Tag Archives: blog

1969 by Sea Gudinski Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman searching for a way out of her current life finds herself experiencing a historic moment in time in author Sea Gudinski’s “1969”.

The Synopsis

Take a trip down the rabbit hole without ever leaving the comfort of your living room…This is a novel in which history meets science fiction and psychedelics meet spirituality through a seamless blend of fact and fantasy. 1969: A Brief and Beautiful Trip Back is one girl’s account of her fantastic and unique experience of the hippie counterculture and how it changed her and those around her for the rest of their lives. From a run-of-the-mill existence in the ultra-conservative town of Fresno, California, formerly naïve teenager and rock devotee Rhiannon Karlson takes the trip of a lifetime after a drug dealer sells her a particularly potent and mysterious substance, sparking her unparalleled journey of soul-searching, consciousness-expansion, and unyielding search for the Truth. The rest, you may say, is history.

The Review

This was a beautiful and well written story that really did an amazing take on the historical fiction genre. The story does a great job of capturing the era of the period, both the highs and the lows.

The cast of characters really stole the show with fully fleshed out storylines and histories that made them come alive off the page. The protagonist goes on a fully realized journey of growth and understanding that many readers will recognize as a journey they themselves took. It’s a wonderfully relatable story for a historical fiction novel.

The Verdict

An engaging, lengthy yet powerful story, author Sea Gudinski’s “1969” is a must read book that speaks to the heart and spirit of the era. A brilliant historical fiction, this is the perfect book for fans of rock music, historical moments of the past century and emotional storytelling with relatable and powerful characters. Be sure to grab your copy of this book today.

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Sea Gudinski is a life-long native of the small town of Holmdel, New Jersey. She has written prolifically since the age of ten, producing six novels and one collection of poetry. 1969: A Brief and Beautiful Trip Back is her first published work. She is an avid reader and a lover of all things historical. With a wide breadth of knowledge and an unquenchable desire to learn she has delved into several eras in recent history with the hope of shedding some light on the issues faced in today’s world. Her works are a delightful marriage of fact and fiction, peopled with vibrant characters, each with a unique and meaningful story to tell. She writes with depth and passion in the hope that her work will inspire others the way other literary works have inspired her.Sea graduated Holmdel High School with high honors; however, she chose not to go to college and manages her family business instead. When she is not writing, she enjoys listening to old radio programs and live music and playing gin rummy.

The Colors of Me by Maya and Jello Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

It is a true honor to share with you all a rare treat, a review of an outstanding audiobook from Maya and Jello of the book of poetry, “The Colors of Me”. 

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The Synopsis

A Collection of Poems Welcome to The Colors of Me, a collection of poems based on inspirations gained from my life experiences. Read and enjoy. Then read again. Read and share the experience with your friends and loved ones. It is a journey you will not soon forget.

The Review

Beautifully narrated, the poems are written and read with conviction and heart, telling a story of growth, empowerment and hope. While some of the poetry does stem into some religious paths (something that is not my strong suit), the overall tone and power for which the poems were delivered made this a must listen/read book.

Themes of self-worth, the beauty of the world and finding hope in seemingly hopeless situations all play a role in the poetry of the author. The audiobook elicits great emotion and warmth within the reader/listener, giving the audience a voice to the emotions the author hoped to stir in them. 

The Verdict

A beautifully read, well narrated and incredibly written book of poetry, Maya and Jello’s “The Colors of Me” is a must listen audiobook everyone should hear for themselves. In an age when audiobooks are becoming more and more prevalent, this is a prime example of the beauty and emotion that this format can bring out in the wonderful words written by the author. Be sure to grab your own copies today!

Rating: 8/10

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Audiobook Blog Tour: The Colors of Me by Maya and Jello

Author: Maya and Jello

Narrator: Maya and Jello

Length: 53 minutes

Publisher: M&J Literary Works Inc.

Released: Jan. 28, 2020

Genre: Poetry

A collection of poems. The critics are raving four/four stars. The Colors of Me is a collection of beautiful poems. The author’s creativity is amazing. It’s bold, sexy, spiritual, yet intriguing. Welcome to The Colors of Me. Each poem was written based on inspirations gained from my life experiences. Listen and enjoy. Then listen again. Listen and share the experience with your friends and loved ones. It is a journey you will not soon forget.
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the Colors of Me is available for review from the Adopt-An-Audiobook program! Click here to claim your copy.
  Maya and Jello was born and raised on the beautiful island of Trinidad, the sister island of Tobago in the West Indies. She migrated to the United States as a young teenager. Her main objective was to obtain a great education in the hopes of affording a better life for herself, her family, and to be a blessing to those around her. This quest led her to attain a Doctorate in medicine. But she never let go of her passion for writing poetry. Her works have been published in various school publications under various pen names. During medical school she wrote a segment in the College newspaper under the pen name Sparkie. The poems in this collection were written over a span of 30 years. She hopes that you enjoy reading them, as much as she enjoyed writing them for you.   I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Maya and Jello. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. Guest Post
Maya and Jello on why readers who love poetry will appreciate this the Colors of Me
If you possess a true appreciation for the art of poetry whether it be pros, verse, lines, or sonnets. Whatever format, whatever flavor. There is something in The Colors of Me written just for you. Each poem embodies the entirety of and experience. And all of the experiences are different. The poems are designed to open up like a flower in bloom and then if needs be fall apart petal by petal. It is in this that I’m able to take the hand of the listener and lead them down a path; meandering through the darkened corners of emotions that we so often hide. Each poem is chock-full of imagery. Who doesn’t have that Mother or Grandmother, Teacher or Preacher who made such a difference in their lives? Who hasn’t experience the wind being knocked out of their sails by betrayal or a lost love? If you’ve ever felt something, ….anything. Then you’ll certainly appreciate The Colors of Me. A good poet can make you cry but I pride myself in making you laugh, and moreover at yourself. The heartfelt romantic pieces are a melee of unbridled emotion. They would ignite the passions in your soul and rekindle what you have, take you back to a time or make you long for that perfect love. You’ll rise to the triumphs and sink in the squalor of inexplicable pain. But just as you think you are about to break, you’ll hear a poem, a message, seemingly straight from the heart of God himself that would lift your spirits, that would mend your heart. It would rekindle your passion for life and living. You’d feel empowered to dust yourself off and rise to the occasion. You’ll gain the strength to embrace your past and forge forward to bigger and better things. And who knows, with faith in your left pocket and hope in your right, you may even venture to love again.

