Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Back Story: WITCHES PROTECTION PROGRAM by Michael Okon @IAmMichaelOkon #witchesprotectionprogram#backstory

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Back Story:
Witches Protection Program
by Michael Okon

The idea of a secret government agency that protects witches was born out of the one place I do all my thinking. The bathroom. 

I was in my bathroom one lovely evening in the fall of 2014 and gazed at my wife’s pile of trashy magazines. Since I’m more inclined to read a screenplay or novel while doing my ‘duty’, (pun intended!) I figured I could take a break and peek through some entertainment pop culture. 

I flipped the pages and noticed a picture called Wetless Protection Program in some script font above Neil Patrick Harris’s head. I think it was NPH. It sure looked like NPH. Maybe it was Tom Cruise, I forget.

But in my eyes, instead of reading Wetless Protection Program, I read it as Witches Protection Program and said, what a great title! 

I then realized I goofed and it said Wetless, not Witches. What a silly idea. A government agency that protects witches. 

I started reading another story about Brangelina or whatever, and my eyes went wide. No not over Brad and Angelina traveling with their 11 kids in Europe.  My eyes popped open because I had an idea.

I turned the page back to the Wetless picture. That was it. I got my next book idea. 

Witches Protection Program.  

I began creating the story that night and within a week of that fortuitous encounter in my master bathroom, I had a full beat sheet following the adventure of Wes Rockville and Morgan Pendragon.

I self-published it and Witches quickly became my greatest selling work. I remember selling 4,000 copies in one day, and I’ve never done that with any of my books. 

Fast forward 5 years later to 2019. I have a literary agent, a film agent, an entertainment attorney, and a wonderful publisher. WordFire Press loved the manuscript of Witches so much they wanted it to be my 3rd published book next to Monsterland and Monsterland Reanimated. 

In addition to the book, my film agent asked me to write a screenplay that could follow the book, with a few different twists and turns.

That script is now being considered at two major production companies, one for television, and one for film.  

I am so grateful for how far the story has gone and I cannot wait to see where it’s going to end up. 

About the Author
Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.


About the Book:

Author: Michael Okon
Publisher: WordFire Press
Pages: 200
Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy


Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he's reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization.

The Witches Protection Program.

His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company's diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt's evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches...and believe in himself.

Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day
New York City.


Witches Protection Program is a great summer choice, ideal for beach or poolside reading, and with elements of romance, action, crime, and fantasy, there's a little something for everyone to enjoy.”—Foreword Reviews
“…mixes predictable elements--corporate intrigue, sexy witches, cat familiars, car chases, family secrets, and steampunk weaponry--into an enjoyable story.’—Publisher's Weekly

“Cleverly offbeat, often cheeky, and loads of fun.”Kirkus
"WITCHES PROTECTION PROGRAM is a fun and quick read, and the out-of-the-norm narrative choices make the novel feel like something wonderfully subversive." - IndieReader

"Witches Protection Program is a unique gem, one that's fast-paced with twists, action, and fun characters." - Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite, Five Star Review

"Witches Protection Program will hook you if not for the action, then the romance and if not for the romance, then the sheer humor, what with its funny dialogue." - Liezl Ruiz, NetGalley Reviewer


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Monday, September 23, 2019

Book Video Teaser: Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay by Shani & Patrick Muhammad @playintopay #bookteaser #bookvideo

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Author: Patrick Muhammad & Shani Muhammad
Publisher: 5 Star Publishing
Pages: 40
Genre: Children’s Book

The first book in a series, “Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay”, details the journey of an entrepreneur, through the eyes of a child. The book uses vivid illustrations and lively words, to explain the road little Patrick took into the world of entrepreneurship.  It demonstrates the benefits of tapping into your passion early in life.  “Patrick” tapped into his passion of baking to help solve a money problem.  This book also shows the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.  You witness a 9-year old take the power and control of his future into his own hands. You also see what happens when “Patrick” finds help in a friend, to help grow his business. Above all, this book motivates both young and young at heart and serves as a reminder that we all have the ability to turn our playdays into paydays.



Patrick & Shani Muhammed
South Florida based janitor turned serial entrepreneur, Patrick Muhammad took what some would call an unconventional route to his newest venture.  “What I do now has evolved.  It truly took my passion and has turned it into a profession for me. I can see myself mentoring and sharing my story with young people easily for the next 20 years.  I love talking to young people and showing them, what entrepreneurship looks like. I love sharing my stories of how I came to be.  I didn’t just wake up one day and have all the answers.  My wife and I bumped our head A LOT.  I just want to say to them, look…here’s the blueprint.  Start now, don’t wait until you’re 30.  Passion has no age requirement, and has no limit on how many you can have. I started out as a janitor, then became a baker now I am into motivational speaking. They just have to have the passion and guidance. Anything is possible.”

“Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay” is the 1st book in a series of children’s books authored by husband and wife writing partners, Shani and Patrick Muhammad. The idea for the book was created one night while trying to explain the reason there was a gigantic, neon, pink and orange food-truck, now sitting in their front yard to their then 4 year-old Qadeer.   Patrick and his wife came up with the idea that they would write a keepsake item for all their children, detailing the road they took to becoming entrepreneurs.  The primary message is simple. By tapping into your passion early in life you can turn your playdays into paydays.  Once the book was published they both realized that the story could not only inspire their own children to entrepreneurship, but others as well. Shani figured out how to self-publish it and Patrick would take it to different youth groups in his community.   “I began shopping the book around to childcare centers and non-profits that served young people in the projects and the adults loved it.  “They really loved the idea that it was based on a true story and that the message was coming from a black male perspective. A story their children could relate to.  The images were brown like them and I just always got a positive response.  We took that book everywhere with us, and the response was this is a message that’s needed.  Children can’t be what they can’t see.”

Patrick currently lives in South Florida with his wife and three of his youngest five children.  He has a passion for planting the seed of entrepreneurship and carving out wealth building opportunities for his children’s generation. When he’s not writing books he’s on tour, speaking to groups of young people about basic principles of financial literacy and the benefits of early investing using cryptocurrency as a vehicle to establish future financial goals. When he’s not doing that…he’s on a creek with a fishing pole in his hand.

Shani Muhammad has been married to Patrick for 17 years now.  Together they have 5 children and 3 grandchildren.   Shani has spent the past 15 years in a classroom as a teacher. She too is a serial entrepreneur and has in the past owned a one-price shoe store, group homes and several online businesses. When she’s not working on the next children’s book in their series, she too enjoys researching and investing in crypto currencies and planning her family’s next “staycation.”




Me Too, Time's UP, Now What? by Karla Monterrosa #guest

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MeToo, Time’s UP, Now What?
By Karla Monterrosa

The rise of the Me Too and Time’s Up movements have exposed cases of sexual abuse within workplaces in the fields of government, entertainment, sports, and various other industries. Child sexual abuse has been missing from the conversation, which is surprising. The prevalence and effects of sexual abuse are devastating.

One out of every ten children experiences sexual abuse by the age of 18. Over 90 percent of sexually abused children know their abusers. There are over 42 million survivors of sexual abuse in the United States. Statistics also tell us that women who have experienced abuse are prone to re-experience abuse again later. Additionally, research supports the idea that some female childhood sexual abuse victims adopt harmful beliefs about sexuality leading them to believe that coercion and trauma are typical characteristics of sexual relations. This distortion leads them to have a higher tolerance for intimidating sexual advances, which leaves them vulnerable to revictimization. In a recent survey of 64,000 employees by and McKinsey & Co., more than one in three of the women surveyed indicated they had experienced harassment in their careers.

Most women can relate to experiencing both aggressive or non-violent forms of abuse.

I was five years old the first time a neighbor sexually abused me. The abuse I suffered early in my life turned my childhood into a set of dark memories that haunted me for most of my life. The experience left me feeling ashamed, angry, and unsafe. Throughout my life, I also experienced catcalling and propositioning beginning in my teenage years, and once I entered the workforce, this dynamic continued.

Women begin experiencing abuse at a very young age and throughout our lives—at least until we find our voice and courage and set up unshakeable boundaries. The inappropriate association we’ve made between affection and sexualized relationships (as a result of our childhood abuse), coupled with our culture’s obsession with women as sexual objects, inadvertently places women in a position of powerlessness in the workplace.

Now that the spotlight is on this pervasive issue, we need to talk about healing. Today, survivors face the challenge of being reminded almost daily of their traumatic experiences with little dialogue about the road to healing.

I decided to add my voice to the conversation by sharing my story and placing a spotlight on the path toward healing.


If you’re ready to experience healing from abuse, Unbraided: Transform Your Pain to Power and Purpose will help you get healthy emotionally and spiritually so you can cultivate the self-confidence and courage needed to follow through to freedom. Learn how to deal with the long-term effects of abuse—fear, shame, lack of trust, and anger—to build strong relationships, enjoy intimacy, and experience joy.


Furhmans, Vanessa. “What #MeToo Has to Do with the Workplace Gender Gap.” The Wall Street Times. October 23 2018.

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. “What Are the Statistics of the Abused?” Accessed June 20, 2018.

About the Author

Karla Monterrosa, M.P.A. is an author, keynote speaker, and women’s empowerment coach who has dedicated her life to improving the lives of women and families. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning and a Master of Public Administration in Public Sector Management and Leadership from California State University, Northridge.

Karla began her career in the City of Los Angeles, where she quickly became aware of the scale of challenges that large, diverse communities face. She learned how to address needs by best utilizing what was already available and, during her tenure, helped to provide women, youth, and families with programming that increased financial literacy, education, and economic opportunities. Karla’s ability to pinpoint trauma and develop strategic solutions would serve as the launching pad to her own coaching program, Unbraided Life (

A survivor of abuse herself, Karla is passionate about leveraging her skills to help others overcome their past. She specializes in guiding women to discover their God-given purpose through honest self-reflection, application of biblical principles, and her one-of-a-kind 7 Steps Toward Healing framework.

Karla is a certified Mending the Soul support group facilitator, but it’s her almost two decades of experience in community and economic development that make her programming practical, unique, and transformational.

