Wednesday, December 28, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Features Human Origins And The Bible by Myron Heavin

About The Book

Title: Human Origins And The Bible
Author: Myron Heavin
Publisher: Redemption Press
Publication Date: July 20, 2016
Pages: 194
Genre: Christian Apologetics / Theology

An engineer takes a scientific approach to the study of human origins, and compares Scripture with the findings of current scientific discoveries and DNA research. Myron Heavin examines differing views on creation and human origins, and what the Bible has to say in Genesis 2-5. From how to read and interpret the Bible, to when Adam and Eve lived, to hominids and Neantherthals, Heavin examines the validity of various creationist viewpoints, always with the supremacy of Scripture in mind. An individual or group Bible study that uses nature and Scripture to answer questions on our origins.

Book Excerpt:

Introduction (pages IX – XI)
There is a need for a sensible discussion of how humans came to be, what recent fossil records reveal, what DNA reveals, what science has learned, and what we can learn from a careful and reasoned study of Scripture. We wish to interpret Scripture as literally as possible, since God was the real author of Scripture. God also created the heavens and the earth, and left clear footprints everywhere in nature clearly revealing to all humans that He did this. There is much passionate discussion among friends, between believers in the high schools, in the media, from the pulpit, from our politicians, etc. about both nature and religion. Most teach us today that science is king; the scientist is the wise one; advances in science and technology will lead to a better life for all; and careers in science and technology often pay well. Other people tell us religion is all-important; if the nation becomes more Christian it will succeed; and a nation that turns its back on God will surely sink into total failure. The result is a kind of polarization where religion and science are mutually contradictory, and one is the enemy of the other. Rejection of God leads to divisiveness.

It is suggested that God wrote both books, nature and Scripture, and they do not conflict with each other, but rather they help each other to a better understanding of both. It is observed that most people reject  both Scripture and science somewhat equally. They say they believe in science, but reject global warming, they reject immunizations, they are not supportive of exploration of space (NASA), they are against new developments in agriculture such as genetically-modified food, are against chlorination of drinking water, and are against even most economic theories. Likewise, most people believe in the Bible and the Ten Commandments, and literally believe the world was created in six twenty-four-hour days as they Bible says, but many say evolutionists like Darwin are from the devil. Our youth read the creation story in Genesis and the literal six days of creation and this turns them off religion entirely. 

This book takes both Scripture and nature seriously, because God wrote both books. The heart of the problem is people reject God, and this leads to rejecting equally both science and Scripture. We believers see only through a foggy mirror. It is important to be humble about what we do and what we do not know. We read and think we understand Scripture, but scripture is “living”—it speaks to us anew each time we read it. Our understandings today are often different from our understandings when we were young. Likewise, nature is “living” and our understandings are different from when we were younger. As we age, our opinions tend to harden, and we tend to become more conservative. We are always changing, always seeking, always hungry for new dialogue, but it always becomes more difficult to change. Our society, likewise, is becoming more polarized. We tend to read and see things that we already believed. When we hear something different, we somehow process it to reinforce what we believed before we heard it. Some of the greatest theologians and preachers did not do well in science and mathematics. Likewise some of the greatest scientists and engineers lack “people skills.” Perhaps this is because each believer is unique with his or her spiritual gifts and natural abilities. The scientist has trouble communicating with the theologian, and the theologian has trouble communicating with the scientist. This is further compounded by congregations that “hang” on every word their beloved preacher says; likewise, classroom students that “hang” on every word the science or engineering professor says. This tends to build up egos. Suddenly, the preacher knows more about science than the scientist; suddenly the scientist knows more about religion than the pastor. This tends to polarize society as people have trouble listening to each other. 

