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Epilepsy Awareness Giveaway – Winners March 31, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Giveaways.
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Thank you to all who came out and entered my Epilepsy Awareness giveaway!

I used random.org to select the winners. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize or new winners will be selected.

Winner of the sterling silver Out of the Shadows necklace is……Kimberly!

Winner of the handmade Out of the Shadows pendant is….Cindi!

Emails have been sent to the winners! Thank you all again for entering and I encourage you to spread awareness for a cause that is important to you!

~Jaidis

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Book Review: Road Rash March 28, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews.
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Get your copy of Road Rash on Kindle!!

Description:

James Straley might think his life is cursed, but it doesn’t compare to what lies ahead of him on life’s highway. He’s on the run with the proceeds of a botched bank robbery. It’s all he has. His crew is dead and his getaway car just died on him. He’s on foot with the cash when he comes across a two-car pileup. There’s no saving the drivers, but he can save himself by stealing one of the wrecked cars. Unfortunately, he boosts the wrong set of wheels. Within an hour of driving off, he develops a rash that eats away at his flesh. No doctor can help him—only the car’s original owner. If Straley wants his skin back, he must journey on the road to redemption, which ends in the heart of Central America.

My Review:

James Straley should have thought twice before picking a new getaway car. Road Rash by Simon Janus (Simon Wood) is the gruesome tale of a man desperate to save his life. When things go wrong during a bank robbery and the getaway car dies, James Straley is left with two options. Option one is to continue walking the long, rarely traveled road carrying a bag of stolen money, hoping that someone will give him a ride. Or option two is taking advantage of the car wreck he just witnessed and salvaging one of those vehicles. The desperation to avoid the police clouds James’s better judgment and he selects the car with the least damage. Little did he know that his life would be forever changed when the man who was driving the car was cursed with a flesh devouring disease. Thankful to have the stolen money, he puts it to use trying to find his way to the source of the curse. Mr. Janus reminds us that if we are a bad person, there is always someone out there that is worse. It is just a matter of finding that person. But when faced with the answer of how to be free from the curse, does James have what it takes to give such an awful curse to someone else? Road Rash moves along at a nice pace and is an intriguing tale that will leave readers on the edge of their seats wanting more. Road Rash is somewhat gruesome, after all it is a flesh-eating curse, so is recommended for mature audiences.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Salina

Authors with Epilepsy March 28, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Epilepsy Awareness.
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Continuing on my journey to spread Epilepsy Awareness…and because this is a book blog…I thought it would be cool to tell you about some famous authors who were believed to have Epilepsy :)

Starting off is none other than Agatha Christie! I’m sure you all have heard that name before! Agatha Christie was an English crime fiction writer. She is world-famous for her brilliantly crafted mysteries, but is best remembered for her 80 detective novels and her successful West End theatre plays. She also wrote romance novels under the name Mary Westmacott.

Next up is Charles Dickens! Dickens was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era, as well a vigorous social campaigner. He is the author of the classics A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist…and let’s face it: We have all heard of A Christmas Carol. Several of the characters in works written by Dickens had epilepsy. The medical accuracy of Dickens’s description of epilepsy has amazed the doctors who read him today. Through some characters in his novels, Charles Dickens recorded observations on the nature of epileptic seizures, their causes and provocation, and their consequences.

Another author you may recognize is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Don’t recognize that name? Maybe you will recognize his pen name…Lewis Carroll. It is believed that in his famous stories Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, he was writing about his own temporal lobe seizures. The very sensation initiating Alice’s adventures, that of falling down a hole, is a familiar one to many people with seizures. Alice often feels that her own body (or the objects around her) are shrinking or growing before her eyes, which can be another seizure symptom.

Edgar Allen Poe is another author who may have had epilepsy. He is best known for his macabre and mysteries and is the one who invented the Detective-Fiction genre. For many years, people have referred his mental problems to alcohol and drug abuse, but today many believe that he was not well diagnosed. Many now believe he may have been epileptic which would sometimes explain his frequent confusion. Maybe his alcohol and drug abuse problems just enhanced the epilepsy symptoms.

