MEET MELANIE P SMITH

I saw that this week’s guest has degrees coming out of her ears, but her marketing experience caught my attention and from the information she sent me, she is one switched-on author. So organized, on the ball and knows what she is doing! Over to Melanie to tell you about herself.

0_Melanie 028

Hello, my name is Melanie P. Smith and I am an American, Multi-Genre author of Paranormal, Criminal Suspense, Police Procedural and Romance novels.  I work hard to make my stories exciting, action-packed and gripping.  So, if you like a story you can’t put down, one that will keep you guessing and take you on a journey of discovery… I have something for you.

I was born and raised in the state of Utah and spent my younger years working hard and playing hard.  As a farm kid, we always had a huge garden and plenty of animals to care for.  But, when the work was done… the adventure began.  If I wasn’t riding horses, I was playing softball, waterskiing or exploring the country on my tote goat (Pictures 1 & 2).  I wrote a short blog on how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  If you’re interested you can find it here… How It All Began    https://melaniepsmith.com/how-it-all-began/  

2_Mel Softball

I have an Associates of Science degree in Marketing, a Bachelors in Business Management and a Masters Certificate in Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and Mediation.  I was still deciding how to use my education when I started a part-time, summer job with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.  Part-time turned to full-time and I ended up staying for over twenty-six years. I eventually retired in the spring of 2016.  The job was difficult at times but very fulfilling and always interesting.  Why do I mention this?  Well, because they say write what you know.  I know law enforcement.  For over two decades I was assigned to the Special Operations Division and spent my time supporting Search & Rescue, K9, the Mounted Posse, and the Motorcycle Unit.  I thought that tote goat and my Shetland pony (Coalie) were strictly for adventure… turns out they were training for the future.  Who knew?

In addition to my regular duties, I coordinated communication and logistics for our SWAT and Child Abduction Response Teams.  In this capacity, I spent hours manning the Command Post on emergency callouts like hostage situations, barricaded subjects and missing or abducted children.  My time working with the police helped me gain insight and experience that I now use to create intense novels that are interesting, realistic and suspenseful.

I still love adventure but these days I spend my time camping and riding ATV’s with my husband and our Border collie “Port”.  Or, you can find me exploring backroads on my Harley. Occasionally, I still go horseback riding with my friends.  But mostly, my exploits are conjured in my mind, expressed on paper, and shared through my novels.

MY WORK

My Warrior Series is a completed paranormal romance collection.  There are 7 novels and 2 novellas in this set.  For book descriptions, purchase links and eTrailers see my Paranormal Brochure.  There’s also a sneak peek of my new work in progress… The Immortals.  Divergence will be the first novel in this trilogy.  Unfortunately, the project is still in the beginning stages and won’t be available for some time yet.

8_Warrior Banner_ Series

http://geni.us/Warrior

My Thin Blue Line series currently has two novels Mount Haven and Moondance Ridge.  The third novel, Subterfuge, is nearly completed and I expect it out sometime this year.  You can see all my police and crime novels with appropriate links in my Criminal Suspense Brochure.

http://geni.us/SuspenseBrochure

This brochure also includes information on my unique Police Procedural Crime Blog.  What is a Crime Blog?  It’s a series of short stories (nine per season) that follows Deputy Paige Carter as she solves local cases. Each episode introduces a new crime; similar to police procedurals on television like Blue Bloods, Longmire, or Bones.  Want to try it for FREE?  Subscribe to my blog and you will receive the entire 1st Season as my gift to you just for signing up.

http://geni.us/Blogsignup

The first episode of Season 3 – Paige Carter: Deputy Sheriff Series, was just released in April on my website.  So far, I’ve received amazing feedback and it was even featured in the local paper… the Sanpete Messenger.  As an added bonus to my readers, the current season is only available on my website and always FREE.

http://sanpetemessenger.com/2016/12/01/manti-backdrop-for-crime-series/
https://melaniepsmith.com/crime-blog/

Season 1

Paige Carter was an FBI agent who specialized in forensic science.  She decided to quit her job and move back to Manti, Utah.  She is determined to solve a cold case that occurred over ten years earlier.  Why so passionate about a cold case?  It was her mother’s murder and as far as she can tell…the local cops didn’t even try to solve it. 12_Paige Carter S1

Amazon http://geni.us/PaigeCarterS1
Nook http://geni.us/BNPaigeCarterS1
iTunes http://geni.us/iPaigeCarterS1
Kobo http://geni.us/KPaigeCarterS1

Season 2

Season two brings a unique blend of criminal investigation and human interaction to every episode.  Paige is still working to rebuild her personal and professional life one step at a time.  Follow her progress as she fights crime, searches for a killer and tries to deal with the undeniable chemistry she shares with her mysterious neighbor.

