Monday, December 11, 2017

New release: Mama Graciela's Secret, by Mayra Calvani PLUS Goodreads Giveaway

Mamá Graciela’s Secret
Publication date: October 10, 2017
Written by Mayra Calvani
Illustrated by Sheila Fein
MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing
36 pages, 3-7 year olds
Reading guide at:

Mamá Graciela’s TENDER, CRUNCHY, SPICY bacalaítos fritos are the best in town...
Local customers (including stray cats!) come from all over the island to enjoy her secret recipe. But when the Inspector discovers that Mamá secretly caters to so many cats and he threatens to close her tiny restaurant, Mamá must come up with a plan to save it—and all of the animals she loves.

About the author:
Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her children's picture book, Frederico the Mouse Violinist was a finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards; her anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses was a First Place winner at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards; her nonfiction book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, was a Foreword Best Book of the Year winner. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications like The Writer, Writer's Journal, Multicultural Review, Bloomsbury Review, and others.

She lives in Belgium with her husband of 30+ years, two wonderful kids, and her three beloved pets. When she's not writing, editing, reading or reviewing, she enjoys walking with her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Connect with the author:

About the illustrator:

Born in Queens, New York and living in Los Angeles since 1987, Sheila Fein has always been inspired by the changing world around her. Earning her BA in Design from Buffalo State College of New York, her concentration was on drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. Sheila's education as an artist has taken her everywhere from Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia to Bath University in England. Today, Sheila Fein runs two figurative workshops, Imaginings Sketch in LA and People Sketchers in Thousand Oaks. She has been featured in numerous collections, magazines, books, solo and group exhibitions. Her paintings and drawings reside in public and private collections. Sheila loves to make the imagination of others a reality and has done so through her commissioned Fein Fantasy Portraits and Interactive Paintings. In addition to being a fine artist Sheila works as an illustrator. She just completed the book "Mama Graciela's Secret" for Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing.

Book info:
ISBN:HC 978-1-365-86153-6
SC 978-1-365-86155-0
ISBN Dyslexic Font Version:
DY HC 978-1-365-86154-3 DY SC 978-1-365-86156-7
**This book also has version printed in the Dyslexic font, the typeface for people with dyslexia. Go to to find out more about the typeface.
Suggested Retail Price - 17.99 Hardcover & 13.99 Softcover 40 % Discounted Price – 10.80 Hardcover & 8.40 Softcover
Available through - Ingram - Discount 40% Returnable – Yes
MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing – Discount 40% - Returnable – Yes
Publishing company Contact Info: MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 1024 Iron Point Rd 100-1478 Folsom CA 95630
MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 620 Buchanan Way, Folsom, CA 95630 916-897-1670

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mama Graciela's Secret by Mayra Calvani

Mama Graciela's Secret

by Mayra Calvani

Giveaway ends December 31, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Friday, December 8, 2017


C.S. Taylor is a former Marine and avid fencer (saber for the most part, foil and epee are tolerable). He enjoys all things WWII, especially perfecting his dogfighting skills inside virtual cockpits, and will gladly accept any P-38 Lightnings anyone might wish to bestow upon him. He’s also been known to run a kayak through whitewater now and again, as well give people a run for their money in trap and skeet.

His latest book is the historical fiction, Nadya’s War.



Nadezdah "Little Boar" Buzina, a young pilot with the Red Army's 586th all-female fighter regiment, dreams of becoming an ace. Those dreams shatter when a dogfight leaves her severely burned and the sole survivor from her flight.

For the latter half of 1942, she struggles against crack Luftwaffe pilots, a vengeful political commissar, and a new addiction to morphine, all the while questioning her worth and purpose in a world beyond her control. It's not until the Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad that she finds her unlikely answers, and they only come after she's saved the life of her mortal enemy and fallen in love with the one who nearly kills her.



What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

First, thanks for having me! I’m not sure what first inspired me to write, other than my first attempt at a story was due simply because I’ve always liked creative things like writing, drawing, painting, and Legos (who doesn’t like Legos?). I believe my first “book” was a “Little Mr. Soccer” book I did in first grade (maybe?) and modeled after the Little Mister series by Roger Hargreaves.

