Book Review: Kilty as Charged by Amy Vansant

I love the Outlander series as much as the next gal, so when I heard Amy Vansant wrote about a time-traveling highlander I felt compelled to read this book. Having read all her other novels I trusted her wicked humor would guarantee a lot of laughs and, indeed, this book did not disappoint. The romance was tantalizing enough to keep me turning the pages and the fantasy elements were delightful as is always the case with Vansant’s stories but, once again, I enjoyed the humor more than anything else. This is where this author truly excels and stands out! The protagonist’s Scottish accent had me giggling throughout – so spot on – and I felt compelled to read his lines out loud just to enhance my enjoyment further. His lack of understanding of vehicles and mobile phones had me howling in particular! A highly entertaining story you’ll want to read again and again! I highly recommend it!

 

My rating:

5-stars

A highly entertaining story you’ll want to read again and again!

 

Do you drool over muscly lads in fiction? Do you enjoy time-travel or humorous romance? Look no further! This book was written for you!

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Wonderful kindle deals… and puppies!

Good morning, peeps! Thrilled to announce huge discounts on two my novels today, one of them 100%! And, of course, The Ebb continues to await for you to experience Corfu firsthand for only $0.99.

Below you will find the details of my offers as well as a couple more from terrific authors I highly recommend for your reading pleasure. Get clicking, peeps! And make sure to scroll all the way down to see some cute puppies! No kidding 🙂

 

“A stunning masterpiece . . . so well-written that I couldn’t put it down.”
~Readers’ Favorite

“A rare gem.” ~Fantasy & Scifi Network

Siblings Phevos and Daphne are sent from ancient Greece to 21st-century Athens by their mysterious father without any explanation. Phevos falls in love with a local girl who proves to be anything but a random stranger. Shocking revelations lead the youngsters to new discoveries as an Olympian God offers magical artifacts to help them reunite with their lost parents. Now, they are ensnared in a war between two gods. Can they uncover their long-forgotten family secrets and fulfill their destinies?

FREE!  VISIT AMAZON

 

 

“A thoroughly enjoyable light read, full of magic, that will make you want to travel to Greece and will leave you with a smile on your face.” ~OLGA NM, Amazon reviewer

When Katie loses her office job, a gypsy woman hands her an amulet for good luck. Next, she gets hired as hotel receptionist on a Greek island where gorgeous Aggelos, one of the guests, keeps saving the day whenever she needs help. Katie is intrigued by him and the mysteries surrounding him, and falls in love, unaware that he is a guardian angel that came with the amulet…

$0.99 – USA STORE OFFER  VISIT AMAZON

 

 

CORFU, 1987: During her summer holidays, Sofia Aspioti meets Danny Markson, a charming flirt who makes her laugh. Although she’s worried about village gossip, she falls desperately in love. That’s when strange dreams about a woman dressed in black begin to haunt her. Who is this grieving woman, and how is her lament related to Sofia’s feelings for Danny?

BRIGHTON, 1937: Dreaming of wealth and happiness, Laura Mayfield arrives in Brighton to pursue a new life. She falls for Christian Searle, a young worker at the theatre, but when she’s offered a chance to perform there, Charles Willard, a wealthy aristocrat, starts to pursue her relentlessly. Will Laura choose love… or money?

$0.99  VISIT AMAZON

 

 

Seven unforgettable romances! Seven hot heroes! These emotionally satiating, tales of contemporary love stories will brighten your day, warm your heart, and quench your desire for happy ever after. From merry-go-round passion, to a beautiful Chilean earthquake survivor, an aristocrat coming to visit or that excruciating puppy love everyone endures – this collection has it all. Unforgettable romances with hunky men who might just live next door. Fantasy satisfaction – Guaranteed!

$0.99  VISIT AMAZON

 

 

 

Thirty-nine-year-old struggling actress Alaina Ackerman isn’t just down on her luck today; lady luck has packed up and left town for heaven only knows where. Instead of ending up homeless on the streets of New York City in November, Alaina accepts her mother’s holiday invitation and heads home to Pittsburgh for a much-needed break. That’s when she meets Markus Klein again… the man it took her twenty years to forget. Her mother and sister are keeping a secret from her and now she lands a leading role that could jeopardize her chance at love…

$0.99   Preorder now on Amazon and start reading on March 28!

 

 

Fabulous space opera!

When the evil Obsidian Empire delivers a deathblow against the Star Alliance, fighter pilot Lieutenant Chase Athanatos leads a band of scattered survivors to the farthest reaches of the known universe, to a little planet called Earth. But Earth is in trouble. The Obsidian Empire is hot on their trail, and unless they find a way to stop them, what’s left of the Alliance and the entire planet are doomed to extinction…

FREE!  VISIT AMAZON

 

 

Do you love dragons? You will find Farloft irresistible.