Unstoppable– Koryn Hawthorne

It’s The God in Me– Mary Mary

Closer– Marvin Sapp

Not Lucky I’m Loved– Jonathan Reynolds

The Nearness of You– Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

One Look In Your Eyes– Luther Vandross

A Song for You– Donny Hathaway

That’s Life– Frank Sinatra

Keep Your Head Up– 2Pac

Mar. 22nd: Iron Canuck Reviews and More Willow Writes and Reads Books, Tea, Healthy Me Mar. 23rd: A Wonderful World of Words 4 the Love of Audiobooks Mar. 24th: Nesie’s Place Just Books 2 Girls & A Book Mar. 25th: Author Anthony Avina’s Blog Audiobook News Mar. 26th: Divas With A Purpose Super Booked! Mar. 27th: Jazzy Book Reviews Locks, Hooks and Books Mar. 28th: Sometimes Leelynn Reads Eileen Troemel

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Sign up as a tour host here.

Interview with Author Linda Rosen

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

As a child in school, I loved creative writing and even remember some of my compositions. Then, during my junior year of college, I considered changing my major from Elementary Education to Journalism, though I would have had to stay in school longer to fulfill requirements and I was not about to dothat. So, I became a teacher like many women of my era. During my short stint in the classroom, creative writing was, again, my favorite subject though now I was teaching it. My students enjoyed the odd topics I gave them to write about, my favorite being to pretend they were a door knob and write how it felt having hands grabbing them constantly. After only two years, I left the profession and started my own fitness business. I did do some writing, penning fitness articles for local magazines and newspapers, both in print and on-line. I never even considered writing fiction, though, as an avid reader, I always said I wished I could write a novel. And then, as I was nearing my sixtieth birthday, my creative side begged for more. Choreographing aerobic dance routines, needlework, and gardening weren’t enough. I started playing around with photography and while looking for a class to improve my picture taking, I discovered a writers workshop in a nearby town. That was it! I signed up and since then my fingers have been flying across the keyboardcreating stories.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I was sitting on a beach in Hilton Head Island with my sister-in-law and another friend. Roni, my sister-in-law, whose middle name is Carolyn (hence my protagonist’s name) was telling us the story of what happened while she was preparing to sell her mother’s home, the home where she had grown up. There was a painting that had hung on the living room wall practically her entire life and though Roni didn’t have an empty spot to hang it in her own home, and no one else in the family wanted the portrait, tossing or selling it in an estate sale was not an option. She came up with an idea and Googled the artist, found her living in San Francisco and decided to return the painting to her. Hearing that, I turned to my friend, Ingrid, who was relaxing on a sand chair next to me. We locked eyes. Mine were wide-open. Ingrid said, “What a great idea for a story.” I nodded and my mind took off in all sorts of directions. And, Disharmony was born!

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope readers will contemplate the true meaning of family. Each will have their own opinion, though I’d love them to consider that “family” is more than blood.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Writing upmarket women’s fiction was not a conscious decision. I gravitate to that genre – to novels that are layered and where the focus is on the main character’s emotional journey. I enjoy reading those kinds of stories, therefore that’s what I write.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

When writing the novel, it took me a long time to decide how it was going to end. Ultimately, it was Carolyn, the protagonist, who led me to the words on the last page. I know that sounds strange, yet it is true. Her voice was strong and I had been wavering with what she was going to do with the secret she had uncovered. Although I am the writer, I would like to sit down with Carolyn and discuss her reasons, weigh the pros and cons, and ask her if she is really satisfied with the decision she made.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

The Disharmony of Silence just came out on March 5, so it’s too early to judge. If I were to guess, I’d say, at this point, Facebook. Between my author page and several groups I’m part of, especially The 2020 Debuts which is made up of over one hundred debut authors with wonderful novels coming out this year, I believe my readership has grown. 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Don’t give up! Hone your craft, keep writing, revise, revise, revise – keep your dream alive.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Presently, I am writing a novel set on a hillside vineyard in the Hudson River Valley in the 1960s. It is upmarket women’s fiction, populated by a sisterhood of women, each who grows in her own way, as they break in to the all-male fraternity of wine makers. I’m having a great time developing the characters, both male and female, with all their strengths and weaknesses, conflicts and struggles plus, I’m learning how to make wine!

Book Summary

In her desperate quest for family, Carolyn Lee is determined, against all advice, to reveal the shocking eighty-four-year-old secret she uncovered…until she realizes that “family” means more than blood.

In 1915, jealous, bitter Rebecca Roth cuts all ties with her life-long friends, the Pearls. Eight years later, Rebecca’s son and young Lena Pearl begin keeping company in secret. Rebecca agrees to a truce when the couple marries. But the truce is fragile. Rebecca’s resentments run deep.

In 2010, Carolyn Lee, fitness instructor and amateur photographer, must come to grips with the fact that her mother’s imminent death will leave her alone in the world. While preparing her childhood home for sale, she realizes for the first time that her mother’s antique brooch is identical to the one pinned to the lady’s dress in the painting hanging above the fireplace. Coincidence or connection? Carolyn is determined to find out. What she discovers has the potential to tear lives apart or to bring her the closeness and comfort she longs for. It all depends on how she handles her newfound knowledge.

Print Length:

Genre: Women’s Upmarket Fiction

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

ISBN-10: 1684334306

ISBN-13: 9781684334308


The Disharmony of Silence is now available to purchase at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. 

Praise for The Disharmony of Silence

“Linda Rosen spins an intriguing tale of long-held family secrets, an emotional search for identity, and a painting that may just be the key to untangling the complicated past. The bittersweet mystery kept me reading rapidly until the last page!” —Kristin Harmel, bestselling author of The Winemaker’s Wife

Rosen paints a vivid picture of a family torn apart then shows us what true family means. – Pamela Taylor, author of the Second Son Chronicles

A wonderful novelist . . . Ms. Rosen’s writing is both tender and inspiring. The Disharmony of Silence unfolds with emotional and wise insights. – Bunny Shulman, author of After Aida

“A family torn apart by jealousy and reunited by love is devastated again when tragedy strikes. A poignant and moving debut novel about the fragility of life, the power of love, and the cost of keeping a secret.” Gina Sorell author of Mothers and Other Strangers

About the Author, Linda Rosen

Linda Rosen, fitness professional turned writer, lives with her husband splitting their time between New Jersey and Florida. She was a contributor to Women in the Literary Landscape: A WNBA Centennial Publication for the Women’s National Book Association and has had stories published in Foliate Oak and Crack the Spine, both in their online magazine and print anthology. Follow her at www.linda-rosen.com

Blog Tour Dates

March 2nd @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us as we celebrate the launch of Linda’s blog tour The Disharmony of Silence. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book too!

