Monday, February 29, 2016

Life Lessons from Nature by Elvis Newman

Motivation & Inspiration, War Lessons, Leadership Principles,
High Technology Revealed by Nature 
“A very clever, fun, and instructive way to learn about life.”

by Elvis Newman  

Humans have been with nature for thousands of years, and now there is a special link that is carefully explored and investigated. This connection is closer than it has ever been. This is the source of inspiration, ingenuity, competitiveness, creativity, resilience, happiness, prosperity, and kind loving that are consistent with the best that is happening in the natural world. This wonderful book is for the street, for the workplace, for the political arena, for the business world, for the battlefield, for everyone who loves life and nature. 

This book offers radical ways to help us raid the treasure trove of knowledge from nature. It is a book to be read slowly, one verse at a time for digestion and assimilation; it is a book to be read quickly, from the beginning to the end for holding you spellbound and finding the joy of being. Nature has important lessons to teach us from every insect, tree, and rock. Nature can show us the way—the way out of the many problems and predicaments that we face. Nature has inspired modern communities and even whole nations in the quests for the ultimate good life.
Remember: You are not separate from the whole; you are one with the Earth, the ocean, and the air; you don’t have nature; you are nature. The author urges you to read these pages with an open heart. By doing so, you’ll learn to feel the peace and brilliance of nature that truly defines Success.

Elvis Newman is a highly sought after motivational and futurist writer. He has written thought-provoking books for those of us who have chosen to be on our life path, who have cared about the latest trends in technology, society, and the world. He is known for his lively and conversational way of presenting abstract concepts in the fields of science, business, and sociology to lay audiences. He hopes that this book will help you become the best version of yourself.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dream Jeans: An interview with Désirée Johnson

Archived Freelance
Dream Jeans: An interview with Désirée Johnson
Archived Freelance: Florida Equine Athlete Volume 113

Désirée Johnson knows horses...and jeans! As an accomplished 3-day event competitor, trainer, and instructor, she knows the value of comfortable riding jeans. Now the proprietor of Smooth Stride Riding Wear, Désirée talks about riding, horses, and horsemanship…

GM: How did Smooth Stride Riding Wear begin?    
DJ: I have been riding since the age of six, showing at seven, followed by years of instructing, eventing and coaching. I also spent a decade in the corporate world. Being a very disciplined rider, I ride several horses a day depending on the business flow. Several years ago I began a search for practical riding jeans. I wanted a Western Riding Jean that was functional and comfortable in the saddle, but also appropriate for cleaning stalls, or running to the grocery store.  As an English Rider I really thought that I would find what I wanted in a Western Jean, but I discovered that even the most popular of brands are not really riding jeans at all!  They are advertised as such, but how can they be when there is that lump in the middle of the seat area!  I finally made my own pants merging a store-bought sweat pants pattern with Jodhpur pattern.  I knew I didn't want an inseam, but didn't want skin-tight riding breeches either - owning many of those already.  I had a sewing machine and knew enough to sew my idea up in corduroy… and loved the result: "The most comfortable, practical pair of pants I've ever had".

During this time, my husband, Eric, and I had researched the market need and began research and consideration of starting a riding pants company from scratch.  While searching for a commercial solution, I came across an old product review article about Smooth Stride riding pants.  I reached the interim owners and purchased pants to try.  After learning that the interim owners did not intend to continue with the business, we bought the Smooth Stride business in February of 2013.

In February, 2013, we created a Limited Liability Company (Designs by Desiree, LLC) in our home state of Washington and obtained the requisite business and tax licenses.  Eric re-created the Smooth Stride website completely from scratch, teaching himself e-commerce and basic web design in the process.  The website went live in May 2013 and we began selling some of the inventory that was purchased along with the other assets of the business.  Note that a quality and fit analysis deemed more than two-thirds of the purchased inventory unfit for sale and hence it was written off.  Also in February 2013, the company contracted with Apparel Technical Services of Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the re-design of the riding jeans and general business consulting.  Proprietor Ms. Kathleen Fasanella is the author of The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing operates the Fashion Incubator website and blog and, with 30+ years’ experience in the fashion industry, is an acknowledged world expert in pattern making, the clothing designer industry, and clothing and fashion start-ups.

