Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What Are Your Thoughts On Tradition?

By Rachel Macready

I’m an art major, so when I think of tradition, I think of the various schools of art: classical, romantic, photorealistic, etc. Some of those disciplines didn’t appeal to me.  But my professors said you have to understand the past to go forward. Besides, in art, you’re never straitjacketed; creativity and innovation are paramount. But when you ask me about tradition, I think you really mean, what do I think about the Order?  Do I feel bad that it collapsed, taking its rules and its bloodlines and its Great Houses with it, leaving telepaths and other psychics to shift for themselves?

The Order was the guiding hand behind Britain’s age of Empire. Imagine it: three hundred white men, all telepaths, held sway over one-fifth of the world. They did it with new inventions – steam-powered ships, telegraphs, dynamite. They did it by remaining in the shadows, allowing England’s nobility to believe they ruled in truth as well as name. And they did it by telepathically reinforcing societal rules that encouraged everyone to keep to their place. In other words, they taught the populace to emphasize and revere tradition. Not all traditions. Just the ones that kept them in power.

I can’t claim to know the whole history of the Order. Before the car crash that brought back memories of my past life as Cassandra Masters, I didn’t even know I was a telepath. I never dreamed I could read minds, force weaker people to obey me, even gather my psionic energy and throw it like a lightning bolt. And heaven knows uncovering the whole truth about the Order will take time. But I know telepaths first arose in ancient Greece. I know Queen Elizabeth I had telepaths for advisors and a telekinetic assassin. And I know that until about 1750, the Order was matriarchal.

Why matriarchal?  Because before DNA testing, no man could ever be sure a child was his. So each Great House was headed by a mother or grandmother. But then the bloodlines started to die off. Gradually there was a shift in power – a generation where more male telepaths survived to adulthood than female. As the Order transitioned to all-male rule, British society tightened like a noose. Especially around the necks of the women. By 1870 they were too tightly corseted to manage even a brisk walk and mentally corseted, too. In a world where a 22-year-old unmarried man had his whole life ahead of him and a 22-year-old unmarried female was a failure (an “old maid”) the Order’s ruling class felt secure. They weren’t afraid the marginalized females in their midst would rise up to challenge them.

Except in 1870, one did. Cassandra Masters. I guess in those days I wasn’t too blinded by tradition. And now that I’ve come back as Rachel MacReady, I feel very much the same.

Who is Rachel Macready? She is the main character in Stephanie Abbott’s latest novella, Past Lives #1 Rachel. A near-fatal car crash unlocks memories from Rachel’s past life, dredging up secrets taken to the grave. And even as Rachel discovers the hidden power that is her birthright, she finds herself drawn to the reincarnates of two very different men. In that past life, both loved her. One might even have loved her to death... 

About the author - Stephanie Abbott is the face behind the popular pseudonym, S.A. Reid. Well-known for her “real and likeable characters”, she also writes  paranormal fiction (a new series titled Past Lives is currently being penned), fantasy, and sci-fi. Additionally, she also pens cozy mysteries as Emma Jameson.


How many times can you die for love?


A near-fatal car crash unlocks memories from Rachel MacReady’s past life, dredging up secrets taken to the grave. And even as Rachel discovers the hidden power that is her birthright, she finds herself drawn to the reincarnates of two very different men. In that past life, both loved her. One might even have loved her to death... 



(First of a 6 book series.)



******

At the moment of impact, I wasn't surprised when a life flashed before my eyes. I just expected the life to be my own.
The silver Porsche must have been doing eighty when it hit black ice. I couldn't swerve, couldn't get out of the way. There was nowhere to go as the Porsche whipped around, skidding toward my little car. Headlights rushed toward me, flooding my windshield, obliterating the night. And then I was someplace else. A home that once belonged to me. A place I'd loved, the only safe refuge in an increasingly dangerous world. 


I recognized my surroundings - Belgrave Square, London. But not modern London, with its funky cars, punk rockers, and Virgin Mobile billboards. No, this was Victorian London. Cobblestone streets, iron fences, gaslights glowing through thick yellow fog. And I was myself again, my former self ...The memory stream jerked, flickering like an old zoetrope camera. Images flew by, pulling me deeper. Past the big oak tree shedding its leaves ... past the front step whitened by a maid each morning ... past the red-lacquered door with lanterns glowing on either side ... Beyond it all - wallpapered foyer, brass spittoons, coat rack, maid and butler - I saw myself.

I was seated in the drawing room, two men who meant more to me than anything in the world on either side. Dominic Belden - black eyes, black hair, handsome as a Greek statue. I trusted him with all my heart, yet didn't fully love him. And Theodore Harrington - tall and broad-shouldered, mouth curving sardonically, pale eyes alight. I loved him with all my soul, yet couldn't fully trust him. Dominic and Ted, Ted and Dominic ...
Was it right, how I remembered my feelings for those two? Or did I have it reversed?


So begins the first book in the Past Lives series.  In 1870, in the steampunk subculture that once ruled Britain -- and the Western world -- a woman named Cassandra Masters took on the Order, a cabal of telepaths, and paid the ultimate price.  Now she lives again as Rachel MacReady, haunted by memories and compelled to relive the events of that dangerous prior existence.



Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Science Fiction & Fantasy / Mystery
Rating - PG13
More details about the author 


Connect with Stephanie Abbott on Twitter
Website http://stephanieabbottbooks.com/
Check out where this author will be talking about her latest release!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Orangeberry Celebrates International Women's Day

If you are a female author or have a lead female character in your novel, sign up for an Orangeberry Phoenix book tour from now till 10th March and you will receive another Orangeberry Phoenix book tour ... FREE. 


Yes, that's two book tours for the price of one. Which means you can put your book on tour for 60 days or promote two books. 


More details about Orangeberry Phoenix are listed below and if you need more information, please send me an email - pandorapoikilos@gmail.com


ORANGEBERRY PHOENIX is a 30 day virtual book tour that offers you and your book an extremely sweet spot at some high traffic blogs.
What will you receive? You'll have the opportunity to share your thoughts, be interviewed, receive book reviews and daily social media presence.
What will it cost you? It will cost you $300.00 (that's about $10.00 a day).
Payment is via PayPal. Use button below or "SendPayment" to pandorapoikilos@gmail.com

1.Upon sign-up you will receive a starter kit with more details about your guest posts and interview questions.
2. You will also need to part with at least 20 eBooks. If your book is enrolled in KDP Select, you will have to provide gift cards for the bloggers who sign up to review your book.
3. Please sign up HERE. Also, please send me an email to let me know if you will be using this promotion for one book (60 days) or two books. 
More questions? Email me at pandorapoikilos@gmail.com


*Next available date is 29th May 2012. 


(All proceeds will go towards the Orangeberry Goodie Bag, advertising & site maintenance) 


Orangeberry Book Tours Sponsorship Options

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Pandora's Causes

In conjunction with Rare Disease Day on 29th February 2012 
and International Women's Day on 8th March 2012
all of my novels will be priced at $0.99 until 10th March.

Heck, even if you don't want to buy my novels that's grand too. 
But do take a moment to view these causes. 
A contribution from you, a share or a tweet can go a long way. 
Love and light. 

Release date is end May 2012

 
(20% of royalties will be donated to


 
(20% of royalties will be donated to the


(20% of royalties will be donated to the 



Friday, 24 February 2012

Perry's 99

"For decades, readers have used the Page 99 Test to judge the writing of a book before buying it." - Page99Test.com Today, Perry Martin will be dissecting page 99 from his latest release, Pretty Flamingo.

By Perry Martin

Since my first novel, "Pretty Flamingo" is as much a mystery as it is a dramatic love story, I wanted to continually infuse it with hints of hidden events; events that the reader hopes will be revealed at some point. The central "mystery" element that drives the story along, is David Perry's struggle to recover his lost teenage memories - - memories that, although still hidden from him at this point in the story, evoke a host of mixed emotions; love, fear, anger, sorrow and devastating loss.

But, within that mystery, I wanted to weave other mysteries that, when they are all at last finally uncovered, added significantly to the impact of the final revelation. Not only do we find out what happened during the missing six months of David's life, we are also able to understand how it affected him mentally and emotionally. Though completely hidden from him, he was still directed by the event's subconscious influence and it altered the course of his life.

By page 99 we are witnessing the beginnings of a teenage love affair between David and Lisa. It eventually grows to become a love so powerful it almost defies description and understanding - - even to the two people who are experiencing it. But, as that love develops, I also hint that there is something about Lisa she is reluctant to tell David about, for fear that he'll think less of her.

When she asks David to tell her all about himself he agrees saying, "Okay. But turnabout's fair play. When I'm done, I want to know everything about you."

Her reply, said with an air of mystery, is: "We'll see."

So, David gives her the story of his life to date, leaving out a few details he's also not willing to tell her - - yet. We know, from earlier in the book, that David made a stupid mistake that cost him his previous girlfriend and he's sworn to himself never to make that error again, so we understand his decision to give her a slightly "edited" version of his life so far.

What I hoped to do with this scene was to lay some of the groundwork for what would come later. Showing that not just love, but trust needed to develop between them before they could bare their souls to one another.

I tried, as much as possible, to have something that would pique the reader's interest on every page. I'd heard that publishers will pick up a book, or manuscript, and turn to completely random pages and start reading. If they become interested, no matter which page they read, it's usually taken as a sign that the novel is potentially a good one. The trick, I suppose, is to do that naturally, so that it isn't jarring to the reader. If you do it right, the book can be a real "page turner".

 What I hoped to achieve on Page 99, and throughout the book, was to keep the reader turning those pages.

 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Drama / Romance
Rating - PG13
More details about the author
View the trailer for this book
Connect with Perry Martin on Twitter & Facebook
Website http://www.prettyflamingothebook.com/
Check out where this author will be talking about his latest release!
  

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Last Day - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2



A daily dose of books, blogs and quotes 
from all corners of the BlogSphere. 
Whether you're having a good day or a bad day, 
this eBook is bound to offer you a smile or two. 

Last day - submissions for Books, Blogs & Smiles 2 is 25th February 2012.
Book 2 which will be released on 1 March 2012.

If you would like to have a complimentary listing, then please leave a comment below. Preference will be given to complimentary listings that did not appear in Book 1. 


