Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gospels by Stephen Taylor, plus a Giveaway by Stephen Taylor

Gospels– blurb

The year is 1835 - in the back alleys of London John Campbell-John is running for his life. A rogue, imposter, swindler - a man without honor, without empathy for his fellow man. But his massive debts have now vindictively caught up with him. He has even stolen from his best friend. He has one option - to flee the country

In Venice, there is a chance encounter and an unlikely friendship emerges. Robert Babcock is everything John is not - honorable, academic, a man on an admirable quest - to travel in Egypt to find the earliest original copies of the Gospels to prove the reliability of the story of Jesus, as told in the King James Bible. Is Gospel Truth, as we say day today, really undeniable.

A story of discovery, of adventure from the River Nile to the endless deserts of Sinai, from ancient Egyptian tombs to fabulous golden artifacts, and ultimately a personal redemption.

Bio/Profile. Stephen Taylor_Author

Stephen Taylor was once a happy and reasonably well-adjusted person; that was until an urge to write invaded his psyche, this need to be a writer, to tell tales; then these thoughts began to coalesce.

A Georgian trilogy was conceived; set in London; a decadent time, a decadent place. See also Gospels - a Georgian adventure story set in Egypt, contemporary novels, and a children's story.

Born in Yorkshire, brought up in Manchester (still an avid Manchester City fan); he is now retired and lives near Loughborough with his partner, a widower with a daughter just finished University. He has always admired the skill of the storyteller and his books aspire to that simple tradition.

Contact details:


I am hosting a giveaway. The offer runs from December 12/17 to January 12/18. The book is Gospels and can be found at:

Buy Gospels by Stephen Taylor on Amazon:



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review Wednesday presents: Quinn’s Socks by Melita Cyril

Review by Carole P. Roman on Quinn’s Socks by Melita Cyril

Charming and cute, Quinn's Socks is a rhyming book that is a delight to read. Cyril's clever text finds innumerable ways to twist the tongue, as Quinn describes his colorful footwear. Quinn is obsessed with all the different ways he can enjoy his socks.  Carole Chevalier's adorable illustrations match the lively prose and should entertain both parents and children when they read together, much like Quinn does with his dad on the last page of the book. Guess what the subject of his book happens to be? Socks!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

Indie Advent Calendar Prizes!

Indie Advent Calendar Prizes!

Be sure to check out these awesome prizes from a bunch of great authors!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Monsterland Review by Midwest Book Review

Check out this amazing review of Monsterland by my son, Michael Okon, from the Midwest Book Review!

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Michael Okon
Wordfire Press LLC
PO Box 1840, Monument, CO 80132
PR: Michael Okon -
9781614756316, $27.47, HC, 226pp,

Wyatt Baldwin's senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He's not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He'd much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she's dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn't stand a chance. But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong? Very highly recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction collections, "Monsterland" showcases author Michael Okon's genuine flair for originality and deftly crafted fantasy fiction for young readers ages 14 to 18. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Monsterland" is also available in a paperback edition (9781614755944, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

From Venice to Mount Etna: My long drive through Italy by Mary Jane Walker

From Venice to Mount Etna:
My long drive through Italy

Mary Jane Walker

My route through Italy

Mary Jane Walker is an emerging New Zealand travel memoirist who has just formally launched her first four books in Auckland on Saturday 11 November 2017. This is a guest blog by Mary Jane, which follows up an account of a trip to Venice published on her own website, A Maverick Traveller. Mary Jane's books appear in the following publicity widgets:

After my stay in Venice, which you can read about here, I drove to Mount Etna in Sicily. I travelled more than 1500 km, and it took me ten days to get there.
I had a four-wheel drive which only cost me 16 Euros a day with full insurance. I thought this was a bargain, but in hindsight I definitely wouldn’t recommend driving long distances in Italy!
I was forced to drive at 130 or 140 km/h (80+ mph) on the Autostrada and its many tunnels. On local roads I ended up going through villages where the roads were so narrow that it was hard not to get the car scratched. In fact, I had to cough up 250 Euros for scratches when I returned it.
From Venice, I went south-west into Tuscany and Umbria.
I made a bee-line for Pisa and its famous leaning tower.

The Via Francigena, a famous pilgrim trail, passes through these parts and I caught up with it near Pisa, too. (There are a couple of photos of the Via Francigena signs at the end of my earlier Venice blog.)
After Pisa, I got lost and ended up at the seaside, on a coast bordered with olive groves. I didn’t mind that at all!
Then I headed south-east, along a route that took me past the tomb of the legendary Saint Francis of Assisi, in the town after which he is named.  Many people think of St Francis of Assisi as the first environmentalist, as well as a friend to animals.

