Friday, September 26, 2014

Hearts Unfold (Miracle at Valley Rise) by Karen Welch #AmReading #WomensFic #Saga

The actual miracle occurred—and she had no doubt it had been a miracle—when she’d stood beneath the stars and whispered her own name into the darkness.  In the cold night wind, the fog that had for so long bound her mind began to clear, and she looked up to the sky, a broad black bowl over the valley filled with stars she hadn’t seen in years.  The wind rustling in the branches above her seemed to whisper words of calm and comfort, as if to say don’t rush, take time to be very certain of each step.

She thought then of her father’s words.  “You,” touching her hand with a trembling caress; “farm,” shaking his head sadly.  And finally, after what seemed a herculean struggle, “home.”  There had been tears in his eyes, as though it grieved him to have to remind her.
Looking up to the sky again, she felt the surge of her reviving spirit.  Overhead, familiar constellations winked in place.  A sliver of a moon hung low over the trees, too pale to compete with the brilliance of the stars.  This would have been the perfect cinematic moment for a star to arc from its orbit and trail to the horizon, she mused.  But nothing moved, save the gentle twinkling and one small cloud sailing just below the moon.  This, she believed, was the sign she’d prayed for.  The sky she’d gazed up at as a child was unchanged.  The hills had not shifted their positions.  The winter cold had arrived in the proper season.  Some things, the most essential of things, remained constant.  In her short life, so much had changed.  So much that she’d almost been uprooted and lost herself.  In this familiar place was the direction she’d been seeking, the peace and stability she craved.  Had her parents been standing with her there, she could not have felt more confident of the path she saw opening before her.
What remained was accepting that with this decision came a binding commitment.  This was more than merely taking possession of what was already hers.  Any plan to return to this place, to make it her home and build her future here, would not only include the promise to care for the house and the land.  She must also submit herself to be further shaped by what was here.  Just as it belonged to her, she knew she belonged to the farm.  She would not be free to go elsewhere.  It would always need her care, her companionship.  It would be her family, her responsibility.  Maybe this was why Pop had been so sad.  What if she hadn’t wanted this?

~~Miracle at Valley Rise Series~~
Hearts Unfold~Book One
Entreat Me Not~Book Two
Heart of My Own Heart~Book Three
Offered for Love~Book Four

A secret Christmas homecoming, a blinding snowstorm, and in the course of one night two shattered lives will be changed forever.Nineteen-year-old Emily Haynes had lost almost everything she loved. Relying on what seems to be guidance from her invalid father, she returns to her past in hopes of discovering some sign toward the future. What begins as a joyous homecoming quickly becomes a nightmare when a badly injured stranger stumbles on the scene, his brief presence threatening to alter everything Emily believes about herself and the plan for her life. 

A less determined girl might have been shaken by such an experience, but not Emily. She is certain she’s made the right choice, so certain that in the following three years, she almost convinces herself.Superstar violinist Stani Moss appeared to have everything–fame, fortune and a career guaranteed to bring more of the same, until one hasty decision placed it all in jeopardy. Terrified and confused, Stani struggles not only to recover his former skill, but to find answers to the questions which haunt him. Throughout his slow journey back, one image lingers in his buried memories of that fateful night–the vision of a girl he’s never met. The journey will eventually lead him to Emily, and beyond that day, everything about his life will be transformed.

Set in the years around 1970, Hearts Unfold begins the saga of two people whose paths should never have crossed, who defy the odds to create a place they can share. The first of four volumes in the Miracle at Valley Rise Series, this novel could stand alone as a triumphant tale of romance, but there’s much more to the story, as Emily and Stani reveal their pasts and strive to bridge the distance between their worlds. Follow their progress, be entertained by their adventures, and perhaps be inspired by their unwavering belief in the transforming power of love.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Women’s Fiction, Saga Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Karen Welch through Facebook

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Conversations with God by Carlos Aranda @Losman1976 #AmReading #NonFiction #Christian

Protecting the Gates
In Matt. 12:34, it says, “You offspring of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For out of the heart the mouth speaks” (amp). So if we put anger in our heart, anger will be displayed out of our mouth. How do we get into the heart? The first way is by the ear gates. This can happen through listening to secular music ongoing or even surround ourselves with people that cursing is there first language. (That was me back in my days. Thank you, Jesus, for changing me.) Secondly, we can reach the heart by through our eye gates. 

