Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Photo Tuesday - Self-Esteem

How critical is self-esteem?

For each and every one of us, it determines how far we'll go in life.

"Our self-esteem is the deciding factor in whether we succeed or fail in life. It is an intangible possession of incredible power. What exactly is this internal force and what shapes its attributes?

"Self-esteem can be described as a sense of personal worth. It is self-respect, confidence, and genuine joy on the positive side and self-doubt, worthlessness, and unhappiness on the negative side. Our ability to handle situations and accomplish goals is determined by the amount of self-esteem we possess. At any given time, this can also fluctuate between sufficient amounts or serious deficiency...

"A good self-image is critical to long-term success. If we are to live a life filled with joy, achievement, and a sense of worth, we must cultivate a positive image of ourselves. Even if our lives were overwhelmed with negative contributions, we can raise our self-esteem. Once we recognize this fact and acknowledge the need and desire for improvement, we can begin to make the necessary changes.

"Beginning is half the battle. If your self-esteem resides in the negative, only you can make the decision to change that fact. Once you have opted to modify your self-image, you are ready to take the next step and start leading a life enriched with personal value, fulfillment, and genuine joy."

- from "Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting" by L. Diane Wolfe
* * *
I know where my self-esteem used to reside and it was one of my greatest struggles. What about you? Is your self-image where you want it to be? Do you possess the required confidence to accomplish your goals? Or are you still seeking that inner peace...?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Looking at "The Bigger Picture" with Dyan Garris!

Today I welcome guest blogger, Dyan Garris!

The vast array of people I meet in this industry continues to amazes me. When I visited her website, I was impressed by the vast array of products and services she offers besides her books. She's really diversified!

So I asked her to explain just how all of this came about. It is my hope my readers will benefit from the example of her unique path and set out on their own!

Thanks, Dyan!

The Bigger Picture
By Dyan Garris

Often what we’ve planned for ourselves in life doesn’t show up the way we originally thought it would. We embark upon what we may perceive to be a well-plotted course, and perhaps end up in a totally different place than we expected. As any good author knows, a most important aspect of constructing your story is to flow along with it, not fight it with our own notions of what ought to happen between the characters, but just allowing room for it to do whatever it does. In this way, the bigger picture, the whole story comes out of the haze and into focus.

When we construct a solid foundation and a framework, the rest of the house gets built easily. When we allow our life to simply unfold, grow, and blossom as its own unique, thrilling story or novel, we may find ourselves completely astonished by the true plan. When we begin to see our life as an exciting adventure that has depth and meaning beyond imagination, we allow space for amazing things to occur. And when we allow ourselves to be spiritually guided by our true life’s purpose instead of by our own idea of our life’s purpose, miraculous things can happen.

Over fifteen years ago I was guided to write “A Healing Journey Guided Fantasy.” So many astounding miracles happened around this one simple meditation, but little did I know that this was just the beginning. It was a cornerstone of the foundation of what was yet to come. From this “journey” Voice of the Angels – A Healing Journey Spiritual Cards were born. The cards are all scenes from the guided fantasy. Together, they form a “healing journey.” I hand illustrated them and fashioned them in 3D with crystals and other gemstones. It is no accident that years later I would teach people to manifest their entire lives in 3D. And the cards have messages from angels in quatrain verse. At the time, there was nothing else on the market like them. In fact, I still have a stack of rejection letters from publishers informing me that such a thing would never sell. But I knew in my heart that was not true. And I knew in my heart that there was much more to my story, even if I didn’t know exactly what the rest of it was. I knew there was a bigger picture.

The cards were first conceived as an integrated healing journey with each component, cards, journal, and a CD, fitting together in perfect harmony. The original guidebook for using the cards was 350 pages, and contained within it a journal for journaling about the card readings. It is no accident that years later I would teach people how to connect mind, body, and spirit in this way as a basic foundation for manifestation. On the cover of the book, I wrote “A Co-Creation by Dyan Garris and the Angels.” I still have that verbiage on the box of cards and instruction booklet today, because it’s totally true. I could not have conceived of this project all by myself and had no idea where it was all going to end up. At the time I didn’t really care. I was just willing to follow the directions and continue on the journey, even in the face of initial “rejection” by the mainstream. Following our inner guidance every step of the way is crucial to building anything.

Along with those instructions were the strange words that were whispered in my ear at the beginning of the “journey” by those dear angelic beings who were guiding me along the path. Those very powerful words were: “Nascent quintessence.” At the time, my interpretation was something that translated loosely into “something from one’s very essence about to be born.” However, once again I was astounded to learn and realize the bigger picture of what they really mean. And I could only see the true meaning of all that I’ve built after I climbed the craggy mountain filled with roadblocks and obstacles, and turned around to gaze at the view.

You see, what Spirit and I have built, in what is now a complete Spiritual Toolbox™ full of products that work together and on many levels at the same time, is an example. It’s a microcosm model, a springboard for people to use to manifest and co-create their own lives. It’s a means of connection of mind, body, and spirit that is essential in learning how to co-create and manifest. The cards, journal, and what is now A Healing Journey –The Voice of the Angels CD (the first CD in a series, which contains the original meditation along with six tracks of music designed to unblock, clear, and balance the chakras) are the foundation on which everything else is built.

I once asked a well known mystic, “Why all the struggles on my journey? Why such a twisting, turning, and seemingly bizarre pathway?” She replied that not only does it make a better story, but through that story people get helped on their own healing journey. And that is the bigger picture.