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

March 4th @ A Writer’s Life

How much does setting matter in a novel? Author Linda Rosen talks about this very subject over at Caroline’s blog today. You can also enter to win a copy of her book The Disharmony of Silence.

http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/

March 6th @ 12 Books

Make sure you visit Louise’s blog and read her review of Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence. You can also enter to win a copy of the book as well!

http://www.12books.co.uk/

March 7th @ Lori Duff Writes

Be sure to stop by Lori’s blog today and you can read her review of Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

https://www.loriduffwrites.com/blog/

March 8th @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today and you can read a review written by her daughter Carmen about Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence. Don’t miss it!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

March 10th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Make sure you visit Anthony’s blog today where you can read his interview with author Linda Rosen.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

March 11th @ A Storybook World

Blogger Deirdra Eden spotlights Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

March 13th @ Lori’s Reading Corner

Stop by Lori’s blog today and you can read a fitness inspiring post by author Linda Rosen! She shares some tips about strength training while reading audiobooks. You can also enter to win a copy of Linda’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

http://www.lorisreadingcorner.com/

March 14th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Stop by Linda’s blog today and you can read her interview with author Linda Rosen. Don’t miss it!

http://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

March 15th @ Choices

Make sure you stop by Madeline Sharples’ blog today and read Linda Rosen’s blog post about inspiring your creative self by getting outdoors. Don’t miss it!

http://madelinesharples.com/

March 16th @ Reviews and Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog where she interviews author Linda Rosen about her book The Disharmony of Silence.

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

March 17th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and join Lacey over at her blog today. She reviews Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

March 18th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again today and read his review of Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence. Don’t miss it!

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

March 19th @ AJ Sefton’s Blog

Make sure you visit author AJ Sefton’s blog today and read a review of Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

https://www.ajsefton.com/book-reviews

March 20th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Looking for a new book to add to your reading list? Make sure you visit Bev’s blog today and read her review of “The Disharmony of Silence.” You’ll want to add it to your list!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

March 21st @ Bookworm Blog

Visit Anjanette’s blog today and you can read her review of Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

March 22nd @ 12 Books

Are you part of a book club? Author Linda Rosen shares fun activities you can do for your book club. Don’t miss this fun, inspiring post!

http://www.12books.co.uk/

March 23rd @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Make sure you visit Cassandra’s blog today and read her review of Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

March 25th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

What do you do if you are writing about a made-up setting? Make sure you visit Bev’s blog today and you can read Linda Rosen’s guest post where she shares her advice.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

March 26th @ Lady in Read Writes

Stop by Vidya’s blog today and you can read her review of Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

https://ladyinreadwrites.com/

March 27th @ Jessica Belmont’s Blog

Over at Jessica’s blog today, you won’t want to miss her review of Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence. You can also enter to win a copy of the book as well!

https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

March 28th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog again today and you can read her interview with author Linda Rosen.

https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

March 30th @ It’s Alanna Jean

What does your writing space look like? Author Linda Rosen shares her tips for setting up your writing space over at Alanna Jean’s blog. 

http://itsalannajean.com/

April 3rd @ Joyful Antidotes

Make sure you stop by Joy’s blog today where she reviews Linda Rosen’s book The Disharmony of Silence.

https://joyfulantidotes.com/


April 5th @ Teatime and Books

How much do you love revising? Does it spark joy? Linda Rosen shares her thoughts on the joy of revising over at the blog Tea Time and Books. 

http://teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com/

Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction by Sarah Dickinson

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A couple tells their story of love and addiction through passionate love letters in author Sarah Dickinson’s “Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction”.

The Synopsis

Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction takes an intimate and raw look at the current face of addiction and recovery. Talking about the current opioid epidemic, we follow a young couple while one of them goes through the recovery process. Told through letters, we get an understanding of their relationship as it struggles through his addiction and resulting recovery. From detox, rehab, sober living and the 12 steps of A.A, you get a raw and honest look at the effects of addiction and how they affect relationships.

AUTHOR NOTE: There is explicit and graphic content.

The Review

A wonderfully written book, the author has done a marvelous job of creating a realistic and emotional story of love, addiction and the pain that comes with it.

The story really does a fantastic job of showcasing the painful reality of both sides of addiction, from the addicts struggle to overcome the addiction to the loved ones who must struggle to support their loved ones and the hope they must hold that they will overcome their need.

The Verdict

A powerful story and evenly paced novel, this book is a must read fiction of a very real problem in our world. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

Print Length: 380 Pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Independently Published

ISBN-13: 978-1717868947

ISBN-10: 1717868940

Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction is now available to purchase at Amazon.com.

About the Author, Sarah Dickinson

Sarah Dickinson is a lifelong resident in beautiful upstate New York. Mother of two amazing daughters and three equally awesome rescue dogs, she is the author of Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction. She currently attends college and is in the midst of switching careers. When she isn’t doing it all, she reads comic books, blogs, and takes weekend getaways.

You can find the author online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Silver-Spoons-Ones-Journey-Through-Addiction-916257075228829/

Blog: https://wordpress.com/stats/day/sarahvdickinson.art.blog 

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

Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19325669.Sarah_Dickinson

— Blog Tour Dates

January 27th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Visit our blog today and you can read an interview with the author of Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction and also enter to win a copy of the book!

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

January 28th @ 12 Books

Stop by Louise’s blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

www.12books.co.uk

January 29th @ Joyful Antidotes

Make sure you visit Joy’s blog today and read her review of the book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://www.joyfulantidotes.com

January 30th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog again where you can review Sarah Dickinson’s guest post about 5 reasons why you should consider a change in lifestyle.

www.12books.co.uk

February 1st @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Make sure you visit Anthony’s blog today where he shares a spotlight of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 2nd @ A Storybook World

Deirdra will be highlighting Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction with a spotlight post.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

February 3rd @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and read Sarah Dickinson’s guest post about 5 reasons to consider a change in your relationships.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

February 4th @ Coffee with Lacey

Join Lacey over at her blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

February 10th @ To Write or Not to Write

Visit Varsha’s blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com/

February 10th @ StoreyBook Reviews

Make sure to visit Leslie’s blog today and check out an excerpt of the book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://storeybookreviews.com/

February 12th @ The Faerie Review

Visit Lily’s blog today and read her review of the powerful book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

http://www.thefaeriereview.com/

February 13th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read a guest post by author Sarah Dickinson. Make sure you check out her easy self-care tips to add to your daily routine.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 14th @ Jessica Belmont’s Blog

Visit Jessica’s blog today and you can read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

February 16th @ And So She Thinks

Make sure you visit Francesca’s blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction. You can also read an interview with the author!

https://andsoshethinks.wordpress.com/

February 18th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog and you can read Sarah Dickinson’s guest post about how to be self-aware in your writing.

http://madelinesharples.com/

February 19th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Make sure you visit Alanna’s blog and read a guest post by Sarah Dickinson called, “5 Reasons to Consider a Change in Career.”

http://ItsAlannaJean.wordpress.com

February 20th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read her review of the book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction by Sarah Dickinson. Also, win a copy for yourself too!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

February 21st @ The  Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read Sarah Dickinson’s guest post about how to raise a confident (but not arrogant) child.

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

February 23rd @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Stop by Anthony’s blog and you can read his review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction. 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 24th @ Armed with a Book

Visit Kriti’s blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://www.armedwithabook.com/

February 25th @ Armed with a Book

Make sure you visit Kriti’s blog again when she interviews the author Sarah Dickinson.

https://www.armedwithabook.com/

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A small-town woman takes a chance and finds adventure and possibly herself in Paris in author Rebecca Raisin’s novel “The Little Bookshop on the Seine”. 

