Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Spiralized Veggie Thai Noodle Bowls

I just celebrated another birthday in January.  I've never been big on birthdays, especially mine. I think that's because I love Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas so much. After that it's a downhill slide into January. I don't really rebound until the end of the month.

Presents go the same way.  We now have a lot of STUFF accumulated over the years. So it's not like in the early years when there were so many things I needed. My husband usually just gets me a well-loaded Starbucks card for Christmas and my birthday which I love using when I'm out for coffee with friends.

However, this year he decided to ask if there was anything special I would like. At first I said no. Then in a spark of genius I changed my mind and said yes - I wanted a vegetable spiralizer.  Canadian Tire had the Starfrit model for only about $35 (just checked and it's now around $40). That was a great price as I wasn't sure how much I would use it. It came with 3 blades - slicer, small spiral and larger spiral. I can always upgrade in the future if I use it heavily.

I already had a first recipe to try - Spiralized Veggie Thai Noodle Bowls. I like the idea of having some real noodles in to fill you up, but using the spiralized vegetables to keep the amount of carbs to the minimum.  I'm not big on Seafood, so I switched the shrimp out and kept it easy by using a precooked deli chicken. You can view the original recipe on a blog called Sweet Peas and Saffron using shrimp - click HERE.

The one thing I would done differently is break up the long vegetable spirals a bit to make it easier to eat.  I already broke the noodles in thirds for the same reason. If you like your noodles long and slurpy, then leave them both intact.

I've used my spiralizer several times since then and always with good results.  My family has never been big on summer squash, but seem to enjoy them spiralized. So they're back in regular menu rotation. The spiralizer parts are easy to clean by just rinsing with water. I did find it a just a bit difficult to get the hard carrots moving through without the base sliding. The little suctions on the feet aren't strong enough. But after playing around a bit I found a technique to make it work. Enjoy!

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Spiralized Veggie Thai Noodle Bowls


Peanut Sauce
¼ C                  Creamy peanut butter
¼ C                  Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce 

2 T                   Honey (or brown sugar)
1 tsp                 Sesame Oil
juice of 1 lime 

Noodle Bowls 
1                      Deli Chicken
1                      Medium zucchini, spiralized
2                      Medium Carrots, spiralized
1-1/2 C            Red Cabbage, sliced very thinly
6 oz                 Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles                          (I break into thirds for easy eating)
salt & pepper 

Green Onion, diced
Crushed or chopped peanuts 


Blend together all peanut sauce ingredients and set aside. I love a blender or small processor, but you can also stir or shake it by hand. If you do it by hand, it helps to warm the peanut butter for a few seconds in the microwave. Prep all the vegetables. Remove skin from the deli chicken. Then remove meat from bones and tear into bite size pieces. 

Place the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Cook the spaghetti noodles according to package directions. When pasta is cooked through, drain thoroughly. Combine the warm noodles with the vegetables, chicken and peanut sauce.  Toss well, place in serving bowls (I love large individual white oval soup/stew/pasta bowls). Sprinkle with green onion and crushed peanuts and serve. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Want to take your "Idea Worth Sharing" on to the TEDx stage?

In this interview, Julie Salisbury - LION - founder of  InspireABook and Influence Publishing - talks about her experience being a speaker at #TEDx.  She also shares how the process to apply and required pre-training inspired her to create a one-day mastermind #workshop to share tips on how to make your application stand out.

To learn more or to register for the mastermind go to http://inspireabook.com/inspireatalk/

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Interview with Jennifer Swanson of Communication Diva (audio only)

January 2016 #author #interview conducted by Jennifer Swanson of Communication Diva where we talk about my book, my journey and what I've learned from the unique people I have interviewed.

My website - www.marilynrwilson.com

Communication Diva - Get the job, love your work, advance your career. Offering articles, podcast episodes, live workshops, online courses, speaking events and individual coaching to hone your communication skills as well as tips for the interview, the workplace, and for your life.

Website - http://www.communicationdiva.com/
Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/communicationdivapage/

Podcast Interview on Get Out Of Your Own Damn Way (audio only)

Radio interview with Krylyn Peters - founder of Get Out of Your Own Damn Way and Get Out of Your Own Damn Way Podcast.  In broadcast I discuss embracing your accepting yourself, embracing your quirks and other nuggets of gold I learned from a decade of interviewing  inspiring people from around the globe.

"You are exactly who you are meant to be." Marilyn R Wilson (www.marilynrwilson.com)

Want to know more about Get Out of Your Own Damn Way? Check out these links!

Friday, January 27, 2017

How to Fund Your Travel While Living Frugally

Guest article by Stephanie Lynch,Howmuchisit.org

Travel appeals to most, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap. Even if you’re on a budget, don’t think you can’t travel the world to see places you have never seen before.

To make your dreams come true, I came up with a list of things you can do to start funding your next travel adventure as well as save on your actual vacation, no matter how expensive it may be.

#1 Simplify your living

If you want to make your travel dreams come true, then the first thing to do is to let go of things that aren’t a necessary. Unless you want it badly, cut off the unwanted expenses. It may be your daily morning Starbucks coffee on the way to work or your expensive gym membership. For every necessity, there is a cheaper alternative. Try to figure out cost effective ways to achieve similar results without spending a lot. Use a prepaid phone card or cycle all the way to your workplace. I think you get the idea here. Every dollar will add up, trust me!

