Tuesday, October 4, 2022

SHINING BRIGHTLY by Howard Brown

 

SHINING BRIGHTLY

by Howard Brown


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GENRE: Memoir

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BLURB:


In Shining Brightly, Silicon Valley pioneer, cancer survivor and interfaith peacemaker Howard Brown shares keys to resilience for successful entrepreneurs, patient advocates and community leaders. He shows us how to reach out through our families, our communities and around the world to form truly supportive connections and friendships. From Howard’s career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, to his conquering metastatic stage IV cancer twice, to his compassionate outreach as a peacemaker, to his love of sports—this ultimately is not one man’s story. Shining Brightly is a story shared by countless men and women—and may wind up changing your life as well. With each true story he tells in the pages, Howard invites readers to picture how they might join him in shining more light in our world.

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Excerpt :

Basketball is a lot more than just a game to me. Basketball is a cerebral sport, a community sport, a sport of relationships, respect, chemistry and teamwork. Each time I have been knocked down by a physical disability, a surgery or a chemo series, one of the goals that gets me out of the bed each morning is getting back onto the court as a milestone in the healing of my mind, body and soul. I’ve had a chemo port installed, neuropathy, chronic diarrhea and the fogginess that I call chemo brain—and I’ve played through all of that. I don’t know too many stage IV cancer patients who’ve kept playing before, during and after treatment.

It’s hard playing full-court basketball several times a week with all that running, zigging and zagging. It’s even risky. I sometimes worry that a hard hit to the chest might disturb my chemo port. This is simply a part of my healing journey. The blueprint to my own survivorship. Basketball was the light that got me through some of the darkest periods of my life. And that’s the story behind that little photo caption that keeps bouncing around the internet: “I, Howard Brown, Stage IV Colon Cancer and now No Evidence of Disease (NED), celebrate survivorship by going to my happy place: the basketball court!” No, I’m not trying to convince you that you have go out and shoot hoops. Maybe some people will be prompted to get out on the court again after reading this chapter. Most won’t. The whole point of this chapter is to tell you about my “happy place.” We each need to find at least one of those for ourselves. My happy place is anywhere I’m playing with my hoops with my boyz. What’s your happy place?

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Howard Brown is an author, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, interfaith peacemaker, two-time stage IV cancer survivor and healthcare advocate. For more than three decades, Howard’s business innovations, leadership principles, mentoring and his resilience in beating cancer against long odds have made him a sought-after speaker and consultant for businesses, nonprofits, congregations, and community groups. In his business career, Howard was a pioneer in helping to launch a series of technology startups before he co-founded two social networks that were the first to connect religious communities around the world. He served his alma matter—Babson College, ranked by US News as the nation’s top college for entrepreneurship—as a trustee and president of Babson’s worldwide alumni network. His hard-earned wisdom about resilience after beating cancer twice has led him to become a nationally known patient advocate and “cancer whisperer” to many families. Visit Howard at ShiningBrightly.com to learn more about his ongoing work and contact him. Through that website, you also will find resources to help you shine brightly in your own corner of the world. Howard, his wife Lisa and daughter Emily currently reside in Michigan.

http://www.shiningbrightly.com

Link to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Shining-Brightly-resilience-entrepreneur-interfaith/dp/1641801476/ref=sr_1_1

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get to know the Author: 

Can you tell me a little about yourself, and how you became an author?

Have you ever stopped to think about your life? I mean, have you ever set aside time to reflect on the meaning and purpose of your life?

I have.

I decided to take stock after years as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, a mentor to college students, an interfaith peace advocate—and a cancer whisperer to other patients after having survived two long-shot bouts with cancer myself. After fully expecting to die more than once in my life, I wondered: Why am I still standing? Who helped me? And then: What can I share to help inspire people to build their own resilience?

As you will learn in the true stories in this book, one key to resilience is not trying to tackle life on your own. We are always at our best when we draw other people around us and, right there, you’ve got a central theme of this book.

That leads to the questions: How do we draw people around us? How do we make and keep friends? How do we build a community? How can each of us contribute to our families, our friends and to the larger world?