If you would like to sign up for a paid listing, more details are below. All listings will be randomly placed on the calendar, if you would like to choose a particular date a $5 'loading' fee will be charged.


Pay $5.00 for the Plain Vanilla listing which will look something like this (maximum of three links) and leave a comment below or email me at pandorapoikilos@gmail.com Payment is via PayPal. Use button below or "SendPayment" to pandorapoikilos@gmail.com
Blogger Pandora Poikilos
Blog Title
 Peace from Pieces

Blog Link http://peacefrompieces.blogspot.com/
Description The {un}spectacular moments of a not so famous writer on a journey of self-change, instead of world change.
Hot Spot http://twitter.com/#!/pandorapoikilos
Pay $10.00 for the Raspberry Sweetness listing which will look something like this (maximum of one image and five links) and leave a comment below or email me at pandorapoikilos@gmail.com Payment is via PayPal. Use button below or "SendPayment" to pandorapoikilos@gmail.com














Book of the day… Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out by Pandora Poikilos


***All payments received are not refundable.


For Social Media Hot Spots, I personally do not recommend including your Facebook profiles if you have personal photos and information such as addresses listed on it. Once released, this listing will be public. Feel free to include your Facebook page or other social media sites you belong to.

For more details, email pandorapoikilos@gmail.com


Orangeberry Book Tours Sponsorship Options

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Happy Pills, Shock Therapy & the Other Way

By Paula Renaye

Warning: Reading this article may cause anger, anxiety, aneurisms or anal leakage.


When we get depressed, the new American way is to run to the doctor for a pill to fix it or otherwise medicate it away. It can work in the short term by lessening the pain so we can continue to drone away in semi-complacency and avoid having to deal with the real issue. 


And if that pill doesn’t work—if your wonderful pain is still telling you that drugging yourself is not the answer—there are, according to TV ads, booster pills to crank up the octane and quiet that voice as well. Of course, there’s a possibility you’ll want to kill yourself or will simply fall down dead, but give it a whirl, at least you won’t have to actually do anything to change what’s wrong in your life.


Yes, I know I have just pushed a lot of buttons and it’s necessary—it is a message we all need to hear. If we are using anything—drugs (prescription, street or otherwise), alcohol, sex, shopping, you name it—to avoid dealing with what we know we need to, it’s time to admit it, face it and make different choices. Dulling the pain so we can keep doing what’s causing it is insane.


When I was very young, maybe three or four, I was playing with my dolls under the light of the lamp by the front door (exceptional detail to memory for someone who remembers next to nothing about her childhood, but you’ll see why.) For reasons known only to Little Me, I decided the bobby pin I’d stuck in the doll’s hair would be equally amusing inserted into the electrical outlet on the wall. 


Now you know why I remember. The shock was fast and fierce. It made a believer out of me and I never ever wanted to feel like that again. I gathered up my toys and found a new place to play that didn’t hurt. I learned about electricity—and life—in a way children today can’t, all protected from themselves and their stupidity by covers, caps, traps and all manner of devices.


Yes, I suppose I could have been killed, and if I’d done it a second time I deserved to be. Seriously. Because we all know that if it hadn’t hurt me bad enough that first time, I would have tried it again, either to see the sparks fly or for the adrenaline jolt. The only worse option for that scenario would have been for me to take a pill so I could do it again and hang on longer. 


Now, I know there are a lot of people struggling and juggling with situations that seem to have no good solutions and the best they feel they can do is take a pill to keep them going to get through it. Maybe that’s okay in the short term—maybe—to keep from cracking like an egg. But at what point is it just another avoidance tactic to keep from having to actually face the unpleasantness and make the tough choices?
The sad fact is, as long as we can tolerate it and get by, we won’t actually do anything that could make things better for us in the long run. Just like duct tape, it’s only temporary unless it works to get us by.
However, we have to realize that the pain is there for a reason. We feel bad because things aren’t right, and if we take a pill to avoid feeling bad, the only thing we’re really changing is us. We’re simply muddling our brains so we can tolerate what we know we need to change.


When you get that first hit of pain, don’t go back for seconds. It is a whole lot easier to deal with it the first time and move on than to ignore it and hope it will go away. If you’ve been ignoring the problem, stop. It’s never too late. If you need help get it, but please, don’t just take the easy way out. Hold yourself accountable and do what you know you need to do.



* * * *
Paula Renaye is motivational speaker, life transformation coach and author of The Hardline Self Help Handbook, which has won Four National Book Awards. Visit http:/hardlineselfhelp.com for more inspirational articles and free stuff.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Random Acts of Kindness


(Update on 5th February - Winner is Janet E)

To stand a chance to win
$5 Amazon.com gift card


(Additionally, recommend an author to Orangeberry Phoenix 
and you receive a $50 Amazon gift card or cash. More details HERE)

Feel free to
- Follow this blog via GFC / Google Plus
OR
- Follow @PandoraPoikilos on Twitter
http://twitter.com/#!/PandoraPoikilos
OR
- "Like" Facebook page (Peace from Pieces)
https://www.facebook.com/peacefrompieces

Leave me a comment so I'll know who you are

This Giveaway Hop is organised by two very Blog-A-Licious blogs, 
I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Read for Your Future
There are loads of giveaways happening 
so do come join us and check out the other 150++ participating blogs HERE


Monday, 20 February 2012

Orangeberry Book Tours - In Leah's Wake


Protecting their children comes naturally for Zoe and Will Tyler - 
until their daughter Leah decides to actively destroy her own future.

