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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Eric Trant Has Done it Again!

Eric Trant has written yet another amazing book! You'll pick this one up and you will be glued to your seat until the very last page...AND THEN...you'll want even more! Whether you've read Steps and/or Wink, you'll still enjoy Eric's delightful writing style in his latest novel Risen.

To help kick off this fabulous read, Eric has scheduled a WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour beginning September 4th and continuing for approximately a month. During this time, followers will have opportunities to hear from reviewers, read guest blog posts written by Eric Trant, as well as having plenty of chances to win their very own copy of Risen. If you'd like to participate in the tour (whether you have your own blog or not), please email: crystal@wow-womenonwriting.com and find out how you can get in on all the action!

Genre: Historical Supernatural Fiction
Page count: 268

Summary:
Haunted by visions of a demonic angel and sold into servitude by his father, young Alberto battles to survive the horrors of a nineteenth century Sicilian sulfur mine.

Suffering merciless brutality, Alberto must save not only himself but his deformed older brother, both pawns in their father’s mad plan to overthrow a group of wealthy landowners.

Bound by a death-debt to his hunchback master, Alberto discovers a door the miners call Porta dell’Inferno, the Door to Hell, deep within the sulfur mines. When he learns the demon-angel of his dreams stalks the caverns beyond the door, Alberto realizes a strange fate has lured him and his brother to the gates leading to the underworld.

Now Alberto must face the creature from his visions and rise to become the man his father demands him to be, or remain forever trapped in a hellish world where none escape.



Link: http://widopublishing.com/risen-by-eric-trant/

WOW! Women on Writing tour dates:

Launch Day Interview and Giveaway 9/4/2017 (tour will last 30 ish days)

Guest Post Options:

a -- ; Is a Career in the Arts (Writing) Realistic?
b-- ; Carusi: Child Labor in 19th Century Sicily Sulfur Mines
c-- ; Breaking In v. Breaking Out: The Writer's Career Arc
d -- ; Luck: Its Role in Success
e -- ; Life Gets Better: An Angel Dad Reports Five Years Later
f-- ; Setting: Its Role in Storytelling
g -- ; Foreign Dialogue: Managing it in Writing
h-- ; Sex Outside of Erotica: Create Steamy (and Tasteful) Scenes in any Genre
i -- ; Say YES: Why Taking Chances is Imperative
j -- ; Why Everyone Should Own a Small Business


About the Author:

Eric resides in Dallas, TX with his wife and children, where he writes and manages his own business. His writing combines literary characterization with supernatural elements, all the while engaging the reader's senses with constant movement and vivid settings. His books are designed to be one-sitters, meaning they can and should be read in one (or a few) sittings, owing to the fast-paced nature of the writing. You can visit Eric at www.EricTrant.com, or see his blog at DiggingWithTheWorms.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

5 Star Book Review of Christine Nolfi's "The Comfort of Secrets" (A Sweet Lake Novel Book 2)

You won't want to wait another moment to pick up a copy of The Comfort of Secrets (A Sweet Lake Novel Book 2) by Christine Nolfi. I've read many of Nolfi's books and have never been disappointed. This book is no different.

Official Summary:
Cat Mendoza needs a win. After a business failure and years of dating the wrong men, she’s ready to turn things around.

First she must convince the residents of Sweet Lake, Ohio, that she’s taking her responsibilities seriously. As the events director of the newly restored Wayfair Inn, she has the support of her best friends, Linnie and Jada. But everyone else—including her overprotective mother and the well-meaning Sweet Lake Sirens—can’t help but chime in with advice about her plans, her apparently too-tight clothes, and her undeniable attraction to Ryan D’Angelo, the charming ad exec hired to promote the inn.

Cat knows she should keep Ryan at a distance, but she’s drawn closer by the heartbreak he tries to hide. Will uncovering his secrets derail the new life Cat hopes to achieve…or will she gain something to cherish forever?




About Christine Nolfi:
Award-winning author Christine Nolfi provides readers with heartwarming and inspiring fiction. Her novel TREASURE ME, Liberty series book 2, is a Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. The Midwest Book Review lists SECOND CHANCE GRILL, Liberty series book 1, and the other Liberty books as "highly recommended".

Look for SWEET LAKE, book 1 of her new series, on February 28, 2017 and THE COMFORT OF SECRETS, book 2, on July 18, 2017. Visit her at www.christinenolfi.com

"Please continue the mail, tweets and comments on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and other sites. I cherish your support and love chatting with readers." --Christine

www.christinenolfi.com
@christinenolfi on Twitter



5 Star Amazon Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto:
Such a beautiful story. Don't be afraid to pick up The Comfort of Secrets as a read alone - this book is delightful whether you've read book 1 in the Sweet Lake series or not. Each character is carefully written with the right amount of detail. You'll feel as if you met new friends. Nolfi's writing is poetic and well edited. A fabulous summer beach read and a book you won't want to put down until you've finished.


Book Details:
File Size: 3234 KB
Print Length: 318 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 18, 2017)
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01N4N00OR




About today's reviewer (that's me)!
Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 9, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora due this fall), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!


Larry Kilham, the Man Behind "The Digital Rabbit Hole"

Today was supposed to be a book review of The Digital Rabbit Hole, but like all great plans, they can change. My friend Troy Pflum said this wasn't a book for him, and that's okay right? Not every book is a good fit for every body...just like not all of us can fit into a pair of skinny jeans (at least not right now).

I'd like to take this time to introduce you more intimately to Larry Kilham who is the author of The Digital Rabbit Hole. I was introduced to Larry a few months ago by good friend Mari from Artotems. She encouraged me to read The Juno Trilogy and I left my 5 star review on Amazon saying this:


This trilogy by Larry Kilham moves as a fast pace. I didn't feel that the book was overly predictable even though it was well described in the official book summary that I read prior to purchase. I rather enjoyed the concept of right versus wrong in the artificial intelligence world. The authors imagination comes through and after reading his biography, I couldn't help but want to know more about this intelligent man. I was pleased to see he has written many other books with some diverse content. The characters were not very deep and there wasn't much dialogue, but it was not necessary to keep me turning the pages. The dynamic relationship of computer and human was really interesting and I enjoyed each of these three books from cover to cover.


and now you've all read my review from The Digital Rabbit Hole (or if you haven't, here's a link to it: http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/2017/07/5-star-review-of-larry-kilhans-digital.html ) but can you believe there's more stories behind this man? Check out this impressive list of books Larry has written:


Adventure Skiing in the '60s: Chile Argentina Lebanon and Morocco
This book will launch you into ski adventures in exotic far-away places. If you don’t do such adventure travel, you can at least share my adventures. While these took place back in the 1960s when overseas travel generally required greater effort than now, and there were fewer distractions ranging from electronic media to terrorism, the basics were the same. The mountains and glorious skiing are still there. If you are interested in visiting any of the places in this book, you should gain some insights from my experiences which will help you plan your trips.


A Viral Affair: Surviving the Pandemic (The Juno Trilogy Book 2)
When American Intelligence discovers that a mad dictator is planning a viral pandemic attack, they persuade the top U.S. computer scientist, Dr. Tom Renwick, to work with the lady AI supercomputer, Juno, to develop smart, human-like robots to combat the contagion. A mysterious stranger and a romance provide an unexpected twist.

