Introducing On the Bright Side by S. R. Johannes!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meet S. R. Johannes

When Shelli was younger, she spent all her time outdoors, hiking, camping and living the Girl Scout Way.

Somewhere along the way, she got away from nature and earned an MBA in Marketing, kicking off an 18-year marketing career in Corporate America.

Eventually, Shelli traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She started her own marketing & communications business,, where she worked with Spanx, Goody Hair Products, Chick Filet, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.

In addition to juggling nap schedules and client meetings, Shelli focuses on her writing. She is a frequent speaker on marketing and book publicity at SCBWI conferences across the U.S, and runs a popular book marketing blog, Market My Words (

In her spare time (yeah right!) and if the kids allow (yeah right!), Shelli obsesses over movies, reads children’s books (over and over), and still dreams of sleeping in on the weekends. But most importantly, she is finally getting back to her roots by running her own Girl Scout Troop in Atlanta, helping girls get back to nature.

She currently lives in Atlanta with her dog (Charley), British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess that someday will change the world.

Synopsis from Goodreads: As if the devil’s food cake at her wake and the white fat pants she’s stuck wearing for eternity weren’t bad enough, fourteen year-old Gabby is quick to discover that Cirrus, the main rung of Heaven, is a far cry from the Pearly Gates. Here, SkyFones and InnerNets are all the rage. At her first Bright ceremony, G.O.D., the automated assignment system, spits out Angela Black, Gabby’s arch nemesis and longtime fencing rival. As a Bright, Gabby has to protect Angela, her assigned mortal, in order to move up through the training levels of heaven. 

Back on earth, Angela starts hitting on Michael, Gabby’s crush and should-have-been boyfriend. Gabby’s pranks to quell the love are harmless at first until the school dance sabotage gets completely out of control. Then, Celestial Sky Agent, Lawrence, who happens to have anger management issues of his own, steps into reveal that Angela has big problems, and what she really needs is Gabby’s help.
Determined to right her wrong and ease her mother’s grief, Gabby steals an ancient artifact that allows her to return to earth for just one day. But if Gabby’s not careful, her well-meaning mission just might shift the very foundation of Heaven, Earth, and every place in between, causing the danger of the dark side to roam free.

Coming to Amazon 31 January 2011!

May you read well and often

Daree Allen, Author of What's Wrong With Me?: A Girl's Book of Lessons Learned, Inspiration and Advice Chats About How People Stay True to Themselves

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meet Daree Allen

Daree Allen is an authorpreneur, young adult esteem advocate, speaker, and goal-getter in Atlanta, GA. She has published articles on a variety of topics as a freelance writer and blogger, and is the author of the new teen mentoring book entitled, "What's Wrong With Me?" in which she discusses her own childhood dealing with self-esteem, premarital sex, family and personal relationships. Find out more about her work at and

Synopsis from Goodreads

Premarital sex. Drugs. Dating violence. Dropping out of school. So many choices, good and bad, are available for youth in America today, and girls continue to be especially vulnerable. They often blame themselves for things that go wrong in their lives, even when it s not their fault. They ask, What's wrong with me?, or they hear, What's wrong with you?! and brace themselves for the denigrating comments to follow. 

It's a timeless theme: girls grow up in every generation struggling with self-esteem, confidence, body image issues, uncertainty about dating, and insecurity about their identities. Where do they turn for answers or role models? Friends and peers don t make for such great influences and mentors when they are floundering themselves. Images of women of color in the media (TV and music videos) reinforce an impossible ideal and lack of self-esteem. 

How do girls today make decisions that will positively impact their future and not become victims of their surroundings? How can they affirm their Christianity proudly and not succumb to the deteriorating values of modern society? In this empowering Christian self-help book, Allen weaves her memoir from 20 years of journaling with lessons that still ring true for girls today, about such topics as accepting their identity, adopting a healthy body image, dating relationships, dealing with toxic friends and family members, avoiding or delaying premarital sex, building self-esteem, developing a positive attitude, dressing for success, setting goals, spending money wisely, handling anger and depression, and embracing their singleness, discovering their life purpose, and keeping God first. 