This happens through watching inappropriate shows on TV or other such things as pornography or violence on a computer. Final way is through the mouth gate. If we speak anger, we then will hear anger. Anger will eventually find its way to our heart. In the same way, if we speak negative things about ourselves or others, once again we hear them, and they will find their way to our heart. These are just a few examples of what may happen if there is no watchman at these gates. If we take a defensive stand, our offense can never be beaten. Now we give God more room to operate. Just because the enemy is at the gate does not me we are obligated to let him in!

This book is a biblical perspective on how God wants us to see and get through the trials that life brings our way. It is a book of conversations and things brought to our attention that we may not always see and how through scripture God wants us to get through them.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Christian Living
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Carlos Aranda through Facebook & Twitter

The Girl Who Came Back to Life by Craig Staufenberg @YouMakeArtDumb #Excerpt #MG #Fiction

Sophie woke at the table the next day before the sun rose and let habit and obligation drag her from her seat and pull her to the bakery. Setting her body in front of the floured marble table and searching her chest, she found a hole where her heart used to beat, and when she dove into this abyss she felt something close to cold, but far from feeling itself.

That morning her dough would barely budge when she touched it and the loaves she handled wouldn’t rise an inch and the bread she placed in the oven left their fires cold and flat and dead no matter how long they spent among the flames.

The baker saw this and responded to her as if she were a stubborn slab of dough. She pressed patiently and consistently and with constant motion, asking Sophie this and that, pushing and pulling at her, all without mentioning her failures, without forcing a point, yet unrelenting and unwilling to toss her to the side.

Yet despite this care, by the end of the morning, Sophie’s failures at the simple, mundane tasks built up and tore through her. Her frustration broke as she pulled a final frozen lump from the fired oven and a small tear arrived in her eye as she held the uncooked dough in front of her chest.

The baker stepped over to her and took the dough from Sophie and placed it on the table with a thud. She admonished Sophie, without any hint of anger or malice, “Cry if you need to, but don’t cry into the bread.”

Sophie stood there, that single tear still caught within her eye, her arms and hands still held up in front of her. The baker took each of Sophie’s raised, empty arms, one at a time, and placed them down at her sides. She took one of her own weathered hands and guided Sophie to the table and pulled up a stool and motioned to Sophie to sit. Sophie set her elbows down on the floured marble table and leaned across its surface.

The tear finally fell from her eye and dropped down onto the table, creating a little wet crater in the flour that lay sifted across the top of the marble table. The baker reached out a thumb and smudged the crater across and smiled to herself, then went to the front of the shop and picked up a small olive loaf from the day-old bin. She held it in one of her hands and opened the oven door with the other and let a whiff of the blasting hot air spill out and wash over Sophie. The baker commanded her, “Take out some butter, if you would.”

The baker reached her hand into the oven and held the loaf above the flames for a moment as Sophie walked to the side counter and pulled out the pan of thick yellow butter that sat there. She brought it to the table and returned to her seat.

The baker left the oven door open, warming the room. She pulled up another stool and sat next to her and placed the now-steaming loaf down. The woman tore off a chunk and slathered it with the rich butter, which melted on contact and found its way into the bread’s hidden corners. She handed the bread to Sophie, then she tore off and buttered a second hunk for herself.

Sophie took a bite of the bread, and that bite sank into her. The half-stale loaf crunched in her mouth and the butter pressed through her body as surely as it soaked through the bread.

As they ate for a moment in silence, the baker continued to pull off pieces of the bread and butter them, handing one to Sophie first then taking one for herself. She ate in silence as the dry heat of the oven filled the back of the shop, until Sophie broke the quiet and spoke first. She apologized for her shoddy work.

The baker nodded her response. “It’s alright. I had a lot of bad days too when my parents died.”

