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Book Reviews : Alice McDowell – Hidden Treasure

Alice McDowell, Ph.D.

Hidden Treasure: How to Break Free of Five Patterns that Hide Your True Self

She Writes Press, 2017, 253 pages, $16.95 paperback $9.95 eBook

ISBN: pbk 978-1-63152-304-5 ebk 978-1-63152-305-2

Nonfiction [Self-Help]

“Tendency to space out when you feel threatened, bored, or uncomfortable impedes interaction with others.”

Oh my G-d! I don’t know where to start. When I began reading this book it was as if Alice McDowell was my clone or something close to that. Right off the start similarities sprung off the page. This continued for the first two chapters. Straight at page one of the Introduction she says her father died when she was eleven. Mine, too. How eerie can this be?

What was interesting was the quiz she had for readers to do. I did it and scored highest in the second and last patterns. Hmmm…how can that be? The first two described me to a T but the last one was so off, how did I score highest on that one. I keep wondering. All in all the book as a whole is a real eye-opener.

On the first page of chapter two McDowell mentions that her mother was seventeen when she had her, and her father nineteen. This is beginning to sound surreal. My mother was seventeen when she had me, my birth father eighteen.  From that point on I couldn’t put the book down.

I liked the illustrations and layout style which made it easy to read. She used paragraphs, bulleted offset text, illustrations where needed and italics for backstory. There was nothing I didn’t like.

Book Review: Running on Empty by Shelley Pernot

Shelley Pernot

Running on Empty: The Irreverent Guru’s Guide to Filling up with Mindfulness

(True North Development Press, 2017, 200 pages, $12.95 print $9.99 eBook

ISBN: 978-0-997951-1-7 print 978-0-9979951-1-4 eBook

Self-Help, Personal Growth, Happiness

“…human beings are like water. We always take the path of least resistance – which works just fine and dandy right up until the point when the dam breaks.”

I received this book to review exactly one week after a session during my cardio rehab program which was on the topic of mindfulness. Suddenly everywhere I turned I was facing something about mindfulness. You know it is just like when you buy a car of a certain make or color and you haven’t seen many of those before but once you leave the dealership they’re all over.

So what is mindfulness? There are many interpretations to this, but basically it is something you do that you place all your focus on in that moment. You know, being in the zone. For example, when crocheting, all your focus is on getting the amount of stitches right, the gauge size right, etc. Or when doing a jigsaw puzzle your focus is on finding the right pieces to go together to make the whole thing come out right. So what is the whole to-do about mindfulness? For one, it helps us achieve goals. Second, it is about the present, the only thing we have. Life happens in the present, not the past, not the future. Anything you do that you can put your mind to in that moment is an activity of mindfulness.

The author explains this in a simple, easy to understand format. She opens your eyes to things that perhaps were hidden to you, but were there all the time. The problem, says Pernot, is “many of us go through it [life] focusing on what we don’t want,” when we should be focusing on what we do want.

I liked Pernot’s clear explanations and the end of chapter exercises. The book was so well done, brief and to the point that there really isn’t anything I didn’t like. Well done.

My newly released adoption memoir

If you haven’t had a chance to get it yet, you’ve lucked out as it is FREE today on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H3TD79Q cover front  thumb BAB

Catching up on everything

cover front  thumb BABHi there, it’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve dealt with some medical issues and have been busy on the publishing of my new book, Bonded at Birth: An Adoptee’s Search for Her Roots which is available on Amazon in both eBook and print.

Want to help me out? Here’s what you can do: join my street team (launch team). You will be able to help out by word of mouth, reviewing my book, posting on Twitter and/or Facebook. Your choice. Do one, or all. Anything helps. And thanks in advance. Send me your email address and full name so I can add you to my private list of street team members. Your info will not be given out in any form or manner. It will be used solely for contact with you. Email it to me. Subject line: Street Team BAB.

Right now I am running a KDP Select promo. There will be four free days during this time. Want to know when ahead of everyone else. Join the team fast and the first is approaching soon.

In addition I am planning a full blown launch in the form of a Virtual Book Tour and media blitz for the month of November. I need reviews up on Amazon. If you can read my book and review it please let me know. I will send you a PDF version in exchange for an honest review.

