Author Spotlight – Ray Sporne (R Addams)

AuthorSpotlight

Author Spotlight

Please join me in welcoming author Ray Sporne, writing as R Addams

RayAfter a career in the construction industry, which took him to most parts of Australia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and West Africa, Ray and his wife retired to the picturesque Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, and he commenced writing.

Their daughter and three grandchildren live closeby while their son and two more grandchildren are in a suburb of Perth, on the opposite side of Australia.

Ray’s travels, for work and for pleasure, have taken him to many parts of the world and, at his latest count, he has visited around fifty countries, with a few more trips currently on the horizon. In May he will return to the island of Bali and in July/August he will visit Alaska, the Canadian Rockies and eastern Canada

Books Published

Chaloaw Stew: (Nothing Ever Happens In Alstonville)Ray’s initial book was Chaloaw Stew, a hard-hitting crime thriller, set mainly in the coastal town of Byron Bay. The abhorrent crimes described in the novel draw on publicised events in various parts of the world, with Byron Bay used as a backdrop only.

Chaloaw Stew introduces Detective Chris Johnson as the protagonist, a straight talking lady who will stop at nothing to trap and catch the gang of criminals involved. A prequel to Chaloaw Stew (I Am Chris!), is underway and should be released later this year.

After some criticism of the gruesome nature of the first book, Ray began writing in more of a Cozy Crime genre, and introduced a character named Poppa Roy Addams, a retired amateur detective who dabbles in spiritualism to help solve cases.

The first novel featuring Poppa Roy is Seeking Skye, set in Lismore, the regional center of the Northern Rivers.

Etropole is the second in the Poppa Roy series, set mainly in Bulgaria and drawing on Ray’s observations and experiences in the three years he lived and worked there.

Echoes of ElMina is set in Ghana, West Africa and has Poppa Roy experiencing the horrors of slavery while learning the targeted spirit writing techniques which he uses in his later adventures.

The last novel Ray published is Nimbin Rocks. This book has Poppa Roy helping to expose a Wiccan cult operating in the small, alternative town of Nimbin, which is approximately forty minutes drive from Lismore.

All books are available as ebooks from Smashwords and its associated companies, and Amazon Kindle, with print on demand copies from Amazon (see highlighted links above).

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Author Spotlight – Eva Pasco

AuthorSpotlight

Author Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Eva Pasco.

EvaAfter a teaching career in elementary education, midlife restlessness rekindled Eva Pasco’s flair for writing, fueled by her lifelong olfactory obsession with fragrance which propelled her debut novel in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction.

Eva’s “lit with grit” is distinguished for its character-driven plots which feature protagonists who plunge the depths of despair and suffer the consequences in their darkest hours prior to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

In addition to writing fiction, Eva has published a Non-Fiction memoir collection pertaining to growing up during the Sixties. She has also published numerous Retro Flashbacks pertaining to the Sixties, and essays about her native state of Rhode Island prefaced with “Rhode Reads”. Her weekly blogs relate to writing and social marketing.  All of the author’s works and daily bio updates are featured at her web page on Authors Den.

Take a Look at Her Books

underlyingEva’s debut novel, Underlying Notes, features protagonist, Carla Matteo, who copes with life by “taking to the bottle”–glass goddesses funneling perfume! During a midlife renaissance the “juice” offers incentive for Carla to find her own niche, while the ominous rose note in Paloma Picasso forces her to confront a troubled past, redefine friendships, sort out matters of the heart, and come to terms with the tenets of her life.

Excerpt:

Carla Matteo: Too restless to go back to bed, I closed down the kitchen and clicked off the bedroom lamp. I made my way down the hall in darkness and flipped the switch in the foyer so I could see my way down two landings into the basement. I opened the doors of the cabinet to peruse the bottles of “juice.” My ladies-in-waiting huddled together in various shapes and sizes, some nearly empty, some half-filled, and others hardly touched. Some bottles still languished inside their packaging, the names front and center. The “juice” beckoned with its spectrum of colors: clear as water, pale yellow, rich amber, and even pink or blue. On this cold day in January, I reached for the small amber bottle promising to soothe and impart warmth once I imbibed its spirits.

