Strength Training While Listening to an Audio Book Guest Post by Linda Rosen

March 13, 2020

Do you find it difficult mapping out time to exercise? Is that wonderful novel calling to you saying, “Don’t go to the gym; stay home, read me?” Sure, you can do that, but what about your body? Reading is delicious, yet we must stay strong and flexible. And audio books can help us do both.

Yes, you can listen to an audio book while walking on the treadmill, but what if you’re not a gym person, or you don’t own a treadmill? You could listen to the book while walking in the park or on the beach. Just plug those ear buds in, tie on your sneakers, apply some sunscreen, download it and go! It’s a great way to get in a cardio workout and get some Vitamin D all without giving up precious reading time.

But what if it’s raining, or bitter cold, and all you want to do is stay home and read a good story cuddled up in a warm blanket, sipping a cup of tea? It sounds perfect though it doesn’t do a thing to keep you fit and have strong bones and muscles. So get off the couch. Turn up the volume on your phone or iPad and do the wall slides explained below. 

Carolyn, in The Disharmony of Silence, has her client performing this core exercise in chapter 32. You, as well as the fictional character, will strengthen abdominals, buttocks, thighs and upper back while improving posture. Here goes:

· Stand with your back against a smooth wall.

· Place your feet about 12 inches in front of you, shoulder width apart.

· Retract your head so you’re bringing the back of your head as close to the wall as possible – keep your nose pointing straight ahead – keep your chin level.

· Press your shoulders to the wall – if they can touch, that’s great – if not, get them as close as possible and KEEP THEM THERE.

· Now pull your navel into the wall. I know, you can’t get your belly button to actually touch the wall. That’s the image I want you to have. Press your abdominals in while trying to get the small of your back as close to the wall as possible – and keep your butt against the wall the entire time.

· Okay, you’ve got the head, shoulders and lower back pressing toward the wall – and you are breathing!

· Exhale and slide down the wall – NOT TOO FAR – you want to feel your thighs working, not your knees. If you feel pressure on your knees, come up a little. Your knees should be happy.

· Stay in that position for 5 seconds. Check your head, shoulders and lower back. Are they all as close to the wall as possible?


· Now slide back up the wall. You can let your lower back come off the wall a little.

· Repeat the exercise 10x, more if you’re able.

Stay strong and happy reading! 

About The Disharmony of Silence

In 1915, jealous, bitter Rebecca Roth cuts all ties with her life-long friends, the Pearls. Eight years later, Rebecca’s son and young Lena Pearl begin keeping company in secret. Rebecca agrees to a truce when the couple marries. But the truce is fragile. Rebecca’s resentments run deep.

In 2010, Carolyn Lee, fitness instructor and amateur photographer, must come to grips with the fact that her mother’s imminent death will leave her alone in the world. While preparing her childhood home for sale, she realizes for the first time that her mother’s antique brooch is identical to the one pinned to the lady's dress in the painting hanging above the fireplace. Coincidence or connection? Carolyn is determined to find out. What she discovers has the potential to tear lives apart or to bring her the closeness and comfort she longs for. It all depends on how she handles her newfound knowledge.

The Disharmony of Silence is now available to purchase at and Barnes and Noble. 

Praise for The Disharmony of Silence

“Linda Rosen spins an intriguing tale of long-held family secrets, an emotional search for identity, and a painting that may just be the key to untangling the complicated past. The bittersweet mystery kept me reading rapidly until the last page!” —Kristin Harmel, bestselling author of The Winemaker’s Wife

Rosen paints a vivid picture of a family torn apart then shows us what true family means. – Pamela Taylor, author of the Second Son Chronicles

A wonderful novelist . . . Ms. Rosen's writing is both tender and inspiring. The Disharmony of Silence unfolds with emotional and wise insights. – Bunny Shulman, author of After Aida

"A family torn apart by jealousy and reunited by love is devastated again when tragedy strikes. A poignant and moving debut novel about the fragility of life, the power of love, and the cost of keeping a secret." Gina Sorell author of Mothers and Other Strangers

About the Author, Linda Rosen

Linda Rosen, fitness professional turned writer, lives with her husband splitting their time between New Jersey and Florida. She was a contributor to Women in the Literary Landscape: A WNBA Centennial Publication for the Women's National Book Association and has had stories published in Foliate Oak and Crack the Spine, both in their online magazine and print anthology. Follow her at

I am also excited to announce I am giving an e-book copy of Linda Rosen's book The Disharmony of Silence. Enter via Rafflecopter below. Ends 4/24. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Do You Really Have to Love Yourself Before Loving Another Person by Valerie Nifora

February 26, 2020
I am taking part in a WOW! Women on Writing blog tour. This post is written by author Valerie Nifora. More about her poetry collection "I Asked the Wind" at the bottom of this post! Take it away Valerie!

