Thursday, August 30, 2012


I have once again, had the opportunity to review another book from the very talented author Leslie Deaton. I think that both books I've read from her have been very well written and put together. 
The best part about today, is the fact that I have a fantanstic guest post from the very talented and creative Leslie Deaton for everyone to enjoy. OH... AND... At the end of this post, you'll find that she has been more then generous in letting me GIVEAWAY not 1, but 2 books!! She's so great isn't she?! (AMAZING!!)

A big THANK YOU to Sarita Lopez for welcoming me back to her blog!

This week I met with a friend who is writing his first fantasy novel about an Elven World and found myself giving him mounds of advice. Specifically we talk through the How To’s for Getting Started and my Lessons Learned about Self-Publishing, so I thought I would share those same tips here with all of you.
The first bit of advice I gave him was about doing research on his genre. If you are writing a specific genre, you need to read the genre that you want to write. You should understand what makes the books in that genre successful, who the most popular authors and series are in that genre and why. I read once that 90% of all the manuscripts an agent receives begin with the main character waking up from a dream. Can you imagine how boring books would be if every story started like that? (And yes, his story does…but then again, so did my first manuscript.)
I also encouraged him to write often. He has a young family so carving out time to sit down and write each night isn’t possible. Ideally, he should try to writing every day. The practice of writing will strengthen your syntax, expand your vocabulary, and expand your storyline. If you run into a block on your storyline, then just write something else. Send letters or postcards, volunteer to write for charity, respond to a blog, join a reading forum, just write.
After you get some chapters together, round up some readers. Ask your friends, coworkers, classmates, neighbors, anyone who is willing to read your drafts and give you constructive feedback. You are looking for someone to weigh in on storyline, dialogue, plot, character development, do they love it? Do they hate something (it’s ok, evoking emotion is amazing too). As writers we might want to hide these drafts until they are perfect, but trust me, readers can give you advice that make things so much better.
Ready to publish?  Ok, so you have two choices
The traditional publication process, is just that, a process. It can be amazing, or just plain torturous. Basically here’s how it works. You write your book, revise your book, write a Query Letter, snag an agent (think win the lottery), and then work with a publishing house to publish your book. I worked this process for a while. First you need to write a Query Letter (Agent Kristin Nelson offers great examples) ). She most recently published Marie Lu’s series. After you draft your letter, visit Agent Query ( website to search for an agent. This can be a soul wrenching process, sending out query letters can be exhausting and the sting of rejection is a harsh reality of the business, but this is how the traditional publishing world works.
The other way to go is to Self-Publish. This is the path that many many authors are choosing because of the control the author retains over their revenue. It’s pretty simple too. You write your book, revise your book, write an amazing hook (blurb) then work with a self-publishing site. I like Createspace (, SmashWords ( ), and Barnes and Nobel ( ). Put up a blog, join a group like Goodreads and network with other writers. Read as much as you can about self-publishing and just do it!
Hope this inspires some of the writers out there to publish your own work!
In the meantime I’m working on the third book in my YA series The Mercer Legacy.
Good luck everyone!

Ok Everyone, you read it!! As far as my giveaway goes, I'm not asking very much: 
1. Leave a comment letting me know what you thought about the guest post. Oh, very important... leave your email so that I know where to get a hold of you.
2. Follow my blog
3. Join Leslie and I on 



REVIEW: A History Renewed

Title: A History Renewed
Author: Leslie Deaton

Lyla Mercer is back, and this time she not only has to face the consequences of her actions the night of the battle, but she must learn to do it alone. A History Renewed picks up right after A Marked Past.

After Lyla discovers the truth about her family’s dark past, she knows her life will never be the same. Her move to Salem revealed a history plagued with secrets and a future full of danger. Lyla is a witch, and the Mercers aren’t the only witches living in the small town. There are others, some allies, some enemies; and one unfathomably evil man who is hunting them all. Fearing their own extinction, the witches unite, ready to defend themselves, but when Lyla breaks the coven rules, she finds herself forced to face her hunter alone. 
(As found on

Well, what can I say about this book without giving away to much...? Let me start by saying that I enjoyed Leslie Deatons "A Marked Past", book one in the Mercer Legacy series, but she really outdid herself with book two. A History Renewed is amazing!! Leslie I'm so mad at you for leaving us with such a HORRIBLE cliffhanger!! (And by horrible I mean AMAZING) As I'm reading this book, I'm was constantly thinking, "what. is. going. ON!!" Leslie did a great job combining frustration, anger, sadness and the overall feeling of whats happening all in one book. As I reach the ending of the book, I wanted to scream because it was just unbelieveable to think it was over. I want book 3. NOW! Leslie, if book three is anywhere as good as A History Renewed, I'm going to cross my fingers for a book 4.

