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Monday, December 31, 2012

Love is a resolution worth making

Awesome graphic from my friend Jeff at Lefors Design!  http://www.leforsdesign.com/


This year was a big one for me.  My first children's book, "Bearful Bear and his new Moves" was published at the tail end of 2011, and I spent a lot of 2012 promoting.  I am pregnant with my third child, a girl due at the beginning of April, and also have plans in store for my second book.  Whew!  I'm excited for 2013, and feel like it's going to be a nice turning point in my own life, maybe because I'm...Shhhh...turning 30!

When it comes to resolutions, I typically think of regaining focus in what my life goals already have been. So this year....

My New Year's Resolution is to make Love my top priority every day.  It's a discipline, really.  In everything, discipline is the only way to make any resolution happen, and I'm going to make it more of a lifestyle in my own heart.

What is your resolution this year? 

I wish you and yours the happiest days in the coming year!!!

Love,
Anna

Sunday, December 9, 2012

And the winner of memoir, "Sihpromatum" is....

And the winner of this fantastic memoir is.....



BARB PERKINS!!!!

Congratulations, Barb, and thank you for sharing the review with your friends on Facebook!  For new authors, every share is so helpful, and I know Savannah Grace will be delighted to send you a copy of her memoir!  She also mentioned that it will be signed by many of the folks in the book- exciting!

We'll be in touch, and I can't wait to hear what you think of the book.

Happy Reading!!!
Anna

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

We-Read Wednesday's Book Review- "Sihpromatum"!

The past few weeks have been crazy, leaving me behind on book reviews.  HOWEVAHHHH, it has nothing to do with the riveting and enjoyable book I have been reading over the past few weeks!!!  Savannah Grace's memoir called, Sihpromatum- I Grew My Boobs in China, is a hilarious, informative and fascinating read about her families spontaneous year-long expedition across China, Mongolia and Russia. 

After her parents divorce, Savannah's fun and carefree life with her friends, favorite dog, and normal family was quickly changed when her mother announced that her and her two older siblings, Breanna and Ammon were going to leave school and their home for a year of travel across Asia.  As the reader, you can empathize with the 14-year-old Savannah, who was obviously devastated to leave friends and also her worries about missing a year of school.  But despite Savannah's many begrudging, whiny pleas to her mother, they were off to an unknown world.

Savannah's writing style captivated me.  Her sense of humor made me laugh out loud and even cry when she had to say goodbye to her dog.  The reader learns a great deal about the countries and cultures her family visited along the way through dialogue in the story.  You feel like you are right there along with her, experiencing the awful bathrooms, delicious or unaproachable cuisine, and the beauty of the countryside and warmth of the people.   Sihpromatum reads like a great novel, yet you never forget that all of these crazy adventures actually happened to this girl!!!  Savannah wasn't afraid to bare all of the personal quandaries of travel as an adolecent girl in remote, nomadic regions where bathrooms were scarce, and food consisted of dry sour biscuits with sheep hair.  So, perhaps be forewarned if you have a weak stomach!! 

So...can I just say that I LOVE Savannah Grace?  At fourteen, her immaturity is actually endearing even if her complaining gets old- I mean, can you blame her?  So, don't be fooled in the beginning of the novel where you hear a lot of complaining!  As you watch her learn and expand her worldview throughout the book, she becomes ever more lovable, and I truly care about her and her family, and how their trip ends.  She is so funny, and so relatable that it didn't take long for me to become an actual fan of Savannah's. 

As the book comes to a close after a crazily near-death experience in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, they are off to Russia, but we have to wait for the next installment of their journey to find out what happens next.  What surprised me when perusing Savannah's website (www.sihpromatum.com) is that their one-year itinerary turned into a FOUR YEAR trip around the world, and all I know is that I can't wait to find out what happens next in her journey. 

Don't miss the opportunity to read this book!!!  I am sure you will have some time over the holidays to read, or know of someone who would appreciate a memoir that read's like an adventurous and funny novel.  I actually loved Sihpormatum so much that I want to offer a GIVEAWAY.  So, share this book review for a chance to WIN a FREE copy of Sihpromatum!  Just write me a note in the comments section that you shared this review on your Social Media site, and you will be entered into a drawing on FRIDAY, December 7th.  Don't forget to check back Friday to see if you WON!!!!  Also, for purchasing, you can visit her website at www.sihpromatum.com or at Amazon.
Happy Reading,
Anna

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Perfect Gift for your Toddler and preschooler

Since I have a lot of new traffic moving through my site, and many of you being strangers (a big Bearful bear hug to you new followers!!!) I thought it appropriate to share a quick message about who I am, and what I do since we haven't been formally introduced. 

I am an author published with BQB Publishing company, a fantastic hybrid publisher who has truly helped make my little dream come true!  I published my first children's book last December called "Bearful Bear and his new Moves."  It is geared for preschoolers, and includes rhythm, rhyme, movement and vocal play so you can fully engage with your little reader!  I am passionate about language development through movement and vocal play because of my years as a Kindermusik Educator (shout out!), and seeing firsthand how this combo is a magic potion for helping our little ones build their language base and get a little exercise while they're at it!  Here's the the book trailer narrated by yours truly:



Bearful Bear and his new Moves has received many reviews, ALL of which have been 5 star (humbling!) and I am so proud of little Bearful and what we learn from him through his journey- like learning from our friends, trying new things, and bravery! 

