Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year-- New Opportunities

With the new year, we have another splendid opportunity to embrace new beginnings, whether rooted in new goals, or the rekindling of old goals which we never fully answered to. The significance/practice of "'doing it until it works' - working at it…working at it…until nothing short of success is enjoyed" can be a powerful notion, if we choose to make it real. This dynamic of this outlook is inclusive of a deep awareness of the importance of becoming more and more skilled in the things that we do in life - most particularly the healthful things which beneficially contribute to our quality of life. We CAN chose to lovingly embrace the notion of life being a highly-evolved art form: We CAN endeavor to selflessly outgrow our desire for excuses, blame, and complaint. Yes, this IS difficult stuff, but we CAN take ownership of this healthful philosophy, realizing it often takes True Effort to succeed...to outgrow bad habits (making unhealthful practices less and less necessary). It is True Health through True Responsibility.
At a most difficult level of True Effort, True Forgiveness of ourselves and others can manifest into reality: We can alleviate ourselves of this terrible weight. In all, it is congruent with our True Responsibility of making the world a better place. In taking the logic a bit further, we can realize that, among our greatest of responsibilities, we CAN enjoy the dire insight that we have no excuse but to be justly supportive of others - and how we can unselfishly and splendidly benefit from this practice. It is allowing ourselves True Freedom in enjoying life's ultimate gifts.

Too often we say we want to do something or accomplish something - until we discover how difficult it is. We realize that the journey toward the goal or objective is not enough fun - is too complicated - too nasty - too trying. We so often refuse to enjoy the miracle of the journey toward the goal - we focus our eye only on the reward - being unwilling to appreciate and objectively witness the 'big picture.' We are all capable of looking at this same issue through a more healthful lens: What a wonderful gift we can allow ourselves if we work toward a goal while displaying True Appreciation of the Miracle of the Moment… each moment of the journey. This is impossible all of the time - albeit recognition of the significance of this practice is a key aspect of a True Effort which cannot be separated from a healthful means of trying and achieving. It requires us to learn to better and better embrace our comfort and discomfort equally, lightening our loads of distastes, distastes which are often rooted in circumstances which we do not even recall. Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) made this point: "We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them."
According to the philosophy defined herein, a significant level of True Health clearly reflects the healthful practice of employing True Effort - and real and substantive True Effort cannot be realized unless such action is in distinct congruence with 'doing the right thing for the right sake,' e.g., the 'right sake' being 'without the need for selfish recognition.' Herein, so-to-speak, our 'load is lightened,' fostering less and less stress and anxiety - making True Effort possible and actually enjoyable when we realize a lightness of being, not bogged-down by selfish and/or emotional baggage …a wonderful, abundant level of healthful true self-efficacy. In looking at the issue in full circle, doing the right thing for the right sake, unto itself, when contrasted with other healthful objectives which we might attempt, is among the most difficult - requiring an amazing amount of effort. Albeit, nothing will better enforce substantive realization of comprehensive and genuine health and wellness.
If we wish to take True Responsibility for our own health and wellbeing, then it may be possible that we can learn to mindfully and objectively witness and make real the notion that life should be the highest of art forms: The more and more selfless one becomes in creating one's art form, the more and more beautiful and healthful the art, the artist becomes. It is learning to Play the Part of the Perfect Witness - to oneself and the world in which we are an integral part. It is an outlook which is unblemished and light. It is True Honesty…learning to prefer to not be weighted-down by desire of recognition for one's good work/effort. It is a significant key to unlocking the door to True Health.
When making healthful positive changes in one's life, it is of great importance to be truly appreciative of the miracle of being able to do so. This is a gift made real by our own efforts and by the efforts of others. True Health is being a loving witness to the process and knowing not to be afraid of the notion that there is always room for improvement (which may be among our greatest blessings on this Earth).

