Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
« June 2008 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Author Interview
Blog Tours
Book Review
Book Trailers
Character Interviews
First Chapter
Miscellaneous
Writing Ramblings
Books and Authors
Thursday, 12 June 2008
A Word From Karen Salmansohn
Topic: Blog Tours
My Vortex lasted about a year, during which time so many bad things happened, I kept waiting for a Candid Camera crew to appear from behind the planter in my living room. First, the real estate broker, real estate lawyer, and moving company I hired found sneaky ways to rip me off. Next, a longtime business buddy hired me to package new groovy chocolate bars, then never paid me.

But those were nothing compared to the lowest point in my Vortex: a sexual assault-which came out of nowhere-by someone I knew as an acquaintance. As soon as I managed to get free and far away from my assaulter, I called my close friend Eric Gertler, an ex-boyfriend and ex-lawyer. I figured because he knew both the law and me intimately, he'd be a wise adviser. We met at our regular café. I was in tears.

"How could someone be so...so...so evil?" I asked.

"People aren't evil. They're weak," said Eric.

Weak? This word somehow calmed me.

Later when I tried to understand why I preferred the word "weak" to the word "evil," I realized that "weakness" meant there was at least hope for change in someone who'd done something evil-and most importantly, hope for me to find a way out of my Vortex by choosing not to be weak myself.

That's when it hit me. In life, you always have a choice.

Be weak or be strong.

Whichever of these paths you choose will determine your ability to bounce back from life's myriad setbacks, crises, or traumas. If you want to survive life's many challenges, you must put in the conscious effort and discipline to be a strong person. It's essential you create a fiery will from within-harness that power of decisiveness-and choose to be your strongest self. I realize that it's easier to lounge around in depression and angst than to rise above challenging circumstances. Believe me, I know because at first I chose to follow this weaker path.

Initially I was totally traumatized by my sexual assault. I started experiencing anxiety around people. If I'd be writing in a café and a stranger chatted me up, my left eye would twitch. And no, it wasn't the caffeine. (Trust me. I'm a pro at espresso. And I'm a pro at casual conversation with strangers.) Basically, after the assault my automatic tendency was to keep all people at a distance. I had trouble trusting anyone. Even people I'd known for years. After all, I'd witnessed how people could change in a moment. And so I pretty much became paranoid about everyone I came into contact with. Especially men.

Then I gained weight-12 pounds-which is a ton on my 5-foot-3 frame. Maybe subconsciously I figured there was safety in creating a big wad of fat between me and men's sexual urges. It was easy to gain weight. I had all this chocolate around my apartment from the nonpaying chocolate business buddy. He was a bad businessman, but he made some damn good chocolate!

Soon enough, this upward weight gain created a further downward emotional spiral. I began feeling bummed about my bigger bum, which further increased my yearning to stay inside away from people and close to my chocolate bars. I was a self-help author! Why couldn't I help myself get through this? Sometimes, when I saw the growing discrepancy between who I was and how I was behaving, I'd mutter to myself in a kind of mock-voiceover: "Behind the scenes of the self-help book author..." as I unwrapped another chocolate bar

Who you truly are as a person is best revealed by who you are during times of conflict and crisis. It's easy to be your strongest, highest self when things are rolling along smoothly. But how you handle life's setbacks and traumas reveals your authentic character. If you can be strong during challenging times, then...well, you truly ARE a disciplined and spirited person. And this identity makes you not only a very cool person but a very happy person.

Just as it takes willpower to choose to stay on a healthy diet during times of great temptation, it also takes willpower to choose to remain a positive and happy human being during times of crisis. Basically, to live a happy life-with all of life's multiple challenges-takes effort and work. Happiness is not for namby-pambies!

For this reason, you need to develop a long-term vision for what you uniquely value-what you know makes you the happiest-so you can stay focused on these values, no matter what your trials and tribulations. I know what I value: I need to feel loving, loved, creatively charged, healthy, sexy, self-confident, and as if I am continuously growing. (Note: not in thighs but in mind and spirit!) I also know: Life is constantly testing our ability to feel those things.Actually, if there were a single instructional goal for living your best life it might be "Keep your eye on the prize of happiness, even when caught in the eye of the storm-or Vortex."

Guess what else? Lucky unlucky us: Often the greatest happiness in life comes from going through a crisis-and growing into a stronger, better person. In fact, Aristotle, one of my favorite philosophers, wrote in great detail about how true happiness does not come from experiencing pleasures of the body and ego but from having experiences that stimulate your core self-your "soul"-challenging and inspiring you to grow into your highest potential as a person. You know how sharks need to keep on moving to stay alive? We humans need to consciously keep on moving forward emotionally if we want to keep our spirits alive-or else our spirits will fizzle and fade. Basically, you're either growing into a bigger, better person or shrinking into a lowly, bitter person. And by "growing," I don't mean simply reading lots of self-help books, doing yoga, eating granola bars, and having highfalutin', ego-tootin' intellectual conversations. There's an old expression: "There are those who know where it is, they just don't know WHAT it is." It doesn't matter how many books you read or meditation classes you take if you're only going through the motions without experiencing true inner growth

So WHAT is "growing"? Putting in the emotional effort to improve who you are as a person-facing your core pain-and working to stretch yourself to become your strongest, wisest, highest-level self. Yes, I believe the greatest reward out there is actually not OUT there at all. It's an INSIDE job! The greatest reward is knowing that you are refusing to settle for being anything less than you can be. And there's nothing more fulfilling and thrilling than discovering yourself to be a stronger person than you ever dreamed yourself capable of being.

My Vortex made me who I am today, and the good news is, I actually like myself more because of it. My Vortex challenged me to make that choice:

1. Be weak. 2. Be strong.

And when push came to shove, I chose "be strong," baby!