Thousands of years ago, on a temple wall in Ancient Greece in Delphi, the phrase, "know thyself" was inscribed in stone. It served as a reminder to all that it was best to understand oneself completely before embarking on any effort to understand another. The ancient Greeks also had several categories ascribed to the word, "love." It was too complex an emotion, too fundamental to existence, to be allowed to exist as just one word without dissection and analysis. I've always wondered if to truly love another, one had to "know thyself."

The modern definition of love in its basic form, can be summarized as "an intense feeling of deep affection." But, how does one go about feeling deep affection? Is it just a natural occurrence of a healthy psyche? Is it just biochemical? How do you know that you love? I've often struggled with those questions. And adding modifiers in front of the word, just complicated it even more, i.e. "first love", or "true love"... it can be just too overwhelming.

Certainly the world is rife with failed relationships -- those that simply didn't manage the test of time. Did they fail because the parties involved didn't "know themselves"? Any friend will tell you that to enter into a relationship with someone, you need a list of deal breakers -- things you would simply never tolerate of stand for. And then, there's the list of qualities that you feel are fundamental in another person -- things like honesty, trust, kindness, etc. But, how do you come to that list? How do you know these are the things that you require? Is it through a deep analysis of oneself, or maybe the trials and tribulations of relationships gone wrong? Who hasn't uttered the declaration, "I'm never doing that again!" ?

I've found in my own existence, as I age I learn more about myself. The fundamental core of me, is still there -- but self-doubt seems to be subsiding and being replaced with more trust in my first impressions. I've been able to leave space for the unknown, and room so that there's growth. I love the people I love, with the same intensity, I always have. I have learned more about myself with my reactions and responses with these same people. So, do you have to "know thyself" before you can love another? I think to a degree. You have to know the fundamental "you", so that you can share it. And you have to know yourself well enough to leave room for healthy growth and change. But, it certainly is perplexing when you consider it, "Know thyself."

About I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry

I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry is a journey into romance, love and loss through poetry. The poems published in this collection span over 15 years of writing. Often starting with short rhythmic patterns, each poem’s lyrical tone is filled with inspired words to express the deep emotion experienced in the intricacies of romance.

Handwritten in a journal and hidden away until this publication, the poems chronicle the journey into and out of love. Written in three parts, the book enables the reader to transverse the intensity of romantic love, from the first moment of falling in love, to the intense pain of heartbreak.

Beautiful and powerful in its lyrical and simple verse, the reader is immediately immersed in a world of sensuality, passion, desire, and innocence; all woven together into a tapestry of human emotion. Each poem transports the reader to a story through the art of poetry. Drawing on natural elements such as the sun, sand, wind and moon, this collection explores the light and darkness of romantic love, leaving the reader questioning if love was ever real at all.

I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry is available to purchase at, Barnes and Noble, and Target.

About the Author, Valerie Nifora

Valerie Nifora was born and raised in New York to Greek immigrant parents. For over twenty years, Valerie was Marketing Communications Leader for a Fortune 50. She served as a ghost writer for several executives and has executed award-winning campaigns using her special gift as a storyteller to inspire. Her first book is a collection of romantic poetry that explores innocence, sensuality, passion, desire, heartbreak and loss through the lens of her personal experience spanning over 15 years. Her beautiful and powerful voice immediately calls forth a time of leather-bound books and invites the reader to find a comfortable chair and begin their journey through the powerful human emotion of love. Valerie holds a B.A. in Communications from Emerson College and an M.B.A. from Fordham University. She is married and a mother of two amazing sons.

Twitter @vnifora
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My January Reads - A Monthly Round Up of Short Stories & Other Pieces

February 3, 2020
I have been wanting to read more short stories and so this year, I am attempting to regularly blog about my monthly short story reads. This all came about because I have submitted a lot to literary magazines this past year and I want to make an active effort to read short stories that get published. Over the month of January, I spotted quite a few pieces that were worthy to add to this list (many NOT short stories at all) but all well-written, entertaining, moving, touching, and unique.

