Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dangerous Affairs - A Golden Heart Winning Book!

Today, November 1 - yes, I know, I posted early on Halloween, what can I say, the Halloween Gremlins kicked in.  Anyway, I'm excited to welcome Diana Miller who is making a whirlwind blog blast as part of her book tour with her new book - Dangerous Affairs.  Not only is Dangerous Affairs an exciting sounding suspense, it's also the winner of a Golden Heart!  I suspect that we are about to be mowed over by a good read!  So read on and leave a comment or a question or two - get to know the author and enter to win a great prize!

But before we get into all that, here's a bit about Diana:

When she was eight, Diana Miller decided she wanted to be Nancy Drew.  But no matter how many garbage cans she dug through, conversations she "accidentally" overheard, and attics she searched, she never found a single cryptic letter, hidden staircase, or anything else even remotely mysterious.  She worked as a lawyer, a soda jerk, a stay-at-home mom, a hospital admitting clerk, and a conference host before deciding that the best way to inject suspense into her otherwise satisfying life was by writing about it.

Diana is a five-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award and winner of a Golden Heart for Dangerous Affairs--a romantic suspense novel that shows not everyone in her home state is Minnesota Nice.   She lives in the Twin Cities with her family.

Blurb for Dangerous Affairs:
When soap opera star Abby Langford leaves Los Angeles for her Minnesota hometown, she's hoping to give her nine-year-old daughter the peaceful childhood she never knew.  But instead of tranquility, Abby finds an old knife hidden between the walls of her new house.  Then the nightmares start:  a blood-soaked victim and a killer's arm slicing through the air, again and again.

Abby wonders if she's having the nervous breakdown the tabloids claim she already had, especially when sexy, skeptical police chief Josh Kincaid questions her story.  When menacing hate mail arrives, Josh's professional concern for Abby soon evolves into an intense attraction, and the feeling is mutual.  And now Josh wonders if her psychic visions are of crimes of the past--or a premoninition of terrors to come.

To survive, Abby and Josh must uncover the truth and stop a killer...before Abby's worst nightmares come true.

Excerpt for Dangerous Affairs:

The knife had obviously been there a long time, nestled in the dust bunnies and wood shavings between the walls, in the space one of the two mahogany doors that separated the Victorian-stle living room from the Brady Bunch decor of the family room usually slid back into.  And it was covered with blood.

Abby Langford leaned the broom she'd used to fish out the knife against the wall, then picked the knife off the floor and studied it.  Despite the day's warmth and the sunlight streaming through the picture window, a gloomy chill engulfed the room.  She could almost feel the steel blade scraping down her spine, raising goose bumps on her shoulders and arms.

This knife had killed someone.

Then she shook herself, dispelling most of the prickly cold.  As usual, she was letting her imagination run wild.  This wasn't some menacing murder weapon, but an ordinary kitchen knife, with a nine-inch steel blade and a wood handle that looked parched enough to absorb a cup of mineral oil.  The blood consisted of a few reddish-brown splotches on the blade, splotches that to her looked too dmeared to be rust.  It could be old food, though, something like dehydrated ketchup or oxidized chocolate.  Or even blood, but from a rare steak, not a human.

Another shiver slivered across Abby's shoulder blades.  Because if this were an innocuous kitchen blade, why had someone hidden it so carefully?

Diana will be awarding one $25 Amazon gift certificate to a 
randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Want to read more?  Diana's website link is or check out more about her books or, jump on in and purchase one at Amazon

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology - The Launch!

Today, October 23, I'm excited to be part of the launch of Eldon Taylor's latest book Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology.  I was thrilled a few months ago to be asked to review the book which turned out to be everything and more than I expected.  Head on over to the party launch site now or check out a bit about Eldon, read my review, and get a preview of the fantastic things happening at the launch party first.

Eldon Taylor is the award winning author of over 300 books, and audio and video programs.  He is the inventor of the patented InnerTalk technology and the founder and president of Progressive Awareness Research.  He has been called "a master of the mind" and has appeared as an expert witness on both hypnosis and subliminal communication.

