Monday, February 19, 2018

Book Blast: Malayan Enigma by Nicholas Snow - Win a $25 Gift Card

Title: Malayan Enigma: An Andrew Bond WWII Adventure
Author: Nicholas Snow
Publisher: AuthorHouse UK
Genre: Military/History
Format: Ebook

Malaya, 1941 – a fool’s haven from the devastating war raging elsewhere in the world Sent to Singapore towards the end of 1941 to evaluate the intentions of the Japanese Empire, Lieutenant Andrew Bond finds himself embroiled in a series of events accelerating towards all-out war in the region. The city, a heady, exotic blend of cultures teeming with intrigue, is oblivious to what lies ahead. Facing betrayal, incompetence, Japanese spies, and the Yakuza underworld, Bond manages to gather a band of trustworthy companions, including the striking beauty Liu-Yang. In a desperate race against time, he must force his way through enemy-infested jungles and seas to bring home a device that will help change the course of the war – the Malayan Enigma!

Nicholas Snow is the pen name of Nicholas C. Kyriazis, who holds a diploma and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Bonn, Germany. He has acted as visiting professor at Harvard and at the University of Trier. He has worked as a consultant to the Directorate General of Research of the European Parliament, to the National Bank of Greece, and to the Ministries of National Economy and of Defence, and has served as secretary general of Public Administration. Professor of economics at the University of Thessaly, he is a member of the board of Alpha Trust Investment Fund (listed on the Athens Stock Exchange), vice president of Ergoman Telecommunications, and vice president of the Kostas Kyriazis Foundation. He has contributed more than sixty papers to academic journals and has published eight books on economics, history, and strategy as well as a volume of poetry. Poems of his have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Maltese. As a novelist, he has published eighteen books in Greece, several of which have been translated and published in English, including Themistocles (Kosbil Publications, 2004), The Shield (AuthorHouse, 2005), Assassins (AuthorHouse, 2007), and, in collaboration with Guy FĂ©aux de la Croix, Last Love (Plato’s Last Love) (AuthorHouse, 2014).



Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins February 19 and ends on March 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Meet the Author: Nadia Natali, Author of 'Stiarway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin'

Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 
Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.
DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.
Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.



About the Book:
Growing up as Frankie Gershwin's daughter, the sister of George and Ira Gershwin, was quite a challenge. I didn't have the perspective to realize that so much unhappiness in a family was out of the ordinary. But I knew something was off. My mother was often depressed and my father was
tyrannical and scary, one never knew when he would blow up. I learned early on that I had to be the cheery one, the one to fix the problems. Both sides of my family were famous; the Gershwin side and my father who invented color film. But even though there was more than enough recognition, money and parties I understood that wasn't what made people happy.
As a young adult adrift and depressed I broke from that unsatisfactory life by marrying Enrico Natali, a photographer, deeply immersed in his own questions about life. We moved into the wilderness away from what we considered as the dysfunction of society. That’s when we discovered that life had other kinds of challenges: flood, fire, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. We lived in a teepee for more than four years while building a house. Curiously my mother never commented on my life choice. She must have realized on some level that her own life was less than satisfactory.
Enrico had developed a serious meditation practice that had become a kind of ground for him. As for me I danced. Understanding the somatic, the inner body experience, became my way to shift the inner story.
We raised and homeschooled our three children. I taught them to read, Enrico taught them math. The kids ran free, happy, always engaged, making things, and discovering. We were so sure we were doing the right thing. However, we didn't have a clue how they would make the transition to the so-called ‘real world’. The children thrived until they became teenagers. They then wanted out. Everything fell apart for them and for Enrico and me. Our lives were turned upside down, our paradise lost. There was tragedy: our son lost his life while attempting to cross our river during a fierce storm. Later I was further challenged by advanced breast cancer.
It was during these times that I delved deeply into the somatic recesses of myself. I began to find my own voice, a long learning process. I emerged with a profound trust in my own authority. It became clear that everyone has to find his or her way through layers of inauthenticity, where a deep knowing can develop. And I came to see that is the best anyone can offer to the world.
Enrico and I still live in the wilds of the Lost Padres National Forest, a paradise with many steps going up and down, a life I would not change.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

