In honor of Father's Day I wanted to share this post that I wrote after my Dad's funeral. Father's Day is so hard without him and I've been feeling it, so I thought about the best way to honor him and decided to share some of the things he taught us over the years.
There are so many things I learned from my father over the years. My friends always said Dad gave them the best advice (especially when it came to relationships, career, and raising kids) and after his passing we heard from numerous students of his who shared his impact on their lives as well. In fact, we heard so many great stories about how Dad made a difference in the lives of students who had gotten a “troublemaker” label about how he showed he cared and made them see they had a lot more to offer. Hearing how he impacted several people to turn their lives around was so inspiring.
As many of you know, Dad was the inspiration for my teen character, Landry’s, father, Mr. Albright. Landry always turns to her dad for advice when she doesn’t know what to do because that's what I always did. I’ve had a lot of readers and book reviewers comment on the “wise advice” and “wisdom” in Best Friends…Forever? and Landry in Like on how to deal with frenemies and friend issues, stress, school and that’s all due to the great insight Dad shared over the years. Since I share so much of his wisdom in the series about dealing with friends and other people (the man really knew his stuff on relationships and friendships!), I thought I’d pick just a few other things to share with you about Dad.
*Follow your passion, not a paycheck. Too many people go for the paycheck, but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself—is that enough? Is what you're doing going to help people?
Dad often wondered if he should have stayed in counseling because he wanted to help young people find their way in the world and guide them, but we now see how he had a bigger impact helping the kids who needed guidance the most in his school system due to the messages we have received from students who said, "he took the time to really listen to me and not just punish me like everyone before him had," "He cared. No one else had, but he did and I turned my life around."
*Always keep your word. Your reputation is so important. Keep your commitments and your word.
After he passed, the last thing I wanted to do was admin work and keep up with interviews and commitments I had made prior to his hospitalization. No, I wanted to hide out on my couch with a big bowl of chocolate coconut ice cream and cry. But I knew that wasn't honoring what he taught me, so each day I have gotten up and handled the admin side of my career because you always keep your commitments.
*How to unclog a toilet. To show you how impressive he was as a toilet “un-clogger,” he taught me how to do this over the phone.
*Always say a prayer. However, he told me this might not be enough to unclog a toilet and that I may indeed need to use a plunger.
*Listen to people. They tell you everything you need to know about them if you just take the time to really hear them. And sometimes people just need to be heard.
*Always wear a scarf in the winter. Some of this was for protection from the cold, but let it not go unnoticed that the man knew how to accessorize. That gleaming white scarf and black fedora were always on when he went for a walk around the block.
*Let people make their own mistakes. If you offer unwanted advice then they become defensive. When I confided in him about a friend who was engaged to someone who wasn’t right for her, he told me to just nod and let her do all the talking and not bad mouth the guy. He said she’d eventually come around to realize that it wasn’t a good situation. It was hard to hold my tongue, but he was right.
*Take time to appreciate art. Mom and Dad went to art museums a lot when they were dating and he and I had a great time at the Detroit Institute of Art a few years ago. He loved museums and learning about history and different cultures. He also jumped at the chance to see any plays or shows I got free tickets to as a journalist.
*Buy quality clothing. My dad was my favorite shopping buddy. He knew all the best places to buy designer stuff and get great discounts. We never saw him in jeans. The most dressed down we ever saw him was when he wore a sweatsuit on days he was taking a sick day from work. And even then it was a Christian Dior sweatsuit—no joke. He even mowed the lawn in nice pants and a golf shirt. Even now I find I can't giveaway any of the clothes we bought together. There are memories there.
*How to make…wait for it…goulash. He taught Mom how to make this and later, me. He could also make a mean cup of hot chocolate.
*Education, learning, and books are always good investments. Dad was always buying us extra books to help us write papers and essays for school. There were several history classes I took in college and grad school where he read all the books I was assigned and even the ones I bought extra as research for my papers. He kept stacks on the tables in his “man room” of all the books from my classes and also the ones I got for review for the newspaper that interested him. He often read the books for my classes before I did and then he’d suggest topics for my papers. Some of his favorite books were on WWII history, books on Mary Queen of Scots, Bloody Mary, and Queen Elizabeth the 1st, several of the Popes (especially Pope Pius XII and John Paul II), and baseball biographies on Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, and Sandy Koufax.
*Stay current on events. I got my love of the news from Dad. Growing up we had at least two new daily newspapers coming in a day and he’d watch all the news shows (as well as the boring stock shows. I can hum the Wall St. Week theme song). He also read all the news magazines at the library. When 9/11 happened, Dad was now working in real estate with my mom and he was on a house tour. He was in a separate car from my mom and she told me that everyone in his group came back to the office saying, “Who is Bin Laden? Bruce says he thinks Bin Laden is behind this attack—who is he talking about?” I knew who that was because I, a news junkie like my dad, had been reading up on the U.S.S. Cole attack because he had been discussing it with me.
