An Interview with Eleanor Parker Sapia, Author of ‘A Decent Woman’

Originally posted on The Dark Phantom Review:

profile-pic (1)Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s life experiences as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker inspire her passion for writing. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago a second time. A Decent Womanis her debut novel. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children, and she lives in West Virginia.

About the Book 

Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century: Ana Belén Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife with a tempestuous past. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past, but continues to hide an even more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest, Padre Vicénte, and young Doctór Héctor Rivera, Ana must battle…

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Interview with Anne K. Edwards, author of ‘Dark of the Heart’

Originally posted on The Dark Phantom Review:

anne-k-edwardsAnne K. Edwards enjoys a life shared with her husband and several cats who rule the household and lives of its inhabitants. She is an avid reader, reviews ebooks, writes in several genres, and enjoys meeting other writers. She’s currently touring the blogosphere to promote her latest book, Dark of the Heart.

About the book

A runaway son has returned to the Tyles family fold after an absence of several years.  A frightened boy when he left, Joey Tyles has returned a bitter man bent on revenge on the family that made his childhood a hell.

Find out more on Amazon.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Dark of the Heart. What was your inspiration for it?

A:  The daily news of children being abused by parents who prefer the varied states of inebriation to caring for the young they bring into the world…

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Interview with Irene S. Roth, author of ‘Seasons of Empowerment for Adolescent Girls’

Originally posted on The Dark Phantom Review:

RothIrene S. Roth is an academic and freelance writer for teens, tweens and kids. She has written over 500 book reviews and 1,000 online articles on different topics for teens, tweens, and about the craft of writing. She also teaches workshops on writing and craft at Savvy Authors. She lives in Stratford, Ontario with her husband and cat. Visit her at https://irenesroth.wordpress.com/

ABOUT HER BOOK

In Seasons of Empowerment for Adolescent Girls, Ms. Roth argues that there are four seasons of empowerment for adolescent girls. Sadly no adolescent girl can simply wake up one day, snap her fingers, and be empowered to tackle the world and all the forces that exist inside and outside. Becoming empowered to be who we are can be truly difficult. This book consists of a step-by-step guide to help adolescent girls achieve self-improvement.

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Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book

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‘April Snow’ (Dana McGarry Novel Book 2) Now Available for Pre-order!

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April Snow, book 2 in the smashingly successful Dana McGarry series by talented author Lynn Steward, is now available for pre-order!

Pre-order the Kindle edition from Amazon.

While you’re there, be sure to check book 1 in the series, A Very Good Life.

The print edition of April Snow will be available for pre-order next week. Stay tuned!

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Dana McGarry, newly separated from her cheating husband, is laser-focused on her new job as a buyer at B. Altman, a leading New York City department store of the 1970s.  But to achieve success, she must free herself from more than a bad marriage. She must prove to overly-protective family and friends that she can make it on her own and shake up the status quo at the store when her bold new ideas hit a brick wall. No stranger to innovation and risk, Dana is determined to stand her ground. She finds both mentor and love interest in dynamic businessman Mark Senger, who suggests a daring fashion move that will advance her career. Her dreams within reach, Dana’s world is shattered in a New York minute when a life is threatened, a heart is broken, and a secret is revealed.

Steward captures the nuances of 70s life in New York City and provides the perfect backdrop for an independent woman determined to make her mark.  April Snow, the second volume in the Dana McGarry series, is a story that transcends any period.

Official release: May 22nd 

About Lynn Steward

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Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. April Snow is volume two in the Dana McGarry Series. A Very Good Life was published in March 2014.

Connect with Lynn Steward on the Web:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

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First Chapter Reveal: ITGIRL4LIFE by Tamara Branch & $25 iTunes Giveaway!

ITGIRL4LIFE 8Title: ITGIRL4LIFE
Author: Tamara Branch
Publisher: Heart Project Publishing
Pages: 98
Genre: YA/Self-Esteem
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

First Chapter:

KNOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE

Y OU ARE MAGNIFICENT. You are important. You matter.

You are special. You are a powerful presence on this Earth.

You are loved. You are worthy. You are good. You are a person of value. You have been blessed with wisdom, intelligence, grace, beauty, strength, peace, joy, love and creativity. You have talents and gifts beyond what you can imagine. You possess within you everything you need to thrive. You live in an abundant universe.

There are no limits to what you can accomplish. You are complete as you are. Start with that and keep building.

Power Statement

I KNOW WHO I AM.

