Friday, September 28, 2012

Book of Paul Blog Tour


As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:
    
  • Visit today’s featured social media event
  • About The Book of Paul:  A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction.  Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

    About the author: 

    Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Richard Long Pre-Written Interview


    Please enjoy this interview with Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.



    1. Tell us about the spark of inspiration that eventually grew into The Book of Paul.

    The initial inspiration for The Book of Paul came when I wrote the first line of the first chapter called Exercises: “He practiced smiling.”  I wanted to explore a character who had been so damaged by childhood trauma that he could no longer feel compassion, joy, affection, and had, accordingly, committed all kinds of horrible acts. I wondered if such a person could ever regain his emotional capacity and be redeemed by love.

    2. What was the research process like for this book (which can at times deal with some pretty heady and—frankly—grotesque goings-on)? Any horror stories to share?

    There are many aspects to the story, so the research was really extensive. I love doing the research almost as much as the writing, so it’s a joy for me to read and learn so many new things. The creation mythology literally goes back to square one and builds from there, tracing the history of Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy, alchemy, druidism and pagan mythology--particularly Egyptian, Greek and Celtic traditions. There’s also a strong science fiction element involving quantum physics, artificial intelligence, life extension and what’s known as The Singularity. Other lines of exploration involved Irish genealogy and what I call the pain culture: tattoos, elaborate piercings and body modifications.

    I made some gruesome discoveries along the way. The most disturbing was the Extreme Body Modification website I stumbled upon, which is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. I first saw it in the early days of the Internet, which is pretty amazing in itself. I checked recently and it’s still there, though I didn’t have the stomach to peek inside again. I’m actually as squeamish as some of my readers about certain things, which is probably why the horror comes across so vividly. If something scares the hell out of me, it’s easy for me to convey that fear and revulsion.

    3. Tell us about Paul. Who is he and what is his book about?

    The Book is a 4th century codex, the only one of it’s kind. How and why it was made and what it contains is one of the central mysteries of the series, so I’m not going to spill those beans. Paul is every bit as mysterious. When he is first introduced you might think he’s a serial killer involved with the occult in some way. As the story progresses you discover some really unexpected things about him. One thing is clear from the outset – he is one very nasty piece of work. I’ve always felt that any horror novel or thriller is only as good as the villain. I definitely aimed for the fences with Paul.

    4. There is a strong tarot undercurrent to this novel. The protagonist even makes his living by reading the cards. Why did you decide to work it into The Book of Paul, and how does it surface throughout the course of the story?

    I actually did tarot and numerology readings when I lived in the East Village many years ago. The tarot led me to a lot of dark occult explorations, which are mirrored in William’s journey. I was lucky enough to pull out of that nosedive and hop over to the Buddhist side of the fence. William is not so fortunate. The reader gets drawn into William’s world through his first person narration as he talks about becoming a collector of ancient occult manuscripts, which leads him to the tarot. Then he gradually reveals more through his journal entries, which contain the meat of the mythology and all the Hermetic and Gnostic lore. Finally, he discovers that the tarot is actually related to an apocalyptic prophecy, which Paul is determined to fulfill by any means necessary, which is very bad news for Billy.

    5. At almost 500 pages, this is not a short novel. From start to finish, how long did it take you to write, revise, and ready for publication?

    I’ve written over 2,000 pages for The Book of Paul and the series. The first draft of this volume was close to a thousand pages long. I cut out eight characters and their storylines in the second draft, which netted my first agent. She wanted a lower page count, so many of the narrator’s interior musings were cut. Those were actually some of my favorite sections. Then I moved to another agent and he wanted more of the mythology put back in, so it grew close to this size. After six months he hadn’t sold it, so I got sick of the whole process, wrote it the way I wanted, and published it.

    6. The concept of synchronicity plays heavily in this novel. What attracts you to it, and has it proven a heavy influence in your own life?

    I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. I was raised as a Catholic, but the nuns effectively beat those beliefs out of me quickly. Even as a kid, I couldn’t accept the idea of God as the big guy in the sky with the white beard. Science and mythology and my own imagination showed me all kind of possibilities. I first noticed synchronicity when the number eleven kept showing up for me all over the place--addresses, hotel rooms, etc. Someone suggested I get a book on numerology and I discovered that eleven was my “name number” and also a power number. I started noticing all kinds of things after that, coincidences that were just too weird to brush away. Then I read some Jung, and when I got into quantum physics that sealed the deal. Synchronicity for me now is the manifestation of interconnectedness in the universe. There is nothing you can perceive that isn’t connected to you. As the Buddhists say, “no separate self.”

