Monday, May 27, 2019

A Fantasy Extravaganza!

I enjoy Fantasies with a tender love story, an enchanting kingdom, adventure, suspense, and mystery. Young and old alike will enjoy these stories. (If you are interested in reading and reviewing or listening to any of these books, let us know.)

Magnolia’s Choice: Princess Magnolia refuses to be tied to her kingdom, Bellavista, at her father's decree. One night, she took charge and escaped to Grayville, a neighboring kingdom. However, it's one frightful escapade to the next until she meets Robin, the knight in shining armor, and the kingdom which stole her heart years ago.

Robin, the prince of Grayville, cannot forget the enchanting, yet distressed, girl who fell into his arms two years ago. He was disguised and exploring the city with his two best friends and she knew him not. Who is she and where did she go? Some say time makes everything better, but the hole in his heart grows ever painfully empty. Dare he dream of having her back in his arms?

“This is a delightful story. It's full of adventure, intrigue, and treacherous villains. Add some attraction between the princess and prince of another kingdom, and the story is hard to put down. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what Magnolia was going to do next. How was she going to save her kingdom? This Family Friendly story is perfect for teens and adults.” —Author Linda Weaver Clarke

To buy Magnolia’s Choice, click HERE.

The Treasure of Isian: Prince Garin is a brave, proud, adventure-seeking prince. Elani is his most trusted servant and she would do anything for him. Their quest to find the mystical Treasure of Isian is immediately interrupted and they find themselves confronted by giants, elves, dragons, and a vengeful water-witch. Elani must face her greatest fears to save her prince and her kingdom. Will they be able to make a great sacrifice to save the kingdom?

"The Treasure of Isian is a stirring tale of an enchanted servant and a handsome prince and the adventures they face together as they search for the fabled treasure of Isian that will grant the bearer any wish they desire. This story had everything--dragons, witches, giants, elves, kings, princesses, terrifying forests and true love. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. The author did a wonderful job pacing the story and connecting me to the characters. I loved them all. Superb story that brought a smile to my face and helped me remember that sometimes, we can overlook the most valuable treasures in life if we're not careful."  –-Author Charissa Stastny

To buy The Treasure of Isian, click HERE.

The Alliance of Isian: Isian decides to make an alliance with their long time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war. With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials?

I love a good story with an arranged marriage in it--especially if it involves royalty. How could I not love this one? Gabrielle is offered up to marry handsome Prince Alec in order to forge an alliance that will help in the coming war. Their relationship progresses slowly and naturally and I really enjoyed watching it unfold. I loved the mystery and adventure and thought there was just the right amount of fantasy. Of course, my favorite parts were the romance. I loved how kind and gracious this couple was and how they worked together to find a solution to the problems at hand. I really liked the first book, but I loved this one! So far, they just keep getting better!” -- Katie Watkins, Katie’s Clean Book Collection

To buy The Alliance of Isian, click HERE.

The Secret of Isian: Many prophecies have been uttered about the impending war and those who will seek to stop it. With the war finally upon them, Rimelda, a talented seer, has heard the prophecies and believes she can help. Prince Ander, doubtful of her abilities and her true intentions, but determined to save his kingdom accepts her help and they proceed on a quest to end the war. Hindered by enemies as well as their own doubts, Ander and Rimelda must search for guidance in unlikely places and unravel the mysteries of the prophecies. With the world shrouded in darkness, will Ander accept his destiny in time to save the kingdoms and will he admit his true feelings for Rimelda?

You will see battles with interesting characters and mythical creatures. This fantasy is an exciting story that will keep you on your toes and wondering what will happen next. And of course, there is some romance! You will want to keep reading until the end of the book to find out where the interesting twists and turns will lead you.” –Sunnie Reviews

To buy The Secret of Isian, click HERE.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

HAPPINESS – What Does it Mean to Live a Happy Life

Article written by Ari Yeganeh

   We live in a happy-obsessed society, constantly bombarded with happy smiling faces on TV or billboard ads telling us their version of happiness. Even worse than this, we see our own friends on social media posting photos of their ridiculously happy lives; but never sharing any raw feelings of what’s really going on in their lives.

   It is an unspoken law that we all want to be happy but the reality is that most of us have not thought about what happiness means for ourselves. I used to think, if only I had the right kind of job, the right group of friends and the right partner, then I would be happy. I worked so hard chasing these goals. I saw happiness like reaching the peak of a mountain… All I had to do was work really hard, achieve all my goals and then I’ll be happy. And that’s exactly what I did. I worked really hard and got to the top of the mountain. But at the top, I didn’t find what I was looking for.