I would like to welcome Daree Allen, author of What's Wrong With Me?: A Girl's Book of Lessons Learned, Inspiration and Advice  to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Allen was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in her own words:

Staying True to You

The concepts of "fitting in," peer pressure and groupthink are proven psychological phenomenons. However, they don't end with high school.

As adults we also can fall victim to these things if we're not careful.

Many industries operate with a kind of "formula" for success that says if you do this, please this group of people, you'll get success. Sometimes this involves taking shortcuts or compromising your values.

But at what expense?

Political Correctness

Our nation claims to be "One Nation Under God" as is stated in our pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, and our currency bears the statement, "In God We Trust." But our culture really does neither.

As the years go by, there are more and more attempts to kick God out of our schools, our of our communities, and out of our lives. For example, in December we say "Happy Holidays" to avoid offending non-Christians. In public some refer to God as "higher power" or "the universe." Girls Scouts USA has even changed references to God in their official Girl Scout promise and elsewhere to be printed like this: "God*" with an explanation that girls can define God however they like:

"Girl Scout policy states that the word "God" may be interpreted depending on individual spiritual beliefs. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, "God" may be substituted with the word dictated by those beliefs."

Not a Sell-Out

My first two books, "What's Wrong With Me?" and the "What's Wrong With Me? Reflections Journal," are a response to the desperate need for self-esteem and empowerment resources for teens and young adults--especially those who are not impoverished, but considered "good" or "average" and supposedly don't need help. When girls finish reading my book, I want them to understand themselves better, feel more assertive, make better choices, and be on their way to discovering and living in their purposes and destinies. They will realize that they're not alone in the way they feel, that they don't need approval from others to validate their worth, and the importance of a personal relationship with God.

I recently met with a trusted colleague and she recommended that I change my book (or create another version of it) that contains no scripture references or mentions of God or the Bible. I came to the conclusion that although she meant well in giving me this advice, it would have hurt my brand--and my spirit--to take her advice. Some may think that removing the references is "selling out," while some say it's just an effort to market to a wider audience, not in any way trying to negate my beliefs. But every successful book has a specific market--a specific niche.

Although there may be "unchurched" kids who need the mentoring content in my book, there is not such an overwhelming emphasis on "God this, God that" that would beat them over the head as they read it to the point where they cannot get those positive messages.

In the end, staying true to myself keeps my conscious clear, and honors my relationship with God. Regardless of your beliefs, staying true to yourself will keep you from losing your way. Not all will agree with your choices and convictions, but a person who cannot respect them is not a person you need in your life.

- Daree Allen, MS, Author of What's Wrong With Me?: A Girl's Book of Lessons Learned, Inspiration and Advice

- Visit my website:

May you read well and often

Yearly Reading Wrap-up at Emeraldfire's Bookmark

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello everyone out there and I hope that you all had a terrific reading year for yourselves. I am known as Emeraldfire around the Internet and this is my new personal reading blog.

Anyway, I started out January with about two hundred unread books lying around the house and ended the month with...umm...uncountable amounts of books unread. All of the books that I acquired this year came from BookmoochPaperback Swap, authors and Library Book Sales. Quite a number of my books that I read this month left my house to go to new homes so that's something I guess. :)