This book will avoid the creation issues (wars) in Genesis 1, but instead concentrate on understanding human origins in Genesis 2-5. Let’s tackle only one issue at a time, and try to understand it well. The main subject of all of Scripture is God. The main subject of Genesis 1 is God—see how God created the world! The main subject matter of Genesis 1 is not the creation, and how God created the fantastic creation. See how God is the intelligent creator; not “see how creation was intelligently created by God.” This temporary cosmos will someday be destroyed by fire, but God and those reborn will live in eternity with new bodies. Lastly, it is difficult to write anything about science and religion without later developments proving us wrong. We observe that bipedalism seemed to suddenly and miraculously appear as hominids seemed to evolve from chimpanzees, and we used this as somewhat of a proof God intervened to suddenly create a new species. When a later development finds an intermediate form, we are embarrassed. This has happened over and over each time a theologian gets too carried away by scientific specifics.

For More Information:

Human Origins And The Bible is available at AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreadsRedemption Press

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads

About the Author

Myron G. Heavin graduated from Purdue University with a BS in aeronautical engineering, and has a BA in biblical and theological studies from Talbot Theological Seminary, and is currently enrolled in Christian Apologetics MA studies at Biola University. After fifty years as an engineer for the Boeing Company, Heavin retired and continues teaching and leading seven different Bible studies. Heavin and his wife Sharyl, who have been married over fifty years, have three grown children, and make their home in Lompoc, CA.

For More Information:

Virtual Book Tour

Monday, December 26, 2016

Pump Up Your Book! Announces Sealed Up: The Course of Fate: Book One Virtual Book Tour & Win Prizes!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Pump Up Your Book! is proud to announce Steve Dunn Hanson’s Sealed Up: The Course of Fate: Book One virtual book tour January 3 - March 31.  Steve will be guest appearing at blogs throughout the U.S. and international regions talking about his phenomenal new action/adventure/suspense novel that critics are calling “Fascinating. Intricate. Intelligent.”

Hanson has lived in places that grew him – from a small Idaho farm town, a run-down neighborhood in St. Louis, and a middle-class southern California community to Sydney, Australia and Bucharest, Romania. His experiences are as varied as the places he’s lived.  He says, “I have a hopper of ‘reality’ including being a volunteer jail chaplain and flying with a U.S. presidential candidate in his small plane when an engine conked out.  And all of this is fodder for my writing.”

In Sealed Up, UCLA anthropologist Nathan Hill, is in a funk since his young wife’s death, and learns of staggering millennia-old chronicles sealed up somewhere in a Mesoamerica cliff. This bombshell rocks him out of his gloom, and he leads a clandestine expedition to uncover them. What are they? Who put them there? No one knows. But, self-absorbed televangelist Brother Luke, who funds the expedition, thinks he does. If he’s right, his power-hunger will have off-the-charts gratification.
Striking Audra Chang joins Nathan in his pursuit and brings her own shocking secret. As they struggle through a literal jungle of puzzles and dead ends, she finds herself falling in love with Nathan. Her secret, though, may make that a non-starter.

When a shaman with a thirst for human sacrifice, and a murderous Mexican drug lord with a mysterious connection to Brother Luke emerge, the expedition appears doomed. Yet Nathan is convinced that fate—or something—demands these inscrutable chronicles be unearthed.

And if they are . . . what shattering disruption will they unleash?

Intricately layered and remarkably researched, this enthralling suspense-driven and thought provoking tour de force begs a startling question: Could it happen?

If you’d like to follow his tour stops, visit and you may win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or an autographed copy of his book. Please leave a comment or question at each of his tour stops to let him know you stopped by!

Pump Up Your Book! is an award-winning virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service at an affordable price.  More information can be found on our website at While there, check out our Authors on Tour page to see what we have coming up in the months ahead. We’re always looking for new bloggers to join our team. 

