Thursday, 31 May 2012

Malaysia – Climate, Souvenirs & More Illness

By Rough Guy'd

15th July 2009 - With the wedding and the food feasting over, my time travelling with family was coming to a close.  The very last part of this involved me travelling with my parents and some other family back to Kuala Lumpur.  What I had learned so far from my trip in Malaysia was that there are two distinct seasons in the peninsula part of the country; that of hot and dry or hot and wet. 

The advantage of a country such as Malaysia is that since it is a peninsula, there are two coasts so any time of the year you can happily visit either side while the other side suffers lots of rain and humidity.  Because of this, I found out that now was the best time to visit the east coast of peninsula Malaysia, an area that I knew little about, and the best way to reach there was through Taman Negara via Kuala Lumpur.

One of the most difficult things to think about when backpacking is souvenirs.  While souvenirs are a usual part of most holidays, it is a different story when you are backpacking.  Each additional piece that you decide to carry with you is invariably going to be carried by you.

Over a few months, this additional weight gets more and more bothersome not to mention the difficulties of varying levels of customs and the chances of breakages.  This is why travelling back to Kuala Lumpur with family that were heading home afterwards was a very convenient situation.  Any souvenirs that I wanted to buy I could just pass back to my family to take home with them and being such a great shopping mecca (even for a guy), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Though I did manage to enjoy myself in the capital both with family and without, I was eager to move on and would have after a couple of days if not for my cousin wanting to meet up.  Unfortunately, he seemed a bit tired and after a few days, he was diagnosed with Dengue fever.  One of the most dangerous diseases that you can pick up while in the tropics, this potentially fatal disease is caused by mosquito bites and most annoyingly, has no vaccine.  Your best bet is mozzie spray and crossing your fingers.

Considering that this was the second case of Dengue that I had witnessed (and both victims being locals), I couldn’t really argue with the dangers.  Thankfully he didn’t require hospitalisation but it did mean I waited in KL a week longer than I would have liked and picked up a cold.  It is at this point that I came to really despise air conditioners.  Though they do keep you cool in an otherwise stiflingly hot environment, they seem to be too effective at times and not enough at other times and someone always seems to turn it down too low.  From this point on, I almost always chose a fan room instead.  After recovering for a bit, I was finally on my way to more adventure.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Crazy Girlfriend, Meddling Mom & Sticker Shock

By Paula Renaye

After renewing my vehicle tags at the courthouse, I walked to the back of my car to put on the new sticker. As I did, I couldn't help but overhear a conversation a woman was having with someone she'd apparently run into in the parking lot. She was telling about her adult son's latest troubles. I didn't intend to hear, but I did. And the viewpoint the woman told the story from was fascinating--and unfortunately familiar.

It seemed that Sonny and his crazy girlfriend had gotten into it again. This wasn't the first time things had gone bad, and Mom was speculating on what Sonny would find when he went home today. The last time this sort of thing happened, Girlfriend had thrown away all of his clothes and other belongings. Sonny had come home from work to find he had nothing to wear except the clothes on his back. That had turned into a real crisis for Mom. She'd had to drop everything, rush to the thrift store and get him new clothes so he could go to work the next day. This time, Mom was worried that Girlfriend might have taken his truck, which would leave him without a way to get to work and give Mom an even bigger list of list of things to fix.

In literally seconds--the time it took me to put on my sticker and get in my car--Mom had given me a clear picture of an old family pattern playing out. Granted, it was only a snapshot, but it the facts were pretty clear: the situation had happened before, Mom had helped Sonny fix it, he was right back in it again and she was ready to fix it again.

By now, you know where I stand on this sort of thing--a glass of tough love for everyone! First of all, this situation isn't any of Mom's business. If Sonny doesn't mind his girlfriend getting mad and destroying everything he owns then no one else should either--it's his business. He is not a victim; he's a volunteer.

Mom rushing in to fix things only makes things worse--for him and for herself. By taking away the consequences of Sonny's choices--he's with the crazy woman for a reason--it only makes it easier for him to stay with her. By relieving him of the hardship of replacing his things himself, Mom's actually helping him tolerate the situation and repeat the cycle.

As for Mom, well, the boy didn't come up with his way of how relationships should be all on his own, and making Sonny's life her focus may be a way to avoid facing unpleasant situations in her own life. She needs the drama for some reason!

They all do. Just because they're miserable doesn't mean they don't like it. They're all getting something from it. There's a feeling or belief that's being satisfied by the behavior or they wouldn't be doing it.