13_Paige Carter S2

Amazon http://geni.us/PaigeCarterS2
Nook http://geni.us/BNPaigeCarterS2
iTunes http://geni.us/iPaigeCarterS2
Kobo http://geni.us/kPaigeCarterS2

Season 3

Things are heating up in Manti in Season 3 of Paige Carter.  General Nathan Porter’s national security threat has now become a problem for Paige, her neighbor, and the small town she now calls home. Follow along as she works to stop a terrorist cell, investigates local crimes and struggles to manage her personal life.

14_Paige Carter S3

https://melaniepsmith.com/crime-blog/

 Connect with Melanie

Website http://geni.us/mpsmithpublishing
Amazon Author http://geni.us/melaniepsmith

http://geni.us/MPSFacebook
http://geni.us/MPSTwitter
http://geni.us/MPSmithYouTube
http://geni.us/MPSGoodreads  

I’ve lost count of all those books, but Melanie is certainly a prolific writer and a couple of those are destined for my TBR list.

Thank you so much for being my guest today and a further HUGE thank you from me – Melanie is also in a Facebook group – Independent Author Promotion Group – and there are 17 of us who have joined together to help promote each other. Melanie has designed some stunning graphics for several of the writers. I’m absolutely thrilled with mine and I will be sharing the posts on this blog in the coming weeks.

If you would like a guest spot, either pm me on my Facebook  page

https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

or email me:- lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com

 

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MEET SHIRLEY LEDLIE

My guest this week has another inspiring story to tell. Like so many people we might bump into in our daily lives we have no idea what people have suffered – unless they write a book about it, and Shirley has done just that. Far from being a simple biography, Shirley’s book was suddenly in great demand, but I’ll let her tell you herself.

Billy

I was born in Nottingham, England in 1958 and yes, that means I will reach the big sixty later this year. I’m the author of Naked in the Wind-chemo, hairloss and Deceit plus, two short travelogues.

As far as writing is concerned, I’m a late starter. After moving to France, almost twenty years ago, I had the opportunity to sign a contract with the UK Bella Magazine to write a weekly life-style article. Each week I would write half a page about life in Brittany for an ex-pat family. Our ever-growing family of animals featured in it fairly often; with four dogs, hens, quails, ducks, two cats, a rabbit, guinea-pigs and last but not least a donkey, there was always some escapade to write about! How I loved it! This lasted for a little over a year until a new editor having a clean sweep, swiftly brought my writing career to an abrupt halt.

At this point in my life, I had no idea five years later I would be at the forefront of a Big Pharma scandal and campaign, a co-founder of a global support group and I would write a memoir about it! What a whirlwind ten years it’s been.

So, what exactly have I been campaigning for, the last ten years? Patient Rights.  After being diagnosed with breast cancer, the surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy became my routine for the following ten months. I don’t mind confessing to being a total wimp and if it hadn’t been for my friend dragging me into the car every three weeks I doubt I would have finished my chemo sessions.  Little did I know that the following year I would discover that the new chemo regime had left me with a permanent disfigurement, that wasn’t as rare as I’d been informed.  It wasn’t long before I realised others being treated with the same drug were also not being warned.

SHIRLEY LEDLIE

I’ve always been an ‘all or nothing kind of girl’ and this instantly fell into the ‘all’ category! I threw myself into raising awareness about this little-known side effect often in my own peculiar way,  took on the giants of the pharmaceutical world and co-founded a global support group.

Some of the support group members would despair at some of my wacky antics, but it had become apparent that nice and polite was not going to work. I carried on regardless.