   What I actually found at the top of the mountain was disappointment. I had worked so hard to conquer my goals, and the realization that I still wasn’t happy made me even more unhappy. But little did I know, I had no idea what happiness was.


   There are probably as many definitions of happiness as there are humans on the planet but broadly speaking, modern psychology categorizes happiness in two parts:


   Experiencing positive emotions like joy, pleasure and excitement
We are all familiar with this type of happiness – good food, new clothes, walks on the beach, hot oil massages and puppies… lots of puppies. This is what’s constantly advertised to us and what we think of when we see our happy smiling friends on Facebook.


   Living with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment with life
We are less familiar with this type of happiness, as it is not as straightforward as getting a massage or hugging a warm puppy. Rather it involves a deliberate process of self-discovery and cultivating the right mental attitudes to live a happy life, despite the ups and downs of everyday emotions.

   Let’s explore these… HAPPINESS AS AN EMOTION


    Imagine if there was a machine you could plug yourself into that made you feel pleasure and joy 100% of the time. Better yet, you wouldn’t know you were plugged in so you would have no feelings of guilt. Would you plug in or stay in your current life? The answer you give this question can reveal a lot about how you feel about happiness as an emotion.

   If you asked me this question shortly after I had finished climbing my mountain of happiness, I would have almost certainly said yes. This is because I saw happiness only as an emotion that I had to feel on a regular basis. If I was not experiencing emotional happiness in the form of pleasure or joy regularly, my conclusion was that I’m not happy and that something is wrong.

   This is why I chased goal after goal, mountain after mountain, pursuing the good feelings a new job or new travel destination gave me. But the good feelings didn’t last. Before long, the emotions of joy and excitement would dissipate and I was back to where I started, looking at an even bigger mountain to experience more joy in my life.

   This is a common path to happiness for many people. “If only I have *fill in the blank*, then I’ll be happy.”

   The obvious problem with this approach is what psychologists call hedonic adaptation – the idea that no matter how good something makes us feel, “most of the time, we drift back to where we started, emotionally-speaking. One often-cited study famously showed that despite their initial euphoria, lottery winners were no happier than non-winners eighteen months later. The same tendency to return to “baseline” has been shown to occur after marriage, voluntary job changes, and promotions—the kinds of things we usually expect to change our happiness and well-being for the better in a permanent way.” (Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D.)

   This is not to say we shouldn’t enjoy the pleasures of life. We absolutely should celebrate getting that new job and we should cherish every moment of the honey-moon period of a new relationship. However, we should be conscious that experiencing these short-term emotional highs does not equate to long-term happiness.


   Another unfortunate consequence of seeing happiness only as a positive emotional state is that we ignore or suppress any other emotions that don’t make us feel good. We all want to feel joy and avoid pain. This is normal. What is not normal, and is rather unhealthy, is persistently avoiding or suppressing difficult or negative emotions.

   The reality of life is that we all experience difficult emotions and circumstances. People get sick, we lose our jobs, relationships fall apart, things break, shit happens. Put more elegantly by Murphy’s Law “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”

   In his book, The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris writes: “The more we try to avoid the basic reality that all human life involves pain, the more we are likely to struggle with that pain when it arises, thereby creating even more suffering.” – Russ Harriss

   Ultimately each one of us is responsible for making our own happiness cake; one filled with ingredients that gives us true satisfaction and contentment. But even with this perfect life satisfaction cake, we are bound to experience sadness and pain in our life. This is part of the human experience. Equally, we are bound to experience immense joy and pleasure in our life. True happiness is not about being caught up in these emotional highs and lows of life. Rather it’s learning to enjoy the highs with gratitude and accept the lows with self-compassion.

  Most important of all let’s not forget to share the love with one other.

Thank you, Ari, for this insightful article.

Everyone is seeking true happiness in their lives. It’s the most sought-after subject on earth. To be truly happy is a great mystery to many, as they search for joy in everyday life. When we’re feeling discontent, we tend to think a change in our lives is the answer to our restlessness. After making that change, we find that it was not the answer we hoped for after all. The fact is, I never find the joy I’m seeking, if I’m looking for it. There is much more to finding happiness than we think.

In my book, Searching For True Happiness, you will be assigned a few tasks to do, things that are uplifting and will bring you great joy. They are simple tasks, but yet very important for true happiness. Joy in one’s life does not come without a bit of work.

Author Brooke Williams wrote: “If more people took the advice from this book and used it to its fullest, the world would be a different place. Some of the ideas are rather simple but the overall message is profound. Happiness isn't sitting where you'd think. But it's easy enough to find with a little work and a few extra steps. I hope many, not only read this book, but also take it to heart.”

