Monthly Archives: March 2016

Welcome to artist Brooks Garten Hauschild!

Welcome to Brooks Garten Hauschild! Winner of second place in my online contest with her beautiful work entitled Imagine!

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Hello all!

I was born In New Orleans. I’ve lived and worked in southern Oregon since 1985. I’ve always been drawn to the creative side of life. I’m a photographer, visual artist, musician, writer/poet and designer of clothing, interiors, logos and gardens.

Primarily acrylic on canvas and pastel, my paintings range from figurative and representational pieces to flowing organic creations to things purely abstract. My work is described as ’emotion expressed with the language of color’ and ‘soul made visible’. My work is a combination of intuition and intention. Nature, music, love and life itself are my inspirations.

I’ve published a couple of my own poetry-photography collections and also created illustrations for several other authors. I’m honored to have my work featured in a variety of magazines. I travel the globe and have had exhibits in numerous galleries over the last thirty years.

You can find me at:

Website: http://brooks-hauschild.pixels.com .
Google: https://plus.google.com/112777559723284005516
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InspiringWordsOfWisdom/posts/10203931638045072

~Review of The Adventures Of JoJo Smith by Tony Leslie Duxbury~

The Adventures Of JoJo Smith cover

This is a light-hearted and amusing fantasy about a young man who is accidentally transported to an alien world. It is a medieval world and the magician who pulled him from his own was only practicing! Jojo is frightened out of his wits and finds himself in the middle of a needle match between the magician and the King’s henchman. As the magician ignores his pleas to reverse the spell and send him back Jojo looks for a way to force the issue. This is out of character for the normally happy-go- lucky Jojo, who usually just drifts through life. He comes up with the idea of making a revolution and dethroning the King. He finds allies to help him and the plan swings into motion. Of course, everything goes wrong from the start.

My Review:  4 Stars!

This is a humorous fantasy story that takes place in a medieval village.  The main character from modern day England is transported via a wizard to the medieval dimension for the purpose of collecting information.  The wizard ends up keeping the man, named JoJo, in the dimension as a source of amusement.  The book follows JoJo’s desperate attempt to cause an uproar in the realm thus forcing the wizard to send him home reluctantly.

There are some funny scenes.  But the humor is adult;  this is not a book for children.  There is a lot of slang used from the perspective of English society, but I didn’t find it difficult to follow.  I did run into a number of typos and spelling errors, but despite that the book was easy to read and understand.  The book was written in a sort of monologue of the main character. Everything was described by the main character’s perspective with some dialogue peppered into the manuscript as well to add interest.  I do wish there had been more dialogue as well as a touch more character development and detail added to parts of the story to make the pace a bit faster.

All in all, if you enjoy fantasy and humor, you would find this story entertaining.   It did provide some much enjoyed laughter!

Where you can find The Adventures Of JoJo Smith:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-JoJo-Smith-Leslie-Duxbury-ebook/dp/B00EIPXJBA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458800082&sr=8-1&keywords=the+adventures+of+jojo+smith

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/adventures-of-jojo-smith-tony-leslie-leslie-duxbury/1005024001?ean=9781500270841

Where you can find Tony:

Linked In:  http://www.linkedin.com/hp/?dnr=ZOfjMwww.linkedin.com/profile/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?=100005086548859

~Spotlight: What Dwells Within by Jayne Harris and D.J. Weatherer~

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Spirits don’t just haunt buildings!

From beloved dolls to once treasured jewellery, evidence of the afterlife can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Jayne Harris is one of the UK’s best known female Paranormal Investigators and a world leader in the study of Spirit Attachment (haunted objects). With over 17 years experience in this very misunderstood field of research, in this book Jayne lets readers into her world by sharing her most memorable, and sometimes terrifying cases and gives advice to anyone wishing to take a journey into the paranormal.

Co-written by award winning Author Dan Weatherer who gives a fascinating insight into historic cases, this book is a MUST have for any paranormal enthusiast and an invaluable tool for paranormal investigators.

Are you ready for the truth?