 Here's how Eldon got into hypnosis and subliminal communication and 
how he uses it in his own life:

You have been called the "Master of the Mind" and "one of the world's foremost experts in preconscious processing."   Can you tell us something about your background and how you became interested in hypnosis and subliminal communication?

I think I have always been interested in the power of the mind; early on I read a lot of books on the subject and attended numerous schools specializing in hypnosis.  However, my interest really took off in the 80s.  I was a practicing criminologist at the time and I frequently ran lie-detection examinations.  One of the problems in lie-detection tests is in eliminating the inconclusives--some people are so nervous about the procedure itself, that even though they are innocent, they can give readings that would indicate deception.  On the other hand, some people are very experienced at taking lie-detection tests and they use counter-measures.  I was looking for a way to make the innocent person more relaxed and the guilty person, more tense.

I came across some research regarding law enforcement using subliminal audio programs in a hostage situation, and although I could never verify this, it did give me the incentive to explore this area a whole lot more.  I contacted numerous companies who were producing subliminal self-help programs and I discovered that the whole field was rife with mis-information.  Quite frankly, many of these companies simply did not understand the process themselves, and as a result they were producing products with no retrievable subliminal content, poorly designed affirmations, or affirmations presented in such a way that the subconscious mind could only perceive it as being gibberish.

To cut a long story short, I did my own research and created my own subliminal program for use in my lie detection practice.  The results were phenomenal!  My inconclusives pretty much disappeared and I found myself launching a whole new career.  If subliminal communiation could be so effective in this scenario, what else could we achieve with it?  I created more subliminal audio programs and allowed them to be tested by numerous independent institutions and researchers (such as scientists at Stanford University).  The results were all positive.

My fascination with hypnosis followed a very similar path.  Initially I used hypnosis for forensic applications, but as I learned more and more about the power of the mind, I started using hypnosis for a tool for personal growth.

As my reputation grew, I was called in as an expert court witness with regards to both hypnsosi and subliminal comunication.

You say in your book that self-hypnosis and subliminal communication are the best self-help tools.  Do you use them yourself, and if so, how?

Yes, I use them virtually every day!  The subliminal programs are easy to use as they can be played in the background as you go about your day.  Sometimes I will be working on something specific, say avoiding catching a cold that is going around.  In this instance I use the Accelerated Healing and Well-Being program.  When I am not working on something specific, then I like to keep myself 'tuned up' and will use a program such as Optimism Plus or Quantum Younging.  I actually have a number of programs that I have put on my i-phone, which of course has built in speakers.  This way I can keep my phone in its holster and benefit from the subliminal programs whatever I am doing.

I generally use self-hypnosis twice a day.  I try to take time out to meditate every day and self-hypnosis can really speed this process up.  I can achieve in a 10 minute session what would take me half an hour if I did not use self-hypnosis.  I also use self-hypnosis last thing at night.  It is a great way to go to sleep and also for keeping myself focused on my goals while I am sleeping.


My review of Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology:

Being able to attain your best self by using self-hypnosis to tap into the power of your subconscious is an enticing thought.  And the positively charged, feel-good, dedication to the reader's potential sets you up for a book that doesn't disappoint.  Taylor immediately piques the imagination by exploring the life-altering concept of change.  From there he delves into the history and science of hypnosis in an easy manner that makes you want to read on and lays the groundwork for the book's focus, using self-hypnosis and subliminal techniques to free yourself from self-imposed restrictions on your life. 

Combined with audio recordings that lead you through the process of self-hypnosis, it is a book that is sure to become a reference on many reader's bookshelves.  All in all, an enjoyable and thought provoking read.    Ryshia Kennie

As the kick off to an exciting new book Eldon has lined up a fabulous collection of contest giveaways from many industry experts.   But I can't really say it any better than it's already been said so here's what's going on at the party launch site.  Hope you head on over and check it out!

