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Saturday, 28 June 2008
Death Masks by Kim Richards --A Review
Topic: Book Review

Death Masks by author Kim Richards, is a thriller that captures your attention and keeps you in suspense to the end.

Someone or something is attacking and killing young men in the park.  Bill, your average computer tech decides to play amateur investigator and figure out the mystery.  In the meantime, the local police think he has something to do with the disappearances.  Can Bill find out who or what is killing people and burying them alive before he becomes the next victim? 

I found Ms. Richard's writing concise and to the point.  She wastes no words, each one leading the story further and deepening both the suspense and intrigue.

If you are looking for a book full of gory details that keep you awake at night, this isn't it.  What it is, however, is  a tale of intrigue and suspense that will keep you wondering until the very end with its false leads and almost paranormal feel.  One clue--the one committing the murders is very much alive and waiting in the bushes.


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:42 PM EDT
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Friday, 27 June 2008
Death Mask--An Excerpt
Topic: Blog Tours

I'm going to modify my plans a little here, folks.  Today, I will be giving you a brief excerpt from Death Mask by Kim Richards.  In addition, there is a brief author interview.  Tomorrow I will be doing the book review.  Enjoy!!

Excerpt:

"Shhh. Please listen." Her words dropped to a trembling whisper.

"What's wrong?"

"I'm scared."

Bill hesitated a moment, thinking she might go on.

"Bill?" She sounded so small and vulnerable. He immediately wanted to reach out through the phone and pull her close. He longed to make whatever it was better.

"I'm here, Hon. What's going on?" He shut down his computer as he talked.

"Someone keeps calling me." Once she started speaking, her words came fast and clipped. "At first he kept hanging up. No heavy breathing or anything so I decided it must be those kids next door."

"He? How do you know it's a guy?" Bill used one hand to hold the phone and the other to begin stuffing his things into his carry bag.

"Because..." Dampened, low sounds came over the phone.

Oh God, she's crying.

"Because I know what a man's voice sounds like. This last time, just a minute ago, he said I'm next."

"Next for what?" As Bill said the words, he'd already guessed the answer. All the clues were in place, the footprints on the porch, the maniac figuring out Bill knew about him, and now the calls to Dix. He didn't hear her answer.

*****

What is a death mask? 

Throughout the ages, man often made masks of the deceased faces. It is a way of honoring the dead and, before photographs became available, to preserve the visage of the deceased person for the living to view. There are many in museums around the world including some famous people such as  Agamemnon, Cromwell, Edison, Newton and Volaire. During my recent trip to Germany I discovered several in museums including the last Teutonic Knight Hochmeister, Archduke Eugen, and two rulers:  Frederic II and Frederic Wilhelm IV.          .

 

I made a plaster cast of my own face to use for promoting Death Masks and the detail of the features surprised me.  The death masks I had the opportunity to see also had great detail. FYI:  the one I did of myself is technically called a Life Mask since I am still living.

What does a death mask have to do with the book?

One thing many serial murderers have in common is collecting something from their victims. In this story the killer makes a death mask of each victim. It’s also intended to be a play on the words since there is something unexpected about the murderer revealed at the very end so the fact that the identity remained hidden is a kind of mask.

Why did you decide to write this book?  What inspired you?

I wrote the first draft while living in Ohio, across the street from a metro park. Having come from the wide open spaces of New Mexico, the dense trees of Ohio and steep areas struck me as places to dump a body. Often in the news, people were found days after driving off into one of these areas.  I did talk with the park rangers near me and found out they try to keep any assaults or other problems occurring in the parks under wraps so that people will feel safe in coming there.

Why a story about a serial killer? Aren’t those overdone (SPOILER ANSWER)?

I decided early on I wanted my protagonist to be someone different than those you find in a lot of thrillers. Bill is an IT computer support tech instead of a detective or someone with law enforcement experience. His curiosity keeps him on the trail but his lack of experience causes him to make mistakes.

 

The murderer is female. Her sex isn’t revealed until the last chapter. In the opening scene it is left unclear she is even human.

Why a female murderer? (SPOILER QUESTION)

Women serial murderers tend to be better at killing than their male counterparts. They go for longer periods of time before being caught, with higher body counts for several reasons:  they seldom talk about their crimes to anyone, they tend to take choose less violent ways of death, and  for women—many of their killings are viewed as mercy deaths and therefore more acceptable to society. For example:  the woman whose elderly relatives die in her care. The rest of her family may not realize she poisoned them, thinking they passed on of old age. I find that concept extremely chilling.