Reviews:

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Just Finished reading this book.. I was very pleased with the information, also had good stories/articles of personal accounts with objects connected with the Paranormal.. It also contained a very good FAQ section at the end to assist amateurs like myself in this field. This book will will be kept on my bookshelf as collection and for referencing when in need for the future.. will even read it again from time to time thoroughly for its interesting topics and information..
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I finally was able to finish Jayne’s book and I loved it!!. Defiantly a 5 star book to read!!. What dwell’s Within: A Study Of Spirit Attachment Is a awesome Book for anyone who is a haunted doll/object’s collector this is a great book to read and for anyone who is thinking of getting a doll or objects that are haunted this book would be soo perfect for the new collectors too trying to do research or looking for advice!!!. Jayne also has a website you can go to if you are new with being a haunted doll’s collector!!. 🙂

Where you can find What Dwells Within:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/What-Dwells-Within-Spirit-Attachment/dp/1785350323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458711712&sr=8-1&keywords=what+dwells+within

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-dwells-within-jayne-harris/1122201584?ean=9781785350320

Where you can find Jayne:

Website:  http://www.hdparanormal.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Hauntedolls

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HauntedDollsPage

Instagram:  https://instagram.com/hdparanormalresearch/

Where you can find D.J.:

Website:  http://www.fatherdarkness.co.uk/

 

~My newest creation: Find Something To Laugh About!~

Find Something To Laugh About by Diamante Lavendar

Life happens. It happens to all of us whether we’re ready or not….kind of like playing hide and seek! We can try to hide, but life will seek us and hunt us down, taking us along for the ride!

My newest creation speaks of maintaining a sense of humor through it all. It’s easy to have humor on good days. But it’s also very important to have humor on bad days as well. Humor actually helps us through hardship and is essential in our well being.

This is a concept I’ve learned the hard way. Some of you know my story. Others of you aren’t familiar with it. I wrote a book about it entitled Breaking The Silence. Through my life, I’ve learned that humor is a necessary element in healing and staying happy.

Please feel free to come back and visit again to read my quote. Or save it to your computer. I’d love to have it inspire you at times when you really need it.

Blessings,
Diamante

~Spotlight: Lawful Claim by Marie Johnston~

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Agent E wasn’t always an evil Sigma Agent. Even though evil had her claws in him, he couldn’t help but hang on to his past and watch over the family he lost, protecting them by staying dead to them. Until one night, he interfered.

When Ana Esposito’s life, and that of her son, was saved by the husband she had buried over a decade ago, she found her world irrevocably changed. Any chance of safety for her and her son lay with the hardened man that used to be the love of her life.

Where you can find Lawful Claim:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Lawful-Claim-Sigma-Menace-Book-ebook/dp/B015JEAL28/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458280809&sr=8-1&keywords=lawful+claim

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lawful-claim-marie-johnston/1122668259?ean=9781517407292

Where you can find Marie:

https://www.facebook.com/Marie-Johnston-593148834163855/timeline/

Website:  mariejohnstonwriter.com

Twitter:  @mjohnstonwriter

Interview with Marie:

1.  Please tell me about your book and why you decided to write it.

Demetrius was a character who had a rich back story as soon as I wrote him. Each time he appeared in The Sigma Menace series, I was super excited because he was such a fun dude. It helped that he’s a vampire and I kinda wanted to start writing about fangers. When I finished Pure Claim, book five in The Sigma Menace, it felt like that was the end of an era. I didn’t want to give up on the world and so many characters who needed their story told, so I took it in a spin-off direction. Demetrius was the perfect character to begin the Unnatural Disorder series. All the books in this series will have names for titles; therefore, book 1 is Demetrius.

