Monday, 29 April 2013

Book Launch: Blood Flows Deep in the Empire by N. Isabelle Blanco

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Dyletri, God of Fertility, has locked away his powers. No woman is allowed to touch him,
not until he can return his long-dead lover back to life. All he has to do is sacrifice one human girl, a girl who unlocks his powers and rips his dormant lust right out of his body. Trapped by his promise, Dyletri has no choice but to watch Ismini die, no matter how much he wants her.
Yet the darkness of his calling is spiraling within him, demanding he claim the human as his. If he goes back on his promise, the energy of the Fates will cause untold destruction in the Universe. That doesn’t change how Dyletri’s begun exhibiting symptoms that point to more than just lust. How does he allow Ismini to die when she’s come to own him from the inside out?
Desire and torment spiral into something much darker than obsession, more turbulent than an addiction, and something much more brutal than a mere soul-mating. As a war is being rekindled right under his nose, Dyletri will have to come to terms with a destiny eleven thousand years in the making. He thought he’d known what path his future would take, but he’d been wrong. Now the one woman he truly loves might pay the price for his decision.
Blood Flows Deep in the Empire is the first in a series that will pit free-will against Destiny, Destiny against Fate, and love against brutal desire. Everyone likes to think they have a choice as to who they end up with, but as they rise to face the greatest threat they’ve ever known, even the Gods will learn they have to bend to Destiny’s whim to survive.

About the Author

N. Isabelle Blanco was born in Queens, NY (USA). At age 3, due to an odd
fascination with studying her mother’s handwriting, she had already begun to read and write. By the time she’d reached kindergarten, she had an extensive vocabulary and her obsession with words began to bleed into every aspect of her life. An avid reader in her teens, a fascination with Japanese anime eventually led her to the universe of fanfiction. 
Her on again, off again hobby for the next ten years, She amassed a following of fans that, by her own admission, she would never be able to live without. It was those fans who encouraged her to step beyond the fanfiction realm and try her talent in the publishing world.


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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Book Launch: Dark Persuasion by Vicki Hopkins Synopsis:

Charlotte Gray couldn't believe that anyone in high society would care to introduce her to potential suitors. After all, a cruel accident left her blind at the age of eight. However, Lady and Lord Rochester, her aristocratic neighbors, have taken a peculiar interest in her welfare and offer to hold a debutante ball in her honor.

Inexperienced in the ways of men and vulnerable to a fault, Charlotte begins to traverse the unfamiliar world of courtship. To her surprise, two brothers become rivals for her affections. One she favors because of his gregarious and flattering ways. The other she spurns due to his unappealing demeanor and desperate attempt to win her heart.

Pressured by her family and brokenhearted over the risqué conduct of her first choice, Charlotte is persuaded to accept Patrick Rochester's proposal of marriage instead. Her surrender introduces her into the world of passion at the artful hands of a mysterious man. When the dark and alluring husband finally conquers her heart, a shocking secret about his true identity unfolds. As a result, Charlotte learns that love can be blind for everyone-even her.

Bio Info: started her writing career somewhat late in life, but can attest to the fact that it is never too late to follow your dreams. Her debut novel was released in 2009, and four books later and another on the way, she doesn't think she will stop any time soon. Her usual genre is historical fiction/historical romance. However, she recently crossed the lines into contemporary romance under the pen name of J.D. Burrows, releasing "Conflicting Hearts."  She's been honored as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Fiction: Romance category of The 2012 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News for "Dark Persuasion."

With Russian blood on her father's side and English on her mother's, she blames her ancestors for the lethal combination in her genes that influence her stories. Tragedy and drama might be found between her pages, but she eventually gives her readers a happy ending.