So, consider adding "Bearful Bear and his new Moves" to your child, grandchild, or school's library this holiday season.  You can buy it online or your favorite book store!
 AMAZON
Barnes and Noble
BQB Publishing
ebook versions:
Nook
Kindle
Kobo

Bearful and I wish you the Happiest Holiday season filled with lots of love, quality time and reading!
Love,
Anna

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Rich Tradition

Over the past two days, I have had the priveledge of baking several recipes that were passed down from several generations back.  As I stand in my kitchen, I remember baking these recipes with my mom, brother and sister.  I remember the amazing aromas, the gentle music playing, the clinking of dishes, the conversations and laughter.  And then, I imagine both of my grandmothers in their kitchens making these same exact recipes.  That my grandmothers looked at these very ingredients, rolled out the same dough, sliced the same apples, and probably had gentle music playing and laughter with their families, too. 

I really miss them. 

I admit that I shed some tears this morning while baking these dishes as I thought about Gran and Grandma Tuttle baking these recipes.  But they weren't sad, smarting tears- they were more like chicken soup tears.  Rich and salty, remembering robust and meaningful lives that emulate this rich feast we enjoy every Thanksgiving.  It's the bountiful memories, love, and joy that surrounded the people of my life that make Thanksgiving what it is.  It makes the meal special, and every tradition that surrounds it carries a sentimental value that reminds me of the richness of my life, and all that I have to be thankful for.  I am thankful that my children will grow up with these same recipes- and the joy that I know it would bring me, my mom, my grandmothers and their mothers, to know that our lives carry on.  So simply, but so profoundly from one generation to the next.  Through something as simple as rolls, pie, or a caserole dish; we're a part of a legacy.  

To you and yours, a most thankful holiday!!!

Love,
Anna

Monday, November 19, 2012

Listen Earnestly

I saw this quote today and I thought it was so beautifully and simply put I just had to share it.  
 

What a wonderful and important reminder as a parent (or just a human being!) to truly listen to our children (or friends, family, spouse, etc.). During this special week of reflection and Thanksgiving, I know that this quote hit home with me.  How I want to cherish my children and treat them in a way that our relationship only grows in closeness as we age.  I hope this week brings special moments of thanksgiving, time, crafts, cooking, and snuggles with your loved ones!!!

Thankful,
Anna

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Upcoming Events for Novemeber and December!

I want to fill you in on some fun events I have coming up with my Children's book, Bearful Bear and his new Moves!  THIS SATURDAY, November 10th, I will be at Suwanee Academy of the Arts in Suwanee, GA doing a book reading and signing at 11:00am.  I did a reading there last spring and had an awesome turnout, so let's hope this one is packed as well!  On a side note, I get to sub for their Kindermusik class at 9, so if you have an 18mo-3 year old and want to try Kindermusik, you can come see me then, too!!!  www.suwaneeacademy.com

Then....fast forward a few weeks....
On December 1st I will be selling and signing my books at the Warehouse for a great cause!  I also have offered one of my books to be a part of their giveaway, so someone will be walking home with a FREE copy!  Gotta love that. 

I may have more events pop up on my calendar and will let you know.  I would love to see you at one of these worth while events!!!

Love,
Anna

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Review: "Summer of Hope"

For today's "We- read Wednesday", I get to review the best book I've read since The Hunger Games series!  Of course, TOTALLY different, but still, the first book that I've read since then that I literally could. not. put. down.

Today's book is YA drama, SUMMER OF HOPE by Jodie Andrefski.

After witnessing her 16-year-old twin brother die in a freak accident, Callie swears she will never let anyone in again.  Jamie was her twin, her best friend and confident through everything, and the thought of losing another person she loved was unbearable.  It was so much easier to be bitter, closed off and even rebel against her parents. 

14 months later everything changes when her parents drag her to their summer home and she meets the new neighbor, 17-year-old Ethan.  His good nature, smile and thoughtful soul draw her in and begin to transform and renew her heart.  But when a painful secret of Ethan's is revealed, the events that unfold will change both of their families lives forever. 

Summer of Hope reads like a Nicholas Spark's novel; fast, tearful (OK, I sobbed) and explores the true elements of what nags at a teenage girls soul.  Should I hang out with the "perfects", the girls who seem to have everything in place to feel popular?  Should I open my heart up and be willing to get hurt, or should I keep my heart tucked away where it's safe?  Do I heed the advice of my parents and friends, or hit the self destruct mode and throw my morals out the window?  Andrefski displays these real concerns and rights of passage in such a way that you as the reader get worried, torn and truly feel for Callie as she treads through these emotions.  You want to yell at her, cry with her, hug her and console her all at the same time. 

Andrefski does a great job of keeping the storyline going at a rapid pace.  It keeps you increasingly engaged without the extra fluff of a totally linear storyline that often wrecks Indie novels.  She isn't afraid to leave you hanging on certain details, but thoughtfully works in the important details from previous events in the next chapter in a way that keeps you informed without dragging the plot line. 

The book does have some typos that can be easily corrected, but the story left me so breathless that I can easily overlook it. :)  I can't wait to hear more from this author!

Amazon prime members can read this book for FREE, and Kindle price is just $2.99. buy it here!! What the book trailer here. I highly recommend it for a quick read that will linger with you well after the last page of the book.

Happy reading!
Anna
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Homemade "sunset" Ginger Ale

Two weeks ago I posted my recipe for Homemade Chai and it was very popular, so I decided to also give you a similar recipe you can enjoy warm or cold- Homemade Ginger Ale!