#2 Smart work pays off

Regardless of what kind of talent you have, consider becoming a freelancer online and tackling mini projects to add to your monthly earnings. This could be anything from writing simple articles to data entry. The Internet is filled with thousands upon thousands of companies looking for people like you to help their business. At the end of the month, if done right, you could add a few hundred dollars to your budget – just enough to maybe pay for a weekend getaway.

#3 Plan your budget and savings

Dedicate a few hours to plan your budget for the month. If you have a strong desire for seeing places, then you might stick to it if you can see the budget on paper. Without it, you may lose grip of the plan, going to unexpected parties, hotels or eating out. All of this, of course, will eat up a lot of your money. To make budgeting easier, consider treating your vacation fund like a bill and deposit so much money every month. Even if it’s $100 per month, that’s $1,200 per year – more than enough to go somewhere for a few days.

#4 Consider crowdfunding

While this is out there, people have had success with it. A crowdfunding campaign may be handy if you are a little short on your travel budget. People love to help others achieve their dreams and that is why crowdfunding has been a hit. Create a campaign about your travel plans and tell people what you intend to do. Be honest with your views and you’ll be surprised by the help flowing through these channels. Make this your last hope when everything else fails to back you up. Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Indiegogo are some of the places you can reach out for help.

#5 Use ride sharing

When on vacation, skip the rental car and highly consider public transportation as it is the most affordable while you travel. It also helps you interact with people and tour around the city like a local. When public transport fails to help, use ridesharing as your second best choice to save money. Try BlaBlaCar.com, a ride sharing site which has drivers in over 19 countries

#6 Prepare your own meals

As a traveler, you might want to try out some of the local delicacies. Well go ahead and feast because it’s okay to taste the exotic food you never had before, but restrict your food exploration to only one or maybe two per day. An average meal could cost you $10 to $15 each, but by cooking your own meal, it could save you more than $150 on a 10-day tour.

#7 Free stays by couch surfing

If you’re traveling solo or even with a partner, consider finding a couchsurfing site that can connect your with locals for free accommodation. Couch surfing seems to be the best money saving tip of all, because stays are the most expensive part of any tour, sometimes costing you as much as $200 per night. No matter where you go in the world, couchsurfing allows you to sleep at a locals place for free. Sometimes you get to use their kitchens too which could be helpful to cook your own meal. It is also an opportunity to meet and greet new friends in the city.

By buckling down and being creative, there’s no reason you have to spend thousands on your next trip. While there are so many other tips you can implement, hopefully, a few of these can get the ball rolling for your next frugal vacation. Best of luck!

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Stephanie Lynch is a freelance writer from Howmuchisit.org who currently resides in Gilbert, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors and spending time with her family.

An Evening With Best Selling Author Coerte Felske & Internationally Acclaimed Photographer/Mixed Media Artist Raphael Mazzucco

On Feb. 3, 2017, LuvNGrace & Georgia Primar have a very special event planned at the at the Chali-Rosso Art Gallery at 549 Howe. It is an evening not to be missed. Flying in from the Hamptons are best selling author Coerte Felske and internationally acclaimed photographer/mixed media artist Raphael Mazzucco. AND there will be a special guest this evening - NHL legend & artist Richard Brodeur. Add in a wonderful Master of Ceremonies who I truly adore - Jim Michaels ( Co-Executive Producer of The Supernatural TV Series) and music spun by the one and only MISS DJ aka Chelsea Joelle and you have all the pieces in place for one amazing night. All that's missing is YOU!

The evening begins at 6 p.m. sharp, with author Coerte Felske holding a book signing. Here is your chance to not only snag a much sought after signed copy, but also grab a quick photo with this acclaimed best selling author. Then at 8 p.m., the evening swings into a fabulous after party. Tickets are $40 and include both the Book Signing & Afterparty with Coerte Felske, Raphael Mazzucco, Supernatural's Jim Michaels and special guest Richard Brodeur all in attendance. TIX are available via E-Transfer at luvngraceaffair@gmail.com or by phoning (604) 374-5610.

Now for my favourite part of this article! As a fellow writer and someone who is passionate about interviewing others on their life story, I have a great Q and A with Coerte Felske for your reading pleasure. As he was working furiously on meeting a tight deadline for his screenplay of The Ivory Stretch, I want to express my gratitude to him for taking the time out to answer these questions. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

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Where did you grow up and what were your interests as a child?

I grew up in NYC and the Hamptons. I was groomed as an athlete from a young age by my father who was a pro baseball player that played at Yale with President George HW Bush and his teammates.

Can you share a bit about your journey to become a published author? How/when did you decide to follow that career path and what were the steps along the way?
The artistic Dutch side didn't kick in until later when I became a Romance Language major at Dartmouth College (French, Italian). I wrote my thesis on Italian film directors in Italian. I was always writing but in foreign languages. I did my undergrad at Dartmouth and my grad work at Columbia University in their film school. This is where I learned screenwriting.

I wrote a screenplay at Columbia that came in 3rd in the Nissan Focus Competition, then went to Hollywood. I became disillusioned with comic book-movie culture, so I wrote a novel about my life in NY while living in LA. It was bought by Random House by a great editor - Ann Patty (Life of Pi).