She lives in the beautiful, but rainy, Pacific Northwest with a pesky cat who refuses to let her sleep in. Her hobbies include researching her English ancestry, traveling to England when she can afford it, and plotting her next book.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Book Launch: Breach by KI Lynn

Delilah Palmer has control of her life and outward personality, blocking the truth just below the surface. A façademeant to be normal and hide the scars of her childhood. She’s made a good life for herself, became a lawyer, and is free from the tortured past that haunts her daily. Until he comes along and breaks open the cracks. 
 Nathan Thorne has a past of his own. On the surface he is loved by all, personable, extroverted; everything Delilah isn’t. Hidden beneath is a dark and tormented man that only Delilah has to power to unveil.
 Crammed in a small office together they see through each other’s masks, and the draw becomes too much, igniting an explosive relationship. Holloway and Holloway Law has a strict non-fraternization policy, forcing them to conceal their breach. Despite their efforts, separation becomes impossible, deceptions escalate, and Nathan has trouble coping; teetering on the edge of being overtaken by his past demons. 
 What secrets does he harbor that could keep him from giving in? What keeps him from healing and moving forward? And Delilah, where does she fit into all this turmoil?
 Can they accept love and deal with all the trials that come their way when secrets are exposed? Or will they fall through the cracks of their pasts and be consumed by all that haunts them?


Buy it online @ Amazon

Author Bio:

K.I. Lynn spent her life in the arts, everything from music to painting and ceramics, then to writing. Characters have always run around in her head, acting out their stories, but it wasn’t until later in life she would put them to pen. It would turn out to be the one thing she was really passionate about.
Since she began posting stories online, she’s garnered acclaim for her diverse stories and hard hitting writing style. Two stories and characters are never the same, her brain moving through different ideas faster than she can write them down as it also plots its quest for world domination…or cheese. Whichever is easier to obtain… Usually it’s cheese.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Making a Difference in a Child's Life

MiniChess initiative at Philena Primary School, Olievenhoutbosch

information supplied by Jolandie Nieuwenhuis
photographs by Linzé

The MiniChess Program:
The MiniChess™ Program was created & designed by Woman of the Year, Marisa van der Merwe, who with years of experience in the fields of teaching and chess training; saw the vision of empowering students by helping them understand maths and science through chess.
Jolandie (left) and Marisa
The MiniChess program was developed over years of teaching chess to “entry phase” learners (gr.1/R to gr.3, i.e. 5/6 to 8 years of age) as part of the school curriculum. It has already been used on a trial basis, with great success, at a number of schools in SA.
It is organized into structured lessons, with detailed lesson plans in the Teacher’s Manuals and attractive Project Books for the learners. The program uses tried and tested methods for teaching chess to little ones, including the use of so-called “MiniChess” games. The learning process is broken down into small steps, building confidence while keeping it fun, and is in line with the skills level of the young child at that specific age, eg. colouring, cut and paste, form recognition, simple pattern recognition, a little bit of writing, etc. in the case of 6 year olds (grade 1). The program consists of 4 levels (grade1/R, grade2 and grade3), each grade accommodating the continual development of skills and capacity as the child grows. The program continually links chess concepts with maths-, science- and life skills.”

Denel Land Systems' Involvement:
As part of the Mentoring For Success Program, the Mentees (Team Mighty Moves) needed to complete a Make A Difference (MAD) Project.
The enterprising young people from DLS that organised the event with Marisa holding the prized chess set.
This Project entails taking up a challenge that will make a difference either within the company or the community.
The team chose a project which involved implementing the MiniChess program within an under privileged school within the community. Initially we will implement the program within the Grade R class at the Philene Primary School in Olievenhoutbosch. The program will be implemented in partnership with Moves for Life.

Book Launch: Sacrifice by Stacey Rourke

Sacrifice Tour

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Author Bio:
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012.

Stacey Rourke is the author of the Gryphon Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant, drooly dogs. Stacey loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head. She is currently hard at work on the continuations of this series as well as other literary projects.

Social Media Links
Facebook at
Twitter @Rourkewrites.

Celeste Garrett has finally found a happy balance in her life as the Chosen One, thanks in large part to
a certain hunky Irishman. But if there’s any lesson she should heed since receiving her calling it’s that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Soon a terrible new threat, unlike anything she’s ever encountered, causes her to make a gut-wrenching choice that will strip her of someone she holds dear.

As much as she’d like to have a pity party for one, there’s no time for that now because wedding bells are ringing in Gainesboro! In between dress fittings and rehearsal dinners Celeste will have to fend off attacking demons and leering pirates. As if the Dark Army wasn’t scary enough our heroine is faced with the horrifying trauma of attending a bachelorette party with her mom and watching Grams do Jello shots. Is a walk down the aisle even possible for a member of the Garrett family when the Dark Army is out to destroy them? More importantly, will the Dark Army Glee Club sing at the reception?