It is amazing what we as human beings can accomplish when we do not give up. Notwithstanding, we often display little faith in the obvious potential benefits of making healthful changes in our lives. We have the strength and wherewithal to succeed in any goal we set for ourselves, if we are willing to 'do it until works,' never giving up. It won't ever work otherwise. This New Year can be special, it CAN be different, if take true responsibility and make it so. What a beautiful blessing! What a beautiful gift we can allow ourselves. The below saying speaks well to this point:
The Lotus Flower Blossoms (as set forth in Chapter XV of my new book):
There is a place where, wherever you are there, whatever you are doing…no matter what, in any given moment, there should be nowhere you would rather be. It is where you are right now - and you have the ability to so deeply and artfully appreciate your life and its living…to connect one healthful insight to the next, and make them all one…learning to witness this already-existing truth.
In the wilderness of our existence…a place of budding flowers about, about to unwrap in a showing of perfect appreciation for all to thrive upon, we are the flowers which can blossom again and again in each season of our deeper and deeper insights…all connected…each better and more healthful than before.
It is not unlike Heaven…and it can become Heaven, with enough insight and appreciation. It takes quite a few sparks, glimpses - spine-tingling moments…as a way-of-life which becomes more and more purposeful…more and more without time or space or distance. More and more there is less and less to hide behind.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Poems

This week I published a selection of my poems in an illustrated edition and can be bought at Lulu.com on the following address:
The first poem is from 1975, the last from 2012 and are all published before on my blog page. Some of them won prizes; like the “Keerberg Poezieprijs” ( Belgium ), “Antwerpen 2000” ( Belgium) and the “Black Bird” ( Milwaukee US)
All poems are original in Dutch and translated into English by myself. The illustrations are the originals, especially and digital developed for these poems while I still lived in Spain , between 2006 and 2011
I hope you can appreciate this. I made the book because a lot of people asked me to and the prize is the lowest I could agree with Lulu.com. It is a full color edition and carefully selected, why it was a lot of work putting the bundle together as I wanted it to become: a work of art as is!
Vriendelijke groeten
Sincerely
Joachim

Thursday, December 27, 2012

True Joy Can Be Found in the Midst of Challenges




My brother-in-law's funeral service is this morning, and I am visiting my parents in Colorado. John stayed behind to be with his family. As much as death is a part of life, we are never prepared for someone's passing. John's brother's death is a loss shared by all of us.

I'm glad that I'm able to enjoy these next couple of weeks with my mom and dad. Their house is very peaceful, and I have a chance to relax, reflect and spend time with my parents. It's been a harrowing past couple of years and I feel like things are just beginning to settle down. I always chant for John's happiness and to be able to challenge my own weaknesses. I found a wonderful quote in Daisaku Ikeda's "The Vow of the Ikeda Kayo-kai: Encouragement For Young Women" book:

True joy can be found in the midst of challenges. Problems can help us grow. Strong opponents can make us stronger. It is just as Nichiren says when he writes, "It is not one's allies but one's powerful enemies who assist one's progress" (WND-1, 770).

Often we think that we need to be surrounded by warm, loving and positive people, whether they be family members, friends, neighbors or colleagues. When we are not, we are unhappy. This has been my experience for many years, only the powerful enemies in my life took the form of disembodied voices. It is hard for me to believe that my enemies assist my progress, but perhaps it is true. If not for my struggles battling against the extreme negativity and evil of the voices, I might never have mustered the courage and strength to challenge my own weaknesses. The voices amplified my own pessimism, doubt, negativity, and lack of confidence to the extreme. I still have to constantly fight against this darkness that is part of my own life and create something positive. This is why I write.

