Friday Reads Featured Book

Set in the early 1900s, THE IMPROBABLE WONDERS OF MOOJIE LITTLEMAN is a heartrending, coming-of-age story, with a dose of humor and magical realism. After his mother dies, disabled Moojie is sent from the mythical American village of San Miguel de las Gaviotas to live with his grandfather at St. Isidore’s Fainting Goat Dairy, where he discovers a clan from an alternate universe. Moojie shares more than supernatural powers in common with the ones who call themselves Light-Eaters. Anxious to re-create a family of his own, he undergoes life-changing trials, trials complicated by the girl he falls for, a bully-magician, a cantankerous, war-hero grandfather, and a meddlesome, Irish aunt. Moojie must decide who he belongs with. An earthquake forces him to make a harrowing rescue to save what family he has. A surprising destiny awaits him if he can survive one last terrifying trial.

Published: November 1, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


About the Book Interview with Robin Gregory

What was the inspiration behind this story?

My son. Actually, I’ve had a pretty interesting life, beginning with being one of eight children in a pretty messed up family. This led to a lot of heartache, loneliness, and feelings of “not belonging.” I spent twenty years searching for spiritual answers, but the healing of these wounds really began when my husband and I adopted a baby with special needs. In spite of his difficulties, our son was the most kindhearted, courageous, and bright boy I have ever known. He has been teaching me so much. Especially, he is teaching me not to judge people by appearances, and to forgive others for hurting me. I wanted to put some of his life lessons together with mine to make a story that would inspire anybody who is dealing with difficulties and challenges.

Tell us about your main character.

Moojie, like his name, is full of contradictions. “Moojie” is an ethnic slur against Muslim Indians. As well, “Mooji,” (slightly different spelling) is the name of a beloved spiritual leader today. My Moojie is a bi-racial, spiritually-gifted, disabled orphan who needs crutches to get about. He has learning problems and a whopping temper. Others look at him as a freak, an outsider, a “less-than.” He’s a handsome , bright boy, and a gifted healer, who has yet to master his powers. His best friend is Phineas, a very fat cat that is deaf as a turnip. Moojie is a bit impulsive, and he has a wild imagination. He loves growing things, especially Ali Baba watermelons. And, more than anything in the world, he wants a family of his own. Well, he wouldn’t mind having a girlfriend, either.

Tell us something funny about one of your characters.

Moojie’s knowledge of love had come from his mother’s science lessons. He knew zilch about romance. Courtship. What was it exactly? The word should conjure princes and court maidens and fabulous carriage rides along the river. His introduction to such matters had been limited to bird rituals involving feather-fanning, crowing, strutting, and flapping of wings followed by the act of mating, which took roughly five seconds, and then off you go to look for worms.

Please share a few favorite lines or one paragraph.

~ No one would have looked at Moojie and thought, “Here is a wonder worker.”

~ You can’t make a map and expect a river to bend to it.

~ I tell you the high road is not plum pudding!

~ If life were all sunshine and chocolate, there wouldn’t be any saints and we’d never find our way back to heaven.

Fiction can often provide powerful life lessons. What message do you hope readers get from your book?

In my heart of hearts, I would love readers to take away two things from this book:

  1. A reminder that we cannot know anyone accurately by appearances. If we put people in categories by race, religion, age, or physical/mental attributes, we not only limit them, we create a prison for ourselves. It is truly liberating when we start noticing how we do this, and give it up.
  2. Forgiveness is powerful medicine. There may be times that we have to take steps to correct unacceptable behavior, however, when we understand the mistaken motives behind the offense, when we heal ourselves of personal sense and forgive the offender, we help them wake up, and we become free of negative effects.


About the Author:

Robin Gregory Robin Gregory is a devoted wife and mother, writer, and amateur mapmaker. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she grew up in California, accompanied by seven siblings, and surrounded by horses, real cowboys, and the occasional rattlesnake. She has always been drawn to helping others, a trait that began, to her mother’s horror, with bringing home swallow chicks stricken from their nests. She has worked as a journalist, lay minister, and infant massage instructor for mothers and babies at risk. Her studies were focused on Creative Writing and Literature at UC California, Santa Cruz and Stanford University’s Writer’s Workshop, and French at Monterey Institute of International Studies and La Sorbonne. Currently, she lives with her husband and son in a Carmel cottage old enough to make you sneeze. She loves silence, foggy days, chai, and ladybugs. The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman is her first published novel.





