Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Lullaby Illusion by Susan Joyce Promo- 11/13/13

Lullaby_Illusion_front A bold and stirring memoir. One woman s tale of dreams, war, love, and personal growth The Lullaby Illusion details the harrowing personal journey of a young American woman facing seemingly insurmountable situations while living in the Middle East and Europe. After many miscarriages and the loss of a child in childbirth on the island of Cyprus, Susan seeks solace by creating art and recording her vivid dreams. Through difficult life changes -- Cyprus s bloody coup and war in 1974, a rescue from a sinking ship in the Indian Ocean, learning of her husband s secret life, and surviving his deadly assault in Belgium -- she discovers her ticking clock is not the child she fails to produce, but rather her creative potential. Following her vivid dreams and intuition, she successfully reinvents herself as an artist and writer. From beginning to end, Susan Joyce reminds us of the stream of awareness that flows through all of us. Early reader reviews show it resonates universally with men and women. 


Article first published as Interview with Susan Joyce, Author of ‘The Lullaby Illusion: A Journey of Awakening’ on Blogcritics. 

Welcome Susan. Thank you for taking the time to share some information about yourself with our readers. Let’s get started, shall we? Susan, I’ve been perusing the various websites and web-pages of yours and I have to say that you have lived an extraordinary life. If you don’t mind though, I’d like to start this interview a bit further back by asking you about your childhood. Who were you as a child? (Were you the shy, demure child, or did you always have that adventurous spirit)? Shy? Never. I was more of a tomboy type. Always adventurous, I had a wild imagination. I was the second child born into a family of eight children. My father became a Pentecostal preacher months after I was born (was I to blame?) and my family moved from LA to OK, TX, CO, and then to AZ. Most of my childhood was spent in Tucson. I used to sit out on a hot rock in the desert with my dog and wait for the space ship to pick us up. I was convinced they had left me with the wrong family. You mention that you were born in Los Angeles, but then you moved to Tucson, Arizona. Having myself lived in Phoenix, Arizona for many years, and knowing what a sleepy little town Tucson has been until only recently, that move must have been a huge transition? Were you old enough to notice/recognize the difference between the two cities/cultures? Tucson was sleepy compared to LA, but because of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base it had lots of activity happening. Because I was so young when we moved from LA, I didn't really know LA as a kid. But when my family would pile into our nine-passenger station wagon and drive from Tucson to LA, to visit my aunt who lived there, it was very exciting. So many miles of cars and people scurrying about... I knew then that I wanted to return and live in LA someday. As my father used to say: “When you're old enough to tell yourself what to do.” What was life like growing up in Tucson? What did you do for fun? Is this where your love of books and possibly the notions for your photography/artist career began? My creative juices were definitely stirred by the wide open spaces of nature surrounding me in the desert around Tucson. We lived out of town, near Sabino Canyon. We didn't have a television. My father thought TV was evil and a waste of time. Imagine that! But we had a bookcase filled with books and a set of encyclopedias. Once a week we visited the public library and were allowed to check out as many books as we could carry. My father also read two daily newspapers and encouraged us to get beyond the comics. We all played a musical instrument and loved singing. At a young age, I wrote stories and songs. At age twenty you left the United States, intent on exploring this big world of ours for one short year. How did that timeline work out for you? *chuckle* What was it you discovered that kept you from returning like you originally thought that you would? I found myself wanting to stay a bit longer in every country. To explore more. When I needed money, I found a job and stayed on. So months of travel became years of travel. The more I traveled, the more I discovered. I was so young and naïve when I left the States, I often chuckled about the simple discoveries in life that changed me forever. Travel is the best education for anyone. The world is a great classroom. You learn volumes about yourself and others. Even though I’ve familiarized myself with the countries you have visited/lived in, would you please share them again here for our readers? I visited numerous countries during my years abroad—Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Italy, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Austria, India, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Australia, New Zealand. Lots of different countries mainly in the Middle East and Europe, and now South America. I've lived in Israel, Germany twice, Switzerland, Cyprus, Greece, England, Belgium, Mexico, and now live in Uruguay. Susan, what were your favorite countries? Do you have any “not so” favorite countries? They were all favorites at the time. Exciting to explore and to learn about different cultures and their unique history. Cyprus was probably my favorite, until there was trouble in paradise—the coup and war in 1974. I also loved living in Germany. Its central Europe location made it a great home base for traveling around Europe. While I’m not going to list your age, simple mathematics makes me wonder what it was like being an American woman traveling, and living, in some of these tumultuous countries during the time periods that you did? How often (if at all) did you worry for your safety? I don't mind people knowing my age. It was probably safer to travel then, than now. Especially in the Middle East. I usually traveled with friends and felt a bit envious that Paul Theroux (a man) could travel alone anywhere and never be bothered. I was in my 20s-40s when I lived in the Middle East and Europe, and I can only remember being worried about my safety once in the souk in the old city of Jerusalem. I was admiring some large colorful pieces of fabric when someone covered my head with one and started moving me toward the back of