Underlying Notes is available through Amazon.

cookEva’s multi-award winning Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel, An Enlightening Quiche, took nearly 9 years to rise to the occasion.

An heirloom quiche recipe and baking rivalry turn up the heat in a Rhode Island mill town rife with secrets and scandals. A tragedy precipitated by misdeeds wreaks havoc on those caught in the crossfire.

Excerpt:

Augusta Bergeron: Autumn was indeed a tragic opera when bleeding crimson hearts expired soon after attaining their height of glory.  Sadness engulfed me and mushroomed into a dark cloud hovering over the realization my own peak season had terminated when I turned the Big Four O, beaucoup months ago last November.  Thus far I hadn’t exactly set the world on fire the way Mrs. Blais envisioned I would, subliminally affecting one of her many Freudian slips into Dante’s inferno.

Flirty in your thirties; finished at forty.  Time you settled down, Augusta.

Conjecturing, I wondered if my mother reached the autumn of her life, and depending on whether she attained that milepost, had she succumbed or survived the harshness of winter.

Check out An Enlightening Quiche on Amazon.

mushroomsEva tiptoes through the tulips in 100 Wild Mushrooms: Memoirs of the Sixties–a Nonfiction coming-of-age collection of serious, sentimental, and silly reflections:

Toni Home Perm, Flexible Flyer Snow Sled, Hula Hoop, Mercurochrome, Fishnet Stockings, Beatles, Mohair, Go-Go Boots, Aluminum Christmas Tree…and, the beat goes on.

While the mushroom cloud of the Cold War hovered over us, my sister and I carried on as kids do regardless of world events. Since the daily minutiae of life provides the magic for memories to MUSHROOM WILDLY–feed your head my nostalgic recollections of growing up during the ’60s counterculture.

Serious, sentimental, or silly revelations set aside: you know better than to duck and cover under a school desk for protection against nuclear fallout.

Excerpt from Memoir # 44 – “Once Considered Hip”

By the time I became a high school freshman circling the outer perimeter of hip, girls going steady with upperclassmen showed off rings the size of doorknobs on their dainty fingers. Other crazies not yet linked with anyone, hell-bent with scissors, would sneak up behind boys and cut off the “fruit loop” from the back of their shirt, presumably to covet as a trophy.

I never got the hang of making those silly chains fashioned from discarded chewing gum wrappers. However, I found my niche through another popular fad of threading apple seed necklaces. Creative to the core, I “branched” out by getting strung out on my own hip movement of stringing acorn necklaces!

Purchase 100 Wild Mushrooms through Amazon.

wizardThe novella, Mr. Wizardo, is part of ‘Once Upon a Fabulous Time,’ a co-authored anthology of reimagined fairy tales for grownups.

(Baxter Springs, Kansas) – A twist of fate! Ten years after graduating from Franklin High, four troubled individuals indebted to their guidance counselor, Oscar Wizardo, wend their way back home to attend his funeral.

Excerpt:

Doreen Gale’s ruby-red, pointed-toe, satin stilettos embellished with leaf-like diamantes glittered as she strutted along the slate catwalk. In no time flat, she bridged the short distance from foyer to front desk inside the Rainbow Hotel, her raven-black hair a tangle of windblown tresses.

Literally arriving on the heels of a successful book tour in Manhattan after the publication of her latest romance novel, she hadn’t a moment to spare for shedding glamorous attire. Fretting she’d miss her flight to Kansas, Doreen nabbed a cab soon after congenially signing and personalizing the last recipient’s book.

Forget shopping at Bloomingdale’s! Off to LaGuardia Airport, pulling away from the curb and merging with gridlock in the time it takes for a wicked witch to melt. Scenery in the Big Apple jiggled and joggled as it faded from view on account of the munchkin of a cigar-wielding cabbie abruptly braking and accelerating during rush hour.

She owed it to Mr. Wizardo.

Get your copy of Once Upon a Fabulous Time at Amazon.

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For more information or to connect with Eva, visit her Authors Den Web Page, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads, Facebook, or her blog @ https://evapasco.com/

 

 

Words Are Powerful

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Words are powerful. They can move you to tears, evoke absolute joy, or comfort someone in time of need. As writers, we are always searching for the right words to express what we want to say. Here are a few tips to help make your words more powerful.

  1. Use short words. Short words are more powerful and less pretentious than longer words. Rape is more powerful than sexual assault. Stop is stronger than discontinue.
  2. Use dense words. Use fewer words to express the same idea. Instead of once a month, say monthly. Something new is novel. People they didn’t know are strangers.
  3. Use familiar words. A word is familiar of if came easily to you. A word your reader doesn’t recognize has no power. Don’t call it a mandible. Use the more familiar word, jaw. Don’t write sclerous if you can write hardened. And if you used the word virescent, go back and say it’s turning green.
  4. Use active verbs. Your writing will have more power if you change the words is, was, and will be to verbs of action and motion. Consider the following: A grandfather clock was in one corner, and three books were on top of it. Here’s a better way to write that. A grandfather clock towered in one corner, and three books lay on top of it.
  5. Use strong verbs. Sharpen a word’s meaning by being precise. Turn look into stare, gaze, peer, peek, or gawk. Turn throw into toss, flip, or hurl.
  6. Use specific nouns. Before you write a noun that is modified by one or more adjectives, ask yourself if there is noun that can convey the same information. Don’t write about a black dog. Write about a Doberman instead. Do you want a large house or a mansion? Cruel treatment will make a bigger impression as savagery or brutality.
  7. Use active voice. Passive voice: Dutch drawings and prints are what this book is about. Active voice: This book is about Dutch drawings and prints. Can you hear the difference?
  8. Say things in a positive way. Instead of The safe was not closed, say The safe was open. Don’t use this: This insurance will not cost the employees any money. Use this instead: This insurance is free to employees.
  9. Be specific. Help the reader see what you are describing. Picture a box. Now, picture a black box. Now, picture a black box with shiny silver hinges. You can see the box more clearly by adding a few specific details. Related image

Author Spotlight – Ernie Lee

AuthorSpotlight

Author Spotlight

Welcome to another Author Spotlight, featuring The Bard of the Blanco, Ernie Lee.

SONY DSCErnie Lee is a Texas award-winning poet and novelist from Canyon Lake, Texas. Ernie writes a continuing column in the Hill Country Sun magazine. He is a songwriter (BMI), storyteller, author, and poet of long standing in the region. Ernie is married and lives in Canyon Lake, Texas with his lovely wife Donna.

 

Let’s Take a Look at His Work

Aquasaurus (2017 Suspense Novel of the Year for Texas Authors Association)

aquaA group of college students and their professor are trapped in a cave with a huge crocodile previously thought to be extinct. A fracker takes a shortcut and causes a massive earthquake that traps the cavers and destroys much of San Antonio. Rita Martin, a world-class rock climber is determined to save her boyfriend, Jesse Perine. The problem is Rita is afraid of the dark

Aquasaurus is available through www.Aim-Hi Books.com, and through INGRAM, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other outlets.

Where the Wild Rice Grows is a collectionrice of poems from Ernie’s world travels, and the interesting places and people he has known. The Bard of the Blanco – stories of the Texas Hill Country; The Mesquite Bean War – poems of the Tonkawa tribe who were pushed from the plains by the horse indians, and crushed between Mexico from the south and the encroaching whites from the east; Far Flung Tales – poems from travels around the world; Deep Water Runs Still – philosophy from a south Texas country boy; Life is Funny That Way – there is humor in almost everything; Love and Other Illusions – love stories, real and imagined; Special Forces – rhymes of a soldier boy; The True-badour – songs and ditties from all over; Heroes and Outlaws – sometimes in the same person; Let Me Count the Ways – tender thoughts from a tough old bird.

In 2018, Ernie will publish the sequel to his first novel entitled the Search for Aquasaurus.

All of his books are available on INGRAM, Amazon, and through his website.

You can hear Ernie’s music at www.reverbnation.com. He has published several technical and management books, along with shorter creative works in periodicals and local newspapers. Ernie has published technical professional books and academic guides related to public procurement for the University of Texas at Austin, and UT San Antonio.

Credits:

Columnist, The Hill Country Sun, The Bard of the Blanco, 2014 – present

Columnist, Quest Magazine, Bard of the Blanco, 2002 – 2003

“Road Kill – Texas Horror by Texas Writers” (Anthology), Eakin Press (2017), “Minor Details (page 147) (short story).

“Intertwined – Poetry of Peace as a Shared Endeavor”, McCrady, ed., 2015 Art of Peace Tyler Poetry Anthology, “The Helmet at Duc Lap” (poem)

“Short Stories by Texas Authors, Vol 3” (2017), Texas Authors, Inc, “Heart Over Mind” page 155, (short story)

Awards

2017, Texas Authors Association, Best Fiction Suspense for 2017, (AQUASAURUS)

2014, Greater New Braunfels Arts Council Annual Poetry Contest, Lynne Eliot Award

2000, Greater New Braunfels Arts Council Annual Poetry Contest, Adult division

Contact Information

You can connect with Ernie through Facebook, Twitter, or via email at ernie.lee@live.com

A Sense of Style

Image result for got style

In the writing world, the word style means the way in which an idea is expressed. Style has to do with form, not content. Readers pick up a book because of content, but put it down because of style.

As a writer, you have to develop your own writing style. The way you arrange words is the nature of you. Your style should be specifically yours and no one else’s.

When developing your individual style, here are some things to consider:

  1. Listen to what you write. Writing is like music. The words you write make sounds, and when those sounds are in harmony, the writing works.
  2. Mimic spoken language. Writing conveys to the reader the sense of conversation. It should provide the intimacy and warmth of personal conversation.
  3. Vary sentence length. Consider the following:Image result for vary sentence length
  4. Vary sentence construction. You should always strive for clarity when you write, and arrange your sentences in a logical way. But you should also keep the primary elements of a sentence dancing. Expand beyond basic sentence structure and create music with your writing.
  5. Show, don’t tell. Don’t dictate to your readers what they are supposed to see, feel, and hear. Describe it to them and let them see, feel, and hear it for themselves.
  6. Keep related words together. Words that go together should be clustered together to avoid confusion. Adjectives should be placed near the nouns they describe. Adverbs should be close to verbs they modify.
  7. Create a steady beat. Be deliberate in the way you arrange words and sounds. Although consecutive sentences constructed the same way can bore the reader, repetition of sound can improve the music of your writing.
  8. Don’t force a personal style. Do not try to write like Hemingway or anyone else. Do not create in your mind some sort of witty or overly exciting persona and try to put it on paper. Style is the nature of you. It is specifically yours and makes you who you are as a writer. Image result for quotes about writing style

Author Spotlight – Melisa Ruscsak

AuthorSpotlight

Author Spotlight

Welcome to another edition of Author Spotlight. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Melisa Ruscsak.

melissa

 Born In 1982, a native to Lorain Ohio, Melisa grew up living with her grandparents Frances and James Lasure. She attended Clearview High School as well as Lorain County J.V.S. While in J.V.S, she attended the Culinary Arts program, graduating in 2001.

In 2011 near tragedy struck as Melisa’s health began to decline. By summer of 2011, she would need to use a cane to get around. Suffering a stroke, she required a craniotomy where she suffered her second stroke, leaving her with a partial impairment of her speech and weakness on her right side.  After surgery, she would need to learn not only to walk again, but speak as well as recognize the alphabet.

In 2003 she welcomed the addition of her daughter Chyenne, who inspired her to start to put her dreams to paper. A story she wrote after her daughter’s birth, although not published, became the stepping stone to everything else she would eventually write.

Two years later in the fall of 2012, after a divorce, she would meet the man who would push her not only to fight to regain her physical strength but to put her creative mind to work. No longer allowing her to dwell on what she could no longer do but what she could.

In December of 2013 they would marry. With determination, Melisa would walk down the aisle without the need of a cane.

A year later, she would begin to write Of Lite and Darke, dreaming to see this work through to publishing, even if she would need to publish it herself.

In 2016, she would see her dream come true. With her daughter as her editor, Of Lite and Darke was born.

The First Book in the Series is The New Reign

new reign

Prologue

With the seer’s stone resting on the table before him Karnack sat his quill back into the inkwell. For more than three thousand years he had been doing in death what he had done in life… watching history unfold and keeping a detailed account for his queen.

A queen who even he had not seen since the time of the great war.

Still, he watched and waited for the child to be born that his queen had seen so many years before. A child who would be born a creator. A queen who would be able to defeat a threat that was still in the shadows of the great stars.

The rest of the first Fey, who had settled this land, had already given up on ever finding the child. Nicco had changed his name two or three times in the past three centuries. As had Ean.

Of the three of them, none had ever been able to find out what had ever happened to their queen’s only child. A baby known only as Ari. His father had been the cause of their queen’s withdrawal from the realms.

Yet, he held out hope that one day he would find this chosen queen and give her the crown of the dead. A crown that would give her the power to stand and face a threat that only she would be able to defeat.

“Karnack? Are you still watching the stone?”

He barely glanced over his shoulder to a woman who was just as beautiful today as she was the first he had laid eyes on her. “I am the scribe to the queen and I will be the one to see the chosen queen long before any other.”

Pulling a knife from her belt, she leaned on the wall watching him write some mindless dribble that none would ever read. “When you find her, tell me. I’ll make sure no harm ever comes her way.”

“Freya, darling if what I know for fact ever comes to pass then even you will need help in protecting her.”

A soft smile touched her lips, “You let me worry about that.”

 The Second Book is The Fallen

fallen  

You know what has come to be but do you know where it began?

Before Nisha. Before Adrianna. Before the countries even had names, there were the Star Cities. Ruled each in their own way… all answering to one.

Primitiva was born the second daughter of the royal house of Lunaista. She was born for greatness. Born to be the first as her name suggested. If she stayed on her safe little star she would either die without ever knowing her true potential or be forced into marriage. Neither appealed to her.

A vision told her the truth. Death would come for her if she stayed. Leaving her only child under the cover of darkness she did the unthinkable and dove into the abyss. Somewhere out here was her destiny. Somewhere she would find a way to help her sister survive. 

Somehow the child that she saw in her vision would be born. That child would one-day rule Both Pallas and unify the Star Cities. She just had to make sure the bloodlines for that that birth would come forth. Even if it meant turning her back on all that, she had ever known.

Here’s an excerpt:

Part 1

3,000 years before the Great War.

“Those who have the power to create are an abomination that needs to be wiped out before they come into power. They will be the undoing of the Fey.”

-Royal doctrine for the ruler of Pallas

Chapter 1: Primitiva

Frustrated beyond all reasoning, she picked up her crystal brush and plopped down at her vanity. As her brush passed through her fiery red hair she counted. One. Two.” Gritting her teeth, she pulled the brush through her hair as she slowly hissed, “Three.” Taking a deep breath, she opened her dark soulless eyes. Her parents were talking about her… again. Debating if they should make her a tribute to the city of stars or marry her off to one of the other royal star families. Slamming her crystal hairbrush down on her vanity, she shattered both. Upset and pissed off she pushed away from her now destroyed vanity no longer caring if her hair was perfectly smooth or a fiery mess. No longer cared enough to shed the tears that she had so many times before

She no longer cared about much of anything.

Holding the tears back she held in all of her strong emotions. Her hurt. “If you’re going to kill your children why ever have more than one?” She growled to herself. Her parents were not only not in the room but were deep within the depth of the palace. But not deep enough where she could not hear them when she so chose. See them whenever she pleased. There was nowhere in all the Star Cities that she couldn’t reach… couldn’t see.

Not that any ever believed her. Not that any dared to.

Another breath, then she turned to her door. Not much of a door when you could see through it… you could see through everything except a single room in the palace. And that room was off limits to everyone except the queen herself. Frustrated, she turned away from her door. Nothing was private on this miserable star. Nothing.

“Don’t even think about knocking, dear sister.” She snapped, letting her thundering voice rattle the shards of crystal that now lay on her floor.

As the glass door opened, her sister smiled even though her sister turned from her, “Primitiva? You are more agitated than usual. Why?”

Damn her sister. The Crown Princess Starlis. Glaring at her sister, she dared not say what was on her lips. Instead took in her sister’s rare beauty. Golden rays tumbled down her back, shimmering in the light of the room. Silver speckles dancing on her skin. But it was her eyes, the eyes of the galaxy that saw everything. “I will not marry a man who wishes only to have my power for his own.”

“Ah. So, our parents are at it again? Trying to keep you from the tribute and yet you refuse.”

As she turned her fire red hair wrapped around her revealing her wings. Wings that she was warned several times to never let be seen. “The only reason I am still here is because of Avyanna.”

Starlis rushed over to her nearly placing her hand over Primitiva’s mouth. Whispering, she said, “Shhhh. You know better than to speak her name.”

Pushing her sister away and nearly allowing her to tumble, Primitiva hissed, “She is my daughter and I will speak her name whenever it pleases me.”

Regaining her balance and closing the distance between them Starlis whispered, “You will get her killed. Now hush. I cannot protect her if you do not protect yourself.”

Her sister was right, but only partly so. “You’re right. I cannot protect her while I am still in Lunaista.” Then she turned sharply. She needed only, but a moment to decide what to do next. Only a moment to figure out how to bring about the change that the Star Cities needed.

A sigh of relief, then, “Finally, you are seeing reason.”

Another moment to decide, “Which is why I am leaving.”

Closing her eyes Starlis tried again to reason with her impulsive younger sister yet again, “You cannot just leave. There is nowhere in the Star Cities that you could go and not be found. Not that you could get to any other Star City.” She let her eyes slowly open as she took a deep breath and tried to remind her sister, “Only messengers can go between the Star Cities and they have special training and abilities to do so.”

As the second child, her powers… her abilities had been left untrained… even so, there was no one more powerful… no one… not even her dear sister. And certainly not that fool Azia who ruled Pallas. Slowly the room filled in a black mist. Not uncommon since she did this whenever she wished for privacy. Not that their parents allowed her, but then again, even they were powerless to stop her. Even Azia lacked the power required to stop her.

Turning back to her sister, she made sure she didn’t turn away from her gaze… made sure her sister’s eyes met hers. Seeing the fear in Starlis’ face, she smiled a cruel and bitter smile. Hooking invisible hooks into her sister’s mind, she spoke, do not worry dear sister you will not remember much of this I do promise.

What are you doing? How? This… this is…

Forbidden? Yes, I know. But then again, I have never been one for rules. Now hush and you will know what it is you must do.

I… The hooks drove deeper intertwining with the very fabric of Starlis’ mind. Defeated, her body sagged. What must I do?

When asked, you will tell our parents I tried to flee and was swept away in the Void. I in a sense died just as those who were foolish enough to try have done since the beginning of time.

Starlis was mortified of what her sister was proposing. Your powers will never feed the Star City. Our family will have no tribute.

Actually, it will have two. Since our parents are so keen on the idea of keeping the tradition, they can offer themselves. Mother’s power will pass to you as queen… but father’s? Well, he can feed the catacombs of Pallas.

I suppose. I doubt the Azia will check to see who has been offered as tribute.

Primitiva smiled, I know he will not. Now, my daughter. You will raise her as your own. She will be your child.

But…

Your only child. Your powers are weak compared to hers and she is only but days old. None outside our parents know I gave birth. And none will think twice about you having a child with no interest in love.

Because my sister can create life out of nothing. Yes, that is plausible.

So glad you agree since you won’t remember much in a few minutes. Now… She stepped back and called in a single tribute box. Silver but the inlays were not that of melting magma, but of shimmering crystal. This will be passed down in our bloodlines for three generations. That is three thousand years where I am going. This box will only open to the first male child born who is the first-born. From now on… for the next three generations, the father of the child will be the tribute. No excuses. This instruction will be passed down to the children of the crown.

I understand.

Calling the mist back to her, she smiled, “No sister, you do not. You do not have the gift of foresight. But that is ok for I do.” Wrapping her arms around her sister, she gave her one last hug. “Close your eyes, my dear and I will be gone by the time you open them.”

Coming Soon: Secrets, Lies and Betrayal

lies

Life has hills and valleys. Twist and turns that no one can ever really see coming. Before you read, think about this:
            Every story has more than one point of view. It doesn’t matter if you read it, heard it, or saw it with your own eyes. Words lie. Actions can be manipulated. And the truth is whatever people believe. But is that truth? Or is there a bigger picture that you have yet to realize?
            These are the truths that she lives by. These are the truths held with in these pages. 
            Can you find the truth or do you trust everything that you see?
Connect with Melisa through her Amazon author pagewebsite, or Facebook.