There are plenty of possibilities, but one thing is for sure. Unless someone starts doing something differently--unless Mom stops rescuing or Sonny stops tolerating and allowing--the old familiar pattern and family dynamic will continue to play out, keeping everyone locked in an unhappy cycle.

Now, Crazy Girlfriend could come to her senses, snap out of own need for drama and leave. Sonny could grow a spine, demand Girlfriend straighten up and tell Mom to butt out. Mom could decide that too. She could also decide to do get a life of her own and leave her son to live with the consequences of his choices. Whatever the case, until one of them reaches their break point and decides to do something different, they'll all keep doing what they've always done.

Our behaviors aren't random--we have reasons for what we do whether we're aware of them or not. And we will keep doing what we've always done until we find ourselves in enough pain that we're finally willing to make different choices.

So, if you find yourself repeating old patterns and reliving the same old dramas with the same old people, step back and take a long honest look at the situation. Like Sonny, maybe it's time for you to grow a spine and do something about it.

* * * * *
Paula Renaye is The Tough Love BFF Coach, empowerment speaker and five-time award-winning author. Her new book, Living the Life You Love--The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation will be in stores in September. Read more at

Top 7 Book Picks & Lessons Learned

By Deidre Havrelock 

I began reading not long after I decided to become a writer. I wasn’t a big reader while growing up. I was more interested in becoming an actress and for a short stint, a lawyer. Later, I lost complete focus and wanted to be nothing (due to being possessed and all). When I did start reading, I read all kinds of books. I often bought books at Zellers, from the $1.00 bin, carrying five or six home whenever I could. 

I still have my favorite one, right here next to my desk, Story of My Life—a hard cover for only a buck! As I continued reading, I noticed a few things. I noticed some writers were exceptionally good at metaphor, some were good at creating pace and others were good at characterization and symbol, some were just darned good at reading the human psyche. I began reading books with a renewed vigor. I began asking, “How did the writer do this?

So with that being said, these are the books I learned stuff from.  

1.      Memoir: The Glass Castle  - humor. If the story is sad, how come I laughed?

“Dad had kept this job for nearly six months—longer than any other. I figured we were through with Battle Mountain and that within a few days, we’d be on the move again. “I wonder where we’ll live next,” I said. Lori shook her head. “We’re staying here,” she said. Dad insisted he hadn’t exactly lost his job. He had arranged to have himself fired because he wanted to spend more time looking for gold.—Author Jeannette Walls

(He got fired so he could look for gold?! This family is beyond eccentric and that’s funny! The book makes you appreciate your own screwed-up family.)

2.      Fiction: The Stone Diaries  - metaphor. Count the metaphors in this hard-as-stone story.

“Only bread seems to ease her malaise, buttered bread, enormous slabs of it, what she’s heard people in this village refer to as doorsteps.”—Author Carol Shields

(Did she just make a piece of bread sound like a rock-solid slab of concrete? The book is full of these metaphors.)

3.      Fiction: Story of My Life - pace. This book moves along fast!

“Skip Pendelton’s this jerk I was in lust with once for about three minutes. He hasn’t called me in like three weeks which is fine, okay, I can deal with that, but suddenly I’m like a baseball card he trades with his friends? Give me a break.”–Author Jay McInerney

(So like when long, almost totally run-on sentences get paired with short snappy sentences sorta like Michael Jordan meets Snookie. Bam! This like makes you move really, really fast. Get it?)

4.      Memoir: Angela’s Ashes  - emotion. I must have cried twenty times while reading this book.

“Oh, she says, we’ll have a lovely tea when your Pop brings home the wages tonight.”—Author Frank McCourt.

(Ack! We get set up with happy thoughts that don’t ever pan out (Pop never brings home the wages! Yet, I’m always hoping he will!) and so Bam! I’m crying just knowing it’s not going to happen.)

5.      Fiction: The Handmaid’s Tale  - human psyche. What does this story say about the human race?

“I wish this story were different. I wish it were more civilized. I wish it showed me in a better light, if not happier, then at least more active, less hesitant, less distracted by trivia.”—Author Margaret Atwood

(Has she just put her finger on the apathetic pulse of society?)