Join the book launch party where there are over 100 bonus gifts plus the chance to enter drawings to win super-gifts from supporters of Eldon, such as Linda Evans(Emmy nominated and award winning actress), Dee Wallace(award winning actress), Steven Halpern(award winning composer and recording artist) and many more!  This is a limited time event.  Please click here for more details.  

Head on over to Eldon's launch page and read what experts in the field thought of the book, sign up for a chance to win any number of fabulous prizes and even purchase your own copy, which qualifies you for free gifts, and get started today!  Click here to discover where it's all happening. 

And should you want to find out more about Eldon and his other works - there's more here.

Hope to see you there!  And by this time next year - who knows where Personal-Empowerment has taken us!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Left My Suitcase At Home

Plans change quickly and yesterday was no exception.  We'd planned to take Mom to her home town this week but Wednesday was on the schedule.  But this time of year you have to play by the weather and a warm day can easily precede snow flurries or just cold rain and wind.

A gas museum?  It wasn't open.
So off we went.  A short trip really but it takes a while to get past the city clutter that stretches further every year with new subdivisions and acreages lapping the edges of what were once more distant bedroom communities so it seems like endless civilization.  Until - there's always the until, you make that turn off and find yourself on a smaller grid road heading into small town Saskatchewan.  And there it is, acres of what remains of golden cropped fields, the occasional house laying well back from the road and circled by a barn and a clutter of outbuildings.  A herd of cows, a horse or two and endless fields stringing into the distance. 

And just like that we're there.  The small town where Mom grew up, she now swears looks nothing like she remembers.  Except, wait - there's the old hotel and over there is so and so's house.  And, on it goes.

But it has changed.  You can see it in the sleek lines of new homes in a bay to the right and construction that's going on at the local school.  But for the most part it is still quiet without the continual sweep of traffic that we left how many miles behind.

The cemetery is the first stop - the primary reason for that trip.  All cemeteries have a story or two and this one was rife with them like any other.  And having Mom along, she knew a few stories herself.  This one had a special area for the nuns as there was a convent in town - we'll go there later.  It also had, what I had only heard of as a practice in "the good old days".  A practice that reminds us that the old days had a few issues too.  When someone committed suicide they weren't buried in the main graveyard as that was consecrated ground.  Mom told me the story of the poor man who had been driven to kill himself and how he was buried in a far corner of the cemetery.  And sure enough, his grave was still there over fifty years later.  In the city I wondered if he would have been moved by now, back to the main area where he belonged.  Or maybe in the city, it would never have happened. 

So after an encounter or two or three, four, no five - with garter snakes.  The cemetery was alive with them.  We headed to the convent which had been taken over in the usual small town fashion by the post office, a hair salon, judo and dance school and the Mexican restaurant.  It's a restaurant that's been drawing people from all around.  I'd heard of it before we made this trip and eating there was no disappointment.  The restaurant was set up in what had once been the chapel.  Mom, never one to stand back and not ask a question, soon had the owner engaged in conversation of how/who and why.  Why did she come from Mexico and end up in small-town Saskatchewan?  How did she like it?  Well, she said it was a culture shock, of course that was a few decades ago and now she was used to it.  I'd imagine in the early days - the winter alone would be a shock.  And small town life, well I've always said one day I'll try it - short term.  It's different from city life like winter differs from summer and spring from fall.  I don't suppose you know either until you've lived it.
Once the convent - now library/restaurant etc.

So after that it was on to, where else - the town library.  There I discovered the life of a small-town librarian is very different from that of one in the city.  Here, she appeared to be master of her domain.  Heading a wooden desk in a small room with only a dozen or so shelving units full of books.  And after I satisfied her curiosity about the new face in her library, I discovered a few other things; that she knew my Mom and wanted to be a writer.  So after giving her a few writing tips I turned her over to Mom.

And after that - we headed for home.  We'd had a history lesson, ate authentic Mexican food - and it was fantastic. I'm going back for their weekend special one day soon!  All in all it was a short but fun trip.


And the winner of Michelle Garron Flye's October 8 giveaway is: 


Mark your calendars!
Tuesday, October 23 I'm featuring Eldon Taylor and his amazing book Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology.  Stop by and check out the book and the link I'll have up for all the fabulous drawings that you can enter for a chance to win.  And I do mean fabulous drawings...  Really, I peeked.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The System Crashed - I Lost Everything!

It finally happened.  I knew one day it would.  It's just one of those things that you know.  Kind of like if you see that black cat walk in front of you or you walk under that ladder or... yeah they're just superstitions and nothing will happen and nothing does, usually; until it does!

Okay, so nothing was as dire as the title reads.  I suppose I could amend it to "The System Crashed - And I thought I Lost Everything!

Today I discovered that somehow in my cleanup, I'd dumped the entire folder of my first book "From the Dust".   Not only dumped but I emptied the trash well I was at it - irretrievable; at least by me.

The whole file was gone!  I discovered one lone little pdf copy of the published book and after that there was nothing.  It was as if the book had arrived printed and stuck between glossy cardboard overlaid by that lovely cover and nothing had happened before, no first drafts, no revisions - nothing.  Never mind everything else that was stashed in that file from newspaper interviews, to the sell sheet to...

First, I freaked. 

Then I tried to calmly tell myself that it was my first book.  It was safely published.  So as long as I had my good copy of the final published effort and some of the more important documents in hand, it was good.

Who was I kidding?

What else was missing?  I swallowed down a second panic go around by checking my more recent work, still there!  Feeling calmer.  That calm lasted, well not as long as it took to write this sentence.  

It was gone.  Every revision, and revision of a revision, yes, I know I could have dumped three-quarters of that file but it was that one quarter that had be feeling a little sickish.  So sickish that I didn't even consider that memory stick I loaded up last year - that was last year, leave me and my short-term memory alone.

So I eyed the little backup machine that I've never used to actually restore anything.  Fortunately I had used it to backup.  I'd listened to it chug and then give me a view of what it had done with the nice space age foldout of my system files by date spread across the screen that always included the word - restore.  But restore what?


Would I lose what I've done yesterday and today.  Would it do a Tom Sawyer whitewash of it all!   I remember reading that his whitewashing of the fence was rather haphazard.  Okay, so haphazard isn't too good either, possibly worse.  

Hoping for another option but who knew as the sleek little gadget had no findable or even memorable manual.  Hoping for that one saving option - overwrite, one file and one file only - an option yet to be seen, I opened time machine and there on October 9 sat From the Dust's entire folder.

Don't do it.

I had to!  Instinctively I right clicked after highlighting and there it was - the option to restore one file.  From the Dust was saved.  That little backup drive just became my most treasured possession.  Should there be a fire, after hubbie, forget the dog - I'm saving that sweet little device.

I will not be second to a machine!
Okay, really, I was kidding, Rourke.  I promise, in case of any type of disaster,  I'll get you and the device, possibly not in that order, oh - right and a memory stick or two.


I don't think he believes me.  In fact I know he doesn't.  He's ignoring me and heading up the stairs.  I'm not sure what he means to do there but I'm sure it will involve defacing something I hold dear.

Well I'm off to do damage prevention.  Meantime, hang around and check out the sidebar on the left or my website, for sales on both my books and the first contest of the month - both on until October 31!



Monday, October 8, 2012

Where The Heart Lies - Author Tour

Welcome to author, Michelle Garren Flye who is visiting today with her latest release, Where the Heart Lies!!

Stick around and find out more about Michelle and her latest release.  A bonus - not only do you discover a new book in Where the Heart Lies but Michelle will be giving away a 10% off coupon from Carina Press to one of today's commenters at this blog.  And the chances to win prizes don't stop there - Michelle will also be giving a second prize for one randomly drawn commenter over the duration of her book tour - a $10 Amazon gift certificate and a copy of Bartlett's Poems for Occasions, which inspired some of Where the Heart Lies. But, more importantly, today is a chance to meet Michelle and discover a great read!