Sophie looked over at the sturdy woman with surprised eyes and asked when the woman’s parents had passed.

The baker replied with a soft smile, “Some time ago. I was a little older than you but I was baking by that point… and for a long time my bread wouldn’t rise either.”

The baker deepened her smile as she lifted her hunk of bread into the air and inspected it for a moment, then took a bite and continued as she swallowed, “Clearly it was a temporary problem.”

Sophie couldn’t stop herself from laughing. She asked the woman what fixed her troubles.

The baker thought for a moment. “Time.” She placed her elbow on the table and scratched at her cheek. “As the days passed I found myself again.” She paused, her finger rested against her cheek. “But my bread wasn’t this good again until I went north and Sent them.”

Sophie looked over and was about to speak but the baker stood up and cut her off firmly. “Come. We need to open the shop.”

The baker gathered the few loaves she managed to salvage from Sophie’s empty heart and sighed out loud, “Here’s hoping for a slow day…”

She smiled then pushed her to clean the oven, as she always did, and from there the afternoon proceeded as it always had. Sophie took on her chosen chores, straightening the shop, cleaning, organizing and restoring order as the baker took her seat at the counter where her customers purchased their bread. When her grandmother arrived, Sophie avoided her gaze. Aside from a lingering moment when the baker stepped to the desk and spoke for a moment longer than usual to the old woman, the day proceeded as it always had, right until the sun began to set and the baker asked Sophie and her grandmother to come to the counter to receive their day’s wages.

The old woman placed her payment in her purse, and as she stood for a moment to wait for her granddaughter to receive hers, the baker told the wrinkled woman, “I need to speak with Sophie for a minute longer, you don’t need to wait for her.”

The old woman nodded and said goodbye and left through the shop’s swinging doors as the baker asked Sophie to stand there for a moment. She held still and watched as the woman came out from behind her counter and walked through the shop, examining the little touches Sophie added to it throughout the afternoon. The baker inspected the organized loaves and gave a small approving nod, then examined the swept floor and made a minor appreciative grunt, then noted the neatly stacked bags of flour with a lingering look, before she returned to the counter and opened her drawer and began to count out Sophie’s wages. As she did, the woman spoke to herself, loud enough for Sophie to hear, “Let’s see…”

The baker set down Sophie’s usual wages. Sophie thanked her and reached for the bills lying there. The baker stopped her hand and spoke, without looking up, “The shop looks better than ever lately.”

She turned her eyes to Sophie. “You’ve been working a little later than necessary for some time now.”

Sophie looked at her feet, embarrassed, as the baker pulled some paper and a pencil from beneath the counter and set them down and continued, “I used to hire someone to tidy up the shop as you’ve been doing. I can’t quite remember what I used to pay them.”

The baker marked a few calculations onto the paper and reached into the cash drawer and placed a few extra bills on top of Sophie’s normal wages and looked down at her paper.

“That doesn’t seem right. You’ve been working late every single day for some time now… Let me check the math again. Oh, I shouldn’t have let your grandmother off, she’s better with the numbers than I am.”

The baker made a few more marks on the paper, performing some simple math, adding up the days and Sophie’s extra wages, reaching into the drawer and pulling out more money and placing it on the counter, before checking her math again and pulling out more and adding it to the growing pile, speaking loudly and absent-mindedly the whole time.

“This afternoon your grandmother told me she plans on heading north soon, and that she’ll be gone for some time.”

The baker looked casually at Sophie. “It’s to be expected, of course. She never said so but she adored that man.” The baker looked back down. “Though now I’ll have to find someone else to take care of the books for me.”

She placed more money on the counter. “As I said, I’m not very good at math.”

She returned to her paper, then scanned the neatly ordered shop, then added even more money to Sophie’s thick pile. The woman looked back down and spoke some more to herself.

“I’ll have to find someone to help me with the oven and the store too, while you are traveling with her.”

Sophie’s heart returned to her chest for a moment, before rising and getting caught in her throat as she looked at the thick stack of money on the counter.

