Spotlight. Dark Angel. Amanda Jones. 

With this fallen angel it never felt so good to be bad!

Genre Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Publisher New Concepts Publishing

Amazon

Blurb

Katia may be a celebrated musician, but she’d always felt a little like an outsider looking in. Who knew that being abducted by a handsome stranger would set her on a crash course with her destiny…
Luc has spent an eternity keeping everyone and everything at a distance as an unstoppable darkness consumes his soul. Will his beautiful captive be his salvation, or will they both be consumed by the ultimate evil…

About the Author

Amanda Jones lives in Toronto with her exceptionally spoiled pets.  Aside from sharing her crazy imagination with others through her books Amanda enjoys travelling and frequent Netflix binges.  Amanda has worked in several fields including sports, music, film, corporate human resources, and is a graduate of York University and Sheridan College.

Website Facebook @AmandaLJ1981

 

Guest Post. The Power of Time Perception: Control the Speed of Time to Make Every Second Count. Jean Paul Zogby.  

What comes to mind when we think about time? Why time is so precious and why do we seek ways to ‘make the most of it’?

I have started to read this fantastic book by Jean Paul Zogby,  and it is full of fascinating facts. 

Genre : Non Fiction 

Publisher : Time Lighthouse Press 

Blurb :

Do you feel that time is flying as you grow older?

Want to learn the secret of how to slow it down?

Now you can! With access to in-depth research, you can learn how to extend the good times and fast forward through the bad ones with The Power of Time Perception.

Inside the pages of this amazingly insightful book, you will learn how we think about time, the factors influencing our time experiences, and how YOU can make every second count.
The Book covers things like:

•  How our brains perceive reality?

•  What makes time speed up or slow down?

•  How our personality traits influence our time experience?

•  How emotions affect the speed of time in our mind?

•  Ways to slow down time in our life

•  And much more…

Are you ready to live the longest year of your life?

This is one book that has all the answers.

Get your copy today! Every Second Counts!

Available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

Author Website 

Time: More Precious than Gold
What comes to mind when we think about time? Why time is so precious and why do we seek ways to ‘make the most of it’? 

Let us go back to 4,000 BC in ancient China where the first clocks were invented. To demonstrate the idea of time to temple students, Chinese priests used to dangle a rope from the temple ceiling with knots representing the hours. They would light it with a flame from the bottom so that it burnt evenly, indicating the passage of time. Many temples burnt down in those days. The priests were obviously not too happy about that until someone invented a clock made of water buckets. It worked by punching holes in a large bucket full of water, with markings representing the hours, to allow water to flow at a constant rate. The temple students would then measure time by how fast the bucket drained. It was much better than burning ropes for sure, but more importantly, it taught the students that once time was gone, it could never be recovered. 

Of course, with the advancement of technology, no one uses water clocks anymore. But the fact that time is so limited remains ever true. Time is our most precious possession because, as with the burning rope or water clock, once it is consumed it cannot be replenished. We have a limited amount of it and it will eventually run out, no matter how much we hate to admit it. While you can always work more hours to earn more money, you cannot do anything to gain more time. Time can only be lost, and lost in a variety of ways, but can never be regained. It is such a slippery resource that is only visible when it passes and only valued when it is gone. Unlike money that can be saved in a bank, or gold that be hidden in a treasure box, time cannot be saved. We have no choice but to spend every moment of it; and every moment that is spent is a moment that is gone forever. 

Given that time is more precious than money, it seems entirely irrational that many of us are more willing to spend our time in making more money, but are reluctant to spend more money in enjoying our time. We look for the best bargains and think twice before spending our money ‘wisely’, but often fail to do the same with time. ‘Wasting’ a couple of hours is not as bad as losing a couple of hundred dollars from our wallet, even though in reality, time is far more precious than money. We all have that tendency to spend time as if it costs us nothing and it gets worse when you consider that time has an additional ‘opportunity cost’ attached to it. You can divide your money and spend it on various things, like clothes, a new car, or a fancy dinner, but you can only spend your time on one thing at a time. When you spend time on a certain activity, you effectively give up the opportunity to spend it on other things for the activity you chose. Any benefit that might have been derived, had you chosen to do any of those other things, would be lost forever.

