Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

The Story behind ‘Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses,’ by Michelle Nott

The backstory of this book started with a conversation years ago with my mother-in-law. She told me how my husband’s eye sight problems stem from when he was a child. The issue could have been corrected when he was young, but it went unnoticed. Fearing the same result in her grandchildren, she encouraged me to check my daughters’ eyesight at a very young age. Sure enough, one of them was prescribed eyeglasses to correct her vision and a potential “lazy eye.”

As my youngest daughter was wearing eyeglasses, I started noticing just how many children were also wearing them. I thought that a story about a child needing glasses would help other children to understand the importance of taking care of their eyes and actually wearing their glasses. When I was first prescribed glasses in fourth grade, I often took them off as soon as I got to school because I was so self-conscious. Big mistake! My eyes just got worse.

Healthy eyes are very important! Many children do not even realize their eyesight is less than perfect. When I put on my first pair of glasses, I thought, “Wow! This is what everything is supposed to look like.”

But the story is not just about eyesight issues. It’s about a child finding the words and the courage to tell a trusted adult that something is wrong. I hope this lesson can carry over to any issue with which a child may be struggling.


Title: Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses

Genre: Early Reader, ages 6-9

Author: Michelle Nott


Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing

Purchase link:


Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses is about a little boy and his imaginary frog named Hoppie. Whenever Freddy struggles, Hoppie helps out. Specifically, Freddy’s having problems at school that he doesn’t realize stem from his poor eyesight. Not sure how to tell Mom about his trouble, he explains that Hoppie is the one with headaches, etc. Of course, Mom understands that Hoppie is the tool that Freddy uses to express himself. So, she takes Freddy (and Hoppie) to see the eye doctor. When Freddy leaves with brand new eyeglasses, Hoppie stays to assist the eye doctor with the other young patients.


Before becoming an author, Michelle Nott enjoyed being a French teacher (pre-K to university levels) in the U.S., working for a French company in Paris and an art gallery in NYC. She has also edited and written articles for numerous on-line and print magazines in the American and European markets.

In 2004, Michelle moved to Belgium. When she noticed that her daughters’ book collection included more French titles than English ones, she decided to put her creative writing degree to use. Many of these early stories can be found on her blog Good Night, Sleep Tight where she also reflects on raising Third Culture Kids.

In 2015, Michelle and her family returned to the U.S. But with American and French citizenship, they travel to Europe regularly. Their favorite places include the French Alps, the Belgian countryside, and the Cornish coast in the UK. Her family’s life and adventures prove great inspirations for her stories.

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses is Michelle’s first book for children. Her future children’s books are represented by Essie White at Storm Literary Agency. She is a member of SCBWI, Children’s Book Insider and Houston Writer’s Guild.

Connect with Michelle Nott on the Net!


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Guest post: The Story behind ‘When Bunnies Go Bad” by Clea Simon

Cover for Blog Tour.jpgIt’s hard to remember now, as the crocuses bloom and green buds begin to swell on the trees, but 14 months ago, we thought winter would never end. In the winter of 2014-15, Massachusetts, where I live, was buried under record snowfall of 110.6 inches. And what was worse, all but two inches of this snow came in rapid succession in what the Weather Channel called a “six-week-plus snow siege.” [link:] What that means, to you non-New Englanders, is that not only did we get nine-plus feet of snow, but that none of it – as it usually would between storms – melted. Instead it piled up. And piled up. And piled up.

Now, where I live, in Somerville, is pretty urban. Our house is right on the sidewalk, which legally we are obligated to clear. That meant that after every storm, my husband or I would be out there, shoveling – piling the snow higher and higher along the walk, with only a small cut-through for the steps up to our tiny front porch. Before long, our house was walled in by snow, the shrubs in front mostly buried with only one ancient forsythia bush still sticking its branches out, largely because it is on the side of our front porch, behind the snow wall. Soon the city was like a maze – high walls of icy, compacted snow funneling us all along increasingly narrow paths. Errands became major expeditions. We all became accustomed to backing up to the nearest crosswalk to allow oncoming pedestrians to pass.  Carrying groceries home was crazy.

The snow didn’t only affect humans, however. As an animal lover, I’d done my research. I knew that the beasts around here usually do fine in this weather. Small critters, like mice, actually benefit, as they can burrow beneath the snow to the nearest bits of frozen grass or other greenery, out of sight of hungry hawks or other predators.