GM: What’s different about Smooth Stride Riding Jeans vs. the popular brands?
DJ: We all love blue jeans. We wear them all day long at work, for fun and yes, for riding horses.  But you can't really ride horses in blue jeans.  But that is a crazy thing to say, right?!  You think of John Wayne, Rodeos, Cowgirls, Barrel Racing, Trail Riding, and I could go on.  But what those brave souls are wearing not only have the potential to harm sensitive parts of the body, but also expensive saddles.  If you look you can find 50 different styles of Western Riding Jeans and not one of them can tell me that they have a "Seamless Inside".  I can't ride in any of them and it is because when you are in a saddle the cross seam creates a lump of material, which directly is in between you and your saddle.  OUCH!

Smooth Stride Riding Jean was designed with the specific purpose of giving Mature Women Riders with curves a supremely comfortable “Real” riding jean.  Not some urban cowboy western style jean you wear country and western dancing, but a performance jean that can be utilized for hours in the saddle.  Endurance Riding, Trail Riding, Western Dressage, arena schooling, and not come home with a raw area that burns, or a sore on the inside of your knee from the inseam. 

Eric and I created a comfortable stretch denim functional riding jean with a built in cell phone pocket on top of the thigh.  The phone will not fall out when mounting and unmounting, and best of all a waist that is designed specifically for riders - higher in the back for coverage when you are mounting, bending over to close a gate, or bending over to fill a water bucket.  The front rise is lower for comfort, very much like a bicycle pant for additional comfort in the saddle.  And the best feature of all is the fact that there is no lump in the crotch area unlike 99% of all other blue jeans on the market.  Now these are not to be mistaken for English Riding Pants.  They are a Classic Blue Jean that out around town, no one would know.  No more are the days of having to change pants when you happen to go for a ride and then need to go shopping or clean the barn.  This is the perfect, stylish, all in one, functional Durable, Classy, Blue Jean that you can really ride in. 

GM: What materials do you use? 
DJ: We use a ten-ounce high quality denim, American grown and milled.  It is 84% cotton, 14% polyester, and 2% Spandex.  The polyester provides durability and shape retention, it significantly reduces the relaxation normally experienced during the first hours/day of wear.  The Spandex provides just the right amount of stretch for riding and for a great fit on a wide variety of body types.

We use a synthetic suede - microsuede, made from extremely small polyester and nylon fibers (1/500th a human hair!) which are not woven, rather formed by a highly patented and secretive process that includes ‘web forming’ and ‘needle punching’.  This amazing stuff looks and feels like real suede leather, but it breathes and wicks moisture away…and its machine washable and extremely durable! The microsuede is the only input that we use which is not made in America - there is none made in America.

We have three different styles: Real Riding Jean Plain (no leather), Extended Knee Patch (leather starting above the knee and extending all the way to the floor), and Full Seats (Leather in the seat area and going all the way down to the floor).  Three different lengths, 31”, 33” and 36”.

GM: I love the names of your riding jeans:  Mustangs, Fresians, Palominos.  Very clever!  What are your sizes? 
DJ: Our sizes range from 4 to 24, which would be our Arabians, Mustangs, Paint, Andalusian, Lusitano, Appaloosa, Morgan, Friesian, Palomino, Lipizzan, Nokota.  I am a rider not a numbers person so I did not want to deal with numbers all day long so I thought this would be a fun way to list my different sizes, after all we all love our horse breed names!

GM: Do you ship anywhere in the world?  
DJ: I see no reason why not!  I have learned how to fill out both types of customs forms!  So far Canada is the only Country I have shipped to other than here at home.

GM: What are your future plans for Smooth Stride Riding Jeans?   
DJ: We have a five-year goal broken down of course.  This next year I will be concentrating on “Trunk Sales”.  This means I am taking my jeans on the road.  In January of this year, we were accepted to show our jeans at the National Western Stock Show January 9-24th in Denver Colorado, the largest Rodeo in the U.S., 15 days of selling jeans to the public.  By the end of the year I plan on having two East Coast Teams and Two West Coast Teams working all over the country taking our Smooth Stride Vendor Booth to all sorts of large horse shows for gals to try on.  Having a mobile dressing room helps a lot.  Eric is also working on showing our jeans to potential buyers for stores, Ranch and Home styles of stores.  He is attending WESA also this January in Denver Colorado.  We are lucky to have a great team of people helping us; one new addition is my own sister Gigi Suzette Marechal! 

