8/30: Today is Friday

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Today is Friday and I’m feeling kind of defeated

I missed the mark with something and

I’m hoping it was just a momentary lapse in judgement on my part

I’m hoping it was just a miscalculated step in my plans

I’m hoping I can decipher and discern

What failure tastes like so I can learn how to best avoid this misstep in the future

 

I hope Continue reading

Monday Motivation: Stay Focused

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Monday is here along with a fresh new work week.

Hard work has its rewards. Keep this in mind as you go through your week. Sometimes, when we face challenge after challenge, we can feel as if we’re making little to no progress on completing our goals. However, our hard work is not in vain. Consistency is the key to breakthrough as is patience.

To keep this short, I will leave you with this:

If we want to make our dreams a reality we have to be willing to put in the hard work. Stay focused and driven. Do not allow challenges to distort your view of your overall goal.

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

I hope all of you have a productive and successful week. God bless you all.

Book Review: A Bundle of Deceit

Title: A Bundle of Deceit

Author: Stacey Watts

Author Site: www.staceywatts.com 

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00SAAAZJ8 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19355005-a-bundle-of-deceit 

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Synopsis:

It was a string of bad luck and unfortunate circumstances that led Lucy Jennings to show interest in the two grandmothers that sat across from her desk. Six months ago Lucy discovered her boyfriend in bed with her best friend, and promptly decided that a major lifestyle change was in order. She dumped her steady job as a Police Officer, and opened up her own Private Investigation Agency.

The only thing the ladies could offer her was $250 and a letter from The Wishful Hearts Adoption Agency. The elderly ladies seemed to think the Agency had something to do with their grandson and his family’s sudden disappearance, and Lucy knew a couple of phone calls would clear up the matter quite nicely.

A simple visit to Wishful Hearts, however, turns this minor blurb in the newspaper to front page headlines and the office manager, Duncan Michels, turns her world upside down with his stunning good looks and flirty behavior.

Thrust into a scandal that sees the death of a key witness and blackmail in the highest parts of city government, Lucy must protect a young family and a man she would prefer not to fall head over heels in love with A Bundle of Deceit.

My Review:

Our actions come from somewhere. They are not the first step but the last. Beneath our actions is an underlying ground of reasoning. We only act when our minds have come to a decision. Now whether or not our decisions hold any weight depends entirely on the nature of our thoughts. We can even go another step backwards and say that our thoughts are impacted by our emotions. Take this concept into consideration, mix it with desire, deceit, and murder, and you have Watt’s character driven story, A Bundle of Deceit. I had the pleasure of reading this story and I’m excited to share my review, minus any spoilers of course.

Let’s start with the beginning. The opening prologue piqued my interest as I found it to be cleverly written. It gave away some interesting clues about Lucy’s personality. From this point, I fell in love with her character. Lucy’s quick and witty determination makes her a thought-provoking character that I’m sure most readers will love too. I mean what woman hasn’t experienced the struggle to find balance between pride, independence, and dependence? Not to mention, I’m sure men and women alike can relate to Lucy’s job predicament when it comes to leaving a job to start your own business. From the financial woes to second guessing, the struggles she experiences are real. Combine this with a unique male companion (Duncan) connected to her case, a few deaths, and several unanswered questions, what you have is a suspenseful mystery that Lucy and Duncan need to solve for both of their sakes.

In the beginning we know what’s wrong but we don’t know why. However, readers don’t have to worry about the story being boring or typical. The story has an even pace that will keep readers interested in seeing how everything comes to an end. When I reached the middle of the story the crisis had escalated (as a story should by this point) as Lucy and Duncan worked together to solve their mutual predicament. Thanks to a few incidents, both characters were well aware of the seriousness of their dilemma. Lives were at stake. By this point, I was more than committed to the storyline. I was dedicated to seeing the main characters resolve their situation. I was rooting for them and this is a dangerous position for a reader to be in. I had no control over their decisions and let’s face it. Like any character driven story, their emotions impacted their decisions, which further impacted their actions. This in turn pushed the development of the plot. Keep in mind that the tension wasn’t suffocating or complicated. At no point in the story was I lost or confused. The author did a great job of laying out the initial framework for the plot and climax.

I do want to mention that I was surprised by Duncan’s character. Taking into consideration the nature of his job and his response to the conditions he worked in, I expected him to turn out differently. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy his character. I just wanted to point out that I had his personality measured differently. This notwithstanding, I liked that Duncan went in a direction that I didn’t predict. This ultimately meant he engaged in actions I didn’t see coming. I love it when I can’t guess where the author is going to take me.

I don’t want to give away the secrets of this story but I will say there is a definite shift in Lucy’s attitude towards the end of the book. I am a huge fan of Lucy’s character and people like her who have the courage to step out and follow their own dreams despite their heavy past and the difficulties they currently face.

However, let’s jump over to the antagonist. I appreciate the way the antagonist’s character unfolded, especially when it came to understanding his/her reasons for their actions. This isn’t to say that I agree with his/her activities but from a reader’s position, it helps knowing that there aren’t any plot holes in the story. We know who’s evil and why. We don’t have to play the guessing game and when it’s all said and done, we don’t feel cheated.

In the beginning of the story the author is making a promise to the readers and posing questions. It’s like an agreement between the author and the readers. In the beginning we get teased a bit as it’s not until we get to the middle that we get to the real mass of the situation at hand. Then we’re left with possibilities as to how it may or may not be resolved. We keep reading to find out which path the characters will take. Will our assumptions be confirmed? Were my assumptions about this story confirmed? More importantly, was my contract with the author fulfilled?

I don’t want to discuss the ending because I want people to read the story for themselves. However, I will say that I am quite satisfied with how the story ended. In my opinion, the promise was met and the questions were answered. The contract between the author and reader was fulfilled.

Final Assessment:

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

I give A Bundle of Deceit 5 stars because every aspect of the story is enjoyable. I can look back at the overall story and guarantee that readers will appreciate the even pace in which this story unfolds. Also, when it comes to editing the story is perfect. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good suspense novel with light romance. Life has its twists and turns. Lucy’s life took a sharp turn. Nevertheless, her journey’s end was filled with love and a new outlook on life. Readers who decide to take the journey and read this book will receive their reward at the end and a few surprises along the way.

Alice Saunders, Editor

Follow me on Twitter: @LyricalTempest

http://www.lyricaltempest.com

Interview: Author Lisagh Winters

Would you please tell us about yourself and your work?

My name is Lisagh Winters, and I’m a Canadian that was raised in Vancouver, B.C.. I live out on the Atlantic coast now. I’m a huge music fan, particularly the 70’s and 80’s styles, and I play guitar. My work is different from most, but always centers on a love story. I love Dramedies, adventure/love stories, romantic comedies, etc. I don’t write erotica, but do include at least one naughty love scene per book. 🙂

As a young girl, I read a LOT of dog related stories like Call of the Wild, Old Yeller, The Incredible Journey, Big Red, Wilderness Champion, Lassie, and Where the Red Fern Grows. I was an enthusiast when it came to canines. Of course my tastes changed as I got older, preferring reads that focussed on a love story.

At what point did you realize this was something you wanted to do?

I knew I wanted to write and publish my own stories since I was about eight years old. I would habitually disappear into the coat room and write in my scribblers, novel after novel, with illustrations. I still have a few of these to this day. 🙂

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer later in life. I had a family, worked other jobs, you know, like everyone else. I still hold a separate job outside my writing now.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

The book was Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. I still have my original copy, a ninth printing of the novel, 1976. I read it from time to time as a reminder of how much emotion this book pulled out of me, and how much emotion I must strive to pull out of the readers with my own work.

What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

My typical working day will either consist of going to my day job, or writing. If I’m writing, I never set goals. That imparts stress and I am useless when I’m stressed out. I prefer to write by the seat of my pants, come what may. That is what editing is for. 😉 I write in the loft of my home, where I have built myself a nest with everything I need to facilitate my creative juices. I have it decorated in burgundy and gold, and there are lots of candles, incense, and of course a photo of my Mom. It’s out of the way of distractions and noise, and when it’s nice outside I open the window and listen to the Jays in the trees.

How do you deal with writer’s block? What is your advice?

Liquor. Okay, no, seriously now, lol, I walk away from the work and give myself a break. I’ll go for a coffee, maybe take a walk, I’ll call a friend to chat, or watch one of my favorite old TV shows on DVD. Those shows usually offer a great looking hero, and a love story threaded between the lines. My faves are Crossing, Jordan, Sliders, My Name Is Earl, and Firefly. 🙂 Try it. That, or I watch wrestling for the bodies, lol.

You wrote a book titled Soul Scavengers. What is this book about?

Soul Scavengers is about a team of ghost hunters (paranormal investigators) that tackle unusual cases that you might not see anywhere else. The team includes our hero Sullivan Wilde, the lead investigator, and heroine Olivia Emerson, a psychic medium. They meet on a closed investigation (one not being edited for TV) and lock horns right away. Sullivan is rude, condescending, and makes no bones about his disbelief in Olivia’s talents. Olivia is out to prove him wrong. She’s no fraud. Both Olivia and Sullivan soon discover butting heads isn’t getting them anywhere. The fact that there’s an entity out to get them forces them to work together just to make it to the other side of night. Their attraction to one another is evident from the get go, but neither one of them is willing to admit it until it may be too late.

How did you come up with the title?

I originally wanted to call it Soul Searchers, but that name was taken, so I settled on Scavengers, because it fit well. A friend of mine and I threw ideas back and forth until she came up with Scavengers. So I can’t take credit for the title.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

There are many, but I’ll choose one. My favorite part of the book was when Olivia accidentally reveals her painful past, and we get a peek into what makes her the way she is. We also get to see a snippet of Sullivan’s ability to be kind and offer comfort. He has a heart, and he demonstrates that. I love this part because it shows that even someone as hard as Sullivan appears to have the ability to feel and offer solace. No one is ever beyond hope. We are all human.

Did you work with an outline, or just write?

I did not work with an outline, just an idea. I just wrote.

Why do you think your readers are going to enjoy your book?

I think they’ll enjoy this book because it isn’t just a straight romance. It’s a little suspense, some comedy, a hint of adventure, and a romance all wrapped up into one story. I like stories like that myself. 🙂

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I watched a lot of reality TV paranormal shows, and I Googled lots of stuff, LOL.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting this book completed and published?

One of the biggest challenges I had was being a foreigner working with an American publishing company. Canada and the US have a trade treaty concerning earnings, and in order to take advantage of that I have to jump through like, a bazillion hoops and red tape with the IRS just to get paid. LOL. I can’t tell you how confusing the forms are that I had to fill out for taxation purposes.

Another challenge was over-coming my paranoia that I wasn’t good enough. That was the biggest challenge of them all. Self-doubt will creep in and bite you in the rear end at any moment. Don’t let him win. You are good enough, and let no voices in your head tell you any different.

What advice would you give to writers who are contemplating writing their first novel?

My advice is to write what you love and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Please see the last part of answer 13. Just sit down and start typing. Your imagination is only limited by your belief in yourself. If *I* can do this, YOU can too!

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I have a Facebook and Twitter account where I post things, and I used an ebook tour service. Everything Marie.com. The ebook tours are marvelous and showcase your work to hundreds, if not thousands of people. It’s well worth the money. Romance is a fickle lady, and you want every advantage you can lay your hands on. I find word of mouth, customer reviews, and good reviews from the romance book bloggers some of the best exposure you can get.

What has influenced your development as a writer?

Hmmm. I would have to say the thing that influences me the most as a writer, is watching or reading a good love story. Nothing gives me more motivation than seeing two characters discover that they are in love. Something else that helps with development is the encouragement of friends and family. Without that, it would be a little hollow for me.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

For a reader to tell me they were bored reading my story. That is the most crippling. There is no other worse thing you can tell me than to say that you were bored. It means I didn’t do my job and failed to capture your imagination.

The best compliment some readers have given me is that they ‘got’ my characters, and understood what made them tick. Along with that, I’ve been told the work is humorous and entertaining. I want to know you were thoroughly engaged for the whole book, and telling me that makes me smile. This was one of the best compliments I got:

“I found Soul ScavengersWilde and the Witch a highly entertaining paranormal romance with enough spice to heat up the pages and a malevolent haunting that will make you want to leave the light on. Perfectly balancing humor, horror and matters of the heart, I look forward to reading more of Lisagh J. Winter’s storytelling.”

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The hardest part of writing for me is to mind the word counts. I usually pay no attention until it’s down to the nitty-gritty and it’s being edited for the umpteenth time. That, and love scene after-glow stuff, lol.

What’s the best thing about being an author?

The best part about being an author is the joy of knowing that a reader had a great time reading my book. I entertained them and they were left satisfied, and that in turn, leaves me feeling satisfied.

Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

When I was a teenager, V.C. Andrews and the Flowers in the Attic Saga. I loved those books. Also, of course, Dr. Suess.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

Scatter – because, wine.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I enjoy going for drives in the country, drawing, gardening, and flying.

Are there any non-creative avenues you would like to explore?

I’d like to get back into the cockpit. It’s been a long time since I flew.

What motto, quote, or saying do you live by? Why?

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.”

– Yoda (‘The Empire Strikes Back’)

I love this movie quote because it says it all. We all have dreams, the only obstacle to those dreams is ourselves.

Do you have any upcoming projects, tours, events, or announcements that you would like to share with our readers?

YES! I have book two of Soul Scavengers coming out in about a month. 🙂 Watch my twitter and Facebook for updates!

I am also working on another romance, tentatively called, Only Hope. I am hoping, lol, to have this one out very soon. 😀 There will be a synopsis of this story up on my Goodreads and Facebook pages soon.

Can you tell us where people can find you? Website, social media, blog, etc.

https://twitter.com/MissLisaghW

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8029386.Lisagh_J_Winters

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisagh-J-Winters/211713765691794?ref=hl

My blog is in the Goodreads site. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. What final thought and/or message would you like to leave with our readers?

You’re welcome. This was my pleasure. 🙂

I suppose my final message would be to say that no matter what it is you want to accomplish, you can. I am living proof of that. I published a book. I shut my eyes and clicked the publish button and there it was! If you are afraid, I can help you with that. Let’s put it this way… I saw the movie The Wolf of Wall Street. If actor Leonardo Di Caprio can lie naked with a lit candle sticking out of his ass crack while hog tied, (the man has my respect) and do it knowing that millions of people are going to see this film, YOU can write and publish your own book. That, or whatever else your heart desires. It can be yours, all you have to do is get over your fear and believe in YOU.