Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Beck Valley Book Tour - The Prodigal by Michael Hurley

An Adventure Awaits

The naturalistic call to the sea is embodied within Michael Hurley's gift of The Prodigal. Much like the sea that Hurley writes about, it is deep and mystical and will carry you easily into the world he has created. You will find yourself immersed, I know I did. I started studying the Bible when I was a young lady, in my early twenties. So, I was naturally drawn toward the scriptures and Hurley's depiction of faith and questioning our beliefs. I've also always had a love of the ocean. Reading the poetry within the author's ability to put his readers in the moment, and utilize our senses so that we can recall how the salt air tastes and how it feels, it's a real escape from our realities.

Overall, I give The Prodigal 5 out of 5 stars. When reading this I kept thinking of Jane Austen, not in comparison, rather a phrase she would use - how characters would "make love to us all" because they have a gift of speaking that draws us toward them. Much like Hurley, his intoxicating writing technique and eloquent style, you quickly realize that you are reading a master at his craft. 

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Other Works by Michael Hurley

Book Synopsis Provided by Beck Valley Books

For 2,000 years, Christendom has believed that fail and penitence are the narrow gates through which all who seek heaven must pass, and that the church on Earth holds the key. What if a forgotten relic, hidden inside an abandoned ship thought to have been lost at sea more than a century ago, suddenly reappeared and cast doubt on that belief? Who would seek to use it? Who would seek to destroy it? And whose lives would it forever change?
This sweeping allegorical tale begins with the escape of a Gypsy princess and her young lover from her father's camp in 1851, recalling the flight of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The boy steals Prodigal, a sailing ship blessed with unnatural speed, and the lovers escape to sea, leaving the father to grieve for the loss and pine for the return of his child.
More than 150 years later on Ocracoke Island we meet Aidan Sharpe, an aging lawyer, as he rises from the sand of a remote beach after a lost weekend. In a strange foreboding, one woman gives him wine and another gives him water just as his world is about to be consumed by scandal. While struggling to rebuild his life in this lonely outpost of the Outer Banks, Aidan is caught up in a two-thousand-year-old mystery that unfolds with the sudden reappearance of Prodigal off the coast, adrift and unmanned. Its discovery will lead Aidan and those close to him into the deep, in a race between time and eternity.

"Stirring, romantic, and evocative of the sea's magic." - Kirkus Reviews

"An intriguing, well-plotted, and multi-layered novel. The supernatural elements--a religious relic, a gypsy woman out of legend--are thoughtfully handled. Hurley writes beautifully, especially when depicting island and nautical life." - Kirkus Reviews

"Hurley's eloquent, hypnotic style will have readers following, unquestioningly, to the very end. The Prodigal is a masterpiece of artistic imagination and fluid strokes of the pen. Intelligently and eloquently written, this story--where past and present meet, where one man and those near him learn to inhale life, and where wonderful and unexplained things cab be accepted only by faith--is a powerful first novel by Michael Hurley" - ForeWord Clarion Review

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Born in Baltimore in 1958, he holds a degree in English education from the University of Maryland and a law degree from St. Louis University. His first book, Letter from the Woods, was a collection of essays compiled from eight years of wilderness canoeing expeditions with his children. It was a finalist for the Book of the Year Award by ForeWord magazine in 2005. In April 2013 Hachette Book Group published his memoir, Once Upon a Gypsy Moon. The Prodigal is his first novel.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Scent of Roses Giveaway



Courtesy of Charlene Raddon, author of The Scent of Roses

Open Worldwide

Ending on Sunday 29th September at 11.59pm EST


Rosalyn Delaney’s husband, Josiah, had vanished six years ago. Following a private detective’s lead, Rosalyn leaves Salt Lake City and boards a train heading to the mining town of Whiskey Ridge, Arizona. She arrives at Rose House, an old mansion reputed to be haunted, only to discover her missing husband has been killed, and his business partner, Whip Kincade, is wanted for his murder. Determined to uncover the secrets surrounding Josiah and his death, Rosalyn decides to stay-even when she begins to receive nightly visits from a charming “ghost”…


Escaping a troubled past, Whip Kincade had hoped he could make a fresh start by coming to Whiskey Ridge and opening a saloon with his friend, Josiah. Now as a murder suspect hiding in his own house, Whip’s future looks bleak indeed…unless he can find the real culprit. But the unexpected intrusion of Rosalyn ruins his plans of sneaking out at night to investigate. Scaring her away is the first step in clearing his name, but Rosalyn doesn’t rattle easily. And Whip isn’t sure he wants the lovely widow to walk out of his life—especially when she would take his heart with her…

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Beck Valley Book Tour Review

Did I Say That Out Loud? conversations about life - By Kelly McDermont Harman

What I liked about Kelly's writing is that when you read it you feel that you are reading her perceptions within these events. She was able to take those great moments in our lives and share them in a way that we are able to relate to. I have been around children my entire life, the incident with her granddaughter in the changing room, I could relate to. My cat is nearly 19 now, I can relate to her cat adventures. I think most woman would not find any difficulties in relating to the various stories within the book.

Something that that my mother had taught me and Kelly states in her book as well, is that men are simple. Kelly states that they are simple creatures, they are. My mom taught me that they are not mind readers, do not presume they should know what you are thinking, if you want them to take the trash out you have to ask them: simple creatures.

Reading through the authors adventures, you definitely get a sense of her personality, quirks and all. Her spunk adds to the sass and energy within the words, while it is a no-holds-barred expression within these events as well. It adds to the charm of the read. Kelly has captured the moments within our lives and put them before us to read through an charismatic essences. It is like sitting down with a friend and catching-up over dinner. So, grab a cocktail, settle-in to a comfy chair, and enjoy the light and easy read that the author has so openly shared with us. 

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We've all had it - the "uh-oh" of wishing we could take back the comment that somehow escaped the filter between our brains and our mouths. Did I Say That Out Loud? is the tell-all account of the author's misadventures in the daily experience that is life. Told in the tone of a coffee-klatch gathering with your best girlfriends - you know, the ones you can share anything and everything with - the author holds nothing back as she recounts the trials and tribulations of life as Kelly Harman.

Thinking of braving Botox or plastic surgery? Get the real scoop from Kelly, including pre-procedure husband prep. Need help when your cat catches on fire? Ask Kelly how to extinguish the flames without spilling your wine. Survival tips for when a 300 pound man falls on you? Ask Kelly, who lived to tell the tale.

Kelly captures those "you can't make this stuff up" dramas and takes them one step further. She shows us that by reveling in the inevitable mess of the moments we wish we could take back, we may discover that sharing our stories is in fact healing, unifying, and often outrageously funny.

Bad for the laugh lines but good for the abs, some of these stories will hit close to home, others will stray far, far from your average woman on the street. But all are unified by the inimitable candor and hilarity that her friends agree is uniquely Kelly.

Read 'em and weep.

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About the Author

Kelly McDermott Harman was born in Asmara, Ethiopia in 1962 and has walked the road less traveled ever since.  Her childhood was spent overseas, living in eight different countries before she came to the U.S. at the age of 16.  This experience inspired an adventurous streak and disregard for convention which has yielded a rich life, overflowing with great story material.

Her experiences range from celebrating her ninth birthday at India's Taj Mahal to being evacuated with her family in the midst of a civil war in East Pakistan, single motherhood to serial entrepreneur, and Burning Man devotee to self-made marketing maven.  Most recently Kelly came full circle back to the continent of her birthplace, celebrating her 50th birthday at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Kelly lives in Manassas, Virginia with Bob, her husband and true love of 23 years and has three sons. When she isn't writing about her adventures, Kelly loves spending time with her friends and family, but especially with her three grandchildren, teaching them the value of reckless honesty and unhindered fun.  Kelly is currently working on her next book, a memoir about growing up abroad as the daughter of a (former) CIA agent.

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Call Ye - Call Ye

Are you searching for the perfect affiliation for the fall?

The Realms Faire sounds like it will be full of prizes, great opportunities, and good times had by all. Something that caught my eye when reading through the site was The Artist's Way. As an self-published author, I have found that marketing and advertising has been an completely draining experience. It is great events like this that helps us to put the word out there. The Artist's Way commerges the writer with an artist. The writer submits an excerpt from their collective works, and then is paired with an artist who has to create an image based on the excerpt. I think this is a fantastic opportunity!

Other great opportunites that interested me was the Collective Stage Performance where we can put our creativeness and imagry on display as well as the prospective Dragon Hunt. Visit the site to sign-up and get involved in this great adventure: Realms Faire.  The week long events include

  • Jousting Tournament
  • Masquerade Parade
  • The Artist's Way
  • Collective Stage Performance
  • Dragon Hunt
  • The Stockade Brigade
  • Castle Jumble
  • Drench-a-Wench/Soak-a-Bloke
  • Sponsor Any Event

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

IWSG Anniversary

Insecure Writers Support Group 

Celebrates 2 Year Anniversary

While I have not been with the group for two years, I can definitely agree that this group is an amazing one to be a part of, so thank you +Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating it, and thank you to all the amazing co-hosts throughout the years that have helped to keep us all in-check. I would highly recommend joining if you love to write, love to read, are an aspiring author within any format, or just want to be a part of a wonderful group of charismatic people with the passion to create, share, and support.  Join the Blogging Sensation!!

My Testimony

As a new self-published author, I felt like a very small and feeble fish in a very big and intimidating pond. After reading article after article of tips and tricks on the self-publishing realms, one of the suggestions that seemed unanimous was blogging. So, with anticipation I jumped on the bandwagon and things started to look up. However, while my eyes were high in the sky, my spirits started to plummet. I think most of us have the dream of our creations, our writing, that once people read it they would immediately fall in-love with it and then it will be an over-night sensation. Well, at least this was a self-indulged concept that I would play with like a kitten with a ball of string. Then again, sometimes we need those indulging perspectives to get us through difficult times too. But! The great outcome of a difficult time was finding the Insecure Writers Support Group. Here you are able to connect with other writers, you can vent, share advice, and learn a lot about the field. It is an absolute invaluable tool, much like the Tailors tools for defeating the giant. This group provides those tools for the writers taking on the self-publishing proverbial giant as well. So, arm yourself, prepare for battle! 

I originally had joined the group to gain exposure for my work. Joining groups and blog hops really helps you to gain followers and individuals that could potentially be interested in your blog and your writing. At first I was obsessed with connecting with as many bloggers and followers as I could. I would also highly recommend Alex's other groups as well for fellow bloggers and writers. Join Alex and his many blogging adventures here!

*Tip: being a part of this group, you have to post on the first Wednesday of every month. I had a hard time at first remembering, finally I added it into my calendar. Now, I get notifications reminding me about IWSG and that I need to post and check out the fellow bloggers as well. Ironically I'm posting late this month! But otherwise, this is a great tip and really helps me to remember. Especially for people like me, I seem to lose more and more of my focus or my memory capabilities... well, stress is a big factor here too...

That being said, if you have not already drawn the conclusion, I absolutely adore this group. I have found that after self-publishing my book, it has been a huge learning experience that I keep learning through trial and error. I love being able to have this "check-in" that connects me to others where I can ask a questions and get comments, answers, suggestions, or even the desperate support we need as self-published authors. I have a lot of support from my family, but sometimes you need that unbiased opinion to give you a different perspective too.

I cannot thank you enough +Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating this group and giving a forum, voices, and the invaluable tool to help us through - what can be - a difficult journey. I have only been contributing for a few months, but I do look forward to it. I'm also late in submitting this month (Oopps!) moving is so stressful and tiresome. But, I think I'll save that to write about for next month! Better late then never - agreed?

This Month's Insecurity

I dove head-first into the professional editing service realm. So far - so good. It is a little nerve-racking anticipating the manuscript. I am excited at the same time. The service I am using, There For You Editing has been used by other self-published authors and they highly recommend +Melissa Ringsted services. If you visit the link, you can read all of the testimonials. Some authors have received awards and a lot of recognition after using Melissa's services... not that I could be in the same category; I know I should not compare my work with others... but, I have to dream - right?  The editor has been very proactive with communicating and I look forward to Monday, receiving my first manuscript back and reading over it! If you want to continue to follow this adventure, I plan on sharing and blogging about it in another blog that I have, Going off Dreams: the journey and/or Going off Dreams: the series.

*Tip for newbies: MS refers to manuscript. I felt nearly idiotic for not knowing that... it was one of those moments where you palm-slap your forehead and tell yourself "Duh!" 

Have you ventured through professional services for your work? What services did you enlist and was it a positive avenue?