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Sunday, 15 June 2008
A special guest is coming!!
Topic: Miscellaneous

On Monday, I am honored to annnounce we will have a special guest here to talk with us--Owen Fiddler (and his sidekick Marvin Wilson!).  Marbin is going to choose one commentor from all Owen's stops (see dates below) to win a copy of Owen Fiddler.  In addition--EVERYONE who leaves a comment will receive a free first chapter sample of OWEN FIDDLER--so get those comments in folks--and don't forget to leave an email address so Marvin knows where to send your fre gift.

Here is a list of all of Owen's stops--I'm sure he's welcome you stopping by:

         OWEN FIDDLER 2008 - The No Dead Trees Cyber Tour


Joyce Anthony    June 16 - blog

Peggy Bell    June 18 - blog

Janet Elaine Smith   June 19 - radio show

Phil Harris     June 20 - blog

Bradley Simpson (aka Veldane Darkhosis)  June 21 - blog

Beckie Joki    June 22 - blog

Kwame    June 24 - blog 

Lisa Haselton June 28 blog

Billie Williams   July 1 - blog

Ron Berry  July 4 - blog        


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:24 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 June 2008 2:53 PM EDT
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Saturday, 14 June 2008
Getting to Know Sarah Avery
Topic: Author Interview

Sarah Avery the person:

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

Curious, whimsical, and kind.

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

They'd say I have the longest attention span you'll find anywhere outside a Buddhist monastery.  The ones who have visited museums with me might say this with some frustration, because I take forever looking at stuff.  They'd say I'm persistent, maybe downright stubborn, and that I finish projects no matter what it takes, even when finishing may not be the best idea. They'd say I'm a good foul-weather friend-a person who's not great at keeping in touch when everything's going smoothly, but I show up with a casserole and a mop and a will to help out when the people I care about hit hard times.  And they'd say I'm easily amused, which is a fine thing.  Life is more fun if you're good at laughing at it.


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

My family.  My husband and I have been married fourteen years, and after trying to start a family for most of a decade, we have a seven-month old son.  I've had the blessing of falling in love with my husband anew as I've gotten to know who he is as a father.  My baby is, very simply the best thing that ever happened to me-and some pretty good things have happened to me.

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

We have a cat, Sonia, who is a quiet being of simple soul.  She was one of a litter of barn kittens whose barn cat mother disappeared when they were only five weeks old, so Sonia was dropper-fed by humans from very early on.  She has no predatory urge to speak of, and is happiest on a lap or a computer keyboard.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

It's so hard to choose just one, so I'll pick a writing-related memory.  When I was seven years old, my mother made me the most wonderful toys.  They were polygonal cylinders with different numbers of sides and different colors, depending on the parts of speech she gave them, with a different word on each face.  The nouns were red, the verbs were green, and the adjectives were yellow.  I think I had some articles (a, an, the) to throw in as needed.  The game we'd play was that I'd roll the cylinders down the length of my room to generate random sentences.  That was how I learned about parts of speech and word order.  I discovered that I could make the dragon eat the princess, or I could make the princess eat the dragon, and the two sentences were grammatically the same.  It was silly, and absolutely absorbing, and a total revelation to my seven-year-old brain.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

That's easy.  When I was in grad school, I had to take a bunch of fairly grueling oral exams to get the master's degree and qualify to keep working on my doctorate.  The orals themselves went fine, and afterward my husband and my grad school friends went out for a celebratory lunch.  We were making a lot of goofy Star Wars jokes in our mock Darth Vader voices-once I was the learner but now I am the master, that sort of thing-and laughing the giddy laughter of the exhausted, because a bunch of us had done our orals all in the same week.  Sounds innocent so far, right?  The trouble was, we were making all these goofy jokes about being masters in an Ethiopian restaurant whose staff was mostly African-American.  The waiters and waitresses were trying to figure out what kind of racist jerks we were, and we were so caught up in the little world of academia, we didn't notice for most of half an hour. You'd think a bunch of grad students in literature could be counted on to remember that words mean different things in different circumstances.  When we realized that we'd given offense, I went up to the hostess's station to explain that three of us had just finished our master's degrees, and that defused the situation.  We left the biggest tip ever.


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

I'd be an English professor at some small liberal arts college.  That's the life I trained for, and I almost got stuck in it.  It's not that there's anything wrong with being an academic.  It's just that I had to choose between writing books I believed in (genre fiction), and writing books I didn't believe in (literary criticism), and I concluded that life is too short for writing books you don't believe in.  When they say publish or perish, they're pretty specific about what kinds of books you're supposed to publish in order to avoid perishing.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Only if I get to decide how long I'll have lived and how much I'll have done by the time I get there!  Let's see...I'll need at least sixty years, and maybe some spare change, if I'm going to finish all the projects on my to-do list.  Come to think of it, I want to decide how many kids I'll have had, too.  Okay, here goes:

Sarah Avery, age 102, died quietly in her home, surrounded by family and friends.  She was the author of the wildly successful Rugosa Coven stories and the long-running classic epic fantasy Spires of Beltresa series, as well as several books on contemporary Neo-Paganism, and a number of volumes of poetry.  Although she left teaching as a profession in her thirties, she mentored numerous younger writers over the years, occasionally taught at writing workshops and conferences, and was a priestess in a teaching coven in the Blue Star Tradition of Wicca.  She is survived by her husband, her two children, five grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren, as well as a Wiccan lineage of several daughter covens.