    7. Paul is... scary (we’ll leave it at that). How were you able to effectively become this deranged character, and how did you hang on to your own humanity after the fact?

    I would imagine it’s much the same as when Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter. He was very disdainful of method actors who got all caught up in identifying with their characters. There’s a famous story about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Hoffman was a method actor and he stayed up all night before their torture scene together and Olivier said something like, “Why don’t you try acting, dear boy?”

    That being said, I’m not immune to being disturbed by these things. When I wrote the traumatic scenes of him and Martin--well, I cried when I wrote them and they stayed with me for days. So maybe the method is working for me too.

    Paul is great to write because it’s like letting my Id out of a cage. I get to play out my most evil imaginings and nobody gets hurt. I also had to find Paul’s humanity to make him really interesting for me. I didn’t want him to be some cartoon monster. Paul is also in a lot of pain; he was traumatized as a boy and his life was changed forever. By the end of the story you get to see many other sides of him. And of course, there’s a lot more to come.

    8. Irish mythology is woven into The Book of Paul, and at one point, Paul even makes a sarcastic quip about the luck of the Irish. Why Irish, and how all does its culture influence the story?

    When I’m writing, I go into a daydream state where I imagine the character and what he or she looks like and where they are and what they’re doing. No outline usually. I sit back and watch and listen. If it’s great the way I imagine it, then writing the dialog is like taking dictation. When I wrote the first chapters with Paul, I was surprised because I kept hearing him speak with an Irish brogue, but his accent went in and out – sometimes really thick, sometimes a little lilt, sometimes no accent at all. So I’m thinking, what’s that about?

    I come from Irish American stock, but my parents told me absolutely nothing about their parents other than to say they were cruel. So that’s the starting point with Paul. He’s the ultimate bad dad. The more I explored Paul, the deeper it led me into Celtic mythology, Irish genealogy and history. I suppose I’m trying to find the missing links of my own heritage. My grandmother was born in Ireland, so I have dual citizenship, even though I haven’t been there yet. I’m thinking I’ll go next year when I’m writing the third sequel.

    9. The Book of Paul is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and in that way, it can be difficult to classify. So tell us, who is your target audience for this novel?

    Given the fact that there are some rough episodes in the story, you might think that the so-called target audience would be men who are into horror, thrills and mayhem. But women actually seem to be my biggest, or at least, my most vocal fans. I’ve been getting some really enthusiastic reviews from men, but even more so from women, who surprisingly seem less squeamish than some of the male reviewers.

    The Book of Paul doesn’t fit into any neat, tidy genre. It’s very complex and like you say, unlike anything I’ve read before either. There’s a Pulp Fiction element to it, with quirky characters in a seedy environment. There’s a major religious/mythological mystery for the Dan Brown crowd. It’s very funny, but incredibly poignant. It’s very disturbing, but there are lots of fast-paced action scenes. There’s romance and kinky sex. Something for everybody.

    10. Why did you decide to self-publish The Book of Paul, and how has the journey been so far?

    Read above. The traditional publishing industry in general is like a boxer on the ropes in the tenth round. For fiction it’s even worse. Add first-time novelist to the list and sprinkle on an unclassifiable genre for a little seasoning. I had two agents who were well known and successful, and very enthusiastic about the book. But the editors they reached wouldn’t take a chance on it. I could have kept trying, but frankly, I ran out of patience.

    How has it been so far? The book is out in the world and it’s just the way I wanted it. I have complete control over everything I do, including the cover art, which is also exactly how I want it. The marketing is a lot of hard work, particularly the social marketing, which I had never done before. But that’s turned out to be a lot of fun too. I’m meeting so many great people--other authors and readers--and getting such a strong response on the book that it feels like a vindication. See? I told you so. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!



    As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.

    All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

    To win the prizes:
        
  • Visit today’s featured social media event
  • About The Book of Paul:  A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction.  Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

    About the author: 

    Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

    Book of Paul Guest Post


    Please enjoy this excerpt from The Book of Paul, a nail-biting supernatural thriller by Richard Long. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.