Jennifer Myers 

http://www.sundancekidonline.com.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Prayer, a safe place to live

Richmond, VA… December 2012 …
Across the Nation, communities question “Is there a safe place to live?” A few years ago, U.S.A Today newspaper posed this question when it published a full-page insert. The newspaper reported bad weather as brewing from blizzards to heat waves and across the nation, the prospect of ongoing natural disasters fueled by unhealthy shifts in the environment. Reviewing the report, readers saw a map depict region by region increases in blizzards, snowstorms, earthquakes, flash floods, monsoons, tornadoes, hailstorms, heat waves, hurricanes, typhoons, ice storms, thunderstorms, lightning, tsunamis, nor’easters, river valley flooding, volcanic eruptions and wildfires.

    More recently, communities asked this question when our Nation experienced loss through global civil unrest. For on the anniversary of September 11th, an incident occurred which was described by Hillary Clinton as ‘there will never be peace on earth when there are those who use their religion as an excuse to terrorize others.” And, this week yet another senseless mass murder – students and staff of Sandy Hook school – occur reminding all of us of the frailty of personal safety. So, how under these circumstances do we reconcile its loss, regain a sense of peaceful existence?

     When solicited to creatively define the concept of peace, a Tapestry for Peace was unveiled during a National League of American Pen Women conference held in Denver. Inspired by a Denver Branch Pen Woman, the late Eve Mackintosh and comprised of panels that reflect the diverse nature of common desire for a peaceful world – a safe place in which to live, this tapestry is an expansive work. Measuring more than 250 feet in length, it features 64 panels hand-made by hundreds of people and organizations from across the U.S.A. For those interested, the exhibit is available for showings around the U.S.A. and internationally.

     On the other hand, those who ‘dig in the dirt’ acquire their sense of safety – solace –through another option, renewal of season or planting living green. While not to lessen the impact on any one of the 32 affected families, in a way, Virginia’s green – horticulture – community so-to-speak experienced loss during the Virginia Tech shootings of one of its own, Jocelyne Couture-Nowak. Described by the media as an ‘Adjunct Professor of Foreign Languages that joined Virginia Tech on August 10, 2001 - Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, French Canadian, beloved mother, wife, and a member of the Blacksburg community, in which she and her family have lived since 2001, passed away on April 16, 2007, while engaged in her passion, teaching Intermediate French at Virginia Tech.’ To honor Jocelyne and her family, the state of Virginia’s Green Industry fund a Jocelyne Couture-Nowak Memorial Garden, a terrace at the Hahn Horticulture Garden.

    Perhaps less creative but most certainly essential, regulatory activities occur, too. In early 2013, members of the Global and National Climate Change Academies are scheduled to release eco research compiled by member national and global scientists. Then, our Nation’s elected representatives are legislatively required to review this research and enable eco regulation. In other words, our Nation’s regulatory communities find a way to make sense of loss due to the impact of ongoing natural disasters fueled by unhealthy shifts in the environment. And, hopefully, there will likewise be amongst us those who can make sense of the senseless act of mass murder, find a way to restore our Nation’s sense of public-at-large safety.

      So, whether it is for those who recover from the havoc of natural disasters or impact of global civil unrest or loss through the act of senseless mass murder, in the spirit of the holiday season, let us seek to protect the safety of our communities – business, civic and environmental. For, together, we can make a difference: be seen as people who CARE – set a Climate, not merely adjust to a preexisting one; create an encouraging Attitude, not practice ambivalence; are Receptive to people without losing sight of personal needs; and demonstrate Empathy for others while keeping problems in perspective.

      Regardless of cultural diversity, let’s join in a prayer for “a safe place in which to live, peace on earth and specifically request that it begin with me!”

pix caption - Tapestry of Peace exhibit sponsored by NLAPW

About Wright -
    Identified as an Industry 'mover and shaker' by Landscape Architect magazine, Sylvia Hoehns Wright urges all, during the holiday season, to join in a prayer for “a safe place in which to live, peace on earth and specifically request that it begin with me - become people who CARE!” Details of her activities are available at web site www.TheWrightScoop.com  or facebook group The Wright Scoop or twitter ID WrightScoop.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Someone Else’s Miracle