“Your treasure is within.”

Power Statement

I HAVE SO MUCH GOING FOR ME.

WIN $25 ITUNES GIFT CARD!

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A Chat with Robert Lane, author of ‘Cooler Than Blood’

Originally posted on The Dark Phantom Review:

WinterSpring 2008 399Robert Lane’s literary crime noir novels mix humor, action, and ageless moral themes set against the backdrop of the west coast of Florida. Cooler Than Blood is his second stand-alone Jake Travis novel after The Second Letter. His third book, The Cardinal’s Sin, will be released in October 2015.Q:

Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Cooler Than Blood. What was your inspiration for it?

A: I yearned for a classic crime tale, in this case a kidnapped young woman, that, through twists and turns, circles back to my protagonist, Jake Travis. I desired a story arc, that in ways Jake could have never foreseen, threatens Kathleen, the “world’s most important person,” to Jake.  I wanted the story to force him into moral choices that will define and shape him. Where’s the inspiration? Instead of a faceless victim that the reader would have no feeling…

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First Chapter Reveal! Unlocking the Mystery of You by D.L. Anderson

Unlocking the Mystery of YouTitle: Unlocking the Mystery of You: The Pinnacle of Purpose
Author: D.L. Anderson
Publisher: Author House
Pages: 195
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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Do you know who the most important person in your life is? Just look in the mirror and you will see – it’s you. Whether you’re a college student, a housewife, a salesman, or the president of the United States of America, the most important person in your life is and will always be you.

That being said, your primary objective in life should be to know who you are so that you can position yourself to succeed in offices aligned with your purpose. After all, your purpose is the collective reasoning behind your existence. As one philosopher puts it, “Purpose is the only real reason you are here, for you exist because your purpose exists. Thus apart from purpose, you have no authentic motivation for living. You may very well exist, but when you’re gone, very few will ever know that you were here.”

Now for some of us discovering our purpose is simple. We understood it long before we ever became adults. For others it is not so easy, and for more reasons than I can gather. This is why the process of personal discovery is so critical; for not only does it allow you to discover your purpose. It also positions you to persistently follow the evolution of your purpose.

This is important because we are all changing every day. Consequently, our purpose will also change contingent to the season of life we are in. Still, in spite of this inevitable change and all the complexities which make understanding your purpose difficult, you will always be able to detect your purpose simply because it is the source of your fulfillment. So if you’re in a job, relationship, or any office which is persistently unfulfilling, odds are it is not aligned with your purpose – and unless you are willing to concede the awesome measures of fulfillment you would experience otherwise, you need to start thinking about making a change so that you can both enhance your life and have profound impacts in the various groups and societies you are in.

“Unlocking the Mystery of You” champions this cause focusing first and foremost on purpose and the crucial role it plays in achieving personal fulfillment and setting the stage for the individual to be a catalyst for group fulfillment. It accomplishes this goal by utilizing a purposeful roadmap designated as the Pinnacle of Purpose. The Pinnacle of Purpose is a progressive path illustrated by 7 ascending levels which, if followed sequentially, not only have the power to transform your life. It will provide you with the greatest measures of fulfillment and success life can offer. All you have to do is follow the crucial, yet simple order of purpose, beginning with confidence and concluding with peace.

So if you’re ready for a change; if you’re ready to stop sleeping on your dreams and your truest passions; if you’re tired of the status quo and living a life which feels incomplete; if you’re tired of wishing your life was better and are now prepared to do something about it; if you’re finally ready to take that ever-difficult leap of faith, then this is a book you must read. Because in this book I show you how to take that leap of faith without falling, for when you leap towards your purpose, you will always land squarely on your feet.

This is true first and foremost because your purpose is what makes you unique to every other individual in the world today, a premise which thoroughly validates the existence of every man and women on the earth. The problem is that many don’t understand their purpose. Once upon a time I didn’t either. That is until I got serious about life. It was then that I realized what purpose is.

It is the collection of all your authentic desires; it is your passion. It is your North Star and your direction; it is your life-long teacher – and above all else, it is that which causes you to press through any form or measure of adversity until you unleash your maximum potential, for it gives you the strength to hold on when you have no strength left within you to hold on.

First Chapter:

I DID IT ON PURPOSE

“I didn’t do it on purpose” was one of my favorite sayings as a child. Why? It is because this confession had gotten me out of trouble on possibly 1,000 occasions, a minor exaggeration to be sure. In any event, these 6 words were priceless because they constituted my original “get out of jail free card” and saved me in several sticky situations.

