Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review "Shaping Destiny" by Destiny Allison

"Shaping Destiny: a quest for meaning in art and life".

by Destiny Allison

My Review:

This book appealed to me on many levels. I love art, I love personal journeys, and my favorite read is a memoir. When Women on Writing offered a copy of the book to review, I jumped on it! Shaping Destiny is my kind of story. 

The title caught my attention immediately. At first I saw it as simply shaping one's destiny. Then I realized the author's name is Destiny, and this is her story on how art shaped her life. Let's take it one step further. The book encourages you to shape your own life, to make your own destiny. How many book titles can convey so much in two words?

Shaping Destiny is the artist's story from the first sculpture she created to her first show in a prominent Santa Fe Gallery. It is a deeply personal memoir written in a compelling and powerful narrative. It is the story of a woman finding her voice and self revelation through art.

The book begins when Destiny is a young woman with small children. She is overwhelmed with daily life. At night, when there is no chaos around her, she realizes she does not know herself.

"My desire to give form to my ideas of love and marriage caused me to gift my very essence to a man before I even knew what it was. Imprisoned by my choice, I couldn’t breathe."

She reached for a lump of clay on her desk, the type of clay used by children and hobbyists.

"I rolled the sticky, brown clay between my fingers, feverishly smoothing and pressing little pieces onto the form. I forgot about my husband in the other room, the children sleeping above me, the desk in need of tidying, and the wood floor requiring care. The only thing that mattered was the clay before me because in it, I felt a hunger for something more than I had ever known.

The creation of that first sculpture was cathartic. It was the first time I had considered what it meant to be a woman, the conflict between what I was expected to be, feel, and do, and what I wanted to be, feel, and do. It opened the door to who I am instead of who I was supposed to be, but I didn’t recognize the opening. I only knew that I was dissatisfied, that I needed more time and more clay."

The book is comprised of 22 Life Lessons. Each chapter begins with a life lesson followed with a portion of Destiny's journey, revelations, and growth. The challenges she faces in her art mirror those in her life. It is a story on how art became the means for the author to change her life and herself.

About the author:

Destiny Allison is an artist, a business woman and a writer.  Her work is collected by public institutions and private individuals internationally.  In addition to her numerous awards for excellence in art, she was also recently named Santa Fe Business Woman of the year for 2011.

In addition to being a full time artist, she is also a managing partner in La Tienda at Eldorado — a commercial complex, community center, and arts center in Santa Fe, NM.

She is represented in prominent galleries across the country and owns her own gallery, Destiny Allison Fine Art, located at La Tienda.

Allison’s first love was writing.  Her first poems were published while she was a child and she received numerous awards during adolescence.  The story of how she became a visual artist is told in her book, Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life.  While her focus over the last 20 years has been primarily on sculpture, Allison also paints on steel using acids and natural oxidation, and in acrylics.

The eloquence of Allison's language dates back to her childhood when art was constantly discussed and debated by her father, a writer, and her mother, a painter. Born and raised in Santa Fe, N.M., Allison moved to Boston after college where she worked as a freelance journalist while raising her three children. It was there that she discovered her voice through sculpture.

Predominantly self-taught, Allison apprenticed at a bronze foundry in Massachusetts, and later taught sculpture at the Attleboro Museum of Art and the Fuller Museum of Art, both in Massachusetts. In 1997, Allison returned to Santa Fe where she currently resides.


Shaping Destiny is the inspiring story of Allison’s life from the creation of her first sculpture to her acceptance into a prominent Santa Fe art gallery.  The book, which recounts her journey from traditional female roles to self-actualization and independence, is told with three voices: the emotional, the intellectual and the instructional.  Though she had no formal training, Allison moved quickly from small, Plasticine clay sculptures to an apprenticeship at a foundry to teaching in a small museum. Along the way, the author wrestled with shedding and then reclaiming family. To add to the extended metaphor binding her story to the theory and language of sculpture, Allison infuses an ample dose of popular philosophy in lessons culled from childhood days spent with her father. The 22 lessons at the beginning of each chapter intend to guide readers’ passage through the complexities of clay and life; each lesson works with the idea that art is a process, as is life.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Emilie P. Bush and William Kevin Petty Announce STEAMDUCK - BOOK TWO!

