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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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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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.

Enjoy an Excerpt

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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Avoiding Swindlers by Al Rosen – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Al Rosen 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.

The book deals with actual situations that resulted in investors losing multi-millions of dollars to financial tricksters. Emphasis is placed upon learning how to detect early warning signs. Financial exposure can be minimized prior to situations deteriorating into bankruptcies. However, individual investors have to take specific actions after doing some homework. Otherwise, the alternative is to lose money by listening to “hot tips,” often involving publicly traded securities.

Some types of commonly seen but inappropriate financial reporting are permitted in certain countries (including parts of North America), even though they deeply aid the financial tricksters. Governments are seriously neglecting investors by not prohibiting certain reporting trickery. Overall, in some regions, investor protection is simply archaic (including allowing false advertising). Currently, investors face serious risks.

The book attempts to minimize technical language. Stress is placed upon encouraging investors to look for specific warning signs before opening their purses and wallets to the growing group of tricksters.

“Avoiding Swindlers” will change the way you look at Canadian investments.

This book was featured on Publisher Newswire’s 2022, “10 Books to Bookmark” list.

The book also received a glowing review from ReaderViews.

Read an Excerpt



The main objective of this book is to help investors/ savers to shift their reading and learning emphasis to better choose where to invest their money. Swindlers have recently developed several new scams, which are unfortunately being successful against investors. False and misleading advertising is still growing, to support troublesome claims that investor protection has improved. Nonsense. Such protection claims are contrary to the well-documented reality of increased failed businesses. All a person needs to do is look at the recent collapsing batch of marijuana companies. Bankrupt companies are reality. Sufficient learning about these types of deceptions is simply not adequately occurring. Investor deception issues keep piling up. More cluing-in is certainly quickly needed. Early detection of dangers has simply become a necessity, or compulsory for all savers. 1 Considerable attention has to be given herein to the dangers that have appeared in countries that are using IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards; really is not “international” when largely not widely utilized by the U.S.A. and other important countries). IFRS is wide-open to a variety of nasty or investor-scary issues that are examined in the book. How to detect these dangers at their early stage is a priority. As well, other trickery is explained, including several early-detection processes for likely-to-occur con games.

About the Author L.S. (Al) Rosen has combined being a university professor (holding a PhD) with several qualifications in the fields of investigative accounting and reporting (such as acting as a fraud examiner) for over 35 years. He has authored many reports for court cases, and has testified in courts in various countries in many large-dollar cases. Often the allegations are that investors have been deceived by materially misleading financial reports. He has co-authored two previous books, and articles, with his son Mark. They address how and why multi-million dollars of investor money essentially, and often quickly, vanished. Real situations are the subject of these writings. Money was stolen and hardships resulted.

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Winter Blogfest: Laura Moseley

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a high quality blank [writing] journal and pen

Winter Wonder: Holidays Without My Mom by Laura Moseley

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” – Cardinal Meymillod

 My mother fought ovarian cancer and fought valiantly. She beat Stage IV cancer once, was in remission for over eighteen months…and then I received a phone call I never wanted to hear. My Dad stated, “Your mother’s cancer numbers are not getting better. She’s decided not to continue treatment, babe.”

 “Um,” I said trying to clear my throat instead of sobbing. “So, she’sdying?”

 “Well, essentially, yes. The doctors give her two to six months, honey. She says if her treatment is not working, and all its doing is making her sick, she doesn’t want to live that way,” he explained.

 I was numb after that phone call. My head knew she was right, but I was having the damnedest time convincing my heart. She was living life on her terms, which I respected, but also living on borrowed time.

 We spent Easter with her, where she got to see all of us and to see and hold her great-grandson for the first and last time. She was small and shrunken and a pale shade of yellow, and yet she was the most beautiful and brave soul I’d ever seen. She was happy we were all together, but she was also unafraid.