Contact Information:
Dorothy Thompson
Founder of Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague, Virginia  23336

Friday, December 16, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Features Journey To The Cross by Shane Cloonan

Inside the Book:

Title: Journey to the Cross
Author: Shane Cloonan
Publisher: State Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 11, 2015
Pages: 35
Genre: Children's Christian Fiction

This is the story of the Jesus donkey, a fictional tale that takes readers on a journey from our Lord's birth to his ultimate crucifixion. Though written and illustrated for young readers, this book is perfect for people of all ages who want a fresh, youthful perspective on the life of Jesus. The book's message is imbued in the strength and simplicity of hearts that are linked to other hearts by Jesus. Journey to the Cross follows the light of hope that first appeared on that special night in Bethlehem.

Journey to the Cross helps answer questions that young people ask about the life of Jesus.

For More Information:
Journey to the Cross is available at AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads

Meet the Author

Shane Cloonan began writing Journey to the Cross as a sixth-grader at a Chicago-area Catholic school.

While his own journey to the publication of this book took three years, it was a complete labor of love. Shane is an avid outdoorsman. He also is an accomplished woodcarver. Shane took third place in his age group and category two years ago at the Ward World Championships Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland, then followed that up with a first-place finish in the International Woodcarvers Congress competition in Iowa.

Animals and pets of almost every shape and size have always been a big part of his life. It’s one of the reasons why he used a donkey as his lead character—a donkey that tells the most profound story in human history.

You can visit Shane’s website at

For More Information:
Author Website

Monday, December 12, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Cheryl C. Malandrinos, author of 'Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving'

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.


About the Book:

Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on
Thanksgiving. When the front door swings open, Grandma and Grandpa are covered with hugs and kisses. Crash! Everyone rushes in to find the dog gnawing a meaty turkey leg. Can Macy’s quick thinking save dinner?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I performed online research about the first Thanksgiving for this story.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP), an independent publisher out of St. Louis, published Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

They had published by first children’s picture book, Little Shepherd, in 2010. I love being part of the GAP family and firmly believe in their mission: change the world by investing in children, one child at a time.

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?

GAP offers competitive pricing on their books. Paperback copies of Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving are available for $9.95 and a PDF download is only $5.00. You can download the digital copy at

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

The publisher dictates the release date, but because it is a Thanksgiving book it was released in November.

How did you choose your cover?

Talented artist Marina Movshina created the cover art based upon something that happens in the story. She has created artwork for numerous GAP books and I am honored she agreed to work on Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving.

Did you write your book then revise or revise as you went?

Like most of my projects, I write out a first draft and then revise. It’s easier when you’re talking picture books, but I also find that I don’t accomplish as much on my longer projects when I try to revise as I go either.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?

Not yet. Bookmarks are a neat idea I would like to explore. Depends on the budget if I expand to other things.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

I’ll be producing the trailer. I used to work for Pump Up Your Book, so I am familiar with creating book trailers.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

If the giveaway copies turn into reviews it can be successful. My own experience as a blogger has been that you receive more books than you can realistically review in a year—many unsolicited—so I would limit the number of giveaway copies.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

1.      Create an online presence. I began blogging in 2007, three years before my first book came out. I quickly realized that in order to generate interest, I needed to help out other writers by displaying their work on my blogs. The great thing about doing that: when my first book came out in 2010, I had close to 70 blog stops on my virtual book tour. Writers reciprocate.
2.      Create a relationship with other authors in your publishing house. I’m lucky to be part of a small publishing family where most of us know each other—if not in person, then definitely online. For years before I was published, I reviewed books by other GAP authors. Not only did that allow me to get to know what GAP was looking for in books, it allowed me to build relationships with their authors. We truly are a family. That type of support is important.
3.      Reach out to bloggers who read books like yours and see if they will review your book once it arrives. Release day can be a frantic, so get everything set up ahead of time. Then you can simply mail out copies once they arrive.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

1.      TELL PEOPLE! Announce it online using social media to promote your new release.
2.      Set up a virtual book tour or hire a company to set one up for you. Book reviews and online exposure are very important. I used to be in the business and I’ve seen the impact virtual book tours can have.
3.      Reach out to your local community. One of the things I didn’t go a good job of when Little Shepherd came out is tell my local friends and neighbors about it. I was so focused online that I forgot about the people in my own backyard. Send a press release to the local paper and see if they will do an interview. See if your library will host a book reading or if they have plans for a local authors event. Check out your public access channel or weekly paper for news of community events where you might be able to sell your book.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?