But how about the bunnies? How would they fare, given the immense amount of snow and the virtual walls of icy drifts that were cutting across the landscape? Where would they do their marketing, so to speak, with everything covered in a thick blanket of icy white?

I found out one night when the snow had briefly ceased. I was looking out my front window when I noticed a set of prints. Looking kind of like parallel semi-colons, they came up the steps from the sidewalk to our front porch, where they seemed to have looked around, exploring the planter that I never managed to put away and the small bench where UPS leaves packages. And then they hopped over to the side of the porch, behind the snow wall, and dropped off.

The local bunny was coming onto my front porch as a way around the wall of snow and hopping off the side to get to that forsythia!

Once I knew what was happening, I began a nightly ritual. Rabbits, I found out, are crepuscular – they like those twilight times when the light is low. And so soon after sunset, I’d start watching. I was rewarded by frequent sightings of our local bunny as he came cautiously up our steps and then turned right, to hop off by that forsythia. Sometimes I saw him nibbling on its branches. Other times, I only saw his footprints and droppings. And when spring finally arrived and I saw threerabbits in our yard, I knew Mr. Bunny, or Ms. Bunny, as I now believe her to be, had survived the winter in fine form. (The forsythia did, too.) And so when it was time to start another Pru Marlowe pet noir, there was little doubt in my mind. A smart resourceful rabbit had to be at the center of it – and is, in “When Bunnies Go Bad.”


Genre: Mystery

Author: Clea Simon


Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Winter is hard in Beauville, where the melting snow can reveal much more than last season’s dead leaves. So when a wealthy, obnoxious tourist and his ski bunny girlfriend surface in Pru Marlowe’s little Berkshire town, she knows she should stay out of their way. The bad-girl animal psychic has to focus on more immediate concerns, including a wild rabbit named Henry, supposedly tamed and illegally living with an eighty-four-year-old lady in her home. Henry, who seems to be acting out and hiding, avoids responding to Pru. Yet when Pru discovers the tourist murdered and his girlfriend’s high-maintenance spaniel falls to her care, she gets dragged into a complicated case of crime and punishment that involves some new friends, an old nemesis, and her own shadowed past. A recent museum art heist draws the feds into the investigation along with a courtly gentleman radiating menace, who represents secretive business interests in New York and shows a surprising awareness of Pru. Her on-again, off-again romance with police Detective Creighton doesn’t stop him from warning her to steer clear of the inquiry. The spaniel, however, lures her in. Pru lives in a world where only her crotchety tabby Wallis knows the whole truth about her past, her flight from Manhattan, and her unique gift that surfaced abruptly one day. Fearing the worst, Pru now comes dangerously close to being exposed. With everything in motion, Pru, Wallis, and everyone they hold dear will be lucky to escape…by a hare.

Clea.3 - photo by Jon S. Garelick.jpg

About the Author:

Clea Simon is the author of the Theda Krakow, Dulcie Schwartz, and Pru Marlowe pet noir series, as well as three nonfiction books.   A former journalist, Clea lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband, the writer Jon Garelick, and their cat Musetta.

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Guest post: “The Journey from Finance to Fiction” by Georges Ugeux

GU Author Photo for BlogI was sitting in my office at home, watching another gorgeous New York sunset and had just put the final touches on my book, International Finance Regulation. As absorbed the peaceful surroundings, my mind began to wander and I started writing a few pages of the novel: the death of Bertrand Wilmington, falling from the trading room of a bank.

My thoughts led me to a core issue: the arrogant and egotistic mentality of the population of people that play finance like Russian roulette – they have a real sense of entitlement and like to be challenged. Who better to challenge this group than the young, beautiful Chinese female detective, Victoria Leung? She is unpredictable and one that some men believe they can easily manipulate and seduce.  To their surprise, Victoria Leung is a shrewd financial professional. I immediately adopted her as the protagonist.

Without realizing it, I had written three chapters. I printed them and read them (reading printed copy is in fact, different than text on a screen). After returning to my living room, I showed the chapters to my wife, who had no idea why I began writing a novel, especially since I was just completing a major non-fiction book. However, after reading the first three chapters, she looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and kissed her. I knew I had just received approval and interest from my most challenging critic.

My journey as a fiction author had begun.