*Show up looking professional. Naturally he wore a suit and tie when he worked as an assistant principal, but later in real estate he would do open houses and he always wore a jacket and tie. The other guys mostly wore golf shirts, but Dad wouldn’t hear of it. And he always wore a jacket and tie on appointments or even going to the office for paperwork.
*Treat everyone the same. Exactly the same.
After Dad passed, my cousin Ben commented that Dad’s lessons and words live on through the impact he made on his students and how his advice lives on in the Landry’s True Colors Series. I never thought about that when writing--I just thought, Dad would know how to handle this situation and now it makes me smile knowing another generation with be impacted by his advice. He always wanted to help young people find their way in the world and now he still will. ♥♥♥
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Meet the Authors and their Stories!Alicia Rades is a USA Today bestselling author of young adult paranormal fiction with a love for supernatural stories set in the modern world. When she’s not plotting out fiction novels, you can find her writing content for various websites or plowing her way through her never-ending reading list. Deep Waters Bree Waters has always known she's descended from mermaids, but when one washes up on the shores of Sea Haven beach, secrets begin to uncover themselves. Cassandra Sky West is an award-winning journalist, veteran of the armed forces, and jane-of-all-trades. She lives in Idaho with the love of her life and their three kids. After writing day in and day out for ten years, her spouse strongly encouraged her to try to make a living out of it. Since then, she's written under various pen-names and sold several stories of werewolves, witches, and the arcane. She plans on writing until the day she dies. Possibly after, if that's allowed. A Fistful of Magic Immortal elves, dragons, gods, and spirits, oh my! Caitlin Vnois is the world's most recognizable elf. Heir to the bloodlines, princess of the royal Atlantean family, supermodel, shaman, the list goes on. Thomas Washington doesn't know any of this, all he knows is she's most beautiful woman he's ever met, and she saved him from drowning when a freak tsunami struck the island of Puerto Rico. The only problem is, he has no memory of arriving on the island. When the heir to the throne of Atlantis is kidnapped, Caitlin turns to Wash to help her find the crown princess. Wash, however, has a secret of his own, one he isn't even aware of. In a future where magic, spirits, shamans and gods walk the Earth, Thomas Washington finds himself trapped in a titanic struggle for a power he didn't know he possessed. With two sides fighting to use him or kill him, can he discover the truth about himself? Or will both sides play him to gain the magic he possesses? Izzy Shows was the girl in school that got in trouble for reading too much, and now she spends her time fighting Orcs in Middle Earth, traveling dimensions, tricking sorcerers, and dancing with Fae. To make a long story short, she’s an Author. She writes urban fantasy novels with kickass heroines that get the job done, no questions asked. The Fallen Hunter A Fallen Angel. A Tainted Angel. A world on the brink of destruction. Michelle Lynn has always tried to lose herself in books. Going through her teenage years with an episodic illness meant needing periodic escapes from her own reality. That illness has grown from episodic to fully disabling, but her escapes have also grown. She no longer lives in other people's minds, but instead, retreats into her own, creating the worlds that helped her so much. She writes dystopian, romance, and fantasy because each hold a piece of her heart. AND Michelle Bryan: I wish I could say I've climbed Mt. Everest or ridden in a hot air balloon around the world, but alas I lead a very quiet life in Nova Scotia, Canada. The only adventures I go on are in my books. But what adventures they are! When I'm not reading or writing, I have a day job as a chocolate shop manager. So yes, I work with both books and chocolate! Living the dream. The rest of my time is spent with my three favourite guys; my hubby, my son and my crazy fur baby. We are a family of geeks; fans of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, lovers of books and players of video games. I wouldn't have it any other way. Prophecy of Darkness What was once stolen must now be regained for only magic can save them from what is coming. A curse, a prophecy, a forbidden love - theirs is an impossible mission that must not fail. Frost Kay is a certified bookdragon with an excessive TBR, and a shoe obsession. Her goals in life include: Eating a five-pound bag of skittles in one sitting, creating worlds that sweep you away and leave you dazed, and preventing the cat from laying atop her computer while she writes. If you hate bewitching stories, epic adventures, untold secrets, dark promises, thrilling action, swoonworthy anti-hero's, and slow burning romance, her books aren't for you. If that's your cup of tea then you're in good company. Siren's Lure Legends. Trickery. Revenge. Nothing is ever black and white. Meg Xuemei X is an award-winning author of steamy paranormal and sci-fi romance. She finds it dreamingly delightful to be around drop-dead gorgeous alpha males who are forever tormented by her feisty heroines, formidable alien angels, wild shifters, haughty fey, dark vampires, and cunning witches. The Siren Lucienne was born to rule, but her fight for love could steal her birthright... and destroy humanity in the process. The fallen angels are back to reclaim Earth, and her only chance to stop them has been hidden for millennia. Failure to find The Eye of Time will keep her from Prince Vladimir, her first love, and destroy the future of humanity. When Ashburn, a genius farm boy, discovers the ancient power and accidentally binds Lucienne to him, the end of the world seems inevitable. The last Siren has one chance to save her future, her love, and the fate of the entire world... Jason Paul Rice was born and raised in the steel city of Pittsburgh. A strong work ethic was instilled in Jason from a very young