2.  Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

If I could grow up to be J.R. Ward, I’d be especially happy. I’ve been a fan of her work since Dark Lover and I’ve studied the reasons why her writing sets the bar so high in my mind. Following writers on social media made me admire Ward even more. She lets us catch a glimpse of her life and personality without spamming us with marketing. Ward also writes her posts herself, not her assistant. I achieved super fan status when I wrote a blog about what I learned about writing from her. It was meant to be only five things I learned from her, but it grew into 20. So I broke it up into four parts and tagged her on Twitter for each post. I felt like I was being nothing but a nuisance, but I respect her so damn much, you know? I wanted to share my gushing. Once the four parts were posted, she tweeted some of the nicest words of encouragement. It means a ton to newbies like me to get a shout out from the biggest names in the business.

3.  What do you hope to accomplish as a writer?

Did I mention I want to be J.R. Ward when I grow up? I want to be at the top of my chosen genre. I want to write novels that help people get lost and enjoy every minute. I think romance will always be my primary genre, but I do have a few other books in mind. There are two deeply emotional women’s lit books banging around in my head. Most dear to my heart are two historical fiction stories I want to write. Both are based are true stories, but I won’t be able to make them biographical.

4.  Preferences:  Night or Day?  Coffee or soda?  Camping or Resort?  Cats or Dogs?

My first born helped me turn back into the morning person I was born to be. I just don’t function as well as the day gets longer.

I wake up to my diet soda and sometimes need to supplement with coffee. Forty is on the horizon and I’ve only just started drinking coffee.

I want to be a camper so darn bad, but I can’t stand trying to keep my kids from falling into the campfire. I hate packing all my stuff to go set it in the dirt. If we camp, it’s very minimal and it includes either fishing or hiking. When the kids are older, it may be more enjoyable. Otherwise, it’s resort all the way.

Both, but I sway more towards cats. I love their finicky temperament, and they’re just so fluffy! I do love a big dog though. Someday, *sigh* we’ll get a place with some land so we can have a big dog or two.

5.  What would you like your readers to know about you?

I truly value every reader I have. I want to take something I really enjoy doing, and make it into a career. I can’t do that without readers and their support and encouragement.

6.  If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?

Patience. I used to think I was a patient person – until I got older. Now I’m relying heavily on patience to undo all the bad effects of my impulsiveness. Whether it’s money, career, school – make a flexible plan and have the patience to stick with it. Sometimes the change we want to see, that we are working hard on seeing, takes time. Easier said than done though.

 

~Spotlight: Cross Academy by Valicity Garris~

Cross Academy Cover Photo

Imagine looking outside and seeing a wall that stands over 30 meters high and 5 meters thick. This wall encircles the entire village. It keeps the danger out…but it locks you in.

What’s outside?

Demons.

Humanity was pushed to the brink of extinction when legions of demons crawled from beneath the earth and devoured two-thirds of the world’s population in a single night. For centuries, humans have been locked in a war with monsters—and they are not winning. There comes a day when the evil supernatural creatures break through the village walls and this time they hit with a vengeance.

Sixteen-year-old Fox Fire watches as her home is reduced to rubble. Desperate to protect her loved ones, she joins Cross Academy and devotes herself to destroying demons. But her loyalty is tested when she learns her best friend is possessed by one.

Fox must decide if she will be loyal to the Cross or spare her only companion. Slaying the monsters doesn’t seem so easy anymore.

Reviews:

on December 26, 2015

Cross Academy is a clever fantasy set in the village of Wee, years after much of the world’s population was destroyed in the Demon War. Fox Fire, the heroin of the story, comes of age in a white-knuckle adventure, where she battles demons and witches in living color.

Valicity Garris carefully crafts her characters, and it is impossible not to fall in love with them as the story races faster and faster. KI is the outsider and protector that is wholly inadequate for the task. Cole is the untamable, hardened warrior. Each character is his/her own work of art, and they are certainly worth investing oneself in.

