, the first girl he’s ever had a relationship with. As Thomas matures, he finds himself in a fight literally for his life, and the lives of those he has come to love, when the questionable relationships Boats has forged with shady politicians and business people comes to light.

Thomas Clayton, by Randy J. Harvey, PhD, is a story that grew out of a few dozen handwritten pages begun by Harvey’s father, Jay L. Harvey, and is dedicated to the story tellers of the Harvey clan, who ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story.’ Though the author’s disclaimer says that this is a work of fiction, and in no way represents real people, this tightly woven tale of greed, jealousy, and murder could very well have been ripped from the headlines of any daily newspaper. Gripping, realistic dialogue and intricate descriptions of places, events, and people; some told from the first-person viewpoint of young Thomas, and others in the third person, as characters and events sweep past in a torrent of emotion, will have you believing that it is a documentary, rather than what it is – a grand tale told in a masterful style.

The truth, in this book, doesn’t get in the way of a good story, but, by gum, you’ll close it after the last page and swear you just read the God’s honest truth. I read a copy which was provided to me for review, but by jingies, I’d be more than willing to plunk down some hard-earned money for a chance to read it, and I, for one, hope this won’t be Randy Harvey’s last offering.

I’m usually reluctant to give a five-star rating to a book, but this was the easiest five stars I’ve handed out in a long time.

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Turning the Pages YA Blog Tour – The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker (redux)

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Okay, I know you’re wondering why this post is up again. Well, that’s because the blog tour actually starts today, but I had a senior moment on Saturday and jumped the gun. That’s okay; this is worth looking at a second time, so enjoy.

 

The Ghost Files, Volume I by Apryl Baker

deadtitlexbigred

Cherry blossom lipstick:  check

Smokey eyes:  check

Skinny jeans:  check

Dead kid in the mirror:  check

For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too.

Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister… Sally.

  Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance.

 Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim…

Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her?

Q and A:

Q:  So tell us a little bit about Apryl Baker.

A:  Well, in a nutshell, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up.  Seriously, sometimes I can be mid-sentence and I’ll get an idea and stop talking so I can write it down.  Terribly rude, I know, but my friends and family are used to it!

Q:  Mattie is a very, well, let’s call her unique.  What inspired you when you created that little bundle of attitude?

A:  LOL!  She is that, isn’t she?  Well, honestly, I had some foster kids living down the block from me and I had the opportunity to get to know them.  It took me the better part of a year to get them to trust me enough to open up.  I have to say they were the bravest, most courageous kids I’ve ever met. They are tough as nails, loyal only to each other, and they will break your heart.  Some of the stories they told me made me want to just cry.  Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of great foster homes out there, the one they were in at the time I got to know them was one of those, but there are just as many bad ones as well.  I got to hear up close and personal just how bad some of them were.

Those experiences shaped those kids into the people they were.  They all had serious trust issues and sometimes the haunted look in their eyes made me hurt.  When I got the idea for this story, Mattie in my mind was a foster kid.  I wanted to show people that those kids are more than just the tough facade they show to the world, that they are vulnerable and sweet underneath their layers of shields.  I rolled all their attitude into Mattie and there’s a little bit of each of them in her.

Mattie Louise Hathaway is that tough as nails foster kid who looks after her own and will deck you as soon as look at you, but underneath all that attitude, there’s still a sixteen year old girl who’s scared, alone, vulnerable, and well 16!  She still notices the cute guy while being that sassy, snotty brat!

Q:  I know that most writers have to have music when they are writing.  Let’s face it, music has inspired so many different stories over the years.  What was on your playlist when you wrote The Ghost Files?

A:  Wow, well, I did listen to a ton of different music, but these were my favs:

Fall Out BoyMy Song Knows What You Did In the Dark (this song alone is responsible for the last five chapters of the book!)

Evanescence:  Bring Me Back To Life

Bruno Mars:  Just the Way You Are

Demi Lavato:  Heart Attack

Taylor Swift:  I Knew You Were Trouble

Taking Back Sunday:  Make Damn Sure

My Chemical Romance:  I Don’t Love You

My Chemical Romance:  The Ghost of You

Korn:  Freak On A Leash

Dashboard Confessional:  Slow Decay

Valora: I Waited For You

Q:  What advice would you give struggling authors in today’s market?