Oh, and for those who might be wondering if I'd recommend this book to a friend, the answer is simple. I would recommend it to everyone! Its definitely 4.5 stars for me!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

REVIEW: Gods and Fathers by James LePore

Title: Gods and Fathers
Author: James LePore
Publisher: The Story Plant
Published: 2.7.12
Pages: 261

Matt DeMarco is an accomplished Manhattan attorney with more than his share of emotional baggage. His marriage ended disastrously, his ex-wife has pulled their son away from him, and her remarriage to a hugely successful Arab businessman has created complications for Matt on multiple levels. However, his life shifts from troubled to imperiled when two cops – men he's known for a long time – come into his home and arrest his son as the prime suspect in the murder of the boy's girlfriend.

Suddenly, the enmity between Matt and his only child is no longer relevant. Matt must do everything he can to clear his son, who he fully believes is innocent. Doing so will require him to quit his job and make enemies of former friends – and it will throw him up against forces he barely knew existed and can only begin to comprehend how to battle.

Gods and Fathers is at once a powerful mystery and a provocative international thriller, all of it presented with LePore's signature fascinating characters placed in dire circumstances where every choice poses new and potentially fatal challenges.


  Gods and Fathers is a very gritty, complex story. I really enjoyed the way that the character's develope throughout the story. We get action, suspense, and so much drama, that you find yourself completely immersed in the story.

Its got to make you feel horrible when your ex wife marries someone that makes you feel like a lesser man by giving you son everything you know you can't. This is what happens between Matt and his son Michael. As the story continues, you can really feel the heartache between father and son over having such a poor relationship.

I love the fact that everyone has their own dark past and things they'd rather not have come to light. That includes Matt's exwife, and his past lover.

This story has so many twists and turns and becomes an incredible cat and mouse chase with Matt trying to do everything possible to save his son. (What parent wouldn't?) Terrorist's are involved as well as revenge. How great does that sound?!

Even though there were moments in which I'd get the secondary characters a bit mixed up,  the story itself is amazing. 

My rating: 4 stars. I'd recommend this book to anyone. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Guest Post: Katherine Hawkings

 What Exactly Is Michaela?

This is a question that has come up frequently, ever since my first beta-readers laid eyes on the manuscript, so I thought it might be about time to address the issue. First, let me tell you, Michaela and the girls are chimaera. What's that? Well in Greek mythology it was a fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail. In science, it is an artificially produced individual having genes of several species.

When the scientists initially began their project, they were attempting to combine different strains of genes into one creature to create the perfect warrior; fast, strong, healthy, smart... perfect. Unfortunately, their technology wasn't quite up to the task. There's no doubt Michaela and the rest of the project's results are advanced, but they're far from perfect.

In their creation, thousands of unique genes were either modified or replaced. I can't go into ever single detail, but I can let you know about a few of the major ones.

Sight: The girls' sight is comprised of several genes, from hawks, buzzards and cats. The hawks and buzzards have incredible eyes, and they can see rodents from 15,000 feet in the sky. Cats, on the other hand, have pupils that can expand (to a greater extent than ours) until they pretty much double their ability to see (and hunt) in the dark.

Hearing: A variety of animals were used in the fine-tuning of the girls sense of hearing, including owls, elephants and dolphins. Owls have very large ear-holes, with one slightly above and one slightly below eye level. Although the girls have ears at same height, they have a larger than normal ear canal. The difference in size between their ears and ours is not totally excessive, and would hardly be noticed unless the person in question looked at a lot of ears, but they're big enough to make a huge difference. Elephants, too, have exceptional hearing, and are able to hear frequencies up to twenty times lower than humans. If you've read The Sphinx Project that'll explain why they hear that well before anyone else. Lastly, there are the dolphins. Dolphins use echolocation, a biological sonar system. Although the girls don't emit clicks like dolphins (and bats) they are able to use other noises, in much the same way as the blind superhero Daredevil.

Smell: When it comes to smell, the girls have another physical modification. Although, once again, you wouldn't know unless you were looking right at it, and knew what you were looking for. Inside their nostrils, their skin is covered in tiny flaps which hugely increases the surface area like a bear, which allows for many more receptors than those in a normal human nose.

