The Superstition Game: Hallowe'en

Happy Hallowe'en, everybody!

I thought it appropriate for today's game to give you some superstitions connected to Hallowe'en.

Hallowe'en is a festival, celebrated on October 31, when ghosts roam abroad and witches traditionally hold their sabbaths. Originally, a pagan festival of the dead, Hallowe'en marked the end of the Celtic year. It was said that the sun itself entered the gates of Hell on this date, providing an opportunity for evil spirits to slip out and menace the Earth for forty-eight hours -- hence the ominous associations of the modern version of the festival. Attempts to Christianize the festival by making it the eve of All Hallow's Day or All Saints' Day, when Christian saints and martyrs are commemorated, have failed to obliterate its essentially pagan character, emphasized by the now ubiquitous imagery of broomstick-riding witches and grotesque masks fashioned from hollowed-out pumpkins which are meant to scare away demons.

Hallowe'en is the one time of the year when the supernatural holds sway over the Earth, and numerous superstitions are associated with it. These range from protective rituals to keep evil spirits at bay to means of divining what the future has in store. One of the most widely held notions connected with the festival is the blood-chilling idea that on this date the souls of the dead make their way back to their earthly homes to warm themselves at their old firesides. In many quarters, it is thought dangerous to attempt to hinder the dead from returning in this way, and Hallowe'en is generally considered a time when extra care should be taken not to linger in churchyards or do anything that might offend the fairies or other malicious spirits.

If a person is walking down a road, for instance, and hears someone walking close behind, it is important that they do not look back (it is likely to be Death himself, and looking into his face will hasten the living person's own demise). It is also risky to look at one's own shadow in the moonlight and most inadvisable to go on a hunting expedition on Hallowe'en, as one may accidentally wound a wondering spirit. Children born on Hallowe'en will, however, enjoy lifelong protection against evil spirits and will also be endowed with the gift of second sight. In rural areas, farmers may circle their fields with lighted torches in the belief that doing so will safeguard the following year's harvest, or else drive their livestock between branches of rowan to keep them safe from evil influences.

Most surviving Hallowe'en superstitions concern the business of foretelling the future, in particular, getting a glimpse of a future partner. According to Welsh tradition, anyone going to a crossroads on Hallowe'en and listening carefully to the wind may learn what the next year has in store and, when the church clock strikes midnight, will hear a list of the names of those who are to die in the locality over the next twelve months.

Several of the most widely known Hallowe'en divination rituals relate to apples. Superstition suggests that, if a girl stands before a mirror while eating an apple and combing her hair at midnight on Hallowe'en, her future husband's image will be reflected in the glass over her left shoulder. A variant dictates that she must cut the apple into nine pieces, each of which must be stuck on the point of a knife and held over the left shoulder. Moreover, if she peels an apple in one long piece, and then tosses the peel over her left shoulder or into a bowl of water, she will be able to read the first initial of her future partner's name in the shape assumed by the discarded peel. Alternatively, the peel is hung on a nail by the front door and the initials of the first man to enter will be the same as those of the unknown lover.

Hallowe'en is also the occasion on which groups of unmarried boys and girls twirl apples on strings over a fire, the order in which the apples fall off the strings indicates the order in which they will be married (the owner of the last apple to drop will remain unmarried). Yet another Hallowe'en custom is the game of ducking apples: without using their hands, children attempt to take bites out of apples floating in a bowl of water or suspended on a string. Superstition has it that they are fated to marry the owner of the apple they manage to bite. Alternatively, the winner of the game takes their apple to bed and sleeps with it under their pillow so as to get a vision of a future spouse in their dreams.

Other customs involve blindfolded girls pulling up cabbages and examining the shape of the root to make conclusions about a future spouse, throwing nuts into the fire to see if they jump (if they do, a lover will prove unfaithful), sprinkling letters cut out of a newspaper on to some water to see what name they form (that of a future lover) and inviting a blindfolded person to place their left hand on one of three dishes, one filled with clean water, another with foul water, and the last empty. If the clean water is chosen, the person's future partner will be attractive and desirable; if the foul water is selected, he or she will already have been married; if the empty dish is chosen, there will be no partner at all.

Some girls may be tempted to follow the ritual of eating a salted herring before retiring for the night: the resulting thirst will summon up the sympathetic spirit of a future partner who will come with a drink of water. More complicated is the ancient procedure in which a person dips their sleeve in a stream at a point where land belonging to three people meets, and then goes home and hangs the sleeve in front of the fire: during the night, the spirit of a future spouse will materialize and turn the sleeve to allow the other side to dry.

Why is it, most superstitions have something to do with finding "the one"? I don't know, but it's just something I've noticed while playing this game. I hope that you enjoyed yourself while reading these posts and learned something new. I end this game with this video:

Review Request: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Today, I have the honor of presenting to all of you a debut YA paranormal from my awesome friend Emlyn Chand. She's the one I win all those traffic-breaker polls for. Anyway, if you want to review her novel, please make sure to leave your name and email address in the comments section so that she can contact you about your review copy right away. Happy Reading!

Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

In this enthralling debut novel, Emlyn Chand creates a world in which friendship, perseverance, and a handful of psychic powers come together to fight against what appears to be the inevitable and all-too dangerous future. This is a book you won’t want to put down—even after you finish it!

Note from the Author:

Farsighted is available as an eBook now, but the paperback doesn't release until November 24th (the author's birthday, yay), which means that the review copies will be provided in Kindle, Nook, or PDF formats only--just thought I should make that clear. Thank you, Kate. Thank you, everybody!

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Please leave a tip on your way out by following me on Twitter or "liking" me on Facebook, or if you already have, I hope that you encourage your friends and followers to do the same. 

Thank you!

The Superstition Game: Cars

Folks, Halloween is tomorrow for the islands, so I can already smell the candy. Having a little get together at my place. You're all invited!

But before I start baking and cooking my nuts off, I want to continue with the game. Today, it's all about cars. Yes, cars! This suggestion is from Sophie over at Life Between Pages. She's awesome, so make sure to visit her by clicking on the link. Let's begin...

Despite the relatively brief history of motorized transport, the car has already attracted to itself a considerable body of mythology. Green cars are widely held to be unlucky and many drivers talk of 'jinxed' vehicles in which they have had numerous accidents (though others will protest that even talking about such mishaps is likely to provoke misfortune). Congratulating oneself on a trouble-free motoring record is also unwise, as this is simply tempting fate. Particularly suspect are cars bought on the thirteenth of the month or otherwise carrying number plates that in some way ad up to the number thirteen.

Stretches of road can be haunted, just as houses can. Drivers on a remote stretch of road in south-west England, for instance, have described a spectral pair of hairy hands materializing alongside their own on the steering wheel and attempting to force the vehicle off the road. Other motorists have picked up spectral hitchhikers and have otherwise been terrorized by ghostly pedestrians suddenly materializing immediately in front of the car. To guard against such dangers, and also against more mundane risks, many drivers carry lucky St. Christopher key chains or other charms such as lucky dice, and will transfer these accessories from their old car to their new one in order to preserve their luck. Virtually every driver, meanwhile, will support the contention that washing the car is certain to bring on rain.

A rather involved superstition recorded in the US claims that a girl may employ the 'magic' of cars to hasten the moment when she meets her true love. First, she must wait in the same spot until ten red cars have passed, then she must spot a red-haired girl in a purple dress and finally a man in a green tie: the next male who happens along is destined to become her husband.

Well, that sounds like something interesting for all single women out there. Please sit somewhere and wait to see if all this happens. Send me your wedding invite if it does. But before you go out and test this superstition, watch this video:

Review Request: The Moon Coin by Richard Due

We have a beautifully illustrated book up for review today, folks. Please read the blurb and if you want to review The Moon Coin, leave your name and email address in the comments section so that Richard can contact you right away for your copy. Happy Reading!

For Lily and Jasper Winter, the Moon Realm began with a single secret bedtime tale. As the children grew older, Uncle Ebb enthralled them with thrilling tales of the Dragondain riding horse-sized, catlike Rinn; mysterious tales of peerin-wielding lunamancers manipulating the magic that lies just beneath the surface of reality; exciting tales of flying dragons, swimming merfolk, stomping giants, and troublesome faeries. But as the magic of their childhood faded, so too did the tales. Eventually, they were just . . . good stories.

Or were they?

Now, nine years after it all began, Uncle Ebb is missing.

Lily and Jasper search for clues, but their uncle’s mansion is full of distractions. A Tesla generator thrums in the basement. Prismatic electrimals flit around walls resembling underwater reefs. Then a most unexpected friend comes to their aid, leading them to a hidden room where they find a mysterious coin—the moon coin. Before the night is out, Lily is transported to the real Moon Realm. But the moons are in trouble. The Rinn of Barreth are under siege, and the lunamancers of Dain are beset by the very dragons they once loved. Most horrifying of all, the moon Darwyth has fallen to a villain named Wrengfoul, whose creeping evil now threatens to overshadow all the Realm.

Are Lily and Jasper too late to save the Moon Realm, or will they have enough time to write an ending of their own?

Featuring twenty-two stunning full-color illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio. Volume One of the young adult fantasy adventure series The Moon Realm.

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Please leave a tip on your way out by following me on Twitter or "liking" me on Facebook, or if you already have, I hope that you encourage your friends and followers to do the same. 

Thank you!

First Editing Job: Dashing Through the Snow by T.M. Souders

When I first decided to start freelance editing and proofreading, I was nervous. I thought to myself, will it work? Will writers trust me enough with their pride and joy? Like any budding entrepreneur, I needed my first client. So, I eagerly anticipated his or her arrival. Much nail biting occurred.

A week after launching my Hire Me page, I received an email from T.M. Souders. My first client! *happy dance* We exchanged emails and I quickly began editing the story she entrusted me with. Here is the fruit of that labor:

Wynn Murphy has been in love with Zane Anders since the day she laid eyes on him. But just when she begins to hope their casual relationship might turn into something more, a misunderstanding pushes her away.

At first sight, charming and handsome, ad executive, Zane Anders has been secretly infatuated with bake shop cutie, Wynn Murphy. This Christmas, he's determined to tell her.

