Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Rogue Alliance - Michelle Bellon



Rogue Alliance - Michelle Bellon

Trying to escape a horrific past, Shyla has immersed herself in life as a tough, sassy cop in the bustle of LA. When the case of a lifetime takes her back to her hometown of Redding, she is thrown into a world of organised crime, deceit, and bitter reminders of her childhood.
As Shyla’s path crosses that of Brennan, an unwitting and troubled sidekick to the ringleader she’s intent on taking down, she is forced to re-evaluate everything she believes about herself, her job, and what she knows about right and wrong.
Can she face the demons of her upbringing and learn to trust again? Her life will depend on it.

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Genre – Thriller, Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

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Website http://www.michellebellon.com/

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rare Disease Day 2013 - Info & G!veaways

On this day, millions of patients and their families will share their stories to focus a spotlight on rare diseases as an important global public health concern.

“There are nearly 30 million Americans—and millions more around the world—affected by rare diseases,” said Peter L. Saltonstall, president and CEO of NORD.  “Everyone knows someone with a rare disease.  But, while many of these diseases are serious and lifelong, most have no treatment and many are not even being studied by researchers.  This leaves patients and families without hope for a better future.”

On Rare Disease Day, people with rare diseases around the world promote awareness of the challenges of living with a rare disease.  The global theme for 2013 is “Rare Disorders Without Borders.” 

World Rare Disease Day was launched in Europe in 2008 and last year was observed in more than 60 nations.  It is always observed on the last day of February.  On that day, patients and patient organizations will post stories, videos and blogs online and host events to raise awareness of these diseases, which are often called “orphans”.

This year, the observance has special significance in the U.S. because 1983 is also the 30th anniversary of the Orphan Drug Act, which provides incentives to encourage companies to develop treatments for rare diseases, and of NORD, which was established by patient advocates in 1983.

“More than half of the people who have rare diseases are children,” Saltonstall said.  “Challenges faced by patients and their families include delayed diagnosis, few treatment options, and difficulty finding medical experts.  Many rare diseases have no approved treatment.  Insurance may not cover treatments that aren’t approved.  Also, treatments for rare diseases tend to be more expensive than those for common diseases.”

In 1983, the Orphan Drug Act was passed by Congress to create financial incentives for companies to develop treatments for rare diseases.  Since then, more than 400 orphan drugs and biologics have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  It is estimated that approximately 15 million Americans benefit from these products, but that still leaves millions more with diseases for which there is no approved treatment.

For more information about Rare Disease Day activities in the U.S., go to www.rarediseaseday.us.  For information about global activities, go to www.rarediseaseday.org).


In conjunction with Rare Disease Day, Pandora Poikilos' books will be free from 28th February 2013 till 15th March 2013. To download your free copy, please click on the links below.

Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out is free via KDP Select (Kindle) from now till 3rd March.
Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety is free via Smashwords from now till 15th March.
Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability is free via Smashwords from now till 15th March.
Pandora's Reading Room (Short Story compilation) is free via Smashwords from now till 15th March.

Sharisse Coulter – Why Choosing Your Setting is Important

Why Choosing Your Setting is Important

by Sharisse Coulter

Setting, not surprisingly, is a vital component in any story. It plays the role of a silent character, adding to the credibility of the narrative, providing texture and context. In some stories it features prominently, like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. In others, it is merely an afterthought. Or so it may seem.

Every choice an author makes to set a story in some time and place affects the underlying tone and feel of the story. Is it urban? Suburban? Remote? Small town? Foreign? What about climate? Is it an unforgiving landscape or a cozy retreat? Is it a familiar modern setting, or maybe dystopian, or even otherworldly? All these questions must be asked and answered in order to ground the narrative. For example, imagine what The Hunger Games would have been like set in modern day New York. Or Pride and Prejudice set in Cold War Moscow? It would significantly change the way the reader expected the story to play out.

Setting informs the reader how they should expect characters to speak, to interact with one another, whether to be on the edge of their seat or give them permission to relax and reflect. If, say, your characters are on a river raft heading toward a waterfall, it can add tension and suspense. Or you could have an emotional scene where a protagonist has just been fired over the phone while in a bounce house full of kids, providing levity. These may not be great examples, but they make the point.

