Friday, December 13, 2013

The Legend of Ranger - Q&A and Giveaway

I don’t typically have children’s books on my blog, but since it’s almost Christmas and I am the Book “Mama” I thought it would be a fun change.  Not to mention, the author donates all proceeds from the book to benefit children battling cancer.

About the book:
In The Legend of Ranger, Alan Salisbury's words and Roberta Baird's whimsical artwork create the magic of the Christmas season with the tale of a young reindeer named Ranger who has a big dream--to be part of the reindeer team that pulls Santa's big sleigh. Ranger searches all over Santaland for someone who can teach him the secret of flying, but everyone he asks, including the oldest and wisest elves, Mrs. Claus, and even his brother Rudolph, gives him the same advice: ''The secret lies within.'' Determined to fulfill his dream, Ranger must figure out the secret for himself. An emergency trip to Krystalwite to help the sick reindeer at the North Pole offers Ranger the opportunity to play a part in saving Christmas and, along the way, learn what it is that lies within. The Legend of Ranger contains a heartening and inspirational message about the power of believing in yourself no matter what challenges lie ahead.

Q&A With the Author

When did you know that you wanted to become an author?
I've done a fair amount of writing in the past, all of it technical or management oriented. Outside of that, I had written a few songs for glee club performance, but nothing else. I never really thought about fiction of any kind until an idea for a Christmas story began percolating in my mind several years ago.  Each holiday season I'd think about it and then get caught up in other things.  Finally in 2011 I promised myself I would take a crack at it and sat down at the keyboard.  I had the general idea in mind, but not what I considered an interesting plot that would hold children's attention.  The final ingredients came to me during a few long muse was at work....and I completed the first draft.  I sat down with family and grandchildren and read it aloud to them.  It worked, and they encouraged me to try to get it published.

What made you not only decide to write a children’s book, but a Christmas themed book?
I think I answered that above.

From a mother who lost a child to cancer, I love that you are donating the proceeds of this book to a children’s cancer charity.  What made you decide to do this?
My family and I have had a very close friendship with the family of one of my West Point classmates.  Our kids grew up together and we spent many summer vacations sharing a house at the beach.  Antonia Giallourakis and my wife, Florence, were extremely close friends.  Antonia was an art teacher in the local (Shrewsbury, NJ) school system.  When she, herself, was stricken with Cancer, she developed an innovative and effective art therapy program for kids with cancer.  After she lost her own battle with the disease, her family started a foundation to carry on her work.  This past year, they folded their foundation into Mass General Hospital for Children by establishing an art therapy endowment in Antonia's name. So I put the book project together with our desire to contribute to her endowment....a perfect opportunity to match my creative interests and philanthropic interests.

What is next for you?  Can we expect another book in the future?  If so, will it be another children’s book?

I have a second book in the outline stage now.  It's also a children's book of sorts, but aimed more at the middle school age range.  And this may also have some adult appeal from a satirical perspective.  I won't say more about it just yet.  However, I do have a couple of ideas for a follow-on Ranger book which may mature first.  As an aside, I have been developing a new board game with a totally different theme as well.  Here, too, Ranger has intervened and I have a Ranger game completely outlined which may be on the horizon for 2014.  I can't completely predict which direction my muse will take me in fulfilling these projects.  But I can assure you that any and all of these will be to benefit a selected charity.  All things Ranger will go towards Antonia's endowment.  I have other charities in mind for the other projects.

“My message is if you believe in yourself, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish,” says Dr. Alan Salisbury. And Salisbury’s is indeed proof of the limitless possibilities of positive thinking. From an illustrious 30-year military career, in which he pioneered the use of computers on the battlefield and earned the rank of Major General, to a highly successful 12-year tenure in executive roles in the field of IT, to a full schedule as an independent consultant, Salisbury’s life has been defined by the axiom that self-belief equals achievement.

When a few business ventures yielded a windfall of good fortune, Salisbury decided to direct his profits to the best investment of all: Giving back. Inspired by his military career, he founded the Code of Support Foundation dedicated to supporting troops, veterans and military families and motivating Americans to serve in their own way to keep the nation strong. On another level, capitalizing on his own creative interests, he established Opus One Studios as a uniquely structured venture to benefit some of his favorite charities.

Salisbury’s integrity and determination have paid off in many ways, and now that he can share his good fortune both as an inspiration and a monetary supporter, he’s overjoyed. “Giving back is very important,” he says reflectively. “It’s been wonderful to be able to make a difference. It’s actually been more satisfying than anything else in my professional life.”