I can, however, certainly point to my dad who kept encouraging me to write and still does. One instance of his ongoing support that really stands out is around 7th or 8th grade, one of my English teachers had us journal each day, but instead of just journaling, we were allowed to write a story. So, I opted to do that and began writing some Aliens fanfiction. Being in a public school, I censored a lot of the language, obviously, but my dad went to my English teacher and said he’d prefer if I didn’t as writing shouldn’t be censored, especially if the language being used was true to the character.

I was a bit shocked that not only did he suggest that, but my English teach agreed. So, I might have taken advantage of the situation to really pump out some pages that would have raised a few eyebrows elsewhere. And once you’re hooked writing, it’s hard to stop.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

As I mentioned before, I was always trying. I don’t think it dawned on me I should try to get published until maybe tenth grade or so. Around that time, I managed to finish my first 90k word novel (terrible, but fun to look back on), and once I knew I could stay focused on a single story that much, I just kept going, getting slowly better with each try.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

I take mental notes all the time, especially for characters or plot devices I like. There’s a huge downside to doing that though, and that I find it’s hard to get sucked in to a movie sometimes as I’m analyzing what’s going on too much.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

First, believe in yourself and keep writing no matter what. I know that’s advice that everyone gives all the time, but it’s the truth. Everyone starts at the beginning. Everyone has tons of doubts and obstacles along the way, but it’ll never happen if the effort isn’t there.

Second, write for what works for you and what you like. That’s the only way you’ll have a voice on the text that’s true to you. Third, make sure you have people who will critique your work mercilessly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have family and friends read and gush over it, but hands down my best beta readers and editors have been the ones who have given me a solid kick in the teeth as to why a book doesn’t work (or *gasp* is terrible).

I suppose there’s a subpoint to number three in that any aspiring writer needs to develop a thick skin, but it’s not so much for the bad reviews that eventually come by someone, somewhere, but rather so you can take good, constructive criticism and see what’s wrong with your plot, characters, pacing, etc. and be able to fix it.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

I do, but that’s because I’m human. I dare say every writer gets distracted at some point, so I’d say to anyone struggling with that is to purposefully carve out time each day / week to get back on the horse.

What hours do you write best?

Late night. I have a house full of littles, and it’s hard to concentrate when there are four tiny tornadoes ripping through everything. Also, during the day I’m brainstorming when I can, jotting little notes, etc. so at the end of the day I have a better idea what I want to do.

How often do you write?

I try to make some time every day, even if its editing or flushing out ideas.

Are you an avid reader?

More than some, not nearly as much as others I know who devour books like I pop M&Ms.

What are you reading now?

Right now, I’m going through Benjamin Wallace’s Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors with plans on finishing the series. It’s fun and very much an escape book, which I’m in the mood for. After that, I’ll probably dive into Kathryn Atwood’s Women Heroes of World War I which I’ve been meaning to get to.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m in general research mode, toying with the setting for my next novel. Continuing with the 586th all-female fighter regiment is on the table since that is the group Nadya’s War is focused on, but there’s appeal to jump to a sister regiment (I have my eye on the 587th bomber regiment), not to mention there are some other time periods I might go to first.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bever-leigh Banfield: 'Creating is my jam...maybe characters are transforming me as much as I'm creating them'

Bever-leigh Banfield, M.F.A. is a writer, actress, voice over artist, host and speaker. She has penned numerous celebrity interviews, one of which, published in Essence magazine, won the American Diabetes Association National Media Award for journalism. As an actress, Bever-leigh has performed in television shows, movies, Broadway and off-Broadway theater and national commercials. Her voice has been heard in TV and radio ads, as an ABC network announcer, in animated films and cartoons, and as narrator of planetarium space shows at landmark Griffith Observatory in Hollywood. Ms. Banfield holds an M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Drama and a B.A. from Stanford University. She has lived in Europe and the Caribbean, and traveled in Africa, South America, and across the United States. She has been gifted with psychic perception since childhood, and as an intuitive, has experienced a vision of world peace. Creating is her joy. Her debut non-fiction book You Can Change The World is about helping you be who you are meant to be, and do what you are meant to do – live your dreams, and change the world for the better!