After seven years of living in this surreal world, I finally accepted my disfigurement and the only thing left to do was write a book about my journey. This was supposed to be the grand finale. I could now get on with my new normal life. Wrong. The legal eagles in the US picked up on the story. One morning I checked to see how many books of Naked in the Wind I’d recently sold. There was a large bulk order. Suddenly my memoir was of much interest to several law firms in the US! I instantly found myself being sucked back into the, almost, forgotten world of Big Pharma. The podcast/radio interview requests started to appear in my inbox, articles needed writing and my past fight was discussed all over the internet. I’m still involved as of today, but where it will end I have no idea! I’m just going with the flow and if I can help in any way, I will.

sHIRLEY PILGRIM BOOK

After my first memoir, I wrote two short light-hearted travelogues The Unexpected Pilgrim and Mischief in Manhattan. I didn’t plan beforehand to write about my trip to Israel. After returning home from the spur-of-the-moment visit, I was so spiritually moved I felt compelled to share and I really hoped that readers would be able to put their political beliefs to one side. Some readers have emailed me, thanking me for telling a different story to the one they read about in the tabloids.  I will warn you though; your feet will be aching by the time you read the last page!

The Unexpected Pilgrim: A light-hearted and fast-moving travelogue.

When presented with an opportunity to visit Israel for four days, Shirley decided it was a

chance she could not turn down. It would mean sightseeing on her own – a daunting task for this woman in her mid-fifties with a terrible sense of direction.

She decides to cram as much as possible into her short time there with some amusing and exhausting consequences!

SHIRLEY MANHATEN BOOK

Before leaving for New York City, I’d already planned to write about this sight-seeing trip, so I was well prepared to take notes about everything. We crammed so much into every day; I was worried my poor Fitbit would explode as it clocked up on average 28,000 steps every day.

Mischief in Manhattan:  Five women from England decide to go to New York City for five days, to sightsee and celebrate a 50th birthday. Shirley was invited along to make up the numbers, but how would she get on with the three ladies she didn’t know? Would they all see eye to eye or would there be bickering in the Big Apple? How do fried dumplings, spoons and dress shoes become an issue? With neighbours they hadn’t bargained for and some typical ‘Englishness’ thrown in, this travel memoir is sure to keep you entertained!

What’s next? I have made a start on my first novel and the first in a series of motorhome travels around France, Portugal, and Spain.

Thank you, Lucinda, for inviting me to be a guest author!

Here are the links to Shirley’s books,

Naked in the Wind  https://amzn.to/2EX5TGD

The Unexpected Pilgrim  https://amzn.to/2ErAOer

Mischief in Manhattan  https://amzn.to/2JVTCWP

And thank you, Shirley, for being my guest,  I’m honoured to share your story which will inspire and give hope to many people.

MEET RONESA AVEELA

My guest this week is a prolific writer with a wide range of interests and hails from Bulgaria. She has included lots of facts about her country, so I have included a map to show you where it is. (I wasn’t exactly sure myself). Let me hand over to my guest.

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Ronesa Aveela is a Bulgarian-born freelance artist and writer, who now resides in the U.S. She likes writing mystery romance inspired by legends and tales. In her free time, she paints. Her artistic interests include the female figure, Greek and Thracian mythology, folklore tales, and the natural world interpreted through her eyes. Ronesa is married and has two children.

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Her debut novel, Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey, was inspired by a visit to this out-of-the-way village located on the Black Sea. The wild beauty of this mystical place, a land and its people and history hidden from the world, left a deep impression on her. It inspired her to use her pen and brushes to unveil a story of love and mystery and to depict the wonders of Mystical Emona through her characters, born from the imagination of her personal experience.

Emona opened a new world for her—time turned back thousands of years. She imagined the era when the great Thracians ruled the land when King Rez defended his people and the cape. She imagined the time when the old lighthouse, now so lonely and forgotten, was once alive, and its light illuminated the way for sailors on the stormy Black Sea. She imagined the time when the now-ruined church was alive with generations of people marrying, baptizing their children, and praying to God for good health and luck. She was amazed by the power, independent freedom, and strength of the wild horses galloping like a hurricane along the foothills of the Stara Planina.

This was only the beginning of the rich tales about Bulgaria, a country many only know as the place Dracula sailed from (Varna) if they even know that. Samodivi, woodland nymphs, are fascinating creatures that are prominent in all the novels. You may better know them as Veelas from Harry Potter. Ronesa, however, portrays them with the heart and soul of the reverence and fear Bulgarians have for these wondrous creatures. Even today, many people in remote villages still believe in their existence; and many others believe in them in their heart.

MAP BULGARIA

On a lighter side, here are some fun facts about Bulgaria you may not have known:

The Cyrillic alphabet was invented by two Bulgarian monks. Bulgarians are proud of this fact and get quite annoyed with the rest of the world for attributing the alphabet to Russians.