Please share a memory or two about writing The Shallow Man, your first published novel released in 1995. Where did the inspiration come from? What was it like to write and what was the process to get publication that first time around?

The Shallow Man was based upon my social life in NY. I saw this global phenomenon happening - beautiful girls taking over the social life, societal landscape, and cultural limelight globally - and how it affected the population--in this case males. The models were becoming bigger than movie stars. (I was honoured and honestly humbled to read Vanity Fair' s very positive review of TSM, comparing it to the other model fiction books of the time and stating I was one of the few to get it right. You will find this in the beginning review section of all my books).

The process was - 1) I was referred to an agent, 2) bam, it sold and 3) my life changed from being a dime a dozen screenwriter in LA which I did not like. to a celebrated author in NY.

How many books/screenplay/songs have your written since that time?

I have written 9 novels now, but only 5 are out. Another will be released this summer called Three Sleeps to Double Happiness. My first 4 books, ending with Scandalocity,  I call Dolce Vita Fiction. Then I began writing more classic dramatic narratives. Now I'm doing a Montauk book that is a hybrid. 

All the published books have had their movie rights bought, but none have been made into films yet. Vancouver's very own Raphael Mazzucco will be directing The Shallow Man and filming will begin this year.

I also wrote one song which went to Number 1 on the Dance Billboard charts--SECRET LOVE by Kim Sozzi. I wrote all the lyrics. You can see it on YouTube.

Do you have any favourites?

TMG is a favorite as it was challenging because it was the second time I wrote in first person as a woman. TMG started as a journalistic expose for Esquire Magazine. They sent me to Aspen to do an expose on golddigger women who flock there to meet rich men at holiday time.

I have done that again--writing in first person--with Chemical/Animal, but that hasn't come out yet. (I have 3 more books already completed)

The Ivory Stretch is a favorite because I worked harder at it. I write very fast - TSM in 9 days, TMG in 3 weeks, Word in 5 weeks. But with IS, I drove 8000 miles in the southwest researching it (ie I wrote a story 20 years ago about a place I had never been--so I had to get to know it), then I drove the route I had written about in the outline, done with travel books.

Where do you find inspiration for new work?

Inspiration comes from my daily Walk of Life, taking it all in, watching and listening. And I'm a trained soldier now, constantly processing, adapting, assimilating, and absorbing.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What do you love the best?

The easiest part of writing is the writing, it's like a waterfall once I'm on it. The hardest is the preparation, the outlining, getting the story right--but it's not work. It's fun - like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The other hard part is the marketing. Well it was anyway. It's easier now with the Internet and things going viral

The best part is moving people, bringing them on a journey that is hopefully life-enhancing for them. Their time and everyone's is precious. That what I wrote was worthy of their time gives me a tremendous sense of gratification.

What is your highest moment so far? 

Highest moment? More like highest honor--being invited to the White House for Millennium Eve, 1999!  Hugest moment? Far too many! Definitely all the great folks I've met along the way. My favorite thing is meeting new people. Becoming a well-reviewed, acclaimed, or "successful" novelist has taken me on a superhighway for that.

Is there any advice you can share for writers just starting out?

For new writers, the best qualities are to listen and watch. Writing is rewriting. Have no fear, and let it rip.

Anything you'd like to share about new work or exciting things coming up?

New work: Three Sleeps to Double Happiness is about a spanish boy who wants to be eaten by a tiger ... coming out this spring/summer

Also, the Ivory Stretch movie rights have just been bought and I wrote the screenplay for it. 

Science of Cocktails 2017 - Celebrate the Artistry of Mixology and the Science Behind it!

Preview event photos by Christopher Guy

Celebrate the Artistry of Mixology and the Science Behind it

One event I was privileged to attend and write on last year was Science World's annual Science of Cocktails. This signature fundraiser was created to fill a need created when the government took away funding for Science World’s Class Field Trips which is dedicated to bringing in students from underserved schools in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. It was an amazing experience and I loved the idea pairing what they are all about - science - with a fundraiser cocktail party which is always popular with supporters.

February 9, 2017, they're getting ready to do it all over and again and I for one will be there.  They will transform Science World at TELUS World of Science into Vancouver’s largest laboratory, where the city’s most talented bartenders and chefs will showcase the chemistry, biology and physics behind preparing modern cocktails and cuisine. Each ticket includes complimentary cocktails from 20+ bar stations run by award-winning bartenders, paired with 12 food stations featuring molecular gastronomy from local talent. Guests will also enjoy a variety of special cocktail science activities, hands-on science demonstrations and classic Science World fun. 


To drum up excitement, Science World held wonderful preview night on January 17th at the Clough Club in Gastown, with samples offered at three cocktail stations and four food stations. There were also three interactive science stations and a live DJ to keep the vibe lively.  Below is an overview of the evening that offered just a small taste of what is to come at the February 9th event,  as well bartender bios and a great selection of wonderful photographs.

Unfortunately I believe this event has now sold out, but you can preorder tickets for 2018 at https://www.scienceworld.ca/cocktails/tickets

Science/Education your passion? Donations are always welcome and you can choose the program you want to support - https://www.scienceworld.ca/donate

For more information on Science World's Class Field Trip Programs go to https://www.scienceworld.ca/cocktails/classfieldtrips

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1. Concept: Nitro Muddling - presented by Gez McAlpine

By employing technology Food Scientist & Bar Owner Dave Arnold calls "nitro muddling," we can avoid the unpleasant side of muddled herbs: namely, pieces of bruised, dull-colored (potentially bitter) vegetation floating in your cocktail. You're welcome to select a custom combination of herbs for your drink!

