WOW (Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour for Ellen Wolfson Valladares “Crossing the Line”

Hello Bookworms;

It’s time for another blog book tour with our friends at Women on Writing (WOW). Today’s guest author is Ellen Wolfson Valladares, author of “Crossing the Line”, the story of a woman returns from the grave to help solve the mystery of her own tragic death.Today I’ll be posting the reviews of several fans of the book, which is a real page turner.As always, make her feel welcome, ask all the questions you want, and I’ll be stopping through so comment all you want.

About the Author:   

Ellen Wolfson Valladares

Ellen Wolfson Valladares is an award-winning writer/author, workshop facilitator, community volunteer, and mother. A native Floridian, she grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. She has worked as an editor, public relations professional, and freelance writer. Her first book, a children’s novel entitled Jonathan’s Journey to Mount Miapu, received several awards, including a Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the 2009 Coalition of Visionary Resources Visionary Awards Book of the Year award. She also has a meditation CD, entitled “Healing and Manifestation with the Archangels.”
Today, Valladares continues to work as a freelance writer. She also enjoys coaching high school students working on their college essays and helping other writers realize their dreams. She has been married to her husband, Manny, for 30 years and they have two sons, Gabriel and Michael, two dogs, Flash and Chili Pepper, and a crazy cat named Zelda. They live in Weston, Fla. 

website:http://www.ellenvalladares.com 

Twitter: @ValladaresEllen 

FB: @EllenValladares444 (link:https://fb.me/EllenValladares444) 

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3023698.Ellen_Wolfson_Valladares 
 

 The Book:

Laura, who died thirty years ago, enlists the help of a tenacious high school reporter named Rebecca, who is very much alive. Rebecca, although skeptical and conflicted by her supposed encounters with a spirit, determines to learn the truth about Laura’s tragic death. As the clues unravel and their worlds collide, Rebecca finds herself at a dangerous crossroads. 

Laura, now pulled back into everything she left behind when she died – her old high school and memories of her life and death—has been in training for this exact moment. And nothing means more to her than succeeding at her assignment. 

It is her one chance to make sure that what happened to her does not happen to anyone else, and especially not to her new friend, Rebecca. 

The Reviews*:

Eric Trant

April 3, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition
Genuinely great read with a well-crafted plot, believable characters and a catchy story. Crossing the Line follows two high school girls — one dead thirty years, the victim of a murder-suicide — through parallel journeys both past and present. It tackles the drama most students face in high school as they discover their identity, and offers a fresh look at the other side of the mirror of life-and-death. In this case, it’s a surprisingly snug picture of a Potter-esque world you should discover for yourself, rather than having me explain it to you.

It also has a few twists at the end I did not see coming, and I am an author who enjoys crafting my own twisted endings. I was pretty shocked at the final revelation of what really happened the night of the murder-suicide.

Despite the serious tone of the summary, the book was a lighthearted and shockingly fast read. You won’t be able to skip paragraphs, certainly not pages, because every word has been pared down to something necessary to advance the story. You will not find fluff in this novel! It’s lean and mean, easy to pick up and nestle into, and I enjoyed my brief adventure tagging along with the girls. This has the feeling of a series novel, so hopefully we’ll see more soon from Mrs. Valladares!

– Eric

KRLGA

March 27, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition
Rebecca and her two good friends are trying to decide how to spend their afternoon when they stumble on an old Ouija board in a closet. When they decide to use it just for fun, they are shocked when the board tells them they are talking to a girl named Laura who was murdered in 1983 from their high school. Laura is a spirit sent on a mission to help Rebecca any way she can, even though there are very strict rules as to how she can interfere in a living person’s life. When Rebecca finds out that Laura was a real person, she decides to investigate what happened to her and uncover the truths that nobody will say.

I went into this book thinking I was reading a dark paranormal murder mystery, but really it was so much more than that. This was a story full of redemption, truth, friendship and forgiveness (with such a nice, perfect ending). Sure there were some very suspenseful things that occurred in the story, as well as the fact the whole premise was built around a murder-suicide and a ghost, but I thought the story was really sweet and feel good. All the characters were given the chance to show their heart and good side, wrongs were righted and possible terrible events were prevented. Yep, not what I thought based on the synopsis but I found this to be a quick, easy, engaging read to escape into for an afternoon.

The book started out with three girls playing with a Ouija board, when someone starts talking to them and I was instantly hooked. But then I was confused as to how the story was set up when I started the second chapter because all of a sudden I was dropped into a “special school” for the dead with a new character and rules for Crossing the Line (I loved how the title to the book had so many uses and connections throughout the story!). I had zero idea what was going on for almost the entire second chapter. But once I made it to the third chapter, I was fully immersed and interested in the plot. The book is dual narrated by Rebecca in the present and ghost Laura who is in the afterlife and has flashback to her past. Each character has a distinct voice and personality that came through the pages, and I really enjoyed trying to figure out how the two connected or what the mission was that Laura had to accomplish.

There was definitely a mystery to the book, but the relationship dynamics between both girls and their friends as well as between both girls was the main focus of the story (for me at least). I enjoyed the back and forth between the characters and the way the book unfolded, giving me hints along the way. I enjoyed this book which felt like a standalone since everything was wrapped up nicely, but there is most certainly potential for more from this world. Also, the concept of ghost detectives (or whatever you want to call the ghost helpers) was really neat. This was an interesting read full of mystery and supernatural appropriate for all ages.

I am voluntarily reviewing an advance, complimentary copy of this book.

Lisa V.

March 20, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great read! I did not want to put it down, and it kept me interested and curious right up to the very satisfying end. I guess this is considered a YA book but the story line and topics spoke to me and I am way beyond YA age. The high school students seemed very real, and brought back memories of what it was like to be involved in high school romances, dramas and emotions. The spirit world dimension is thought provoking as well as intriguing and just plain fun! Lots of imagination here. The author goes back and forth between a current high school girl and one from thirty years ago and the subject matter is rather dark. However, there are many moments of humorous observation and even, for me, a few laugh out loud moments. The characters are very well developed as individuals and, like most kids, do not fit completely into typical stereotypes. The depth of character development keeps the twists and turns of the plot going and generates compassion and interest in the reader. There was plenty to think about and enjoy.
*book reviews are courtesy of Amazon.com
 More Book Info:
 Crossing the Line by [Valladares, Ellen Wolfson]

Paperback:  300  pages    

Genre:  Fiction / Young Adult Novel
Publisher:    WiDO (March 2018)
ISBN-13:    978-1-937178-99-4 

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079ZZD4VR/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_NlfLAbVNHMYR3/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20 

 

WOW(Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour for Jennifer A. Payne’s EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: What We Leave Behind

Hello Bookworms;

As you can see, BOOKWORM is participating in another blog book tour courtesy of WOW (Women on Writing). Today’s guest is Jennifer A. Payne, author of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind. Today I’m posting an interview, Q and A style, that I conducted with Ms. Payne so that you can read  her thoughts about her calling, her choice of direction for her writing, and her thoughts about mindfulness. I’m also posting a review of her most recent work “Evidence”.  Enjoy.

Hi Anjanette.

Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my books with you and your readers!

  1. How long have you been writing/ what made you decide to write?

I don’t know if I had a choice, really. Writing is how I’ve always communicated with the world. My earliest memory is writing letters to my Dad when he was away on business trips when I was young.In grade school, I used to write short stories, but I also had a dozen pen pals I kept in touch with regularly. I wrote for my high school newspaper, and studied journalism at UMass. My first job was writing press releases and advertising copy, before I started my own business doing the same. I published a zine in the early 90s, and graduated to blog writing about 10 years ago.

I’ve been writing all my life!

2. What made you take this direction for your writing/this work?

I think those early days of communicating real-life stories and experiences to my Dad and pen pals have kept me pretty firmly rooted in non-fiction writing. You can see that on my blog Random Acts of Writing (http://randomactsofwriting.net). Over the years, it has hosted everything from my food writing, travel journals and book reviews, to photo essays, social commentary and poetry.In the past couple of years, I’ve been writing more poetry, mainly because that is how my muse has been talking to me. But also, I was invited to join a local poetry group, the Guilford Poets Guild, and they have inspired and encouraged me a lot!