 

Why did you decide to publish Death Masks with an e-book publisher (Eternal Press)?

I find every path to publishing valid in one form or another. My first book came out as under a print on demand format because I had the opportunity to do it free. I do editing for Eternal Press and so took the opportunity when offered to me to try my hand at an ebook. It may not be the best choice for every book but I believe a good one for this story.  I prefer to form my own opinions about such things with a little of my own experience.

 

Tell us about the trailer?

 

My fiance, William Gilchrist filmed it for me using ideas we brainstormed together. The music is from a death metal band from my hometown of Roswell, New Mexico. I wanted a rougher sound since this is not a happy, fluffy story.  The neat thing is the band, Children of a Lesser God, and I are working together to promote ourselves. It’s opened up some interesting opportunities. They will be taking touring all summer and Death Masks goes with them.

What else have you published recently?

August of 2007 saw a book called The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction released from Dragon Moon Press. I wrote the chapters on world building and sub-genres. Presently I am writing a chapter for the same editors on Celtic Magic for a book on writing fantasy magic expected for fall 2008 release.

 

April 2008 Death Masks came out, and towards the end of the month, an anthology of dragon stories titled, Firestorm of Dragons.  Firestorm is from DragonMoon Press. I have a story in this one about what dragons really do with all those maidens who get sacrificed to them.

 

Then in the fall of 2008, I have an entry in a Twisted Twins horror themed desk calendar. Yep. I got the January 1 spot!! It’s the New Year’s Resolutions of a serial killer (intended to be funny).

What are you working on now?

I have a horror novel tentatively titled, Holy Blessed Homicide, which I am revising. It is also out in submission.

 

I am also in the first rewrites of a story about the Amazon warrior women from the region of Turkey. It was my 2007 nanowrimo project but I have two more in the series planned. The first of which is brainstormed and the first few chapters written.

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 27 June 2008 3:04 AM EDT
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Thursday, 26 June 2008
A Visit With Kim Richards
Topic: Blog Tours

Book Title: Death Masks

Genre: Thriller ISBN#: 978-0-9804739-4-0

Bill Cristo takes up walking a per his doctor’s orders to lose weight and improve his health.  While at the metro park, he witnesses an assault.  The assailant turns on him and he wakes in the hospital with a nasty bump on his head, wondering why he isn’t dead. 
 The news reports nothing on any attack in the metro park but Bill can’t let it go...not when he realizes there are other young men missing from the same area. He digs up what he can on his own, drawing further attention from the murderer. Will he be able to figure out who the killer is before it reaches his live-in girlfriend?

 

***

Kim Richards lives in Northern California; with wedding plans for May 2009.  She writes horror, fantasy, erotica and science fiction, as well as non-fiction chapters and articles. She has seen one children’s story published and Death Masks is her first thriller.  For more information on all of her published works, check out her website at www.kim-richards.com 

Kim is an avid costumer and amateur bellydancer. She loves her coffee. She works as an editor for MyShelf Reviews and for Eternal Press as an author, editor and marketing manager. You can find her at Facebook, MySpace, Livejournal and Goodreads under the user name Kim_Richards

 

***

Come back tomorrow for an excerpt, link to Kim's book trailer and my review!!!


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:09 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Valentine by Jamieson Wolf--A Review
Topic: Book Review

Valentine, the latest release from author Jamieson Wolf is everything a love story should be.  It contains passion, betrayal, passion, heartbreak, renewal of trust and did I say passion--along with a happy ending of lasting love. 

As a m/m erotic tale, Valentine isn't for everyone; but Jamieson Wolf writes with some of the strongest emotion I have found in ages.  His passion is reminiscent of that seen in the works of Shakespeare and others of that time period.  His characters love deeply and without restraint, overcoming every obstacle placed before them. This is truly a tale for all those who believe love has no boundaries.

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:16 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 24 June 2008
A Word From Jamieson Wolf
Topic: Blog Tours
According to legend, as early as the fourth century B.C., the Romans engaged in an annual young man's rite to passage to the god Lupercus. The names of the teenage women were placed in a box and drawn at random by adolescent men; thus, a man was assigned a woman companion for the duration of the year, after which another lottery was staged.

After eight hundred years of this, the early church fathers sought to end this practice and promote monogamy. They found an answer in Valentine, a bishop who had been martyred some two hundred years earlier. According to church tradition, St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D. At that time, the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, had issued an edict forbidding marriage. This was around when the heyday of Roman Empire had almost come to an end.

