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Friday, March 9, 2018

Author Highlight: Phil M. Williams

Want your reading to be informative as well as emotional? A fictionalized account of what happens in the real world? Phil M. Williams's novels will show our society at work, both the good and the bad. Pick up his two nonfiction books regarding permaculture and landscaping to help make our planet a better place for future generations.

Here is his Amazon Author link: https://www.amazon.com/Phil-M.-Williams/e/B013IP5US0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1520610784&sr=1-2-ent

My particular number one favorite of his offerings is Sedition. It's a raw emotional read that you won't ever forget. Suggested for mature audiences only.

And, if you haven't gone to Amazon yet, here's his cover art to tempt you further:

Stone Lake The Propaganda Project Initiation Sedition No Conscience Cesspool Fire the Landscaper: How Landscapers, HOAs, and Cultural Norms Are Poisoning Our Properties Against the Grain Farmer Phil's Permaculture Against the Grain YA Edition


Denise Barker

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Author Spotlight: Raymond L. Weil

Here's another prolific author for you to dive into: Raymond L. Weil.

To date, he has written nine different series, sharing his captivating sci-fi stories online since 2011, although his Dragon Dreams series appears to be more fantasy than sci-fi:

1. Dragon Dreams (a three-book series)
2. Star One (a two-book series)
3. Moon Wreck (a three-book series)
4. The Slaver Wars (a seven-book series)
5. Galactic Empire Wars (a five-book series)
6. The Lost Fleet (a five-book series, also a Slaver Wars novel)
7. Star Cross (a five-book series)
8. The Originator Wars (a three-book series)
9. Earth Fall (newest series, with Book 1 released on January 19, 2018)

Check out his Amazon Author page here: https://www.amazon.com/Raymond-L.-Weil/e/B00288AOB2/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

I'm sharing some of his cover art to tempt you further:

Earth Fall: Invasion : (Book One) The Originator Wars: Conflict Unending: A Lost Fleet Novel The Star Cross: The Vorn! Galactic Empire Wars: The Beginning Books 1-3 The Slaver Wars: Books 1-3 The Lost Fleet: Galactic Search: A Slaver Wars Novel Moon Wreck: Fleet Academy (The Slaver Wars Book 3) Star One: Tycho City Survival Dragon Dreams: Dragon Wars

Set aside a few days, even your whole vacation week, to get into just one of these series. You'll be hooked.


Denise Barker

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Author Spotlight: Dale Mayer

SEALs of Honor: Ryder

Eye of the Falcon: A Psychic Vision Novel (Psychic Visions Book 12)

Dale Mayer is a prolific author, creating twenty-nine new titles in 2017 alone, with over 150 ebook offerings at Amazon. Her books cover various genres. My particular favorites are her Psychic Visions series and her Broken Protocols series (set in the future) and her Broken but ... Mending series (a raw emotional read). Of course I adore any of her SEALs series. She has four: SEALs of Honor,  Heroes for Hire (former SEALs), Sleeper SEALs and her newest, SEALs of Steel.

Her Design trilogy and her Biker trilogy and her Time Thieves novel are on my Read Next list.

Dale Mayer's vampire series and her paranormal fantasy series I have yet to read. (So many books, so little time.) Plus she has various romance collections where you can read her contribution among many other authors. The paranormal fantasy romance anthology looks tempting too, entitled Ancient Blood of the Vampire & Wolf.

And there's more. Check out the witch anthology, entitled Every Witch Way but Wicked. And the Darlings of Urban Fantasy collection. There are several fantasy collections, BTW. See also the Vampires, Werewolves & Zombies collection too.