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The Synopsis

Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris? Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Picturing days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and people-watching on the Champs-Elysees Sarah boards the plane. But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

The Review

A charming and inviting story for any book lover and reader out there, author Rebecca Raisin has created a beautiful story that immediately brings the reader deeper and deeper into the narrative. The characters are relatable and the author does a marvelous job of showcasing a steady evolution of the protagonist throughout the story as Sarah attempts to find her voice and who she truly is along the way. 

What really stands out however is the imagery used throughout the novel. The city of Paris has never felt more alive, from the iconic landmark of the Eifel Tower to the steps of Notre Dame and beyond. It is a well written and eloquently told story that readers will not be able to put down. 

The Verdict

A must read women’s fiction and holiday romance tale, author Rebecca Raisin’s “The Little Bookshop on the Seine” is a phenomenal read that is evenly paced and engaging throughout the entirety of the narrative. If you haven’t yet, grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Rebecca Raisin is the author of several novels, including the beloved Little Paris series and the Gingerbread Café trilogy, and her short stories have been published in various anthologies and fiction magazines. You can follow Rebecca on Facebook, and at www.rebeccaraisin.com

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target 

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @JaxandWillsMum

Facebook: @RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Instagram: @RebeccaRaisinWrites

Goodreads

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Q&A with Rebecca Raisin

Q: Have you ever been to Paris?  If so, what are some of your favorite Parisian things?

A: I’ve been lucky enough to go Paris four times and do a bit of exploring for the books. It’s my favourite city in the world and if I could up and move I’d do it! I love the bookshops of Paris, particularly the secondhand shops that are dusty and musty and disorderly. You never know what you’ll find and that makes it magical. If you’re in Paris find the Abbey Bookshop, it’s full to bursting with English books and it’s a treasure trove if you have time to hunt! I also love French food – who doesn’t?! My favourite place to eat is the Christian Constant bistros. He has one for every budget and they’re all glorious. If you splurge once, I highly recommend it’s there. 

The Ritz is also a must-see, from Bar Hemingway to Salon Proust, it’s an experience like no other walking in the footsteps of those literary greats. Buly 1803 is the most beautiful perfume shop in all the world, it’s like stepping back in time. My favourite is the rose oil… ooh la la. And holding a special place in my heart is Point Zero Paris, the exact centre of the city and a place where magic happens – you’ll have to read the book to find out more…

Q: What authors were/are a huge influence on you as you began writing?  Or Now?

A: I have always loved Maeve Binchy and Joanne Harris and the style in which they write. I love Maeve’s ability to write everyday relatable characters, and I love Joanne’s sense of whimsy. I love writing foodie books set in exotic locations and I think I probably fell in love with France through Joanne’s books, they managed to transport me fully and I must’ve reread them a hundred times by now. 

Q: What’s some of your favorite novels? What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

A: I loved Me Before You. I cried ugly, ugly tears at that. I must be a sucker for punishment because my all time favourite is The Fault in Our Stars. And also Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance. Three books that you need to read in the privacy of your own home with some cucumber slices to apply after for puffy eyes! I’m currently reading the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley, so a nice change of pace from sobbing my heart out. I love how different each sister is and how you still find common ground with them. 

Q: What inspired you to write your The Little Bookshop on the Siene?

A: My love of Paris and its bookshops! And truthfully, I wangled the family there so I could do some ‘research’ which included eating my body weight in macarons and walking until I couldn’t feel my feet anymore and feeling that I was a little bit French on the inside if only the locals could see that! 

Q: What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

A: I hope you do something reckless, something that scares you, jump out of that comfort zone and do that thing you’ve always dreamed of! What’s stopping you – fear, money, work, life? You can make it happen if only you take the plunge! Open yourself to new experiences and people and don’t take the taxi, walk until your feet are numb and find those lost laneways and hidden alleys and see what you find! 

Q: What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I love love, but Little Bookshop is also about another kind of love, the love of a place, or a feeling…writing this genre leaves it open to interpretation and anything goes as long you tie it all up at the end in a satisfying way! 

Q: If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

A: I’d sit down with bookworm Sarah and ask her what she really thought of Luiz… I am still conflicted about that thread and what I could have done but didn’t!

Q: What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

A: They’ve all been good in different ways but I’d say Facebook is my favourite. I have a great group of people who follow me there and really interact. It’s a nice place to stop and chat and they’re all really lovely. Instagram is good too. I love how creative book bloggers are with their photos, they’re very inspiring to me. 

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

A: I’ve said this before and it’s really this simple. Write every day. I think it was Stephen King who said writing is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets and it’s true! Carve out a time and stick to it. 

Q: What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

A: I’m currently editing Aria’s Travelling Bookshop, which is about a Van Lifer who sells her wares as she explores France! (Are you detecting a pattern here!?) It’s the follow up to Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop, which was released last March. Both books are about a different way of living, about having less but gaining more as you go. I’ve loved writing Rosie and Aria! 

Interview with Author Joshua Stelling

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?  

The world needs storytellers.  It’s no exaggeration that we live in strange times, and the direction we take matters, for so many generations after us.  Sci-fi authors are daydreamers, wondering what comes next.  If we take this path, or another, do we choke or thrive, enslaved to the machine or learning to swim?  At Arch & Gravity Publishing we don’t believe in macguffins.  If there’s a doomsday device in our book, it has a function, a purpose and a theory.  And there is a real chance it might go off.  If there’s science, we’re not going to dumb it down for you.  And where there’s a story, there’s a reason why.  I published my first work in the elementary school library in first grade, about a giant frog keeping people as pets, and I’ve been fascinated by character, plot, drama, science and philosophy all my life.  We desperately need storytellers, characters and paradigms that might shine a light for our times.  If I can be a part of that tradition, it would be no less than a dream fulfilled.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?  

Halcyon is a city in Spain, in the future, run by psychic computers.  Basically it’s a utopian vision, fifty years off, in a post-economic world where the laws have been stripped to rights, people don’t need to work and are free to do what they want.  The Genex are genetically extended.  Some have wings.  Exploring the lives of the ensemble cast, we get a city in the throes of climate change, a love triangle stronger than death, competitive laser duels, and a mute who may defy time, among other things.  Genex of Halcyon is the first publication by Arch & Gravity, Denver’s new voice in science fiction.  I suppose, in short, I am inspired by the hole I see in the world, where these ideas could belong.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?  

Nothing we do is going to be ordinary, no story we print is going to be safe.  That’s our promise to the reader.  Genex of Halcyon is about the wildly different world that could be right around the corner, as we potentially come of age technologically.  It’s about science fiction that isn’t afraid to push boundaries and expect something of its readers.  Mostly of course it’s a love story, but it’s really all about the characters, the choices they make, and those they choose to forsake.  I hope readers come away from Genex of Halcyon, thoughtful and imaginative, with something new and unique on their minds.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?  