Cocktail Name: Nitro Lady
Ingredients: The Botanist gin, lemon juice, egg, sugar, orange bitters + herb selection

2. Concept: Clarified Cocktails - presented by Trevor Kallies

You’d never guess at first glance that milk is a main ingredient in this clear concoction, but thanks to a little liquid alchemy—based upon acid’s protein separating effects when mixed with dairy— this milk-rich punch can be clear as day.

Cocktail Name: Pina Clear-ada
Ingredients: Havana club rum, coconut water, falernum, demerara syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, scalded milk

3. Concept: Cocktail Slush - presented by Chris Enns

Who doesn't enjoy a boozy slushy? It's an adult twist to a summer favourite.

Cocktail Name: Gin and Tonic Slushie
Ingredients: Gin, tonic, sugar, lemon juice, and a touch of curacao for a hint of blue


1. Showcase Restaurant & Bar

Chef Jesse Hochhausen – Executive Chef
Chef Rory Higdon – Sous Chef
Menu: Meringue, Passion Fruit, Kaffir Lime, White Chocolate and Coconut

2. Emelle’s Catering

Chef Mary Lee Newnham – Executive Chef
Chef Darren Upshaw – Chef
Menu: Carrot & Ginger Spheres on Meringue Coconut Nests napped with Curry Hollandaise & Crispy Basil Sprigg

3. Sysco

Chef Andrew Mott – Business Resource Specialist/ Chef
Chef Andrew Nickerson - Business Resource Specialist/ Chef
Menu: Tricolor beet terrine, poached prawn, chive pearls, fennel and orange foam

4. Culinary Capers

Executive Chef Stewart Boyles
Menu: Pumpkin Brule and seed puffed black rice red onion


1. Robot Bartender (created by MakerLabs)

Derek Gaw, Co-founder of MakerLabs
A few lines of code allow a simple computer to control motors, belts, and valves to create an amazing robot cocktail.

2. Free Pour Challenge

Amber Bruce and Jason Laidlaw, bartenders (see bio below)Can you pour as accurately as a professional bartender with no measurements to guide you?

3. Liquid Nitrogen

Brian Anderson, Director of Performance and Fun Times, Science WorldLiquid nitrogen is just one of the amazing ingredients that will be featured at Science Of Cocktails. Witness balloons seemingly inflating themselves, rubber turned as hard as stone, and produce shattering like glass with this amazing liquid that has a temperature of almost -200 degrees Celsius.


DJ Cherchez, Free Association

Natasha Lands, aka DJ Cherchez, has love for Vancouver’s arts and culture scene. She is involved in art curation, photography, and music. With a heart for Vancouver’s arts community and a vested interest in contributing to its cultural diversity, she has acted as curator for several very successful and unique art related events such as; Night Vision I and II, Emily Carr Grad Art School After Party, Here Is Now, Jamcouver Hotel Party, Fuse The Grand Ballroom - Vancouver Art Gallery and Chinatown Night Market. With a passion for bringing people together in a unique way Natasha has promoted many original events including; Bob Masse Retrospective, A Soundtrack to my Life music series featuring Douglas CouplandFred Herzog photo slide showNew Years at the Vancouver Hotel and many more. For the last four years, Natasha acted as curator and head promoter of Fortune Sound Clubs Friday evening programming. Currently, she is producing events and collaborations under Free Association.


Trevor Kallies -Trevor has spent the last 15 years managing the bar programs at some of the highest volume bar locations in Vancouver. He became the Bar & Beverage Director for the Donnelly Group in 2010, overseeing the menus & profitability of 14 locations around Vancouver for beer, wine & cocktails. In addition to managing the Donnelly Group beverage program, Trevor has competed & won multiple cocktail & drink competitions including Craft of Cointreau, the Appleton Rum cocktail competition, the G’Vine Le GCP cocktail competition and placed highly in many other high profile drink challenges in Vancouver, across Canada & globally. In 2009 Trevor became a founding member of The Canadian Professional Bartender’s Association (CPBA), helping to form an organization that is now Canada-wide with members in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta & the Maritimes. In 2013 Trevor was elected the President of the BC Chapter of the CPBA and maintains that role today. In 2011 Trevor became part of the Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP) at the infamous Tales of the Cocktail in their first ever ‘Tales on Tour’ in Vancouver. He has since been promoted to CAP Manager at the annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans where he helps manage a team of 60 global bartenders where they execute the seminars, cocktails and events at the biggest cocktail event in the world - working with Brand Ambassadors, Distillers & some of the best cocktails minds from around the world.

Gez McAlpine Cutting his teeth in the influential bar scene of Melbourne, Gez Mcalpine has worked in some of the top cocktail establishments from all over the map alongside world leaders in cocktail culture. After finding home in Vancouver, Gez led the team at the iconic Keefer bar, Vancouver’s premier destination for craft cocktails. During this time, competition success took him to all corners of the globe, representing Canada in global competitions like Beefeater MIXLDN, Diplomatico World tournament and Giffard West Cup. As of 2016, Gez has traded the barspoon and shaker for an Ambassador hat and now travels the country as western brand ambassador for Bruichladdich Single Malt and the Botanist Gin, spreading the story of this progressive Hebridean distillery and bringing years of industry experience and spirits expertise to bartenders and consumers alike.