Answering those questions will give you hope and will lead you to greater strength, love and joy in your life. Taking those questions to heart will help your light shine brighter in this often very dark world.

I set out on my journey in an unusual way that you will discover in these pages—and may want to try yourself. Over a two-year period, I sought out people who had played a significant role in my life—from camp counselors and basketball coaches I knew as a kid to family and friends to business and community leaders to some of the world’s top faith and health professionals. Because my quest unfolded during the COVID pandemic, I met these more than 100 men and women via Zoom.

And here’s the biggest surprise: Everyone loved the experience. While they were doing me a favor—and I am thankful for everyone who shared stories with me—the truth is: Most of them enjoyed the experience as much as I did.

That’s why I am confident you will enjoy this adventure, too, and you may decide by the end of the book to set out on such a quest yourself. No matter how you choose to reflect on your life’s purpose, I hope this book fans your inner flame so you can shine ever more brightly.

What is your book about?

In Shining Brightly, Silicon Valley pioneer, cancer survivor and interfaith peacemaker Howard Brown shares keys to resilience for successful entrepreneurs, patient advocates and community leaders. He shows us how to reach out through our families, our communities and around the world to form truly supportive connections and friendships. From Howard's career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, to his conquering metastatic stage IV cancer twice, to his compassionate outreach as a peacemaker, to his love of sports -- this ultimately is not one man's story. Shining Brightly is a story shared by countless men and women -- and may wind up changing your life as well. With each true story he tells in the pages, Howard invites readers to picture how they might join him in shining more light in our world.

Who is your real life hero/heroine?

My mom and wife who were my caregivers are my super-heroes. Also, my infusion nurses administering chemotherapy.

What are your favorite times for writing? Morning? Evening?

I recorded over zoom interviews at all different times of day. Writing and editing in the mornings was best

Who are your favorite authors? Did they influence your writing, and if so, how?

Bounce by Dr. Robert J. Wicks, because it is a book all about keys to resilience from one of the international experts in the field. Dr. Wicks graciously wrote the Foreword to my book Shining Brightly.

Did you have a favorite book as a child? Did it influence your choice to become an author?

Good Night Moon. No, I loved the story.

Thank you for answering my questions! 




Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Juche 1-4 Box set by Adria Carmichael

 Juche 1-4 Box set

by Adria Carmichael

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GENRE: YA Dystopian

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BLURB:

Just when Areum - daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson (North

Korea) - thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her

family is taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people

who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears,

and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate

every aspect of her life until then: her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her

father in the face of mounting evidence that he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow

countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General - the eternal

savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

Note from the author:

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like when seen through an indoctrinated mind?

This is a topic that has intrigued me for as long as I can remember, so when I came up with the

idea to write a book many years ago, I decided to create it from the viewpoint of a victim of

indoctrination… which in the end became Areum (the protagonist of the story).

What I try to explore in this story is how deep the indoctrination of a 14-year old girl can run and

how much “reality” it can be exposed to before breaking… if it will break at all. As a comparison,

the defectors from North Korea who arrive in South Korea are isolated for three months in a de-

programming facility called Hanawon before they are allowed to join society where they go

through this process in a more controlled (and less brutal) way than Areum.

I hope you will enjoy this slightly different take on the dystopian genre!



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EXCERPT

Cranes sang songs of joy from the mountain tops.

Double rainbows appeared in the sky.

The aggressors from the west were defeated. The invaders from the east were expunged. The

traitors from the south were put at bay.

The people of Choson were finally free to create their own destiny, and so a hermit kingdom of

people’s rule rose from the ashes, and the doors to the enemies of the outside world were

closed, never to be opened again.

The world around them moved on. Years passed. Decades passed. Peace and prosperity

spread throughout the world, and nothing was heard from the secluded hermit paradise.

Then one day, people started emerging from its closed borders. The stories they brought with

them were, however, not of a paradise on earth. Instead, what they depicted were horrors so

vile and cruel that they almost exceeded human comprehension.

Little had the people of the kingdom known when they closed its doors to the outside world, that

the vilest beast of all was still lurking among their midst, and as soon as the curtains had been

drawn, the beast unleashed its reign of terror upon the people, not stopping until it had crushed

and enslaved every soul within its reach.