Mark Your Calendar For The Release of Steamduck Learns to Fly
On Oct. 10,2012 

Author Emilie P. Bush and illustrator William Kevin Petty are proud to announce the release date of the follow up to their bestselling children's book Her Majesty's Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story.  On October 10, 2012, the waddling hero of HME - Steamduck - returns with another adventure in Steamduck Learns to Fly! 

In this new tale, the plucky mechanical duck discovers that REAL birds do more than swim. He turns to his old friend and maker - the Otter - to learn a few things about flying. They try and fail with propeller contraptions, hot air balloons and more. Despite all the mishaps, the pair eventually defy gravity and take to the sky. 

“With the success of Her Majesty’s Explorer, we thought long and hard about where we wanted to go with our darling characters. Steamduck has quite a following, and we wanted to make sure he was true to his heroic nature. Kevin is a pilot, and a huge fan of flight history, so we went with those ideas for our second Steamduck story,” says Emilie P. Bush.  “So, as he tries and fails with many different types of flight, he never gives up, and he never stops learning.”

Fans wanting to keep up with details and sneak peek images from Steamduck Learns to Fly! can follow the project on Facebook - as Steamduck has his own fan page! Visit Steamduck's Facebook Page!

Meet Emilie P. Bush, author

Emilie P. Bush wears many hats when it comes to writing. She is a Steampunk novelist, a journalist, children's book author and a mentor to other writers as the Leader of the Gwinnett County Writer's Guild. Her first novel, Chenda and the Airship Brofman, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semi-finalist in 2010 and her follow up tale, The Gospel According to Verdu, picks up where Chenda left off - high in the skies and wild with adventure. Emilie's children's book, Her Majesty's Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story, is the world's first Steampunk picture book, and recently hit #1 on Amazon's Hot New Releases Bestseller List.

Emilie P. Bush lives with her family in Atlanta, where she is a speaker on publishing in the 21st Century, an editor with Steampunk Chronicle and maintains the website

Meet William Kevin Petty, illustrator

William Kevin Petty has lived most of his life in central Louisiana with various military deployments. In his former life as an Army Officer, he would draw and sketch in his down time while deployed to Europe and the Middle East. In addition to the pencil works, Kevin enjoys painting, especially in acrylics on masonite and canvas. The bestselling picture book, Her Majesty's Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story, is Kevin's first project with Emilie P. Bush, but more titles are in the works. In the mean time, he is an artist for hire. Check out his online portfolio

The first Steampunk children's book hit Amazon's best seller list in one day!

Her Majesty's Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story. It's a dirty job, but he loves it. St.John Murphy Alexander walks the world exploring for the Queen. He sees the most extraordinary landscapes, creatures and weather. He gets very, VERY dirty. Exhausted, he returns to H.Q. and gets ready for a well deserved rest and some sweet dreams. This gentle book, written by Steampunk novelist Emilie P. Bush and brilliantly illustrated by William Kevin Petty, is the perfect wind-down for your little adventurer.
The story on how author and illustrator met: read here
Her Majesty's Explorer on You Tube
Tease read by Captain Robert of Abney Park
Purchase on Amazon
Emilie's Novels:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kelly Joy Dennison "Amphibus"

Purchase on Kindle

     Every day since the attacks on September 11th, Americans prepare for the next event. Terrorists could strike again, employing typical methods with explosive devices. Or they might try something completely different—a biological agent. In this story, one of the most deadly substances known to mankind is purposefully transmitted via the most essential source for sustaining life—neurotoxins . . . in the water.

     Cory Vickers, fifteen, fishes in a pond near his North Georgia home and gulps down pond water to quench his thirst. His mind spins into hallucinations, transforming him into a giant butterfly. With wings to fly, he leaps to his death from a train trestle. A retired Marine colonel dies while attending to his back yard pond. The bodies of two college students are found at Allatoona Lake—one of Metro Atlanta’s water reservoirs. Blood taken from all these victims contains the same unknown chemical compound. Dr. Susan Locke at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is stymied. When she consults the well-respected expert Dr. Waleed Kareem, whose nephew, Jamal, is being secretly profiled by the FBI and CIA for his involvement with Al Qaeda, she becomes entangled in a complex plot that crosses borders in the Middle East as well as in Latin America. As Dr. Locke and her long-time friend, Detective John McCabe, race to find the source, the death toll mounts. Their struggle is truly one of life and death, possibly for millions. Is this some bizarre natural occurrence, or it is terrorism?