I hope you find a few good ones on this list to check out:

1) Green Tunnels by Taimur Ahmad

This is an environmental-themed story that doesn't come across so at first. You start out reading about a girl who misses home. At first, I figure home is but a drive away. That isn't the case, though. This story is rich in detail and ends with a bit of a surprise. It also shows me a lot about nonverbal communication in characters and using more descriptive action words (which I need help with in my own writing). The author uses the main character's dreamlike state to weave you into the world she desires to be in. One of my favorite quotes:

"The trees lean over each other, bows arching across the sky, making a royal hall for Alice to proceed down. By the roots of the trees are sunflowers, their heads heavy as they bow before Alice, turning as she passes by."

A very poignant short story that reminds me that not all stories are told in a standard way.

Read now.

2) There were 9... by Lucy Ash

I discovered this long-form investigation piece thanks to the newsletter I just subscribed to Sunday Long Reads. It's an article about a group of students who trekked through the Ural Mountains, a remote mountain region that divides Europe and Asia. The 9 students (except for 1, who ended his trip early) were found dead in mysterious, chilling ways and their deaths are still not resolved or understood completely. It's a read that feels like it is part of urban legends. It has a mix of first-hand observations from the journalist writing the story, along with interviews, journal entries from the students who went missing, and photographs. I liked it because it drew me into a mystery that felt as chilling as the winter. Not a short story per se, but an invigorating read that had strong writing.

A quote:

"My guide Alexander tells me, officially, it was stated that the skiers had died of hypothermia and frostbite, but some of the other bodies had serious injuries that had nothing to do with them being too cold."

Read now.

3) I Quit My Job at 50 to Reinvent Myself Pro Tip: Don't Do This by Ivy Eisenberg

I think we all daydream about reimagining our life. Turns out, though, it isn't as easy as we think it would be. In this creative nonfiction essay published with Narratively, author Ivy Eisenberg tells us about her attempt to shed the burden of a corporate job and start anew. This teaches me a lot about the approach of telling a creative nonfiction essay. This almost has the same technique as a short story actually! What I notice the most is that this piece begins with that desire for me to want to know more. I wanted to know more. Read more. Isn't that the best type of writing?

A quote, "One morning, I come up with a phenomenal business idea, which will propel me out of Verizon and make me rich and famous: I’m going to start my own line of custom corporate fortune cookies."

Read now.

Another Narratively essay that struck me as poignant. It gives me the idea that you never know what is behind the scenes of someone's life. It may seem like someone's life is this great success story that you can't measure up to, but in reality, we don't have any idea what goes on behind the curtains of someone's life. Well-written, emotional, and honest. 

A quote: "I could feel my entire life changing with his words."

Have you ever seen or heard of the painting "The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse)." Check it out if you haven't. I likely have only seen it in passing. In this piece, I could almost imagine the prompt or question that inspired this story. "What's the story behind that painting?" This piece answers that question in a dark way that has sort of a gothic feel to it. It was poetic at times while giving me insights into a different way of telling a story.

Favorite quote: "Even if you are the painter, exorcising his ghost, twelve years of labor still won't banish the guilt."

Read now.

Major first sentence goals happening with this story. This story gave me such a heartwrenching feeling as I read it - from beginning to end. It actually began like a true account of a real moment. I felt really close to the narrator and it took me by surprise to see how this story transformed. I love when stories take me by surprise in terms of direction. This also answered a question proposed by the narrator in the beginning in a very touching way. I absolutely recommend this one.

Favorite quote: "I remember the expression of ecstasy to the point of pain that burst from the woman when she saw her children’s faces again. But her other face, the empty one, was more firmly etched in my mind."

So, that's the short stories, creative nonfiction, and investigative long-form journalistic pieces (I'm sure there's another word for what I just wrote out) that ended up on my January monthly reads. If you happen to read - and enjoy - any of these pieces let me know. 

Also, the websites and literary magazines that published these pieces are:

Fireside Fiction (Website)
BBC (Website
Narratively (Website
Gordon Square Review (Website)
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My Writing Journey's Early Beginnings #IWSG

January 8, 2020

Today over at the Insecure Writer's Support Group, we are asked what started us on our writing journey. To be honest, I can't be entirely sure what exactly started me. I remember being very young and typing out stories on an old computer we had once (that was all you could do on it).

One of my favorite stories my mom will tell me is how before I knew how to read, one day I was reading a book and she came up to me asked if I wanted her to read to me. Well, I gave her a look and said, "I'll read a page and you read a page." I made up what the story said based on the picture and when she read with me that day, she just went along based on the story I was telling. I feel like that's when I really started to want to tell stories before I even knew what I was doing.

I remember when I was about 10 I loved writing fantasy and things like that. By the time I was 15, I was kneedeep in my own fantasy world and working towards finishing a novel of my own. I did, but I was in my early 20s.

