Writing Intimate Scenes for the Worlds of Fire Series by Deborah A. Bailey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah A. Bailey will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Writing Intimate Scenes for the Worlds of Fire Series

Writing intimate scenes can be tricky at times. There’s something for everyone – from high heat to sweet. But each story should have scenes that are a fit for that type of story and the characters.

As I’m writing scenes for the novellas in my Worlds of Fire romantic fantasy series, I’m realizing that I can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Each story has its own mood, and the intimate scenes have to reflect that.
The scenes have to make sense in the context of the stories. Since each novella features a different couple, I had a different way of presenting those scenes.

In the first novella published, Blood Red Moon, the story is told in first person. Avani, the narrator, is expressing her feelings about being reunited with the hero, Derek. Her thoughts about his being a vampire (the Vampire Lord, actually) are front and center.

Avani describes her intimacy with Derek, and she describes what happens when he bites her. Since he is a vampire their love scenes are more intense. But at the same time, since it is first-person, I could only describe what she was experiencing –and her interpretation of what Derek was experiencing.

Metamorphosis is in third person POV and alternates between Asira and Jaydon. Their love story happens while a conspiracy is unfolding at their Alchemist university. They don’t have their first intimate scene until later in the story (for various reasons I won’t reveal because – spoilers!).

I wanted the scene to be romantic and sensual as opposed to intense. Jaydon is a bit of a nerd and Asira is just discovering what it is to be deeply in love. Their intimacy is playful and shows their way of interacting with each other.

Writing intimate scenes can be a big challenge for authors. Should there be a lot of detail? How soon should the “big moment” happen? I think it all depends on knowing your characters and understanding the purpose of the scenes. The most important thing is to make the actions (and the emotions) feel natural.

On the Floating World when two Alchemists fall in love it can be…complicated.

Asira is a member of a high-ranking family of Alchemists who exert control over the libraries that store magical texts. Jaydon, an unconventional but powerful teacher of transmutation at the university, is from a gargoyle shifter group known as the Gigun.

Asira finds Jaydon frustrating and too fascinating for her own good. But she desperately needs his help when she becomes the target of a classmate’s dangerous use of forbidden magic. With Jaydon’s assistance, the two of them uncover a conspiracy that threatens the well-ordered world of the Alchemists.

Struggling with his growing attraction to her, Jaydon is called on to use his knowledge of the magical Books of Fire to determine Asira’s fate. And depending on what secrets the books reveal, he may be forced to make a life-altering decision that will either bind them together… or permanently force them apart.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Jaydon picked up his stylus and shoved it behind his ear. Continuing to study her, his brows furrowed as though he was having an internal conversation. Thinking things over with himself and not sharing his conclusions with her.

Sure, she was used to intense stares from the magisters. They used them as an intimidation tactic. It was part of their mystery to be imperious and detached, to only associate with others on their level or from a specific Order. You were either in the Court hierarchy or you weren’t. Even the most advanced students didn’t have that kind of clout, no matter what Aurum family they belonged to.

“Are you sure you don’t want to see my papers on the topic?” Sitting there while he watched her was unnerving. Not that he was bad to look at, because he wasn’t. His features were finely sculpted, and his wavy shoulder-length black hair framed his face so that his almond-shaped eyes and full lips were accentuated.

He shook his head in response to her question, his gaze still fixed on her.
A noise outside caught her attention. There was chirping coming from the open sliding glass door that led to the balcony. Another perk of magister mentors. Private offices and balconies overlooking the spice gardens.

“Come in.”

A small yellow bird flew in and perched on a shelf above one of the desks. It chirped and then turned its head to study her. Another chirp, then a turn of the head to the left and to the right.

“What do you think?” he asked.

“Nice bird.”

“No, I was asking her.”

“You were what?” She looked at him, then at the bird again, then at him. “Does she talk?”


“What does she say?” She would go along with it for now. She’d be done and then hopefully get picked by a mentor who was more serious and less messy.

About the Author:Deborah A Bailey’s Romantic Fantasy, Science Fiction and Paranormal Romance novels include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat.

Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun and are included in, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales.