1.) What inspired you to write You Can Change the World?
I wrote You Can Change The World because of a confluence of things that all seemed to coalesce for me after the holidays at the end of 2015. So much had changed for me and around me in months and recent years, as well as for friends, acquaintances and co-workers on different projects. I noticed a few people thrived on changes and used them as springboards to retool their lives. Most others caught up in circumstances or situations new to them seemed to be languishing, gripped by fear and unhappiness due to their lifestyles being different, even though they had much to be thankful for and
tons to give because they’re great personalities and spirits. I was interested in the difference, because, though my husband of many years had recently passed away, and that was a heartrending blow for sure, I thought about how blessed I’d been with the love of my life for such a long time and how he was my angel now. I worked to not diminish that with victimhood or allow myself to trip and fall or lose my way. I was still alive. It was my time for a makeover, really. It was an opportunity to grow, if only I saw it that way, believed there was someone I could be that I wasn’t at that point. I was meant to do something.

Of course, this was amped up by the presidential election cycle in gear at the time and all of the issues it magnified. So many people everywhere had compassion for others in dire straits but felt they were helpless to bring about change for themselves, far less for other folks. But we know that’s just an illusion. Every person is empowered to make a change. We change things around us all the time with our thoughts, words and deeds, don’t we? And yet we don’t always take responsibility for that.

And then something really miraculous happened. I had a vision. Not my first, but one of the most profound. I saw masses of people before me gathered together as one single entity. It was intense and it touched my heart. I could see them and hear them and smell them and I had the sense of the throng stretched around the globe, to every living soul and creature. People were cheering and cheerful and loving and peaceful and had a vibration so strong and uplifting, it nearly levitated me right off my feet. I experienced  total unity. Well, I have a third eye, a sixth sense, that I have had since childhood, and I knew that this vision would someday come to be. I understood I could contribute to it. Not just change, but change for the better. These thoughts were swirling in my head.

So I took pen to paper – actually, fingers to keyboard – to tell the story and spread the good news to anyone who’d listen that we each could make change from the inside out. And that when we each change, we change the world. That is how You Can Change The World came to be the book you see today.

2.) Do you have a favorite place to write?
Oh yes, in my home office. I wish everyone could have a space with all of the goodies
they want, to create whatever innovations come to their minds. I personally love to create with some kind of view, and I’ve always been able to. From the small background at my parents’ home in New York, to a penthouse view in Manhattan, to the waters of St. Thomas in the Caribbean, to a Florida lake, to the mountainside view of my current home. I love nature, and since it’s a merry-go-round of constant creation, beauty and inspiration, I write in the midst of it. 

3.) How do you come up with the characters?
My current book is non-fiction, so the characters moving its plot are you and me and all its readers. I imagined my reader friends all around me, hearing the words I was writing and being inspired to change the world Now, when I write fiction – I have a mystery-thriller titled 12 Stories High that’s coming next – the characters seem to pop up out of nowhere and come to me full-blown. They just enter a scene and poof! get born. It’s because I’m an actress, I guess. I’ve played so many characters on TV and in films and on stage that have lives of their own, I suppose characters know I’m an easy channel and they come pouring through. From there, I just watch what they say and do, and bam! here comes a story. Something from what wasn’t there before. Creating is my jam. Maybe characters are transforming me as much as I’m creating them.

4.) Do you have any new projects coming up and if so can you tell us about it?
My next book 12 Stories High will be published in early 2018. It’s a collection of twelve short stories I hope will keep you on the edge of your seat. And since You Can Change The World is my debut nonfiction book, I’m mulling groundwork for its sequel. So much is changing internationally, in politics, culture, media, lifestyle, medicine, tech, education, finances, interpersonal relationships and almost everything else we experience, I want to help others work for change and make change work for them.

