The Crossroads Saga

Crossroads Saga

crossroads ting
 Crossroads (Book 1)

Can two worlds collide in dreams? Crossroads, Between, Beyond, Eternity, Halo City - novella

Protecting her from the fallen was his duty. Falling in love was never part of his plan. Loving her was forbidden. Being with her was all that mattered, even if it meant he would be exiled for all eternity. Claudia Emerson's life is about to change when her good friend, who coincidentally shares the same first and last name, dies in a tragic accident after the homecoming dance. Distraught at the loss of her friend, Claudia's dreams become tumultuous, and through them she mysteriously travels to another world called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth, where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. There, she unexpectedly meets Michael, a nephilim--half angel, half human. It turns out that this isn't her first visit, which is an enigma, for she has no recollection of being there, and is told that no human has crossed over...until Claudia. Now that she's been there, fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special, and it is up to Michael and the other



Richard Armitage as Thorin in The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit movie 2, The Desolation of Smaug,  is going to be released in less than a month and curiosity as well as excitement increase. I can't wait to see my best favourite, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage),  again engaged in his adventurous quest,  in company of his bizarre mates.   Of course, I'm also looking forward to seeing dragon Smaug revealed and listening to Benedict Cumberbatch's voice (I want to see it in the original version... FX!)  
Anyway, this post is not just about The Hobbit movies, but more about the amazing natural settings Peter Jackson chose for their shootings. Just have a look at this awesome infographic: A Travel Guide to The Middle -Earth. Ready for the journey?



How did you decide to co-write The Back-Up List?
We just started talking about the story and decided we liked the idea of a heroine who could be a Cinderella yet be reluctant about it! We had so much fun just making characters up. Then we decided since we both have a love of reading and writing why not put our mad skills together! LOL

Did you know that it would be a series, or were you planning on just one book?
At first our book- The Back-Up List was a joke.  We wrote it for fun! We wrote for us! It was never meant to go anywhere! Our friends got curious and wanted us to send them chapters and they were actually encouraging us to really finish it! Once we finished our first book, we started having ideas for the second book- The List of Possibilities, which was shocking! By the time we finished that book we walked away from writing for 2 years! During that time Amber finished school and Miriam had another baby! We never thought anymore about our characters or progressing with the stories anymore! The day we started our third book- The Bump List it took us completely by surprise; we wrote our “Paris” chapter and knew these characters were not done! Here we are now writing our fourth book- The List of Demands.

We love the friendship between Maddy and KInley, is the friendship in the book based off of your own?
We get this question all the time! Yes, the characters friendship is based on our friendship! We get asked all the time if we are sisters when we look NOTHING alike. We have thought a lot about this and asked a lady once why she thought that, she replied, “Because I would NEVER talk to my friend like that!” We found it funny, but we realized that we don’t talk like that to any other friend.We tell each other how it is and thought why not base Maddy and Kinley on us!



Being a teacher myself, Jolene Stockman's words I quoted in the title sound rather flattering, warming and rewarding. If only we teachers could really feel our work is actually making the difference! Because we hardly ever can. We are often depressed and disappointed by the results we get. Meeting Jolene, though only virtually as well as  reading her book, has been a very enriching and encouraging experience.
After reviewing Jolene Stockman's book, Jawbreaker, I felt I wanted to know about her experience with teenagers and how she came to write such an interesting and useful guide. That's why I asked her to be my guest and to answer a few questions.  

I read your book and found it very interesting (my review's HERE) and my first question is as a teacher to teenagers. In your opinion should a teacher be to them  more an educator, an instructor or a motivator?
Ooh, I have had some amazing teachers! In my opinion a teacher’s primary role is to educate – but teaching is a profession where you’re so much more than your job description. For students in general, and teenagers in particular teachers can also be powerful role models. My favourite teachers were always the passionate ones. No matter what subject they taught, when they loved it, I could feel it, and that made me want to learn and be better. Teachers show us how to learn, how to live, and (if we’re lucky!) how to access the best parts of ourselves. I was particularly inspired by my Latin teacher, who oozed and sparkled with her subject. Teachers change the world every day,  I’m in awe.

What were you like as a teenager?
As a teenager I was quiet, a straight-A student (PE doesn’t count, right?), and always writing. I was incredibly shy, often playing down what I knew so I wouldn’t have to speak up, and I would panic in social situations. But I knew I wanted to take over the world! So, I joined Toastmasters (an international public speaking and leadership training organisation)  and pushed through my comfort zone to complete their communication and leadership training. I achieved their highest award and started working with other teenagers.



by guest blogger Kendra Thornton)

The holiday season will soon be with us once again. Nights are getting colder, the brightly colored leaves are beginning to fall in the States, and everyone is getting out their winter wardrobes. The chilly weather reminds us that its time to begin planning the annual holiday visits and family get-togethers. Like many of you, I suspect, my spirits are always lifted as Thanksgiving Day approaches.
The spirit of gratitude and giving back that is the hallmark of the season helps to keep life in perspective and reminds me what is really important. I am particularly excited this year, as all of our relatives have confirmed that they will be visiting us here in Chicago. It’s going to be a great holiday here at the Thornton house!



