Friday, August 15, 2014

GRAHAM SAGA by Anna Belfrage: BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY

Join Anna Belfrage as her beloved time-slip series, The Graham Saga, is featured around the blogosphere from July 28-August 15 with HF Virtual Book Tours and enter to win your own set of Books 1-6!
 

About The Graham Saga

The Graham Saga Series

This is the story of Alex and Matthew, two people who should never have met - not when she was born three hundred years after him. It all began the day Alex Lind got caught in a thunderstorm. Not your ordinary storm, no this was the mother of all storms, causing a most unusual rift in the fabric of time. Alex was dragged three centuries backwards in time, landing more or less at the feet of a very surprised Matthew Graham. In a series of books we follow the life and adventures of the expanding Graham family, both in Scotland and in the New World - and let me tell you it is quite an exciting life, at times excessively so in Alex' opinion. Sometimes people ask me why Alex had to be born in the twentieth century, why not make her a woman born and bred in the seventeenth century where the story is set? The answer to that is I have no idea. Alex Lind is an insistent, vibrant character that sprung into my head one morning and simply wouldn't let go. Seductively she whispered about terrible thunderstorms, about a gorgeous man with magic, hazel eyes, about loss and sorrow, about love - always this love, for her man and her children, for the people she lives with. With a throaty chuckle she shared insights into a life very far removed from mine, now and then stopping to shake her head and tell me that it probably hadn't been easy for Matthew, to have such an outspoken, strange and independent woman at his side. At this point Matthew groaned into life. Nay, he sighed, this woman of his was at times far too obstinate, with no notion of how a wife should be, meek and dutiful. But, he added with a laugh, he wouldn't want her any different, for all that she was half heathen and a right hand-full. No, he said, stretching to his full length, if truth be told not a day went by without him offering fervent thanks for his marvelous wife, a gift from God no less, how else to explain the propitious circumstances that had her landing at his feet that long gone August day? Still, dear reader, it isn't always easy. At times Alex thinks he's an overbearing bastard, at others he's sorely tempted to belt her. But the moment their fingertips graze against each other, the moment their eyes meet, the electrical current that always buzzes between them peaks and surges, it rushes through their veins, it makes their breathing hitch and ... She is his woman, he is her man. That's how it is, that's how it always will be.

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind Book Three: The Prodigal Son Book Four: A Newfound Land Book Five: Serpents in the Garden Book Six: Revenge & Retribution Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014) Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)

About the Author

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she's multilingual and most of her reading is Anna Belfragehistorical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive… For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she's still there. For additional information regarding Anna, her characters, extra scenes, and teasers for her next books, have a look at Anna's website at: www.annabelfrage.com. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28 Broken Teepee Kincavel Korner bookworm2bookworm's Blog Tuesday, July 29 So Many Books, So Little Time Wednesday, July 30 A Bibliotaph's Reviews Thursday, July 31 Book Drunkard Friday, August 1 The Lit Bitch Saturday, August 2 Book Nerd Sunday, August 3 Literary Chanteuse Just One More Chapter Monday, August 4 A Bookish Girl Historical Tapestry To Read, Or Not to Read Tuesday, August 5 CelticLady's Reviews Wednesday, August 6 The True Book Addict Thursday, August 7 Impressions in Ink Friday, August 8 A Bookish Affair The Mad Reviewer Saturday, August 9 Historical Fiction Connection Monday, August 11 Gobs and Gobs of Books Tuesday, August 12 Pages of Comfort Wednesday, August 13 History Undressed Thursday, August 14 Passages to the Past Friday, August 15 Mina's Bookshelf

Giveaway

To win a set of Anna Belfrage's Graham Saga (Books 1-6) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Two winners will be chosen. Giveaway is open internationally!
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 16th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

THE DOLPHIN WAY "A Parent's Guide To Raising Healthy, Happy, And Motivated Kids" by Shimi Kang MD: A Review

THE DOLPHIN WAY "A Parent's Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids"
Author: Shimi Kang, M.D.
Published by Tarcher on May 1, 2014
Hardcover, 352 pages
Non-fiction, parenting, guide, psychology, self-help
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
Review
An illuminating read on the challenges of parenting in the twenty-first century, the limits of the "tiger" model (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Model by Amy Chua), and the opportunities offered by a parenting style inspired to one of the most wonderfully adaptable, self-reliant and socially connected creatures on earth: dolphins.
 