The baker rolled her eyes up at Sophie with lightly arched eyebrows. “Though only temporary help, of course… as you’ll resume working here when you return…”

Sophie nodded yes, yes, yes. The baker sat back in her chair and pushed the money towards her.

“And I’m sure if my math was wrong and I’ve overpaid you now, then you’ll work the remainder off when you return.” Sophie pressed her heart down her throat and back into her chest and released a soft, “Of course.”

The Girl Who Came Back to Life

When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says "Goodbye," and Sends you to the next world. 

After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her. 

Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Middle Grade
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Craig Staufenberg through Facebook and Twitter

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mikey D.B. on Being Inspired, Writing & Marketing @mikeydbii #AmWriting #AmReading #Area38

How did you develop your writing?
            By writing.  When I was a personal trainer, I had this client that would tell me “I want to have a dancer’s body” which I then preceded to tell her “You want a dancer’s body?  Then be a dancer.”  I came up with exercises that would help her with dance technique and what not, but in the end, if you want to be something, then be it.  You want to develop your writing, sit down and write.  Write a poem, who cares if it’s hard on the eyes and ears.  The key is to write something everyday.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
            Movies and Netflix mostly.  Music too, but for the most part, when I see how the world has inspired an artist and then that inspiration being reflected in their work, that’s inspiring to me.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
            For me?  Marketing, hands down.  I’m not a very social person to begin with.  I can be content being alone, and because of that I hate…no, strongly dislike social media.  It freaks me out to some extent, but for the most part, I don’t like the mess that can come from being social and what not, and since marketing is a very social process, I struggle with it.

Do you plan to publish more books?
            Most definitely.  At least three.  “Saga of the Nine: Five” “Saga of the Nine: The Reformists” & “Saga of the Nine: The Original Nine”.  After that, I have no idea.  Maybe I’ll try a screenplay.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
            I work at a labeling manufacturing company.  We make the labels you see on vitamin bottles, chapstick, watter bottles, the things granola bars are wrapped in.  That’s us.  I’m also an onsite manager with my wife for a student complex at BYU and I coach high school football.  It sounds like a lot, but it’s all about time management.  My hope is that one day my writings will make enough that I can be job optional.

What other jobs have you had in your life?
            I’ve been working since I was 14 and back then I helped an elderly lady in my neighborhood take care of her house.  After that, I worked at a movie theater, which I hated, and then moved to the labeling manufacturing company I’m at now.  I’ve moved around in the company, but it’s not something I want to make a career with.  It’s getting my wife and me through college, and for that, it’s been a blessing.  At one time I was also a personal trainer.  I loved working with my clients, but I slowly found out how corrupt the company was and it went under shortly after.

If you could study any subject at a university what would you pick?
            The truth of the matter is, I love to learn.  I love it, and writing gives me an excuse to learn about the most random things.

“Why are you learning about Russia?  Are you a communist?”

“No, I’m a writer.”

“Oh, it’s okay then.”

That’s one thing that attracted me to writing a novel, is that you have to learn if you want to sound credible.  I’m not a perfect writer by any means, but to answer your question, I don’t know.  I’ve changed my degree three times and it’s simply because I want to know everything.  So many people go through the motions and get a degree because they are told they have to, and then they have no idea how to apply what they’ve learned and wind up in their mom and dad’s basement.  If money wasn’t an issue, I’d spend as much time as I could at a university learning everything I could.  Unfortunately, money is an issue, so I turn to Google instead.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
            Laptop, for sure.  I have a little notebook I carry around everywhere as I go throughout the day, jotting down ideas and cool things I see, and then when I get home, I put those ideas into my laptop.  It’s a nice little system for me, merging handwritten thoughts into digital ones.

Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?
            I know a few writers in the industry, Sarah Eden being one of them, but for the most part, I’m kind of a pioneer in my circle of who I know.  My family and wife give me the most support, but they don’t really know how this industry works.  That’s where Sarah Eden lended me a hand.  Once I got going though, my little sister decided she wanted to write a book, I’m proofreading some stuff for my friend’s wife, and I’m just helping out where I can; I’m giving support where I didn’t feel I really had any.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
            I love movies, video games of course.  Reading is fun, but it’s not really relaxing because I am constantly dissecting what I read, movies and games too.  But I like to be active where I can.  Working out, boxing, training, that is therapeutic for me and relaxing believe it or not.  Writing is such a cerebral activity that in order for me to relax, I need to do something physical.