The first electronic digital computer was invented by a Bulgarian-American. Yup. Those devices we can’t live without today started with John Atanasoff in the 1930s. Although Atanasoff was American-born, his father emigrated to America from Bulgaria.

Bulgarians created yogurt. Truly, they did. Way back in the time of the Thracians. I kid you not. You can find more than three hundred varieties in the country, and many popular dishes are made with yogurt.

Shaking one’s head in Bulgaria means “yes,” while nodding signifies “no.” Think of the nightmares that can cause. I read an article recently by someone traveling in Bulgaria who was approached by a gypsy. When the boy held out his hand for money, the man shook his head. This only encouraged the boy, who smiled eagerly. Believe me. It’s best not to tell a Bulgarian they have this backwards.

Bulgarians are more likely to celebrate their “name day” than their birthday. “Name day? What’s that?” you might ask. Originally, it was a feast day for a particular saint. So, anyone who had the same name, for example, “Maria” or “Mary,” would celebrate on August 15, the Assumption of Mary. Bulgarians have a lot of saints, so there is no shortage of days to celebrate name days. From what I could gather, way, way back, when people didn’t know what day they were born on (yup, I’m talking a long time ago), they took up this custom of celebrating the feast of the saints since they DID know their own names. So why not have a little fun to mark each passing year?

Bagpipes are played by Bulgarians. Nope, it’s not only done in the United Kingdom. The Bulgarian version is called a gaida.

Famous people with Bulgarian association: Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook – his grandfather emigrated from Bulgaria in 1940. Tom Hanks, well-known actor – is married to a Bulgarian. Nina Dobrev, actress on “The Vampire Diaries” (well, maybe you don’t know her, but I like that TV series) – is a Bulgarian.

Those are a few of the things about a country most Americans aren’t really even sure where it can be found. Here’s to hoping you find all this interesting.

Ronesa Aveela Books:

Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey

Light Love Rituals: Bulgarian Myths, Legends, and Folklore

The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village

Baba Treasure Chest series

The Christmas Thief

The Miracle Stork

Born From the Ashes

Mermaid’s Gift

Adult Coloring Books

Mermaids Around the World

More Mermaids Around the World

Cookbook

Mediterranean & Bulgarian Cuisine: 12 Easy Traditional Favorites

Purchase Links:

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Ronesa-Aveela/e/B00N02ZS20/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Ronesa%20Aveela%22

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/aveela

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/ronesa-aveela/id1088547343

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Ronesa%20Aveela&fcsearchfield=Author

Audible: https://www.audible.com/author/Ronesa-Aveela/B00N02ZS20

Social Media Sites:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8459737.Ronesa_Aveela

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/bendideia/boards/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ronesaaveela/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ronesa_Aveela

Facebook pages:

Ronesa Aveela author page: https://www.facebook.com/RonesaAveela/

Ronesa’s Writing Tips: https://www.facebook.com/ronesaswritingtips/

Mystical Emona Bulgarian Myths, Legends, Folklore, and Mythology:

https://www.facebook.com/BulgarianRituals/

Dragon Village Book Series: https://www.facebook.com/dragonvillagebook/

Baba Treasure Chest: https://www.facebook.com/BabaTreasureChest/

All Things Mermaid: https://www.facebook.com/allthingsmermaid2/

Wow! I can only say how impressed I am with Ronesa’s versatility.  And it’s great to learn something new. I’ll remember now where Bulgaria is and that the capital is called Sophia.

Thank you Ronesa for being my guest, that was a lot of fun 🙂

Till next week, take care

Lucinda

MEET T R ROBINSON

I have made many friends through social media but there are two people who stand out as not only talented writers but as unselfish champions of other writers.  One is Sally Cronin and the other is Tanya Robinson.  I’ve read all of Tanya’s books (so I thought) and they take your breath away. Her experiences have been beyond incredible. I would strongly urge you to check them out.

TANYA AVATAR

My sincerest thanks to Lucinda for having taken the time to read and review my memoir series and for this kind feature.

I was born into a very loving family where, for my first few, sadly very few, years I enjoyed the privilege and security of wonderful parents and sisters. However, those idyllic years were to be short-lived and prior to the age of five I was thrown into a very cruel, violent world for which I was not in the least prepared. It all started with my beloved mother’s untimely death. It is not my intention to reiterate information that may be found in the memoir series but to simply try and explain how life has worked out for me and how I have reached the stage of life where I now find myself. Just a quick aside, some may question the fact I can clearly recall events from my earliest years and I mean earliest; from even before I could walk. This is because I have been blessed, though some may consider me cursed, with an amazingly accurate and detailed memory. It has even surprised me at times.