 She passed away in June and I am bereft. I mean, I’m nearly fifty years old, but I feel like a small lost child who got separated from her mother at a department store. I simply don’t know where to turn. I could always talk to her about all aspects of being a mother. She never judged me harshly and always had a proposed solution when I was talking out my dilemmas, even concerning mothering a child on the autism spectrum (which she never had to do herself). Now, all my conversations are one-sided. Now, all my questions go unanswered by anyone but me. Now, I am the elder Mom, the grand dame. I am the one who is supposed to have all the answers…

 What are the winter holidays going to be like without her???? She has always been a key role in the holidays, just as prominent as Santa Claus himself. She made things happen: she cooked, she decorated, she wrapped presents, she sang, and she recounted stories of holidays past. What NOW?

 Of course, she will be there. In spirit, in stories, and fellowship. She is a part of everyone in my family, so naturally, she is there with us. It’s definitely not going to be the same and may be very difficult at times. I believe that Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas — the three most family-oriented holidays allow our loved ones to come and sit amongst us again.

 I just know that it will NEVER be quite the same celebration again…as I feel as though winter has set in on my emotions, but I will carry on because I am now a Nana and with my new grandson, Christmas will regain its magic once more…


Battle-Scars: Hated. Isolated. Wronged. Disregarded.

Those WERE some of the challenges faced by the authors of GOD Says I am Battle-Scar Free.


With a personal relationship with God, that is how those same people feel today.

In this seventh and final installment of the Battle-Scar Free series, testimonies are shared from women and men who have “been there, done that.” They come from various walks of life but share one common story: They are SURVIVORS.

Amid a global pandemic (COVID-19), these contributors sought and found healing of their hearts, minds, and souls. Through the expression of their truths, you will be inspired to fight another day. Despite the obstacles they faced, the power of their words and belief in an Almighty God attributed to their very survival.

A single mother of three and grandmother of one, as well as a Domestic Violence/Sexual Violence survivor of over 23+ years of abuse. She works for a federal social services organization by day and is a certified DV advocate in the rest of her spare time. She is a writer, blogger, future podcaster, activist, and public speaker. She loves getting her story out there, to help show victims and survivors that there is hope and that it is SO much better than ever imagined while in active abuse.


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Divorce: Just a Detour to your Destination by Neco Beasley – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

So many men and women who have gone through divorce feel that life is over for them. It is time to change that narrative. This is a book of resilience and determination that demonstrates that it is absolutely possible to press on and have a happy and successful life and career following the challenges of a painful divorce.

This book accompanied by the workbook are an excellent starting point for any man or woman going through divorce that wish to push through the pain and go on to live a fulfilling and happy life.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Testing Season

I had a series of traumatic events occur in my life for four straight years in a row. I felt like my faith was being tested. During those times of hardship, I asked God if I was going through trials like Job in the Bible. I experienced several tragedies in my life from 2011 to 2014 … From 2011 through 2014, we walked around in a fog with the challenges we faced. Our scheduled departure for Atlanta was six months away. I was excited to begin the next chapter in my life.

About the Author:

Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a close-knit midwestern city. Ms. Beasley discovered her gift as a stylist at a young age. She would pack her bag of supplies and walk to her family’s home to style their hair. Neco has been a licensed Cosmetologist for twenty-nine years, and a licensed instructor for thirteen. Ms. Beasley founded Star Network, a program that empowers women to be the best version of themselves while experiencing the effects of a divorce. Neco Beasley believes women should not allow detours to stop them from reaching their destination.


Ms. Beasley is blessed with four children and nine grandchildren.

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Lessons Learned During Self-Publishing by Lani Gonzalez – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lani Gonzales will be awarding a $20 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.

Lessons Learned During Self-Publishing

Before I self-published my first book, Rebirth of a Sage, I did my best to learn about the process of self-publishing. I took a helpful online course that explained the editing and publication process. The course also sought to manage the expectations of new self-publishing authors. The teacher of the course explained that that average self-published book will sell approximately 250 copies within the course of 2 years. Another course explained that less than 1% of self-published books will be sold in a physical store.

