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Title: Hopefully Ever After
Genre: Breast Cancer Memoir
Author: Linda Barrett
Publisher: Linda Barrett
About the Author
Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators, Romance Writers of America, and EPIC authors. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest. When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.
Her latest book is the fantasy romance, The Enchanted.
Visit her website at www.elainecantrell.com.
The sound of a trumpet interrupted Alan. Meryn entered the room behind the trumpeters and called in a ringing voice, “His majesty, King Maccus, and his daughter, the Princess Morgane, wife of Prince Alan, heir to the throne of his father, King Bowdyn.”
Everyone at the table rose to their feet and bowed as Maccus and Morgane paused at the door. Alan could not stop staring at the princess. He had not expected her to be so beautiful. Her red‑gold hair cascaded across her shoulders in swirling waves he ached to touch. Even from this distance he could see that her eyes were the color of the sea on a cloudy, stormy day. Her white, beribboned gown made their unique color stand out. She had a willowy, lithe figure.
Every inch the king, Bowdyn crossed the room and took Princess Morgane’s hand. “Come. I will introduce you to your husband, Prince Alan.”
She did not limp, but she stepped very quickly as if she did not want her feet to touch the floor any longer than necessary. Still, she held her head up high as she made her way across the hall, her heavy, stiff skirts rustling on the stone floor.
ʺMy son, this is your wife, Princess Morgane. Morgane, this is your husband, Prince Alan.”
Bowdyn placed Morgane’s hand into Alan’s. Her fingers were icy cold. He bowed to her and kissed her hand. “It is my honor to meet you. Will you be seated beside me?”
Morgane seated herself beside him as he held out her chair. Her skin looked as smooth as satin and as creamy as the finest milk, but no one could miss the horrible red scar that marred her face. She turned her head and caught him staring. Her face flushed red, causing the scar to look that much worse. Turning away from him, she fastened her eyes on the wall in front of her.
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Today I am very happy to welcome Dan Maurer the author of the Snow Day novella to the blog. You can check my previous post to read more about what Snow Day is about. It sounds really good.
Thanks Dan for taking the time out of your busy tour schedule to do this guest post for me. I truly appreciate it.
Snow Day: a Novella
A Single Night of Thoughtful Thrills
I love novellas. Snow Day, the ebook and audiobook thriller that I’ve recently published, is a novella.
I even like the sound of that word. It has a nice ring to it. Say it with me – no-vel-la. Many great writers like John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, and Ernest Hemmingway have written famous novellas. And for those of us who prefer to read about things that go bump in the night, authors like Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Robert Lewis Stevenson and many others can be added to the list. That’s not bad company. In fact, I love the form and I’m excited to tread, with light foot, along the same literary path as such worthy craftsmen.
Longer than a short story, but shorter than a traditional novel, the novella is a wonderful but rare bird. So rare, in fact, that many young adult readers have never encountered one – not in paper form, any way. Sometimes, when I tell people I’ve written a novella, they cock their heads like a confused puppy. The words of encouragement or congratulations that spill from their lips are always polite, occasionally enthusiastic, but often accompanied by a questioning tone that lingers in the air like the scent of a sweet smelling herbal cigarette smoked less than an hour ago – not terribly unpleasant, but still, something I could do without.
In that moment, I pretend that I can read minds, and their thoughts often fall into three categories. Either they think they misheard me – He said novel, didn’t he? Or, they are mildly disappointed, as if a good friend missed the mark on the grail-like quest to write the great American novel– Only a novella, hmm, that’s too bad. And then there are those who dismiss it as something it is not – Oh, it’s just a short story. At least, that’s what they think as they smile and wish me well.
Snow Day is simply a tale that found its natural length and scope in the land of not-quite-a-novel. But like King’s The Mist, or Matheson’s Duel, or Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, its size is its charm. Like all good novellas, it strives to concentrate its impact on the reader into a single evening of thrills, and if I’ve done my job right, offer a few interesting ideas that may chill you. All in one evening, all for the price of a cup of coffee, and for no more personal commitment than the time that passes between the end of dinner and the start of Charlie Rose. In this age of long work days and over booked calendars, who could ask for more?