Dyan Garris has helped many people move forward in their lives with her gifts of clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience. Dyan is a voice recognition psychic and trance channel. She has helped many people learn to use the power contained in their chakras to be the best they can be. She has created a Spiritual Toolbox™ full of products for multi-dimensional living and integrative healing. This includes the Amazon.com bestselling book and award winning finalist “Money and Manifesting,” a CD series of music and meditation for healing, Automatic Chakra Balance™, relaxation, and vibrational attunement of mind, body, and spirit, and a line of jewelry for Automatic Chakra Balance™. The CD series has been nominated for multiple “New Age Reporter” awards, includes numerous #1 charting songs and has earned the “National Health and Wellness Stamp of Approval.” Her DVD “Doors to the Soul,” a relaxation DVD for automatically balancing the energy field was released in 2008. She is also the author, developer and artist of “Voice of the Angels – A Healing Journey Spiritual Cards” (©1994 - 2009); “Voice of the Angels Cookbook – Talk To Your Food! Intuitive Cooking;” “The Book of Daily Channeled Messages;” and “Fish Tale of Woe – Lost at Sea. She writes a Daily Channeled Message™, a free spiritual advice column, and is the publisher of Voice of the Angels.com Magazine. Free angel card readings in three languages are offered on her main website as well as phone psychic readings by real psychics. Ms. Garris no longer provides private readings, but does provide Manifesting Therapy . More information at Voice of the Angels
Thanks, Dyan!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bonnie Grove and Talking to the Dead!

Today I'd like to welcome author Bonnie Grove! You've probably already heard the buzz on her latest book, Talking to the Dead, as she is out promoting like a madwoman.

Fortunately, she had just enough time to answer one question for me in detail!

Thanks, Bonnie!

Why mainstream Christian fiction? Why was this your genre of choice? Why did you feel this was the best medium for expressing your story?

This is a good cluster of questions. I write Upmarket fiction – a blend of genre and literary writing that, while tricky to write, produces lush, fun to read books. (Examples of other writers who write Upmarket fiction would be Mary DeMuth, Sharon K. Souza, Kathleen Popa, Joy Jordan Lake, Patti Hill, Susan Meissner, Latayne C. Scott, and Debbie Fuller Thomas- for a start). My reason for writing this way is in part because these are the kinds of books I love the most – books that I can read in a rush or, take my time and savor as I choose, books that I revisit year after year and always find something new and fresh within their pages. And in part because the stories I tell lend themselves well to this type of writing. Stories about the inner lives of women who face daunting tasks requiring more from them than they believe they have in them.

Christian fiction? Well, I’m a Christian – and all writers, regardless of genre or if they are considered general market or Christian market, write from their worldview. All fiction is spiritual, no matter who writes it (which is why I find it slightly ironic that we have “Christian fiction” sections in our stores. What’s next? Buddhist fiction? Wiccan fiction? Hindu fiction? I understand why we categorize it separately, I just find it a bit funny). If I’m going to be true to my worldview, then I find myself planted in the world deemed Christian fiction.

Christian fiction is a good way to express my stories because they are about human beings bumping against the truth of God. His existence, His love, His grace. I’m fascinated with God’s grace and how it plays out in the world, how it plays out in individual life. I don’t like preaching in a book, and I avoid it, but more and more we are seeing that Christian fiction is not synonymous with “preachy fiction”. For me, I want the story to point to important truths, but I refuse to compromise the craft of storytelling in order to make an overstated point. I love story driven fiction, not message driven fiction.

Bonnie Grove is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Talking to the Dead.

You can find Bonnie online at: Bonnie Grove follow her on Twitter @BonnieGrove, and hang out on Facebook, too!

About Talking to the Dead: When a young widow’s husband speaks to her from beyond the grave, she consults a spiritualist, a shrink, and an exorcist before a warmhearted pastor helps her find the grace to forgive—and go on.

Publisher: David C. Cook
ISBN-10: 1434766411
ISBN-13: 978-1434766410

What people are saying about Talking to the Dead:

5.0 out of 5 stars This one deserves six stars--at least!
Kathi Macias “Not since Cry the Beloved Country have I labeled a book hauntingly beautiful, but Talking to the Dead deserves that description. Not only is the story poignant, moving, and even funny (appropriately and surprisingly so) at times, but it is exquisitely written. Bonnie Grove knows her topic--and knows how to write. I'm not easily impressed, but this book captivated me from the very beginning, and it did not let me down, even to the last bittersweet word. If this book doesn't become a bestseller, there's something seriously wrong with the reading public. Congratulations, Bonnie!”

Cathy Bryant “I'm just gonna say it up front and get it over with. There is absolutely no way that anything I say about this book is going to do it justice. There just aren't enough words to describe how awesome it is.
At various points in the story, other great works of literature and screen came to mind, including "Ordinary People", "Sixth Sense", and "Sybil."
This is a must-read for every fan of inspirational fiction! This book has Best Seller written all over it!”

Kim's Reviews Book Reviews Today : “Talking to the Dead is one of those books where it seems like you just turned the first page and then the book is finished. I melted into the story and became a part of it from the beginning. It has become one of my favorite books and I've started reading it again as one would watch a great movie for the second (or third) time. It's really that good.”Francine Rivers, bestselling author of Redeeming Love “It isn’t often that I get so hooked on the characters and story that I forget time and purpose. Talking to the Dead caught hold of my heart from page one. It takes a gifted and intuitive writer like Bonnie to bring humor into the middle of such a serious story. Call her the Jodi Piccoult of Christian fiction! Beautifully done! I can’t wait to read the next story she writes.”

Thanks again, Bonnie - may you be blessed with great success!

Friday, June 26, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different!


Actually, the cats in this house are always confused...

I did a re-haul on my blogroll yesterday, so many of you are featured there now! Hopefully it looks pretty.