age. Dedication and sacrifice were constantly exemplified by his mother, Judy, and that taught Jason that nothing comes easy. He uses the accumulated lessons from a crazy life, and puts heart and soul into his writing. Rice is currently in the midst of finishing The Pearl of Wisdom Saga. Jason’s true passion is helping people that are victims of circumstance. He would like to gain enough influence through writing to provide books and ereaders to the homeless and underprivileged children of the world. His mother always made sure that he got to the library or bookmobile to feed his appetite for books but Jason realizes that some people don’t have this option and would love to make literature readily available for everyone. Plight of the Perfect Prince Everything about the eighteen year old Prince's life was perfect...except for one thing. Axelle Chandler is an Australian Urban Fantasy author. She lives in the western suburbs of Melbourne dreaming up nail biting stories featuring bad-ass witches, hunky shape shifters and devious monsters. She likes chocolate, cat memes and video games. When she’s not writing, she likes to think of what she’s writing next. Crescent Rogue Every new beginning must come from an end, and with each defeat a new future is born. The first memory Boone has is running. Hunted by magical forces beyond his understanding, he crash lands in the forest outside the sleepy Irish village of Derrydun. It’s there he meets the odd and slightly eccentric Aileen, the last of the Crescent Witches…and discovers he’s lost who he is. Boone is a shapeshifter, a human born with extraordinary powers, and he’s wanted. By what or whom, he doesn’t remember. With his memory locked away by unknown forces, he soon learns there is nothing he can do to regain them…unless he steps outside of the protection of the ancient hawthorn and faces the darkness that awaits him. When he finally gathers the courage to cross the boundary, what he finds is only the beginning of his problems. Magic is being hunted…to extinction. Joss Dey, a devoted fan of fantasy literature since age eight, dreamed of being able to create her own magic and did so for sixteen years as a graphic designer. However, the desire to follow in the footsteps of her childhood hero, Susan Cooper, never left her and, in her greatest act of rebellion, she pursued and received an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. Though she stopped “screwing around” and eventually “got a real job”, she never stopped writing, intuitively comprehending that she would never be happy if writing didn’t play a major role in her life. Luckily, she joined RWA in 2004, a move that happily confirmed that being a writer is an affliction from which there is no cure, at least there isn’t Joss’s case. Today, from her basement office in the ghetto in New Haven, Connecticut, she writes emotionally-driven urban fantasies that explore questions about love, family and self amidst bizarre creatures, odd goings on and the end of the world Undertow A world born of merged realities, turbulent and jagged and overrun with monsters...a woman infected with unruly magic, unknowingly using her soul to find love... Samuel Stokes: Many people love to read a great fantasy book. I love to live it! When I am not glued to my keyboard busily writing my next work, I can be found clad head to foot in armor, LARPing like a mad man. For those not familiar with the notion, LARP stands for Live Action Role Play where people get in costume and armor and fight over real-life battlefields. It's action packed and amazing, which is exactly how I like to write. In my work, you will find yourself submerged in thrilling new fantasy worlds. Each coursing with conflict that transpires at an incredible pace. I draw on experiences from my life and time spent living in Australia, the U.S.A, and Japan to enrich the narrative of my books and provide you a taste of familiarity, as you plunge headlong into a scintillating new world. The Woman In The Wind The demands of duty, the pull of fate, the love of a lifetime. Eileen Enwright Hodgetts was transposed from England to Pittsburgh PA and couldn't be happier. She has also lived and worked in South Africa and East Africa. She has been a writer all her life (and that's quite a long time)and she has written mainly for the theater with many of her works winning national awards. Since she turned her hand to writing novels she has seen her Arthurian series Excalibur Rising climbing steadily up the Fantasy Best Seller lists. Her latest venture is to be screenwriter for a movie that will go into production in July 2017. Eileen owes her success to her husband who is the one who markets her books and keeps her nose to the grindstone. Phoebe and the Steel City Vampires Phoebe accidentally enslaves a domestic vampire; he’s great around the house but his master wants him back. Author of over a dozen Fantasy, Steampunk and Science Fiction books, Steve Turnbull has been creating stories for as long as he can remember. He has a passion for female leads, diversity and inclusion, only exceeded by his desire to tell powerful and exciting stories. Technically he’s a London cockney but now lives in the north-west of England with the Pennine Hills as the view from his window (just across the road, in fact). He shares his life with his creative family, and some very distracting animals: a dog and cat who barely tolerate each other, plus three Australian Bearded Dragons and an indeterminate number of Giant African Land Snails. Rebel Dragon It's a crime to ride a dragon, but what if it insists? Kantees has been a slave for as long as she can remember but as a keeper for a racing dragon, her life is not too bad even though it’s a hanging offence for her to ride. When mysterious raiders infiltrate her master’s castle, she is forced to take to the air to raise the alarm and now lives in fear of being discovered. What’s worse, the youngest child of the family has been kidnapped and only she has the clue to the raiders’ origin. She is torn between preserving her own life and letting a child die. Or breaking all the rules to preserve a system that keeps her and her people in slavery. CK Dawn: Have you ever watched a cat stare