So first up - a bit about Michelle.

Michelle Garren Flye is a mother, writer and editor based in coastal North Carolina.  She obtained her degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992.  Not liking the hours required of a journalist, she went on to obtain a Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1977.  When her first child was born in 2000, she packed her diplomas and began a new life as a stay-at-home mom, which fortunately afforded her the opportunity to pursue her writing on a semi-regular basis.

Michelle has served in various capacities for several online and print literary endeavors, including Dark Recesses, edifice WRECKED, Horror Library, Butcher Shop Quartet, and Tattered Souls.

Michelle is the author of three romance novels, Where the Heart Lies (Carina Press 2012), Winter Solstice (Lyrical Press 2011) and Secrets of the Lotus (Lyrical Press 2010).  Michelle also self-published a fiction book titled Weeds and Flowers for the Kindle in December 2011.

Here is Michelle's response to the sentence that we all know can lead one across the world or just around the corner. 

Describe a trip that changed you, whether near or far or:

Life hasn't been quite the same since...

When I was first given the challenge of writing about a trip that changed me, I knew it would be tough.  Every time I travel, something changes, but this needed to be something special.  I considered the trip to the hospital to have my first child, the trip my husband and I made to Bristol, U.K., shortly after we were married, and my first excursion to Las Vegas.  But what I kept coming back to was a much simpler trip.

It happened in the year my husband and I lived in Baltimore.  My little family (my husband, my 3-year-old son, my newborn and me) were scrunched into a two-bedroom apartment where the neighbors blasted their stereos through the paper-thin walls.  It happened that on one early spring Saturday we had nothing in particular to do.  It rained all morning and we stayed in.  By the time the sun came out that afternoon, my 3-year-old was into everything, my newborn was fussy and my husband and I were very short-tempered, to put it mildly.  Making a decision, I grabbed jackets and car keys and ushered everyone out the door with no clear idea of where to go, just to get out.

My husband drove us to Annapolis and we made our way to the waterfront.  if you've never been there on an early spring when it's just beginning to get warm, you don't know what you're missing.  The air sparkles and everyone is just happy to be there, especially after a morning of rain has kept you inside.  I remember we bought ice cream for all of us (except the baby, but he seemed happy to be outside in the sun), and we listened to someone playing reggae drums.  It resonated in me and I looked around at my husband and children and really felt how much I loved them.  It was so wonderful to feel that way after such a fretful day.

Thank you, Once Upon a Time, for asking me to write about this topic.  It reminded me that the simplest trips are sometimes the most meaningful.

Where the Heart Lies

All widowed Alicia Galloway has left of her war-hero husband are the flag that draped his coffin and his final wishes:  to move to his hometown, take over the family bookstore and enjoy a simple, quiet life with their two small children.  When she arrives, her husband's best friend makes that new life anything but simple.  How can she be so drawn to Liam Addison?

Liam only intended to help Alicia get settled.  But one unexpected kiss awakens his long-held forbidden feelings.  Soon, the town busybodies swoop in to warn Alicia away from him.  Because no matter the man he's become, he'll never live down his reputation as town troublemaker and wolfish womanizer.

No one wants the war hero's sweet widow and the supposedly former bad boy together.  But the more everyone tries to keep them apart, the closer he and Alicia get.  And the more determined Liam is to prove he's a changed man.  Will it be enough to convince Alicia to let a new love in her life?

Excerpt from Where The Heart Lies:

Alicia came out of the bathroom, fastening an earring.  She looked amazing in a long black skirt and white silk blouse with her brassy red hair falling over her shoulders.  For a moment he had trouble breathing.

He'd considered bringing flowers, but he'd known what Penny's opinion of that would be, and more importantly he hadn't wanted to do anything that would make Alicia uncomfortable.  Confronted by her beauty, however, his fingers felt empty, as if he needed something to offer just for the opportunity to look at her.  Was this how Aphrodite's worshippers had felt as they left their worldly goods a the feet of her statue in ancient Greece?