Leah grew up in a privileged upper-middle class world. Her parents spared no expense for her happiness; she had all-but secured an Ivy League scholarship and a future as a star athlete. Then she met Todd.

Leah’s parents watch helplessly as their daughter falls into a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties. While Will attempts to control his daughter’s every move to prevent her from falling deeper into this dangerous new life, Zoe prefers to give Leah slack in the hope that she may learn from her mistakes. Their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage.

Twelve-year-old Justine observes Leah’s rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family. She desperately seeks her big sister’s approval and will do whatever it takes to obtain it. Meanwhile she is left to question whether her parents love her and whether God even knows she exists.

What happens when love just isn’t enough? Who will pay the consequences of Leah’s vagrant lifestyle? Can this broken family survive the destruction left in Leah’s wake?

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Women's Fiction / Contemporary
Rating - PG13
More details about the author
View the trailer for this book

Connect with Terri Giuliano Long on Twitter & Facebook
Website http://tglong.com/site/
Check out where this author will be talking about her latest release!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

But What Are You Eating?


Food sustainability has become a highly charged and topical debate.
There will be an additional 2.3 billion people to feed by 2050. In order to satisfy food demand 70% more food will have to be produced. It is apparent that to feed the world’s growing population it is arguably unsustainable with conventional farming methods and perhaps technological interventions will be considered the norm in the future.

Please take a moment to tell us what you think.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Start Over

Author Unknown

When you've trusted God and walked his way,
When you've felt his hand lead you day by day,
But your steps now take you another way,
Start Over

When you've made your plans and they've gone awry,
When you've tried your best and there's no more try,
When you've failed yourself and you don't know why,
Start Over

When you've told your friends what you plan to do,
When you've trusted them and they didn't come through;
And now you're all alone and it's up to you,
Start Over

When you've failed your kids and they're grown and gone,
When you've done your best but it's turned out wrong,
And now your grandchildren have come along,
Start Over

When you've prayed to God so you'll know his will,
When you've prayed and prayed and you don't know still,
When you want to stop cause you've had your fill
Start Over

When you think you're finished and want to quit,
When you've bottomed out in life's deepest pit,
When you've tried and tried to get out of it,
Start Over

When the year has been long and successes are few,
When December comes and you're feeling blue,
God gives a January just for you,
Start Over

Starting over means "Victories Won"; Starting over means "A Race Well Run"; Starting over means "God's Will Be Done"; Don't just sit there, Start Over.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

What Not to Say to a Friend

By Paula Renaye

We've all been there. Something we didn't want to believe would happen does, and we need a shoulder to cry on. In that moment, all we want is someone to tell us it's going to be okay. Instead, we hear things like:

  • I knew this was going to happen.
  • Too bad it took you so long to see what was really going on.
  • I told you so.
  • Glad you finally figured it out
  • If you'd just listened to me…
  • Anything remotely similar to the above.
Yes, I've had those sorts of things said to me when I was in a bad place. Sadly and regretfully, I have also said similar things to others. In fact, I've said some things to that still make me ill to think about.
If you've read The Hardline Self Help Handbook, you know about the tumultuous roller coaster relationship I had with Rebound Guy (RG)--the man I leaped into a relationship with immediately after my 25-year marriage ended. Like any unhealthy addiction, it took me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and frankly, I barely survived it. 


But, like any relationship, the pain train didn't go just one direction. I talk a lot about things that RG did that cut me to the core. Those stories are very painful and very true. What's also true is that I did things that hurt him just as deeply. No, it was never deliberate or calculated. It was just me opening my mouth and letting my own garbage spew out. That doesn't excuse anything, and it certainly didn't soften the outcome and effect on him.


The bare bones of the story are that about a year into our relationship he had a business deal go really, really bad. I had sensed it was going to happen long before it did and had tried to warn him about it. I tried hard--yes, to the point of nagging--to get him to see things my way and it hurt me that he didn't trust my opinion. I was doing everything I could to prove to him what a great partner I was, and if he'd just let me save him from the crisis I saw coming then he'd see how wonderful I was too. 


Well, guess what, exactly what I thought would happen, did. I was right. Woo hoo for me! I was vindicated. I'd proved how valuable I was and now he had no choice but to see it too. So, to prove how much he needed me and how terrific I was to have around, I gave him an extended version of "I told you so" over the situation.


Oh, yeah, I did. Rather than support him emotionally in the moment, his crisis became about me and my emotional garbage--me trying to get what I wanted out of the deal without even thinking about what he was going through.


Remember that my belief system required that I have a man--specifically a husband--or I was nothing. Therefore, my world revolved around trying to get his approval and validation--preferably by marrying me. If he'd just do that, well, everything would be great. I was certain of it. At least my subconscious was.
That's the short version, of course, but any way you look at it, it isn't a pretty picture. And believe me, if I had a list of do-overs, that incident would be on it--for him and for me. 


