Saturday, 31 March 2012

100 Follower Giveaway!!

We are ALMOST at 100 followers!!

As a THANK YOU, we are holding a giveaway! Up for grabs is a paperback copy of
The Hunger Games!

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

This is International, so go ahead and enter!  

 Giveaway will end once we reach 100 followers, so tell your friends!

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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch

T.J. has always looked out for his little sister, Angela. When Momma used to go out and leave them home alone, he'd lock the door so they'd be safe, keep Angela entertained, and get out the cereal and milk for her. When Momma's boyfriend got angry at them, he'd try to protect Angela. Later, at their foster homes, T.J. was the only one who knew how to coax his little sister out of her bad moods. The only one who understood why she made origami paper cranes and threw them out the window.

But now T.J. is sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, wondering if Angela, unconscious after a fall, will ever wake up. Wondering, too, if he will ever feel at home with his and Angela's new parents—Marlene, who insists on calling him Timothy, and Dan, who seems to want a different son.

Going back and forth between Now and Then, weaving the uncertain present with the painful past, T.J.'s story unfolds, and with the unfolding comes a new understanding of how to move forward.


Excerpt from WAITING TO FORGET by Sheila Kelly Welch
Pages 80 to 84

T.J. and his little sister, Angela, are getting ready to move into a permanent adoptive home after having lived with their birth mother in an unstable and even violent environment for many years. They've also been in several foster homes and are now creating special scrapbooks, called life books, under the direction of their caseworker.

In this scene, I wanted to convey the sense of uncertainty and ambivalence that older kids can feel when being placed for adoption. Angela is being uncooperative while T.J. is concerned with losing his name. Something similar to this accidental name-change happened to one of our children while he was in foster care. Sometimes a child's name is the only thing he has left to call his own.

South Hampton, New Hampshire
Copyright © 2011 by Sheila Kelly Welch
All rights reserved

Between Then and Now— 

            He tried to tell Mrs. Cox about his name on the day they were making their life books. She was talking on and on about their upcoming move from foster care into a “real forever” home.

“Marlene and Dan are so excited about becoming parents,” Mrs. Cox said. She frowned at the paper crane taking shape in Angela’s hands. “They will be just thrilled when you two are with them for good.”

            T.J. and Angela had not only met but even visited Marlene and Dan in their house with the huge backyard and swing set and wading pool. Angela had stared at the pool and said, “I already know how to swim. This is for babies.”

            “Shut up,” T.J. had told her. Even though he wasn’t at all sure whether he wanted Marlene and Dan to adopt him and Angela, he felt that insulting their pool was not a good idea.

            But Marlene had frowned at him, not Angela, and said, “Timothy, we don’t say ‘shut up’ in our house.”

             Everything about Marlene and Dan was different from what he was used to. T.J. wished he could feel excited about moving in with them, but he didn’t.

            And making this stupid life book was not helping.

            “How come she calls me Timothy?” he asked Mrs. Cox. “My name’s T.J. Not Timothy.”

            Mrs. Cox gathered up Angela’s cranes and put them in a paper bag. She shook her head. “Your name is Timothy James Riley. Says so right in your records.”

            T.J. wished he could take those stupid records and throw them out a window way up high and let them flutter away and get lost like Angela’s paper birds. “My name is T.J.,” he said again.

            “Yes, that’s your nickname.” Mrs. Cox smiled at him. “But your given name is Timothy James.”

            He wondered if she was planning on throwing that bag and those birds in the trashcan. But he had more important concerns.

            “T.J. That’s my initials and my name. T.J. stands for Tom Jones. That was my daddy’s name.”

            “Well, I’m sorry, T.J. You must be mistaken.” Mrs. Cox set the bag of paper cranes on the table and pulled a folder out of her scuffed black briefcase. She riffled through the papers in the folder and then pulled out a 5 x 7 school picture and laid it on the table next to the paper bag. “See?”

            He looked at the words where she was pointing. Timothy James Riley was typed on a label that had been stuck to the bottom of that photograph of himself.

            Did Momma lie to him? Maybe she’d made up that business about him being named for his father. Maybe there was no Tom Jones anywhere.

            “You know,” Mrs. Cox said, “Marlene was so pleased to learn your name is Timothy. I heard her tell Dan that she always planned to name a baby boy Timothy.” Mrs. Cox slid the picture back into the folder.

            “I’m not a baby boy,” T.J. said, feeling angry, suddenly, at Marlene because she had wanted a baby, not an eleven-year-old. “Can I see all that stuff? Those records?”

            “Well, not really, T.J. I mean, most of this … these papers are official, AFCS business. Not interesting at all.”