I’ve been a fan of science fiction and poetry for as long as I can remember.  I revere creativity and intelligence, and am very curious about the future.  I’ve been influenced by Wells, Gaiman, Stephenson, LeGuin, Vandermeer, Burgess, Huxley and Bradbury, but there’s no denying some Thoreau in there, even Shakespeare, and definitely Neruda and Coelho.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?  

Azad, Harmony’s brother, the mute.  I would just ask him, “What are you thinking?”

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?  

Arch & Gravity has a following on Facebook that is about 4k strong, as of this writing.  Look us up and join the conversation!  We’re also active on Instagram, and I’m in the process of starting a WordPress blog for reviews and announcements as well.  www.ArchandGravity.com is a great hub for exploring what we’re doing.

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7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?  

Take your time, but keep going.  My spirit animal, depending on the day, is either a wolf or a tortoise.  Self Reliance and Perseverance.  These will get you there.  And don’t be afraid to write the story you really have to tell.  The world needs characters, drama and real imagination far more than we need another successful, formulaic series, imho.  It’s going to be hard, but any story that is not even a little dangerous to the teller, probably isn’t worth the time.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?  

I’m currently hard at work on my next novel, about a young Korean girl with a katana and a connection to an ancient force, as well as an epic, years in the making, detailing a far future on a distant planet, where the star’s radiation brings out latent psychic powers in the castaway colonists, where their dreams come to life around them, as with their nightmares.  Beyond this I have two short collaborations in the works with a Denver production company, and a board game soon to hit Kickstarter.  Look for Quin, which you might think of as a hybrid between Chess and Stratego, loosely based on principles of Optics and Quantum Mechanics, to go live on Kickstarter sometime this fall, published by Arch & Gravity.

About the Author

Joshua Stelling is a poet and music lover who has spent a lot of his time running record stores around Denver, building his own art on the side. In time, the stories inside the man have boiled over, becoming worlds, and his pages turned into books. Combining hard sci-fi and adult fiction with a fluent love of metaphor and poetry, his work will challenge you but leave you wanting more.

www.ArchandGravity.com

Interview with Author Abby Ross

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I have always loved writing. When I was a child, I wrote poems, short stories, songs – pretty much anything. I never thought, however, I would write a book. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in broadcast journalism, I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas to work as a bilingual television news reporter for the CBS affiliate. That job began a six-year-long news reporting career. I lived in Davenport, Iowa, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City, working for local news affiliates. To be honest, when I began that career, I was most excited about being on television. I quickly learned, however, that writing my story every day was my favorite part of the job. I also enjoyed getting out into the communities and interviewing people who had lives and stories that were so different from my own. 

After a while, I wanted a change. So, I moved to New York City and transitioned into public relations. I started working as the Communications Director for a New York State Senator. I then moved to a public relations firm. Once again, my favorite part about the job was writing blog posts, press releases, bylines and pitches. I also enjoyed digging for story ideas – interviewing my clients to uncover interesting stories that deserved to be shared with the world. In 2013, my husband and I were expecting our first son, so we moved to Chicago to be closer to my family. I also landed a job as the Media Relations Manager for a cyber security company. Ever since, I have not looked back. Cyber security is now my specialty, although I have transitioned into a marketing leadership role. My favorite part about marketing is writing. I write bylines, blog posts, client-decks, value propositions, website content, sales enablement materials, mission statements, client emails – pretty much anything that is public or internal-facing. 

“The Poop Diaries” started as a side project. I had a couple hours to myself every Sunday, and wanted to make the most of them. I always believed in the concept of the book, however I never expected to be where I am today! I am so grateful the ten plumbers in the book, and my publisher – Black Rose Writing – took a chance on a first-time author. I hope they are as proud of the book as I am. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

A clogged toilet. I realize it sounds strange, but it is true. My toilet clogged on a Wednesday evening. I could not sleep knowing my toilet wasn’t working so I called a plumber, Jon. He fixed the toilet within an hour, however he did not seem in a hurry to leave. He also had an energetic, tell-it-like-it-is personality, which I always appreciate. I asked Jon to share his “greatest hits” stories. I could not believe what came out of his mouth! The stories were so hilarious and surprising, I knew I had to share them with the world. After interviewing Jon and writing his diaries, I sought out to find more plumbers. Considering I was not a published, known author, it was tough getting people to talk to me. Most of the plumbers I found through word of mouth (you’d be surprised how many people know a plumber. And I do not mean someone who works for them. I mean someone’s uncle is a plumber; a friend is a plumber; a friend’s friend is a plumber). My husband found the two female plumbers, Carissa and Jac, by doing an online search. I was ecstatic that they both agreed to participate! The female perspective adds a lot of flavor to the book.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope people will realize that being a plumber involves so much more than unclogging toilets. Plumbers are engineers, artists, therapists and friends. As the book describes, they shoo birds out of houses, build beautiful copper puzzles, listen to insecurities and interact with people who spend every day alone. Plumbers encounter all kinds of people, and find some really personal items. They need to be patient, open-minded, and non-judgmental. The trade is also a lucrative, steady career, one that more people should get involved in. Many of the plumbers in the book have second homes and boats. Whether they went to college or not, they have built comfortable lives for themselves and their families. 

I also hope people will think twice about what’s inside their cabinets before a plumber comes over 🙂 I know I do (that is, after writing this book).

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

The genre found me. After listening to Jon’s stories, I knew I had to write this book. At first I was expecting the book to be pure humor. I just wanted to make people laugh. I realized while interviewing the plumbers, however, that their experiences are so much deeper than poop. Humor is woven in throughout the book, but it also dives into more serious aspects of the trade and the plumbers themselves. I open each diary with an introduction about the plumber, and end the chapter with a “Moment of Reflection.” I wanted the plumbers to have the final word. I wanted them to have the opportunity to share whatever thoughts about themselves and their work they thought were important.

5) Out of all the stories told to you, was there one in particular that stood out to you or possibly represents the book as a whole more so than the others?

No. Every plumber’s stories are so different  (with the exception of a couple dildo stories). That’s what I think makes the book so interesting. And I only interviewed ten plumbers. I cannot imagine the other untold stories out there. I also made sure to include a variety of plumbers – different genders, backgrounds and cultures. Diversity is really important when trying to capture the truth. 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I am very active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. My largest audience is on LinkedIn (due to my professional career). I have been posting about the book so much, people may be getting sick of me. Although I hope not!