6.      Fiction: Dark Placesmood. This book has a distinctly dark mood… how did the writer achieve it?

“But the shoe boxes of donations were gone, and I was left with a mere three letters and the rest of the night to kill. I headed back home, several cars blinking their headlights at me until I realized I was driving dark.”—Author Gillian Flynn

(It’s dark outside, she has a night to kill, and she’s driving dark! That’s a lot of darkness packed into two sentences.)

7.      Non-Fiction: The Anatomy of Story symbol. This book (one of my very favorites) contains a great chapter on what symbol is and why writers use it.

“A symbol creates a resonance, like ripples in a pond, every time it appears.”—Author John Truby

(I honestly did not understand symbolism until I read this book.)

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Paranormal, Non-Fiction
Rating - PG13
More details about the book

Connect with Deidre Havrelock on Facebook

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

How Would You Change the Publishing World?

Given unlimited resources, how would you change the publishing world?
By Suzanne Anderson

Actually, thanks to and the ease with which self-publishing has allowed anyone to enter the market, I think the publishing world is doing a great job of going through it’s own rapid evolution and requires no help from me. The gate-keepers of literary agents and publishing houses have, like the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, lost a great deal of their power in the past few years. While they will always play a vital and important role in the market, luckily for us, they are no longer the only avenue to publication.

The best outcome of this revolution in publishing is that it doesn’t take unlimited resources to play the game. The barriers to entry have been virtually eliminated thanks to the advent of the e-reader and the availability of venues for free publication.

Remember when you had to spend months querying agents in New York, just hoping to find one who would represent you and your book? That process was like playing the lottery. It could take months or you could win on your first try. But that was only the first step.

The next wait came when your agent sent your book out to publishers. Then the beauty contest began again. If the book was not picked up by a publisher, you might be asked to re-write the book, your agent might drop you, or she might wait around while you wrote a second book.

If you were lucky enough to find a publisher to take on your book, you had to hope that it would become the victim of the revolving door of editors moving from house to house. If you were lucky your book might see the shelves of a bookstore one and a half years after your typed ‘The End’.

Now, all of that has changed. In my mind, for the better.

Today you can take matters into your own hands and self-publish your work and get your book into the hands of readers immediately.

Yes, you do still need to have your work edited. An eye-catching book cover will help you stand out from the crowd. And working up a consistent marketing campaign will help readers to find you.

The key is that all of these opportunities and responsibilities are now in your hands.

Which is why, in my mind, today is the best time in the history of the world to be a writer. The only thing stopping you is your willingness to do the work. Which means that really, you have all the unlimited resources you could ever need!

Passion Plays

By Jeffrey Kosh 

Hi, I’m Jeffrey Kosh, horror storyteller.

Well, that’s the way some fellow authors tagged me, yet I don’t feel like one. Yes, I am a storyteller, but horror is incidental. Mind you, I have nothing against the genre, quite the contrary, but just don’t feel restrained to it. Horror is not even a genre in itself, but a ‘mood’. You can insert horrific things into westerns, romance, sci-fi, or even historical tales.

Until now, I’ve published four books, all in the supernatural listing, but my stories are more about people than monsters.

I like to think at them as ‘Passion Plays’.

Passion plays originated in the Middle Age, they were written in Latin and consisted of Gospel readings alternating with poetic descriptions of events of Christ’s Passion. The vernacular for these poetic passages led to the development of independent vernacular plays. By the 16th century they were overtaken by secular influences and became popular entertainment.

Characteristic of passion plays was the theme of human experience of the universe, be it outside or inside. They often dealt with human nature itself, or our approach to the unknown, or more, to the fight between base needs versus enlightened thought.

All my characters experience passion plays. They must struggle against themselves, fight an angst overriding them, choose if being the man or the beast.

Axel Hyde (Feeding the Urge’s lead character) is torn between his attempts to behave as normal as his peers and his inner urge to kill bullies of all kinds. Captain Daniel Drake (Dead Men Tell No Tales) must fight his egotistical nature for a greater good. All experience an inner struggle. All must endure extreme hardships and grow through the process.

Seeking was one of the late medieval themes of late passion plays. Knights quested not just for holy relics, but the secrets of self-discovery. Success or failure on these searches is not as important as the insights learned while on it.

The voyage matters more than the destination.

And my characters embark on extraordinary voyages; be it the quest to get rid of a perceived demon, or the rite of passage to show you’re growing up and no longer a kid (Kamp Koko by Night in Spirits and Thought Forms anthology), or the final voyage of the Banshee’s Cry (Dead Men Tell No Tales).