Immunity to cold: This comes from a combination of two animals. Firstly, the rather unoriginally named ice fish, who produce a natural antifreeze in their blood which allows them to withstand waters of zero degrees celcius. There is also the weta, which can remain frozen for months without frostbite.

Speed: It's hardly surprising to know that the girls' sprinting speed has been enhanced with genes from cheetahs. You probably wouldn't have guessed though, that there is also another animal in the mix. The pronghorn anteloper has a top speed close to that of a cheetah, but they have one thing a cheetah doesn't.. endurance.

So there you have it; the basics of what makes the girls so special. Like I said, there is so much more to it than that, but we don't have all day. I have another book to write! If you could share the genes of any animal, what would it be?

This was so much fun!! I really enjoyed reading this, and I hope all you guys did too!! 

A special thanks to Katherine for such a great post!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

REVIEW: Whats Wrong With Me? By Daree Allen

Title:What's Wrong with Me?
Author: Daree Allen
 Publisher: Kharacter Distinction Books

WHAT'S WRONG with you? Nothing!

Have you ever wondered, "What's wrong with me, is my butt too big, my hair not straight enough?" or "Will my BFF or boyfriend still like me if..."

Today's age of everything goes media messages and in your face sexuality has led to many teen girls grappling with self esteem and self worth. As a woman who lived through it and a mother with a teen daughter, I answer these questions and more, offering self empowering building blocks designed to strengthen your inner truths in the face of relationships with yourself, others, and God... so you can learn to love the skin your in, realize your dreams, and make a positive impact on the world.


"...takes the reader on a poignant journey of self discovery that can help young women move toward empowerment." 
Kisha B. Holden PhD, Morehouse School of Medicine

"Daree Allen is a shining example of what happens when a woman learns to love herself and steps into her own power and confidence. Daree's book shares her personal journey with humor and inspiration. Girls can find their own path to personal growth by applying Daree's lessons to their lives."
Lisa Nicole Bell, Award winning filmmaker, author, social entrepreneur

"Dynamic author Daree Allen dares to go there with teens in her inspiring piece, What's Wrong with Me? She does parents and educators a favor by opening a dialogue on the universal challenges that young girls will often secretly face that can ultimately build or destroy dreams. Pick up a copy of this book and arm a young lady with the key that unlocks a successful life."
Denene Millner, New York Times Best Selling author and editor of MYBROWNBABY.COM


I know that us women don't like telling anyone our age, BUT I'm 28 years old and I wish I had read this book when I was 18. What's Wrong with Me is  a book that any young women can relate to. Its easy to read and even though the message behind everything written in this book hits very close to home, its done in a manner that even if you don't like people telling you the truth, you just can't put the book down. Daree Allen is a very talented writer and I hope that she continues to publish more books. A lot of the advice that was given in this book, is advice that I wish I would have gotten along time ago. Daree doesn't just "preach" to you about what to do or not to do, she's giving you advice based on personal experiences not only from her life, but also experiences from her close friends. I found myself underlining so many areas of the book, I even underlined an entire paragraph at the beginning of the book because I found it to be very important. 

I DO NOT read self help books. I dont. But there was something about this book that I felt like I should. Best choice I could have made. I enjoyes every part of this book and recommend it to every mom with a young girl, preteen, teen and anyone in between. I think it will definitely do them good.  5 of 5 Hearts!! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview with author Daree Allen

I'm more then thrilled to get to interview Daree Allen, author of the amazing book "What's Wrong With Me?"

Daree, thank you so much for allowing me the chance to interview you. I really enjoyed reading your book, and can't wait to read any others you might have on the way.

My first question:
Was/Is there anyone who you'd say has supported you and been there through think and thin?

Over my lifetime, the first people who come to mind are my mother and sister. I mentioned in the book how much their support meant to me as I became a single mom.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change (remove or add) anything in your book?

I worked on this book off and on for two years, and I believe I produced the best work I could at the time. There were so many things I left out of the book, but I may do a revised version in the future, adding my own experiences once I have begun raising my daughter as a teenager (she is only 8 now). What I will change with my next book is the way in which I approach the publishing process. I will form a more solid team and give myself more time to create the book without feeling pressured or not having a plan B if there is an issue with one of my service providers.