I was much better prepared when my last two books came out—Little Shepherd (2010) and A Christmas Kindness (2012) than I was this time around. I’m a full-time real estate agent now, so that can interfere with book promotion time. Thankfully, there are sites like TweetDeck and Hootsuite to help me manage my social media accounts. I’ve also used Buffer to pre-schedule social media posts.

I’ve been talking about Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving online since learning of its release and all the people at my church know. I have a home office, so there are copies hanging around when friends drop by. That helps too.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Like my previous books, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving is seasonal. Though they will sell anytime of the year, the big push is around that particular holiday. I usually hold a virtual book tour once a year around that holiday and look to be featured on more blogs those times of year. In addition, I bring copies of my book with me to our annual Christmas bazaar at church.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

Thanks for all your support through the years. It’s wonderful to know readers enjoy my books. It’s a humbling experience and a true blessing.

Friday, December 9, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Howard Jay Smith, author of 'Beethoven in Love; Opus 139'

Howard Jay Smith is an award-winning writer from Santa Barbara, California. BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139 is his third book. A former Washington, D.C. Commission for the Arts Fellow, & Bread Loaf Writers Conference Scholar, he taught for many years in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has lectured nationally. His short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Horizon Magazine, the Journal of the Writers Guild of America, the Ojai Quarterly, and numerous literary and trade publications. While an executive at ABC Television, Embassy TV, and Academy Home Entertainment, he worked on numerous film, television, radio, and commercial projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Symphony - "The Best Small City Symphony in America" -  and is a member of the American Beethoven Society.




About the Book:

At the moment of his death, Ludwig van Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him a final wish—one day, just a single day of pure joy. But first he must confront the many failings in his life, so the great composer and exceedingly complex man begins an odyssey into the netherworld of his past life led by a spirit guide who certainly seems to be Napoleon, who died six years before. This ghost of the former emperor, whom the historical Beethoven both revered and despised, struggles to compel the composer to confront the ugliness as well as the beauty and accomplishments of his past. 
As Beethoven ultimately faces the realities of his just-ended life, we encounter the women who loved and inspired him. In their own voices, we discover their Beethoven—a lover with whom they savor the profound beauty and passion of his creations. And it’s in the arms of his beloveds that he comes to terms with the meaning of his life and experiences the moment of true joy he has always sought.

Purchase Information:


Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I spent almost two full years researching Beethoven’s life before ever writing a word.  This included reading a dozen or more biographies and notebooks from his contemporaries as well as his diaries and the six volumes of letters to and from Beethoven.  I also bought and recorded as much of his music as possible.  I attended every concert possible in the region that featured Beethoven’s music.  I also thoroughly researched numerous related topics, such as the spas towns of Europe, the Age of Reason, Voltaire, Napoleon, Mozart, Vienna, and the Archduke Rudolph. I visited the library of the American Beethoven Society and studied both their restored and replica pianos.  I generally read each book more than three times.  The first just to get a sense of his life or the material.  The second to highlight or underline sections I considered important or relevant and a third time to transfer those notes to my own ever growing computer word file organized chronologically.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

“Beethoven in Love; Opus 139,” is my third book. The second, “Opening the Doors to Hollywood,” was published by Random House.  When I completed my Beethoven novel, I went back to my old literary world contacts, only to realize how much the publishing world had been transformed since “Opening the Doors,” came out in the late ‘90’s.  I opted not to self-publish but rather to go with a small literary press owned by a close friend.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

In going with a small literary press, I was able to have almost total control over the process by working in conjunction with knowledgeable editor who was also a personal friend.

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?


Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

Yes, we thought January would give a professional book publicist we hired sufficient time – six months - to pre-market a draft.  She pick the exact date.