Amazon Review: A thrilling and fast-paced read. The characters are described so perfectly you can see them as they work to discover the cause of case after case of unexplained deaths in the Atlanta area. America has overcome terrorist attacks and natural disasters. What do we need to prepare for next?  You won't want to put this book down until you find out.

About the author:

     Kelly Joy Dennison is an actor, writer, artist, and scientist. She actively participates in scientific organizations, writer’s associations, reading scripts for screenwriters, and continues to train at The Actor’s Scene.
     Kelly received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgia Tech in 2005 where she investigated therapeutics for the treatment of Human T-cell Leukemia Virus Type I. Her doctoral work included analysis as a Guest Research Scientist at the CDC. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Emory School of Medicine in the Division of Microbiology and Immunology. She was also a MacArthur Fellow in the Sam Nunn Security Program in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech where she studied biotechnology policy and critical infrastructure security. She has taught at Oxford College of Emory University, Georgia State University, and Kennesaw State University.
     The author resides in Georgia and enjoys dance, hiking, and oil painting.

From the Author:
    The book cover was designed by using an oil painting I did and graphically enhancing it to a more three-dimensional appearance using Photoshop. The Photoshop image had approximately 30 distinct layers before I flattened the image. I spent two weeks on the oil and two months doing the graphics.
     I am very active in the arts. I continue to work on oil paintings, dance, and have a part, playing a marriage counselor, in the film I Think I Do (L.A. Bonds Production) in Atlanta. I will be teaching chemistry at Oxford College again this fall.
     I have two more action thriller stories, Project Red Code and Cargo War. They are both screenplays and I am completing them now. The Madison Train is a fiction literary novel along the vein of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ©.
    Visit my company’s website Lemur Tails LLC.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Barbara Conelli "Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore" Book Review

A Gem Of A Travel Book For Your Soul

Buy On Amazon Paperback and Kindle 

Follow Barbara's tour on Women On Writing

The magic of Italy came to me twice within a few weeks. The first time through WOW! Women On Writing with a copy of Barbara Conelli's delightful book on Milan, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore, to read and review on my Book Talk Blog today.  A few days later I became a host mother to a foreign exchange student from a small town outside of Milan. I find this coincidence lovely and a sign from the universe a trip to Italy may be in my future! If I can only find a sitter for my six dogs!

Barbara Conelli's book is a charming love story to Milan. It is a travel book for the soul. While sharing her vision of her beloved city with the reader, she pulls you in with sweet vignettes. Each chapter is a small gem, like a portrait painted on canvas. Barbara's canvas is her book and she uses words, instead of brushes, to paint her scenes.

At only 158 pages, the book is a delicious feast for the reader. The illustrations are simple sketches drawn by Nella Vadlejchova and compliment the charm of Barbara's writing. This is an intimate book full of passion and life.

The author shares her knowledge of the history of many aspects of Milan, from secret courtyards, to the fashion district Quadrilatero d'Oro - or Golden Quadrangle, to buying panettone at Marchesi's.

The best panettone can be bought only at Marchesi's, the author shares this secret with us. There are three legends and a blessing attached to this pastry. We can choose which to believe. You can buy it by weight on any day of the year, but Barbara suggests you first taste it on February 3rd, on the feast of St. Biagio. On this day it has magic powers. Read further and find out why. Marchesi's has been in the same location since 1824.

Dinner at Chandelier in Via Broggi 17, brings more than a meal. The restaurant opened in 2003 and the setting changes right before your eyes. Once a year, in September, all the furniture and decorations are up for sale. The restaurant is full of the finest and most exotic antiques, but its owner changes everything annually, so the space can evolve and grow and life energy can flow through the restaurant continuously.