I got to the Adriatic coast and rested up for a while at a town called San Benedetto del Tronto, roughly halfway down the Italian peninsula.
In San Benedetto, I was booked into a hostel by the port, which I didn’t like. I used my Italian SIM card to book another one, and went to a restaurant where I had sardines fried in batteramazing!
The Adriatic is the shallow sea between Italy and the former Yugoslavia. It is named for the Roman Emperor Hadrian, Adriano in modern Italian.
I was keen to stick to the coast for this leg of the journey so that I could enjoy the sea views. I drove through lots of small towns on the coast, towns that often had incredibly narrow streets once you got off the main highway and no parking anywhere near the middle.
Once or twice I went the wrong way up one-way streets because the street layouts were so higgledy-piggledy it was hard to tell which street a given sign referred to!  
One thing about Italy is that the food was terrific everywhere. Ensalada del mar was my favourite in coastal towns: seafood salad with cold aubergines and beans, you name it!
I carried on down the coast all the way to Bari in the south, near the ‘heel’ of the Italian boot. At that point I headed inland, toward the extraordinary town of Matera, which is partly hewn out of the rock in a ravine, in a similar fashion to the cave-towns of Cappadocia in Turkey.
The old part of Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site: one of many in Italy, of course.

I followed my GPS and it took me literally all the way to the gangplank of the ferry to Sicily!
I crossed over and drove to Palermo, staying for four nights at a village called Aspra on the coast, east of the city. I didn’t miss much by staying so far out, as Aspra was always busy. There was always something happening, with night markets and some people filming a movie with actors on the beach.  And more ensalada del mar.
I stayed for three days at a guest-house with a couple, as their only guest. The woman had had chemo and lost her hair. So, I gave her a necklace and ear-rings that I picked up in Murano, the famous glass-making district of Venice. She was forever grateful!
Sicily used to be hugely strategic, and Palermo the finest city in the Mediterranean around 1100 CE, or so it was claimed.
The island was at the crossroads of the early Mediaeval world, ruled successively by the Arabs, the Normans, the Spanish and even the Germans, both in the form of the ancient Goths and Vandals and also the later Holy Roman Empire and house of Hohenstaufen. Sicily was a far-flung possession of most of its rulers, yet a valuable one, since it lay in the centre of the Mediterranean.
But over time Sicily became something of a backwater, along with the rest of southern Italy, as Europe turned its attention away from the Mediterranean world and toward the Atlantic.
For about fifty years after World War II, Sicily was dominated by the Mafia, which had been used by the Allies to help fight fascism and thus given a leg-up into respectable society. But after numerous prosecutions and the 1992 murders of two judges, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, the Sicilian Mafia became discredited and lost its former influence.
The Sicilians speak a dialect, or really a separate language, influenced by Greek and Arabic as well as the many other peoples who have passed through.
As in other parts of Italy, the local language has almost no official status in Sicily. However, there are about five million Sicilians in Sicily, plus a large overseas community (a million Sicilians emigrated between 1871 and 1914), so there is little chance of Sicilian dying out.
The Greek influence on Sicily was particularly strong in ancient times, more so than that of the Romans. The island is studded with Greek temples and other relics. Many famous Greeks of ancient times, such as the engineer Archimedes and the playwright Aeschylus, actually lived in Sicily.
I went to see some of the ruins at Agrigento, the home town of Empedocles, an early Greek scientist who was perhaps the first to argue that light travelled at a constant speed. And I also saw some more ruins at Selinunte, another ancient Greek city.

I spent another two nights at a place in an olive grove outside the central Sicilian town of Piazza Armerina. The building was run-down outside, like a lot of buildings in Italy, but a palace inside! I carried on to Catania and went and saw Mount Etna, the famous volcano nearby which has been active for thousands of years. Empedocles is supposed to have perished by leaping into the crater in the belief that volcanic fumes would support his weight. Of course, there is no reason to suppose that this is true.
I mentioned how driving long distances in Italy was a bad idea. It seems none of the locals risk it because, when I was in Sicily, I was pulled over by two full carloads of local cops who saw my Venice licence plates and thought that there had to be something fishy going on! They went through all my papers and asked lots of questions. That was quite heavy.
From Catania, I caught a plane to Rome, where I stayed near the airport at Fiumicino. I caught transport into the city at 4:30 am and wandered around Saint Peter’s Basilica. I’d forgotten how beautiful the city was.