Visit her site https://AuthorDebBailey.com for more information and subscribe to the newsletter here so you’ll be the first to find out about giveaways, book launches and sneak peeks.

Note: This book will be on sale for $1.99 during the tour.

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for March 22, 2023

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s topic is: A Famous Book I’ve Never Read and Why

Violent Ascension by Giorgia Blake – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Giorgia Blake who is celebrating the release of Violent Ascension, the first book in her Made Men of Chicago Collection.

Taken, I’m bound inside the home of a dangerous man. He may have saved me from his sadistic cousin, but it seems I’ve only traded one monster for another. Fans of The Five Families series by Jill Ramsower will love Violent Ascension by Giorgia Blake, a steamy, enemies-to-lovers, forced marriage, mafia romance.

I’m a Rising Star. A boss. A Real One.

Yet I’m here. Taken and bound inside the home of Alessandro Parisi.

A dangerous man who holds my life and my secrets close to the chest.

He has all the answers but refuses to answer any of my questions.

All he’s told me is that I’m his and the key to his ascension.

He saved me from his sadistic cousin; but it seems I just traded one monster for another.

The first one stalked and taunted me until I was convinced death was around every corner.

This one orders me to cooperate, bend to his touch, and obey.

Too bad obedience isn’t in my nature and sacrifice is my birthright.

We probably won’t make it out of this blood war alive…The likelihood of my heart surviving Alessandro is even less.

Violent Ascension is the first book in the Made Men of Chicago Collection, and can be read as a standalone.It is a forced marriage mafia romance with themes of organized crime, violence, and BDSM. If this is your type of romance, the happily ever after will knock your socks off!

Please read responsibly!

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Why would your sick cousin, if he does indeed exist, want anything to do with me? He doesn’t even know me but I’m supposed to believe he had some plot to kidnap and torture me? Why would he do that? WHY THE FUCK AM I HERE?!”

I scream the latter with as much effort as my weakened voice can carry and tears stream uncontrollably down my face.

I’m making a spectacle of myself. Something my proud Creole mother taught me never to do. I can imagine her strong posture and head held high while reading the letter my father left for her. She was pregnant and alone. Then she found out she was tied to the mafia and its dangerous liaisons. I know she never cowered. Chrisette Augustin never cowered. But my response to Parisi can’t be helped. I’m not as strong as my mother. I never was.
I’m scared shitless.

Parisi leans back on his haunches to examine me. Yet again, I’m the specimen under his microscope. I feel naked inside and out when he fixes his eyes on me and I hate it. He’s digging out all the parts of myself that I hide away from the world. He ogles them to feed a sick fetish. Refusing to be his meal. I turn away and look at the wall, but he simply reaches out and draws my face back to him.

“Look at me Isabella.” His voice is quiet and surprisingly tender; like he’s coaxing a wild and wounded animal out of a trap. Chained to his floor, that’s exactly how I feel. He strokes an errant strand of my curly hair behind my ear and levels me with his attention.

“You will marry me, because that’s the only way to save your life and the lives of many others. You will sacrifice your freedom, to ensure blood doesn’t run down Chicago’s streets. I know you don’t understand any of that now, but you will as you begin to understand Cosa Nostra and your father’s place inside it. You are the key to everything, because he who has you, has your father in the palm of his hand. I can’t let Leonardo have that kind of power. You are just going to have to trust me from this moment on because life as you knew it is over. As a matter of fact, the life you were living was always temporary. At some point, your debt as Matteo’s daughter had to come due. The sooner you accept that; the happier you will be.”

Something inside of me registers what he’s saying as fact. It doesn’t make any logical sense, but I know whether it’s his fault or not, my life as I knew it really is over and I need a release.

So, I slap him.

I slap him like my Creole mother used to slap me whenever my mouth wrote a check my butt couldn’t cash. Parisi’s head jerks to the side and I immediately regret my action. I contract my body to make myself smaller, but I don’t take my eyes off of him.

He’s eerily calm and that scares me more than the rage I thought was sure to come. He reaches into his pocket and takes out a key to unshackle my ankles. I dart my eyes to the cell door, trying to estimate how far I can go before he catches me and his eyes arrest me.