Now on to the news...

Unless you live in a CAVE - Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett both died yesterday, and Ed McMahon earlier this week.

FTC Blogging Regulations Update: At Home With Books

Marketing Your Book Across the Social Web: Marketing Tips For Authors

A Good Synopsis Helps to Sell Your Book: Make Mine Mystery

Ohio cuts library budget by half… The Page Flipper

Where Do Consumers Buy Books? Southern Review of Books

And, ever wondered about the world's longest books...? Jane’s Ride

Movie Reviews!

Courtesy of NetFlix...

The Punisher II - B - nothing like the original!

Quarantine - B+ - a remake of a foreign film, this one will keep your nerves jangling...

Today we venture out for Transformers II! I go expecting no plot but lots of eye candy.

And the photo of the day... a Rosy Maple Moth! (Little fella was less than an inch long and I almost missed him!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - Ernie Johnson

Ernie Johnson is not just an author - he runs the Bookhouse!

Today's excerpt comes from Ernie's book, Destiny of the Divas...

Imagine, if you will, that you're a nine year old child who has a seven year old brother. Your brother was kidnapped and murdered. When you get older, you're informed that he was molested as well. All through your school years, you never got to share your life with your sibling. Even the most special day in your life, graduating from high school, was missed by the brother you hardly got to know when you were nine. Hurt, emptiness, revenge; all these things roam through your mind.

S Y N O P S I S:
For Destiny Masters, this was such a case. At seventeen she graduated from high school. Her Aunt Sylvia awarded her niece with a special guitar as a gift. Her parents awarded her with a gift of a trip to Disneyland in California. On the trip to the West Coast, Destiny held her guitar in her lap and thoughts of her brother weighed heavily on her mind. Even then, it was her desire to find those who took her brother's life, but she wondered how she could accomplish such a formidable task, when the police and FBI hadn't been able to in 8 long years.

On the trip home from California, the Leer jet they were in, came upon a severe lightning storm over Long Island Sound, and the jet was struck by a powerful lightning bolt. That same bolt of lightning traversed through the plane and struck Destiny, killing her instantly. Her spirit seperated from her body and was quickly sucked into the sound hole of the guitar. As the jet blew apart, the guitar sped away, at the first opening in the craft's outer hull, and flew to her Aunt Sylvia's back porch. Her spirit rose out of the guitar, and she looked down and realised that she was no longer flesh and bones, but dead and nothing more than a grayish form of what she once used to be. She looked towards Long Island Sound and willed the guitar's asseccories to come to her, and they did so, landing on the porch beside her.

It was then she realised she had some kind of supernatural powers, but could she use them to find her brother's killers? When she realised she couldn't, she decided to form an all-girl band and pass these powers onto them, to help her put those responsible, for her brother's death, behind bars. Along that path they would also try to rescue kids who've been kidnapped and detain their abductors.

Follow Destiny as she meticulously acquired her elite team of super-sleuths, under the guise of the band D & D, as they sought out those who have taken children away from the safety and security of their families and friends.


Dana sat off to the side of the detective. As her eyes became aglow a bright blue, it enabled her to read his mind. She perceived he was almost to a point of reaching for his weapon. Dana stood up and after she walked over to Danielle, she whispered in her ear, “He’s got two guns and is almost ready to pull one of them out. One of them is in a holster in the back of his pants and the other is in a holster on his right ankle.”
“What was that all about?” Detective Moss asked.
“I’ll tell you in a minute, Detective. Do you remember getting that note handed to you this morning?”
“What note?” He asked and remembered the note in his left shirt pocket.
“Does he know where it is, Dana?” Danielle asked.
“It’s in his left shirt pocket,” Dana replied.
“How the hell did she know that?”
“Let’s take it one step at a time, Detective.” Danielle said and looked him square in the face. Her eyes lit up a bright red and she instructed him, “Put both of your weapons on the table, detective.”
Detective Moss reached around to his waistband holster and pulled out his service revolver and placed it on the table. Then he reached down to his ankle holster and pulled out the derringer and placed that on the table.
With Detective Moss sitting across from her, Danielle unloaded both weapons, but he was oblivious to what she was doing. When she was done, she hid the bullets, and then said to the detective, “Now, detective, put both weapons back where they were.”
Detective Moss then replaced both weapons into their respective holsters.
“When I count to three, Detective, you’ll wake up and not remember that I unloaded your weapons. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand,” he replied from the trance he was in.
“One…two…three,” Danielle said, as the detective awoke from the trance.
“Now where were we?” He asked
“I want to prove to you that we are sincere, Detective, and that we’re not here to play silly games.” Danielle informed the veteran cop.
“I’m still confused by this, young lady, but how do you intend to prove yourselves?"
"When you came into this room, Detective, you had two fully loaded weapons."
“Yes, but how did you know that?”
“In a minute, sir…! Right now I want you to check both weapons.”
Detective Moss got more confused by the minute and reached around and pulled out the service revolver from its holster. A quick inspection and he could see that his weapon was unloaded. He then reached down to his ankle holster and pulled out the derringer. After a check he found it to be unloaded as well.
“Here’s your ammunition, Detective. I was simply trying to prove a point to you.”
“How the hell did you do that without me knowing it?”
Each one of us has powers you’d not be able to comprehend if I sat here for three hours and explained them to you.”
“Like what for example?”
“I have the ability to hypnotize people. Lisa can remove someone’s memory, Dana can read minds, and Wendy has the ability to see through walls, and that’s for starters.”

“I’m sorry, Danielle, but this is not the Twilight Zone, young lady, and I don’t believe in any of that hocus pocus hogwash,” he insisted.