As a parent, I was eager to use Snow Day as way to explore an earlier time – 1975 – a time when the world that young children played in was much different from what we know today. As they page through Snow Day, younger readers will no doubt think they’ve entered an alien world, one that their parents might call the good ol’ days. But as you’ll discover, they weren’t always as good as we remember, and they certainly weren’t any more safe. In Snow Day, Billy Stone, a middle-aged father of two sons, has been haunted for years by nightmares that only come when a blizzard is brewing the evening before a school day. In his personal recollection, written at the suggestion of his doctor, he takes us back to that one unforgettable snow day from his childhood and the origins of his dark dreams. Essentially an ode to the campfire stories of my youth, I readily and proudly admit that Snow Day owes a few strands of its DNA to tales like Harper Lees’ To Kill a Mocking Bird (still my favorite novel), King’s The Body, and others tales of their kind. There is even a subtle nod Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. See if you can’t find it in Chapter 15.
I’m sure these influences will be clear as you read Snow Day, but the real question will be this: did I do them justice, and more importantly, did this novella fulfill the promise of the form – a single night of thoughtful thrills and an interesting, perhaps chilling idea for you to consider as you power down your Kindle, refresh your night cap, and tune in to hear Charlie Rose utter those familiar words…”Tonight on the program…” Only you can be the judge of that.
It happens each winter, and has for over 35 years. Every time the snow starts to fall late in the evening before a school day, the dreams begin again for Billy Stone. They are always the same – there’s a dark tunnel, and there’s blood, lots of blood, and someone is screaming.
In this chilling childhood tale, Billy, recounts the events of one unforgettable day in 1975. On that day, he and his friends played carefree in the snow, until an adventure gone awry left him far from home, staring death in the face, and running from a killer bent on keeping a horrible secret.
Set in a time before Amber Alerts, when horror stories were told around camp fires instead of on the nightly news, Snow Day is a blend of nostalgia and nightmare that makes us question if the good old days were really as good as we remember.
From a new voice in dark fiction comes a thriller about an idyllic childhood turned horrifying; a cautionary tale about how losing sight of the difference between feeling safe and being safe can lead to deadly consequences.
Free Audiobook Sample — Snow Day: Prologue
Dan Maurer is an independent author, publisher, theater producer, director, and digital marketer. He is also a proud member of International Thriller Writers, Inc. and the Horror Writers Association. Throughout his career in publishing and marketing, he has been involved in the publication of bestselling titles such as John Grisham’s The Firm, Richard Price’s Clockers, and Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger’s Lost Moon, which became the film Apollo 13. As a digital marker, he has supported popular publishing brands including Curious George, Peterson Field Guides, and The Polar Express. He has also developed marketing strategies for many corporations, including Citizen, Dun & Bradstreet, RCN and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dan is a member of an acclaimed New Jersey-based theater company and has won awards for his producing, directing and sound design. He lives with his wife and their daughter in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
My voice was cautious as I called into the darkness. It wasn’t my house and I had no business being down in that cellar. By the look of the boards on the windows upstairs, and the weeds that strangled the front yard, it hadn’t been anyone’s house for a long time. But still, even at ten, I knew in my bones that I’d made the biggest mistake of my life.
One of the windows was busted at the corner, and the cold wind whipped and whistled at the breach. Outside, a loose metal trash can rolled and rattled and knocked about with each new gust. It made a soft, distant sound.
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
The only light was an old Coleman lantern that I found there. It lay at my feet, the mantle fading and sputtering. Beyond the meager glow that lit no more than my boot-tops, it gave me the terrifying certainty that someone was here, or close by, and would soon —
Was that a sound? I held my breath and listened carefully, trying hard to dismiss the pounding pulse that thrummed in my ears. Was that a shuffling sound, maybe feet moving and scraping across loose dirt?
“Hello…? Anyone here…?”
I squinted hard but it was useless. The darkness was unyielding and oddly thick with the smell of freshly turned earth. Someone had been digging down here.