Want to read more?  I know I do.

Meantime, lets give Where the Heart Lies a rousing welcome!!  Jump in, find out more about the book or just say hello to Michelle by leaving a comment.  Maybe you'll be the lucky one to win a prize!

And, should you wish to contact Michelle directly, you can find her at:
At her website:  Breathe
And on Facebook at:  Michelle Garren Flye on Facebook

Note:  If the first four comments look funny to you - well due to a technical issue with the first post they were copied over once I deleted the original post to fix the problem.  Enough said - computers sigh!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

An Author Tour - New Book and a Giveaway

Monday, October 8, Thanksgiving up here in the "not yet frozen North".  Strangely we'll have done all that turkey eating, pumpkin pie thing on Sunday.  It's tradition, at least in our family, that Monday is Thanksgiving and we celebrate on Sunday.  Don't ask why, I don't know.

What I do know is what I'll be doing on Monday.  I'll be hosting author Michelle Garren Flye with her latest release,  Where the Heart Lies.  Stop by and meet the author.  Not only will you get a chance to ask her a question or two but one lucky commenter commenting here at Once Upon a Time... will win a 10% coupon from Carina Press.  Not only that but there will be a second draw for a commenter from any blog over the course of the book tour who will win a $10 gift certificate from Amazon as well as a copy of Bartlett's Poems for Occasions. 

Mark your calendars.  Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Another Day Another $1.50

Okay so the title has no real reference to anything in this post.  I was just trying not to be cliche.  And it sounded like a good title.   Don' t call every morning my most creative!  But on an obviously less-creative day,  I'm here at my desk pecking away and it's dark outside, dark and chilly.  What happened to those lovely long sunshiny days of summer when the mornings started early and the warm evenings ran late and...quick someone pull me back to reality!

Those days are officially over, that's clear as the furnace rumbles and the trees that keep spitting leaves that cause me to slog outdoors - yes that is slog because my gardening sandals are finally falling apart, and rake.  Wait, didn't I say that was free exercise?  Insert happy smile here - can hardly wait to rake.

Fall.  That time when strangely, while the plants are dying and summer stuff is being put away, we're all rushing to begin new things, start new programs, make new commitments.  With summer behind us, it's time to let go of the old.  In a way, at least for me, I'm more enthused to commit to something new now than I am to make say, a New Year's Resolution.  I know I'm for sure more apt to carry it out.

This year, it feels like there is only more and no new maybe because I haven't signed on for anything like a painting class.  Wait, I don't paint.  Instead there's a new story that is very close to moving from draft to first reader's hands.  And then there's all my side projects related to books that are already published, some ideas I have for one in the middle... and the projects, well they add up.

I've over-committed which only results in feeling overwhelmed.  I suspect much of this feeling is because, as one friend just reminded me on her facebook post, one must get organized.  And as much as I may want to tease her about her organized cutlery drawer, I think she may be right.  Organization does make everything clearer and it's easier to multitask when you have a clear flight path.  So one place I need to start is my computer files.  Time to dump some mail and take a look at the tired versions of stories that never made the cut, or old versions of those that did.  And create some folders for these new projects currently resting in the folder called 2012.

I've been dodging the cleanup thing for quite some time, telling myself that I don't have time.  But as I went through the long list of e-mails, many of which have no relevance to anything anymore, I found my place to begin.  Time to forget about moving everything to a new folder where it can be promptly forgotten, it's time to dump - ruthlessly send to trash and then horrors, hit "empty trash."

Yep, it's time for fall cleanup.  Let go of the old and grab onto some new.  I'm ready to go forth and attack, but first...  Wait, I think the living room walls need a wash down.  Yep, I think I'll start there.

And some of those things I'm working on, I'll post them over on my website and on the sidebar here for any of you that are the least bit curious.

So, anything you're dodging this week?