                     "To live is the rarest thing in life. Some people just exist" (Oscar Wilde)

I'd wanted to watch this film since I first heard about it but I wanted to see it even more when I discovered  it would be Richard Curtis 's last. 
Richard Curtis directed or wrote cult Brit comedies like "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Notting Hill", "Bridget Jones's Diary", "Love Actually"  and, last but not least,  the irresistible BBC series The Vicar of Dibley.
Maybe his thinking about retiring and leaving his profession has made this new comedy, "About Time", more than a sweet romance, a poignant reflection about how precious our time is. Sweet, funny and poignant.

Though the movie is as careless and bizzarre, as light and hilarious as his previous works, in "About Time", Richard Curtis added deeper,  bit existentialist thoughts.

Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is 21, clumsy and insecure, and  lives in a wonderful corner of Cornwall . Out of the blue, one day his father (Bill Nighy) reveals him their family's secret: the men in their family can time travel . They can't change History, but they can go back and change their own personal past history.



First of all Jamie, welcome and thanks for finding the time to answer my questions. The first one for you is: What brought you from your home in California to New Zealand? 

I’m from California. In my mid-twenties, I had bad dating experiences in California and a dream to live abroad. I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population had 100,000 fewer men than women. In an attempt to have some ‘me time’ I moved to New Zealand.

Why  New Zealand  as your destination?

As an American citizen there are actually very few places in the world you can get a work visa and just show up. If you are an American under thirty you can get a work visa in Australia and if you are an American under thirty-five you can get a work visa in New Zealand.

What was the hardest lesson your learnt starting a new life alone?

I really feel travel is the best teacher. I didn’t know a soul in New Zealand before I went there. Within two weeks of my plane landing in New Zealand, I found a place to live and a job. I don’t know anywhere else in the world you can do that. I’ve been living abroad since 2010. It’s made me resilient, self-reliant, fearless and adaptable.  I’ve really learned to trust my instincts and believe in myself.

It was shockingly easy to relocate to New Zealand literally a few weeks after I made the decision. It only took a couple of weeks for my work visa to go through. I was 26, single, I quit my job, I moved out of a little cottage I was renting and put the few things I had at my mom’s house and brought a suitcase with me to New Zealand.



siding with plato
Siding with Plato: A Romantic Comedy Chick Lit About College Life, Love, and Chaos 

Siding With Plato is a romantic laugh-out-loud chick lit novel about Being Young, Beautiful, and a Seriously Hot Mess! Brooke Aarons can't get to college fast enough. Leaving behind her small town life, she intends to transform herself into a brilliant psychologist at the University of Texas, with no distractions to slow her down. But when a twist in her plans lands her on double date with the school's star jock - and worse, enjoying it - Brooke has to wonder if she's the one who needs her head examined. James Cartwright's easy life, endless bucks, and long line of willing girls should make him a non-starter for Brooke, but as she learns, the psychology behind a bad crush is a whole lot messier of a subject.  

amazon blog Barnes and Noble

michelle manning Praise for the Book

"This book hit home! Very funny and fast and fun read! I hope she makes this a series! LOVED IT!!!" 

 "I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an escape back into the best years of your life! A MUST READ."

"Buy 2 copies of this relatable book - one for yourself and one for your best friend." 

"Siding With Plato is a must read for every girl who has gone away to college! It reminded me of my college years and the relationships between different boys, but most importantly the amazing friendships that were created. I could relate to all of the characters at one time or another. Siding With Plato is well written, funny, witty, and full of emotion. I definitely recommend reading this book!!"   



Fighting for the Edge CoverFighting for the Edge

Two friends. Two dreams. One night that changes everything… Ice dancer Aubrey London scoffs at romance. She’s focused on winning a medal at the upcoming Olympics and uses that as her excuse to avoid serious relationships. But when she and longtime friend Chris Grayden are thrown together by unforeseen circumstances, Aubrey finds herself questioning everything she's ever known about love, complicating her life both on and off the ice. Pairs skater Emily Petrov embraces romance. She and her husband Sergei still act like honeymooners two years after their wedding. As Emily’s coach, Sergei provides constant support while she prepares to challenge for gold at the Olympics. But Sergei’s support might not be enough to help Emily overcome the one challenge she never saw coming. With the Games only weeks away, Emily and Aubrey are on the verge of realizing their dreams. But one snowy, stormy night sets in motion a series of events that will test them in ways they never imagined, giving them more to fight for than Olympic medals.  