Now this card didn’t work all the time, mind you. After all, there were some things I did which I could neither honestly nor semi-honestly justify with my patented excuse, and I wasn’t going to compromise the longevity of my lucky card for any incident which was clearly inexcusable. No sir; I was going to drink from this well until the water ran dry – which it did and much sooner than I would have liked. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

Fast-forward several years in time. Here you’ll find me with a much different outlook on life and a new preferred saying. That would be, “I did it on purpose,” a definitive statement which speaks to one of the most profound realities in life. As such, I will offer it as an interest point.

Classically this is where the rubber meets the road; for as everything we do is incontestably on purpose, our consistent actions reveal who we are with regards to our inner self as opposed to our personal face-value. Accordingly, it is our actions more so than our words which tell the tale of the man or woman we’re trying to be.

Notwithstanding, this tale does not always reflect who we truly are. In this regard, some of us at face-value are pretenders who are trying to be someone they’re not. This is why establishing our life upon a firm foundation of purpose is so vital, for the consistent inundation of purpose ensures our intentions and consequent actions are perfectly aligned with our destiny. Therefore, the first step in unlocking your personal mystery is dedicating yourself to being yourself and living a life of purpose.

TRUE YOU

Now if you’re like me, you know very few people who consistently say what they mean and mean what they say. You know even fewer people who without fail practice what they preach. Why the inconsistency? For the most part it’s because their lives are established on conflicting purposes; hence the irregularity.

Then again if you’re like me, you may have noticed this contradictory trend a time or two in your own life. So what did you do? I’ll tell you what I did – I set out on a personal journey to discover a path where everything I did was not only on purpose, but with purpose; specifically purposes which reflected “the real me.”

Who am I referring to when I mention the real me? Definitively I am referring to the man I would turn out to be after I successfully established my purpose in life. That is the man I was destined to become before various conflicting factors set me off-course and led me down paths contrary to my destiny. Consequently, if there is a real me, there must be a version of me who is not as real.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard someone teach on the concept of true north. It was during an astronomy lecture at Ball State University. I remember thinking to myself, “If there is a true north, then what is the regular north I’ve been learning since kindergarten?”

Of course everything made more sense at the end of the lecture. Without going into the details, there are multiple manifestations of the astronomical concept of north. However, only one of these manifestations is true north; that is the direction along the earth’s surface towards the geographic North Pole. The other variations may at times be congruent and persistently similar. Yet they are not consistently the same as true north.

The same rule applies to all of us. See the majority of us exhibit multiple manifestations. The two prevailing manifestations are “you now” and “true you.” You now is the person you are at this present moment. True you is the person you will become once all of your singular purposes are properly aligned and consequently coherent. Accordingly, the search for purpose in life is actually a search for the most authentic version of you. It’s the elongated process in which you discover and are converted into true you.

STRENGTH IN DIVERSITY

The next question we must attend to is this – why is it important for us to be true to ourselves? Honestly I could provide over 100 reasons why this cause is beyond essential. However, I would like to focus on 1 in particular; that is diversity.

Certainly diversity is a prominent pillar of every progressive society. For an example consider a football team and ask yourself this question – how effective would a team be if everyone on the offense was a quarterback and everyone on the defense was a linebacker? Trust me; not only would this team be unsuccessful. They wouldn’t be very enjoyable to watch (unless perhaps you were rooting for the opposing team).

Therefore, I would ask you to consider this follow-up question – if everyone in your society (e.g. business unit, family or organization) were a carbon copy of the person next to them, how successful would your society be? Think about it.

Here’s the next point I would like to make – every progressive society is depicted by roles which are fulfilled by the successful administration of an over-arching, correlating assignment (which I will consciously refer to as an office throughout this composition). A principal key to the success of each society, then, is that each office is occupied by the person best suited to fulfill its corresponding roles. In every other case, the inclusive lack from a poor arrangement will prevent the society from reaching its full potential. As such, it would continually degenerate until corrective actions are taken.

Almost 10 years ago I was the Director of Consulting Services at one of the largest IT firms based out of Indiana. There I enjoyed managing one of my favorite and most successful teams. It was also one of my most diverse teams, a crucial factor which positioned us to incur awesome measures of success; more success than we would have achieved otherwise.

Upon understanding this development, I began actively looking for ways to increase the diversity of our team. Thus whenever I interviewed potential candidates to fill open positions, I first considered the members currently on the team. Then I not only looked for the candidate who exceeded my expectations; I also looked for someone who would add diversity to our group.