Both of my books, LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness (2014) and the new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind are direct results of my work on the blog. LOOK UP! includes essays, poetry, a collection of quotations by philosophers, naturalists, and famous writers, plus 100 of my original color photos. It’s a journal, really, that narrates my own journey from working 24/7 to reconnecting with our natural world, finding balance and mindfulness in the simple act of going outside. Evidence of Flossing is a follow-up to that concept. It features 73 of my poems and 80 original and vintage photos that continue a conversation about our divine connection to nature, and how important it is to find our way back to that.

3. What is it about mindfulness that interests/fascinates you?

By day, I run my own graphic design and marketing business. By night (really in the pre-dawn hours of the day), I do my creative work. My brain and I work at a very frenetic pace – as you can imagine – but somewhere in all of that, there has to be some downtime. Some quiet. Some peace.

I tried traditional methods of meditation – sitting on pillows, candles, oms, guided groups, recorded sessions. But nothing really “stuck.” I remember one group meditation…there were 10 of us in a small, candlelit room. We did some breathing exercises, and then the facilitator guided us on a meditation…down a path, into the treetops, up into the sky. I spent the whole meditation frantically running to catch up, because I couldn’t breathe right, couldn’t visualize right…couldn’t get out of my own way!

About that same time, I had started taking regular walks in the woods. There is a nature preserve near my house, and I can do a nice, easy 2-mile walk in a space that feels very far away from everything. I remember this one day very clearly. I’d been walking for about 20 minutes with lots of busy thoughts in my head. But then it was suddenly quiet. All I heard were my footsteps on the pine needle path. I wasn’t aware of my thoughts or my body, just the sound of footsteps, like a heartbeat, and breathing.

It was brief and wonderful.

I think of it now as my “ah-ha, so this is meditation” moment.problems, inspirations for my writing, connections to some mystery I wouldn’t have had time for if I wasn’t allowing myself to disconnect from busy and reconnect with nature. It’s that simple…and that complicated, I suppose. Perhaps that’s what so fascinating about it, and why I write about it. The difficult part of mindfulness is getting there—stepping away from our busy-ness, allowing ourselves that time to reconnect. But once we do, it’s really quite simple. It’s really quite amazing.
4. Use this space to give yourself a shameless plug?

I was at a workshop last week, and the hostess came over to me and pointed to a copy of my book on her coffee table. “I keep your book here,” she said. “In a place of honor. That way I can pick it up and read something from it whenever I want. Which is often. I just love it.”

She’s not alone. People seem to really connect with these books, with the writing and the photos. I think it’s because they talk about our collective concerns about our society in a way that is heartfelt and thoughtful. They’re smart books that you can skim for meaning, or dive into for a deeper understanding as they apply to your own philosophy and spirituality, your own experience. But they are both easy reads – you can read an essay, read one poem, open to a page and meditate on a photo or quote. They allow the reader to take that moment of mindfulness, to stop and consider…maybe…a better way to move about in this world? I hope.

Review:

Evidence is a combination of street photography and poetry. It’s actually a followup to a prior work of Ms. Payne’s called LOOKUP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness. Most psychology majors probably remember mindfulness as a Buddhist concept that is used in clinical psychology to help alleviate depressive symptoms. It involves bringing one’s attention to experiences that are occurring  in the present moment through meditation or other disciplines (like writing). Discarded dental flossers are featured in most of  Evidence’s street photography. To me they seemed to point to the commonalities of mankind. Even though there are differences between our global cultures, it is our humanity that gives us common ground. What’s is more of a sign on humanity that flossing? For the author they also ask the question “What is our legacy?” “What will we leave behind?”.  I like the way her poems are formatted because there’s no formal visual presentation (prose, haikus). So they force whoever’s reading them to ponder and meditate on their meaning. Her writing is definitely in keeping with the mindfulness concept. I look forward to reviewing even more of Ms. Payne’s work.

Evidence of Flossing  and LOOKUP! (as well as Jennifer Payne herself)can be found online at:

Website: https://3chairspublishing.com/

Blog: https://randomactsofwriting.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/threechairspub

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThreeChairsPub

Gospel Performing Arts Expo 2017: First Night

Theme for Both Nights: “Return of the Levite”

Here is some video footage of the first night of this weekend’s Gospel Performing Arts Expo 2017.

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And here’s the audio for the Premium Showcase featuring Phil Smedley and his band and guest vocalists <—-click here.

And here’s my summary of tonight’s portion of this event <click here>