You can find Karla on the internet at, @karlabmonterrosa on Instagram, Karla Monterrosa on Facebook. 

To book Karla to speak:

A sample of keynote topics she offers: 
7 Steps Toward Healing
Marriage, Motherhood, and Memories
Breaking the Cycle of Abuse
The Path to Purpose


Instagram: (@karlabmonterrosa)

About the Book:

Author: Karla Monterrosa
Publisher: Inspire Books
Pages: 250
Genre: Non-fiction/self-help/overcoming abuse/Christian


Vulnerable, courageous, and deeply personal, Unbraided: Transform Your Pain Into Power and Purpose, will help you to identify the areas of your life that are being affected by abuse and provide a path for you to experience breakthrough and healing.

Karla Monterrosa experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuses early in her life. She was able to take those negative experiences and use them as fuel to propel her forward for a time, accomplishing personal, educational, and professional successes. Eventually, within the stresses and pressures of marriage and motherhood, her scars became utterly exposed. She realized that her past was beginning to harm her family in the present, and it was then she chose to take courageous steps to heal from abuse—to become the woman, wife, and mother they deserve.

If you’re ready to experience healing from abuse, Unbraided will help you get healthy emotionally and spiritually so you can cultivate the self-confidence and courage needed to follow through to freedom. Learn how to deal with the long-term effects of abuse—fear, shame, lack of trust, and anger—in order to build strong relationships, enjoy intimacy, and experience joy.

Using thought-provoking journaling exercises, biblical principles, and her one-of-a-kind 7 Steps Toward Healing framework, Karla will gently guide you through a journey of self-reflection and healing—while making it feel like an intimate conversation with a trusted friend over coffee. Are you ready to step forward into the life you desire with renewed energy, unshakeable confidence, and purpose?


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Eight books, two short stories, and seven years later - What I Know For Sure by Cerece Rennie Murphy @cerecermurphy #guest

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Eight books, two short stories, and seven years later - What I Know For Sure 
by Cerece Rennie Murphy

When it comes out on October 5, 2019, The Wolf Queen: The Promise of Aferi, will be my eighth book and my tenth published work. I have released at least one story every year since 2012. Looking back it's kind of stunning. When I decided to publish my first  book seven years ago, I don't know if I thought I would make it this far. I had no idea what writing and publishing stories would truly require. The long nights. The focus. The unflinching commitment to character, to the process - no matter what. To finish and finish again and finish again.

Recently, I was on a writers panel and a young man asked how to navigate the inevitable fear and doubt that comes from trying to tell a story well. "Sometimes, I just feel like a failure. The process is so emotional, so personal," he confessed.

The other panelists gave some really good strategies for coping with doubt. But when it was my turn, I told him what I tell myself everytime the fear creeps in.

"So what?" I said. "So what if your stuff sucks. Write anyway. Write until you finish your first draft, then find an editor who can help you make it the best that it can be."

Some people laughed. Some people frowned. Some people nodded because they got it. Writing doesn't always feel like running through a field of flowers. Most of the time, it's just hard work. The most consistent reward you get from it is the joy of doing what you love, but the act itself can often be grueling.

And that is just fine because the absolute truth is you don't have to be perfect to write. You just have to be willing to sit with the discomfort of doubt and fear long enough to finish what you start, then work to make it better.

That's the secret. That's it and that's all. You don't have to be a magical being. You just have to be determine and committed not to give up.

It's not exactly sexy, but for those of you who have a story in your heart, I hope it's a comfort to you to know that as a busy woman with a family, two young children, a hectic life, a growing small business, and dreams to spare, that you can follow your dream, too.

And that courage, that little hope inside you, is all the magic you need.

About the Author

Cerece Murphy
Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching “Empire Strikes Back” at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry. She earned her master’s degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas – all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler’s “Wild Seed,” Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and “The X-Files.” In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event – a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the bestselling Order of the Seers trilogy.  Order of the Seers was selected as one of The Best Kindle Books of 2014 by Digital Book Today.  To date, Mrs. Murphy has published nine speculative fiction novels, short stories, and children’s books.

In addition to working on the 3rd book in the award-winning Ellis and The Magic Mirror children’s book series with her son and releasing her 5th adult novel, The Wolf Queen, Mrs. Murphy has launched NARAZU, an online platform designed to deliver the best in indie sci-fi content and comic culture to the fans who love it most. You can visit the new site at  Her current writing projects include the second book in The Wolf Queen duology and plotting a science fiction thriller set in outer space.  Mrs. Murphy lives and writes in her hometown of Washington, DC with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.


Inside the Book

The Wolf Queen 4
Author: Cerece Rennie Murphy
Publisher: LionSky Publishing
Pages: 242
Genre: YA Fantasy

Once great and powerful sorcerers, the Amasiti were hunted to the brink of extinction by the Hir and his followers. For four hundred years, their legacy faded from memory waiting for the hope of Aferi to be renewed…

In the Land of Yet

At the edge of the Forbidden Forest

A young woman lives alone.