The apartment was small and tired, but at least Jenna had managed to keep a roof over their heads.  But now, two days before Christmas, she knew providing presents for her ten-year-old son Nathan was going to be impossible.  She glanced around the room, tears gathering at the corners of her eyes.  How had it come to this?  First, the loss of her husband, then the loss of her job, piles of medical bills, and the final blow: foreclosure.  Jenna shook her head.  She never realized how quickly life’s roller coaster could plummet out of control.  She collapsed at the little kitchen table, and fingered a scrap of paper.  It was Nathan’s Christmas list.  His desires were so simple:  a kite, some games, and a baseball glove.  She dropped her head down on her arms and tried to cry quietly, so Nathan wouldn’t hear.
Suddenly his arms were around her.  “Don’t cry Mama,” he said.  “It’s okay.  I understand.  I’m all grown up now, and I don’t need all that Christmas stuff.”  He took his wish list out of her hand, tore it up and threw it away. 
Jenna pulled him onto her lap.
Nathan wiped the tears off her face.  “Mama, we can still have eggnog and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, right?”
Jenna nodded, hugging him close.  It was a ritual handed down in their family, the reading of the traditional poem accompanied by gingerbread and what her husband had dubbed “The Nighty-night Nog”.
 “Of course, Nathan!  We’ll always be able to have that.”  She buried her face in his hair, but abruptly jerked her head up.  What was that noise?  She slid Nathan off her lap and motioned for him to stay put.  Jenna crept toward the front window and peeked through the blinds, but saw nothing amiss. She unlocked the front door, eased it open a crack and peered out.  Everything looked normal.  She started to close the door but something caught on the bottom.
It was a small, yellowed envelope.  She picked it up and flipped it over.  It was completely blank.  Was it really intended for her?  After all, they had just moved in.  They hadn’t met many neighbors yet, except for newly widowed Anna Smith, a young woman whose circumstances were even worse than their own.  She had a son Nathan’s age and a new baby.  Jenna closed the door and lifted the flap on the envelope.  She pulled out a Christmas card with a picture of a starry night on the front.  As Jenna opened the card, money fell out!
Her hands shaking, Jenna scooped up the bills and counted them.   One, two, three, four!   Two hundred dollars!  It was a true Christmas miracle!  Where had it come from?  Who put it there?  Why?  Still trembling, she read the message inside:   Someday, when you can, be someone else’s miracle.
Jenna threw open the door and ran outside, hoping to catch her benefactor, but she was greeted by nothing but swirling snow.  Shivering and choking back sobs, she ran back inside and laid the money on the table.  Now Nathan would have a Christmas!  She could buy gifts to put under the tree, and some to put in his stocking.    Excitedly she said to him:  “Look!  It’s a miracle!  A real one!”
Nathan gazed, wide-eyed, at the four bills.  He picked up the card. “Be someone else’s miracle…” he spoke the words slowly, under his breath.
“Yes!  Nathan, someday we’ll return the favor.  I promise you that!”
Nathan continued to stare at the card.  “What about now?” he whispered.
“What do you mean?”
 “Mrs. Smith,” he said simply.  “She needs a miracle too.”
Jenna’s eyes welled with tears.  Nathan was right.  One hundred dollars was more than enough for the two of them.  She was ashamed she hadn’t thought of it herself.
 She replaced two bills in the card, slipped it back in the envelope and taped the flap down.  She handed it to Nathan.  “Shall we sneak over there and slide it under her door?”
He grinned, bouncing up and down.  “Yes!”
After they returned, laughing harder than they had in a very long time, Nathan sat down to write out a new Christmas list.  Jenna sat beside him.  She picked up a pencil and wrote a personal ending to the poem she would read on Christmas Eve – and for many Christmas Eves to come:

“…and laying his finger aside of his nose,
With these final words, up the chimney he rose:
‘Be someone else’s miracle,
And never let them know….’”