The beast now rules the kingdom from a throne of human misery and agony.

No one alive has ever encountered this beast, but everybody knows its name.

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

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Adria Carmichael is a writer of dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring

dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format - books, movies, TV-series and

PlayStation games - she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut

novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom

and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her

go-to way to unwind.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20581191.Adria_Carmichael

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Adria-Carmichael-591550164840779

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adria_carmichael_author/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdriaCarmichael

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/adria-carmichael

Amazon Buy links:


Juche 1 – The Demon of Yodok:

Juche 2 – The Weeping Masses:







Juche 3 – The Storm of Storms:







Juche 4 – Freedom or Death: 







Juche 1-4 Box Set:




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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION 

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN

Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Improbable MD by Derek Robinson

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotoins. The Literary Lobbyist will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



In Improbable MD, Dr. Derek J. Robinson traces his unlikely journey from fishing on the bayous of Louisiana, to an ER and helicopter flight physician in Chicago, to leadership in some of the US’ largest health care organizations.

The grandson of a sharecropper and son of a single mother, Derek grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Shreveport, LA. A graduate of the city’s public schools, he saw first-hand the difference that access to quality education and health care made within his own family. He shares how his dream of being a doctor became a reality, despite the odds, and why he believes mentoring and investing in young people is vital to the health of our nation.

Robinson takes the reader inside the ER, where he has treated victims of gun violence and shares how spilt-second clinical decisions and the trust of his patients, shaped his appreciation for being a doctor, But, even with many years of training, he exposes how it feels to reach the limits of what he can offer patients and even shares the pain and lessons he has learned from the illness and loss of family members. Beyond the walls of the ER, Dr. Robinson explains how he became a business leader in health care and an influential voice in boardrooms.

Through sharing his inspirations and tribulations, Dr. Robinson inspires readers to push beyond both self-doubt and external obstacles to pursue their dreams. In telling his story, he shares the roles that faith, friendship, love, and fatherhood have played in his life, and he hopes to motivate readers to chart their own journeys to successful and fulfilling lives.

About the Author:
Derek J. Robinson is a board-certified physician in Emergency Medicine. He is vice president and chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a division of Health Care Service Corporation – the nation’s largest non-investor owned health insurance company. In this role, he leads the care management operations division and serves as the company’s primary health care expert.

Dr. Robinson continues to provide clinical care to patients in the ER at the University of Illinois Chicago where he is a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine. His unique perspective on the complexities of healthcare, including his past service as a health care federal regulator, have enabled him to influence the transformation of health care for Americans. He has been featured on WTTW, WMAQ, WLS-TV, BNC, and other news outlets discussing important health care issues and social topics.

A native of Shreveport, LA. Dr. Robinson resides in Chicago, IL with his wife and two sons. When he is not working, he enjoys swimming, cycling, fishing, and spending time outdoors. For more on Derek Robinson and his memoir Improbable MD visit: http://www.DrDerekRobinson.com

The Literary Lobbyist will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Like a Lily Among the Thorns by Karen S. Bell

 

Like a Lily Among the Thorns

by Karen S. Bell



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GENRE: Cli-fi, șpec. fiction, fantasy

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BLURB:


There are those who are born into loving families and then there are the less fortunate who must forge their own families through strong friendships. At a local small library in New York City, one such family was born. And just like so many capricious happenstances in life, this family unit embraced newcomers and grew exponentially. But this clan was also charged with far more than spreading love and joy and a sense of belonging. This clan was formed by divine Providence to help save the planet.


Gabrielle Bernstein, the MC of Like a Lily Among the Thorns, is a woman in her twenties and has started her career as a librarian at a NYC public library. Abandoned by her father as a young girl and now orphaned by her deranged mother, Gabby longs for a family connection. Coincidentally, she finds this connection at the same time she inherits a B&B in Vermont from her estranged and now deceased father. This enchanted inn is under the watchful eye of goddesses of myth and legend who have been tasked to save mankind from destroying itself and this planet. These goddesses will use their powers to try and stall the onslaught of the effects of droughts, floods, and rising temperatures. But as a safety net they have collected human saviors all over the planet to erect safe havens at high altitudes away from flood waters and blistering temperatures.