Forced to fend for herself after the brutal murder of her family, Ameenah Yemini has made a life for herself as a master tanner and farmer, only venturing into the world to earn her living then return to the safety and seclusion of her home.

Until a chance encounter brings her work to the attention of the powerful Hir
And her careful life begins to unravel.

Drawn to the hidden magic that lingers in everything she touches, the new Hir insists on having her for himself, using the people around her to force Ameenah into his grasp.

When she realizes that her greatest enemy may hold the key to a secret she thought lost to her forever, Ameenah is determined to reclaim her stolen past.  But, at what cost? As an ancient power waits to be unleashed, Ameenah’s choices will make the difference between awakening a new magic or delivering it into the hands of evil.



Monday, September 16, 2019

The Inspiration Behind MALL by Pattie Palmer-Baker #Guest

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The Inspiration Behind MALL
--Pattie Palmer-Baker

I never planned to write a novel.  After a conversation with a city planner about planned communities, I started thinking, what would it be like if people lived inside a mall? Would they live in apartments next to shops? Would they work in the mall? I gave free reign to my imagination and made all Mall residents beautiful, gorgeously dressed and with access to endless entertainment. Isn’t that what so many shoppers want? I also eliminated unemployment, poverty and illness and made sex and nonaddictive drugs easily available. A paradise! And then what? My mind alone could not organize or retain the plot, the characters and the setting. I had to start writing to discover the story.

I let a friend read the first several chapters. Her comment? I want to live there! I sort of did too; however, I knew something had to be wrong in this too-good-to-be-true society. Over the years this alternate world took shape. Sometimes I would take a couple of years off to work on art and poetry. Then the story would swirl through my mind, and it came to me, the catch in this world of beauty and pleasure – the Mall Code, with very definite restrictions, all designed to make sure no one suffers or, for that matter, experiences any kind of discomfort. Sound good? Maybe but maybe not. Nona, the Mental Health Practitioner is secretly bored, something unheard of in Mall. But not after Sara, a woman from our world who somehow enters Mall, is brought to her for treatment. Sara’s behavior and stories galvanize Nona. Nona is no longer bored. But Sara wants to go home. Or does she?

At first, after I won the 2017 Del Sol Press for most promising novel, I resisted the editor’s suggestions. What a mistake! She knew what she was talking about. Over the months, at her urging, I added more detail, conflict and action. For example, I expanded the role of the Junkers who have been fighting Mall Management’s control by creating increasingly dangerous disturbances. Many of them do not believe, as they have been taught, that nothing exists outside of Mall. For years they have struggled to discover an exit, based on rumors of those who made it Outside and were never heard from again. Both Nona and Sara feel the pull to escape, and Paul, the Junker’s leader, is instrumental in the denouement.

As a former counselor I was and still am deeply interested in relationships, romantic love and marriage, yes, but also friendships, in this case Nona and Sara. As their lives entwine, each must decide if are deep relationships worth the pain and work. And finally, who will stay and who will leave?

About the Author

Pattie Palmer-Baker is a recognized award-winning artist and poet. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest. Locally and nationally she has won numerous awards for her art and poetry.

An accomplished poet, Pattie had been nominated for the Pushcart Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in many journals including Calyx, Voicecatcher, Military Experience the Arts, Minerva Rising and Phantom Drift. In 2017 she earned first prize in the Write to Publish contest, and in 2019 she won first, second, and the Bivona prize in the Ageless Poetry contest.  She has served as the poetry co-editor for VoiceCatcher: a journal of women's voices and visions.

Del Sol Press awarded MALL first prize for the most promising first novel in 2017.

Pattie lives in Portland, Oregon with her beloved husband and rescued dachshund.

Her website is

You can follow her at Facebook at

About the Book:

Title: MALL
Author: Pattie Palmer-Baker
Publisher: Del Sol Press
Pages: 272
Genre: Dystopian

A Novel by Pattie Palmer-Baker Winner of the Del Sol Most Promising Novel, 2017

MALL is a sparkling alternate world where everyone is beautiful, employed with enough income to consume and to experience a myriad of pleasures including drugs, gambling, theater, holographic adventures. No poverty and little or no crime. A lot of sex.

But what about the Mall Code? And what happens when Sara, a 21st century woman, accidentally finds her way into this alien yet familiar world? Nona, a MALL mental health practitioner treats Sara upon her arrival and goes against the Code to help her acclimate. Sara seems to be just what she needs, an antidote to Nona’s secret and growing boredom.

At first Sara desperately wants to get home, and, as she seeks a way out as well as answers about her new reality, Nona begins to see MALL in a new light. Is abundant gratification enough?

Things aren’t all beauty and pleasure. Sara experiences dancing in a dangerous orgiastic dance club on a lower level. She attends a gambling session where people bet on living more years when their “number’s up” and a “passing ceremony,” where Mallites are supposedly resurrected into a new life. 

Junkers, outsiders lurking on the fringes of MALL, have been fighting Mall Management’s control by creating increasingly dangerous disturbances. For years they have struggled to discover an exit, based on rumors of those who made it Outside and were never heard from again. Through them Sara and Nona meet someone who might help them escape. They both must make the choice that will change their lives forever.