In my new book ‘The Power of Time Perception”, I cover how our brains perceive time, why it speeds up as we grow older, the various factors that affect the speed of time in our minds, and ways to slow it down so as to make the most of it.

‘The Power of Time Perception: Control the Speed of Time to Make Every Second Count’ is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Guest Post. A Smile in one Eye: A Tear in the Other. Ralph Webster. 

I can’t recite the chronology or elaborate on the facts. I can’t explain the reasons or defend how we lived our lives. What I can tell you is how the events of 1933 sowed the seeds that fundamentally changed our future, that there was little hand-wringing or emotion, that circumstances were beyond control, that there was no recourse or appeal. I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal.”

Ralph Webster

Ralph Webster, Author, A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other

A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other is particularly relevant in light of the “travel ban” controversy in the U.S.  This book chronicles one family’s Holocaust journey.  Refugees from a different era, it is a compelling story of their search for safety and security.  Should you wish to arrange for Ralph to participate in your book club, either in person or via Skype, feel free to write him directly at ralphwebsterobx@gmail.com.  He likes to connect with readers throughout the world.

Why did you write A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other?



During the fall of 2015 my wife and I spent a number of weeks travelling throughout Europe.  This was a pleasure trip – lots of hiking and biking.  It so happened that this was same time the international news was flooded with images of the refugee crisis.  
Thousands of refugees were fleeing their homes – primarily from  Syria.  They were searching for safety, security, employment and opportunity.  The EU countries were struggling with border issues.   We viewed this firsthand.  We saw police remove people from trains.  The interactions were civil.  We saw no disturbance.  We never felt danger. What we watched was a procession of people trying to find a new life. We saw mothers, fathers, children, and groups of young men – all right before our eyes.

 

My father was a refugee – a refugee from a different era.  His family was prosperous one day.  They were paupers the next.  He fled Germany at the beginning of World War II.  Baptized as Lutherans their ancestry was Jewish.  And, in Nazi Germany, they had the wrong blood. This was about race – not only religion.  It was ethnic cleansing.  Not everyone could leave.  Family members left behind perished during the Holocaust.  These were unimaginable times.  

“I thought those were others.  Soon, I was to learn that they were us.”




I have great compassion for those forced to leave their homelands.  I wonder why this terrible history keeps repeating.  
History also repeats the age old dilemma of where the survivors should go?  Which nations are willing to open their doors?  Where will they be welcomed and safe?  Then or now, this remains a complicated question with no simple answers.  Most of us would agree that a nation’s first responsibility is to their own.  Nations must care and protect their own populations.  There are hard choices.  And, sometimes, first reactions are not the best responses.
Yes, it was another time.  But, for those affected, I imagine the feelings of helplessness and loss are much the same.  Just imagine.  During World War II and the Holocaust more than fifty million people lost their lives.  Six million Jews were murdered.  Lives everywhere were shattered and disrupted.  Those left alive were forced to cope and persevere.

“I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal.”




Using my father’s voice to narrate the story, I have tried to convey that sense of helplessness – what it is like to be hated – what it is like to have to run for your life – what it is like to leave the country where your family has always lived – what it is like to leave family behind – what it is like to be totally disconnected and not know who has survived and who has not – what it is like to try to survive in a place with a different language and culture.  I wanted to convey that sense of determination, of going forward with one’s life, and of keeping one’s perspective and outlook.
And, I have also tried to present the struggle that countries face as they consider accepting refugees.  Are there enough jobs?  Could some be the enemy?  Sometimes difficult times result in difficult answers.  The world is not always a perfect place.
I have no desire to compare the suffering of one tragic period with another.  Whether then or now, the entire world suffers when any group suffers.  Tragedy for one is tragedy for all.  Regardless of when, brutal acts of hatred and violence against others never make any moral sense.  They can never be tolerated.  We must always be aware. 

“Nothing about these times makes any sense.  Nothing.  Putting it to words only makes it sound too simple.”




