Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cover Reveal: Waken by Angela Fristoe

Waken (The Woods of Everod, #1)

by Angela Fristoe

Expected Release: January 2014

Moving to her parents’ hometown of Everod is the last thing Janie Lyndon  wants. After years of abuse and eventual abandonment, she’d rather  forget they ever existed. Haunted by nightmares of her mother killing  her, Janie just wants to be normal.

The gorgeous Davin Andersen is out of her league, but for some reason he  seems to actually like her. The emotions he draws from her are almost  enough to make her ignore all of the weird things he says. Almost enough  to ignore the way the entire town seems ready to pounce on her as if  she were fresh meat.

Almost, though, isn’t enough when Janie finally discovers what the town  is hiding. The town of Everod has been waiting for Janie and if she  hopes to survive, she’ll need to confront the truth of who and what she  really is.

About the Author

Born  in Northern Canada, Angela grew up on the Canadian prairies amid dreams  of becoming the next Dian Fossey or a world famous flight attendant.  Those, however, were never meant to be. Instead she moved to the United  States where she divides her time between her family, writing, and her  day job as an instruction coach.

Angela  was the winner and double finalist in the Romance category of The  Strongest Start Contest 2010 hosted by She  currently has three young adult novels published through Little Prince  Publishing and her fourth novel, Waken, has an anticipated release of January  2014.

Other Books by Angela Fristoe



Can diplomacy be taught? An interview with the FSI Director

Does Your Team Suck…or Are You Just a Bad Leader? - Promising Practices - Management -

Does Your Team Suck…or Are You Just a Bad Leader? - Promising Practices - Management - I'll give you a hint; it's not number one.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

State Department Employees Cleared to Watch Wikileaks Movie

A fascinating article by John Hudson in 'Foreign Policy Magazine' on-line issue:

It bordered on the ridiculous when the State Department banned employees from accessing the Wikileaks website without explicit authorization when Julian Assange's outfit dumped over 250,000 sensitive and classified State Department cables into the public domain creating concern and chaos worldwide. The ban was a typical knee-jerk reaction from an organization that thrives on micromanagement.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, to see that someone would think that a government department could actually enforce a ban on what movie its employees could see. This reminds me a bit of the 50s and 60s when magazine subscriptions were looked at - subscribe to the 'Daily Worker' and you were tabbed as a closet Communist. Of course, then we were just coming out of the McCarthy era.

All I have to say is, when the government can tell me what movie I can or can't see on the basis of my employment, that will be the day I pack and move to Antarctica to live with the penguins.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Get 'The White Dragons' Free Oct. 28 - 31!

The White Dragons, a tale of suspense and international intrigue is available FREE for your Kindle, October 28 - 31 only! Don't miss this opportunity to get the book that lays bare the secrets of what goes on behind the closed doors in the halls of government.

To get your copy, go here.

The National Memo » When Will Republicans Learn? Heritage Isn’t Helping

The National Memo » When Will Republicans Learn? Heritage Isn’t Helping

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Government Shutdown: An Expensive Temper Tantrum

senate (Photo credit: Raela 9)

At a certain age, kids will throw tantrums in an effort to get attention or get their way. They rant, scream, roll around the floor, and throw and break things. The absolute worst thing you can do in these situations is give in to their demands. It’s not even a good idea to pay too much attention to them. This validates tantrums as a way to get what you want.

The just-ended federal government shutdown is a case of an adult temper tantrum. Some 40 Republican members of the House of Representatives, determined to get rid of a law they don’t like, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – which just happened to be passed by both House and Senate in 2010, browbeat and coerced their fellow Republicans into playing a game of brinksmanship that brought the government to a virtual standstill for nearly three weeks. The Senate passed it by a vote of 60-39 in 2009, and the House signed on in 2010 with a vote of 219-212.

Like a stubborn two-year-old, they knew going in that they had no chance of success, but they did it anyway. Like the child who smashes his toys, they didn’t seem to give a damn about the consequences of their temperamental outburst. So it cost the country from $23 to $24 billion in lost GDP, so what? National parks lost $450,000 a day in lost receipts, and there was $2.4 billion in lost travel spending? Those are just the national impacts. What about local impacts? Well, in Northern Virginia, many dry cleaning establishment workers had to be laid off in communities where the majority of residents were furloughed government workers for whom dry cleaning was a luxury that had to be foregone for the duration of the shutdown. What did they care? Apparently, they either didn’t care, or were too ignorant to be able to foresee the consequences. Either answer is frightening. Voters elected these wackos to represent their interests in Washington. In the wake of this most recent debacle, one is left wondering just what interests such nimrods actually represent.