Sarah Avery the writer:

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

A close friend was dying of cancer.  It was a long, painful process, exactly what you would never want to happen to someone you cared about.  His wife, also a close friend, saved my stories to read in the worst moments, because she knew she could count on them to lift her out of her life, to turn her temporarily into someone else with totally different problems.

Our whole community was struggling with George's illness and trying to support Cat.  The day my friend Sabrina realized the end was near for him and it was time to say goodbye, my friend Jen handed her the manuscript for "Closing Arguments" and said, "Take this to read on the train.  I've been saving it as a treat, but I think you need it more than I do."  That night, Sabrina called me to say, "The only reason I didn't lose my mind with grief right there on the train is that I had your manuscript with me."

During the last week of George's life, I started writing a series of blog posts that were a sort of prayer in story form.  A lot of people who loved George followed that story and found comfort in it precisely because it was grappling with the prospect of losing this person we all cared about so much.  I realized that my writing was doing two of the best things that writing can do:  It was offering people an escape from suffering, and it was offering people a way to engage more closely with their suffering. My friendship with George brought a lot of wonderful gifts into my life.  The recognition that I'd become a real writer was one of the most unexpected.

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

I'm in the weird position of writing to editorial request for the first time.  I've written a lot of stuff-nearly a million words of genre fiction just since I left academia five years ago-and all of it with no certainty that any editor would ever want it.  Now, if my current e-book does well, and its sequel does well this fall, Drollerie Press will publish a print volume collecting those two novellas with a third one, which is still in progress.  Just when I finally have a home for my writing, I'm struggling more than I have in years to protect my writing time.  I'm a first-time, stay-at-home mom, my baby is changing every day, and I tutor part time.  The daily writing rhythm I had before my son was born doesn't work anymore, and I'm still playing around with the structure of my day, trying to find a new writing rhythm that will work.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

The Rugosa Coven characters are a lot of fun to write.  I want to do a lot more with them.  I can imagine returning to their adventures for many years to come, but so far they seem to be strictly short fiction plots, novellas and shorter.  A Rugosa novel is theoretically possible, but I don't know if that's what the muses have in mind.

I also have an epic fantasy series, very different stuff, that I'm hoping to place with one of the big print publishers.  When I finished my Ph.D., I decided to write an anti-dissertation, a book that would contain everything that entertained me and nothing that didn't.  At first, I thought it would just be a little hobby that would amuse me while I was between teaching jobs, but pretty soon I was writing four to eight hours a day, and I was happier than I'd been in a decade.  It's a family saga about a democratizing revolution that brings a lost ancient magic back into its world.  The first volume's written, and I have two other manuscripts in the series half finished.  One of the spin-off short stories has been accepted by Black Gate, and some other spin-off stories are making the rounds with other fantasy magazines.  So far, I've pitched series to several agents at writing conferences, and the agents have nearly all requested the full manuscript of the first volume, but it's too long to be an easy sale in the current market, considering that it would be a first novel by an unknown.  I'm hoping the Rugosa stories will help fix the problem of being unknown.

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

I spend the day taking care of my son and running household errands.  During his naps, I do research for my writing-at the moment, I'm researching horological astrology, the Jersey Devil, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  My husband comes home by six, and we sit down to our family dinner.  Then I go out to tutor while my husband puts the baby to bed.  I come home from teaching and hang out with my husband until he goes to bed.  Then I write until I drop.

13.  Why do you write?

So many reasons!  I love it when my unconscious mind dreams up some really funny thing for my characters to do, and I wake up at three in the morning cackling with laughter.  I love figuring out the puzzle of the story, taking the pieces apart and putting them back together, adding and lopping parts, until it works just right.  I love having conversations with my characters, learning from them what the story's heart will be.  I love getting feedback from readers, finding out that my work means something to them, and what that something is.  Oh, and the first time I ever got a check for a story I sold, and I could finally say I'd made a professional sale, I loved that, too.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