A:  My best advice is to never give up.  I still have stack upon stack of rejection letters sitting on my desk.  It sucks!  That will never change.  You write this amazing story, polish it up a hundred times, then send out the query letter you slaved over for weeks, only to get rejection upon rejection upon rejection.  Huge blow to anyone’s confidence.  Here’s the thing though, you have all these rejection letters, but it only takes that one yes to make it all better.  I almost gave up on writing, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  I have an amazing writing group, an agent that believes in me, and a publisher that is downright awesome.  Just believe in yourself.  You can’t see your dreams come true if you don’t keep trying.  Give yourself a minute to wallow in pity, then get up, dust yourself off and try, try again!

Q:  So why should we all rush out to buy The Ghost Files?

A:  That’s simple!  It’s awesome!  No, really, it’s a fun, but scary read.  I have been advised by all the Wattpad crew who read it before it was published that you cannot read it in the dark. Scared them senseless.  There’s a hint of romance, but the book itself is centered around the mystery of who killed Mattie’s foster sister and the fact that Mattie now has to face her own weirdness.  She can see ghosts?  Um, not something she advertises.  Then there’s Officer Dan…yum, all I’m saying.

 About the Author:

413

So who am I? Well, I’m the  crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies.  My friend Chazz laughs at me when I scare myself watching them and  tells me to stop watching them, but who doesn’t love to get scared? I  grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West  Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees,  and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew  by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to  sleep.

 Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and  morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there’s always  someone to tell your mama on you. So when you get grounded, what is  there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel.  It was a romance titled “Lord Margrave’s Deception.” I remember it  fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries  and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and  would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main  characters.

 Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my  family and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly  when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats  start yelling something fierce…lol.

 I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.

PS: DO NOT GET IN MY WAY IF THERE IS A SALE ON AT TARGET – my home away from home!

Connect With Apryl: 

Amazon:  Ghost Files

Don’t forget to check out Apryl’s other books, The Promise and The Awakening!

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The Promise (2)

Enter to win a signed print edition of The Ghost Files just by Liking Apryl’s Author page on Facebook!

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Review of ‘Limbus, Inc.: Book 1″ edited by Anne C. Perry

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Have you been laid off, downsized, or undersized? If you have, you might want to think twice, and then again, before accepting a job offer from Limbus, Inc.  If, on the other hand, you’re into reading shared-world stories with a dark twist, you need to run, that’s right, run to the nearest computer and order a copy of Limbus, Inc.: Book 1, an anthology edited by Anne C. Petty of JournalStone, and containing cutting-edge tales by four award-winning authors.

Limbus, Inc. is a mysterious employment agency that offers specific jobs to specific people, but there is often a deadly catch in the fine print. The book opens with an prologue written by Brett J. Talley, with passages inserted throughout, and then ends with Talley’s epilogue. In between these two macabre bookend offerings is a series of tales, though written by different authors, including editor Petty, come across as if they’d been either written by the same person, or a team working in close collaboration.

Each story, though, is self-contained, and masterfully done; from the prologue, when Matthew Sellers, a bookstore owner down on his luck, is given a strange and tattered manuscript by an unkempt stranger, to Benjamin Kane’s ‘Slaughter Man,’ Dean Fulsome, or the PI in Jonathan Maberry’s ‘Strip Search.’

Limbus, Inc. has something for just about every flavor of reader. Time travel and a space ship inhabited by a voracious, flesh-eating alien princess, arcane sacrificial cults, and ageless gamins who work as company recruiters. Every candidate for employment by Limbus is a loser, but every story is a winner. Tight dialogue, fully-formed characters, and settings described in a way that makes it easy to suspend disbelief.

Brew a pot of coffee, or mix your favorite brew; slip your feet into your most comfortable slippers; sit back and prepare to be transported to a realm where reality has taken an extended  holiday. But, before you start reading, you might want to check the locks on all the doors and windows, and turn on a few extra lights.