In the movie Wag the Dog, every time Dustin Hoffman's character faced a new challenge in his TV production, he kept repeating, "This is nothing! This is NOTHING!" I relate. After going through my Vortex, I now feel better prepared to deal with future challenges that lie ahead. And you know what? Unlucky things will continue to happen to me. And not just to me, to everyone. We might not like it, but unlucky events are as much a "given" on this earth as gravity. You might as well accept the reality now: Your life will continue to have ebbs and flows. There's no such thing as endless flow. Unfortunately, life can sometimes feel like ebb, ebb, ebb, brief-flash-offlow, more ebb, ebb. And so it's essential to develop the right coping tools for dealing with life's all too plentiful challenges. There's an old Buddhist expression that goes something like: "A man can't cover up all the infinite stone-covered, jagged paths of this world with a layer of soft, cushy leather. But a man can wear soft, cushy leather sandals on the soles of his feet to protect himself on the journey." Ditto for unlucky events. You can't rid them from this planet. But you can develop the coping tools, techniques, and philosophies to protect yourself-and give yourself the wherewithal to keep moving forward.

That's where this book comes in. My goal in writing The Bounce Back Book was to share with you all the tools and lessons I learned during my return from my Vortex. In the pages ahead you will find 75 Tips grounded in happiness research, medical studies, positive psychology, Eastern meditation, even Greek philosophy; in each one I've distilled the wisdom of an expert to a short, easily-digestible, potentially life-changing tip on how to bounce back from adversity-along with the research that makes it so compelling. I've also included in some of the "Bounce Back Assignments" actual exercises and techniques from therapists to help you reframe your challenges so you will be able to think differently about them-and thereby be able to feel differently about them.

I recognize that one book cannot be all things to all people at the same time. Some of you reading this book might be recovering from a deep personal tragedy while others may be going through a life setback that challenges you in different ways. As a result, some Tips in this book will be more appropriate and helpful than others depending on the nature of your trauma and where you are in the process of recovery. I'm hoping that the majority of the Tips will be immediately inspiring and useful. But if you find some of the suggestions "too light" for the heavy burden you're dealing with right now, feel free to skip past them and consider returning to them when you're further along in your recovery. And, as usual in my serious self-help books, I use humor because I believe humor is a terrific "enlightening device"-immediately lightening your mood-getting you outside of yourself, so you can experience that needed enlightenment!

Finally, everything I'm preaching in this book, I practiced. It works.

Wishing you strength in abundance,

KAREN SALMANSOHN


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:17 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 11 June 2008

For the next three days, we will be getting a chance to learn more about author Karen Salnabsohn abd her recent work, The Bounce Back Book: How to Survive in the face of adversity, setbacks and losses.

 

Karen Salmansohn is an ex Senior VP ad creative director (at age 26) who left her job to pursue her passion of writing – and is now a best selling author with over 1 million books sold, with titles including HOW TO BE HAPPY DAMMIT; ENOUGH DAMMIT; BALLSY:99 WAYS TO SCORE EXTREME SUCCESS — and now her newest book, THE BOUNCE BACK BOOK:HOW TO THRIVE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY, SETBACKS, AND LOSSES.

Journalists call Salmansohn DEEPAK CHOPRA MEETS CARRIE BRADSHAW because she merges empowering psychology with edgy humor and stylish graphics. Basically, she creates self help for people who would never be caught dead reading self help books.

From 2007 to 2008 Karen interviewed brilliant minds in lively conversation on the famed SIRIUS radio show BE HAPPY DAMMIT onLime 114 (M - Fr., 8am -9am, EST) - which merged the best of Oprah with Jon Stewart with NPR.

She blogs regularly on huffingtonpost.com, and writes a popular business column for amNY newspaper called “The 1 Minute Career Therapist.” Plus, she is an ongoing relationship expert for msn.com, match.com and Lifetime TV – and an ongoing career coach for AOL (alongside luminaries Tom Peters and Brian Tracy).

She regularly gives seminars on topics like how to increase happiness, productivity, resiliency and/or harnessing fun as a high performance fuel. Seminar clients include: Unilever, Motorola, Princeton Club, Media Bistro, Learning Annex, How Design Conference, GenArt, French Connection Stores, LifeMoxie, Women’s Economic Power Day, Bendhal’s Girls Night Out, AIGA, NAWBO Conference, Ladies Who Launch, United Jewish Federation, 92nd Street Y, Indigo, Social Diva, Aqua Beauty Bar, Symbol Technology, Jackson/Lewis Women’s Employment Law Conference, etc

A bad breakup. A serious illness. The loss of a job. Life has a habit of throwing people curveballs. To which Salmansohn says: "When life throws you curveballs, hit them out of the park," and tells readers just how in The Bounce Back Book - which has a symbolic red rubber cover on the outside, and inside tips on how to thrive in the face of adversity, setbacks, losses, divorce, bankruptcy, assaults, illness, miscarriage, death, layoffs, slander - you name it. Salmansohn draws from the latest happiness research, resiliency psychology and even Greek philosophy, to create 75 potentially life-changing tips on how to bounce back , each on a spread that's as punchy in look as it is powerful in message: "Don't just write a 'To Do List', write a 'To Be' List," "Turn Negativity into Nuggetivity" and "Feeling Means Your Healing Means Your Dealing."


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2008 1:02 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer--A Review
Topic: Book Review

I must apologize for not having this posted sooner.  Family problems made it necessary to miss some time online.  I will be making two posts tonight--I hope you enjoy them both.

*****

Two promises made--only one can be kept.  Add a noble man, a promised man, a scorned woman and a parentless beauty.  Set them in ancient Italy, throw in a century-old treasure and you have the makings of one terrific romance.  In the end, who will win?  Which promise will be fulfilled?  Who lives and who dies--and why?

 Mirella Patzer has woven a tale that will transport you to ancient Italy.  You will be drawn into the world of royalty, feel the pain of betrayal and the passion of lovers.  Ms. Patzer's characters are alive within the pages of this book and her description is so vivid, you will smell the grass, see the blue skies and feel the unbridled passion that is skillfully incorporated between the covers of Bloodstone Castle. 

Not much of a romance reader, I was pleasantly surprised as I found myself unable to stop reading until the very end.  This is a book that any romance lover (and those who just enjoy a great tale) will find pleasure in adding to their library.