I’m not going anywhere.

About the Author: I’m a contemporary romance author dedicated to the dangerously delicious world of Mafia Romance. Every story will dare you to believe in the power of love, even when there doesn’t seem to be one sane reason to do so!

My stories feature sexy alphas and smart heroines finding love in the most breath stealing of circumstances. If someone can’t die at any moment–it’s not a Giorgia Blake Romance!

Every plot is full of heat, suspense, and steamy passion that would make the Karma Sutra blush.

So come join me on this wild ride…you won’t regret it!

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Things to Know if You’re New to Writing by Jonathan Weeks – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jonathan Weeks will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


–When you consider the time it takes to develop, write and edit a manuscript then figure in the time spent on the submissions process, your pay rate usually comes out to less than $1 per hour once you have actually signed a contract. It’s best to write for the sheer joy of expressing your ideas as opposed to the prospect of getting rich.

–Anyone who writes is technically a writer. But not everyone who submits their work will end up being published. Rejection is intrinsic to writing. It’s a rough business. As writers, we take risks and put ourselves out there only to have our ideas shot down time and time again. Embrace the process. Learn from it. Don’t ever take it personally.

–The submissions process is a lot like playing the lottery. You can’t win if you don’t play. If your aim as a writer is to get published, then the only way you can completely fail is to stop writing. As long as you’re still churning out words and ideas, you are still in the game.

–Self-publishing is a sure-fire way to get your words in print. But if you don’t have connections and marketing skills, you won’t sell many books. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Kindle Direct Publishing is an attractive option to many. There are over 12 million books currently on Kindle. A majority of the self-published ones will sell less than 100 copies. If you intend to self-publish, make sure you have a realistic marketing plan.

–Know your audience. You can’t write in a vacuum. You should be reading other people’s work and paying attention to what types of books are selling. The tastes of readers change over time. Follow the trends. Adapt your work to fit the current climate. More than 70 percent of adults still read books. There’s a large audience out there. You just need to know how to grab their attention.

In the 1950s, America entered the television age. And Mickey Mantle, a country boy from Commerce, Oklahoma, was made for the moment. Signed by the New York Yankees as a teenager, he made his major league debut in 1951 as a right fielder alongside Joe DiMaggio. When DiMaggio retired at the end of the season, Mantle inherited not only Joltin’ Joe’s position in centerfield but also his stature as the face of the franchise. His boyish good looks, breathtaking power from both sides of the plate, and blazing speed on the basepaths made him an instant superstar. He won league MVP three times, came in second three times, was a 16-time All-Star, a Triple Crown winner in 1956, and a seven-time World Series champion.

Mickey Mantle’s career was the stuff of legend and in this book, Jonathan Weeks tells us why. Mantle’s extraordinary (and at times incredible) tales carry readers on an enthralling journey through the life of one of the most celebrated sports figures of the twentieth century.

Enjoy an Excerpt


For more than a century, residents of the Tri-State Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas area have talked about a paranormal phenomenon known as the “Spook Light.” The light has been described by witnesses as an orb of fire about the size of a baseball or basketball. It flickers, dances, and spins—typically in an east to west pattern—while hovering above the treetops. When observers attempt to walk or drive toward it, it disappears.

According to popular legend, the “Spook Light” was first observed by Native Americans along the infamous “Trail of Tears” in 1836. Since then, a number of ghostly stories have circulated regarding its origin. One of the oldest tales centers around a Quapaw Indian maiden and her lover, who leaped to their deaths after the girl’s father forbade them from marrying. Another oft-told yarn involves the spirit of an Osage tribal chief who lost his head in battle and continues to search for it by lantern-light.