In her memoir, Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mom (Penguin Press, 2011), Yale professor Amy Chua, recorded her personal experience as a mother and the challenges she had to face raising her two daughters. Coming from a strict Chinese family, Chua received a very tough education ('no good grades in school, no toys, no playdates, no boyfriends' kind of upbringing): according to the law professor, her parents' demanding and restrictive strategy was the best gift anybody ever gave to her and she admittedly tried to raise her kids in the same way (without apparent success with one of her daughters, tough). The authoritarian brand of parenting made famous by Chua's provocative memoir proudly excludes playing, choices, even bathroom breaks during piano practice. Her book stirred quite a controversy among critics and readers. Although not intended as a parenting guide, she strongly asserted her point of view about education in this country:  "I do believe that we in America can ask more of children than we typically do, and they will not only respond to the challenge, but thrive."
 
The cultural divide between Western and traditional Chinese parents is as wide as the geographical distance separating them: while we try to respect our children's individuality encouraging them to pursue their own passions and providing a nurturing environment, in many eastern cultures parents believe that the best way  to protect their children is preparing them for the future with strict rules and strong work habits. I am a strong supporter of the idea that virtue lies in the middle, not in the extremes.
 
As a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, researcher, and co-founder of the Youth Culture and Mental Health Fund for the BC Mental Health Foundation, Shimi Kang, M.D. has worked with thousands of people dealing with stress, family conflicts, work-life balance, depression, anxiety, addictions, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts: drawing from her range of expertise and experience, and in response to Chua's brutally honest story of extreme parenting, her guide, The Dolphin Way, argues that motivation as an external imposition doesn't bring lasting results. Chua's "tiger" parenting style (yelling, bribing, punishing)  kills self-motivation:
 
"Pushing, hovering, demanding, and cajoling may get results when tasks are simple, but when tasks become complex, involve creativity, and require critical thinking, these external motivators work poorly. Carrots and sticks can't replace autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the foundation of self-motivation, pleasure, and joy."
 
And so does the opposite:
 
"When we motivate via toys, money, or too much praise, we also take away the chance for internal rewards - that amazing dose of dopamine that keeps us feeling happy."
 
At best, the "tiger" parenting focuses on mastery alone and it works only when the child finds the activity imposed by her/his parents to be important enough for her/him to master it. And even when children of "tiger" parents bolt out of the gates, so to speak, they do it only because of external pressure and will be often passed over by those who experienced  a more relaxed approach to academics and extracurricular activities. The "tiger" kids will underperform in the real world; they will more likely develop addictions, self-harm habits, and suicidal tendencies. Action based on external motivation will last only as long as the external pressure, reward, punishing are in place. On the other end of the parenting spectrum, the permissive style (the "jellyfish") will breed irresponsible and impulsive kids, poor relation skills, no respect for authority, poor school/work performance, and risky behaviors.  The risks of parenting with an excess of control and micro-managing, or complete lack of guidance, are enormous. Both models destroy curiosity, the very roots of self-motivation.
 
"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity", Eleanor Roosevelt used to say. I couldn't agree more with her. Curiosity is linked to our brain's dopamine reward system and fuels our self-motivation for learning: when we look at the world with curiosity, we stop judging and simply engage our thinking brain to observe and interact.
 
The dolphin-way appears to be the perfect balance between the authoritarian parenting model (the "tiger"), and the permissive style (the "jellyfish"). Dolphins, with all their attributes and qualities, are a powerful metaphor for a successful parenting: they display qualities of intelligence, creativity, learning, communication, and social connection, all traits necessary to fare with success in the shift age. They are social creatures, living and traveling in pods. They teach their young through role modeling, play, and guidance. They're the most altruistic and collaborative animal species, with a brain size second only to humans. The dolphin parenting model is about guiding rather instructing, teaching by example, emphasizing the importance of play, exploration, social bonds, and community values, rather than competition and isolation. All these positive traits are natural to human parenting, but we have lost connection with them because of our imbalanced, over-competing, over-achieving lifestyle.
 
With a  parenting style modeled on the dolphins' behavior, discipline is assertive and positive, not restrictive; supportive, not punishing or dismissing. "Dolphin" parents are clear authority figures (not friends, or personal assistants, helicopters, slaves, drivers) that establish clear rules and  guidelines while responding to the emotional needs of their children. Kang's book offers numerous and practical examples of "dolphin" inspired approaches and communication strategies.
 
