Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine December 2018

Hannah Howe

Earlier this year, in partnership with authors Ronesa Aveela and Denise McCabe, I created Mom’s Favorite Reads, one of the highlights of my publishing year.

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What is Mom’s Favorite Reads?

*It’s a community of book lovers

* A monthly magazine featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment world alongside the best in modern publishing

*A book catalogue containing over 400 books, including many bestsellers and award-winners

*A website with dedicated author pages

*A reading group where readers can discover new authors

*A partner to major businessness including The Fussy Librarian and chess.com

* A fun way to promote books with items like our Advent Calendar and nominations to the Apple News Channel

* A community to support literacy amongst adults and children

This weekend, we published our December magazine. The magazine is available from all major retail platforms, including Amazon. You can also read the magazine, for free…

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Santa’s Name Day

December 14, 2018

Did you know St. Nick (more formerly known as Saint Nicholas or Saint Nikolas) had a name day? This is not the Santa Claus version you are familiar with, but the saint from long ago.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “name day,” it’s a festivity like a birthday, but is more popular than a birthday. Each day of the year has several related names assigned to it.

The name day in his honor, Nikulden (Никулден, St. Nicholas’ Day), is celebrated on December 6. What many people know him for is his reputation for giving gifts. The most famous story about this was that he secretly threw three purses of gold coins through the window of the house of a poor man who had three unmarried daughters. In those days, women needed a dowry to marry. Without one and with not much hope of obtaining employment sufficient to live on, most poor women ended up as prostitutes. Thus, from this generous act, Santa Claus came into existence.

Less known is the fact that St. Nicholas is the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. Since the eastern side of Bulgaria borders the Black Sea, this is an important holiday for Bulgarians. As a sign of respect to the saint, men don’t go out on the sea.

A fish — in particular the carp — is an important part of celebrations in his honor. It is called the servant of St. Nicholas and is considered sacred because a bone inside its head is shaped like a cross. The bone is often used as an amulet, sewn inside the hat of a newborn, to protect the infant.

Bread is the center of the Christmas feast. It has a coin or fortunes hidden inside. Whoever finds the coin inside his bread is certain to have luck throughout the year.

The_Christmas_Thief_CoverThis tradition is incorporated into my children’s short story and coloring/activity book, The Christmas Thief, where a seven-year-old boy named Christopher is determined he’s going to catch the Winter Monster who steals food from his family’s porch every Christmas. What he discovers instead is the meaning of sharing.

Go to The Christmas Thief page to find more information about the book.

New Release Spotlight – Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery #2 by Judy Penz Sheluk

November 12, 2018

New Release Spotlight

Past and Present

Past and Present

Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery #2
By Judy Penz Sheluk

Genre: Mystery
Release Date: September 21, 2018 Trade Paperback and Kindle

Pre-order Kindle on Amazon for special introductory price of $2.99 (reg. $5.99)

Buy link: Kindle

Or pre-order the trade paperback and in trade paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chapters.Indigo.

 

About the book

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.

 

Early Praise for Past & Present

“Psychological realizations and self-inspection are an exquisite touch to this story that keeps readers not only engaged, but completely cognizant of the forces that motivate families, murderers, and investigators alike… The result is a tense, emotionally gripping, multifaceted mystery that serves both as a perfect continuation of Callie’s life story and as a fine stand-alone read for newcomers.” — Diane Donovan, Senior Book Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“A well-crafted story that keeps readers engaged as history blends into the present.” — Debra H. Goldstein, award-winning author of the Sarah Blair mystery series

“Sheluk nails it with this intriguing mystery that stitches together an investigation into the past with people’s lives in the present—including that of protagonist Callie Barnstable.  Treat yourself to a new present-day read—you won’t be disappointed.” — Edith Maxwell, author of the Agatha-nominated Quaker Midwife Mysteries