When Claudius became the emperor, he discerned that married men were more emotionally attached to their families, and thus, would not make good soldiers. So to assure quality soldiers, he banned marriage.

Valentine, a bishop who witnessed the trauma of young lovers, met them in a secret place and joined them in the sacrament of matrimony. Claudius learned of this "friend of lovers," and had him arrested. The emperor, impressed with the young priest's dignity and conviction, attempted to convert him to the Roman gods, to save him from certain execution. Valentine refused to recognize Roman gods and even attempted to convert the emperor, knowing the consequences fully.

On February 24, 270, Valentine was executed.

While Valentine was in prison awaiting his fate, he came in contact with his jailor, Asterius. The jailor had a blind daughter. Asterius requested him to heal his daughter. Through his faith, he miraculously restored girl's sight. Just before his execution, he asked for a pen and paper from his jailor, and signed a farewell message to her, "From Your Valentine." A phrase that lived ever after.

Valentine is loosely based on this legend. I have taken certain liberties with the characters of Valentine and Asterius. Though there are no historical records, there is nothing to indicate that the two men did not meet before Valentine's imprisonment; that there was not a spark of something more between the two.

And that is where the story begins..

****

If you would like to read an excerpt from Valentine, please visit here:

http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/excerpt/valentinejw.htm


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:26 AM EDT
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Monday, 23 June 2008
Getting to Know Jamieson Wolf
Topic: Author Interview
Jamieson Wolf the person

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Kind, Optimistic, Eccentric

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Someone with a good sense of humor and a happy outlook on life.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

That would have to be reading. I love books, LOVE them. I think books are probably the closest thing I have to an addiction. LOL

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.
 

I have an eleven year old cat named Mave. She's a tortishell calico and she thinks she's people.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

The first time I met my husband and realized that true love did indeed exist.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Having someone put two wasps in my hair in front of the entire class and me not knowing. I put my hands into my hair to scratch (something felt weird there) and the two wasps stung me. I started screaming (of course) and the entire class laughed. Not fun but kind of funny looking back on it.

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Hopefully I'd be an actor; it's what I wanted to be before writing took over my life. A boy can dream can't he? 
 

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

New York Times Best Selling author Jamieson Wolf passed away last night due to natural causes at the age of one hundred and two. Having won the Nobel Prize for literature, the loss of such a writer will be felt the world over.

Jamieson was well known in literature circles, having had three of his books chosen for Oprah's Book Club. He was also a devoted humanitarian having created schools for the less fortunate to help them with their writing.

He is survived by his husband and his small pug dog Bongo. He will be sorely missed.

Jamieson Wolf the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I was eighteen. I had just written my first short story. One of my friends read it and called me the new Charles de Lint. I realized that writing could be more than a hobby. It could be my career. I haven't looked back since!

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

Well I've been working hard on a few romance novels. Valentine was published in February. My contemporary romance, Finding Beauty, will be published later this year. I'm working on finishing up a Halloween themed paranormal romance and then I have to get to work on the sequel to Valentine, Valentine's Promise. Always so much going on and not enough time to do it in.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I'd love to write a longer length work and have an idea for it. I'd love to have a book published in hard cover. I'd love to have a book available in a bookstore. I would love to write full time. Really, I just want to make sure I keep writing.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Well, I work during the day from 8-4pm, so I usually write when I get home for a couple hours and then write quite a bit on the weekends. I write whenever I can. I'd love to write full time and have an actual routine for my writing, but that will come.

13.  Why do you write?

Because I have to. If I didn't write, I am pretty sure that I would go more crazy than I already am. LOL

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Everything inspires me. Conversation, music, people. Inspiration is all around us if we're willing to take a look. And why? Well, why not? Life is an inspiration so if I'm living it, I might as well take something from it.

15.  How do you define your writing?

As paranormal or speculative fiction with a bit of spice.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Jamieson Wolf's writing touched the emotions, made me laugh, cry and want more.

Jamieson Wolf  the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Sure I can!

You can find my web site at http://www.jamiesonwolf.com/

And you can find my blog at http://www.jamiesonwolf.blogspot.com/

You can also sign up for my mailing list here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jamieson_Wolf/

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Yep! You can find my email address at my web site. I always love hearing from readers so don't be shy!