Praise for Fighting for the Edge "Emily and Aubrey's final challenge is Jennifer Comeaux's greatest victory. Both touching and suspenseful, Fighting for the Edge is a game changer that will have fans of the series giving both the characters and the author a standing ovation once they've turned the last page. If I could pass out medals, Jennifer would earn gold for writing my favorite romance of all time." - Jenna at Jenna Does Books "Jennifer Comeaux puts you in the action, makes you smell the ice and hear the roar of the crowd during the nail-biting competitions, and she's a master at creating first love jitters in your stomach from the steamy scenes that are so hot without being explicit." - Christina Jean Michaels, author of Epiphany  



Are you enjoying The Paradise on BBC One or Masterpiece PBS? Have you noticed how beautiful its soundtrack is? My guest today is the composer of the wonderful music accompanying Denise and Moray's story. His name is Maurizio Malagnini. He  is an Italian composer based in London whose work spans drama, animation, documentaries. His music has been broadcast internationally on the main European networks BBC1, BBC2, ITV, MTV, SKY, RAI. He has produced his scores for the Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, L'Ensemble dell'Opera di Roma and his own ensemble, Cinema Paradiso. 

Maurizio has composed scores for popular BBC Series such as "The Body Farm" and The Paradise (Series 1 and 2). Could this lovely costume series be the same without his brilliant score?  I’m sure you have noticed how good the soundtrack for Denise and Moray’slove story is! Are you ready to meet its composer? Welcome Maurizio Malagnini at Fly High and enjoy our little chat below. By the way, don't forget that The Paradise series 2 goes on BBC1 every Sunday night and, if you live in the US,  season 1 is going to end soon on PBS Masterpiece

Maurizio Malagnini rehearsing with the BBC Concert Orchestra

What’s the life of an Italian living in London like? Hard? Very hard? Not hard at all? I mean, are there things you miss terribly or can you easily cope with the differences ?



The Passionate Love of a Rake

Just released! This is book two in the Marlow Intrigues series from exciting new author, Jane Lark. If you love historical romance, you must have a look at this "Spotlight on ... " post. And, by the way, Jane Lark is my guest blogger at my other blog too, My Jane Austen Book Club.  Have a look at her piece about The Theatre Jane Austen attended in Bath. It's really interesting. 


The only woman who had power over notorious rake Robert Marlow was now walking away from him, again. He'd heard Sutton had died, and known Jane was free, but he'd always thought his desire would only be for revenge, not her. Yet here he was, unable to deny what he felt for her… what he’d never felt for any other woman…

Read an excerpt  

“You are such a liar, Jane.”
His tone was no longer angry, but it held a cynical humor, and the pupils in his eyes had widened, large dark onyx circles darkening his gaze with long dark lashes defining it.
A warm ache settled somewhere in her chest then spiraled to her womb like a rolling penny when his lips lowered to hers, catching at them gently, a soft caress.
She echoed it without thought. Her eyes closed as he continued to kiss her, and she opened her mouth when his tongue touched her lips. Her very bones melting, her arms reached about his neck, and her bodypressed against him, and then he stopped and pulled away.
Her eyelids lifted. She faced a knowing smile and felt the chill of his desertion.
“As I thought, a lie, Your Grace, all of it. You do want me. Like it or not, Jane. Admit it or not. You want me. You are found out, my dear.” His eyes narrowed as he continued. “But why not admit it. I cannot make you out. And there I presume is the dilemma which has you so distracted and upset. Whatever it is that prevents you admitting it, I mean.”



My review

Teenagers aren’t the easiest  people you can find yourself dealing with. It’s the word of an expert,  meaning someone with long-lasting experience not someone with an answer to any question.  As  a teacher to teenagers, I’m still and continuously looking for answers, tips and suggestions to help me cope with their complexity.  This is why I found this little book (17,000 words), which is  meant to help teenagers,  quite helpful to myself and my purpose. 

The Jawbreaker: Unlock the (U)niverse  by Jolene Stockman is a guide aimed at leading young adults to self –awareness and self-confidence with a step-by-step analysis of their most common attitudes to themselves, to others and to life in general (You, Change, Knowing, The Glow), which also includes a set  of practical exercises and activities (Mind Games) targeting single specific goals.

“You are a million moments. You have created yourself bit by bit and layer by layer, every day since you were born. You are a jawbreaker” … This is the starting point,   a really spot on  image chosen by the author. She  wants the readers to figure themselves out like jawbreakers.  And jawbreakers  are sweet, colourful but really hard to break.   I found it a brilliant metaphor.
Honestly,  I think this book might help any reader, not only demographic audience, to build up their strength and it might show them their own story in a whole new way. Try it yourself!