After Rome, I flew to Nice in the south of France to catch up with an old friend who lived in the foothills of the Alps — a good topic for another blog!

To round off, here are some of the photos that I took, or had taken of me, along the way!

A curiously bricked up old building on the Adriatic Coast, next to a sign advertising wine and oil directly for sale from the producers.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Publishing ABC's - Indie Author's Monthly July 2017 Issue, Article by Carole P. Roman

Publishing ABC's
Indie Author's Monthly, July 2017 Issue, 
Article by Carole P. Roman

For more writer pro-tips, get your indie on with Indie Author's Monthly!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Meet Author, Eugenia Chu!

Meet Author, Eugenia Chu!

Eugenia Chu is a first generation Chinese-American citizen, born in New Jersey and raised primarily outside of Boston, Massachusetts and then St. Petersburg, Florida.  Eugenia has also lived and attended school in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Taipei and Shanghai (summer study abroad).  She met her husband in law school and they currently live in Miami with their son, Brandon, and fish, Sharky.

Eugenia’s son, Brandon, is the inspiration for her stories.  When Brandon was very little, Eugenia would read a bedtime story (or 2, or 3!) every night to him and then at lights out, she and Brandon would discuss his day and all the events that occurred.  They would take turns adding information and make up little stories based on the happenings of the day before going to sleep.  Eugenia was always searching for children’s storybooks to read to him which touched upon Chinese culture and which included some Chinese (Mandarin) words to teach and/or reinforce his Chinese vocabulary, but had trouble finding them.  Most of the books she found were either straight translation or ABC/123 type books with no storyline.  So, she started writing her own based on events in Brandon’s life and the little stories they told at bedtime.  Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子) is the first “Brandon” story. 

Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子) is about a little Chinese-American boy named Brandon who gets a surprise visit from his grandma from China, Pó Po (婆婆).  While Brandon and Pó Po (婆婆) are making Chinese dumplings, called jiǎo zi (餃子), Brandon makes a mess and he and Pó Po (婆婆) have a good laugh!  They chat and bond over the experience.  Then Brandon eats and eats and eats and makes a surprise at the end that delights the whole family!  This story includes some conversational Mandarin Chinese (including Pinyin – pronunciation) and is written the way a real Chinese grandmother and her Chinese-American grandson would speak with each other.  It is a fun read for families with children who are learning, or are interested in, Mandarin or Chinese culture.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Meet author Rocio Monroy!

Rocio Monroy was born and raised in Mexico, where she graduated as an Industrial Engineer in 2009. She came to the U.S with a Au Pair program and got to travel around the country. After she met her husband, she finally settled in St. Peters, Missouri. Ever since she has been studying English as second language and creative writing. In 2016, Rocio won a scholarship to study at the Children's Book Academy.

 As an Author, she writes stories for tiny readers with big hearts. Her big inspiration is her three children who teach every day how to follow her dreams. She enjoys every moment of her life and likes to write about it. Her favorite thing to write about is bilingual characters that have the ability to make kids laugh. She strongly believes that books have the power of changing the world. This is the reason she spends a lot of time reading, visiting libraries, and writing stories to help make this world a better place.

Rocio's latest book is "Paisley the goat."
Counting from one to ten is not easy for children, although Paisley the goat will make things easier for the little ones. Paisley the goat discovers many different things that can be counted at the beach on a sleepless night.

Paisley the Goat is a colorful children’s illustrated story for kids who are learning their numbers. A goat named Paisley cannot sleep, no matter what she tries. You can probably relate if you have kids and the little ones won’t lie down or unwind.

"Let's Say Hello To Our Neighbors" October 2017 Radio Show

New blog out today, and my show, "Let's Say Hello To Our Neighbors". The producer asked me to do a show on my own books. LOL. Next show is Barbara Ann Mojica of the book series, "Little Miss History". 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bullying Awareness Week

EBook Released Just in Time for Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week

The Invisible Boy is the second installment of a trilogy about bullying. In The Invisible Boy, Carlo learns what it feels like to be invisible at school. This second eBook deals with social isolation.

Big and Small in the Mirror, the first eBook of the trilogy, was published in 2015 and focuses on physical aggression and verbal abuse.

Both eBooks have discussion questions at the end of the story to help facilitate a deeper understanding of the issue of bullying, and to put the story into perspective. Each eBook is also a stand-alone book. 