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
Running into the house to hide from the police was my only option. The place should have been empty, long abandoned. But it wasn’t, and I knew now that I had to get out. I turned to leave, to run; and then I heard it, a word from the darkness. It was whispered and pitiful and — it was my name. Someone in the darkness called my name.
”Who’s there?” I called out.
”I…I…didn’t d-do nothing wr-wrong, Billy.”
Both the voice and its stutter were familiar. Just hearing it made my guts twist.
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
I snatched up the lantern at my feet, recalled my scout training, and worked the pump to pressurize the kerosene. The lantern’s mantle hissed a bit, burned a little brighter, and pushed back the darkness.
The light washed over a young boy. Like me, he was just ten, and I knew his name.
It came out like a question, but it wasn’t. Tommy Schneider lived next door to me and was part of our snowball fight just a few hours before.
When the light touched him, Tommy flinched and turned his shoulder, as if anticipating a blow. He shivered and folded his arms across his chest, hands tucked in his armpits. He paced and shuffled his feet in a small circle, as if his bladder was painfully full, and he whined and muttered; half to himself, half to me.
“It w-wasn’t m-my fault, Billy. I…I just w-wanted to play.” His eyes were swollen and red, and the tears ran streaks through the dirt on his freckled face.
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
“Tommy, what the hell are you doing down here?”
”I..I…I’m sorry, b-but I d-didn’t do nothing wrong, Billy. I’m s-sorry.”
He kept his hands tucked under his armpits, but motioned with his chin. And that’s when I saw it, just a few feet from where I stood.
Naked and half buried in a pile of loose earth lay the dead body of a boy that appeared to be our own age.
”Jesus Christ…what the hell, Tommy.”
”No….” His whining grew and fresh tears were coming.
”What the hell did you do?”
”Nooo…” he whined more and covered his ears. “I didn’t do nothing wrong.”
Frantic now, I held out the fading lantern, quickly looking around. We were still alone. The scene before me was unfathomable.
In the half-shadows of the cellar where the lantern struggled to reach, there was a pile of fresh, moist earth and broken shards of concrete. I saw some tools – a sledgehammer and a shovel, and I think a pickax, too. A few brown sacks of cement mix were piled against the wall. And there was a large hole; a gaping wound in the cellar floor that reached beneath the foundation of the house, a hole that led down into a place where the lantern’s light could not touch. Nearby, a stray boot lay in the dirt, just beyond it a gym sock, and another lay close by my feet. A faded, wadded up pair of jeans was perched at the edge of the hole.
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
I shivered, despite my layers of clothing and new winter coat. Tommy was freezing. He wore only jeans and a t-shirt pulled over a long-sleeved sweatshirt. His breath, like mine, fogged in the January air, and his jaw waggled helplessly from his shivering.
“Who’s that?” I asked, pointing to the body.
At first, Tommy’s eyes followed my finger, but then he just moaned and cried some more, and turned away.
I couldn’t tell if the boy on the ground was from our immediate neighborhood, or my school, or Boy Scout troop, or baseball team. It was difficult to discern much about him at all. He lay on his belly in a pile of dirt, and the loose earth covering his face and parts of his torso were, it seemed, tossed on him carelessly by whoever dug the hole. The backs of his pale white thighs glowed in the lantern’s light. The only stitch of clothing left on him was a pair of white Fruit of the Loom jockeys tangled around one ankle.
I picked up one of the gym socks from the ground, pinched it into a ball and held it with the tips of my fingers. Kneeling beside the dead boy’s head, I held the lantern close with one hand and used the sock to brush the dirt from his face with the other. Like a fossil being unearthed by an archeologist, the truth came slowly. As the seconds passed, the light and each stroke of my hand brought broken, bloodied and indecipherable features into sharp focus. But the crushed and jellied eyeball put me over the edge.
I jerked back from the body.
”Oh, God! Tommy, what — “
My stomach lurched.
I dropped the lantern and fell backward onto the ground. Turning and scrambling away on hands and knees, I found a corner and began to wretch. My back arched and my body convulsed uncontrollably. It was the Coney Island Cyclone all over again, but this time nothing came up, only thin strands of bile dripped from my mouth and down my lips.
