A Halloween Party by Tina Nykulak Ruiz – New Release & Book Review

My Review

I love Halloween, parties, and reading to my granddaughter, so it was a good bet that I would like this story. The character names gave the adults a chuckle as I read the story aloud to my granddaughter. We all loved the illustrations. The story premise was easy to relate to and what happens at the Halloween party was a lot of fun to read about.

Highly recommended. Nykulak-Ruiz is one of our favorite children’s book authors.

New Release Info

Illustrations by Ishika Sharma.

Every character has a name with a double meaning. Such as: Mr. Noah Lott, Mrs. Faye Ding, Mrs. Frieda Livery, Upton O’Goode, Adam Zapel, and Ella Vader, to name but a few.

Here’s a hint to help you solve the puzzle, Ed Zortails is his name really heads or is it tails? You’ll have to buy the book to find out.

Solving the double meaning of the words will be delightful for children and adults alike. On the off chance someone can’t unravel a name, Tina supplied a cheat sheet at the back of the book.

As with all of her children’s stories, there’s a moral at the end.

BUY LINK

Tina Nykulak Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children’s stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz wrote twenty-seven books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor’s office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor’s Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It’s usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary’s New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Do you have a favorite Halloween story?

Thanks for reading!

Gina

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Grandparent’s Day 2019

Today I took a few hours away from my careers to spend time with one of my inspirations, my preschool-age granddaughter. The occasion? Grandparent’s Day at school.

When her mom and uncle were in school I went to as many events as I could. It always felt like I didn’t make it to as many as I wanted to despite the fact that I was working and studying for the credentials that follow my name today.

Now it’s my granddaughter’s turn and there isn’t much that would keep me away from fun in the classroom and crafts with her. We both felt special when we walked down the hall to the conference room.

This is the what she made for me in honor of Grandparents Day. It’s on the refrigerator until it gets replaced there and goes into my scrapbook journal where it will stay forever as one of our best memories.

Her little voice, her cute face, her sense of wonder, the knowledge that we are part of one another, is so sacred to me. She’s one reason why this life is precious.

I spend a lot of my time writing books she won’t be able to read for a long time yet, and may never want to read because they are fantasy romances written by her grandmother, but that doesn’t stop her from being my inspiration. One of the reasons I work hard is to leave a legacy for her.

We’ll see how that works out!

Spending time with my granddaughter refuels my spirit. What do you do to refill yours?

Thanks for reading!

Gina

New Release In Romantic Suspense! Shattered Sunset Promises By Nancy Kay!

Nancy is here to share about her her new novel, Cranberry Pond, and a muffin recipe.

Thank you, Nancy!

A Cranberry Connection

Presque Isle State Park is a sandy peninsula that juts into Lake Erie near Erie, Pennsylvania. The peninsula has 21 miles of hiking trails.

Ridge Trail, a favorite, follows the edge of Cranberry Pond, one of many ponds on Presque Isle. Many years ago Cranberry Bogs thrived on Presque Isle, a little known historical tidbit. Today only the Pond bearing the red, tart fruit’s name remains.

If you ever visit Erie, Pennsylvania make it a point to visit Presque Isle. Take a walk down Sidewalk Trail and Marsh Trail, and venture onto Ridge Trail past Cranberry Pond. Once you read Shattered Sunset Promises you’ll have a very real connection to the park’s trails. I didn’t mention the cranberry history in my story, but there is a definite connection to the shady, secluded trails between the pages.

I love Presque Isle, and it was while hiking one of the many amazing trails my story, Shattered Sunset Promises, began to unfold. Of course my story is fiction, but the beautiful peninsula blessed by sunsets like none other year round is real.

Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup sugar

1 Tab. Baking Powder

¼ teas. Salt

1 cup quick cooking oatmeal

1 to 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries.

1 egg

1 cup orange juice

¼ cup Canola oil

Directions: mix all dry ingredients. Add cranberries and toss gently to coat.

Whisk egg, oil, and juice together then add to dry mixture.

Fill 12 muffin tins for baking. I sometimes sprinkle some raw sugar on each raw muffin before baking. It give a nice sweet/tart flavor with each bite.

Bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes.


Suspense to make you shiver with Heart to make you sigh.

Her inheritance is disastrous. His murder case is stalled. Then a link between her bequest and his homicide entangles and threatens their lives.

Malory Williams faces an uncertain future. Ten years ago she lost the love of her life, and now she’s lost her job. Fate presents an appealing blank slate when she inherits Bay Bluff Cottage, and Mal doesn’t hesitate. She sells her current home and pools her assets. Life if looking up….until she discovers she’s inherited an albatross.

Two grisly homicides pose a challenge for seasoned investigator John Ryley. A single, precise slash ended both lives and the women’s savaged bodies were dumped at the exact same location. The brutal murders occurred ten years apart, though, and John’s skeptical…until clues point to a connection between the murders and Malory’s inheritance.

Neither John nor Malory are looking for involvement at this point in their lives, yet he finds the stunning widow’s perseverance sexy, and she discovers irresistible charm beneath the investigators’ tough demeanor. But when a well-kept secret is uncovered the homicide explodes, and John races against the clock to keep Malory from becoming a killer’s next victim.

Shattered Sunset Promises is available in ebook and paperback from these etailers and stores:

books2read.com/u/4AxpxK

alacarteshop.com

heartlandinnandcafe.com

romolochocolates.com

North Star Winery & Market


Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Trader Joe’s Simply Almond Beverage Review

Videos are on hold while I put extra time into a project I hope will delight my newsletter subscribers, but I still have fun news to share with my foodie friends this week.

Trader Joe’s released a new almond beverage!

Simply Almond Beverage reminds me of the first time I had almond “milk” at a festival. Thick enough without additives of any type, creamy, the taste of almonds dancing across my tongue, with a natural sweetness, all these qualities make this a winner. There was one surprise from this beverage; the soft almond pulp floating in it. It adds a creamy texture that I found addicting. I drank a whole cup the first time I tried it.

I’m adding this to my essentials shopping list at Trader Joe’s and it is replacing the Trader Joe’s unsweetened vanilla almond beverage. Simply Almond Beverage is a bit pricier than the one with additives, but I’d rather skip those all together.

Look for it in the refrigerator and please share your impressions when you try it.

*This review is not sponsored. I purchased and reviewed the beverage all on my own.

Thanks for reading!

Gina

Villainous Writing Advice From Chris Pavesic (Unquiet Dead)- Writing Advice From The Pros

Villainous Writing Advice

I like reading advice on writing from other authors. Many times I find really great ideas that help improve my own writing abilities. For example, in On Writing, Stephen King (2001) recommends listening to music to help a writer block out the world and focus on the work at hand. I have multiple dedicated writing playlists for just this purpose. Certain advice, though, does not resonate with me. For example—certain writers suggest modeling villains after people in your own life that you dislike. I would find that difficult advice to implement in my writing.

First—there is the time factor. Writing a novel generally takes time. Even if a writer aims for a thousand words a day of good, solid prose, the writing stretches into months. Imagine this time actively thinking about people you do not like. This would not be an enjoyable activity in my perspective.

As a writer, I want to like my villains. Not everything that they do—many of their activities to me would be morally objectionable. But I need to understand them—to know why they are doing certain activities so that I can put this down on the page. I need to sympathize with their motivations and to realize that, in most instances, the villains do not see themselves as evil. These characters need the same depth as the heroes or, in my opinion, they will never be more than a caricature.

In Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett (1991, p. 185) has the villain of the story, Lilith, makes the following comparison: “She wondered whether there was such a thing as the opposite of a fairy godmother. Most things had their opposite, after all. If so, she wouldn’t be a bad fairy godmother, because that’s just a good fairy godmother seen from a different viewpoint.” Later in the story, readers learn that Lilith firmly believes she is the good fairy godmother and is not the villain. It’s a matter of perspective, and in her viewpoint, those working against her are evil. She’s trying to improve people’s lives, and those working against her are trying to impede progress.

This is not the only type of villain in literature, but it is the type that I tend to find the most interesting. It is why I can sympathize with Khan in Star Trek (both in Into Darkness and in Space Seed) and Loki in The Avengers while at the same time being morally appalled by many of their actions.

There are obvious exceptions to this—Sauron in The Lord of the Rings trilogy does not generate sympathy for many readers, (although Tolkien does give him a fascinating history in The Silmarillion that explains his fall into darkness) but the Nazguls always had a touch of sympathy to their story for me because they were tricked by Sauron into becoming the Ring Wraiths. The detail and care that Tolkien invests into the story keeps these characters from being caricatures.

Amazon

Audible

Smashwords

Thank you, Chris, for sharing your writing wisdom with us!

Middlegame by Seanen McGuire Video Book Review

Blurb

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.

Author Biography

Seanan McGuire is a native Californian, which has resulted in her being exceedingly laid-back about venomous wildlife, and terrified of weather. When not writing urban fantasy (as herself) and science fiction thrillers (as Mira Grant), she likes to watch way too many horror movies, wander around in swamps, record albums of original music, and harass her cats.

Seanan is the author of the October Daye, InCryptid, and Indexing series of urban fantasies; the Newsflesh trilogy; the Parasitology duology; and the “Velveteen vs.” superhero shorts. Her cats, Lilly, Alice, and Thomas, are plotting world domination even as we speak, but are easily distracted by feathers on sticks, so mankind is probably safe. For now.

Seanan’s favorite things include the X-Men, folklore, and the Black Death. No, seriously. She writes all biographies in the third person, because it’s easier that way.

Thanks for watching!

Gina

Cover Reveal – Reality Check by Carol Browne

REALITY CHECK is a quirky, surreal, dark, humorous novella that resists being put into a specific genre. My publisher and I had to pick one for Amazon, however, so we settled for Fiction: Psychological. Readers can decide for themselves when the book is released by Dilliebooks on 2nd September, 2019. If the cover makes you feel off balance, perhaps the contents will do the same. But thought-provoking and unsettling though it is, I hope everyone who reads it will be thoroughly entertained.

Blurb
Gillian Roth finds herself in middle age, living alone, working in a dull job, with few friends and little excitement in her life. So far, so ordinary.

But Gillian has one extraordinary problem.

Her house is full of other people … people who don’t exist. Or do they?

As her surreal home life spirals out of control, Gillian determines to find out the truth and undertakes an investigation into the nature of reality itself.

Will this provide an answer to her dilemma, or will the escalating situation push her over the edge before she has worked out what is really going on?

Carol Browne:
Amazon author page US: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0034P87QC
Amazon author page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0034P87QC

Thanks for reading!

Gina