How did you choose your cover? 

My son, Zak Smith, is an internationally known artist whose portraits hang in the collections of eight world class museums.  It was a natural to ask him to come up with a new and iconic portrait of Beethoven Dreaming of his Immortal Beloved.  Once we had the portrait in hand, we used our professional book designer, Hans Teensma, as the guiding hand as to how to incorporate the portrait into a full cover.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

All of the above!!!  I wrote, revised and wrote again, polishing constantly even as I moved ahead.  My mentor, the late novelist and teaching, John Gardner had a simply concept about writing which he called “The vivid and continuous dream.”  “What you are doing when writing a book or telling a story,” he would say, “is creating a vivid and continuous dream in the reader’s mind that is so powerful and all compelling, that the next thing they know is that someone is calling them to dinner.  Anything you write, no matter how brilliant or wonderful you think it is, that breaks that that dream is no good.  Throw it out.”  That bit of advice is the single most important lesson about revising that I could ever share and in fact “The Vivid and Continuous Dream,” was the title of the writing class I taught at UCLA when I worked there.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?

Postcards and business cards to hand out only.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?


What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

Having worked for fifteen years in Hollywood, I all too often saw – and experienced – the exploitation of writers.  Therefore, no, I am not really fond of any marketing concept that forces writers to give away their product while the printers, publishers and E-Sellers such as Amazon make a profit.  At least in Hollywood there was and is a union, WGAW, that protects and fights for the rights – and wages – of its member writers.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released? 

First is to write it!  Next is to make sure you are absolutely thrilled with every word, every line, and every page.  And then, make sure it looks and feels as wonderful and you believe it is. 

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?   

Promote, promote, promote.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I did a lot though not all of it was as effective as I had hoped.  First, I made a point of reading from the book and speaking about it at professional seminars and symphony fundraiser, such as at the American Beethoven Society Annual Convention.  That led to critical reviews which enabled early promotional steps.  I hired and worked with a traditional Book Publicist who sent the book out to dozens of national newspapers.  However, given that we are no longer working in a “traditional world,” much of this effort was unproductive.  My publicist did however obtain a number of radio, Web-TV and a few readings and book signings for me.   I also set up Web and Facebook pages to promote those appearances. 

On Facebook I made “friends” in selected areas, including other writers, musicians and journalists until I reached the 5,000 mark.  I joined over 35 groups.  I began by posting news stories about the book, readings and reviews almost daily but eventually switched over to publishing snippets from the book in an ongoing series of posts I have entitled, “The Music Behind ‘Beethoven in Love; Opus 139.’” The response to these have been very positive, with each one reaching some 1,500 people daily.  Some of those posts are also boosted on Facebook in order to reach other audiences outside my groups and current friends.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Yes, to keep on selling and promoting.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

Buy “Beethoven in Love; Opus 139.”  You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

PUYB Features Dowsing and Ley Lines by Gerald Chatfield


Inside the Book:

Title: Dowing and Ley Lines 
Author: Gerald Chatfield 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Reference
  Format: Ebook

This book contains information on dowsing for beginners and advanced alike. It provides information on how to find and follow more than five hundred ley marks across the south of the British Isles. It also contains unique insight on how shadow ley lines are connected to time as we measure it in minutes and hours. Also answers as to why the legendary figure of the Long Man of Wilmington is positioned where he is on the South Downs. There is also information on both Woodhenge and Stonehenge.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Featured Colorado Dream Book Blst!