Thankfully, in the last several months, RG and I have been able to talk about these things, including that situation. Time, distance and mutual personal growth have given us the ability to see--and say--what we couldn't when we were immersed in the drama of our relationship. We've admitted, apologized and forgiven each other--and hopefully ourselves--for pretty much everything. It took a while to get there, but it's been good. 


Now, back to what a friend really needs in a time of crisis. When we hurt, we just want to feel better. We want someone to tell us it's going to be okay. We want someone to tell us that no matter how badly we've screwed up that they still believe in us and know we'll figure it out. What we don't want or need are opinions, interpretations, solutions or "I told you so" comments. We simply want understanding. 


Okay, sometimes we may want other things too, such as someone to say they're willing to commit a felony to right the wrongs on our behalf . And even though we almost never hold them to it, having that kind of friend is hard to beat!


Sometimes though, when we see a friend in deep pain, we don't know what to say. So, what are some actual words to use if you need to? 


For me, some variation of this phrase usually helps: "I know you're disappointed and hurting, and I am really sorry. I'm here for you and I'll listen." Sometimes though, other phrases can be more helpful. I've found saying things such as, "That bastard! We should kill him" are also good--and good for a laugh.


It really comes down to that truism of "be the friend you want to have" and keeping your focus on what the other person needs. With that intention, you'll know what to say when--and when to say nothing at all.
Keep caring for each other!


Paula


PS: You do know I was joking about the felonious and homicidal thoughts, right? Well, it is kind of a habit since murder, mayhem and outrageous fun run rampant in my Jolene Jackson Mystery Series. The first book, Hot Enough to Kill by Paula Boyd, is available now on amazon.com for only $0.99. There are laughs to be had. Check it out!

* * * *

Paula Renaye is a life coach, motivational speaker and author of The Hardline Self Help Handbook, which has won Four National Book Awards and is the basis for her popular talk, What are you willing to do to get what you want?
Read the Latest on My Blog: http://hardlineselfhelp.com
Follow Me on Twitter: @paularenaye

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Follower Love Hop


(Update on 18th February - Winner is Jennifer G)

To stand a chance to win
$5 Amazon.com gift card


(Additionally, recommend an author to Orangeberry Phoenix 
and you receive a $50 Amazon gift card or cash. More details HERE)

Feel free to
- Follow this blog via GFC / Google Plus
OR
- Follow @PandoraPoikilos on Twitter
http://twitter.com/#!/PandoraPoikilos
OR
- "Like" Facebook page (Peace from Pieces)
https://www.facebook.com/peacefrompieces

Leave me a comment so I'll know who you are

This Giveaway Hop is organised by two very Blog-A-Licious blogs, 
I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Rachael Renee Anderson
There are loads of giveaways happening 
so do come join us and check out the other 300++ participating blogs HERE


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Orangeberry Book Tours - Past Lives #1 - Rachel

Sign up to host this author on her tour.
Each blog host will receive a $5 Amazon.com / .uk gift card 
or cash via PayPal. Sign up HERE


How many times can you die for love?


A near-fatal car crash unlocks memories from Rachel MacReady’s past life, dredging up secrets taken to the grave. And even as Rachel discovers the hidden power that is her birthright, she finds herself drawn to the reincarnates of two very different men. In that past life, both loved her. One might even have loved her to death... (First of a 6 book series.)

******

At the moment of impact, I wasn't surprised when a life flashed before my eyes. I just expected the life to be my own.
The silver Porsche must have been doing eighty when it hit black ice. I couldn't swerve, couldn't get out of the way. There was nowhere to go as the Porsche whipped around, skidding toward my little car. Headlights rushed toward me, flooding my windshield, obliterating the night. And then I was someplace else. A home that once belonged to me. A place I'd loved, the only safe refuge in an increasingly dangerous world. 


I recognized my surroundings - Belgrave Square, London. But not modern London, with its funky cars, punk rockers, and Virgin Mobile billboards. No, this was Victorian London. Cobblestone streets, iron fences, gaslights glowing through thick yellow fog. And I was myself again, my former self ...The memory stream jerked, flickering like an old zoetrope camera. Images flew by, pulling me deeper. Past the big oak tree shedding its leaves ... past the front step whitened by a maid each morning ... past the red-lacquered door with lanterns glowing on either side ... Beyond it all - wallpapered foyer, brass spittoons, coat rack, maid and butler - I saw myself.


I was seated in the drawing room, two men who meant more to me than anything in the world on either side. Dominic Belden - black eyes, black hair, handsome as a Greek statue. I trusted him with all my heart, yet didn't fully love him. And Theodore Harrington - tall and broad-shouldered, mouth curving sardonically, pale eyes alight. I loved him with all my soul, yet couldn't fully trust him. Dominic and Ted, Ted and Dominic ...
Was it right, how I remembered my feelings for those two? Or did I have it reversed?

So begins the first book in the Past Lives series.  In 1870, in the steampunk subculture that once ruled Britain -- and the Western world -- a woman named Cassandra Masters took on the Order, a cabal of telepaths, and paid the ultimate price.  Now she lives again as Rachel MacReady, haunted by memories and compelled to relive the events of that dangerous prior existence.