My goal was not to make money, but I was still disappointed and discouraged. Rebirth of a Sage is a labor of love, and my goal was to share my story of healing with as many people as possible: to share a message of hope, to spread love and light to those still searching in the darkness. Determined to make a difference in the world, I set my goal: to sell 500 copies within 2 years. To my surprise, almost 1,000 copies of Rebirth of a Sage were sold within the first month and is now being sold in a local store. I am humbled and grateful to share my story with so many people. Through my experience self-publishing my first book, I learned a valuable lesson: there are no bounds to our infinite potential if we believe that we are limitless and we honor the beauty and power of our dreams.


In Lani Gonzales’ intimate self-help debut, Rebirth of a Sage, readers meet the woman she was when she discovered ayahuasca and commenced her journey toward spiritual rejuvenation. Panicked, fearful, and drained, she hoped for an escape for both her and the lonely little girl she’d buried inside. Guided by the Shamans and supported by friends she made along the way, her cleanse progressed one ceremony at a time, culminating in a state of pure spiritual refinement.

Through eleven soul-stirring chapters enriched with enlightenment and healing, readers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions as they journey with Lani. A heartwarming chronicle ensues, traversing the blissful highs and devastating lows she faced along her way to rebirth. Unburying her darkest demons, she inspires us to do the same, gradually weaving threads of transformation and encouraging us to reconnect and reignite the divine flame within our souls.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I will not carry the weight of your sin.
It is yours to carry, and not my own.
When my innocent eyes looked to you,
You took your life, and I slowly lost my own.
But that is your sin to carry, and your sin alone.

I will not carry the weight of your sin.
It is yours to carry, and not my own.
You taught me that life was worthless,
Something that easily comes and goes.
But that is your sin to carry, and your sin alone.

You trespassed on my innocence, the pureness of my soul.
But that is your sin to carry, and your sin alone.

I will not carry the weight of your sin.
It is yours to carry, and not my own.
You told me to be silent. You told me to be still.
But something inside me rotted; something inside me grew cold.
But that is your sin to carry, and your sin alone.

I will not carry the weight of your sin.
It is yours to carry, and not my own.
You violated my body, using it for the needs of your own.
But that is your sin to carry, and your sin alone.

I will not carry the weight of your sin.
It is yours to carry, and not my own.
The weight I’ve tried to shed.
The weight I’ve tried to purge.
Deceived into believing it should be shed from my body, the vessel for my soul.
But the weight that should be lost is that of your original sin, your sin, and yours alone.

I will not carry the weight of your sin.
It is not mine to carry.
It is yours and yours alone.

About the Author:Born in the Philippines, Lani Gonzales immigrated to Virginia, USA, with her family when she was only two years old. Determined to emulate her parents’ discipline and ambition, Lani worked through college and law school and is now a practicing partner in a successful law firm in Tampa, Florida. A world-traveling, volunteering, energy-healing, aspiring hypnotherapist, Lani is committed to using her light as a beacon to help others find theirs.


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The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist by Pamela McConnell – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Pamela McConnell will be awarding a $15 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.

This true story is about a girl who is born up north; into a conservative, fundamentalist/evangelical family—but then becomes a Liberal Buddhist.

Her family moves back to their roots in the Appalachian south, where Pam is molested by her grandfather. She later owns her sexuality by becoming promiscuous; beginning a pattern of serial dating, marrying, and divorcing.

She is first married at 18 to another 18-year-old, who gives her a beautiful son—but he is a redneck and they have nothing else in common. Her second husband is a talented musician but turns out to like sex with men. Her third husband speaks five languages and is a Pakistani, but he beats her up. Her fourth husband is a chef who makes delicious meals but turns out to be a felon and a crackhead. Finally, the love of her life neglects to tell Pam for seven years that he is married.