Saga of the Nine

Change affects everyone and it is no different for Jackson. Living in Area 38 for as long as he can remember, he knows of no better way to exist than under the tyrannical rule of Christopher Stone, son of Stewart Stone from The Nine of The United Governmental Areas, aka The UGA. This all takes a dramatic turn when Jackson finds a red, metal box buried in his yard, filled with illegal artifacts—journals, a Bible, CDs, etc.—that are from a man of whom he has no recollection of: Mica Rouge.

 The year is 2036 and Mica, unlike Jackson, does know of a better way of life but is torn apart as he sees his country, The United States of America, crumbling from within by group known as The Political Mafia. The Mafia has infiltrated levels upon levels of governmental resources and it is up to Mica and a vigilante group known as The USA Division to stop them and their dark Utopian vision. To their demise, and at the country's expense, The Division fails and has no choice but to watch The Constitution dissolve and transform into The UGA.

In a final stand, having not given up hope, Mica and what is left of The Division, give one final fight in Colorado, or better known as Area 38. However, all is lost as The Division is betrayed by one of their own, Stewart Stone. Mica is left with no choice but to hide in exile, leaving what little history he can of himself and the great United States of America, with his wife, long time friends, and newly born son in hopes that they will one day finish what he could not.

Jackson, having found this legacy twenty-seven years later, decides to start the war that will end The Nine, and he with an outcast group known as The Raiders, begins his fight with Christopher Stone in Area 38. Filled with betrayal, unity, despair, hope, hate and love Area 38 follows both Mica and Jackson in their attempts to restore what they believe to be true freedom, and where one fails, the other rises to the seemingly impossible challenge.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Dystopian Thriller
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Connect with Mikey D. B. on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, September 12, 2014

@GeorgiaLeCarre on Happiness & Character Strength #AmReading #AmWriting #Romance

1. How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
Self-doubt and fear usually come from being too invested in the outcome.  Best way I have found to deal with them is by taking a step back and looking at the ‘What Is The worst That Can Happen?’ scenario.  A heap of one star reviews, everybody hates it, nobody buys it, failure – and so what?  Do something else then!
2. What scares you the most?
In general – the threat of any kind of physical pain.  I am such a coward I can’t even throw myself overboard a boat.  The water looks so flat and hard that I have to gently ease myself into the water.  LOL.
3. What makes you happiest?
I know I should say when my dog puts his head on my lap, but the truth is when my bank account looks healthy and all my bills are paid, and I can get on with the delicious business of enjoying my dog putting his head on my lap.
4. What’s your greatest character strength?
I haven’t truly tested it, so don’t quote me if it ever proves otherwise, but I think I’m a forgiving person.
5. What’s your weakest character trait?
Bone-lazy tendencies.
6. Why do you write?
Because it is miles easier than working in slaughter house or a chicken farm.
7. Have you always enjoyed writing?
No, I never thought of being an author.  I consumed a lot of other people’s words and one day I guess, it just spilled out onto some paper.
Beyond the seductive power of immense wealth lies... Dark Secrets
Devastatingly handsome billionaire, Blake Law Barrington was Lana Blooms first and only love. From the moment they touched his power was overwhelming. Their arrangement quickly developed into a passionate romance that captivated her heart and took her on an incredible sexual journey she never wanted to end.
The future together looked bright until Lana made a terrible mistake. So, she did the only thing she could... she ran.
Away from her incredible life, away from the man of her dreams, but she should have known a man such as Blake Law Barrington was impossible to escape. Now, he's back in her life and determined that she should taste the bitterness of his pain.
Shocked at how rough the sex has become and humiliated that she is actually participating so willingly in her punishment, she despairs if she will ever feel the warmth of his touch--the solidity of his trust again? And even if she can win his trust, loyalties are yet to be decided, and secrets to be revealed--secrets that will test them both to their limits.
Will Lana be able to tear down the walls that surround Blake's heart, and break him free of the brutal power of immense wealth?
Can Blake hold on to Lana's heart when she discovers the enormity of the dark secrets that inhabit the Barrington family?
Lana has always believed that love conquers all. She is about to test that belief...
Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Erotic Romance
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author
Connect with Georgia Le Carre on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#Excerpt from Across Worlds: Collision by S. A. Snow @BooksBySnow #Erotica #SciFi