Truman Capote was an American writer whose stories are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood. Capote is believed to have induced epilepsy himself by abusing his nervous system with drugs and booze, but regardless of why he had epilepsy, he is a fantastic writer and that is why I have included him in this list.

Moral of this post: Just because a person has Epilepsy, doesn’t mean that they can’t accomplish something wonderful! Or in this case, write some amazing novels!

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There is still some time left to enter my Epilepsy Awareness Giveaway! Please consider sharing this giveaway with friends. It is for a great cause :)

Check out my guest post over at The Back Seat Writer to earn an extra entry!

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Death Has a Name March 28, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your Paperback copy of Death Has A Name or get your Kindle copy!!!

Description:

There is a Truth that exists. It is active. Alive. Fighting to make itself known. It’s not my truth. It’s not anyone’s truth. It is The Truth.

Brodie Wade has been able to see and interact with it since he was a child, and it has scarred his mind and body. But it also gives him the ability to know things that he shouldn’t know by nature, thus he has taken employment as a psychic detective.

Working together with Detective Phil Dawson, Brodie must summon all of his will to go head-to-head with The Truth to solve the latest string of murders. It appears that Dominick Fredrickton — the Midnight Killer — has returned from the grave, beheading the unfortunate few that get in his way.

Can Brodie stop the Angel of Death before he is freed from eternal bonds?

My Review:

Death Has a Name by Jerry Hanel is the griping tale of Death and the lengths people must go to in order to keep him at bay. We are introduced to Brodie Wade who knows all to well that there are things that can’t easily be explained all around us. As a child he was thought to be insane and did his time in the nut house. Finally given a clean bill of sanity at sixteen, Brodie used his gift to help the police solve cases that were unexplainable. Brodie’s gift tests him daily as he fights to lead a normal life. This gift allows him to see what is known as The Truth. Manifestations can appear at any time and demand Brodie to listen. So when a headless man comes to Brodie for some help and Brodie finds himself in jail for murder, he will have to rely on the gift he wishes he could ignore to save not only his life, but life on Earth as well. Jerry Hanel gives us an intriguing look into Death, what he represents, and the league sworn to protect humanity. There is some mild gore description during some crime scenes, but nothing that can’t be handled by a mature audience. From the excerpt at the end of Death Has a Name, it looks as though there is another book in the Brodie Wade series and I am interested to see what situation Brodie finds himself in next.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: 3 Lies March 27, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 5 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of 3 LIES on Kindle!!

Description:

At CIA headquarters, a young officer discovers that terrorists may have commandeered their computer systems to launch an unauthorized mission. Elsewhere, conspirators abduct nine people to manipulate the rules of their game. Two disparate ambitions — Clint Masters becomes the reluctant link in the chain of danger.

Ever since Clint’s almost ex-wife dumped him, he bobs along the Massachusetts coast in a sailboat with his black lab for company. He avoids all forms of technology, which is no mean feat for the burned-out founder of CatSat Laboratories. Tired of clutching the brass ring, he needed to untether, step off the corporate treadmill, and smell a flower. Fortunately, he met one — Beth, a beautiful, unspoiled woman who doesn’t treat him like a commodity. His relationship with her offers more promise than his marriage ever did, even if she is on dialysis for her recovering kidneys.

Until the day Beth goes missing.

In spite of the evidence, her family refuses to admit she’s in danger. Without routine dialysis, she won’t survive. As Clint realizes that he loves Beth, damn-near ex-wife Paige sashays back into his life with disturbing news.

While the CIA young gun tracks his quarry, Clint enlists the help of two men to find Beth, a blithe Brit named Merlin, and Todd, his playboy partner-in-tech. But Clint has to find Beth before her kidneys fail. And before someone puts a bullet in his head.