The “Spook Light” is commonly seen along a desolate stretch of road near the town of Quapaw, which is located just six miles from Mantle’s hometown of Commerce. The Yankee slugger grew up with these campfire tales and, like many teenagers of the era, enjoyed the associated benefits. By the time he was in high school, the deserted route known as Spooklight Road (or “The Devil’s Promenade” to some) had become a popular make-out spot. In his 1985 autobiography, Mantle remarked, “If you happened to be waiting at the Spook Light and you happened to have a girl with you, it was a pretty good place for necking.” Mantle’s first social outing with his future wife, Merlyn, was a triple date to Spooklight Road. The youngsters piled into Mantle’s 1947 Fleetline Chevy, which he had purchased with his Yankee signing bonus. Though Mantle was paired with another girl that night, he ended up asking Merlyn out on a date after he “struck out” with her friend.

The “Spook Light” continues to be an enduring legend despite scientific research conducted during Mantle’s teen years. In 1945, it was proposed that the phenomenon was caused by the refraction of vehicle headlights over a range of western hills. The following year, an Army Major named Thomas Sheard stationed a vehicle in the region he believed the so-called “Spook Light” was emanating from. He instructed the driver to flash the vehicle’s headlights at a designated time after dark. Observers in the vicinity of Spook Light Road were able to see the flashes. In 1965, Popular Mechanics magazine recruited professors from the University of Arkansas to investigate even further. They confirmed that distant headlights on Route 66 were being distorted by waves of heat, producing the phenomenon.

Those who still cling to paranormal explanations maintain that the “Spook Light” was seen long before the invention of automobiles and is, therefore, an unrelated phenomenon. The first verified written account of the eerie spectacle didn’t appear until 1935. Multiple sources have claimed that a booklet on the topic was released in the 1880s, but concrete evidence of it has not been uncovered. Detailed information about the ethereal orb—complete with driving directions to Spook Light Road—appear on the Joplin, Missouri official website.

About the Author: Jonathan Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District region of New York State. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany and currently works in the mental health field. He has written several sports biographies and two novels, one of which was a posthumous collaboration with his father.

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The Walk-on by Richard Podkowski – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Richard Podkowski who is celebrating the release of The Walk-on. Please leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a signed copy of the book and a small box of Frango Mints (US/Canada only please).

In the twilight of his NFL career as a middle linebacker for the Chicago Storm, Mike “the Steelman” Stalowski masks his physical pain and mental anguish with alcohol and painkillers. The fan favorite has a rebel image and a notorious reputation, and he plays a violent gridiron game fueled by inner rage.

While estranged from his wife and living in the fishbowl environment of professional sports, he unexpectedly meets the fresh-out-of-college Kim Richardson. She sees through Mike’s star persona to who he really is—a kind guy from the Southeast Side of Chicago who has never forgotten his humble blue-collar roots. The lives of the star-crossed, seemingly mismatched couple collide during a whirlwind romance that culminates in a tragic series of events.

The Walk-On is a timeless tale of love and loss that explores the consequences of personal decisions and the rewards of faith, redemption, and hope.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He fumbled for his radio. “Squad…645. Confirmed vehicular rollover at Belmont Avenue exit, Lake Shore Drive. Send CFD stat, copy…stat.”

“645, copy. CFD enroute.”

He ran toward the vehicle, an older coupe with big tires and mag wheels. A wet blanket appeared to be wrapped around the base of a nearby tree trunk.

Pointing his LED flashlight in that direction, George discovered a young woman with a gaping laceration above her left eye. Her head and neck were snapped back like a broken Pez candy dispenser. Glass shards were sprinkled over her bloody face. Her eyes were fixed and vacant. A shredded sweater exposed her torso and a wingless angel tattoo above her left hip. Gibson checked for a pulse — her slender wrist was limp and lifeless.

Gibson noted the STORM 52 vanity plate, assuming it was a football fan’s show of affection. The driver, a tall stocky white male wearing sweats and a hoodie, was alive. His forehead oozed blood. The front seat passenger, a smaller black male, also had a bad head wound. Both were unconscious. Neither wore a seatbelt.

Their legs appeared to be trapped under the twisted remains of the mangled dashboard. The car’s front end had collapsed into the engine compartment. Probably lost control and rolled it.

Gibson took another look inside the wreck, stunned by his sudden recognition of the driver’s long, blue-streaked blond hair, wet and matted with blood. He quickly called for license plate verification. After what seemed an eternity, his radio crackled.

