Friday, January 30, 2015

Andra Watkins, Author of Not Without my Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Challenges us to Make a Memory With That Special Someone in 2015

Meet Andra Watkins

Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

Connect and Socialize with Andra!


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero? Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments an laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

Coming to Amazon on 15 January 2015!

I would like to welcome Andra Watkins, author of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Watkins was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in her own words:

'I Shared a Bathroom With My Eighty-Year-Old Father and Survived. Mostly.'
by Andra Watkins

I never wanted to spend five weeks with my eighty-year-old father. The explosive gas. The same story for the five billionth time. The all-night self-scratching. The sleep apnea machine. The gut that obscures all ability to hit the toilet.

But I needed my father.

I wanted to launch my debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by taking readers into the world of the book. For thirty-four days, I would walk the 10,000-year-old Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. In fifteen mile daily increments, I would become the first living person to replicate their journey through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

Starry-eyed, I believed my walk would make my book a success. I imagined a best seller. News crews following my journey. My name is blinking neon lights. People standing in awe, holding my novel for an autograph.

I'm an idiot. A complete idiot.

I didn't understand my idiocy when I approached my cantankerous father and asked him to be my wingman on my Natchez Trace walk. I needed him to drop me off and pick me up fifteen miles later. After striking out with everyone else, he was my last hope to make a grab at literary glory.

He said no.

Because why would he want to spend five weeks with me? We shouted instead of speaking, argued in place of connection. For most of my life, I dreaded every interaction with Dad. His lectures and nagging and know-it-all-ness. Yet I was willing to put all that aside, while he rejected me?

Wrong answer, Old Man!

When I finally regrouped, I appealed to his ego. The Roy Show. In towns full of strangers who'd never heard his stories. Junk shops and crap food he could eat without Mom's knowing.

He was totally on board with that.

For five weeks, I lived with my aging father. I walked fifteen miles a day on pavement. Through every conceivable quirk of weather, I duct-taped my shredded feet and dragged my aching joints across three states.

The hardest thing I've ever done. Walking. For thirty-four days. With my maddening father circling in the car.

Think of the most aggravating person in your life. Imagine putting yourself through the worst endurance exercise possible with them. How would you feel?

I wrote Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace to explore that journey. I won't reveal how my dysfunctional family adventure turned out, but I will tell you why you need to read this book. RIGHT NOW.

You're losing someone this very minute. Incrementally, they're slipping away. You mean to have an adventure with them, to spend an hour or an afternoon, to do that thing. But Life's crazy gets in the way. You put it off, because this person is maddening, right? And before you know it, that person is gone: either because they've moved on to another phase of Life, or they've passed away.

I wrote Not Without My Father to encourage everyone to grab a loved one and Make a Memory. Right Now. Today. To turn "I wish I had" into "I'm glad I did." You shouldn't care about this book because I wrote it. You shouldn't move it to the top of your overflowing reading list because I need to make money.

You should read this book because it will change your life. You will connect with a loved one, and you will Make a Memory. You will have an experience to treasure, something you wouldn't otherwise have. Read Not Without My Father. Be inspired to Make a Memory in 2015.

And I want to hear about the memories you make. Please submit them to me at mystories(at)andrawatkins(dot)com. I promise, I'll read every submission, and I'll highlight them on my website: andrawatkins.com.


May you read well and often

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kathryn Meyer Griffith - Forever and Always: A Romantic Short Story

Reread. Forever and Always: A Romantic Short Story by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2014)
Length: 26 pages
Genre: Short Story
Originally Read: 9 April 2011
Reread Finished: 29 January 2015
Where did it come from? Originally, I received a copy of this book in February of 2011 from Kathryn Meyer Griffith; then I downloaded another copy for free from Amazon in January of 2015.

So, back on February 23, 2011, Ms. Griffith was kind enough to send me a copy of this book to read.  Originally, the story was called Always and Forever, and I read it for the first time on April 9th, 2011. Actually, it only took me one day - just about half an hour - to read it. 