    Monsters:  An Excerpt from The Book of Paul

    by Richard Long

    You tell your children not to be afraid. You tell them everything will be all right. You tell them Mommy and Daddy will always be there. You tell them lies.

    Paul looked out the filthy window and watched the little girl playing in the filthier street below. Hopscotch. He didn’t think kids played hopscotch anymore. Not in this neighborhood. Hip-hopscotch, maybe.

    “Hhmph! What do you think about that?”

    Paul watched the little black girl toss her pebble or cigarette butt or whatever it was to square number five, then expertly hop, hop, hop her way safely to the square and back. She was dressed in a clean, fresh, red-gingham dress with matching red bows in her neatly braided pigtails. She looked so fresh and clean and happy that he wondered what she was doing on this shithole street.

    The girl was playing all by herself. Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop. She was completely absorbed in her hopping and scotching and Paul was equally absorbed watching every skip and shuffle. No one walked by and only a single taxi ruffled the otherworldly calm.

    Paul leaned closer, his keen ears straining to pick up the faint sound of her shiny leather shoes scraping against the grimy concrete. He focused even more intently and heard the even fainter lilt of her soft voice. Was she singing? He pressed his ear against the glass and listened. Sure enough, she was singing. Paul smiled and closed his eyes and let the sound pour into his ear like a rich, fragrant wine.

    “One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door…”

    He listened with his eyes closed. Her soft sweet voice rose higher and higher until…the singing suddenly stopped. Paul’s eyes snapped open. The girl was gone. He craned his neck quickly to the left and saw her being pulled roughly down the street. The puller was a large, light-skinned black man, tugging on her hand/arm every two seconds like he was dragging a dog by its leash. At first, he guessed that the man was her father, a commodity as rare in this part of town as a fresh-scrubbed girl playing hopscotch. Then he wondered if he wasn’t her father after all. Maybe he was one of those kinds of men, one of those monsters that would take a sweet, pure thing to a dark, dirty place and…

    And do whatever a monster like that wanted to do.

    Paul pressed his face against the glass and caught a last fleeting glance of the big brown man and the tiny red-checkered girl. He watched the way he yanked on her arm, how he shook his finger, how he stooped down to slap her face and finally concluded that he was indeed her one and only Daddy dear. Who else would dare to act that way in public?

    “Kids!” Paul huffed. “The kids these days!”

    He laughed loud enough to rattle the windows. Then his face hardened by degrees as he pictured the yanking daddy and the formerly happy girl. Hmmm, maybe he was one of those prowling monsters after all. Paul shuddered at the thought of what a man like that would do. He imagined the scene unfolding step by step, grunting as the vision became more and more precise. “Hhmph!” he snorted after a particularly gruesome imagining. “What kind of a bug could get inside your brain and make you do a thing like that?”

    “Monsters! Monsters!” he shouted, rambling back into the wasteland of his labyrinthine apartments, twisting and turning through the maze of lightless hallways as if being led by a seeing-eye dog. He walked and turned and walked some more, comforted as always by the darkness. Finally, he came to a halt and pushed hard against a wall.

    His hidden sanctuary opened like Ali Baba’s cave, glowing with the treasures it contained. He stepped inside and saw the figure resting (well, not exactly resting) between the flickering candles. At the sound of his footsteps, the body on the altar twitched frantically. Paul moved closer, rubbing a smooth fingertip across the wet, trembling skin and raised it to his lips. It tasted like fear. He gazed down at the man, his eyes moving slowly from his ashen face to the rusty nails holding him so firmly in place. The warm, dark blood shining on the wooden altar made him think about the red-gingham bunny again.

    “Monsters,” he said, more softly this time, wishing he weren’t so busy. As much as he would enjoy it, there simply wasn’t enough time to clean up this mess, prepare for his guests and track her down. Well, not her, precisely. Her angry tugging dad. Not that Paul had any trouble killing little girls, you understand. It just wasn’t his thing. Given a choice, he would much rather kill her father. And make her watch.



    As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.

    All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

    To win the prizes:
        
  • Visit today’s featured social media event
  • About The Book of Paul:  A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction.  Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

    About the author: 

    Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Richard Long Guest Post


    Please enjoy this guest post by Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.


    The Tarot

    A guest post by Richard Long



    Laura gave me my first tarot deck. It was a Crowley. A lot of people get creeped out by Crowley decks, much as they would have been creeped out by Crowley, I imagine. He called himself  ‘The Great Beast.’ To me, he seemed more like a big joke.

    “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!”

    Stop it, you’re killing me.
    ***
    You just read the opening lines of The Bone King, a prequel to The Book of Paul.  They happen to be true. Laura gave me my first deck. I still have it and use it. In fact, I’ll be using it shortly to provide Skype tarot readings for two lucky winners of my Whirlwind Blog Tour. I’m looking forward to the readings. The winners? I suppose that depends on which cards come up.

    Actually, I don’t give scary tarot readings, I just write about scary tarot readings. People have enough fear and stress in their lives without me throwing more gas on the flames. Besides, the three scariest trump cards--The Hanged Man, Death and The Tower--can all be interpreted in very unscary ways. Most of the time.

    William, the narrator of The Book of Paul, lives in the East Village/Alphabet City of New York in the years before gentrification made it a much less fun and frightening place. He makes a living doing tarot and numerology readings, same as the author did at the time. Like me, he is also a collector, but that’s where the similarities end. He collects ancient occult codices, some covered in human skin. He collects other things that are even more…disturbing.

    The mythology of The Book of Paul is based largely on my very unique (so unique you’ll never see it anywhere else) interpretation of the twenty-two trump cards of the tarot.  As William endeavors to unravel Paul’s nefarious intentions, he discovers an arrangement of the trumps that reveals the true story being told. In the following excerpt from one of William’s journal entries, Paul congratulates William on his discovery (which is not revealed, so no spoiler alert!) and rewards his efforts with a very special gift to add to his collection, and the promise of an even greater prize.

    A fabulous tarot reading from Richard Long? A Kindle Fire?

    No, William isn’t as lucky as three of you wonderful readers.

    He’s about to have his very first look at The Book of Paul, a gift that comes with a very hefty price tag.
    ***
    “You’ve done exceptionally well here,” Paul said, “but you’re never gonna get to the bottom of this no matter how many of those old books you poke your nose into.”
    “And that’s because…”
    “For starters, those writings were deliberately intended to disguise the truth in countless metaphors and scrambled codes to keep the idiots at bay. They’ve been translated, and re-translated back into the original demotic, Coptic or Greek countless times, every scribe adding his own pontifical touch in his glorious interpretation. Of the more accurate writings, there’s more missing from the tracts than what remains, as you’ve seen in the Drivel of Mary. You’ve about as much luck hitting pay dirt in those dustbins as those literalist born-agains have of seeing the Rapture. However, I have a gift for you that should prove far more enlightening, if you apply yourself with half the dedication of these research efforts.”
    He reached deeply into his pocket and told me to close my eyes. “Don’t go using yer second sight and spoil the surprise.” I nodded and felt him place a large rectangular object in my left hand. “Okay, open ’em.”
    It was a tarot deck. Older than any I’d seen. The paintings were incredibly detailed and absolutely exquisite. I turned them over one by one, The Hero, The Herald, The Oracle—all the trumps labeled with Paul’s titles. “These are amazing!” I said, awed and yes, flattered by his incredible gift. I had a hard time spitting it out, but I managed to say, “Thank you.”
    “You’ve earned it,” he grunted, taking the cards back before I had a chance to look at the rest of them, setting the cards down gently on the table. “But don’t stay up too late gazing at them. This deck can be quite…entrancing.”
    “Is there something else I should know about it?” I asked apprehensively.
    “Indeed, there is. Get a good night’s sleep and meet me in the chapel tomorrow. I’m bumping you up to the advanced class, so make sure your eyes are bright and your head is clear. You’ve earned a little taste of the Gospel according to Paul.”


    As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.

    All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

    To win the prizes:
        
  • Visit today’s featured social media event
  • About The Book of Paul:  A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction.  Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

    About the author: 

    Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Uncontrollable Guest Post



    Yay! Uncontrollable is out today!

    Uncontrollable is the second book in "The Nature of Grace" series by S.R. JohannesUntraceable, the first book in the series, has won and been nominated for several awards including Winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award (YA), 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (YA Nominee), and a finalist in The Kindle Book Review's "Best Indie Book of 2012 (YA)".

    Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."

    If you like a page turner, you will love this series!