I’m not asking outright as I know you are all busy, but if anyone has a bit of time and can help out with research over the next month or so it would be greatly appreciated.

Have you seen my interview? Checkout my memoir Bonded at Birth

See me at http://www.blogarama.com/Books-and-Literature-Blogs/274730-You-Read-It-Here-First–Conversations-with-Todays-Authors-Blog/4835731-bonded-birth-adoptees-search-for-her-roots or https://fromtheauthors.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/bonded-at-birth-an-adoptees-search-for-her-roots/

Book Review – The Way of the Mysterial Woman: Upgrading How You Live, Love, and Lead

Suzanne Anderson MA and Susan Cannon, PhD

The Way of the Mysterial Woman

She Writes Press, 2016, 306 pages, $24.95

ISBN: 978-1-63152-081-5 pbk 978-1-63152-082-2 ebk

Nonfiction, Self Help


“The Mysterial Sequence suggests that collectively we are due to return full circle, next touching into the Vessel Yin essence of the archetype Mother.”

When I received this book for review, I had no idea what to expect. I never thought of myself as a mysterial woman. Once I started reading through it the book drew me in so much so that it was hard to let go. I didn’t have time to work through the many exercises within to help women achieve small parts leading to the whole.

Anderson and Cannon have a unique insight into the topic and write in a manner that any woman could understand. Much of the explanations given for the various Yins and Yangs, including the shadows opened my eyes for sure. I could relate with many of them.

The authors’ use of charts, tables, and diagrams further help the woman understand the points they are making. The exercises start out as short ones slowly building in length.

Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. The only regret is that I never easily grasped the topic of Yin versus Yang.

The authors’ style of writing is simplistic, talking to the reader as if they were sitting somewhere together having a chat. The language used is easy to understand especially for a confusing topic such as the one discussed in this book.

I liked the overall layout of the book. The smaller divisions of the material made it easy to put it down in between readings. The exercises are there for women who are ready to jump in and follow the map to the new you. I didn’t like the invocations, but that’s just me, I’m just not into things like that. It isn’t a flaw on the authors’ part nor a flaw in the book, rather a personal opinion.

Author Interview – Karoline Barrett author of The Art of Being Rebekkah

Will you please join me in welcoming Karoline Barrett to Gloria’s Corner today.

karoline barrett picBorn in upstate New York she has lived in South America, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. At the moment, she lives in a small Connecticut town with her husband.  When she’s not writing, she loves reading, spending time by the water, traveling, and doing anything that has nothing to do with math.

She’s currently working on her second novel, a cozy mystery set in upstate N.Y.

So welcome Karoline, hope the snow storms didn’t inconvenience you too much.

GO: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

KB: How much of writing is revision!

GO: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

KB: I’m working on my second book now; a cozy mystery. I love them both, for different reasons! THE ART OF BEING REBEKKAH is women’s fiction and deals with some serious topics, like faith, family, adoption, and an unexpected pregnancy. My cozy has a lot of humor in it. Plus a murder!

GO: Do you hear from your readers much? What kind of things do they say?

rebekkah-cover-214x300KB: My book came out December 9th. So far, I’ve heard: I was hooked on Rebekkah’s story from the first chapter. I really felt like I got to know these characters and their way of life quickly. And Karoline Barrett’s first novel is a real page-turner…The plot may sound like a potboiler, but  Barrett infuses the novel with emotional insight about Rebekkah’s character…Barrett tells a story filled with emotional and personal complications…It’s a coming of age story that had my attention from the very first page.

GO: What do you think makes a good story?

KB: Characters who are interesting, a plot that’s believable, and lots of great dialogue.

GO: When and why did you begin writing?

KB: I began writing a few years ago. I started with short stories. I’ve always loved reading, and one day I decided to write my own stories, and eventually novels, was something I really wanted to do.

GO: How do you come up with titles?

KB: Truthfully, they usually just come to me. Sort of like lightning bolts from the sky.

GO: How much of your book is realistic?

KB: My main character, Rebekkah, in THE ART OF BEING REBEKKAH, is Jewish. There are many Jewish practices I weave in my book, that are very realistic.

GO: What books have influenced your life most?

KB: Anything by Naomi Regan; some of Danielle Steele’s books; and all of Ann B. Ross’s books.

GO: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

KB: Naomi Regan.