Stepping out into the hall, Usnavi started in the opposite direction that Jane had been facing. While they walked, Jane reached over and grabbed zher arm, both her hands wrapping around the leathery flesh of the alien. Usnavi shivered. Zhe tried to shake the hold by pointing out different places on the ship, hoping to get Jane excited about something other than zhim, but each time she saw something new, her grip tightened.

Shockwaves rolled down zher spine, pooling in the backs of zher legs with each passing step. Once they reached the observation room, where Jane would be able to sit and wait with a view of the passing stars, Usnavi shook her off and stepped back out of her reach.

“I will return quickly,” zhe stated.

“Wait,” Jane whined.

“I will be back in a short period of time. However, I must speak with my superiors about your exploits on the ship.”

Jane lifted one delicate red eyebrow as Usnavi backed out of the observation room, staring at Jane until the doors shut. She waited thirty seconds for zhim to return before she set about exploring the newest room she had to herself—luckily this one was much larger than the last. The windows were huge and made up three walls of the room, and a half dozen chairs identical to the one in her room were placed carefully in the middle of the open space. On the last wall without windows, there was the door and a computer station, which sat unattended.

Unable to help herself, she darted across the room to the computer. She reached out hesitantly and touched the keyboard filled with unfamiliar symbols. The screen went from black to white and a box appeared with a blinking cursor inside it. She didn’t have to speak the language to know it was asking for a password, which she didn’t have.

She sighed deeply and went back to the window. Hesitantly, she lifted her hand and touched it. Instead of glass, she discovered it was a plastic-rubbery material that had a slight give when she pressed on it. Curiosity piqued, she extended one finger and poked it.

Her finger moved the material nearly an inch before it pushed back. Her brows knit in confusion, and she studied it carefully. Definitely not any sort of glass available on Earth. She made a mental note to ask Usnavi about it when zhe returned. She smiled softly—there were a lot of things on that list.

Pressing her face to the moveable glass, she tried to find any constellations she was familiar with. Her eyes searched for the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, or Orion, anything that she would recognize. When she couldn’t even figure out which one was the North Star, she amused herself by finding new shapes in the inky sky. She found what looked to be a teddy bear, a dragon, and a sunflower before the door opened with a slight noise and her alien entered.


Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love. 

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing. 

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Blended Science Fiction, Erotica
Rating – NC17
More details about the author
Connect with S. A. Snow on Facebook

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Erin Sands on #SocialMedia, Writing & Reading @TheDunesBook #AmWriting #AmReading


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California, Erin grew up with an innate love for dance, theatre and the written word. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Erin began her career in the arts as an actress and choreographer. After booking several notable roles in television and film, Erin began to use her gift of writing in blogs featuring political and social commentary, as well as developing content for theatrical use.

Although The Dunes, is a divine departure from Erin’s previous writings it is by far her most cherished work to date. “I wrote The Dunes initially as self therapy because I needed to release some painful experiences and disappointments from my past. I had this thirst to walk in the complete fullness of life with joy as my constant companion. I had no idea what effect it would have on other people. But when I saw people read it and be released from fears that had held them back for years…when I saw people forgive and be able to walk in the freedom forgiveness brings…when I saw people commit and serve and how those things opened up new opportunities in their life, I was just humbled. Humbled by the awesome power of God and humbled that I had been allowed to go along for the ride”.