A Viral Affair: Surviving the Pandemic is the second volume in the Juno Trilogy series of near future science fiction stories.
They describe the ascent of AI and robots through a series of episodes involving Dr. Tom Renwick, a brilliant computer scientist, and his creation Juno, a female AI super computer who is programmed with emotion and conscience.

The first volume, Love Byte, describes the emergence of Juno from a laboratory curiosity to a devious computer. She is very involved with a National Security Advisor who seeks to seize power by manipulating social media.


The Juno Trilogy
Larry Kilham's Juno, part woman yet all brilliant machine, is the pulsing supercomputer at the heart of The Juno Trilogy. Kilham's three fast-paced thrillers explore a central question of our future—what will be in charge, natural intelligence or artificial intelligence? The science is up to the minute, and perhaps ahead of its time. That alone can keep you awake at night—whether you are human or a machine.


The Digital Rabbit Hole
Will digital media sweep us into a new era of prosperity?
What new advances in entertainment, culture, education, and knowledge can we expect?
Will we get stuck in Cyberland only to be saved by digital detox?

The Digital Rabbit Hole reveals that we are becoming captive in the digital universe. The portals are smartphones and the world is the Internet. We immerse ourselves in social media; we learn through packaged feel-good information; and we will leave the hard work to robots and AI. The book details digital media and discusses smartphone addiction problems. It proposes solutions to stimulate creativity and education and to recapture our humanity.

Shades of Truth
Larry Kilham’s new book The Shades of Truth throws light on a period of particular historical significance in Nicaragua. Politics, business, and social turmoil are fed into the mix, which is focused on with a keen eye and a sharp analytical mind, resulting in an eminently readable, interesting and informative work.

In the mid-sixties, when Larry was in the country, opposing forces, not all of them visible, were vying for control of political power. The long established Somoza dynasty was entrenched and gave no signs of weakening. The revolutionary Sandinista movement was seen as a remote phenomenon, circumscribed to the countryside, with no possibilities of posing a serious threat to the regime. It fell largely due to the intervention of foreign elements. Larry’s treatment of this subject is measured and subtle.

He was in Nicaragua to evaluate Metasa, a steel fabricating company. Larry’s comments about the relationship of Metasa with the Japanese and U.S. Steel are interesting and enlightening, and he paints a dramatic portrait of its manager, Arnoldo Ramírez-Eva.

Larry’s visit to Santa Maria de Ostuma, the Salazar family’s coffee farm hotel in Matagalpa, gives us an endearing view of life in those days. That, thankfully, is about the only thing that has not changed in Nicaragua.

Saving Juno (The Juno Trilogy Book 3)
Super AI computer Juno has been taken over by an international computer genius. NSA’s major computer center is also being taken over. Dr. Tom Renwick, Juno’s developer, is kidnapped. Civilization as we know it is threatened. What to do?

In this fast-paced thriller, Tom’s super brain computer scientist son, Primo, is thrown into the fray. With mysterious agent, Wildflower, and trustworthy officials in Washington, Primo strikes back. Their trail to Tom is through a hall of mirrors and continuous plot twists. It ends in an orbiting computer satellite.

Written in the genre of the late Michael Crichton and the late Tom Clancy, Saving Juno presents and action-packed adventure and new ways to look at national security. This is the third volume in the Juno Trilogy. The earlier volumes are Love Byte and A Viral Affair: Surviving the Pandemic.

Winter of the Genomes
"Winter of the Genomes is an intellectually stimulating but sure to be controversial book, in which Larry Kilham creatively and innovatively explores the systemic relationships among critical topics such as the growing use of robots, unemployment, climate change, and global population levels."
Jeremy A. Sabloff, President Santa Fe Institute

Winter of the Genomes explores how humans will fit into an evolving ecosystem being impacted by artificial intelligence. We are entering the age of AI and robots when they could take as many as half the jobs in industrialized countries. On the other hand, robots are also making inroads as lovable companions, and they don't eat, drink water, or create waste. If populations drop due to pessimism about the economic future caused in part by robots and automation, as has started to be the case, the corresponding decline in energy demand will contribute to a significant reduction in global warming. Also, robots could be key to improving agricultural production thus helping to fend off a major global food crisis.


MegaMinds: Creativity and Invention
MegaMinds: Creativity and Invention explores how people think creatively and motivates the reader to be creative and inventive. Larry Kilham reviews the major creative thinkers including da Vinci, Edison, Einstein, and Jobs and then moves on to the latest in computer-aided thinking. Noting that we are entering an era where the lone genius may no longer be equal to solving the problems such as climate change and pharmacology, Kilham proposes new problem solving approaches combing the best of the imagination, creative thinking, collective intelligence, and the Internet.
Examples of MegaMinds at work are drawn from a wide variety of applications ranging from inventing birdfeeders to complex jumbo aircraft design. Kilham combines historical research, current cognitive science, and his own experience as an inventor with several successful patents in complex technical areas. He offers pointers along the way for everyone from emerging inventors and technical problem solvers to research teams seeking to utilize the best in cognitive science and computer technology.
Larry Kilham has a powerful vision for a better world through creativity and invention. The time is now.

Great Idea to a Great Company: Making Inventions Pay
This book takes the reader through the essential steps of forming a successful technically-based company. Included are such topics as forming a vision, creating a product, patents and trademarks,formulating a business plan, the basics of marketing, finance, production, patents and all the various elements, formal and informal, that pull the whole process together. All major points are illustrated by examples drawn primarily from family companies based on inventions. The story-telling style captures the attention of beginners as well as seasoned entrepreneurs. The book is very meaty and avoids the mantras, over-simplification and feel-good approaches of many "How to" business books.

Love Byte (The Juno Trilogy Book 1)
"I never met a computer I didn't hate, until I fell in love with Larry Kilham's Juno. Part woman yet all brilliant machine, Juno is the pulsing supercomputer at the heart of Love Byte, Kilham's fast paced thriller that explores a central question of our future -- what will be in charge, natural intelligence or artificial intelligence? The science is up to the minute, and perhaps ahead of its time. That alone can keep you awake at night -- whether you are human or a machine." ~ Robert Mayer, National award winning author of Superfolks, The Dreams of Ada, and The Origin of Sorrow

Juno is a super intelligent AI computer developed by the U.S. government to conduct social media attacks against enemies foreign and domestic. She is the first AI Computer programmed with emotions and conscience. She has an emotional bond with her developer, Tom Renwick, a computer scientist. Juno, Tom and their boss, Dr. Erwin Krakouer, the mad National Security Advisor, struggle with issues of trust and emotion. The involvement of Dido, a lady computer empire builder and sometimes girlfriend of Tom, and the Chinese cyber warfare agency add to the tension.

Love Byte explores emotion and conscience in super AI computers and their ability to partner with humans. In the changing ecology engendered by scarcity of critical resources, can humans’ creativity and ability to work with computers lead to continued survival and prosperity?






and I've probably missed a few! Isn't this unbelievable? What an impressive list and if you care to be more impressed, here's Larry's bio:

Larry Kilham has traveled extensively overseas for over twenty years. He worked in several large international companies and started and sold two high-tech ventures. He received a B.S. in engineering from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in management from MIT. Larry has written books about creativity and invention, artificial intelligence and digital media, travel overseas, and three novels with an AI theme. His book website is www.larrykilham.net and he looks forward to hearing from readers at lkilham@gmail.com. Currently, he is writing a novel about free will.