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Divided - Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Alani LaBelle has it all. A great job, amazing friends, and a loving fiancé. Traveling to Las Vegas for her bachelorette party, she never expects to come across someone who rocks her world the way Ryan Kraft does. Though they only share a few hours together, the connection she feels with him is undeniable. Thinking that her feelings for him may be old feet she brushes it off and attempts to focus on her fiancé and their impending nuptials.
Heartbroken by her fiancé only days before their wedding, she finds herself needing to escape, needing to hide from reality. Though Alani knows that Ryan lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, she never thought their paths would cross again while she is there.
Their friendship changes to something more with a good night kiss. Needing to be with Ryan, she leaves her old life in New Jersey behind and moves halfway across the country. As they journey together in a new relationship Alani has to adapt to life in a new city, new job, as well as dealing with Ryan's ex-girlfriend Stephanie, who is waiting for the perfect moment to get Ryan back.
But will her fiancé let Alani walk away from him without a fight? Will Alani's love for Ryan be enough for her to stay with him through turmoil? Or will Stephanie’s secret tear them apart?

Review by Marlene Engel
Alani and her girlfriends were in Las Vegas celebrating her last days of being single.  With a crown on her head and wearing a sash that read “Bride To Be”, they were going to make her bachelorette party a night to remember.  While throwing back shots of tequila and dancing at Pure (one of Las Vegas’ premier night clubs) a group of guys celebrating a bachelor party started mingling with the ladies.  One guy in particular caught the attention of Alani.  Although she knew that she was only weeks away from getting married to Marco, Alani could not deny that this man, Ryan, had something about him.  He was not only the hottest guy in the club, there was an undeniable connection that drew her to him (and him to her).  Knowing that she would be devoting her life to her soon to be husband, she felt that some innocent flirting wouldn’t hurt anyone.  She knew that he would be heading back to North Dakota and her back to New York the next day.  After all, she was in Sin City and what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas … or does it?

Back in Brooklyn Alani tries putting thoughts of Ryan to the back of her mind and focus on the wedding.  It’s the day before their ceremony and Alani decides to surprise Marco at his work with lunch.  They agreed to meet that evening at the rehearsal dinner, but Alani was anxious to see him.  But when she gets to his office, she gets a surprise of her own.  She finds Marco and his secretary being intimate in his office. 

After calling off the wedding, Alani needs to go somewhere to clear her mind.  A place in the middle of nowhere.  The first place that came to mind was North Dakota.  Although she knew that Ryan lived there, that wasn’t her reason for choosing it.  But when she’s there, and bumps into Ryan, the connection that she originally felt when they first met returns.  But just because you run away from your problems doesn’t mean that they go away.  Alani finds herself dealing with a whole new set of issues.  How will she handle them?  And who will stick by her through it all?

Divided is author Livia Jamerlan’s debut novel.  I felt that it was well written, had a great story and was full of relatable characters.  This book takes you through so many emotions.  You will feel the bond of friendships, the pain of betrayal, the heat of passion and the joy of love.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I would definitely recommend it to others and can’t wait to see what Livia has in store for us in the future.  


“Ally baby please. I fucked up but please, I can do better. Please forgive me.”  He begged
“Marco, there is nothing between us anymore.  I’m done.  We are done.  Shouldn’t you be off with Trish somewhere?” Her name was like bile in my mouth.
“Ally it’s not like that with her, I was just scared.” I raised my hand to stop him; I didn’t want to go through this with him all over again.
“Stop. Just Stop. There is nothing between us anymore Marco, please just leave.” I swallowed back any tears that were threating to show. Stepping back I closed the door and leaned my back on it, slowly sliding down to the ground. Inhaling deep I tried to calm my nerves and heard the flower arrangement being placed on the ground as Marco spoke.
“I know you can still hear me Ally, and I want you to know that I’ll never give up on us. Never! You hear me? I fucked up. I know I did but I love you.” As the tears dripped from my eyes I wiped them away as quickly as I could. I wasn’t crying because I was sad. I was just so tired of repeating the past five years in my head and seeing it end like this.
“Marco, please just leave me alone.” I shouted from behind the door

“I’ll always fight for you. I’ll find a way to make you mine again. Mark my words Alani, you will spend the rest of your life with me.”

Livia Jamerlan is a hopeless romantic she is always looking for her next love story to pop in her head. Though Livia kept a journal throughout her early life, she never thought about pursuing a career in writing, she always used it as form of therapy, pouring her heart out into words. It wasn’t until a story developed in her head that she decided that maybe she could write a book. At first it was just an escape from reality but now she use it as a power to put all her feelings, hopes, and fears on paper. Deciding it was time to tell her story she began to write, with each passing day the story grew, characters we formed, and what seemed like a hobby at first has now become a passion for Livia.

When Livia is not writing she is spending time with her husband and their two dogs, she might also be curled up with a new book, or she is out traveling the country to support indie authors at their book signings.


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