Unlike many other parenting books, The Dolphin Way offers guidance, not instruction, in a perfect dolphin-parenting way: it doesn't add any more tasks to a parent's to-do list. It actually helps eliminate some, clearly illustrating the multiple benefits of such a model:
 
- being warm and responsive helps children form secure attachments and protects them from internalizing issues such as depression and anxiety
 
- enforcing limits decreases the chance children will engage in acting out self-destructive behaviors (aggression, interpersonal conflict, drug and alcohol abuse)
 
- communicating about thoughts and feelings strengthens children's empathy, emotional regulation, and relationship skills
 
- showing understanding for academic struggles helps children become better problem solvers and learners
 
- encouraging independence helps children develop self-reliance, a desire to help others, and better emotional health


To use Albert Einstein's words, "look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."





Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Remembering Robin Williams: One-of-a-kind

 
As I am writing this post, I stare at my computer screen in disbelief. Discouragement, more precisely. Yesterday, actor, comedian, and producer Robin Williams was found dead in his Southern California home. Apparent suicide, according to the authorities. Unfortunately, there is no reason to attribute the cause of his death to accidental circumstances: the extraordinarily talented star of memorable feature films (Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet Society, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire) and iconic tv series (Happy Days, Mork and Mindy) had been battling some ruthless demons for quite a while. His addiction to cocaine and alcohol had brought him in and out of rehab clinics since the late '70s and although he had been successfully maintaining a long-term sobriety, severe depression was lately getting the best of him.

 
His death is a tragic reminder that appearances can be deceiving -- how could such a funny and creative character succumb to depression? According to an article published by Psychology Today, William's manic comedic style and improvising genius may have been a coping mechanism apt to mask and fight an underlying emotional struggle. "[...] even humor -- especially humor -- can be used as a mask that shields both the wearer and those around him from the pain underneath."

 
The premature passing (he was only 63) of the ingenious stand-up comedian and Academy winning actor (he won an Oscar for his Supporting Role in Good Will Hunting and was nominated three times for Best Actor) is a particularly heart-melting event: not only did we lose a deep well of talent and a uniquely gifted performer; we also lost a passionate advocate and philanthropist. 


Williams' enthusiastic activism matched his effervescent stage presence: his Windfall Foundation, founded with his former wife Marsha, raised money for several charities. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the USO (United Services Organization), the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, The Pediatric AIDS Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation,  and Comic Relief are among the many recipients, on an international and national scale, of his unbound generosity.



As a lifelong friend and former roommate of another unforgettable Hollywood icon (Christopher Reeve), Williams was involved also with the Christopher  & Dana Reeve Foundation, in support of research programs to treat and cure spinal cord injuries.



Using the gift of laughter, Robin Williams' legacy goes a long way: "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."


Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014)

Monday, August 11, 2014

THE DANCE OF THE SPIRITS by Catherine Aerie: Spotlight & Giveaway

THE DANCE OF THE SPIRITS
Author: Catherine Aerie
Publication Date: November 16, 2013
Released by Aurora
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
 
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About the book
Spring 1951: it is the fiery zenith of the Korean War, a war that the youthful US Army lieutenant Wesley Palm and his men thought that they had won… until the Chinese swept across the Yalu River.
Traveling with the million-man army bent on driving back the march of “American imperialism” is Jasmine Young, a Chinese surgeon who has volunteered herself into the war for unspoken, grave reasons. Through a chronicle of merciless battles, freezing winters, and the brutality and hypocrisy of human nature, the two will find themselves weaving through the twists and turns of fate and destiny. Though their love is forbidden, their passion and pursuit of liberty cannot be quenched.

Praise for The Dance of the Spirits

“…On the surface, The Dance of the Spirits is a story of love and of war, but on a deeper level, it is a story of the misery that the communist ideology brought to millions of souls in the twentieth century. Whether that philosophy is related to nationalism, internationalism or faith, Catherine Aerie reminds readers that when a system that will entertain no contradiction in thought or deed comes to power, no one is safe — and no one is free. Aerie draws a vivid picture of war and its price, and a tender image of love…” – Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)
“…a love that is stronger than all the horrors that war can throw at them… compelling…poignant… sensitive and beautiful…” – San Francisco Book Reviews (4.5/ Stars)
“Adversaries in the Korean War find love in Aerie’s debut novel. The story starts in the middle of a firefight… Out of the rubble, two characters emerge: an American officer… and a Chinese military doctor… Their paths cross again and again… In the intimacy of the war, these coincidences don’t feel forced, nor even particularly fated–it’s just the way things went… Readers will likely find Palm a decent, very human person, but Young has more complexity and vibrancy… As the war rages around them, Palm and Young fall in love… but their romance is ill-starred and open to tragedy. Aerie keeps readers on their toes with the twists…fleeting but intense…
An often engaging tale of a flickering moment of love during a forgotten war.” – Kirkus Reviews