-Can you tell us what your book is about?
One may believe genius, fame, and wealth bring happiness. That was not my experience. My mother, sister of George and Ira Gershwin, and my father who invented color film were the primary models in my childhood. Growing up with such talent as I did, I learned early on that it distorts values. That was my first lesson. I turned my life around when I met Enrico who was to become my husband and partner in life. We moved out to the wilderness and met with many obstacles while raising a family. We turned all the apparent false values of the social system inside out and then had to face the consequences.
During those years I discovered my own truth, a journey that took me inward to body sensation, an inner experience, rather than looking to authority or others for answers. Perhaps most importantly was how I found my boundaries, my authenticity and my voice, which led me to find meaning in my life and a meaningful way to help others.
-Why did you write your book?
It was an urge that had no direct path. I just knew I had a story to tell and hoped others would find it valuable. In a sense it wrote itself.
-What kind of message is your book trying to tell your readers?
I believe that my message might inspire and inform readers how to shift from turning to others for answers to finding one’s own truth within.
Learning that you are the utmost authority on being human was huge for me. And finding out thinking is not reality was at the bottom of it all. I had to turn inward, to the inner experience, to feel when I looked for an answer. I prefer to hear from people’s experience rather than to read a how to book and I hope my journey will provide such a context to others.
-Who influenced you to write your book?
A good friend who teaches writing at UCLA said to me, “You have such an interesting story to tell you ought to write a memoir”. Her suggestion confirmed an impulse I had been holding, which was to write how being part of such a famous and wealthy family was completely at odds with my finding a wholesome life and then the challenging journey I took to find it.
I joined my friend’s weekly writing group and found it daunting as I listened to the other professional writers read their pages. After months of feeling painfully inadequate I stopped participating and wrote the rest of the book at home. Luckily my friend was very encouraging and without all those listeners I realized I was better off working on my own.
-Is it hard to publish a nonfiction book?
I first self-published my memoir and sent it out to other publishers.
I found someone who would do PR for me at a given cost. Since they were also a publishing company and liked my book, I asked if they would publish mine if I paid for the printing. It has been a mixed experience.
-Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?
There were times I felt an uncomfortable sensation in my belly as I wrote challenging parts of my story. I believe my belly was telling me that what I was writing was either not genuine or off center. My desire to be authentic pushed me to rewrite whatever was necessary to go to a deeper level that allowed both authenticity and integrity. Sometimes the sensation was there and I had no idea why but I had to rewrite until it disappeared.
-What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?
I would bake something.
-Which holiday is your favorite and why?
I like Thanksgiving because I love to cook and love good food.
-If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?
I would go to a really good but quiet Japanese restaurant
-What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy cooking and writing my cookbook. I love technology and am on the computer a lot reading the news as a break from my writing.
I also love my animals, three German Shepherds, four cats and lots of chickens.
They all roam freely on our property out in the national forest.
-Can you tell us about your family?
My family of origin was full of genius and trouble and I tried to create a new paradigm with my current family, one of wholesomeness and integrity.
The life my husband and I created in the wilderness felt like an antidote to society and its apparent pitfalls. We home schooled the kids and ran into serious trouble when they entered their teenage years. My world turned upside down. We lost one of our three children in an accident. I have spent my life trying to find my own voice and have written about it in my memoir.
-What do you like the most about being an author?
I like having to be authentic and real and that challenge is equally a part of my life.
-What kind of advice would you give other non-fiction authors?
It took many years to write, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin. In some way I felt I had a hand at my back that pushed me through the whole process. It was very hard work but for me there was little or no resistance. You really need to want to do it; if there is any doubt I imagine the process could be agonizing.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meet The Authors: Children's Book Authors Patrick & Shani Muhammad

South Florida based janitor turned serial entrepreneur, Patrick Muhammad took what some would call an unconventional route to his newest venture.  “What I do now has evolved.  It truly took my passion and has turned it into a profession for me. I can see myself mentoring and sharing my story with young people easily for the next 20 years.  I love talking to young people and showing them, what entrepreneurship looks like. I love sharing my stories of how I came to be.  I didn’t just wake up one day and have all the answers.  My wife and I bumped our head A LOT.  I just want to say to them, look…here’s the blueprint.  Start now, don’t wait until you’re 30.  Passion has no age requirement, and has no limit on how many you can have. I started out as a janitor, then became a baker now I am into motivational speaking. They just have to have the passion and guidance. Anything is possible.”

“Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay” is the 1st book in a series of children’s books authored by husband and wife writing partners, Shani and Patrick Muhammad. The idea for the book was created one night while trying to explain the reason there was a gigantic, neon, pink and orange food-truck, now sitting in their front yard to their then 4 year-old Qadeer.   Patrick and his wife came up with the idea that they would write a keepsake item for all their children, detailing the road they took to becoming entrepreneurs.  The primary message is simple. By tapping into your passion early in life you can turn your playdays into paydays.  Once the book was published they both realized that the story could not only inspire their own children to entrepreneurship, but others as well. Shani figured out how to self-publish it and Patrick would take it to different youth groups in his community.   “I began shopping the book around to childcare centers and non-profits that served young people in the projects and the adults loved it.  “They really loved the idea that it was based on a true story and that the message was coming from a black male perspective. A story their children could relate to.  The images were brown like them and I just always got a positive response.  We took that book everywhere with us, and the response was this is a message that’s needed.  Children can’t be what they can’t see.”
Patrick currently lives in South Florida with his wife and three of his youngest five children.  He has a passion for planting the seed of entrepreneurship and carving out wealth building opportunities for his children’s generation. When he’s not writing books he’s on tour, speaking to groups of young people about basic principles of financial literacy and the benefits of early investing using cryptocurrency as a vehicle to establish future financial goals. When he’s not doing that…he’s on a creek with a fishing pole in his hand.

Shani Muhammad has been married to Patrick for 17 years now.  Together they have 5 children and 3 grandchildren.   Shani has spent the past 15 years in a classroom as a teacher. She too is a serial entrepreneur and has in the past owned a one-price shoe store, group homes and several online businesses. When she’s not working on the next children’s book in their series, she too enjoys researching and investing in crypto currencies and planning her family’s next “staycation.”



About the Book:

Author: Patrick Muhammad & Shani Muhammad
Publisher: 5 Star Publishing
Pages: 40
Genre: Children’s Book

The first book in a series, "Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay", details the journey of an entrepreneur, through the eyes of a child. The book uses vivid illustrations and lively words, to explain the road little Patrick took into the world of entrepreneurship.  It demonstrates the benefits of tapping into your passion early in life.  “Patrick” tapped into his passion of baking to help solve a money problem.  This book also shows the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.  You witness a 9-year old take the power and control of his future into his own hands. You also see what happens when “Patrick” finds help in a friend, to help grow his business. Above all, this book motivates both young and young at heart and serves as a reminder that we all have the ability to turn our playdays into paydays.


What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

The idea for the book was created one night while trying to explain the reason there was a gigantic, neon, pink and orange food-truck, now sitting in their front yard to our youngest at Qadeer. He was 4 at the time.   My wife and I came up with the idea that we would write a keepsake item for our children and God-willing…grandchildren, detailing the road we took to becoming entrepreneurs.  The primary message is simple. By tapping into your passion early in life you can turn your playdays into paydays.

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

I never wanted to be a writer. Prior to writing this book, I was a janitor for 25 years. I kind of fell into writing. It was my wife’s idea, to leave it as a legacy for my children and  grandchildren to have after my wife and I were long gone. I created the concept, she was my co-author. I was blessed to have her on my team, she has a degree in journalism and currently works as a high school teacher, so that kind of worked in my favor you could say.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?


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

I’ve been a janitor for most of my life. If I never owned the food-truck, I don’t think this book would’ve ever been written.

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

By day I’m out selling and promoting my book trying to get speaking engagements. At night, I’m a janitor, I clean a car dealership.  I tried quitting several times…the owners won’t let me.  

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

·        Books don’t sell themselves. Make sure you put money aside for a marketing budget and plan because I don’t care how good your book is…if no one knows about it, it’s not going to sell. If you don’t have a degree in marketing or have a background in the book business, its okay to hire help. As a new author, selling your book is a fulltime job with a part-time check.
·        If you are not going the self-publishing route and use Amazon or Barnes & Noble to get your book to market, make sure you understand how your royalties will be handled.  How often will you receive statements and what % of the sales will you actually receive. 
·        You’re going to need to find someone or a group that will help keep you accountable to actually get to the finish line on your book and get it to market. If you are doing writing “on the side”, try to surround yourself with other like minded people. Life is going to happen, people who don’t have your dream will discourage you. 