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Sure I can! All of the following books are available at http://www.amazon.com/ 

The Ghost Mirror

Light in the City of Shadows

A Quiet Storm

Hunted

Hope Falls

Eagle Valley

Dragons Cove

Letting the Mind Wander

Valentine and the forthcoming Finding Beauty can be found at Cobblestone Press here: http://www.cobblestonepress.com/ or here: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/jamiesonwolf.htm

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

You can expect well developed characters, a thrilling plot and a touch magic or the paranormal. Combine that all with a happy ending and you're all set!

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'm a down to earth person who needs to write. It is the air I breathe and the food for my soul. I write not because I want to but because I have to.

My writing is my imagination having fun on the page. When you read one of my books, you're in for a good time that will hopefully touch your emotions and leave you wanting more.

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 23 June 2008 1:17 AM EDT
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Sunday, 22 June 2008
A Visit With Jamison Wolf
Topic: Blog Tours

Over the next couple of days, we will be visiting with Jamieson Wolf, author of Valentine, among many other works.  These few days will focus on Valentine.  Sit back and enjoy!

Jamieson has been writing since a young age when he realized he could be writing instead of paying attention in school. Since then, he has created many worlds in which to live his fantasies and live out his dreams.

He is the author of several novels which include: Valentine, Hunted, Hope Falls, Eagle Valley, Dragons Cove and the forthcoming Finding Beauty.

He currently lives in Ottawa Ontario Canada with his husband Robert and his cat, Mave, who thinks she's people.

*****

ISBN: 978-1-60088-220-3
Valentine is the story of Valentine, a sorcerer in the heyday of the Roman Empire. Though Claudius has made a decree forbidding marriage, Valentine weds people in honor of the God Lespercus.

He knows that his magic, his work, comes from a higher power than the Roman Emperor. When he is visited by Asterius, the chief of the Roman Guard, Valentine falls in love with him. But how can he love someone who is supposed to be an enemy?

Valentine will have to free his heart and face death in order to become the man of legend…

Posted by joyceanthony at 4:02 AM EDT
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Getting to Know Linda Ballou
Topic: Author Interview
Linda Ballou the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

I am an Earthiest. (One who seeks balance and harmony in nature.)

2.   How do you think others would describe you?

People see me as a wildly adventurous and independent woman. Some even view me as inspirational because I embrace life with such intensity. Others just think I'm crazy.

3   Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

I love to be outdoors.  I love, gardening, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking -just about any excuse to get out in it.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

The big animal love of my life was my mare Ginger. She was short on legs and long on heart. We did cross-country jumping courses, dressage and explored every trail in the Agoura Hills of Southern California together. She was my best girl friend and I will always love her.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

That's a hard question because it precludes others of equal intensity.  Perhaps, those days with Ginger when I was living out my favorite childhood  fantasies  are the most precious in the "beloved dear" sense of the word.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

I actually went to a Halloween party wearing egg on my face. I used to give myself a skin-tightening facial using egg whites. I always found the way it distorted my face in the privacy of my own bathroom amusing. I thought it would have the same affect on others if I went to the party as a burn victim. It did not. The people on the crowded dance floor were repelled by my appearance and moved away from me in waves. I learned a lesson that night about how people's perceptions of you can be stronger than the reality of who you are. I washed the egg off my face and returned to the room feeling quite sad.


7.   If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Selling Real Estate to support my eating habit and traveling to as many beautiful places as I can before they are no more. In short, the same thing I have been doing, I just wouldn't be taking notes of my stay. This would leave room in my life for home and backyard makeovers as a fun, creative outlet.

 8.   In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Gallivanting travel writer and photographer, Linda Ballou, died in her sleep at the age of 103. A self-proclaimed gusto grabber, it was expected she would do a header off of a horse, or get caught in a keeper in a fury of white-water. But, no!

She lived a long and glorious life. She got to most of the places she wanted to experience and finished most of the writing she started before she went to the other side.

 Her legacy includes Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii, the culmination of a long-standing love affair with the Islands; Lost Angel Walkabout, a spirited collection of one traveler's tales and The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon, a young adult story that let her be the grand prix jumper she could only be in her dreams. Her ashes are to be scattered in the Queen's Bath, a lava rock pool, on the edge of Secret Beach on the north shore of Kauai, her spiritual home.

Linda Ballou the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I took a sabbatical after I graduated from Northridge University in California with a B. A. in English Literature. I moved to Kauai and lived on the north shore for one year to answer this question. I needed to know in my own mind if my work warranted the discipline, dedication and "setting apart from the rest of world" that writing requires. While there, I wrote what is arguably the worst screenplay in the history of God, but I enjoyed the process and decided that indeed I am a writer. I made a pact with myself to work hard to perfect the craft and made the inner commitment to the sacrifices required to become a good writer.