Here's the link to her Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Dale-Mayer/e/B001JPADOI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1519314662&sr=1-1

This list of her books below is incomplete, as it doesn't show any of her four SEALs series, but it's enough to whet your appetite:

By Death: Books 1-3

Books by Dale Mayer

Psychic Vision Series
Tuesday's Child
Hide'n Go Seek 
Maddy's Floor
Garden of Sorrow
Knock, Knock...
Rare Find 
Eyes to the Soul
Now You See Her ...
Into the Abyss
Seeds of Malice
Eye of the Falcon
Itsy Bitsy Spider - Preorder for July 24, 2018 release

By Death Series
Touched by Death - Part 1 - Free
Touched by Death - Part 2
Touched by Death - Full book
Haunted by Death
Chilled by Death

Second Chances...at Love Series
Second Chances - Part 1
Second Chances - Part 2
Second Chances - Full book

It's a Dog's Life- romantic comedy

Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy
Broken Protocols #1
Broken Protocols #2
Broken Protocols #3
Broken Protocols #3.5

New adult/adult crossover books 
In Cassie's Corner
Gem Stone (a Gemma Stone mystery)

Design Series
Dangerous Designs 
Deadly Designs 
Darkest Designs

Family Blood Ties Series
Vampire in Denial
Vampire in Distress 
Vampire in Design
Vampire in Deceit
Vampire in Defiance


Denise Barker

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I Wanna Live in Bear Grass Springs, a Fictional Town Created by Author Ramona Flightner

Granted, this is a fictional town in 1880s' Montana, and I'm a Deep South gal living in 2018 who wants to hug the shorelines, so it won't work in reality.

But this small town draws me in. Meanwhile, the bad guys are evil, and the good guys are put upon. Yet the community still holds this Come Ye All Who Are Downtrodden vibe.

Want to know more? Here's Ramona Flightner's Amazon Author link:


Check out Ramona Flightner's first series, Banished, and her latest series, Bear Grass Springs. Here's the cover art and description for Bear Grass Springs (Book One), Montana Untamed:


Montana Untamed (Bear Grass Springs, Book One): Bear Grass Springs, Book One by [Flightner, Ramona]

A passionate embrace ruined her reputation. A moment of desire forced him to break a vow. Will they find love in a marriage of convenience?
Annabelle Evans arrives in Bear Grass Springs, Montana Territory, in 1884 hoping to reunite with her long-estranged sister. Expecting to attend her sister's wedding to Cailean MacKinnon, she is shocked at Cailean's pronouncement. With his "I'm not marrying a whore" echoing in the General Store, Annabelle discovers that her hoped-for reconciliation will not be as she had imagined. Not one to retreat from a challenge, Annabelle opens her own business, intent on remaining near her sister to repair their damaged relationship and succeeding without the support of a husband.

Cailean Mackinnon swore off marriage twelve years ago when he fled the Isle of Skye in Scotland. A successful livery owner, he is determined to focus on his work and his siblings, adamant that he has no room in his life for love. However, he cannot suppress his fascination for the resourceful and determined Annabelle who, in turn, cannot avoid a reluctant admiration for the strong, virile, loyal Scot. A fateful kiss witnessed by the gossiping town busybody forces their mutual attraction into the open.

Annabelle's independent spirit precludes a man in her life, and Cailean's closed-off heart refuses to allow any woman in. Will Annabelle and Cailean overcome their fears for a timeless love?  
Order today to immerse yourself in the world of 1880's Montana!

Bear Grass Springs Series:
Montana Untamed (Bear Grass Springs, Book One)- Available now!
Montana Grit (Bear Grass Springs, Book Two) March 2018
Montana Maverick (Bear Grass Springs, Book Three) April 2018
Montana Renegade (Bear Grass Springs, Book Four) May 2018
With More To Come!
clean, historical western romance novel, standalone, no cliffhanger ending
For fans of Debra Holland and Carolyn Fyffe comes a new historical western romance series by the author of the Banished Saga.

Book Two, Montana Grit, releases 03.13.2018. You can preorder it now.

Montana Grit: Bear Grass Springs, Book Two by [Flightner, Ramona]

An interrupted wedding. A deceitful bride. A devastated groom. Will they forgive each other and allow their love to rekindle?

After fleeing her past and settling in Bear Grass Springs as the schoolteacher, Leticia Browne has no intention of falling in love with the charming liveryman, Alistair MacKinnon. The pioneer town was to be her refuge. Survival and peace were her goals, not love. She never thought to marry. Never again.