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Science Fiction & Fantasy / Mystery
Rating - PG13
More details about the author 


Connect with Stephanie Abbott on Twitter
Website http://stephanieabbottbooks.com/
Check out where this author will be talking about her latest release!

Monday, 13 February 2012

15 Things God Won't Ask

Author Unknown

God won’t ask what kind of car you drove, but will ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.

God won’t ask the square footage of your house, but will ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

God won’t ask about the fancy clothes you had in your closet, but will ask how many of those clothes helped the needy.

God won’t ask about your social status, but will ask what kind of class you displayed.

God won’t ask how many material possessions you had, but will ask if they dictated your life.

God won’t ask what your highest salary was, but will ask if you compromised your character to obtain that salary.

God won’t ask how much overtime you worked, but will ask if you worked overtime for your family and loved ones.

God won’t ask how many promotions you received, but will ask how you promoted others.

God won’t ask what your job title was, but will ask if you reformed your job to the best of your ability.

God won’t ask what you did to help yourself, but will ask what you did to help others.

God won’t ask how many friends you had, but will ask how many people to whom you were a true friend.

God won’t ask what you did to protect your rights, but will ask what you did to protect the rights of others.

God won’t ask in what neighborhood you lived, but will ask how you treated your neighbors.

God won’t ask about the color of your skin, but will ask about the content of your character.

God won’t ask how many times your deeds matched your words, but will ask how many times they didn’t.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

It Is

Author Unknown

It's nice to know that you're secured with that someone. That even if the rain is pouring hard and the sky is almost dark, he'll never leave you just so you won't feel alone. Even if his friends had left him (and even if he has to be somewhere else) he'd still stay by your side, just so you won't feel alone.

It's so good to know that you have someone who'll be willing to help you cope up in every frustrations you're having. Every depressing moments, every down moments, every self-worthless-realization moments, he'd be there, not because you want someone to be with you, but because he wants to be with you.

It's great to know when a person appreciates every little thing you do. Even a smile would mean a lot to him, just because you own that smile. And that even if no words are expressed as long as the eyes understand, you'd be able to communicate, just like that.

It's overwhelming when a person tells you that he loves you for who you are. He may not have an answer when you ask him why, but really, he doesn't have to have reasons for loving you.

It's more grateful to know that someone is grateful to have you. We don't choose the people who enter our lives, so it must be luck that you have that person, then you have to be thankful. It may just be coincidence or fate, but whatever the reason is, you have to be thankful in having him the same way he is thankful for having you.

It's a wonderful feeling when you're on the verge of giving up the things you've worked hard for, someone isn't just helping you carry the weight on your shoulders, but he carries it on his own because he'd also be in pain when you are in pain. And then you'll realize, trials would all be worth it as long as you have him, not because he would do things for you, but because you gather all the strength you need, in him and his love.

It's a superb feeling when one is willing to take the risks just so you'll be happy. Unselfishness rule in him just so happiness would take over you.

It's a nice feeling that when you're apart, and days seem to be long, that person misses you. Yes, you might feel bad about not being with each other, but knowing that you feel the same way would drive those blues away, thinking, you'd fight over that feeling because you're looking forward to seeing each other, and that's something to be happy about.

It's a great feeling when he wants to be with you because of the happiness you have when you're together. That even if corny jokes and senseless stories are told, it won't matter as long as you're together.

It's a lovely feeling when someone thinks about your future, with or without him. He cares and he cares enough to think of you and what you'll be someday. But of course, he also wants to be in it someday.

It's a nice feeling when you can be who you really are with that person. No pretentions, no lies, no hypocrisy, because he accepts you for who you are. You can be funny, you can be embarrased, but it won't matter coz it doesn't matter to him. Trust and faith in each other keeps you alive. And it will always do.

It's good to know that you have someone who'll not have the intentions of breaking your heart. Instead, he would be willing to mend it, picking up the broken pieces of your heart that your past love have scattered in the ground. He may not be able to put the pieces back to where they really belong, but you shouldn't mind, because he had repaired that heart of yours, and he fixed it in his own way. He loves you in his own way, not the way your past did. He fixed your heart in a different way, to keep you from feeling the pains of your past heartache and to make you feel, the love, that he's unselfishly giving.

It's a great feeling when that person has every effort to let you feel what he feels for you. Because of the distractions, you may not hear him shout it to the world, but as long as you feel it, his efforts has paid off, big time. And when you feel the same way too... He'd feel as if he's the luckiest person alive.

... when in fact, you're more blessed to have him.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

You Still Have Hope

Author Unknown

If you can look at the sunset and smile, then you still have hope.

If you can find beauty in the colors of a small flower, then you still have hope.

If you can find pleasure in the movement of a butterfly, then you still have hope.

If the smile of a child can still warm your heart, then you still have hope.

If you can see the good in other people, then you still have hope.

If the rain breaking on a roof top can still lull you to sleep, then you still have hope.

If the sight of a rainbow still makes you stop and stare in wonder, then you still have hope.

If the soft fur of a favored pet still feels pleasant under your fingertips, then you still have hope.

If you meet new people with a trace of excitement and optimism, then you still have hope.

If you give people the benefit of a doubt, then you still have hope.

If you still offer your hand in friendship to others that have touched your life, then you still have hope.