What would you do if you were adopted by a dragon? When ten-year-old orphan James nearly drowns in a bog, he finds himself rescued by Farloft, a centuries old dragon with a glittering collection of treasures and an even richer collection of stories. But, dragons and boys are not meant to live together – or are they? When a wizard who harbores a secret hatred for Farloft finds out about James, he sees his chance for revenge…

FREE!   VISIT AMAZON

 

This cute image of Farloft reminds me I should strut away now in a similarly fashion for a well-deserved walk in the sunshine. Also, a stray doggie had no less than 9 puppies in an olive grove near home and she expects me to deliver lunch daily at this hour. Here are pics of her and the kiddies!

The stray has been taken under the wing of a kindly neighbor and he’s the one who’s taken me to see her, otherwise I’d never have spotted her. Would you believe the dog dug a pit under that olive tree to keep the babies? (You can almost see it on the first photo of the second line). It’s the perfect hiding place and the babies stayed dry even through the torrential rains we recently had. The neighbor and I hope to find homes for all the puppies, but it’s early still. They’re about 3 weeks old at the moment.

Anyway, Mommy awaits! Enjoy your day and make sure to grab these offers before they expire, which is very soon!

 

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Planning to visit Greece? Check out our insider’s guide to Corfu! For delicious Greek recipes, go here. Join Team Effrosyni to read her new books for free & to enter exclusive giveaways! Are you an author? Check out our FREE promo tips & resources here.

 

Interview with actor and filmmaker Tom Malloy

Wu-hoo! I’m so excited today. My guest has just come in sprinkling Hollywood fairy dust all over the place and is bringing insights and heaps of inspiration for all you struggling entrepreneurs out there – indie authors and filmmakers included. Stick around to hear all about the awesome man I have before me today. But first, let me tell you how I was introduced to Tom Malloy:

Back in 2013 I watched a movie on TV called ‘Love N Dancing’. I still don’t know exactly why it spoke to my heart so much – perhaps because I love to dance, perhaps because I was down at that time in my life and needed a boost of positivity. And this deliciously sweet, uplifting movie certainly did the job. Next thing I knew I was on Facebook chatting with Tom Malloy – lead actor, writer and producer of the movie. A couple of weeks later, good to his promise after my request, Tom mailed me a signed autograph and even a signed poster of the movie. I was ecstatic. Between then and now, having joined his newsletter and by exchanging the odd email with him, I grew to be a massive fan. Why? Other than being a wonderful actor and an ingenious entrepreneur, Tom is also dedicated to helping others fulfill their dreams. Intrigued? My chat with him below will tell you all about it!

 

Hi Tom and welcome to my blog!

Thank you, Effrosyni. It’s great to be here!

Tom, it is an absolute pleasure to have you here today! It’s not often that entrepreneurs of your caliber grace my humble blog. Other than being an actor, writer and West Coast Swing dancing instructor, you also run a film production company and, a year ago, founded a film distribution company too. How do you find the time for all that? And how do you manage to balance it all with your private life?

I’ve always had what I call “life energy,” which drives me forward and makes me want to do as much as I can while I’m blessed to be here on this earth!  I’m the kind of guy who can go out to a film party and socialize and be sleeping by 3am, then I’m up by 6:30am, already checking emails and working. 

Did you always know you wanted to be an actor? And did you do any other jobs before the film industry won you over?

From the time I could remember!  Always.  For me, there was no other job.  I did take jobs as a computer expert, because I always had a knack for computers (and still do!), so I would fall into those jobs to pay the bills before the film business stared clicking!

I feel compelled to squeeze in here a question about one of my favorite movies – your 2009 production, Love N’ Dancing – a movie that oozes joie de vivre… Your character, Jake, is a deaf dance instructor who feels he’s got too old to ever win another championship plus his ex-fiancé has broken his heart. And yet, to other people he always seems upbeat. Same goes for the female lead, Jessica, played by the adorable Amy Smart, who tries to endure a selfish and aloof fiancé (played delightfully by Billy Zane) until love and dancing comes into her life to make her genuinely happy. What inspired you to write this original, sweet story of two people who kept their spirits up and refused to settle for less? And how easy did you find the wonderful dance routines you had to learn for the part?

The first time I saw West Coast Swing was in 2001.  I had started taking ballroom dance lessons for about 2 years and I was starting to get good.  Then I saw West Coast swing at a competition, and I was blown away.  I knew that was the only dance I wanted to do, and I took lessons for 6-8 years after.  That first night, I saw a deaf dancer win first place when no one thought he should.  That became the basis for the story!  As for the love part, yes, I wanted to make it as realistic as possible, not making people into stereotypes (could have easily made Billy’s character into a complete jerk), because I wanted to show how life really is!