In the best stories, the setting will work in constant cooperation with the characters and plot to ground the reader in time and place, while subtly directing their emotions. The best settings pull the reader in from all senses, almost without notice, that’s how engrossed they become in the story and its characters. It makes the story feel real, even in fantasy, and takes the reader on a sensory experience, making them “feel” the cold wind whipping their face, “hear” the leaves crackling beneath the feet, “smell” the freshly baked bread from the patisserie downstairs, “taste” the salty tears on their cheeks, and “see” the castle’s turret peeking through the clouds.

So the next time you sit down to write a story, think about the setting like a set designer for a film. Explore your setting through each of your senses, even if you don’t include all the details for your reader. Know how subtle changes in color, temperature, landscape and lighting will impact your story, and ask yourself: “Does it add to the story or take away from the mood?” If you, the writer, connect with your setting and make it “real” to you, then congratulations, you’re ready to take your reader and show them around.

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Genre – Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the book

Connect with Sharisse Coulter on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://leecoulter.com/tour/

Orangeberry Book Tours – Rock My World by Sharisse Coulter

Jenna Jax-Anders hit rock bottom in high school. Or so she thought. From rock star heiress to knocked-up has been, she turned it all around, marrying the punk rock baby daddy love of her life. The perfect Hollywood fairytale. Until the day she walked in on him kissing her best friend.

As she struggles to find herself and redefine the world around her, she faces the challenges of raising her over-achieving teenage daughter, the heartbreak of losing her best friend (backstabbing aside), and emerging from the shadows of two famous last names to find her own identity. Oh, there’s also the tiny issue of her husband’s record label, backed by an anonymous mogul whose morally ambiguous creative direction may ruin them all.

But she doesn’t know about that yet.

Buy Now @ Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Kobo

Genre – Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

Connect with Sharisse Coulter on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://leecoulter.com/tour/

Simon Jenner – 10 Tips for Becoming A Better Writer

10 Tips for becoming a better writer

by Simon Jenner

1)     Be observant all of the time, especially when out and about – great inspiration is just around a corner.

2)     Don’t try to write great literature unless you really are that good – there are great writers past and present who can write about anything and bring it to life with a vibrancy most of us can only dream of.  If you aren’t one of them write good plots with interesting characters.  They are just as much fun to read and you won’t die trying.

3)     Read as much as possible but never try to copy the style of your chosen material.  Always write from the heart and develop your own style.  Unless it flows from the heart it will never be as good as it can be.

4)     Write as often as you can – gaps in your writing timeline make you rusty.

5)     Contact other writers and stay in touch – enjoy communicating with your peers as it is a great learning opportunity.

6)     Don’t be put off by harsh criticism – many critics feel the need to offend and many don’t have a clue what the public want.

7)     Edit, edit, edit – nothing is as good as it can be on first draft.  Even your editor will expect you to have drastically trimmed your work before receiving it.  Even if you are great, you can’t afford to be lazy.

8)     There’s no such thing as writer’s block.  There are such things as procrastination, laziness, boredom, being in the wrong business and being in need of a short break.

9)     The public is diverse and you don’t have to appeal to everyone – don’t write about a subject because you feel it is what people want to read.  Write about subjects and people that inspire you and your inspiration will shine through in your writing.

10)Practise, practise, practise – with every page you write, you learn.  The more you learn, the better writer you will become.  My father always says ‘If it was easy, then everyone would do it.’

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Genre – Action / Adventure

Rating – PG15

More details about the book

Connect with Simon Jenner on Facebook

Website http://simonjenner.com/

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Birds of A Feather by Kara Stefanowich

birds of a feather

When Shiloh Lashley, an International Assassin, breaks all the rules and falls in love with Monty Wright, her latest target, she finds herself in a conspiracy with her own name on the hit list — and a deep, dark secret surfacing in the fight to save her love, her life and a past she’s hidden for so long.