TANYA BOOK 1

Subsequent to my mother’s death I was not at all well. The family doctor as well as the family became concerned about my mental health and consequently, sent me away. That was when my troubles really started. Briefly, in an attempt to escape the inappropriate behaviour of a relative I ended up in the hands of the German Gestapo. World War II was in full swing and my homeland had been occupied. They discovered I was the daughter of a senior resistance leader and, upon the pretense of wanting to know where my father was, tortured me. This was despite me telling them I knew nothing: Father, in an attempt to protect the family, had never told us anything and it was true I knew nothing. However, though I was just a young girl they would not listen. I will not say more here. Subsequent to this, though they had left me for dead, I was eventually reunited with one of my sisters. Again I faced inappropriate behaviour and in an attempt to free myself ended up in a cruel and brutal marriage. The only highlight being the birth of my first son though, due to the violence, I subsequently lost many more children.

TANYA BOOK 2

I eventually escaped that marriage only to face further misuse and trauma from a variety of sources. Many, including my son (with exasperation), have often commented upon how naive and innocent I can be. It is true, despite all that has been done to me and all that has occurred in my life, I want to believe and trust people. I just cannot seem to change nor, if truth be told, do I wish to. I do not want to become a bitter or resentful person though the constant injustice and meanness of society do upset me. 

There, that is a little background to where I come from and who I am. All the cruel events left me feeling ashamed, contaminated and generally unclean. (As I have discovered since, many women who have faced similar domestic violence as I, felt they were responsible though, of course, they were not.) Naturally, I must acknowledge this impacted upon my confidence and made me wary of any human interaction. Nevertheless, I am a determined soul and would not permit myself to be put down or overcome by it all, especially as I had responsibility for my son’s welfare. However, I am a private person and for many years ensured no one ever knew my story. I always limited and curtailed personal discussions. As far as I was concerned the events of my life would cease and die with me. So, considering all this, why have I published the memoir series? Over the years many have confided in me their own life tales and I came to appreciate my experiences and that of many of my ancestors were anything but normal. Should I tell the tale? No! It was too shameful. Too embarrassing.

TANYA BOOK 3

It took many years but eventually, I realized it would be wrong for our stories to be lost. Society really could benefit from knowing the truth; if for no other reason than to hopefully provide help and inspiration for those who have faced, or are facing, similar circumstances. I have been circumspect with content and have intentionally omitted some of the more awful, graphic experiences: I have suffered enough in my own life and have no wish to cause others upset or stress by relating all the horrors. What I have shared I consider sufficient to hopefully help others overcome their own situations. If nothing else, I would like people to know it is possible to escape from even the most constrained existence. Also that it is possible to go on and have a reasonably successful life. I have to admit I am truly surprised I survived and have made to this day. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone!

TANYA BOOK 4

The above may imply my life was always full of brutality, cruelty, and meanness and in truth, much of it has been. Nevertheless, and though indeed I have experienced more than most, there have been lighter, even some fun, moments which I also share in the books.

 I sincerely hope many of you will never have to face what I did and, for those of you who have or are, you will find some solace and help in what I share.

When I researched Tanya’s author page on Amazon, I discovered she had written two more books I wasn’t even aware of. So those are going on my TBR list right now.

Tanya describes herself as an independent author of memoir and biographical fiction, but she is so much more than that. A very courageous and brave woman whose life story simply takes your breath away. I recommend you look up her books on her website.

https://trrobinsonpublications.com  

This is the link to the first book in her memoir series.

And, if you are a writer, Tanya’s blog is full of lots of helpful hints and information, I also recommend that. She writes in such a way that even a techie dummie like me can understand.

Thank you for being my guest this week, Tanya you are just such an amazing person.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

 

MEET ALICIA GIRALT

My guest this week is Alicia Giralt, and reading her story has struck a chord with me and made me feel very humble yet grateful. It reminds me to be thankful for what I have right now. Do, please read to the very end, and you will see exactly what I mean.

Alicia, over to you.

Alicia

I was born in Barcelona, Spain. At twenty, I moved to the United States, where I have lived for almost 40 years. I started writing when I was a child and have continued ever since. In college, I majored in print journalism inspired by Hemingway, who was also a reporter.