Five stars to everyone involved in this precedent-setting work.

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Daily Prompt: MIxed Tape Masterpiece – Music

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IMG_4220IMG_4398 IMG_4400Today’s Daily Prompt is Music. Here’s a series of photos I’ve done over the years that say music to me.

Turning the Pages YA Blog Tour – The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker

Posted on Updated on

The Ghost Files, Volume I by Apryl Baker

 deadtitlexbigred

Cherry blossom lipstick:  check

Smokey eyes:  check

Skinny jeans:  check

Dead kid in the mirror:  check

 

For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too.

Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister… Sally.

  Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance.

 Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim…

Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her?

 

Q and A:

Q:  So tell us a little bit about Apryl Baker.

A:  Well, in a nutshell, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up.  Seriously, sometimes I can be mid-sentence and I’ll get an idea and stop talking so I can write it down.  Terribly rude, I know, but my friends and family are used to it!  

Q:  Mattie is a very, well, let’s call her unique.  What inspired you when you created that little bundle of attitude?

A:  LOL!  She is that, isn’t she?  Well, honestly, I had some foster kids living down the block from me and I had the opportunity to get to know them.  It took me the better part of a year to get them to trust me enough to open up.  I have to say they were the bravest, most courageous kids I’ve ever met. They are tough as nails, loyal only to each other, and they will break your heart.  Some of the stories they told me made me want to just cry.  Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of great foster homes out there, the one they were in at the time I got to know them was one of those, but there are just as many bad ones as well.  I got to hear up close and personal just how bad some of them were.

Those experiences shaped those kids into the people they were.  They all had serious trust issues and sometimes the haunted look in their eyes made me hurt.  When I got the idea for this story, Mattie in my mind was a foster kid.  I wanted to show people that those kids are more than just the tough facade they show to the world, that they are vulnerable and sweet underneath their layers of shields.  I rolled all their attitude into Mattie and there’s a little bit of each of them in her. 

Mattie Louise Hathaway is that tough as nails foster kid who looks after her own and will deck you as soon as look at you, but underneath all that attitude, there’s still a sixteen year old girl who’s scared, alone, vulnerable, and well 16!  She still notices the cute guy while being that sassy, snotty brat!

Q:  I know that most writers have to have music when they are writing.  Let’s face it, music has inspired so many different stories over the years.  What was on your playlist when you wrote The Ghost Files?  

A:  Wow, well, I did listen to a ton of different music, but these were my favs:

Fall Out BoyMy Song Knows What You Did In the Dark (this song alone is responsible for the last five chapters of the book!)

Evanescence:  Bring Me Back To Life

Bruno Mars:  Just the Way You Are

Demi Lavato:  Heart Attack

Taylor Swift:  I Knew You Were Trouble

Taking Back Sunday:  Make Damn Sure

My Chemical Romance:  I Don’t Love You

My Chemical Romance:  The Ghost of You

Korn:  Freak On A Leash

Dashboard Confessional:  Slow Decay

Valora: I Waited For You

 

Q:  What advice would you give struggling authors in today’s market?

A:  My best advice is to never give up.  I still have stack upon stack of rejection letters sitting on my desk.  It sucks!  That will never change.  You write this amazing story, polish it up a hundred times, then send out the query letter you slaved over for weeks, only to get rejection upon rejection upon rejection.  Huge blow to anyone’s confidence.  Here’s the thing though, you have all these rejection letters, but it only takes that one yes to make it all better.  I almost gave up on writing, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  I have an amazing writing group, an agent that believes in me, and a publisher that is downright awesome.  Just believe in yourself.  You can’t see your dreams come true if you don’t keep trying.  Give yourself a minute to wallow in pity, then get up, dust yourself off and try, try again!

Q:  So why should we all rush out to buy The Ghost Files?

A:  That’s simple!  It’s awesome!  No, really, it’s a fun, but scary read.  I have been advised by all the Wattpad crew who read it before it was published that you cannot read it in the dark. Scared them senseless.  There’s a hint of romance, but the book itself is centered around the mystery of who killed Mattie’s foster sister and the fact that Mattie now has to face her own weirdness.  She can see ghosts?  Um, not something she advertises.  Then there’s Officer Dan…yum, all I’m saying. 