***

You can find Bloodstone Castle here:

http://www.amazon.com/Bloodstone-Castle-Mirella-Patzer/dp/0978486528

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:45 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Talking With Mirella Patzer
Mirella PatzerThe Person:
1.      What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Kind.  I find it hard to be unkind to anyone.  I care about people, especially those close to me.  My personal motto is Do No Harm.
Intense.  I will work diligently on something until I master it, almost to the point of obsession.  Only then will I move on to something new.  It's been the secret of my success because I tend to throw my passion and energy into a particular task or project or hobby until I've successfully completed it.
Simplicity.  The most important things are my close friends and family.  I don't need fancy clothes or many outings to make me happy.  I love being home with my family.
2.      How do you think others would describe you?
They would describe me as caring and fair.  Throughout my life, those are always what people have said about me.  They are wonderful attributes to be labelled with..  

 
3.      Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
Outside of writing, I love to read and cook and bake.  I also love to visit Heritage Park - it is a huge western town in Calgary with authentic historical homes and businesses.  I can easily spend an entire day there.  This year, we'll be buying seasons ticket.   
 4.    Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.
My first and only pet was a horse named Precious Mahogany.  My husband bought her for me about 20 years ago.  She was also used to teach children how to ride.  She's now retired and lives with a friend of ours in a spectacular pasture between Cochrane and the Rocky Mountains.  I learned how to ride on Precious who is a pure blood American Saddlebred horse.  
5.  What is your most precious memory?
It is witnessing the birth of my little grandson.  It is the only birth I've ever witnessed.  Yes, I have two daughters, but being in labour is vastly different than witnessing an actual birth.  The birth process is truly one of life's most beautiful miracles.   
6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?
I was on a bus once and I got up because my stop was approaching.  As I was waiting at the back door for the bus to stop, the driver suddenly had to swerve and slam on the brakes because a litte dog ran into the middle of the road.  The sudden movement caused me to fall head first into a man's lap.  Let me just say, it was a bulls eye.  Passengers couldn't stop laughing.  I was mortified.  My eyes watered from the impact.  I never even looked to see how the guy fared.  
7.      If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
After a 28 year career as a civilian manager with a local police service, I have just retired and am pursuing writing.  But if I could chose another career, it would be to be a flight attendant for an international carrier and I'd want the European routes.  It is the job I wanted to do when I was a young woman, but fate always intervened and I was never able to pursue it.  
 
8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
With trumpets blaring, Mirella Patzer was called to heaven on _______.
Mirella was the first born child of Italian immigrants.  She spent the first 3 years of her life in Edmonton Alberta and then moved to Calgary Alberta where she was raised.  Her parents struggled to grasp a new culture and language and began to depend on Mirella the moment she learned to read and write.  At the age of 7 she was completing supervisory reports for her father and helping her mother with the banking.   
After graduating high school, Mirella began work at the Calgary Police Service where she did her best to distinguish herself in a meaningful way. She educated herself while she worked.  During her climb she married a "lie guy" (polygraph examiner) and had two beautiful daughters who both decided to surpass their mother's aspirations and go to college. She climbed the career ladder until she banged her head hard against the glass ceiling.  In July 2008, she was able to retire and follow her dream of writing.      
 
There will be no wake or any mumbo-jumbo. Memorial gifts will not be accepted and cards are a waste of money.  
 
May God be with you, Mirella Patzer!

 
Mirella Patzer The Writer:
9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?
One of the hardest things for me was to begin calling myself an author or a writer.  Those words just wouldn't come, no matter how hard I tried to say them.  Then, my short story, Down Three Steps, was accepted for a Canadian anthology entitled Mamma Mia: Good Italian Girls Talk Back and I became one of 18 Canadian Italian women who contributed to the book.  The book was a Canadian bestseller.  It was then I began to think of myself as an author.    
10.  What is going on with your writing these days?
In typical Mirella fashion, I'm writing two books at once - Orphan of the Olive Tree and A Crimson Mantle.  Both are medieval family sagas. 

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?
My goal is to complete a 3 or 4 book series of the Ottonian Empire which begins with A Crimson Mantle and spans 100 years.  Although it is a family saga, it is about the strong women who wielded their power and love during the 10th century.   
12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
There is no typical writing day for me.  I care for my 2 year old grandson while my daughter is in law school so his powerful little presence often prevents me from my work.  But during nap times and bed times I manage to squeeze in a little writing time.  I also set aside the entire weekend to write - and this means no email and no blogging, etc.  Only writing.  Summer is also coming and with that, my grandson will be out in the backyard with my husband.  So I'm hoping to squeeze in a little more writing time. 
13.  Why do you write?
I write for my love of history and Italy.  I want my readers to learn about some of the famous, strong women leaders of long ago who helped shape the world.  I also write to entertain. To know that I can entertain my readers and provide them a little reprieve from the stressors of daily life gives me great pleasure.  
14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?
I love Charles Dickens because he is a true master of detail and creating memorable characters. His stories and characters have endured for decades and appeal to generations of readers.  

15,  How do you define your writing?
I like my stories to resemble a roller coaster ride - a little "rough and tumble" with a sprinkling of violence,  the odd and unsual, and passion and emotion.  
16.  In one sentence, what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
I would love it if people simply said my work was "fun".  Pure unadulterated enjoyment.  That would make me very happy. 
Mirella Patzer The Details:
17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?
I have several sites. 
My author website is http://www.mirellapatzer.com.   
My blog is at http://mirellapatzer.blogspot.com.  I like to post about anything that strikes my fancy.  This blog is usually a mish-mash of topics.  If you want too get to know me a little more, than this is where to go.  
Bloodstone Castle has its own blog at:  http://bloodstonecastle.blogspot.comThe posts on this blog relates to Italy, or the characters, food, etc. and from the Ligurian coast which is the setting of my novel.    
Author cookies is a blog where I feature other authors and their favourite cookie recipes at: http://authorcookies.blogspot.com.
Best of Italy is a blog that indulges my passion for Italy and all things Italian.  It has lots of traffic so have a peakhttp://bestofitaly.blogspot.com
And last but not least, to keep track of all the books I read and review, I own http://historicalnovelreview.blogspot.com  
18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?
Readers can reach me at:  mirellapatzer@hotmail.com. 

