All the best for 2017. Look out for some new stuff in the New Year. God bless you.

Today is Boxing Day, a holiday that was started by the Brits in the 1800s as a way to give servants the day off and a boxed present so they could go home and give Christmas boxes to their families. That’s one explanation. You can read more about it here

Another explanation I heard for the name Boxing Day is that it was a day to collect all the boxes that were left from Christmas presents and Christmas shopping. So, as you can see, the holiday has nothing to do with the sport boxing.

Here in the US, Boxing Day is not a public holiday, although a few states observe it as such. But throughout the country, federal institutions are closed, as well as schools, since the day falls during the Christmas vacation. All of this contributes to a slightly more relaxed atmosphere on Boxing Day. I say “slightly” because in recent years, this day has been declared the official day to return unwanted gifts to the stores and to hunt for bargains among the many clearance items.

Since I was born in Trinidad, a former British colony, I am very familiar with Boxing Day. It was a day when we ate the leftovers from Christmas, visited friends and neighbors and even went to the beach. Boxing Day was another excuse for fun-loving Trinidadians to have more fun. Today, you are not going to find me anywhere near a mall or a beach. After my leftover lunch, I’m relaxing with my computer and later, a good book.

But before I go, let me tell you who is having fun today. Marva, my protagonist from Coming Out of Egypt, celebrates her birthday on Boxing Day, turning eighteen in this book. Join her and her friends and family in celebrating this milestone by picking up a copy of Coming Out of Egypt. here Get it now while it’s still available for just .99c.

What an exciting time of the year this is! I love Christmas and all the gift-giving that goes with it. This is why I want you to share in an exciting giveaway taking place. From now until Dec. 26. you stand a chance to win a $500 Amazon Gift Card giveaway. Just click on the foll. link: https://wp.me/P2H01p-9o8

And remember you can still pick up a copy of Coming Out of Egypt for yourself or a friend by going here

Or if you prefer the print version go here

blogtour

This blog tour and giveaway is sponsored by Toi Thomas. Toi Thomas is a teacher and author who wants to support other teachers. Please consider buying one of her books and or entering her giveaway to support a teacher of your choice.

Did a teacher ever introduce you to a book; which one(s)?

It’s been such a long time since I was in school, but in high school we had a lot of required books for English Literature, so my English teacher did introduce me to those books. One that comes to mind is Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

What was your favorite book(s) as a kid?

Again, I don’t remember exactly, but I do recall favorite stories – Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood – I told you it was a long time ago – and I could not get enough of Rumpelstiltskin by the Brothers Grimm. Just trying to say the name thrilled me no end. In high school I devoured the Enid Blyton Famous Five books, Little Women, The Abbey Girls, Wuthering Heights, Jayne Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, the Charles Dickens’ books and so many more.

Who was your favorite teacher at any point in your youth; why?

I had many favorites, but my high school English teacher, Miss David, stands out. She was firm, but made our English Literature classes come alive and inspired in me a love for reading and writing. She sometimes read my essays to the class.

What popular book have you never read and or faked reading?

Beloved by Toni Morrison. I attempted reading this book several times and always put it down. I’ve read most of Ms. Morrison’s books and I think her style is inimitable, but I found Beloved way too dark and difficult to fathom.

Did you ever do any creative projects in school based on a book; what?

None that I recall.

What book(s) has had the greatest influence in your adult life?

Again, there are so many. First, the Bible, of course, the infallible word of God, I believe it’s the greatest manual for life. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, a small book, but highly motivational. Cutting For Stone, an epic medical drama by Abraham Verghese, set in Africa and America. This gripping novel will teach you about sibling rivalry and the remarkable bond of brotherly love that can never be broken. And how could I forget The Life of Pi? An inspiring tale of grit, determination, and survival.

What words or advice from a teacher has had the greatest influence in your adult life?

“Never stop learning.” Those words by one of my youngest teachers have followed me throughout my life. I never want to stop learning.

What book have you read as an adult that you wish you’d read as a child or teen?

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I may not have understood everything in the book as a child or teen, but I would now be able to look back and see how the things that Huxley wrote about back then – the rise of technology, the drug culture, material pursuits and others – are manifesting themselves in our world today.

If you were a teacher, what book would you recommend to a student and why?

I would recommend The Hunger Games. It has enough fantasy to keep a young person turning the pages, but it also teaches a lot of valuable lessons such as courage, love, family relationships, and the struggle for survival. Even though most students may never face the death sentence Katniss faces, they will be able to see themselves in her struggles against all odds.

What would you write about or have you written about in a children’s book?

I haven’t written children’s books, but I’ve been thinking about writing a children’s book about remaining loyal to your friends or family even when tempted to go after new friends or new things that may seem more appealing.

BUY BOOKS HERE: http://etoithomas.com/books-by-toi-thomas/childrens/ and or ENTER GIVEAWY HERE: https://goo.gl/vXrSpS.

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file5791287577951 (2)Now that the elections are over, we can go back to what we enjoy the most – reading. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and cooler, just right to snuggle up with a good book.