Join Wynn and Zane in this delightful holiday novelette as Zane goes dashing through the snow in an effort to capture Wynn's heart.

I really enjoyed reading Dashing Through the Snow. And I believe you will enjoy this holiday story too. It was a pleasure to be a part of its editorial formation.

T.M., thank you so much for giving me a chance. I couldn't have asked for a better first client.

So, folks, head on over to this link and purchase your copy of Dashing Through the Snow today! It's a story you'll definitely swoon over.

The Superstition Game: Moon

We have an awesome suggestion for the game today. It comes from Renee at Renee Rearden Blog. She wanted superstitions about the moon. There's a lot since the moon is a very important part of superstition culture. But before that, I would like to introduce two things.

First is Boyd, my ceramic pumpkin. I even lit a candle in him and everything. Say hello to Boyd, folks.

And the second one is this:

It's called Ooey-Gooey Peanut Butter-Chocolate Brownies. They are easy to make. Yummy as heck. And the perfect treat for any Halloween Party. In fact, I'm baking a new batch for Monday. Excited!

Now, on to the game...

As might be expected, the moon occupies a prominent place in the superstition of the entire Western world. While the sun represents the life essence and the more positive aspects of existence, the moon, ruler of the tides and other elemental forces, is generally taken to symbolize darker, more mysterious and often negative influences. The reverence that ancient moon worshipers felt for the moon is reflected in the mix of feelings that most people still have for the Earth's nearest neighbor in space, even in an age where science has revealed much about the moon's real nature.

Perhaps the oldest and widest known of the superstitions connected with the moon is that those who gaze too long at the full moon risk becoming 'lunatic,' that is, mad, and will henceforth be subject to attacks of insanity whenever the moon is full. The moon's disorienting influence is also to be seen in the erratic behavior of animals at certain times in the lunar cycle and may be linked, according to many authorities, with the human female menstruation cycle.

Primitive awe of the moon and its strange wonders has never quite died away and it continues to be treated by the more superstitious with the utmost respect. In various ancient cultures, for instance, young girls in particular were warned against sleeping in the moonlight, lest they become 'moonstruck' and beget monsters, and even today, children may be instructed to chant 'I see the moon and the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me' to ward off ill luck should the moonlight come into their room. To be on the safe side, many adults will greet the new moon with a respectful bow or curtsey (in which case, they believe they will be granted a wish). Witches and other sorcerers, meanwhile, have long been credited with the power to 'draw down the moon,' attracting its malevolent power to use for their own nefarious ends.

Many ancient calendars depended on the lunar phases, and there have been many attempts to determine from the moon's cycle the optimum times to begin various enterprises. Broadly speaking, the waxing of a new moon is a time when lovers may divine what the future has in store for them, when new projects may be safely begun, and when journeys may be best undertaken. Farmers -- despite any real evidence to support them -- will choose if possible to do their planting and sowing when the moon is waxing (though such plants as runner beans, which grow anti-clockwise, are sown on the wane) and this is also the best time for weddings, childbirth, and convalescence. Livestock slaughtered when the moon is waxing will give better meat.

Bowing to the new moon and turning over any silver coins in one's pocket will guarantee a doubling in the amount by the end of the next cycle. If in company, the first person to see the new moon should kiss one of his or her companions without delay: they may then expect a gift in the near future. It is important, however, that the new moon should not be seen for the first time through glass or through the branches of a tree, as this is a bad omen (similarly if it is first seen to the left side of the observer). Ideally, it should be sighted in the open air via a glance over the right shoulder (in which case a wish may be made).

It is highly inadvisable to be caught pointing at the new moon, as this offends 'the man on the moon' (an obscure mythical figure allegedly banished to the moon for gathering sticks on the Sabbath) and is an invitation to dire misfortune; if done nine times, the person concerned will be barred from entry into Heaven. Moreover, no one should consent to surgery when the moon is full, and any death that occurs during the new moon will be followed by three further mortalities. There is a general agreement, however, that no person can actually die while the moon is rising.

Lovers are advised that the first new moon of the year, if approached in the right way, may reward them with visions of future partners. Generally speaking, the moon must be addressed with respect and the following rhyme recited:

All hail to thee moon, all hail to thee,
I prethee kind moon, reveal to me,
Him/Her who is my life partner to be.

If all goes well, the lover will see his or her future partner in their dreams -- or may even wake to find a single hair from the other's head tucked in between their big toe and its neighbor. The number of moons a lover sees when gazing at the moon through a new silk handkerchief or when examining their reflection in water or in a mirror indicates how many years (or months) must pass before his or her marriage.

A waning moon exerts a generally baneful influence and is a particularly bad time for births and weddings. Anything cut in this period will not grow again, including hair and fingernails, though it is apparently a good time to move house, let blood, pick fruit, cut down trees, and stuff feather mattresses. Worst of all is the period between cycles, when there is no moon at all: children born during this time will come to nothing, as an ancient English proverb warns -- 'No moon, no man.'

The period immediately following a new moon is the most significant. One ancient English tradition advises on the character of each of the ten days immediately following:

Day One: Ideal for births and new projects, but bad for those who fall ill.