Perhaps most remarkable is the creative, imaginative setting, a fantastical world unlike anything on earth. While this story is outside of my genre of choice, the magical setting alone makes the trip to Wee a worthwhile adventure. I believe that Valicity Garris has a bright literary future ahead of her.

on December 30, 2015
To be honest, my plan was to skim Cross Academy to make sure it’s an appropriate book for my tween since I’m unfamiliar with this author. Wow! I wasn’t expecting this! YA fantasy isn’t typically a genre I enjoy, but the story drew me in from page one. The multiple layers of the story kept me engaged until the last page.Usually when I read, it’s clear what I like most about the writer, but this wasn’t the case with Cross Academy. Garris masterfully crafts her character development, description, plot and spiritual elements like a seasoned, best-selling author. I’m thrilled to have found a new author that not only my daughter can read, but I can enthusiastically follow as well.​
Where you can find Cross Academy:
http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Academy-Valicity-Garris-ebook/dp/B0141YR5K8/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8
Where you can find Valicity:
Website:  http://www.therebelchristian.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ValicityGarris
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5234254.Valicity_Garris
Interview with Valicity:
  1. Tell me about your book and why you decided to write it.

Cross Academy is a YA dark fantasy novel set in a post-apocalyptic world engulfed in demonic warfare. That sounds like a headful of crazy when I say it out loud but the reason I decided to write it was pretty simple.

I’m a huge fan of American comics, my favorite being DC’s Teen Titans. There was a cartoon version on TV when I was a kid and one day I was just watching some reruns and reminiscing in its awesomeness. Teen Titans was a show about teenage superheroes who lived in a giant T-shaped tower protecting the innocent citizens in the surrounding city.

While I was watching I just thought, how cool would it be if that were twisted into a Christian show? Instead of having teenage heroes we could have war hardened Priests, instead of living in a T-shaped tower they could have a militaristic faction within a giant cross shaped tower, instead of protecting the citizens from bank robbers and whatnot, their main enemy could be demons. Then I just thought, whatever, let’s throw in the end of the world and bam. Cross Academy was born.

I do realize that sounds just as crazy as the description but I’ve gotten good feedback so far!

  1. What is your favorite genre to read and why?

Even though I write YA fantasy, I love reading contemporary fiction. I feel like a lot of the issues in our society could be best addressed and presented to the people—as in the people who aren’t necessarily politically apt—through an intriguing story. Things that are often seen as controversial could be made into something that’s easier to talk about or simply brought more awareness if there was a character and a story with it that audiences could relate to.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? Why do you enjoy their books?

Definitely Kathryn Stockett, she did an amazing job with The Help. Her writing is funny even though she’s talking about something that’s very serious and even painful for some to think about.

I also enjoy Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor and Park, simply because she’s increasingly using minority characters in her work. Diversity is something that definitely catches my attention as a reader.

  1. What would you like your readers to know about you?

I feel like readers take a look at my blog and my bio and think that I’m strictly a Christian author writing for Christian readers. I’d like them to know that’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong, Christ comes first in my life, and my writing definitely brings in Christian references and themes but my aim is to blur the lines between secular fiction and religious fiction. CS Lewis did it perfectly with The Chronicles of Narnia, JRR Tolkien did it with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I’m certain it can be done again.

  1. If you could have one wish fulfilled, what would it be?

You know, my wish is really to write. Sure, I’d love to be on par with some of the famous authors today. I’d like movies made and crazy fandoms dedicated to my work but really … I just want to get my ideas out there and still have time for my video games ahaha. So my wish is being fulfilled with every stroke of the keyboard. All that other stuff would just be a bonus.

  1. If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?

One piece of advice about life? Gosh … the words of Winston Churchill keep me going, I’d have to share his famous quote; “Never, never, never give up!”

 

~Letter Of Intent #2 by Diamante Lavendar~

Letter Of Intent #1

Letters Of Intent are ways to focus on increasing your power and perspective in life.  Here’s Letter #2:

The time is NOW to rise and shine.  The time is always NOW.

People persist in believing in yesterday and tomorrow, but those are only illusions.  NOW is all we have.  NOW is all there is.  That is why many people experience a delay in achieving their dreams.  They look for answers in yesterday and tomorrow.  And while some answers may be found in those places, they must be applied to NOW.  Because NOW is the timetable of life.

Take the lessons from yesterday, take the dreams from tomorrow and plant them in NOW.  It is the only way to truly thrive in your life journey.  The moment you’re in means everything.