GM: What is your horse history?  
DJ: I am an accomplished three-day event competitor in her teens, and was a member of, and competed with the U.S. Equestrian Team at the 1978 World Championships in Lexington, Kentucky - the event known today as Rolex, which the very first International Eventing Competition held on U.S. soil.  Desiree was the youngest woman at this Event and held that record up until 2013 and still may…..I have been riding, training, teaching and competing all of my life.  Recently while living in Washington State surrounded by state of the art Western Riding I became certified as a Mountain Trail Judge and extremely well-schooled in Behavior on the Ground.  Eventing is still my passion and a move back to California is a certainty early in 2016, where I will have more access to start of the art instructors for my own continued education.  One can never think that they know it all.  Teaching has always been a passion and will most certainly be fit into a very busy Smooth Stride work schedule. 

GM: What does Horsemanship mean to you?  
DJ: Hmm this is a very fun question for me to answer.  And I think the most important thing about horsemanship is to listen to your horse.  They are not….just horses….as one person recently said to me.  I don’t even know what that means…just a horse.  If I put a brush on a horse and they don’t like it, I get a brush they do like.  I don’t force them to deal because they are just some dumb animal that has to submit to me.  That does not work in the long run anyway.  Some horses have skin that is extremely sensitive and if I want them to be happy with their work well I would really like for them to be happy while I am grooming them.  I even had a horse once that did not want to be groomed until he was warmed up on some days.  He had so much energy that he needed to move a bit before he could settle down and let a brush go on his body.  And I was happy to listen to him when he told me that!  I care, I really care about how they feel.  Now that does not mean that I will allow them to walk all over me, but some sure do try.  They are huge happy well fed fit animals and they need intelligent, fair, caring, constant attention and training.  They can’t talk to us in words, sure, but they feel, have moods, fears, attitudes just like we do.  Finding the job that suits them, makes “them” happy is important.  You might have a horse that just screams Eventing all over it, but all he really wants to do is stay safe and cozy in a little ring jumping three-feet and nothing you can do no matter how good of a trainer you are can change that.  You might have a classic Quarter Horse bred for cows and trail who is so spooky and I mean really afraid of things, that you take your life in your hands just going for a hack.  You might have a Pony with the heart of a lion and if they were bigger could be famous!  Making sure that they have good dental work, proper fitting bits and saddles, worming, feet and correct feed for their body and workloads.  Enough work that they are not going out of their mind with boredom or jumping out of their skin with access energy is key.  Knowing when they need a prep day, or a push day or an easy day and not just “using” them because they are ….just a horse….that is what Horsemanship means to me.

Connect with Désirée
Gina McKnight is a freelance writer from Ohio USA

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Australia Times Poetry

Thanks Australia Times Poetry for selecting 
two of my poems for inclusion in your current issue...

Subscribe for free today!

1st Poetry Release
“To the Heart”
Monday Road Poetry Volume 1
by Gina McKnight
© 2015

Available in full-color Paperback here!


Monday Road Poetry Volume 2
To be released Summer 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Commander Henry Gallant by H. Peter Alesso

“Serious Sci-Fi!”

Henry Gallant thought Alaina loved him, but now she’s found someone else. A tidal wave of loss and grief swept over him, leaving him undecided about what to do next, or how to move forward.

Despite his sorrow, he goes on a dangerous mission to an invading aliens’ home world in the Gliese-581 star system. There he uses a neural interface to penetrate their communication network and steal a high ranking alien’s identity. Through this artifice he learns about their history and society, and discovers a way to hinder and possibly defeat them.

A side-effect of linking into the alien network—which was created for autistic savants—is that Gallant’s mind is stimulated and enhanced to the point where he begins to experience superintelligence abilities.

Upon returning from his mission, there is concern that Gallant might pose a more serious threat than the aliens. While he struggles to fend off those who doubt his loyalty, he fights to win back Alaina.

This is the fourth book of The Henry Gallant Saga, but it can be read as a standalone story.

About the Author
As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of computer scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of eight books. (Website

He's grateful to those who have posted favorable reviews of his work. He encourages those who would like to receive email notification of future books to click the Follow button on the Author's page.

The day was perfect. The blue-green ocean waves crashed on the shore while white puffy clouds crossed the aquamarine sky. On the horizon the faint haze of the morning fog was departing. A light breeze blew across the harbor just as Gallant walked into the marina. He saw Alaina standing at the end of a pier--her gaze fixed on the sea. She wore a white halter and tan shorts. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, tied with a yellow ribbon. He stood for a minute, content to witness the scene.
He had the feeling that they were starting a new adventure and wondered whether she felt the same, but he was afraid to ask anything that might disturb the delicate balance between them.

Alaina's yawl was at the end of the pier. They climbed aboard and began unfurling the jib sail. He pushed the helm over.

The fifteen-meter yawl Haven clawed her way down the bay--away from New Kauai--toward the small deserted islands to the east. As the boat left the bay behind, the seaward breeze picked up. A westerly wind laid her over as she responded to Gallant's hand at the helm. The blustery summer wind sang in his ears as the boat pitched forward and then rolled as a wave broke against her hull. Haven and the sea synchronized into a thrashing rhythm--pitch--roll--pitch--roll, while in the distance several other small craft ran before the wind. He savored the majesty of the vivid sunlight and writhing seas, but even so, today he was distracted by Alaina's delicate silhouette as she stood at the mast grasping the rigging while her streaming blonde hair acted as a telltale.

"Alaina," he yelled over the gusty weather--beckoning her aft. She smiled, and balancing herself against the swaying motion of the deck, she made her way to the cockpit. She sat sideways to him--her knees tucked under her, a gay expression on her face.

He sailed the boat closer to the wind to gain speed and the wind greeted him with new enthusiasm. The bobble and swish of the water made a chorus of sea noises that attracted the local inhabitants. There were small and large fish keeping pace with the boat, jumping and wriggling, glinting and twisting, as if they welcomed the yawl and adopted it into their school.

Seeing that Alaina's enthusiasm for adventure hadn't waned, he reached toward her and pulled her close.
They spent several hours sailing on the open water until they approached a tiny deserted island with white sandy beaches and secluded coves.

He loosened the sail and let the course fall off toward the ragged shore. They slowed and gently drifted to the sandy beach. The boat slipped through the rippling shoal water. He let the anchor go and allowed the boat to gently ground on the sandy bottom. He quickly furled the sails and then jumped over the side into the shallow water. Alaina sat on the edge of the boat and let him lift her off. He carried her several meters through the surf to the dry beach while she made only a half-hearted protest. She didn't protest at all when he kissed her. Her lips pressed back with equal intent.

He could smell her musky scent--strong after the day's activities. It made him recall their past adventures.

She spread a large fluffy blanket and opened the picnic basket. She laid out their lunch, but they hardly ate anything.

He was beginning to believe he could read her face, and what he saw gave him hope that what she had found charming about him before, she had again.

Gallant had grown to trust her as she had trusted him. At the moment, she was two people--one was his lover, and the other was a stranger. He wished to separate the two, or perhaps, wear away the distinction until there remained only the friend and lover that he desired.

He asked, "How about a swim?"

"I didn't bring a bathing suit."

"That was never a problem before."

As a smile spread slowly across her lips, he knew it wouldn't be a problem now.

"You're a bad boy," she said with an amused expression.

"I can be." He wondered if she knew that she was the cause of that.

They stripped and jumped into the surf. They swam out a hundred meters from the shore and then continued to swim parallel to the beach for nearly a mile before doubling back to the beach. They flopped down on their blanket, exhilarated and exhausted, with heaving chests.

They watched for several minutes as the incoming tide covered the footprints they had left in the sand. A flurry of spray washed over them.

Alaina lay on the blanket in the sun, comfortable with her nudity. She leaned forward--her lips moist and parted--she kissed him. He wrapped his arms around her and found her response genuine and fulfilling. Their lovemaking filled the afternoon. Afterward, they lay there together, not moving, nor wishing to move, for a long, long time.

Gazing at the sunbaked sand and the glimmering blue water, Gallant dismissed the past from his mind and focused on the immediate future. He was certain of only one thing--he never wanted to lose this girl. He knew they belonged together, now and always.

"Are you cold?" he asked.

"No." She snuggled comfortably into his arms and he pulled the edge of the blanket over them.

"I love you, Henry," she said, her words anchoring him to her world.

"I love you, Alaina."


"Because it would be impossible not to."

“Serious Sci-Fi!”

Fasting: An Exceptional Human Experience by Randi Fredricks, Ph.D.

“Highly recommended!”
Available in Hardcover and eBook here!

by Randi Fredricks, Ph.D.

Since prehistory, fasting has been used in various ways as a means of transformation. As a spiritual practice, it is the oldest and most common form of asceticism and is found in virtually every religion and spiritual tradition. In psychology, studies have suggested that fasting can alleviate the symptoms of some psychiatric conditions, including depression and schizophrenia.

In medicine, fasting is one of the most promising therapies, with research suggesting that fasting can cause certain drugs, such as chemotherapy, to work better while reducing drug side-effects. Hunger striking, sometimes called political fasting, may be the most powerful application of fasting. Proof of this occurred in 1948 when Gandhi’s hunger strike caused millions of Hindus and Muslims in India to cease their fighting.

As a practical guide, Randi Fredricks, Ph.D. provides detailed information on the different types of fasting, where people fast, the physiological process of fasting, and the contraindications and criticisms of fasting. Using existing literature and original research, Dr. Fredricks focuses on the transformative characteristics of fasting in the contexts of psychology, medicine, and spirituality. The relationship between fasting and transpersonal psychology is examined, with a focus on peak experiences, self-realization, and other exceptional human experiences. Dr. Fredricks demonstrates how fasting can be profoundly therapeutic, create global paradigm shifts, and provide personal mystical phenomena.

About the Author

Dr. Randi Fredricks, Ph.D. is a researcher and practicing psychotherapist and marriage counselor. She specializes in preventing and reversing mental health problems through natural methods. The focus of her practice, writing and research is on the development of models that incorporate complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders and related problems. For more than 20 years, Dr. Fredricks has been at the forefront of addiction research.

As an advocate of using alternative and complementary medicine in combination with traditional psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Fredricks' books, research, and approach to psychotherapy have assisted people in developing more effective personalized approaches to treating mental health. Her work has helped people to reduce their dependence on psychotropic drugs as well as reduce medication side effects.

Dr. Fredricks is considered a national expert in the area of fasting and psychiatric disorders. Her discoveries in how fasting affects psychological problems is essential for understanding the manner in which diet, nutrition, and calorie restriction can resolve these issues.

In addition to her work in the area of mental health counseling, Dr. Fredricks is an award-winning artist and designer. She maintains a number of blogs on natural medicine and mental health, cinema therapy, and the therapeutic use of film. Her dedication to helping people develop personal and shared exceptional human experiences speaks to these lifelong interests. She lives and works in San Jose, California. To learn more about her work, visit her website at

Connect with Dr. Fredricks…
Book’s website:
Author’s website:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Angels Club 2: The Trouble with Boys by Courtney Vail and Sandra J. Howell

West Ridge Farm Publishing has released Angels Club 2: The Trouble with Boys, the second novel in the Angels Club series by Courtney Vail and Sandra J. Howell. The diverse series is packed with emotional turns as it tackles current issues like bullying and overcoming individual differences. The books weave an equine storyline into the daily struggle of kids trying to fit in with their peers. Through their work with rescue horses and a Therapeutic Riding Program, the characters confront these issues and find a sense of belonging by helping others less fortunate. Writing has also just begun on Book 3.

Get Book 1 FREE Now!
Hola, Cuties! I’m Jacinda Gonzalez, almost twelve. Although I think I’m pretty nice, not to mention way cool and one of the most knowledgeable people in all things horse, I just can’t make any friends in my new school. The only things flying my way are totally rude insults. The horseback riding therapy farm where I volunteer becomes my perfect escape from mean bullies. And when Angel, a scrawny, muddy American Curly, shows up as rescue, no one but me can see her potential and lovableness, so I take her on as a project horse to get her ready for sale. But, the thing is, I don’t want them to sell her. She’d be so perfect for therapy. So perfect. Now, if only I could prove it.

Anyway, Angel’s sugar-candy personality inspires me to be sweet in spite of bad things happening to me. So, of course, I can’t resist the urge to make the world a whole lot brighter. Come on in and see how I do it!

A conversation between Jacinda and her friends Emily and Kat

 Emily looked at Kat and then at me with a crinkled nose of confusion. “Last week, Jacinda, you said you were almost twelve and live right down the road. You don’t go to the same school?”

I shook my head with my lips curled in. “Nope. Annoyingly, I was held back in third, so I’m only in fifth now, which puts me embarrassingly in the same new school as my six-year-old sister, Tia. Being in a sea of mostly ten-year-olds, and younger, only makes me stand out like a freakish, lumbering giant.”

“You’re not that tall.”

“I’m 5'4", and most of the kids stand beneath my shoulders.”

“We’re all pretty much freaks then,” Emily said. “We’ve got a gimp, a tree, a shortcake and a smelly disaster of a horse.”

“Hey! Don’t call yourself a gimp!” I yelled.

“Oh joy,” Kat muttered. “We’re like the Island of Misfit Toys. We should form our own club.”

I could tell by her sarcastic tone she was joking, but I nodded, loving the idea. “Yeah. We should.”

“I was joking!” she screeched with laughter.

“I know. But it’s a fab idea. I’m just not sure what our club should be about, but we’re all unique and talented in some way. So, I’m sure, combined, we can all put our hashtagable awesomeness to good use. Once we get Angel looking parade-worthy, we should, at the very least, try to find Angel’s previous owner. It’s not his fault he was hospitalized or whatever. We can send him pictures and some ‘Hope You Are Feeling Better’ cards. I really do hope he’s doing much better.”

“Me too.” “You have a really big heart, Jacinda,” Emily said with a smile. “I like that. It’s a great idea, one I should have thought of because I’ve certainly seen my share of hospitals. I know, just know, that man will love it. You were very patient with me, waiting for me to get up on the horse. You pushed me in exactly the way I needed without making me feel like a baby chicken. Hey! Maybe we should just do nice things for people and try to help whoever we can, especially other freaks like us.”

“Exactly.” I nodded with my smile sliding into an even bigger crescent moon. “The world is full of meanies. Each one of us here has been beaten down or ignored, so let’s be the opposite and try to make the world a little brighter. Instead of being more monsters in the mix, we can be angels instead.”

Emily’s bright smile said she adored the concept we came up with, and I took Kat’s nod of approval and shoulder shrug as good enough to be in too.

“Awesome!” I crossed my arms with a bounce of pride and elation. It was as ragtag and pitiful as this horse, and very tiny, but I had myself a club! An Angels Club.

Get it FREE Now!


Hey, Trackers. I’m River—“part hound dog and a whole lot Cherokee,” as my frenemy Kat says. I’ve been showing Kat how to track animals all summer long even though we argue about everything under the sun. When we find a buried map in a cave while waiting for a storm to pass, it thrusts us into the adventure of our lives. But hunting for possible treasure puts our already fragile friendship to the test. Can you imagine if we did find loot, like a chest of gold or something way cool like that? Kat could take in rescue horses at her parents’ farm, and I could buy this awesome colt Flash I love so much!

While searching for untold riches, we also have to deal with bullies, competing clubs, farm duties, frisky horses, and ferocious beasts that can claw your heart out. Will this treacherous journey turn us into good friends or make us mortal enemies forever? Join us in our heart-pounding quest while we try to not break our bones ... or our spirits.

Only $2.99! Get it now!
Courtney Vail, who also writes mystery thrillers, and Sandra J. Howell, who also writes equine novels for adults, set out to create a Middle Grade series that features underrepresented kids for kids. However, the heart, drive and passion within the books make them relatable and enjoyable to readers of all ages, especially horse lovers. As per emails the authors have received, the novels are touching lives and inspiring people of all ages. It’s the small things each of us can do that make a difference. A kind note left on a windshield, a cup of coffee, a smile, or giving your time can all make someone’s day and lift a spirit. As the Angels say in their calling card after they give a gift, “Angels smiled on you today. Go and be an angel too.”  That message is resonating and it proves that no matter who you are, or how you may be limited, you can still be a positive influence in the world.


Learn more and connect at
 Website, Facebook, and Pinterest.
COURTNEY VAIL In addition to writing quirky, twisty books for teens and adults, Courtney works from home as a graphic designer and book formatter. She’s married to a should-be-famous comedian and has three kids who make her house LOUD and messy and do things like turn her veggie garden into Jurassic Park, but she thoroughly loves her life. She’s a member of Authors Selling Books in Western Mass. Courtney is a major sports junky and loves to run, visit amusement parks (and ride all the roller coasters first), skate, cook, and watch standup or anything that cracks her up or makes her heart race or neck tingle. Angels Club is her first novel for kids.
SANDRA J. HOWELL is an avid horse enthusiast and was the first breeder in Massachusetts of the rare American Bashkir Curly horse. Her lifelong passion for Curly horses led her to write two Equine novels, Spirit of a Rare Breed and Saving GiGi. Howell, a college professor, has been a contributing writer, featuring the American Bashkir Curly horse, for Equine journals and magazines. She has been featured on television, radio talk shows and news media, and has received numerous letters from Native Americans thanking her for promoting and advocating for their favored steed. Howell is a founding member of Authors Selling Books of Western Mass and is a member of the Independent Publishers of New England. Her novels are showcased at the New England Equine Affaire and promoted through many Equine organizations.

Invitation to Happiness by Ryuho Okawa

7 Inspirations from Your Inner Angel
The handbook for living a joy-filled, inspired life

Available in Hardcover and eBook here!

7 Inspirations from Your Inner Angel 

Mia Tomikawa, editor and U.S. spokesperson for Invitation to Happiness...  

A new book by renowned spiritual leader and author Ryuho Okawa, Invitation to Happiness: 7 Inspirations from Your Inner Angel is a personal invitation and path to finding happiness and a more joyful and authentic life.  It is the introduction to a spiritual journey guided by the driving force that guides us through life and the secret to living true to ourselves —  our inner angel. We all have one, and each is our guide to spiritual happiness. The purpose of this book is to help the reader find joy by connecting with that inner voice, spirit, soul, or higher self.

“We have created a handbook for living a joy-filled, inspired life that marries spiritual thinking with practical involvement by the reader,” said Mia Tomikawa, who worked on the book, editing it for distribution throughout the United States and now serving as the book’s United States spokesperson. The book is written in a soft spiritual style that promises to attract a strong female reader demographic. The book will be embraced by those searching for joy, inspiration or a deeper spiritual connection. Also we expect it will be read by those who have found happiness despite it not being around them or in others.

So many of us are searching for joy, inspiration or a deeper spiritual connection.  “No matter how lonely we may feel, our angels are always trying to support us, help us, and encourage us, from heaven,” writes Okawa in Invitation to Happiness. “When we face difficulties, hardships and pain, they are there for inspiration, guidance, and protection. When we stand at an important crossroad, our inner angels lead us to the right path. And knowingly or not, we are continually embraced, nurtured, sustained by this magnificent force of love.”

Invitation to Happiness will provide a new discovery of self and perspective. It includes material to contemplate and an area to journal inspirations and discoveries about the book’s seven themes.  Offering practical tools for creating new habits for a more carefree, grounded, spiritual life. Through 7 inspirations, readers will be guided to the angel within — the force that supports them to be courageous, inspired, and true to themselves. They will find all the tools they need to live more confidently, peacefully, and authentically.

The 7 themes include:  A Calm Mind,  The True You,  Hardships and Failures, Gratitude, Forgiveness, A Joyful Life and Dreams & Goals. Some highlights in each of these areas include “Quieting Chatter in the Mind,” “Take Pride in Your Strengths,” Calm in the Face of Adversity,” “Living A Life of Kindness,” “The Courage to Forgive Yourself,” “Give the Gift of a Smile,”  and “Set Goals, Make Plans, Create Your Life’s Blueprint.”

The book, culminates with creating a life plan in which the reader will write down their objectives in life: short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. It starts by making each goal authentic to the true self the reader discovered in chapter 1.

These seven themes within an Invitation to Happiness are:
  • A Calm Mind: The Perfect Beginning: Create your sanctuary, relax your body and quiet your mind
  • The True You: Awakening To Your Divine Nature: Take pride in You Strengths, You are Uniquely You, Take Stock of Your Growth 
  • Hardships & Failures: The Tools for Spiritual Growth: Stay Calm in the Face of Adversity, Failure is Your Springboard to Success, Hardship is Your Mission in Disguise
  • Gratitude: The Gateway to Happiness: Discover Your Blessings, Giving Love Can Change Your Life and How to Put Your Love Into Action  
  • Forgiveness: Cultivating Compassion Within: Accepting Imperfection, Courage to Forgive Yourself and others, Finding Happiness in the Now
  • A Joyful Life: Surrounding Yourself with the Positive: A Heart Filled with Light, Create Moments of Joy, Give the Gift of a Smile, Use Positive Words
  • Dreams & Goals: Keys to Empowering Your Potential: Visualize, Set Goals, Make Plans, Create Your Life’s Blueprint, Make Dreams Come True!
After contemplating these themes, there is an area within the book to journal your inspirations and discoveries.

Inside the book’s pages are easy-to-use tools to get there, including practices for introspection, brief guided visualizations, tips and hints for contemplation, and even a discovery journal area to record inspirations from the reader’s inner angel. Through reading, contemplating and writing — the reader will find simple step-by-step action plans that serve as a path to your truest self — allowing the reader to live a more confident, connected life of inner peace. 