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Changes to the TBR pile 

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol by Creston Mapes
- Laughing Through Life by Connie Corcoran Wilson
- Demi and the Dolphins: A Lesson in Ecology by Alyssa K. Harrell and Marlene Siegal, DVM
- Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest by Ann McGovern
- Say Not What If by Andrew Friedman
- The Heart of the Rose by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
- Sorghaghtani of Mongolia by Shirin Yim Bridges
- Artemisia of Caria by Shirin Yim Bridges
- It Came From the '70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now by Connie Corcoran Wilson
- Prince Etcheon and the Secret of the Ancient by Jo Ann Arnold
- Hatshepsut of Egypt by Shirin Yim Bridges
- Skin Thief by Sonnet O'Dell
- Stilettos and Scoundrels by Laina Turner-Molaski
- Inklings: Very Short Stories and Other Babies Born of Ink by Aparna Warrier
- Redemption by Laurel Dewey
- Davi by Roy C. Booth and Brian Woods 
- Always and Forever by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
- The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg
- Grayton Beach Affair by James Harvey
Deed So by Katharine A. Russell
- Blue by Lou Aronica
Anyone Can Die by James LePore
- The Nameless One by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
- The Radleys by Matt Haig
- Cry of the Fallen by Joel M. Andre
- Anyia: Dream of a Warrior by Jacquitta A. McManus
- A Pointed Death by Kath Russell
- The Green Man by Lee Mather

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))

Well, there it is...the breakdown! All in all, a very good reading year for me. Here's a further breakdown:

Books Read: 28
Pages Read: 5,475
Grade Range: A+! to B+!

So, there you go! The reading year that was 2011! I hope that you all had an equally good reading year; if not a little better. :) See you all next year! :)

May you read well and often

Reading Wrap-up For December at Emeraldfire's Bookmark

Hello everyone out there and I hope that you all had a terrific reading month for yourselves. I am known as Emeraldfire around the Internet and this is a reinstatement of my personal reading blog. I originally posted my reviews on my old Blogger blog Emeraldfire's Bookmark but am now in the process of transporting all my old reviews over from Shelfari.

Anyway, I started out December with about two hundred unread books lying around the house and ended the month with...umm...uncountable amounts of books unread. All of the books that I acquired this month came from BookmoochPaperback Swap  or the authors and publishers for review. I have bought several new books as ebooks as well.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Changes to the TBR pile:

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine! I think?)
Laughing Through Life by Connie Corcoran Wilson
Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol by Creston Mapes

Added to my TBR pile (Wait! Didn't I just clear a space over there? What are more books doing there - oh yeah, I'm a reviewer! :))
- Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi
The Dome by Nova Sparks
The Domerevelation by Nova Sparks
The Wish by Gail Carson Levine
- The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe by Glynis Ridley
Matching Wits With Venus by Therese Gilardi
The Magi by Kevin M. Turner
Shadow Cay by Leona Bodie
The New Death and Others by James Hutchings
In Leah's Wake by Terri Guiliano Long
The Chronicles of Kerrigan Book 1: Rae of Hope by W. J. May
- The Elf Queen of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Cupid Calling by Stacy Brown, Karen L. King and Patricia Waddell
Catching the Eagle by Karen Charlton
Harald Hardrada: The Last Viking by Michael Burr
Literally Dead by James Conroy
Of Faith and Fidelity: Geoffrey Hotspur and the War For St. Peter's Throne by Evan Ostryzniuk
The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks
The Eighth Scroll by Dr. Laurence B. Brown
Full Tilt by Creston Mapes
The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels
- Anasazi by Emma Michaels
The Morning Afterlife by Sonnet O'Dell
The Summoner by Layton Green
The Egyptian by Layton Green
Cheat the Hangman by Gloria Ferris
- Red-Robed Priestess by Elizabeth Cunningham
- War For the Oaks by Emma Bull
- Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
- Happy Birthday to me Again by Brian Rowe
- The Sexiest Time of the Year: Erotic Encounters at the Yule Season edited by Sascha Illyvich

Well, there it is...the breakdown. Holy Mackerel! I need to read more next month. Here's a further (shaming) break down:

Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 518
Grade Range: A+!

So, there you go! The month that was December. All in all, a terrible reading month for me. I hope that you all had a better reading month than I did. Maybe a whole lot better! See you next month. :)

May you read well and often