 About the Author:

413

 

 

So who am I? Well, I’m the  crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies.  My friend Chazz laughs at me when I scare myself watching them and  tells me to stop watching them, but who doesn’t love to get scared? I  grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West  Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees,  and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew  by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to  sleep.

 Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and  morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there’s always  someone to tell your mama on you. So when you get grounded, what is  there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel.  It was a romance titled “Lord Margrave’s Deception.” I remember it  fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries  and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and  would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main  characters.

 Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my  family and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly  when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats  start yelling something fierce…lol.

 I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.

 

PS: DO NOT GET IN MY WAY IF THERE IS A SALE ON AT TARGET – my home away from home!

 

Connect With Apryl: 

Amazon:  Ghost Files

 

 

Don’t forget to check out Apryl’s other books, The Promise and The Awakening!

 

girlmist222300

 

 

 

The Promise (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter to win a signed print edition of The Ghost Files just by Liking Apryl’s Author page on Facebook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

blog banner

 

 

 

 

http://angelafristoe.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-ghost-files-by-apryl-baker-blog.html

Dear State Department, Can You Please Keep Your Deputy Spokesperson In The Loop!

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Diplopundit

— By Domani Spero

We are on Day 4 of the shutdown.   Except for the employees from the Inspector General Office (and the International Water Boundary Commission) who were furloughed on the first day of the shutdown, the State Department is open and operational.  Naturally, folks are interested on two things: 1) how long can the State Department sustain its worldwide operation without new funding and 2) how many people had been furloughed.

The State Department is full of smart people. We imagine that they know exactly how long the carryover funds would last before Congress shut down the government, and they know exactly how many employees will be furloughed immediately after the lapse in appropriation.  To say that we are still crunching the numbers the day after the shutdown doesn’t make a lot of sense. Everybody knew this was coming.  And for the spokesperson not to have funding…

View original post 844 more words

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning

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This week’s photo challenge is Good Morning.  I often start my morning sitting on my deck watching the deer feeding in the edge of the forest that makes up part of my back yard.

Whitetail deer having breakfast
Having breakfast, while I have my second cup of coffee.

Sunday Stills Challenge: Birds

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056

 

052

 

015

 

002

 

The way I feel sometimes.
The way I feel sometimes.

State Dept Declares Inspector General Office “Non-Essential”, Furloughs All 50 Staffers Except Four

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Diplopundit

— By Domani Spero

 

The State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy sent a letter to employees on September 30 reiterating, that “Department offices, bureaus, and State elements at our posts overseas will continue to function for a limited period of time.

In the September 30 Daily Press Briefing (DPB), State Department was going to stay open despite the shutdown.  (See Shutdown News:  State Department Stays Open and Operational. For Now.)

The MGT memo and the October 1 DPB now indicates that “a small number of offices” will be impacted initially by the shutdown.

When pressed for the affected offices, Ms. Psaki promised to get “a specific list.” But she added that “the way that it’s categorized, the impacted offices are those that operate with one-year funds that do not have available carryover funds to sustain operations. So they don’t have funds from the…

View original post 866 more words

Morass

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Morass.

What Goes On Behind the Bedroom Door

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InsecureWritersSupportGroup I’ve just joined Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and fortunately just in time to do a ‘first Wednesday’ posting. Check the link for details on this group, and how to join.

I got the idea for this post from Jacqui Murray’s posting on writing about love. The hang-up for me is writing about the physical manifestation of love, or to put it mildly, sex. This is a problem, really, because I do a mystery series about an unmarried private detective who has a live-in girlfriend, who also happens to be relatively attractive to the opposite sex.

There are, therefore, times and scenes when sex would be appropriate, but whenever I come to one of those points in a story, my fingers seem to freeze. I’m not a prude, I’ll have you know. But, I do have some regular readers who I know would be shocked, and perhaps even offended, if my finger should slip and I became too graphic.