There are several things mentioned in this booklet. Acts of kindness and serving others is one of them. The joy one feels when helping those in need is indescribable. Why are we here on earth if not to serve our friends and loved ones, or even those strangers who need help? How about music? Does it affect our lives?

Inishowen Cailín, from Ireland, wrote: “At the beginning of the book, the author gives us a few tasks to complete in order to kick start our journey to personal happiness. One of her assignments is to greet someone each day. I live in a town where it is a normal everyday practice to greet every single person you meet, whether you know them or not... so this was an easy one for me. Her other tasks are also simple, fun and rewarding to complete: show love to others, give hugs, etc. I really enjoyed reading all the stories the author researched for her book, as well as all the stories from her own family. I think when I reread this book I will be inspired by something different each time. It is a simple guide to put you on the right path to feeling happy and optimistic. A worthwhile read.” 

This book is available at Amazon. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Research is Fun and Educational When Writing a Novel

Writing Historical Fiction is such fun. If you do good research, it helps you to understand how the people of that century lived. Even if the country or area is fictional, you need to do research. When writing historical fiction, research is imperative so the story is believable. I wanted to write a series that had mystery, adventure, and romance set during the late 1700s. Even though I created a small country that had its own problems, I needed to research that era.

As I developed The Rebel Series, I wanted the time period to be authentic, so I researched the type of clothing that was popular during the late 1700s. But that was not all. How did the people live during this time? Did they have a stove? What type of lanterns did they use? Oil or gas?

I love a rogue who fights for justice. It was a bunch of rebels who fought for their freedom during the American Revolution. Robin Hood and his rebels fought against the injustice of a wicked king. Liberty is something that I dearly cherish. As I pondered what kind of story I wanted to write, I decided upon a small country that struggles to be free. The people finally refuse to be ruled by a monarchy any longer. In this Period Romance, The Rebels of Cordovia, I decided to have a strong woman character who happens to be the leader of a rebel group. This book has clean romance for both young and old alike.

As I wrote the second book in The Rebel Series, I found there were several women journalists in history. Since my heroine in The Highwayman of Cordovia was a journalist, I needed to research the subject. In France, Anne-Marguerite Petit du Noyer (1663-1719) was the most famous female journalist. In fact, her articles were read all over Europe. She wrote about the negotiations that led up to a series of peace treaties and she also reported on scandal and gossip.

In this same story, I wanted to have a ball. What dances were popular in the late 1700s? When I did some research about the “waltz,” I was surprised at what I found. The peasants were the first to dance the waltz. It was such fun that bored noblemen would sneak out and go to the country-dances. The Oxford English Dictionary back then called the waltz “riotous and indecent.”

In a 1771 German novel, someone complains about the “newly-introduced waltz” among the aristocrats. He wrote: “When he put his arm around her, pressed her to his breast, cavorted with her in the shameless, indecent whirling-dance of the Germans and engaged in a familiarity that broke all the bounds of good breeding—then my silent misery turned into burning rage.” I was so intrigued by this description. The waltz finally became fashionable when the wife of a Russian ambassador endorsed it.

As I wrote the third book, The Fox of Cordovia, I discovered some interesting facts about lamplighters. They were a faithful lot, lighting the lamps every evening at dusk. Many a young man applied for the job because it suited their schedule, but the city was careful whom they hired because lamplighters also acted as night watchmen and needed to be trustworthy. In fact, the job was usually handed down from father to son and kept within the family.

During the American Revolution, there was a man known as the Swamp Fox and he influenced my story quite a bit. His tales were ones of courage and valor, so I named this novel after the Swamp Fox. In The Fox of Cordovia, I found that it was common practice for the king’s ranking officer to kick a family out of their home so he could house his soldiers and officers. No one had a say. No wonder the patriots decided to fight for their rights. They had had enough!

The inspiration for this series came from the stories of the patriots. Each book in The Rebel Series has its own plot, but the story continues on, giving a satisfying ending to this trilogy. This series has become so “well loved” that I finally had a narrator narrate all three books for Audible. Below is a sample of each audiobook.   

Learn more at my website:

Rebels of Cordovia Audiobook
Highwayman of Cordovia Audiobook
Fox of Cordovia Audiobook

LEARN HOW TO GET A FREE AUDIO BOOK FROM AUDIBLE! Receive this audiobook free if you join Membership includes two free audiobooks and you can choose from 150,000+ titles. Go to Linda Weaver Clarke’s Audible Page and find the book you’re interested in and sign up for some free audiobooks.