Alistair MacKinnon is a patient man, slow to anger and quick to forgive. He’s waited three years to marry Leticia and his wedding day is upon him. When the door to the church bursts open, interrupting his wedding, he realizes nothing is as it appears. Now, he must face his worst fears , the town’s ridicule, and his hardest challenge yet. 

Battling despair at her treachery, Alistair must fight to regain his trust in Leticia while fending off the courtship of a desperate woman. Leticia, now a shunned woman in town, must find a way to survive by her wits alone while evading an unwanted suitor. Will Alistair allow the interloper to destroy his dreams or will he fight for Leticia and their love?

This is a stand-alone, clean, western historical romance with no cliff-hanger ending.

Books in the series:
Montana Untamed (Bear Grass Springs, Book One) 
Montana Grit (Bear Grass Springs, Book Two)
Montana Maverick (Bear Grass Springs, Book Three)
Montana Renegade (Bear Grass Springs, Book Four)


Banished Series, Banished Love (Book One)

I’m suffocating under the weight of others’ expectations. If I have to sit through one more afternoon tea, listening to my simpering stepmother extoll the benefits of traditional roles for women, I fear I’ll scream, “The world is changing. It’s 1900!” 

I want more from life than she can imagine.

If she knew of my interest in Gabriel, she’d have a fit of the vapors. She’d bemoan his humble beginnings and lack of wealth rather than recognize his integrity or his loyalty to his brothers. If she saw how he stares at me, as though I’m a puzzle he’s trying to solve, she’d lock me in my room. He fascinates me, as no one has since that awful day.

How can we surmount society’s prejudices and allow our love to grow?

Banished Love- Book One in the Banished Saga has a cliffhanger ending. This is book one in a proposed nine-book series.

Novels in the Banished Saga:
Love's First Flames (Banished Saga, Prequel, Book 0.5)
Banished Love (Banished Saga, Book 1)
Reclaimed Love(Banished Saga, Book 2) 
Undaunted Love, Part One (Banished Saga, Book 3, Part One)
Undaunted Love, Part Two (Banished Saga, Book 3, Part Two) 
Tenacious Love (Banished Saga, Book 4) 
Unrelenting Love (Banished Saga, Book 5) 
Escape to Love (Banished Saga, Book 6)
Resilient Love (Banished Saga, Book 7)

With more to come in the Banished Saga!

Banished Love- Book One in the Banished Saga- romantic historical fiction; a clean romance.

FYI: Set mostly in Boston, MA, in the early 1900s. Here are all the currently available titles in this series:

Love's First Flames (Banished Saga, 0.5): Banished Saga, Prequel Banished Love (Banished Saga, Book 1)  Reclaimed Love: (Banished Saga, Book 2)
Undaunted Love (PART ONE): Banished Saga, Book 3 Undaunted Love (PART TWO): Banished Saga, Book 3.5 Tenacious Love (Banished Saga, Book 4): Banished Saga, Book 4        
Unrelenting Love: Banished Saga, Book 5 by [Flightner, Ramona] Escape To Love: Banished Saga, Book 6    Resilient Love: Banished Saga, Book 7


Denise Barker

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Highlighting Author Brian Paone

Ready for some mind-bending reading from a truly gifted author? Then Brian Paone's works fill that bill. His latest book seems to become my newest favorite. Enjoy!

To follow Brian, see:

Book Descriptions and Cover Art:

Moonlight City Drive
Moonlight City Drive

11:18 p.m. Subject is checking into the Desert Palms Motel, accompanied by an unknown female ...

Snapshot in the parking lot. Man and woman embrace. Betrayal, I see it every day, like my own reflection in the mirror staring back at me. Another case, another bottle of booze, life is no longer a mystery to me … Because I’m the private eye, hot on your trail; the top gun for hire. You’ll find me lurking in the shadows, always searching for a clue. I’m the bulletproof detective. I got my eye on you ...

What’s a little sin under the covers, what’s a little blood between lovers? What’s a little death to be discovered, cold stiff body under the covers? I’m digging you a desert grave, underneath the burning sun. You won’t be found by anyone. Vultures circle in the sky, and you, my dear, are the reason why.

… I was always easily influenced.

Yours Truly, 2095
Yours Truly, 2095 by Brian Paone (2015-06-01)

Jeff Blue—the victim of a time-travel conspiracy—wakes up trapped in the year 2095. The only familiar face is J0; a robotic copy of the wife he left behind in 1981. But can she be trusted?

J0 could be the only key to unlock Jeff’s journey home, but it will require her to do something against her 
programming—something human.

During Jeff’s perilous journey through the future, he will have to discover the truth about J0’s origins and solve the mystery behind how he wound up in 2095 in order to uncover the reality of his own destiny. 
Armed with a one-way ticket to the moon, Jeff must race against the clock to seize what might be his last chance to return home to his time. A time without hover cars, Justice Computers, or TeleSkins—a time over one hundred years ago.

Welcome to Parkview
Welcome To Parkview by [Paone, Brian]

"Welcome To Parkview" reads the rusted sign along the outskirts of town. The tarnishing letters seem inviting, yet foreboding and mysterious. Is passing through such a wise idea?

The final destination may be more dangerous than the trip itself—an unapologetic journey through a town that thrives on sex, violence, and the macabre. A place built on deceit and temptation. A spot forever cursed with soulless transients, unforgiving lovers, and merciless vampires who hide in the shadows beyond.

The facade is peeled back just enough for you to see past its surface. There’s but a glimpse of the darkness that put Parkview on the map. Then you realize that nothing here is a coincidence. In Parkview, it may be best to keep buried secrets quiet.

In Parkview, even truth can be a deception.

Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts
Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts by [Paone, Brian]

When the lines between a drug-addicted rock star and a die-hard fan begin to blur ...

In Brian Paone's first novel, he chronicles the trials and tribulations of befriending a modern-day rock star. As a die-hard fan of the rock band God Lives Underwater, Brian wins the trust of lead singer David Reilly. This honor comes with its own set of extreme personal highs and devastating shared lows.

During their tumultuous friendship, David fights an extreme battle with drug abuse and depression. Pile on top of all this the throes of a cutthroat music industry and the realization of one's own mortality.

Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts is a novel that convinces the heart of every reader that perhaps dreams are never really finished. Instead, they are passed on from one friend to the next.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

THE American Grammar Guide: The Chicago Manual of Style, Seventeenth Edition, Released 09.05.2017

For all United States authorswhether you write fiction or nonfiction books, regardless if you plan to self-publish said works or to go the traditional publishing routeyour main go-to guides should be:

  1. For Grammar: The Chicago Manual of Style, Seventeenth Edition (aka 17CMS herein), which released in early September 2017. Per 17CMS 1.1, these grammar rules and their many exceptions apply to books and journals for publication (meaning, both fiction and nonfiction books).
  2. For Spelling (per 17CMS 2.54): Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (aka Web11). However, note that rules like 17CMS 7.89 may override some preferred Web11 spellings.
Don't believe me? Check with any of the Big Five publishers. Aside from their own in-house style guides (that trump both Web11 and 17CMS on certain issues), you'll find they use the same two reference books that I do, because this pair represents the standard accepted guidelines for US book publishing.

I've been copyediting for almost a decade now, starting out with a well-known NYC publisher for 5.5 years, but now I work exclusively with Indie-publishing authors. So I've gone through three editions of the CMS to date. Here's a photo of my flagged copies of 15CMS and 16CMS. Do your copies look like mine? Ha!

As you can see in the next picture, my 17CMS copy is more pristine and for two reasons. One, I've just had it for not quite three months. Two, I also purchased the 17CMS online version, which should keep my physical reference book a tad neater. We'll see in a year or two.

So all authors should be aware of the basic grammar and spelling rules, checking these two reference books and hiring editors as needed.

On a side note, check out my new website (link in my signature below). I've got the bare bones setup initiated but will add more pages in my spare time.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe and fun Thanksgiving. Got your tree up yet? Mine is, but it's pretty bare at the moment. This year will be another experiment, as I have mischievous pets who like to play with the wooden ornaments and chew on the (fake or real) needles. I may have to remove my tree from my house. I hope not.

Have a great weekend, all.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My Revamped More Ergonomic Home Office for Just $70, A Huge Bargain

I should have upgraded my home office ten years ago. Better late than never, right?

And my four purchases this year were under $70.00 total (plus tax and any shipping charges), which really begs the question: why did I wait so long? Especially for such a bargain price for my ongoing health. Anyway, here's some details that may help others to upgrade their home office space.

  1. I was using the worst office chair in the house for my home office (the oldest one too). So I swapped it for the newer one from the kitchen desk area. Remember to adjust the height of the chair (and any related seatback positioning) to give you maximum comfort. Big improvement already but still not enough. See next item.  
  2. If your butt is going numb, despite various trips to the coffeepot and back, or your legs are going numb from not getting up from your desk chair at all for long stretches, then it'll affect the rest of your body too. This was my son's suggestion in lieu of buying a new office chair: buy a memory foam seat cushion instead. Mine is an Everlasting Comfort (on sale for $33 at Amazon; I'm not an affiliate). This may be my best purchase of the whole year. Instant comfort. No more numbness. No more stiff body parts. I feel ten years younger.
  3. I'm using a laptop only. No desktop computer. But the desktop setup is better for my text-heavy copyediting work, with its keyboard placement allowing for my ninety-degree arm position, and yet the bottom edge of the screen itself is at least ten or more inches above said keyboard for better eye alignment. So I bought an external keyboard. My choice was a Verbatim model (currently on sale for $7 at Amazon), an old-fashioned plain-Jane concept with feet at the back to give it a bit of a tilt. Just perfect. You know those two-keyboard organs in some of the huge Catholic churches? My external keyboard + laptop now look like that, with the external keyboard on the pull-out keyboard drawer to my desk and my laptop atop the main desk area, with a little boost going on. Read the next item.
  4. To get my laptop screen up higher to meet my eyesight, I'm using a flat 4" riser (but would prefer a 6"-7" one in theory), a hand-me-down item marked 3M LX500 (for those of you trying to find it online). This one is really great as it has a shorter base so that the extended shelf overhangs, allowing me to pull my laptop, hence my screen, closer to my eyes, especially if I pull my chair closer to my desk, my legs fully within the desk well, the keyboard tray at my stomach. Of course this disallows any office mascot from sitting in your lap. Just so you know ... 
  5. I bought an ergonomic mouse. Mine is an Anker four-button (currently on sale for $20 on Amazon). Prefer it over the traditional mouse.
  6. My final purchase was a wrist rest. Mine's a Belkin jell-filled wave design (now $9 on Amazon). Love it. Again an old-fashioned tool from desktop computer days of years ago. But I like it better than the hard keyboard shelf. I don't have carpal tunnel after decades of typing, and I sure don't want it now. I can't prove use of a wrist rest prevents that, but I can say it makes my typing more comfortable. Maybe I should have bought the accompanying wrist rest for the mouse too. May do that yet.
  7. For those of you who do detailed computer work (be it numbers or letters), I've incorporated a new element into my workday to relieve eyestrain. I'm the grammar police, looking for extra spaces to delete, spaces to add, whether a semicolon should be a colon or a comma or vice versa. In other words, tedious work that strains my eyes. Also, since I do two complete read-throughs of every project I receive, I'm doubling my reading time. So a 50K project means 100K worth of reading for me. Thus I now do my first read-through (1RT) on my computer as usual, with Microsoft Word's Track Changes program. However, for my second read-through (2RT), I send a PDF of said updated Word document to my Kindle. Easier on the eyes without a backlit screen. Saves paper and toner from having to print out a hard copy.
One final note: this takes care of everything but the remaining tension in my shoulders and one middle point along my spine, which just prove I should spend some time doing yoga and/or weight lifting, plus some quick deep-breathing breaks during the day and more restful sleep at night.

I'm a work in progress.

Hope this helps someone else out there too.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)