Masterfully my strategy proved correct every time the team grew. By gradually increasing the diversity of our team, we found ourselves consistently innovated with new ideas, processes, and ways of thinking in general.

Sure we had a pretty large group of seasoned professionals who possessed awesome talents and the ability to get a lot done. However, the greatest source of our strength was not our numbers or our expertise. It was our diversity and the awesome opportunities it presented us.THE WORLD NEEDS YOU

At the same time, I learned that managing and participating in a diverse group presents several challenges. In particular, it forces each team member to regularly rethink and often recalibrate their views. These actions (though very necessary) are sometimes difficult because many of us have a hard time considering or admitting when we are wrong or when our way of doing things is not necessarily the best way to get things done.

Fortunately there was no one in our group who was too terribly rigid that they couldn’t see past their own methodologies. Hence this is not where I encountered most of my challenges. These unforeseen happenstances transpired as a result of the inverse scenario; explicitly some team members became discouraged when their ideas were not adopted by the group and began to withdraw.

Consensus is my preferred way to lead and always has been. So I recognized I was indirectly responsible for the withdrawal that was occurring. In consequence, I had to upgrade my management strategy to account for this unanticipated offshoot.

In time I came up with the perfect solution. I met individually with those who were withdrawn from the group and reassured them that they were critical to the team’s success. More importantly I told them why. In doing so, I reminded them why I hired them and described future scenarios where I was confident their expertise and background would be crucial to the team’s continued success.

The lesson I learned then was sure – there are peaks and valleys in everyone’s life. For that reason, we can not allow for the valleys to cause us to lose sight of the value of our role as it pertains to the group’s success. Neither can we allow the peaks to deceive us into believing we’re “all that,” for no one person will ever exceed the value and potential of a progressive group or society.

What it all comes down to is this – the world needs you. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just consider all of your offices in life and ask yourself this question – who is better suited to fulfill each of my offices than me?

See I’m convinced the vast majority of us have at least one life office which no one can fulfill better than we can. For those of you who are unconvinced, this does not mean the world doesn’t need you. Quite the contrary; what the world needs is for you to find a way to succeed in the offices you were called to and in the roles you were destined to fulfill.

Now the cause behind this need is certain and one which I hope you will never forget. Therefore I will offer it as an interest point.

This matter lends itself to why societies degenerate. It is because critical roles are not being fulfilled by the person best suited to fulfill them. Consequently, the correlating offices are either empty or occupied by someone less qualified – and alas, everyone involved will suffer the consequences in the end and after all.

BE YOURSELF

“Everybody has an office,” I declared to an adult group to whom I was delivering a spiritual lecture.

“The problem,” I told them, “is that many fail to recognize their purpose in life because they are fatally trying to be someone they’re not.” Then I shared with them a profound statement which I will offer as another interest point.

Understandably death in this context is not literal. It is figurative. That is to say, the longer you try to be someone you’re not, the farther you will migrate away from your true self. Stay on this path long enough and you will be so far removed from your true self that he or she will be metaphorically deceased – and as it is scarcely possible, we all perceive the likelihood of raising someone from the dead (metaphorically or literally).

Now I was able to make this decisive declaration for one simple cause – I had been there. Admittedly, I knew what it was like to lose sight of my true self because I was too busy trying to be someone who I thought was better than me; namely someone who I thought the world would better appreciate.

That’s when I realized I had effectually become a self-contradiction. By trying to be someone I was not, I was contradicting my own existence as well as decreasing my personal value.

While on this regressive road, I began to understand the nature of our world and found it to be similar to that of a spoiled child. You know the type. You’ve seen them throwing themselves out in grocery stores and acting unruly in restaurants all across the country. The $500 question is simply why?

Here’s the answer – a spoiled child doesn’t really know what they want. Consequently, the worst thing for them is a parent who constantly bends over backwards to meet their child’s unrealistic and unfounded demands, for these actions only work to reinforce the deficits of the child. This is true even though the parent is merely trying to be appreciated by giving the child what they presume he or she wants.

What these parents fail to realize is tragically classic; that is the child does not know what he or she wants. This is precisely why they are often only able to appreciate one thing; that is a parent who will stop spoiling them and teach them the true meaning of appreciation.

Trust me; it’s bad business when you have parents trying to befriend a child, for every parent should focus first and foremost on being a credible authority as this is the first step in effectively raising children. This is especially the case during their informative years.

