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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

It’s Time for the Laugh Awards (aka The Yullies)!

Today I’m sharing a plea – for recognition, for nominations, and above all for sharing the fabulousness that is laughter! – from the good folks at Your Laugh Line. Read on and don’t forget to make your nominations – and when you do, share them below in the comments, I can always use a great funny read!

Strap in! It’s going to be a hilarious ride!

Starting on February 1st, Your Laugh Line begins its official search to find the funniest books written in 2017. It’s like a quest for the Holy Grail (Monty Python or otherwise) but more important! Our hope is that this book is so funny that it will end all war.

Okay. Maybe not. Continue reading It’s Time for the Laugh Awards (aka The Yullies)!

Book Review: The Memory Detective by T.S. Nichols

I know, I know – it’s not EXACTLY a Valentine’s Day book, teehee, but it’s a GREAT read, so forgive me!

Everybody feels fear a little bit differently. Everyone feels love, joy, and sadness differently too, but it’s not quite like fear. Fear is primal. It’s like a fingerprint.

This was an EXCELLENT read. I am captivated by memory and am a long-time fan of sci-fi and thriller/crime/detective stories, and this brought all of those together in a fascinating and unique way that had me on the edge of my seat from the first pages. Cole is a great protagonist. He’s more than a little bit broken – like all good protags are/should be to allow for great story development – and the blend of personalities, memories, and stories that he reveals throughout the course of the book are reflective of that. Continue reading Book Review: The Memory Detective by T.S. Nichols

Guest Post: Making 2018 Your Writing Year: Practice Self-Compassion by Stephanie Vanderslice, Author of The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Stephanie Vanderslice and her inspiring (and helpful!) memoir-cum-writers’-guide, The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life.

Many people dream of making money as a writer. In fact, I’m sure that the 81% of Americans who want to write a book also all want to be the next best-seller. But, like turning any dream into a reality, there are invariably things standing in your way. The writer’s life is no exception. And while some are actual roadblocks, many others are only myths that would-be authors turn into excuses. And that’s why Stephanie Vanderslice has published The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: An Instructional Memoir for Prose Writers. To shatter all the myths in the writing world. There are plenty. There’s the ridiculous idea that writer’s block is a myth. And, the eyeroll-worthy idea that all the writers currently publishing betrays the craft of writing. The reality is that unless you have no talent, or you are truly pushed beyond the end of your bandwidth, you can write, publish, and, in fact lead a satisfying life. After all, writing doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. It takes work, but doesn’t have to be all-consuming. And Stephanie is the real deal. A novelist herself, she is also a Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the Arkansas Writer’s MFA Workshop at the University of Central Arkansas. With 25 years in the industry, she’s encountered most of the myths first-hand and developed the strategies to move past them.

But you don’t have to take my word for it – read on and decide for yourself!

Making 2018 Your Writing Year: Practice Self-Compassion
by Stephanie Vanderslice

In The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life, I mention often that a writing career is a marathon not a sprint and that if you want to sustain it, you need to take care of yourself and keep your eye on the long game in order to avoid burnout. Continue reading Guest Post: Making 2018 Your Writing Year: Practice Self-Compassion by Stephanie Vanderslice, Author of The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life

Guest Book Review: Imagine Harmony: How to Evolve From Stress to Gratitude by Dale R. Duvall

Another guest book review courtesy of Sharon – today, focusing on internal evolution and a triumph over the effects of stress on our minds and bodies. In the book, Duvall “offers an enjoyable stress management program that begins with an explanation of stress, its devastating effects, and progresses through a series of six lessons beginning with relaxation and culminating in conscious control of physiological and psychological responses to daily life without the risks associated with pharmaceuticals.” Enjoy!

I love the idea of “Perfect health, Happiness, Vitality, Longevity.” I have been in Health Care for almost 50 years. In the beginning the focus was science, science, science – but as the years went by, the science idea weakened a little every year. This lead me to my own internal repositioning, expanding my concept of health to incorporate happiness and harmony of mind and body.