Now, I work on short stories that I continue to submit out into the world. So, I can't pinpoint the very starting moment that I wanted to write, but it's always been a part of me. I love being creative, inventive, and using my imagination. I'm glad that it hasn't left me.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? 
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Read If You've Ever Subscribed to My Blog Posts Via Email

December 30, 2019
Hey folks!

How did 2019 go by so fast? I'm interrupting our usual blog posts to let you know that I've switched to sending out blog posts via FeedBurner. I had some issues with how MailChimp worked with blogger blogs and other things and so I've decided to go old school and use FeedBurner.

So if you've ever read my blog via email before, I would love it if you subscribed via FeedBurner.

Sign up here! 

I hope to bring some good things in the New Year. Things have slowed down for me a little, but I would love to bring this blog back in some way.

Hope you are well and had a wonderful holiday!
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Interview with Holly Bell, Author of the Amanda Cadabra Series

December 11, 2019
I'm so excited to interview author Holly Bell about her Amanda Cadabra series. Be sure to check out her entertaining Saturday night post and then come on back! 

First, here's a little bit about her book Amanda Cadabra and the Hidey-Hole Truth.

Asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch Amanda Cadabra is a survivor. After all, her family’s bus went over a Cornish cliff. Now the presentable but irritating Inspector Trelawney is dogging her footsteps as he investigates the unexplained deaths. But that’s the least of her problems. Amanda has just got a furniture restoration job at the old English Manor of Sunken Madley with its murky past.

Armed only with a wand and Tempest, her grumpy reincarnated cat, she’s going in. A body, ghosts, hidden tunnels, chills and unexplained lights; can Amanda solve the mystery in time and save the village from the scandal of murder?

This book is set in England, so the language reflects how we spell and speak here (however strange!). This may be a little different from what you’re used to, especially in the US, but never fear, there’s a glossary at the back of the book if you need help.

Doesn't that sound like a fun, exciting read? Make sure you check it out on or add it to your GoodReads list.

Me: First, what inspired you to write this series Amanda Cadabra?

Holly: One day I had a phone call from my author pal Tim, TJ Brown. Had I heard of this new genre called ‘cosy (cozy in the US) mystery’ and its paranormal off-shoot? he asked. No, It was new to me. He told me it was right up my street, there was no competition because the readers love the genre so much that no one writer can write fast enough for them. I’d written reams of non-fiction including three books, even a bad sci-fi novel as a teenager, but for years I’d insisted, ‘I can’t write fiction’. Yet, within minutes, Tim had convinced me. And that is the day it began.

Me: What an unbelievable start! What type of research did you do for this book? Did anything surprise you?

Holly: I began by researching the ingredients of the genre. Then I had to find a location. It had to be a village, I knew that but … I’ve never lived in one, city-girl, born and bred. So if I was going to ‘write what you know’ it had to be a hamlet on the outskirts of the metropolis. I looked at the map, found a candidate and went to see it. This was the greatest surprise of all my research. I drove around the bend that leads to it and there it was. As though it was saying, ‘Behold! Your village.’ And in a sense, it has become mine, and I have become the villagers’ author. Because you see, the next surprise was how warmly I have been welcomed by them.

Me: That sounds like a dream come true actually. I can see based on the reviews that you took so much time in building this world for your characters - and your readers. How did you do that?
Holly: As I say, it began with the location. I wanted this world to be as rooted in reality, such as it is broadly thought of, as possible. Then I drew on the characters of people that I have known in real life or through fiction. And here is the remarkable thing, which Tim told me this would happen; once you create your characters and place them in a location, they decide what they would and wouldn’t do or say. You could say they operate within their given parameters. As for the magical side of things, my friend, who acts as my creating sounding board, took a course in paranormal studies with a well-known professor of the subject. She has been able to steer me away from what would be less credible and keep me on the course of observed phenomena. Then again, I think anyone who is reading paranormal cozy has a belief, or a wish to believe, in magic of some kind. And I believe that magic of some kind happens every day, don’t you?

Me: Absolutely! I am obsessed with cozy mysteries. What about that genre draws you?

Holly: I talked about being rooted in reality, and yet the very genre itself is born of a fantasy England eternally 1932, sunshine on the cricketers on the green and murder in the library with the candlestick, discovered by the maid. It’s there in Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, the Lord Peter Wimsey stories; it’s in PG Wodehouse, the Ealing Comedies and other British films of the 1930s to the 1950s. I could give you a list. This fantasy has an innate charm, and components of it do exist but perhaps not all in the same place. However, in a cozy mystery, they can be brought into one place. And this leads to the most important thing about the genre for me: it makes people feel better. If only for while they read it. It conjures a world of the best of the best of people for all their foibles, in the best of places, rising to the occasion of crisis, which is the murder, the mystery. I feel better for the writing of each book. If a reader feels more hopeful, happier, entertained than before they read a book that I wrote, then I have achieved the ultimate goal. That is the appeal of this genre.

Me: We just finished National Novel Writing Month! Have you ever tried? If so, how was it for you? If not, how come?

Holly: No. My books come organically, they flow out when they’re ready and at their own speed. That is how I do my best work, which is what my readers deserve. Usually, I write the first draft in about 3 weeks and then editing begins, so if the process happened in a November, yes then I could do it. It’s like a cat: the gestation period for a kitten is about 100 days. My books are my kittens, and they come in their own time!

Me: So, I can’t help but notice you are an Agatha Christie fan! What about this author inspires you?

Holly: To me, she is the godmother of the cosy (yes with an’s’ as we spell it here in the UK) mystery. I believe she has been largely responsible for the creation of the fantasy England I described earlier. I greatly admire her puzzles, her ability to create suspense, tension, total absorption in the plot all without gore. Almost Hitchcockian. As I read each book, I quickly come to believe in the existence of her characters and care about them. She depicts anger without the need for expletives, romance without reference to anything that could not be read by the youngest reader. Christie is an all-access pass to escapism, drama, humour, tension, relief and the balance of yin and yang, crime and justice. I look up from where I write and the first book that catches my eye is ... The Murder at the Vicarage, Christies’ first Miss Marple!

Me: So, what advice would you have given yourself when you were younger?

Holly: Make all decisions based solely on this: which course will make you feel the happiest?

Me: Any lasting messages for readers (and writers) out there?

Holly: Everyone has a novel in them. We are all born story-tellers, and each person has a unique voice and a unique story. You could be a physicist and have never read a novel in your life, and I could ask you, ‘When was the last time you were late?” You’d answer, and then I’d say, ‘Why were you late?’ And you would tell me. And that would be a story. All right, a true story, but it’s still the stuff of which novels and novelists are made. Write it, speak it into your phone, scribble it, draw it. If you want to write, you can and you will. And when you do, come and say hello. I promise not say, ‘I told you so!’

Thank you so much Holly! Make sure you visit Holly's blog where you can find out about this incredible series. Also, check the latest Amanda Cadabra book on or add it to your GoodReads list.
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Remember When? by Gila Green

December 9, 2019

“Nice and quiet here,” David says. 

“I can’t wait to see what you’ve brought me,” Yael says.

“I can’t wait to see your reaction.”

“To what?”

“You’ll see. I paid for an extra suitcase. There’s a ton of things from your parents,” he says. “Went by the house. They’re almost done packing.”

His words are like cold water down her back. Her smile disappears. Her parents hadn’t wanted her there when they were selling Erez’s things…

—Excerpt from No Entry, Gila Green

In my novel, No Entry my heroine, Yael Amar, is both haunted by and trying to tear herself away from memory. Though the novel's main focus is Yael's experience with deadly elephant poachers on a safari in South Africa's famous Kruger National Park, a sub-thread in the novel is all about coping with tragic memories. In Yael's case, at fifteen she left her brother behind in a Montreal café, impatient to get to the bus stop minutes before a terrorist attack. Her older brother didn’t survive. Though she lives daily with this tragedy, ironically, there is not a line in the novel she begins with anything close to "Remember when?" She cannot give what she doesn't have, not to her old or new friends in the novel, though she loves them, and not to the reader.

Yael's South African parents did not tell her about the final moments of her brother's life, possibly because they're unsure themselves or perhaps, to protect their young daughter from additional pain. She wasn't actually in the café itself; she was too busy seeking out her bus home, no longer looking in her only sibling's direction.

There's no one else available to clue her in unless you count her therapist, who is trying to get her to process her memory, not expand it. Yet, throughout No Entry, her brother shadows her, she dialogues, prays, questions, all to her brother who is long gone. She remains faithful to his memory, particularly of how she thinks he would want her to act and react.

The Battle for Memory

It is precisely what she believes her brother would want of her that propels her forward, a new layer on top of her old memories. When she admits defeat at the hands of the criminals in the novel and has all but walked away from a crime she knows deserves the full weight of the punishment the law can dish out, it is to this layer on top of her memory that she clings. Instead of weighing her down in grief, it yanks her up out of her hopelessness and toward actualizing her strengths and finally, success.

Family Factors

At seventeen Yael is not yet old enough to articulate how she feels about the dark space that is her family' past, but it is no more than a few pages into the story that the reader discovers how unanchored she really is, truly lost at sea. The emptiness inside of her is not because she lacks a happy childhood to carry her forward, but because she can now be triggered without context and experience the painful emotions of her loss all over again.

When siblings share their own memories of growing up with each other, they strengthen the connection between them because they share a database of events. Yael still has her parents and that familial collective database to draw on, but a massive chunk of it is now irretrievable. She must steer forward without it and building this resilient layer on top (what would Ezra want me to do now?) is one way for Yael to do this.

This is only one way in which I use memory in No Entry.

Memory and Tragedy

Memory is also greatly affected by trauma and when Yael's world collapses in No Entry, she's plagued by her inability to react the way she wants to. When a friend is badly injured, she does not immediately move him to safety, instead she allows her fear to engulf her, putting them both at risk. Then her initial attempts at gathering evidence against the criminals fall to pieces. The result is her own confusion about her role. Why isn't she effective in the face of new tragedy? Is it now her destiny? Will she forever race ahead to the bus stop and leave whatever's behind to explode?

This thought is so disturbing, she cannot bring herself to share it, not even with, strong, stable, David, the boyfriend she adores. All she can do is ask him to accompany her, out of his comfort zone to Africa, and stand by her side while she attempts to integrate the horrible. This plan backfires. When things begin to unravel in a truly bloody way, she shields David from her new reality, and lacking trust, she lies to him.

Real Life in Fiction
While Yael ruminates on next steps, the lines between true friends and enemies blur; her emotional memory is on overdrive, thus, fiction mirrors real life. When our emotional memories are authentic, the details don't matter. We know what we feel and those are the scars we will have to contend with, and in doing so we might push the wrong people out of our lives.

This is a harsh lesson but one Yael needs to learn in her path towards maturation. How she will deal with tragedy going forward is what matters.

Collusion Ahead

Just as memories are not fixed in real life, they are not fixed for my heroine. It is left up to the reader to decide how Yael will confront the people she loves the most when tragedy strikes again, as it inevitably will. Will she be open and honest with David next time, put her faith in her best friend Nadine? Or will she justify her deceit again to her boyfriend and cast doubt on Nadine?

The question for the reader is if it is believable that Yael has grown enough to stand her ground and resist the temptation to toss everyone in her life in the same basket when the going gets rough. Or can Yael turns things around? Can the reader imagine a higher resolution Yael Amar by the end of the novel? A heroine who fingerprints a firm protective layer over her brother's memory, so that she can preserve what's lifegiving about the familial database she does have and avoid turning it into an excuse to deceive and abandon the people she loves the most. I invite you to read my sequel No Fly Zone when it's released to find out. Meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts.

About No Entry:

Broken-hearted after losing her only brother in a terrorist attack, 17-year-old Yael Amar seeks solace on an elephant conservation program in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. She is soon catapulted into a world harmonious with nature where she can heal and devote herself to the wildlife that is so important for the continued existence of all mankind. She is dazzled by her new best friend, reunites with her devoted boyfriend, and is fascinated by a local ranger who peels back another layer of meaning in her surroundings with each lesson. Then, on a drive through the safari, she sees something shocking. Soon her heaven on earth is seething with blood and betrayal and she is warned that she is no match for the evil that lurks in the men’s hearts around her. Now she has a secret she must keep from the people she loves the most if she is to stand against the murderous forces that threaten Kruger, her new friends, and her own life. But will taking a stand do more harm than good?

About the Author, Gila Green

Canadian Gila Green is an Israel-based author. Her novels include: No Entry, White Zion, Passport Control, and King of the Class and she's published dozens of short stories. She writes about racism, war, alienation, immigration, and survival. She has a fascination with the 1930s and 40s in the Middle East, and most recently has turned her attention to African elephant poaching. She does most of her work in a converted bomb shelter overlooking the Judean Hills. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit:

Make sure you follow author Gila Green on Instagram, Facebook, and Make sure you purchase a copy of No Entry on or add it to your GoodReads list.
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A Note to My Future Writing Self #IWSG

December 4, 2019

I've decided to join the Insecure Writer's Support Group and today is my first post with the group. Today's prompt asks you to describe your future writing self and your future life as if you were already "living the dream." Funny thing is today is my birthday and every year I write a letter to myself for the next year. So, I guess this is a letter to myself whenever that whole "living the dream" thing happens.