Day Two: Ideal for business matters, sea voyages, and sowing seeds.

Day Three: An inauspicious day for most undertakings.

Day Four: Ideal for construction projects and for the birth of politicians.

Day Five: Ideal for conception and the model for the month's weather.

Day Six: Ideal for hunting and fishing.

Day Seven: The most propitious day for new lovers to meet.

Day Eight: The worst day to fall ill, as the illness may prove fatal.

Day Nine: A day to avoid moonlight on the face, lest insanity follow.

Day Ten: A day for the birth of restless souls.

Should two lunar months fall within the same calendar month, extremely bad weather is sure to follow and may extend to flooding and other natural catastrophes. If this happens in May, it will rain 'for a year and a day.' Other weather predictions connected within the lunar cycle include the notion that new moons that fall at the weekend will be followed by bad luck and foul weather. If the 'horns' of the new moon point upwards, good weather is in the offing; if they point down, it will be wet. A halo around the moon at any time in the cycle is a warning of rain to come. A full moon that falls on Christmas Day, meanwhile, is lamented by farmers as a prophecy of a poor harvest in the year ahead.

In folk medicine, a superstition from the north of England recommends blowing on one's warts in the light of the full moon to cure them, while many regions boast the tradition of 'washing' hands affected by warts in a shiny metal basinful of moon's rays while reciting:

I wash my hands in this thy dish,
O man in the moon, do grant my wish,
And come and take this away.

Thank goodness! Now I finally have a cure for my warty hands. And boy was that long. I told you there's a lot of stuff about the moon. If you do decide to test any of these things out, please report back here and let me know how it goes. For now, I leave you with this moon rap:

Review Request: Wedlocked: A Novel by Bonnie Trachtenberg

I think we have an exciting romance on our hands today, folks! If you want to be swept off your feet, please leave your name and email address in the comments section so that Bonnie can contact you about your copy of Wedlocked as soon as possible. Happy Reading!

Thirty-six-year old Rebecca Ross has finally tied the knot…
and it may be the biggest mistake of her life.

On what should be the happiest day of her life, Rebecca Ross is panic stricken. Rebecca has just wed Craig Jacobs, but she realizes she put more thought into choosing her florist than she did in choosing the man she’s just pledged to love for the rest of her life.

Before Craig, Rebecca, a talented Long Island girl, dreamed of following in her grandmother’s footsteps with an acting career. Unfortunately, she was cut down to size by years of disappointment, and by her first love—a Hollywood director. She returned to Long Island a lost and broken woman, and ended up in the last place she ever wanted: her old bedroom at her parents’ house.

But Rebecca’s mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has a long held dream too: marry off her three daughters to Jewish men. So no one is more thrilled than her when Rebecca meets and marries bon vivant Craig Jacobs, the man who has won over the whole family. Too bad they’re all about to discover that underneath his charismatic shell, this Prince Charming is anything but!

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Please leave a tip on your way out by following me on Twitter or "liking" me on Facebook, or if you already have, I hope that you encourage your friends and followers to do the same. 

Thank you!

Author Interview: Emlyn Chand

Reads, Reviews, Recommends is proud to host author Emlyn Chand for the first leg of her Farsighted book tour.

About the Book:

Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

In this enthralling debut novel, Emlyn Chand creates a world in which friendship, perseverance, and a handful of psychic powers come together to fight against what appears to be the inevitable and all-too dangerous future. This is a book you won’t want to put down—even after you finish it!

About the Author:

Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

The Interview:

Welcome, Em, to Reads, Reviews, Recommends. You're certainly not a stranger to this blog. I've already interviewed you on blogging, and now, I'm very proud to have you over again, and this time, it's for your upcoming YA paranormal release Farsighted. We have much to talk about today, so I want to start by asking you why you've decided to self-publish Farsighted when you already have an agent?

Great question, Kate. I actually sat down to blog about this but instead of coming up with a succint answer, I wrote this giant analogy comparing self-published authors to Salem witches. How much further off-topic can you get? :-P

So anyway, let me explain that decision. About a year ago, I thought the only way to be a writer was to land an agent and get a traditional publishing contract, which is what a lot of aspiring writers think. Then in December of last year, I started my blog and, more importantly, became addicted to Twitter. Within a couple of weeks, I amassed a pretty large following. Just like that. A few months in, I realized I had a unique gift for social media and launched my book marketing business, Novel Publicity. One month after that, my business made enough to sustain me, and I was able to quit my lackluster day job. Since then, I've only been getting better at managing social media and using it to promote my clients' books and my own blog.

My star client, Terri Giuliano Long, reached 10,000 copies sold on her self-published manuscript because of all the work we put into marketing it. Success like this is practically unheard of, indie or not. What this showed me is that the publishing industry is not only changing - it's changed. I'm not really sure there is any benefit to being traditionally published anymore, especially if you're an author who has the know-how and financial/time resources to A) professionally edit your books, B) get a stellar cover designed, and C) market your work.