This one group of saviors are ordinary people who have some extraordinary abilities and enjoy a higher consciousness. They are brought together to join forces in Vermont to create one such refuge. Along the way there is romance, misunderstandings, conflict, and internal growth. Locations are Manhattan, London, Brooklyn, and Rutland, Vermont. Woven through this tale is Gabrielle’s inherent understanding that she must be grateful, mindful, and present in this journey called “life.”  

The impending devastation that will be brought about by the effects of global climate change is the underpinning of this Cli-Fi/speculative fiction novel. Like a Lily Among the Thorns  focuses on how this potential disaster will have dire consequences for us all and is currently becoming more top of mind as people are waking up to strange weather events such as the scorching temperatures that have gripped the Northwestern states and torrential rains in the Northeast.

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Excerpt:

On this ordinary day, we find Gabby Bernstein going about her daily ordinary chores. A lass of modest means, she hummed as she tidied up her small studio apartment. Although bereft of material accoutrements typical of a twenty-something New Yorker, she didn’t dwell on it. Rather, she chose to focus on being grateful for all the kindnesses bestowed upon her by the universe and the miracle of life with the richness and diversity of the flora and fauna that blessed this planet. She was so attuned to the preciousness and beauty of all living creatures that she never was inclined to harm even the smallest insect preferring to capture it and send it out her window to climb down the fire escape or fly away. But most especially, she was grateful for her life, which she never took for granted. In fact, at this very moment, she paused to acknowledge her joy of just being alive and to mark her calendar with the #gratitude entry, giving thanks for each and every day she had her wits and her health.

As she went about her light chores, an unexpected random play on her music app added a spark to her usual sense of wonder and bliss. A coincidental gift from the cosmos of a cherished performance of Luciano Pavarotti singing the aria Addio, fiorito asil from Madama Butterfly, a captivatingly wistful melody that was one of her personal favorites. She gleefully acknowledged this gift and said a silent “thank you.”

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

AUTHOR Bio and Links:


All my work 
is inspired by social issues to which we all can relate. Work/ life stresses, the loss of a spouse and how marriage can sometimes swallow a woman’s identity, and the prevalence of greed in modern society.

Walking with Elephants is my first novel, although I am not new to writing. I was a theater critic and celebrity interviewer for a weekly tabloid in Jacksonville, Fl and I earned a Master’s in Mass Communication from Oklahoma State University. For 15 years I worked in Corporate America as a technical editor/editor/writer. I experienced first hand the politics and intrigue that goes with that territory and the balancing act that comes with being a working mother. I salute all those mothers who are the glue that holds their families together while pursuing the nine to five brass ring and were the inspiration for this work. Audible book is available and narrated by me.

With my second novel, Sunspots, I continue to be in awe of the magical and wondrous phenomenon called life. As an observer and obvious participant in feminine values and approach to our human challenges, I bring this perspective to my work. Fascinated by the mysteries of the unseen forces that perhaps play a role in guiding our choices, I search for answers in the mundane as well as in the cosmic forces that surround us.

Alexa’s pact with the Devil in When a Stranger Comes…is an allegory for the evil lurking in our midst. The social decay of modern society with its excessive greed, the ignorance of our political leaders, and our indifference toward the survival of all species from the effects of climate change, among other environmental pressures, are perhaps brought forth by the darkest forces of human nature. The audible book narrated by me is in production.

The genre of magical realism appeals to me and all my work has elements woven in. My current project is focused on a Bed and Breakfast that becomes a safe haven from the effects of climate change while celebrating the Feminine Divine and is set squarely in that realm.

I am working on my next novel in Ponte Vedra, Fl. where I live with my husband and our two furry kids. Our human kids have flown the nest and are scattered far and wide, alas.

https://karensbell.com

https://twitter.com/karensuebell

https://www.facebook.com/ksbwwe

Buy:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09V3FNTCT

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

Karen S. Bell will be awarding a copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

<a href=" http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f4292 ">Enter to win a copy of the book

- a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

Friday, July 1, 2022

Loving Summer Rain by Megan Slayer

 I'm thrilled to host a new book by Megan on my blog! "Loving Summer Rain" looks amazing, and I can't wait to read it! 