I'm imagining by now I have a couple of books published that are bringing in enough income for me to live off of - or at least very close. I can't say what my future life will be like, though, in terms of who is around me or where I live. I don't tend to think like that.

I've only been published once - two poems that were featured on a website called "The Voices Project" but once the initial excitement wears off, what remains is this idea of wanting to do it again. The publishing high doesn't last long. Or maybe it lasts as long as the length of the work. Who knows. I'm imagining if somehow I've managed to make a living off of writing that the publishing high has faded quite a bit and writing is now it's more of a habit and lifestyle.

If my ideal scenario is that I am making a living off of writing than I'm imagining that if I could change anything, I want that excitement back of first publishing my work. How does one change that, though? I guess you can always try something new and maybe that's what I'd like to encourage my future self to do. Don't forget to challenge yourself along the way. Write outside that comfort zone.

Oddly that is what I'm encouraging myself to do this next year. I want to write outside of my usual comfort zone. I am hoping to challenge myself to write in at least 2 unfamiliar genres next year. I also want to challenge myself to finish a previous work that I left undone. I have a few in mind that I want to see complete.

What is your ideal writing life? What does it look like? What would you want to change about that idealized version of your writing life? Tell me in the comments.

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The Best Gift for the Book Lover in Your Life

November 26, 2019

This post contains an affiliate link for which I will receive a small compensation if you purchase through my link. This pays for very important things like coffee.

Can you believe the holidays are upon us? As a bookworm, I am very aware that it can often be difficult to purchase a book-related gift for someone that loves books. There's always that chance this person has read the book or already owns it or something like that. So what's the solution?

Book of the Month club.

I am absolutely excited to share with you that the Book of the Month club is the perfect gift idea for the book lover in your life! Or the coolest gift to give yourself if you want a treat.

And now through Thursday, November 28th you can get your first month for only $5! Isn't that amazing? So, what you do is sign up via this link here. You can get a free book for yourself! So give a book, get a book! And any new members can get your first box for only $5 using the code FAM5. These codes are good until the end of the year.

So go now and get that amazing gift for the well-read person in your life! Or for you!

This post contains an affiliate link for which I will receive a small compensation if you purchase through my link.

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Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, and Crumpets with Author Holly Bell

November 16, 2019
It's Saturday everyone! Author Holly Bell will be joining us today and sharing her suggestions on this Saturday night. Before we get into her suggestions, here's a little bit about her book Amanda Cadabra and the Hidey-Hole Truth.

Asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch Amanda Cadabra is a survivor. After all, her family’s bus went over a Cornish cliff. Now the presentable but irritating Inspector Trelawney is dogging her footsteps as he investigates the unexplained deaths. But that’s the least of her problems. Amanda has just got a furniture restoration job at the old English Manor of Sunken Madley with its murky past.

Armed only with a wand and Tempest, her grumpy reincarnated cat, she’s going in. A body, ghosts, hidden tunnels, chills and unexplained lights; can Amanda solve the mystery in time and save the village from the scandal of murder?

This book is set in England, so the language reflects how we spell and speak here (however strange!). This may be a little different from what you’re used to, especially in the US, but never fear, there’s a glossary at the back of the book if you need help.

Doesn't that sound like a fun, exciting read? Make sure you check it out on or add it to your GoodReads list. Now, author Holly Bell will be sharing her suggestions for an amazing Saturday night! Take it away Holly!

As I am a cozy paranormal mystery writer, these are my suggestions for snuggling up with cushions, blanket, and steaming mug of your hot drink of choice, on an autumn weekend night.

The Book

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is generally accepted as the godmother of cozy mysteries. Consequently, I'd recommend the very first book in which her village amateur sleuth, Miss Marple appears: The Murder at the Vicarage. She's a cleverly introduced character, hoving into view apparently in the background, of minor importance, until ….

Christie's first Marple is set in the quintessentially English village of St Mary Mead in 1930s. It has all of the ingredients, and indeed set the tone, of the genre that was not to emerge as a recognised form until the next century. Why has it endured as an international bestseller? Settle in and discover the magic of an entertaining, suprising and charming mystery.

The Film 

Want a break? Or once you've read the final page, smiled, and exhaled with wonderment, you'll be ready for more. So, my recommendation would be to have lined up Murder She Said. This is based on Christie's 4.50 from Paddington, starring the talented character actress Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple. Now, this was not the author's vision of her heroine. However, she was a great admirer of Rutherford's work, and the film, made in 1961, has a charm all of its own. There are three others in the Rutherford-Marple series, and you can watch them all free of charge at The Daily Motion, starting with the one suggested, or on YouTube.