As House Democrat Nancy Pelosi said, “they live in a data-free zone,” referring to their inability to digest the devastating economic impact of their insane political posturing. What is even more disconcerting is that this little knot of malcontents constitute less than ten percent of the House of Representatives total 435 voting members, yet they were able to coerce their fellow Republicans, apparently fearful of the revenge of the lunatic fringe, into going along with them as they played chicken with a Democratic-controlled Senate and a President who’d made it clear from the start that he would not negotiate with those taking the country hostage.

Finally, sanity prevailed, and Republicans in the Senate (or at least enough of them) decided that enough was enough, and they voted on a bill to raise the debt limit and reopen the government. House Speaker Boehner finally found his manhood and allowed a House vote on the Senate bill, and that was that. Or, was it? In January, we have the potential to have to go through this mess again, because these infantile idiots don’t seem capable of learning from experience, and are likely to give it another go.

You see, they didn’t get their way, but they did get attention. Mainstream media quoted their inane babblings incessantly, and the right-wing tabloids held them out as heroes. Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas (where, by the way, where six of the tantrum throwers come from) led other ultra-conservative politicians in a presidential poll conducted by a right-wing group that was holding a meeting in Washington during the shutdown. Even though Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that there will be no more Republican-led shutdowns in order to defund the ACA, Boehner was unable to exert leadership over these rebels in the House, and one has to wonder if they have any sense of respect left for their so-called leadership.

They certainly have a unique take on reality. They blame the president and the Democrats, for instance, for the shutdown. Their reasoning goes something like this: we, a tiny minority of the whole body, want something, and if you don’t let us have our way, we’ll bring the whole thing crashing down. The president and Senate majority leader Harry Reid refused to be bullied or intimidated; the nuts corralled their fellow Republicans into cowering for three weeks, and – guess what – it’s the fault of those who refused to be bullied that we did what we did. It’s not our fault. Kind of like the guy who killed his parents saying the court should be lenient with him since he’s an orphan.

If you’re fan of the circus, keep an eye on Washington in the coming months. I have a sinking feeling that the show’s not over yet, and their next act will be to ‘send in the clowns.’

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Tea Party raises funds off GOP 'betrayal' - The Hill's Healthwatch

Tea Party raises funds off GOP 'betrayal' - The Hill's Healthwatch

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What to Do When Things Go Wrong

If there’s one thing in life that’s sure, other than death and taxes, it’s that things will always go wrong. The power will go out, the street you’re on will be closed, or some other roadblock will get between you and the destination for which you’re heading.

When things go wrong, you have to make choices; do you give up, or do you find a way around the obstacle? If you’re armed with a plan, whether it’s a personal quest or a professional objective, getting around or over obstacles becomes less of a problem. If you don’t have a plan, you find yourself wasting precious time trying to figure out what to do.

Make no mistake about it; if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Even with a plan, things will often go wrong – no plan survives the first shot. So, it’s not enough to just plan; you must plan intelligently.

Not to worry, though; learning to plan effectively is as easy as learning to ride a bicycle. I’ve written a little book, based upon my fifty years of experience in the government bureaucracy, of the lessons in planning that I had to learn the hard way. I offer it to my readers in the hope that it will help them get to where I am in far less time than it took me.

It’s simple really. My philosophy is, ‘there’s always a Plan B. When Plan A runs into a roadblock, I’ve anticipated it, and immediately move to Plan B. You can too.

If you want to learn how to make planning easy, and more effective, get your copy of There’s Always a Plan B today. It’s available in paperback or Kindle version at the links below.
Product Details

There's Always a Plan B: How to Cope When Things Go Wrong by Charles Ray (Oct 14, 2013)

  • $6.50 $6.18 Paperback
  • Order in the next 23 hours and get it by Friday, Oct 18.
  • Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping
Product Details

There's Always a Plan B by Charles Ray (Oct 13, 2013)


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America’s Orphaned Diplomacy

America’s Orphaned Diplomacy

Monday, October 14, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Free e-Book: 'Death in White Satin' for Kindle

Get Death in White Satin free for Kindle, Oct. 19-21!