Raise your glass to the happy couple, and get ready for a wedding…Conduit-style.

Buy links:
Amazon      B&N

Linzé's Interviewed Caleb and here is what our hero had to say for himself -

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Who are you parents? What did you want to be when you grew up?
I was born in the hills of Ir’land in the 17th century. We were peasants, but me Ma and Dah worked hard tah provide for my sis and I. But me whole life changed the day a demonic army stormed our tiny village. My parents loaded me into a cart along with the other village children and we were hurried us away. They thought we would be safe. They were wrong. That same army caught up with us af’er ransacking the town and took us prisoner. Ya ask where I grew up? In a demon dimension fightin’ for me life. What did I want to be when I grew up? Free. 

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now? A hundred years?
I try not to think too far ahead. With a ne’er endin’ stream of assassins out tah kill me, I found forethought just led to pessimism. I make my goals vague—in ten years I hope tah still be alive and kickin’.

Obviously being with Celeste can make for an interesting day. How do you deal with her family members? And the upcoming wedding of your sister?
I absolutely adore bein’ around her family. They’re human, they’re real. I lost my own humanity a long time ago, but bein’ around them I’m remind of what it was like. As for the wedding of my sis to Celeste’s brotha, I couldn’t be happier. I thought my sis long since dead, now I get to walk her down the aisle. I wouldn’t miss that for the world.

Tell us why you love Celeste? And what about her irritates you the most.
I love her heart. That gal would walk through fire and storm the gates of hell for those she cares about for no other reason than it’s the right thing tah do. She amazes me. As to what irritates me … do ya think I’m nuts? She’s the Chosen One and packs quite a wallop. No way am I sayin’ something that will land me on her bad side

What would you like to change about yourself? And Celeste?
I’d take the demonic bullseye off both our backs. Let us settle into normalcy for a tic.
Saving the world cannot be an easy job.

What additional power do you think you could do with to make it less of a struggle?
I’d love me pal Rowan’s mind control ability. All he has to do is look at a bloke and they turn into his little puppets. Fighting would be considerably easier if ya could just stare at yer opponent and convince them tah take a nap instead.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Follow Me - Knowing what we didn't know

It is our last of day of testing. The first set of tests went very well, and everyone was smiling afterwards. Today we are finishing with the second set of tests and while we knew that we were going to have a problem, we have now learnt what the problem actually is.
Knowing what the problem is, and not what we thought it would be, is a good place to start to make any modifications to correct it.
We will do a modification here to see if we are on the right track in terms of what we need to do, but the final changes can only be made once we are back at work.
To say that the week has been successful - we can definitely reply in the affirmative.
A little later today we will reassemble all the plates we had to remove to allow the high-speed cameras access to the areas we are interested in. A final inspection will be done to declare the Badger safe to travel before we start our journey home tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Follow Me - When Things are Worthwhile

I dropped my lovely Samsung S3 from the top of the Badger and it fell itself to death on the rocks below. We are quite far away from any place that could replace or repair it here at the test facility, in the Northern Cape, making that option impossible.
For many people that could spell disaster at a test such as this one, but I am fortunate that the other members of my team are willing to help out and make calls on my behalf where necessary. We sorted out some ammunition that we needed (thank you, Derek) and some technical adjustments to the system we are testing (thank you, Derek and Nico). And these are only for the phone calls that I couldn't make.
The rest of the team are pulling their weight (Noel, Tienie, Paul and our youngest member Charl) during the firing. In the meantime Jors, André and Jeff are gathering the data that we need for the evaluations after the tests. Tomorrow it is Kassie's turn for directing the data we need to capture for the final section of the first part of our tests.
Some of the team are leaving soon, while more are flying in tonight and tomorrow for the second phase of our tests.
It wasn't a simple task to plan and schedule everyone in and out, since the facility is fairly isolated. That isolation also required tools and equipment that had to make the trip too, and my logistic right hand, Neville and our truck driver, Sam, did a sterling job on that score.
Yet, all those headaches are nothing when I see the smiles on the guys' faces at the end of the day. All those meetings and technical preparations beforehand were worth it as we are making terrific progress towards the results we are ultimately aiming for.
The only sad thing - I cannot post the pictures that I had taken of the guys, they are on my phone :(