My Review:

I recently had the pleasure of reading 3 Lies by Helen Hanson. Right from the start the reader will be reeled in: hook, line and sinker. We meet Beth and Clint who happen to be a new couple. They provide each other stability in this crazy world. Clint is going through a divorce that he so desperately wishes would just hurry and end. Beth must receive dialysis three times a week in order to save her kidneys. They are a breath of fresh air for each other and things look promising. But when Beth is kidnapped and her dialysis machine left at home, Clint must face his feelings and discover the truth in order to save her life. Throw in Clint’s soon-to-be ex-wife bringing some life altering news, friendships that may not be what they appear, and masked men bringing threats and you are left with one wild ride. Ms. Hanson’s writing style is very likable and easy to follow. If you are looking for a great espionage thriller then look no further and read 3 Lies because you really can’t go wrong. This book is suitable for most ages.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Epilepsy Awareness + Giveaway March 26, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Epilepsy Awareness, Giveaways.
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Epilepsy Awareness is important to me. Growing up, I never gave it much thought.  It didn’t affect me directly, and it’s difficult to support something you have no experience with or know about.  I was for spreading awareness for many causes, but only after I was personally diagnosed with Epilepsy, could I spread awareness with vigor for something I knew about personally.

I want to take a short break from my normal book blogging posts to try to spread Epilepsy Awareness.  Well, I’m not taking a break at all.  I am adamant about spreading knowledge about Epilepsy, and until March 31st, I will be adding posts about it to my normal book posts with the hope of adding to the awareness and allowing my readers to better understand Epilepsy.

And because I love giving away stuff, I am going to start by posting a giveaway! The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST on March 31st. You do not have to be a follower to enter, although it is greatly appreciated. Simply leave a comment on this post with your email address so that I can contact you if you win. As a bonus, you can earn an extra entry by visiting author Tonia Brown’s blog, The Back Seat Writer, and leave a comment on the ‘Writing and Epilepsy’ guest post I wrote! This giveaway is open to US and Canada only as I will be paying the shipping costs.

First up is this lovely Sterling Silver Out of the Shadows Official Logo Necklace! I ordered it from The Epilepsy Foundation. It is gender neutral as well for the few male readers I have. I have 1 of these to giveaway!

Not only is this design super awesome, but it is a great conversation piece. If someone asks what it means or where you got it, you can tell them it represents Epilepsy Awareness! I personally wear one and am asked all the time about it!

Next up is this super cool handmade necklace pendant! I have 1 of these to giveaway to a second winner!

This pendant was made by yours truly. It is a different version of the Out of the Shadows logo. I did not design the actual design, but I made the pendant. The design is like the one found on Evanescence singer Amy Lee’s page…who happens to be the American Chair of the International “Out of the Shadows” campaign.

To learn more information about Epilepsy, please visit The Epilepsy Foundation or Out of the Shadows!

I encourage everyone to pick a cause you support and help spread awareness today! Together, we can make a difference!

~Jaidis

Book Review: Bloated Goat March 25, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Bloated Goat on Kindle!!

Description:

When Granny Hammy finds Bloated Goat face down in her front yard’s drainage ditch, her grandson Cocky Doodle thinks nothing of it. In fact, he says that’s just another normal day for his best friend. But when they discover that Bloated Goat has little black Xs for eyes and is even more bloated than normal, they realize it is much more serious.

Come join the fun in a wacky adventure filled with jewel thieves, a despondent wolf, an alligator gangster, a kingdom of hungry mushrooms, a shocking skunk wedding, and a mysteriously powerful chameleon known as Crazy Ned.

My Review:

Who knew a book with the title Bloated Goat could be so hilarious! Written for grades 8 and up, Bloated Goat by Manley Peterson is a giggle inducing ride from start to finish. When Cocky Doodle’s friend, Bloated Goat, is found in a ditch with Xs for eyes, Cocky is heart-broken. In an attempt to make things right, Cocky asks Granny Hammy to help him take Bloated Goat back to his homeland for a proper burial. To thicken the plot, Mr. Peterson has thrown in some very unique characters, who happen to want Bloated Goat for various reasons. A nearly blind skunk steals Bloated Goat and marries him because of his aroma. A rat pack wants Bloated Goat as their prized possession. Not to mention some partying elephants bring to light the questions of why did the chicken cross the road. With each page I found myself laughing more and more. I don’t know if it was my lack of sleep, or maybe just my warped sense of humor (which is the direction I’m leaning in) but this book is one that I will enjoy reading to my daughter. If you are anything like me and love hearing your child squeal in delight, then reading them Bloated Goat is definitely the way to go! Like all great children’s books, Bloated Goat ends on a happy note. I am only left with two questions. My first is if there are plans to make this into a print version? I would love to see a print edition with pictures added to make reading it even more enjoyable. My second is, where does one go to find an abominable snow kitten? :)