Birds of a Feather is a sexy tail spin of murder, money and conspiracy that gets blown to bits when Monty Wright and Shiloh Lashley are both hired by opposing agencies to kill each other. When the assassins finally meet the sparks fly, along with a hail of bullets which lead them straight into each others arms. But when their agencies discover their affair, cities crumble and a barrage of car chases, explosions and gun fights stalk the lovers around the globe, from Berlin, Germany to Tijuana, Mexico. Even as their affair blossoms, the shock still grips the pair as there are secrets a plenty in the world of spies and contract killers.

Can their love withstand the smoke of gunfire, or will their secrets tear them apart and take their lives?

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Genre – Suspense / Thriller

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with  Kara Stefanowich on Facebook & Twitter

Monday, February 25, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – No Foolin’ by Lisa Scott

Welcome to Willowdale, North Carolina, a small town where the folks are friendly, the romances are as sweet as the tea, and the biddies at the diner gobble up gossip like it’s peach cobbler. This may be their biggest scoop ever.

When sexy Hollywood bad-boy Teague “T-Rex” Reynolds comes to this quiet Southern town, he needs a fake girlfriend to hide the secret that brought him there. School nurse Kate Riley takes the job, but she won’t fall for a movie star, no ma’am. That’s fine with Teague. He hung a closed sign on his heart years ago.
Convincing the press they’re in love is one thing. Fooling each other they’re not is getting harder each day. Despite scandal, heartache, and misunderstandings galore, they might just find the sweet thrill of true love. Book one of The Willowdale Romances.

Lisa Scott is a former TV news anchor who now makes up stories instead of sticking to the facts. Learn more about where her ideas come from and what’s on the way at ReadLisaScott.com

Buy now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG15

More details about the author

Connect with Lisa Scott on Facebook & Twitter

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Never Give In To Fear by Marti MacGibbon

Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up From Rock BottomNever Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up From Rock Bottom by Marti MacGibbon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Were the characters and their problems believable? Since this is a memoir, readers only have the author’s side of the story. I have always been told there are three sides to a story, your side, my side and the truth. We have to take the author’s word that the story is correct. Do I doubt the author? No, not really. I do questions some of the irrational things she went thru or allowed to happen in her life.

Consider the main character: what does he or she believe in? The main character is Marti. During most of the book, I believe the author would have killed if that was the only way to get that next high.

Have you had a life changing revelation from reading this text? Life changing, no I have not. Wondering if I can help someone that has a drug problem then, yes. I have questioned this several times.

What would the main character be likely to do if s/he visited? This all depends, will we see the Marti that was addicted to drugs or the Marti that is in recovery. I personally would not be interested in meeting the Marti on drugs. I would love to meet the Marti that is in recovery, hear the story from her, see her on stage, or watch her witness to others that are suffering with addiction.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author.

View all my reviews

Author Interview – Marti MacGibbon

Marti MacGibbon, human trafficking survivor and recovering addict, is an author, humorous inspirational speaker and standup comic who holds four professional certifications in addiction treatment, including the ACRPS, Advanced Certified Relapse Prevention Specialist. Marti is a member of the National Speakers Association and her articles have appeared in numerous trade publications and magazines. She’s been interviewed in Investors Business Daily and Entrepreneur.

Marti was one of the first women to work as a laborer in the Texas oilfield. She set off explosives for an exploration company for a brief period of time and then learned surveying skills, staking oil wells. She moved on to standup comedy and was scheduled for an appearance on The Tonight Show, but Marti became entangled in the California drug scene and plunged into the underworld and serious drug addiction. After being trafficked to Japanese organized crime and escaping, she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and was homeless for over a year, but ultimately found true love, recovery and forgiveness. Her darkly humorous and dramatic memoir, “Never Give in to Fear,” tells the story, and the narration brings alive a host of quirky characters and bungling criminals.

“Never Give in to Fear” has received critical praise from Foreword Clarion and San Francisco Book Review. The enhanced edition, “Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom,” received an editorial recommendation from Kirkus Reviews and an award for Best Revised Edition from Books-and-Authors.net.