GO: What book are you reading now?

KB: Who has time to read? Seriously, I have a whole pile of books awaiting my attention. I did start BEING A ROCKEFELLER recently. One day I will finish it!

Author Interview with Laura Dennis in celebration of National Adoption Awareness Month

Good morning everyone and welcome to Gloria’s Corner.  As most of you know, I’m a reunited #adoptee so today, in celebration of #National-Adoption-Awareness-Month, I would like you to join me in welcoming Laura Dennis, author of Adoption Reality: a Memoir.

Writer Laura DennisLaura Dennis was adopted in New Jersey, raised in Maryland, and learned how to be a (sane) person in California. A professionally trained dancer, Laura also worked as sales director for a biotech start-up. With two children under the age of three, in 2010 she and her husband sought to simplify their lifestyle and escaped to his hometown, Belgrade, Serbia. While the children learned Serbian in their cozy preschool, Laura recovered from sleep deprivation and wrote Adopted Reality, a Memoir, available on Amazon.

She currently blogs at Expat (Adoptee) Mommy. Connect with her on twitter @LauraDennisCA, or email laura@adoptedrealitymemoir.com.

But first I’d like to share some events going on this month.

National Adoption Day is November 23, 2013. At this site is their one day project,  page where adoptees can share their stories of the day their adoption was finalized.

But what if you’re not an adoptee, what can you do to support adoption this month? Here are some ideas”
1. Write a post or letter to the editor of your local newspaper on the blessing of adoption.
2. Read a story about adoption, need help, there is one being discussed here today. (Hint: You’ll be able to read mine, too, if you know of any agent or publisher who might want to pick it up, I’d appreciate the referral.)
3. Watch a movie about adoption.
4. Ask your librarian to display books on adoption (fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, etc.)

And there are many more things you can do. Get creative, put on those thinking caps and as Nike says, “Just do it!”

And now let us welcome Laura.

GO: Hi Laura, it’s great to have you here at my corner. What do you do when not writing?

LD: With two small children, aged five and three, I spend most of my time caring for them. School, activities, play dates, normal mommy stuff. That, and I am trying to learn Serbian. I keep telling myself that I will join the gym this winter, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

GO: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

LD: Did I mention I don’t really speak Serbian? I’m kidding. I have passable language skills, but when I first arrived three years ago, I felt isolated and home sick. So, as an outlet for my need to speak English, I decided to write a memoir.

GO: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?Adopted Reality_Memoir_Laura Dennis_2nd edition

LD: First and foremost, I wanted my memoir, Adopted Reality, to be a good read. Yes, it’s
true, and yes, I have a message, but I didn’t want to pound people in the head with it. I’ve found that people take away very different messages, depending upon their own life experiences.

For example, adoptees most closely relate to the “outsider-ness” of my adopted life growing up, to my feelings about search and reunion, and to the ongoing juggling and processing that we do our entire lives. I can’t ever not be adopted. Adoption isn’t a one-time event; it’s life-long.

Others take away the sense of personal resilience, strength and sheer audacity of the story, of overcoming a mental breakdown, and living a normal life. (Whatever “normal” is.)

GO: If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each character’s role?

LD: Ohhh, now you’ve got me. This is the well-worn adoptee modesty and complacency, not wanting to be the center of attention, and all that. I don’t even know! Some have compared Adopted Reality to the memoir, Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, which was made into a movie. A lot of time has passed since that came out, and the majority of my memoir is about my life from age 18 to 23, so if you twisted my arm, I’d have to say a young Angelina Jolie.

GO: How do you market your work?

LD: I do have a book website and a personal blog, so there’s that. If someone wants to know about my book, or get in contact with me, they’ll find me on Google.

That said, I find that adoptees and first moms have a low bullshit tolerance. It’s not appropriate to be directly marketing my memoir all over the adoptee community. However, I do create relationships with those connected to adoption, those working in mental health, and memoir writers. From there, we help one another, guest on each other blogs and generally provide support.

I think the best way to market one’s work is to have multiple books out there. So, I’m working on it, slowly but surely.

GO: What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

LD: Social media and social networking, definitely, but it means creating real relationships, not just pasting the link to my memoir everywhere.