The Government Shutdown: As Much About Trust as Money - And, Right Now, My Trust Tank is Empty

After serving my government for more than 50 years (20 in uniform and 30-plus as a diplomat), I was kind of hoping that in retirement I'd finally get a modicum of respect for all that dedication. You know; something more than the pat on the back as they take your building pass and show you the door.
Well, at midnight, September 30, 2013, the esteemed members of the U.S. House of Representatives; at least the Republican members; showed me and thousands of other federal retirees just how much our service is valued - Zero.
The foam-at-the-mouth Tea Party activists in the House, who don't even constitute a majority of their party, cowed their colleagues into playing chicken with the Democratic-controlled Senate, and no one blinked. As a result, for the first time in 17 years, Washington's federal agencies have to turn down the lights and tell a bunch of people to stay home on October 1, and for the foreseeable future if these nimrods are unable to pass at least a Continuing Resolution while they wrestle over the budget. So, 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed, while a million or more, considered 'essential', will be asked to work without pay.
What has brought us to this deadlocked situation? A small group of zealots in Congress have decided that they don't like the Affordable Care Act, which was passed by Congress in 2010, and they're willing to plunge the country into economic chaos in order to block it. Kind of like playground bullies who, disliking the game others are playing, shut down the whole place, shouting, "If we can't play our game, no one will play any game."
When Republicans, in another fit of zealotry, shut the government down 17 years ago, I was working in a U.S. embassy in West Africa. We stayed open, but without a lot of essential services, like family travel. With two kids in college who were visiting me during their December break, I found myself having to buy their tickets to return to college out of pocket, and then had to wait more than two years to get reimbursed. Just one example of the inconvenience some federal employees had to endure back 'in the day.' More than minor inconvenience, but it pales in comparison to the situation I might face this time around.
You see, as a federal retiree, my monthly retirement check is tied to the federal budget. My social security payment (which was severely reduced because of my federal annuity) will come on time, and my Foreign Service retirement check for October 1 will be deposited in my bank account. But, if these honorable (sarcasm, folks) personages are unable to learn that politics is supposed to be the art of compromise, and they let this mess go on past the end of October, some federal retirement payments are in jeopardy. There's also the question of whether those who are furloughed will get retroactive pay for the time off. I can assure you, their creditors won't cancel any payments due during that time. But, do any of these rabble-rousing zealots care? I doubt it.
This shutdown will be an economic disaster for a lot of individuals and small companies, but it's not just about money. There's also the issue of trust and confidence. If anyone trusts the U.S. Congress after this, it has to be because they've been in a time bubble and isolated from what's been going on for the past decade.
I'm not from Missouri, but I can tell you one thing's for sure; this 68-year-old Marylander is taking the U.S. Congress off my Thanksgiving Dinner invitation list.

Is there something happening that excites or angers you? Write about it for the Weekly Writing Challenge, and share your thoughts with a wider community.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review of 'Thomas Clayton' by Randy J. Harvey, PhD

When 15-year-old Thomas Clayton Gurley’s parents and sister are killed in an auto crash in Florida, he is sent to live with his father’s half-brother, Boats, in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Thomas and Boats take an instant dislike to each other, and the boy is sent to live with Buck Hagen, a foreman at the oil rigging company that Boats owns. It is while living with Hagen and his family that Thomas begins to regain a sense of family – and self.
It is also here that his troubles truly begin. In a new high school, he has to prove himself to Boats and to a murderous rival for the affections of Mar, the first girl he’s ever had a relationship with. As Thomas matures, he finds himself in a fight literally for his life, and the lives of those he has come to love, when the questionable relationships Boats has forged with shady politicians and business people comes to light.
Thomas Clayton, by Randy J. Harvey, PhD, is a story that grew out of a few dozen handwritten pages begun by Harvey’s father, Jay L. Harvey, and is dedicated to the story tellers of the Harvey clan, who ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story.’ Though the author’s disclaimer says that this is a work of fiction, and in no way represents real people, this tightly woven tale of greed, jealousy, and murder could very well have been ripped from the headlines of any daily newspaper. Gripping, realistic dialogue and intricate descriptions of places, events, and people; some told from the first-person viewpoint of young Thomas, and others in the third person, as characters and events sweep past in a torrent of emotion, will have you believing that it is a documentary, rather than what it is – a grand tale told in a masterful style.

The truth, in this book, doesn’t get in the way of a good story, but, by gum, you’ll close it after the last page and swear you just read the God’s honest truth. I read a copy which was provided to me for review, but by jingies, I’d be more than willing to plunk down some hard-earned money for a chance to read it, and I, for one, hope this won’t be Randy Harvey’s last offering.

I don't hand out five-star reviews lightly, but this was by far the easiest five-star I've read in a long while.

Turning the Pages ~ YA Blog Tours: Release Day Blog Blitz: Endless by Amanda Gray

Turning the Pages ~ YA Blog Tours: Release Day Blog Blitz: Endless by Amanda Gray: Endless by  Amanda Gray Release Date: 10/08/13 Month9Books Summary from Goodreads: Jenny Kramer knows...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Turning the Pages YA Blog Tour - The Ghost Files (redux)

Just in case you're wondering why this post is up again, the tour officially starts today. I think the book is so great, though, I put it up two days early in a senior moment.  It's just as good the second time, though.