            “It’s all stuff about me and Angela, right? And our momma.”

            “No. Not all of it.” Mrs. Cox had shoved the folder back into her briefcase and was hooking the clasp.

            “Please? Could I just see some of the stuff? I mean, you showed me that picture.” T.J. felt as if those records were more important to some people than the real, live Angela and T.J. He wanted to see what was hidden inside that folder in the worst way. It suddenly seemed important. Worth being extra polite. “Please? Are there more pictures? I think that one you showed me was from second grade.”

            He could tell Mrs. Cox was relenting as she set her briefcase on the table.

“Let me check. Maybe I have a snapshot of your mother that Angela could put in her life book.”

            She didn’t find any pictures of Momma, but there were two more school pictures of T.J. and one of Angela taken the year when she was in kindergarten. T.J. studied his own face but he couldn’t remember when the pictures had been taken. There was nothing written underneath or on the back of the first one he flipped over. So he looked on the back of the other picture.

            T.J. Kindergarten was written in Momma’s rounded cursive. And underneath that someone (a social worker? a policeman?) had scrawled, in skinny, spiky letters, what looked like Tim James. Beneath that was printed, apparently by yet another official person, with a felt-tipped pen, Timothy James, and a question mark after it.

            “Look,” T.J. said to Mrs. Cox. He pointed to the scratchy Tim James writing. “I bet that’s supposed to be Tom Jones. Somebody with sloppy handwriting wrote my name. And then somebody else guessed it was supposed to be Timothy James. But it’s not. My name is T.J. Just T.J.”

            Keeping his real name, the one Momma had given him, was important to him, but he couldn’t explain why.

            “Oh, T.J., I’m sure there was no guessing about your name!” Mrs. Cox peered at the writing on the back of the photo. “Well …” She shook her head. “It does look a bit strange. I suppose something like that might happen. But what difference does it make? I mean, you are called T.J. whether your name is Timothy or Tom, right?”

            “But she … Marlene … calls me Timothy. Lots of times, Dan does too.”

            Mrs. Cox looked flustered as she put the photos back into the folder and then her briefcase. “I’m sorry about that, T.J. I will mention it to them. But Marlene loves the name Timothy, and it seemed like such a nice coincidence. As if it was all meant to be.”

            T.J. opened his mouth to say that it wasn’t “meant to be” if his name was not Timothy. But before he could say that, Angela jumped off her chair.

            “I gotta go potty,” she said loudly, and Mrs. Cox had to take her to the bathroom down the hallway.

            By the time they came back, T.J. was working on another page in his life book. He was making a picture that was intended to upset his caseworker.

            “Who’s that?” Mrs. Cox asked him when she glanced at the picture.

            “Billy,” he answered. 
            “Well, he certainly isn’t a very attractive person,” Mrs. Cox said with a frown. “Are you sure you want to include him in your life book?”

            “Why not?” asked T.J. “He’s part of my life.”

            “Oh, well, I understand, but …” Her voice trailed off. “Angela? Please draw something, anything, for your life book. How many birds have you made? Six, is it? That’s really plenty.”                                                                                                           

            Angela’s clear blue eyes drifted up from the yellow piece of paper she had just started to fold. Her gaze settled on T.J.’s drawing. “Billy?” she whispered.

            T.J. covered the picture with both hands. He had not thought about Angela’s noticing it. “You don’t need to look at him. He was no good, remember?”

            Angela nodded her head, her soft curls moving gently at the top of her shirt collar. But her face looked pinched up, as if she were holding something inside so no one would see it. T.J. wished he’d lied. Pretended it was someone else. Or not included Billy in his life book at all.

            The picture actually looked nothing like Billy. It showed more how T.J. felt about him. Wild lines coming off the purple circle of a face. Huge eyes that stared out, as if to see all the things T.J. wanted to keep hidden, to keep safe. And growing out of that face were long arms with sharp fingernails.

            Mrs. Cox let out a long sigh. “He looks like a monster.”

    About the Author
Sheila Kelly Welch writes and illustrates for children of all ages. Her story, “The Holding-On Night,” published in Cricket, won the International Reading Association’s Short Story Award. Her most popular books are Little Prince Know-It-All and A Horse for All Seasons. Her middle-grade novel, The Shadowed Unicorn, was short-listed for the Prairie Pasque Award and was likened to Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia in a Booklist review. Sheila and her husband live in Illinois where they raised five sons and two daughters. Four of the children were adopted when they were of school age. Although she has two degrees from Temple University, she has learned more from her children than from any college course.