What is your favorite quality about yourself? – I’m resilient, and my sense of humor is a big part of that. Not only can I look back at the past and laugh, but I can also inspire others as a professional speaker.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? – I have a tendency to push myself too hard, or take on too many things at once. So I practice a program of daily self-care, to keep things balanced.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? – “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle, the other is as if everything is.” — Albert Einstein said that, and I love it, because whenever I say it, Einstein and I have got something in common. And the quote is uplifting.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? – I’ve come a long way — rebounded from hard-core drug addiction, domestic violence, homelessness, and being sold into human trafficking in Japan. I can now let others know that no matter how low your low point, you can create positive transformation by changing the way you think about yourself, the world and other people.

What is your favorite color? — Red. Except at a stoplight, and then it’s green.

What is your favorite food? – That’s a tough one. I love so many foods! Cookies. Guacamole. Blueberries.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? — Can I have two faves? Sonoma County, California, in the Russian River Valley. That’s where I met my true love, my husband Chris. And Los Angeles! I love L.A.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? — My father was an English professor who taught me to love literature. My mom was a voracious reader. They introduced me to the classics and contemporary writers, and took time to discuss books with me. And I grew up in a very funny family, which is one reason why my memoir, Never in to Fear, isn’t a downer. It has a lot of funny moments even though it talks about scary and tragic experiences.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? — I’ve been a voracious reader all my life, but didn’t begin writing till later on. When I was a standup comic, I began to write material, and I rose quickly, getting booked on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. But I never actually appeared on the show, because my life took a downward turn. Then I got strung out and lived through all the experiences in Never Give in to Fear. After turning my life around, I went back to standup and started writing jokes again and working around the country in comedy clubs and colleges. I moved to L.A. and started working at the Comedy Store, Improv and other clubs, and found a couple of coffeehouses where people told stories, not jokes. I started going to those shows and telling stories from my past. People really liked those stories! They would come up to me after a performance and say things like, “Wow! You have really lived,” or “That was hilarious,” and one night a professional writer suggested I put the stories into a book. I enrolled in college as an English major. And during my first semester I did a one-woman show, an eight or ten-week run, in a little theater in L.A., and the L.A. Weekly gave me a rave review. My creative writing professor began encouraging me to write my autobiography. This professor, Dr. Bill Wallis, is a Pulitzer-nominated poet, so I began to take it seriously. But I still didn’t think I could do it. Dr. Wallis suggested I focus on one bit at a time, and then to assemble all the pieces. As I adopted that attitude, it began to seem possible, but I still held back.

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Genre – Biographies & Memoirs

Rating – R

More details about the book

Connect with Marti MacGibbon on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://martimacgibbon.com/

Orangeberry Book Tours – Never Give in to Fear by Marti MacGibbon

Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom, the enhanced edition of this darkly funny, dramatic memoir, describes an emerging standup comic’s drug-fueled descent into the underworld, escape from human traffickers, homelessness, and ultimate redemption. With brutal honesty, humor, and clarity, the author vividly describes her experiences as she rides her downward spiral: a near-miss with a notorious serial killer, a series of tragically hilarious misadventures in the California drug world, and a terrifying account of imprisonment at the hands of Japanese organized crime, to name a few.

This revised and re-edited version contains three additional chapters that introduce readers to quirky characters, insights into standup comedy, resilience and recovery, and deliver an inspiring message about healing, hope, and courage to change.

What readers are saying …

“Marti MacGibbon shows readers just how rough the road to redemption is in her gritty memoir of addiction… Her raw, honest, casual, funny voice permeates every page… A dark yet inspiring look at conquering addiction and regaining hope.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Marti’s natural humor and storytelling help balance out the book into a symmetrical tale of both hurt and healing. Never Give in to Fear is a book everyone needs to read. This is not only a book about the danger of drugs, but about the power of the human spirit.” –San Francisco Book Review

“Her narration is funny—she can laugh at her old self, even as she shows the reader the terror and loss she felt in the past… Honest to a fault… captivating from the very first sentence. A memoir that offers hope, even in the worst of times, Never Give in to Fear is a terrific read.” –Claire Foster, Foreword Clarion Reviews

“It’s amazing that Marti MacGibbon survived her harrowing life and had the guts to recount it… not too preachy, the author’s candor and sense of humor keep the pages turning.” –Suzanne Daly, the bohemian.com

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Biographies & Memoirs

Rating – R

Connect with Marti MacGibbon on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://martimacgibbon.com/