Mr. Duvall, the author, has described a stress management program that, to my mind, is the ideal. It combines so many facets of the world of science and spirituality and serves us a strong reminder of the body-mind connection. I especially enjoyed his introducing the idea of “Medimaginosis”. To quote the author, “Medimaginosis is an omni-denominational meditation/imagery/wisdom driven wellness practice that directs the mind, body, and soul to manifest harmony and to evolve as one cohesive, synergistic unit with perfect health, happiness, vitality, and a life expectancy far in excess of the current concept of POSSIBLE…It is the power source that supplies the energy to act on imagined concepts. The practice is based on the results of scientific research and the documented physiological responses to over two thousand years of meditative practice. It begins with the familiar relaxation and attitude awareness that has been promulgated for decades but seldom executed effectively, illuminates the path to physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual harmony, and gradually evolves into conscious control of gene expression.”

The author gives credit to many experts in self-help for the advances that we’ve been able to make in thinking about our own inner improvement. The ideology and altering gene expression was a new concept for me – delving into the “basement of life” as the key to perfect health, happiness, vitality longevity and harmony.

This is a difficult read. It is has a textbook like flow with terminology, glossary, and similar academic-feeling organization. Chapters introduce new ideas and companion “do it your self” materials, which require a break in reading. The author does ensure a continuation of instruction of every new idea presented though, repeating theories and concepts into new chapters. This helps.

I recently met with a psychologist speaking on the topic of pain and depression. I mentioned the author/this book and and subsequent learnings from him, and was surprised that the professional I was speaking with was suggesting many of the very same things Mr. Duvall was introducing in the book. The correlation was surprising and reinforced the merits of the book in my eyes.

I am a fan of self–help books. The “ideal” often referred to in these types of books seems to me to be unattainable; there is still value in the idea though, as I think that every little bit and piece that a reader can salvage from these ideas represents a win and a
feather in the relevant author’s hat. Perhaps that’s the true value of self-help books…

My review copy was graciously provided by the author via Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

About the Author
Born in 1947, Dale R. Duvall began teaching music at a local music store in Davenport, Iowa while still attending high school. He earned a commercial pilot’s license while serving in the US Air Force and served one year in Viet Nam. He left the military to become a licensed real estate agent, and then a highly competitive, high strung, irritable, hard driving, Type-A stock market analyst and broker. He earned the highest license attainable in the stock options field and was promoted to the position of associate vice president of a prestigious brokerage firm. After experiencing multiple debilitating stress related health problems and a quasar burnout, he “dropped out” and set upon a 30-year quest to study, understand, and conquer the devastating effects of stress on the human body, and to find peace and happiness. He studied integrative medicine, psychophysiology and mind/body communication at the cellular level, psychoneuroimmunology and epigenetics as it relates to gene expression, energy healing, EFT and NLP, Eastern and Western religious and spiritual philosophies, metaphysics, stress management, guided imagery, the quantum physics of chi, tai chi, yoga, and multiple forms of meditation and hypnosis. Although he is now a Certified Stress Management Consultant specializing in PTSD and Therapeutic Imagery, a Reiki Master, Certified Meditation Instructor, and holds several other titles and degrees, he refuses to clutter his name with superfluous labels and initials. He wants his words and teachings to be appreciated for their efficacy, content, and meaning, not their academic origin. He wants people to use their own natural wisdom to evaluate their world. He wants us to know that human beings can not only fly and walk around on the moon, but we can take control of our health, happiness, vitality, longevity, and lifestyle with our Conscious mind. He wants to teach us to Imagine Harmony and to understand that life is not an emergency: it is a fun adventure, experienced in the present moment with curiosity and wonder, that existence is a universal symphony of dynamic pulsating energy, and that we can create our own song.

Book Review: Say Nothing by Brad Parks

WHOA! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read this one – I have a tendency to avoid books about danger or damage to children, especially toddlers. I was sent the widget as a courtesy after agreeing to post a promotional piece about the book on my blog, and was not sure I’d actually read it. I wasn’t familiar with Brad Parks beyond his name and reputation for legal thrillers – another category I don’t tend toward, since I am a lawyer. But I thought I’d give it a look nevertheless, since the idea of the unbelievable “choice” facing Judge Sampson repeatedly teased at the corners of my mind despite myself.

Parks writes what I have come to think of as a standard best-selling legal thriller. That’s not a slam or complaint. Continue reading Book Review: Say Nothing by Brad Parks



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