EPIC Award Finalist Violet Rightmire (Debra Webb Rogers) is the author of two novels:  Dancing in Time, a time-travel romance, and A Windfall Christmas, an inspiration romance.    Visit her website: http://debrawebbrogers.com/

Friday, December 21, 2012

CELEBRATING RESILIENCE

Among all the doom and gloom in the media, CNN's Heroes of the Year reminds us that there are ordinary people in the world making extraordinary differences.  Not only was it inspiring to meet this year's heroes and their causes, but these were only the top 10 picked out of an even wider number of nominated heroes out there doing good.

Whether motivated by their own tragic life-events, or the desire to make life better for others, these heroes didn't just whine and complain.  They did something to right wrongs, support  forgotten and unseen sufferers, and turn despair into hope.  Each had to face building something meaningful from nothing.  Finding funding to put their good intentions into practice was a daunting task, to say the least, but each hero faced that task and persevered.


It impressed me that most of the 10 heroes were women, and two Young Wonders were young indeed.  Will Larsey was only 7 years old when he started FROGS to supply food to the needy.   He's only 9 years old now and, with a staff of his young friends, raised $20,000 for a Food Bank.  Because of young Cassandra Lin, 210 homes in Rhode Island have been heated by 100,000 gallons of used cooking oil.  What might the future hold for these two Young Wonders?


The heroes came from the U.S. to far away Afghanistan, South Africa, Nepal, and Haiti.  Each had a burning desire to right a wrong.  Each improved other people's lives in some way.  Mary Cortani wanted to stop the suicides of veterans through service dogs whose wet noses and wagging tails helped them see life as something worth living.  Pushpa Basnet wanted to get children out of the prisons in Nepal where their parents were incarcerated to give them laughter, joy, and beauty.  Malia Villard-Apollon brought comfort and sisterhood to rape and domestic violence victims in Haiti.  Thulani Modano, Catalina Escobar, and Razia Jan have also found ways to make life better for others in their countries.


Grief was a powerful motivator for Wanda Butts who set up The Josh Project that has taught 1200 mostly Afro-American children to swim after her son drowned because he couldn't swim.  Scott Strode wanted to share his own success out of drug addiction through sports with others in Phoenix.  Leo McCarthy turned the loss of his dear 14 year old daughter because of a drunk teen driver into 8,000 signatures of teenagers so far who pledge not to use alcohol and drugs when underage.


What differentiates these  Heroes, and those of previous years, from the rest of us?  They are a tribute to passion and resilience and I look forward to seeing  many more years of CNN's Heroes of the Year awards.



Suellen Zima                         
Comments?? E-mail Suellen at ZimaTravels.com
Member of www.NLAPW.org

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Short Story Review

"Article originally published for Helium Website  
'What Christmas is as We Grow Older.'
Originally published in 1851, Dickens speaks directly to the reader, using the voice of “we” to create an informal tone that connects him well to the reader.
Dickens explains that adults should celebrate relationships during the Christmas season the same ways they did as children. Dickens begins the short story with joyful images of Christmas Day experienced by many children. He compares the day to a “magic ring” within the first sentence and describes youth with “resolute hope” who are doted on by parents.
Dickens writes several times about the Christmas “fire” families gather around at the holidays. The fire is noted within sentences that describe families who are affectionate toward one another and experience quality time. Although the fire could be explained solely as a literal object of wood and flames, it likely symbolizes warmth and gentleness of people as they relate to one another.
Dickens pleads for readers to remember the positive moments of childhood gathered around the Christmas fire. He points out the importance of embracing the qualities of forgiveness and friendship once felt as children at Christmastime. Be thankful, he writes, for relationships developed throughout the year and pay respects to loved ones who have passed.
Dickens spends a significant portion of the short story discussing the sadness many people feel at Christmas over the loss of loved ones. While many stories look solely at positive images of Christmas, Dickens acknowledges that the holiday season may evoke sadness and loneliness.
The writer proposes readers “receive” those people now by celebrating their lives and fond memories of the lost friends and family members. Dickens does not shy away from death or dark images, but instead tells readers to embrace memories of the deceased and hold them close by the Christmas “fire.”
Dickens has written several acclaimed novels and short stories.  Other Christmas short stories published by Charles Dickens include 'A Christmas Tree' (published in 1850) and 'The Poor Relation’s Story' (published in 1852).  The message to maintain childhood optimism as an adult remains a current theme of literary works today.
Christy Birmingham 
http://christywrites.hubpages.com/


Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Together




It is snowing again as I back the car out of the garage for one final trip to the store. I could have sworn the package said four D-cell batteries, not eight. One lonely strand of battery operated lights to adorn an eighteen-inch Christmas tree and tiny plastic ornaments will fill the last few inches of a tightly packed box. I find it difficult to pack and ship "Christmas" to a Soldier deployed in active combat, especially when that Soldier happens to be my son, the only child I have.

My little boy, who once wore red Dr. Denton pajamas with feet, will proudly
dress in Desert Camouflage and combat boots this Christmas. My son
Tanner will flush his eyes with Visine in 100-degree temperatures instead
of feeling snowflakes falling gently on his face. Military cuisine mixed with
desert sand will be his dinner, consumed while sitting on the floor of a tent,
in place of his normal holiday meal at home surrounded by family and
friends. Bombs and bullets will replace the revelry of Christmas carols.
For 25 years, Tanner and I have created and shared our own
traditions. As a child, my son was allowed one "early" present on the
afternoon of Christmas Eve…one that would occupy him while I finished
cooking and setting the dinner table.

I wrap that special present this year, its label clearly stating, "Early
Christmas Gift," and place it in the box on top, separated by paper. I can see
the smile on his face when he realizes that although a world apart, our
tradition will continue.

I manage to include a small canned ham, pop-top cans of vegetables,
potatoes, and fruit. There are candy canes and homemade Christmas
cookies, gently set in tin containers surrounded by bubble wrap. Hidden
inside brightly colored paper, is a CD player with Christmas music and a
month’s supply of AA batteries. I add a brand new calendar, allowing him to
mark the days until his return. What am I forgetting?

Ripping open boxes of decorations from years gone by, I finally find his
miniature stocking, a small snow globe, and the most important piece of
tradition: the matching snowman candle holders and tapers. Both lit with
one match, our candles have cast a warm glow on the table every year.
These symbols will separate for the first time…one making its solitary
journey to brighten the darkest Christmas. Gathering the remnants of happier times, I gingerly place this candle among Tanner’s holiday cheer, along with the stocking and globe.

"My son, I am striving to provide you with the best Christmas I possibly
can. I wish I knew how to wrap my heart, my love, and send it nestled
among the tissue paper. Do you recognize the significance of each item I have sent? Can you see past the contents of this box, Tanner? Are you able to feel the Christmas spirit, tucked inside and sealed tightly with packing tape? Can you feel me holding you as I whisper softly, ‘Merry Christmas, my son?’ I am there with you. We both know that I am. Miles may separate us, but nothing can keep us apart at Christmas."

It is now 8:00 a.m. in Connecticut on the morning of Christmas Eve, making
it 4:00 pm in Iraq. I picture a Soldier on his bunk, opening a corrugated box
containing a cache of love and prayers, folded delicately among layers of
papers. My tears blend with a slow smile as I wonder if my son actually waited until 4:00 pm to open his early present. I think not, and my imagination creates a cascading slideshow of images … ones that find me alternating between tears and laughter, while I visualize Tanner’s reaction to each carefully chosen item.