“Unit 645, Illinois plate STORM 5-2 comes back on a passenger car. A 1970 Chevrolet coupe registered to Steel Trap, Inc., 2020 North Lincoln Park West, Chicago.” The dispatcher hesitated. “Registered owner is Michael J. Stalowski.” An eerie pause. “Copy?” Gibson shivered and recalled two vehicles blow past him minutes before he was dispatched to the scene.

It wasn’t long before the fire department rolled in with a show of force, working quickly and methodically with the Jaws of Life to peel back the classic Chevy’s roof like a tuna can lid. Both male victims’ legs were trapped. Every precious second mattered in the race to extricate them. Within minutes, their stretchers were loaded into waiting ambulances.

The paramedics’ preliminary assessment of Mike Stalowski’s injuries indicated a broken right tibia and severely lacerated right wrist and forearm, gouged by flying glass. The passenger’s right foot was almost severed at the ankle by shards of jagged steel. The paramedics, fearful the skin and muscle connecting his shattered ankle bones were in danger of tearing off, hoped they could get him in the hands of surgeons before he bled out.

The lifeless female was carefully loaded onto a backboard. A neck collar was secured and an oxygen unit began to pump into her lungs. Paramedics worked feverishly to establish vital signs. Defibrillator paddles failed to jolt her heart. Despite the monitor’s stubborn flat line, they continued their valiant efforts all the way to the Northeast Metro ER. The wails of the three sirens overlapped in the stillness of the early morning hour.

By the time the ambulance trio arrived at Northeast Metro, a Channel 5 news mini-cam van was already positioned at the ER ramp, after picking up emergency responder radio transmissions about a vehicle crash possibly involving two Storm players. Gibson and three CPD escort squads set up a security perimeter to keep the ambulance entrance ramp free and clear. Quickly challenged by the arrival of additional media jockeying for position and curious early-rising pedestrians, the perimeter was expanded, sending the cameras and reporters down the block.

Despite their efforts, by dawn the hospital was swarming with local and national media. Head Coach Don Castro and Mike Stalowski’s agent, Shel Harris, rushed to the hospital. No one could fathom the catastrophic tragedy unfolding on the heels of last night’s devastating loss.

Reporters and camera crews engulfed Shel Harris as he approached the emergency entrance. Local Channel 7 sports reporter Ryan Donegan stuck his microphone in Shel’s face. “Mr. Harris, what can you tell us about the accident that put the Steelman and Christian Blackwell in the hospital?”

About the Author: Richard Podkowski, a native of Chicago’s South Side, began writing fiction while studying criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago.

As a United States Secret Service special agent, Richard protected U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries and investigated major domestic and international financial crimes until he retired in 2003.

Richard’s projects include a Christmas romantic comedy screenplay and a crime story, both currently in the works. In his free time, Richard enjoys riding his road bike, working out, and making Christmas ornaments. He currently resides with his wife in Los Angeles.

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Friday Five Writing Prompt Challenge for March 17, 2023

Each Friday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly five word writing prompt. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s five words to use as your prompt are:

decisive, denial, reveal, executrix, spot

Icarus Over Collins by Hector Duarte, Jr. – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Hector Duarte, Jr. will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

After her friend Sandy Mangual tragically falls to his death, Bailey Cohen discovers images of his grisly corpse have been uploaded and shared through social media, by someone very close to her.

Fed up, in a stagnant relationship with an emotionally-abusive boyfriend, Bailey enlists the help of quiet, unnoticed, underappreciated Bernardo Castillo, who works the luxury Miami Beach high rise in which she stays.

Bernardo will have to dredge up the shady past he’s long worked to tamp down in order to set off on a journey of vengeance that will reshape and morph each person engulfed along its way.

Icarus Over Collins is a short, punchy revenge story as cracked and slivered as hot Miami pavement.

Tras la trágica caída accidental de su amigo, Bailey Cohen descubre que imágenes del cadáver han sido clandestinamente descargadas a redes sociales. Por alguien muy cercana.

Bailey contara con la ayuda de Bernardo Castillo, empleado del condominio lujoso en Miami Beach cuya Bailey habita.