Chris Enns - Chris started bartending nine years ago, like most, as a way to help pay for school. His favorite subjects were biology and chemistry. He believes that the knowledge that everything is connected at a common biological level helps bartending not only with flavour pairings but most importantly with serving his guests. It didn't take long before the passion for bartending took over and it became more than a side gig. Originally from Saskatoon, Chris made the move out west two and a half years ago, and worked hard to land a position at Gastown's The Diamond. After a second place finish at 2016's Diagio World Class & Grey Goose Pour Masters, Chris looks forward to this year's Bacardi Legacy where his 'El Patrimonio' will be representing Vancouver on the national stage.

Amber Bruce - Senior Bartender at Keefer Bar. Former Bar Manager at Cuchillo Restaurant. Winner Absolut Big White Bartending Competition 2015. Regional finalist Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year Competition 2015.

Jason Laidlaw - With well over 20 years in the nightlife industry, and 15
years and counting behind the bar, Jason brings a wide range of bartending, nightlife, promotional, and marketing experience to his bartending adventures. Having worked in nightclubs, fine dining establishments, and private clubs, Jason now spends his time behind the wood at The Shameful Tiki Room, serving rum, stories and enjoyment to the citizens of Vancouver and the world, accompanied by gongs and smoke. He furthers his own and other’s education and passion through his work with the CPBA and with his monthly book club for bartenders.

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For more information on the event and other participating bartenders and chefs, visit https://www.scienceworld.ca/cocktails

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Interview with Julie Salisbury founder of InspireABook on the 16-Week Pu...

Make 2017 the year you realize that long held dream of publishing your first book!

In Part 4 of my interview series  with Julie Salisbury we discuss the InspireABook 16 Week Publishing  Interactive Webinar. In the first 4  weeks writers clarify the purpose of their book, work on the “packaging” to ensure it helps deliver your key message and develop a working title/sub-title, synopsis/back page sales copy, table of contents, working chapter titles, a clear writing plan and plan for publishing your book. The program continues over the next 12 week to help writers finish their first draft and choose what the best publishing option is for them.

For more information and registration, go to http://inspireabook.com/webinar-program/

This video is part 4 in a 4 part series.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Interview w/ Jo Hausman on the Go For It show at VoiceAmerica Radio

The Beauty in Imperfection w/ Marilyn R. Wilson (www.marilynrwilson.com)

You are exactly who you are meant to be. Your quirks are your talents and when you find their purpose, you will find your passion and understand why you are the way you are. Marilyn and I will discuss how utilizing your talents no matter what your age will bring you to a greater purpose in your life. Remember - It is never too late! I started writing at the age of 49, launched my first book shortly after turning 60. Then there is Harry Bernstein who was first published in his 90's and published 4 before his death in his 100's. Never to young or old to utilize what you have been given.

Voice of America - https://www.voiceamerica.com/
Go For It - https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/257...
Jo Hausman - http://www.johausman.com/

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

iRead Book Tours Celebrates Their Three Year Anniversary!

I am personally excited to participate in the iRead Book Media Tour celebrating this wonderful company's three years of supporting authors by organizing reviews, book spotlights, guest articles and interviews on blog sites in North America and around the world (my last tour even had a stop in Norway).

Twice I have placed tours through them - one a spotlight tour and one a review tour. Both were well organized and run with lots of guest articles and interviews, but my hands down favourite was the review tour as it generated not only SEO and new followers, but those much needed honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It didn't take long after my first tour to jump in and become a reviewer myself.  It is a privilege to support the work of fellow authors and I have made many wonderful connections in the process.

Whether you are an author looking for innovative ways to market your book or a book reviewer ready to connect with a great company, iRead Book Tours offers a professional and quality experience to each and every client/reviewer.  I am a fan.

About iRead Book Tours:

At iRead, we give special attention to every book that tours with us. We are passionate about books and we customize all our tours because no two authors are alike.

We don't just market books. We help our authors get the best exposure with traditional tours consisting mainly of reviews. We work closely with our authors and pride ourselves on our highly individualized customer service.

All our staff are book bloggers and authors, so we understand the process and the hard work involved. We've built a solid relationship with our database of reliable book bloggers who are eager to read your books.

Welcome to the iRead experience!

About Laura Fabiani:

In 2008, Laura began blogging about books shortly after she published her first book. She started Library of Clean Reads, a book review blog, and discovered the joy of reviewing a variety of genres. Her children have joined her in this venture and they spend many happy hours reading books together. A Special Care Counselor by profession, Laura has co-led and developed programs for seniors with dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease. She has a passion for the topic of neuroscience and wellness.

Throughout the years she has met and worked with wonderful publishers, both traditional and indie, as well as publicists and authors. Best of all, she discovered the world of book bloggers--a community of special people who spend their precious time sharing their love of books and all things related to books. 

Taking part in book tours has always made Laura feel more connected to authors and the publishing field. She organized her own virtual tour when her book was published and she learned several things. As an author, it exposed her to actual reader views and social media. As a book blogger and book tour organizer, it taught her the amount of work it entailed. And she loves it!