About the Author
Ryuho Okawa is a renowned spiritual thinker, leader, and author in Japan with a simple goal: to help people find true happiness and create a better world. To date, Okawa's books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide and been translated into 27 languages. His books address vital issues such as how our thoughts influence reality, the nature of love, and the path to enlightenment. In 1986, Okawa founded Happy Science as a spiritual movement dedicated to bringing greater happiness to humankind by uniting religions and cultures to live in harmony. Happy Science has grown rapidly from its beginnings in Japan to a worldwide organization. The spiritual workshops Happy Science offers are open to people of all faiths and walks of life and are rooted in the same simple principles of happiness that inspired Okawa's own spiritual awakening. Okawa is compassionately committed to the spiritual growth of others; in addition to writing and publishing books, he continues to give talks around the world.

About Happy Science
Happy Science is a global movement that empowers individuals to find purpose and spiritual happiness and to share that happiness with their families, societies, and the world. Happy Science aims to increase awareness of spiritual truths and expand our capacity for love, compassion, and joy so that together we can create the kind of world we all wish to live in. Activities at Happy Science are based on the Principles of Happiness (Love, Wisdom, Self-Reflection, and Progress). The principles embrace worldwide philosophies and beliefs, transcending boundaries of culture and religions.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Charity: The Jessica Trilogy Book 1 by Connie Johnson Hamley

The Jessica Trilogy Book 1
“The Charity enthralling read with great horse sequences and...
a wonderful and thrilling escape."
Available in eBook here!

The Jessica Trilogy Book 1

In trying to clear her name of murder and regain her family's reputation, Jessica Wyeth's actions unwittingly threaten to expose the business behind the money of a U.S. based terrorist cell.

Jessica was born with traits she just could not hide – beauty, cunning, and innate skills to survive. She is blocked from taking her rightful position in the lucrative family business of high stakes horse racing by her farm’s manager and top trainer, Gus Adams. When Gus is found brutally murdered, all evidence points to Jessica. Terrified, she runs and becomes a master at hiding in plain view.

The process of building a new life around an assumed identity is derailed when she is recognized by the organization that destroyed her family. This time, instead of running away, she heads back to Boston, racing against time to find answers. Her search for the truth uncovers the cold reality that the Charity will stop at nothing to succeed in its mission.

Set in the rolling hills of Kentucky and the streets of Boston, "The Charity" exposes that Jessica is not the only one hidden in the daylight.

What reviewers say:
"The Charity" brings the reader on a journey from innocence to guilt on the coercive power of a terrorist's heart. Introducing the reader first into the hatred and evil of a clandestine cell, the author masterfully manipulates their sympathies to bring them closer to understanding the reasons behind the terror. The history and the people of the Irish Republican Army are used to weave a story that is as compelling as it is timely. "The Charity" will keep the reader glued to their seat until the last page is turned.

A legal thriller and suspense novel, "The Charity" will delivers an incredibly suspense reading experience.

"The Jessica Trilogy follows the ongoing saga of heiress Jessica Wyeth, who finds herself embroiled in a scandal that involves high stakes horse racing (flat and steeplechasing), longstanding Irish political violence and prejudice, and secret networks of high-powered men exploiting an [organization] worth untold, but absurd, sums of money...The Charity enthralling read with great horse sequences and...a wonderful and thrilling escape."
- Horse Nation, Book Review

About the Author
Connie Johnson Hambley grew up on a small dairy farm just north of New York City. When she was a child, an arsonist burned her family's barn to the ground. From that experience grew the stories that became "The Charity" and "The Troubles."

Hambley writes about strong women from their perspective in situations that demand the most from them. No special powers, no gadgets, no super human abilities. Just a woman caught up or embroiled in something that she has to get out of, hopefully alive.

Every bit of personal experience is used to create a story that is as believable as it is suspenseful. Using her law and investment background in ways unique, creative, but not altogether logical, Hambley has enjoyed robust professional pursuits that include writing for Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Nature Biotechnology. Experience at a major bank in Boston introduced her to clever schemes dreamed up to launder money.

Hambley writes page-turners and "The Charity" is the first The Jessica Trilogy. "The Troubles" continues the story. Look for updates and information on

Connect with Connie…

Milliron Monday: The Recordings 4

  Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:   June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010 Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - Ma...