the tent. Sensing danger, I started screaming. My husband, at the time, realized I had vanished and started asking questions of others nearby. After a struggle with the man, I broke free and ran out. The man laughed and pretended it was a joke, and offered my husband a few prized camels in exchange for a blonde, blue eyed young woman... I knew it wasn't a joke, was not amused, and felt grateful to be rescued. What was it that started you writing? Was it you wanting to share your various world-life experiences, or did the writing itch start at a much earlier age? I enjoyed making up songs and stories at a young age, but my language skills needed help. I had dyslexia and when I spoke I got my words all mixed up. People often laughed at me. My nickname was 'Dutch' because it sounded like I was trying to speak a foreign language. My mom played word puzzle games to help me. By the time I was in the fourth grade, I was reading, writing and telling stories that others understood. I wrote a short story about my dog Brownie and his bad liver breath, and how I loved him in spite of his bad breath. The story won first place in a competition, giving me confidence to keep writing. Susan, You have a new book coming out: “The Lullaby Illusion – A Journey of Awakening.” What prompted you to write this “travel memoir” of yours? What do you hope that readers will take away from it? The idea came as I struggled to find answers to questions about mysterious events that happened in my life. My life was shattered by the coup in Cyprus on 15 July 1974, followed five days later by the Turkish invasion on 20 July 1974. Thousands of lives were drastically changed forever by the atrocities, including foreigners who lived there. Of which I was one. Bewildered at how a place—which seemed like paradise— could simply disappear and how my own perfect life could unravel as a result pushed me to find the missing pieces of the puzzle. As I started putting my life back together, scattered fragments of news clippings, letters from friends, dream and travel journals, poems, notebooks filled with tidbits of thoughts fell into place and I started writing my story. I always expect a book to encourage and inspire me. So I hope my work does exactly that. How have your dreams, and that little voice of “intuition,” shaped you into the woman you are today? Like spirit guides, my dreams and intuition have directed me to find my own unique path in life and my place in the universe. Because I believe and trust in these, I have lived a most extraordinary lucid, aware life. Being aware is key. And finally… If you could tell every single person in the world just one important “something,” what would that “something” be? Believe in yourself and trust your own still small voice. It speaks your truth. Thank you again, so much, for sharing your story Susan. It has truly been a pleasure learning about you, your experiences, your books, and what makes you…well…YOU!
"Michael" by Susan Joyce
I adored Michael. He was my first gay friend, and was just stepping out of the closet within the confines of friends when we met in Frankfurt Germany in 1976. He became my solace at a low tide in my life and introduced me to the vibrant world of opera and theater. He had an obsession with theater and anything presented live on stage. He had performed in a few shows in small theaters and his dream was to finish a play he had started writing years before and see it published one day. “Love Wagner’s. Great action and food.” Michael smiled, eyeing a young man across the room. “Everyone here thinks I’m a movie star.” “You’re the spitting image of a young Tony Randall.” “And as fastidious and fussy, I trust.” ”You’re not fussy. Just choosy,” I assured him. Michael of course then educated me on the origin of the phrase 'spitting image' and we both had a good chuckle. I fondly called him 'Mister Walking Encyclopedia' because he knew obscure facts and figures on any subject conceivable. Michael always knew the real scoop. He loved fancy words and loved to use them. “Gaydar,” he explained one evening, “is how I know if someone's straight or bent.” I chuckled. “Did you just invent that word?” “Gaydar? Probably,” he replied. He invited me to a play at the English Theatre in Frankfurt. I hadn't seen the play before, but recognized the playwright, Oscar Wilde. “It's a trivial comedy for serious people. The second most known and quoted play in English after Hamlet.“ “I've seen Hamlet performed,” I said. “This one's a farce,” he said smiling, “The Importance of Being Earnest, first performed on Valentine's Day in 1895. It's nonsense that makes sense, if you get beyond the words.” “Sounds like a must see,” I replied, wondering what the hell I was getting myself into. I found the play a bit silly, but great fun. When the final curtain closed, we stood and wildly applauded again and again. “I just love Wilde's British dandyisms.” Michael chortled. “Some wild expressions,” I agreed. “Classic Wilde,” Michael continued, “They speak volumes about the hypocrisies of the society. Then and now. Reprobates always have more fun.” I laughed. As we discussed the play's “real” meaning, over wine, later that evening, Michael educated me on the dark history of the play and the eventual exile of Oscar Wilde. “Ernest was Wilde's alter-ego,” Michael informed me. “The play is a satire about the hypocrisies of society, and the way these damage our souls.” “He was criticizing Victorian society,” I said. Michael smiled and took another sip of wine. “His speaking out landed him in prison.” “Why?” “Indecency. Romping with a royal. Of the same sex.” “Wow!” I said, letting it sink in. “His writing is a harsh satire.” “And still rings true today,” Michael said. Michael taught me many different things—some shocking, some fun, some frivolous, some serious, but all inspirational. All encouraging. He taught me about striving and thriving, and being different, and accepting differences in others. Years later, when I finally got around to searching for the word “gaydar” in a dictionary, I realized that Michael may well have invented the word, since the first known use, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, was in 1982. When the final curtain closed on Michael's life in 1986, he left a trail of love, light, and divine information. Too bad he didn't live long enough to witness the gay civil rights happening today. But knowing Michael, he's aware and smiling.