Monday, 8 April 2013

Follow Me - Meeting People on the Road

We had arrived at our destination yesterday, and along the way we had met quite a number of people to whom we showed our vehicle. Children of all ages, one could say, judging by the enthusiasm with which we had been peppered with questions. It is times likes these that those of us who work with the system on a daily basis, can stand back and appreciate our efforts from the perspective of the public. Yes, people like to kick the tyres, and want to know how heavy it is, and want to take a peek inside. Since climbing inside was not allowed, made more difficult with all the measuring equipment that had been installed, it is still interesting to watch everyone's faces when they looked at the inside.
You might want to know if we like our Badger? Yes, we do. We might have some challenges still ahead, but this test is one many of us have been waiting for.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Follow Me - Travelling Day 1

Travelling in a convoy with a vehicle that is not your average sized car, can be a bit challenging. It is larger, wider and much heavier than most people believe.
As such we travel on roads that are easier to negotiate, for all the vehicles in the convoy.

We stopped in Bloemfontein to have a break and as usual drew a crowd of interested and curious fellow South Africans. I love watching their faces, especially the kids when they see our Badger for the first time.

We are not yet done with our travelling for today, so come back to see where we are staying over on route to our destination.

Follow me - Off we go!

With the long road ahead of us, we had made an early start. At this time of year the sun rises after 6am, but we needed to be on our our way before then.
So our little convoy left our workplace before dawn and now we are making our way towards the test facility.
Since I am not planning the route, I can't and am not allowed :) to tell you how we are going to get there.
If you however spot us on the way - and trust me it would be very hard to miss us - wave hello, or say come and say hi if we had stopped for a break.
The rest of the team are flying out later, but someone has to get the ball rolling!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Follow Me - What am I going to do?

This week I am going to travel through a part of South Africa for work, and it would be great if you could join me and meet some of the terrific guys I work with on a daily basis. Yes, you guessed it - I am not a writer by profession. I am a project manager and this week the product that I am responsible for is going on a firing trial.
For those of you not familiar with the term “firing trial” I will explain. I work in the military industry and in South Africa, Denel Land Systems  is busy developing a new generation of infantry fighting vehicles for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF for short).
My team and I are responsible for the Mortar Variant system, and we are taking our system out for a test. And while I have not been granted permission to post any photographs of the tests, there are public domain sites where you can see what the Badger (as it is called) looks like. The photographs in the links are for the Section Variant, that look very similar to the Mortar Variant.
So join me for a week away from the office, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Follow Me - I am going places!

The map of South Africa you see here, is actually a postcard designed by a company called Synergy Graphics as part of (c) Paper Trail Memories that you can send to friends and family telling them about your adventures when visiting my beautiful country.

What I wanted to do was to mail - yes, the real slow kind - these postcards to people to take part in a ‘Follow Me’-tour that I will be taking in a few days’ time. Problem was, the time when I needed to mail these (and I bought all the stock the shop had) the South African Post Office went on strike, and it would have been an exercise of ginormously futile proportions. So the e-trail memory card, or is it the trail memory e-card(?), was born.

If you still want a real postcard though, let me know and I will snail mail you one of these beauties with pleasure - I will even write you a letter on it.

Or you can print a map of your own country, state, province or city and mail it to me at the end of this tour.

If paper is no longer your pleasure, don’t despair, just hang around here during the next few days, things are bound to get real interesting!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Blooming Love Blog Hop 1-15 April

Thank you for visiting the Broomstick. To show my appreciation I am giving away one of my short stories, called PERFECT. Please use the code MA79D and download yourself a copy from Smashwords. You also post a review for it on Goodreads or cast your vote in the sci-fi/fantasy category here.

Leave a comment to say hi,...and then hop onto the next blog taking part. But keep in touch by following and you will be surprised at the happenings at the Broomstick in April!
Enjoy the story!

And to hop along ....