This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will award a randomly drawn winner a handcrafted necklace and bracelet. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A match made in heaven? More like a match made in Norville and made to last.

Arthur Burton wants a lover and partner, but no man seems to want to be with the local insurance agent. He’s not the bland two-dimensional man on the billboards, but he hasn’t been given the chance to show his colors.

Summer Rain Davis embodies the bohemian lifestyle. He loves his arts and crafts. He’s always had a thing for the buttoned-up professional types and when he’s set up with Arthur, sparks fly.

Love is possible in a small town if Arthur and Summer Rain are willing to give their romance a try.

Can these two men, seemingly total opposites, find common ground and love to last a lifetime? Or will their differences keep them apart?

Read an Excerpt: James plunged the comb into the blue solution and his scissors into the sink. He wiped his hands. “About your dating situation…go to Club Jester on Friday at nine. Dress like you, but be casual. I want you to meet my friend, Summer Rain.”

“A girl?” He’d never heard of anyone named Summer Rain.

“No, he’s a guy.” James removed the cape. “A great guy who ticks your boxes.”

“Named Summer Rain?” It seemed like an odd moniker for a man.

“Yes, and trust me. I have the golden touch.” James picked up a tablet. “Do you want a two-month appointment or six weeks?”

“Six weeks.” He set up his next slot with James, then offered his credit card to pay. “You said nine on Friday night?”

“Yes. Club Jester. His name is Summer Rain. It’ll be great.” James swiped the card. “If you don’t hit it off, then the next appointment is on me.”

He had nothing to lose. “Okay.”

“You’ll be meeting your destiny.” James handed him back the card. “Plus, you look fierce. Any man would be nuts to pass you up.”

He wasn’t sure he believed James, but why not? “You’re right.”

“I know I am.” James winked. “Feel better?”

“I do.” Almost like he could conquer the world. He handed James a twenty as a tip.

“Then there we go. Thank you and I’ll see you in six weeks.” James grinned. “Maybe I’ll have named the dog by then.”

“I’ll bet you do.” Maybe he’d find love by then, too. It couldn't hurt to try.

About the Author:
Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Chasm by Branwen OShea

 



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Branwen OShea will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

They thought the biggest problem they faced was each other.

After Bleu, Rana, and their new friends narrowly prevent war between the star beings and humans, they hope the upcoming negotiation will secure the peace. Newly emerged from their subterranean haven, the Northern Haven humans are clearly not suited to Earth’s ice age, and require assistance from the enlightened star beings to survive long term on the Surface. But Commander Savas doesn’t trust the suspiciously kind star beings and their unexplainable abilities. When both sides reluctantly negotiate a joint mission to find the other Havens, Bleu must somehow cooperate with the manipulative commander to keep his friends safe.

As their team confronts unexpected dangers, Bleu and his teammates begin to suspect the star beings don’t know as much about the Surface as they claimed, while Rana is torn between remaining true to her nonviolent ways or becoming more human to survive. When an unnatural predator attacks, even the nearly all-knowing Kalakanya can’t explain it. Now the team must pull together or their new discovery will pull them apart, limb by limb.

Read an Excerpt

As the sun descended behind the mountain and darkness crept across the frozen field, a strange dread seeped into Bleu’s bones. It felt like a warning, an alarm that danger lurked nearby.

He had known safety in Rana’s village, and he’d lost the spatial anxiety caused by the wide-open spaces of the Surface that differed so much from the cozy walls and tunnels of home. No, this unease wasn’t spatial anxiety to the openness of the sky and horizon.

This was different, and perhaps a bit similar to what Kahali feared. Bleu had never faced the possibility of other humans with guns. His team sat out in the open, exposed. The meager light from the cooking fire did nothing against the shroud of blackness surrounding them. No safe walls protected them from physical attacks or bullets. And then, there were the unknown predators of the region.

His earlier excitement of finding the footprints evaporated, leaving behind a gnawing awareness of their vulnerability. The darkness beyond the campfire could be punctured any moment by monstrous claws or gunfire. Childhood tales of the evil Undescended crowded his mind with images so ludicrously terrible that he wanted to laugh at himself.