  JoyceSusan Susan Joyce was born in Los Angeles, but spent much of her childhood in Tucson Arizona. She left the United States in 1968 to follow a childhood dream to see the world. Planning on being gone for a year, she has spent more than half of her life living abroad. Exploring other cultures fuels her curious, eager to learn life style. In addition to writing travel articles and short stories, Susan is an award winning author and editor of children's books. facebook256 twitter256 Google-PlusPinterest-Button Website | Amazon | Linkedin

In A Heartbeat by Liz King Promo- 11/13/13

     For the past eight years I haven't been living, just ... Existing. The pain, the guilt, and the shame I carry have been locked away deep inside me for so long that it's impenetrable, until him. Until Connor Reeves. With a sexy smile and seductive eyes the bad boy rocker walked right into my life without warning, and now the walls I built that hid all of my grief for so long are now crumbling at my feet. Now I am left wondering if it's possible that just as life can cause pain, it can also heal wounds in a heartbeat.

I run my fingers through his soft, dark hair. Taking a deep breath, I reply, “Connor, I know you didn’t know what you were doing. I wish you’d tell me what’s bothering you.” I reach down to tilt his face up to mine. “I love you, and I want to be there for you, but you can’t go off on me like that.”
Connor tightens his arms around my waist, pulling me towards the edge of my chair. “I can’t talk about it. Not now. I just need to make sure we’re okay. I need you, Sweetness.” He surges up on his knees, his mouth colliding with mine. I taste want, need and raw desire in his kiss. I can feel Connor pouring all of his apologies into this kiss.
I pull back from his lips to catch my breath. Connor looks deep into my eyes, pleading searching, asking. I don’t have a second to respond before his mouth is on mine again. His tongue exploring my mouth, licking, flicking, probing. I moan into his mouth as he pulls me off the chair and down into his lap. I am now straddling Connor, sitting on his bent knees. My mind doesn’t process the fact that we are in fact in the break room of my workplace. I let myself get pulled into Connor’s kiss. I kiss him back with all the built up tension that I have felt since I ran out of the apartment last night. I fist my hands in Connor’s shirt, holding him to me as I grind against the hard ridge that is forming behind the zipper of his jeans. I feel Connor’s hands slip underneath my scrub top at my back, inciting a fire along my skin.
Just as Connor starts to finger the hook of my bra, the break room door opens, making me remember where I am. “Jesus!” Michelle screams, leaving just as quickly as she entered, slamming the door closed behind her.

Author Bio:
Liz King is a wife, nurse and romance book blogger. In A Heartbeat is her debut novel. She lives in South Carolina with her family. Reading is a passion of hers, and writing is always something she wanted to do. Liz is addicted to gummy bears and coffee, even though her family and friends don’t think she needs caffeine to add to her already energetic personality. She’s obsessed with the 1980’s and loves to sing even though she can’t carry a tune. Liz loves college football and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains with her husband.


Lips Of An Angel - Hinder
Take My Breath Away - Berlin
Alone - Heart
Crawling - Linkin Park
Colorblind - The Counting Crows
I'll Stand By You - Pretenders
Love Me Tender - Elvis
Everything - Lifehouse
Broken - Lifehouse

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*****EXCLUSIVE***** Prologue Release for Finding Willow by Dawn Robertson