I love ginger ale, but I don't drink regular "pop" (as I call it), so when I had some gorgeous locally grown ginger on hand, coupled with major morning sickness (oh yeah, I haven't mentioned that i'm expecting!) I thought it would be fabulous to make some homemade ginger ale.  The result was nothing short of delicious and refreshing!
make a "sunset" by adding your splash of bitters last.  I have candied ginger in the bottom of my glass if you're wondering. :)
What you need: Serves 4
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup peeled fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick- optional
1-2 tsp. bitters- optional (found in the wine/beer section of most stores)
medium saucepan
club soda/sparkling water

Bring honey, water, ginger and Cinnamon stick to a boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  If you're not going to make it immediately, you can refrigerate the mixture for up to a week.  When you're ready to make your ginger ale, pour  your ginger mixture into a pitcher and add 4 cups of club soda and a splash or two of bitters.  Pour over ice and enjoy a refreshingly spectacular homemade soda pop!  To make a "sunset" ginger ale, add your splash of bitters to each glass separately after you've poured the club soda over the ginger mixture.  Don't mix.

Want your ginger warm and cozy?  Today is very blustery out, and the idea of drinking cold ginger ale isn't that appealing.  Another option for fall/winter is to add hot water instead of club soda to the hot ginger mixture and serve in a cozy mug.  A great remedy for a tummy bug or digestif after a large thanksgiving supper!

*In a pinch with no fresh ginger available?  Just use honey and water without the ginger or Cinnamon stick and add a little extra bitters to taste.  voila!

I hope you find my drink recipes as yummy as I do!!!  Let me know if you try it!

Love,
Anna

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

YA Fantasy Book Review: "Root Bound"

I had the distinct pleasure to read Tanya Karen Gough's Root Bound- Emma and the Elementals for this week's "we-read Wednesday" book review!  I enjoyed this unique and whimsical fantasy story so much that I gave it 4.5 stars!
"How far will you go to find your way home? Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside. School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies - basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom. Haunted by visions of her mother, Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world. There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above."
 
I didn't know what to expect with this YA Fantasy book, but I was pleasantly surprised with Ms. Gough's smart and well developed story!  Her choice to combine classic children's literature and Greek and Roman mythology with new fantasy ideas was unique and likely to inspire youth to re-examine or experience the classic literature for the first time. 
 
I appreciated the themes commonly found in YA books like popular vs. unpopular, the challenges of moving from place to place as a teen, and good vs. evil, that somehow Gough effortlessly made  new yet relatable.  Adding elements of music along with all of the plot's twists and turns, make this an adventure that keeps adults just as intellectually engaged as the teen. 
 
My only criticism with this delightful, whimsical book is that I wish Gough explained the brownie's in more detail.  I wasn't extremely familiar with the brownie folklore before reading the story, and went back and forth visualizing a baked chocolate treat with legs and a tiny mouse-like human until I looked up what they really were online and discovered they were like a small goblin in folklore. But isn't this also a win for what I imagine Gough was hoping for?  It encouraged and inspired me to learn something new about all of the classic folklore and mythology she relates to in the story. 
 
At first I felt like the first half of the story was too developed and I wish it had moved faster to the world of "under" in the second half of the book.  However, as you learn more and more throughout the story, it makes sense why Gough went to the trouble of developing so much in the first half, where everything comes together quite masterfully in the end.  There were also a few typos throughout the story, but nothing that totally interrupted the flow or enjoyment of the book.
 
I hope you pick up your copy of Root Bound, available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Root-Bound-Emma-Elementals-Volume/dp/0987850601/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top#_.  Your middle schooler will definitely appreciate this exciting and relatable read this holiday season!
 
Happy Reading,
Anna
 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Press Release for Barnes and Noble Book Reading/Signing

Check out this press release written by Julie Breedlove.  It will give you all the details of the authors participating in the BQB reading/signing this Saturday at Barnes and Noble at the Avenue Forsyth!  Also, learn how students at your school can earn your library $100 in FREE BQB books!
**Give you and your child a really special gift: a chance to meet a successful local author!
The school with the most students present will win $100 of free books.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Julie Breedlove 770.364.5361
Cumming, GA – October 15, 2012 – October 20 is the big day to meet several local children’s authors at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers at the Avenue Forsyth from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. These creative people will gather to sign their books, which will make personal gifts to the readers on your holiday list. These authors are ready and willing to talk about the stories behind their published work and their journey to sharing their stories with the world. Inspire yourself or someone close to you with this intimate experience with these notable authors.
The authors scheduled to attend the meet and greet are all from the Atlanta area. Bring the kids, come and pick the authors’ brains, and get inspired by their creativity and flair. The school with the most students present will win $100 of free books from BQB Publishing. Be sure to check in at BQB’s table to boost your school’s chances of winning.
The following youth authors will be present:
Tween to Adult authors present:

The event sponsored by BQB Publishing and Barnes and Noble also includes story time with authors Anna Everhart and Laurie Stephens plus a visit from “Red” of the local Red Robin Restaurant who promotes reading for children.
# # #
About the Authors:
Anna Lee Everhart has enjoyed the gift of stories her whole life and was inspired to write about Bearful Bear, a character her father created in bedtime stories during her childhood. Her love of storytelling developed into a love of writing poetry, songs, and essays. As a result, she enhanced the story and has written Bearful Bear and His New Moves. Anna hopes that Bearful helps families create endearing and special moments that children will remember for the rest of their lives.
Cody Jackson is nine years old, and a pint-sized patriot. As the One Boy USO, Cody has thanked 10,000+ of our country’s heroes, all by the age of nine. After noticing the lack of patriotism in his peers, Cody wanted to let other kids know “It’s okay to be patriotic! If I can do it, you can too!” Cody has written two patriotic children’s books, wanting to share his love of America and her military, and hoping to help other children love their country and troops as much as he does! A portion of all sales of Cody’s books will go back to his charity: OneBoyUSO.com. Come and meet this remarkable little guy.
Jackie Gaskins’ first children’s book, The Four Princesses, is a product of her passion and gift for children. Meet this extraordinary woman with the gift of storytelling.
Anissa Freeman’s mother instilled the joy of reading when Anissa was in preschool, as her mother would read to her each night before going to bed. Her love for bugs developed at an early age as well. She could always be found catching various insects in old pickle jars in her grandparents’ backyard, and that fascination with bugs was the inspiration for her first book, The Ugly Bug Ball, with fellow teacher and co-author Michelle Burns.
Michelle Burns never thought staying after school with one of her colleagues, Anissa Freeman, one Wednesday afternoon would result in achieving her life-long dream of becoming a published author. Because of their love of writing and telling stories, Michelle and Anissa quickly became immersed in their characters and the story they wanted to convey to their young audience. It was important to both of them that their story be utilized in the classroom across all content areas and not just in the area of reading. Learn more about the book and follow Michelle and Anissa’s blog on TheUglyBugBallBook.com.
Laurie Stephens is the mother of two incredible daughters, Lily and Avery, who were both adopted from China. Laurie has made a career in nonprofit fundraising and marketing, and also writes about adoption, spiritual issues, and life as a single mom in her forties. Laurie’s work has been published in Adoption Today magazine and she writes a blog, didimentionreinvention.blogspot.com.
J.R. (Randy) Hardin A late-blooming author, Hardin saved his best for now. Beginning his writing career after a decades’ long delay, this North Georgia writer captures children’s imaginations in the pages of his adventure books. An engineer by trade, Hardin ignored his high school guidance counselor recommendation of writing. In 2001, he turned to his pen to flavor his stories with southern spices.
R.E. Munzing spent his childhood in Michigan, roaming the woods and building tree houses so it is no wonder that he chose an outdoorsy setting for his flights of fantasy. Bob is now swamped by the requirements of getting the rest of the story, that has turned into four books, written, but is happy to live in the fantasy world he’s creating. He takes breaks with occasional trips into the woods during thunderstorms and forays into flea markets looking for knives, small old wooden boxes, and small “steam punk” gadgetry. The next books in The Last Elfairian series are scheduled to make their debuts soon.
Olivia Lodise, ready to graduate from an Atlanta high school this year, began Violet Path as a simple writing assignment for English class in seventh grade, but it did not end there. For class, she wrote the first chapter to study narration and to practice description and character development. However, the story continued, and she wrote every night. For Olivia, writing is mapping out a world, laying it out in front of her, seeing every scene like a timeline, and tracing the characters’ lives. It is drawing out dreams.
About BQB Publishing
Founded in August of 2010, BQB was created to be “the writer’s publisher,” focusing on quality writing from new authors. An independent hybrid publisher, BQB combines the quality processes of traditional publishing with hands-on author involvement to bring today’s new writers and tomorrow’s best sellers into the hands of booksellers and the reading public. To learn more about BQB, visit
www.bqbpublishing.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Quest for the Lost Treasure" Book Review!

I have a book review for all of the preschool to early elementary children out there!  Quest for the Lost Treasure by Gerry Gaston is available on Kindle today!


Quest for the Lost Treasure- A "Choose your own Path" Pirate Adventure!


I was excited when Gerry Gaston asked me to review his Juvenile adventure book because I myself have fond memories of the "choose your own adventure" genre.  I also knew my 5-year-old son, Noah would love the concept coupled with a cool treasure hunting theme!

Luckily, the story does not disappoint.  It is carefully laid out, easy to follow, and has enough twists and turns to keep things interesting!  My son loved the excitement of not knowing what would lie ahead and was truly thrilled when he made it to the end of the book and had actually chosen the right path that lead to the treasure.  The choices are simple so he was able to understand that the path he chose effected the outcome.  This is also what makes this book different from the traditional Choose your own adventure genre geared towards the older reader. We had fun going back through the story to see where the other choices took the story, too. 

You might be concerned that once you find the right path that leads to the treasure, your child won't be interested in reading it again, but the storyline and fun, cartoon-like illustrations make the book fun to enjoy again and again.  Actually, my son just jumped to the computer when he saw me upload the picture of the cover! 

If you are looking for a high quality, engaging and interactive story for your 4-8 year old to enjoy on your Kindle, I highly recommend this book, and give it 5 stars.  Here is the link on Amazon.com to order your copy today!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00959YHV0/ref=yml_dp

Love,
Anna

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's Real Food Recipe- Homemade Chai

It's at this time of year that all I can think about is enjoying a warm cup of chai on my porch with a good book or my journal.  To me, fall is  the peace after the crazy start of the school year in August.  It's the changing colors that release the fragrant leaves carried on the breeze, and all I want to do is embrace it.  It's like the last gift of summer, wrapped up in beautiful colors and smells.

That's when it hits me.  Cinnamon.  The best smell in the entire world!!!  I want to smell it in my house and in my drink, so chai is a staple for me.  The best chai is the one made at home, where you get the fragrance of the spices going and it makes your entire house smell warm and cozy.  Here is my go-to recipe for homemade chai.  You can make several variations too, by using what you have on hand.

Homemade Chai:
Place all of the ingredients in a 4-6 qt. saucepan
Peel and slice about 1/4 cup of fresh ginger
5 star anise
6 cardamom pods
6 cloves- don't have star anise or whole cloves?  Try allspice berries!
1/2 cup honey - add more or less to your liking
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cups of water
honey, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, green cardamom, allspice, star anise, black tea

Bring the water mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium low.  Let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  I love the smell so much, sometimes I let it go longer, and add a little more water if too much has evaporated!! 

Add 2 black or green tea bags to your mixture and let it steep for 3-5 minutes (only 3 for green tea or it will taste bitter). 