The chapter on Pizza was one of my favorites, because it connected me to my new exchange student from Italy in an unexpected way. Barbara writes, Modern pizza, the way we know it, was created in 1889 by Neapolitan cook Raffaele Esposito in honor of Queen Margherita of Savory. He garnished it with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil so that his pizza glared with the colors of the Italian flag, and called it Pizza Margherita. When I asked my student if she liked pizza, she grabbed her hands and the words rolled off her tongue, Pizza Margherita. I knew what she meant! We hugged each other in excitement.

It is little tidbits as those above that make this book a treasure to read. There are a few recipes you might like to try. This is a book to read again and again when you feel the need for a journey and have to stay close to home.  "Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore" is a perfect place to stop and breath in the delights of a Milan written by an author who shares her heart with us.

Author Bio:

Barbara Conelli is an internationally published author, seasoned travel writer specializing in Italy, and Chiquenist on the mission to bring Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun into women's lives. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world. Read more about Barbara on her Author Amazon Page.

For free book excerpts and weekly Italian gifts visit Barbara’s website at Sign up to follow her blog and you won’t miss any scrumptious travel stops!

I was given a copy of this book to review by WOW! I loved this book, as you can tell, and look forward to buying a copy of Barbara Conelli's companion book on Amazon, Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Susan Buchanan "Sign Of The Times"

About The Book:

Buy On Amazon Kindle

Twelve people. Twelve star signs.

Sagittarius - Holly, a travel writer, visits Tuscany to research her next book. Seeking help when her car breaks down, she gets more than assistance when Dario, a vineyard owner, puts temptation in her path. Disappearing without explanation, he proves elusive. Bruised, Holly tries to put it behind her until a chance encounter brings her feelings to the surface again.

Capricorn – Holly’s fiancĂ©, Tom misses her while she is in Italy and turns to an internet chat room for solace. His construction business is under threat, but could foul play be at work?

Gemini - Holly’s sister, Lucy, a serial man-eater finally meets her match, which puts her long-term relationship and career in jeopardy. Cheating she discovers, can have devastating consequences.

Libra - Holly’s uncle Jack, an eminent prosecutor, juggles a difficult teenage son with his high profile career and finds himself lacking. When his son’s school work starts slipping, he decides he needs to take control, but it’s not long before the balls all come tumbling down and Jack finds his family on the wrong side of the law.

One event binds them all…

About The Author:

Author Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland

Susan's Story:

I have been writing since I was very young, but really got into Creative Writing properly when I was about 11. I started writing my unfinished ‘masterpiece’, Adolescent Fun around that time. I am sure I would laugh my head off if I read it now! I still have it somewhere.
Over the years, whenever I went on holiday, I would keep a travel journal and also write stories. I tried to write short stories, but they were always too long! The first draft of my debut novel, Sign of the Times was 300K words! Yes, really! There was, however, a reason for that, because given the nature of the story, there were twelve main characters. 
In my early twenties I started to write a few novels, which I later abandoned.  Then one day, the germ of an idea for Sign of the Times appeared.  Twelve signs of the zodiac, with the personalities for each sign represented by a different character – I knew I was on to a winner.
Back then, I was still working full-time, plus doing lots of overtime and a nightmare commute. The only time I had to write was when I was on holiday. I never had any days off where I wasn’t in a different country, except weekends and those were kept for family and friends. Working as much as I was, occasionally going to the gym and having dinner took up my weeknights. I had always told myself if I had X amount of money in the bank, I would give up work for a year to write.  Prior to this I had only written half of Sign of the Times in five years. In December 2007 I took that year off. By May 2008 the first draft was finished and by October the manuscript was doing the rounds of agents and publishers. I had, in all, re-drafted the book ten times. This was mainly to bring it down to an acceptable word count for the publishers, who wouldn’t look at anything from an unknown author of more than 120K words. If only I had known that before. But, I remember being told years ago, ‘just write’ and that’s what I had done and I hadn’t stopped! 
Looking back I should have submitted Sign of the Times as it is now. The book now has around 60 chapters, whereas originally it had 13 – 12 character chapters and 1 to tie them all together. It cost me a fortune in postage!  Many publishers ask for the first 3 chapters, so for me that meant 100 pages of A4!
In November 2008, I went back to work and soon became embroiled in the day-to-day rat race again. In Feb 2012, my time in my last post finished and my other half convinced me to upload my novel to Amazon. He even went as far as creating a cover for it, although this has now been superseded by a professional cover.
Initially, nothing much happened, apart from sales to friends and family and the occasional Twitter follower. Mid-May I did the Amazon KDP Select free promo. I worked my butt off and put in three 19 hour days. On the third day, Sign of the Times hit the no.1 spot. Yippee! Since then I’ve had regular sales, although they could always be higher!
The lovely comments from readers made me dust off The Dating Game and continue writing it. It should be out October this year. Demands from readers, for a sequel to the stand-alone Sign of the Times, have made me have a re-think and there will be now be a sequel, due late 2013. So far there are six more books planned and the ideas just keeping coming! One thing is for sure, I will never stop writing again.