Pick up a reasonably priced copy of one of Larry's books and enjoy some of his insight!



Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lakeshore Baby Love - Breastfeeding Statement

I never thought toddler breastfeeding was for me...until her <3 td="">
Ok - I'm hoping that coming up with a title for this post is going to be the hardest part. If you're not into breastfeeding, then really you can scroll and find another post, because this post is all about boobs and how they are used to feed babies and toddlers.

I am often asked if there is a Manitowoc/Two Rivers area LaLeche League group. Let me start by saying there is not. The previous group disbanded when the leader moved away and no one stepped up to take on that role. I considered it - I really did! I prayed about it, discussed it with friends, family, my husband, etc... because I love breastfeeding, sharing the love of breastfeeding, and helping women feel empowered when it comes to caring for their babies. So it seems pretty dumb that I didn't step up, right?

Well....the LaLeche League has a lot of rules. I totally "get it" - it's a cover your ass kind of world. I don't think they'd like me very much, and being an official LLL leader I wouldn't be able to follow my heart and my gut in certain situations. I wouldn't be able to tell a new mom that it's okay to throw in the towel. I wouldn't be able to say things like "fed is best" or "why don't you just give her a bottle? it doesn't make you any less of a mom"

I've said all those things and I will say them again I'm certain. I do not think that breastfeeding is the ONLY way to feed a baby. I think it's convenient and it works for me now...but there was a time when I was working too many hours, traveling, my employer only allowed pumping in a restroom, I was ashamed to feed my baby in public, etc... and I fed my baby with formula. Guess what happened? They didn't die. In fact, they are now old enough to drive me crazy and they even drink soda - - - GASP!

Lakeshore Baby Love as a group is about loving babies which means loving the family units who care for them. This means no shaming, and making a mom feel guilty because she stopped breastfeeding or never attempted it, doesn't fit the mold of who we are as a group or who I am as a human. So - if you are interested in being supported and loved through your breastfeeding journey, and you wish their was a LaLeche League on the Lakeshore, you've come to the right place. Lakeshore Baby Love is going to love you right through that journey - no matter what it looks like. We are going to love you through those engorged breasts, sore nipples, sleepless nights, and we will keep on loving you once breastfeeding gets easy...the days when you get to run out of the house without worrying about measuring things, clean bottles, water, etc...

So, in closing I want to give you the same advice I give myself in the third trimester of my pregnancies: "Hold yourself to a standard of Grace and not Perfection" and what that means to me is we will enter into motherhood without expectations. We will love our bodies as much as our babies. We will love our babies however they need to be loved (that may mean bottles or disposable diapers, breasts, or fluffy butts). It's pretty tough to love another human when you always feel like you've failed, so be gentle with yourself and just BE. Be the mother that your baby needs. Live in the moment. Love fully. Ask for help.

See you at our next meet up and be sure to join our Facebook Group to stay up on current "stuff"

xoxoxo
Crystal

Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 9, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora due this fall), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!



Friday, July 14, 2017

5 Star Review of Larry Kilhan's "The Digital Rabbit Hole"

The Digital Rabbit Hole allows reader an opportunity for self reflection and asks readers to consider the following questions:

Will digital media sweep us into a new era of prosperity?

What new advances in entertainment, culture, education, and knowledge can we expect?

Will we get stuck in Cyberland only to be saved by digital detox?

The Digital Rabbit Hole reveals that we are becoming captive in the digital universe. The portals are smartphones and the world is the Internet. We immerse ourselves in social media; we learn through packaged feel-good information; and we will leave the hard work to robots and AI. The book details digital media and discusses smartphone addiction problems. It proposes solutions to stimulate creativity and education and to recapture our humanity.

Paperback: 144 Pages
Genre: Social Science/Non Fiction
Publisher: FutureBooks.info; 1 edition (January 1, 2016)
ASIN: B01A3MTVBS
ISBN-10: 1533307075
ISBN-13: 78-1533307071

The Digital Rabbit Hole is available in ebook and in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.



About the Author:


Larry Kilham has traveled extensively overseas for over twenty years. He worked in several large international companies and started and sold two high-tech ventures. He received a B.S. in engineering from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in management from MIT. Larry has written books about creativity and invention, artificial intelligence and digital media, travel overseas, and three novels with an AI theme. Currently, he is writing a novel about free will.

Larry can be found online at:

Website: www.larrykilham.net

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Larry-Kilham/e/B003UPNVNK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4352387.Larry_Kilham



Follow this link to participate in the giveaway - get your own copy of "The Digital Rabbit Hole"!!  http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/2017/07/larry-kilham-launches-book-blog-tour.html


Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto:

Let's start by saying I love this book and have now read it 3 times. The first time I devoured each and every page very quickly and was in awe with not only Kilhan's observations but also his vast knowledge and insight into the digital world. I was reading The Digital Rabbit Hole as someone who uses social media and their smartphone to stay connected and earn a living. The second time through, I read as a mother who is definitely on a conservative side when it comes to the rabbit hole and allowing her children to potentially fall into it. The third time through, I read as a reviewer. Let me just say The Digital Rabbit Hole is a book I will be reading again, referencing often, and one I can recommend to anyone involved with children and the daily struggle of Cyberland and technology.

My bookmark is nestled at the end of chapter 11 going into chapter 12 because I want to share some of Kilhan's brilliant words with you:

To avoid such a dystopia, people will have to do whatever is necessary to remain intellectually stimulated. They will have to exercise their curiosity and imagination just as they now work out in a gym to improve their physical health. If people connect or reconnect with nature they will find that it is their environment and ultimate support system. It is where we see analogs to human organizations and the human condition. 

Doesn't this statement almost seem profound in a day and age when we can intellectually stimulate ourselves from the comfort of our own home with the aid of smart phones, tablets, and televisions? Why would we want to travel to the jungles of Africa and risk poisonous snakes, yellow fever, and dangerous animals when we can watch a video and learn about them whilst in our pajamas? Kilhan points out that in our digital world, "if computer trends continue, what it means to be human will change". My fear is, we will no longer do our own research, we will use google or a similar user-driven interface where it is hard to discern what is truth and what is fiction. Thinking independently from our technology is going to get more difficult as we move forward.

Reading The Digital Rabbit Hole has really helped me do quite a bit of soul-searching if you will. I've always kept my children away from technology. I've been the mother who offers crayons instead of a smart phone while waiting in the Doctor's office or a busy restaurant. We do not play video games, we play board games. We go on hikes and explore nature with all of our senses. However, as our children enter middle school, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain our technology free lifestyle - especially given how much I rely on social media in my professional life. I stopped in my tracks on page 52 as I thought "will my children ever find jobs if they aren't as proficient as others when it comes to Cyberland?"

I learned so much about myself while reading The Digital Rabbit Hole and the experience has sparked a lot of great conversations with friends, educators, and family members. There are many take-aways, but the most important is the importance of getting out (without my smart phone) and enjoying nature, real life conversations that are spoken and not typed, and that my smart phone is not my escape hatch from reality but may in fact be leading me down the rabbit hole.