Who will risk leaving and who will decide to stay?

MALL by Pattie Palmer-Baker was recently published by Del Sol Press and winner of the Del Sol Press Most Promising Book, 2017.
          ISBN: 978-0-9998425-5-3.


What a suspenseful journey Mall was—a real "page-turner"-  imaginative with firm command of psychological expression and dialogue! Pattie Palmer-Baker captures some of the sexual contradictions, insecurities, and darker motivations of her female characters, and the complex relationships between women. The "surface" allusions to sex and violence throughout the story line work well with the superficial world she describes. Sex all the time—and yet, really, not much explicit writing about actual sexual encounters—the same for violence. This tension of content and form works well for me. What gives pleasure? What gives pain? The many hallways and mirrored rooms give the setting a creepy fun-house effect and increase the sense of a closed world and claustrophobic doom. Her descriptions of the Mallites' physical appearances and their individual choice of costume in this strange place is creative—a breath of lightness in this frank examination of our quandary about the meaning of freedom in an existential existence. What is real? I was "on the run" with Sara for the entire read! And what a turn at the end!
-- Cathy Cain, Portland poet and artist


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Not all games should be played by Leonard Bassed, Author of The Witch Port Video Game @leobassed #guest

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Not all games should be played

--Leonard Bassed, Author of The Witch Port Video Game

The Witch Port Video Game illustrates that actions have consequences when three ordinary teenagers’ lives are thrown into turmoil and disarray through a chance encounter with a girl at a diner. It promised to be a fun time when the teenage friends, Martin Robinson, Francesca Dubois and Mackenzie Hollister sneaked away for an evening out. However, on this occasion, they happened to be at the wrong place, at a wrong time when a stranger, Bianca introduces them to a video game. The game seems awesome at first until a series of strange events occur which mirror what happens on screen. The realization that they have somehow being imbued with magical abilities through the video game is accompanied by the mysterious arrival of the MacQuoid brothers, who with Bianca as their co-conspirator wreak havoc on their previously peaceful lives in the idyllic fictional town of Cradle Creek. 
            This exciting account of magic and sorcery is a must read for young adults who are fascinated by magical realism and gaming. It gives the notion of sorcery a modern spin, while offering the reader intrigue and suspense. The novel makes references to current teenage culture and explores themes that young people still face today including orientation, peer pressure and substance abuse.
            This indie debut novel is the first in a series and all “shall be revealed later”. The reader is invited to embark on this journey with Martin, Francesca and McKenzie, three unsuspecting teenagers who become entangled in something totally unsolicited and unplanned. Their very lives and those of their loved ones are at stake, as they struggle for survival. The story ends with a cliffhanger that will entice the reader back for more. You don’t choose sorcery – She chooses you…

For your copy of the book The Witch Port Video Game visit the author’s website:

About the Author

Writer-actor-singer Leonard Bassed was born in the town of Middleburg, Mpumalanga and raised in Johannesburg.  He started taking vocal lessons at age eight and studied drama throughout his high school years.  A mentor encouraged him to pursue an acting career.  Leonard went on to complete acting classes in both South Africa and later Los Angeles.  Currently, when not writing or singing, Leonard continues to study acting techniques with the renowned Margie Haber Studio in Hollywood. In his free time, he enjoys travel, reading and movie going.  His latest book is The Witch Port Video Game.


Facebook page for author:
Twitter page for author:

About the Book:

Author: Leonard Bassed
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 108
Genre: YA

Leonard Bassed had no plan to write a novel titled THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME when he set out to create a movie script with a similar name.  “I had written the pilot script first and I kept the same ending for the novel…everything from the script I wrote found its way into the finished book version of ‘The Witch Port Video Game,’ said writer-singer-actor Leonard Bassed.  “I was able to spend more time developing the characters and their world…the whole thing was just such an organic experience and extremely enjoyable, creative for me.”
THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME tells the story through the lives of three ordinary teens who live in the fictional town of Cradle Creek, USA – a small town they hope to one day escape, attracted by the bright lights and promise of the Big City.  All three are students at a prestigious performing art school with hopes of one day making names for themselves in the entertainment world.
Mr. Bassed continued about his story, “A chance encounter the three have with a girl named Bianca Morris threatens to derail their plans. Bianca introduces them to an enticing video game, ‘The Witch Port Video Game’.  This encounter, coupled with the arrival of the MacQuoid brothers sets in motion a series of bizarre events that spins their lives into chaos and disarray as the three head into a world of sorcery with an ultimate fight for survival.”
As a young boy growing up in South Africa, Leonard dreamed one day of working in the arts.  He wanted to write, to act, to sing.  While drawn to acting and song writing, he was also a good story teller.  “The auditions I would go out for as an actor were never reflective of the kinds of roles I was after to play. It was this realization that led me to writing the pilot script which I planned to pitch to TV and movie producers.  But, once I finished the script I’d grown too attached to the characters and the wonders of their world that ultimately led the script into the shape of a full novel,” he went on to say.
“While the book’s final moments leave us with a rather sudden, enigmatic ending, an end note does indicate a sequel Witch Port Igniting the Coven on the horizon. For those who enjoy the entertaining literary chemistry that results from inquisitive teens and their foray into the mysterious world of sorcery, Bassed’s venture should prove an intriguing reveal.”
--Pacific Book Review