Thanks for reading. :)

Featured Book – AS IS: Confessions of a True Fatty by Linda Misleh Wagner

Linda Misleh Wagner is waging a war on weight. She wants to encourage us to eat by choice, not by chance. Linda says that when we look in the mirror, instead of staring at our fat we need to stop and look inside our heads.

Despite the multi-billion dollar diet and exercise industry:

  • 69% of Americans are overweight
  • 35.1% of Americans are obese
  • Obesity affects almost 20% of kids 6-19 years old
  • More than 50% of people who lose weight gain at least some of it it back



By Linda Misleh Wagner

This is not your typical diet book. In AS IS: CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE FATTY, Linda opens a discussion of why we overeat, candidly admitting to and exploring the habits and happenings that made and keep her – and so many of us – overweight. She delves into where those habits come from and why they are so difficult to break – and why diets alone ultimately don’t work. In sharing her journey and tapping into yours, Linda’s honesty encourages readers to:

  • Explore and assess the habits that got them where they are
  • Figure out why those habits took root
  • Confront food addictions
  • Beat the cheat, taking one manageable step at a time back to a healthier

Empowering and informative, AS IS: CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE FATTY may be just the catalyst you need to help you change your relationship with food and, as a result, your life!


Interview: Getting To Know Linda Misleh Wagner

Do you believe in destiny?

When I was eighteen years old, I remember a conversation with my best friend, Sandie, where we discussed our futures. I said to her that I knew I would finish college, get married, have four to six children, be a stay at home mom raising the most incredible kids to adulthood, and grow old with my husband.

I thought in my spare time I would write, do community theatre, and volunteer in my children’s school. The words divorce, death, obesity and binge eating never entered into my mind.

In my book “As Is Confessions of a True Fatty”, I write about meeting my first husband at a family convention. Against all odds, everything fell into place for us to marry. The challenges against us came from our church. His mother was my Godmother, and in our church, Godchildren could not marry the children of Godparents. The church considered us God brothers and sisters.

1977 the church changed this particular doctrine that had existed since the death of Christ. We were married in January 1978. When we met at the convention, I knew I knew him and would marry him from dreams about this man since my childhood. When we were told the church would not allow it, and we went our separate ways, only to find out six weeks later that the church had changed its views on marriage between God brothers and sisters; well if that’s not destiny, I don’t know what is.

Culturally, we believe in “il naseeb” or destiny. It is a very integral part of our belief systems. Life comes to us in the way we are supposed to have it come because no matter what plans we make; our destiny is planned for us.

If you could go back to any place and time in history, where would you go and why?

I would have to say the 1920s in America. I would have to come from a very wealthy family, of course. I love Art Deco, Erte’, and the 20s was pure feminine glamour. The clothes were sexy and slinky. Women donned pants without a care. Social mores were changing from the strict and staid Victorian era into an era of fearless exhibitionism in comparison, while still maintaining certain values.

In the 1920s, women had become empowered. They could vote, go out unescorted to certain establishments, and could get real jobs if they chose and could move up in some areas of the work world. In the 1920s women wore clothes that screamed glamor and confidence. Jazz became the rage, and dancing was fun, furious, as well as elegant. Movies and the industry were new and exciting and would change the course of the world. Movies would bring to our lives and to the lives of the world written stories of every genre to life.

In the 1920s, men were real men, and women reveled and took pride in their womanhood. Even though women throughout history would always be vulnerable to the whims and power of men, we were finally taking back some of our own power, standing up for ourselves as women with far more drive and ambition.

If your personality was a color, what would it be?

Definitely red. Red represents to me vibrancy, excitement, energy, strength, and it makes a statement. Red says I am confident, and I am beautiful.

Passion and love are red. Anger sees red. Red speaks of mystery sexiness.

Subtle shades of red evolving toward the pinks demonstrate my softer side. These shade still express confidence, yet, these shades are soft and speak of unconditional love. The softer side of Red represents sweet and kind, compassionate, and loving.

I might wear more black than red, but only because it makes me look thinner. Well, at least in my own mind.

If you could change any one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

I pretty much love the person I am with the exception of my addiction to food. I wish I did not have a food addiction problem. Instead, I wish I loved exercise with the same passion I have for cooking. My love for cooking comes from the fact that I love to eat. I love the creativity of cooking. And I love the socialization and coming together that good food brings. Exercise in many ways is the same. If you love to exercise, I think you would agree that exercise could be very creative and equally social just in a different way.