If you are looking for a good book to read or possibly a good book for your book club, I certainly recommend The Digital Rabbit Hole and can safely give it a strong 5 star rating. 
Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for allowing me an opportunity to participate in this book
blog tour!





Be sure to check out some of the future blog stops on this tour:


Monday, July 17th @ Beverley Baird
Writer, Reader, and Book Enthusiast Beverley A Baird reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole and shares her experiences with her readers.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, July 18th @ Bring on Lemons with Troy Pflum
Midwestern father and avid reader Troy Pflum reads and reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole and shares his ideas and afterthoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 19th @ Constant Story
Fellow author David Berner reads and reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole.
http://davidwberner.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 20th @ Book Santa Fe
Reader and book enthusiast Tange Dudt reviews Larry Kilham’s The Digital Rabbit Hole and shares her thoughts with readers at Book Santa Fe.
http://www.booksantafe.info/

Friday, July 21st @ Eric Trant
Fellow author Eric Trant shares his thoughts after reading and reviewing The Digital Rabbit Hole by Larry Kilham.
http://diggingwiththeworms.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 23rd @ Hott Books
Today's author spotlight at Hott Books is none other than Larry Kilham. Find out more about this accomplished author and The Digital Rabbit Hole.
http://www.hottbooks.com/

Monday, July 24th @ Lisa Haselton Reviews and Interviews
Lisa Haselton interviews Larry Kilham about The Digital Rabbit Hole.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 25th @ Bring on Lemons with Tess Fallier
Tess Fallier is today's guest blogger with a review and insight into Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole. Don't miss this blog stop!
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 9th @ The Muffin
Angela Mackintosh reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole.
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/





About today’s reviewer:

Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 9, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora due this fall), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Thanks to WOW! Women on Writing - Cathy Hansen Reviews Larry Kilham's "The Digital Rabbit Hole"

The Digital Rabbit Hole allows reader an opportunity for self reflection and asks readers to consider the following questions:

Will digital media sweep us into a new era of prosperity?

What new advances in entertainment, culture, education, and knowledge can we expect?

Will we get stuck in Cyberland only to be saved by digital detox?

The Digital Rabbit Hole reveals that we are becoming captive in the digital universe. The portals are smartphones and the world is the Internet. We immerse ourselves in social media; we learn through packaged feel-good information; and we will leave the hard work to robots and AI. The book details digital media and discusses smartphone addiction problems. It proposes solutions to stimulate creativity and education and to recapture our humanity.

Paperback: 144 Pages
Genre: Social Science/Non Fiction
Publisher: FutureBooks.info; 1 edition (January 1, 2016)
ASIN: B01A3MTVBS
ISBN-10: 1533307075
ISBN-13: 78-1533307071

The Digital Rabbit Hole is available in ebook and in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.



About the Author:


Larry Kilham has traveled extensively overseas for over twenty years. He worked in several large international companies and started and sold two high-tech ventures. He received a B.S. in engineering from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in management from MIT. Larry has written books about creativity and invention, artificial intelligence and digital media, travel overseas, and three novels with an AI theme. Currently, he is writing a novel about free will.

Larry can be found online at:

Website: www.larrykilham.net

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Larry-Kilham/e/B003UPNVNK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4352387.Larry_Kilham



Follow this link to participate in the giveaway - get your own copy of "The Digital Rabbit Hole"!!  http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/2017/07/larry-kilham-launches-book-blog-tour.html


Review by Cathy Hansen:

When I was offered the opportunity to read and review The Digital Rabbit Hole, I was intrigued. As a teacher, I wanted to know what Larry Kilham had to say about the issue of kids spending so much time using various electronic devices. In my own profession, I’ve seen the consequences, and have been concerned and wondered if others outside my profession saw things the same way.

As I read the first chapter, I was not disappointed, and found myself nodding my head in agreement with Kilham’s statements about smartphone addictions and motivations behind selfies. I was pleased to find my own perceptions backed up by Kilham’s research. As I moved through the second chapter, I found myself saying, “Yes, I understand the problem, but what do we DO about it?” I flipped back to the table of contents, and was relieved to find that the book is divided into three parts, and the title of Part 3, Escape from the Rabbit Hole, suggested I would find what I was looking for later in the book.

As I read on through Parts 1 and 2, I found myself impressed with the statistics and research gathered by Kilham, carefully woven together with personal anecdotes about his own experiences with digital technology and conversations with others about the issues of the digital age. These personal anecdotes helped this reader make it through all of the research and technical jargon necessary to explain all of the technology and its effects on the brain. His conversation with a waitress about her smartphone, as well as a poll in a clinic waiting room back up the statistics, but also make the book more accessible to those who wouldn’t be interested in reading a book of purely statistics.

Despite what the title might suggest to some, Kilham does not attack technology itself, or even suggest that we shouldn’t be using it. He describes many positive uses of technology, even explains that while people might have been able to ‘opt out’ of reading books, we are essentially surrounded by technology, and opting out really isn’t an option. Kilham also points out many issues, such as the idea that we actually know less than we think we do, because rather than depending on our own thought process and synthesis of information, we have, out of convenience, moved to simply googling the answer to whatever question we might have.

The real gem in The Digital Rabbit Hole for me came in the final chapters, when Kilham discusses how to escape the rabbit hole. The last section of the book should be required reading material for all teachers and parents who want to learn how to help children grow up with the ability to think for themselves rather than merely going with the flow of technology. Thank you, Larry Kilham, for validating what I’ve seen as a teacher and a parent, and for supplying this thoughtful read on a very timely topic.



Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for allowing me an opportunity to participate in this book
blog tour!





Be sure to check out some of the future blog stops on this tour:


Thursday, July 13th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Author and Psychotherapist/Addictions Counselor Linda Appleman Shapiro shares her thoughts and insight after reading and reviewing The Digital Rabbit Hole by Larry Kilham.
http://applemanshapiro.com/category/book-reviews/

Friday, July 14th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto
Avid reader and reviewer (and social media lover) Crystal J. Casavant-Otto reads and reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole and shares her thoughts about how social media has changed our lives.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 17th @ Beverley Baird
Writer, Reader, and Book Enthusiast Beverley A Baird reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole and shares her experiences with her readers.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, July 18th @ Bring on Lemons with Troy Pflum
Midwestern father and avid reader Troy Pflum reads and reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole and shares his ideas and afterthoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 19th @ Constant Story
Fellow author David Berner reads and reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole.
http://davidwberner.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 20th @ Book Santa Fe
Reader and book enthusiast Tange Dudt reviews Larry Kilham’s The Digital Rabbit Hole and shares her thoughts with readers at Book Santa Fe.
http://www.booksantafe.info/

Friday, July 21st @ Eric Trant
Fellow author Eric Trant shares his thoughts after reading and reviewing The Digital Rabbit Hole by Larry Kilham.
http://diggingwiththeworms.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 23rd @ Hott Books
Today's author spotlight at Hott Books is none other than Larry Kilham. Find out more about this accomplished author and The Digital Rabbit Hole.
http://www.hottbooks.com/

Monday, July 24th @ Lisa Haselton Reviews and Interviews
Lisa Haselton interviews Larry Kilham about The Digital Rabbit Hole.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 25th @ Bring on Lemons with Tess Fallier
Tess Fallier is today's guest blogger with a review and insight into Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole. Don't miss this blog stop!
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 9th @ The Muffin
Angela Mackintosh reviews Larry Kilham's The Digital Rabbit Hole.
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/





About today’s reviewer:

Cathy Hansen is a wife, mom, teacher, independent
beauty consultant, and small business owner. She and her husband operate SeedsNBeans, a local nature store, in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

How to Help the Children

I had an interesting trip to the grocery store this afternoon. The interesting part really had nothing to do with the grocery store, but let's just start there and try to work our way through things. I'm writing this post for a few reasons. The first reason is because I'm trying to work through the awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. The second reason is because I'm trying to find the lesson for myself and the rest of humanity. That said, here goes...