In time, the convulsions faded. I finally rolled over and just sat there, looking at Tommy, wiping the spittle from my lips with the back of a shaky hand. My head throbbed and my mind was fuzzy. No words would come.
The wind howled through the broken cellar window again. Outside, the passing cars made a distant shushing sound as they crept along Woodlawn Avenue, tires rolling through the snow and slush. My heaving, stinking breath clouded in the cold air, and Tommy just cried.
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…
I was ten years old and had just seen my very first real dead body – still and soulless, and battered beyond recognition – lying on the floor of a cold, dark cellar of an abandoned house. What the hell did I get myself into?
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…
Staggering to my feet, I picked up the lantern and held it out.
”Tommy… who did this?” My throat was dry and pained.
Just as the words passed my lips, something in my mind and in my ears opened up – popped open, really, like in the cabin of an airliner during descent. That sound.
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…
It was different. It was continuous. It wasn’t the rattling trash can anymore. The sound came from a distance but it was there, and it was distinctive. I knew exactly who was standing impatiently, hip cocked and jaw set, banging on the lip of a dinner bell with her soup ladle.
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…
Tommy looked at me. He heard it too and knew what it meant.
”Your Ma’s calling, Billy.”
”I…I…didn’t d-do nothing wr-wrong, Billy,” Tommy whined. “I just w-wanted to play.”
”It was ol’ George,” he finally said. “He did it. Stay away from ol’ George.” And then he started to cry again, whimpering. “I just wanted to play,” he mumbled through the tears. ‘ …just wanted to play…”
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…Clang, clang
Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries.
This promotion will run from July 1 – September 27. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on September 28, 2013.
Each blogger who participates in the Snow Day virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win.
Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.
If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)gmail.com. What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!
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Today I am honored to be on Deborah Serani’s blog tour stop for her book Depression and your Child.
Title: Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers
Genre: Self-Help, Parenting
Author: Deborah Serani
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 16, 2013)
Seeing your child suffer in any way is a harrowing experience for any parent. Mental illness in children can be particularly draining due to the mystery surrounding it, and the issue of diagnosis at such a tender age. Depression and Your Child gives parents and caregivers a uniquely textured understanding of pediatric depression, its causes, its symptoms, and its treatments. Author Deborah Serani weaves her own personal experiences of being a depressed child along with her clinical experiences as a psychologist treating depressed children.
Current research, treatments and trends are presented in easy to understand language and tough subjects like self-harm, suicide and recovery plans are addressed with supportive direction. Parents will learn tips on how to discipline a depressed child, what to expect from traditional treatments like psychotherapy and medication, how to use holistic methods to address depression, how to avoid caregiver burnout, and how to move through the trauma of diagnosis and plan for the future.
Real life cases highlight the issues addressed in each chapter and resources and a glossary help to further understanding for those seeking additional information. Parents and caregivers are sure to find here a reassuring approach to childhood depression that highlights the needs of the child even while it emphasizes the need for caregivers to care for themselves and other family members as well.
Purchase your copy at AMAZONor at Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.
About the Author:
Dr. Deborah Serani is a go-to media expert on a variety of psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in ABC News, Newsday, Womens Health & Fitness, The Chicago Tribune, The Associated Press, and affiliate radio station programs at CBSand NPR, just to name a few. She is a ShareCare Expert for Dr. Oz, writes for Psychology Today, helms the “Ask the Therapist” column for Esperanza Magazine and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A licensed psychologist in practice over twenty years, Serani is also an adjunct professor at Adelphi University teaching courses in clinical disorders and treatment and is the author of the award-winning book “Living with Depression.”
Her latest book is Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.
Visit her website at www.drdeborahserani.com.
When you held your child for the very first time, you were likely brimming with pride and joy. Your heart swelling with enormous love, you’re swept away with streams of thoughts for what your child needs in this immediate moment—as well as plans and dreams for the future. You expect there to be wondrous adventures your child will experience, as well as bumps in the road along the way.
And that’s okay, you say, because you know that life isn’t always an easy journey.