You can find Laura blogging at Library of Clean Reads and Essentially Italian. She is the owner of iRead Book Tours, Italy Book Tours, and Je Lis Blog Tours.
Win $50 cash or a Basic Virtual Book Tour Package (2 winners, open int’l)
Ends Feb 4

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Sara Troy on Self Discovery Radio (Audio Only)

C15/38 The Story of Life Outside the Box

“It is the stories of REAL PEOPLE living REAL LIVES that will define our generation.”– Marilyn R. Wilson (www.marilynrwilson.com)

Storytelling can be done in so many ways, through movies, books, radio, and in person. Interviewing storytellers is an art and on that my guest Marilyn has got down very well. So inspired by the interviews she has done, she decided to put some of her favorites into a book so that it would inspire us all. We will discuss what it takes to be an interviewer and the passion behind it.

Self-Discovery Radio showcases the work that people and organizations are doing globally in helping to redirect the world and its inhabitants to live in a more tranquil purposeful and meaningful liberating life.

Website - https://selfdiscoveryradio.com/
Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/PLVradio/
Sara Troy's website - http://choosepositiveliving.com/discovering-your-d-i-v-a/

Monday, January 23, 2017

Westobou Gold (Book Two in the Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series) by Hawk MacKinney

Synopsis - 

The Indian Queen would risk torture and worse to keep her secrets from these barbarians in suits of metal and their search for cities of gold. They never found the gold. Empires rose; empires fell, the centuries passed. Legend became fireside myths, but no treasure was ever found. Yet, among the grey-green drapes of wisteria and wild jasmine along the misty shrouded lowlands of bayous and marshes of the Westo River, the folktales persist.

In the lazed creep of a near-tropical dawn lit the pungent Turkish coffee permeates Moccasin Hollow. Beyond the kitchen door Lucky, Craige Ingram’s German shepherd gnaws a favorite bone. Looted burial mounds seem a world away until plundered mounds on Moccasin Hollow land brings amateur archaeologist PI Craige Ingram into the cross-hairs of kidnapping. Stealthy hideaways are concealed in old colonial brick-lined river grottoes beneath the big house of Ardochy plantation. Sex-tape underage blackmail and thrill killings on federal land spur a medical examiner’s preliminary postmortem to more than a hired cleaner’s quickie cover-up passed off as drug deals gone sour. Greed tangles a witch’s pigswill of illicit affairs and murder-to-hide-murder. Shady investigators and shadier politics stir an unexpected concoction that threatens the lives of those at Moccasin Hollow in a spiteful plot against ex-SEAL Craige Ingram and the woman he loves.

Review - 

Westobou Gold is book two in the Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series featuring strong, intelligent ex-SEAL Craige Ingram and his beautiful, intelligent girlfriend Terri Wofford Stanley - a woman he fell in love with and then saved from death at the hands of a sadistic murderer in book one.

In this Westobou Gold, we start with a historical flashback to set the stage - a gold treasure hidden from invaders by the Indian Queen.  Then it's to current times and a discussion of the illegal poaching of relics by those selling to private collectors.  BUT the plot moves quickly from there to a pornography ring and several disturbing death scenes. As one involves soldiers, Craige is approached to step in and help figure out what is going on.

This book is a spider web of plots, from relic poaching to local teens pulled into a pornography ring to murders by Purvis, a violent and crooked law enforcement officer seemingly at the centre. His brutality is disturbing to say the least, just like in the first book in this series, so be sure you like your murder mysteries with a dark edge. Craige senses there is more than what is obvious and begins to sense a shadow pulling the strings. Step by step he begins to unravel the mystery while attempts to tarnish his reputation and then take his life occur. And the death toll rises.

MacKinney is a strong writer with a knack for bringing characters and locations to life. My one objection is the book's editing is weak. This is something I mentioned in my review of the first book in this series as well. There are distracting mistakes here and there that take away from the story for me. Hopefully this will be dealt with in future book in this series.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Meet The Author - 

Internationally acclaimed author and public speaker, Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspapers. He served in the US Navy Reserve for over 20 years, and was a tenured faculty member at several state medical facilities, teaching postgraduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem, Israel.

Since retiring Hawk has authored several novels that have received national and international recognition. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. The Cairns of Sainctuarie, his science fiction series, includes The Bleikovat Event and The Missing Planets, with a third book in the works. Hawk’s latest project focuses on The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series. Book 1 in the series, Hidden Chamber of Death, was released early 2016.

Connect with the author: Website

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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall by Shannon Kirk

The nature of love, the variety and magic of life, 
unending hope, and the importance of saying goodbye 
are central to this uplifting tale.

Synopsis -

What if you could choose your heaven now? Go on a celestial shopping trip of sorts? Thirty-five-year-old Vivienne does just that, as she lies dying in the ICU; a fatal walk into the path of a truck. In her final week of life, Vivienne treks through the Heavens of a priest, a best friend, a homeless child, and a lover who never was. Vivienne’s guardian angel, Noah, who may just be her soul mate, escorts her through selections of Heavens and through the confusion Vivienne experiences as she flounders between a doubt of life and the certainty of death. Although her visits to varied afterlives provide peace and beauty, choosing proves not so easy: Vivienne’s love for her young son and her earthly father pull her from her colorful journey—and from her divine love of Noah.