“An intriguing small-town mystery populated by engaging characters you want to spend time getting to know. Ocean liners, immigration, and family ties; the past is always present—an idea Ms. Sheluk explores to great effect.” — Micki Browning, Agatha-nominated author of The Mer Cavallo mystery series

“An engaging journey into the past that ripples into the present. Sheluk’s well-written narrative and clever banter follows protagonist Callie Barnstable as she seeks answers for a client; each photo, memorabilia, and news article reveals an intriguing picture of love, family secrets…and murder. A top-notch mystery that keeps you guessing to the end.”— Kings River Life Magazine

 

About the author

Judy Penz Sheluk is the Amazon international bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short stories appear in several collections.

Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime – Guppies, Sisters in Crime – Toronto, International Thriller Writers, Inc., the South Simcoe Arts Council, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors, representing Toronto/Southwestern Ontario.

Find her at www.judypenzsheluk.com.

 

Social

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/JudyPenzSheluk/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8602696.Judy_Penz_Sheluk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JudyPenzSheluk

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/judypenzsheluk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/judypenzsheluk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Reading for the Whole Family to take you on a Magical Trip to Bulgaria

May 28, 2018

I strongly believe that learning about your heritage and preserving your traditions in our own family is a great way to teach our children about the family’s cultural and religious history and adding to their personal identity. Observing, preserving and creating new traditions are ways of honoring our ancestors and also welcoming new members in.

This is the reason a few years ago I started writing books inspired by Bulgarian mythology and folklore, and tales learned from my grandparents in Bulgaria. What better way for the whole family to read, do activities and learn more about their heritage, or learn about another culture?

The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village by Ronesa AveelaMy latest book, The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village, is not an exception.  It’s inspired by the mythological village called Zmeykovo (Dragon Village) where all mystical creatures live. It’s a perfect summer read. As soon as it was published, it became an Amazon #1 New release in Children’s Multicultural Literature.

Amazon Review: “It is a magical adventure story that is steeped in Bulgarian and Slavic myths. This is a book that will appeal to both boys and girls as it is filled with adventure and magic. Many positive messages can also be taken away from this story such as; together you’re stronger and that love is a more powerful force than hate.”

Mystical Emona: Soul's Journey bookI didn’t forget about summer reading for parents. My novel Mystical Emona, set in Bulgaria, is an inspiring story about love. It takes place in Emona, a small village on the coast of the Black Sea. It’s a place where wild horses have roamed the land since of the time of King Rez and the Thracians. In the novel, Stefan is a widowed artist from Boston, Mass, with a young daughter. He hopes moving to a secluded village on the Black Sea coast will ease his pain, and the wild, untamed beauty of this surrounding will inspire him to take up his art once again. He meets a mysterious woman and his life changes. He is drawn to her by some unknown bond, but cannot give his heart to her fully because his memories refuse to release their hold on him. Then the dreams begin. Some delightful. Others terrifying.

At the beach or at your favorite reading place, take the journey to Mystical Emona and find out if the lovers reunite. The book is sure to enchant you with its perfect blend of history, legends, rituals, and romance.

Light Love Rituals book

If you like nonfiction, I think Light Love Rituals is the book you’ll want to read. It’s recommended for children and adults from 8 to 108 who would like to take a journey and discover Bulgarian folk tales, legends, and mythology. Whether you want to learn a little about their ancient Thracian origins, or you want to experience rituals practiced throughout the year with a fictitious Bulgarian family, or even if you’re only interested in traditional Bulgarian cuisine, this book has something for everyone.

Bulgarian culture is rich in folklore and traditions surviving since the days of the ancient Thracians. As pagan and Christian religions collided, many celebrations merged into one. Light Love Rituals will take you on a journey to discover these unique festivals.

Light Love Rituals not only describes the rituals, but also makes them interesting and understandable to people of all ages. The book is divided into four seasons, beginning with winter. It includes activities where you can learn how to make martenitsi, survachka, and Easter eggs dyed with natural colors.

A short quiz after each season lets you test your knowledge of what you’ve read. To help you engage in the traditions in the book, you’ll meet Maria and her family. They’ll open the doors of their home so you can participate in these celebrations along with them. For an added taste of Bulgaria, try some of the traditional recipes at the end.

 

5 Entertaining Activities for the Whole Family to Learn about Different Cultures

May 28, 2018

It’s summer vacation and children have more time for games and fun activities.

Learn about other cultures

Learn about other cultures

Families can use this opportunity to shut off the tech toys and engage in favorite summer activities such as books, picnics, pool parties, barbecues, and more. Since we live in a world without borders, maybe you can go outside your comfort zones by learning about different cultures!
I write about Bulgarian mythology, folklore and cuisine, so I can offer a few ideas for the summer.

Dine at an ethnic restaurant

I’m sure your first idea is to dine at an ethnic restaurant and this is perfectly fine, we all love food. This is your chance to expand your palate! See if there are any ethnic restaurants nearby that you’ve never been to. If you can’t find a Bulgarian restaurant, you can prepare your own ethnic Bulgarian meal.

My favorite is called banitsa, but since it’s summer, I think you need to try my other favorite for the summer: Zucchini with yogurt-dill sauce

Also yogurt is a known Bulgarian specialty, healthy and tasty.

Visit Maria’s Kitchen to explore more recipes and learn about different Bulgarian and Mediterranean dishes; try the taste of Bulgaria and the Balkans. To discover more recipes, you can get a copy of my book: Mediterranean and Bulgarian Cuisine: 12 Easy Traditional Favorites.

Experience ethnic music and dance

There are plenty of ways to learn more about music in other countries. Here are some suggestions:

  • Sign up for a dance class to learn flamenco (Spain), polka (Scandinavia), or the jig (Scotland or Ireland)
  • Attend a concert or music festival that showcases music from different parts of the world
  • Check out CDs of ethnic music at the library

Bulgarian Music and dance

Bulgarian folk music and dance are quite different from what Americans are used to. Dances are performed by men and women in lines or circles (horo).

Bulgarian Horo

“Na Megdana” by Nelly Tonchev-Nelinda (Nelinda.com)

I’m sure you’ve heard about some in the movie 300 (Message for the Queen) and other Hollywood movies.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-Uxqt1Hai4&index=3&list=RD6PP-c_-lxus

“Go down, go down, bright sunshine
Go down, hide your light
Mourn for your leafs, you forest”

To learn more check my article on Bulgarian Music and Dance.

In my book Light Love Rituals, you can learn more about the Horo and also when the dance is performed.

Learn about your heritage

Doing a little genealogical research with your family allows you to spend time together and reach out to distant family members. Creating a family record is a pursuit you can work on for a long time, and you never know what you might discover!

Even if your heritage is not Bulgarian, maybe you have a friend who is and you want to learn more. Visit my blog or my author page where you can find different books inspired by the rich Bulgarian traditions and mythology.

You can see all my books and the various retails to purchase them from here: Ronesa’s Books.

My latest book, The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village, is a good summer read to travel to the mystical world in Zmeykovo (Dragon Village) and also learn about different mythological creatures.

Learn about Mythology and Folklore of other cultures while making crafts

Bulgarians celebrate name days, birthdays and they observe and practice many more rituals and traditions. In my Baba Treasure Chest series, I’ve described some of them.

My favorite tradition is making a Martenitsa, the white and red amulet of friendship. In the short story The Miracle Stork, I have activities and also steps on how to make your own.

If you’re traveling, some of my book are available on Audible, a perfect way to entertain the entire family until you get to your final destination. You can have an awesome trip while learning about another culture.

Coloring Books for the entire family

Coloring can reduce stress and be fun for the whole family! When you’re coloring, you’re not checking your smart phone, flipping channels or tweeting. In addition, my coloring books (Mermaids Around the World and More Mermaids Around the World) can help you learn more than 50 different mermaid legends.

Do you know any other ways to learn about different cultures?

Mermaids Around the World coloring book   More Mermaids Around the World coloring book

MEET AN AUTHOR – Heather Ramsay

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to another indie author: Heather Ramsay. When she’s not busy reading, she’s thinking of things she’d like for you to read. Here she is now. Please welcome her… and why not pick up a copy of her book?

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Hello, my name is Heather and I’m a bookaholic.

Reading is my vice. Some people prefer television, others movies, but not me. All I need is a book and a quiet place to dive in. The more books I visually consume, the more I realize I love all genres. There is just something so uplifting about a romance, exciting about a thriller, intriguing about a mystery, and wondrous about a fantasy world.

Once upon a time, I read only the most popular “it” books by traditionally published authors. After I finished one novel, I’d be off to the next one. It was through Amazon’s “customers also bought” category that I discovered indie books.

Stack of booksIt was here, out of the mainstream, where I found some of my favorite authors. After reading affordable and well written indie books, I wondered why I’d paid upwards of ten dollars for a well known author’s book. I could buy three or four indie novels for the price of one traditionally published book. My eyes were suddenly open. I began to regret all the hard earned money I’d spent on over-priced books now that I knew there were millions of hidden gems just waiting for me.

The more indie’s I devoured, the more traditionally published books became formulaic with similar storylines. I found this especially true of books in a series. Once I moved past books two or three, I started to find the rest repetitive. The protagonists were somehow always stuck in repetitive loops, doing the same thing over-and-over again expecting different results. My discovery of indie books brought my love of reading to a whole new level. These unique stories pushed the boundaries, filled with fresh views, and no fear of discussing real, gritty topics. The author’s could let their imaginations run wild with no restraints from agents or publishers.

A few years ago, I had the crazy idea to join the front lines and start writing my own novel. It began as a hobby, something to do while my husband watched TV. I wrote my book. I rewrote my book. I erased entire sections of my book and tried again. Once I finally finished it, I wondered if someone else might want to read it. Would they even *gasp* pay to read it? In the end, I decided to take the plunge. Every story has a beginning, right? Well, this is mine.

I welcome you to check out my debut romantic thriller novel, Snakebite, Alpha Squad Book 1. Let’s see if you too, prefer indie books.

Snakebite by Heather RamsayThe Alpha Squad—an elite United Nations military unit tasked with stopping the world’s most dangerous arms dealers. Their existence is shrouded in secrecy, hidden away in the New Mexico desert.

Phoenix is their newest recruit. Where she came from, nobody knows. Not even Phoenix herself. Amnesia has left her with no past, no identity. The squad is all she has. She wants to prove she belongs there – to the other soldiers, to herself, and to her commanding officer, the formidable General Cobra. Cobra is cold, hard, ruthless. And Phoenix knows he doesn’t trust her.

When they are sent to Colombia together on an assignment, something begins to change between them. They begin to form a friendship, an understanding, and maybe something more.

But Phoenix is about to learn that the past can’t stay buried forever…

Buy Link: http://smarturl.it/SnakebiteAlfaBook1

If you enjoy Snakebite, please help an indie author and leave a review. Every star counts!! 

 

About Heather Ramsay

Heather RamsayHeather Ramsay grew up in a town just outside of Toronto, Ontario. After spending a few years working and exploring California, she now resides in Pennsylvania with her family.

Personal trainer, yoga teacher, and group exercise instructor by trade, her true passion is writing. An avid reader and make believer from a young age, Heather dreamed of one day publishing her own book. When not reading or writing, you can often find her training, spending time with family, or chasing around a toddler.

 

Find Heather here:

Website: www.heatherramsayauthor.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/hramsay

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/HeatherRamsay

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-ramsay

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorhramsay

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorHRamsay

Twitter: www.twitter.com/AuthorHRamsay

Pinterest: www.Pinterest.com/authorhramsay

Stream One – Goylake Publishing

April 20, 2018

Bendideia Publishing is partnering with Goylake Publishing located in Wales.

Look to these pages for some great books. One in particular I’ll mention is The Hermit of Hisarya, by Hannah Howe.

Some people will stop at nothing in their pursuit of wealth and power. Indeed, the greedy will often resort to murder.

“You’ve been through a stressful time recently, ” my fiance, Dr Alan Storey said. “I’m off to Bulgaria to attend a psychology conference so why don’t you accompany me and we’ll throw in a holiday as well.”

Great idea, I thought. However, when I arrived in Bulgaria my inquisitive nature compelled me towards a mystery dating back to the Second World War. That mystery involved Emil Angelov, the Hermit of Hisarya. As I delved into the past I stirred up some ghosts, which led to murder and the prospect of spending the rest of my days in a Bulgarian gaol.

The Hermit of Hisarya – a story of corruption, of murder, of a woman and her seventy-year-old dream, offering proof that the past, the present and the future are all intrinsically entwined.

If you haven’t read the Sam Smith series, you can start with this one, or jump to the beginning. Each one is its own unique story, but Sam’s story progresses with each additional story.

You can find Hannah’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E/

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Goylake Publishing is named after a stream. Our enterprise is built around sales, business and author partnership streams. Therefore, our blog posts are numbered streams 🙂 We hope you enjoy them.

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Business mastermind Daniela Jones established Goylake Publishing in 2010 to publish local history books and websites. Daniela has a university degree and a long experience of creating small businesses, founding her first company shortly after leaving university. Daniela still owns Goylake Publishing and oversees its business activities. In her spare time, Daniela competes in triathlons and this year she will participate in Ironman Wales.

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We love music at Goylake Publishing. Indeed, our author Hannah Howe loves music so much she teamed up with children’s author Denise McCabe to form a virtual group, The Screetchers. The Screetchers promise to ‘sing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order’ (!) Okay, we’ll admit, these authors can’t sing, but they can write. Check out their books for proof of that statement.

Over the past eight years Goylake Publishing has had the pleasure of working with many creative people. One of our creative collaborations involved Downwood Film Productions who made this promotional film for A History of Kenfig. A History of Kenfig sold over 1,000 copies on publication and is still a popular title, especially at gift times. Downwood make excellent local history films and we urge you to explore their titles.

To date, Goylake Publishing has published ten audio books with more to follow. This isn’t one of ours, but we played a minor part in the book’s development and are looking forward to listening to it.

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When Daniela Jones established Goylake Publishing in 2010 her initial aim was to sell 100 books in the first six months. Eight years and over 100,000 downloads later…

Through the power of the Internet, Goylake Publishing’s books have reached the number one position on Amazon’s charts in America and Australia, the top five in Brazil, Japan and Canada, the top ten in Britain, and the top twenty in France and the Netherlands.

Goylake Publishing, the local publisher with international reach.

Goylake Publishing

Goylake Publishing is named after a stream. Our enterprise is built around sales, business and author partnership streams. Therefore, our blog posts are numbered streams 🙂 We hope you enjoy them.

E97FEBA4-CFBB-4CAA-8F9E-C111201A286E

Business mastermind Daniela Jones established Goylake Publishing in 2010 to publish local history books and websites. Daniela has a university degree and a long experience of creating small businesses, founding her first company shortly after leaving university. Daniela still owns Goylake Publishing and oversees its business activities. In her spare time, Daniela competes in triathlons and this year she will participate in Ironman Wales.

66E015E3-ACF3-4F2A-82FB-64FF85AAE1C1

We love music at Goylake Publishing. Indeed, our author Hannah Howe loves music so much she teamed up with children’s author Denise McCabe to form a virtual group, The Screetchers. The Screetchers promise to ‘sing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order’ (!) Okay, we’ll admit, these authors can’t sing, but…

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