Why she writes about bullying:

When people discover that I am interested in writing about the topic of bullying, I am often asked what the big deal is about bullying these days. This comment is usually followed by statements such as this: "It has always existed. There is nothing new about it."

What is new about it is that bullying no longer is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood, or as a normal part of school life, as some might have viewed it in earlier generations.

Today, there is a body of research to help us understand the nature of bullying. And as more and more mental health practitioners study the phenomenon, we are learning its long-term effects. Consequently, educators and parents are faced with addressing the problem.

What she wants people to know:

The third week in November is Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in Ontario, Canada. Anti-bullying Week in the United Kingdom is the second week in November. In the United States, the month of October is devoted to anti-bullying events. Internationally, both October and November are busy months featuring various anti-bullying campaigns around the world.

In Ontario, school-aged children are taught what is meant by the term bullying, and to differentiate between the different types of bullying that exist: physical aggression, verbal abuse, social isolation, and the newest form, cyberbullying.

Children and adults have to learn to recognize bullying when it occurs. The majority of bullying takes place in a public setting in which other people are around; therefore, empowering the bystanders is a good strategy to stopping bullying. Studies show that the bullying is likely to stop within 10 seconds if a bystander intervenes. * Craig, W. M. & Pepler, D. (1997). Observations of bullying and victimization in the school yard. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 13(2): 41–60.

My stories utilize common school scenarios to help create empathy for victims. The totality of the storytelling and discussion questions bring forth certain truths. It is not the victim's fault. There is nothing wrong with the victim. There is something going on with the bully. Victims need to tell a parent and teacher.

I would love to have your opinion.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jason Henderson, Writer Guy
Flotsam and jetsam from the mind of a Texan in Colorado.

INTERVIEW: Michael Okon, "Monsterland"

Michael Okon is the author of the new book MONSTERLAND from Wordfire Press, about a theme park called "the scariest place on Earth." With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

Check out this episode!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bonjour! Let's Learn French by Judy Martialay

Bonjour! Let's Learn French

Bonjour, Everyone! Let’s talk about a gift that you can give your children: an early start learning French. Why is it a gift? Because it’s fun; it adds a global dimension to your child’s life; it is useful; and it has amazing life-long benefits.
Increasingly more parents realize that their children should begin study of a language early. Advantages include: a useful, practical and marketable skill; a way to connect to millions of people; better cognitive skills; a link to other cultures; better understanding of our own culture and language.

But, what can parents do when only 25% of elementary schools, public or private, offer any form of foreign language instruction at the elementary school in the U.S.?

Bonjour! Let’s Learn French has everything you need to give your child, roughly 6-10, maybe younger, depending on the child, a fun and easy introduction to French. It can be used by parents, grandparents, etc. whether or not you know French. 

The audio version is free and downloadable from the website

Just open the book, turn on the audio, and follow!
Kids love a story. The book begins with an imaginary ride on Pete the Pilot’s magic airplane to France. On board, the children learn some basic French. When they arrive in France, they meet Louis l’escargot, France’s #1 snail. They follow his adventure, meet his friends, absorb the culture, and learn French.

Back “home”, kids practice the French they learned with family and friends with activities including introductions, daily expressions and a skit. In the Culture Corner, they learn more about the unique cultural features that they encountered during their visit, like how to order a croissant in a café. There is a traditional French song. Finally, they learn about impressionist art, and how to make an impressionist picture.

Why study French? France and the francophone countries have a rich history and have been at the forefront of development not only of life-style but of science, philosophy, and the arts since the fall of the Roman Empire. After English, French is the most studied foreign language world-wide.  French is spoken in almost 40 countries and more regions around the world. France and the U.S. have had a special relationship which goes back to the founding of the U.S. There are regions in the U.S. with a strong French influence. Also, France is the most visited country in the world.
Here’s a chance for the family to experience a taste of France and French. And, speaking of taste, visit the website where you’ll find recipes for delicious food for the whole family. You’ll find other resources on the website such as tips for parents on how to use the book, downloadable activity sheets, a video which illustrates the section on making an impressionist picture, and more.

Let’s Learn French is available in print softcover on at  and on  B& at

It can also be used and enjoyed by children who are learning French in school.

-- Judy Martialay

"Give your child the world: an early start for world languages."
Bonjour! Let's Learn French: pre-order now on at
pre-order on B&N at
¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish
NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winner Winter 2017
Readers' Favorite Bronze Award Children's Educational 2017
Honorable Mention Educational Purple Dragonfly Book Award 2017
Available on 
softcover printed: 
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Judy Martialay@judyruth10
Lead with languages

Friday, October 6, 2017

Check out my son, the author, Michael Okon.