Remove from stove, squeeze tea bags to remove excess water.  Add cream or drink it "black".  You can also drink this cold and over ice if you prefer an iced chai.  You may want to add more honey, too.  If you aren't going to drink all the chai, you can let it cool, and place in a mason jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Like your chai with vanilla?  You can add a splash of vanilla at the end when you remove the pot from the stove, or even add a vanilla pod to the mixture at the beginning while boiling/simmering.  YUM! 

Here's mine this morning...I wanted to froth the milk for you but my moolatte is out of bateries!  it's still delish. 


I hope you enjoy this delicious fall beverage!!! 

Love,
Anna

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Review- "Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight

Recently I started offering to review children's, Juvenile and YA genres.  Not only does it hold me accountable to read more, but it also helps authors get their stories out to a wider audience!  As a new author on the street, I know how valuable that service can be!  Here is my first "official" book review that I completed for a new Indie author, Daniel Fife.  You can find him at @DanielMFife, and on Goodreads, FB, etc.  Enjoy the review!

Book Review: Light and Dark: the Awakening of the Mageknight
by Daniel Fife- 3 stars

Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight begins with an average 13 year old, Danny Firoth, beginning his 8th grade year and reuniting with his buddies.  He is taken with a new girl, Sabrina, who quickly becomes friends with his group because of their shared interest in the card game of “Knights.” 

After an encounter with a dragon fighting the dark, and discovering that he possesses the curious and exciting ability of foresight, Danny realizes there is a world of good and evil that is far more realistic and closeby than he ever imagined.  With his friends and Sabrina with him, they have an opportunity to spend their summer attending a secret school learning how to be a knight of the light.  The truth slowly unfolds as Danny learns more about his past and his true destiny that will change his life forever. 

Daniel Fife has come up with a wonderful storyline that is unique enough, but would also remind you of popular stories like Harry Potter.  It is relatable to a YA audience, and contains a relatable love story, along with the themes of good and evil, fighting for what is right, loyalty and learning by doing.  Fife’s writing continues to improve throughout the book, especially with the thrilling fight scenes, and his beautifully thorough scene descriptions.

Unfortunately the grammar, typos and repeated use of cliché phrases such as “did as bid” and “for but a moment,” truly distract from the story.  The pacing also needs reworking with too much character details in the first chapter, as well as too much time and development of the scene at Danny's middle school where the majority of the story takes place at the Academy of the light. 

If these changes were made, this book would be fantastic and receive 5 stars, however, I can only offer 3 stars in its current state.  If you enjoy YA fantasy, this book is worth reading.  I am definitely interested to find out what happens next in the series.    

Note!  After submitting my review to the author, Daniel Fife, he told me he made many of the changes I suggested.  Yay!
 
I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Today, I remember my wedding day!

Seven years ago today, I said "I do" to the kindest man in the world, and I am so glad that I did!  It was the autumnal wedding I had always dreamed of, soaking up all the richness of the season to match the beauty of my family, our history, and the bright future I was walking towards.  Today I remember!
Today is the day, and the flowers arrived beautifully from Flagstads
                                    
Grandma Tuttle and my mommer helping me put on Grandma's beautiful satin gown she had worn 60+ years prior!  Along with my veil that was made from the lace of my great grandmothers wedding dress!
 
Dresses from 1939 certainly have a lot of buttons!
My gorgeous bridesmaids and flower girl. 
                                                 
                                                                      "I do!!"

Gorgeous, lifelong friends
Our Families
The Happy Couple
                                     
                                    Signing our marriage license while watching the sunset


Jeremy surprised me with a letter he read titled, "Why I love Anna".

I surprised Jeremy by singing, "At last" while my brother Mark rocked the guitar accompaniment


Grandma Tuttle, whose dress I had the honor to wear

Our delciously scrumptious, lick-the-plate-clean cake from "Craig's Cakes".  I loved the chocolate leaves!

 


A beautiful day to start a beautiful life! 
 
I have learned so much from Jeremy, and he certainly has taken such great care of me, and loved me through every piece of madness we've been through.  I am blessed beyond measure!!!
 
There were so many other glorious moments; the music, the decorations, etc....but I hope you enjoyed a glimpse down my memory lane!
 
Love,
Anna

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do You Take Things Personally?

Do you take things personally?  I used to.  A lot. 

Whether it was a statement by someone that offended my personal beliefs, or a rude comment or attitude made by someone towards me- I'd take it personally. 



I realized I was spending a lot of time passionately being upset at the injustice of how people treated others, or the lack of warmth or tact from people in my life.  I didn't understand how people could be so rude or thoughtless!  After some serious soul searching, I had a realization that there were a few heart issues that were contributing to my inability to let things roll off my back. 

One, I was looking towards others to find my identity, instead of looking at my creator- God!  I was placing the opinions of (what I thought) others thought of me on a pedestal, and somehow lost my own voice and the root of my own value.  This worked out OK when I received praise, but more often than not, made me feel less than worthy at someones tart words or lack of affection towards me.  This thought alone, I believe would help so many of us in the joy and confidence we have in our lives, and lower the amount of time we spend comparing ourselves, or ruminating on what others are thinking about us. 

The second part was realizing that what someone else says tells me something about them, (not me).  Bullying, cold greetings and criticisms always made me feel insecure and lowered my self-esteem.  Working through this toxic thought process allowed me to free myself from this type of assumption in my thinking. 

Are you tempted to think this way?  Are you tempted to base your value on what others say about you (or what you think they are saying about you)?  I truly hope that you realize your true value has nothing to do with what others say, but everything to do with the one in whose image you were created.  That what people say doesn't have to offend you, but can give you valuable information about what that person is going through, or where they are in their journey.  You don't have to take it personally.  What a freedom!