The nature of love, the variety and magic of life, unending hope, and the importance of saying goodbye are central to this uplifting tale.

Review -

While I am not a religious person, my young years were spent in a very religious environment that taught the traditional view of heaven (and hell).  So it was interesting to embark on reading a story that took a different view of what the term afterlife could be. Interesting.

The lead character - Vivienne - was walking while totally distracted and steps in front of a truck. Lying in the hospital, her consciousness drifts from the earthly domain to heaven.  Tying her to the earth is her desire to be there for her young son and the feelings she still holds for his father who is married to someone else.  Woven into her time awake in the hospital is her male nurse, who tries to hold her there through story telling. The most interesting, the sharing of his own astounding secret.

Then there is Vivienne's time exploring the heavens with Noah, her first love. The goal? To choose the heaven she would like to create when she dies.  What people have chosen and why is intriguing. Vivienne struggles with the question of love here - it is stronger for Noah who was her passion from a young age or her father's son who she came to love later in life.  It's a question that needs an answer before she makes her decision.

Lastly. a separate story line follows her son from the loss of his mother through to old age.  All through a secret is mentioned, one he and his wife have held close since their childhood.  We (and Vivienne) don't learn what that secret is until the very end.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Meet The Author - 

Read a fab behind the scenes interview HERE!

Shannon Kirk is the awarding-winning author of the international bestselling Method 15/33 (psychological thriller--bestseller in Colombia and Spain, will be lead title in Italy, 2017) and Heavens (Literary Fiction). Method 15/33 has received multiple accolades: 2015 Foreword Review Book of the Year (Suspense); Winner of 2015 National Indie Excellence Award, Best Suspense; 2015 USA Best Book Finalist; School Library Journal's Best Adult Books for Teens (2015); and Finalist in 2013 William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition (when a Novella). Method 15/33 is optioned for a major motion film and has sold to nineteen foreign rights.

When not writing, she is a practicing lawyer, residing on Massachusetts' Cape Ann with her husband and son and two cat writing accomplices, Marvin Marquez (in honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and Stewie Poe (Edgar Allen Poe).

Shannon enjoys writing in several genres: literary fiction, psychological thriller, young adult, and poetry. She has been honored three times by the William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. ​

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Interview with Shannon Kirk, author of The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author?

I’ve always written, even as a girl. I used to hide poems in a big dictionary in my bedroom. In the fifth grade, I came in second place for a short book I wrote, titled, “Sentimental Sweetooth.” Then I back-burnered my writing journey by going to college and law school. I never took courses on writing, no certificates. Nothing.

In 2008, I took a job at Boston law firm and moved my family from Chicago to Massachusetts. We moved to a beautiful commuter town with a harbor and a beach. The environment was a total shock, coming from the neighborhood we came from in Chicago, like being thrust into a rainbow. I think the move and immersing into this colorful, salty town dislodged something in me. Almost immediately, I started writing again. And since then, I haven’t stopped.

I spent about three years getting rejected by agents. Along the way, I figured out I needed to beef up my writing credentials. So I entered the William Faulkner writing competition and placed for three years in a row. I landed my wonderful agent in or around 2013.

Where did the idea for The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall come from? The inspiration for it's characters?

The idea for The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall came by way of a dream. I was on a ski weekend with my husband and son, and one night I had the most vivid dream I’ve ever had. It was of the bluest reservoir surrounded by towering, sunlit, green—the greenest green—trees, and I was on a boat, speeding toward the reservoir down a river. I’m not sure why this dream was so vivid, the hues so deep, and why I recall such specificity about it. I couldn’t shake it the next day, so I wrote every detail. That dream forms Lachlan’s Reserve (one of the Heavens) and thus the spine of the whole novel.

The characters are either pure fictional or inspired by attributes I’ve perceived in close family members and friends. Armadillo, for example, Vivienne’s best friend, is a medley of all of my life’s best friends.

Is there one life lesson or message you hope readers will take away from this unusual story?

Review HERE
I hope that the reader walks away with a feeling of enjoyment. But if we’re talking about specific lessons or messages, I’m not one to teach anyone how to live their lives. I would say though, one guiding principle that I did include in the book, and one I strive to follow myself, is that absolutely nothing is as valuable as love. I tried to demonstrate this point with the Ivan and Ele story, by how they throw the briefcase of money away. Now whether or not throwing the money away really mattered, it was the commitment they both had in discarding monetary fulfillment, for something money can’t buy that, in my mind, fired their lifelong relationship.

I realize it might sound trite to say love is more important than money. But frankly, with what I see going on in the world, in America, right now, perhaps such a message deserves to be resaid. With the elevation of empty glitz and glam everywhere we look, perhaps we might ask ourselves: Who is happier, the person with the reality show and the ten cars, or me, sitting here on my beat-up couch with my family and cats? If we were to measure happiness and no more, perhaps the two scenarios are equal, I don’t know. But I do know, I don’t need ten cars to make me happier than sitting on my couch with my family and my cats. I’d rather take the time and effort it would take to get all the glitz and the glam writing or reading books.

Does it get harder or easier to come up with fresh, new ideas after you publish several books?