But before you reach for that book that’s been gathering dust on your nightstand, stop and think for a moment. What do you look for in a good book? What makes you pick up the book in the first place? I would guess the first thing would be the cover, but you don’t just want to admire the cover, you want to read what is between the covers.

So what tickles your fancy? Is it the plot, the characters, or the beautiful prose? For me, I would say all three, and if you can place all of that in a breathtaking setting, you have a fan for life.

Notice I didn’t mention genre, even though there are certain types I will not read. Horror, vampire and detective novels with lots of blood and gore turn me off. As does erotica.

There was a time when I would have included sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian novels in the list. Then one of my friends decided to venture into worlds unknown and wrote her first sci-fi novel, Story In The Stars, and I was hooked. Then along came Hunger Games and I was drawn in, hook, line, and sinker.

So what was it about these two books in particular that kept me turning the pages?
1. Plot – this has to be compelling enough to keep me reading. While I love descriptive passages, they shouldn’t be so long that they draw me out of the story. Also, even though it is fiction, the plot should be believable.
2. Characters – I must fall in love with them. I must understand their motive and be able to defend them even when they slip up, as real people sometimes do.
3. Prose – Think of it as the special ingredients you add to a meal to make it mouthwatering and appetizing. Every morsel you bite should stimulate your taste buds for more. So it is with your writing. If it is flat, with grammatical errors, typos, lacking flavor, then it will not appeal to your reader no matter how great the story line is.

What kinds of books do you like? What is on your bookshelf or in your kindle right now? If you are looking for a book with a compelling plot, lovable characters, and flavorful prose, pick up a copy of Coming Out of Egypt, now available for just .99c on kindle. Or you can download it for free on Kindle Unlimited.

ebookAJ It took me many years to craft my first novel Coming Out of Egypt, the first book of the Egypt trilogy. I wanted characters who were well developed, who would take on the persona of real people and to whom my readers can relate. By the time I’d completed the first draft, I knew those characters as well as, or maybe better than, my family and friends. After all, I created them. Therefore, it came as no surprise to me when my characters expressed their feelings – in no uncertain terms – about the upcoming presidential elections and the media’s propensity to grab – pardon me – to feed on anything that smacks of sensationalism.

Here is a scene I walked in on recently where Marva, the protagonist, was close to a meltdown over something that was being shown on television.

Snatching the remote from her sister June: “We are not to watch this. This is so painful to me. Have you forgotten what Daddy used to do to us?” She bursts into tears and flings the remote into the corner.

June dives after it. “I want to see that poster …”

Marva goes after her and tries to take the remote. “Junie, women all over the world are weeping now. Whether they were abused or not. This election makes me want to …”

“To what, Sister?”

Marva holds her head and runs from the room.

Cicely, Marva’s former teacher enters. “Hi, girls.”

“Oh, hi, Miss Stewart.”  June doesn’t look up . She is busy trying to replace the batteries that fell out when Marva threw the remote.

“What are you doing? Where’s Marva?” Cicely asks.

June holds up the device, now intact. “She’s upset over what she’s seeing on TV. About the elections.”

“And she should be. As a woman who was abused by her father, I can’t stand to look at that filth either. It reeks of sexism, misogynism, and plain old male chauvinism. I am telling my class they are not to watch television – ever again. Women need to rise up in protest against this sort of thing.”

June stares open-mouthed. “What’s that word? I need my dictionary.” She drops the remote and runs from the room.

I try to sneak behind Cicely’s back to get the instrument, but David, Cicely’s husband and ace detective, enters. He kisses his wife then tilts her chin upward. “What’s the matter, sweetheart? Why so glum?”

She buries her face in his shirt. “It’s this election.  Look at what it’s doing to the girls, to women everywhere.”

He steps away from her, his face grim. “Don’t worry. I’ll catch the perpetrators. And throw them in jail.”

They leave the room, and I grab the remote. After all, I need to see what’s going on because tomorrow my characters will come and ask me to tell them what they missed.

To learn more about these characters go to:

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Here’s a neat accessory for laptop users. The nice thing about this laptop stand is not only is it adjustable, but it’s ventilated to keep your laptop from overheating. This will make a nice gift for yourself or someone in your life. If you do get one by clicking this link, I will receive a small commission.

file5791287577951 (2)Just recently, I came across a post on one of my author Facebook pages where an author complained that she had paid a lot of money to have her book proofread before publishing, only to have a friend call her and tell her that she found typos in the book. How important is proofreading to the indie author? It is extremely important.

Traditionally published authors have the advantage of professional editing, but independently published authors are on their own, unless they hire reputable editors who can polish their books so they are good as traditional ones. But from what I mentioned above, not every editor or proofreader is worth the money they charge.

The thing is though, if we indie authors want to have our books taken seriously by the reading public, we should hold ourselves to the highest possible standards. Sadly, I see too many books by indie authors with errors that make me cringe. If this would make you feel better, I found two typos in a Dan Brown book. Maybe that’s excusable in a 400-page book and one by such a famous author.