But one thing you probably never considered was how an illness like depression could take hold of your child. And why would you? Up until recently, it was never believed that children could experience depression. Long ago, studies suggested that children and teenagers didn’t have the emotional capacity or cognitive development to experience the hopelessness and helplessness of depression.
Today, we know that children, even babies, experience depression. The clinical term is called pediatric depression, and rates are higher now than ever before. In the United States alone, evidence suggests that 4 percent of preschool-aged children, 5 percent of school-aged children, and 11 percent of adolescents meet the criteria for major depression.
Depression and Your Child grew out of my experience of being a clinician who specializes in the treatment of pediatric depression. I wanted to write a parenting book to raise awareness about depressive disorders in children, to teach parents how to find treatment, to offer tips for creating a healthy living environment, and to highlight important adult parenting matters such as self-care, romance, and well-being.
I also wrote this book because I have lived with depression since I was a child. As is the case with pediatric depression, my own depression didn’t hit with lightning-like speed. It was more of a slow burn, taking its toll in gnaws and bites before hollowing me out completely. After a suicide attempt as a college sophomore, I found help that finally reduced my depression. Until then, I accepted the sadness, despair, and overwhelming fatigue as the way my life just was. I never realized, nor did my parents or any other adults, that I had a clinical disorder. I’ve since turned the wounds from my childhood into wisdom and believe that sharing the textures of my experiences will help parents realize what their own depressed child is going through.
More than anything else, I want this book to offer hope. As a clinician, proper diagnosis and treatment can be life-changing and life saving. As a person living with depression, I have found successful ways to lead a full and meaningful life. I want parents and children who struggle with depression to feel this hope, too—and in these pages, that’s what you’ll find.
With an emotionally secure and sheltered upbringing, Sofia, was in for an unexpected ride when she married Earl. Their stable and unnerving union would take deeper turns as they experienced(?) health issues, betrayal and shattered hearts. With each new circumstance Sofia faced, she shed a layer of naiveté, deepening her perspective of life. Beautiful life lessons learned from preschool children healed her wounds and dissipated her scars. They taught her about the human condition at it’s purest. But then the biggest tragedy happened in Sofia’s life, leading her to seek deeper answers. At the end of the book (her story?), she learns that the art of life is how we deal with it’s struggles. Through a powerful and inspiring journey into the soul, she regains the light and love within.
Michelle Zarrin is an author, blogger and entrepreneur, running two businesses. Having meditated over 2000 hours in the past four years, her expertise is the internal world through the tool of the breath. Inspiration, creativity, tranquility, intuition and compassion all reside within our internal world. Her blogs consist of her writings on life and spirituality. She lives in Orange County, California.
You can visit her at www.MichelleZarrin.com
Why Blogging is Important
We are living the frenetic pace of the technological era. Families do not have time to make dinner from scratch every night. Farmers do not have time to go through the natural process of a harvest. The notion of patiently waiting to see results is slipping through our fingertips like sand drifting off into the wind. In a time when bullet points are much appreciated, I believe blogs are the up and coming reading tool.
We have become so accustomed to reading articles online and finding our answers through brief synopses, it makes me wonder if through time we will lose the patience of holding a story with over 200 pages of words, sentences and paragraphs? Being an author, I like to think that books will not become obsolete one day. I even like to hold a physical novel in my hands and turn the pages. But walking through many airports with an observant eye has shown me that perhaps I am on my way to becoming ‘old fashioned.’ For people are no longer holding books as they sit in the terminal waiting to embark on their flight. A plethora of laptops, tablets and smart phones have taken the place of books. Is it possible people are reading books on these devices? Yes, it is. But I still believe blogs are a necessary part of our culture. If you have a business, product or opinion to market, by writing blogs, people get to know you.
In the technological era that we live in, blogs are a mode of expression, a connection to the world at large. With that said, my correspondence to the world has also continued through blogs. After my book, “From My Heart to Yours: Based on a True Story” was published, the natural next step in my writing was to write blogs. My book was inspired by my own life. You follow the character through love, loss, life and death. In the end, she realizes we are all here to learn lessons. The art of life is how we deal with our struggles. And I continue to share the many life lessons and my path of spirituality linking me to the internal world on my website, MichelleZarrin.com.