Buy the Book

About the Author

Catherine Aerie, a graduate from the University of California, Irvine with a master degree in finance, grew up in China as the daughter of a Shanghai architect. She was inspired to write The Dance of the Spirits while researching a family member’s role in the Korean War, deciding to revive an often neglected and overlooked setting in fiction and heighten the universality of resilient pursuit of love and liberty. Her debut novel was finished after about two years of research. She currently resides in southern California.
For more information please visit Catherine Aerie’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Dance of the Spirits Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 11
Spotlight at Mina’s Bookshelf
Interview at Library Educated
Tuesday, August 12
Wednesday, August 13
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, August 14
Friday, August 15
Review at JM Ledwell
Monday, August 18
Tuesday, August 19
Review at Book Babe
Wednesday, August 20
Review at Unshelfish
Spotlight at Princess of Eboli
Thursday, August 21
Review & Interview Back Porchervations
Friday, August 22
 
GIVEAWAY
To win a copy of The Dance of the Spirits please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 23rd and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
 
 


Rafflecopter HTML: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

MURDER AT THE BREAKERS (Gilded Newport Mysteries #1) by Alyssa Maxwell: A Review


MURDERS AT THE BREAKERS
(Gilded Newport Mysteries #1)
by
Alyssa Maxwell
Kensington Books; March 25, 2014
Paperback, 304 pages
Cozy, Mystery, Suspense, Historical Fiction
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
 
My review
 
 
"I care not for riches, and do not miss them since only cleverness prevails in the end."
 
 
A delightful and harmonious concoction of vividly portrayed Gilded Age milieu and well thought-out murder mystery plot. Theme, voice, and pace flow  on a trail of red herrings with a balance that was as graceful as unexpectedly transfixing for a debut novel. Based on real historical figures and narrated through the outsider's perspective of Emma Cross, an acute observer treading the fine line that separates the upper crust of society from its barely tolerated bourgeois relatives, Murder At The Breakers evokes the sumptuous charm of that by-gone era with its wealth, its splendid mansions, and high society scandals hidden behind a veil of primness and apparent respectability.
 
Newport, Rhode Island, 1895
 
Vanderbilt blood runs through Emmaline Cross' veins, but she belongs to the less illustrious side of the family: the twenty-five year old spinster was born and raised a Newporter -- a salty and sturdy 'bluestocking'. Definitely not on the market for a tycoon husband. Emma won't compromise her independence to be the wife of a wealthy man and have her life mapped out in an endless series of balls and regattas. More similar to her bold and eccentric Aunt Sadie, she refuses to be part of the gilded prison that traps Aunt Alice, wife of business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. A reporter for the society column of the Newport Observer, and with her artistic parents expatriated on the other side of the Atlantic, Emma writes for a living and resides with a nanny and a maid at Gull Manor, a quaint house boldly perched on the ocean. On the night of her cousin Gertrude's coming-out ball at The Breakers, Uncle Cornelius' financial secretary is found dead in one of the rooms of the Vanderbilt summer mansion. All the evidence collected by the police on the murder scene points to Emma's half-brother Brady Gale, a good-natured young man who can hardly keep himself out of troubles. Although hailing from two of the most respectable families of the Island, Stuart Braden Gale IV has seen the inside of the Newport jail nearly as often as the worst scoundrel in town -- just the perfect scapegoat for a crime that may have been committed by some unsuspected and more titled members of the good society. With the help of the enigmatic fellow reporter Derrick Andrews, Emma will discover the true culprit, unveiling, at the same time, the shocking extravagancies and the surprising frailties of one of the most iconic and powerful American dynasties.
 