Love,
Anna

Monday, August 27, 2012

Will YOU Help an Author Win a Contest?

Hey Friends!!

So there's this contest....

and I woke up this morning with a passion to win it!!!

Will you help me??

Here's the deal.  I have to have the highest wholesale sales for the month of September out of all the authors with BQB Publishing.  This means, I need YOU and YOUR FRIENDS to buy "Bearful Bear and his new Moves" either online at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com, OR, better yet, ASK for it at your local bookstore!!  There are always baby showers, birthday's, and even CHRISTMAS is coming up!!! 

And here's a little well known fact:


















a book is always the perfect gift. 

So, I am rallying the troops for this one!  I can only win this contest with your help!  Spread the word (and this blog) to your friends.  Put Bearful Bear on your child's wish list!  The reward means that Bearful will make his way into more hearts and more bookstores, which means so much to me! 

Let's win this thing, baby!!!
Love,
Anna

Friday, August 24, 2012

Forget Judgment- Learning the art of Noticing

I don't know about you, but lately my Facebook has been...colorful.  Hot topics, people disagreeing- even dispising their opposition.  It breaks my heart as a person whose number one strength is connectedness.  I can always see both sides, and even if I disagree, I can always understand where the others are coming from.  I've actually had anxiety over the past month from my Facebook friends list of far left, far right, north and south and everything in between.  It's a neat mix, but I can't say that it doesn't overwhelm me.  And I've felt it.  I've been allowing judgments to creep in my mind...and I have gently reminded myself of the second blog post I ever wrote called "Noticing."  I feel that more than ever, I need this in my life, and maybe it will help you, too.

I have recently come across the idea of noticing in a few parenting books. It means realizing what your child likes, and instead of making a judgment statement to them, such as, "I love it when you color pretty pictures," or, "I love how well you dance," you should say, "Wow, I have noticed that you like to draw pictures for daddy, " or, "I've noticed how much you love to dance!" A subtlety, sure; but a significant one. One that makes a huge difference on the self esteem of a child. A child who has the freedom to grow up and be what they always dreamed of- not what they think would make some else- especially their parents- happy.

Today as I drove home, it was just beginning to snow, and there was a driver behind me who was clearly wanting to speed past. I started to get slightly irritated since the weather didn't provide clear driving conditions, and I had two babies in the backseat. Before allowing myself to further indulge my feeling to get over and give him a clear and direct point to the innocent children in the back seat and a furrowed brow, I thought of the idea of noticing.

What I noticed was that this man was in a hurry. Period. Ok. Got it. I'll move over for you. What's the problem with that? Am I really going to waste a single moment on some less-than-intelligent (woops, a judgment!) man that feels the need to get somewhere 30 seconds faster than I do? OK, so I won't get upset. I won't judge him. I won't waste time. I'll simply notice. Notice he is in a hurry.

This little idea has such dramatic implications on the happiness, the peace, and the extra moments I'll own thinking of something brighter. It goes beyond road rage. It can be used anytime someone talks about something they enjoy, something they dislike- it's a way to know someone and their values without judging that they are different than you. This is the most freeing thought process, and is, in my experience, the easiest way to get away from judging others! In the end I will be glad knowing that I didn't allow the anger and frustration over someone else's value system to rob me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Barnes and Noble and Bearful Bear, Friends at Last!

Excitement is one way to put it.  Thrilled is another.  Oh yes, I am pleased to announce that Barnes and Noble has picked up "Bearful Bear and his new Moves" in paperback!!!  Now, this doesn't mean that you will see 10 copies stacked nicely on display at every Barnes and Noble across the country, but what it means is that they have it stocked in their warehouse, and every Barnes and Noble can easily order it.  As they receive more demand for it (by devoted fans asking for it at their help desks), they will eventually start stocking it! 

So now, I'm asking for your help!  When you are looking for a great, personal gift for a new baby, grandchild, donation to a school, etc. Please go and ask for it at your local bookstores!  This is a great way to support new authors, whoever they may be.  As I've said from the beginning, I am so blessed by those of you who have been so supportive of me and my venture of becoming an author!  All of these are mini wins for us, as the publishing industry is one tough cookie to crack!  But, HERE WE ARE, Bearful!!! 

A few practical things you can do to help (if you feel so inclined :))

1. Tell your friends about this blog or the book!
2. Ask for your bookstore to carry "Bearful Bear and his new Moves"!
3. Write a review of the book at www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com

Have I mentioned that I appreciate you?!?!  Thanks for reading- truly...you have no idea what it means to know that someone reads this blog and cares...that I'm not alone on an island with a beautiful book that no one has seen or heard. 

Love,
Anna

Thursday, August 2, 2012

And the Winner Is....

                            Barb Perkins!!! 


You won a FREE autographed copy of Bearful Bear and his new Moves!!!  Thank you so much for sharing my teaser trailer on your social media sites!!  Your support is so meaningful to me!! 

Thanks to all of you who shared my trailer...there will be more giveaways, as always...so please keep up with me via this blog, my Facebook author page, Anna Lee Everhart, or on twitter, @AnnaLeeEverhart!  To purchase the book, click here for hardcover or here for paperback!

Thank you so much for your support!!
Love,
Anna

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Bearful Bear and his new Moves" Teaser Trailer and Giveaway!