In the meantime, Pam completes two degrees and works as a counselor, and then 20 years as a hospice social worker. She begins her hospice career in Southern California, where she has moved to get away from the DEEP South. That is where she converts to Buddhism. From that point, she begins to look inward for the answers to her questions about life’s meaning.

Pam leaves the country after two failed relationships, some years apart. She spends a year teaching English in South Korea and goes from there to Pakistan with her third husband. In between, her dad dies and Pam reconnects and bonds with her mom, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. When she leaves the love of her life, she goes on Pilgrimage to India and Nepal. The meaning of her life is coming into focus.

At the end of the book, Pam goes on a trek in the Himalayas, on the Annapurna Circuit. Just over the three-mile high pass is a magical Pure Land in Muktinath, with a Buddhist temple that is dedicated to the female Buddha Vajrayogini. With a new perspective, Pam has the realization that her Enlightenment is ensured; she WILL become a Buddha someday.

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I was born on a Sunday and attended my first (of many) church services that Wednesday. My first memory was gazing up at a bright globe of light, mesmerized. It was a church light and I was a babe in mom’s arms.

At the end of many sermons, our beloved pastor would give an altar call. Many would go down to the altar (a bench that one knelt before and prayed). I remember it sounded like a loud beehive: the sounds of many praying out loud; crying, shouting and whispering all over the church.

I would look around, noting the distress and fervor on the parishioner’s faces. At that point, no one was paying any attention to us kids. It seemed endless. Toward the end, someone might ‘feel the spirit’ and start jumping around or even running up and down the aisles, shouting joyfully:


“Thank you, Jesus!”

After that, folks would be called to stand up and testify about what God had done for them. The standard testimony for us kids was:

“I love Jesus with all my heart and I want to go all the way with him.”

We were ‘saved’ after confessing our sins and letting Jesus into our hearts as our Savior.

There was another, higher level, called being ‘sanctified.’ That was when the Holy Spirit entered you. I was saved at about five years old; sanctified at about nine. I felt full of the love of Jesus and began reading The Bible and praying.

About the Author:

Pamela McConnell, MSW, LCSW was raised in a fundamentalist/ evangelical Christian church and family. At age 34 she converted formally to Buddhism. She has recently completed a Pilgrimage in India and Nepal. Earlier, she spent two years in Asia: a year teaching English in S. Korea and a year in Pakistan with her 3rd husband. She worked as a counselor after earning a B.S. in Psychology. She worked as a hospice social worker for the last 20 years of her career after earning an MSW degree and becoming licensed as an LCSW. She is an avid backpacker and trekker, having done 500 miles on the Appalachian Trail and more than half of the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas.

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My Sherlock Holmes Collection by Liese A Sherwood-Fabre – Spotlight and Giveaway

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My Sherlock Holmes Collection

One way you can identify a true Sherlockian is if they have a collection. Different Sherlockians are interested in different items. I know one who has collected games based on the great detective (and yes, there are many), one who has assembled the photos and autographs of almost all the actors who have portrayed Holmes over the years (going back to early theatrical productions), and another who recently donated his copies of foreign editions of the cases to Southern Methodist University (SMU) library. In fact, libraries across the world can boast of being recipients of different private collections. One of the most extensive is at the University of Minnesota.

Some have a room—or rooms—dedicated to their collection. More than one has converted a room to a replica of Holmes’ sitting room at 221B. Compared to those enthusiasts, my own collection is quite meager and could be displayed on just a few shelves. I have a plushy Pikachu doll with a deerstalker cap, a phrenology model (almost always in the background in 221B scenes), and the first-day issue of a series of Sherlock Holmes stamps from the UK. I also went on a search (and found) a ceramic figurine and some teapots in a likeness of Sherlock Holmes. This list doesn’t even include the different books on Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Victorian England I consult for the essays I write each month.