You had a delightful scene with Betty White in this movie. What was it like having a living legend on the set?

The highlight of my career so far!  She was like everyone’s grandmother.  A beautiful, incredible, and hysterical woman.

I bet she was, bless her! What are your latest or current movie projects?

 I have 4 projects coming up! One is called Hero of the Underworld, which was released in November 2016.  I won several Best Actor awards at film festivals for that film! The next is Fair Haven, which I produced, and played a supporting role in.  That comes to theatres in April, and on Showtime in June.  Then there are two films which don’t have release dates yet.  A drama called Shattered starring myself, Ray Wise, and Arianne Zucker, and #SCREAMERS, this incredible found-footage horror, which has twice been called the BEST found-footage movie of all time!

Ooh, awesome trailers! Among all your roles so far, which has been your favorite one and why?

Favorite has been #SCREAMERS… that’s the one where I really hit my stride and you can see it on the screen.  It’s so realistic.  Here’s a direct quote from a critic talking about my performance with one of my co-stars, Chris Bannow:

“The performances from Tom Malloy and Chris Bannow are unbelievable. We’re talking, genuinely unbelievable. Think I’m exaggerating? Think I’m a shill? For the first 20 minutes of the film I thought what I was watching an actual documentary, and I expected the film to take some strange but simple stalker kind of twist. Tom and I don’t drink beer and play poker every Saturday night. This is no exaggeration and I’m no shill: Malloy and Bannow look like certified A-class talent. They may not be household names at this point, but this is highly refined and wildly convincing work.” – Matt Molgaard, Addicted to Horror Movies.com

Sounds unmissable! Have you had any hilarious, weird or thrilling experiences during filming that you’d like to share – be it as an actor or producer?

When we were shooting Alphabet Killer (starring Eliza Dushku, myself, Tim Hutton, and Cary Elwes), one of our grip trucks hit a power wire on a telephone pole that sent a fireball flying, which blew up a car and knocked out power to the entire town!  The papers were reporting it that we “blew up the town of Spencerport!” 

Ouch! 😛 Tell us a little about life in California. Have you always lived there? What do you do for fun when going out? What places (or things to do) would you recommend to a first-time visitor that are off the tourist trail?

Fryman Canyon

Right now I live back and forth between NY and California.  I moved to LA about 8 years ago, and I found it to be the greatest city in the world… especially if you’re in the movie business.  Besides that, the weather is perfect 24/7.  I just love every aspect of the city. 

If you’re new and visiting, you should do a hike… that’s something that someone would not tell you to do but really there’s no better way to see the beauties of living in Los Angeles than hiking Fryman Canyon or Runyon Canyon.  Then, I’d recommend checking out the Getty Center or Griffith Observatory.

Tell us about your non-fiction book “Bankroll: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films.” It is considered the “gold standard” of indie film financing instruction. You must be very proud to know you have helped so many people finance their own movies. Do you plan to write any more books on this subject or another?

Yes, that’s a great feeling!  One time at Sundance, twelve separate people came up to me and told me that they loved my book, and one girl told me her film was there in the fest thanks to the book!  It’s really great to know I’ve helped filmmakers… still get about an email a week (it used to be five or six) from someone saying how much I helped them!

Right now I’m completing a graphic novel (I did the writing, and it’s being illustrated), that will be out at the end of the year.  It’s a female-vigilante story, and it’s AWESOME.

Wonderful! Can’t wait to read it! Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?

Pictured from left are actors Tom Malloy, Ken Davitian (Borat), and Vince Lozano (Pirates of the Caribbean)

I absolutely LOVE to play poker!  My favorite pastime.  Second to that is Jiu-Jitsu, which I try to do 3 times a week, but my body is getting older and doesn’t recover as quickly!

 

Tom with jiu-jitsu champion Chad Robichaux

Who are your favorite actors/actresses, and what do you love about them?

The one actor I’ve always looked up to is Marlon Brando, because he was such a trailblazer in the acting world.  Every performance he does is so raw and REAL.  I’m not sure how he did it, and I’m not sure he knew how he did it!  So my acting life has been a search to try to recreate some of that magic.

You have been quoted for saying: “Everyone gets butterflies in their stomach… the pros can make them fly in formation. Mine can put on an airshow.” It must be wonderful to have such confidence! Authors are often expected to be confident public speakers but in reality so many of us are terrified by the very idea. What advice do you have for authors facing this problem? Any little tricks that might help?

With anything, you have to understand that experience is what it takes.  Just DO it.  Truly.  The more you do it, the more you get better at it.  People love to believe in overnight successes, but the truth is the truly successful are filled with grit and perseverance, and never give up!  Just because you may have fear, you can never let that stop you… do it anyway!  Sooner or later, the experience overtakes the fear, and you’ll be running on autopilot.

What types of movies do you enjoy watching mostly? Name three favorites and tell us what you love about them.

I love the classics.  I’m a sucker for old Hollywood.  I love Casablanca because it’s just a perfect movie, every aspect of it.  Also, On the Waterfront, because it changed acting.  And All About Eve, another perfect old-Hollywood movie.  I highly recommend people try to find screenings of these movies in theatres… the way they were meant to be seen.  Makes such a difference!

This is predominantly a book blog so I have to ask: Are you a reader of fiction and if so, do you have any favorite genres or authors?

I’m a HUGE reader.  I devour books.  I just finished The Dry by Jane Harper.  GREAT read.  I’m a giant Elmore Leonard fan… I think he was the master of the crime thriller… possibly the best US writer.  Also, I love Larry McMurtry.

What types of roles do you love taking on the most? Which ones present the greatest challenge?

It’s really not the role as much as the overall script.  I get so excited when the script is great (which is extremely rare), then I try to bring my A-game and give the best performance I can, 100% of the time.

Do you have any pets?

Not anymore… was always too tough because I live in a freakin’ plane most of the time!  Doing 100k+ Miles a year. 

Oh wow! That must be hard… If you could have one superpower what would it be? To be able to fly without needing planes, I am guessing? That would save you some time, wouldn’t it?

(*laughs*) Yeah, definitely! But actually… I’d love to have Green Lantern’s ring.  Hell, I’d love to play Hal Jordan when they remake the Green Lantern movie the right way!  But his ring runs on willpower, and I have that in spades.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in life the hard way?

A lesson from my father: Always leave yourself room to maneuver.  He initially told me this when I was driving, but he meant it for life.  Never back yourself into a corner mentally, emotionally, or physically.  There have been times where this has happened… the saying goes, “I put all my eggs in one basket,” and that has caused me trouble.  I rarely do that anymore… I always leave options.

Great advice! If you could choose another profession, what would that be?

I think I’d make a great politician… I’m honest, I work hard, and I’m great at speaking to crowds!

An honest politician? Isn’t that an oxymoron? (*giggles*) No, seriously, you’d be great at it! What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

Life is not a dress rehearsal.  This is the show, there is no warmup for the show.  You have one life to live, so you better live it.

What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?

Without question, my kids Ella (11), and Tyler (10)… they light up my life everyday.

Oh, and I can see why! They’re two little angels!

Thank you, Effrosyni.

How would you like to be remembered?

There was a 1980’s movie called FAME where the main song would say “I want to live forever.”  What they meant by that was if someone is famous, even after they die, people will remember them.  Bogart and Brando are just as alive today.  That’s my goal… I want to live forever!

And so you will, Tom. You’re certainly in the right profession for that. And I LOVE Fame – the movie! Back in the 80s I watched The Kids from Fame on TV every week as if my life depended on it! My favorite character was Leroy Johnson. Yours?

I think I loved them all!

Me too! Well, Tom, thank you so much for being here today. It’s been an honor; I wish you all the best for the future!

Thank you, Effrosyni. Best of luck to you too!

A critically acclaimed actor, Tom initially wowed Hollywood with his stunning turn in the indie-cult favorite GRAVESEND in 1998, which was produced by Oliver Stone.

Tom is currently starring with Comedian Scott Baker in the improv cop comedy MIDTOWN, which can be seen on Amazon, and Tuff TV.  Tom is also a graduate of the famous Improv Olympic (I.O.) Training Center in Los Angeles (former graduates include Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Steve Carrell).  As a Stand Up Comic, Tom has appeared at Caroline’s Comedy Club and the Broadway Comedy Club in NYC, and at the LA Improv.

In addition to his work as an actor and filmmaker, Tom is an accomplished author whose book BANKROLL: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films is widely considered the “gold standard” of indie film financing instruction. A second edition came out in 2012.

Tom has also competed and taught classes in the smooth, hip-hop dance style known as West Coast Swing. He was trained by seven time U.S. Open Champion Robert Royston.  He is also a professional poker player, and for two years was one of the highest-ranked celebrity players on MegaFrame Casino.                                                                 

Finally, Tom worked for 10 years as a nationally known motivational speaker for adults and kids. He traveled across the country spreading his positive message to students of all ages. Over the years, he has spoken to more than 100,000 students.

 

www.tommalloy.com

www.tommalloycomedy.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tommymalloy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tommalloyfans

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0540176

Tom’s indispensable resources for film makers:

The Film Finance Guide: www.filmfinanceguide.com

Movie Plan Pro: http://www.filmfinanceguide.com/movie-plan-pro/

 

MOVIE TRAILER FOR SHATTERED

 

MOVIE TRAILER FOR SCREAMERS **** NOT FOR THE FAINT- HEARTED! 😛

 

 

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Interview with Lukas Konandreas, author of Better Dead Than Divorced

Hello! Today, I am thrilled to share an author interview with Lukas Konandreas – a Greek doctor living in the USA who has published a real-life crime story from rural Greece in the 1950s. Back then, Lukas Konandreas’ father had a beloved cousin called Panayota. When he found out her violent and unfaithful husband planned to have her killed, he begged her to leave him, but she refused, not wanting to be stigmatized in the village as a ‘divorcee’. Choosing to live with the mortal danger instead, she stayed at home and eventually got murdered. The book tells a gruesome and riveting story of crime and punishment that provides food for thought and highlights the terrible social restraints women suffered in small village communities in the 1950s. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this true-life gem and will be reviewing it soon. For now, let’s meet Lukas and hear about the man himself and what drove him to tell this compelling story.

A romance. A forced marriage. A scandalous affair. A hit-man. A TRUE STORY.

“Better dead than divorced,” responds a young abused wife living in the confines of a traditional and isolated town… to those who urge her to divorce her controlling, manipulative husband.
A village dances, gunshots are heard; the town is divided. The court takes over.

Her cousin, a principled man, fights beyond his modest means to bring her husband, who has influence in the court system, to justice.

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The paperback is also available in Greek. VISIT AMAZON   US   UK

Hello Lukas and welcome to my blog!

Thank you for inviting me, Effrosyni.

What has inspired you to write Better Dead Than Divorced?

I was inspired by many true-to-life insights contained and exemplified mainly by Panayota. Though she was finally murdered for reasons hardly anybody would appreciate today, her dedication and love towards her husband signifies utter commitment and a tragically heroic act, known only in the tragedies of ancient Greece.

I was also inspired by two other people: Thanasis, my father, who persevered against all adversities and odds making sure justice finally prevailed, and Demosthenes Dapontes, the only juror who after nearly 8 hours of deliberations and likely pressures from the other 9 jurors, listened to his honor and conscience and dissented, thus giving the opportunity to justice to hold a second court.

It must feel like a huge accomplishment for you, to have told this harrowing family story so well and after such lengthy and difficult research…

Yes, it’s true. And I am very proud of the book, not just for the 8 national awards it’s won but also because of the wonderful feedback I receive from readers.

Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?

I am still practicing Medicine and of course I write. Playing some golf, taking care of my garden, flowers, orchard trees and swimming fill up, in fact overfill, my time.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters, or do any of them have traits you wish you had?

I see myself in my father whose tenacity and courage carried him to the end of the legal battle despite all odds. Also I wish I could have the opportunity to do what Demosthenes Dapontes did.

What genres do you read mostly, and what are you reading now?

History. True crime. Autobiography if I feel it is honest. Family stories with true-to-life insights. At present I am finishing “Excellent Daughters” by Katherine Zoepf.

Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?

By going to www.betterdeadthandivorced.com, you will first see a landscape of Greece and flashing key phrases describing the story. What follows is the front cover of “Better Dead Than Divorced,” some of the awards my book has won, blog posts with excerpts, my biography, some book reviews and finally photos with captions contained in the book.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?

To bring back the main characters in my story ( Panayota, Thanasis, Dapontes) and interview them OR as a compromise, have the two courts in my story in a video and watch them.

What do you think the qualifications of a good nonfiction author should be?

Sincerity. Patience. Intense research. Honesty. Determination to start the writing process. Also, the ability to ask people whose judgement you trust to critique the writing and express their honest opinion but manage to keep the final decision for yourself. More than anything, to write from the heart.

Your book “Better Dead Than Divorced” talks about the position of women many years ago. Yet similar conditions still exist in many parts of the world. Do you think the sacrifice of Panayota, the heroine in your story, could spark a “revolution” among these women?

I would prefer it to become an “Example” instead of a “Revolution.”  This is because the media today can create an example with the same effectiveness as a revolution. I have seen in my lifetime many people divorce almost because it was fashionable and for reasons that could have been resolved in the marriage. 

What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?

My good Health. My solid family. My success in my professional carreer. The fortune to live in the USA, land of opportunity.

How would you like to be remembered?

Optimistic, Resilient, a fearless achiever.

Have you brought any photos to show us today, Lukas?

Oh yes! I’ve brought four. The first one was taken in the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics. The other picture is of my wife and me taken last year.

Lovely! And oh – what do we have here? Cowboys!? I’m intrigued!

*Laughs* Here you can see my family enjoying horseback riding in Wyoming. The last one is of my two sons and me in Yellow Stone National Park USA at a country cook out. 