Visit Sheila Kelly Welch:
And find Waiting To Forget here:


March 18 - J.A. Unnecessary Musings' at - (Interview)     

March 19 - Blogging with Kristine Cayne Blog URL: (author bio, blurb, photo optional)and giveaway. 

March 20 - Steve - The random thoughts of Stephen Herfst - (review) 

March 21 - Faye - A Daydreamers Thought's (interview & giveaway) 

March 22 - Nancy Stewart: -   (guest post)

March 23 - Pragya Sharma Reviewing Shelf (review/interview and giveaway) 

March 24 - Allison Hunter-Frederick -  (review)

March 25 - Making Connections Blog - http://makingconnectionsgroup.blogspot.c...

March 26 - My Blog Name: Cecilia Robert's written word URL: (review) 

March 27 - Sheika - Doctor's Notes - (review) 

March 28th - Elemillia - Personal Literary Book Frenzy - http://personalliterarybookfrenzy.blogsp... (review)       


Friday, 9 March 2012

Author Interview - Loukia Borrell

Loukia Borrell, author of "Raping Aphrodite," joined us today for an interview. Thank you, Loukia, for taking time out of your busy schedule for us! 

What if everything you know about your life is wrong? In "Raping Aphrodite," Tash Colgate seems to have everything: a solid marriage, a successful career and a bright future. But all that changes when Tash agrees to display items from Cyprus in her art gallery, opening the door on long-held family secrets that, once exposed, will change the lives of everyone Tash knows and trusts.


When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Do you see writing as a career?
I had a real focus on English when I was growing up, so I gravitated toward that as I made my way to college. There, I decided to be a journalist and worked at the college newspaper, eventually becoming editor my senior year. After graduating, I spent about 20 years working for various newspapers in Virginia and Florida. When I had children, I wrote less often. It was more of an off and on thing. A few years ago, I started my first book, "Raping Aphrodite." I didn't see myself as an author 10 years ago or even five, but I think you have to evolve as you age and keep moving. Some writers can make a career out of it, those who have popular series or blockbusters every year, but I am not in that group. Maybe, someday. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 
I don't have hours and hours of free time because all of my children are still young. My primary responsibility is raising them and running the day-to-day schedule in the house. That includes the yard, groceries, cooking, laundry, etc. My mother, who has dementia, stays with us weekdays, so I have a lot going on all the time. Still, I find the time to do what I want to do. I write early in the mornings, while people are sleeping, in the afternoons when the kids are in school, and sometimes late at night. I wrote most of "Raping Aphrodite" in my bedroom, on a sofa. It was pretty straightforward. I don't have a private getaway or a writer's studio.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
There is a rape scene in "Raping Aphrodite" and some consensual sex scenes I felt awkward writing about. I felt they needed to be in the book to fully detail events in a character's life or to better understand the relationship between two important characters. 

What or who do you see as the influences on your writing?
For "Raping Aphrodite," I was influenced by my own heritage. Both of my parents were born in Cyprus and my maternal grandparents disappeared when Turkey invaded the island. I heard many stories about the island's history and that particular summer that have stayed with me through the years, so that back story definitely influenced the book.

Can you tell us a little bit about Raping Aphrodite? 
"Raping Aphrodite" is a novel with two story lines. The first story line is about a woman named Tash Colgate, who owns an art gallery in Norfolk, Va., and agrees to have an exhibition of items from Cyprus. In doing so, her life unravels as long-held secrets about her past bubble to the surface. Her husband, Christian, learns his wife isn't who she thinks she is. The second story line goes back to 1974, when Cyprus was invaded by Turkey. A young American Peace Corps volunteer is taken hostage, escapes and begins to walk to the island's capital to get help for the others in her group. Toward the end of the book, both story lines come together. 

What are you working on now?  
I am working with a book designer to get "Raping Aphrodite" out in soft cover with CreateSpace. I also am answering questions like these for bloggers. Later, once I feel ready, I plan to begin the prequel to "Raping Aphrodite," which will focus on Tash and Christian's relationship when she was in high school.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
I take very long walks to think things through. I also ride my bike, watch movies, and write in my journal. Once or twice a year I get away with my family and take a trip. 

What book are you reading now?
Patricia Highsmith's "Ripley Under Ground." 

Thank you for having me as a guest. I am on Twitter @LoukiaBorrell and also on Goodreads and Book Blogs. "Raping Aphrodite" is an e-book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Amethyst Eyes by Debbie Brown

Waking up in the hospital from the car accident that claimed his mother’s life, 15-year-old Tommy is told his father is on his way. Unaware of his father’s true identity or the reason he left so long ago, the teen is unprepared for the reality of the life he must now lead. In the blink of an eye Tommy finds himself on an alien vessel…his father is not from Earth!