Blessings,

Diamante

~Review of Twisted Faith by Victoria Schwimley~

Twisted Faith by Victoria Schwimley

Pastor David Owens came to New Hope Christian church expecting to revive a flailing congregation. What he got instead was just a building filled with grumbling, gossiping people.

Then one night, as he’s locking up to go home, he receives a desperate call from a young woman in the parking lot.

Abigail Stein is seventeen and an unwed mother. Persecuted by religiously fanatical parents, Abby is on the verge of killing herself—along with her baby.

David turns to God for guidance, calling on all his training to save the lives of this young woman and her child. Is it enough? Can David help her see the strength of God’s love before it’s too late?

My Review:  5 Stars!

If you enjoy reading books about Christianity, you will love this story!  It is a beautiful portrayal of the pitfalls and rewards of religion.  It speaks of the unfortunate circumstance of religion used to shame and disgrace but also of the beautiful circumstance of religion used to love and edify.  This is a well thought out story with a carefully crafted plot.  The reader will learn much about love and redemption from this book.

I highly recommend Twisted Faith!  To all adult audiences!  It is heartfelt and knowledgeable regarding the ways of the wayward souls and of the loving souls which are found in humanity. This book is a tear jerker as it explores the profundities of what really matter in life.  For anyone who enjoys pondering upon the human condition, this book is a must read!

Where you can find Twisted Faith:

http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Faith-Victoria-Schwimley-ebook/dp/B00MLY8OOW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457421315&sr=8-1&keywords=twisted+faith+by+victoria+schwimley

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/twisted-faith-victoria-schwimley/1120136192?ean=9781499248463

Where you can find Victoria:

Website:  http://victoriaschwimley.com

Twitter:   @schwimley

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4952648.Victoria_Schwimley

Interview with Victoria:

1.  What prompted you to write these books?

I wanted to find a way to reach out to kids to show them the love of God without pushing religion on them. I figured the best way to do this would be to approach some of the topics that affect them and approach it from a manner they might accept. I created Pastor David as a character that loves these kids and cares about them and accepts who they are, complete with their faults—someone who wouldn’t judge them, but understand them.

2.  What is your favorite genre to write and why?

I think that depends on my mood. I love my children’s detective series. The two characters in these stories are my granddaughters, and the antics they get into suit their personalities. I love the faith series because it allows me to connect with kids and show them they don’t have to be perfect to have God’s love.

3.  What is an interesting fact about you you’d like to share?

In addition to writing novels, I also write and produce stage plays. I have a passion for live theater and I’m thrilled to see my stories come to life.

4.  Favorites:  food, color, place, activity?

My favorite food is anything with chocolate in it. My favorite color is blue, more specifically Turquoise. My favorite place is San Francisco, and my favorite activity is writing—next to that it would be walking on the beach.

5.  What are your hobbies?

I love to sew things, which I suppose goes along with my creative gene. I also enjoy camping and taking short hikes.

6.  What inspires you?

I’m inspired by life and the events that happen around me. For example, the inspiration for my book Capturing Faith came because I was surrounded daily by teenagers who seemed to survive on caffeine. I saw the effects this had on their lives. They joked about needing the caffeine to stay awake, but I saw it as a problem and addressed it in the story about a young man who takes massive amounts of caffeine until his body responds by crashing. I wrote this first as a stage play that was performed by the youth of my church. They reported on how much they learned about the dangers of caffeine and the need to take better care of their bodies.

7.  If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?

I have two mottos I live by. “Life’s too short to sit on the bench, so get in there and pitch the game.” And “Always treat others how I’d want them to treat me.”

~Diamonds Fall by Rebecca M. Gibson~

Diamonds Fall by Rebecca Gibson

“She noticed as if in a dream, a single diamond hair comb fall to the floor. The sparkling jewels landed face down in the mud.” Annabel Maria Hoddington is the epitome of high society. She has everything money can buy and as befits a lady of her station, is engaged to the richest bachelor in England. However, on the day of her eighteenth birthday – her perfect future on the brink of fulfilment – she is abducted and held hostage in an isolated village, where she finds herself entrapped in the harsh world of poverty. Forced to live amongst three mentally scarred siblings, she must adapt to her new, sinister world…or die.