For more on Destiny of the Divas, please visit Ernie here:
Ernie Johnson
Ernie’s Books
The Bookhouse

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Author Wanda Dyson

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Shepherd's Fall WaterBrook Press (April 14, 2009)
Wanda Dyson


Wanda Dyson lives with her severely autistic teenager on a busy farm with horses, chickens, dogs, cats, rabbits, and the occasional fox, deer, groundhog, and snake. She could seriously live without the snakes, but that's life in the country.
After writing three critically acclaimed suspense novels, she was asked to write the true story of Tina Zahn (Why I Jumped), which was featured on Oprah. Readers characterize her books as "riviting" and "Packed with twists and turns."
Wanda serves on the board of several writers conferences across the country including the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference.
Wanda has finished the second in this series called Shepherd's Run,that will come out in 2010. And she's hard at work on the third and final installment of the Prodigal Recovery Series - Marti's story -- tentatively called Shepherd's Quest.


Bounty hunter Greg Price is fearless when it comes to chasing down criminals. It's his difficult ex-wife, rebellious teenage daughter, and dysfunctional siblings that keep him awake at night. In charge of the family business, the Prodigal Recovery Agency, he thinks of himself as a shepherd of sorts. When his "flock" is out of his control, Greg's well-ordered universe falls into chaos.
Prodigal Recovery's search for Zeena, a prostitute on the run, leads to a faulty arrest, complicating Greg's business. He is thrown together with Zeena's twin, the beautiful Annie, and the two find themselves on a desperate search. The stakes significantly increase when Greg's daughter is kidnapped. Now, to save someone he loves, Greg must risk everything.but will it be enough

If you would like to read a Prologue excerpt from
Shepherd's Fall, go HERE
The book link is:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Photo Tuesday

In the world of literature, there's nothing new under the sun...
...but under the ground...

(Oh wait, that's the tagline for the movie "Tremors!")

We see a lot of repetition in books today. A great many books following vampires. A plethora of books about the life of a pet. The latest greatest thriller which sounds a lot like the author's last book...

To a degree, it's true. There is very little we can create that has not already been dreamed up, fleshed out, and put on paper.

However, since this is Photo Tuesday, let me use these odd pictures to illustrate a point! If you were to create a story based off any of these abstract and surreal photos, what would you write? A mystery? A horror novel? A book with a really big monster?

Here's my point - if twenty of you responded, guess what? None of your stories would be the same! Each one would be different, representing the creator's take on the photograph.

We all come at life from different backgrounds, with different personalities and life situations. We view our world in a unique and special manner, unlike any human being on earth. No one else in the world will look at life in the same way - not now, not ever again.

So no matter what your storyline, remember - it is YOUR unique take on the world. Pour everything into making it your own!

For bonus points - would anyone care to offer a story idea based on one of these unusual photos? In one to two lines?


Monday, June 22, 2009

Lassoing Prairie Dogs with Vivian Zabel!!

Author Vivian Zabel visits with us today, so we'll be roping us a few prairie dog varmits!

Thanks, Vivian, and lets begin with a couple questions.

What all do you talk about at Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap? (And I love that blog title!)

Since the title of my blog deals with brain cells (the experiences of life that make us grow, despair, shout with joy, sob in sorrow, celebrate, make us what we are) and bubble wrap (whatever helps us survive by cushioning whatever hurts or by adding softness to our lives), I can write about anything that pops into my head -- almost.

My husband is also an Air Force brat! What are your fondest memories of your traveling youth?

I have always enjoyed visiting new places. I wish I could still travel since I would love to visit Alaska again, France, Australia, and most of the states I've visited before and the ones I haven't.
Living on Guam and in Morocco left memories I'll always treasure. Getting there and back to the states I wish I could forget. I got extremely sea sick going and coming from Guam and going to Morocco. At least we flew back from Africa.

Your books are mystery, YA, western, sports, historical – wow! You cover a lot of genres. How did you become so diversified? Which one is your favorite?

My favorite genre to read is mystery and all sub-genre except horror. That love of mystery tends to creep into most everything I write, too. However, I've lived long enough and had a variety of interests (which increases through following the activities and interests of grandchildren and great-grandchildren) to want to write about a variety of topics and scenarios. I guess living long and trying various things and reading voraciously gave me a wide area of possibilities.

Have you ever lassoed a prairie dog?

Are you kidding? Prairie dogs are quicker than quick. A person would have to want to rope one desperately and practice for years - as Buddy did.

What is next for Vivian?

A sequel to Prairie Dog Cowboy is in the works, Prairie Wind. The book will follow Buddy as he becomes a young man. However, I'm also working on something different: a romantic suspense. Ahh, love and mystery. What a combination.

A little bit about the author behind the books...

Vivian Zabel always has had a vivid imagination and, when a child, used it to tell her siblings and friends stories. As soon as she could write, she began to put those stories on paper. She wrote her first poetry when she was eight, and still writes it. Poetry was and is her therapy. When a “friend” laughed at her announcement that she would write a book someday, Vivian didn’t share her goal any more, but she didn’t stop planning on writing that book.

As she reared her children and was a stay-at-home-mother, with spells of working in the business world, Vivian wrote short stories, poetry, and articles, which were published. Vivian taught English and writing for 27 years and retired in 2001. Every year she taught, she attended writing classes, workshops, and clinics, not only to learn how better to teach her students, but also to hone her own writing skills. Finally in 2001 she was able to write full time and write longer works, after she retired from teaching.

At present, Vivian has six books to her credit, two co-authored. Her latest books are Prairie Dog Cowboy (written under the name V. Gilbert Zabel) and Midnight Hours (written under the name Vivian Gilbert Zabel).

