Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Passion's Vision Receives Reader's Favorite Award

I have been so busy with writing and promotion and all the things authors get all tangled into, that I finally realized I had not blogged about Passion's Vision receiving a Reader's Favorite Award. Can you imagine forgetting to blog about something that exciting and wonderful?

Well,... Reader's Favorite is a prestigious International Award. They have several awards they give out to numerous genres. Passion's Vision was awarded 2014 Finalist in Historical Fiction. I just have to post my Award. Believe me, it is in a beautiful frame hanging in my office.

I also wanted to post a site that features great books of every genre with links to purchase. Just click the link, of course it goes to Passion's Vision, but at the top of the page you can navigate to your favorite genre.

Don't forget, Raven's Passion will be on special at Amazon 12/25 to 12/31/14 at Amazon Kindle for .99cents


Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Native American Christmas

The stories I am writing for the Passion’s Series take place in the 1700s and my characters are Native American Cherokees. While researching for my Native American novels I came across some amazing information about Native American celebrations. Before the white man came to their land they had no knowledge of Christian teachings. As the missionaries introduced them to Christian traditions, the Native Americans found that the story of Christmas and Christ’s birth sounded similar to some of their own tribal prophecies and considered the familiarity of the message of Jesus with their own truths handed down by their ancestors.

Many Native Americans in North America did observe a celebration near Christmas time, that we call the Winter Solstice.  The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and falls on December 21-22. It was celebrated in the Americas long before European influence arrived. Different Native American tribes associate different beliefs and rituals with it.
For example, the Hopi tribal celebrations are meant to give aid and direction to the sun which is ready to return and give strength to new life. Their ceremony is called Soyal and lasts for 20 days. During this time there is prayer stick making, purification and other rituals, and is concluded with a rabbit hunt a great feast and many blessings.
There is a  Native American story of a brave named, Handsome Fellow. He could be called a Native American Santa. He is a handsome brave who wears white buckskins, and brings gifts to Indian children. Other gift bringers come at different times of the year, often in the summertime. What intrigues me the most about the Native American culture is their love for giving. The gift bringing and giving element is always a part of the American Indian culture, whatever the occasion is for a gathering.
I was struck by the words of  Looks for Buffalo, an Oglala Sioux spiritual leader, the full-blood Oglala grandson of Chief Red Cloud and White Cow Killer, and a Cheyenne Oglala leader, as he explains the meaning of Christmas to the traditional Indian people of the Americas. The following words are his own words:

"Traditional American Indians are raised to respect the Christian Star and the birth of the first Indian Spiritual Leader. He was a Star Person and Avatar. His name was Jesus. He was a Hebrew, a Red Man. He received his education from the wilderness. John the Baptist, Moses, and other excellent teachers that came before Jesus provided an educational foundation with the Holistic Method."

"Everyday is our Christmas. Every meal is our Christmas. At every meal we take a little portion of the food we are eating, and we offer it to the spirit world on behalf of the four legged, and the winged, and the two legged. We pray--not the way most Christians pray-- but we thank the Grandfathers, the Spirit, and the Guardian Angel."

"The Indian Culture is actually grounded in the traditions of a Roving Angel. The life-ways of Roving Angels are actually the way Indian People live. They hold out their hands and help the sick and the needy. They feed and clothe the poor. We have high respect for the avatar because we believe that it is in giving that we receive."

"We are taught as Traditional children that we have abundance. The Creator has given us everything: the water, the air we breathe, the earth as our flesh, and our energy force: our heart. We are thankful every day. We pray early in the morning, before sunrise, to the morning star, and the evening star. We pray for our relatives who are in the universe that someday they will come. We also pray that the Great Spirit's son will live again."

"To the Indian People Christmas is every day and they don't believe in taking without asking. Herbs are prayed over before being gathered by asking the plant for permission to take some cuttings. An offer of tobacco is made to the plant in gratitude. We do not pull the herb out by its roots, but cut the plant even with the surface of the earth, so that another generation will be born its place."