    Head over to Mundie Moms for a Big Uncontrollable Launch Party with tons of prizes and then over to SR Johannes blog for even more.

    To continue on with the blog tour, check out the line up! Where SR talks about anything from marketing to writing to her books to personal interviews and giveaways.

    Book Summary

    As 16-year-old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program". 

    While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. 

    After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues. 

    Little does she know, she is being hunted too. 

    On Sale Now! 

    Uncontrollable is on sale in paperback and ebook at all major
    booksellers including Amazon, iBooks/Apple (coming soon),
     Smashwords, and B&N.

    If you haven't read Untraceable, you can get it in paperback and ebook
    at all major booksellers including AmazonAppleSmashwords,
    and B&N.
    Author Bio

    S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes.  Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.

    S.R. Johannes is a winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards (Young Adult) and was also recently nominated for 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (Young Adult). Untraceable was also recently named a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Indie Book of the Year (YA)

    After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. 


    Connect!

    Follow S.R. online on her websiteTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest

    You can also sign up for her newsletter to keep up on author or book news.

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    Backstage Beauty Look with Diorshow Mascara!

    Diorshow Mascara has been The Backstage Cult Favorite for 10 years! It has an XXL brush that was inspired by makeup artists who used toothbrushes to apply layers of mascara to create the fullest lashes they could for models on the runway. But being backstage doesn't have to be for a runway show; it can be for a concert, a play, a musical, or the runway show this mascara was designed for. Either way, you're going to have lots of costume changes and won't have time to keep redoing or reapplying makeup, which is why this look is perfect. You won't have to keep redoing it. Put it on once and you're set for the entire show. 


    This makeup look was actually quite simple to do and was very fun. I'm extremely proud of myself for being able to do it, especially the winged eyeliner (I'm not usually good with liquid eyeliner, but this just goes to show you that practice makes perfect!)

    Makeup used: Diorshow Mascara, Covergirl AquaSmooth (in Ivory), Diamond Cosmetics Liquid Eyeliner (in black), L'Oreal Infallible Eyeliner (in black), Essence Quattro Eyeshadow (in xoxo), and an eyeshadow brush.

    If you would like some steps/directions on how to create this look, let me know and I'll give them to you! Thank you!(:

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Your Inner Eve Book Review



    Your Inner Eve: Discovering God's Woman Within by The Reverend Dr. Susan Newman explores the woman you're supposed to be. She (Inner Eve-original woman Eve) is inside every woman just waiting for you to let her shine. "She is our best self, our champion, our intuition, our creative nature...When we were young and innocent, Eve was strong."

    The book talks about how many women have "lost touch" with their inner Eve and so it has affected who they are, their sense of value and worth. Each section ends with an "Inward Reflection" exercise and a "Susanism." My favorite Susanism is "Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can."

    It took me a month to read this book. (My time manufacturing machine was down I guess.) But I finally finished and the last section was about making time to just "be." Women are so busy doing for others they don't take care of themselves. That's me all over. That's what took me so long to read it. I wasn't doing for me.

    Newman has a conversational writing style that's easy to relate to. It is actually a quick read. (My more Eve-empowered sister read it in a day.) The author's take on familiar biblical stories is both thought-provoking and humorous. I recommend this book to all women who are ready to embrace who they once were and who they are meant to be. I say again, the reader must be ready to hear and internalize the message in order to benefit from reading it.

    Rating 4/5

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Zombified Book Review


    Zombified is about Cassie, a high school senior that gets infected by a virus that will eventually turn her into a zombie. She teams up with other infected but not yet flesh-eating people to find help to get cured. I read this in two days. It's a quick read, funny, and a great look at zombies from the inside. It felt a little too rushed in some parts. I would've liked certain scenes  extended and had others to flow better. Very few typos that came only toward the very end. Not sure how else it could've ended, but it was an entertaining and funny ending. Will we see how Cassie's end will come in another book about Neil/Joseph?

    Rating 4/5

    Zombified Blog Tour stop at Cherese Vines Charming Words

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Howard Shapiro Giveaway!

    Howard Shapiro is generous enough to have a giveaway on PrincessReviews and Facebook!

    What you win:
    Sterotypical Freaks (his book)
    A Guitar Shaped Bookmark
                AND
    your choice of:
    A Limited Edition Poster
          OR
    A T-Shirt

    How many winners:
    2

    How to Enter:
    FOLLOW PRINCESSREVIEWS
    'Like' his FACEBOOK PAGE
    leave a COMMENT on the PAGE saying "I am entering the PrincessReviews Contest"

    When to Enter:
    now until 10/15/12

    Good Luck!

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Shifted Perspective Book Review


    Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger is about eighteen-year-old Caleb Byrne. Everything is going well for his senior year of high school. He’s been accepted to his first choice college, Duke University. He has a great girlfriend who is going to college near his. And his father is supportive and actually pushing him out of the nest even though Caleb is concerned about his father being alone. Then he wakes up as a Cocker Spaniel. Well, he’s only a dog for one day out of the month, but he has no ideas what’s going on. Caleb makes the difficult decision to turn down his dream college and distances himself from the love of his life. But things start to look up (sort of) when he realizes that his change to a dog is normal (for him at least) when his cousin shifts into a Cocker Spaniel right before his eyes. Now Caleb realizes why his mother left her family almost 20 years before and left him and his dad six years before. He is a shifter unlike his mother who was only a carrier; and she left without ever telling him anything. So Caleb spends the summer in L.A., 3,000 miles from his North Carolina hometown learning how to shift and the rules of a secret werewolf and shifter culture. But even in a secret society there are deeper mysteries.

    The story was entertaining. The summary peaked my interest about a guy that turns into a Cocker Spaniel. I won’t give away too much, but the shifter culture that Caleb enters is well thought out. There is a hierarchy, rules and customs. There are some things that are kept vague in the story. For example, Caleb’s mom is mentioned throughout, but many details about her family are not elaborated on. I assume this is because this is the first book in the series called The Tails of Change, and there will be more to come.

    The book is divided into three parts. The first is Caleb’s normal life. The second is his life after shifting and his acclimation. Caleb is pulled into a mystery in the third part. Caleb is funny and has a dry wit. He’s a smart-aleck and it gets him into trouble. Although he does make light of many situations, some of it sounds like a lot of complaining. For someone who has rarely flown on an airplane, he had a not-to-flattering opinion about airplane service, food and recycled air. It got annoying at points where I just wanted to say, Take the bus then! It was just a little too much in some sections. Then there were parts that sounded a bit offensive, like Caleb making fun of his uncle’s Greek accent and his possible ties to the mob. But as the author explains in the summary, the book was written “tongue-in-cheek.”

    There were other parts where Caleb was just obtuse about his shifting condition. Things that were just obvious to the reader, he took several chapters to figure out. Like when he talks repeatedly about how his mom left and how weird his mother’s sister and family were. But when he turns into a dog and finds out that it didn’t come from his dad, he doesn’t even entertain the thought that it could have come from his mom’s side of the family.

    The other characters were pretty standard one-dimensional. His girlfriend is the nosy reporter. His dad is the laid back but supportive parent who lets him do pretty much whatever he wants. His cousin Kalista is the typical L.A. rich girl. Caleb’s nemesis Peter is a jerk because he can be and torments Caleb even before he finds out that Caleb is a runt (late shifter), the lowest level of shifter. The only secondary character I had a hard time putting my finger on was his mother’s sister Aunt Moira. There was something else going on with her. She appeared to be just following the pack culture, but I’m sure she could hold her own if she had to.

    Caleb’s hometown of Mt. Airy is described thoroughly in the beginning. But when he goes to L.A., we get only a little. Granted he grew up in Mt. Airy and had only been in L.A. a couple of weeks. Also, the book is in first person so there are mostly generalizations about places Caleb is not familiar with yet.
    The book was an easy read. However, there were some parts that I had to re-read to understand. I think this was because it was written as Caleb would speak, so some of the inflections in his speech were not easily discernible. If it was an audio recording of the book, his sarcasm and wit would’ve come through more clearly. Also, as a personal preference, I was a bit concerned about the certain choice of words in a YA book. Examples were using the Lord’s name in vain and the use of terms like “butt monkey” I didn’t care for.

    The plot moved along pretty well. There were parts that seemed a bit convenient. For example, someone gives Caleb information that although I wanted to know, I wondered why they were even telling Caleb. It seemed out of character.