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
All three of my books can be purchased from Amazon. 
Bloodstone Castle
Heinrich the Fowler: Father of the Ottonian Empire
Mamma Mia:  Good Italian Girls Talk Back
20.  For new readers, what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
When you read one of my books, expect to be surprised and shocked.  My characters can be unpredictable and some of the circumstances they find themselves in can be very unusual.  
In conclusion:
21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers--what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
I love writing stories from the early middle ages.  Bloodstone Castle is a complete work of fiction. It is meant to entertain, to give the reader a fun tromp through the middle ages.  It is a passionate romantic suspense. So if you like reading as an escape, then this is the book for you.   My novels depict my love for history and for Italy.  It is my way of sharing a heritage I am proud of.  If you read it and enjoy it, then I will have achieved my goal.  Thank you very much for your kind interest and precious time in learning more about me.  I love to hear from my readers, so please email me.       

Posted by joyceanthony at 4:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 June 2008 4:12 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Saturday, 7 June 2008
Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer--an Excerpt
Topic: Blog Tours

Also available in electronic format and audio book. ISBN 978-0-9784865-2-5

Prologue Portovenere, Italy 947 A.D. The cold claws of death reached for Vittoria Monterossa, Contessa of Portovenere. In a childbed in the highest tower of Bloodstone Castle, her lifeblood waned. Despite the warm blaze from the hearth, Vittoria shivered. With much toil, she birthed the babe. A hive of activity surrounded her and the small cradle. "Please, let me see," she pleaded. "We must bathe and swaddle the child first, my lady," the midwife declared as she exchanged bloodied towels for fresh ones. Vittoria could not see it, but she sensed the warm dampness of the ominous crimson stain, dark as midnight, that crept across the bed linens. Fear lived in every cranny of the old midwife's wrinkled face as she worked to quell the incessant bleeding. She threw another blood-drenched cloth onto a growing pile in the corner. An attendant scurried over with a stack of fresh linens. Two noblewomen, shocked to silence, stared at Vittoria. One reached for the babe, and set the mite into Vittoria's arms. The other woman stared unmoving as if afraid. To Vittoria, only the bundle in her arms mattered. The daughter, for whom she laboured so long, suckled at her breast. She pulled the child close and inhaled sweet scent. Vittoria savoured a moment she knew would not last. 9

"How cruel for destiny to deny you a mother," Vittoria whispered. Tears flooded her eyes. She looked down to memorize the child's features. Vittoria ran a hand over the delicate pink face and dark threads of hair and heaved a forlorn sigh. The tiny baby would never remember the warm caress of a mother's touch. That knowledge left a bitter edge to these sweet final moments together. Vittoria removed a golden necklace upon which hung a large bloodstone pendant encircled by gold filigree. Peculiar flecks of reddish brown that resembled splatters of blood blighted the large green gemstone. The midwife gasped. "My lady, don't remove the amulet. Its powers will quell the blood." Vittoria shook her head. She knew her fate. Not even the bloodstone could alter the eminent. Perhaps it lost its powers. No one in the room dared to argue. Her hands trembled. Vittoria draped the necklace over her daughter's tiny head and neck. The bauble looked immense against the baby's diminutive chest. She turned the familiar pendant around and ran her fingers across the ancient Roman writing on the back. Faded and worn from years of wear, the words remained discernible. Vittoria reached out for her dearest and oldest maidservant and read the words aloud. Redder than the rose, Whiter than the lilies, Fairer than everything, All will glory in thee. "A mountain's worth of significance," Vittoria whispered. She paused to recover her energy. "For generations, my family handed the amulet down from mother to daughter." The maidservant gave Vittoria's hand a squeeze. "A mysterious legend decrees the jewel originated from a Roman treasure casket buried somewhere beneath Bloodstone Castle - a treasure many searched for, but none discovered. In childhood, I searched, but failed." Desperate to convey a lifetime of love into the little soul, Vittoria leaned forward, and pressed her lips to her child's forehead. "Tell my daughter this." With tearful eyes, the maidservant nodded. Vittoria breathed a sigh of relief. 10

Time lingered then stopped altogether. Nothing mattered except the power of her love in this final farewell. At last, Vittoria pulled away and let her head sink back upon the lace-trimmed pillow. The midwife lifted the child. The noblewomen crossed themselves. Vittoria's eyes fluttered. The room grew dark. Her body weakened with every breath. Tell my husband - her name is Morena. He must love her enough for both of us." Her chest rose one last time.

***

Find Out More About Mirella Patzer and Bloodstone Castle

Mirella Patzer's Website -
http://www.mirellapatzer.com

Mirella Patzer's Blogs
http://mirellapatzer.blogspot.com
http://bestofitaly.blogspot.com
http://bloodstonecastle.blogspot.com

Watch a Video for Bloodstone Castle
http://www.mirellapatzer.com/2008/01/book-reviews-bloodstone-castle.html

Reviews for Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer
http://mirellapatzer.com/?page_id=150

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Bloodstone-Castle-Mirella-Patzer/dp/0978486528


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:53 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Friday, 6 June 2008
A Visit With Mirella Patzer
Topic: Blog Tours

For the next few days, we have the honor of getting to know Mirella Patzer and her book, Bloodstone Castle, better.  Sit back and enjoy our visit!

Meet Mirella Patzer - Your Guide on This Adventure

Books are one of Mirella Patzer's obsessions, especially those that pertain to medieval eras and with Italy as a backdrop. To fulfill a life long dream, she began writing several years ago and has never looked back. Since then she has published several short stories and completed two novels with several more novels in various stages of completion. Her fascination for women of history and Italy is often reflected in her work, blogs, and website. When she's not immersed in research or writing or blogging, Mirella works as an editor for Enspiren Press. She writes from her home in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, surrounded by her husband, two college-bound daughters, and a rambunctious little grandson who frequently interrupts her work with a variety of unanticipated, yet humorous calamities and interruptions. For her, life couldn't get any better.