Atmosphere of drama and the tragedy of ignorance also play a major role in my stories.

Civilization is always in decline (be it a zombie-ridden 16th century Caribbean Sea, or the decadence of Prosperity Glades; the fictional Floridian town in which events of Feeding and Spirits take place). 

Superstition and fear are everywhere. New ideas and borders are seen as heresy by the general characters in my stories. So my protagonists represent those few who try to break the bonds of ignorance and shed light on the mystical and unfathomable.

Now I’m writing an erotic thriller. There are no monsters in it, no mysterious creatures from the Spirit World. Yet, it is passion play. Another exploration of human baser nature. This time is a struggle between lust and morality.

And I’m enjoying it.

So, I hope one day I’ll be able to delete that tag ‘Horror Storyteller’ and replace it with ‘Passion Storyteller’.

Thank you for listening to my rants.

Jeffrey Kosh is the pen name of an American horror author now living in Thailand. He had various art experiences, before discovering his love for writing fiction. His various careers have led him to travel extensively worldwide, developing a passion for photography, wildlife, history, and popular folklore. 

All these things heavy influenced his writing style. Extroverted in public, he is very private in his work, preferring complete isolation to ‘tune’ his mind to the ‘Great Tales Radio’. He believes stories are already out there, waiting to be put on paper. Jeff currently lives in Ao Nang, with his wife and the mandatory three cats. Plus a lot of geckos. He loves kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, and never relaxes ...

Feeding the Urge
Spirits and Thought Forms: Tales from Prosperity Glades
Dead Men Tell No Tales
The South Will Rise Again

Monday, 28 May 2012

You Have The Right

Author Unknown

You have the right to be you-the way you are. the way you want to be.

You have the right to grow, to change, to become, to strive. to reach for any goal, to be limited only by your degree of talent and amount of effort.

You have the right to privacy-in marriage, family, or any relationship or group-the right to keep a part of your life secret, no matter how trivial or important, merely because you want it to be that way. You have the right to be alone part of the each day, each week and each year to spend time with and on yourself.

You have the right to be loved and to love, to be accepted, cared for, and adored, and you have the right to fulfill that right.

You have the right to ask questions of anyone at anytime in any matter that effects your life, so long as it is your business to do so; and to be listened to and taken seriously.

You have the right to self-respect and to do everything you need to do to increase your self-esteem, so long as you hurt no one in doing so.

You have the right to be happy, to find something in the world that is meaningful and rewarding to you and that gives you a sense of completeness.

You have the right to be trusted and to trust and to be taken at your word. If you are wrong, you have the right to be given a chance to make a good if possible.

You have the right to change your mind.

You have the right to be free as long as you act responsibly and are mindful of the rights of others and of those obligations that you entered into freely.

You have the right to win, to succeed, to compete, to make plans. to see those plans fulfilled. to become the best you can possibly become.

You have a right to boundaries and limits, a right to be intentional, a right to choice.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Orangeberry Book Tours - Feeding the Urge

With his job as Assistant Medical Examiner for the County Morgue, Dr. Axel J. Hyde has all the right tools at his disposal to feed his Rider's urge. Traumatized at the age of ten by a pedophile, his soul has developed a hate for rapists, stalkers, and other people who 'live on other's fear'. Yet, it is the urging spirit a real creature from the Beyond, or it is just a mental construct of his subconscious? The novel tells his story, of the compromises he had to deal with to keep living among people he doesn't really understand. Unable to feel, or even to grasp normal human behavior, Axel simulates it.

Cheri Ridge had to be dead by now. Assaulted by a band of ruthless criminals, the young Cherokee dancer had no other choice but to accept a pact with an ancient spirit of Native American legends. She survived at the cost of her own soul. Now, she lives only for revenge; hunting down and killing all those responsible for her 'death'. 
The paths of these two disturbed individuals are going to merge when Cheri comes hunting her tormentors inside Hyde's killing ground.

The book is intended for a mature adult audience as it contains scenes of
violence and strong language.​​

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Horror
Rating - R

Connect with Jeffrey Kosh on Twitter & Facebook
Check out where this author will be talking about his latest release!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Love in Bloom

To stand a chance to win
Fall for Me by Melanie Marks
Amazon Kindle

(Update on 30th May - Winner is Kim S)

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This Giveaway Hop is organised by two very Blog-A-Licious blogs, 
I Am A Reader Not A Writer & Portrait of a Book

There are loads of giveaways happening 
so do come join us and check out the other 130++ participating blogs HERE

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

Malaysia - Food Heaven

By Rough Guy'd

12th July 2009 - With the wedding over and done with, it was time for the most important part of my trip to Malaysia.  The food.  Since I had been to Singapore, all that I had heard (and experienced so far) is that the food at the current place is good, but the food at the next place is better.  And so it was that when I went to Singapore, they were raving about the food in Kuala Lumpur.