    The feeling I got from Shifted Perspective was the challenging of social, class, gender and even species (smile) issues. Caleb is from a working class, modest income background while his uncle and aunt are well off enough to send three of their children to Oxford and the other to UCLA all at the same time. Then there is a species issues. Even though they were all shifters, there is a hierarchy with werewolves at the top and runts at the bottom. There is also tension with shifters when it comes to humans. Caleb, who was raised as human and had no idea about this secret culture, has a hard time accepting and adjusting to it. I think this fact alone will change the course of the shifter society. It seems adequately titled The Tails of Change. Change is definitely coming. Hopefully, many of Caleb’s prejudices will change and maybe so will the superiority complex that the shifter community has against humans. They even like regular non-shifter dogs better than humans. Well, we’ll see.

    I liked that Caleb was relatable. He was uncertain and honest about it and his other feelings. He still remained true to himself and his human side when everyone wanted or expected him to change. His character does grow. He’s has a strong bond with his dad and is not ready to leave his father. He has a hard time figuring things out for himself at first especially with all his adjustments. His journey into shifter culture parallels his transition into adulthood.

    Shifted Perspective was a good read, humorous and I’m looking forward to the next part of the series. There is a relationship between shifters and dogs that I thought was pretty cool too. I would recommend this book to those who like their paranormal with a bit of humor.

    Rating 3.7

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    Baker's Pride Bakery Review

    Savannah's Family Bakery: Baker's Pride

    Savannah Bakery did an awesome job on my mom's birthday cake. My sister coordinated over the phone and online with the baker. She has a wonderful slideshow of all her many cake decorations on her website. We ordered a two-tier blue and white cake with seashells, starfish and other sea-themed animals. It was beautiful. The top tier was chocolate and the bottom yellow cake. The icing was a bit thick, but overall it was a good cake. She accommodated our requests and made sure our cake was ready on time and delivered to our destination which was a riverboat cruise. It did seem a little pricey, but we were pleased with the results. I would recommend this bakery.
    Rating: 4/5
    Location: 840 E DeRenne Avenue, Savannah, GA 31405-6717
    Phone: 912-355-1155

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Savannah Riverboat Cruise Review



    Location: 9 East River Street, Savannah, GA 31412
    Phone: 800-786-6404

    We booked the Savannah Riverboat Dinner Cruise as part of my mom's birthday celebration weekend. I ordered the tickets online with no problem. It includes many options: sightseeing cruises, lunch cruises, dinner cruises. They also have theme cruises like for Thanksgiving or Mystery Murder Cruises. They also offer discounts when you book the cruise with a Savannah tour.

    I easily picked up the tickets from outside a store directly across waterfront street and the riverboat. The ladies were courteous. The boarding time was an hour before leaving shore. The line went quickly and they even took a picture of us (all 12 :-) in front of the riverboat for purchase later. We ended up having two separate reservations and they quickly accommodated us to sit together.

    There were three levels. We were on the second level and the one above us was having a wedding. Apparently the captain could marry people. The third level had benches where you could sit outside. The life vest chests were clearly marked and accessible. Be aware that there is a gap at the bottom of the railing where small children could slip through and fall off the deck into the water.

    The river is a shipping waterway, so there is a small amount of debris int he water and many large cargo ships that use it. But it did not smell.

    Inside was well air conditioned, so bring a light sweater. The tables and chairs were nice but sturdy. The servers bring you water, tea or lemonade with the meal price. But they do have a bar for an additional charge which does include fruity drinks. They use glasses, linen napkins and plates inscribed with a picture of the riverboat. Dinner is served as a buffet, but was well organized by the servers. The food was excellent. Fresh and well seasoned.

    We ordered a cake from the local bakery and was able to have it delivered to the boat before we arrived. We inadvertently left one of the two tiers on the boat thinking the crew had packed both in one box. But the tier we did get was on one of the riverboat plates so my mom got a cool souvenir.

    The DJ was great. He was able to get everyone up and dancing in the space set aside as the dance floor.

    The cruise goes relatively slow with a smooth ride, so there should not be an issue with sea sickness. But I get sick looking down in the car so I wore my sea bands. The view was nice. It's mostly trees, but the boat does go by the waterfront street and you can see the shops, restaurants and hotels as well.

    This was my second cruise on the riverboat. I went for Thanksgiving about six years ago. I enjoyed it and would go again. I recommend this to anyone and everyone. Savannah is a great place to vacation.

    Rating 4/5