Format: Paperback

I really loved this book. Annabel, a high class girl living in the Victorian times, is kidnapped and forced to live a harsh live in poverty by her kidnappers. It was a story that gripped me from the beginning and I couldn’t stop reading at times. The beginning of the story sure hits you with a punch and from then on, I just want to read what would happen with Annabel next.

Annabel’s character changes from this spoiled, wealthy girl to a woman that is selfless and caring for those in need. I loved her transformation. Instead of a girl only thinking about herself, she cares for the children of the man she is kidnapped by, and they all depend on each other for survival. I enjoyed that despite her challenges with her captors, she could still find it in her heart to love someone. And the rest of the characters really grew on me as well. Billy – the stable boy who watched over the horses – is so caring of others and comforts Annabel right from the beginning. And Patsy was so protective and caring over her brothers.

The story was easy to follow. I found myself reading chapter after chapter, telling myself “just one more chapter” and then it’s like two hours later. I don’t want to give much of the plot away, but I can say it’s intense at times. As for other reviewers not thinking many of the historical references were quite accurate, I couldn’t really tell myself. I don’t read many historical novels, but I truly enjoyed this one. I will be looking out for more by this author.

Recommended for those that enjoy coming of age novels with historical romance thrown in.

Where you can find Diamonds Fall:
http://www.amazon.com/Diamonds-Fall-Volume-Rebecca-Gibson/dp/0993296300/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51rbW3SVZnL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR100%2C160_&refRID=1FVGW96FB1TV64DQPC3N
Where you can find Rebecca:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B011VLBBJ0
https://www.facebook.com/Rebecca-M-Gibson-797166506986803/timeline/
https://twitter.com/TheRGibson
Interview with Rebecca:
1.  Tell me about your books and why you decided to write them.
Wow…where to begin? I tend to write quite emotive stories, drifting onto the darker side of emotion. I have a psychology degree so I love exploring a character’s mind and seeing how they handle various situations. 
My most emotive novel is probably ‘Rubies Fall’ which is set in the First World War and follows Gray, a rich gentleman with romanticised ideas of adventure, as he is thrown into the horror of the trenches. I’m really proud of that novel and just hope everyone else loves it as much as I do. I am incredibly interested in the First World War so I’m praying it does the experiences of all the men who fought justice. 
My debut novel ‘Diamonds Fall’, the prequel to ‘Rubies Fall’, follows Annabel Hoddington. Annabel is a rich and spoilt society lady who gets kidnapped and held hostage in a small village. Without her trusty material objects, she must learn about the simple pleasures of life, like friendship and love, in the hope of eventually finding her way home. I wrote ‘Diamonds Fall’ when I was out with a friend, walking in the forest by my house. The characters quite literally fell into my head. The rest, as they say, is history.
2.  What are your goals as a writer?
My main goal as a writer would be to touch someone with the words I’ve written and the characters I’ve created. I want people to feel something when they read my stories that maybe they didn’t feel before. I want people to stay awake thinking ‘what if?’. Basically, the reactions I have always had to my favorite authors, I would love for other people to have about my books.
Personally, I would also love to keep evolving, keep improving and eventually end up in a physical bookstore!! I want to write in many different genres and create a variety of different characters to keep everyone on their toes!
3.  Who are your favorite authors and why?
My absolute, all time favorite writer is Wilfred Owen. He is a poet who served as an officer in the First World War. His poetry and the letters he wrote during the war are phenomenal. They are a fantastic portrayal of what the war was really like and how it touched people in so many different ways. His poems are not only beautiful but they spoke the truth in a time full of so much pain. If you haven’t heard of him (and why not?) go check him out now! I’m also, obviously, a massive fan of JK Rowling, Harry Potter was the narrative to my entire childhood so that will always be close to my heart. I won’t go into all my favorite books right now because this would turn into a novel all by itself but I’ll pretty much read anything!! 
4.  Where would you go on your dream vacation and who would you bring with you?
Ohh interesting question. My dream holiday….this is hard seen as though 90% of the items on my bucket list consist of travelling. My best friend lives in Australia so I would love to go there again and see her, which I am saving up for now but it’s going to take a while. I would also love to explore the corners of Europe in much more detail – Ypres, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Rome…the list is endless. Although, you can never beat a white sandy beach and a turquoise ocean. I think, in answer to your question, I would go anywhere and everywhere with anyone who’d like to come! 
5.  What would you like your readers to know about you?
That I love them all for reading my books. I love hearing from my readers, talking to them about their favourite chapters or where they think the characters will go. Look me up, send me a message, I don’t bite! Speaking to my readers about the way my books made them feel is the reason I do what I do. A writer is nothing without someone to read her words!
6.  If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?
Never give up on your dreams. It’s cliche but it’s true. I’ve had countless people tell me I dream too big. People love to say you can’t do something because they’re too scared to try themselves. Yes, a spot in a bookstore, a movie deal, a following of devoted fans, they’re all far fetched but they have to happen to someone. Why not me? Why not you?