Of all, my favorite, however, is a set of nesting dolls I purchased at a Sherlock Holmes conference. It’s special because it represents the intersection of my professional and writing lives. From 1990-1995 I worked for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Moscow. It was a heady time—Russia was moving toward a market economy and democracy. I was involved in assistance to the education and health sectors as innovations were introduced in both. Nesting dolls are an iconic part of Russian culture, and we purchased quite a number while there. When you visit a market, you will find sets range from only a few figures (three-five) to twenty or thirty. They can be simple or quite elaborately painted and decorated. My Sherlock set holds Sherlock, Watson, Lestrade, Moriarty, and the famous hound of the Baskervilles (the smallest).

What causes someone to decide to spend time and money on their collections? Some do so from an investment standpoint. The rarer and more desirable the item, the more likely it is to go up in value. But according to psychologists, most collectors do so for the hunt. Achieving a rare find is bring both satisfaction and joy when completed. My collection seems to fall into the joy of owning. You can’t look at a deerstalker-sporting Pikachu and not smile.

What about you? Has the collecting bug ever bit you? What have you assembled?

Be as smart as Sherlock Holmes!

Arthur Conan Doyle’s original tales include many references to everyday Victorian life that are no longer part of current readers’ world. What Holmes would have eaten from a can while searching for the hound of the Baskervilles, Watson’s enjoyment of a yellow-back novel, or the proper use of a gasogene would have been common knowledge to the Victorian contemporary but compels modern readers to run to the nearest reference book. These twenty-five short essays pull such items from the past and expand on their significance in the story. As an additional bonus, this book contains an essay on the role of scandal in Holmes; cases, originally appearing in a collected volume of essays on feminism and agency. After enjoying these concise treatises on Holmes’ world, readers will have a deeper understanding and appreciation of both the times and the life of the world’s greatest consulting detective.

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The Intercontinental Reach of the Law

In two of Holmes’ cases, he meets Pinkerton agents: Edwards in The Valley of Fear and Leverton, who trailed Giuseppe Gorgiano from America in “The Adventure of the Red Circle.” By 1888, during the first encounter, the reputation of the Pinkerton Agency had been firmly established for almost 50 years and had already lost its founder, Allan Pinkerton. The Edwards character is said to have been based on James McFarland, who had garnered fame in the 1870s for infiltrating and testifying against the Molly Maguires, a secret Irish mining society. Leverton’s fame also preceded him as “the hero of the Long Island cave mystery.”

Allan Pinkerton was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1819 and worked as a barrel maker there until immigrating to the US in 1842. He settled outside of Chicago and continued his trade. In 1847, he fell into his new profession when he was out collecting materials for his barrels. A particular island not far from where he lived had a plentiful supply of poles, and while gathering them one summer day, he came across evidence of someone else using the island. He informed the sheriff, and the officer investigated, capturing a large gang of counterfeiters. Later, local shopkeepers asked Pinkerton to help capture yet another counterfeiter. Based on these efforts, he was appointed as Chicago’s first—and, in the beginning, only—police detective. Shortly, he had five detectives working under him, and his reputation continued to grow.

Beyond his detective work, he was also an abolitionist. He had been involved in radical politics in Scotland, which was why he was forced to emigrate. His shop served as a station along the under‐ ground railroad, and he raised funds to help transport eleven slaves freed by John Brown. In 1850 he left public services to form his agency. Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency advertised “We Never Sleep” with an unblinking eye as its logo. This image lies behind the term “private eye.” The company included Allan’s brother Robert, who was a railroad contractor. The organization specialized in the capture of counterfeiters and train robbers, but also provided private military contractors and security guards. By 1853, Pinkerton Agencies existed in all the major Union cities. The company hired the first female detective (Kate Warne) in 1856, and during an investigation of a railway case, uncovered a plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Warned of the threat, Lincoln changed his itinerary and, under a disguise, passed through the area at night unharmed.

About the Author:Liese Sherwood-Fabre knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ in the second grade for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD, she joined the federal government and worked and lived abroad for more than fifteen years. Returning to the states, she seriously pursued her writing career, garnering such awards as a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart contest and a Pushcart Prize nomination. A recognized Sherlockian scholar, her essays have appeared in scion newsletters, the Baker Street Journal, and Canadian Holmes. These have been gathered into The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes essay collection series. She has recently turned this passion into an origin story series on Sherlock Holmes. The Adventure of the Murdered Midwife, the first book in The Early Case Files of Sherlock Holmes series, was the CIBA Mystery and Mayhem 2020 winner.

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Light, Dark, and the Electromagnetic Spectrum by Scott Benjamin Gracie – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Scott Benjamin Gracie will be awarding a $15 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.

Since the dawn of time, electromagnetic energy has permeated through the universe, surrounding and interacting with everything it touches, illuminating, destroying and giving life.

The colourful section of the electromagnetic spectrum we see in the form of visible light, rainbows and other phenomena is tiny when compared to its vast entirety. Using many parts of the electromagnetic spectrum have become common everyday occurrence for the majority of people on Earth, as it’s been integrated into our lives in ways that we don’t even think twice about it.

This book illuminates many parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and its effects, the endless ways we have harnessed its energy, and how we interact and live with its influence.

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Wave-Particle Duality of Light

Many years of research have led us to now understand that light behaves either as a particle or as a wave and each behaviour is dependent on the amount of energy a photon has. High-energy photons (like X-rays) act like particles, while lower-energy photons (like radio) act more like waves. This is called ‘wave- particle duality’.

In the early 1800s, Thomas Young, an English scientist, was experimenting with light by shining beams through two narrow slits. The result was a classic interference pattern that would normally be found if light were a wave, as seen in the interference pattern below. However, in the late 1800s, Max Planck, a German theoretical physicist, proposed that light could only be emitted in small chunks. It turned out to be that they were both right.

In the 1920s, physicist Louis de Broglie suggested that because light has momentum, energy and a wavelength, perhaps matter has the same. It turned out that he was also correct.

Matter sometimes acts like a particle and sometimes like a wave, just like light, so both light and matter are considered to be made of waves and particles.

Speed of Light

The speed at which photons travel is called the ‘speed of light’. That speed is 299,792 kilometres per second or 186,281 miles per second, and it’s the maximum speed light can travel.

The fact that light has a speed was first realised in the late 1600s by Danish astronomer Ole Rømer while he was studying one of Jupiter’s moons Io and observing an irregularity with the timing of its eclipses.

In the mid-1800s, physicist James Clerk Maxwell discovered that changing electric fields can create magnetic fields, and vice versa. He showed that waves of electricity can create waves of magnetism, which make waves of electricity, back and forth capable of propagating through space.

Other scientific revelations were revealed when Albert Einstein applied his theory of special relativity to James Clerk Maxwell’s equations and found the speed of light to be the constant between space and time. When light passes through some mediums such as glass or water, it slows down due to the photons interacting with atoms as it travels through. In water, light slows to approximately 225,000 kilometres per second, in glass to approximately 197,000 kilometres per second and in a diamond to approximately 124,000 kilometres per second.

When exiting the medium it travelled through, light again moves at 299,792 kilometres per second.

To better comprehend this extraordinary speed, if light could travel in a circle around the Earth, in one second it would travel 7.5 times around, or from the Sun, light takes 8.3 minutes to travel to Earth.


About the Author: Scott’s passion for light and the electromagnetic spectrum began in his early teens while tinkering with electronics as a hobby. He was formally introduced to the lighting industry while studying Electrical and Electronics in Sydney, Australia, and in 1998 he started his career making custom light fittings and lamps in his dad’s garage. Formal lighting design qualifications expanded his opportunity to help project-manage and design on many industry levels.

Twenty-two years on, and Scott has worked on many major infrastructure, commercial and architectural lighting projects. He is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia & New Zealand, the Colour Society of Australia, the International Dark Sky Association and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

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