En nombre de su amigo fallecido, Bernardo y Bailey tendrán que excavar sus pasados umbríos en camino hacia la venganza. Un viaje que reformara a todos envueltos.

Icarus Over Collins es un cuento de venganza tan caluroso y rajado como las aceras bordeando todo Miami.

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt

We’re actually talking about it.

Conspiring voices confirm and finalize the plot in a whirring background buzz as I look across the street to Las Brisas. Gabe’s window is closed. Has been the last two days. Why the fuck do I keep checking?

I’m listening but there’s a persistent hum in my ears. Like I’m stuck inside a tunnel with a persistent buzz. Might be my conscience, Amaury Sambrano tapping my shoulder from beyond the grave, nudging me forward, yelling at me to quit acting like such a scared baby.

I ticked all the boxes after high school. College, check. Bachelor’s degree, check. Moving out of my folks’, check. Established independence, check. Nothing shook Amaury’s ghost off my back.

I had a good gig on my own. A steady part-time in the evenings while I built a client list during the day. A small efficiency way out west, a stone’s throw from The Miccosukee reservation. I loved it, every night crossing from the glitz and glamor of the beach to settle in The Everglades’ quiet swampiness.

About the Author:Hector Duarte, Jr. is a writer/educator out of Miami, Fl, where he lives with his wife, son, and cat. His fiction has been published widely online and in print, like the recent anthologies Pa Que Tu Lo Sepas: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico, and Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4: Recoil. In September of 2018, Shotgun Honey Books published his full-length short story collection Desperate Times Call. He welcomes you to follow him on Twitter.

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SPARK Your Goals! by Azim Jamal – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Azim Jamal will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

SPARK Your Goals!

In Part 3 of my new book, SPARK: Journey from Success to Significance, I cover the “A” in SPARK, or the concept of Attraction and the important part it plays in our quest to fully ignite our inner SPARK.

In short, the foundation of Attraction is Attention to goals.

It is said Success and Significance are the only goals one needs, and everything else is but a wish list. A person with average ability but crystal-clear goals will do better than a highly intelligent individual with no clarity around his or her ambitions.

It is important to not only have clarity in your goals, but to also know what the purpose is behind each goal. In Part 2 of the book, I cover how Purpose is a valuable ingredient in defining one’s path to Significance.

Purpose brings clarity and focus, and answers the question: Why do you want what you want? Purpose is an anchor. It helps with alignment and is an energy driver. If the ‘Why’ is not strong, the ‘How’ becomes difficult.

And once your efforts are aligned with a higher purpose, your work becomes a way of connecting to your spirit. You are able to remain effective, work with integrity and focus, and be a source of inspiration to those around you.

Purpose and Attraction are key connectors in our pursuit for Significance!

Along the way, you are bound to face some obstacles and hurdles. These obstacles can be internal or external. Encountering difficult people; facing economic downturns, and inhospitable work environments are just a few examples that constitute external obstacles. While the internal obstacles are your own prejudices, fears, lack of self-discipline or focus.

However, obstacles have the power to affect you only when you take your eye off your key goals. In fact, obstacles should act as mediums for opportunities that create breakthroughs. This aspect of Resilience is the “R” in SPARK and covered in Part 4 of the book.

As a simple example, in professional sports, scoring more than the opponent and winning the game is the key goal – the main objective. This usually requires getting past an opponent or defenders (the obstacles). If we have clear focus on the goal, we will find a way to get past the defenders. Such is the case in our professional life. When we find that things are getting unmanageable (the obstacles), we can break our tasks into smaller pieces (clear focus). Our goals can be semi-annual, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. We can even further break down our weekly goals into daily achievements, albeit small ones. In the end, the alignment of our daily actions with our goals is the secret sauce to moving past obstacles and achieving our objectives.

So, where to begin? First, it is important to ask yourself, are you serious about your business, work, clients, finance, professional growth, personal brand or any ambition you wish to achieve?

Then, look at your actions and you will know whether you have really been serious about your goals. If there is any slack whatsoever, begin today to align your daily actions with these goals!