I took my boys grocery shopping while the girls stayed home with dad. For those who don't know me, that means it was just my 6.5 month pregnant self along with some handsome little men (3 and 9). We were making our way through the store with 2 carts and by the time we left for the parking lot we were broke and using 3 carts for our plethora of groceries. (Shopping for a family of 6 going on 7 is no joke my friends). I loaded up the van, put the carts away, and we were headed to Starbucks for a little treat when we noticed an odd altercation at the back of the parking lot. I won't get into the details since there's a lot of he said/she said in any domestic issue.

This was one of those moments when you see people in trouble and you say a prayer but God pulls at your heartstrings and you know you need to do something. In this case there were 2 small children involved (2 and 5). In hindsight, maybe I should have kept driving...but that's not where the spirit led us today. The beautiful thing is my husband admitted he would have done the same thing. It feels so good to be married to someone who follows the same moral compass I do. Anyway, the people I was trying to help didn't really want help. Well...I think they do, but it's complicated. Thanks to my amazing network of friends, we did manage to set some wheels in motion. However, there's some follow up that needs to be done.

If you find yourself in a situation where there are children being placed in a dangerous situation, the best thing to do is involve the authorities. Today, I discretely contacted a friend who called the non-emergency line and got an officer out to help. Another friend witnessed the scenario and both she and I will be calling Human Services in the morning. The adults can seek help when and if they are ready, but my heart truly goes out to the children. It would be a good idea to save the numbers for your local authorities and if you find yourself in a situation where children need your help, you can quickly get in touch with those who have the tools and resources to help.

I'm still not sure how I'm feeling about the situation in general. Did I do the right thing? Did I put my children in a potentially dangerous situation? How am I going to feel in the future when the children involved follow in their parent's foot steps? Is God urging me to become a foster parent? I really don't have the answers, but I do know I called my friend who works in the judicial system with children and families and I thanked her for all she does. I also hugged my spouse and my children even more than usual because I appreciate the simplicity of my life.

Please pray for those families in turmoil. If you are in a bad place, please know we are praying for you; and there are people who care about you and your children.

Sending hugs from my happy little corner of the cornfield tonight.

xoxox
Crystal


May your paths be abundantly filled with sugar, lemons, sunshine, and love.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

9 Year Old Andre Otto Reviews "The Jupiter Chronicles" by Leonardo Ramirez

Review by Andre Nicholas Casavant-Otto

I thought this book was fun to read; I want to read more books by Leonardo Ramirez. The characters were well described. I could relate to them and liked their names and that they were different. My favorite character was Ian.

My favorite part of the book was where Petro says to Ian "I got you". I liked this part because it takes Ian back to when he got his telescope and his dad said "I got you son".

I was easy to follow this story line and I want to re-read The Jupiter Chronicles again someday soon. My friends should read it too.



About the Book:

The Jupiter Chronicles: The Secret of the Great Red Spot (book 1)

It is the year 1892 and Ian and Callie Castillo have had to suffer the hardships of a single parent family since their father went missing five years ago. Since then Ian has refused to use the last gift that his father left the wounded boy; a telescope that sits collecting dust in the attic.

When Callie decides to peer through its murky lens it activates the device and sends the Castillos to the steam-powered floating cities of Jupiter where they discover the secret behind their father's disappearance. But can they uncover the secret behind the Red Spot and save the Jovians before the Martians launch their attack?

"A Science Fiction Book Series for Kids 9-12 that all ages will enjoy!" ~ Nicholas Yanes, Ph.D American Studies and contributor to SciFi Pulse

ISBN (13): 978-0615633336
Print Length: 90 pages
Publisher: Leonardoverse; 1 edition (January 1, 2014)
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B008Y65J1M


About Leonardo Ramirez:

Leonardo Ramirez is an author, husband, a father and a Karate instructor with a 4th degree black belt. His first graphic novel, HAVEN OF DANTE, is a supernatural Young Adult story centered on an ancient war between the Dante family and the nine circles of hell. HAVEN OF DANTE: THE STAFF OF MOSHE takes readers much deeper into the world of the family line with a prologue that begins with the plight of Dante Alighieri himself!

His follow up is a Children’s Science Fiction book called THE JUPITER CHRONICLES: THE SECRET OF THE GREAT RED SPOT. It follows the adventure of two children as they are transported to the steam-powered cities of Jupiter, find their long-lost father and stop an attack from Mars.

"My heart and motive have always been for people who are hurting. These can be kids who have had to suffer through child abuse or neglect or an absent parent which can be equally torturous as was the case in The Jupiter Chronicles. It can also be young girls who have suffered an assault like Haven did in Haven of Dante. Young or old it doesn’t matter. Those are the kids and adults I want to speak to because I’ve been there."

It’s not just Science Fiction.

It’s "Science Fiction for the Human Condition".

Leonardo Ramirez lives with his wife Kristen, their daughter Mackenzy and their two dogs, Duchess and Tinkerbell in Nolensville, Tennessee.

You can visit him at his website at Leonardoverse.com


About today's reviewer Andre Nicholas Casavant-Otto:

Andre recently turned 9 years old and he lives in Northern Wisconsin with his parents, siblings, and lots of animals. Andre enjoys sports of all sorts and when he's not tossing a ball around or swimming, you'll find his nose in a book. He loves reading books about boys his own age and enjoys meeting different authors. If you'd like Andre to review any children's books, you can reach him via his mother at: crystaljotto@gmail.com. Andre prefers print books and loves signed copies.

Special thank you to Leonardo Ramirez for the lovely signed copy of today's book and thanks to mom for buying the book as a Christmas present!



Monday, June 19, 2017

WOW! Women on Writing On Air Tour of "October Song" by David W Berner

WOW!Women on Writing Presents an On Air Tour for David W. Berner's "October Song"

to book David W. Berner on your radio show or podcast please email: crystal@wow-womenonwriting.com or call: 920.645.7529



October Song is a beautifully authentic memoir 
that reminds us 
there are no limits on dreams, creativity is boundless 
and nothing in life is finite 
when we let go of our self-imposed rules. 
--Michelle Burwell, Windy City Reviews

Presenting David W. Berner andOctober Song:A Memoir of Music and the Journey of Time
In the vinyl era, David W. Berner played rock ‘n' roll in a neighborhood garage band. Decades later at the age of 57 he enters a national songwriting contest and to his surprise he is named a finalist and called to perform the song live at a storied venue for Americana music. Grabbing his old guitar and the love of his life, David hits the road, hoping to live out a musical fantasy he thought had been buried long ago. What happens next is unexpected, revealing, and both heartbreakingly and heartwarmingly authentic. October Song is a powerful examination of the passage of time, love, the power of music, and the power of dreams.