The poet I wrote my dissertation about still inspires me.  Her name was Hilda Doolittle, but she published under her initials-as you might, too, if you had a name like Hilda Doolittle.  And in 1913, when she started her writing career, it helped that readers couldn't tell right away that she was a woman.  H.D. was a sort of comeback kid.  She got famous right away, inasmuch as poets can be famous in their own lifetimes, and then went through several cycles of being forgotten and rediscovered.  She never gave up.  Within the space of two years, her brother died in WWI, her father died when he got the bad news about the brother, her husband lost his mind to shell shock, and the influenza epidemic nearly killed her and her baby.  She climbed out of all that, studied psychology with Sigmund Freud, and reinvented herself as a writer.  During WWII, she started writing long, visionary poems as offerings of thanks for her family's surviving the Blitz, and those are my favorites.  The Walls Do Not Fall, Tribute to the Angels, and The Flowering of the Rod are collected in a volume called simply Trilogy, and I'd recommend them to anyone who has a good grounding in mythology.  The first one was published while the Blitz was still going on-imagine living in a city that was being shelled almost every night for nine months, and you'll have some idea of what she and her audience were going through.  In her very idiosyncratic way, she gave voice to the disorientation, the terror, and the gratitude of the people who survived those months.

15.  How do you define your writing?

I try not to define it.  One of the things I enjoy about my writing is that it can surprise me.  After all, if I never surprise myself, how can I surprise my readers?  I want to keep growing as a writer, and if in five years I'm doing things I would not now expect of myself, I'll count that as a success.

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

She told the truth about the human heart.

Sarah Avery the details:

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

My blog, Ask Dr. Pretentious, can be found at  My website,, is under construction at the moment, but I have reason to hope it'll be up before the end of June.

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

People are welcome to comment on my blog.  The website will have a contact form on it at some point, too.

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

Closing Arguments is the only book that's out so far.  Its sequel, Atlantis Cranks Need Not Apply, will be coming out in the fall.  The planned print volume doesn't have a title yet, but if we do it, that'll be sometime this winter, late 2008 or early 2009.  They're all from Drollerie Press (, and they'll all be available at the publisher's website, as well as Amazon, Fictionwise, and Mobipocket.

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

They can expect ensemble casts of varied, vivid characters who will stay with them a long time after the stories end.  They can expect a sense of humor, crackling dialogue, and the occasional stunning twist.  They can expect that I've put everything I've got into every story I send out into the world.

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?

My process depends absolutely on revision.  I write my first draft to find out what's possible, and I try out a lot of stuff that doesn't (and shouldn't) appear in the final version.  My characters appear in my dreams to correct me when I get their inner lives wrong.  I make huge bulleted-point lists of options at the big decision points in the story, and sometimes I write three or four mutually exclusive scenes, just to see how they play.  I jump around the chronology, writing whichever scene I can see most clearly, even if I haven't the slightest idea what its function in the finished story might be.  When I've got the piece about halfway roughed out, a structure begins to emerge, and I can start thinking about things like pacing.  By the time I write the last scene that comes to me, which is often in the middle, the first scenes I roughed out have often been worked over fifty times.  Literally fifty times.  Some of the scenes in my sprawling epic have been reworked more than that.  There are people who are able to write more efficiently using index cards, or the snowflake method, or whatever, and I've tried a few of those methods out, but I think the method I use works better for me.  I just plain get better results through trial and error than I do with a front-loaded process.

My way only works because I give myself permission to be imperfect-or even to be awful-on the first attempt, and because I refuse to accept anything less from myself than my best when I'm on the last pass of revision.  If I got stuck in perfectionism or sloppiness all the way through the process, nothing worth reading would ever emerge.

Posted by joyceanthony at 4:03 AM EDT
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Friday, 13 June 2008
The Bounce Back Book by Karen Salmansohn--A Review
Topic: Book Review

From the moment your hands touch the bright-red rubber cover of this book, you know you can expect something different than the usual self-help books.  You won't be disappointed. 

The Bounce Back Book is written is a short, somewhat sassy, tone that gives those who hav gone through adversity, setbacks or losses a way to cope with the feelings involved and then move onward--and upward.

Karen Salmonsohn has written this book in short, easily-readable tidbits--75 to be exact.  She starts with a general statement and then explains a bit further.  On many of the sections, she gives assignments to help readers incorporate the advice she presents. 

Both from experience and from a background in Psychology, I can tell you the tips within this book do work!!  Unlike many self-help books, the exercises are both practical and easy--yet the results can be incredible.

For anyone wishing to learn coping strategies that WILL work, this is a must-have book.

Posted by joyceanthony at 3:42 PM EDT
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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 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,


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:17 AM EDT
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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, and writes a popular business column for amNY newspaper called “The 1 Minute Career Therapist.” Plus, she is an ongoing relationship expert for, 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
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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:


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:45 AM EDT
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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   
My blog is at  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:
Best of Italy is a blog that indulges my passion for Italy and all things Italian.  It has lots of traffic so have a peak
And last but not least, to keep track of all the books I read and review, I own  
18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?
Readers can reach me at: 

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
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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 -

Mirella Patzer's Blogs

Watch a Video for Bloodstone Castle

Reviews for Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer

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Posted by joyceanthony at 3:53 AM EDT
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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
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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 ) For thiose who haven't heard, details of the drawing are at  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
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