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

Life is going to happen. Things are going to get in your way. That’s the way life is. We make plans and then Allah laughs.  I believe if passion is there, the pay will come.

What hours do you write best?

Weekends, early am. Usually between 6 and 8 am. My children and wife are still usually in the bed.  After I make fajr prayer, I light my candles, it’s perfect.

How often do you write?

I set aside time every weekend.

Are you an avid reader?


What are you reading now?

Black American Money by Boyce Watkins and Message to the Blackman by The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

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

Prior to writing this book, I was a janitor for 25 years. I kind of fell into writing. It was my wife’s idea, to leave it as a legacy for my children and  grandchildren to have after my wife and I were long gone.

What are you currently working on?

Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay is the 1st in a series of picture books. Our next book will continue to explore how Patrick turns his play into pay, this time using Bitcoins.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Meet The Author: Actress Comedienne Author Rhonda Shear @rhondashear

Actress. Comedian. Award-winning entrepreneur. Builder of a $100 million apparel brand. Television star. Former Miss Louisiana. Candidate for elected office. Philanthropist. And now, author. There aren’t many hats that Rhonda Shear hasn’t tried on, and she’s worn them all with style, moxie, southern charm, and a persistent will to be the best.

A New Orleans native, Rhonda started her journey to the spotlight by dominating local, state, and national beauty pageants from the time she was sixteen—including three turns as Miss Louisiana. In 1976, in the wake of a Playboy modeling scandal that cost her a coveted crown, she became the youngest person ever to run for office in Louisiana, losing her fight for a New Orleans post by only 135 votes.

After that, Hollywood called, and she quickly moved from Bob Hope specials to guest appearances on hundreds of television shows, from Happy Days and Married With Children to appearing on classic Chuck Barris camp-fests like The Gong Show and the $1.98 Beauty Show. Rhonda’s big break came in 1991 when she became the sultry-smart hostess of late-night movie show USA: Up All Night, a gig that lasted until 1999 and made her nationally famous.

After Up All Night ended, Rhonda pursued her love of comedy and quickly became a headliner in Las Vegas and at top comedy clubs like The Laugh Factory and the Improv. At the same time, she reconnected with her childhood sweetheart, Van Fagan, who she hadn’t seen in twenty-five years. After a whirlwind, storybook courtship, they married in 2001.

Rhonda’s latest chapter began when she appeared on the Home Shopping Network to sell women’s intimates. Her appearance was a sensation, and she and Van quickly started a company, Shear Enterprises, LLC, to design, manufacture and sell Rhonda’s own line of women’s intimate wear. Today, that company has grown to more than $100 million in annual sales, and Rhonda has won numerous entrepreneurship awards—though she still refers to herself as a “bimbopreneur.”

Today, Rhonda and Van live in a magnificent house in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she engages in many philanthropic projects, supports numerous charities for women, and works on new books.



About the Book:

Author: Rhonda Shear
Publisher: Mascot Books
Pages: 275
Genre: Memoir/Women’s Self-Help

Up All Night combines memoir and self-help to follow Rhonda Shear’s incredible journey from modest New Orleans girl to bold, brassy, beautiful entrepreneur and owner of a $100 million Florida lingerie company.

Along the way, Rhonda has been a beauty queen, a groundbreaking candidate for office, a Playboy model, a working actress, a late-night TV star and sex symbol, a headlining standup comedian, an award-winning “bimbopreneur” and a philanthropist who uses her success to help women of all ages be their best and appreciate their true beauty.

Up All Night is also a love story. Rhonda reconnected with her first love, Van Fagan, after 25 years apart, and after a whirlwind romance in The Big Easy, they married in 2001. Now they share a fantasy life of luxury—but it hasn't come easily. In this book, Rhonda shares the lessons she’s learned along the way: never let anyone else define you or tell you what you can’t do, make your own luck, and do what you love.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

I started writing a lot when I started working as an actress in Hollywood in the 1970s. I worked with a wonderful performer, comic and singer named Kenny Ellis, and we wrote a lot of our own material. So I suppose you could say that Kenny was my first inspiration as a writer.