I don’t want an addiction to anything, but I would rather it be exercise than food. You never see anyone sneak exercising. And just like people whom binge eats can’t hide it because the effects of binge eating shows up on our bodies, well, the same goes for exercise. Exercising shows up on our bodies too in a terrific way.

Are you an introvert or extravert?

I am a pure extravert through and through. I come from a huge passionate family that was in and out of each other’s homes daily. I grew up working in my father and uncle’s grocery store. Making conversation with customers I hardly knew was a requirement, and it came very naturally to me.

As a child, I wrote, directed, and performed plays in our garage of our home. I would set up chairs on the driveway and invite the neighborhood kids to come watch for a nickel. I sold penny bubble gum and licorice for two cents, and my mom made lemonade and popcorn, which I sold for a dime. It was so much fun. I have always loved performing, and I have never really had any fear of standing up in front of people and speaking.

Are you spontaneous or are you a planner?

I’m predominately a planner. I am well organized and a huge list maker. I like things to run smoothly and on time. I have moments of spontaneity, but that usually comes out of boredom. I hate to be bored.

What is your favorite rainy day activity?

I love to stay home and watch old movies, read, bake cookies, and make comfort food on a rainy day. Usually my windows are open so I can listen to the rain. The best rainy day is when there is a chill in the air and I can light up the fireplace. Oh so relaxing.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Fly. I would love to see the world at any given moment I chose and be back to sleep in my own bed. I hate flying because airplane flights today aren’t much fun, and seats are too cramped. The cost of flying is high and so are the restrictions. If I could fly and be anywhere in minutes, I wouldn’t have to carry luggage, deal with security, and fit my big butt into an airline seat.

What personality traits do you most admire in others?

Integrity, Respectfulness, Kindness, Common Sense, Tenacity, Ability to laugh at self and life, Responsibility. I capitalize these traits because I sincerely believe in these traits.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be? Please share a bit of the lyrics and what they mean to you.

Ain’t No Stopping Us Now by McFadden & Whitehead. The lyrics begin with “Ain’t no stopping us now. Were on the move. Ain’t no stopping us now. We’ve got the groove”. These lyrics represent to me control and energy in my life. When I am in control of my life, my food, my health, I feel so much energy to achieve and accomplish anything I set my mind to doing. I use this song to motivate me and inspire me to keep pushing myself in the direction I need to go to set where I need to be. This song works for me in all areas of my life.

What is your favorite material possession?

My wedding ring is my most favorite and treasured possession. My husband is the love of my life and makes me immensely happy. I thank God for him every single day. My ring represents our love.

He generously allowed me to design my ring because he not only wanted me to love it and be happy, but he knew how much I did not like my first marriage wedding band. Every time I look at my ring I feel secure and fortunate in our love for one another.


Linda Wagner Linda Misleh Wagner cannot remember a time when food, and her weight, were not topics of concern. The first to admit that she had and still has a problem with food, she has gained and lost over 1,000 pounds over the years.

Although athletic as a child, her battle with life events affected her eating decisions from age eleven and hounded her through failures with everything from Weight Watchers at age 14 to bariatric surgery at age 48, when she was over 400 pounds. The surgery helped her to get down to 160 at age 50. Her relationship with life and food caused her to put 150 of those pounds back on.

What Linda has refocused on is that she does not have a weight problem, she has a food relationship problem. As such, for the first time in her life, Linda is losing weight the same way she gained it…one ounce at a time! She is losing weight – based on reason, not rationing.

Learning to let go of old habits and changing our lifestyle to a healthier lifestyle is like learning a foreign language, a foreign body language.



Amazon / Amazon UK

UNCOMMON BODIES: A Collection of Oddities, Survivors, and Other Impossibilities

NEW RELEASE: UnCommon Bodies is a collection of stories curated by Pavarti K. Tyler that span across genres to explore the lives of the odd, the unbelievable, and the impossible

UCB CoverSUMMARY: Step right up to the modern freakshow — We have mermaids, monsters, and more. You won’t be disappointed, but you may not get out alive.

UnCommon Bodies presents a collection of 20 beautifully irreverent stories which blend the surreal and the mundane. Imagine a world where magic exists, where the physical form has the power to heal or repulse, where a deal with the devil means losing so much more than your soul.