How does this example relate to you and the world? Well I’ll tell you. The world is like a spoiled child in that it is by default inappreciative. Consequently, it will never appreciate those who bend over backwards trying to be someone they presume everyone will accept. On the contrary, the only way the world will appreciate you is if you stop trying to be everyone’s friend and start being yourself.

Again I ask you to trust me and faithfully consider the following statement – being yourself is the only thing you’ll ever truly be good at. This truism speaks to another interest point.

On this wise, the one sure way to tell if you appreciate yourself is by determining how committed you are to being yourself. Or as the young people tell it, “Just do you.”

Certainly this is the only way you will ever unlock your personal mystery because again, as the young people say, you are “keeping it real.” In essence, you are being yourself in every situation. This allows people to know what to expect out of you regardless of the situation or circumstances you are in.

Markedly this is exactly when the world will begin to appreciate you, for you will have proven yourself to be reliable – and who doesn’t appreciate someone who they can consistently count on?

All the same, as wonderful as this occasion is, enduring appreciation does not come painlessly. Neither does it come quickly. Contrasting, it comes tenderly and gradually. The same way a small child does not instantly appreciate the discipline of a wise parent, the world will not immediately appreciate the value of an authentic man or woman.

Do not be troubled by this reality, for in time this value will surely be realized. You just have to be committed to standing up for yourself even when you’re standing alone – and there will be several instances when you are.

ARE YOU READY TO WALK THE PATH?

How does this all relate to living a life of purpose? Decisively everything we have discussed thus far is only possible if we have effectively established our unique purposes in life. In this regard, your life purposes (i.e. the distinct causes which collective constitute your purpose) are like tour guides. Their job is to guide you along the path which leads to your destiny.

As for me, I’ve walked this path in my life and have achieved awesome levels of fulfillment and success. From now, I want to share what I have learned by leaving behind breadcrumbs for others to follow. Therefore, the following pages of this book will speak to the aforementioned path of fulfillment and provide various life examples for both validation and understanding.

All things considered, everything in life is a choice (with the lone exception of physiological involuntary actions). Thus conclusively, if you choose to follow this path, I can make you the following guarantee – even though you will endure various seasons of grind and change, you will eventually acquire the greatest measures of fulfillment and success the world has to offer. That’s my personal guarantee.

So if this pledge sounds like a good deal to you, keep reading this book. I’m going to show you how I got there and how you can get there too.

On the other hand, if you decide not to follow this path or some similar path, I can guarantee you the opposite. Regrettably you will fail to acquire the greatest measures of fulfillment and success while never realizing your true potential. Furthermore, you will still endure various seasons of grind and change.

Granted this is not the classic life-or-death scenario; not even close. However, the quality of your life is at stake. Thus the question of the hour is simply this – how much fulfillment and success are you prepared to leave on the table?

THE SUMMATION

The majority of us will reach a point in our lives where we discover that we are not authentic reflections of the man or woman inside. As an ill-advised traveler, we’ve deviated from the beaten path and gotten lost.

All the same, course correction is not a difficult matter. All we need is a map. Enter: the Pinnacle of Purpose, a dedicated roadmap which provides purposeful direction along the path which leads to true you and concludes with the greatest allotment of fulfillment and success this life can afford.

What is more, the Pinnacle of Purpose (as illustrated in this composition) provides ample instructions and advice on how to handle various situations which could potentially cause us to lose our way. This manner of intelligence is critical because our world is unfortunately filled with haters and doubters. Disappointingly these losers in life are going to invest time in throwing stones at us as we carry on our quest.

Now in submitting this warning, I would advise each reader not to be overly concerned about this matter. See I’m not only going to show you how to become immune to these unwarranted acts. I’m also going to show you how to use these stones to help you get to where you are going. Advantageously I’m going to show you how to turn their throwing stones into your stepping stones.

Last but surely not least, I’m going to lay a foundation for achieving self- actualization by discussing the importance of excelling in each of our life offices – and although the full disclosure of this process will be addressed in the next composition in this series, it is imperative for each purpose seeker to understand how important it is to always give our best effort in every life situation. For once we establish this model way of living, and everything else will begin to seamlessly fall into place. This brings me to my final world on this lecture.

No matter what anyone tells you, the world needs you. Therefore, if you don’t know who you are, it’s time you found out. Only then will you be truly appreciated and wholly succeed in those offices you were called to fulfill.

 

 

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