In the usual fashion of most cozy mystery novels, romance plays a part in the narrative -- a marginal one, actually. It's an intriguing plus that entices without crossing over into romantic suspense. Nonetheless, the chemistry between Emma and the mysterious Derrick adds  zest to the storyline and helps reveal the protagonist's inner world and motivations.  Alyssa Maxwell deftly strikes the romantic chord, creating, with its open-ended tone, a narrative bridge between this first episode and its sequel, due in October. Emma and Derrick have been thrust into a maelstrom of events too fierce not to spark a flame worthy of being reignited in future installments: I'll be looking forward to Murder At Marble House with great anticipation.


***Review copy graciously offered by the publisher in return for an unbiased and honest opinion

 

SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY "How Loving More Means Doing Less" by Chip Ingram: A Review

 
SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY
By
Chip Ingram, with Chris Tiegreen
Howard Books; January 8, 2013
Hardcover, 192 pages
Genre: non-fiction, spirituality, self-help
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
 
My review
 
"If you'll simplify your life, quit chasing the wind, and be quiet before him, he'll show up."
 
In order for the things that matter to us the most (our families, our spouses, our children) to rise to the top of our list of priorities, we have to make a conscious decision: do less, love more. How hard can that be? Very. No matter how good our intentions are. In Spiritual Simplicity, Pastor Chip Ingram maintains that the key to simplifying life is in our hands, but we tend to misplace it in that clutter of much less relevant priorities (performing, possessing, providing) that crowd our goal-oriented, scheduled-to-the-minute, busy modern lifestyle. Through a psychological interpretation of biblical passages, Ingram offers practical insights to achieve spiritual simplicity, decrease stress, and reorient our lives around the highest and most fulfilling purpose: it's, in fact, only in the context of daily life and its challenges, more than the Scriptures, that we experience God's love  in a hands-on way.
 
A gratifying and uplifting read that I would recommend to all Christians and non-Christians who are open to an interfaith approach to religion and spirituality.

***A free copy of the book was provided by the Publisher. The thoughts expressed in this review are my own.
 
From the book cover
 
If you crave simplicity, yearn for peace and calm, this book is for you. Through biblical teaching and practical insights, author Chip Ingram goes beyond so-called quick fixes and speaks to men and women who know what they need to do, want desperately to do it, but find it next to impossible to break free of the too many good and important things that flood their lives.

The thesis of this book is very simple: Spiritual simplicity will never be achieved by strategic, managerial attempts to control our lives and schedules but through doing less because we love more. As you learn the practice of loving people, you will experience a shift from complex to simple, from hurried to peaceful, from “never enough time” to “time enough for those you love.” Lasting change is within your reach.
 
****
 
 Chip Ingram is the senior pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, and president of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over twenty-five years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. Chip is author of twelve books, including Overcoming Emotions that Destroy; God: As He Longs for You to See Him; The Invisible War; and Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. Chip and his wife, Theresa, live in San Jose, California. 

 
 
 



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

TO LIVE FOREVER by Andra Watkins Blog Tour: GIVEAWAY

TO LIVE FOREVER
by Andra Watkins
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Publisher: World Hermit Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: General Fiction/Paranormal
 