When asked why she writes, Erin pauses and reflects on the truth of her heart. “I write because although I am only now beginning to truly love the process, I have always loved the outcome. Like a composer, words become my notes. I string them together in song eliciting the response of my reader, grafting a picture of my soul. Where besides the written word can you effect change so utterly and so succinctly? What besides the written word can pierce the universal collective mind? Everything begins with a thought, but it isn’t until that thought is articulated in written word and those words passed down can life changing movement happen. It must be written, it must be expressed on tablet, and when it is, we all become greater, whether the writing be genius or fatuity, it has evoked thought and debate. Why wouldn’t I want to be apart of that phenomenon? Why wouldn’t I want to share my story, give my testimony…add my paradigm to the mix? Whether it is a novel, a poem, an essay or an article, it is humanity visited. An insight into a new or sometimes shared truth. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. And with that I live my life”.

What are you most passionate about? What gets you fired up?
I am passionate about issues that concern the health, wealth and pursuit of happiness for humanity. Whether it is policy based or related to opportunities being fairly provided for all, you will find me at the front line, marching and championing human rights. I love exchanging ideas with critical thinkers who look at life outside the box. I love faith driven passionate people who are open to new ideas and who realize the importance of giving back. I love creative people who use their talents to entertain and enlighten. These are the topics, the endeavors and the kind of purposed living that excites me and makes my heart sing. These are my passions.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
As with everything under the sun, social media has its good aspects and its not-so-good aspects. The great thing about social media for indie authors like myself is the ability to promote our books and connect with readers in a much broader way. It is literally a global stage for ideas and promotion. Social media does not discriminate. It has leveled the playing field for content creators. I can promote my book on Twitter and Facebook the same way a more established, well-known author can. Ironically, the bad thing about social media, is the very same thing that is great about social media, it does not discriminate. No matter what your thought (how hateful or intolerant it may be) you can share it with the world. It gets equal billing along with all of the other thoughts and posts circulating out there. In terms of social interaction, Facebook helped me to get in touch with childhood friends that I had not seen in years.  It also allows me to keep in touch through pictures and posts with family members who live out of state. It’s like one big block party. I see far more positive outcomes with social media than I see negative outcomes. It is such an intrinsic part of local, national and global communication now that I can scarcely imagine life without it.

Do you find the time to read?
One of the many things I looked forward to after the completion of my own book was catching up on my reading. I am an avid reader and I love biographies, fiction books as well as books based on history and public policy. When I am not promoting my own book, writing blogs or working out the logistics of another creative endeavor, I am reading. The two books I am reading right now are: Guns, Germs, and Steel…the fate of human societies by Jared Diamond and Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Writing The Dunes reinforced the most important and yet the most painstaking quality of writing, which is re-writing. I really cannot tell you the number of times I have re-written The Dunes. I’ve lost count. But if you want to be a good writer you must become comfortable with this very necessary truth. Writing is re-writing and your first draft is just that…a “draft”. Excellence requires writing, re-writing, re-writing that and then re-writing again and that’s before the editor takes a pass at it. There were times when I was completely blocked and I would write something down on the page just so I could move on to the next thought. Luckily my husband wouldn’t let me get away with it. He would take one look at it and shake his head “no” and give it back to me. I can’t tell you how infuriating that was! How many times I wanted to yell and scream at him but I am so grateful he did not let me fall victim to my impatience of wanting to be finished with my book. He knew that I could express the idea in a better way for the reader and he made me stick to it. The funny part is, my husband wasn’t even my editor, these were just the challenges I went through before I gave my manuscript to my editor. Who upon receiving it made even more suggestions on how to make the book better. Writing is re-writing and in the end when you have a book that you are proud of from cover to cover, you know that it was so worth it.

How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the title for The Dunes because in southern California in the city of Manhattan Beach there is a 100-foot sand dune that people come from miles around to use as a form of exercise. It is incredibly steep and the sand gives such a loose traction that it is extremely challenging to climb to the very top. Years ago I was one of the many who would go there in the blazing sun and attempt to make it to the top. The journey and the pay off were so intense that it made an impression on me. So when it came time to write the allegorical part of my book I instantly gravitated to that memory in terms of a character overcoming a hurdle in their life and the feeling of victory that comes from being able to conquer your “mountain” so to speak.