“Filled with cheeky references to famous pop-culture stories of sorcery and mixed with some classic teenage angst, this book is a fast-paced, suspenseful story. The novel’s premise that some teenagers gain special powers through a video game is an updated, modern take on magic and suits the story quite well for a 21st-century setting. The author sets up the story mechanisms so that everything that happens through the students’ video game play also happens in real life. The author states that this novel was originally a screenplay, and those elements shine through, from the descriptive settings to the fast pace in which the action occurs on the page. It will be interesting to see how the protagonists grow with their powers in the sequel.”
--The U.S. Review of Books
Book can be purchased at the author’s web site at

Monday, September 9, 2019

Why Oh Why by Jayne Sanders, Author of 'Twists Turns & Truths' #guest

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--By Jayne Sanders

I’ve been asking myself a lot of Why questions lately. Why did I write TWISTS TURNS & TRUTHS? Why would it be appropriate to stamp “TMI” across the front cover? Why do I feel an urge to warn people about the book?

So from last to first, don’t ask me why, ha. In the book, I have shared stories of my life, some of the more up and down, high and low emotive experiences, and how the characteristics of me involved show up in my hands. I'm a Master Scientific Hand Analyst, you see, although NOT a palm-reader. SHA is so powerful and accurate that wrote about it. I opened up some secrets, some very vulnerable truths. Some people may get to know me better than they want to! Thus the urge to warn them.

The second Why is similar. The book is so revealing, so vulnerable, so open, it may be too much information for some readers. Honestly I kinda doubt it but I assure you there will be some raised eyebrows. Also some laughs, tears, hoorays, and even a wince or two. My perspective is that I can’t teach, I can’t transform, I can’t change paradigms without being vulnerable and sharing my most difficult challenges. Stories teach, motivate, inspire, and open people up to introspection and growth.

Finally, I had several motivations for writing this book. One, I want to expand exposure for the amazing and profound modality of Scientific Hand Analysis. And oh yes, life-changing as well. Two, I want to inspire people to look within using my experiences and see what changes might help them love their lives more. Third, I want to open skeptical minds up to the power and support available from many metaphysical resources available to them. Some of these have undoubtedly changed my life for the better.

Please, jump right in and brace yourself for some twists, turns, and eye-opening truths!

About the Author

MASTER Scientific Hand Analyst and Purpose & Law of Attraction Coach featured in a FORBES article about her work, Jayne Sanders helps leaders, business owners, and managers love their lives and their work.

After an MBA and many years in the corporate world, Jayne did a complete 180 and now reveals your innate purpose, special gifts, and blind spots, then guides you into the inspired meaning, passion and fulfillment you crave in life and work. Corporate and team benefits are numerous as well. 

When not doing her purpose work, Jayne can be found out on the trail riding her beautiful Arabian/Appaloosa horse, Darby, or eating dark chocolate J.


About the Book:

Title: Twists Turns & Truths – The Life and Lines of a Master Scientific Hand Analyst
Author: Jayne Sanders
Publisher: Full Gallop Press
Pages: 204
Genre: Memoir/Self-Help

A master scientific hand analyst and conversational storyteller, Jayne Sanders courageously reveals several of the more emotive high and low experiences of her life—stories about everything from love to animals to abuse, and then connects some of her characteristics involved to relevant markings in her hands. Readers will laugh, cry, cheer, and even wince as they peek into her journey full of challenges, celebrations, and vulnerability. Jayne’s stories demonstrate how Scientific Hand Analysis provides a blueprint to who people are and why they’re here on the planet, their gifts and tripping points, and answers to their big why questions.
How might your stories show up in your hands? Do you have some of the gifts and challenges Jayne shares in these revealing tales?
Jump right in to find out, and prepare for twists, turns, and eye-opening truths.


Reviewed By Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite
"Twists Turns and Truths: The Life and Lines of a Master Scientific Hand Analyst by Jayne Sanders is a thought-provoking read with an inspiring voice, scientific hand analysis, and personal stories. The book is used to teach readers how everyone's own experiences are reflected in their hands and how to understand each detail.
Each chapter is written with genuine honesty and an admirable openness, revealing different experiences which she then uses to show how these are seen in her hands. Several examples of hand analysis follow each chapter which makes it easy to understand and learn the significance of every moment in your life through every detail in your hands. Also throughout are lovely poems which tie into various stories. The poems have a stunning lyrical style with profound emotion and depth drawn out of each, making them perfectly fitted to the voice and tone of the memoir aspects. Twists Turns and Truths is a unique read with honest stories told through an emotional lens and with a focus on scientific hand analysis, ideal for those seeking honest memoirs, genuine voices, and unique topics."