10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

The thrill of getting Wai-nani out my drawer and into the streets for starters! This frees me up to get back to Lost Angel Walkabout, my travel collection that is more than half way home.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

Finishing my travel collection is on the top of the list. But, I have also been working on a series of Great Outdoor Days in L.A. for about the last decade. I hike in the Santa Monica's regularly. The lovely trails I wander provide me with sustenance and time to digest input and prioritize actions. I have hundreds of wonderful photos of the flora and distinctive landscape. One fine day that book will be done. Plus, the rewrite of Cowgirl is moving up to the top of my ever growing list. In between larger projects I do soft-adventure travel articles.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I read something at night that will enlist my subconscious to provide me answers in the morning for a given project. I review notes in the morning over my coffee. Then I go to the computer immediately, avoiding opening distracting emails, and write. I work for a couple of hours undisturbed by calls or business matters. This way I am not frustrated about not getting my work done and my mind is freed up for the material world by noon. After lunch, I go outdoors to do either a domestic walk in various neighborhoods enjoying the lovely gardens in California, or I hike in the mountains. In the evening when I return, I research topics on the net and attend to marketing jobs.

13.  Why do you write?

It gives purpose and continuity to my life.  It has also been a way of coping with emotional challenges. At one point I was crawling around on my hands and knees in mind-bending pain from a back injury. That was the beginning of Cowgirl. Writing that story distracted me from the nagging, chronic pain I was experiencing. I think one of the best books on writing was written by Steven King while he was coping with injuries incurred when he was run over by a van. It also gives me a great deal of joy to share my work with others and allows me to raise my voice in the chorus of twittering artists.


14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Jack London, not just because he was America's greatest adventure writer, but because he lived life with such fervor. He was true to himself. He gave of himself to budding writers and cared about his fellow man. He said story is desire, struggle, and realization which equals character arc. This is the essence of all great stories.

15.  How do you define your writing?

It is the best of me.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Timeless, evocative, informative,  sensual, caring, insightful, fun to read are all adjectives I would like used when describing my work.

Linda Ballou the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

At http://www.lindaballouauthor.com/ you may click on numerous travel articles, I have a photo gallery on my site that people enjoy. If you purchase Wai-nani from my site you receive free shipping. If you go to the About Linda page your reward will be to discover the "Secret of Youth".

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Lballou6@sbcglobal.net

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii-Her Epic Journey is my debut novel.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read Wai-nani?

Bare minimum they will come away with a better understanding of the Hawaiian point of view and a greater sensitivity to the nuances of their culture. They will be able to decide whether my heroine should be revered s the Mother of the People, or whether she should be remembered as the "flaw that brought down the chiefdom." I have tried to capture the poetry and sensual beauty of the Islands as well as the deeply spiritual aspects of the Hawaiian people. Hopefully, the reader will feel that Wai-nani has taken them to a place that they can't get to any other way.

They should come away with a greater empathy for the Hawaiian people and their sorrow in the loss of their gods, land, and laws to outsiders. Their culture has been enriched in some ways and diluted in others from the influx of people to what Mark Twain dubbed "the prettiest fleet of islands ever to anchor in the Pacific." Even though their numbers have been decimated by intermarriage, disease and wars and there are only a few full-blood Hawaiians alive today, the mystique and romance of their heritage lives on.

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?

Emerging as a writer is a bit like a butterfly scratching out of its homely chrysalis. The earth laughs in flowers, but the butterflies spread her joy.  I hope to be a butterfly that brings enlightenment and appreciation for nature's jewel box in a creative non-preachy way.  All of my travel stories, books and essays bring the reader closer to nature's rhythms, balance and beauty.  An earthiest is one who strives to achieve balance and harmony in self, and therefore family and society, through a close and personal relationship with nature. The Navajo's call this condition Hozho, the Hawaiian word for the state of perfect harmony is Pono.  I say many roads lead to the same truth. The fun is finding your own way.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 June 2008 3:53 AM EDT
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Saturday, 21 June 2008
A Visit With Linda Ballou
Topic: Blog Tours

The best way to introduce you to author, Linda Ballou is in her own words, which are too beautiful to change :-)

 

The secret to youth is to fill your mind with beauty.       
  

There you have it. The answer to the question that sent Ponce de Leon through treacherous mosquito infested jungles on a futile journey to the New World. The quest that prompts millions to spend billions on potions in a jar, or on surgical nips and tucks, ends with this truth. It is the absorption of the beauty, found free of charge in nature, that will keep your heart clear and your mind cleansed.