Her interests besides writing include her family (husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren), reading, helping other people publish their books (through 4RV Publishing), and traveling.

And a little about Prairie Dog Cowboy:

Buddy wanted to be a Cowboy, one who rode a horse, not herded cows by foot. When the neighboring rancher, Caleb Hyman, told the boy he would be hired once he could lasso prairie dogs, Buddy worked and practiced for years to be able to catch one.

The day he finally roped one of the quick rodents, two of his older brother's friends watched from the road and ridiculed Buddy, calling him a prairie dog cowboy.

Facing the hard life of homesteading in the late 1890s and early 1900s, Buddy didn't have an easy life, made worse by a mother who didn't love him or accept him. However, with the help of the Hymans, he developed into a strong, decent person who struggled to find his place in his world.

True experiences of my husband's life as a farmer, cowboy, and horse breaker appear throughout the story.

Find Vivian and her books here:
Vivian Gilbert Zabel
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap
4RV Publishing
Prairie Dog Cowboy
Order Prairie Dog Cowboy
Midnight Hours
Order Midnight Hours
or order the books from Amazon.

Thanks again, Vivian and happy trails!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Books on Spunky's Desk...

So what kind of books does a spunky author & speaker keep in her office?

I've two bookcases in my office alone, so let's see what I've been browsing through lately...

"The Five Love Languages - Singles Edition" by Gary Chapman

No, I am not single. But my husband and I lead the singles ministry at our church, and I recently picked up this title while at a book signing. I read the first couple chapters and realized it would be a great study for our singles. So we have quite a few on order as well.

A Thesaurus

Okay, this probably lives on my desk most often, especially when I am writing. I love my Thesaurus!

"From Book to Bestseller" by Penny Sansevieri

Read through this one several times - just went back over the highlights and added some new stickies. Will follow up on new ideas soon!

"Personality Plus" by Florence Littauer

This is THE book for building a character!!! I read this long before I began writing again, and it has helped me tremendously with character personalities. Once you understand the four basic personalities (and their birth order, courtesy of The New Birth Order Book) you can flesh them out and drop your characters into any situation and know how they will react. It's awesome!

"Life is Tremendous" by Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones

This is just the most fantastic little inspirational, motivational, self-help book ever! Charlie is just so energetic with his writing and so simple in his technique. When I wrote my book,"Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK!" this was the book that inspired me the most and the one I most wanted to emulate.

"The Strain: Book One of The Strain Trilogy" by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Okay, this is not ON my desk yet, but it's on the way! (Thanks to the recommendation from Hagelrat.) I think my husband will really enjoy it. And I will, too! Sorry, I am not a 'girly-girl' and have no desire to read or watch Twilight. Give me "Blade II" and "Near Dark" anytime!

Now... what books are hanging around YOUR desk...?

Friday, June 19, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"Not much of a cheese shop ,is it?"
"Finest in the district, Sir."
"And what leads you to that conclusion?"
"Well, it's so clean!"
"Well, it's certainly uncontaminated by cheese..."

Lots of good stuff happening in our happy little world of books this week...

How to keep up with the publishing industry: Walt Shiel

More books printed POD/digital than thru traditional offset last year! Southern Review of Books

Fixing the Publishing Industry is no Mystery – at Jean Henry Mead’s site- Advice From Editors

20 Simple Ways To Get Massive Traffic To Your Web Site – article by master book promoter, Penny Sansevieri: ISnare

Hagelrat’s site features a vampire book for men – “The Strain” Unbound

And will you look at that – The Circle of Friends Book I…Lori (normally $20.95) is only $14.25… Amazon
Go figure!

*** Weekly Movie Review ***

Still hiding at home, but we watched another NetFlix!
The Transporter III
Give a good solid B! If you're into over the top action flicks, can't go wrong with this Jason Statham vehicle.

And now for a moment of total DORKNESS!

Spunky thought he could fit through the cracker box:

Not happening there, Dork!Yes, we did have to pull him free...

We have such weird pets!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt

I confess, poetry is not my thing! However, a select few poets have garnered my respect and following.

Tricia Danby is from Germany and she’s been a dear friend on Deviant Art for several years now. I am delighted to expose her beautiful poetry to all of my Blogger friends!

On DA, her literature gallery can be found here - Deviant Art Gallery

She is also a Blogger – Angelic-Light

Enjoy her work!

The Bond of Marriage

My love for you is like an ocean,
so deep and full of life!

When I look into your shining eyes -
I see the universe with all its might!

Oh, if I should find a word to describe my love for thee ...
I would not know where to start – or what word to find,

I never felt that way before ...

Never will I be able to describe,
what word will be the perfect one for thee.

Your energy touches mine
my soul entwines with thine!

Oh my lightful love,
never shall I forget thee.
Never shall I part from thee.

Embodied in the energy what I am,
I declare now ... you are my man!

Those words shall show thee what I feel,
shall be the sign of our love.

Energy I was
Energy you were
Energy we were
Energy we are!

From that moment on we never shall be apart!

©2009 =WitchOfNature
original posting

May the Light Guide My Way

May the light guide my way,
may darkness not let me go astray.

May thou be always by my side,
may thou be my shelter, my warrior, my guide.

May thou be there for me ... forever and beyond.
May thou be there for me ... a father to his son.

May thou be my strength,
when I am too weak.

May thou be my voice,
when I am too shy to speak.

May thou be my silence,
when I am too loud.

May I make thee smile,
and always being proud.

'Cause thou art my father
and I am thy son!

©2009 =WitchOfNature
original posting

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Author Deeanne Gist

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
A Bride In The Bargain Bethany House (June 1, 2009)
Deeanne Gist


Deeanne Gist, the bestselling author of
A Bride Most Begrudging and The Measure of a Lady, has a background in education and journalism. Her credits include People magazine, Parents, and Parenting. With a line of parenting products called "I Did It!® Productions" and a degree from Texas A&M, she continues her writing and speaking. She and her family live in Houston, Texas.
Since the debut of those novels, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, two RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.


The Wedding Is All Planned...Someone Just Needs to Tell the BrideIn 1860s Seattle, redwoods were plentiful but women scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure 640 acres of timberland for free.
Joe Denton doesn't have a wife, though. His died before she could follow him to Seattle and now the local judge is threatening to take away his claim. In desperation, he buys himself a Mercer bride--one of the eastern widows and orphans brought to the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mercer.
Anna Ivey's journey west with Mercer is an escape from the aftermath of the Civil War. She signed on to become a cook--not a bride. When she's handed over to Denton, her stubborn refusal to wed jeopardizes his land. With only a few months before he loses all he holds dear, can he convince this provoking, but beguiling, easterner to become his lawfully wedded wife?

If you would like to read the first chapter of
A Bride In The Bargain, go HERE
The book link is:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Photo Tuesday

Comedy can be an author's greatest challenge!

And while comedy need not abound in every scene, we must be able to acurately convey humor to our reader in the correct places. (Unintentionally funny due to poor writing is not good!)

Some people are born with natural wit that translates well to the page, but many of us have to work on it. We need to clearly envision the scene before we commit it to paper. (Thus today's photo examples.)

And as any comedian will tell us, timing is everything.

Can it be described well with dialogue or a couple narrative sentences?

Does it need to be rapid-fire? Like any fast-paced action scene, some humor must be delivered quickly and with short bursts. (Three Stooges anyone?)

Will more readers find it funny if the humor is presented as matter-of-fact? (Think droll humor, such as comedian Steven Wright.)

And of course, the bottom line is - will our readers find it funny? Will it cause a smile or chuckle, or will it simply sound awkward? (Running it past a couple readers is a sure way to find out!)

What style of 'funny' do you use? Is it a struggle? What have you found that works? And what would you suggest writers avoid?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Piracy and the Internet

Here is a story that will BLOW YOU MIND!

Originally posted by a Blogger & DA friend, KKart, ( Deviant Art News ) this letter just defies logic and common sense.

This person stole images from someone else's site, and when that person closed his site, this person threatens to take legal action for removal of these images, which he has been using for business purposes.

Read the full article here - Kottke

Wow! What is wrong with people? The Internet is not yours for the taking!

This really gives food for thought to those of us with books, etc. online...

And since I am also a professional photographer, this really freaks me out...

What do you think?????

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Feature Opportunities for Authors & Writers

Spunk On A Stick's Tips offers several opportunities for authors & writers to feature their work.

Author, Editor & Writer Guest Spots

I love to feature other authors and this takes place on Mondays. I prefer guest posts to interviews, although I may throw a couple questions your direction. Website links and images are welcome with your guest post, which should be between 400 -700 words in length. If you would like to be featured, feel free to suggest a topic that relates to publishing or promoting!

Book Reviews

Sorry, folks, I just don't have the time! I am also an author and between writing, editing, speaking, and promoting, I do not have enough hours in the day to devote to book reviews.

Other Options

Have a suggestion? Contact me with your idea!

wolferock at earthlink.net


Friday, June 12, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"Hello, Mrs. Gorilla."
"Hello, Mrs. Non-Gorilla."

Book news and other oddities from around the web...

Book Blips! Book news, videos and blogs - definitely recommend you check out this site - Book Blips
Thanks to Blogger J. Kaye for the tip - J. Kaye’s Book Blog

From Helen Ginger, Why Write Books - Straight From Hel

Search terms that could lead to Malware... CNN

An article by Beth Groundwater on using Goodreads effectively - Murder Must Advertise

No more analog TV broadcasts! Did you know that the first scheduled program was broadcast in 1928????

Bookkeeping Basics for Authors at Joyce Anthony's site - Joyce Anthony
Brigitte A. Thompson will make an appearance here on July 6th!

Tonight - Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals - Go Pittsburgh Penguins!

And just for fun, I hosted an INSANE music trivia on my DA site - and someone got almost every question correct! The answers and that person's feature - Spunk On A Stick on DA

Did not go to the movie theatre this week, but we watched one on DVD-
Mongol - B

And for those who missed Steve's Bad Day - You Tube

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt

Today’s excerpt comes from a member of my writer’s club, The Writer’s Meow. “Eleven” is a WIP and was inspired by a Food Tech room! Her Deviant art name is Magical-Badger, but in the real world she goes by Rose Davis. Her DA site is Magical-Badger and this piece can be found in her gallery here Eleven


The last rays of sunlight gave up the fight for life and sunk below the horizon, giving way to the azure shadows which snapped at its heels, eager to seep across the sky; the lily-white moon rising fast, bringing tranquillity from the storm. Wind whispered through the wailing trees, its breath forcing tiny water droplets to slide along the slippery leaves, hang tense on the brink of its smooth surface until energy unknown to it decided its fate, changing it’s colour like a chameleon from deep, iridescent green to murky grey. Below, the river sighed as its bulk swelled under the seemingly perpetual rain, the once calm bed now a churned mess of muddy brown , reflecting the pure light as smudged.

The gentle patter of water on water was interrupted as a figure burst out from the forest around the river, almost not stopping in time as her feet slithered along the saturated grass, which nearly gave way beneath her. Quickly righting herself, she shook her hair like a great black wolf, the air around her becoming hazy with the influx of liquid. A small bush baby scuttled amongst the dripping bracken, it’s vast yellow eyes mirroring two perfect images of the girl before it hurried away, as if not wanting to be seen. The inky sky wept harder as the girl tried to remember why she’d been running. Running away? In the rain? It had taken her long enough to get through the forest: she knew, given the choice, she should have stayed behind, but even with no sense of memory she knew something back there was… wrong.

As she turned, a pure swift note of metal rang out. Around her wrist was a thin silver band, adorned with a solitary tag. Something about it made her shiver, but curiosity motioned for her to look. It was inscribed only on one side, and gloomy rain made it hard to read. Squinting, she peered at it, finally reading the lone word: ‘Eleven’…

Copyright 2009 by Rose Davis

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Author Linda Rios Brook

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
The Deliverer Realms (May 5, 2009)
Linda Rios Brook


Linda Rios Brook, President of the RiosBrook Foundation, believes the answers to issues of social justice and righteousness lie in the proper alignment between the church, the marketplace and media and entertainment. She is a sought out speaker and teacher on matters relevant to cultural restoration. Linda worked as a media executive for over 20 years in the field of broadcasting serving as President and General Manager of television stations in Texas, Florida, and Minnesota and was President and part owner of KLGT-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
Linda has served on several national boards and community organizations and is listed in Who's Who of American Women. She is an ordained minister and has a Doctorate of Practical Ministry from the Wagner Leadership Institute.
Linda is also the author of
Lucifer's Flood.
Linda is also a teaching Pastor at Covenant Centre International in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Linda is married to Larry Brook, who is the Executive Director of the RiosBrook Foundation.


Ancient language expert Samantha Yale returns to translate a new batch of scrolls written by the fallen angel from Lucifer's Flood.
Samantha Yale has taken on a daunting translation project. A set of scrolls, delivered by a man she knows nothing about, tells a fascinating and frightening tale of what went on behind the scenes of biblical history. What is even more incredible is who is telling the tale--a fallen angel who immediately regretted his decision to side with Lucifer.
With The Deliverer, Linda Rios Brook brings new depth of imagery into the spirit world. It is a story about rebellion and consequences. It is about demonic strategy to disrupt and destroy the people of God. But ultimately, it is a story about the unrelenting love, grace, mercy, and determination of a sovereign God in pursuit of His children.

If you would like to read the first chapter of
The Deliverer, go HERE
The book link is:


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Photo Tuesday - Seeing Things a Little Differently...

As writers, it's important that we step back and view our work from a different angle, one that reveals details we might have missed.

Consider this analogy-

We see the world in color, but something amazing happens when we view it in black in white...

The first image, which is of a deck, is quite obviously wood. The colors are a dead giveaway.

But convert that image to black and white and the object becomes less distinguishable. We now notice the patterns and shapes. The deep grooves and sparkling frost stand out more. We are now seeing the same image in a different light.

We need to do this with our writing as well.

If we take a step back and view the whole picture, then little gaps in the story become more apparent. Continuity problems occur when we focus on one tiny scene and forget to compare details with earlier chapters.

We might also note a lack of details. We may see the scene clearly, but the reader can't read our minds. He or she relies on us to flesh out scenes and characters.

And we might need to try a new POV to enhance our story. Perhaps another character's take would be more exciting.

What helps you to see things a little differently?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Following a Road Map

A map isn't just for traveling - it can prevent your novel from becoming lost in inaccuracies.

Authors possess so many resources outside of a physical map. We can go to Map Quest to check the actual driving time between two points. Almost every point of interest boasts a website, full of information. Many famous destinations or routes are featured in books.

One of my favorite resources is Google Earth. Millions of satellite images have been pieced together to form a giant map of the world. One can zoom in on a particular city, right down to a city block or street corner. (Try this with your place of residence - it's almost eerie to see one's house from above!) Sections are updated every six to twelve months, so it's pretty accurate. Certain business categories can be pin-pointed on the map as well.

A good example of Google Earth use resides in a scene in Book II of my YA series. One of my characters walked from a restaurant back to Georgia Tech's campus. I used Google Earth to select the exact location of that restaurant, determine what street the character would take, and at what point would they pass a gas station near campus. I was able to provide accuracy with my directions and street names.

Have you ever used Google Earth in this manner?

Friday, June 05, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

The man who collects birdwatcher's eggs...

Book news, tips, movie reviews and more!

Promotional tips before you write- J. Aday Kennedy

The Ultimate Book Hound discusses best books into movies- Ultimate Book Hound

How E-Books will change the way we read & write- Wall Street Journal

Market Savvy Authors can take a Non-Traditional way to Audience- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Topless coffee shop in Maine is burned to the ground- CNN

Amazon Author Central now open in Beta

Pittsburgh Penguins win Game 4, tying the series! Go Pens!

Actor David Carradine was found dead Thursday morning.

Movie reviews!
UP – B (Too melancholy and a little odd. Yes, I know everyone else loved it...)
Drag Me To Hell – A- (It's not a slasher flick or torture porn - how refreshing!)
Outlander - A - (Why on earth this was NOT released in the movie theatre...! Great storyline, great actors, big budget, and most original monster you will ever see... Now available on DVD.)

And just for fun!

What song would YOU like to hear an American Idol sing?
For 70's week, I dare any of the contestants to sing Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog!"

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt

Thursdays will now feature a short excerpt from a new or upcoming book release!

Authors interested in having their book featured here, please contact me.

Spunky will kick off this first Thursday Excerpt with a piece from The Circle of Friends, Book III...James.

* James is home on Spring Break from the University of Florida...

He sauntered out to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Small cans of juice sat on the top shelf and James grabbed one for himself. As he popped open the top, the side door opened and his father came in from the garage. He stared hard at his son as he washed his hands in the sink. James quickly finished his drink, wary of Ben’s skeptical expression.

“When are you going to cut that mop off your head?” his father growled as he dried his hands. He immediately opened the refrigerator and grabbed a beer.

James tossed his empty can into the trash. “I’m not,” he said firmly, turning to leave.

His father followed James into the living room. “You need a haircut,” Ben said in a booming voice. He set his beer on the end table and fixed his eyes on James. “Let me get the shears and we’ll do it right now.”

Upon hearing that particular tone, James knew he’d best retreat to his room. After years of scrapping in the Sheppard household, he knew when a fight was about to commence. He did not feel like dealing with his father tonight.

“You’re not touching my hair,” said James forcefully.

He moved toward the hallway, but his father stepped directly in his path. There was no mistaking the stubborn determination in Ben’s expression. Out of the corner of his eye, James saw his stepmother lean forward, her eyes on the two antagonists.

“Why, does your little girlfriend like it that way?”

James glared angrily at him, his fists clenched at his sides. “Yes, she does!” he said in defiance.

Ben snorted. “Well, you look like a damned girl!” he said, grabbing a handful of James’s hair.

“Do not!” James shot back, attempting to pull away his father’s hand.

The gesture only angered his father and he reached for James’s shoulder. Desperate to escape, he shoved back and attempted to retreat to the safety of his room. Ben had not forgotten any of his military training and instantly snapped into action. Before James could react, his father had his right arm pinned painfully behind his back. He shoved his son against the wall and leaned heavily into his back. James cried out as his father grasped a good chunk of his hair and pulled hard.

“Lynn, get me a pair of scissors!” Ben demanded.

“No!” James frantically protested. He did not want to be forced to explain what had happened to his long hair.

“Ben, stop it!” cried his stepmother, rising to her feet.

“Damn it, just get me some scissors!” he yelled.

James could see the fear in his stepmother’s eyes and knew what his father would do if she refused. His father’s head turned in her direction, James decided to take advantage of his momentary distraction. Pushing away with his free hand, he managed to place a foot on the wall and shoved back with all of his might. His sudden movement caught his father off guard and he staggered into the opposite wall. Ben lost his grip on his son’s hair, and James twisted his arm free. Before his father could react, James bolted down the hall.

Upon reaching his room, he quickly slammed the door. The second he turned the lock, his father crashed against the surface. Frantically, James yanked his bed in front of the door and wedged the headboard underneath the knob. The next time his father hit the door, the frame visibly moved. James leapt to the end of his bed and braced himself between the footboard and the wall. His father continued to pound at the door, screaming obscenities. James kept his back against the bed frame and his feet planted firmly against the wall.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Author Mike Dellosso

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Scream Realms (March 3, 2009)
Mike Dellosso


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted.
He was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years and has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets. Mike also has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters.
Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.


Otherworldly Screams...
A Madman on the Loose...
This Time the Stakes Are Higher Than Ever

While talking to his friend on the phone, Mark Stone is startled by a cacophony of otherworldly screams. Seconds later, a tragic accident claims his friend's life. When this happens several more times--screams followed by an untimely death--he is compelled to act.
Battling his failure as a husband and struggling with his own damaged faith, Mark embarks on a mission to find the meaning behind the screams and hopefully stop death from calling on its next victim. When his estranged wife is kidnapped and he again hears the screams as she calls from her cell phone, his search becomes much more personal and much more urgent.

If you would like to read the first chapter of
Scream, go HERE
The book link is:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Photo Tuesday - The Little Details

Our photo club often goes out on sunrise shoots. And while a gorgeous sunrise is not to be missed, I usually find my attention wandering to the surrounding details. A blade of grass with dew. A fuzzy caterpillar. A ripple on the water. These are the scenes I tend to capture.

As writers, we can't forget these small details. Some aspects are best left to the imagination, and I love a book that allows me to envision the characters and surroundings on my own. But what is so clear in our minds may not be apparent to the reader. We must remember to provide our readers with a clear sense of place.

The feel of wet dew on bare feet. The scent of pine on the wind. The glistening of ice on a frozen pond. The smell of coffee in the morning. The gentle hum of the computer. The hint of garlic in a pasta dish.

These little touches bring a story to life!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Espresso Book Machine

Coming to a bookstore or library near you!

Lightning Source had this to say about the device, which On Demand Books demonstrated this weekend at Book Expo:

“Lightning Source is pleased to announce the launch the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) Channel officially at BookExpo America starting this Friday. The EBM, an ATM for books, is located in bookstores, libraries and other sites. The Espresso Book Machine is the latest pioneering distribution channel to join the Lightning Source family of publisher-to-market pathways.

"The Lightning Source Espresso Book Machine Channel will give publishers the option to make available the books they have stored in the Lightning Source digital library, and have those titles printed, bound, and delivered at point of sale, on demand, in minutes.

"The compact size of the Espresso Book Machine® 2.0 (3.8 feet wide by 2.7 feet deep by 4.5 feet high) dramatically expands the opportunity to place machines in a variety of retail and library environments worldwide...

"On Demand Books will be demonstrating the new Espresso Book Machine Version 2.0 at BookExpo America in New York at Booth 4069. Visit either the Lightning Source booth (Booth 3859) or the On Demand Books booth for more information on the EBM and the Lightning Source Espresso Book Machine channel.”

What do you think about this new machine?