Here are some steps to empower and bring your goals to fruition:

● Develop a Personal Mission Statement – If you were to pick one thing you must do in your life, what would you choose? Turn that into your personal mission statement.
● Align your corporate or professional mission with your personal mission.
● Create excitement and meaning in your current work.
● Discuss with your employer, team or board how to create a mutually beneficial scenario. If and when necessary, do not hesitate to make a change that connects your work back to your purpose.
● Keep stretching your goals. This will keep you energized and expand your potential. If you are working as part of a team or group, involve as many people as possible in goal-setting exercises. This is a sure-fire way to stimulate an understanding and respect for personal, as well as collective goals. This is ultimately what creates ownership.
● At any and all points where you experience great moments of happiness, STOP and allow yourself to completely and fully experience that moment. Feel the moment, stay with the moment, and ask yourself, “What has made me this happy?”. Maybe, just maybe, you have potentially stumbled into something that connects you with your calling!

Goal setting is powerful, especially if the purpose is strong and there is alignment between your personal and professional goals, as well as between your goals and your actions.

I humbly, but with confidence, share that these simple principles and steps will be the SPARK you need, and will lead you to your life of Significance!

In a world vigorously chasing classic ideals of success, find your spark and become significant.

Your journey starts here.

Meet Steve, a hotshot lawyer fighting to climb the corporate ladder in this inspiring fable. His life transforms seemingly overnight as he is sent to India for a task he considers pointless. But things quickly fall apart. Steve, forced to reconsider his path, realizes that the curveball life has thrown at him is an opportunity to find his true purpose. This spiritual odyssey is about to transform him beyond his wildest dreams.

A powerful lesson follows each chapter, making up the SPARK that transforms Steve’s life: Selflessness, Purpose, Attraction, Resilience and Knowing.

This SPARK is hidden within you too. It may be dormant now, but awakening to it will catapult you from the “Present You” to the “Best You.” It’s time to light up your SPARK today.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“What are you missing in your life?” I’ve put that question to successful leaders all over the world. Not surprisingly, I often hear similar answers: purpose, fulfillment, happiness, balance and the like. What I’ve found is that many of us resign ourselves to vigorously chasing classic ideals of success without realizing that it is, in fact, “significance” that we seek. The truth is, no matter your age, position or status, connecting your daily functions with authentic intentions and values is imperative. Otherwise, we are simply hamsters on a wheel—covering miles and miles in distance, yet never truly moving forward towards our desired destinations. Sure, there is some physical benefit from such rooted motion. But over time, it has a negative effect on matters of the heart and mind, creating a domino effect that has ongoing ramifications for our own lives and society at large. The subtitle of this book, “Journey from Success to Significance,” was borne from my own expeditions and explorations, all of which helped me form a steadfast belief: that we are all destined, by our very nature, to be explorers— pioneers who intrinsically understand that it is the journey, and not the destination, that matters. It is the twists and turns of life that guide our principles. What I wish for you to discover is that a life of significance is not some unattainable, pie-in-the-sky dream. Rather, it is a genuine pursuit that begins with a simple acknowledgment and appreciation of what already lies within you: Natural traits fuelled by a SPARK!

About the Author:Azim Jamal is one of the finest inspirational life-altering personalities with a global following. He is the CEO and founder of Corporate Sufi Worldwide, whose mission is to inspire individuals and corporations to unleash the power within and find harmony between Business, Balance and Beyond.

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Tidal Ides by Layne Daniels – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Layne Daniels who is celebrating the release of Tidal Ides, a steamy, small town, enemies-to-lovers, beach romance.

My job as mayor of the most Christmasy town South of the North Pole comes with enough perks to overlook the headaches of municipal leadership. Most of the time. The new owner of Candy Cane Key’s Community Playhouse is putting that theory to the test.

Austie Norman, with her holly berry red lips and evergreen eyes, fits in perfectly. If I ignore the way she’s messing with tradition and making changes. And if I ignore the way she blazes past tradition and brings fresh energy to town. Definitely if I ignore the way she makes my heart trip over itself every time we argue about her plans to produce an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Ides of March. We can’t do Shakespeare when we’re meant to be doing Seuss. This is Candy Cane Key and people have certain expectations when they come here.