The Ghost Files, Volume I by Apryl Baker

Cherry blossom lipstick:  check

Smokey eyes:  check

Skinny jeans:  check

Dead kid in the mirror:  check


For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too.
Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister… Sally.

Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance.
Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim…
Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her?

Q and A:

Q:  So tell us a little bit about Apryl Baker.

A:  Well, in a nutshell, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up.  Seriously, sometimes I can be mid-sentence and I’ll get an idea and stop talking so I can write it down.  Terribly rude, I know, but my friends and family are used to it!  

Q:  Mattie is a very, well, let's call her unique.  What inspired you when you created that little bundle of attitude?

A:  LOL!  She is that, isn't she?  Well, honestly, I had some foster kids living down the block from me and I had the opportunity to get to know them.  It took me the better part of a year to get them to trust me enough to open up.  I have to say they were the bravest, most courageous kids I've ever met. They are tough as nails, loyal only to each other, and they will break your heart.  Some of the stories they told me made me want to just cry.  Don't get me wrong, there are tons of great foster homes out there, the one they were in at the time I got to know them was one of those, but there are just as many bad ones as well.  I got to hear up close and personal just how bad some of them were.

Those experiences shaped those kids into the people they were.  They all had serious trust issues and sometimes the haunted look in their eyes made me hurt.  When I got the idea for this story, Mattie in my mind was a foster kid.  I wanted to show people that those kids are more than just the tough facade they show to the world, that they are vulnerable and sweet underneath their layers of shields.  I rolled all their attitude into Mattie and there's a little bit of each of them in her. 

Mattie Louise Hathaway is that tough as nails foster kid who looks after her own and will deck you as soon as look at you, but underneath all that attitude, there's still a sixteen year old girl who's scared, alone, vulnerable, and well 16!  She still notices the cute guy while being that sassy, snotty brat!

Q:  I know that most writers have to have music when they are writing.  Let's face it, music has inspired so many different stories over the years.  What was on your playlist when you wrote The Ghost Files?  


A:  Wow, well, I did listen to a ton of different music, but these were my favs:

Fall Out Boy: My Song Knows What You Did In the Dark (this song alone is responsible for the last five chapters of the book!)

Evanescence:  Bring Me Back To Life

Bruno Mars:  Just the Way You Are

Demi Lavato:  Heart Attack

Taylor Swift:  I Knew You Were Trouble

Taking Back Sunday:  Make Damn Sure

My Chemical Romance:  I Don't Love You

My Chemical Romance:  The Ghost of You

Korn:  Freak On A Leash

Dashboard Confessional:  Slow Decay

Valora: I Waited For You

Q:  What advice would you give struggling authors in today's market?

A:  My best advice is to never give up.  I still have stack upon stack of rejection letters sitting on my desk.  It sucks!  That will never change.  You write this amazing story, polish it up a hundred times, then send out the query letter you slaved over for weeks, only to get rejection upon rejection upon rejection.  Huge blow to anyone's confidence.  Here's the thing though, you have all these rejection letters, but it only takes that one yes to make it all better.  I almost gave up on writing, but I'm so glad I didn't.  I have an amazing writing group, an agent that believes in me, and a publisher that is downright awesome.  Just believe in yourself.  You can't see your dreams come true if you don't keep trying.  Give yourself a minute to wallow in pity, then get up, dust yourself off and try, try again!

Q:  So why should we all rush out to buy The Ghost Files?

A:  That's simple!  It's awesome!  No, really, it's a fun, but scary read.  I have been advised by all the Wattpad crew who read it before it was published that you cannot read it in the dark. Scared them senseless.  There's a hint of romance, but the book itself is centered around the mystery of who killed Mattie's foster sister and the fact that Mattie now has to face her own weirdness.  She can see ghosts?  Um, not something she advertises.  Then there's Officer Dan...yum, all I'm saying. 

 About the Author:

So who am I? Well, I'm the  crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies.  My friend Chazz laughs at me when I scare myself watching them and  tells me to stop watching them, but who doesn't love to get scared? I  grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West  Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees,  and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew  by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to  sleep.

Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and  morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there's always  someone to tell your mama on you. So when you get grounded, what is  there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel.  It was a romance titled "Lord Margrave's Deception." I remember it  fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries  and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and  would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main  characters.

Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my  family and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly  when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats  start yelling something

I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.

PS: DO NOT GET IN MY WAY IF THERE IS A SALE ON AT TARGET - my home away from home!

Connect With Apryl: 

Amazon:  Ghost Files

Don't forget to check out Apryl's other books, The Promise and The Awakening!

Enter to win a signed print edition of The Ghost Files just by Liking Apryl's Author page on Facebook!
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