 

Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer


Bloodstone Castle stands sentinel on the shores of the Ligurian Sea. Secreted somewhere in its dungeons is an ancient Roman treasure of immense value. Contessa Morena of Bloodstone Castle possesses a mysterious bloodstone pendant, the only proof the treasure exists. Since childhood, she has been promised in marriage to Duke Ernesto of Savona. Ernesto is a desperate man, a gambler who has lost his family's fortune, a man who resorts to murder, not once, not twice, but three times to keep from paying his debts and to hide his dirty secret. Marriage to the lovely Morena will make the treasure his and restore his power and desperate circumstances. After the brutal murder of his father, Duke Amoro of Genoa swears two oaths. The first is to avenge his father's death. The second is to honour his father's dying wish and wed Morena of Bloodstone Castle and end the violent feud with between their two families. He severs his affair with his mistress, Laria, and departs for Bloodstone Castle to propose to Morena. But Morena refuses to marry him. Her life thrown into chaos, Morena must choose between obligation and honour, truth and lies, good and evil. She must honour the betrothal her father arranged with Ernesto. Amoro continues to try to convince Morena otherwise.

Ernesto arrives at Bloodstone Castle to claim his bride, but finds Amoro there. The two men confront each other with much animosity.

Then, when the murdered body of Morena's father is brought home, Amoro helps her with his burial, then her and takes her to his home in Genoa. He is fiercely protective over her. This angers Morena at times because she insists upon her independence. While she is conducting an act of charity, she notices Amoro's men following her. As she tries to escape, she falls from her horse and is taken back to Amoro. When Amoro agrees to allow Morena full independence, they set a wedding date.

Laria and Ernesto meet and together they plan to separate Amoro and Morena.

On the day of the wedding, Morena falls into the clutches of Ernesto. Amoro arrives to rescue her and the two men agree to battle each other - winner gets the girl. Ernesto cheats and Amoro is held prisoner. Morena realizes her love for Amoro and to save his life, agrees to marry Ernesto. Laria is free to pursue Amoro again. But Amoro continues to refuse Laria. When Laria learns that Ernesto plans to kill Amoro, she aids Morena in a daring rescue to Amoro and his men.

In medieval Italy, two men face each other with ruthlessness and intensity. Enter their world of splendour and depravity, of passion and wickedness. It is Italy's most dazzling and dangerous age, and as Duke Amoro of Genoa and Duke Ernesto of Savona match wits and cunning, it is a dance the death to decide which one of them will win the hand of the beautiful Countess Morena and the hidden treasure of Bloodstone Castle


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Honor Due by D. H. Brown--A Review
Topic: Book Review

First a brief update---The list of books for the grand prize on the fundraiser has risen to 27 books (see list at http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/id20.html ) For thiose who haven't heard, details of the drawing are at http://joyceanthony.tripod.com  Have you bought your chances yet, folks--that's one dollar per chance at winning 27 books--and there will be numerous single-book drawings!! 

Now, on to the review:

 ISBN:  978-0-9798744-1-3

Honor Due is the first book in a planned thriller trilogy by D. H. Brown.  My biggest disappointment with this book was that the other two parts aren't out yet!!! 

A retired Special Operations officer who spent time in Viet Nam has spent his latest years in a small town trying to get past the nightmares of his past--until the past jumps up in front of him and he is forced back into a war for not only his life, but that of the daughter of his blood brother. Starting out as the hunted, he turns the table and becomes the hunter--and what is to follow will leave readers breathless--and begging for more.

D. H. Brown writes in a way that gets the facts out there without assuming his reader can't imagine the details.  He doesn't waste words--each adds to the mystery and tension of the book, drawing the reader deeper and deeper into Mr. Brown's world. 

While the subject matter could lead some authors to crude descriptions and rough language, this is not the case with Mr. Brown.  Honor Due is written tastefully, a book for adults for sure, but one parents wouldn't mind an older teenager reading. 

I can't wait for D. H. Brown to release the next book in this trilogy, Honor Defended!!


Posted by joyceanthony at 2:06 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 1 June 2008
Eighteen Plus Books for a Dollar??
Topic: Miscellaneous

We are running a fundraiser and it gives you guys a wonderful opportunity!!  One winner will receive a prize package of over eighteen books (see current list below)--all brand new and autographed by the authors!!!  The grand prize list is growing daily!!  In addition, there will be numerous prizes of one book given to random winners.  For all the details, go here:

http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/

Current Prize Package

 

It Had to Be Us by Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence http://www.bettyjotucker.com/

 

Susan Sarandon:  A True Maverick by Betty Jo Tucker http://www.bettyjotucker.com/

 

Confessions of a Movie Addict by Betty Jo Tucker http://www.bettyjotucker.com/

 

Death By Candlelight by Billie A. Williams http://www.billiewilliams.com/

 

Knapsack Secrets by Billie A. Williams http://www.billiewilliams.com/

 

Storm by Joyce A. Anthony http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/

 

Conduct Unbecoming by Nina M.Osier http://www.geocities.com/nina_osier/

 

Redemption by Judith Rochelle http://www.judithrochelle.com/

 

Shepherd's Pie by J. D. Webb http://www.jdwebb.com/

 

Heal and Forgive:  Forgiveness in the Face of Abuse by Nancy Richards http://www.healandforgive.net/

 

Cherry Blossoms in Twilight: Memories of a Japanese Girl by Yaeko Sugama Weldon and Linda E. Austin http://www.moonbridgebooks.com/

 

I Romanced the Stone by Marvin D. Wilson http://inspiritandtruths.blogspot.com/

 

Different Roads by Joyce Sterling Scarbrough http://www.authorsden.com/joycelscarbrough1

 

True Blue Forever by Joyce Sterling Scarbrough http://www.authorsden.com/joycelscarbrough1

 

Gentle Journey by Elaine Lyons Bach http://www.shoutlife.com/profile_view.cfm?uid=39176

 

Angel's Dance by Lynn C. Johnston http://www.lynncjohnston.com/

 

Bank Roll:  A Max Stryker Mystery by Janet Elaine Smith http://www.janetelainesmith.com/

 

Dakota Printer by Janet Elaine Smith http://www.janetelainesmith.com/

 

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:57 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 1 June 2008 1:05 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 31 May 2008

Isn't this wonderful work?  Just one more of Steven Bradley's talents!  He makes these banners for others as well as for himself.  I shared a few other examples not long ago.  Anyway, on this final day of our vist with author, Steven Bradley, he has consented to share a peek into his recent project, Patriot Acts.  You are some of the first to see this, as the book has yet to be released.  Enjoy!!

***

Patriot Acts...Strategic Planning - Part One


What Do You Think...?

There are some stark days ahead for the United States its efforts to stop the Islamic Republic of Iran from developing nuclear weapons. There is an intrinsic need to deal with Iran which is in the process of building a nuclear reactor and enriching uranium that it says would be used for its energy needs. Now we see that this nation has been thrust upon the world stage and is now at the center of international debate regarding its nuclear ambitions.

Therefore, it is only logical that we should take a look at whether this fanatical Shiite State should be allowed to possess such technology. Does a land that is sitting on a sea of oil really have energy needs that could not be met by its massive reserve of crude? Would it be wise to trust the nation that launched the present wave of terror through out the world in 1979 with a nuclear arsenal? Can we continue to work closely with any nation, such as Russia, that would help Iran to achieve this goal? These are questions that must be answered.

I present to you, "Strategic Planning" a chapter from Patriot Acts, my next novel. Tell me, do you know those who truly have the nation's best interests in mind. Can you recognize them immediately? Even the most naive ill-prepared of men, since the nation's conception, had played the role by sheer virtue of the weight of such a burden the office bequeathed to the most powerful ruler in the tinderbox that was the world. The office is bigger than the man and forces either the growth of stature and inspiration or disasters of great magnitude which change the world forever.

Read about the President of the United States of America, Christopher A. Tate in the vice grips of a crisis that is devastating in its proportions. Live the workings of the office and of those set on bringing down the Republic. Whatever one of us does, for a brother or a sister, completely disregarding their color, faith or creed, that is what makes up Patriot Acts.
Strategic Planning

April 15, 2009 2:15 PM

It seemed as if the room was lit brighter than usual. Today there would be no Biographer or Official Photographer during this ‘Top Secret’ Cabinet meeting. Both were only allowed into the room for the introduction and then were politely excused from the room and the door was locked behind them. Strategically speaking, the White House had gone black, deep down into the dark reaches of secrecy; the concealment from which wars are born. The administration was hunkered down and had not let nary a peep out to the press that America was about to undergo a crisis that would make the Cuban Missile Crisis appear to be a day at Disneyland.

The air in this commanding room was always one of officialdom and supremacy, but today, with the present state of affairs that were both historic and tumultuous, the room took on an atmosphere of insecurity, turbulence and out-and-out calamity.


The walls were blessed with the presence of portraits of historic figures and placid scenes of a simpler and a far more hopeful day for the young nation called the last, best hope of man. On a normal day, these metaphors caused the men and women who met there to take pause before any decisions were taken that would eventually affect the nation for ill or for gain. Today, the same precaution came over those who had single-filed into the room, but also it seemed to each one that the pictures appeared murkier than usual and the vista that had always made their underpaid and often overworked jobs in the Administration worth the frustration was not so ceremonial today and made them all look beyond the status of their positions and realize that they held the future of the nation in their trembling hands. The table itself gave a luster of authority to the serene stress that pervaded the room at every meeting of the talking heads. Today, heads were not talking! Instead, hearts wanted to fail and groans could be heard exuding from the mouths of the President’s cabinet members in the form of pleas for ideas, solutions, plans of attack, threats and Armageddon scenarios!

There would be no phone calls to the President during this meeting except from the chosen few and only those relating to the issue at hand, an issue that threatened to make this meeting perhaps the last meeting they may ever have if they could not stop the nation from drifting toward disaster. They had to strangle the enemy before it surrounded them! For now, they all sat there opening their files, closing them and opening them again as though they had to make themselves believe what their eyes were reading as they were about to discuss the various war plans and attack plans that could add up to their only prospects.

President Tate sat in his seat and stared straight ahead at the fireplace where a porcelain design of George Washington reposed portraying the first President of the United States bowed to one knee in the snowy field at Valley Forge with his men surrounding him in humble prayer. President Tate looked from the left to the right at those he himself had chosen to lead the nation. He looked at everyone seated at the table directly and the spoke his first words amongst those who so vitally needed to see him lead in a way he had not as yet been forced to do in his still young administration.

“I have seen a lot of them in this old mansion.”

Everyone stared at him with a look of fear that Tate was losing his nerve, the quality that had got him elected in the first place.

“The portraits I mean. I’ve seen a lot of them. But none have affected me more since the first day I saw it up close as that one on the staircase of JFK with his arms folded and his face pointed downward and expressing something that was not even close to depression, my friends! His is a look that we all should have today, this day that we all prayed would never present itself, but somehow knew it surely would! No, Kennedy’s face is one of complete determination to find a resolution to the crisis of his day. His was neither dejection nor retreat but a profound burrowing into the tender regions of his heart and finding the tenacity and resolution to fulfill his oath to preserve, protect and defend! Let us emulate him this day.”

Tate then shook himself loose of the profundity and got to the business at hand.

“What we have here is an ultimatum. I fear we are being placed in a noose that if allowed to be placed around our necks will strangle us into superpower mush! Let me defer to Jamie O’Rourke.”

“Mr. President, We have thought it would be significant to take a good look at the various facilities around the nation of Iran. Now, we cannot destroy them all, but we need to determine which ones are of vital interest to these crazy people and which ones should be classified as high value targets for our munitions. In addition, their most developed plants are deep underground and would require Nuke Bunker Busters to take them out. Mr. President, I yield the floor to National Security Advisor Blake. Roger, its all yours.”

“Mr. President, I have put together a video brief that details the level of threat that each nuclear facility present to the United States.”

The National Security Advisor pressed a button and a screens set up in front of each cabinet member lit up and the brief began to describe the two facilities, which posed the greatest threat to the US.

“First of all, there is the facility at Arak. Mr. President, the existence of a secret nuclear facility at Arak was revealed during a press conference by the representative office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran held in Washington DC, in mid-August 2006. It is located at the Qatran Workshop near the Qara-Chai river in the Khondaub region, in Central Iran, 150 miles south of Tehran.”

“According to National Council of Resistance of Iran, a front organization, named the Mesbah Energy Company, has been used to prevent unwanted disclosures. The headquarters of the Mesbah Energy Company are located in Tehran.”

“On 12 December 2006, The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) released an issue brief expressing concern that Iran is trying to develop "The capability to make separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium, the two main nuclear explosive materials." ISIS acquired satellite imagery of a site near the town of Arak. It is at this site where a plant produces heavy water. Heavy water is used to moderate the nuclear chain reaction in one type of nuclear reactor, that could be used either for civilian power production or to produce bomb materials. The nuclear reactor that was under construction at Bushehr at the time is now fully operational. It does not use heavy water nor do current Iranian research reactors need it in amounts that would justify construction of such a facility. The only logical conclusion, therefore is that this plant was built for the express purpose of building nuclear weapons. We have concluded that the Tactical weapons that have entered this country were produced in the Arak plant and its sub-plants.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“I can’t do this Fisher, but I can’t say no either! That’s my family they have in the palms of their hands! How could you expect me to say no!”

“Listen Dog, I did a lot of extensive training in my line of work. Yea, we were taught that there were several lethal places in the human body that demanded hardly any pressure to kill someone. I did my share and yours too in the field. Yet, the best training I ever got was not how to kill, but how to stay alive! They are going to take you away from here today and you have to stay alive for your family and for your country!”

“You aren’t going to kill Tate? After all you’ve gone through?”

“I never said that, but I believe timing is everything. I’ll probably decide that when I see him. Your job is to get me alone with him. You have to play the part with this Mason Ball. My God, you played the poker face perfectly at Anvil Mountain, you’ve got to get in the game again. If your family lives and you die what use will you be to them. From here on out you are Mr. Cooperation, Got it?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Mr. President, construction of the heavy water production plant at Khondab near Arak was reportedly begun in 2004 by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). The heavy water plant at Arak is reportedly using the Girdler Sulphide process. The location of the facility was reportedly determined by the need for large quantities of water, which can be easily supplied by the Qara-Chai River.”

“The second site, Mr. President, of greatest concern is the nuclear facility at Natanz, also known as Kashan. During a press conference by the representative office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran held in Washington DC, in mid-August 2004, the existence of a secret nuclear facility at Natanz was revealed. Israeli military intelligence refers to the site as Kashan."

“Natanz is located between Isfahan and Kashan in central Iran. The facility is reportedly 100 miles north of Isfahan, and is located in old Kashan-Natanz, near a village called Deh-Zireh, itself located about 25 miles southeast of Kashan, and falls under the jurisdiction of the Governor's Office of Kashan.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Will you look at this Dog? They are really doing their homework about casualties. They plan on putting the weapons in strategic locations to bring down all three branches of the Federal Government!

“Yes, five in the White House, ten in the Capital Building, five at the Supreme Court and ten at the Pentagon! The country will be without a government and no one will have their finger on the strategic nukes!”

“You can bet that Garret will try to put his thumb on the trigger!” Fisher predicted. “Ball will have the codes we need Dog and you have to get them to me. There is an underground tunnel that Johnson used to use to get out of the White House for some privacy. It’s been closed for thirty years.”

“You’re crazy Harrison! I’ve heard about that tunnel. It’s been blown up more times than I care to imagine! That could be really dangerous!”

“Oh, yea, danger. Tell me what is not dangerous about anything we’ve done in the past twenty years!? While you’re at it, tell me a better way to get to Tate and to kill him if you have one…! I didn’t think so. Just get me into the tunnel and I’ll do my thing!


Empathy, that's the word that goes beyond merely feeling sorry for someone's horrible or treacherous state of affairs. By far the most vital part of a story and it's characters is to get the readers to feel their sorrow and their joy. In "Last Ounce of Devotion Part One" you read about a young man and the decisions he faced as though he were being force fed with an over-sized mouthful of reality combined with responsibility.

I recently visited the Museum of Psychiatry – An Industry of Death. This was a very sad and important look at the treatments of Mental illness over the past three centuries. Many strange and unbelievable treatments were used and abused by so-called doctors who recommended everything from bleeding the brain to drowning therapy. Yet, the area of the museum that gripped my attention the most firmly was the section on the Holocaust. It was there that I realized the Hitler, in his demonic rage against Jews, Gays, Gypsies and the infirm was the final result of an age of teachers in favor of racial cleansing which eventually led to the final solution.

Young Len Garret learned to hate the country his dad had defended and, in young Len Garret’s mind, the nation that that had murdered his father. The words he learned from his father and the attitude and lethality inert in their aim made this young man know that one day he’d stand up to them all and show them! Read "Last Ounce of Devotion Part Two" and feel the fear, anguish and hatred in this young man. Don’t feel sorry for him. Empathize with him, feel his fear, his anger and his determination as he prepares to lay down his last full ounce of devotion.



Patriot Acts - Last Ounce of Devotion Part Two

Northern Indiana 2009

The image of the day that had necessitated his presence in a place that he deemed as one of the temples of the usurpers who had overtaken the nation. That was what dad had said and this young mind had received a crash course in plotting retribution. The image formed and behind Len Garret’s closed eyes, he saw them coming, all dressed in black, and covered by the absorbing darkness of a night off of Toto Road. The dogs were barking, the lights around the compound flashed on and the invaders dispersed. The radios blared like a rock concert in the silent night air, and the front door flew open with Russell Garret exploding out of the door and waving the assault rifle in all directions…

“Get off my land!” There wasn’t a sound. “You got a warrant?” Russell Garret screamed. “Did you hear me?”

Inside Len Garret’s dream, he could hear something so distinct and clear and the sound was so recognizable, but not immediately understood. Then he knew. He began to whimper and the glass full of Tequila fell to the floor and rolled against the wall. Len Garret’s eyes flashed open and closed up tightly again. He heard the sounds of blades turning and growing in volume. He saw his father holding the assault rifle and looking straight into the air, turning frequently to get his bearings. Russell Garret turned and saw his wife Amy and their daughter, Belinda and their son, Leonard standing in the front door of their house.

“Go back in the house!” Russell shouted

“What are you doing out here in the middle of the night, Russ?” Amy asked in worried voice.

“Go back inside!” Russell screamed as he looked frantically in ever direction trying to locate the direction of the sound that was really loud now and which sounded increasingly like a…helicopter.

“Something’s happening here and it could be…just get inside the house Amy and get the kids outta here!”

Amy looked behind her and found her daughter, Belinda, but her son, Leonard was gone.

“Where did that boy go?” Amy thought. “He’s fourteen…almost fifteen. He’ll be alright.”

Like a giant stinging bug rising from the Earth, Amy saw it as she looked out past her husband, Russell. She saw it and pointed at it and Russell turned toward the sound, raising his weapon as he swiveled. When Russell Garret had fully turned and aimed his gun at the chopper hovering over them, a shot rang out from the chopper’s gun and a large caliper round buried itself inside Russell Garret’s brain. He fell to the ground and Amy reached behind her and pulled an automatic rifle out in front of her and began to fire.

Someone ran from the woods and stood directly under the chopper. The pilot and his crew were busy getting ready to blow away the country woman standing at her own doorway believing herself to be defending her own property and family, just like Russell had told her to if something happened to him.

“I thought he was crazy, but I paid attention!” she told herself. “Now I know he was right!” She confirmed as she changed guns and kept firing at the chopper.

The person under the chopper back up and got as far away from the hovering craft and then raised his riffle and aimed it at the engines. He started to squeeze the trigger when eight year old Belinda came around in front of her mommy just as four rockets propelled grenades roared to life and took flight in a preordained course.

“Oh, Dear God!” Amy cried out. “Forgive me of my sins, Jesus!” Amy looked at Belinda.

“I love you, my baby!” Amy Garret took her little daughter up to her breasts. Belinda looked up at her mommy.

“Mommy, I…” The RPG’s exploded into the house and Amy and Belinda were torn apart.

“NO! YOU BASTARDS!” screamed the boy just before fourteen year old, Len Garret fired and brought the chopper down in a sudden drop that exploded upon impact. Len had not expected the helicopter to fall so close to him. He jumped to the ground, face first, as a piece of metal flew from the chopper and tore open Len’s neck.

The boy opened his eyes. There was nothing but darkness, later mutating into a place with ornate surroundings which jolted the boy's mind to take notice that he was in the court room. Voices echoed throughout the hallowed chambers as Len Garret sat there, appearing oblivious, but fully aware of his situation and what he would do one day to make his family’s sacrifice have meaning. The surrounding guards looked at him and smiled.

“He was just a Child. He only did what his radical father had taught him.” The witness declared. “I treated him for over a year and I can attest to his right state of mind and that he is fully healed mentally. He exercised excellent social skills and participated in all the team sports and…”

“Thank you Dr. Molar. No further questions.”

Would the counsel approach the bench.

The lawyers conferred with the judge and young Len Garret thought about the Psychiatrist’s words. Len knew he had healed, kept up in school, learned a lot about many things that really didn’t matter now, because three years after having seen his father, mother and sisters murdered before his eyes didn’t change one damn thing for the seventeen year old Len Garret.

“Son” The austere Judge announced. “Stand up please, Mr. Garret.” The boy rose from his chair.

“Do you realize that you killed those officers in that helicopter and that it was wrong to have done that under any circumstance?”

The boy’s thoughts told him that “They deserved it and I’d like to blow your brains out too!”
“Play nice to be bad later!” he speculated.

To the judge, his mouth said, “Yes sir, I know I was wrong and I am truly sorry.” Tears started to flow from his eyes, some that were manufactured, but many that were real and produced by the sheer weight of the burden of what he had gone through and the understanding of what he would have to do, in the future.

The judge looked into Len Garret’s face and the longer he looked the more the magistrate’s face softened. “Young man, I believe you. I also have a lot of sadness over what happened to your family. It is my admonition to the government rather than you. Go out now and make yourself someone who can help keep the power of this nation in check. Get an education and raise a great family and I promise you’ll die one day, a happy man.”

“The hell with your “happy man” crap!” Len thought. To the judge, he just nodded in the affirmative.

“I am releasing you. You are a free man, Mr. Garret. You are under the custody of your aunt until you reach the age of eighteen, and I hope to never see you in this judge’s court again. . .”

You can read lots more from Steven Clark Bradley at these Sites:

Steven Clark Bradley's Stories That Read You!
Steven Clark Bradley's Underground Controversy
Steven Clark bradley inspiredauthor.com/promotion
Steven Clark Bradley - Published Authors.com
Steven Clark Bradley at Blog Talk Radio.com
Steven Clark bradley at Communati.com
Steven Clark Bradley at Inspired Author.com

Patriot Acts is still a work in progress. You can't get your own copy yet, but Steven Clark Bradley has three published novels, Nimrod Rising!, Stillborn! & Probable Cause.

amazon.com
barnesandnoble.com
bordersstores.com
booksamillion.com
powells.com
copperfields.com


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:20 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
A Sneak Peek at Patriot Acts by Steven Bradley
Topic: First Chapter

Posted by joyceanthony at 2:47 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older