How much of the book is realistic?
The Dunes consists of 7 chapters that are referred to throughout the book as “Revelations”. Each revelation sheds wisdom and advances the journey, which is composed of an allegory, a personal testimony from me, journal questions and a challenge for the reader. Although the first part of each revelation is an allegory, I think the story is very realistic in terms of its relatability to human nature. The rest of the book is really about the reader and their journey and as honest as the reader wants to be will define how “real” their transformation is.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Today I am a daughter, a wife an activist and an author. In five years I will add to this list mother, producer and working actor. I took a break from some creative endeavors to focus on my book. Some things require 100% and The Dunes was one of them. But I am looking forward to acting again and I am in the works to produce a script that I have written. I am a creative person and a critical thinker so I hope to continue to grow and expand in those areas. But I think by far my greatest production will be that which I will share with my husband through the birth of new life and parenthood.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
What writing The Dunes has made me “realize” in terms of fulfilled dreams and legacy, is who I am and what I offer. I have always been the friend who people told their inner most secrets too. I have always been the friend that asked probing questions that made people think on a deeper level. I have always been the friend that challenged those I love to be brave. These are all of the things I do in The Dunes. I just do it on a larger scale now. So writing The Dunes has made me realize my purpose in life, who I am and what I offer on an intimate level. I can now say, that a very real part of my purpose has been fulfilled and it is a gift to know that.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
At the onset of my book, my very first page, I dedicate my book to my mother. I thank her for “teaching me how to fly”. Obviously I mean it as a metaphor but in so many ways as a woman she has taught me to believe in myself and to spread my wings and strive to meet my fullest potential. She is an extraordinary woman and I will always be grateful that God gave her to me. I could not have written my book without my husband. He was my encouragement during the more challenging parts. He was my first editor. He was the one I bounced sentences and story ideas off of. He was the one when I was being impatient and would write something down that wasn’t worthy of The Dunes, who would give me a look, shake his head “no” and give the manuscript back to me, forcing me to push myself to be better. My mother and my husband have been my biggest support and a great extension of Gods unconditional love during my writing process.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
It’s funny but writing a book sharing your experiences and insights about overcoming self-doubt and fear in no way exempts from moments of self-doubts and fear in your own. I think it is something that on one level or another, as long as you are growing and challenging yourself, you will sometimes encounter. I do think the difference will be how you deal with it. Hopefully with grace, class and a very introspective insight into your triggers. Nowadays when those feelings come up for me I face them head on. I take a minute to truly examine what it is that is making me feel that way. Is it irrational?  Is it motivated by an experience from my past? Is it blocking me from fully experiencing life? When I locate the source of my feelings, I pray about it and do it anyway. I do “it” whatever “it” is in spite of any fear or trepidation. If I am feeling insecure, I do it anyway. If I am feeling scared about the outcome, I do it anyway. I determined long ago that although I may not be able to control my feelings, I do however, have control over my actions and I do “it” afraid.


If there was a journey that could masterfully change your life in seven revelations...would you take it? 

In life, sometimes the kernels of wisdom and the richness of revelation can be found in the most innocent of stories; and so it is with The Dunes. Join one man and one woman in an exquisitely simple yet remarkably profound journey as you discover with them that the mountain you must climb in order to live the abundant life of your dreams is located squarely within your heart. 

Illuminated in seven revelations; The Dunes carries the reader on a journey to not only examine the obstacles that are holding them back in life but to conquer and over come them as well. With each revelation The Dunes intimately calls on the reader as the journey companion to face a challenge…a dare if you will that requires an uncompromising commitment to change. In the family of faith-based self help books, The Dunes stands alone, simultaneously taking the reader from fiction to life and back again, equipped with a tailor made journal for the readers inner most secrets and reflections. The Dunes is part allegory, part testimony and part journal, but the best part is the healing it offers your heart. When you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and step into the miracle of your life…The Dunes awaits. 

CAUTION: Readers of this book are subject to significant changes for the better. Side effects may include frequent smiling and enjoying life in every season.

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Genre – Non-fiction
Rating – G
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