I awoke this morning to an email from my BQB marketing manager, the fantabulous Julie Breedlove, with an adorable teaser trailer for my children's book, "Bearful Bear and his new Moves!"  I couldn't wait to share it with you, and I would love for you to share it with your friends!!  I also thought this would be a great opportunity to offer a GIVEAWAY!!!  If you watch the teaser trailer on YouTube and then share it with your Facebook friends or via email, let me know in the comments section, and I will enter you in a drawing for a FREE, Autographed copy of "Bearful Bear and his new Moves"!  PLEASE leave me an email or Facebook name so that I can contact the winner, if you are not already "friends" with me on Facebook. 

I am sure you have a youngster in your life who would benefit from this children's book, which incorporates movement with language development using lovable animal characters!  Let me know what you think!

Bearful Teaser Trailer

Happy Giveaway day!!
Anna

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Southeast Taco's

It's "Real Food Recipe Tuesday", peeps!  And last night, I made one to remember!  Making homemade tortillas has been on my to-do list for months, and I finally got around to making them.  You don't have to feed your family GMO tortillas!  You can even soak (sprout) them for the all around, perfect tortilla.  And on top, we're straying from our well-known southwest tacos and Mexican Taqueria tacos, and instead, marrying the flavors of the southeast with Taqueria comfort.  The result?  A match made in heaven, shall we say? 

For toppings, get creative!  I used Georgia trout that I caught with my family on Father's day, vidalia onion and tomato salsa (from Sun Harvest, my families favorite citrus stop in Ft. Myers, FL), jalapeno cream I made with my homemade yogurt, and Guacamole made from yummy Florida Avocados!  Here's today's recipe in full:

Tortillas 
*This recipe is NOT my own recipe.  I got it from Bon Appetit mag.  It is a very simple dough, and for full instructions, click here.  A few notes for you grain soakers...to soak this recipe, I would add 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar to the dough along with the water and let soak overnight.  Otherwise, you can follow all other instructions! 

Tortillas:
2 cups fresh corn meal
1 cup water (replace 1 tbsp. ACV if soaking)
1/2 tsp. salt
The consistency should resemble play dough.  Roll into balls about 1-1.2 inch in diameter.  You want the tortillas small so they are easy to handle.  Some people have a tortilla press, but I don't, so I used my bacon press, and it worked great!  Place one ball of dough between two layers of lightly oiled plastic wrap. (I cut 2 sides of a sandwich bag so three sides were open), like this:

press the ball between the plastic until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  Remove carefully from the plastic wrap and set directly in an oiled fry pan set over medium high heat. I had a few "fall apart", but just quickly pushed it back together on the pan with my spatula.  Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, and 1 minute on the second side.  The Bon Appetit recipe had a different time listed, but that didn't seem to be enough time for mine...you will just have to play with it the first tortilla or two.  Keep the tortillas warm in a dry kitchen towel while you work. 

Toppings

1 Whole Trout, about 1.5 lbs. (or 2 fillets if you would like to avoid skin and bones)
Cajun spices
1 avocado
1 lime
1 small jalapeno
3/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 jar of vidalia onion salsa (or your favorite salsa)
salt and pepper

First make the fish.  Sprinkle the inside of the whole fish with Cajun spices, salt and pepper.  Cook on medium low in a greased, covered pot (I used my fabulous Creuset), for 20-25 minutes, until flaky. 

Meanwhile, prepare a simple guacamole using your avocado, lime, salt and pepper.  Mash up with a fork, and set on a plate along with the salsa.  To make your jalapeno cream, mix diced jalapenos (take care to avoid touching the seeds while chopping, wearing gloves or chopping in a food chopper.).  Combine jalapenos with 3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream, and a dash of salt.  Set this along with your other toppings.  You can create a very simple taco bar with these 4 delicious toppings. 

Once your fish is cooked, remove fish from skin and bones, and lightly shred or cut into larger pieces if you wish. 

Assemble your tacos with fish, then guacamole and jalapeno cream, and finally the beautiful red salsa.  Eat slowly, savoring the fine combinations of summer at it's best!
From my real food home to yours,
Anna

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Simple Things, Like a Poem

What better way to pause and "smell the roses" during the day than to read a poem?  A poem, cramming 100 years in few words forces us to slow down and take it in, thought by thought, word by word. 
I was browsing through my documents, and found a document titled, "Poem Battle".  I thought to myself...."what is this?"  So of course, my curiosity made me open it to remember this moment.  It was none other than an old IM conversation with a very old friend, where we wrote poems about "simple Things."  I thought I would share it with you to inspire some simple matters that will hopefully help you pause for a moment. 

beanapie8 wrote:

life has such complexities
which lack and burn
and which brightness dies
and choosing this, I hope in turn
the truth reveals
to live, to rely
on simple things
that much is truth
and complexities
burn forsooth

NPoser1123 wrote: Simple Things

Pain is a simple thing we enjoy
Just for being simple;
An easily digestible
Elephant in our daily meals.
We wake up hurt and yawning sorely
Have our shower to rinse
The wince on our morning face.
And brush our teeth of hope.
We've done naught, but seemingly
Abound in our unknowing
Because little simple things
Are so inscrutable found!
So because they're all simple things
We all live unheeding of
Their tiny, daily damage
That lacks and burns in our "small" lives.
O, Give me honest complexity
In my search for truth and joy!
Give me deep, hard mystery
Impossible puzzles to solve.
Give me full-bodied, unedited
Challenging lives of people;
Their contradictions laid bare
And yet completely nonplusing.
If in simple things we had relied
We would exist only as
Simpletons to each other;
Would the brightness not truly die?

Hope you enjoyed your moment,
Anna

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Budget Back on Track

Sticking to a budget down to the penney is difficult.  I am not detail oriented, but relate more to the big picture, and round numbers!  I have a friend who knows (down to the penney!) what they spend in every single area of their finances, and I am inspired.  And tired.  I do, however, know what my budget is for groceries, and have recently gotten a little grocery happy, to be honest.  I mean, that bottle of wine and chevre looked perfect for a summer evening (ok, and it was worth it.)  BUT, now it's time to tighten the belt once more.  And I have a few new budgeting tactics I'd love to share. 