“You can help others in the world more by making the most of yourself than in any other way” (Earl Nightingale)  



Kindle HDX NOvember

This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)



Jenny Barden
Another great guest at Fly High! today. I've invited awesome historical fiction writer,  Jenny Barden,  to present her upcoming great novel here (it'll be out in just 2 days in the UK - 7th November), because I know that you like me love and appreciate well-written,  thrilling historical fiction. Let's welcome Jenny and, please, take your chances to win a signed first edition copy of her The Lost Duchess. This amazing giveaway is open world wide and ends on 14th November. 

Thank you so much, Maria, for giving me an opportunity to say a little about my forthcoming release, The Lost Duchess, which was no more than a concept in outline when you interviewed me for this site in October last year. 

Several of your followers said then that they loved the idea of an Elizabethan romantic adventure, and that there was going to be a sequel to Mistress of the Sea, so I hope they'll be attracted to this next book, which features Kit Doonan (Will's brother in Mistress of the Sea), and Emme Fifield, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, whose relationship deepens in the thick of an action-packed adventure when they join Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition to found the first permanent English colony in America. Here's what my publishers have to say about The Lost Duchess:



I've had the opportunity to ask author Lucy May Lennox a few questions about her latest novel, Love in Touch. She's taken the time to answer and the result is the following interesting chat about love beyond the barriers of disability: a very beautiful,  unusual love story. Read the interview and don't forget there's a giveaway attached to this blog tour!  (see rafflecopter form below)

Your novel  "Love in Touch" presents an unusual love story,   told with great sensitivity . Were you inspired by real people and facts?

Thanks! The plot and main characters are not directly based on real events or people. But I have known a few people with vision loss and hearing loss. Some of the details and interactions are based on real conversations that I've had or heard about. For instance, years ago I knew a guy who worked at a TTY relay,  typing/reading phone conversations between hearing and Deaf people. He would regularly relay to the Deaf customer comments the hearing people made that they assumed were not to be passed on, like when a guy muttered "Oh, it's that deaf asshole." My friend dutifully typed it out, which caused a heated exchange. But later on he got a commendation. That story made me think a lot about what interpretation really is.
I should say also, I based a lot of the minor characters on people I know. It's so much easier that way to create real, rounded characters.


Best selling authors Melissa McClone and Katherine Garbera have written and just released two lovely Christmas novellas. They are my guests today and have both answered my questions about the upcoming festivities. It's never to early to talk Christmas! Don't you think so? Read their answers and get your chances to win their books in the rafflecopter form below.  The giveaway is open internationally, there will be two winners ( 1 e-book each),  deadline November 12th. Good luck, everyone! 

My questions for both are: Christmas is coming soon! What are your favorite decorations? How do you decorate?

Melissa McClone: 

I love Nativity scenes. They are my favorite decoration. One that's pretty much dog and cat proof goes under the tree. A snow globe nativity goes on the shelf. We also have a nativity fountain. Small ornament sized ones hang in the tree. Medium and larger ones can be found all over the house. I'm always on the lookout for Nativities. I usually have at least one in each room.

I go all out decorating. Decking the halls, so to speak, usually takes me a day or two, not counting the tree. First, I take down pictures from the wall and pack away everything that's on our built-in shelves and windowsills. Then I pull out our Christmas decorations, books and DVDs. We have boxes and boxes of them. I start with the Advent wreath then hang garland on the banister and fireplace mantle and swags on all the windows. Dept. 56 villages used to go on the windowsills until we got a kitten that thought they were her play toys. Now she must content herself with the tree, which we leave up for a least a week with no garland (wood cranberry beads) or ornaments so she can climb and nap in the branches to her hearts content before we decorate it. Advent calendars are hung upstairs and downstairs. Besides a tree upstairs, the kids each have a small one in their bedrooms.  We have lots of shelf sitters, stuffed animals, snowmen, snow globes and other knickknacks. My kids also know if something isn't where it was the year before!  



Like many of you I  initially  resisted the  invasion of e-books and e-readers  into our safe world made of shelves crammed with  printed books. I really didn’t accept such a dramatic  change and looked at the new strange objects with great suspicion. I couldn’t think of a book without its  reassuring smell of dusty paper or its smooth,  black- inked white pages. Anyway, again like many of you,  I had to surrender, to accept their presence in my life and even recognize their charms and practicality. I can now honestly say that I love e-books, though differently than my unforgettable first love, printed books.

Though I still treasure the hundreds of books I’ve been collecting all my life through on my shelves, I’ve recently discovered how easy and incredible is to have your favourite titles, all of them and even more, stored in your iPad or e-reader and be able to keep them  hidden  in your own handbag . That means you can always carry them with you and everywhere!  

What  I  want to share with you today is one of my latest  precious discoveries, related to my relatively new love for e-books. It’s a real treasure for someone like me with a high interest in classic literature and drama. It's ForgottenBooks,  an online digital library with thousands of books that can be of great interest to avid readers, students, academics and scholars of several different fields.