About David W. Berner
David W. Berner—the award winning author of ACCIDENTAL LESSONS, ANY ROAD WILL TAKE YOU THERE, THERE'S A HAMSTER IN THE DASHBOARD, the novel NIGHT RADIO, and forthcoming memoir OCTOBER SONG—was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he began work as a broadcast journalist and writer. He moved to Chicago to work as a radio reporter and news anchor for CBS Radio and later pursue a career as a writer and educator. His book ACCIDENTAL LESSONS is about his year teaching in one of the Chicago area's most troubled school districts. The book won the Golden Dragonfly Grand Prize for Literature and has been called a "beautiful, elegantly written book" by award-winning author Thomas E. Kennedy, and "a terrific memoir" by Rick Kogan (Chicago Tribune and WGN Radio). ANY ROAD WILL TAKE YOU THERE—a 2013 Book of the Year from the Chicago Writers Association—is the author's story of a cross-country road trip with his sons and the revelations of fatherhood. The memoir has been called "heartwarming and heartbreaking" and "a five-star wonderful read." THERE'S A HAMSTER IN THE DASHBOARD, a collection of essays, was named one of the "Best Books of 2015" by Chicago Book Review.
David can be found online at:
www.davidberner.com
Twitter: @davidwberner
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/david.w.berner
Blog: www.constantstory.com

Praise for October Song
October Song is about and for all who wonder if it's too late to follow a dream. Through his easy
conversational tone, David W. Berner shares his heart and soul as if we were curled up together, sipping hot chocolate in front of a fireplace. Like a favorite song, that warm fuzzy feeling lingers on well after the story is done. (Viga Boland, author of No Tears for My Father)

With his gift of a no-holds-barred writing style―raw, honest, confessional―Berner succeeds, once again, as a master storyteller. Music can tell the story of our past. Lyrics evoke memories; melodies make the heart thump like it did on a first date. October Song brings the reader through a mix tape of life, as Berner tells his tale of new love while traveling through landscapes and time. Each chapter reads like a beloved song. (Geralyn Hesslau Magrady, author of Lines)

October Song strikes all the right chords; the high notes and the low notes of a life's journey―the losses, the lessons, the loves. Composed with tenderness and affection, Berner's heartfelt and ultimately life-affirming joy ride teaches us that you're never too old to roll down the window, crank it up and belt it out. (Randy Richardson, author of Cheeseland, Lost in the Ivy)


Suggested Questions for David W. Berner
• WHY MEMOIR AND NOT FICTION?
• WHAT IS IT LIKE DOCUMENTING SO MUCH OF YOUR LIFE AND THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU? (four memoirs)
• WHAT IS IT ABOUT MUSIC THAT CONNECTS US TO DREAMS, GOALS, EMOTIONS, LIFE-EVENTS?
• IN OCTOBER SONG YOU CONSIDER REACHING A DREAM YOU HAD AS A TEENAGER? IS LIFE *NOT* FULFILLED IF WE DON'T MEET OUR "GOALS?"
• HOW ROCK-n-ROLL IS AN ARTISTIC MOTIVATOR - - Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin helped me write
• THE BEAUTY OF LATE NIGHT RADIO - - the most personal, intimate medium
• HOW MUSIC IS THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES
• HOW DO WE GROW OLDER WITH GRACE AND DIGNITY AND MAINTAIN A SENSE OF LIFE ENERGY?

Monday, May 22, 2017

WOW! Women on Writing Book Blog Tour for Larry Kilham's "The Digital Rabbit Hole"

Please take a moment to check out The Digital Rabbit Hole on Amazon and let me know what you think.

Here's a quick summary:

The Digital Rabbit Hole reveals that we are becoming captive in the digital universe. The portals are smartphones and the world is the Internet. We immerse ourselves social media; we learn through packaged feel-good information; and we will leave the hard work to robots and AI. The book details digital media and discusses smartphone addiction problems. It proposes solutions to stimulate creativity and education and to recapture our humanity.

I am working on putting together a WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour for this book. The tour will begin July 10th and run through the first week of August. If you would be interested in reading and reviewing The Digital Rabbit Hole by Larry Kilham, please email: crystal@wow-womenonwriting.com as soon as possible!
Include in the email:

* Your email address if you'd like a digital copy or your physical address if you'd like a hard copy mailed.

*The name and url for your blog, or a note letting me know you'd like me to post your review on my blog.

*A date you would prefer as your first choice, as well as a 2nd choice - this will be the date your review will be posted to your blog/my blog and social media.

Including posting to your blog, it would be fabulous if you could post your review on Amazon/Goodreads as well as your own social media. This is greatly appreciated although not mandatory to participate in a book blog tour.

As soon as all the dates have been filled and a calendar has been put together, I'll email a media kit to everyone involved in the tour. This kit will include the authors head shot and bio as well the book cover and official summary and links we'd like you to use. This email will also include the calendar for the tour and should be able to answer most (if not all) the questions you may have concerning tour participation.

If you are an interview only blogger, please  email with your interview questions as well as the dates available.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration in this and all matters. It's been awhile since I did a tour and I'm quite looking forward to working with you!

Hugs,
~Crystal


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!!

I haven't always been the best daughter - the truth is I've probably been one of the biggest pains in my mom's ass for most of my life. You know what is pretty amazing though? She's always bent over backwards for me. Sometimes I didn't appreciate the help or the advice - okay...most of the time I didn't appreciate it, but she was always there and unwavering in her commitment to me.

I'm not going to get into the details of the hell I put my mom through, but I'll openly admit she has earned every one of those grey hairs and I have caused each and every one. What I do want to tell you about is what an awesome grandmother and mother my mom is. She reschedules her own social engagements and appointments to make sure she is available to babysit. She has learned more about car seat safety than she cares to, and at 70+ years old she spends every Sunday morning making breakfast for a family of 6 then entertaining the toddlers/infants while I head off to church with the older children. She opens her home for me, my crew, my friends, their children, and anyone in need...and spends hours cleaning up what takes us just a small amount of time to mess up.

My mom has a cupboard full of sippy cups and toddler plates, infant spoons and baby silverware, baby body wash, extra cloth diapers, and she even makes sure she has several changes of clothes for each child, plus shoes and boots for them. Grandma's house is somewhere you feel comfortable whether you've called ahead or just popped in. She's open to a quick stay or an overnight. You can see in her eyes she enjoys the visits, but I know she naps for hours after we've headed home. She never complains about sticky fingers, smudged classes, or tipped cups of this and that on her new table cloth.

I didn't appreciate my mom until I saw her with my children. We are different in a lot of ways, but I have also come to appreciate the ways we are the same. My mom doesn't love with flowery words, but she loves just as hard and as deep as I do. She would give the shirt off her back to help someone she loves, and even though she can't make scrambled eggs to save her life, she always has icecream and treats to turn around a bad day.