Author:  Georges Ugeux


Publisher:  Archway Books

Find out more on Amazon

About the Book: 

Celebrated non-fiction author Georges Ugeux delivers an intense, imaginative and intriguing financial thriller in his debut novel, The Flying Dragon.  Set against the backdrop of the high-energy, high-tension world of global finance, The Flying Dragon plunges readers deep into a world where power, greed, money, and passion can intersect in a most dangerous way.

The Flying Dragon introduces protagonist Victoria Leung, a beautiful, brilliant, fearless, and highly accomplished financial fraud investigator.  Responsible for taking down Sun Hung Kai Properties’ Kwok Brothers, a real estate empire, Victoria not only established herself as a formidable talent, but earned the nickname “The Flying Dragon” in the process. When she leaves the fraud department of the Hong Kong Police, Victoria accepts a position as a senior detective at Pegasus, an international security firm based in London.  The Pegasus job affords Victoria much-needed freedom, but that calm is shattered when Victoria receives an urgent message from her close friend Diana Yu. It seems Diana’s ex- boyfriend Henry Chang is in danger.  Henry’s co-worker, Bertrand Wilmington, head of the derivative trading desk of a global bank, has fallen from a window of the twenty-second floor trading room.The Hong Kong Police Force quickly concludes that the death was a suicide, but is there more to this story than meets the eye? Henry Chang thinks so—and knows that if anyone can find answers, it’s Victoria, the Flying Dragon herself. Hong Kong and Mainland authorities are unsuccessful in cracking the case, but Victoria uses her expertise to discover key clues. And Victoria, a dogged, tough, tenacious investigator, won’t back down until she gets answers. As she races to piece together the puzzle of what really happened, Victoria is swept up in a world of danger, deception, and deadly consequences.   Can she extricate herself from this perilous web of arrogance, power, money and greed? Will she expose the corruption and bring down a financial giant?  Or will time run out? The clock is ticking….

A Belgian and U.S. national, Georges Ugeux is the Chairman and CEO of Galileo Global Advisors LLC, an investment banking advisory boutique.  Ugeux joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1996, as Group Executive Vice President, International. An adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, Ugeux is the author of a numerous nonfiction books about finance.  The Flying Dragon is his first work of fiction

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The Story behind ‘Q Island’ by Russell James

Q Island, my novel about the impact of a virus that sweeps across Long Island, had two inspirations, both pretty far apart.

The first thing that sent the muse into action was a news story about scientists discovering a complete baby wooly mammoth frozen in the Siberian tundra. They dug out the ice around it, then I watched a clip of a helicopter slingloading the thing out of the ground. The mammoth was encased in a perfect cube of ice, with the exposed tusks protruding from one end. I could see the flawless outline of the baby through the frosted ice.

My first thought was “No way someone isn’t going to clone this.” My second thought was “Why did it die so young?”

I knew viruses lived practically indefinitely if frozen. Whatever killed this thing might still be inside it, waiting to be awakened from a 10,000 year slumber. And it would likely be something no scientist had ever seen.

So I wrote the story of the mammoth’s last moments, from the mammoth’s point of view. And that was it. I had no idea where the story would go after that, so it went nowhere.

A year or two later, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. A lot of people got isolated from the rest of the world. Society disintegrated in what seemed like hours. People abandoned jobs to save themselves. Cops did crazy things. Civilians did even crazier. I remember a story about people who were too sick for evacuation and how staff was forced to face that. The whole thing was horrific.

I wondered what would happen if that occurred on a larger scale. In a bigger, more populated place. And while eventually, the waters covering New Orleans would recede, what if the isolation was permanent. That seemed like a setting for a horror/thriller. My home stomping grounds of Long Island, New York came to mind since it would be a few bridges, ferries and a tunnel away from a natural isolation. Then I remembered my frozen mammoth idea, a novel way to introduce a new pathogen without having the government cook it up like most other post-apocalyptic novels do. That would fit in perfectly.

So the lesson I learned is to save every interesting idea. Sometimes it takes two of them to get a nvoel started.


Title:  Q ISLAND





Purchase on Amazon

About the Book

Epidemic! An ancient virus surfaces on Long Island, New York turning its victims into black-veined, infectious, psychopathic killers. Chaos and madness rule.  In desperation, the military quarantines the island, trapping Melanie Bailey and her autistic son, Aiden. Somehow, Aiden survives the infection. He could be the key to a cure—if Melanie can somehow get him to the mainland.