The people in KL were raving about the food in Ipoh, Ipoh about Penang and then finally Penang back to Kampar.  Kampar is in fact is a lovely little town where the wedding was held and my family grew up there.  While I still think that of all my travels, some of the best and cheapest food is to be found here, for the average tourist or traveller, there is absolutely nothing here. 

There is a local swimming hole, a small creek through the town, cheap tailored suits and that’s about it.
In saying that, it was a good time to catch up with family and eat durian.  Durian is a bit of an acquired taste and most people will either love it or hate it.  The easiest way to tell is to get within a hundred metres of some.  Probably the only fruit that is universally banned from most hotels and public transport, the only way to describe it is as a creamy rich fruit, not too sweet with a surprisingly mild taste considering the smell.  I recommend to everyone that reads this to get past the smell and try it at least once if you ever head this way and see if you can tell why this is called the king of fruits.

As well as fruits, Kampar has some of the best cooked food ever ranging from icy desserts such as cendol to char kway tau.  Cendol is made from the pandan plant (like a Chinese vanilla) and made into small jelly like pieces and swimming in a sweet broth made with cane sugar and coconut cream and lots of ice.  At one ringett (about 40 US cents), it was a bargain.  Char kway tau is a Chinese-malay delicacy with working man roots.  Back in the day when mining was a big industry, most people couldn’t afford to eat meat but still required the nutrients to work properly. 

Some bright spark came up with the idea of stir frying flat rice noodles and using eggs and fatty pork bones to improve the flavour and nutrients.  Nowadays they use regular pork meat and prawns but most of the flavour has been kept the same, resulting in a tasty, filling dish but a bit healthier than in the past and at about 4 ringett, still pretty cheap for a freshly cooked meal.

While the food mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg, there are many other fine delicacies to try such as chee chong fun and the ever popular roti and all of these and more can be found all over Malaysia, not just Kampar.  Half the fun of travelling is going around to different places and trying new foods.  While some people may be more adventurous than others, there are different levels of daredevilry involved.  

For those with a more delicate stomach, trying the local fruit is always a good option and the fruit in this tropical region is some of the best, even something as ordinary as a banana is full of surprises over here with many varieties, different tastes and ways to cook them.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

More Than a Feeling

By Paula Renaye 

If you’re a fan of the band Boston or grew up in the 70s, you probably can’t read the words “more than a feeling” and not hear the tune in your head--one automatically leads to the other. It’s the same with feelings and thoughts--they are linked together even if you don’t consciously realize it. 

For example, it makes perfect sense that you’d feel anger when the boss praises the resident brown-noser, who does absolutely nothing, for being the hardest worker of the group. But, what’s going on besides the obvious? What’s the deeper meaning for you? 

Well, you may think the situation is horribly unfair and unjust, and if you had a decent boss, you’d be the one getting the kudos because you’re the one doing the hard work. You might also think that since you won’t stoop to being a suck-up, the boss is never going to notice you and you'll never get ahead, so why even try.
There are all kinds of possibilities for why you feel as you do, but if you haven't taken the time to really think about it, you don't really know. And it's critical that you do, because if you don't, you will spend your life trying to find ways to tolerate a situation that could possibly be handled differently.

Start by asking yourself if your boss’ actions are somehow validating a limiting belief you have about yourself. Is there a part of you that feels less than? Do you believe that everybody is miserable in their job? Do you believe you'll never get ahead no matter what you do? What are your beliefs about success? Do you believe that the only people who get ahead are the ones who lie, cheat, steal or don't work for it? How does what you’re feeling and thinking support your self-worth? How do you take personal responsibility for the way things are in your life--including the fact that you work for a boss who’s an immature jerk? 

When you have a strong emotional reaction to something, there's a reason--it is more than a feeling--or at least more than the first reactive one. So, when you feel it, follow it and find out what’s really going on--find the belief that's creating your reaction. You might be surprised to discover it's a belief that's only true if you make it so. 

You have no control over what someone else does. You only have control over what you think, believe and do. And that is an amazing power. Own it!


Paula Renaye is a certified professional coach, motivational speaker and award-winning author. Paula's passion is helping women transform the trauma and turmoil of divorce into a profound awakening of self and life purpose.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Orangeberry Book Tours - Patchwork of Me

A product of the foster care system, Sara Butler spends her early thirties hiding from her past while striving for a normal life with her small group of quirky friends in Arizona. Seeking treatment for an invisible rash and abnormal dreams, her therapist helps her unlock a heinous past that she is unsure she wants to open. To patch her life back together, she realizes she must travel across country to Maine to confront that past in order to plan for a future.

What readers have said
"Allen weaves an intricate tapestry of characters, successfully transporting the reader into his world...a compelling read." - Joanne Huspek Blogcritics

"A page-turning, thought provoking, and addictive tale. Allen's vivid characters are rich and real and thoroughly enjoyable." - Spencer Seidel Author of Dead of Wynter

"It's Allen's wisdom and insight - the hopeful message that it is up to us to shape our life and our future - that truly makes this book special. With Patchwork of Me, Greg Allen has made my short list of favorite authors!" - Terri Giuliano Long Author of In Leah's Wake

"It's a kaleidoscope of unexpected twists and turns, emotional and psychological. It's soul-searching; self-discovering, humorous and romantic!" - Arthur Wooten Author of Leftovers

"This book is for anyone who treasures friendship, asks big questions, looks for the truth, or simply enjoys a great story." - Pamela Milam, MA, LPC Author & Columnist

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating - PG13
More details about the author

Connect with Gregory Allen on Twitter & Facebook 
Check out where this author will be talking about his latest release!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Amazonian Boo-Boo?

By Pandora Poikilos

For almost three weeks, I’ve been reading articles and comments from other authors who feel that they have been shortchanged by Amazon. At least 20 different authors have noted that their sales have taken a drastic plunge, rankings are a mess and royalty payments seem questionable.

On my end, everything seemed to tally. Until yesterday.

Peas and I released Elevenses from Around the World on Sunday, 6th May 2012.

This book is enrolled in KDP Select and a five-day free promo was carried out. This free promo started on 8th May and ended on 12th May.

As with all my other books, the results were quite satisfactory. The book made it to the Top 100, and started selling quite a few copies once the free period was over.

In total, we gave out 6,902 free copies. Yes, that’s a lot of free books but let’s save the free or not free discussion for another time, shall we?

Yesterday, on 19th May 2012 at approximately 0900 hours GMT, I noticed the free downloads counter had started moving again. I wasn’t too concerned at first.

Then by 1600 hours GMT, more than 100 copies had been given away. I wrote to KDP Support but have not yet received a reply.

As of 1000 hours GMT this morning, 178 copies had been given away for free.

Additionally, at 1700 hours GMT yesterday, the free downloads counter for Books, Blogs & Smiles 2 had started moving as well and that book hasn’t been free in months.

So the point that Amazon was tidying up its monthly accounts and playing catch up was out the window.

For the benefit of doubt, let’s say they were playing catch up.

Elevenses from Around the World went free last week, copies were downloaded. At mid-month when they are finalizing their monthly accounts, they realize a few discrepancies (178 copies and counting in this case) and they add this to the total amount. No issue.

But ah, therein lies the issue of rankings. 178 copies downloaded, free or not, usually means a significant change in overall ranking. The fact that these are added one week later means nothing to my rank.

Next issue. Why the fuss? We’ve already given away 6,902 copies, what’s another 178? Playing catch-up or not, I’m more than concerned now that something is definitely wrong.

If they can get the figures of free downloads wrong, how accurate are the sales figures? What else are they getting wrong?

I'm trying to stay as objective as I can. But I'm a little on edge. In the past three months, at least two of my books and several reviews have disappeared. Customers rely on book reviews and rankings to purchase books. Let's not forget that getting reviews isn’t the easiest task in the world.

But if these aren’t accurate and authors are being short-changed, has KDP Select finally lost the shine it promised authors when it was launched in December 2011?  

Saturday, 19 May 2012

These Boots are Made for Walkin’…

By Paula Renaye

Nancy Sinatra’s song was a big hit back in 1966, sending an empowering message that not only could we get the courage to do what we needed to do, we would! 

I was chatting with a good friend about taking the next steps to manifest her dreams, and as she talked about what she needed to do, she said she was “shaking in her boots about doing it.” Well, we all do that!
Working without a net isn't for everyone, but it's also a matter of perspective and degree. What's terrifying for me might be a walk in the park for you, but regardless of our yardstick on fear or risk, doing something we've never done--can be really scary. We know that if we take that next step, things will change--our lives will change. 

I don't know what makes us assume that any change will be bad, but we do. The devil we know--and can mostly tolerate--is only familiar, not automatically better. Doing something new and different may be unknown and scary, but it isn't automatically worse than doing nothing. Yet, we often look for all the things that can wrong with a potential choice, and we "what if" ourselves out of exciting opportunities. Obviously, we need to realistic, but we need to give equal weight to the possibility that things could actually work out really great.  

So, what do you do? Do you choose to do nothing and take no active role in your life? Or do you take the bold step and do what you really want to even if it's scary? Sure, things might not turn out exactly the way you want, but then again they might! Life is about doing. So what if you make a mistake! The only people who don't make mistakes are those who don't do anything. 

In my own life, the times I've followed my heart and taken risks are the times I've felt most alive. When I held back out of fear--when I didn't do what I really wanted to because I feared how my life would change if I did--I was miserable.

Either you're actively choosing what you want in your life or you're just "letting it happen." Of course, that's a choice too--a choice not to take responsibility for your life and your happiness.

Now, we don't have to walk all over someone else or wait for someday as the song goes, but we do need to put on our big kid boots and get walking into our own lives.

So, if you’re right there, looking at what you want to do, but you’re afraid to take that next step, remember this….

Those boots aren’t made for shaking; they’re made for walking, so get to it! 

Follow your heart, do what you've never done and start really living!

* * * *
Paula Renaye is a life transformation speaker, coach and award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. Her new release, Living the Life You Love--The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation will be in bookstores September 1!

Comen Spel’in Misteaks

By Shannon Mayer

For those of us (and by that I mean me) who can write but still struggle with spelling from time to time, this post is for you. (And by you I mean me again.) I think I have come to rely so much on my spell checker that I have gotten lazy when it comes to correct spelling. It’s so easy to hit the spell check button and have the whole manuscript in perfect order in such a short time it almost seems redundant to bother doing it yourself.

You see so many small spelling mistakes if you cruise the web at all. Blogs, articles Facebook Posts (gah, that drives me wild!). Not to mention Twitter shortenings, text speak, and mashed up words that seem to have no meaning. While they can help us get our message across faster, I think we are losing some of the basic things that we should still carry from our grade school years. You know, the ability to spell. Big words, not just the little tiny ones. As I mentioned, I can be as guilty of this as anyone else, so no worries, I’m not pointing fingers!

From time to time I think it’s a good idea to make sure our grammar and spelling is up to snuff. You know, old school style. It would do us no good to have an article or blog come out riddled with mistakes. (Unless we don’t expect anyone to see it, and even then, this is the age of the internet and someone will find it) What kind of authors would that make us? (I try to fix mine I do!) 

In fact, it is a large part of why I take so much time with my manuscripts, the last thing I want is for people to be pushed out of the story, because I didn’t do my due diligence as the author. But, I also don’t want to have my editors call me and tell me that they are going to have to charge me double, because of my numerous mistakes. Eeek, that is something I try to avoid at all costs. No pun intended. Well, maybe a little one.

So, for fun and a little wake up call for us bad spellers, here’s a list of 10 words with a correct spelling and an incorrect spelling. Now no cheating and using a dictionary or your spell check, this is all on you. Good luck and happy spelling!

accommodate or accomodate
concensus or consensus
seige or siege
exhuberant or exuberant
marshal or marshall
quandary or quandry
propeller or propellor
occassion or occasion
alotted or allotted
dispel or dispell

Friday, 18 May 2012

Orangeberry Book Tours - Maycly

Kids will love this faith based epic fantasy adventure, suitable for the entire family. The three parts of Maycly found in the paperback are sold separately as Ebooks. Part 1 is an amazing start to an epic journey. Get attached almost immediately as the protagonist, Iona, is thrown into circumstances beyond her control. Just as you're getting acquainted with her, you'll find yourself being taken back in time on Maycly, where the stage is being set for their queen's hopeful arrival. Part 1 offers a great cliff hanger, leading you right into Part 2.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating - PG

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Witch Song by Amber Argyle
Amazon Kindle

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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



Dealightfully Frugal

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


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



Powered by

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


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


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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