With all of that in mind, it didn't really make sense for me to seek traditional publication for Farsighted. I don't want to discount traditional publishing altogether, so I still will try to publish through my agent down the road. But, a condition of my signing with him was that I get the Farsighted series as my own. Who knows, I may never need to go traditional. I <3 the indie world dearly!

The world of publishing is changing everyday, but you have to admit that there are still writers out there who are hesitant about entering into indie publishing. You have the support of Novel Publicity backing your marketing push for Farsighted. For those who might not have the resources, what advise can you give them? Where can they start in terms of building a web presence?

That is the million dollar question and one I'm constantly trying to answer on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. One post in particular covers my best attempt at an answer, "Indie authors can succeed." It's a two-part post with a breakdown of what authors can and should do to get their books ready for publication and promote them before and after the fact. First you need to write the best book you can, then package it in a way that will appeal to readers making absolute sure it's professionally edited and has a compelling cover, start building a web presence through social media and create a site that represents you and your brand, learn more about your target audience and interact with them as much as possible, enter writing contests, sponsor reading contests, collaborate with other authors, diversify your efforts, be creative. And most importantly, never give up and don't lose yourself in the process. Sounds simple, right? ;-)

It does sound simple. But sometimes the processes can be daunting. I guess, taking things one step as a time helps. You mentioned branding in your previous answer. I believe that branding yourself is important in succeeding when publishing. So, what do you believe is your brand and how is it connected to Farsighted?

Well, in marketing your book, you’re really marketing yourself as an author. You need to make it clear to the reader what type of writer you are and what they can expect from you. Don’t send mixed signals or try to embody two competing concepts at once. If you look over my website, you should readily notice that I write for a young adult audience. I’ve designed the entire site around that; my blog style is also light and casual, like my fiction.

YA has evolved as a genre in recent years. It doesn't necessarily cater to teens anymore. More and more adults pick up YA novels. So, tell us a little about the genesis of Farsighted and why it would appeal to both young and young at heart readers?

Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car’s side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister’s wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was reading The Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born.

I think the cross-demographic appeal of the Young Adult genre has to do with the relatability of the themes explored. Everyone who made it through teendom remembers that desperate desire to find themselves and to find friends who intrinsically understand them. Even when taking a situation so other-worldly—a blind psychic on a quest to prevent a murder—there is still so much the reader can relate to when considering how Alex views his situation and how he deals with it. This factor of relatability is also what makes books like Twilight, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter so haunting—how can a time and a place so unlike our own seem so familiar? It’s something about the genre. Something special.

I agree with you there, Em! Even if we're taken into the forests of Forks or the arena created by the Capital or Hogwarts, the themes and teen issues that are prevalent in these novels resonate among readers, young and old. So, tell us a little more about Alex. What are his motivations within Farsighted?

I think readers will identify with Alex and his desire to be accepted but to also remain independent. In high school, he’s the person on the periphery—always different, which is both a challenge and a mark of pride. He’s shaped by his own way of looking at the world too—his blindness. Of course, Alex has always been blind; he’s always known the world to be a certain way. But not everyone in the book understands that, and they have trouble talking about it with him. Alex has a tendency to overcompensate. He knows who he is and what he’s capable of, and he wants the world to know it too, so sometimes he overdoes things a bit. His primary motivation is to figure out how he can save Simmi—the first friend he’s made in a long time. He has to grapple with his powers and learn how to use them to accomplish this goal, but it’s not easy.

Alex is blind. That seems to be what makes his character different from other protagonists. There aren't many YA novels that feature a main character with a disability. Was it hard to write from the perspective of a blind person? What kind of research did you do to make sure that the novel would be authentic in terms of Alex's blindness?

Writing a blind character was hard, but I think writing any character is hard. It’s such a daunting task to create a-whole-nother person! It was especially challenging to write Alex’s story in first person point-of-view, because I couldn’t describe anything visually. Sometimes I would slip and add in a non-verbal gesture here or there—my beta readers loved finding those and nailing me on ‘em (thank you, beta readers). On the whole, I think this experience made me a much better writer. I had to create an entire world without my dominant sense. This meant I had to slow down and truly think about how a line of dialogue was being delivered, or how a quilted bedspread felt to the touch, or what a specific person’s skin smells like. It got easier as I went along. And, yes, you better believe I did research. I read books and online articles about how blind students go about their days. Early on, you’ll see how Alex’s school experience differs from what yours or mine might’ve been like—but it’s really more similar than it is different.

Let's shift gears a little and talk about marketing. What are your plans when it comes to marketing Farsighted?

Oh my gosh, I’m going crazy on this marketing campaign. I’m putting everything I’ve got into it—and remember, I own a book marketing company, so I’ve got a lot! I started with making a live action book trailer that embodied the book and will hopefully be a great advertisement (I really like it). I also worked with our graphic designer to create a cover and interior design for the novel that is visually interesting all around – no boring back cover and spine for Farsighted, oh no. I’ve been recruiting early reviewers from Novel Publicity’s blog tour program and from prominent YA blogs across the web. I plan to have between 100 and 200 reviewers cover Farsighted during its first month. I’m hiring three outside blog tour companies to run supplemental tours and get even more coverage. I’m doing advertising on key websites like Kindle Nation and Parajunkee. I’m also doing Pay-per-Click advertising on GoodReads, YouTube, and Facebook. I’m networking with other authors to plan cross-promotional activities, and then there’s my mainstay: social media.