I’ve wrestled with this problem over 17 books in the series; on occasion straying a bit into the slightly detailed description of the act, sometimes just alluding to it with euphemistic language, and sometimes having an entire story without one amorous encounter.

After a long time of experimenting, I’ve finally hit on a way to handle the delicate aspects of relations between characters in my stories; one that I hope works. Firstly, I don’t include a sex scene in a story unless it is germane to the particular story; either to show the developing relationship between characters, or is somehow related to the events of the story. An example of the last is, a character’s motive for murder might be that the victim once sexually assaulted, jilted, or cheated on her.

Once I’ve decided that sex should be a part of the story, the next challenge is how to handle it. Unless you’re writing a romance or porn novel, a blow-by-blow description is, in my view, inappropriate. I find, rather, that a description of the actions characters take in the early stage of a seduction (conversation, eye contact, etc.) sets the scene, and when the characters finally head for the bedroom, like the old movies from the 1950s, you can fade the scene out – most readers will know what’s coming next. This has the added benefit of allowing readers to use their imaginations, which is a plus for your writing.

This way of handling physical relations might not work for everyone. I have to confess that I’m of a generation that grew up in a more inhibited era than kids of today, so my way is comfortable for me. If you happen to be the bodice-ripping, bosom-heaving type who loves to write long, steamy encounters that are the mainstay of romance novels, more power to you.

As for me, excuse me while I turn out the lights. I’ll see you in the morning.  (lap dissolve to crashing waves, then fade to black)

Review of ‘Lifeboat’ by A.B. Shepherd

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Lifeboat_Cover_Front.New. Although A.B. Shepherd’s Lifeboat begins with Graham watching helplessly as his friends Cass and Rhys are abducted by an alien ship, Graham is quickly reduced to a minor character in a story with more twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster. The main character, readers soon discover, is Cass, a woman who, along with her family, has lost everything, and who is seeking some meaning in her life.

Shepherd uses multiple points of view and shifting timelines to fairly good effect in building tension and suspense in this tale of alien abduction – with a dramatic twist at midpoint that I won’t spoil for potential readers by revealing.

While it was a bit disconcerting at first, the way Shepherd takes us directly to the alien vessel with Rhys, while weaving back and forth in time with Cass from Australia to the ‘lifeboat,’ the longer you read, the more it makes sense, and it certainly helps build the tension.

A good first novel, it does, however, suffer a bit from a few formatting glitches in the e-Book version which was provided to me for review. Chapters run on to each other, which could be fixed rather easily with a few well-placed page breaks in the document file. The opening chapter, written from Graham’s point of view, sets the reader up to expect Graham to appear prominently in later chapters, but alas, he never really does. This might be better told as a third person prologue – but, that’s just my personal bias.

Shepherd has, as I noted earlier, written a good first novel, and one wonders if there might be a sequel in the offing. Lifeboat is scheduled for a December 2013 release, and is recommended reading for ‘future earth’ sci-fi fans.

About the Author

A.B. Shepherd author photo BWA.B. Shepherd grew up in Lansing, Michigan, but moved to Australia in 2009. She now lives in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia, with her husband and their imaginary friends. She can usually be found seaside at Port MacDonnell, or lost in a fantasy world. Lifeboat is her debut novel. The Beacon, her second novel, has an anticipated release date of Christmas 2013.

A.B. loves to hear from readers. Feel free to contact her with your thoughts on Lifeboat, or anything else that takes your fancy. If you’d like to learn more about A.B. Shepherd please visit her website at abshepherd.net.

You can also connect with her on Twitter @ABHPShepherd and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/AB-Shepherd/336336493057737.

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Review of ‘Releasing the Words’ by Rhonda Kronyk and Friends

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There are tons of books on the market about writing; about all aspects of the craft. Some of them are useful, and some of them are . . . well, less so. I should know, I own scores of them in both categories.