at a wall, tracking something’s movements-- something invisible that sent shivers down your spine? Did it seem as if they were able to sense dark shadows lurking where the veil between worlds and reality thins? That’s precisely where the idea for the Netherwalker Series came from for CK Dawn! Readers' Favorite award-winning author, coffee loving gamer girl, and Sci-fi enthusiast, CK Dawn always loved to snuggle up with her cat Hagrid (the shadow-seer) and read. But found writing was her bliss. So, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away CK let her unique modern tale of knights and Camelot dancing in her head take form and fly with Cloak of Shadows, her award-winning debut novel. Now, you can find CK writing in the witching hours with Hagrid by her side while being distracted far too often by social media. There's more to come in the Netherwalker Series so stay tuned. Seriously, the story has only just begun. Cloak of Shadows Sir Lancelot's Sexy Descendant A Kick-ass Huntress And a Snarky Sidekick What if all you've ever known of King Arthur's legend was a lie to mislead you from the truth? What if Camelot truly existed, but was destroyed to keep its secrets? And, what if there were descendants of the Knights of the Round Table defending us today from the creatures that lurk within the shadows? If the gloaming came looking for you would you answer its call?Fourteen year old Abigail Thorne answered the gloaming and it turned her life upside down. Along with her mentor Lourdes Reese, a seasoned hunter in the King's Court, they banish the evil shadows while most dociles sleep in their beds. Fighting hidden creatures that feed on humans, glimpsing fractures that lead to another world, and wielding magical weapons all before geometry? That's a normal day for Abbey now, and she loves every minute of it. As for Lourdes Reese, she has unique abilities that can't be explained and is the best hunter the King's Court has seen in over a thousand years. Abbey and Lourdie have no idea that being sent to Britain will unleash a chain of events that will change everything and everyone they love forever.A life will be lost, a life will be taken,and an unexpected new romance will emerge all while the fate of two worlds balance on the edge of a hunter's blade. Kris Austen Radcliffe's contemporary romance series, The Quidell Brothers, brings her descriptive touch to the real world. Her fantasy and futuristic romance series, Fate – Fire – Shifter – Dragon, sets it free in the fantastic. She’s traversed many storytelling worlds—dabbles in film and comic books, time as a talent agent and a textbook photo coordinator, as well as a foray into nonfiction. But she craved narrative and richly-textured worlds—and unexpected, true love. Kris lives in Minnesota with her husband, two daughters, and Handsome Cat. Scent of a Dragon After Daisy Pavlovich's boyfriend abandons her in a small Wisconsin town, she stumbles upon a lonely young boy who claims to see dragons. Yet not all visions are real, nor is all that is real what it appears, and the boy’s unworldly isolation sparks painful memories of Daisy’s own childhood. When Daisy realizes the boy's true nature — and the true depth of the danger his Shifter father presents to both her and the child — Daisy runs headlong into a paranormal fire she should have left alone. But every child deserves a chance, and Daisy’s going to get the boy his even if it kills her…. Charlene A. Wilson is an author of tales that take you to other dimensions. She weaves magic, lasting love, and intrigue to immerse you into the lives of her characters. She began writing in her early teens when her vivid dreams stayed with her long after she had them. The characters and worlds were so amazing she brought them to life through her books. Charlene resides in a small community in Arkansas, USA, with her two beautiful children, husband, a cuddly Pekingese, and a very chatty cockatiel named Todder. The Transformation of Anna Obsession. Deceit. Reincarnation. “My life is a mirage of endless time. But you engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul.” For centuries, Cole Shilo has harvested the homeless, wiped their memories, and delivered them as servants to the nobles of Cornerstone Deep. He despises what his life has become since he lost his soul mate so long ago. Still, Cole aims to please, doing whatever it takes to keep the noblemen content. When he is sent to harvest a second-class woman who has broken a new curfew, he expects indifference. But Anna Sinclair’s soul calls to him, and the moment their lips meet, Cole knows he’s made the biggest mistake of his long life. Reincarnation isn’t possible on Cornerstone Deep. Is it? Yelena Casale is an award-winning author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, she moved to New York at thirteen. Being very curious, she has been a devoted reader and writer since childhood. As a 2nd degree black belt and instructor in Shotokan karate, an avid traveler, and history and art enthusiast, she weaves universal themes with martial arts philosophies into her stories. She lives with her amazing, supportive husband and the best Siamese cats. In her spare time, she reads, paints, watches cool shows on TV and tries to get more sleep. AND Tina Moss is an award-winning author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and New Adult novels. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and two alpha corgis, though all the males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5'1" Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that fierce things come in small packages. A Touch of Darkness Cassie dreams of the darkness. And lives the nightmare. When mystery man, Gabe, walks out of her dreams and into her life, she'll need his help to beat back the darkness-spawned creatures invading her reality. As a bond grows between them, Cassie's deepest fear rests not in the demons but surrendering her heart to a powerful man fallen from grace. Wendy Knight is the award-winning, bestselling author of the young adult series Fate on Fire and Riders of Paradesos. She was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, no touching the knives…you get the idea). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big—her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S. You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing. The Soul's Allegiance. Konstanz is pretty sure her best friend is a demon hunter. A demon hunter with a broken heart. That's a very dangerous thing indeed. Being the good friend that she is, Konstanz will protect Navi from any more heartache, even if it means putting up with Bryson, the guy determined to make Navi forget she ever hurt in the first place. Never mind that Konstanz can't stand him and he likes her even less. Until he doesn't. Feelings change, people change, and Navi's dangerous secrets put them all in danger. In the shadows of monsters, Konstanz loses her heart only to find that Bryson has dangerous secrets of his own. Secrets that threaten everything they've fought for. Monsters come out at night, but the truly evil? They don't play by Death's rules. Jessica Cage is an international, award winning author. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, writing has always been a passion for her. She dabbles in artistic creations of all sorts but at the end of the day, it's the pen that her hand itches to hold. Jessica had never considered following her dream to be a writer because she was told far too often "There is no money in writing." So, she chose the path most often traveled. During pregnancy, she asked herself an important question. How would she be able to inspire her unborn son to follow his dreams and reach for the stars, if she never had the guts to do it herself? Jessica decided to take a risk and unleash the plethora of characters and their crazy adventurous worlds that had previously existed only in her mind, into the realm of readers. She did this with hopes to inspire not only her son but herself. Inviting the world to tag along on her journey to become the writer she has always wanted to be. She hopes to continue writing and bringing her signature Caged Fantasies to readers everywhere. Sphynx-The Untold Story Stories told of the sphinx, a monster with a head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a tail tipped with the head of a serpent. This beast was told to have been made to guard the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes. For each traveler to cross her path, a riddle was presented. If they could answer it correctly, access would be granted. What was her riddle? "What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?" The price to pay for answering the riddle incorrectly, which of course they all did, was not a simple denial of entry to Thebes. Instead of turning them away, the Sphinx, monster that was, strangled them with her tail and devoured them whole. The story goes that when it finally came to pass that someone could answer her riddle and the consecutive ones to follow, she committed suicide. What else was a girl to do? Some say she threw herself down from the high rocks and fell to her death, while others say that she devoured herself, subjecting herself to the same punishment she dished out to all those who had failed before, a talented feat. The question remains however... what really happened to her? Kassandra Lynn tells herself a bedtime story every night. When the plot gets too complicated and the cast overwhelming, she has to write them down into books that she hopes you will enjoy. Her favorite genres are fantasy and romance. She especially enjoys reading and writing about unique concepts, unpredictable plots, and protagonists who aren’t the typical protagonists. Vampire's Hunter A Chinese Medicine Doctor and Martial Artist by trade, JC Kang would have never started writing fantasy stories save for two fluke coincidences. In the Christmas of 2010, while cleaning out childhood junk from his mom’s house, he came across his old Dungeons and Dragons campaign world. Before relegating the binder of maps and notes to the trash where it belonged, he decided to peek back and see what his 13-year old self had created. He couldn’t help but laugh at the silly ideas that had crossed his teenage brain. Rivers flowed uphill. Empires produced resources out of thin air. However, a few interesting premises had potential. He set off to study the craft, and learned advanced ideas like characterization, point of view and tension. After revising the first book, he wrote a prequel. After the prequel, he wrote a sequel. And finally, he wrote the prequel to the prequel: the Dragon Scale Lute. Dragon Scale Lute Only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can save the world. Only an awkward girl can rediscover it. Sharon Rose Mayes lives in Lufkin, Texas with her two sons. She chronicles her daily life at her personal blog, Not Your Mom Blog, and has been active in the blogosphere for seven years. When she is not chasing her kids and participating in roller derby she writes and dreams of all of the places she can’t wait to travel. She loves to write Young Adult stories about vampires, vampire hunters, witches, reincarnation, paranormal, and even a little bit on the New Adult side under the name S.R. Mayes D.N. Leo: I am a romance, science fiction fantasy author. I tell stories about love and relationship in multiversal setting (in space!), often with psychic and paranormal twists. I live to love, and would like to give my readers opportunities to do the same. Maze of Taurus When chased by fire to the point of no return, and the maze of taurus offers the only way to hell, Zach chooses to face the fire.
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My publisher, Clean Reads, is doing a special summer sale! Different books will be on sale throughout the summer and Dating the It Guy is on sale for the first part of June. The book is on sale for 99 cents on all the Amazon sites and Barnes and Noble's site. You can find it here:
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~~ More Beginnings ~~ by Iris Blobel
AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071F7FPQ9/
AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071F7FPQ9/
AMAZON AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071F7FPQ9/
â¥â¦â¥ BLURB â¥â¦â¥
Will Zachâs job keep him from a chance to be with Natasha?