I believe that somehow, in today’s era of terror, we too often forget that the refugees of the world are not the enemy.  They are the victims.  They are the innocent.  They are the survivors and many have endured unimaginable loss.  They are the bystanders.  They are people like you and me – and too many are leaving with only the clothes on their backs – and often, with their loved ones left behind. 
Although my father’s journey took place 75 years ago, the parallels with today’s world are clear.  I wrote this book so I could shine a light on my father’s journey – to show the reader the world through my father’s eyes.   His was a journey of survival and grim determination, and a reminder that we must always remain vigilant to the realities of our world – a lesson that we must endure.  
I hope that despite the atrocities of the Holocaust, A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other is really about survival, expectation, acceptance, and perseverance.  It is the timeless story about going forward, one step at a time.  It is about compassion for one another.  Sometimes, no matter what, the reality is that fate will take you to where you are going.

  
“Life does find a way to create a balance somewhere between smiles and tears.”



  

Excerpt 

I can’t recite the chronology or elaborate on the facts. I can’t explain the reasons or defend how we lived our lives. What I can tell you is how the events of 1933 sowed the seeds that fundamentally changed our future, that there was little hand-wringing or emotion, that circumstances were beyond control, that there was no recourse or appeal. I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal.” 
Ralph Webster

A Smile in One Eye : A Tear in the Other can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com 

You can find Ralph Webster at his website Facebook or Twitter  

​Shadows on the Wall: Binge Eating Disorder & Early Childhood Trauma. By Hilda Dulin Lee, BA, DMD, MLA, and author of  In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating

I gripped the neck of the green Coca-Cola bottle hidden beneath the folds of my ragged skirt. Not much protection, but all I had. The five of us Dulin Kids sat like statues on the worn brown sofa and stared at the butcher knife Dad held at Mom’s throat…

Emotional and physical trauma, such as depicted in the above scene from my childhood, is one of many factors that can contribute to the development of binge eating disorder (BED). Childhood trauma, especially when it occurs before the age of nine or ten, is an especially strong force that often drives us toward binge eating. How this plays out is fascinating. 

Learning to Self-soothe in a Safe Home

Self-soothing is one of the earliest and most important coping skills we learn as children. 
In a safe home, young children learn to soothe themselves by being comforted and soothed by their parents. For example, if a small child is frightened by the “boogie man” in her room at bedtime, she runs screaming to her father (or mother) who immediately takes her in his arms. Kissing her forehead, he speaks to her in a calm soothing voice and sings a favorite lullaby. Returning with her to the bedroom, the child is shown that what frightened her was only a shadow on the wall. This scenario may happen more than once, but the child eventually convinces herself it is indeed only a shadow. She learns to soothe herself, and learns that her home is a safe place in which to grow up.

When the Shadows on the Wall are Real

Compare this nurtured child to the child who grows up in a dangerous and unhappy home such as mine. What does this child see and experience? Even as an infant, anger, sadness, and fear are telegraphed to the child through her parents’ eyes, touch, voice, and even smell. Mother and father yell, and siblings cry. As she grows up, this young child may be physically, even sexually, abused. In her home, the shadows on the wall are real.

As this young girl grows, she may take on any number of destructive coping skills. She may “act out” or become depressed and withdrawn. As she enters adolescence, she may become promiscuous in order to get the attention and comfort she needs. She may turn to alcohol or drugs or gambling or shoplifting. Or binge eating.
Children, like myself, who grow up in unsafe homes become keenly vigilant to the dangers around them. We scan our world—through sights, sounds, and smells—for signs of danger and take on hypervigilance as a way of life. 
In my youth, I wasn’t conscious of how vigilant I stayed, but even as a young child, I knew the difference in the sound of Dad’s pick-up truck on the gravel driveway when he was drinking and when he wasn’t. Straightened sample books in my parents’ upholstery shop made my heart quicken; they meant Dad was drinking and Mom had kept busy in the front room, straightening fabric samples, in order to stay out of his way. This pattern of hypervigilance became deeply engrained. 

How Hypervigilance Effects Our Brains

There is a primitive part of our brain, called the amygdala, which is responsible for our physiological reactions to danger. As the first in line for data coming from our various senses, it is a sort of triage station where information is quickly assessed. If the information requires normal thought, the amygdala sends it on to the more advanced thinking part of the brain, where deliberate and measured decisions are made. But if the amygdala senses an emergency that demands immediate action, it doesn’t take the time to send a transmission to the thinking brain. It simply reacts. This is the well-known fight-or-flight response.
Most of us have faced an emergency situation where we just reacted without thinking. We saw a semi-truck and slammed on the brakes or swerved before we even processed the fact that we saw the truck in the first place. At that moment, we were functioning in our amygdala where thought isn’t possible.
The amygdala is very sensitive to continued use. The more our brains route information through it, the more easily triggered these neural pathways become and the more cues we interpret as signals of danger. The younger we are, the more quickly the pathways form, and the stronger and deeper the grooves. Children, like me, who must remain constantly vigilant in their homes develop virtual ruts and become programmed to function in crisis mode, to act from the amygdala. Our fight-or-flight response becomes hair-trigger. It readies us for action, leaving us in a state of anxiety much of the time. This constant anxiety persists long after the unsafe childhood is a thing of the past. 

What Does This Have to Do with Bingeing?

When anxiety hits, we are desperate to find immediate relief, to escape the distress we feel. The fight-or-flight response is in high gear and off we go. Since we didn’t learn to self-soothe as young children, we can’t hush even little moments of stress from within, so our brain often drives us to an easily accessible escape: food. In a binge, we are “fleeing” from reality with food as our transportation. Eating is one of the earliest and most consistent comforts we experience, and one that stays with us forever. It is not that the neglected or abused person has no means of comfort other than food, or that every abused child will turn to food for comfort. Most of us will find at least some comfort in other areas of our life, but for children growing up in an unsafe environment the range of choices is far more limited and the key ability to self-soothe is greatly dampened. 
If we could trace the source of those cravings that hit us in a flash, we would probably find some cue in the environment to which our amygdala reacted. Food (especially sweet, fatty food) works to isolate us from the intense distress we feel in that moment. It calms us and we feel better, but the residue of shame only leads to more stress and more eating. And on and on, until we become a chronic binger with ever-widening psychological and physical issues.

The Impact 

I don’t know when I first began to binge, but I do have an early memory of hiding under the kitchen table with Mom’s pink-and-white-flowered sugar bowl and a loaf of Merita bread. I was about four. Dad was yelling and hitting my mom and she was crying. I poured sugar on the soft white bread, folded it, and pinched the edges to seal in the sugar, and secretly ate sugar sandwiches one after the other. In our family, where guns and knives were used to threaten, and broken bones were not unusual, my amygdala got a work-out! 
I grew up and my life changed to a safe one. I knew that I used food to get through major stresses but, until I was diagnosed with binge eating disorder and began my journey to healing, I didn’t realized that I used food, sometimes on an hourly basis, just to get through the smallest of upsets. Food became my primary means of comfort, which severely limited my emotional growth and well-being, and threatened my physical health.

Through all the years that I suffered the shame and guilt of binge eating, I had no way of knowing that trauma in my childhood had had such an impact. I didn’t know that it had caused not only psychological problems, but actual physical changes in my body that predisposed me to cravings and bingeing. Armed with this new information, I could finally begin to see a way out. The journey has not been an easy one, but understanding some of the mechanisms that drove me to my destructive behavior set me on a path to recovery.

*Note: This article draws from the chapter “Shadows on the Wall: The Unsafe Child” found in Hilda Dulin Lee’s 2016 book, In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating. 

More about Hilda Dulin Lee

Dr. Hilda Dulin Lee, dentist and writer, received her BA degree in literature, then did a year of post-graduate work in the sciences before attending dental school where she earned her DMD degree. In 1998, after practicing dentistry for many years, she was diagnosed with BED and made a decision that would alter the course of her life. She sold her dental practice and returned to graduate school where she studied the research on BED and engaged in creative writing workshops. Her first book, In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating, was released in April 2016. The book not only chronicles her personal struggle with BED, but also offers hope and practical guidance to others who suffer as she did.

Release Day. Devil in the Countryside.  Cory Barclay. 

Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas. 
It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs. 
In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.

Available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

Red Hots: A Valentine Anthology. 

Unexpected — Annika Steele As one relationship ends, Maya finds a gorgeous hunk willing to give her a place to stay when she ends up wrecked on a old country road. Is Valentine’s Day about endings or is this a new beginning? The Sea Chest — Margot Wren When a mysterious sea chest washes up to the foot of Caroline’s lighthouse, she writes it off as a fluke. But chests carry secrets, and this chest could give a happily-ever-after to a lonely keeper. Power Outage — Caitlyn Lynch An unexpected power outage on Valentine’s Day throws Raquel’s plans for a romantic evening with her husband into disarray. The arrival of a sexy electrician sparks an erotic game she won’t quickly forget. Real — Ariel Bishop Jess is expecting the traditional Valentine’s Day date with her boyfriend; candlelit dinner out on the town. She doesn’t get what she expected, but she does get exactly what she needed. The Best Worst Valentine’s Day Ever — Christina Rose Andrews Getting dumped on Valentine’s Day sucks. Just ask Lexi. Enter Nate, her hunky neighbor, who has just what Lexi needs to make the holiday suck less. Moonlight and Roses — Vanessa Sweet Melody spends Valentine’s Day alone— by choice. But when a mysterious garden and its tempting guardian offer her more, what will she choose? Just Desserts — Gwen Marshall After getting in trouble with their girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, Connor and Sully are prepared to make sure she gets her just desserts. Gift With Purchase — Tally Bane Gail had worn her good panties on a whim. It’s not like a certain detective would know they were for him. But one ‘Gift with Purchase’ might change that and make Gail glad that she’d chosen the lace. Roses and Tails — Barbara Be Even on a Space Station, the Humans bring their weird customs on board. Valentine’s Day is an alien concept for Jillnell, though she plays along as best as she can. But sex in Zero G poses unique challenges for aliens and humans. Sweet On You — Ava Bari After her heartbreak, all Molly wanted was to spend Valentine’s Day alone in a fancy hotel. A double-booking has her rooming with an attractive businessman, but maybe Jack is just what Molly needs. Under Me, Over Me, Inside Me — Briar McKenna With tension building and pressing against barriers of self control and doubt, what happens when what we want wins against what we think we shouldn’t have? His Promise — R.A. Stone Melanie has been in love with Chris since college, but they’re not exactly a couple. When she discovers she’s pregnant with his child what is she to do on the most romantic night of the year? A Match Made In Olympus — Livvy Ward Join Kaitlin and Eros this Valentine’s Day as they ride out a storm and try to mend broken hearts while dealing with a meddling mother. Turns out not even Cupid can escape Aphrodite’s matchmaking! Burning Love — Annalee Locke Maggie just wanted to spend a quiet Valentine’s Day at home, commiserating over being single with her two favorite firemen. A work related emergency changes those plans, and gives the three of them a night they’ll never forget. A Perfect Storm — Sera Taíno An argument between Adam and his fiancée, Julia, leads to some soul searching as he realizes that life can change in the blink of an eye. He’s determined to show her just how important she is to him. Peaches — Abbigail Clark In the war-torn American south, Eulie Buchanan meets Jay Curtis, a man who offers her a choice sure to be the talk of the county. First Date Gone Right — Líadáin Douglas When Sarah gets dumped right before her Valentine’s Date, two guys come to her rescue and give her a first date she won’t quickly forget! Over A Barrel — V.T. Charbonneau When Madison agreed to cater her cousin’s wedding, she didn’t expect the groom’s gorgeous brother to be such an asshole. Locked in the wine cellar together, will she throttle him… or jump him?

Available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

The Year of Uh. Jud Widing. 

Free to download on Kindle at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk  

For the first time in their lives, nineteen year-old Nur De Dernberg and her younger sister Deirdre are leaving Seychelles, Africa. They’ve come to Boston for a year, but not to party with the college kids – they’re here to learn English. Nur, trapped by her inability to speak the language and her sister’s inability to speak in anything other than clipped wisecracks, finds herself in a strange country with nobody to talk to; she is dreadfully, existentially alone.
Until, that is, she goes to language class and meets Hyun-Woo. Despite sharing no common language, Nur feels something distinctly spark-like between them. Thus commences an awkward courtship…maybe? Is it a courtship? Does he feel for her the way she feels for him? Does he know how she feels? Then again, does she? Nur is beset by questions that would be easy to ask, if only she had the words. Those words are coming slowly, though, while her feelings for Hyun-Woo are thundering along at a more breakneck pace.