First Order of Business:
For everything that I can't get locally/weekly, I am going to shop for once a month instead of once week.  We've had this discussion before: how easy it is to spend way more on BOGO's and other great deals (that, um, you actually didn't need) but felt like it was too good of a deal to pass up.  I love a great deal, too, but every time I go to the grocery store, I get things that are great to have, but not on my list. I am hoping that it will be easier to save money if I can go once a month, really plan and cut coupons, and not to mention, save on time and gas during the rest of the month!

Second Order of business: A sub category to the grocery shopping is to go ALONE.  SANS CHILDREN.  One, it is very difficult to concentrate, add up my bill as I go, take my time, etc. when two children keep getting out of the cart to grab shiny objects!!  After all, the grocery store (flying solo!) is a mini vacay!  Thanks for watching the kids, honey!

Third Order of Business:  After stewing over our budget, there was nothing obvious to cut besides groceries, but then it dawned on me.  I budget a certain amount for gas because that is how much I use.  Well, that is me letting my life dictate my budget instead of my INCOME determining my budget.  BIG MISTAKE.  I quickly decided that I have to give myself a gas budget within my means, and once it's gone, it's gone.  Hence, why cutting my grocery trips down is a great way to also help with strategy number three.  I am planning on getting $50 worth of gas at a time as well instead of filling up all the way, so it makes budgeting that much simpler and easier to track. 

I hope these three budgeting tips help you and your family save a few bucks going into the new school year!  I am REALLY excited to take even more control of my finances while my family works towards financial freedom!

Love,
Anna

Monday, July 9, 2012

What are you for?

News flash: our country is in a heated debate over certain bills and ideologies.  I can't even open Facebook without political whiplash these days!  But, even in (somewhat) non-political topics, like real food, or religion, I'm noticing a heck of a lot more information on what people despise than what people are for.  If I read one more "look what Monsanto's up to now," or," look at this ugly photograph of Obama frowning along with some witty-rude comment about our president" Facebook update, I think I am going to throw up in my mouth!  And I don't need to add a photo to this blog, because I know YOU know exactly what I'm talking about. 

I'm ready to hear what you are for.  I get educating on the "bad" topics, sure, but I'm ready to hear what you stand for without bashing the other 50% of the population!  You aren't going to win converts to your agenda by criticizing the uneducated or those who hold a different world view.

I want to hear what Christians believe- like, if your view is that the church should rise up and tithe to help unburden the government's responsibility, then why don't you encourage your brothers and sisters to tithe, and lead by that example?  If you feel so inclined to share your political views on Facebook, than why not use it to rally and rise up instead of rile up and knock down? 

Let's not give in to the political swindle of deception and suggestion, and rally up for a change with real ideas, real ideals, and comments that share that sentiment!  How would the political climate of our great country change for the better if we actually listened and shared instead of battled with facetious arguments? 

I dream of a world.....
Anna

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Strawberry Strata

Tuesday's Real Food Recipe for this week?  Um.  Strawberry Strata.  I was making some strawberry jam today (forget canning for the year...I just buy organic fresh or frozen fruit and simmer it down as needed!) and was dreaming of this chicken sausage and cheddar strata I had made the other day.  I kept thinking about the fabulous texture of the custard, and thought that making a sweet version would quite possibly convert me from traditional french toast. 

As I stared at the beautiful strawberries simmering, I decided to go for it.  What rose from the oven was something quite spectacular that could have improved if only I would have given it a torched sugared topping (think creme brulee).  A great reason to have to make it again!  The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity.  Use high quality ingredients, like local cream and eggs, organic items, etc.  This isn't fancy food- it's comfort at its best, and using good quality ingredients delivers!  Here is the recipe, which would serve as a delicious spring dessert, or a fabulous brunch option along with something savory. 

Strawberry Strata







Ingredients:
1 9x13 pan, buttered
1 1/2-2 cups organic strawberries
1/2 cup sugar (preferably raw cane sugar)
4 eggs, preferably pastured
1/2 cup half n half or heavy cream (preferably local, not homogenized)
6 slices soft bread (either homemade or good quality soft bread from the store), crusts removed
Ceylon cinnamon (find at Penzey's Spices), which pairs wonderfully with fruit- much milder and more citrus in flavor than other cinnamon
1 TBSP lemon or orange juice
zest of lemon or orange
extra sugar for sprinkling

Hull and halve the strawberries and place in a bowl.  Add 1 TBSP lemon fresh lemon juice and zest of the lemon (orange can also be used) and 1/2 cup sugar.  Let macerate (sit) for 45 minutes.  If you are in a hurry, you can use prepared jam, or warm up the strawberries over the stove.

Meanwhile, remove the crusts and place on the bottom of your prepared pan. 

When strawberries are ready, put strawberry mixture in a large measuring cup.  Add half n half (or cream) to fill up to 2 1/2 cups.  Add the 4 eggs and whisk the mixture together until combined, slightly breaking up the strawberries while you mix (if you heated your strawberries, make sure strawberries are not hot when you add the eggs or you'll get scrambled!).  Pour strawberries custard over the bread and let sit for 15 minutes so the bread absorbs the mixture thoroughly.  Sprinkle Ceylon cinnamon and sugar on the top, and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the strata is set in the middle.  Do not over bake.  Let the strata cool for about 15-20 minutes, cut and serve. 

*note, if you are making this and not using fresh, in season strawberries you may want to consider adding a little extra sugar.