Life is good for teenager Mia Levesque. But when Darren Schuster shows up in Hobart, she knows something is up once Sophie and Mark cut their weekend away short and rush home in the middle of the night. When Sophie wonât answer Miaâs questions, emotions run high, and Zach confirms Darrenâs identity to Mia. Disappointed, angry, and feeling alone, Mia runs away.
Will life settle back into a routine for Mia once she finds out about the stranger in her life?
New Beginnings have given the Levesque girls a new start in life, will More Beginnings be another chance for them?
â¥â¦â¥ EXCERPT â¥â¦â¥
Zach Taylorâs young neighbour, Mia, let out a long sigh as she joined him on his front porch and sat next to him on the swing. Enjoying a cool lemonade, he invited her to grab a soft drink from the fridge as well. It was a warm summer day, and the air showed no sign of cooling down. A lot of people in Hobart were weary of the unusual hot spell for the very southern Australian city.
With another hefty sigh, Mia raked through her long, blond hair and stared into the distance. âHonestly, Zach, sheâs a dragon. Iâm sure she does it on purpose. She doesnât like me. She thinks Iâm spoilt.â
The dragon in question was Miss Peterson, Miaâs high school English teacher. There was no doubt that Mia liked school, and she enjoyed her classes. And even though English wasnât her worst subject, it certainly was the toughest one, with Miss Peterson piling on homework one after the other.
Zach took a sip of his drink before he replied, âHey, pumpkin, settle down. Whatâs that supposed to mean youâre âspoiltâ?â
She lifted her shoulder in a slight shrug. âYou know!â
Raising his brows, he replied, âActually I donât know! Isnât she Sophieâs good friend?â
Another shrug. âKind of, I suppose. They used to do the boxing stuff together, and since Sophâs carrying a baby, they go and enjoy coffee and cake instead every once in a while.â
Ignoring his chuckle, she went inside and helped herself to cold lemonade. She opened the can with a simple click as she returned outside and took a long sip.
â¥â¦â¥ MEET THE AUTHOR â¥â¦â¥
Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.
Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.
Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.
Social Media Links: Click here to subscribe to Irisâ Newsletter Facebook
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Really excited about this new giveaway With Love for Books is having in honor of Next Door to a Star! You can win all these "Star" items and check out a new review for Next Door to a Star and an interview here as well. Just click here to go to their site:
I'm so excited my hometown paper did a story on me! Years ago I wrote for them until 2010. One of the greatest jobs I ever had the fortune to have was as a journalist. It brought back some nice memories today of working with editors, doing interviews, and the time I got a call back right after my wedding and I took it even though I was still holding my bouquet LOL. I also once got a call back while out shopping and so I went into the breeze way of the Neiman Marcus outlet and squatted on the floor holding my phone in one hand, my tape recorder in the other, with my notepad of questions on my knee. And then I conducted my interview! Those were the days of deadlines and craziness. :) Here's the link if you want to read the article:
On April 28th, I was part of the Dayton Book Expo at Sinclair College. I participated on a writing panel called, The Journey of the Writer, with author Robert Douglas and enjoyed meeting readers and other authors at the event. They had over ninety authors participating this year. I was also thrilled to win the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for Children/Teens for my novel, True Colors.
I also had the opportunity to be on Another Way to Praise's Psalmist D. Stokes's show at the event. Check out the video below!
Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking...
Sharon Ledwith has a brand new series coming in June 2017 and today I am revealing the cover to you!
Here is some information about the book:
Print Length: 203 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition
Publication Date: June 17, 2017
Read the blurb:
The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.
Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.
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We humans have to be stronger than we ever imagine, love ourselves in the process, and dig in when the ground seems to sink. We not only relish adventures, we create them. That’s the basis of Saylor’s story in Kadee Carder’s young adult science fiction trilogy, Insurrection. Volume One, Insurrection, and Volume Two, Incomplete, is now available on iTunes, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook, and Volume Three, Indelible, will be available May 9th! Scintillating gadgetry, crackling romance, and endless riddles fill the pages of this trilogy, in a fresh adventure for the restless reader.
Beneath the façade of covert laboratories and military exploits, Saylor’s story twists further in this thrilling final installment of the Insurrection trilogy. Concealed identities. Puzzling truths. Cryptic alliances. Amid hasty exits and curious arrivals, Saylor pursues the answers haunting her conscience.
Dealing with the consequences of her decisions, will Saylor find herself invincible, or drawn even closer to Breame’s conniving promises? And with humanity’s existence at stake, will Saylor advance toward the brimming war, or succumb to the battle bubbling in her blood?
Saylor must decide.
Humanity will always be worth fighting for.