Thoreau, our nations’ first self-proclaimed nature nut, walked four hours each day. He sauntered through the woods and over the hills and fields of New England so that his thoughts were “absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”  I have sold Real Estate in the city of Los Angeles for thirty years. Without my daily sojourns into the Santa Monica Mountains, I would not be able to divest myself of the inherent stress generated in this most worldly of professions. My walks allow me time to digest the constant stimulation of urban life and the opportunity to reflect and recycle thoughts in the format that is, hopefully, satisfying to readers.

My connection with Mother Earth began in my teenage years in Southeastern Alaska.  Lonely walks along misty shores allowed tumultuous adolescent thoughts to settle. According to an anonymous source who etched the following into a cliff wall at Anza Borrego Desert, “Solitude is not something you hope for in the future. It allows a deepening of the present and without it you will never find it.”  The desert landscape supports this theory. From a distance it looks barren, but as you come closer and examine it in silence, you see creatures scurry at your footfall and plants spring to life from parched soil.

The quest for genuine solitude has taken me to far flung places. As a lone hiker on the Seduction Trail in Haines, Alaska, while keeping a constant vigil for bears, I stumbled into the pond of a bull moose; in Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay, I nearly got “caught out” for the night by a fast rising high tide. I made the hand over hand climb to the top of Mt. Manaia, the Protector on the North Island of New Zealand, a sacred place to the Maori people, to view the world unfettered by the flotsam of mankind.

Fired by the vivid, loving descriptions of John Muir for his Range of Light, I followed in the wiry, little Scotsman’s footsteps to the Sierra Nevada. An unfortunate misstep brought about the story Falling in the Footsteps of John Muir, written after I was airlifted out of the Sierras with two broken ribs. The pain of my injury has passed, but the magical beauty of the alpine meadows veined with luminous, tinkling rills is with me still.

My appreciation for nature’s jewel box took me to Kauai, the most luxuriant of all the Hawaiian Islands with velvet, pleated cliffs and treacherous seas fending off newcomers. Here on this sacred isle where the mantle of mana (spiritual power) is so great that Kauai evolved in unmolested solitude, I plugged into the cosmic mainline. This was the beginning of a thirty year love affair with the Islands and the People of Old that culminated in my historical fiction/fantasy novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai`i : Her Epic Journey.  For Hawaiians, all life on the land comes from the sea. My protagonist, Wai-nani, or Beautiful Waters, is half-human, half fish without the benefit of a mermaid’s tail.

Today, my mission is to get to as many naturally beautiful places as I can before they are no more! I have hiked, biked, kayaked, and ridden on horseback through some our most precious wilderness areas. My soon-to-be published collection of travels essays, Lost Angel Walkabout speaks of the healing power of the wild. Gretel Ehrlich, of “The Solace of Open Spaces” fame, reminds us that “we humans do not save beauty; rather, beauty saves us.”
*****
Through the eyes of high chiefess, Wai-nani, experience the Hawaiian society as it existed when Captain Cook arrived at Kealakekua Bay in 1779; ride the billowing seas with Eku, the wild dolphin she befriends; learn why she loved the savage, conflicted ruler, Makaha; walk with her as she defies ancient laws and harsh taboos of the Island people; share the love she received from all who knew her and learn how she rose to become the most powerful woman in old Hawai’i.
More information on Linda and her writing can be found at
http://www.lindaballouauthor.com/

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 21 June 2008 12:07 AM EDT
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Friday, 20 June 2008
Life is a Game by Jim Copeland--A Review
Topic: Book Review

Every so often, a book will come along that has the potential to literally change your life--this is the case with Life is a Game, written by new author James Copeland.  Don't let the small size of this book fool you,  it packs a mighty punch.

One line jumped out at me and it seems to me to be the essence of this book.  In Mr. Copeland's words: You prepare, you declare, you decide, and then you strive, because it all starts inside.  Read that statement again, there is a lot of meaning in it.

Jim Copeland goes step by step through the process that will enable anyone to be a success.  He breaks the steps down to the bare basics and uses examples from his own life to illustrate.  This book doesn't just tell you to think positive; Mr. Copeland shows how intention needs to be paired with action--and self-understanding--in order to work. 

By the time you have finished Life is a Game, you will be inspired to set about becoming successful--and if you follow the steps in this book, you WILL see results.  I hope Mr. Copeland has plans for further works.


Posted by joyceanthony at 2:54 AM EDT
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