We're happy to host Charlene Whitman's COLORADO DREAM book blast today!  Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Author: Charlene Whitman
Publisher: Ubiquitous Press
Pages: 450
Genre: Sweet Historical Western Romance

Yearning to become a concert musician, a young woman from New York travels to Colorado to purchase a violin, but when she meets a wild, untamable cowboy, her dream is threatened and her heart torn ...
In New York in 1877, Angela Bellini longs to become a concert violinist and get away from her abusive father. When her dream takes her to Greeley, Colorado, to purchase a violin from a master instrument maker, she learns she must wait three weeks until her violin is ready before she can head home.
Angela is determined not to let anything or anyone waylay her dream, but when she meets rough-and-tumble cowboy Brett Hendricks, her heart is torn. He is her opposite in every way—uncouth, cocky, and reckless. But she is hopelessly drawn to him, like a moth to flame.
Brett Hendricks is on the run—not just from an angry rancher who is tracking him down for shooting his son but from a dark and troubled past plaguing him with guilt and shame. A wild, untamable cowboy, Brett can break any horse with a soft touch and soothing word, but nothing in the world can bring him peace. He fears he will never stop running, never see his dreams of ranching realized.
But then, one evening, he hears sweet violin music that seeps deep into his soul--music that floods him with peace. He falls hard for Angela but knows she plans to leave Colorado. All his attempts to win her heart fail disastrously, and though he buries himself in the cattle roundup, when he helps thwart a rustling outfit, his enemies multiply.
Somehow he must find a way to gain Angela's heart and trust. And somehow Angela must break past her distrust of men to discover the love awaiting her with open arms.
Pick up your copy at:


Book Excerpt:
Chapter 1

September 9, 1877
New York City, New York

The slap on Angela Bellini’s cheek burned, but not as fiercely as the hurt in her heart. The pain and disappointment smoldering there sizzled like hot embers, threatening to reduce her to a pile of ash. She glared at her father’s back as he stomped out of the room.
Why couldn’t her papá understand? She would not marry Pietro, no matter how wealthy his family was, no matter how many years her papá and his had planned such an arrangement. “It is our way, Angela,” he had told her again, his face hard and eyes dark and menacing, leaving no room for debate. “And you will marry him. You are twenty years of age—you are lucky he is still willing. You’ve made him wait long enough.”
When she forced her objections past the rock lodged in her aching throat, she knew what would follow. What always followed. Her papá’s rage erupted in a torrent of Italian curses that ended with a slap that knocked her nearly senseless against the foyer wall before he stormed out the apartment.
As she slid down in a heap by the front door, she had caught a glimpse of her mamá in the kitchen, her back turned to her in unspoken submission. Angela huffed. I will never marry and become like you, Mamá—squashed under the thumb of some man who wants only subservience and a crowded apartment full of squalling babies.
 She swallowed back tears. She would not cry—not today. Today she would take the first steps—real steps—toward her dream. And no one, not even the powerful and prominent Giusepe Bellini could stop her.
Their tiny stuffy apartment rumbled—as it always did six times a day and twice each night—from the Third Avenue El Train fifty feet away. The noise of the wheels clacking and the platform rattling mingled with the loud voices of her downstairs neighbors arguing—Mr. Paolino’s tenor to his wife’s shrill soprano. Outside her window, carriages clattered on cobblestones in sharp staccato, and shoppers and merchants carried on in boisterous conversation, sounding no more pacifying than an orchestra tuning their instruments.
On most days Angela could drown out the suffocating symphony of Mulberry Bend by rehearsing violin caprices in her head, imagining her fingers flying over the fingerboard, her right hand bowing the strings, eliciting the sweet and sonorous timbre of her instrument.
But on this stifling, humid September afternoon, the many pieces she’d memorized—no, absorbed into her very soul, as if food that nourished her—flitted away, out of reach, as she pulled down the heavy carpetbag from the hall closet—a bag that she’d found months ago stuffed behind a stack of wool blankets.
She stopped and listened. Her mama was humming in the back room as she folded laundry. Her two younger siblings were off playing with neighborhood children—in the street, no doubt, as the sweltering heat was worse indoors.
Angela’s hands shook as she dabbed her perspiring forehead and neck with a handkerchief and went through her mental list of all she would need on her trip. Not much—she’d only be gone ten, perhaps, twelve days, if all went as planned. She pushed from her thoughts her papá’s impending fury at her insolence and the resulting punishments that would await her upon her return. But she had made her decision, and there was no turning back.
Hurry, she told herself. Her papá had gone downstairs to the corner market, and while he often spent an hour or more on Sunday afternoons smoking cigars with the men of the neighborhood, discussing the politics of her close-knit Italian community and their various business ventures—and arranging their daughters’ marriages, she thought bitterly—he could return at any time.
In her bedroom, she gathered the neat stack of clothes she had put in her bottom dresser drawer, then stuffed them into the traveling bag along with her few womanly items, her prayer book, some sheets of music, and a spare pair of shoes. She checked her reticule and found the roll of bills—the money she’d earned over the last two years from babysitting and teaching music lessons through Signore Bianchi’s instrument shop on Second Avenue. She hoped it would be enough for the quality of violin she planned to buy.
Mr. Fisk hadn’t answered her inquiry regarding pricing in his letter. He merely assured her he would provide her with an exceptional instrument and that they would work out the financial details once she arrived in Greeley, Colorado.
Would her meager savings be enough? It had to be, for she couldn’t return to New York and face the audition committee without a proper instrument.
The director’s words still stung. “You’re a talented musician, Miss Bellini. But you bring shame to your craft by playing on such an inferior violin. Come back when you have an appropriate instrument.” The three committee members had politely frowned when she flustered an apology and hurried to the exit of the symphony hall, pressing down her humiliation and frustration as tears welled in her eyes.
Her papá could well afford to buy her a violin of exceptional quality, and every year at Christmas she begged him to indulge her love of playing with the purchase of a new one, but he only laughed in cool disdain and waved her away. “Give up your foolish dreams, Angela. Your place is in the home, with a husband and children. Not on the stage.” Her papá regarded music appropriate only at holidays and festivals and family gatherings, and only traditional song and instrumentation. He didn’t—couldn’t—understand this dream she nursed. The dream to play in the New York Philharmonic, to play on stage before an audience, to be a part of the creation of ethereal music that filled a great performance hall and moved listeners to tears.
To make matters worse, her older brother, Bartolomeo, sided with their papá, constantly nagging her to “get married already and stop being a burden on the family.” Although he was but two years older, he and Dora had three children. And Dora—and most of Angela’s other girlfriends from her school days, who were also married—gave her constant looks of pity, as if Angela was missing out on life’s greatest joy. But they just didn’t understand.
She had to fan the tiny spark of her dream to keep it alive, to prevent it from being snuffed out by her papá’s stern expectations and society’s demands. And it had nearly been extinguished a month ago, upon her papá’s brash public announcement of her engagement to Pietro—an arrogant youngest son of a successful wine merchant who had no love for music—none whatsoever. She harbored no hope that he would ever understand her passionate need to play the violin, and no doubt he’d forbid her pursuit of her dream.
And then she’d read an article in the Times about one George Fisk, a master violin maker in a newly founded town in the West—a place called Greeley. On a whim she’d written him. Why? She didn’t know. She could purchase a violin in Manhattan—one of sufficient quality. But there was something about the description of this man, Fisk. The way he spoke about the instruments he made. The care and time and love he put into each one. He built his instruments with a passion and love for beauty and music that resonated with her. For, she wanted more than a good violin. She wanted one that spoke to her soul, one made just for her. George Fisk promised he could provide just that. But she had to travel halfway across the continent. Was she willing? he’d asked her.
Yes, she wrote him. Yes, more than willing. Although, she’d never traveled outside of the city, and the thought of venturing into wild country, alone, made her stomach twist. But Fisk had told her not to worry. He would see to her accommodations and show her around his “wonderful little Western town.” And she had to admit—she was ready for an adventure.
She looked around her cramped tiny bedroom situated in a crowded apartment in a busy, noisy city. I’m more than ready for peace and quiet, and to get away from Papá’s mean spirit and violent temper.
What must it be like to stand under a wide-open sky spattered with stars, with no neighbors quarreling or trains rattling or horses’ hooves clacking on stones? Her heart yearned for such open space, for such silence. Silence that longed to be filled with beautiful music. She imagined nature itself performing a symphony of birdsong and coyote howls and water cascading over rocks. Those were some of the images her mind drifted to as she played, and she longed to merge her own musical voice to that of creation, if even just for a day or two.