MONSTERLAND by Michael Okon, coming out Friday, October 13th on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Kobo, iBooks

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Amy J Hamilton introduces…

Amy J Hamilton introduces…

I'm clearly mad. People who know me well, realize that already. I have just started writing a new serial on Radish Fiction. That would be perfectly normal if I hadn't already got one on the go I haven't finished yet. There is, therefore, much writing going on with my novelty syringe pens in my notebooks.

Radish Fiction, for those who missed it, is an app-based, digital, serial fiction platform. Download the app to your device for free. The first three chapters of any book are free. They are currently running an offer on Radish coins. All authors are invited to write for Radish. I don’t think they have particularly low standards, I must, therefore, not be rubbish!

Back to my moment of madness:

I'd like to introduce you to Kanner and Nix who are scouting the primitive planet of Iridessia. If the planet is suitable for human habitation, the construction companies will move in. Iridessia has all the usual things, solid ground, breathable atmosphere, water source, ghosts.

The pair is sent to investigate a cave system where they encounter things even the most scientific minds will fail to explain. Or did they? Kanner and Nix can’t agree on the events that took place in the cave.

My other 'clean' story on Radish has received very high praise.

For those of you who like a murder mystery, look no further than Missing Remnants. Track is investigating the murders and disappearances the Authority refuses to touch. Strange messages are relayed to him via the screens and service robots. He’s been stalked, attacked, kidnapped, his apartment has been broken into and his modular pet robot dog Banyon was dismantled. If he can work out why he might be able to solve the mystery of the Missing Remnants.

Missing Remnants has recently received a five-star rating. I've been told it's quite addictive.

So, come and have a read of my stories on Radish Fiction. They are some of the best stories ever written, said no-one ever...



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

BULWARK by Brit Lunden: A Wonderful Review done by Foreword Reviews

BULWARK by Brit Lunden:
A Wonderful Review done by Foreword Reviews


Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Bulwark is a spooky thriller—a melodrama with horrors and chills.
Brit Lunden’s supernatural thriller Bulwark lifts the veil on eerie happenings in a small town.
A year after the mysterious kidnapping of his daughter, Sheriff Clay Finnes is investigating an accident involving an ever-growing puddle. A gingerbread house materializes at a site that everyone in town claims has been abandoned for a century; his chief deputy has his throat ripped out; there’s talk of hellhounds running loose. He keeps bumping into two cousins, Bobby Ray and Trout, who may be doing more than just hunting rabbits. Meanwhile, he is going through a painful divorce from a woman he still loves, and a local reporter is meddling in his affairs.
The book is well-plotted, telegraphing some of its developments and letting others be a surprise. As the narrative unfurls, the town’s unearthly secrets are plumbed, and more and more of the backstory is revealed. A mix of romantic intrigue and paranormal action propels Bulwark forward at a riveting pace.
Natural dialogue employs regional dialects and advances the story, carrying a lot of emotional freight and containing the right amount of exposition, as when the sheriff claims that “duty calls” and his estranged wife, Jenna, responds that “it always does.” Such lines are telling but also evocative, leaving the imagination to fill in the blanks. The book is at its most effective and intriguing when it hints at troubled pasts, dark mysteries and an eldritch otherworldliness.
The prose is often workmanlike, but occasionally contains unexpected flair (“once Jenna saw Dayna wrapped around him like a boa constrictor”), and even reaches poetic heights from time to time. Scenes are effectively set and develop the characters. Minor errors in punctuation and grammar are an occasional distraction.
In this brief, plot-driven work, many characters are underdeveloped. They are introduced and typically stay true to form to keep the narrative moving forward. Some of the ancillary characters are clichéd—a blockheaded sheriff’s deputy, a dimwitted cousin, a Lothario doctor. Main characters are more fully sketched out––Finnes’s motivations, for example, are always clear––and are interesting and relatable.
The novel is very effective at creating atmosphere, conjuring a Gothic world populated by monsters and the stuff of fairy tales. An air of paranormal mystery hangs over the small Southern town throughout the book, but the police protagonist and other identifiable characters keep it anchored with a degree of verisimilitude as events become increasingly crazier and more supernatural.
Bulwark is a spooky thriller––a melodrama with horrors and chills. It’s a tale of the fearsome and fantastical that succeeds as a light diversion.
Reviewed by Joseph S. Pete
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.