I loved working in newspapers but wasn’t thrilled that my Hemingway-esque words would end up lining a bird’s cage.

One of my professors invited me to apply for a scholarship to pursue a master’s in Spanish. He said he was sure I would get it. Taking this course of study had never crossed my mind, but he had planted a seed in my brain. I continued working and studying at the same time. In December 1990, I was pregnant with my third child and ready to graduate. It was a time of economic crisis and I was elated to have three offers from different newspapers. One evening in class I was talking to a friend Bettina about Christmas plans and feeling excited. I’d chosen my new job and was going to start working the day after classes ended. Bettina told me that since her job was being a teaching assistant, she didn’t have to work until the new semester started. Something was wrong with this equation. But I was happy about going to work, five-months pregnant, and leaving my two older sons in daycare.  Bettina did not have to work. Very interesting.

I talked to the professor who had mentioned the scholarship and my future changed forever. I loved reading, so studying literature didn’t feel like work. It was fun. When I was almost done with my studies, I was offered a scholarship to obtain a Ph.D. in modern languages. Was that possible? And how much fun would that be? A lot, I thought, and it was.

With my Ph.D. in hand, I went to a job interview at Weber State University in northern Utah, a place I knew nothing about. The night before the interviews –there were to be several– I strolled around my hotel. The town is in a valley framed by the Salt Lake to the west and the Wasatch mountains to the east. The mountains were covered in snow and the full moon shined on them. It took my breath away. Next morning, I taught an advanced class. To my surprise, one of the students started talking to me in Catalan, my home language. A young man in Northern Utah speaking in Catalan? This had to be a sign.

Nineteen years later, I’m still in awe of the scenery and amazed by the quality of my students. I’m certain the future is in good hands.

This January 1st. I had to resign due to health issues, but I keep in touch with many of my former students and colleagues. There’s always a silver lining: Finally, I have time to write those stories that have been percolating in my brain.

alicia'spoetry book

I’ve published academic articles, a book about Spanish writer Lourdes Ortiz, and a medical Spanish textbook. I’ve also self-published a poetry book in Spanish and a bilingual Spanish-English children’s book and did the illustrations to the former. My poetry has appeared in journals and magazines. I’ve received so many rejection letters that I could wallpaper my whole house–and my neighbor’s. Luckily, I have also received numerous teaching awards, among others, the Higher Education Teacher of-the-Year by the Utah Foreign Language Association, Outstanding Mentor Award, Excellence in Teaching, Secondary Education Award by Southwest Conference on Language Teaching. Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (Best higher education, foreign language professor in the 9-state region), the John A. Lindquist Award for Community Involvement, the Gwen S. William Award of Excellence, and the Lowe Award for Innovative Teaching.

Alicia kids book

In 2005, I traveled to Seoul, South Korea, to present a paper at the World’s Interdisciplinary Congress on Women. On an organized trip to honor Korea’s comfort women, my mother told me she loved me. The only problem was that she had died when I was 15-years old. I felt I had to share this experience with anyone who would listen, but being an academic put a damper on it. My colleagues would no doubt see me in a different light, maybe in a bat-crazy light. So, I only told close relatives and friends. Ten years later, in 2015, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Now, I really had to share my story. I could die soon and my story would die with me.

Alicia's book

After chemo, I went back to work and research, with no time to write my memoir. When my cancer came back a year later, at stage four, I knew I was running out of time to tell my experiences. No more procrastinating. I am convinced of the existence of an afterlife–my mom had shown it to me. Gone was any fear I might have had about dying. In April 2016, my oncologist told me I had a year left, maybe two. I’d better hurry up. I finished my memoir, which should come out in February 2018.

In Blooming out of Darkness: A memoir about cancer, spirits, and joy, my goal is to offer readers a progressive look at spirituality, without dogma or limitations, with only joy. If someone benefits from it, all the work will have been worth it.

You can get Alicia’s children’s book here  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1419667173

This is the link to Alicia’s website. https://aliciagiralt.org/blooming/

Alicia, it has been a privilege to have you as my guest this week, and I hope you have many more days left on this earth. One comforting thought for all writers is that their work will live on long after they have gone.

 

MEET MAE JORDAN & ZKS RAVENWOLF

When I asked people if they would like to be a guest on my blog, I had a response from all kinds of different authors who write in a variety of genres with diverse backgrounds and experiences. The authors this week have told me very little about themselves, but have included an excerpt from their latest book to be released shortly.

Mae Jordan is a connoisseur of Japanese and European history. She has traveled to multiple states and Europe. She loves wandering through realms of fantasy and the unique worlds they take her. She enjoys taking walks and spending time with her dog.

Z.K.S. Ravenwolf was born into a world of fantasy, or at least lived in one. Traveling around the world from a young age has given Ravenwolf the exposure and insight to a variety of cultures and lore as well as a love of learning, exploring, and creating. When not writing, Ravenwolf spends time planning the forever dreamed of homestead, working with the dogs, and, with the aid of a spouse and the family cat, raising a tiny human.DMO_MJZKS_Ecover_WEB_1

Hi, We’re Mae Jordan and Z.K.S. Ravenwolf. Co-authors of the Demons and Deities series, consisting of Demons Among Us and the forthcoming Flowers and Bones. Enjoy scenes with Rosalind MacBeth and Tick Tock the main characters from the forthcoming Flowers and Bones.

February 14th, 2009

Tick Tock knew from experience when Constantine Hywel’s eyes shimmered like open abalone shells in sunlight, there was trouble a foot—trouble meaning he, Tick Tock, would end up in an embarrassing situation. On the other hand, he would follow his boyfriend into the depths of the hells, if need be. So when he got a “come with me” from the other man, he agreed.

Constantine took him to a high-end tailor. On the way, he explained wanted to formally introduce Tick Tock to his family. Tick Tock was uncomfortable with the whole idea. Despite being low-key, the Hywels did have certain expectations and Constantine wanted to make sure he was set to make the right impression.

Tick Tock sighed as the tailor took his measurements. “Are you sure this is necessary? Your family does know me.”

“Yes, but you’re not coming as my hunting partner.” The smile gracing Constantine’s face made his heart flutter. “You’re coming as my boyfriend.” The abalone blue eyes glimmered in the light the other man walked over to him. Constantine leaned over and kissed him gently. “Besides beloved, you are beautiful; I need to show you off.”

Tick Tock was sure his face was as red as his Hunter’s jacket as he tried to remember to breathe. It was warming to think a man who could have anyone he wanted, would want him.

The clothes didn’t take long to make. Tick Tock’s trousers were heather grey with a matching blazer, the shirt was his favorite ruby color in sateen, with the tie done in silver and red roses. He glanced up at Constantine. His heart stopped.