When I received a free copy of Releasing the Words: Writers on Writing by Rhonda Kronyk and 11 other writers; a book of short essays on how to get beyond writer’s block and get words onto paper, I was a bit concerned that I’d bitten off a morsel that I would be hesitant to chew. Most of the books I have on writing are written either by well-known authors, or by individuals who have worked for some time as editors. Believe it or not, several of the not-so-useful books on writing that I’ve read, were written by authors of note.

Could, therefore, a group of relatively unknown writers have penned a book that would impress me? Well, surprise, surprise; they did. The fact that these essays that show how writers just like you and me have overcome that thing writers fear most – writer’s block – make it all the more valuable for journeymen scribes. It’s not a perfect book. There are a few formatting errors that need fixing, like chapters running into each other, and the quotes from famous authors, done in bold face text that is larger than the book’s body text, tend to overshadow the essays.

Minor things that a little judicious editing could fix. It’s still a book worth reading. I give it two and half stars for the editing problems, but then I’ll add that other half-star for the useful information it contains.

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Review of ‘The Itinerant Photographer’ by Max Allen

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If your interests tend to wildlife and beautiful scenery, and you happen to be either a photographer, or a photographer wannabe, I strongly suggest you get a copy of The Itinerant Photographer by Max Allen. Allen is a wildlife biologist and self-taught wildlife photographer, and in this book he has compiled a collection of wildlife (animals and scenery) photographs taken throughout North America during a five-year period of wandering. Along with some really awesome pictures, he has included a narrative, not only describing his subjects, but giving details on how the photos were achieved.

A short book, but chock full of entertaining pictures and extremely useful information; it’s like an introductory course in wildlife photography. As a bonus, it showcases the natural beauty of our land, and is a great boost for conserving nature for the enjoyment of future generations.

Four stars for a great book, and since Allen divides his time between North America and New Zealand, I look forward to his photographic documentation of the flora and fauna from down under as well.

 

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Daily Prompt: On the Road

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If I could pause time and go anywhere in the world, where would it be? The Daily Prompt: On the Road sets one heck of a challenge, and it’s one that I can’t really take a run at with just one photograph, because there are so many places that have made an impression on me. Here, though, are some photos from my stay at Chautauqua Institution in New York this past summer:

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Travel Theme: Relaxing

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When we travel for pleasure, I think we all want most of all to relax. This week’s Travel Theme is Relaxing.  I went through a lot of my photos from past trips, and decided that there was one that says it all for me. I hope readers will agree.

A hammock on Grand Batanga Beach, south of Douala.
A hammock on Grand Batanga Beach, south of Douala.

 

 

http://www.ceephotography.com/2013/09/28/travel-theme-relaxing/

Review of ‘Happy Every Day’ by Bryan Hutchinson

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I doubt that there’s a normal, rational person who doesn’t want to be happy. There is certainly no shortage of books by self-styled gurus telling us how to be happy, successful, rich, you name it. The problem with most of these books is, THEY DON’T REALLY WORK.

If you think I’m skeptical about books that offer the secret to (fill in the blanks), you’d be right on the money. It was, therefore, with just that skeptical, ‘I’m from Missouri, so show me’ mindset that I began reading Bryan Hutchinson’s Happy Every Day: Simple, Effective Ways to Better Days. From page one I challenged Hutchinson to ‘show me.’

Well, guess what folks, he did. This is not one of those, ‘here’s the great secret to happiness, and if you’ll only follow these 5 simple steps, you’ll never be unhappy again’ books. This is a practical, no-nonsense book that dissects happiness and, using the author’s own experience, shows that true happiness is within the reach of each of us, but that it is up to us to chart the path to achieve it.

Hutchinson makes no grandiose claims. He just outlines in simple language how an individual can have a life that is, on balance, more happy than unhappy – and moreover, more fulfilling. There are no real surprises here – just plain old common sense. But, it’s pulled together in an easy-to-read, easy-to-comprehend format, complete with end of chapter exercises to help chart your path to happiness.

I’m still not a fan of most how-to books, but Hutchinson has me hooked on his brand of ‘you can.’ Maybe he’s started a new category here, and we just have find a name for it.

Four and a half stars. I took a half star off for a few grammatical missteps. Can’t have him thinking he’s one of the best motivational authors around, now can we?

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