Blog: Sooz's Journal

Twitter @susan_buchanan

Like on Facebook

Susan's Author Page on Amazon

Buy on Amazon UK

Buy on Amazon US

Twelve people, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve different stories gathered in one.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Don't Miss The EMACW Writers Conference - Still Time To Sign Up - Sept 7-8, Covington, Ga. It's Huge!

An Amazing Conference Is Coming To Town!

There is still time to sign up for the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers Conference scheduled for September 7 - 8, 2012 at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (Formerly DeKalb Technical College) 8100 Bob Williams Parkway, Covington, GA . See the list of incredible instructors with workshops that cover every aspect of writing below. Meet Literary Agent Les Stobbe. Deadline to register is August 31, 2012.

Friday: 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Saturday: 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Workshop topics include: (See entire two day conference schedule on Conference Web Page)

Conducting Interviews and Writing Profile Pieces
Creating The Emotional Heartbeat Of A Story
The Character Waltz
Writing Gift Books and Devotionals
Getting Started Freelancing
Writing A Memoir
Self-Editing That Get's An Editor's Attention
Building An Online Platform With Impact
Starting A Blog
How Does Your Character Grow
The Art Of Researching For Yesterday and Today
Crafting The Perfect Press Release
Using The 5 Senses To Write Deeper
Writing Greeting Cards
Marketing Your Blog
Writing For Children
Writing For The Internet

Instructors: (Individual Bios located on the EMACW 2012 Conference Faculty Page)

Sally Hamer (Novelist & Writing Coach)
Jennifer Hudson Taylor (Novelist)
Julie Cannon (Novelist)
Patricia Manns (Memoir Author)
Les Stobbe (Literary Agent)
Edie Melson (Freelancer & Editor)
Karen Moore (Gift & Devotional Book Author)
Alicia Stunkel (Blogger)
Leigh DeLozier (Author & Publicist)

To join the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers and enjoy their many benefits and monthly meetings visit their membership page. If you have questions 404-444-7514 or . You do not have to be a member to sign up for the conference.

Non-Member Workshop Fees:
Option 1  $180 by Friday, August 10. 2012
Option 2  $199 after Friday, August 10. 2012
Remember Registration Closes August 31st.

Mail payment to
East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers
c/o Colleen Jackson
PO Box 2896
Covington, Ga. 30015

Visit the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers web page.


Julie Cannon, Novelist

Author of Truelove & Homegrown Tomatoes, ‘Mater Biscuit, Those Pearly Gates, The Romance Readers’ Book Club, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and Twang
Sally Hamer, Novelist and Writing Coach

Award winning author in several genres and writing coach

Leigh DeLozier, Author and Publicist

 250 articles for local and regional publication and author of two devotional books.

Alicia Stunkel, Blogger

Writer and Social Media Enthusiast

Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Novelist

Award winning, multi-published author and in-house Publicist for Hartline Literary Agency

Les Stobbe, Literary Agent

Literary Agent for 19 years and author of 14 books and hundreds of magazine articles.

Karen Moore, Gift and Devotional Book Author
Author of over sixty published books including childrens and devotional,greeting card professional.

Edie Melson, Freelancer and Editor

Freelance writer and editor, blogger The Write Conversation

Patricia Manns, Memoir Author

Author, The Price Of Pearls, blogger Treasure Chest Moments
Read complete bios on Conference Website