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

I didn’t know that I wanted to be a writer, honestly. I wanted to be a performer. First, I thought I would be a news anchor in my native New Orleans. Then I went on to win beauty pageants, act on TV and in movies, host USA: Up All Night for seven years, be a headlining standup comic, and start my own company. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I really thought about writing my memoir.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

No, but as a lifelong performer, you see the classic points of a good novel or screenplay: the turning points, the point of no return for the main character, the dark night of the soul, all that.

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

I run my own very successful business, Shear Enterprises, LLC. We design and sell intimatewear for women. I love helping women feel beautiful no matter what their body type. 

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

Yes. First, just start. I had so many false starts in writing my book. Just write and don’t worry about it being perfect. Second, if you’re not sure how to handle part of your story, ask for help. I talked to some veteran writers about how to tell my story and got some great advice. Websites like Quora are wonderful for that sort of thing. Finally, don’t try to imitate someone else’s style. Be yourself.

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

Well, I have a very busy life, so probably! I have my company, lots of charitable causes and fundraising parties that I’m always putting on, I travel a fair amount, and of course I have my 5 dogs—my babies. So yes, it’s hard for me to be disciplined. That’s why I think it’s vital to set aside time to write when you can.

What hours do you write best?

Usually in the evening. I’m not a morning person. I’m at my best after the sun goes down.

What are you currently working on?

I’m starting work on my next book, which will be about women and their body images and how to feel beautiful no matter what your age or size. It will also talk about lingerie and other products that can help women feel sexy. The working title is “Unmentionables.”

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Guest post: "Not Far from the Tree" by Joseph Davida, author of 'Traveling High and Tripping Hard'

The seeds for me wanting to become an author were probably planted before I could even write. Although I was raised in a pretty working-to-middle class household, I was always surrounded by books. The walls in my father’s den were lined with bookshelves, filled with thousands of titles, many of them dating back to the eighteen and nineteenth century. This was not a common sight in the neighborhood where I grew up. In most houses, you'd be lucky to find a copy of the Reader’s Digest, let alone anything to read at all. But before I was even old enough to recite the alphabet, I knew that those books held some kind of power...and that one day I would learn their secrets. 

In that same room was a heavy wooden desk and  a typewriter where I would occasionally see my old man pound away on its keys. He mainly wrote articles for fly fishing magazines, and though I never inherited the same passion for angling that he had, I was always in awe of watching him become engrossed in the process of writing. Something in him changed when he was in front of that typewriter, and for short periods I would get a glimpse into the soul of my father as an artist, instead of just as a parent. He did not write for a living, but somehow, he seemed most alive when he was putting words onto paper.

It wasn't until later, that I learned that his father was a writer too… My grandfather had his own column in a local newspaper, where he wrote reviews about local bars and restaurants. And while it’s true that few people would consider what they were writing about to be serious contributions to the field of literature, they were both trying to capture something about the aspects of life in which they were most passionate. 

In the case of my father, his passion was fishing. For my grandfather, it was essentially drinking booze and picking up women. Even though their subject matter(s) couldn’t be any more different, there was something about their work that was very similar. They didn’t seem to write as much specifically about their individual subjects as much as they wrote about how those subjects made them feel. And though I didn't really get a chance to read much of their writing until after they both had passed away, those columns captured little bits and pieces about who they were that I barely got to know when they were alive.

My father once said the greatest sound he had ever heard was the sound of a common loon crying out over a hidden lake, deep in the Adirondack mountains. My grandfather responded that the greatest sound he had ever heard was the sound of ice-cubes hitting his glass the moment before having his first scotch of the day. For both of them, these were their moments of Zen...and the passion they felt about these experiences, could not be denied in their writing.

I guess that’s why any of us ultimately feel the need to write. To convey something about all of the beauty and tragedy in the world, from a perspective that’s all our own…but something that we just can’t keep to ourselves. That, and of course the hope that through our creations we may become immortal, and leave behind a little bit of a legacy for the ones who come after.

And although it will be many years before my children become old enough to read any of my own work, I hope that when the day comes, they not only get a chance to learn something about me, but that they might feel inspired to embrace the passion within themselves. 

Pixel Egypt Dave
Joseph Davida is the pen name of a successful Nashville- based entrepreneur, former rock musician, and New York native.  He is currently at work on his next book, as yet untitled. Connect with him on the web:
Check out the book on Amazon!