Nearly eleven years ago

I look down at the crying newborn lying on my naked chest. It’s warm, wet, covered in blood, and screaming, but I’m not bothered. This is my baby. This is the baby I have grown in my body for nine months. This is the baby I nurtured. I love it. I could never hate my own baby, despite the circumstances through which it was created.
“Merry Christmas! It's a girl,” the nurse exclaims, while they rub the baby’s tiny body down. They scrub all the fluids off of her. Her cries turn into little whimpers and soon, she is rooting for my breast. Finding it with ease, she starts to suckle and, for the first time in my life, I feel love. I love this little girl more than life itself. I love my daughter. I love Willow.
As she nurses, I examine every feature on her plump little face. Her lips are full, her cheeks are chubby and squishy, a small dimple graces the right side of her face, and, as her eye lids flutter, I can see the smallest bit of blue leading me to believe she has her father's eyes.
Her father.
That fucking sack of shit.
All those years ago, I’d thought I loved Blue James, my best friend's older brother by thirteen some odd years. He was the bad boy everyone swooned over. I always thought it was a rite of passage to crush on your best friend's brother.
I always assumed he wanted me, and only me, because of the way he had touched me for so many years. The memories I would never shed. The feel of his rough hands exploring my tiny body. It went on for years.
When I was sixteen, he came on to me as a woman for the first time. I never realized his love for me as a child was overstepping boundaries. We used to mess around, but I always stopped it before it went too far. I was a virgin, and nobody knew I was completely in love with his little sister, and my best friend, Seven. She was my everything. My entire world. No matter what happened, she was there for me. I just wanted to explore a man as much as I explored Seven.
When Blue discovered that there was more to my friendship with his sister than met the eye, he took what he wanted. He claimed his territory. He took my virginity.
He didn't ask or plead. He raped me. Took something I would never have given him. He led me to believe it was my fault. I’d led him on, and a man so much older than me had needs. I couldn't mess around with him without finishing him off. He was the first man I’d been with, and the only man for a long time.
Now, the result of our on-again, off-again tryst lies in my arms, nursing at my breast. I want to cling to her, never let her go. However, in two days, she will no longer be my baby. My parents, along with Blue’s, found a couple in a neighboring commune to adopt her. My Willow is going to
live with strangers. Newcomers to this way of life. It breaks my heart even to think about it, but I can’t raise her. Neither can her father. And, while he might technically be an adult, I am still merely a child.
She deserves a fair chance at life, not the careless, nomad existence I was raised with. That is all I’d ever be able to provide.
I run my finger along her cheek and continue to admire her features. She is the epitome of perfection, and I find it so hard to believe that I made her. She’s a piece of me that I will love forever. I keep telling myself I agreed to give her up out of love. I just wish I would finally start to believe it.
The two days fly by in a blur of baby cuddles and visiting parents. Each time they visit the hospital, I hate them a little more. I hate that I can't pick up the phone and call my best friend, because the truth of the matter is that she has no idea I even had a baby. I never told her I was pregnant. She would worry. She would leave behind her dream of college, and a career. I just couldn't do that to her. She means far too much.
Blue never came. He never showed up at the hospital. He never met his daughter, his own fucking flesh and blood. I thought I’d hated him over the years, but now I know my feelings back then were nothing compared to the way I absolutely detest him now. How could you be so uninterested in your own child? But then again, he’s just like his parents, and my own: selfish. The apple really didn't fall very far from the tree in his case.
My mother appears in the doorway, and a strange couple stands next to her. I know it’s time. Time to let them take my baby. Time to let go of my dream of a happily ever after.
The couple is older, in their early forties maybe. The woman has a warm and tender smile as she cautiously follows my mother. I cling to Willow, holding her tight against my chest. My breasts ache with engorgement. My stomach feels deflated. My soul is on the verge of being gutted.
Everyone in the room is smiling, but me. Because I am the only one who is going to lose out.
“Star, this is Raine and Jeff Driscoll,” my mother introduces us, but I don't look up from Willow's beautiful pouting face. The woman steps closer. That’s when I notice her striking green eyes. They are warm and loving. I know that look, because it’s the look Seven has given me for the longest time. My defenses start to come down, because in my heart, I know Willow will be taken care of and loved, unlike me.
I slowly place a kiss on her newborn forehead and pass her to Raine. I don't want to watch them leave with her..
I swing my legs off the side of the hospital bed and creep across the room to the bathroom. I lock the door and turn on the shower. The tears come as soon as I hear the click of the hospital room door.
My baby is gone, and I will never see her again.
I cry harder and harder.
I made a mistake. I want her back.

Scarlett Metal's Goodbye Girl Cover Reveal: 11/13/13

Rachel met Clint in a diner one night while she was on the road trying to escape her past. From the moment they lay their eyes on each other, sparks fly. He offers her a job on his ranch and even though she's a city girl, she accepts.

It's not long before they give into their attraction and settle into life together on the ranch. They find happiness in each other's arms and Clint quickly wonders if Rachel is the girl that can give him his happily ever after.

Rachel's past eventually comes back to haunt her, and threatens her happiness with Clint. Can they work through their demons of the past and find their happily ever after? Or will Rachel leave Clint just like she fled her life before?

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Meet Scarlett
Scarlett lives in the Midwest with her sexy husband, two girls, and three fur babies. She dabbled in writing right after college but it wasn't until she took up blogging about eight years ago that she started writing seriously. After writing a few boring service pieces for some online publications, she went back to her true passion, fiction. When she's not busy writing steamy stories, she can be found with her nose in a book, camping, or geocaching with her family. She loves Diet Coke, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and 80's hair bands.

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