"It is really important that these ways never be lost. And to this day we feed the elders, we feed the family on Christmas day, we honor Saint Nicholas. We explain to the little children that to receive a gift is to enjoy it, and when the enjoyment is gone, they are pass it on to the another child, so that they, too, can enjoy it. If a child gets a doll, that doll will change hands about eight times in a year, from one child to another."

"Every day is Christmas in Indian Country. Daily living is centered around the spirit of giving and walking the Red Road. Walking the Red Road means making everything you do a spiritual act. If your neighbor, John Running Deer, needs a potato masher; and you have one that you are not using, you offer him yours in the spirit of giving. It doesn't matter if it is Christmas or not."

"If neighbors or strangers stop over to visit at your house, we offer them dinner. We bring out the T-Bone steak, not the cabbage. If we don't have enough, we send someone in the family out to get some more and mention nothing of the inconvenience to our guests. The more one gives, the more spiritual we become. The Christ Consciousness, the same spirit of giving that is present at Christmas, is present every day in Indian Country."

Looks For Buffalo resides on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and can be contacted at (605)867-5762 or P.O. Box 150, Pine Ridge, SD 57770. He is a contributor to www.ewebtribe.com.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, filled with many blessings and lots of giving.

Above Photos from Google Commons.

                               Passion's Vision (Passion Series Book 1)
                               Raven's Passion (Passion Series Book 2)
                               Passion's Price (Passion Series Book 3)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Welcome to Featured Guest Blogger, Monica LaSarre

Welcome to Featured Guest Blogger, Monica LaSarre.

I am grateful to the very talented Mary Adair for the opportunity to share a few words on her blog. I’ve enjoyed her Passion series immensely and am honored to have her as a supporter of my recently published children’s novel, Japer Penzey: International Boy Detective, The Ruby Brooch of Atlantis.

Let me cut right to the chase regarding what I hope you’ll take away from this blog post: I’ve discovered the fountain of youth and it’s not at the gym, or in a bottle of wrinkle cream, or hidden deep in the jungles of Africa. It’s at your finger tips. Its name is “Children’s Literature”.

I’m almost 40, writing is my second career (I worked in non-profit health care and transfusion medicine for decades), I’m a mom of two really great kids, and I love to read. I’m not different from many of you, most likely. We are adults, we have responsibilities, reading is a good way to relax and squeeze some extra joy out of life, but we read adult books (adult fiction, romances, non-fiction). I was in that boat too.

For many reasons, a few of which I’ll share momentarily, I found I had a burning desire to write a novel for kids. And I have to say, writing it has become a fountain of youth for me in so many ways. Since writing this novel, I laugh a lot more, I look at the world through a simpler gaze, and I’m a bit more unencumbered and gravitate towards adventure and learning with the wide-eyed expectation of a child. Through the experience, I’ve learned an amazing fact: children are simpler, happier beings and the way they look at the world is beautiful and enviable. Now, one of my favorite things to share with my reading friends is how I’ve come to appreciate mixing in children’s literature as a reading choice for myself. Beyond my book alone (which many adults are enjoying as a fountain of youth as well!), I enjoy reading classic children’s literature and books geared towards younger readers. I challenge you to try it. You will feel younger, I promise you.

A few things about my book: First, I wrote it to be read-aloud friendly. Sadly, so many children’s chapter books aren’t. I would see my kids’ eyes glaze over at long, descriptive, beautifully written passages in the books I would read to them, and wish there were more chapter books that kept them engaged. I found so few read-aloud friendly books; I decided to write my own. As an author, I’m compelled to share in my stories some valuable tools for helping our children grow into conscientious, thoughtful, compassionate people. Through my own love of culture and travel and sharing those passions with my kids, Jasper Penzey’s story was born.

A 9-year old international boy detective, Jasper has never known his mother. He moves to Greece with his history professor father and for the first time in his young life he has the opportunity to view another culture and another part of the world. He is pulled into a mystery involving the location of the lost civilization of Atlantis, which surprisingly exposes him to clues indicating his mother is out there somewhere in the wide world, and he would give anything to find her and know her. Filled with age-appropriate morals and quips, Jasper’s tale illustrates the power of bedtime stories, that people worldwide are different and special in their own way, and that history and mystery can be a lot of fun.