A taut, tense, terrifying thriller that teems with intensity, Q Island is an eerily realistic tale. With a chilling plot, compelling characters, and a pulse-quickening storyline, Q Island will leave readers breathless.  Earning nods as one of this year’s best horror novels, Q Island is an extraordinary story exceptionally well-told.

About the Author

After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, Russell James now spins twisted tales best read during daylight. In addition to two horror short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness, James is the author of seven paranormal thrillers:  Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker and Q Island. His next novel, The Portal, is slated for release in 2016. Visit him at

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Guest post: “Cheryl’s 5 Seasonal Favorite Reads,” by Children’s Author Cheryl C. Malandrinos

I am a Christmas freak. There, I admitted it. I LOVE Christmas! One of the fun things I like to do around Christmas is read my favorite seasonal titles. At this point, I only get to read one a year, but sometimes I can sneak in two. Here is a list of my top five seasonal favorites. Let me know if you have heard of any of them.

The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson

This book tells the story of the Emma Jensen, who struggles to cope with the sudden loss of her husband, William. She is in such despair, she can barely hold it together for their children.

Then the first Santa letter arrives with promises of gifts and instructions for activities that will teach the family the true meaning and gifts of Christmas, giving them hope as they prepare to celebrate the Savior’s birth.

The Santa Letters is a heartwarming story that is not to be missed. You should probably have a box of tissue on your nightstand.

The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus by Tim Slover

It would be difficult to imagine Santa without a little bit of Christmas magic.The Christmas Chronicles tells the story of Klaus, whose parents died when the Black Death came to their village in 1343. Little Klaus is adopted by the Worshipful Guild of Foresters, Carpenters, and Woodworkers, where he becomes a master at his craft. His work is well-sought after and his generosity leads to his sharing his toys with children at Christmas.

This is how I described the story in my review: “It is an adventure, an inspiration, and a love story blended together with many of the symbols we have come to associate with Santa Claus and Christmas.”

This is a beautifully told story.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

As prevalent today as it was when first published, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol has an amazing transformation. He hates everything about Christmas shows his employee, Bob Cratchit, no compassion or mercy. One evening he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, who show him he must change his ways.

What I believe is even more astounding than Scrooge’s transformation is that the author is able to take a despicable character and create in the reader’s heart a degree of sympathy for the old man who was hardened by loss and suffering.

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts

This book is downright hilarious, even though I feel it addresses an important and serious issue: getting help from your spouse.

Joy and some of the other wives in their knitting group feel their husbands don’t appreciate the time and effort that goes into making Christmas special. They are sick and tired of not being able to enjoy the season and fighting to get their husbands to understand they need some help.

When Joy goes on strike, she is amazed at how quickly the idea snowballs. The women from her knitting group join her. Then the local newspaper picks up the story. The town of Holly is soon in the middle of a holiday war with men and women choosing sides.

But On Strike for Christmas is more than a book about a battle between the sexes. It is about love, understanding, compromise, and friendships. The story was turned into a movie in 2010—which I haven’t seen because I am afraid any storyline changes will bug me. I think this story is perfect just the way the author wrote it.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

It would be unthinkable if a children’s author didn’t have at least one children’s book on her list of seasonal favorites. I have loved this story since childhood and my girls love it too. We watch the original movie from the 1960s when it’s on TV every year.

The mean, old Grinch doesn’t like Christmas, so he tries to steal it. When the Whos down in Whoville wake up Christmas morning without decorations, presents, and all the yummy fixings, he’s sure he will hear them all the way up on his mountain crying “Boo Hoo.”

So, imagine his surprise when the sounds of joyful singing reach his ears on Christmas Day. Not only is it wonderful to witness the Grinch’s transformation, from this book we also get one of the most profound quotes from any picture book ever written:

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.

Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Seasonal stories can touch our hearts, make us laugh, and remind us of the magic of Christmas. I hope you’ll share some of your favorites.

Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas season.