Amazon →

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

First Chapter Reveal: A Garden On Top Of The World by Virginia Aronson

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Veronica Aronson
* YA Ecofiction *

Title: A Garden on Top of the World
Author: Virginia Aronson
Publisher: Dixi Books
Pages: 112
Genre: YA Ecofiction

The year is 2066 and life in Greenland is much warmer and more crowded, and lacking in fresh food. Sixteen-year-old Jonnie lives in the Relocation city of Shamed, where hundred-story high rises house extended families from American coastal cities relocated after the Sixth Sea Rise. Work and school are conducted from overcrowded apartments, while the homeless camp out on the streets below. Jonnie is intersex and identifies as she, although her family pressures her to identify as he.
Jonnie’s parents run a high-tech call center out of their apartment. Her older siblings work there, and Jonnie must share a bedroom with two much older nieces. For quiet and privacy, Jonnie often retreats to the empty rooftop.

Red is a homeless man who takes up temporary residence in a pigeon coop on the roof. After Red talks about the seeds in the birds’ droppings, Jonnie gets interested in heirloom seeds. Jonnie knows little about how food grows because meals come in packages ordered online and delivered by drone. Armed with a new understanding of old-fashioned garden-grown food, Jonnie is determined to create her own garden on the roof of her high rise. Along the way, she meets a former cryosphere scientist, a botanist with an urban indoor garden, and twins her own age, one of whom is intersex.

A GARDEN ON TOP OF THE WORLD is environmental fiction for ages 12 and up. Jonnie’s search for who she is and what she might be able to offer the world is one that will resonate with readers of all ages. The information she learns about healthy food, sustainable agriculture, and urban gardens may inspire readers to start their own gardens.