Here are my handles:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crazyplumberstories/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Twitter: @honestab2

Instagram @honestab2

Linked In:https://www.linkedin.com/in/abby-ross/

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Persistence is everything. I always believed in my concept. I knew other people would enjoy this book. I just had to (and still have to) find influential individuals who agreed with me. I pitched more than 100 agents and publishers, hoping to land a contract. Finally, one publisher (Black Rose Writing) said “yes.” To write the book, I worked every evening and Sunday. And I am still working. The persistence does not stop. I am now working every night, pitching reviewers, celebrities, agents, influencers – doing whatever I can to get the word out. Believe in your idea, and keep swinging for the fences. 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I am still very focused on marketing this book. I think the book would make a fantastic scripted television series. I am working with a screenwriter in Los Angeles to pitch the concept to producers and agents. We want to build the series off of one of the female plumbers, and weave in everyone else’s stories into her plumbing life. I am also reaching out to influencers and journalists to see if they are interested in reading and writing about the book. Anything I can do to get the word out I am doing. It is much harder as a first-time author to get the word out. Persistence is everything! As far as another book, I have some ideas. If plumbers start reaching out to me with more stories to share I may write a second book. Otherwise, I have ideas cooking. Just need the time to write about them!

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About the Author

Abby Ross has nearly two decades of experience working in journalism, public relations, and marketing. She has written countless news stories, bylines, and blog posts. Abby began her career as a television news reporter, which fostered her passion for interviewing and writing about interesting people from all walks of life. After six years of reporting, Abby pivoted her career into public relations and marketing, which has been her focus for the past decade. This is her first book.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-poop-diaries-abby-ross/1135167569?ean=9781684334261

Guest Blog Post: Self-Care By Sarah Dickinson

 As we tread through the New Year, we find some, if not all, of our resolutions falling by the wayside. However, one doesn’t have to wait till December 31st and the rush of holiday feels and stress to decide to make changes. Any day is a good day to take care of yourself, and one of the best things you can do is introduce some self-care into your life.

  With self-care becoming a growing topic I want to be clear about what it’s not. It isn’t a license to make unhealthy choices or shirk responsibility. It’s not about spending sprees or throwing around money you don’t have. In a world full of consequences, the last thing it should encourage is a bucket full of regrets when you must face the music from your choices.

  Our world is ever -spinning and growing, and ever rushing us from one moment to the next. Self-care is about the pause where you allow yourself to smell the roses, as it were. Where the must crucial aspect is an honest internal dialogue. Taking a few moments to quietly address and asses your needs whether they are emotional, physical or mental. Once you figure out what you are in need of to achieve balance you then select an activity to improve that.

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 So here are some simple things you can do every day to both provide yourself with care as well as opening up dialogue within yourself, so it becomes second nature.

  1. GET MORE SLEEP. Countless studies show that the majority of us are not getting enough sleep. We probably all know better sleep equals better mood, but did you know it also helps prevent weight gain, improves memory, hand eye coordination as well as strengthen your heart? It truly is one of the best things you can give yourself and will help you in making the most of your day. It will make the good days sweeter and provide the strength to get through the bad ones. Yes, despite what many other articles will tell you bad days are sure to be par for the course. There’s no amount of self-help, positive perspective or vitamins that can guarantee a great day every day.
  2. LEAVE YOUR PHONE OFF FOR 1 HOUR. You may wonder how this even applies to self-care. Well, it does, on two levels. Studies show us time and time again that all this technology, social media, and unbound access to more information than any human could every use has a definite downside. It impacts our self-esteem, self-worth, stress levels, concentration, as well as wear down our ability to read most nonverbal cues. Another benefit is this routine time disconnected allows you to reconnect to yourself. You will hear and grow that inner voice that is telling you what it needs. You can spend an hour when you wake up without your phone, or at least an hour before bed. Use this time to read, journal, or even day dream.
  3. TAKE 10-15 MINUTES OUTSIDE. Remember when you were younger and your best days were spent outside, with friends having adventures? Maybe you were on your bikes till the sun went down, or ended the day sitting on a porch with a cold drink or frozen treat. Whatever the case may be, and probably without you realizing it, your mind and body reaped the rewards of the fresh air and the sun shinning on your face. However, the world of adulting leaves us very little time to kick off our shoes and walk through the grass. Endless errands, appointments and responsibilities keep us in our cars, offices, or other building. before we get up to do it all again tomorrow. So, carve out just 10 minutes each day to find your way outside. To feel the sun on your face, the breeze on your skin and the smells that surround you as you take a deep breath.
  4.  SAY NO. I can’t say this enough, we spread ourselves too thin. We may have the best of intentions, but we do. Women more so then men feel the inner conflict of guilt that leads them to agree to things they don’t have the time, funds, or plain interest in doing. We mostly do this to prevent hurt feelings or guilt. There’s only one way I can say this, and that’s bluntly. No matter who they are, no matter what you may have to offer…. they can make it without you. Your involvement alone is not enough to make or break any person’s event or favor. They will get by without you, you need you for every moment of your life. Say yes when you can, or when you want to, but say no when you can’t. Every single time, no matter the reason. 
  5. DO YOU. This is the part that’s different for everyone, but every single day you need to do one thing solely for your own personal joy. It doesn’t matter how many people depend on you, whether it’s at work or home. From children to coworkers there will always be someone you have to make time for. If you are willing to give it to them then there’s no reason to keep it from yourself. It may be getting yourself your favorite treat on your way to work, taking control of the playlist for your commute and singing out loud, or giving yourself a small upgrade when you’re at the store. It can also be the big things once in a while. Like making up a bucket list, spending a day off going on an adventure, buying that outfit you’ve been eyeing, or having a date night once a week at a new restaurant

  I like to tell people that the end of my 30’s marked major changes for me. I became a mother young, and wife even younger. I lived my life for everyone else. My children, husband, parents, friends and any person in between. Then I got in over my head with a person who meant the world to me. Unfortunately, they also suffered from addiction and I found myself being called upon for favor after. The experience of those years led to two major moments. The moment I changed my perspective about almost everything in my life, and the moment I decided to share my story. I learned how to listen to myself. To figure out who I am, what I want and what I need. I also learned how to take all that love, focus, and support I gave to almost everyone and to finally start giving it to myself as well. When I decided to share my story, I spent almost two years writing my novel. Silver Spoons: One’s Journey through Addiction. Despite how many or few copies I may sell I’ve already reaped the benefits of writing it. I saw a dream come to life in finishing a novel, pride at accomplishing something not everyone can do, and peace. I found peace with hearing people tell me their stories. We sadly live in a world where everyone knows an addict or someone who loves an addict.

   With all of these experiences and while I have your attention. I would love nothing more than everyone reading this to take care of themselves. Love yourself, nurture yourself, and craft your own stories. I promise you, you’ll never regret that choice 

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Book Summary

Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction takes an intimate and raw look at the current face of addiction and recovery. Talking about the current opioid epidemic, we follow a young couple while one of them goes through the recovery process. Told through letters, we get an understanding of their relationship as it struggles through his addiction and resulting recovery. From detox, rehab, sober living and the 12 steps of A.A, you get a raw and honest look at the effects of addiction and how they affect relationships.

AUTHOR NOTE: There is explicit and graphic content.