Title: A Christmas Kindness

Genre: First chapter reader

Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos


Publisher: 4RV Publishing

Purchase link:

About the Book:

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

CCMalandrinos Author Photo

About the Author 

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author, ghostwriter, and editor. Her children’s books include Little Shepherd (GAP, 2010) and A Christmas Kindness (4RV, 2012 & 2014). She is also a book reviewer and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online at:




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Coke…It’s The Real Thing by Dr. Gabrielle Francis

cocainekkCoke…It’s the Real Thing

By Dr. Gabrielle Francis, author of THE ROCKSTAR REMEDY

Within a few minutes of entering the backstage of this show, the manager gave me the low down. The lead singer had been on a coke binge for several weeks.   It had taken its toll on the rest of the band and the tour. It was now about 3 days since the singer had done any Cocaine, but he was very edgy and having meltdowns on everyone around him.   It was my job to help him relax.

I entered his dressing room and he lay down for his treatment.   He told me that he was extremely agitated and tense all over. His facial muscles were so tight he was worried he wouldn’t be able to sing well.   I started to massage him and could feel the tension.   As I was working, he reached over to his jeans and pulled out a container with some Coke and a Coke spoon. He gave each nostril a little snort and lay back down.   I told him that this would counteract all the relaxation of the massage.   He reported that he was suffering from insomnia on this tour and said he needed just a wee bit of blow and coffee to give him energy for the show.   Hum, I wonder why you are having sleep issues? But what a great remedy…Coffee and Cocaine, the all-natural replacements for sleep!

He made me promise to not tell the band.   He had no idea what was coming for him.

“She don’t lie,

She don’t lie,

She don’t lie…


Eric Clapton

The show was terrible.   He was exhausted and his voice was hoarse. The band was furious with him and laid into him for ruining the concert.   He stormed out of the after party early and went back to the hotel. By the time the band and I arrived at the hotel, he had destroyed his room. Apparently, he got in a fight with his wife on the phone and decided to take it out on the mirror and lamps.   The band was asked to leave the hotel that night and was forced to sleep in the tour buses. The manager and band were furious and began a fistfight with the artist and hotel manager.

I was actually secretly happy. This was the first and only time in all my rock n roll history that I actually saw a hotel room torn up. This really was Rock n Roll! A sigh of relief.

The tour ended after the incident.   A Drug Intervention was held a couple of days later with the lead singer.   He was asked to go into treatment by the band, the manager, and his family.   Surprisingly, he agreed.   He admitted himself into a 28-day treatment program to detox from drugs and alcohol.

The manager asked me to be part of his post treatment support.   After he left the inpatient treatment, I helped him with Acupuncture for the cravings, Detoxification for the years of abuse, and nutritional support to rebuild what was left of his adrenal glands. AA and NA were a great support for him. He took a year off to mend his relationships and get his health back.


About the Author

Gabrielle Francis

Dr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years.

She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist. She also operates Backstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour.

Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali.

Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In StyleMarie ClaireSelfShapeFitnessDuJour and Women’s Health. She’s co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen.

Their latest book is the health/wellness/rocknroll book, The Rocstar Remedy.

For More Information

About the Book:

The Rockstar Remedy

Title: The Rockstar Remedy
Author: Dr. Gabrielle Francis with Stacy Baker Masand
Publisher: HarperCollins Wave
Pages: 330
Genre: Health and Wellness/Rock n Roll
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

Known as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!

As a Holistic Doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr. Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. Being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day.

In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results.

Now you can reach for the stars too!

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

The year is 1984. I was fresh out of massage school… a ripe 19 years old. My cousin worked for Belkin productions, the company that promoted Rock Concerts in Cleveland. One day she called me and said, “ Cuz, such and such, the biggest name in rock n roll at the time, is coming to Cleveland and they want massages. I volunteered you.”   I was in a state of shock, but gladly accepted the offer. Weirdly enough, I was not nervous or overly excited.   I felt I would be great for the job.

I arrived at the coliseum with my massage table in check, but I was secretly looking forward to the massive parties back stage.   To my dismay, the backstage seemed quite quiet. All the artists were in their private dressing rooms and keeping to themselves. I was taken to the catering hall and noticed that there was a completely organic and vegetarian spread.   In those days this was very rare and unheard of. Whole Foods was not a household name. I also noticed there was not an ounce of alcohol backstage. The most intoxicating beverage I could find was Coca-Cola. Wives had taken the place of the groupies. The Myth was shattered!

The first artist I worked on was the Saxophone player. He had the spiritual name, given to him by his Guru, on the dressing room door instead of his real name. When I entered his dressing room, I felt I had entered a Temple. It was lit with candles, incense permeated the air, and a picture of his Guru stared at me throughout the entire massage. I worked with most of the band that night just doing massage to get them ready for the marathon show. There was a medical doctor backstage giving them B12 shots to boost their energy for the big performance. Each artist was so thoughtful and down to earth. I was taken by their humility and realness. It was an ego-free zone.

They put on a super 4-hour show that night. I watched from backstage and I could see what an amazing dynamic a rock concert was. The band gives energy to the audience. The audience gives love and more energy to the band. The band gets high on the energy from the crowd. And it seems like it can go of forever. The only thing that made the band come off the stage was the venue saying that they had to go.

I will never forget that night as I saw the power of music to elevate the energy of a theater to a higher vibration.   It is no wonder that some people feel that going to a concert can be like a religious experience. I decided Rock’n’Roll would be one of my religions too! It would blend very well with my Catholic upbringing. Catholics revere saints. So, why not add a few like Jimi Hendrix, Patron Saint of the Wa Wa Pedal; Santana, the Archangel of Long Instrumental Grooves; Keith Richards, Holy Father of the Rhythm Guitar: and of course Our Lady Madonna.

After the show, that band asked me to tour with them as a massage therapist. I had to say no because I was very committed to the idea of finishing medical school.

I regretted that decision for a very long time. Luckily, I had the chance again almost 17 years later…




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My Life Since Becoming an Author by Karen-Anne Stewart#amwriting #guestblogger

Karen-Anne StewartMy Life Since Becoming an Author

By Karen-Anne Stewart

Everything and hardly nothing has changed….let me explain this seemingly stupid comment I just made. My life is still very much the same as it was before I decided to follow my dream of becoming an author and wrote the first words to Saving Rain, my debut novel, in September 2012. Inside, I feel the same, yet wonderfully changed.

What’s still the same: No one who knows me looks at me differently, and they shouldn’t; I’m just me. I love living life as uncomplicated as possible. My daughter still thinks I’m the same ole mom who takes her to school, out for milkshakes, to play dates, and who finds it necessary for her to complete her homework when she’d rather not. I still get up Monday – Friday and go to my day job, hang out with my family and friends, and live a normal day-to-day life; it’s just much busier than before.

Ash to Steele 8The results of change: In person, I’m quite shy. My shyness evaporates when I write, which has made me grow as a person. My personal boundaries have expounded, my amount of sleep has drastically reduced, and I’m loving the wild ride of achieving, failing, learning, enjoying happy dances, and rolling with the punches. Lunch breaks…and every possible moment I can squeeze in between, is filled with writing or other novel related tasks. The most significant difference is the amazing people I’ve been blessed to meet, including authors, bloggers, and readers.

I used to be the queen of organization. Seriously, I had my closet color-coordinated, papers in appropriate notebooks, and my lists were well known in my family. Now, that’s been blown all to hell…but I’m okay with that. Yes, my closet is still clean, but I’m doing good to keep my clothes separated from my husband’s, much less by color. Time management has become a necessity. While I’m taking care of all the responsibilities I had before, as well as, all the new ones being an author provides, my husband has taken on the task of making sure I’m taking care of, too. He’s my balance…my gravity.

One thing I haven’t gotten used to and don’t think I ever will, is how unbelievably awesome and humbling it feels when a reader comes up to me and tells me how one of my novels touched them in some way. When a reader told me that reading Saving Rain helped her get through some tough times she was trying to overcome, it brought tears to my eyes. Moments like that make all of the amazing times, the agonizing times, and the fun and heartbreaking times, completely worthwhile.

The only change we’ve made with our home, in regards to my writing, is turning the spare room into my office. When I say office, I don’t mean the typical desk piled high with files kind of work space. Although I do much of my writing sitting on my living room couch while my daughter is doing her homework and my husband is watching TV, I do love having a relaxed space I can retreat to when I need to fully concentrate or get through some emotional scenes, like the attack scene with Emma, in Ash to Steele. We turned my office into a writing/reading haven, complete with a couch, a swinging chair, and colorful pictures to create my idea of the perfect writing environment. I’ve included a couple of pics below .

Thank you so much for having me, and a huge thanks to the readers for taking the time to stop by! I love connecting with readers, so feel free to connect with me at any (or all) of the sites below:




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Karen-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain, and the newly released stand alone novel, Ash to Steele. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards, and Saving Rain and After the Rain were nominees for the 2014 RONE Awards. 

When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.

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