So, when I learned that Ms. Griffith had revised and recently released her story with a title change and a newly redesigned cover, I decided that I wanted to reread it for myself. I downloaded my second copy from Amazon, during this most recent giveaway - from January 22, until January 26, 2015.

I actually downloaded this book on January 24, 2015, and while I started reading this book on January 28th, it was at about 11:50 P. M. that I started my reread. It was sometime after midnight on January 29th, 2015 that I finished reading. So, my reread took place from January 28th, to January 29th, 2015.
   
May you read well and often

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

B. A. Spicer - Strings

4. Strings by B. A. Spicer (2012)
Length: 18 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started/Finished: 27 January 2015
Where did it come from? From Amazon
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 24 January 2015
Why do I have it? This ebook was a free download from Amazon in January of 2015, although I certainly want to read more short stories. I have also read and enjoyed several books by this author n the past.

Astrophysicist Madeleine Happer is convinced that her nightly dreams are trying to tell her something. She isn't quite sure what is going to happen, but the frequency and vividness of each dream seems to indicate whatever happens - it will be momentous. Yet Maddy is certain - deep within herself - that in some indefinable way, the earth will be intrinsically changed.

Now, teetering on the brink of her own personal scientific discovery - one which could potentially prove monumental in the field of astrophysics - Maddy must make everyone understand that they all need to be prepared for what is coming. But is it possible that, even now, she may be too late? Only the universe can say for certain; yet it appears that the universe has suddenly become...mute.

I must that I really enjoyed reading this particular story. I found that the plot was remarkably well-developed for its length; and I appreciated that even at eighteen pages long, the story was unusual and filled with several unexpected plot twists. I give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

B. A. Spicer - Peaches in the Attic: A Rather Disturbing Tale

3. Peaches in the Attic: A Rather Disturbing Tale by B. A. Spicer (2012)
Length: 13 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started/Finished: 27 January 2015
Where did it come from? From Amazon
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 24 January 2015
Why do I have it? This ebook was a free download from Amazon in January of 2015, although I certainly want to read more short stories. I have also read and enjoyed  Angels: A Metaphysical Horror Story by the same author n the past.

Valerie absolutely loves her Grandma's stories. From funny to scary and every genre in between, to little Valerie's mind Grandma is the best storyteller ever. She can transport the little girl to anywhere her imagination desires, simply by telling one of her wonderful stories. And the best part of all is that the star of every story is Valerie herself.  

However, sometimes the line between reality and fantasy can become very blurry. So, when something momentous happens to them, will Valerie be able to tell her story. And, most importantly, will anyone believe her? 

I really enjoyed this story very much and I give it an A! I must say that Valerie reminded me so much of myself. When I was little my Grandpa was the one who used to tell me stories; although in my opinion, his stories were never quite as scary as one of Valerie's Grandma's stories. And just like Valerie, I was always the star of my Grandpa's stories.

The stories that my Grandpa told me usually involved my name (of course), and a giant bag of sweets - any sort of candy that might have been my favorite at the time - for myself, and to share with anyone else I might meet during the course of the story.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Monday, January 26, 2015

B. A. Spicer - Angels: A Metaphysical Horror Story

2. Angels: A Metaphysical Horror Story by B. A. Spicer (2012)
Length: 26 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started/Finished: 26 January 2015
Where did it come from? From Amazon
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 24 January 2015
Why do I have it? This ebook was a free download from Amazon in January of 2015, although I certainly want to read more short stories. I also like horror and B. A. Spicer is a new author for me.

For Flora James' mother, the grief and sorrow of her daughter's death is already immeasurable; yet learning that Flora died due to bullying at school sparks an unquenchable rage in her heart towards Flora's tormentors. Flora had so many dreams and desires for her future - she was preparing to go on a class trip to France soon and wanted so badly to see the Eiffel Tower while she was there. She loved nature and space, and knew so much about the planets and constellations. It is just inconceivable to her mother to think that her beautiful Flora is no longer here; not when her daughter had so much more life left to live.

These cruel children must be made to understand the gravity of what they have done. To her, and most of all, to Flora. Especially this Tanya girl - Flora's main bully. Tanya must learn her lesson - and it will be a difficult one for her to teach - but for Flora's sake, her mother will do whatever is necessary.