Great pictures and a lovely family! Thank you for sharing these, Lukas. And many thanks for this chat. It’s been wonderful to have you here today.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my work, Effrosyni. I really enjoyed myself!

Lukas Konandreas, M.D., one of four children, was born in Kupaki, a small mountain village in central Greece. He finished elementary school there and high school in Athens, Greece.

After graduating from the Medical School of the University of Athens, he migrated to Toronto, Canada, and from there he received medical training in Chicago and Fresno, CA. He practiced Emergency Medicine in Sacramento, CA for 6 years and from there he moved to Connecticut. There he started an Urgent Care Center, which he still directs.

He is married to Georgia, a Doctor of Psychology, and has two sons.

He published his first book, Better Dead Than Divorced, after spending over ten years exhaustively researching the source material. The book won the 2015 Bronze Nonfiction Book Award.

For more info, visit: http://www.betterdeadthandivorced.com/

A video about the book on Annita Pania’s Greek TV show on channel ‘E’ that includes an interview with Lukas Konandreas (Greek language):

 

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A scary Christmas and an angel message

Angel stories spirituality

Hello All and Happy New Year. After a major surgery and a scary month that I like to call The Athens Hospital Tour Under Christmas Lights, I am back and, this time, fixed for good. Mind you, I’ve never felt more broken than I feel at the moment.

For one, I am suitably shocked still, seeing that I nearly lost my life last month due to severe anemia from my perimenopausal menstrual problems. The doctors at Tzaneio Hospital in Pireas saved me literally in the last minute when I was rushed there one evening with hematocrit 15.5. As they set me down on the operating table for an emergency D&C, I overheard the surgeon say it was a miracle I was alive as it was. When I was brought round afterwards, I heard the nurses discuss how scared they were to see I’d gone ‘white like marble’ while I was under. These shocking words were etched in my brain for eternity, as you can imagine.

A month later, and after a total hysterectomy, I am home and recuperating slowly. Christmas has been a blur and, despite having planned to visit Athens to see the Christmas lights more than once, I wound up visiting only city  hospitals three times throughout the Holiday Season, twice in an ambulance. Through its back window, and as its siren screamed in my ears the second time, I saw the Christmas lights in Omonia Square and my heart sank. But I knew that day there would be better days and so it happened.

My physical ordeal (and mental angst) ended in exactly one month – from December 7 when I visited the hospital the first time until January 7 when I returned home after the hysterectomy.

But I’m thankful for this gruesome month. For one, it has caused quite a stir in me. You hear this in movies often, when someone escapes death and they say they feel like they’ve been given a second chance. This is exactly what this feels like to me. I remember the first time I left the hospital, right after the D&C and the blood transfusions. It was sunny that morning. I felt the warm sunlight on my face and it felt like a caress from God Himself.

As gooey as this may sound, it felt like the sunlight was giving me strength, welcoming me back to life. And since that day, I still can’t help thinking that every day is a gift now. And do you know what’s really scary? The fact that I’d never realized my continuous bouts of iron deficiency anemia involved a mortal risk. My doctors and many older females in my social circle had advised me to just be patient; to take my iron tablets and hope the ordeal will end earlier rather than later. I imagine many women must have done the same and maybe lost their lives, unaware of the risk involved just as I was. But I was lucky. Had I not decided to call a microbiologist to come home that day and check my blood, I’d never have known my hematocrit had dropped to 16 from 37 in just 5 days. Had it not been for her to alert my family to call an ambulance I would have passed away that evening in my bed, thinking it was just another hit of anemia that was causing the migraines, the weakness, and the scary palpitations.

If you’re a woman nearing 50 and battling with excessively heavy menstruations and anemia, please, do not sit patiently and suffer it. Seek help now. Take drastic measures. The doctors I’d been seeing never alerted me to the mortal danger involved. I pray yours will and that my experience will serve to help you one day to fix yourself in your own good time.

Angel stories spirituality

It is not often that I choose to share publicly harrowing experiences of my life. But I made an exception today for two reasons. The first was to warn other women, as I just have. The second was to share, for those among you who believe in angels, a third angel message I received while in hospital before the op.

In my previous post, About Hardship, Angels, and my New Book, I shared two angel messages that were given to me in my tiny office at home. Both messages came just before a major hardship hit my life and they gave me the strength I needed to endure. In a way, it felt like my angels (whom I’ve always felt by my side) said to me, ‘You are not alone. We are here to see you through.’

The third message came in my hospital room and this time I even had a witness. My husband, Andy, was there and he was shocked to see what happened. It was the first day, one day before the op. After sitting around the room for a while waiting for instructions and to get my blood checked, I decided to sit on the bed. As soon as I did, a man walked in whom I knew from my first stay in the hospital. The kindly man rents out flat TVs to the patients for a small fee. After I accepted his offer for one, he left a Post-It-Note-sized piece of paper that advertises his service on top of the a/c temperature control on the wall by my bed and left the room, promising to return soon with the TV.