If receiving an unexpected card or letter still brings a pleasant surprise, then you still have hope.

If the suffering of others still fills your with pain and frustration, then you still have hope.

If you refuse to let a friendship die, or accept that it must end, then you still have hope.

If you look forward to a time or place of quiet and reflection, then you still have hope.

If you still buy the ornaments, put up the Christmas tree or cook the supper, then you still have hope.

If you can look to the past and smile, then you still have hope.

If, when faced with the bad, when told everything is futile,
you can still look up and end the conversation with the phrase..."yeah...BUT.," then you still have hope.

Hope is such a marvelous thing.
It bends, it twists, it sometimes hides, but rarely does it break.
It sustains us when nothing else can.
It gives us reason to continue and courage to move ahead, when we tell ourselves we'd rather give in.

Hope puts a smile on our face when the heart cannot manage.

Hope puts our feet on the path when our eyes cannot see it.

Hope moves us to act when our souls are confused of the direction.

Hope is a wonderful thing,
something to be cherished and nurtured,
and something that will refresh us in return.
And it can be found in each of us,
and it can bring light into the darkest of places.

Never lose hope.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Face Of An Angel

Author Unknown

Many years ago, when my children were ages 10 and 6, I went through a very trying time. I had just left my husband of 7 years, to escape abuse. I managed to get a job with a nursing home as an aide for the elderly and moved in with a "friend" to share living expenses.

One afternoon, after work, I picked my girls up from the sitter, and we went to the fair for the afternoon. It was quite late when we returned home and the house was completely dark. I went to unlock the door and found that my key wouldn't go in but halfway.

I kept trying for a few minutes while my oldest daughter went to get a flashlight from the car. When she returned with it we found somehow the lock had been "stuffed" with sunflower seed shells. So we went around to the front door and tried to open it with the same results. Thinking that one of the neighborhood children had been up to no good, I really didn't give it much consideration.

I went around the house trying to find a window that had been left open enough for me to boost my 10 year old through. No luck. All was locked up tight. So I returned to the back door and broke out a pane of glass and reached in and unlocked the door. Not wanting the girls to pick up any of the glass in their shoes and track it into the house, I told them to sit on the porch for a minute while I swept up the glass. I grabbed the broom and dustpan from behind the door and started sweeping up the glass.

I heard a car pull into the driveway and looked up to see two policemen walking up to the door. They inquired what I was doing and why I had broken into the house. I explained the matter to them and showed them the door locks. They then asked me for proof that I lived at that address, so I asked them to wait a minute while I went to get my rent receipt and identification from inside the house. I then, for the first time, opened the door leading into the house itself.

Oh my, but I will never forget the shock of that moment. The house was empty! Other than a few things remaining on the back porch, everything was gone! I went through the house looking at each room in complete disbelief. In a daze, I went back outside where the officers were waiting and informed them there was nothing left.

At this point they were not buying any of my story. I could tell from their actions and tone of voice that they thought I was breaking into an empty house for somewhere to sleep.

I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the owner of the house or her phone number. After several minutes of sitting on the steps in shock, I remembered the neighbor across the street was a good friend of the owners, and told that to the police officers. I asked if I could go ask her for the number and they informed me that the incident call had originated from that address. I walked over with one of the officers while the other stayed with my girls.

The neighbor was able to provide the owner's name and phone number, so the officer made the call. The owner was quite shocked to hear my story. As it turned out, my "friend" had been going through an eviction process with the courts when I moved in with her and had lost the case. She had been ordered to vacate the premises by 10 am on that date. The court order had been issued the same day I had paid her 1/2 of the rent and a deposit of $300.00.

The owner was very kind and understanding but there was nothing she could do. The house had been rented already and the people were to move in the following weekend. She didn't press charges against me for breaking and entering and told me not to worry about the pane of glass I had broken since she had some extra panes from a previous time.

The officers let me go and I went to gather my girls into the car. They were both exhausted and cold. Also very frightened, because they thought their mamma was going to jail. I put them in the car and laid them on the back seat, covering them with my coat. They fell asleep almost instantly.

I got into the car and drove away. I didn't go far though, before I had to pull over because the tears took control. I couldn't believe it!! Everything we owned was gone. I had used up all our money moving in and paying my "friend" our share of costs. I had about $11 to my name. And payday was three days away. I knew very few people in town, as we had just moved there recently.

I realized that I was exhausted myself and had to be at work at 6 am the next morning, so I drove to the city park and curled up in the front seat to sleep. Needless to say, I overslept, and called into work to apprise them of my situation. My supervisor was very understanding, but the best she could do was see if payroll would issue my wages early.

I went to sit back in the car with the girls until enough time had passed to call back. I was talking to the girls, explaining our situation to them so that they wouldn't be afraid. During this time there was a "street person" with a shopping cart sort of lingering nearby, looking in the garbage cans for aluminum cans, bottles, and any other item that might bring him some cash. I hadn't paid much attention to him, as I was used to "seeing" these people without really seeing them. They were just part of the background.

After 45 minutes or so had passed, I tried calling my supervisor to find out what the verdict was, with no results. So, I decided to get the girls something to eat for breakfast. We grabbed some bread, lunch meat, and chips and returned to the park - for a "picnic."