Excerpt from Insurrection (book One):
“I have to stay with my sisters. Protect them. Are you serious, is this a lifelong contract? How about we settle for a two year?” I leaned back in the chair.
A half smile crossed the Commander’s face. He looked amused. He was pleased? “Private, any moment on the field could be your last. Do you understand that?”
“I do, sir.”
“You choose to join the ranks of the elite?”
“I refuse to be toast.” Sitting up and throwing back my shoulders, I let my own smirk play on my lips, recalling my first harried day of training.
His jaw set in place, in a familiar habit. Those navy eyes searched mine.
My lungs filled with vigor and valor, as well as a smidgen of oxygen and a hint of audacity.
“Very well, then.” The Commander sighed, as if he were content from a large meal. He reached down to the side of his desk and pulled open a large drawer, taking out a manila envelope. Withdrawing a long sheet of paper, he placed it on the desk in front of me. “Here are your papers. I am advancing your rank to Private First Class. You are assigned to Echo Company Bravo, effective today. Lieutenant McConnell will remain your supervising officer and provide further instructions at Front Deck.”
I bobbed my head up and down, glancing at the piece of paper. The blanks had already been filled out. He knew what I would choose.
“Sign at the bottom on the back page,” the Commander said, placing a pen parallel to the top of the paper.
I read through the legal jargon, picking up the pen, and scanning the lengthy words. Henceforth. Litigate. Propagate. Disseminate. Prohibited. Deceased.
He leaned forward. “Once we accomplish our goal, we will move on to the next assignment, and then the next, regardless of how long it takes. You do not get to leave this island unless you opt out right now.”
With a flourish, I signed my name. “Then I suppose I need to go suit up.”
Excerpt from Incomplete (Book Two):
Silent, smooth, and undefined, he slipped beside me, the two of us watching the horizon and the navy sky, dotted with starlight and swaying under the breeze. In the same way that chocolate nestles down slowly and sweetly on the taste buds, or like a crisp spring morning drifts dew over the dawn, he slid his right arm around me, pulling me close. Satin brushed against cotton and hope dashed against the rough breakwater of changing tides.
“Against my own rules, the other day I allowed in the thought about what losing you would feel like,” Tucker said. “Those monsters hovering over you were a greater risk than the Commander’s orders. Holding you in my arms after you fell, motionless,” he shook his head. “That was the flip of the switch.”
Several clouds meandered overhead, blocking out starlight and passing by, finally clearing out again, and I could once again accept oxygen into my lungs. Letting a smile tease my lips, a rosy glow burned across my cheeks.
“I'm terribly challenged in the area of accepting someone loving me,” I admitted. “I have buckets of love. But they’ve been boxed up, packed away, and I don't know how to carry them."
He turned to me, his eyes glinting in the light, probably imagining my struggle with big gray metal sand castle buckets.
"Well, that's convenient," he answered, somehow moving closer, arms circling, tightening around my waist, until we faced each other. "I have pretty strong arms. I'd be pleased to help you carry them."
Somewhere, innocent lips blew the wispy seeds from a dandelion bud, somewhere passionate lips sputtered rhetoric and jargon, and somewhere else, lips dripped with lies and temptation. But his smoldered.
Excerpt from InDelible (Book Three):
“Look.” I squared off, planting my boots, shoving my fists in the pockets of my pink jacket. “Many of you were sent to Isla Barina, or joined Alliance, thinking your last stop would be the Caribbean. Now you’ve gotten a taste of home. I know the risks ahead outweigh common sense. Breame equipped me to take on this project on my own. I am stable, but to a certain extent, I’m extremely dangerous. I can’t promise—”
“What are you saying, Mack?” Annoyed, Logan scuffed one boot in the dirt.
“You can all jump ship if you want. No judging. It’s not even jumping ship. It’s getting out of the sinking ship and reclaiming dry land. This is the last stop before it’s too late. I’ll be fine on my own. I’ll get a plane and make it overseas and take this on. If I fail, I fail, and nobody’s worse the wiser.”
“Are you kidding?”
“Not at all. I don’t want to take anybody else down with me.”
“That’s not your call,” Logan argued.
“I feel a little insulted right now,” Micah said, whipping her head toward me. “Who says you get all the fun?”
“What?” I asked.
“And the glory,” Logan added.
“No, I’m trying to give you an out here.”
“No, thanks. I love swimming.” Logan leaned back on his heels. “And besides, it’s not up to you.”
“Fine!” I rolled my eyes. “You each get to decide. Your contracts with Alliance are being reviewed, I’m guessing?”
Logan exhaled, before a slight nod. “Possibly. The chips are still settling. Contracts have yet to be renegotiated.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” O’Leary jumped in, “I made ECB because I wanted to. And I’ve stuck around this far, so I might as well finish this war.”
Chisholm nodded. “Too many hours of training to give up right when we get the upper hand.”
“But guys,” I tried to wave them off.
“You have no argument.” Canaan radiated enthusiasm.
“We’re the team. You’re stuck with us. Plus, you need someone to run the coms. So, I’m in.”