About thirty seconds later, and while my husband was standing talking to me from the foot of the bed, the note the man had left flew off the a/c temperature control, floated in the air away from the wall and landed on the bed beside me, its blank side up. I remember vividly following it with my eyes as it approached the bed, then landed; it flew ever so slowly as if hanging in mid-air, taking its time. Here I must explain that there was no open window, hence no draft, and that the bed was not near the wall. The distance between them allows a large bedside table to fit in comfortably, so the natural thing would have been for the paper to land on the floor instead.

After both my husband and I had gasped for air, staring at the piece of paper that had landed by me smoothly as if brought there by an invisible hand, my husband said breathlessly: ‘It’s from your angels, isn’t it’?

I only nodded, as I was choking by then, full of trepidation for what awaited me the next day.

Angel stories spirituality

And with that, I will leave you here, wishing you health and joy this new year and always. Personally, I intend to make 2017 the best year I’ve had in a long time. My happiest thought right now involves the summer swims in store for me, both in Corfu and in my little seaside town. Daily. Without another scary pause. Ever again. Month in. Month out. Freedom from this self-induced prison and fun times at last. Again, if you are going through this too, I beg you – don’t suffer it. Do something about it today.

There is a silver lining to every cloud. There is always a rainbow after a rainfall.

God bless you all and thank you for reading. If you’ve been through a similar situation, had a hysterectomy, or have an angel story/message to share, please add a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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12 of 12: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

Wuhoo! Thrilled to present Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky – the 12th book up for grabs, which means I’ve now presented you all the tantalizing festive reads you could be reading for FREE this Christmas! The giveaway ends soon so hurry and enter! Instructions at the bottom of the post. Good luck to you!

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas.

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away. So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again. But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

‘I cherished every single page of this book… Holly whisks you away to this magical place that had me craving all things Christmas.’ Star Crossed Reviews

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Holly lives in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. She has worked as a hotel receptionist, bank clerk and schoolteacher. Nowadays, she writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 6 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.

Visit her blog at https://hollymartinwriter.wordpress.com/

 

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How would you like a chance to read this book for FREE? Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin is up for grabs in Effrosyni’s 12-kindle book Christmas giveaway.

Join Team Effrosyni today to receive the exclusive giveaway link on your screen within seconds! The giveaway closes on December 19 and only team members get to enter. 28 winners will be picked and it’s all FREE! Join the fun now!

8 of 12: Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

Without further ado, here’s the 8th of 12 kindles up for grabs in the giveaway. The entries keep rolling in and it’ll close soon. Hurry and sign up – instructions at the bottom of this post! You could win this gem:

A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be…

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

‘This is sooo much more than a festive read…a powerful and emotional story that will stay with me for a very long time to come …simply stunning!’ By the Letter Book Reviews

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Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in Staffordshire with her husband, four kids, horses, chickens and a mad cocker spaniel. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now an Amazon #1 bestseller in the UK and USA.

Christie loves to hear from her readers; you can get in touch via her website www.christiebarlow.com Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author

 

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How would you like a chance to read this book for FREE? Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow is up for grabs in Effrosyni’s 12-kindle book Christmas giveaway.

Join Team Effrosyni today to receive the exclusive giveaway link on your screen within seconds! The giveaway closes on December 19 and only team members get to enter. 28 winners will be picked and it’s all FREE! Join the fun now!

6 of 12: Marry Me Tomorrow by Carla Burgess

Here’s the 6th of 12 Christmas kindles up for grabs in the open giveaway. Hope you’re getting the Christmas spirit by now, I know I am! See instructions at the bottom of the post on how to enter. Hurry – the giveaway closes in less than a week!

‘Perfect for the holiday season!’ – Books Are Here For You

Twelve days. Two gold rings. One BIG secret…

Emily needs a husband…fast. It’s just a few days until Christmas and to finally put a stop to her nagging mother’s matchmaking plans, Emily has convinced her that she’s already married!

And when her excited mum announces that she’s coming to stay, Emily can think of only one man to play the part: gorgeous ex-soldier, Sam. It’s the best part of her day, handing him a coffee every morning – but then, Emily never expected to offer him her hand in marriage, too…

All that’s left is for Sam to say ‘I do’ – it’s the perfect plan! So why then, do her ‘pretend’ feelings for Sam seem far too real?

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Carla Burgess was born in Solihull and now lives in Chester, UK, with her husband, three children, dog and bearded dragon. She has a degree in English Literature and Psychology and started her working life as an editor on a trade journal.

 

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How would you like a chance to read this book for FREE? Marry Me Tomorrow by Carla Burgess is up for grabs in Effrosyni’s 12-kindle book Christmas giveaway.