When we got there and I was again trying to call work, I saw that the man I had noticed before was not alone. He was with a small group of others like him and they were passing a hat amongst themselves.

I, again, had no luck with my call so the girls and I grabbed our bag of groceries and headed over to a picnic table. We set our things down on the table and Tami (my 6 year old) told me she needed to use the bathroom. So we walked to the restrooms - just a few feet from where we were. We cleaned up a bit and returned to the table. On the way back, I tried the phone again. This time, I had success. I reached my supervisor and was informed that I could pick up my check at 1PM that afternoon. Such a relief!

We sat down at the table and I was busy setting up our little "picnic," when I heard a voice saying, "Ma'am, please excuse the intrusion but... well... I couldn't help but overhear the situation you are in, and well... me and the fellas took up a collection for you and your little girls. It's not very much, but maybe it'll help a little." I looked up at this man, - dirty, needing a shave, and smelling a bit "ripe" - and saw the face of an angel. I started crying. (Bawling, to be truthful.)

The man tried to hand me something like $30, probably a small fortune to him and his friends. I folded his hand back over the money and just hugged him as tight as I could. I told him, "Thank you very much for your more than generous offer, but we are going to be just fine." He didn't believe me at first, but I convinced him that it was okay.

Later that afternoon I picked up my paycheck and rented a room for the week, to give me and my girls a little time to work our situation out. Then I went to the market and bought the makings for a barbecue and off to that little park we went. It didn't take us very long to find those gentlemen and invite them to join us for lunch, which they did. I had a wonderful afternoon that day, sitting there with those old guys, singing songs while they drummed on the aluminum park table, and just talking to them. They had some of the most entertaining stories I've ever listened to and they shared the dreams they once had. They shared of themselves, from the heart.

As long as I live I will never forget that day, when God showed me what true generosity and giving meant. When he showed me Love comes from the most unexpected places, in the most unlikely way. Those old men will live in my heart and memories forever, as the richest people I ever knew, because they had enough Love to share with a mother and her two daughters who would have never given them the time of day. That was the day, I saw the face of an angel, and it forever changed the way I view others.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Who is Responsible for Your Happiness?

By Paula Renaye

A young woman I know has struggled for most of her life to be loved. Her definition of being loved is being taken care of--of making someone else responsible for her survival, support, wants, needs and even her happiness.

She operates on the belief that “if only” she can get someone to do all the things on her ever-changing list, she will feel loved and validated and her life will be magically transformed--and so will her past.

She convinces herself that these delusions and illusions are real, and uses manipulation, blame, shame, guilt and wild demands to try to force others to give her what she thinks she wants. Then when it doesn't work--and it never does--she loses herself in one addiction or another.

No matter what anyone does for her, it flows through her awareness like water through a sieve, draining them but not filling her. She doesn’t see it that way, of course. In her mind, the blame for all her troubles falls squarely on the shoulders of others--parents, partner, boss, etc. Nothing in her life is her fault or her responsibility--she wouldn’t be this way if….(fill in the blank).

If I could, I’d read her this excerpt and a few others from The Hardline Self Help Handbook. She might not be ready to hear the words, but saying them would lay one more brick on the road of her journey--a journey she will be on at some point whether she likes it or not.

Grow up: If you’re still blaming anyone for how your life is, you’re not living in the present and you have zero chance of being happy. Nobody had a perfect childhood--nobody--and a lot of people have lived through bad relationships, health issues and untold traumas. The reality is that whatever happened to you before now is located permanently in the past. Those chapters of your life have already been written, and there are no rewrites. You can’t change what happened. You can, however, change how you feel about it and how you allow it to affect you--if you want to. If you don’t, and you choose to hang on to your old story as your excuse for how awful your life is now, then do us all a favor and just own it. Admit that you like having people feel sorry for you and that keeping your past alive gives you permission to not have to take responsibility for yourself and your life. The downside is that the only place this scenario makes any sense is in your head. Emotionally mature adults demand responsibility for their own lives.

Obviously, she isn’t emotionally mature enough yet to understand any of that--and may never be. A lot of people never get there no matter how old they are chronologically--you probably know a few of them.

Also obviously, she’s more than willing to have people feel sorry for her. She uses her victim status to get sympathy (caring) and entices people to “help” her out in one way or another (i.e., take care of her). It works for a moment, maybe, but ultimately it doesn't give her what she really wants. It can't. Only she can do that for herself by doing her own care-taking and giving herself the feeling of accomplishment and self-respect that comes from it.

So, in one regard, her own definition of love (love=being taken care of) is actually right on target--it’s exactly what she needs. The problem is, the only person who can give it to her, the only person who can truly love her the way she needs to be loved, is the last person she’s willing to demand it of--herself.

What are you looking to others to do that should be doing--must do--for yourself? Why aren't you? When are you going to start?

Do it now and live your joy!



* * * *
Paula Renaye is tough love motivational speaker, certified professional coach and author of the multi-award-winning self-empowerment guide, The Hardline Self Help Handbook. Hardline is available in paperback and just about every ebook format out there (Kindle, Nook, Apple, Mobi, etc.). It's still on sale at amazon.com so get it now!
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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