For connecting with the adoption community—there is so much out there. You can join Open Adoption Bloggers, and adoption groups on Facebook and Google+. I also write for The Lost Daughters, an amazing blogging community of woman adoptees. It’s a great way to stay in-the-know about legislative changes in adoption in terms of opening adoption records, and adoptee access to original birth certificates. We also discuss important emotional, psychological and social justice issues as they intersect with our adoptee experiences.

For self-published writers, I also highly recommend Story Cartel. They have 11,000 and counting enthusiastic readers who can help writers get those all-important Amazon reviews. It’s great to join a Facebook group like Gutsy Indie Publishers by Sonia Marsh—her group is a great way to learn about and ramp up other book marketing activities. Specifically for memoirists, I have to mention Kathy Pooler, a blogger who is amazing at social networking and who hosts memoir-writers on her blog.

GO: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

LD: Well, I’m working on three projects right now. I have an anthology called, Connected, Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age that I’m currently editing. It will include voices from adoptees, first moms, therapists and adoptive parents—all writing on the theme of reunion.

My next book, Belgrade Intrigue, is a historical thriller set in 1990s Balkans. The novel explores the real, human devastation wrought by governments, and the resilience of the Serbian people.

I also want to turn some of the funnier posts on my blog about living as an American mommy in Serbia into a book.

GO: What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as a writer?

LD: My harshest—and therefore best, critic is my husband. He always tells me what he thinks, honestly and concisely. During the writing process, he’d read drafts and point out the boring parts. That was the toughest, but most important to hear.

GO: What was the hardest part of writing this book?

LD: Probably distilling my life into a book, what gets left out, what’s imperative, that type of thing. Also, how to present it—I hate pity parties, but you have to explain the hard parts to get to how you survived them.

GO: Why did you feel you had to tell this story?

LD: Oh! I could write a whole post on this! The short answer is: I needed to get the story out of my head. There is a certain strange mixture of relief and freedom in telling one’s own truth.

Thanks for stopping by today and I will leave you all with this thought. Laura, I was born and adopted in New York so at one point in time we could have been neighbors. I doubt it though, as you seem to be much younger than me. But you never know where those thin strings that hold us together will lead. By the way, Laura and anyone else from Jersey, if you haven’t read Elle Druskin’s Liberty Heights series yet, you’re missing out. And yes, this is meant to be a shameless plug from her editor.

Hope you enjoyed this post. As we celebrate NAAM, leave a comment and let us know what you feel about adoption, adoptees searching for their birth parents, what you choose to do to help celebrate, or whatever other feedback you wish.

Until next time,


Guest Post by Jo Linsdell on finding your stops for visits on a Virtual Book Tour

It’s been a while, but I’ve been busy with several things including attending the Muse Online Conference, taking an online course, and getting a dress for my son’s upcoming wedding. Today I want to welcome a long-time friend and co-Muser Jo Linsdell who has a guest post for you titled “Finding Niche Bloggers for your Virtual Book Tour.” I know I’ve always wondered how everyone managed to find so many different places, some enough to fill a whole month. Today Jo will share some of those secrets to finding the right ones. So without further ado, I am handing over the stage to Jo.

Linsdell author picFinding Niche Bloggers for your Virtual Book Tour

By Jo Linsdell

Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator, award winning blogger, and freelance writer. She is also the founder and organiser of the annual online event Promo Day (www.PromoDay.info). Her latest release Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is now available from Amazon. Find out more about her at her website www.JoLinsdell.com

When scheduling stops for your virtual book tour, you want to be targeting the right hosts. A general blog about books is OK, but one that deals specifically with your genre is better. What you want are niche bloggers. 

What is a niche blogger?

A niche blogger is someone that posts on a regular basis about a certain topic or subject area. 

Why are niche sites better than general blogs? 

There are actually numerous reasons why it’s better to target niche blogs, but I’ll stick the main ones here. 

1) Readers of niche sites have clear ideas about what they want. By finding a suitable niche site you are guaranteed that the content you put out will be of interest to their readers and therefore, up your chances of a good conversion rate. 

2) Niche sites give you better back-links which search engines love. Google is all about quality links. By getting back-links from sites that fit your niche you will show up better in search results. 

3) It’s good for your author branding. By targeting niche bloggers you help establish yourself as an expert in that niche. 