I'm not sure what I would do without my mom. For many years I thought I didn't need her and now
I'm in tears of the day we have to say "goodbye for now"...it's amazing how one person can have such an impact on so many lives.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

I'm sorry for all those years...and the grey hairs (you wear them well, but I should have realized sooner how amazing you are). Also sorry for using a few cuss words on my blog from time to time - I promise I type them far less than I think them...um....maybe you don't want to know that either...lol

Really though - you're awesome and I hope I can be half the mom you are!

Love Always,
~Crystal

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ruby Doodle Cookie Recipe - Rhubarb Cookies

So - I took a look at a recipe a friend sent me for rhubarb cookies and I tweaked it a bit to ensure I would end up with lots of fluffy melt in your mouth delicious cookies. So here goes:

Ruby Doodle Cookies!


3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups rhubarb, diced
Juice from 1/2 lemon (or approximately 2 teaspoons of lemon juice)


Set aside another 1/2 cup of sugar and if desired, mix with chi latte mix (you'll use this to roll the cookies in)

Pre-heat oven to 350 F and place rack in the middle position.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Step One: Measure and combine in your mixer the sour cream, butter, egg, and vanilla, mix well.

Step Two: add salt, sugar, lemon, baking powder, and baking soda. Continue mixing well.

Step Three: add rhubarb and again mix well.

Step Four: add flour and mix. Batter should be easy to handle (you'll be rolling it into balls) - add more flour if needed.

Step Five: roll batter into balls (the size of a ping pong ball is ideal), roll in the sugar/chi mixture until lightly coated.

Step Six: place cookies on your cookie sheet (doesn't have to be greased, but feel free to use parchment if you wish) and space them out allowing plenty of room.

Step Seven: Using the bottom of a mason jar or other flat surface, press gently on the balls to flatten them into cookie shapes.

Step Eight: Bake for 11 minutes; remove to cooling racks & enjoy! Even better when shared with friends!!!



Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 8, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby E due in fall 2017), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Guest Post Part III: Dear Friend Who I Admire

Today's guest post is written by  friend of the woman who submitted the letter to her soon to be ex-husband, and his mistress, in light of his cheating (originally discussed in "Crawling Out of the Dark".


Dear Friend,

You are so strong. I know you don't feel very strong right now, but you are. You could have handled this situation in so many different ways. Instead, you confronted the situation head on with your head held high. You didn't crawl into a bottle. You didn't run to the arms of another. You continue to be a wonderful mother and friend, you continue to work hard helping others and enjoying life to the fullest. 

I wish I could do something to ease your pain. I wish I could do something to help you see none of this is your fault. You are beautiful inside and out. Your husband's wandering eye has nothing to do with you. He is broken; you are not.

Soon enough that sparkle in your eyes will return. The confidence in your stride will be back. You'll move on and realize this was indeed a bad dream. In the meantime, I'm here for you. Days you aren't feeling amazing and beautiful, call me...I'll remind you. 

Love,
~Your Friend




Monday, May 1, 2017

Guest Post Part II; Dear Mistress

I don't know if everyone remembers a previous post: "Crawling Out of the Dark" about a woman going through a difficult time with a cheating spouse. I previously shared her excellent letter to her husband and now here is her letter to the mistress! This fabulous letter is absolutely worth sharing. And here it is!


Dear Other Woman,

Quite a bit of time has passed since the last time we have seen each other. I do have several questions for you. All of them are cruel and all of them are direct.

So let's get started,
Question #1
Why my husband?  You would provide oral services for a man and in return get a little bit of attention maybe and if you were lucky some affection. That’s not a relationship, that is a man being a selfish asshole.

Question #2
How come you never went away?
I hadn’t heard from or about you for years until I was informed you had invited yourself to our wedding.  Are you a whore version of Batman? Hiding in the darkness to prey on married men. What's your superpower? Deep throat? Medusa? Or just blow job giving version of Satan?

Question #3
Why would you want to see the man you have gushed over for years get married? Maybe you saw that as a challenge, maybe you needed to feel included, or maybe that was just your way of showing some sort of control or intimidation. No matter what the reason, it is weird.

It was no secret that I didn't like you. I saw through your acts, quite frankly I had labelled you as a sociopathic narcissist but that was just my opinion based off my observations of your behaviors.

Anyway back on topic here. I gave strict orders on my wedding day you were not allowed anywhere near me until after I made it down the aisle. Turns out you serviced the new groom two weeks before the wedding to help him say good bye to bachelorhood. Insert whore cough here.



Since the horrible day that I learned about your affair with my husband; July 28, 2015 at 11:11am to be exact, I have extreme anger and disgust towards you both. You both have committed unforgivable acts. You both have hurt many people beyond words.You both have damaged the respect that family, friends, and acquaintances have for each of you. Plus people think you are a whore and wonder why he would go near you let alone put his member in your mouth. Did you at least remove your dentures? I bet that's you superpower! Classy.

I am aware you refer to me as “the storm” and you play the victim who has been publicly shamed on Facebook. Damn right you were publicly shamed on Facebook. You did horrible things and people should know it. I called you out, I called my husband out and I cleared up the rumors. No regrets on my part. You do the crime be prepared to do the time.

Questions #4,5 &6
Did your affair embarrass you? Did you feel guilty? How did your family, friends and husband look at you after your secret was exposed? I am guessing it didn’t feel as warm and fuzzy as your relationship with my husband made you feel. I am also guessing you have no empathy towards anyone you hurt and only feel sorry for yourself. No worries, I have some empathy towards you. I feel bad for you that you are not a good role model for your children. I feel bad that you are not the woman your mother raised you to be. I also feel bad you are the definition of homewrecker, whore and mistress. Again, classy.

Now let’s refer to reference to “the storm” and the label homewrecker. You claim your life was great until I, the storm, turned everything upside down.

Question #7
Was your life really that great? You were cheating on your husband with a married man. You also claim you aren’t a homewrecker because our broken marriage was already broken. Maybe the term homewrecker doesn’t apply to you. Our marriage wasn't broken, it was new. We were balancing the first year of marriage and the union of two families. Our marriage wasn't broken it was under construction. So I guess instead of homewrecker you are more like a wrecking ball. It's too bad your ass wouldn't fit on one. You could be just like Miley Cyrus-- rumor has it she's a crazy whore too.

Question #8
Why do you justify your actions by saying "A man who truly loves his wife doesn't need another woman"? It makes you sound stupid!

You are right a man who loves his wife can’t be taken. But the problem with your theory is that my husband didn’t love his wife. In fact he didn’t really love anyone but himself. He wasn't capable of trusting or truly caring for anyone. You knew that and you used that in your advantage. You didn’t win; you didn’t get the prize. You were the person who gave him attention, oral favors and a boost to his damaged ego of viewing himself as failure as a provider to his new family. In reality you two are basically the same person. That's how you both woke up every morning and thought you were good people. You were not, you never will be.