Print Length: 380 Pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Independently Published

ISBN-13: 978-1717868947

ISBN-10: 1717868940

Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction is now available to purchase at Amazon.com.

About the Author, Sarah Dickinson

Sarah Dickinson is a lifelong resident in beautiful upstate New York. Mother of two amazing daughters and three equally awesome rescue dogs, she is the author of Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction. She currently attends college and is in the midst of switching careers. When she isn’t doing it all, she reads comic books, blogs, and takes weekend getaways.

You can find the author online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Silver-Spoons-Ones-Journey-Through-Addiction-916257075228829/

Blog: https://wordpress.com/stats/day/sarahvdickinson.art.blog 

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

Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19325669.Sarah_Dickinson

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— Blog Tour Dates

January 27th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Visit our blog today and you can read an interview with the author of Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction and also enter to win a copy of the book!

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

January 28th @ 12 Books

Stop by Louise’s blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

www.12books.co.uk

January 29th @ Joyful Antidotes

Make sure you visit Joy’s blog today and read her review of the book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://www.joyfulantidotes.com

January 30th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog again where you can review Sarah Dickinson’s guest post about 5 reasons why you should consider a change in lifestyle.

www.12books.co.uk

February 1st @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Make sure you visit Anthony’s blog today where he shares a spotlight of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 2nd @ A Storybook World

Deirdra will be highlighting Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction with a spotlight post.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

February 3rd @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and read Sarah Dickinson’s guest post about 5 reasons to consider a change in your relationships.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

February 4th @ Coffee with Lacey

Join Lacey over at her blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

February 10th @ To Write or Not to Write

Visit Varsha’s blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com/

February 10th @ StoreyBook Reviews

Make sure to visit Leslie’s blog today and check out an excerpt of the book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://storeybookreviews.com/

February 12th @ The Faerie Review

Visit Lily’s blog today and read her review of the powerful book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

http://www.thefaeriereview.com/

February 13th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read a guest post by author Sarah Dickinson. Make sure you check out her easy self-care tips to add to your daily routine.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 14th @ Jessica Belmont’s Blog

Visit Jessica’s blog today and you can read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

February 16th @ And So She Thinks

Make sure you visit Francesca’s blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction. You can also read an interview with the author!

https://andsoshethinks.wordpress.com/

February 18th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog and you can read Sarah Dickinson’s guest post about how to be self-aware in your writing.

http://madelinesharples.com/

February 19th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Make sure you visit Alanna’s blog and read a guest post by Sarah Dickinson called, “5 Reasons to Consider a Change in Career.”

http://ItsAlannaJean.wordpress.com

February 20th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read her review of the book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction by Sarah Dickinson. Also, win a copy for yourself too!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

February 21st @ The  Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read Sarah Dickinson’s guest post about how to raise a confident (but not arrogant) child.

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

February 23rd @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Stop by Anthony’s blog and you can read his review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction. 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 24th @ Armed with a Book

Visit Kriti’s blog today and read her review of Sarah Dickinson’s book Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction.

February 25th @ Armed with a Book

Make sure you visit Kriti’s blog again when she interviews the author Sarah Dickinson.

First Cut by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A medical examiner new to the San Francisco area finds herself embroiled in a harrowing case involving a murder to cover up the actions of a ruthless drug lord in authors Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell’s “First Cut”. 

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The Synopsis

Wife and husband duo Dr. Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell first enthralled the book world with their runaway bestselling memoir Working Stiff—a fearless account of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner. This winter, Dr. Melinek, now a prominent forensic pathologist in the Bay Area, once again joins forces with writer T.J. Mitchell to take their first stab at fiction. 

The result: FIRST CUT (Hanover Square Press; Hardcover; January 7, 2020; $26.99)—a gritty and compelling crime debut about a hard-nosed San Francisco medical examiner who uncovers a dangerous conspiracy connecting the seedy underbelly of the city’s nefarious opioid traffickers and its ever-shifting terrain of tech startups.

Dr. Jessie Teska has made a chilling discovery. A suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister: a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover up. As more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate network of powerful criminals—on both sides of the law—that will do anything to keep things buried. But autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she’s seen it all—even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.

The Review

A brilliant read, this novel perfectly blends the expertise and gritty reality of forensic work and the work of the medical examiners office with the harrowing and heart-pounding action that comes with a good thriller. 

The story cuts into the complex web of lies uncovered by Jessie Teska, from drug kingpins and dirty lawyers to collegues she thought she could trust and beyond. Haunted by a painful past, Jessie finds herself fighting to uncover the truth behind a horrific crime, with only her brilliant mind and determination to aid her in her fight against politics, criminal empires and more. 

The Verdict

A fantastic thriller for anyone who enjoys a heavy mix of medical forensics and suspense, authors Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell have created a masterful story that will give readers a protagonist to root for, a story to engage with and a brilliant race to the finish that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of Final Cut today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Judy Melinek was an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland and as CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. She and T.J. Mitchell met as undergraduates at Harvard, after which she studied medicine and practiced pathology at UCLA. Her training in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner is the subject of their first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner.
T.J. Mitchell is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner with his wife, Judy Melinek.

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EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

Los Angeles
May

The dead woman on my table had pale blue eyes, long lashes, no mascara. She wore a thin rim of black liner on her lower lids but none on the upper. I inserted the twelve gauge needle just far enough that I could see its beveled tip through the pupil, then pulled the syringe plunger to aspirate a sample of vitreous fluid. That was the first intrusion I made on her corpse during Mary Catherine Walsh’s perfectly ordinary autopsy.

The external examination had been unremarkable. The decedent appeared to be in her midthirties, blond hair with dun roots, five foot four, 144 pounds. After checking her over and noting identifying marks (monochromatic professional tattoo of a Celtic knot on lower left flank, appendectomy scar on abdomen, well-healed stellate scar on right knee), I picked up a scalpel and sliced from each shoulder to the breastbone, and then all the way down her belly. I peeled back the layers of skin and fat on her torso—an ordinary amount, maybe a little on the chubby side—and opened the woman’s chest like a book.

I had made similar Y-incisions on 256 other bodies during my ten months as a forensic pathologist at the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, and this one was easy. No sign of trauma. Normal liver. Healthy lungs. There was nothing wrong with her heart. The only significant finding was the white, granular material of the gastric contents. In her stomach was a mass of semidigested pills.

When I opened her uterus, I found she’d been pregnant. I measured the fetus’s foot length and estimated its age at twelve weeks. The fetus appeared to have been viable. It was too young to determine sex.

I deposited the organs one by one at the end of the stainless-steel table. I had just cut into her scalp to start on the skull when Matt, the forensic investigator who had collected the body the day before, came in.

“Clean scene,” he reported, depositing the paperwork on my station. “Suicide.”

I asked him where he was going for lunch. Yogurt and a damn salad at his desk, he told me: bad cholesterol and a worried wife. I extended my condolences as he headed back out of the autopsy suite.