Wow! I would say that you have a total media blitz in your hands. But if we were to think in terms of marketing 101, how would you simplify the process for those who might not have the funds or the support of a business? What are the things indie authors can do when marketing their own novel?

This is a question I intend to blog about with a great deal of transparency. As I go along, I will post updates as to what I’m doing and how it’s working. My story will either serve to empower or warn others who might want to go indie—depends on what happens with Farsighted. I already blog tons of social media advice on the Novel Publicity Free Advice Blog, and social media is a great place to start for authors whether or not they have any semblance of a workable budget. Another strategy that costs nothing is contacting bloggers, especially if you can find ones who are willing to review eBooks. Yes, both of these things will take tons and tons of time, but they’re so worth it!

As in everything that we do, especially us writers, everything does take time. Em, you're not just a writer. You are also a business woman, one who is conquering the social media world one social networking site at a time. What made you decide to start Novel Publicity beside just concentrating on your writing?

Novel Publicity almost happened by accident. I started writing blog-style content a couple of years back when I was recruited by the local paper as a “book expert” because of the large classics book group I run (almost 400 members now). They let me write about books, liked my stuff, and made me the lead columnist. After a year-and-a-half of that, I discovered WordPress and Twitter. Both utilities felt like they were just made for me! I decided to combine the two as a way of getting more interaction in the twittersphere and more content for my blog – and thus the twitterview was born (you can read all about twitterviews here). I ask you, what author doesn’t love free and highly visible promo? I don’t know of any! And thus, the twitterview took off hard and fast. Other writers began to look to me as a social media expert, and I began blogging how-to advice. One day I decided to learn more about monetizing my blog and saw that one way to make money was to sell products or services. I got the idea for helping authors with social media marketing and within one month, I launched Novel Publicity. A month after that, I was making more money with NP than I did with my day job, so I quit and became a full-time publicist. I work about 100 hours per week, but I just love what I do. My whole life is books—what could be better?

You're absolutely right, what could be better? On that note, let’s bring this interview to a close. As a writer and as a business woman, what are your final words for our dear readers?

Never give up on your dreams; you have them for a reason.

I just love that! Thank you so much for answering my hard hitting questions, Em. It was a pleasure having you visit my little slice of the Net. And dear readers, if you want a copy of Farsighted for review, make sure to stop by on October 31 for the official Review Request to be posted. It's certainly a great treat to have in your plastic pumpkin!


Blog Tour Notes

THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).

THE CASH PRIZES:  Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that.

THE GIVEAWAYS:  Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.

THE AUTHOR:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

MORE FUN: There's more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer and take the quiz to find out which character is most like you!


The Superstition Game: Socks

Can you believe Halloween is just around the corner? I thought we just started October, and now it's almost over. Which is why I need to get on with the rest of the game. Today, we get to know a little more about socks. Yes, socks. Just like underwear, there are superstitions connected with what we put on our feet. This suggestion is from Heidi at Pages of Gold. So, thanks Heidi for your awesomeness!

Let's get started...

Just as shoes are a focus for various superstitions, so too are socks (or in former times, stockings). Most people agree that the right shoe should go on first but that the left sock should be first to go on, a contradiction of the usual prejudice against the left side. It is also lucky to find that one has put a sock on inside out or to discover that one has put on an unmatching pair (in which case the wearer should leave them as they are to enjoy the full benefit). Should the wearer thrust his toes into the heel of the sock when putting it on, it signifies the imminent arrival of an important letter.

Once on, socks that descend to the ankle for no apparent reason are a sign that a lover is thinking of the person concerned. At the end of the day, those who are prone to nightmares should pin their socks on a cross to the end of the bed to get an undisturbed night's rest. According to another old superstition, sleeping with a (left) sock or stocking around the neck will cure a sore throat and will also give a sleeper dreams of future marriage partners.

Well, there you have it. So, if there's any of you suffering from a sore throat, you may want to wrap a sock around your neck tonight. If it works, check back here and let me know. And because I love finding these videos, here's one about New Socks by NewSocksRock. Enjoy!

Life Story






The Superstition Game: Spoons

Today's post comes from Rusalka at caminando caminando. Teaspoon was the suggestion, so in the interest of compromise, this post will be about spoons since they are in the same family. Let the game begin.

Like other items of cutlery, spoons are associated with a variety of superstitious beliefs. Just as dropping a spoon on the floor is held to be a sign that a baby or child is about to call at the house, the dropping of a large spoon on the table is said to give warning of the imminent arrival of a large group of visitors. Should the bowl of a dropped spoon lie uppermost, a welcome surprise is in the offing, but if it lies bowl downwards, someone is due for a disappointment. Extending the connection between babies and spoons is the Scottish tradition that particular significance may be placed upon the hand with which a baby first picks up a spoon. If it is the right hand, the child may expect a bright and happy future, but bad luck will permanently attend one who uses the left hand.

