The #RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop

Greeting:  Welcome to the first ever “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!   These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Although there were maybe 3-4 winners who were previously on this list who are no longer with the club, now all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

 

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the HOP’S main page to follow along.

 

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the HOP’S main page,, your name will be entered into a drawing for an amazing gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!

Book:  THE IMPROBABLE JOURNEYS OF BILLY BATTLE 

Blurb:   Billy Battles is definitely not in Kansas anymore. 

As Book 2 of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy opens, Billy is far from his Kansas roots and his improbable journeys are just starting. 

The year is 1894 and Billy is aboard the S S China sailing to the inscrutable Far East. Trouble is not far behind. He has met a mysterious and possibly dangerous German Baroness. He has locked horns with malevolent agents of the German government and battled ferocious Chinese and Malay pirates in the South China Sea. 

Later, he is embroiled in the bloody anti-French insurgency in Indochina–which quite possibly makes him the first American combatant in a country that eventually will become Vietnam. Then, in the Philippines, he is thrust into the Spanish-American War and the brutal anti-American insurgency that follows. But Billy’s troubles are only beginning. 

As the 19th century ends and the 20th century begins, he finds himself entangled with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries, and an assortment of vindictive and dubious characters of both sexes. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they present? The answers are just ahead.

Author:  Ron Yates

This blog hop sponsored by:  4WillsPublishing

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A Quest for Vision!

Visionary.

It’s a word that we’ve all heard bandied about from time to time, usually attached to some famous figure in history known for inventing something important that has changed the nation—or the world—in ways modern generations could not contemplate living without. Take Steve Jobs for example. Mr. Jobs is considered a true visionary. He’s the father of the modern personal computer, a device with which a life without would seem unimaginable in this modern world. Or consider Henry Ford, automotive tycoon. Mr. Ford certainly didn’t invent the automobile, but he did perfect the assembly line, bringing costs down, allowing for the common people to afford their very own car—and through employment in Ford’s factories, a stronger middle class arose.

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The Oxford American College Dictionary contains multiple definitions for this complex yet simple word. The definition I like best reads as stated: a person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like.

The Oxford could be very well be describing a writer. Writers, by nature, are visionaries. Writers, in the name of creativity, must envision worlds that do not exist, populated with people that are not real. But the above definition mentions only the future. What about the past? Can a writer be a visionary in regards to a time that has already faded? The answer is most certainly yes. We construct alternate accounts of real events—like making Abraham Lincoln into a vampire hunter. A program on an internet site’s streaming service poses a world in the 21 century seen through the lens of a Nazi victory in World War Two.

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But being a visionary, it runs deeper than merely being a creative writer—or musician or artist. In a sense, everybody is a writer. If you write emails or texts, you are a writer. Here’s where the differences come into play. Not everybody is an author. Writers are not all authors. There are those who write down their personal thoughts and experiences in the pages of diaries or journals, never intending any other living soul to pry. Authors, they have to be bold and brave. They write to be read. If the words we seek to share with others are not visionary, you can bet you’ll hear from those who invested the time in sentences we’ve strung together.

Diaries, texts, personal correspondences; these are not meant to entertain the reader.  These are merely there to convey a message or to act as reminder to the future self that, on this particular day, so-and-so made me angry or happy or sad.

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Authors, writing to be read, must envision their story from beginning to end—before the writing process begins. We must see what does not, at this juncture, exist anywhere in this world. This will almost certainly require research of some sort—unless you’re creating your own Middle Earth setting. Research itself requires vision.

In beginning my work on Jazz Baby, I needed a road map through the 1920s. I am just past the half-century mark, having drawn my first breath of life in 1967. I had nothing by way of personal experience to shade my notions of the America of 1925. And we can’t just assume, either. Assumption is an enemy of the visionary.

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As I started to dig into my research, scenes from my story began to construct themselves behind my eyes. Scraps of paper quickly filled with ideas found within the pages of an old U.S. history book; situations came to life while watching documentaries on PBS or The History Channel. They didn’t have radio in their cars until 1932—so scrap the scene where the characters are driving to New Orleans singing along to jazz tunes on the radio. So how do we fill that void? Dialogue! These characters are now forced to speak to one another, sharing hopes and fears, and in the process, introducing their deeper selves to those who would come to read the finished product. A visionary finds ways to stay on point when something like reality cuts in and says, um, that can’t be. We make it work. And we don’t just make it work; we use it for the profound or the poignant. Statements are made in those quiet moments between Emily Ann and Tanyon—statements that wouldn’t exist had I stuck a radio in that car.

Being visionary is about seeing what’s not there, seeing it in multiple views, and possessing the ability to determine the best view. It doesn’t work very well to write about characters of which we know little or nothing. Vision allows us to see these characters, to meet them, to discover the personalities behind mere words on a page. To the visionary writer, his or her characters truly come alive before they ever occupy space on the page.

The fact is anybody can write a story. But the visionary writes the sort of stories people will want to read. The really good ones build a following of readers just waiting for the next story to unfold. The best storytellers throughout history possessed vision. And it’s that vision that gives both the writer and the story life eternal. Those without vision, well, nobody recalls the stories they’ve told. Nobody remembers their names.

 

 

Bold and Empowering, “Clearly” is Grace VanderWaal’s Latest Triumph

Rating: ★★★★★

Grace VanderWaal’s latest single, “Clearly,” is finally available. This reimagining of Johnny Nash’s classic 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now” became a staple in the fourteen-year-old singer/songwriter’s concerts during the second leg of her Just the Beginning tour over the winter.

One listen to VanderWaal’s rendition, and those familiar with Nash’s version can tell this is a completely different song. In fact, only the chorus remains from the original. Speaking of the track, Grace says, “It’s about hope, and having the courage to face the world, which can be pretty tough sometimes.”

VanderWaal’s voice is always her strongest asset, a gorgeous instrument full of all sorts of lush tones and textures. But those who follow her career—FanderWaals, if you will—know her secret weapon lies in her lyrical prowess. “Clearly” is a fantastic example of this power on full display. Her words have meaning. There’s never a stray verse that lacks cohesion with the rest of the song. She doesn’t drop lines into the mix just because they rhyme or sound cool. Grace is a storyteller. She paints vivid pictures with the poetic beauty of a true artist.

The song and accompanying video go hand in hand—this, too, a hallmark of the genius that is Grace VanderWaal. These are her ideas, her visions, her gifts that she has chosen to share with the world.

“Clearly” is catchy and addictive—as is all of Grace’s music. A gentle acoustic guitar opens the track, ambling along on warm currents of air. VanderWaal’s voice sways with the music in a delicate dance, slowly building from soft desperation to soaring determination. Between the lows and highs, there is a point where her vocals reach that sweet spot that gives even the most jaded among us goosebumps.

The video for this song is a visual feast for the eyes. It opens under a blue sky with just a notion of a cloud. Birds can be heard singing in the trees. Jumpcut to Grace, in a darkened room, dressed in gray sweats, strikingly beautiful in an almost fragile sort of way. A hint of tears gives her the weariness of a struggling soul. And just as VanderWaal’s lyrics paint meaning into the music, so, too, does each and every image captured within this story. As she sings the line “Gone are the dark clouds, the dawn has come,” she frantically wipes away her freshly applied makeup. Down the stairs she goes, ever cautious, wearing a flowing white dress with pale pink accents. She wanders through the kitchen, eyeing herself in a mirror, singing, “Take a breath and say a prayer, find the strength in my despair, it’s not gonna take me down.” Soon she is bursting from the darkness into the sunshiny day. Behind her is the house, its windows filled with singers from a gospel choir—an unexpected and touching scene. The camera play has brilliantly captured the sunshine at just the right moment and at just the right angles.

Nothing is wasted with this young lady. There’s no room for cheap gimmicks. She brings a message of optimism, of hope for a better life—for everybody.

Grace explains, “My favorite lyric from the song is ‘I accept all the things that I cannot change’. As much as we try to change ourselves, we will always be the same person deep down. We should embrace what makes us different and love that about ourselves.”

I’ll happily confess to being a FanderWaal; I have been one since her audition on America’s Got Talent two years ago. Grace’s music has had a profound effect on my view of life and the day to day living it requires. I am at a loss to attempt an explanation. I just know that I want to be a better person when I hear her music. Maybe it’s that voice. Or those lyrics. Perhaps it’s her beautiful melodies. I’m guessing it’s a combination of each. And it’s the girl herself. She is proving to me—and to the rest of the world—that kindness remains a beautiful thing.

ALL ABOUT THE #RRBC SPONSORS BLOG HOP!

Welcome to the first ever ALL ABOUT THE SPONSORS BLOG HOP!  These kind members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC) donated their support during the 2017 conference, in the way of gift card and Kindle e-book donations for our Gift Basket Raffle. They supported us and now we are showing our support of them by pushing their book(s).  
 
We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed and after reading it, leave a review.  There are several books on tour today, so please visit the HOP’S main page to follow along.  
 
Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the HOP’S main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!
Blurb: 
It’s April of 1917, and World War I has reached Elizabeth’s family on their wheat farm in North Dakota. Although the battles are being fought overseas, the war has affected her in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Elizabeth is thrust into a new role after her brother and father leave the farm to do their part in the war. And she’s only eleven years old!
Having almost died as a toddler, Elizabeth has been babied most of her life. Now she must learn to help out around the farm; cooking, cleaning, and tending to the garden and livestock. No longer can she run from her responsibilities, as she did when her horse Rosie was giving birth. There were complications during the delivery, and Elizabeth panicked and froze. The foal didn’t make it.
Elizabeth faces her biggest challenge yet as a huge Christmas Eve snowstorm rages outside, cutting her family off from any help; and her mother is about to have a baby! Her brother and sister are laid up with chicken pox. Does Elizabeth face her fears or run from them? Can she help her family, who need her more now than ever? Or will she retreat like she did when Rosie needed her?

Author: ​D. L. Finn

This blog hop sponsored by:  4WillsPublishing

Casino Entertainment

Interesting take from author J. Ajlouny!

J. Ajlouny, Author

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Entertainment Adds Drive to Casino Innovation*

Consider for a moment the many ways casinos entice customers to patronize their establishments. Advertising and promotions lead the way, followed by special events and comps. Resort amenities were added to the mix in the past decade. These include unique themes and attractions, pools, fine and adventure dining and exhibits of all kinds.

This week let’s take a look at the ways with which casinos use entertainment to generate customer traffic. The original “Mr. Showman,” circus promoter P.T. Barnum was fond of saying, “The thing I like about my job is I can sell the same ticket over and over again.” Just as our own Don Usherson, Gaming Today’s venerable casino entertainment round-up columnist. It’s worked for Las Vegas for decades. Now it’s working for heartland casinos too.

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Peddlers of American popular culture know that both domestic and international audiences are receptive to their…

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#RRBC Spotlight Author Flossie Benton Rogers Stops By!

Greetings, readers! Today I am excited to introduce to you author Flossie Benton Rogers. Flossie is the March 2018 RRBC Spotlight Author, and a master of dark fantasy romance. Take it away, Flossie…

Mystical Beings in the Wytchfae Series

The mystical beings in the Wytchfae series are usually loosely based on mythology, although they tend to develop their own interesting traits and sometimes morph into very different creatures.

Cat Sith – A dangerous fairy cat with mesmerizing eyes, can transform into a woman.
Elemental Horses – steeds composed of water, air, earth, or fire. Epona of Mind Your Goddess has a water horse.
Epona – Goddess of fruitfulness and horses and the only Celtic goddess worshiped by Roman soldiers.
Familiar – A witch’s guardian fairy spirit that often takes animal form.
Fates or Norns – Three sisters who control destiny. One spins the thread of life, one measures, and one cuts.
Firefae – tiny supernatural beings that light the way in the night for the goddess Epona.
Grims – Souls of the unfortunate dead that have regressed to demon level.
Helle – Goddess of the Underworld.
Lamia – Creature with the upper body of a woman and lower body of a snake.
Shadow People – Beings from another dimension that appear as shades, sometimes sinister duplicates of ourselves or someone we know.
Skadi – Norse giantess and goddess of winter and the hunt, and in the Wytchfae world, a sorceress.
Succubus – Beings devoted to the goddess Lilith who invade and manipulate the dreams of men.
Wytchfae – A term I coined for a human with witchy skills and a drop of ancient fae blood.

Get your copy of Mind Your Goddess HERE

 

Author S. M. Hope Talks Writing, Inspiration, and the Creative Process Behind Tainted Jewel

Greetings, readers. Author S. M. Hope stopped by The Indie Spot to share her thoughts on writing and the creative process involved in getting a book to market.

What inspired you to start writing?

Writing started as a hobby, I never expected a published book at the end. However, the more I wrote, the more passionate I became about what I was creating. I didn’t want to be the only one in the world to know what Kate was going through. I asked a few friends and my mum for their views on my book, and it was from their encouragement that I looked into possibly publishing it.

What did you like to read when you were a youngster?

The one that sticks out the most to me was, when I was very young the teacher used to sit us down on the mat and read to us. The book was the very famous James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I can still feel the excitement I felt when she would read it to us. She would stop at a place where you really wanted to find out more and I couldn’t wait for the next day so I could find out.

What is the greatest challenge you faced in writing Tainted Jewel?

The sex scenes. I don’t know why they bother me so much. I think it’s a worry knowing your friends and family will be reading your book and you’ve written a scene which does make you feel a little embarrassed. Beem and I have recently shared tweets on this subject. I was writing one particular scene about a sixteen year old boy losing his virginity. The word vagina came up, and I feel it sounds out of place. But I’m struggling with choice of word with which to replace it, as I don’t want the scene to sound too vulgar.

How much research do you do before writing the book?

I didn’t really need to do too much research at the time of writing. It was only little things like, at what stage does a baby hit a certain milestone. When is it illegal to have an abortion? Also, can you open the mouth of a dead body? Things like that. I’d hate the police to come knocking at my door asking for a look at my internet history and them seeing those kinds of things. I think I’d be in a lot of trouble.

What motivated you to write the book Tainted Jewel?

Nothing motivated me more than seeing the pages come together and a complete work of fiction materialised in front of me. Blank pages turned into a story that other people can read and be lost in.

Once written, there are many, many rewards. Not least when a stranger took the time out of her day to email and thank me for writing the book as she hasn’t been able to put it down. It gave her days of enjoyment.

I’ve been completely overwhelmed at the support and kind words I’ve had from readers and also other authors.

Tell us more about Tainted Jewel.

I had an idea that I thought would make a fantastic book, so I put pen to paper – or rather finger to laptop – and that’s how it all started.

Originally, the book was called Diamond In The Rough. However, as the story became complete and I started on the book cover design, I changed the title to the shorter, more catchy Tainted Jewel.

Tainted Jewel is told through the eyes of Katie Reilly, who, at the start of the book, is ten years old.  Kate suffers from OCD, and the book shows how this affects her outlook on life and situations in general as we read about her growing up.

The story begins when she is introduced to two brothers, Lawrence and Mike Taylor, and from that day, Kate is obsessed with Mike. At first, she sees him as a father figure. However, as she gets older, her feelings progress into love.

She doesn’t realise until it’s too late exactly who Mike Taylor is. He’s the sidekick of Mr Simpson, the most feared man in Bridgeborough.

How did you choose to write in this particular genre?

Because of the ideas I had in my mind about how the book would play out and eventually end, I knew it was never going to be a fairy tale. So, Crime Drama was the only genre it could fit into. I really love the genre and everyone has such wonderful stories to tell.

Who are some of the authors that inspired you? Favorites?

I was told a couple of times that I write very similar to Kimberley Chambers. I hadn’t read any of her books, so I decided to buy a couple. I read Billie Jo in a couple of days, and whilst I was reading it, I could see exactly where people were coming from. I’ve since done research on Kimberley, and she still writes with pen and paper, never using a laptop (that amazes me, it must take her forever). I love the story she tells on her website. At the age of 36, she was asked by a friend if she wanted to start working in her salon, which meant going back to basics, sweeping the floor. Her answer was, ‘No, I’m thinking of writing a book’, and hey presto look at her now. If that doesn’t inspire writers to prove that if you have a good enough story it can be done, then I don’t know what will inspire you.

How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis? Do you assign daily word counts for yourself?

I don’t dedicate a certain amount of time each day, it’s just when I get time. I could be at work and an idea would pop into my head. I type it out as quickly as I can and email it to myself. Then, when I get home, I work on it making it a much better drawn out scene. I do have a chart which I keep track on my word count, as I won’t stop a draft until I have over 90,000 words. As soon as I put the word count in it tells what percentage I have left to write. Then, when I hit 0% left to write, I take out some scenes and put new ones in.

What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?

Please, don’t stop. Keep going. You will get there in the end if you want it bad enough. Write for yourself and fall in love with your characters (even the evil ones). Let them become part of your family, and your ideas will soon come flooding to you. This should hopefully stamp out any writers blocks. But most of all enjoy the ride and what will be will be.

Tainted Jewel

Blurb: 

It was love that dragged Kate Reilly into the criminal underworld. Once in, it was somewhere she couldn’t easily leave; even if she had wanted to….

Growing up, Kate liked the attention she received from Mike Taylor, the worst of the Taylor brothers, in her mother’s humble opinion.
As a young girl, Kate was always happy to use her ‘magic skills’ at unpicking locks to help Mike and his friends out when they had carelessly locked themselves out of their homes – or even their safes.
As she matured, it finally dawned on Kate that maybe Mike wasn’t the gentleman she had first thought. However by this point, she was hopelessly, obsessively in love with him. What’s more, she was so involved in the criminal lifestyles of Mike and his cohorts that she felt there was no escaping…. And she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to try.

That is, until the night of her eighteenth birthday. Then her whole world was turned on its head, everything changed that night……. Forever.

Get it at AMAZON

S. M. Hope on TWITTER