Introducing Artist Ben Kotyuk!

I WANT SOME 3000p

Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Ben Kotyuk, first place winner of my contest on Fine Art America for most creative inspirational art work!  His piece entitled I Want Some is a beautiful depiction of enlightenment!

Without further adieu, here is Ben’s post!

As a child I always had a propensity for drawing and building things. At the age of twelve and with the help of an insightful teacher, I was enrolled in an art school. After two years of exploring various creative disciplines, I focused on package/product design.

Upon graduating, I went to work in a corporate art department. In those days, product design was not considered very important so it was begrudgingly handled as part of the advertising responsibilities. This meant I was also required to design ads and catalogs along with an array of promotional items.

For the next eleven years I moved between large corporations and small design studios where I handled product design projects. Slowly over time, the importance of package/product design became apparent and broke off as a speciality.

At that point, I left the corporation I was working for and opened my own design studio. For the next thirty-five years I did product, package and conceptual design for the cosmetic, fragrance and fashion industries world wide.

When I eventually retired, I needed a long overdue break from drawing and sketching which had been an intricate part of my work process. During the next six years I pursued other creative outlets and did not put pencil to paper.

As my life progressed, I began to feel a strong desire to draw and paint again but this time it would be just for me. I chose to work in pastel because it didn’t seem like a large leap from colored pencils which had previously been my presentation medium of choice (besides, I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of cleaning brushes.)

In order to develop my pastel technique, I have mostly painted what is around me. All the objects, people and animals that are visually familiar.

I recently had a lot of fun doing graphic design and a few illustrations for a book I wrote last summer. I have never imagined myself as a writer yet for awhile, I was plagued by a recurring dream where a story unfolded.

One day my wife, Kelley said, “Why don’t you just write it down.” Well, I did and it became “Journal 97 The Case Notes Of E.R.Satz.”

At the core of this strangely odd and most bizarre story, a theme on how people connect with each other emerges. It illustrates that through trust and dedication, an unexpected group of individuals come together for a common purpose to change their lives for the better. In the end, as fate would have it, everyone receives what is ultimately meant for them.
The book presented big challenges and was a new outlet for my creativity.

On a final note, and in regards to my painting, “I Want Some” I would ask you, have you ever experienced a moment that took your breath away then seconds later tried to logically understand what just happened to you? Deep down you know it’s already too late because the more you try to find that feeling the further it slips away.
That is how I felt when I saw the sun burst from behind a cloud one day, I literally gasp. I searched for that spot within myself, but the more I tried the further from my emotional reach it became. I wanted it to last, to retain some part of it in my being, but now it’s only a memory. “I Want Some” was an attempt to visually capture that moment in a way that could be shared.

You can find Ben’s amazing work on Fine Art America where he has many wonderful pieces to share!  Thank you for being a guest on my blog, Ben!