Other miscellaneous superstitions concerning spoons include the notion that it is unlucky to stir food with the left hand and also unlucky for anyone to pour from a spoon 'back-handed'. More optimistic is the idea that the discovery of two spoons on the same saucer indicates a wedding in the family -- or that someone is about to give birth to twins. The Welsh, of course, have a long tradition of lovers presenting each other with wooden spoons, the carving of which communicates various coded messages from one to the other, while brides much further afield are often given wooden spoons for luck. In other circumstances, however, receiving the 'wooden spoon' is a metaphor for coming last in a competition, often sporting in nature.

So, anyone of you about to enter a race with someone, make sure to give them a wooden spoon. And just to keep things interesting, here's a video from Salad Fingers about spoons. Enjoy:

Review Request: The Next Thing I Knew by John Corwin

Today's novel is from the Corwinator! Email buddy and awesome ninja assassin critique partner. It's my pleasure to present to you The Next Thing I Knew. Read the blurb, and I promise, you'll want to review this book. So, leave your name and email address in the comments section so that John can send you a review copy as soon as possible. Happy Reading!

When Lucy Morgan drops dead along with everyone else on Earth she refuses to take death lying down even if, technically, her corpse is.

She drags her ghostly social life back from the grave and enlists her friends to figure out the rules of the afterlife. More importantly, they want to discover who or what killed everyone and why the heck anyone would do such a mean thing.

But what they discover changes everything. And if they can't figure out how to put their newfound ghostly powers to work, humanity will be extinct for good.

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Please leave a tip on your way out by following me on Twitter or "liking" me on Facebook, or if you already have, I hope that you encourage your friends and followers to do the same. 

Thank you!

You can hire me now!

Check out my Hire Me page by clicking on the pages bar above. I would love to help you with all your writing needs.

Review Request: Two Moons of Sera by Pavarti K. Tyler

We have a really interesting novel up for review, today! Read the blurb and see what I mean. And if you want to review it, please leave your name and email address in the comments section so that Pavarti can contact you about your review copy. Happy Reading!

In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother's water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one?

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Please leave a tip on your way out by following me on Twitter or "liking" me on Facebook, or if you already have, I hope that you encourage your friends and followers to do the same. 

Thank you!

Author Interview: Terri Giuliano Long

About the Author:

Terri Giuliano Long is the bestselling author of the award-winning novel In Leah’s Wake. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and a writing teacher at Boston College. She was grateful and thrilled beyond words when In Leah’s Wake hit the Barnes & Noble and Amazon bestseller lists in August. She owes a lot of wonderful people – big time! – for any success she’s enjoyed!


It's my honor to have Terri Giuliano Long, author of In Leah's Wake, as a guest here on Reads, Reviews, Recommends. This interview has been a long time coming, and finally it is here. So, let's start with a little getting to know you:

Please state your name, your occupation, and your cocktail of choice for our dear readers.

First, before anything else, I’m a wife and mom. Professionally, I lecture at Boston College, where I’ve taught creative and nonfiction writing since 1996. I’ve also written copy for marketing, advertising and public relations, edited technical articles for trade journals, and edited a small trade magazine. In Leah’s Wake is my first novel. I’m currently at work on a second.

White wine or champagne used to be my cocktail of choice. Since moving to California I’ve become addicted to cucumber drinks. The first time a bartender offered a cucumber martini – in Katsuya, a terrific sushi restaurant in West Hollywood, I turned up my nose. He kept saying how great it was, I’d love it, blah, blah, blah, then – the kicker, he gave me a guarantee. If I didn’t like it, it was on the house. How could I say no? WOW! Lightly sweet and fresh, totally different from what I’d imagined. The cucumber jalapeƱo margarita, at Sol Cucina, in Newport Beach, is also amazing!

Well then, cucumber martinis for everyone! Barkeep, please pass the glasses. Now, while everyone is getting a drink, tell us, if you could be a character from fiction, who would you be and why?

In my novel, In Leah’s Wake, the only non-family member with a voice is Jerry Johnson, the policeman. I see him as the connecting force in the novel and for this family. Though flawed, like all of us, he takes his responsibility for others to heart. I see police officers as the connecting force in communities. Every day they put their lives on the line. To me, they’re our real life heroes.

With this in mind, if I could be any fictional character, I would be Sara Paretsky’s PI, V.I. Warshawski. I’ve always admired Gail Mullen Beaudoin, a police officer in Chelmsford, MA. Gail brings strength, dignity and grace to a very difficult job. In a fictional character, V.I. is the closet I can come to Gail - two very strong, caring, centered women. Theirs are very big, wonderfully feminine shoes to fill.

Very interesting. I see a trend of law enforcement characters. You sure you didn't want to be an officer at some point in your life? But that's not my real question. What I really want to know is: what's your favorite thing to eat on a rainy day?

I’m a foodie, so this is a really tough question! On rainy days, I like to cook. I watch very little TV. I like The Good Wife and I’m hooked on Criminal Minds, especially the episodes edited by my immensely talented friend, indie filmmaker Nina Gilberti. Turn on the Food Network and I fall into a rabbit hole. I dislike most reality TV – Iron Chef? Now we’re talking. On a rainy day, I’d probably make something warm and hearty – Coq Au Vin or beef bourguignon.