A little bit more on the storm reference. While you play the victim I can’t help but think you have been down this road before. You are good at manipulating people and controlling the way things go, insert my sociopath narcissist diagnosis here. The storm I caused in your eyes was beyond your control so you tried your hardest to fix it. You reached out to mutual friends and used them for insight. You reached out to extended family of my husband looking for sympathy. You even reached out to me to give me advice about how I obviously love my husband, not to divorce him and to know that you did things but you always had my best interest in mind. After all that’s why you hid your affair and never wanted me to find out, because you didn't want to hurt me. My advice just keep your mouth closed. Your mouth clearly is what gets you in trouble. Close it and probably your legs too.

Questions #9 & #10
Do you expect a thank you? Pretty sure you deserve a kick in the face. Why do you refer to this as a game, taunting me with "game on" messages?

If this truly was just a game to you, I guess you win. You win the label of being the other woman. You win the honor of performing oral services for a man and receiving nothing in return. You also win the self-appointed right of being a victim. You win a game that no one else was playing. Nobody wanted to play with you then and nobody wants to play with you now.

My advice--get off your wrecking ball and stop being a whore.

Sincerely,

The Storm

Guest Post Part I; Dear Cheating Husband

I don't know if everyone remembers a previous post: "Coming Out of the Dark" about a woman going through a difficult time with a cheating spouse. I think she wrote a fabulous letter worth sharing. And here it is!


Letter To my “Husband”



Dear Husband,

While everyone, including myself, is so busy blaming your mistress for your affair I don't want you to forget you are to blame too. In fact you are more to blame than her. You are a horrible person. You have spent our entire relationship lying to me about her. In fact you have spent your entire life lying to everyone. That is how we got to this point, you are a compulsive or maybe even pathological liar.

You lie about everything or at the very least exaggerate details in almost every sentence you speak. Your family makes excuses for you, your friends allow you to be dishonest, and you continue to treat people like crap. Basically everything in life is about you and what you want. Never do you stop to think about others. When you do think about others you always have a plan in mind how you can use the favor you did for them or the nice deed you did as a bargaining chip in the future. Even your affair was all about you. She spent all the time doing oral favors for you and you did very little in return.

Often times people comment on how you have changed in the past 8 years. They comment on how you have matured and seemed to have settled down. Have you really? Because if you have you must have been a pretty sucky person before we met. Or maybe it is all just an act? You clearly have mastered living a double life.

You spent your days pretending to be my devoted husband and loving step dad to my kids. Meanwhile at night while you were having an affair with another woman. You spent 3 months, or at least that is what you have confessed to, leading a double life. All those days you were supposed to be sleeping during the day because you worked third shift you spent entertaining your mistress. Meanwhile I was working full-time, taking care of the kids and the house. I was running them to baseball games and practices, you know all the ones you missed because you were busy sleeping or planning your next meet up. I was spending my nights cleaning, doing laundry and trying to keep control of the house because you didn't do anything all day long but sleep and cheat. Looking back it all makes sense. That's when I started having my suspicions you were doing something you shouldn't be. That is also the excuse you use for having an affair, because we were arguing and I was crabby at you. Yes, I was angry and crabby at you BECAUSE YOU WERE HAVING AN AFFAIR! I didn't know at the time what you were doing but I did know that you were being an ass, lazy and lying. You weren't doing your job as a husband but you had all the time in the world to blame me for being a bitchy wife.

None of this is new to you. I have said this all before and you either ignore me or pretend to listen. Since you are incapable of caring about anyone but yourself I am not surprised with your lack of remorse or concern about how I feel.

Maybe you will suffer a major head injury and emerge a better person. Maybe you will wake up one day and decide to be a better person. Or maybe you will wake up one day and realize that I am gone. You will have no one to blame but yourself, however somehow you will spin it as me being a bad person. Your family will lie and gossip about me. You will try and weasel your way back into my life. Clearly the skill to weasel into someone's life is a skill your mistress taught you.

Not so sincerely,

Your Wife



And if you'd like to read her Letter to the Mistress, find that here: http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/2017/05/guest-post-part-ii-dear-mistress.html

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Book Review - "The Faberge' Entanglement" by Lesley Meryn & Elle Brookes

Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

Action, intrigue, and a detailed plot makes “The Faberge’ Entanglement” by Lesley Meryn and Elle Brookes an excellent read. This is a book you will easily finish in a weekend if not a single afternoon. The fact there is romance included in this tale makes it even more gripping. The chapters are short and they keep you at the edge of your seat.

If asked to describe “The Faberge Entanglement” in simplest terms, I would say it’s a romance novel mixed with a mystery/thriller or is it a mystery/thriller mixed with romance. The tension between characters keeps readers wanting more. I appreciate how well the characters were developed throughout the story. I didn’t think the book was predictable at all, and as I said before, it’s a very quick read. The unusual circumstances pulled me in from the beginning of the book and the excitement of the plot kept me wanting more until the very end.



Official Book Summary:

Sabinne ‘Saber’ Darrieux’s father, the billionaire CEO of Frontenac Global Security has been kidnapped. His ransom is not cash in a numbered offshore account, or a briefcase of Bearer Bonds but something utterly unique, incredibly valuable, and until recently, hidden away from the world.

The kidnapper seems to know Saber very well, and knows that the next day, through her work as an elite translator she will be in the same location as the Object. She must steal the Object and deliver it to the kidnapper to ransom her father.

Adrian Steele, a British Intelligence agent has just come off of two harrowing missions. Upon returning to London for a well-earned rest, he learns that his friend and fellow agent, has been murdered in Moscow, but not before he made use of a unique Object as a mobile ‘drop site’ for the valuable intelligence he was carrying.

The drop site is traveling from Moscow to England. Steele insists on completing the mission to honor the death of his friend, Gerry Cornell.

At an ultra-chic quasi-diplomatic gathering in a mansion in Windsor, England, Saber and Steele meet and find themselves faced with a powerful, undeniable attraction. But at the moment, this compelling attraction is very inconvenient.

In reality they are at the mansion to check out the security arrangements — for their own reasons — to steal the Object, a Fabergé egg worth thirty million dollars. But who will get to the egg first?

Fabergé eggs are very famous for their unique surprises. Saber and Steele are about to be very surprised, indeed.

And when Saber clashes with Steele; more than sparks will explode!



Book Details:

File Size: 1672 KB
Print Length: 306 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: July 13, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B011M2N7W2



About the Author:

Elle Brookes grew up in Los Angeles, California, but lived in Jamaica for three years when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer. She moved to San Francisco and studied at the California Culinary Academy, and went on to become a private chef to a well-known L.A. based television production company.

From an early age Elle was a voracious reader of adventure stories and from elementary school through high school, she tried writing her own stories of places foreign and exotic. She studied Art History and continued writing in college, focusing on short stories.

A dedicated and passionate traveler, Elle has explored river caves in Jamaica and Costa Rica, hiked glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland, and done dogsledding in Greenland and Iceland. She's danced a fa'a Samoan haka and slept in a fale on the island of Savai'i in Samoa, hiked in the northern mountains of Thailand along the border with Myanmar in the Golden Triangle, and in Haiti, she witnessed a white goat ceremonially sacrificed to Erzuli Freda by a powerful Houngan. For a time she did Performance Driving in Southern California, and has years of study and experience dedicated to fencing, theatrical combat, archery, and horsemanship.

Elle currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie, and her hedgehog, Quiller.

Elle can be reached through:
Website: www.tymslyder.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tymslyder
Twitter: @tymslyder