Constantine was in a midnight black suit with a brilliant green shirt. His Mahogany colored hair was held back by a silver and ruby hair clasp. Walking over to him, Constantine bushed his hair back into a tail and securing it with a sliver and emerald clasp. “There you go, beloved. You are now beyond beautiful and are angelic.” In this moment, Tick Tock was sure this man would be the only person he would ever love.

~~~~~~~

Cover Art

May 20th, 2011

Rosalind MacBeth’s last year had been less than good. The move from Japan back to the States had dislocated her sense of belonging. She despised the unwanted move and the expectations of The Society of the United States. There’s a reason Kaasan and Tousan didn’t introduce me, like they did Riley and Eri. She hated the thickness in her throat at seeing her siblings making friends like breathing.

 When Riley’s friends Lexie Wilkes and Emma Rawson invited her to go shopping she jumped at the chance. Anything is better than staring at the wall or having another argument with Kaasan and Tousan. Rosalind did her best not to grab at her braids and fidget with them, it would crush the flowers in the right-side braid.

          Emma, or as she liked to be called M, drove them to the high-end shopping areas of Washington D.C. The longish trip had been full of Lexie and M asking her questions about the new homeschool lessons she was taking and conversations about their older brothers—Bryce, Lexie’s older brother, Robbie, M’s older brother, and Riley.

Once they were parked and out of the car, Lexie and M led her towards one of their favorite stores with a Society section in it. Walking into MM.Lafleur behind Lexie and M, she hid her disquiet behind her mask. The clothes were unlike the ones she wore in Japan. The store apparently had the latest fashions. Lexie flashed a smile and held up… trousers in denim and a bright shiny shirt. M came up with a pair of boots that didn’t look too bad.

“Here, try these on.” Lexie led her to a changing room. M’s lips were twitching.

“I’m not sure about the shirt…” Rosalind trailed off at the pout on Lexie’s face while M laughed. She sighed. “Fine, I will try it on, but I would prefer a kimono-style shirt.” Turning, she entered the changing room. The trousers and boots were comfortable enough, but the shirt was too… tawdry for her taste. She did show Lexie and M, who both grinned at her.

M had apparently, gotten more clothes for her to try on. A plain button down in a sapphire blue and a quilted style jacket, she accepted the shirt and jacket. These were far more comfortable and something she could live with. Lexie picked some more clothes for her to try on, this time dresses. Rosalind tilted her head. One of them had kimono-style sleeves and was the color pale pink of sakura. She nodded and turned back into the changing room. The dress was flowy and would work for any Society garden party or tea. I still prefer cotton yukatas but this and the other outfit will work. The other dresses weren’t to her tastes.

When M and Lexie were finally done shoving clothes at her and she paid for her choices, M drove them back to her family’s estate for what they called a sleepover. It’s nice to pretend once in awhile I do fit in. Rosalind watched the other two teens sleep for a little bit with a tiny smile before settling down to sleep herself.

You can find us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/authormaejordan/ or here: https://www.facebook.com/ZKSRavenwolf/ , or on our website here: https://daannamae.wixsite.com/ravenwolf-jordan  or buy our book here: http://books2read.com/ravenwolfjordan .

Thank you, Mae and ZKS for being my guests this week..

 

MEET PAUL SPADONI

My guest this week is an American with Italian roots, and he’s no lightweight in the writing department. For example:-  He was named Washington Journalism Teacher of the Year in 1986, Distinguished Adviser in 1996 and Vocational Teacher of the Year in 2000. He supervised student newspapers, yearbooks and literary magazines that earned more than one hundred state and national awards. He also writes a popular blog, Living (with) Abroad in Tuscany, and is a speaker and author on the topics of Italian living and genealogy. He graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in editorial journalism and Western Washington University with an MA in education.

I’ll hide here quietly in the corner while Paul tells us more.

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I never meant to be an illegal alien, but I couldn’t help myself. I grew up in America proud of my Italian heritage, and I had always thought that living in Italy for a year would give me a greater appreciation for what my grandparents had left behind in order to give their children a chance for a better life. However, I had tried unsuccessfully for several years to find conventional employment in Italy, so when I received a job offer with cash payments, no visa requirements and no work permit, I jumped on it like a man who had just downed a quadruple espresso. Never mind that I spoke little Italian and would have to haul my wife and two reluctant teenage daughters with me. I had to indulge this compulsion.

Actually, my wife needed no persuasion. She not only carried her own load but also stood behind me, pushing when I felt hesitant. The daughters were not so eager, believing that high school years are the best times of one’s life, and I’d be forcing them to miss a precious one-fourth of this paradise. They begged us to let them stay behind with friends, but we knew better. Were we right? We had little idea, but we’d soon find out. And I could tell you how the story ended, but that would spoil the suspense.

After our year abroad, Lucy and I continued to travel to Italy regularly for short trips, and when I retired from teaching in 2010, we started going to Italy for three months every year. It was then that I started an online blog about our experiences.
All of this led to the publishing of a memoir this year, ‟An American Family in Italy: Living la dolce vita without permission.

PAUL S'S BOOK

Through a series of follow-up visits, I gradually undertook the challenge of trying to understand both modern Italy and the old country of my ancestors. With little formal training in the methods of genealogy and a slowly developing knowledge of Italian, I stumbled my way into discovering my family’s roots back to the 13th century. My struggles to obtain my permesso di soggiorno, codice fiscale and Italian citizenship and passport provide amusing examples of the best and worst ways to work with the Italian bureaucracy.

Now we live in Italy about four months a year and in America the rest of the time. We have homes in both places, and it works out just perfectly. We usually live in Italy in late winter and early spring, and then again for about a month in the fall. paul s

This takes advantage of the moderate weather in Italy during these seasons, and then the beautiful summers of the Pacific Northwest.

Our immediate family is in the States, and that’s a strong draw to be there for the greater part of the year, and especially during the winter holidays. After a few months in one country, we start yearning for the other again, so going back and forth leaves us always with something fun to look forward to.

In October of 2015, I became the proud owner of a home in Tuscany, in the city where my grandparents met and were married.

For more information about my ongoing adventures in Italy, here are links to my blog and personal websites:
https://livingwithabroadintuscany.blogspot.com/
https://www.paulspadoni.com/

Thank you, Paul, I know a lot of readers love learning about people moving to live in different countries and I’m sure your story will be of great interest to them. Thank you for being my guest this week the second person to fall in love with Italy and move there.

Until next time, take care.