I pride myself on being one of the best proofreaders there is. Maybe it’s from my years as a teacher, or maybe it’s just my penchant for thoroughness; whatever it is, I have proofread books for independent authors, and have received nothing but praise for my work. But what blew my socks off was when my critique group sent me Eagle Eyes. They are always complimenting me on finding those tiny little errors that seem invisible to other members of the group, and this was their way of showing their appreciation.

So, if you are looking for a proofreader/editor who will help you get your work ready for publication – traditional or independent – I would be happy to hear from you.

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I am showcasing my book Coming Out of Egypt this month. This novel deals with the lives of characters who were sexually abused and are struggling to forge new lives for themselves. There is so much to be gained from this 256 – page book. Apart from showing the devastating effects of sexual abuse, the book deals with relationships, the value of forgiveness, and the power of redemption. Get your copy today by clicking the image below.

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This is something I don’t usually do, but as a member of Amazon Prime, I am entitled to benefit from some of these great Amazon deals and therefore I thought I should share them with you. If you are already a member of Prime, you know that you can get free shipping on your Amazon orders, download music, movies and TV shows free of cost. With the kids home for the summer, you can keep them occupied with Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated program or Original Children’s series including Wishenproof, Annedroids and others.

If you are not already a Prime member you can sign up here or if you are not sure Prime is for you, you can sign up for a free trial. But now there is something even more exciting. Sign up now and take advantage of the deals going on right now and leading up to Prime Day just 5 days away. Just click on the banner below to learn more. And if you do sign up, as an Amazon associate, I will receive a commission.

0677845-R1-007-2_aTomorrow is the anniversary of our nation’s independence. Fourth of July is one of the most popular holidays here in the US, and many people have the day off from work. That means barbecues, trips to the beach or some other hangout venue, and of course, fireworks when the sun goes down. If you are like me, you would take advantage of the time off to catch up on some reading.

Let me recommend a book that is sure to become a summer reading favorite. It’s my first novel Coming Out Of Egypt which I’ve written about before. This is a clean, compelling read about two sisters trying to forge a new life for themselves while trying to put their abusive past behind them. It’s a story that combines romance, suspense and redemption in a way that will leave a lasting impression on the reader. There is no cussing or swearing and no sex, but trust me, you won’t want to put it down.

So today, I have a special reason for bringing this book to your attention. I’m running a special promo until Tuesday. You can get Coming Out Of Egypt on Amazon kindle during this special promotional period for just 99c. Or you can download it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Just click on the image below.

Happy reading and Happy Fourth!

ebookAJOver the past weeks, I have been giving you little tidbits about my new novel Coming Out Of Egypt, the first book in the Egypt series. Today I’m giving you the opening scene to the novel. Read, enjoy and please leave a comment below.

~CHAPTER ONE~
Thunder rumbled in the distance, and Marva Garcia looked through the window at the tall trees silhouetted against the sky. On a clear day, she could identify most of the trees by name, but with the growing darkness she couldn’t tell which was cedar or mango, breadfruit or samaan or any of the stately trees that flanked the estate. It was as if they had all banded together to disguise themselves against the threatening storm. Only the coconut and gru – gru palms were distinguishable by their long, slender trunks and fringed branches.
Nearer the house, the smaller fruit trees were still visible, but their leaves hung down as if bracing for what was to come. The door of the storage shed where they stored their produce – grapefruit, oranges and bananas – rattled as the wind blew through it. Marva had heard it multiple times, but tonight the sound grated on her nerves. She looked at her younger sister, June, sitting huddled on a stool, head buried in her arms like a sleeping chicken. Occasionally, a sob escaped from beneath the bush of hair. If only she didn’t have to experience any of this.
Marva cast another anxious glance at the heavy rain clouds hanging like wet sheets on a clothesline. Might as well do it now before the storm hit.
She tugged at June’s arms. “Come on. It’s time.”
The girl raised her head, showing eyes reddened and wide like those of a frightened deer. She opened her mouth as if to speak then closed it and stumbled to her feet.
Marva softened her tone. “You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.”
June nodded, indicating she would go.
Marva closed the window. Steeling herself, she opened the bedroom door and crept forward, June following right behind her.
He lay on his stomach on the floor in the same position in which he’d fallen, head at a
rakish angle, arms flung out in front him, one knee slightly bent. June gasped, and Marva glanced over her shoulder. June’s lower lip trembled, her face pale, arms crossed over her bosom. Marva hesitated before turning back to the body on the floor.
Her heart pounded so hard, it sounded in her ears, and for one frightening moment she thought she would faint. But fainting was a luxury she couldn’t afford right now. She leaned against the wall for a second to quiet her heart then with a grimace, bent low and spread her arms. Something swelled in his back pocket. She pulled out the wallet, flung it on the bed, then straightened and looked back at June, peeking from behind her fingers. Lord, I can’t do it.

Now, if you would like to read more, why not click on the image below?

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