Since I just watched Julie and Julia, lets go with beef bourguignon. See, now, I'm hungry. Let's switch topics to on Writing:

When did you first start thinking that you wanted to be a writer?

Until high school, I planned to be visual artist - a graphic artist or painter. At heart, though, I’ve always been a writer. As a child, I entertained myself by making up stories and acting in my own improvisational plays. In high school, I took an advanced writing course; I loved the class and began writing for the school paper. One day, brazenly, I walked into office at the town paper and asked the editor for a job. At first, I covered sports and other high school news; soon, I was given my own column. I was sixteen. That column was my first paid writing job. I earned about a dollar a week – and I knew then that the only job I’d ever want would be as a writer.

That's so cool! To actually get paid for writing at sixteen. I was still finding my writing legs at that age. Let's move on to your novel, why is your title In Leah's Wake and how did you come up with it?

I tried a lot of different titles, but none seemed quite right. One night, Dave and I were talking and starting batting titles around. He came up with In Leah’s Wake. I liked it because the book really is about the people – the family, the community, all the people left in Leah’s Wake when Leah rebels. While the churning suggests angst, for me it also brought to mind the image of swirling snow, which I use at the end of the novel. Connecting that image with the sound of Justine’s voice, I hope, conveys a sense of connection and hope. Her voice rings through the church, and the sound waves reach outward, connecting the people, the community, and ultimately tie back to the family.

Like any endeavor, I'm sure writing In Leah's Wake wasn't easy at times. As a writer, how do you deal with writer's block?

I’m only ever truly blocked—I can’t string words together at all—when I’m anxious, if I’m worried about someone I care about. When I first sit, I sometimes feel blocked, the nasty editors on my shoulders heckling: You think you’re a writer? Seriously? Nine times out of ten, I dig in; the writing may be choppy at first, but eventually I regain fluidity. When the demons get too loud to ignore, I read. Reading, like meditation or yoga, sends me to my happy place. In my experience, years working with professional and emerging writers, a block is almost always caused by self-doubt. The trick is to find a way to settle your mind, calm yourself, get those nasty editors off your shoulders. For me, reading provides an escape. For others, walking, meditating, listening to music can help.

I agree with reading. If there's anything I learned from my writing professors, it's that read. Read as much as you can as often as you can. So, like my professors, what advice would you give to all fledgling writers out there?

Believe in yourself. To deal with rejection, boot your computer, day after day, when it seems as if no one cares, the stars are misaligned – to indie publish in a world that still privileges the traditionally published - you have to believe in yourself.

Writing is a lonely profession. Most of the time, we’re alone with our work. That loneliness can wear on you, and cause you to question yourself. A community of caring writer friends, supporting and encouraging you, can make all the difference.

Hold onto your dreams. You can make them happen. Don’t ever give up!

On that note, let's step into the On Life section of this interview:

What gets you through a tough day?

My family. My husband and kids make every moment worthwhile. Without them, I’d have nothing. On the worst days, my husband is there to hold my hand, pull me off the ledge, give me a hug. Somehow – I have no idea how – he manages to put up with me. Either I’m one amazing wife or he’s a saint. Most of the time, it’s the latter.

Absolutely right. Family is the cornerstone of our support system. If you could do something all over again just to get a different outcome, what would it be?

If anything, that I had published In Leah’s Wake sooner. I was too scared or too stupid, maybe, to self-publish. I was afraid of the stigma, scared of what people would think. As a result, I wasted several years floundering, when I could have had my book out there, learned from my mistakes, and, by now, have written one or two more books.

Of course, we don’t get do-overs, so it’s always best, I think, to be grateful for and appreciative of where we are. If I’d published In Leah’s Wake sooner, I would not have met Emlyn, who’s made all the difference in the world for my career. Going in, I knew nothing whatsoever about social media. I mean nada. Without Em and Novel Publicity, my book probably would have floundered. I seriously doubt that we would have sold 20,000 copies in the last six months! So I’m grateful to be where I am, even if it did take a while to get here.

Yes, a big shout out to Emlyn. Stay-tuned because I have an interview with her as well in the coming days. Okay, let's wrap this interview up with a beautiful bow, shall we? If you could have a conversation in the park with someone living or dead who would it be and why?

Jesus, for humanitarian reasons – he loved, trusted and forgave people, even those who didn’t deserve love, trust or forgiveness, and he forgave out of strength, not weakness.

Thank you so much for that insightful interview, Terri. Like I said, it is a pleasure having you here. And dear readers, if you want to know more about Terri's wonderful novel, I have all the information you need below.

About the Book:

Terri Giuliano Long
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback, Kindle
ISBN: 1456310542
Publisher: CreateSpace
Website: In Leah’s Wake


Recipient of the Coffee Time Reviewers Recommend (CTRR) Award

The Tyler family had the perfect life - until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn't want to be perfect anymore.

While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah's younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake.

Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn't enough?

Jodi Picoult fans will love this beautifully written and absorbing novel.

Barnes & Nobles:
Indie Bound:

Grab a copy now! And as always, Happy Reading!
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