I hope I can always say, no. Frankly, I have five different manuscripts in the works right now, and I have about twenty other ideas in my various notebooks.

How does your work as a lawyer affect your storylines and characters?

I think that being a lawyer has certainly helped me to organize the narrative. As a trial lawyer, I’ve had to build stories for juries and judges and also in motion papers. In order to be persuasive, you must be clear, your timeline solid, and the progression of the argument organized. I’m sure this has all helped in how I organize plot and character development.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore?

I enjoy almost everything about writing, even most parts of editing. Actually, I love to edit (except for one stage of editing, I’ll explain). Perhaps my favorite part of writing is when I’m at the height of a cycle of what I call “writing mode.” This is a state I get in where I’ll wake up and have no idea what I’m about to write, but I’m otherwise compelled to sit down and start purging some scene or action or dialogue or prose. When I allow this organic process to unfold, I get lost in time, hours can go by, almost like I’m transported. And whatever it is I write in those cycles, it’s never planned. I just let my mind take me where it wants to go, whatever crazy insane idea it’s building. And then I edit from there.

The only part that feels like a chore to me is when I do the next-to- final edit of a manuscript before sending it to my agent. In that next-to- final edit, I check for redundancies and overused words, and it takes forever. It can be painful, actually.

What would you most like your readers to know about you?

I would like readers to know that I write in multiple genres. I write thrillers, literary fiction, poetry, sci-fi, and I may even try to finish a middle grade book. It’s important to me that I foster a relationship with readers that allows me to write cross genre.

Any advice for young authors wanting to write books in this genre?

Just write. Don’t get bogged down in all the technical rules school insists on. Yes, learn the technical rules, do your school work. But in my opinion, the best way to become a writer is to throw the rules out, purge whatever creative story is in your mind, and TELL A STORY. You can worry about all the technical stuff later when you edit.

Don’t let anyone slow you down. Don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself with rules and opinions about how it’s usually done. You write what you want to write, how you want to write it, when you want to write it. The hardest part about writing is the substance, the next hardest is editing. You can’t edit and showcase your technical skills without the substance. The substance is all you, all organic, all the creative and inventive stuff in your mind—the stuff that is not in

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Monday, January 16, 2017

Urbanity - A Hidden-Gem Boutique

by Guest Author Barbara Yaffe

Urbanity, a hidden-gem boutique tucked into Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood, comes as a bit of a surprise. Few would expect such a diminutive store to pack such a large fashion punch.

In fact, the place is a veritable emporium of high style and international flair, showcasing top-quality textiles from independent producers from around the world.

Urbanity’s wares include everything from clothing, and blankets to assorted accessories.

Shop owner Julia Manitius is a textiles specialist who grew up in Montreal. She spent 28 years as a studio potter and a textiles instructor in Denmark before moving to Vancouver, a city that she says, “called her”.

She opened Urbanity 12 years ago, initially in Gastown and then she moved it to South Granville, between Broadway and West 8th. But it looks as though the store could just as well be located in the Marais district of Paris.

Interestingly, Julia’s retail inspiration has less to do with the latest fashion trends than an awareness of and concern for materials, quality and unique design. She cares about the fibers! That makes this store special.

Some of what she sells can be found nowhere else in North America. My Los Angeles cousin shops Urbanity, browsing the store’s website, then phoning or emailing her order and having items shipped to her.

Over the years, I have purchased several of Oleana’s stunning wool and silk sweaters, from Norway, and a McVerdi raincoat, from Denmark. I bought a wear-everywhere wool coat dress about five years ago that just refuses to wear out. The styles absolutely endure and, despite frequent wear, the garments remain pristine.

I have a pile of shawls and scarves in my closets but because the fabrics at the shop – all natural and easy care -- are so unique, I have not been able to resist buying Julia’s scarves. I never knew what a wrist warmer was until I bought a pair at Urbanity and now, will never be without this uber-cozy piece of winter apparel.

For spring, Julia has brought in some wonderful linens from McVerdi (http://www.mcverdi.dk/), Japan’s Fog Linen (http://www.foglinenwork.com/) and Sweden’s Nygardsanna (http://www.nygardsanna.se/), that can be worn either penguin-crisp or all wrinkled and crinkly. (See the attached photos.) As a buyer, she has an amazing eye and the rest of us get to benefit from her fine sense of taste and design knowledge.


= = = = 

Barbara Yaffe is a longtime print and broadcast journalist who has lived, and shopped, from one end of Canada to the other. She has worked for CBC National TV News, The Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun. Now retired, she is living happily ever after in Vancouver, with her dog Chip and cat Pansy.

Links -

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbara-yaffe-6644494
Twitter - @barbyaffe1

Interview with Julie Salisbury of InspireABook on the 4 Week Publishing ...

Make 2017 the year you realize that long held dream of publishing your first book!

In Part 3 of my interview series with Julie Salisbury we discuss the #InspireABook 4 Week Publishing Interactive Webinar - equivalent to the 3 day live Mastermind Workshop - where authors clarify the purpose of their book, work on the “packaging” to ensure it helps deliver their key message and develop a working title/sub-title, synopsis/back page sales copy, table of contents, working chapter titles, a clear writing plan and plan for publishing their book.

For more information and registration, go to http://inspireabook.com/webinar-program/

This video is part 3 in a 4 part series.