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: The Girl Who Ran With Horses March 24, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 5 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your paperback copy of The Girl Who Ran With Horses or get your Kindle copy!!

Description:

It’s summer vacation and all 13-year-old Stevie Buckbee wants is to be close to her family again and to ride her horses–especially Jack Rabbit, her first horse all her own. But past tragedies threaten her plans before the summer has a chance to begin. Even as she discovers that she is somehow able to communicate with Jack Rabbit and the other horses on the family ranch, she finds she can no longer get through to her Dad and brother Blake. And what good is it to be able to run with the horses if no matter how fast and how far she runs, everything she knows and loves is lost?

My Review:

The Girl Who Ran With Horses by David Michael is the emotional journey of Stevie Buckbee as she tries to separate herself from her past and the person she wants to be. After the sudden death of her brother, Stevie is shipped off to live with her aunt and uncle for the upcoming school year as her father tries to deal with the loss. Since Stevie’s mother had previously walked out of her life, Stevie is left feeling abandoned. But summer break has finally arrived and even though she is filled with resentment, Stevie is happy to finally be able to go home. She has looked into all of the horse racing events in the area and wants nothing more than to ride her horses again and win some races. What should be a promising summer, quickly turns Stevie’s world spinning. The Girl Who Ran With Horses is a book not only about coming to terms with normal teenage insecurities but about accepting who you are, even if that means you can talk to horses. One thing I enjoy is reading books from authors who challenge themselves by writing in different genres. I previously had the pleasure of reading The Summoning Fire, also by David Michael, which is completely opposite of The Girl Who Ran With Horses. Which is a great thing! I have nothing but respect and admiration for authors who can successfully pull off writing in not only different genres, but in genres that don’t fit together. It’s like having a hardcore horror author writing a baby’s nursery rhyme book. David Michael has earned that respect and admiration as The Girl Who Runs With Horses is a delightful young adult book and one that I will gladly allow my daughter to read. Well, after she learns to read of course :)

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Blood Sisters March 23, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 3 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Blood Sisters on Kindle!

Description:

Starla had always imagined that becoming a vampire would make her popular, glamorous and wealthy. But after she and her best friend, Jordan, become undead, Starla realizes one thing: a vampire’s life sucks. Since there’s no turning back, she tries to make the best of her situation, but it isn’t easy. Especially not after her friend abandons her to serve the oldest, most powerful vampire in the city. Or when she gets on the bad side of a gang of vampires who’ve taken over the zoo. Or when she meets a really cute boy and ends up falling in love, only to find out that there’s a major problem…she’s a vampire, and he’s a vampire killer.

My Review:

We have all thought about it at one point or another. What exactly would it be like to be a vampire? Humans are curious by nature and so it is only natural to imagine what all the different possibilities would be like. The same thing goes for one of the main characters in Blood Sisters by Michelle Scott. Starla dreams of becoming a vampire, and not just any vampire, but the sexy, rich, and glamorous kind. She wants to feel powerful and wanted, the envy of her classmates. It’s at this point that she talks her best friend Jordan into becoming vampires together. But as the saying goes, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Starla soon realizes that being a vampire is not the life she had imagined. She is constantly struggling within herself and with the concept of drinking human blood, especially after Jordan leaves her in hopes of being saved by the oldest known vampire. Blood Sisters is about the strength of friendship and the courage to stand up for what you believe in. This book is a relatively quick read and is a good young adult novel.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Featured Author: Suzanne Tyrpak March 23, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Featured Authors.
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It’s time for a new Featured Author here on Juniper Grove! Today I would like to welcome Suzanne Tyrpak, who generously allowed me to interview her in order to find out more about her book, Vestal Virgin, and her thoughts about writing.