Chapter One
Once I finish my schoolwork, I have nothing to do until dinner. Everyone else at my house is working. When I remove my headgear, I can hear them. Talking, talking, talking. The sound is a deep, bone-rattling drone, interrupted by occasional bursts of laughter or yelling.
So annoying.
My family is in the call center business. This means they don't do anything; instead, they talk for a living. Talk, talk, talk. And the work is international. This means they talk all day long and right through the night. You would think they would want some peace and quiet when they're not working, but this is not the case. Even off-duty, my family is always talking. Always gossiping and laughing, shouting and arguing, blathering on and on.
I'm the youngest and there are a lot of them and only one of me, so I rarely get to speak. Not that I want to yack all the time. I prefer quiet. A serene, calm, peaceful quiet. So I've had to adapt. Most of the time I tune them out.
But sometimes I can't block out the noise. That's when I sneak out. I wish I could do something, like hit the streets and explore, but this is not allowed. They think I'm still too young to be out alone where there's poverty and crime. So instead, I go up to the roof. It's not much and there's nothing to do, but it is quiet up there.
I'm going to head up there right now.
First I put on my niece Kamara's soft blubber boots and my dad's dog-fur coat. I slide thick white Dura-Soy socks onto my hands to keep them warm. Nobody at my house owns gloves. My mother says there's no need to go outside in the bad weather. We have everything we need right here, in our home.
I'm not so sure this is true for me. Being stuck inside, studying and hanging out all day, is so boring. Only when I'm reading or researching or doing interesting schoolwork am I content. When my mind is engaged, it goes elsewhere. Zoom! But escape is only temporarily. I always come back here, to a crowded apartment in a crowded building in a crowded city.
I want to go new places. I want to do amazing things.
Right now, however, I have to complete high school. I'm a year ahead, a junior at sixteen. I like being challenged, but digiworld education is pretty easy. However, I love environmental history class and nature science. I love looking at how the world around us used to be, the early people and their simple lives, the wild animals and their natural homes. Everything was so different back then. Nothing looks like it did in back in 2000, 2025, even as recently as 2050. There's been so much rapid environmental change and so many social adjustments, it's a whole new world.
I glide through the living room without disturbing anyone. They rarely notice me anyway, tucked in their tiny cubicles, encapsulated in their surround-sound head screens. I don't walk past my parents, though. Those two have eyes in the back of their heads and they could snatch me by the hoodie and hold me here. Maybe even assign some useless chores. Or, even worse, try to make me do some call work.
No thanks.
But I'm invisible, so out the door I slip and up the stairwell I go. Up, up, up, jogging two stairs at a time, eventually slowing to a brisk step-up walk. My breath comes out in frosty spurts. The stairway is cement and holds the winter chill.
It's a good run up the stairs to the top, so I use it as exercise. I want to be fit and strong so I can go on adventures. Explore other parts of Greenland, then explore the rest of the world. But I'm sort of huffing as I power up the flights. Sitting inside all day is not good training.
At the ninety-ninth floor, I stop for a moment to admire my lucky talisman. An abandoned spider web, which has been here as long as I've been coming up from the second floor. Dusty and wispy, it hangs in the corner off the rough gray wall. The web is perfect, an incredible design still intact. I wish a spider lived in it. I would love to see a real live insect, observe one in its natural habitat.
I remove the sock from my hand and reach up, gently feeling the soft silk. Impressive how a female spider can create such gossamer material inside her own body. I'm not sure what I will create inside mine because I am intersex. That means I am part male and part female. I may have eggs, I may not. Whatever is in store for me, I will never be able to weave beautiful webs, that is certain.
I drag myself up the final flight and lean against the door to the roof. The heavy steel is especially difficult to push open today, which indicates it's extra windy outside. I shove the door with all my strength and, with an aggressive grunt, manage to open it wide enough that I can slide through. I'm small and thin, making it easy for me to fit into some of the places I wish to go. Only I want to go everywhere. Travel the world. Visit the moon. Take up residence at one of the space hotels, and jump on the shuttle to Mars.
Yet here I am, stuck in the sad city of Shamed with my loud telemarketing family.
The wind is biting, it chews at my face and neck. I pull up my hood, feeling sorry I didn't borrow my niece Kamara's seal headdress. That kooky thing makes me look like I have a pile of blubber on my head, but it keeps my ears warm.
I hurry across the vast expanse of the empty roof to my spot. A small bench sits between the solar heating units. The afternoon sun is still bright and, tucked here out of the wind, I am soon warm and cozy.
I drop the hood and turn my face to the sun. Winter all over the globe is mild and brief these days, but here in Greenland it used to be brutal. Back then, nobody could sit outside in March, their face to the winter sun.
Warmed enough now, I pull out my dad's World War Three binoculars and stare at the activity on the streets below. Most working people are inside, at home, probably on their headgear. Those hanging around outside are homeless. Too many Shamed residents are unemployed, and lots of families lose their apartments and end up on the streets. My family is lucky to be employed.
Two raggedy men sit side by side on the icy sidewalk, waiting for donations. I watch an elderly man stop to give them something, but I can't tell what it is. It's flat, kind of square, so it looks like an old book. But books are exceedingly rare, so I doubt anyone here would donate one. After the guy shuffles off, the two beggars argue over the donation. I watch them fighting over their prize until I'm bored.
The streets are harsh today. Gusts of cold wind rip off seal hats and shake solar lamp posts. Kids dressed in layers of oversized clothing huddle in doorways. I feel sorry for them. If you have no place to live and no screens, you have nothing to do. You can't even go to school.
I check the sky, looking for birds. But I don't see any. Usually I don't. There are so few trees in the city that birds are as rare as books.
As I scan the neighboring buildings, I peek in the uncurtained windows. I'm imagining what the residents' lives are like in the apartments that surround ours. Sometimes I can see people moving around their rooms, and I create stories about them in my mind. The women care for others like my mother does. The men have interesting work that keeps them from being bored with the limits of city life.
Two kids who look around my age live in the building just south of ours. A girl and a boy, I think. It's hard to tell because so many kids are intersex. They might be twins, they sure look a lot alike except one has like an afro and the other has long straighter hair. They study and eat together, often huddling to talk. They nudge each other, make funny faces, laugh. Watching them makes me feel both happy and sad. I wish I had someone like that in my life. My siblings are much older than I am. Even my two nieces are in their twenties. My mother told me my birth was a bit of a surprise. Had to be, she was over eighty when I was born. My parents have great-grandkids who are around my age. So my grandnieces and grandnephews are teenagers too.
Confusing, right?
There's no sign of the twins today, and nothing much to see in the other windows. The frosty wind whistles in the distance as I look across a seemingly endless vista of rooftops. Rooftop after rooftop, stark gray and lifeless. No people, no furnishings, no swimming pools or pretty tile patios like in the historic photos of old city buildings in places like New York and Miami, Paris and Shanghai. Here in Shamed, the city skyline looks like an empty parking lot, just gravel and asphalt that stretches as far as you can see. In the early part of the millennium, lots of cities had restaurants and observation decks on building rooftops. How cosmic that must have been! Dining close to the stars! Looking out at the brilliant blue sky, the green vista below with flowering trees and pretty parks. Birds flying by, settling in the treetops. And singing!
When my parents were kids, they lived in an alive world. Such a different world than mine. I feel ripped off. Still staring though my spy glasses, I sigh heavily.
"Feeling grumpy, are we?"
I jump off the bench, my binoculars bouncing against my chest, then whacking my chin. I can feel my heart racing faster than it did when I jogged up the stairs. I've never seen anyone out here on the roof. Nobody comes up here but me.
An old man with reddish gray hair stands a few feet away, his arms outstretched. A smirk escapes from beneath his bushy beard. After a few seconds of us just staring at one another, a large blue-gray pigeon suddenly appears and lands on his right hand.
I startle and step back, but he grins. "Wait. There's more," he says.
Another pigeon, a pudgy brown one this time, lands on his left shoulder. He rolls his eyes and that makes me laugh. I can't help it, he looks crazy!
"There," he says, his grin widening when a white dove plops down on the crown of his head. "That's better."


Virginia Aronson, RD, MS, is the author of more than forty books. She is the Director of Food and Nutrition Resources Foundation, a non-profit corporation that supports individuals, organizations, and communities actively seeking to improve access to healthy food, nutrition education, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and a socially just food system. She is the author of two books of ecofiction: A Garden on Top of the World (Dixi Books, 2019) and Mottainai: A Journey in Search of the Zero Waste Life.

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