Not sure how to find niche bloggers for your virtual book tour? Here are a few ideas for where you can find the right sites: 

Search engines 

Google can bring up thousand of potential hosts that fit your niche market in just one search. Make your search terms as specific as possible e.g. something like “< your subject> guest post”. In most cases, blogs that have hosted guest posts in the past will be open to submissions. 

Blog directories 

Blog directories can save you a lot of time as they are already divided up into categories for you. A couple worth checking out are: http://technorati.com/blogs/directory/, and http://blogs.botw.org/. You can find a big list at http://www.toprankblog.com/rss-blog-directories/ or just search for “blog directories” and you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.

Blog rolls

When you’ve found some sites in your niche, take a look around in case they have a blog roll posted on site. Chances are the sites they have highlighted will also be in the same niche.

Social media

Facebook, Twitter, and alike are great resources for finding niche blogs. Most blogs create a page for their blogs on Facebook. A simple search using your key terms will bring up a good selection. Same on Twitter and Google+.

In summary, you need to think about where your potential readers will be and target those sites. Be as specific as possible in your search, and you’ll be able to find plenty of potential hosts for your virtual book tour.


Linsdell book coverThank you Jo. Jo has a new book out on this topic so if you’re organizing a VBT or plan to in the future you probably should get a copy of BOOK TOURS: Effective Online Book Promotion from the Comfort of Your Own Home.  Jo says:

“The book is divided into 4 main sections for easy navigation:

1) What is a Virtual Book Tour?
2) How to organize your own tour
3) Promoting a tour
4) Useful resources

You’ll find it packed with links, tips, and advice to help make your tour a hit.”

Jo can be found online at:








Okay, that’s it for today, and now I think many of us have lots of work laid out for us. Good luck with your VBT.

Till next time,


Book Review: Warrior Mother: a Memoir by Sheila K Collins, Ph.D.

Welcome back.

I apologize for the gap in posts, but I have been dealing with several health issues and was gone on vacation for a week. I am going to restart the Wednesday Writer Spotlight soon and will put out a call to fill in available spots as soon as I can get to it. Look out for it.

But today we have other things to cover. Before we go to the review, I’d like to let you know that my second eBook, Selling Yourself and Your Product: A Guide for Writers, is live on Amazon.

This book came to me at a time when I myself am dealing with a few medical issues. Whether this made it more difficult to read or not, I can’t say, but I couldn’t put the book down.

Sheila K Collins, Ph.D.

Warrior Mother: a Memoir

She Writes Press, 2013, 232 pages, $16.95

ISBN: 978-1-938314-46-9


“A disease that is kept a secret cannot heal.”

Ms. Collins wrote a heartfelt story on how she, as a mother, dealt with the illnesses of both her son and daughter, and the loss that resulted from them. As a mother, it was hard to read about how strong we need to be in order to hold the family together through the good and the bad times that come upon us. As I read her story, the gears in my mind churned with questions. But what if the mother is the one who is ill?  Collins’ daughter had three young children when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This brought back memories and tears in my eyes. I too was diagnosed with cancer, Hodgkin’s Disease, when my three children were aged ten and under.

Collins first had to deal with the revelation that her son was gay. But the even harder to accept announcement that he had AIDS led her on a journey of finding comfort and support outside of traditional medicine. A journey that helped, I think, later when confronted with her daughter’s diagnosis of breast cancer. From a women’s spiritual group to the forest of Brazil came the tidbits of help that kept her going.

 Collins writes as if she is sitting with you and telling you the story. She draws you in and the hold keeps the reader turning pages. Once past the loss of her son and the diagnosis of her daughter, I couldn’t put the book down until I knew what would happen. Whether it was because she was discussing cancer, or whether it was the three children in their mother’s mind all the time, I can’t say but somehow through teary eyes I managed to finish the book.

 I liked how Collins related the stories of her journey ventures into the unknown of alternative medicine. The fact that she sought out others for support, managed to overcome problems in her marital relationship as a result of the losses, and come out stronger for it put a positive spin on what could have been a very negative experience. I liked how in the midst of bigger issues, Collins fought for the little ones such as the signs in the restrooms. I couldn’t find anything to dislike. I recommend this book to anyone who is going through similar situations facing the unknown outcome of serious illnesses.

Thanks, until next time