Is remembrance immortality? Nobody wants to be forgotten, least of all the famous.
Meriwether Lewis lived a memorable life. He and William Clark were the first white men to reach the Pacific in their failed attempt to discover a Northwest Passage. Much celebrated upon their return, Lewis was appointed governor of the vast Upper Louisiana Territory and began preparing his eagerly-anticipated journals for publication. But his re-entry into society proved as challenging as his journey. Battling financial and psychological demons and faced with mounting pressure from Washington, Lewis set out on a pivotal trip to the nation’s capital in September 1809. His mission: to publish his journals and salvage his political career. He never made it. He died in a roadside inn on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee from one gunshot to the head and another to the abdomen.
Was it suicide or murder? His mysterious death tainted his legacy and his fame quickly faded. Merry’s own memory of his death is fuzzy at best. All he knows is he’s fallen into Nowhere, where his only shot at redemption lies in the fate of rescuing another. An ill-suited “guardian angel,” Merry comes to in the same New Orleans bar after twelve straight failures. Now, with one drink and a two-dollar bill he is sent on his last assignment, his final shot at escape from the purgatory in which he’s been dwelling for almost 200 years. Merry still believes he can reverse his forgotten fortunes.
Nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney is the daughter of French Quarter madam and a Dixieland bass player. When her mother wins custody in a bitter divorce, Emmaline carves out her childhood among the ladies of Bourbon Street. Bounced between innocence and immorality, she struggles to find her safe haven, even while her mother makes her open her dress and serve tea to grown men.
It isn’t until Emmaline finds the strange cards hidden in her mother’s desk that she realizes why these men are visiting: her mother has offered to sell her to the highest bidder. To escape a life of prostitution, she slips away during a police raid on her mother’s bordello, desperate to find her father in Nashville.
Merry’s fateful two-dollar bill leads him to Emmaline as she is being chased by the winner of her mother’s sick card game: The Judge. A dangerous Nowhere Man convinced that Emmaline is the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Judge Wilkinson is determined to possess her, to tease out his wife’s spirit and marry her when she is ready. That Emmaline is now guarded by Meriwether Lewis, his bitter rival in life, further stokes his obsessive rage.
To elude the Judge, Em and Merry navigate the Mississippi River to Natchez. They set off on an adventure along the storied Natchez Trace, where they meet Cajun bird watchers, Elvis-crooning Siamese twins, War of 1812 re-enactors, Spanish wild boar hunters and ancient mound dwellers. Are these people their allies? Or pawns of the perverted, powerful Judge?
After a bloody confrontation with the Judge at Lewis’s grave, Merry and Em limp into Nashville and discover her father at the Parthenon. Just as Merry wrestles with the specter of success in his mission to deliver Em, The Judge intercedes with renewed determination to win Emmaline, waging a final battle for her soul. Merry vanquishes the Judge and earns his redemption. As his spirit fuses with the body of Em’s living father, Merry discovers that immortality lives within the salvation of another, not the remembrance of the multitude.
 
GIVEAWAY
1 copy of TO LIVE FOREVER is up for grabs. Please, become a follower of this blog, leave a comment below including your email address for a chance to win. The contest is open to US residents only. Best of luck!

Buy the Book

 
 

About the Author

Hey. I’m Andra Watkins. I’m a native of Tennessee, but I’m lucky to call Charleston, South Carolina, home for 23 years. I’m the author of ‘To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis’, coming March 1, 2014. It’s a mishmash of historical fiction, paranormal fiction and suspense that follows Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) after his mysterious death on the Natchez Trace in 1809.
I like:
hiking
eating (A lot; Italian food is my favorite.)
traveling (I never met a destination I didn’t like.)
reading (My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.)
coffee (the caffeinated version) and COFFEE (sex)
performing (theater, singing, public speaking, playing piano)
time with my friends
Sirius XM Chill
yoga (No, I can’t stand on my head.)
writing in bed
candlelight
I don’t like:
getting up in the morning
cilantro (It is the devil weed.)
surprises (For me or for anyone else.)
house cleaning
cooking

Author Links

 
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Natchez Trace Walk

The Natchez Trace is a 10,000-year-old road that runs from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Thousands of years ago, animals used its natural ridge line as a migratory route from points in the Ohio River Valley to the salt licks in Mississippi. It was logical for the first Native Americans to settle along the Trace to follow part of their migrating food supply. When the Kaintucks settled west of the Appalachians, they had to sell their goods at ports in New Orleans or Natchez, but before steam power, they had to walk home. The Trace became one of the busiest roads in North America.
 
trace-map
 
To launch To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, I am the first living person to walk the 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did since the rise of steam power in the 1820′s. From March 1, 2014 to April 3, 2014, I walked fifteen miles a day. Six days a week. One rest day per week. I spent each night in the modern-day equivalent of stands, places much like Grinder’s Stand, where Meriwether Lewis died from two gunshot wounds on October 11, 1809.

To Live Forever Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 21
Review at Unshelfish
Tuesday, July 22
Excerpt at Making My Mark
Thursday, July 24
Friday, July 25
Monday, July 28
Review at Ryann Donnelly
Excerpt & Giveaway at Paranormal Book Club
Wednesday, July 30
Review at The Worm Hole
Monday, August 4
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Wednesday, August 6
Spotlight & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Thursday, August 7
Review at Mythical Books
Monday, August 11
Guest Post at Lost in Books
Tuesday, August 12
Wednesday, August 13
Monday, August 18
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing
Wednesday, August 20
Wednesday, August 21
Interview at Tower of Babel
Monday, August 25
Tuesday, August 26
Review & Giveaway at My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews
Monday, September 1
Tuesday, September 3
Wednesday, September 4
Review at Brooke Blogs