The challenges Tommy face go beyond adapting to a new home and school. But first, he has to survive Jayden…the reluctant, unsympathetic tutor, tasked to help him fit in. When he finally thinks things are getting better, things come crashing down as he learns that being born with amethyst eyes has made him the target of some very unfriendly beings. 


     “Hold on!” Tommy’s mother yelled as she tried to steer their old Cherokee from the truck’s path. Tommy never saw it coming. It was just there, on the wrong side of the road and out of control.
     “Mom?” Closing his eyes tight, he grabbed hold of the arm she placed across his chest to shield him from the crash, and as suddenly as the truck had appeared, his world went black.
     The smell of the smoke was the first thing he noticed. Opening his eyes, he saw that they were still in the jeep. What was left of it. His entire body screamed with pain as he tried to move. “Mom,” he called. She was pinned to her seat by the steering wheel. A trickle of blood ran from the corner of her mouth.
     “T-om-my,” she managed.
     Tears filled his eyes. Don’t die, he thought to himself. Removing his seatbelt, he attempted to slide closer to her. A sharp stab of pain surprised him, releasing a wave of dizziness. Sweat beaded on his forehead. “Mom…”
     Stirring ever so slightly, she tried to speak. Her voice was barely a whisper. “Join…the…p-pen-dant.” The effort seemed to cost her greatly. She coughed and let out a small cry as she slipped into unconsciousness.
     Tommy’s mind raced. The pendant, the pendant. He knew what she meant, he just never believed it. He thought she was joking when she said it was their 911 line to his father. Forcing himself to focus, he pulled on her chain until he located the clasp. Sliding it open and removing the chain, he secured it around his neck. Then he proceeded to join the two stone halves. Would his father come? Where was he? What had Mom meant when she told me ‘you will know your father’s world soon enough’?
     A burst of coloured light filled the car. Tommy dropped the pendant as if it had suddenly become too hot to handle. Before the pendant hit his chest, the molecules shifted, rendering it invisible. He knew now that his father would come. Another wave of dizziness hit as he gazed one last time at his mother.
     “I love you, Mom,” he whispered as darkness claimed him.

     Tommy’s stomach knotted as he recognized the antiseptic smell that could only belong to a hospital. Opening his eyes, the memory of the accident came slowly back. He began to cry. The heart monitor raced in response to the sudden onrush of emotion, and he couldn’t control the sobs that took hold of his body. He didn’t try to either.
     A nurse stepped in to check on him. After a quick evaluation, she wrapped her arms around him tight, and without saying a word, let him grieve over his loss.
     When the tears were all but spent, Jenna (according to her name tag) brushed the hair from his forehead. He felt so empty and alone, even in the comfort of her arms. His breaths caught sharply when she gently repositioned the brace around his shattered leg, but he said nothing.        
     “I’m so sorry for your loss,” she said in a soft voice. She helped him settle back in the bed, stood and checked on his various tubes and wires. “Your father has contacted us and will arrive in a few days.” Pulling a pad from her pocket, she checked her notes.
 “You aren’t due for more pain medication for another hour.” She shoved the paper back in her pocket. “But if the pain is too intense, I can-”
     “I don’t want it.” He cut her off.
     She smiled in a gentle manner. “Well, we’ll wait and see, ok?”