Join Team Effrosyni today to receive the exclusive giveaway link on your screen within seconds! The giveaway closes on December 19 and only team members get to enter. 28 winners will be picked and it’s all FREE! Join the fun now!

3 of 12: Snow Pup by Mimi Barbour

Hi! I know I promised you a full week of Christmas book posts last week but life had other plans for me and I wound up in hospital! It’s a dreary story though and certainly not fit for a Christmas book post. I am feeling better already and, being committed to deliver my promises as always, you can now expect two posts a day throughout this week so I can make up for lost time. The giveaway ends on December 19. See the bottom of the post for directions to enter. Snow Pup by Mimi Barbour is another of the books up for grabs. Check it out!

In this delightful Christmas love story, Deputy Shawna Mallory finds Billy McCrae – a runaway boy sleeping in a mound of snow with an anxious puppy guarding him. He’s a sad child surviving a terrible existence until she puts a stop to it and becomes his foster parent. She’s drawn to the snarky kid and just wants his life to be happier, his and the stray mutt who won’t leave his side. Not that the boy cares about the dog… or her. Then she meets his father, the one who abandoned the boy when he was five.

John Reid McCrae wants only one thing in his life to make it worth living. Years ago he’d lost his son to a bitter wife and now his goal is to get Billy back. He’ll do whatever it takes, no matter who gets hurt. Until he meets the town’s stunning deputy. Can he put his needs ahead of her happiness?

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New York Times, USA Today, Best-selling author – Mimi’s been heard to say: “I’m an author who loves to write uplifting stories about romance. Add in some time travel, or maybe an angel, or even a little romantic suspense and it makes the story more fascinating because of the incredible possibilities.”

Mimi is an Amazon best-selling author who’s sold over 500,000 copies of her books world-wide. Her five romance series: The Vicarage Bench/ time travel at its best, Angels with Attitudes / angels love romance, Vegas / fast-paced plotting, Elvis / make a song a book and her newest, Undercover FBI / with sizzling conflicts and lots of humor.

Visit her blogs: http://mimibarbour.blogspot.com  &  http://Authorsbillboard.com

 

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How would you like a chance to read this book for FREE? Snow Pup by Mimi Barbour is up for grabs in Effrosyni’s 12-kindle book Christmas giveaway.

Join Team Effrosyni today to receive the exclusive giveaway link on your screen within seconds! The giveaway closes on December 19 and only team members get to enter. 28 winners will be picked and it’s all FREE! Join the fun now!

2 of 12: All I Want for Christmas by Jenny Hale

Hi folks! I am back today for a full week of blogging to introduce you to yet more of the 12 kindle stories up for grabs in my new giveaway. See how you can enter at the bottom of this post. Feast your eyes at my pick for today:

all-i-want-for-christmas-kindle

All I Want for Christmas is a big, cozy Christmas story about the importance of family, the strength of childhood friendships, and learning to trust your heart.

Christmas comes once a year . . . But true love comes once in a lifetime.

Snowflakes are falling, there’s carol-singing on every corner, and Leah Evans is preparing for a family Christmas at her grandmother’s majestic plantation house in Virginia. It won’t be the same now that her beloved Nan is gone, but when Leah discovers she has inherited the mansion, she knows she can give her daughter Sadie the childhood of her dreams.

But there’s a catch. Leah must split the house with a man called David Forester. Leah hasn’t heard that name in a long time. Not since they were kids, when Davey was always there to catch her. Now David is all grown up. He’s gorgeous, successful, and certain of one thing: Leah should sell him her half of the house. They can’t agree, but as they share memories over wine by the log fire, Leah notices a fluttering in her stomach. And by the look in his eyes, he’s starting to feel it too.

Will it be Leah or David who must give up their dreams? Or, with a little bit of Christmas magic, will they finally understand Nan’s advice to them both about living life without regrets … and take a chance on true love?

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A short bio of Jenny Hale

jennyhale

When I graduated college, one of my friends said, “Look out for this one; she’s going to be an author one day.” Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn’t until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to me. Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can’t. While I didn’t start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, I completed a novel that I felt was worthy of publication. The result is Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about friends, family, and the magic of love at Christmas. The rest is history. When I’m not writing, I’m a mother of two boys and a wife to a very supportive husband.

 

Check out my interview with Jenny Hale on this blog!

 

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How would you like a chance to read this book for FREE? All I Want for Christmas by Jenny Hale is up for grabs in Effrosyni’s 12-kindle book Christmas giveaway.

Join Team Effrosyni today to receive the exclusive giveaway link on your screen within seconds ! The giveaway closes on December 19 and only team members get to enter. 28 winners will be picked and it’s all FREE! Join the fun now!