I can ignore all of that to fall in love. I just need to find a way to make Austie ignore all the ways I drive her crazy so she falls in love with me, too.

The MAN OF THE MONTH CLUB is a steamy small-town collection featuring a new hottie (or two!) every month. In 2023, escape to Candy Cane Key, Florida, and celebrate ALL the holidays with your favorite group of romance authors and their delicious men. Can’t wait to see you there!

About the Author: Layne is a USA Today Bestselling Author, a long time reader of steamy romance, and began writing her own stories in December of 2020. Her favorite books to read are about Daddy Doms, strong alpha men who fall in love with fierce women, and sex positive living. When she’s not writing, she’s wrangling her family of jocks into some semblance of chill, running a business, getting ALL the tattoos, and living her love-at-first-sight fairytale with Mr. Mine.

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The Spirit of Harriet Tubman by Spring Washam – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Spring Washam will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, who was called the Moses of her people, is rising again, and we can call forth her spirit to embody incredible strength and unwavering courage. Combining direct transmissions of Harriet’s message with insightful explorations of her life and legacy, this extraordinary book gives us support and inspiration to deepen our roots of resilience and become powerful conductors of love and truth in our own lives.

We can learn how to remain fearless in the face of hatred and confusion. And through Harriet Tubman’s guidance, we will learn how to meet the challenges of this moment with a compassionate heart.

Spring’s previous works have been praised by Publishers Weekly as “bring[ing] considerable gifts for conveying her vision of personal change and offer[ing] vivid, inspiring testimony to the power of Buddhism.” And now, she inspires a new generation of activists to carry her message and her work forward.

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One day while meditating in my tree house, it dawned on me that others might be interested in Harriet and maybe others were having a similar experience to mine. As I shared my story, my friend Joselyn encouraged me to teach a class on the Dharma of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. So, I did. I organized a Zoom class to meet on five straight Sunday mornings. I had no idea if this would interest anyone, but I felt it was important for me to share Harriet’s courageous spirit with others. I posted a flyer on the Internet and sent it to my mailing list, and within a week and a half, hundreds of people had registered. These people were clearly interested in Harriet Tubman’s life and how it intersected with the Dharma; my beloved assistant and I were flooded with e-mails from all over the world. I was awestruck and excited. Who would have imagined there were so many people as passionate about Harriet as I was!

Our Sunday online classes were overflowing with spiritual teachings, guided meditations, and gospel music. I shared the inspiring stories I was learning about Harriet and her Underground Railroad allies. I was bringing hope and inspiration to others, and to myself. I got to speak a lot, but so did others. There were so many wise people present, and I called on many of them to share their wisdom and experiences. What started out as a five-week class became a five-month “Church of Harriet Tubman” journey, and it carried us through the presidential election of 2020. Hundreds of people from all around the world brought their open hearts to our Sunday services, and during those two hours together, we laughed, cried, prayed up a storm, and then we danced. So many of us felt this deep connection with Harriet and were also feeling her magic and her power in our daily lives. We uplifted one another so much that we all cried when it ended. It was a multicultural, interfaith, intergenerational, international community. Those two hours each week for five months were beautiful, and downright holy.

About the Author: Spring Washam is a well-known meditation and dharma teacher based in Oakland, California. She is a founding member and core teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center located in downtown Oakland. She is the founder of Lotus Vine Journeys, an organization that blends indigenous healing practices with Buddhist wisdom. She was trained by Jack Kornfield and has studied numerous meditation practices and Buddhist philosophy since 1997. She is a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council. In addition to being a teacher, she is also a healer, facilitator, spiritual activist, and writer. Spring is considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness-based healing practices into diverse communities. She has studied indigenous healing practices and shamanic practices for over a decade. She has practiced and studied under some of the most preeminent meditation masters in both the Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. She currently travels and teaches workshops, classes, and retreats worldwide.

For more information on Spring Washam, or to follow her social media for event updates, inspiring quotes, and images.

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