     On the day of his father’s arrival, Tommy stood in the bathroom with the help of his crutches and examined his features closely. He wondered how much he looked like his father. Did he have the same amethyst eyes, or the strange gold highlights in his hair? The glow of the overhead bulb seemed to accentuate the unearthliness of his most prominent features.
     Jenna poked her head into the room. “Are you ready?”
     He avoided her gaze. “I still have a few things to pack.”
     “To meet your father, I mean.” Without missing a beat, she walked over to him, placed his hair quickly and proceeded to escort him to the door.
     “I can’t.” He stopped before stepping out into the hall. “He left almost thirteen years ago. I don’t even remember what he looks like. I was only two...” his voice trailed off.
     Jenna placed a comforting hand on his arm. “He’s as nervous as you are, and I don’t think you’ll have any trouble recognizing him. Let’s go, gorgeous.” She winked at him in an attempt to lighten the mood, but her support and reassurance were genuine.
Jenna led Tommy to a private lounge where a tall, uniformed man stood by the window, looking out over the city. Tommy didn’t recognize the blue-and-black uniform but thought nothing of it. The commander turned at the sound of the door opening, and two sets of amethyst eyes met for the first time in years. A silent exchange of acknowledgement passed between the two.
     Jenna stood, hands on hips. “Now don’t tell me you’re one of those cold military types who can’t risk an emotional display by hugging a son you haven’t seen in years.”
Jenna’s outburst caused the commander to blush ever so slightly. He made his way over to his son. Tommy let his crutches fall to the floor as he held tight to his father.
     “Leave us,” the commander ordered with no room for discussion. He lifted Tommy’s chin and examined him closely. “I am saddened at the loss of your mother. This was not how we had planned it.”
     “What do you mean?” Tommy’s could barely get the words out.
     “Come, sit.” A strong arm held Tommy by the waist, and guided him to the couch.    Taking a deep breath the commander continued, “As you know, your mother and I are of different origins. She chose not to follow me but to remain here and raise you until the age of eighteen. At this point, I was to return and give you the choice of worlds.”
     “The choice of worlds?” Tommy repeated. “I’d never even thought about a military career.” Why would his father talk about this now?  “How far were you stationed that you couldn’t even write?” Painful questions Tommy usually avoided were beginning to stir inside.
     A look of surprise crossed the commander’s face. Releasing the breath he had been holding he said, “I see your mother has not prepared you for this at all.” He passed a hand over his mouth and then tapped his watch twice.
     “Yes, Commander?” A man’s voice filled the room.
     “Molecular transport, on my mark.” Standing, he helped Tommy to his feet and collected the crutches. “I will show you my world, and I will explain.”
     Confused, Tommy nervously accepted his father’s support.
     Holding his son tight, the commander gave the order.
     Tommy blinked as everything around him faded. He was no longer in the hospital lounge but on a raised platform at the back of a square, unadorned room. A shimmering glass wall separated them from the two men who sat at some kind of computer console. He froze in place. This was not possible. “Father…” Tommy whispered.
     “All clear, Commander,” one of the two men said.
     His father nodded to the officer. “Follow me,” he said to Tommy.
     Tommy couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. He was trying to process what had just happened, but his mind wasn’t able to accept it. His heart rate shot up and his legs felt weak.
     “Do you require assistance?” his father asked.
     Forcing himself to focus, Tommy shook his head ‘no’ and hobbled forward.
     “We will take it slow, one step at a time.” His father helped him down from the platform, and they stepped out of the room into a brightly lit, ice-blue corridor. “Are you able to walk, or would you prefer we-”
     Tommy cut him off. “I can walk.” He took a few unsteady steps forward. “A bit.”
     “Do you know where we are?” his father asked as they moved slowly down the corridor. The answer came as they made their way to the large, oval port hole at the end of the corridor. It showed Earth in all her glory, directly below them.

              About the Author
For as long as she can remember, Debbie has been creating stories in her head. She hated to go anywhere without a pen and paper, just in case. As a graduate of the Institute of Children's literature, while pursuing yet another writing course, she finds herself doing what she loves . . . learning and writing. The course gives her an excuse to just sit down and write. Over the years she has worked as a nurse, a teacher, a martial arts instructor and a CIC officer in the Canadian Forces. Her hobbies have varied from woodworking, to auto-mechanics, with music, painting, karate, holistic medicine, gardening and camping thrown into the mix. Let's not forget reading. Debbie's perfect cure for a long winter's night is curling up in front of a fire with a good book while snowflakes drift slowly past the window. Never having been much of a city girl, she lives with two of her four children, her husband Jean-Pierre and their pets in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. She couldn't imagine life without the beauty found in the trees, mountains and lakes that surround her.

Contact info:

Buy Links:

The book is available through over 100 online bookstores worldwide; you just have to Google it to find it!

If you like the book, feel free to LIKE its facebook page.

If you have any questions feel free to ask and I promise to get back to you.  Feel free to post comments and reviews.

Thank you for reading!


Hi Everyone! Welcome to Making Connections 1st Book Tour!

March 5 - BookSpark - (interview & giveaway)
March 6 - H.A. (interview/giveaway)

March 7 - Making Connections Blog - http://makingconnectionsgroup.blogspot.c...

March 8 - Tess - My Pathway to Books (interview)

March 9 - Pragya Sharma Reviewing Shelf (review & giveaway)

March 10 - Stephenie - Stephie Reads Books (review & giveaway)

March 11 - Suzanne - Off the Page (interview, author bio)

March 12 - Cecilia Robert's written word URL: (review)

March 13 - Faye - A Daydreamers Thought's (interview & giveaway)

March 14 - Blogging with Kristine Cayne Blog URL: (author bio, blurb and giveaway.

March 15 - J.A. Unnecessary Musings' at - (Interview)