I wrote the book with teen girls in mind, and I have heard from teen girls that read it quickly (couldn't put it down), and enjoyed it. I'm also hearing a great response from women in their 20s all the way to their 60s (mothers, grandmothers and childless women alike), who also strongly relate and identify with the concepts in the book, especially regarding relationships and self-esteem. I've also gotten great feedback from women who say that the Reflections Journal (which contains workbook-style questions) is something they can use right now, even without having read the book. I firmly believe that the issues I discuss in the book that are not resolved when you're young follow you and often cause bigger issues into adulthood and that's probably why it is resonating with women everywhere.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

In this book I tell a lot of personal stories, and they're not always flattering, but that's the point. I'm just relaying messages from my past to teach. I don't divulge information just for the sake of shock value.  I love bring up "taboo" subjects, or that people know is present but don't want to admit (e.g., the proverbial "elephant in the room." Denying that an issue exists does not delay or erase its effect. Once you expose something negative, it starts to lose its power.

I want to connect with people and be relatable, and the way I do that is by sharing pieces of myself that are relevant from a teaching/coaching perspective. I want them to see that I'm a real person that overcome some things, and I'm not ashamed to talk about it. I can admit my mistakes because I grow from them. That's how we all learn. I can't come from a standpoint of, "That's beneath me," or a platform of perfection. Everyone talks about "keeping it real," and I do just that. I'm pretty transparent and when I speak about my personal business to make a point of helping others, people respect me for it.

Do you have any current project, and if you do can you tell us alittle about it?

I am writing another nonfiction book that focuses on the perspective of single Black fathers in America. There is so much emphasis on single mothers in the Black community (which is fine—I am one and I identify), but I want to bring Black families together for those who want that. The Black community is struggling so much because of broken homes.  I want to tell the single dads’ side of the story, through the many voices of the real Black America. If you are interested in contributing via an interview, you can contact me at for more details.

Daree I like to thank you for such a great interview, I honestly enjoyed reading your book and hope that readers enjoy it as much as I did.

Just being able to share is a blessing to me and I hope the book brings hope and inspiration to all who read it. Connect with me on the following sites:

Daree Allen is an authorpreneur, young adult esteem advocate, speaker, and goal-getter in Atlanta, GA. She has published articles on a variety of topics as a freelance writer and blogger, and is the author of the new teen mentoring book entitled, "What's Wrong With Me?" in which she discusses her own childhood dealing with self-esteem, premarital sex, family and personal relationships. Find out more about her work at and

Sunday, February 12, 2012

REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry

Title: Blue Sky Days
Author: Marie Landry
Publisher: Marie Landry
Format: Ebook
Release date: 1.17.12


A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother - studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing - and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn't have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn't know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn't helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it's time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she's stepped back in time.

When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes - he's unlike anyone she's ever met before, the kind of man she didn't even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don't always need a plan - sometimes life steers you where you're meant to be.

Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it's time for her to help Nicholas the way he's helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.


Blue Sky Days. What can I say? I'm not lying when I tell you that I'll read just about any genre of books, but my favorite is paranormal. You might be asking yourself why I'm telling you that, and the answer is very simple. It's because after reading this book, I might have to change that to romance. :)  Blue Sky Days is a beautifully written love story that flows with such fluidity that you'll find yourself "flipping" (it's an ebook) through pages with such ease that you won't want to put it down. Marie Landry did an amazing job not only with with putting the book together, but also with creating her characters. Each and everyone of them are people who are easy to relate to. Oh, and I must say, I loved the way Marie was able to tie in the title of the book into the book itself. Genius!

Emma Ward gets good grades, has never had a boyfriend, no friends, no social life, she does all her homework and doesn't get into any trouble. But after all the hard work she's done, she realized that she doesn't know what she wants to do as far as college is concerned. She realizes that no matter what she does, her mother will never show her any type of appreciation and now she feels like she needs to get away and find herself. The best way to do this, is by taking a break from everything (including her mom) and moving in with her aunt Daisy for some time while she tries to figure out what she wants to do when she decides to go to college.

In the process of finding herself, what she ends up finding is a group of friends who turn into the family she never had and always wanted. She also learns to believe in love at first sight. BUT... What happens when that love is put in jeopardy? Is love really as strong as people make it out to be? What about the broken mother/daughter relationship? Will they be able to put it all in the past and just start over?

I loved this book, plain and simple, and I know you'll love it to. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more books from Marie.

5 out of 5 hearts.

Okay, now its giveaway time!!
This is the first time I use the Rafflecopter, so I'm really hoping that you wont have any problems using it.