I scanned through Matt’s handwriting on the intake sheet and learned that the body had been found, stiff and cold, in a locked and secure room at the Los Angeles Omni hotel. The cleaning staff called the police. The ID came from the name on the credit card used to pay for the room, and was confirmed by fingerprint comparison with her driver’s license thumbprint. A handwritten note lay on the bed stand, a pill bottle in the trash. Nothing else. Matt was right: There was no mystery to the way Mary Walsh had died.

I hit the dictaphone’s toe trigger and pointed my mouth toward the microphone dangling over the table. “The body is identified by a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s tag attached to the right great toe, inscribed LACD-03226, Walsh, Mary Catherine…”

I broke the seal on the plastic evidence bag and pulled out the pill bottle. It was labeled OxyContin, a powerful painkiller, and it was empty.

“Accompanying the body is a sealed plastic bag with an empty prescription medication bottle. The name on the prescription label…”

I read the name but didn’t speak it. The hair started standing up on my neck. I looked down at my morning’s work—the splayed body, flecked with gore, the dissected womb tossed on a heap of other organs.

That can’t be, I told myself. It can’t.

On the clipboard underneath the case intake sheet I found a piece of hotel stationery sealed in another evidence bag. It was the suicide note, written in blue ink with a steady feminine hand. I skimmed it—then stopped, and went back.

I read it again.

I heard the clipboard land at my feet. I gripped the raised lip of my autopsy table. I held tight while the floor fell away.


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Q&A with Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Q: Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?

A:The idea for First Cut was prompted by some of Judy’s actual cases when she worked as a San Francisco medical examiner. She has real experience performing autopsy death investigation, and she also has the imagination to apply that experience to a fictional framework for our forensic detective, Dr. Jessie Teska. Judy invented the story, and together we worked it up as an outline. Then T.J. sat in a room wrestling with words all day—which he loves to do—to produce the first complete manuscript. That’s our inspiration plus perspiration dynamic as co-authors.

Q: What does the act of writing mean to you?

A: It is, and has always been, something we can do together, an important part of our marriage. We’ve collaborated as a creative team since we were in college together many years ago, producing and directing student theater. We’ve also spent twenty years raising our four children, and have always approached parenting as a partnership. We find it easy to work together because we write like we parent: relying on one another, each of us playing to our strengths. It helps that, in our writing process, we have no overlapping skill set!

 Q: Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?

A: Oh, yes! That’s our heroine, Dr. Jessie Teska. She has elements of Judy in her, and elements of T.J., but Jessie is a distinct individual and a strong-willed one. We’re often surprised and even shocked by the ways she reacts to the situations we put her in. There are times we’ll be writing what we thought was a carefully laid-out scene, and Jessie will take us sideways. She’s coming off T.J.’s fingertips on the the keyboard, both of us watching with mouths agape, saying, “What the hell is she up to?”

Q: Which one of First Cut’s characters was the hardest to write and why?

A: Tommy Teska, Jessie’s brother. He’s a minor character to the book’s plot, but the most important person in Jessie’s life, and he’s a reticent man, downright miserly with his dialogue. Tommy carries such great emotional weight, but it was hard to draw it out of him, especially because so much of his bond to our heroine is in the backstory of First Cut, not in the immediate narrative that lands on the page. We’re now working on the sequel, Cross Cut, and finding that Tommy has more occasion to open up in that story.

Q: Which character in any of your books (First Cut or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?

A: The late Dr. Charles Sidney Hirsch, from our first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner. Dr. Hirsch is not just a character: He was a real person, Judy’s mentor and a towering figure in the world of forensic pathology. Dr. Hirsch trained Dr. Melinek in her specific field of medicine and imbued in her his passion for it. He was a remarkable man, a great teacher and physician and public servant—a person of uncompromising integrity coupled with great emotional intelligence.

Q: What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?

A: Judy’s father was a physician, and though she never wanted to follow in his immediate footsteps—he was a psychiatrist—she has always wanted to be another Dr. Melinek. T.J. has always been a writer, but also has theater training and worked in the film industry. As much as we enjoyed authoring the memoir Working Stiff, and as happy as we have been with its success, we are even more thrilled to be detective novelists.

Q: What does a day in the life of Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell look like?

A: Judy is a morning person and T.J.’s a night owl, so we split parenting responsibilities. Judy gets the kids off to school and then heads to the morgue, where she performs autopsies in the morning and works with police, district attorneys, and defense lawyers in the afternoon. T.J. takes care of the household and after-school duties. If we work together during the day, it’s usually by email in the late afternoon. T.J. cooks dinner, Judy goes to bed early, and he’s up late—at his most productive writing from nine to midnight or later.

Q: What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?

A: We go for a long walk together. Our far corner of San Francisco overlooks the Pacific Ocean, bracketed by cypress trees and blown over with fog, and serves as an inspiring landscape. We explore the edge of the continent and talk out where our characters have been and where they need to get, tossing ideas back and forth until a solution, what to do next on the page, emerges. Getting away for a stroll with our imaginary friends is always a fruitful exercise!

Q: What book would you take with you to a desert island?

A: T.J. would take the Riverside Shakespeare, and Judy would take Poisonous Plants: A Handbook for Doctors, Pharmacists, Toxicologists, Biologists and Veterinarians, Illustrated.

Q: Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?

A: Always! We are inspired by Dr. Melinek’s real-life work, both in the morgue and at crime scenes, in police interrogation rooms, and in courtrooms. Our stories are fiction—genre fiction structured in the noir-detective tradition—but the forensic methods our detective employs and the scientific findings she comes to are drawn from real death investigations.

Q: What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?

A: The hardest thing is juggling our work schedules to find uninterrupted time together to write. The most fun is meeting and talking to our readers at book events, especially those who have been inspired to go into the field of forensic pathology after reading our work.

Q: What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?

A: It’s all about connectivity. Linking up with other writers, readers, editors, and research experts is a crucial way to get your work accomplished, and to get it out to your audience. Yes, ultimately it’s just you and the keyboard, but in the course of writing your story, you can and should tap into the hive mind, online and in person, for inspiration and help.

Q: What was the last thing you read?

A: Judy last read The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington, and T.J. last read The Witch Elm by Tana French.

Q: Your top five authors?

A: Judy’s are Atul Gawande, Henry James, Kathy Reichs, Mary Roach, and Oliver Sacks. T.J.’s are Margaret Atwood, Joseph Heller, Ed McBain, Ross Macdonald, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Q: Book you’ve bought just for the cover?

A: T.J.: Canary by Duane Swierczynski. Judy: Mütter Museum Historical Medical Photographs.

Q: Tell us about what you’re working on now.

A: First Cut is the debut novel in a detective series, and we’ve recently finished the rough draft of Cross Cut, its sequel. We are in the revision phase now, killing our darlings and tightening our tale, working to get the further adventures of Dr. Jessie Teska onto bookshelves next year!