This is the first book that I've read by this author - although at 26 pages, it would be better classified as a short story. However, B. A. Spicer has also written several longer novels as well. I must say that I really enjoyed reading this story; I found the plot gripping and totally believable. I could certainly imagine this scenario occurring in reality. I give this story a definite A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Introducing The Banshee and the Witch by Kathryn Meyer Griffith!

Hello Everyone! I was delighted to learn recently that The Banshee and the Witch by Kathryn Meyer Griffith - Book 2 in her Four Spooky Short Stories collection - will be free to download from Amazon - at least for a short time! I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing The Banshee and the Witch by Kathryn Meyer Griffith back in January of 2013, and here is my review.

Yes, from Monday, January 26, 2015 until Friday, January 30, 2015, The Banshee and the Witch by Kathryn Meyer Griffith will be available to download for free from Amazon. So, I would advise you to go grab yourselves a copy today! ;)


Meet Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. But I’d already begun writing novels at 21, over forty-two years ago now, and have had twenty (ten romantic horror, two horror novels, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and three murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press; and I’ve self-published my last five novels with Amazon Kindle Direct and my dinosaur novels are my best-sellers.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-six years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha and Cleo, and live cat Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *FINALIST* for my horror novel The Last Vampire - Revised Author’s Edition ~ 2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *FINALIST* for my thriller novel Dinosaur Lake.


The Banshee and the Witch by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2012)
Length: 39 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

The Banshee and the Witch Blurb:

The Banshee and the Witch

What would you do to live forever, stay young forever? To find true love again?

And if you were a white witch with the magical powers to make it happen…and the secret of how to do it, would you?

So when the banshee comes calling for you one rainy dark night you’ll do what you have to do to get what you desire the most. More time.

May you read well and often

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Introducing Three Short Stories by B. A. Spicer!

I was delighted to learn that three of B. A. Spicer's short stories - Peaches in the Attic: A Rather Disturbing Tale, Angels: A Metaphysical Horror Story and Strings - will all be available to download for free from Amazon, at least for a short time! I think that I have at least two other books by B. A. Spicer already on my TBR pile, although I haven't gotten the chance to read them yet. Surprise, surprise! sigh - lol! Although I hope to at some point in the very near future.

Yes, from Friday, January 23, until Saturday, January 24, 2015, all three of these short stories by B. A. Spicer will be free to download from Amazon. So, I would advise you to grab yourselves a copy of each of these books as soon as possible! :)


Meet B. A. Spicer

Bev Spicer is the author of five ebooks and two paperbacks. If you would like to read more reviews of her books, the majority are posted on Amazon.co.uk.

Bev was born in a small market town in the Midlands, daughter to an observer for the Royal Air Force and her mother, a local beauty queen.

She was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge and became a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in 1997 moving to live in France with her husband and two of her children ten years later, where she writes full-time.

She is widely read and has travelled extensively, living in Crete, where she taught English and learned to speak Greek, and in the Seychelles, where she worked for the government and co-designed materials which were used to teach at secondary school level.

She is currently working on Stranded in the Seychelles, a humorous memoir and sequel to her best-selling Bunny on a Bike.


Peaches in the Attic: A Rather Disturbing Tale by B. A. Spicer (2012)
Length: 13 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

Peaches in the Attic: A Rather Disturbing Tale Blurb:

Please note this is a short story. Valerie is fascinated by the stories her grandmother tells, but sometimes the line between fantasy and reality blurs...


Angels: A Metaphysical Horror Story by B. A. Spicer (2012)
Length: 26 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

Angels: A Metaphysical Horror Story Blurb:

When a mother loses her daughter to bullying at school, she decides to take revenge. Angels is a story of loss and the human fascination with the metaphysical world. Please note that this is a short story.


Strings by B. A. Spicer (2012)
Length: 18 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

Strings Blurb:

Please note: this is a short story. Astrophysicist, Madeleine Happer, is on the brink of a momentous discovery. But will she be too late?

May you read well and often