Welcome Suzanne!

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Without giving too much away, can you tell us what Vestal Virgin is about?

Sure, here’s the description:

Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin–priestess of the sacred flame, a visionary, and one of the most powerful women in Rome. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but the emperor, Nero, holds himself above the law. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really the pursuer? She stumbles on dark secrets. No longer trusting Roman gods, she follows a new god, Jesus of Nazareth, jeopardizing her life and the future of The Roman Empire.

How long did it take you to write this book?

I finished the first draft over five years ago. I did several rewrites, came close to getting a deal, then I went through a divorce. My world got turned around, and I just couldn’t focus on anything as long as a novel. Publishing my collection of short stories, Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) gave me the impetus to go back and do another rewrite of Vestal Virgin.

What was your inspiration to write this book?

I traveled to Rome with a group of writers from the Maui Writers’ Conference. Our instructors were: Terry Brooks, John Saul, Mike Sack, Dorothy Allison and Elizabeth Engstrom. Talk about a dream trip. I fell in love with Italy, Rome in particular. A travel book I read contained a short blurb about vestal virgins; it mentioned they were sworn to thirty years of chastity and, if that vow were broken, they would be entombed alive. That got me going

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Sex, drugs and Rock ‘n Roll—in ancient Rome.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

In fifth grade. But first I had to be a dancer, then an actress, then a writer. So that’s what I’ve done—with some major sidetracks!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I will go to great lengths to get information—for example I went to Egypt so I would know how it felt to stand in the Sahara. This may stem from an awful experience with a seventh-grade English teacher. I spent a great deal of time writing a story about a girl who cuts school, goes into New York City by train, and smokes pot. The teacher gave me an F and told me I should write about what I know. Her comment acted as a catalyst for my wild youth.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I live in Colorado, so I like to bike ride and ski. I also love to cook—especially Mediterranean food—and I enjoy throwing dinner parties for fellow writers.

What does your family think of your writing?

I told my father (he’s 95) that I got blurbs from Terry Brooks and Tess Gerritsen. He seemed completely unimpressed, told me about his neighbor who published a book—also self-published—but he can buy it at the local bookstore.

My friends think it’s great.

How many books have you written so far?

Completed three novels, one non-fiction book, and a short collection of short stories.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

Went out with my writing friends for happy hour!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?

What Terry Brooks told me: Write, write, write; Read, read, read; Write, write, write: Repeat!

Do you hear from your readers much?

Mostly in my head.

What do you think makes a good story?

Great characters and tremendous conflict—internal and external. Setting is also important. Torture your characters.

Is there anything that you find challenging in your writing?

These days, finding the time. I work two jobs.

Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, how to you overcome it?

Yes. Just start writing. Tell the inner-critic to take a hike.

What is the last book you read?

I’m always reading—fiction and non-fiction—but I’m a slow reader. The last book I read and loved, is the original, uncensored version of D.H. Lawrence’s, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Is there anything you need in order to write? (ie music, silence, chocolate)

Time!

Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?

Another novel—Agathon’s Daughter, suspense set in classic Greece. I’m about a third of the way through a first draft. Also knocking around some ideas for short stories. A guy I work with at the airport is also a grave-digger. I’m hoping I can tag along one night when he and his son dig a grave…

If you could have dinner with 1 person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Shakespeare. I bet he had great parties.

If you could travel into the past or future, where would you go and why?

I’d like to go to one of Nero’s parties, but I wouldn’t want him to notice me.

What does the word success mean to you?

Doing what I love to do.

If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?

Yes!

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Thank You Suzanne Tyrpak for stopping by and being a Featured Author here on Juniper Grove!

I recently had the pleasure of reading Vestal Virgin and you can find my review Here

Get your own copy of Vestal Virgin on Kindle!!

Please take a moment to visit Suzanne at the following sites:

Suzanne’s Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Happy Reading,

Jaidis