Sitting in a tent in the desert my son opens "Christmas" with a smile,
inter-fused with sorrow and a longing for home. As he lights his candle, he
daydreams…forming his own picture show…of me packing the car with gifts
for our family, along with my contributions to the evening meal at my
sister’s house. His eyes close as he forces the heat and sand to restructure
itself to winter’s chill and swirling snowflakes.

I sit at a bare table, placing my lone candle in its center. As I strike the
match, I feel the presence of my son…traveling within the glow of his
candle, to be by my side this Christmas Eve. My eyes close, holding the image of my little boy in his red Dr. Dentons.

All rights reserved

Saturday, December 15, 2012






You’re an awesome gifter — you got someone special a brand new e-reader. But what’s a great e-reader without great reads?

Just in time for the holidays — Independent Authors International brings six great books from six great, independent authors for just 99 cents each.

  
On Unfaithful Wings, by Bruce A. Blake —

Icarus Fell was alive, then he was dead, now he’s stuck somewhere in between. Icarus Fell is a harvester, brought back to Earth by the archangel Michael to collect souls and help them on their way to Heaven. If he gets enough of them before the bad guys do—if he does a good job—he can have his life back. But people he knew in life are dying, killed by a murderer’s knife, their bodies defiled, and the cops think he’s the killer. How does a man who no longer exists stop a psycho? Icarus Fell know he has to stop him before the killer gets to his son.

“Icarus Fell is officially my new favorite anti-hero.”


 The Bones of the Earth, by Scott Bury — Eastern Europe, the Dark Age. The earth besets human civilization with earthquakes, floods, famines and new plagues that wipe out nearly half the population. Half of the mighty Roman Empire disappears. And the only man who can save humanity is one society rejected because he’s different.

“A marvelous read. I spent most of a day in The Bones of the Earth in spite of the things I had to do!”

 Velvet Rain, by David C. Cassidy — Kain Richards is the last of his kind--and a man on the run. So when this mysterious drifter falls for a beautiful and sensible Iowa farmwoman, he knows full well the perils of getting too close. And yet, for the first time in his miserable existence, life feels normal ... feels real. But as those around him soon realize, reality is not what it seems. For when a tragic accident forces Kain's hand, his astonishing secret--and godlike power--changes their lives, and the world, forever.

“It took my breath away right from the first line."

 The Funny Adventures of Little Nani, by Cinta Garcia de la Rosa, illustrated by Almudena Romero S├ínchez — Little Nani is a little girl who likes helping people, but when she does, the results are unexpected. Why? Because Little Nani is a witch! Or at least she wants to be a witch. She tries to cast spells to help her friends, but she didn’t finish the magic spell course. Little Nani’s extraordinary friends include funny ostriches, horses that love reading, super-fast turtles, grumpy zombies ... Little Nani has lots of friends! You can also draw your own characters! Little Nani is willing to become a good witch. Will she manage to do it? Who knows? 

“Children will love this book of short stories and they will fall in love with the beautiful image.”
 American Goddesses, by Gary Henry — When two small-town women find themselves with nearly unlimited powers of mind and body, their lives get complicated. Things turn nasty as a shadowy organization attempts to use Megan and Trish for their own evil ends, and destroy them, their town and the USA in the process. 

“A ton of girl power … Highly recommended!”

 Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, by Elise Stokes — Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced.



After exploring her newfound abilities, Cassidy learns that the geneticist is missing and that foul play is suspected. Terrified that her physical changes and Professor Phillips' disappearance are somehow connected, Cassidy decides to keep her strange transformation a secret. That is, until she meets the professor's brilliant and mysterious fifteen-year-old son, Emery. An unlikely duo, they set out to find Emery's mother and are forced to confront a maniacal villain willing to do anything — including murder — to achieve his goals.

"Elise Stokes ranks up there with other YA masterminds! This is a definite must -read book!”



Looking for more great fantasy from independent authors? Check out the eBooks Make Great Gifts book blitz from the Guild of Dreams fantasy authors collective.