Ideal for readers aged 7-12 and for all adults wanting to discover their own fountain of youth, I’m pleased to share Jasper Penzey’s story with you. The first in an 8-book series, Book 2 takes place in Panama and will be published in early 2015. I hope you’ll join me on this adventure and share Jasper’s story with all the readers in your life, young and old. I give away a free book (children’s literature) daily (on average) on my Facebook page, so join me there as well. I love fan mail and dialogue with readers via my website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I hope to get to know you and interact with you based on our shared love of reading and all things books.

These photos were taken while on a family vacation. Both were taken on the island of Santorini, both in the exact spots that became scenes in the book. One  taken on a boat to the temple island, the other one in Amoudi where Jasper saw the best sunset.
M.A.A.    Thank you, Monica for guesting my blog today. I agree with you totally, nothing brings back the feeling of youth like the antics and laughter of children. The whole world is a new and wonderful place when seen through the eyes of a child. I loved book one and will be waiting anxiously for the book two. Please come back and share with me when Jasper's next adventure is published.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jasper-Penzey-International-Detective-Atlantis-ebook/dp/B00OR2NFXG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418065773&sr=8-1&keywords=Monica+LaSarre

My website: http://www.monicalasarre.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

REVIEW: Jasper Penzey The Ruby Brooch of Atlantis by Monica LaSarre

The Ruby Brooch of Atlantis (Japer Penzey: International Boy Detective, #1)The Ruby Brooch of Atlantis by Monica LaSarre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all…I love the title! Don’t you just love that name “Jasper Penzey”

I have nothing against fantasy, like Harry Potter, but I cheer anytime I read a children's book that can excite a child about "real" abilities like Thinking, (I loved that Jasper would Stop and take time to Think about the situation.) He reasoned things out. Also, I liked that he had patience with a child that was so different from himself and saw the good things about her. It took no time at all and they were fast friends. They ran around outside, not spending their whole day on the computer or TV.

Unlike the Harry Potter stories, which I also love, This book is not a story about an imaginary place with people that have magical powers. Jasper's "power" comes from his ability to thing and follow clues. Jasper is a nine year old boy with the budding talent of Sherlock Holms. He has sleuthing in his blood and determined to be the best sleuth ever. In fact, his nickname, given to him by his nanny, Renee, is “Sherlock”.

The story of Jasper starts with a mysterious woman as she bids her tiny baby goodbye. Nine years later the faint scent of jasmine and a feathery soft kiss still lingers in Jaspers mind.
Jasper’s need to follow the clues is evident from chapter one. He tallies the clues but is totally blindsided when he is told by his dad that he is moving to Greece. How did all the clues lead him on the wrong path? The worst thing ever was to move! That night he finds a small box hidden in his room. Inside the box was a letter from his mom and a mysterious amulet. These two items is all he has of his mom’s and he treasures them in secret. Once settled in his new home he contacts his best friend and has him watch his old house for the possible arrival of his mother.

It does not take long for him to make a new friend and of course, they become hip dip in a mystery that would rival any of Sherlock Holms’ escapades. With help from Cally, his new best friend, even if she is a girl, they begin a journey of discovery and danger. Together they crack the case of the missing ice cream; unravel the mystery of the men in sunglasses, smooth over a family misunderstanding…and of course save the day. I am being careful not to put in any spoilers.

I just can’t say enough good stuff about this story. This is a story that will ignite the interest of any young sleuth. It is packed with tidbits of a faraway place that mixes “learning” with the joy of reading. It is definitely a page turner and is kid tested! My nieces and nephews L-O-V-E-D it! Ms. LaSarre is a talented storyteller and I look forward to reading more of her work, and I know my nieces and nephews are going to be begging for more.
Also the cookie recipes at the end are wonderful!

View all my reviews