Release: November 24, 2015
FREE on Kindle Unlimited

INCLUDES STORIES BY: Philip Harris, Sessha Batto, Robb Grindstaff, Brent Meske, Sally Basmajian, Robert Pope, Keira Michelle Telford, Jordanne FullerMichael Harris Cohen, Deanne Charlton, P.K. Tyler ,Bey Deckard , Vasil Tuchkov, Laxmi Hariharan, Samantha Warren, Rebecca Poole, Daniel Arthur Smith, S.M. Johnson, Kim Wells, Christopher Godsoe, and Bob Williams

You can see the full summaries of all the stories on GoodReads: smarturl.it/UCBGoodreads

To Celebrate, the authors are hosting a Facebook Party on 11/24 Join the Fun! https://www.facebook.com/events/495176633996990/

And there’s more! What? Yep! The Authors are also giving away a Kindle! Enter below:

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#FridayReads – SMOKESCREEN by Khaled Talib – International Spy Thriller

Friday Reads Featured Book

At an ancient café in Cairo, two veteran spies plot a covert mission to resolve – once and for all – the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. The pledge: Israel will make a major concession as part of the peace treaty. In Singapore, Jethro Westrope, a magazine journalist, stumbles onto the scene of a murder: the beautiful Niki Kishwani directs him, in her last breath, to a digital recorder, evidence that puts Jethro’s life in serious danger. And, much worse, he is framed for Niki’s murder. Jethro sets out to find Niki’s killer and is drawn into a web of deception and intrigue involving officials from the Singaporean, Israeli, and American governments, each with a complex, competing, and potentially deadly agenda. Against this pulse-pounding backdrop, Jethro races to find answers and save himself -yet nothing is as it seems. He finds himself at the centre of a political plot so diabolical and sweeping in its world implications that he is stunned to discover tomorrow’s news headlines today. He is being set up not only as a murderer but as an assassin, and something much larger than his own fate is in his hands.

Published: January 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK


Behind the Scenes with Khaled Talib

In the Prologue page of Smokescreen, the reader learns what is about to take place through the eyes of two people, an American and an Israeli spy, who are discussing the situation in the Middle East. In the later pages, the American ambassador in Singapore, Michael Dexter, explains to the protagonist, Jet West, the crux of the situation at a macro level.

Dexter puts it directly to Jet by explaining that despite America’s might, it has to pander to Israel’s every whim while carefully orchestrating its relationship with the Arabs. The ambassador hints that at a political level, the United States has no social, cultural and religious affinity to the State of Israel whatsoever despite some parties using lobbying muscle. The relationship is what can be described as a nation being held “hostage” by another.

Dexter stresses how his government and the rest of the world are beholden to Israel. He uses an analogy by describing how the world is divided “between the two sons of Abraham,” hinting that some other major countries are pro-Arabs.

From the American stance, this is obvious not only from the financial and military support given to Israel, but how the Western world, always put emphasis on news relating to Israel and the rest of the Middle East.

Jet is a lifestyle journalist who is unable to see the big picture. He lives in a small island, and in some ways, he represents the average person in Singapore, parochial and self-absorbed, and completely oblivious to world affairs.

Hence, in writing this scene, I am trying to highlight to the reader how these characters are looking at the situation differently: The American diplomat sees the big picture while the Singaporean journalist cannot fathom the situation as a whole.


Excerpt from Smokescreen

Jet blocked the Mercedes from entering the mansion’s private road at the gate by standing in front of the vehicle. Dexter opened a back door, stepped out, and asked, “What’re you doing in that monkey suit?”

Jet waved his hand. “It’s mine. I paid for it, but I just stole a police motorcycle, and left it parked in your garage.”

Dexter nodded. “An early Christmas present for me?” “You and I better have a little chat.” Dexter sighed. “So now you want to listen? Let’s take a walk in the garden.”

Jet noted the majestic pillars, verandas, servants’ quarters, garages, tennis court, and pool— the ambassadorial home was a magnificent structure. As the two men strolled along, a few birds chirped and made swooping circles before landing on the grass. A small white gazebo stood in the garden, with a wooden bench running all the way around its interior. Jet admired a fountain some distance away: a half-naked woman holding a basket of fruit, water spouting from her right nipple. They strolled for a bit in silence. The sullen murmur of bees echoed in the tropical nectars. They passed a gardener wearing a straw hat and overalls, kneeling in front of one of the flowerbeds, his hands deep in soil.

They stopped under a tree that offered shade as pale sunlight managed to filter through the leaves.

Sweat trickled off Dexter’s forehead. “You really need to know who you’re dealing with. Chan Boon Seng is an Israeli attack dog who’ll do anything to curry favour with the Zionist regime.”

They approached the gazebo and took cover in the shade, sitting opposite each other. Jet stared at the shine on Dexter’s high forehead.

Dexter took a deep breath. “The Middle East is changing. The Arabs used to be socialist but they’re now back to Islam.”

“What does that mean?” Jet asked, rubbing his chin.

Dexter shrugged. “That means what it means.”

Jet stroked his brow. “You’re telling me nothing. Once again, you’re giving me bits and pieces. You sound like a PR press release— little facts, more superfluous words.”

Dexter blinked slowly. “The world is divided between the two sons of Abraham, but maybe what we don’t realize is that everybody is forced to take sides. Your country, my country— everybody.”

Jet brushed a maddening lock of hair off his forehead. “What does it all have to do with me?” Dexter adjusted his glasses. “Absolutely nothing. They’re going to say that you had a dream where Allah came to you and told you to convert to Islam and kill the Israeli Prime Minister. You’re just the unlucky guy chosen to die.”



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#BestBlast – BEST IN SHOW by Maria Grazia Swan – A Cozy Mystery

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Title: Best In Show
Series: Mina’s Adventures #6
Author: Maria Grazia Swan
Publication Date: October 22, 2015
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Best in Show Cover Mina Calvi, Italian transplant to Southern California, thinks her love life might finally come together, just as her professional life has. Her Furry Friends Foundation, a no-kill shelter for rescued cats and dogs, is a success, and Mina hopes she may find a loving forever home for her-self, in the arms of Diego Moran, her elusive, frustratingly mysterious, on again-off again, lover.

When a seemingly innocent night out with friends lands Mina in a hospital bed and Diego undercover, and not the covers Mina wants him to be under, Mina has to draw on all her new-found maturity, and all her supportive friends for strength.

Meanwhile, a Best in Show cat takes up residence at the Ritzy Cats B&B, Mina’s other venture, setting Mina on the trail of a suspicious character who might not have the cat’s best interests at heart.

Add a Matchmaker to the Stars, a temperamental Italian chef and the usual menagerie of people and pets, stir it all up and you have an entertaining, hard to put down romantic tale of suspense.

Amazon / Goodreads


Best in Show Meet Button


Maria Grazia Swan National Bestselling author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona–but stay tuned for weekly updates of Where in the World is Maria Grazia Swan?

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco–but then, who doesn’t?

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon


Best in Show Giveaway Button

One (1) print copy of A Cat to Die For
Ends 11/27/15

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#FridayReads – THE HOUSE OF YORK by Terry Tyler – Contemporary Family Drama

Friday Reads Featured Book

The House of York ~ a contemporary family drama, spanning the years 1993 – 2014.

Widowed single mum, Lisa Grey, and wealthy businessman, Elias York, are young and madly in love. A recipe for happiness? But Lisa is marrying into a complicated family. Her new sister-in-law doesn’t want to know her. Middle brother Gabriel’s marriage suffers under a cloud of infidelity and gambling debts, while the youngest, Richard, keeps his dark secrets well hidden—and his wife suffers in silence.

Lisa and her mother are bonded by their powerful intuition, but dare not voice their fears about York Towers—or certain members of the family…

Love and loss, abduction, incestuous desires and murderous intent form the basis of this compelling saga in which horrors float just beneath the surface, to bring forth a shocking outcome.

History lovers may be interested to know that The House of York is inspired by events from the era of the Wars of the Roses.

Published: October 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


About the Book Interview with Terry Tyler

What was the inspiration behind this story?

I wanted to write a modern day version of the Wars of the Roses, which occurred in England in the fifteenth century. Alas, about 30K words in I realised I had started much too ambitious a project, so had to start again, condense, and make the conflict occur within one family. The characters are based on my impressions of their historical counterparts.

Tell us about your main character.

I have several main characters, all very different; the first one is Lisa, a young, widowed single mum who falls in love with the rich and gorgeous Elias York. She’s different from many of my other female leads, in that she’s a traditional, quite old fashioned sort of girl. She wants only to be a wife and mother, and her intelligence is intuitive rather than academic; she’s not well educated or well read. She grew on me throughout the book; as she gets older she becomes wiser, stronger.

What is your favorite personality trait of your bad guy/girl?

Oh, I love writing the bad guys and girls! There are several in this book; I can’t tell you about the main two because I’d have to scream ‘Spoiler Alert!’ all over the place, but I do love Elias’s brother, Gabriel; he occupies that grey area between good and bad. He’s completely out of control: an alcoholic, lazy, sarcastic, compulsive gambler, but I’ve just had an email from someone who’s reading the book to say that she finds him so likable, too. This was what I felt about him, so this made my day; I so hoped readers would ‘get’ him.

Please share a few favorite lines or one paragraph.

Here’s something from Gabriel, who hasn’t been pulling his weight at work:

“I don’t listen when people talk figures. Even if I try to, it just sounds like noise. It’s like reading the instructions on electrical goods or women telling you about their friends’ marriages, it’s so boring your head won’t take it in. You see lips moving, you know a whole bunch of words are going down, but your brain just says Tedious Shit. Do Not Process. Send Straight To Recycle Bin.

How long did it take you to write this book?

I started it in January 2015, shortly before my last one, ‘Last Child’ was published. I finished it at the end of August. I write very intensively, particularly during the last two months when I’m doing redrafting and editing; it’s all I do. Everything else suffers; my blog, social networking, housework, friends…. everything but my husband, really!

How did you come up with the title?

I wanted it to sound a bit historical, a bit saga-ish, a bit family-ish! One main theme of the story is Lisa’s fears about York Towers, a mansion owned by the family. So ‘The House of York’ can mean the house that belongs to the family, or give a nod to the story’s Yorkish and Lancastrian inspiration.

Tell us about your cover art and how it pertains to your story.

It’s Lisa looking very beautiful but a bit worried, in front of York Towers! But it could also be her daughter, Elodie, another main character who features later in the book…. that was my idea, that it could be seen as either of them. Elodie’s importance is revealed much later.

Is there an underlying theme in your book? If so, tell us about it and why/if it’s important to you.

There are several. One is relationships between couples with large age gaps, some of which are happy, some not so much. Another is the desire for material acquisition and ambition over a simpler and perhaps happier life, and then there are the secrets in marriage as opposed to the public front. A definite strain of good versus evil features throughout the story, more so towards the end. I’m never quite sure what the themes are going to be when I start; they evolve as it goes on, and sometimes I only recognise them as I’m doing the rewrites. Talking about a book’s ‘themes’ reminds me of doing English ‘A’ level – sorry, I don’t know what the American version is, ‘A’ levels are the exams you take at school when you’re 18, in the UK.

Many thanks, Darcia, for inviting me onto your blog, and I do hope this has interested some of your readers. :)


About the Author

Terry Tyler Terry Tyler has published 11 books on Amazon: 9 novels, a novella and a short story collection. She writes in a slightly mixed up genre, but knows that people like to have some idea what they’re reading, so plays safe by calling it contemporary women’s fiction (though it involves romantic suspense, family drama and a bit of psychological stuff). She is an avid reader and reviewer (own reading choices only), and also has a long ‘to-write’ list; a post-apocalyptic drama/thriller might appear sooner rather than later. Terry loves Twitter and loathes Facebook, and lives in the north east of England with her husband.

Twitter / Blog / Book Review Blog




Thanks for reading. :)

#BookReview – THE VEGAN STUDIES PROJECT: Food, Animals, and Gender in the Age of Terror

This inescapably controversial study envisions, defines, and theorizes an area that Laura Wright calls vegan studies. We have an abundance of texts on vegans and veganism including works of advocacy, literary and popular fiction, film and television, and cookbooks, yet until now, there has been no study that examines the social and cultural discourses shaping our perceptions of veganism as an identity category and social practice.

Ranging widely across contemporary American society and culture, Wright unpacks the loaded category of vegan identity. She examines the mainstream discourse surrounding and connecting animal rights to (or omitting animal rights from) veganism. Her specific focus is on the construction and depiction of the vegan body―both male and female―as a contested site manifest in contemporary works of literature, popular cultural representations, advertising, and new media. At the same time, Wright looks at critical animal studies, human-animal studies, posthumanism, and ecofeminism as theoretical frameworks that inform vegan studies (even as they differ from it).

The vegan body, says Wright, threatens the status quo in terms of what we eat, wear, and purchase―and also in how vegans choose not to participate in many aspects of the mechanisms undergirding mainstream culture. These threats are acutely felt in light of post-9/11 anxieties over American strength and virility. A discourse has emerged that seeks, among other things, to bully veganism out of existence as it is poised to alter the dominant cultural mindset or, conversely, to constitute the vegan body as an idealized paragon of health, beauty, and strength. What better serves veganism is exemplified by Wright’s study: openness, debate, inquiry, and analysis.

Published: September 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


My Review:

I’ve been a vegetarian for 18 years, and was vegan for about two years. The thing that caught me completely off guard at the start, and still manages to confound (and irritate!) me, is the negative reaction from family, friends, and complete strangers. I am continually amazed at the vitriol, thinly disguised as “humorous” sarcasm, that I endure from some people. While I don’t criticize people for eating meat, many seem perfectly comfortable criticizing me for my choice not to eat meat.

Even prior to the 2001 attacks, chef Anthony Bourdain aligned vegans with anti-American terrorism in his wildly successful 2000 exposé Kitchen Confidential: “Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn… Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.”

Given that background, I was thrilled to come across this book. I was hoping for insight into why certain people become angry, while others feel the need to avoid me, particularly in regards to sharing meals. I was also interested in the lifestyle choices that often come with the choice to be vegetarian or vegan, and society’s assumptions regarding those choices. This book does offer that information, to some degree, though getting there requires patience.

While veganism does not constitute a unified social movement, as an ideology it is marked by conscious individual actions that nonetheless stand in stark opposition to the consumer mandate of U.S. capitalism, and for this reason the actions of individual vegans pose a substantial – if symbolic – threat to such a paradigm.

First, the ‘introduction’ is excessively long, about 25 pages. This in itself isn’t as much the problem as the content. It reads like a dissertation proposal, with language that is dry and academic.

If I am to posit a field of vegan studies, it is necessary for me to situate it as at once informed by and divergent from the field of animal studies, which is in itself multifaceted, consisting of critical animal studies, human-animal studies, and posthumanism.

Then we move on to the book’s content. I was looking forward to a kind of broad cultural exploration. But much of the book’s focus is quite narrow. Multiple chapters cover specific TV shows and movies in regards to what is sometimes an obscure portrayal of vegan diet and lifestyle. The author dissects these shows, finding, within them, issues pertaining to vegans that many of us might not even have picked up on. I have not seen most of these shows and movies (True Blood, The Year of the Flood, etc.). Without that context, and with absolutely zero interest in these programs/movies, I found the discussion difficult to get through. The writing remains dry and removed, academic rather than narrative, making it harder to find footing without context.

And unlike BTVS’s minimal and tacit engagement with the politics of meat, in the context of the Twilight saga, the morality of the Cullen vampire clan is designated by its members’ “vegetarian” status. In the context of Twilight, “vegetarian” means to eat animals – the very antithesis of its actual meaning – instead of humans.

I read a lot of nonfiction, and I’m rarely bothered by academic-style writing. But, while this book has a few nuggets of information, the whole of it feels more suited to a college classroom as part of a specific discussion. That might well have been the intention, in which case the content will inspire some interesting debates. However, I don’t see this book crossing over into the mainstream, which is disappointing.

*I was provided with an ebook copy by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.*


Thanks for reading. :)

Featured Book and Interview: GOT SOCIAL MEDIOLOGY by Jay Izso

Featured Book and Interview

Posts, pokes, pins, pluses, and tweets. Oh my!

If you are like most businesspeople, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the technology, language, and culture of social media. What should you be saying on these platforms? How often should you be interacting? And do you really need to be on every social media platform out there?

With a witty style and no-nonsense attitude, Got Social Mediology? dispels the myths, gives the real scoop, and provides businesspeople everywhere with all they need to customize a social media marketing plan that’s right for them.

The book’s approach is simple but revolutionary: by understanding the psychology of the social media user and focusing on creating authentic relationships rather than engaging in paid-for advertising, you will be able to grow your business on social media, far faster than ever before and without emptying your marketing budget in the process. That is good news for business owners everywhere.

Get ready to discover how social media for business can be free, effective, and, yes, even fun!

Published: February 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


The Writing Life Interview with Jay Izso

Do you outline first or take an idea and run blindly?

Typically I like to run with an idea first and then outline it again. The reason being, I don’t want to lose
the flow of ideas, but I also know it needs to be reorganized for the reader.

Do you edit as your write? Or do you write an entire rough draft before doing any edits?

I do very little editing as I write. I love me editor, who understands my voice, my style, and knows my words. My job is to just write the ideas, and let her help me with the grammar and punctuation.

Do you have a specific writing routine?

Yes, I cannot just write in small spurts. I prefer to get away for a week or weekend, and can usually be found at the beach, writing. I don’t just sit down and write. I like to read something first. Most of the time it’s a piece of relevant research, and sometimes it is several pieces that help me get started into my own writing.

How do you decide on your book’s title?

I just let it fall out during the writing and editing process. There is typically some phrase or ideology that just drops out of the writing that makes the most sense.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from listening to everyday conversations. Hearing what people want, wish for, or need, and then doing the research to find a solution to a problem.

Tell us about your process for designing a cover.

I believe if you hire a great cover designer you should stay out their way. I am not a graphic designer, that’s what they are. I give them the excerpt of the book, have them read it, and give me their visual interpretation of what they read. I don’t know what it should look like, but I know I will like it if I see it. It’s better for me to allow the person to have the most freedom in their creativity, then after that I can get involved with little tweeks.

Have you ever received a negative review? If so, how did you handle the criticism?

Yes, honestly no one likes a negative review, but it is a fact not everyone who reads your book is going to like your book. I generally just let them go. No reason to be defensive. The only reviews that truly disturb me is when someone writes a review, yet it’s clear that they have not read the book. Maybe they only read an excerpt, and then they start saying things that are not factual. That’s okay though, I just let it go, because it is their loss and lack of due diligence.


About the Author

Jay Izso Jay Izso, the Internet Doctor, is an author, speaker, consumer analyst, and psychological business consultant, who helps entrepreneurs and businesses reduce their marketing budget and achieve greater results by understanding the psychology of their consumer in face to face and social media environments.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / YouTube


Thanks for reading. :)

#BookReview: ALASKAN HOPE by Lana Voynich

Thirty-year-old Kirima Berntsen has resigned herself to holding on to the memory of her deceased husband until she finds herself undeniably attracted to her deck boss, Mark Evans. Deciding to act on her attraction, but intent on keeping it strictly physical, Kirima moves forward by surprising him with a kiss.

Mark’s intentions to return to Minnesota are put on hold as he and Kirima become closer. When she finds out she’s pregnant, she absolves Mark of all responsibility, but he can’t let her go.

A suspicious fire leaves Kirima and her nephew homeless, and Mark takes them in despite reservations about her nephew. With so much changing so rapidly, can Mark and Kirima move past all of the obstacles and have the love they both desire?

Published: November 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK


My Review:

Lana Voynich writes with emotional realism. In this story, the characters are the main focus. We’re invited into their lives, where we see and feel their inner turmoil, conflicts, hopes, dreams, and desires.

She kept telling herself she didn’t want a relationship, but when she went downstairs, he treated her like a stranger, and she thought her heart might break.

The plot takes on some complex themes, such as grief, survivor’s guilt, and moving on from that painful place. This is a love story, but I it has too many layers to be called a simple romance. It’s a compelling look at relationships of all sorts. It’s an adventure. It has elements of mystery. And, above all, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read.

He waited for her to meet his eyes, and when she didn’t, he tipped her face up with his hand beneath her chin. “We can’t ignore this.”

This is book 2 in the Alaskan Healing Series. While this works well as a stand-alone, I suggest starting with book 1, Alaskan Healing, to get the best sense of the subtleties within the character’s relationships.


Thanks for reading. :)





AUTHOR: Stacy Juba
GENRE: Chick Lit/Sweet Romance



What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella’s toes?

When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom. First in the Storybook Valley series, a blend of sweet romance, chick lit, and fairy tale fun.



Dylan wheeled his chair around and pointed to the castle poster. She followed his thumb toward the girl in an elegant white and gold gown. “I need a Cinderella.”

Jaine stared at Dylan to gauge whether he was kidding. Oh God, he wasn’t kidding. As he lowered his hand, tightness lodged in the pit of her stomach. “Cinderella?”

“Since you’ve been coming here for so long, you probably realize Cinderella is our centerpiece character. She sits on her throne all day, posing for pictures. She leads story times in the castle and appears during our weekend Meet and Greet Fireworks Gala.”

“What happened to the regular Cinderella?”

“She didn’t work out.” He fiddled with the pens poking out of a ski boot-shaped shot glass. “One of my cousins plays the part a couple days per week and fills in when she can, but her schedule doesn’t allow her to fulfill our full-time needs. It’s the middle of July and I’m tired of fooling around with Cinderella.”

He grinned, his dimples diverting her from the princess problem. “That didn’t come out right. But you know what I mean. It’s getting frustrating, Jaine. I’m having a hard time finding someone reliable.”

She bet that Cinderella wouldn’t get tired of fooling around with him.

Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers), or writing about them, Stacy helps writers to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next books in the Storybook Valley Series, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty and The Cinderella Curse.