The Wild Card

What is the ideal accompaniment to the book and film? It surely has to be English crumpets, toasted with a generous spread of butter melting through the holes in the top, deep into the luscious centre. Failing that, Victoria Sandwich (with tea, naturally).

There you have it, the essential cozy mystery Saturday night, a trip back in time with a glorious culinary experience in the present.

Happy reading, watching and … tasting!
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The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later [Book Review]

November 15, 2019
Do you ever read a book at the best possible time? Recently, I had the chance to read The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later by Barbara Barth and it was the one thing I needed to read lately.

Before I get into my review, here's a bit about the book:

Picking up where The Unfaithful Widow ended, Ten Years Later continues the author’s journey from widow to a slightly askew woman. A memoir written with warmth and candor on being single again, aging, and finding a creative path surrounded by dogs, friends, laughter, and a bit of craziness. Barbara Barth shares stories on the adventures that followed her first year alone as she moved headfirst into a new life, listening to her heart, sometimes not so wisely, but always full speed ahead. Join her on the ride of her life, from owning an antique shop to moving to a Victorian cottage outside of Atlanta, and all the follies in between. Going into the next decade with six dogs by her side, the author proves you are only as old as you feel, and happiness begins with a grateful heart. A funny and engaging memoir for anyone who wants to be their own superhero facing life’s good and bad moments.

What I Thought

This book immediately caught my heart and attention. Barbara has such a way with words and drawing you into the moments of her life. The words "free spirit" comes to mind as I read her memoir. What inspired me after reading this book was how much Barbara wanted to help others, meet people, and bring everyone together. Reading this book made me feel like we were sitting down to coffee together and she was sharing her experiences with me. Barbara reminded me that we're never too old to follow a dream, try new things, try love, and put ourselves out there. 

If you need to be inspired, you absolutely must read Barbara's book. I promise you will finish the book refreshed, renewed, and energized.

About the Author, Barbara Barth

Author, blogger, sometimes antique dealer, dog hoarder, bedazzled by life. Widowed ten years ago, Barth writes about finding a creative path back to happiness. Her recent move to a 1906 historic cottage brought many surprises, including discovering the Monroe–Walton Center for the Arts where she started the monthly Walton Writers group and is on the MWCA Board as Literary Arts Chair. Barth is a contributor to Walton Living Magazine and a former blogger for The Balancing Act, Lifetime Television’s morning show for women. Currently, she lives with six dogs, rescue dogs that rescued her.

Visit her website at, follow her on Twitter @writerwithdogs, and follow her Amazon author page.

I received the above book in exchange for my honest review.
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What Should I Do With All of My Notebooks

November 14, 2019

I admit this has become a slightly obsessive topic for me. This is the fourth time I've blogged about it. In case you are curious, the first time I talked about how refreshing it was. The second time I reflected on how refreshing it was. The third time I talked about this subject I was expressing concerns about whether I was right about doing this at all.

And now here I am again to talk about this.

So, cleaning out a closet recently, I noticed how many bags of notebooks I had, despite recent purging attempts. I read through some of the pages, realizing how illegible my handwriting is, and wondered about keeping these notebooks. Some of the notebooks are fairly recent and every now and then I'll sort through them and feel inspired. Yet, they are taking up closet space and I end up feeling cluttered keeping them.

I thought about stapling them into a weird paper stuffed scrapbook. That never felt right. So, there they sit.

I wonder if all writers feel like I do - not being able to let go completely, yet not sure what to do with notebooks that stack up. Even as I transition into being more of a digital writer and typing my stories, the stack of notebooks remains (and newly accumulate, much to my dismay).

Writers, what do you do with your notebooks? What can you ideas suggest to me?

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Letting Myself Relax and Not Being On All the Time

November 10, 2019

Lately, I've been making it a habit to not be so available on my phone and email as much anymore. Whether it's emails from authors or pending projects, I realize how important it is to have "off" moments. I wonder if our gig economy has made it harder for us to relax. Or maybe it's always been hard for us.

I'll be honest it's hard to let go sometimes. I'll see an author question come in, whether for WOW! Women on Writing or for this blog, and I'll wonder if I should reply. Then I say to myself that it's okay to not be available. It's okay to have "off" time. I think that's the hard thing about doing freelance work. It's tough to let go.

So, today if this sounds like you, make sure you give yourself "clock out" time. Clock out for the day and stop checking your email. Turn off notifications for social media. Make sure you are present in your own life sometimes.

How have you stopped doing so much? Do you give yourself clock out time?
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