“There’s no guarantee about this,” I reminded. “We don’t have — we may not—”
“Never had a guarantee,” O’Leary stated. “Except that we’d face dangerous circumstances. That’s why I signed up. You don’t get to kick me out the second it gets rough. Rough is my playground.”
“Yeah!” Other voices agreed, rallying.
Eight faces shifted, eyes shining, reflecting those immense stories.
“Alright, then.” I accepted, my team lining up to face the field and our Commander. “Play ball.”
Another Excerpt from Indelible:
“You could have killed us,” Tucker uttered, sounding surprised.
Drawing in my own sharp breaths, my shoulders shuddered. “I didn’t think you’d be in danger.”
“Oh, and you don’t mind if you are?”
“Well.” I began to shrug.
“You have to — you have to think, and to hold on.”
“I was holding on.”
“Saylor! It’s not a word game. That out there!” He pointed out the window. “You have to—”
“What?” I cut him off. “I have to, what? You tell me. Lecture. Go ahead. Just like everyone else!” I spat out the words and a little sea salt. “Tell her, like she has no clue what to do!”
“Obviously you don’t!”
“Oh no?” I straightened up.
He did too. “No-r!” That little ‘r’ on the end of his words sounded so adorable. If only I hadn’t been steaming mad at him.
“I don’t have time for this.” I crossed my arms, tapping an impatient heel.
“If you haven’t noticed, Saylor, you have all the time in the world for it. Look around.”
“I am looking around!” I screamed, trying to be heard, trying to be superbly, uniquely, distinguishingly resonant. “And all I see is chaos! I see loss! I see broken!”
“Saylor.” His voice calmed and he held up a palm.
“No! I feel every little ripple of every wave we roll over! I hear every creak, every pin drop. I smell the salt and the curdling, bitter taste of disappointment. I see the fault in every plan. I sense the strategies not connecting. I dream in colors, hearing sounds that have no name. And I ache.” Holding up my own palms to keep him away, I stepped backwards. “I ache for the rejection that I face, from my father, from my fellow soldiers, from my — from my — from everyone who falls away, whether they mean to or not. It’s all a big, ugly game, this life! My insides are on fire. And I’m sick -- sick — of waiting for some untimely death to come waltzing my way.”
Tears had pooled up, finally welling over, intermingling with the ocean on my cheeks. Wiping them away, I shook my head. Nobody understood.
“May I approach?”
“If you want.”
“I like to think I’m a simple guy. I run toward the danger when others cannot.” He shifted his weight, one foot at a time, drawing near. “You are a product of challenge. You’ve seen a lot of hard days. But when I look at you, I don’t see someone who backs away from a problem. You solve it, no matter the riddle. You find a way to beat it. In some cases, you tend to have a flair for the dramatic.”
He smiled. “That’s just one part of you I like. Maybe you’re on fire, but consider, maybe that’s a good thing.”
Shoes scuffling. Red cheeks. Heated lips. His hands on mine, his pulse intertwining with mine.
“Don’t think you’re done. Not when you’ve got so-r much life in you.”
“I guess I’ve got thousands of little lives inside me.”
“Not that. I don’t mean any kind of artificial intelligence. Those could go away, and you’d still find a way to make the earth shudder beneath you.”
“Are you saying I’m scary?”
“I’m saying . . . You got moxie, mate. Embrace it. But don’t strangle it.”
Deep in the heart of Texas, Kadee Carder resides with her husband and daughters. Carder earned a BA in Public Relations at Howard Payne University and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. She teaches English courses on the university level and plans her schedule around coffee availability. When she’s not dancing around the living room with her daughters, she helps at church activities, creates encouraging blogs, and orders pizza like a boss.
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I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at kadeecarder.com. The book is called Ignite and offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!
Purchase Insurrection, Incomplete, or Indelible for only $4.99 each:
Insurrection (Book 1) on Amazon:
Incomplete (Book 2) on Amazon:
Indelible (Book 3) on Amazon:
Purchase on Nook/Barnes&Noble:
Purchase on iTunes:
"I loved this story. The characters are so witty, well developed and real. The growth Saylor goes through is touching and had me rooting for her every step of the way. The technology introduced is intriguing and frightening. Like what would happen if your favorite pastime started fighting back and you were thrown into the deadliest game of baseball you could ever imagine? In the midst of the awesome kick butt-ness are the girl giggles of a first crush that will have you swooning and wanting more.
An amazing series that I can already tell will become one of my favorites.
If you are looking for a unique science fiction book you need to pick this book up! You will be memorized by the story, the wonder of the strange island, the romance developing, and the unwavering friendship."
"I loved this book. As a mom, I'm always looking for good adventure stories for my 15-year old daughter to read, and Insurrection takes the cake. The daring heroine is unafraid of adventure but also not ashamed of romance. (I have to say, though, that it was refreshing to have the focus be more on the adventure and less on the romance!)
The only negative about this book is that only the first one is available! I can't wait for the second and third books."
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