5.) Do you have any advice to give to new aspiring authors? 
I would say for authors – and anyone, really – rather than worrying about fitting in, be happy to stand out. There are so many other things in my book for writers to grasp onto too. Writers are great communicators, and why would one work to communicate clearly, poetically and effectively if they didn’t have something profound to say. So, know what you want to convey with your work. Stand for something. Be honest. Have fun. Decide what you write will make change somehow, if only a change in your readers’ mind or attitude or feelings. Pinpoint what you want to change to make the world a better place. Dream a humongous ginormous dream that can elevate people around the globe, and form a plan to act on it. Brainstorm the steps you need to take to make your writing viable. Jot down ideas and keep your mind on the business of writing as well. You may only be able to see your first step when you start, but keep writing and let it bring you joy. Have faith in yourself and determine the tasks to perform to complete your books and get them on the market. Set priorities. Do what’s important first. Inspire a team to help you. Persevere no matter what. Be flexible and inventive. Learn everything you need to know, be nimble, progress steadily, and persist until your dream comes true. I believe in you and I am rooting for you. You can change the world!

Author: Bever-leigh Banfield
Publisher: Twinkle Entertainment
Pages: 366
Genre: Nonfiction
You have an ultimate magic within you, capable of transforming yourself, your life and everything that exists. You needn’t fear change, leave it to others, or get stuck with whatever happens next. You can pull heaven right out of your hat with the alchemy of your heart and mind. You just have to know how to use your abracadabra presto change-o. You can make things disappear or pop up because you are the change you crave. Your dream is a reality somewhere, ready for you to experience it by making change your BFF. Tap into who you’re meant to be, and the special thing you’re meant to do – with this book about your mission in life, and how you can have it materialize to be happier, healthier, wealthier, wiser, and make the world a better place.

Order Below


Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Cristina G. was born in Romania during one of the harshest communist regimes that ever existed.

The tenth child of a farmer’s family, she has six sisters and used to have four brothers, now only two.

Aged eight, she read Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and fell irremediably in love with books. Since then she kept dreaming of writing for many years, and she wrote a lot, but never thought of publishing.

In 2012, after living in Italy for ten years, Cristina became a blogger.

In June of 2014, with the help of a British friend, she moved to the UK. Here, although her expectations were not great, Cristina fulfilled the dream she never dared to dream before.

Cristina G. is now a registered author and dedicates her life to writing focusing on human behaviour, emotions and feelings.

Her latest book is the self-help/nonfiction, It’s Never Game Over.



Author: Cristina G.
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 145 ebook/268 paperback
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help


It’s the end of the year but you have the impression it’s the end of your life?
Start the New Year with a plan. Don’t make a resolution, make a habit!
Whatever your situation might be now, you have the power to change it.
           Depression can be overcome.
           You can lose weight and find love.
           You can heal and transform your life.
Believe you’re happy, and you’re half way there.



What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

Victor Hugo inspired me to write, after reading Les Misérables.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

As soon as I learned to read and write, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was quite old actually, aged 8.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

I take notes in my head. Always.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

Since I can remember.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

Yes, I do. I am a call analyst (Italian, Romanian & English) and I work for 9.5 hours a day for three days a week.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

1.      If you feel like this is what you want to do, don’t ever listen to those who tell you that your dream is silly.
2.      When you lack motivation or feel hopeless, watch stories of sudden success. My recommendation would be X Factor or World’s Got Talent on YouTube.
3.      When I am stuck with a story, I move to another one.

For more tips, check out my latest self-help publication, Author for Life or for a Living? Manifesto for Real Writers.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?


What hours do you write best?

I have no preference.

How often do you write?
I write for four days a week. Since I get up until I get to bed.

Are you an avid reader?

Absolutely. Before starting to write, for more than 20 years, I read at least 5 books a week. Then life happened, and this number was considerably reduced.

What are you reading now?

I mainly read my books because they need a lot of grammatical corrections!
But I also read blog posts and self-help books.

What are you currently working on?

I work on many different books. I will mention only the Coming Soon ones.
·        One is a beautiful dystopian story, Nobody Cries.
·        The other one is a funny self-help publication for solo people, Single or… Scotch? How to be Happy Alone.
·        The third one is a very insightful non-fiction book for women who are deprived of their primordial right: Procreation, Childless: How to Cope with Endometriosis & Vulvodynia.