Instead, he checked that they were all armed and sent Savas and Neviah to make sure the helicopters were locked. Animal calls and crunching footsteps drifted down the mountains as if something were encircling them. Even the confident star beings kept glancing out into the night. They should be comfortable in such wilderness, right?

About the Author:
As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.

Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her published works include Silence of the Song Trees, The Calling, The Cords That Bind, and The Chasm.

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Buy The Calling (Book 1) on Amazon
The Cords That Bind (Book 1.1) on Amazon
The Chasm (Book 2) on Amazon

Branwen OShea will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Around and about all over the world

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 A lot of my travels were done before I can properly remember them. I was born in Kingston, NY, but can't recall a thing about that. Possibly my first memories are of California, when my sister was born, but the memories are like small details cut from faded photographs and tell me nothing about California. Then we moved an impossibly long distance across the Pacific to the Samoan islands - and I have rain drenched memories of this place.

 (Julie, my Mom and me on the beach in Samoa)

I learned to talk here, made my first friends here,  and went to my first nursery school. I never wore  shoes. I drank fresh coconut milk, I rode on a  skinny horse that was tethered to a stake. The  horse could only walk in a circle. There were ten  kids on the horse's back, and high up on  the neck, clutching the mane was me, with my  father hanging on to me, walking beside me. I ate  off banana leaves. I had a cat, who was a mighty  hunter. I would go into town with our nanny and  chat with the villagers. I used to speak Samoan.  My sister's first words were Samoan. And then,  just as we were getting settled in, we left.

We got into a propellor plane and flew back across  the Pacific. The plane bounced and juddered across the sky, falling into low pressure areas, dropping like a stone then catching air again, which broke all the dishes in the gallery. My mother spent the entire flight being sick My father clutched Julie. I hung onto the window, looked out at the clouds that I was sure were the North Pole and searched for Santa's workshop. We made a stopover in Hawaii, which I remember because our friends lived there, and I had watermelon for the first time - the most delicious fruit (with the most annoying seeds) I'd even eaten. We didn't stay, though I think I would have loved it there too. We went on to California, where suddenly I had to wear shoes. We were treated to Disneyland, which gave me nightmares for ages - we were greeted at the entrance by the Pirate Captain Hook - I screamed and screamed.  For me, everything was real then. There was no such thing as fiction. Then we moved back to New York, where I had started off nearly six years earlier.

We moved into an old haunted farmhouse near the Sleepy Hollow, where Ichabod Crane had met the headless horseman. It was nearly autumn. Everything was strange to me - the radiators on the walls, the way the leaves turned color and fell off the trees - the chill in the air - but I was looking forward to going to school and to seeing snow for the first time.

So what, my mother sometimes asks me, do you remember about Samoa? I remember the rainy afternoons. The sand that was everywhere. The coconut trees, and watching people climb them. I remember climbing up the flagpole. The festival on the cliffs, the torches at night, the boat rides to other islands, and the constant humidity. I remember the grass skirts for ceremonies, the dances, the songs, the music. I can recall the clothes the natives wore and some of the words they spoke. I remember the twins, and the girls who babysat us. I remember hating our nanny, and running away to hide. I remember Julie in her youpla, her seat with wheels, pushing herself along but refusing to walk. I had a red wagon. I had a swing in the livingroom. I can remember the layout of our house, and how our room had one window on the end wall, and it was narrow and screened in with louvered glass. Samoa is so much a part of me that sometimes I can close my eyes and be back there. I can still see the light, how it looked there, always a bit hazy because of the clouds, and after the rain how crystal-clear the air was. But it's the child's part of me - the part that saw everything for the first time that remembers Samoa. The birds, flowers, jungle, beaches, fish and buildings are unimportant. What I remember most are the faces, the voices, & pulling my red wagon down the sidewalk & thinking that this was utter happiness.

SHINING BRIGHTLY by Howard Brown

  SHINING BRIGHTLY by Howard Brown ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE : Memoir ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BLURB: In Shining Brightly, Silicon Valley pioneer, can...