About the Author

The author of "heart-thumping" Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado's Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George "Dix" Whitman, her love of thirty years. 

The Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in 1876) includes Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, and Colorado Dream (release date 11/15/16) and Wild Horses, Wild Hearts (release date 1/1/17).

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Interview with Chef Wolgang Hanau, author of My Travel Adventures and Secret Recipes

Inside the Book:

Title: My Travel Adventures and Secret Recipes
Author: Chef Wolfgang Hanau
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Cooking
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Chef Wolfgang Hanau, born and educated in Eastern Europe, learned to love good cooking from an early age, so it was only natural that he’d go on to become a world-renowned chef.
What isn’t so natural, however, is his willingness to share the secret recipes he’s learned over a decades-long career at some of the world’s most exclusive restaurants, luxury hotels, and resorts.
In this memoir/recipe book, he revels in dishes with a French flair, Bavarian specialties from Munich’s Oktoberfest, Switzerland’s renowned international cuisine, and dishes from the many great places he’s practiced his craft.
You’ll laugh and smile as he enjoys camelback rides in the Sahara desert, cruises on luxury ocean liners, and meets celebrities at culinary destinations that offer sun, fun, and escapes from the ordinary.
Along the way, he shares recipes that will impress your relatives and friends, including German Warm Potato Salad, the Allenstein BBQ Recipe, Bearnaise Sauce, Rainforest Acai Berry Cookies, Amstel Light Portobello Gorgonzola Burger, Golden Apple Cheddar Pancakes, Apple Jam-Filled Cookies, and Apricot-Glazed Mushrooms over Mixed Baby Greens.
There’s an exciting story and a tasty dish for everyone in this book of secret recipes and travel adventures.

Meet the Author:
Chef Wolfgang Hanau, a native of Bavaria, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute in Munich. He has worked in Switzerland, Paris, and London and has practiced his craft at many popular hotels and resorts. He lives with his wife, Diana, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Tour Schedule

Monday, December 5 – Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Tuesday, December 6 – Interviewed at Harmonious Publicity
Wednesday, December 7 – Guest blogging at My Bookish Pleasures
Thursday, December 8 – Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz
Friday, December 9 – Guest blogging at She Writes
Monday, December 12 – Interviewed at Carpe Librum
Wednesday, December 14 – Interviewed at Write and Take Flight
Friday, December 16 – Interviewed at Read Between the Ink
Tuesday, December 20 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Wednesday, December 21 – Guest blogging at Niume
Friday, December 23 – Guest blogging at The Revolving Bookshelf
Monday, December 26 – Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Tuesday, December 27 – Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom
Monday, January 2 – Guest blogging at A Taste of My Mind
Wednesday, January 4 – Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, January 5 – Interviewed at The Zen Reader
Friday, January 6 – Guest blogging at Voodoo Princess
Tuesday, January 10 – Interviewed at From Paperback to Leatherbound
Wednesday, January 11 – Guest blogging at The Literary Nook
Thursday, January 12 – Guest blogging at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic
Friday, January 13 – Interviewed at The Review From Here
Monday, January 16 – Guest blogging at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Wednesday, January 18 – Interviewed at Straight From the Author’s Mouth
Thursday, January 19 – Guest blogging at Lover of Literature
Friday, January 20 – Guest blogging at Fiction to Fruition
Monday, January 23 – Interviewed at A Title Wave
Wednesday, January 25 – Guest blogging at Booklover Sue
Thursday, January 26 – Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Friday, January 27 – Guest blogging at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews