Friday, November 29, 2019

Undaunted Underdog By Jodi Rath #fearless #trauma


Coming out on the other side of an abusive childhood followed by marital abuse, being able to talk about it, owning it, and then helping others is huge on the fearless meter. Please welcome Jodi Rath back to Discover... for Fearless Friday. I was in tears half-way through this post, but it has a happy ending. 

Being in education for over twenty years, I’ve run into students who have fallen victim to their environments and circumstances. I hope to help them find something deep inside themselves that enables them to pull themselves out of that darkness and gives them the grit and determination to create their own future path. And that is the key–they must be the one to find it, not me or anyone else. Also, they must believe it. Many times, I’ve been able to help them, and sadly, other times, not so much.

One of the reasons I’ve found success in helping traumatized teens is due to my own harrowing past experiences. Growing up, I faced abuse from my biological father. What I didn’t realize was, many people deal with abuse in one form or another. I learned that others had had similar experiences as I grew older and got into a profession where I saw it firsthand. It doesn’t make it any less daunting for those of us that experience it—and any type of abuse is as bad as the next: physical, sexual, mental, psychological.

I’m an only child, so I didn’t have siblings to talk to as I worked through things. Somehow, I found strength in reading and writing from the young age of five. When I was in fifth grade, most of the abuse ended—although the psychological effects have lasted a lifetime. Knowing I would be writing this blog today, I had night terrors last night and thrashed my body into a cramped mess. I awoke at one in the morning and spent two hours taking deep breaths while counting to six, pressing my thumb into the palm of my hand—these are little tricks my previous therapist taught me to help me get through these overwhelmed feelings. Once I caught my breath, I read until five a.m., when I got up. When this happens, I can forget about sleep. As you can see, reading is still an escape!

My first marriage, unfortunately, was to someone like my biological father. He worked extra hard to never to have see me, and when he did, he took that time to tell me how worthless I was. I got out of that relationship at age twenty-nine, and I was fortunate. Fourteen years after we divorced, my first husband set his second estranged wife’s house on fire. He barricaded himself in his apartment when SWAT came, firing his gun at them, injuring one officer and killing another. He is in prison for life now.

My biological father and my first husband are two solid reasons why I could have ended up repeating this vicious cycle of abuse. One of the things I’ve tried to teach my students is that for every monster that appears in their lives, there is an angel present somewhere as well. The trick is understanding which is which.

My mom married my stepfather, whose name is Mike Miller, when I was in fifth grade. He was invested in being a father to me, although I had a difficult time accepting him at first. But he worked hard and made us a family. He wanted to adopt me, but my biological father refused to allow him to do it. When I was seventeen, my mom divorced my stepdad. She and I left the house that he had built for us as a family, where most of my happy memories were made. I was sure I would never see him again, but before we left, Mike took me for a drive to talk about it. He told me he understood what I went through with my biological father, and he understood that it is difficult for me to trust people, but he promised that he would prove to me that he was in my life for good.

He was right. I didn’t believe him. But, he proved me wrong. He called me every day, even though he was broken-hearted by the divorce. He drove me to and attended all my major life events: sporting events, graduation of high school, and graduation of college. In contrast, when I got my college degree, my bio father said to me, “I never thought you would ever get through high school, let alone college.” Mike also walked me down the aisle for my first marriage, even though my biological father was strongly opposed to it.

Mike died from prostate cancer when I was thirty-seven years old. I took time off work from teaching to be there for him during his last months. The last thing I said to him was, “I love you, dad.” Then he kissed me on the cheek. He is and always will be my dad. He’s one of the good ones.

My second husband’s name is Mike, too. I say my Mike’s are my angels. He and I have been together seventeen years, and he has bought me fresh flowers once a week all seventeen years. We have nine cats in our home—our fur babies. (I had to have a hysterectomy at age twenty-nine, right before I left my first husband.)  We’ve had nineteen cats in seventeen years—my current family consisting of my husband, Mike, and our nine cats are my pride and joy.

I’ve wanted to be a full-time writer since I was five. Here I am, at age forty-six, having survived childhood abuse and domestic abuse–sporting psychological scars that I’ll never be rid of. But instead of passing on the pain, I channel it and have used it to help teens and adults through my teaching and writing. I now own my business, where I split my time between teaching Ohio teachers online, writing for educational publications, and writing The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. My third book in the series came out November fifteenth.

Writing the series is so therapeutic for me. My protagonist deals with some of the things I’ve dealt with, as well as issues like youth homelessness, and also physical, emotional, and mental issues, including characters facing challenges like navigating life with MS. These topics are near and dear to my heart. I’ve paired up with True Colors United, an organization that helps homeless youth (and is run by Cyndi Lauper!) and the National MS Society to help raise awareness as well as sharing a percentage of my profits with both organizations.

“Fearless Friday” blogs are about life-changing events: I feel like my entire life has been life-changing for me, and I hope for many others too. My wish is to continue helping to educate and write and create a ripple effect of kindness.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

I’ve shared this quotation with every student I’ve worked with in trying to help them understand that it is their choice to be who they want to be—the world may try to dictate other things for our lives—but we get to be the ones to make the final choices.


Family bombshells, sibling rivalries, blackmail, and a trip that could be deadly...and the new year has only just begun! After a disastrous Thanksgiving, Jolie Tucker is beside herself and feeling the walls closing in around her. She feels like she needs to escape Leavensport before she loses her mind. She unexpectedly gets her wish when her best friend and co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, Ava Martinez, gets a terrifying email revealing that her papa, Thiago, is in danger in Santo Domingo. The girls are off on a dangerous adventure in new territory. Will they be able to save the day before danger finds them? 


Newsletter link to A Mystery A Month—sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive a free Mystery a Month and a chance to win prizes for those who guess the right answers!

FB Author page: @authorjodirath or
Twitter: @jodirath

Monday, November 25, 2019

PROMOTION AND THE REVIEW By Nancy Nau Sullivan #authorslife #memoir


Please join me in welcoming my guest, Nancy Nau Sullivan. Once the muse has pronounced "the end" an author is on her own with a hard road to becoming known. Nancy explains it nicely.

As a first-time author, I was the last one to know the rigors of promotion, and, in particular, the way to reviews. Writing the book was one thing, promoting it another. I had to dive in. Then I hit cold, hard reality. No stopping in mid-air to think about it. I had to go all in.  From start to finish, it had taken years to bring my memoir THE LAST CADILLAC  to market, and by the grace of God, I had to get out there and push that book.

I did get suggestions for promotion from my publisher, but I had to do the legwork. With so much to choose from, I didn’t know where best to start. I came to realize how very specialized every book is, how every choice to promote it is individual, and the avenues of publicity are pretty generic: social media, traditional media, interviews, calling, writing emails, getting a table at the local fest. So, it seemed, I  went everywhere. A scatter shot approach, if you will. The first bright (ahem) idea was to take out an ad for my book – four months before publication – in a prestigious writing magazine. It cost $ 750 (what was I thinking?). There are a lot of good ways to spend money on promotion, but this was not one of them.

Writing emails and phoning with both hands, I took a break and walked into my neighborhood branch of the Chicago Public Library. I got up the courage and handed  the manager a newly minted copy of my memoir for review. “Here. You’ll love it.” He was gracious. We chatted. “Get more reviews,” he advised, warmly. “Get one of the biggies if you can.

It was too late for many of the “biggies” now that the book was published. (And, sadly, my publisher had missed all the deadlines for submission to get those reviews.) But I could send my book around to Kirkus, and I did. The review came back, and it was good. In fact, it was great!

And what did the branch manager at the library think of THE LAST CADILLAC? I was still waiting to hear. The days  ticked by. No comment. I called one time, and then again, and I felt like a pest, and that’s what I was. A first-time author, A PEST. Because I had to bug people. Constantly.

I finally reached him. He said he loved the book. It’s now in the Chicago Public Library collection.
Whew. That was good news, but I still needed reviews. I checked Amazon. Andre Agassi with his autobiography, OPEN, sat next to me on  Amazon with more than a thousand reviews. 


I had in my possession a list of hundreds of reviewers, obtained through some research and persistence. How hard could this be, to reach out and request reviews? To sift through these names, many of them residing in Scotland or England with a super abundance of interest in the paranormal? But I dove in and heard back, mostly from bloggers, who were courteous and accommodating. Only one declined because we didn’t have “chemistry.” To my surprise, I enjoyed the process of reaching other readers and authors who were promoting their own work. We shared ideas. We learned from each other. One of the most satisfying “book exchange” I found was BookBub. I posted my book, my profile, and I get to recommend books I love. It’s a real book-loving experience.

And now for a shameless pitch--How about a review? From you. On Amazon or BookBub? On your own blog? Facebook? May I ask you to watch for my first mystery, SAVING TUNA STREET, due next June from Light Messages Publishing?

The promotional route is circuitous, and I’ve learned a lot. I keep circling back to the main premise: to connect to the audience. It’s what we do when we write and publish. We want to reach readers. We want that special exchange that only comes from one-on-one, putting eyes to the page—whether writing or reading—and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Middle-age is challenging enough, but when Nancy Nau Sullivan suddenly finds herself caring for two children, grappling with her mother’s death, and caring for her ailing father while at the same time navigating a contentious divorce and dealing with long-simmering sibling rivalries, she wonders how she can keep herself sane. Things get even more complicated when her siblings accuse her of “kidnapping” their father and carting him—and his Cadillac—off to Anna Maria Island, Florida, where they are greeted by Hurricane Josephine. In this gripping memoir, Sullivan guides the reader through the chaotic whirlwind of unexpected and unwanted change and offers a common sense and humorous guide to surviving family relationships.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Calling All Readers! Wicked Wednesday #giveaway #readingcommunity

Calling all readers! I've got two wicked fantastic events to tell you about, and you do not want to miss out on either one.

Win! Win! Win! Fill your library with N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Snuggle Up With These Books Readathon picks. 56 books from multiple genres featured plus a chance to win one of the following:

Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My book, The Power of Love and Murder, will be featured on November 25. I even talk about what I’m thankful for this year. You won’t want to miss it.

Bookmark this bookish party and tell your friends:

And the second is N. N. Lights Holiday Gift Guide. So grab a cup of something warm, choose a comfy chair, and settle back to browse. Take your time and discover some great books to treat yourself to this holiday season, or for a friend or family member. Books are the perfect gift! 

Your ticket to browse is right here:

This Christmas, Penny Spark’s desire to reconnect with family causes her to expose her true identity—a secret she’s hidden for thirteen years from the political powers who murdered her family.

Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets Penny, he believes this holiday season could be the start of life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world.

With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.

N N Light Reviews
If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, this is a must read. If you’re a fan of suspense and/or political thrillers, you’ll love it!

Still Moments Magazine, Between the Pages
A fast-paced romance packed with action and suspense
“The Power of Love and Murder” is utterly addictive!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Free Audiobooks Now


My audiobooks are free for a song and a dance. Well, for a review actually. Audible gives both authors and narrators a limited number of audiobook codes to redeem our books for free to listeners. All they ask is you leave an honest review on Audible. You DO NOT have to have an account on Audible. It's super easy, and you can listen at your leisure.

I have both UK and US codes for all of my books. But don't delay, I'm getting near the bottom of the barrel. Even if you aren't quite ready to listen, even if you have books waiting to be heard, get the codes now and download so you're able to take advantage of this free offer.

Leave me a comment or send me an email with the title of the books you want and whether you need UK or US.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Leaving It All Behind by Alice Renaud #FearlessFriday #FantasyRomance


Please welcome Alice Renaud today. Fearless comes in many forms. Moving countries is a huge fearless step. Alice has a great story.

I’ve always liked the Fearless Fridays feature on Brenda’s blog. I love reading about people taking risks and getting way out of their comfort zone. I’m quite cautious by nature – well I was an accountant for 24 years, and am now a compliance manager, hardly devil-may-care occupations! I’d always wanted to do a Fearless Friday spot, but was racking my brain to find one example of brave or risky behaviour in my past.

Then I realized that I did get out of my comfort zone, when I was 26. I moved countries!

I am French, and was born and brought up in Western France, a beautiful area called Brittany (see the blue sky and sea behind me?) I studied in Paris and worked in Paris after my graduation. In 1997, I had been living comfortably in central Paris for 4 years. I had a nice flat, a good job, friends, and a young man I was keen on. I thought he was keen on me, too…
However, something in me wasn’t settled. Strangely, in all the time I spent in Paris, I never bought a bed. For 4 years I slept on a mattress on the floor. Every time I thought about buying a bed, a voice in my head whispered, “Why bother? You might not be here for long.”

Then the company I was working for at the time offered me a job in their UK subsidiary, in London. It was a good opportunity, but I was torn – mainly because of the young man. I spoke to my mum, who said, “Go for it! You can always come back. If the relationship is serious, it will survive.”
Wise words, mum. So at 26, I left flat, friends and young man behind, and moved to London.

The day I moved into my new London flat (it had furniture and a bed!) was a bright, sunny spring day. On the busy street outside, two middle aged ladies were trotting towards the shops. They both wore pink tutus, and had gauze wings on their backs.
And nobody, nobody, batted an eyelid. I thought, “Hey… I like this!” In Paris people would definitely have stared, or said something.

The first months were not easy. The new job was more challenging than the one I’d had in Paris, I had a lot more responsibilities and had lost my support network of friends and colleagues. It took me a while to find new friends and build a new life. But something told me that I’d made the right choice.

It turned out the Parisian young man wasn’t that keen after all. But I met another young man, a Londoner. We’ve been married for 14 years now and have a 10-year old son. And I love London more each day. It’s truly my home.

My first fantasy romance novella, A Merman’s Choice, was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany, where I grew up. The second book in the series, Music for a Merman, was released on 1 November. The hero, Rob Regor, also gets out of his comfort zone. He’s a shape shifting merman who leaves his home and his people to live among humans and work as a policeman. The experience changes him in ways he could not have imagined, and leads him to meet the love of his life, the human eco-warrior Charlie.

Get the book here: AMAZON:

A bit more about myself

Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she's a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” is out now. Alice has also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All,” included in the BVS “Mystic Desire” anthology, out now.
Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

Stalk me here (links)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tips and Myths #ThursdayThoughts #MythBusters


It’s Myth Buster Thursday. Here are some fun ones to blow up things we’ve believed forever!

Don’t eat and swim
About the only thing a full stomach will do to you while swimming is cause shortness of breath. Alcohol is the biggest risk factor or cramps.

Einstein failed math
He failed an entrance exam for a school…bad enough. But he excelled in math so stop spreading that rumor!

Fishy three-second memory
Goldfish might not be the smartest creature in the world, they can boast a memory span of three months.

Chastity Belts
Kind of kinky to think about what we’ve always believed…keep that mate from committing adultery. But not so. Then again, even kinkier is the real reason: 19th century prudes used them to prevent “dangerous” masturbation.

Alcohol warms you up
Don’t use it for this! It can actually drop core body temp. You’re fooled because it dilates warm blood vessels near the skin which creates an impression of warmth.

Caffeine will dehydrate you
The diuretic dehydrating effect of caffeine is offset by the amount of water in a caffeinated drink. Darn! I counted on this to counteract that salty pizza.

Don’t swallow that gum!
Still good advice but it doesn’t really take seven years to digest. What makes it chewy will pass right through you and the rest of it will be absorbed.

Shaving hair will thicken your fur
Optical illusion. When it grows back, it is blunt. It isn’t thicker, coarser, or darker.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Inspiration in Unlikely Places by Jodi Rath #mystery #MuseMonday


Please welcome back Jodi Rath to Muse Monday. It's always a pleasure to have her. She's talking inspiration and therapy today. We can all use a little therapy!

The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series becomes closer to my heart with each book I write. It’s become a type of therapy for me; so, it’s no wonder that the protagonist Jolie Tucker begins therapy in Turkey Basted to Death.  I’ve dealt with a dysfunctional family all forty-six years of my life. Growing up, I had an M.I.A. biological father (I’m sure you all can tell how close we are with my formal title). My mom married my stepdad (who, BTW, I treated horribly the first year because I wanted that M.I.A. bio dad) who ended up being more of a father to me than I could have ever hoped for. I will now refer to my stepdad as just ‘dad.’  Jolie deals with a similar situation, and she dives into it more in this newest book in the series.

Not only does this series provide therapy for me, but it also combines my passion for writing with educating. I was a high school English teacher for two decades. Now, I teach higher education online, working with teachers through my business. Many of my previous students read my work. I can’t help but expand knowledge beyond the craft of something in a cozy (which for this series is cooking with cast iron), but I’ve found overarching themes of urban sprawl, gentrification, family dysfunction, and effective communication for finding solutions in society and families to come through. I think the thing that has surprised me the most is the feedback I am getting from readers through social media, emails, and messages. Readers are sharing their experiences of dysfunctional families; some readers refer to gentrification as urban renewal and share their experiences, and I get the exact opposite. I’ve learned about the process of gentrification/urban renewal that has taken place in New York, Ohio, and as recent as a year ago and as long as four decades ago.

One of the most exciting things to happen with this series recently is I’ve teamed up to collaborate with The National MS Society and True Colors United for this book and the rest of the series. Let me explain a bit: one of the characters in the series, Mick Meiser, has MS. My best friend was diagnosed ten years ago, and I write Meiser’s character to show how people navigate the disease. No one will feel sorry for Meiser! True Colors United is run by THE amazing Cyndi Lauper, and it is an affiliation that helps homeless youth—ALL homeless youth, but they do focus on the 40% of homeless youth that is LGBTQ as well. Turkey Basted to Death deals with issues of homeless teens, transgender teens, and homosexual teens that have been kicked out because of who they are. I am happy to announce this collaboration and that all purchases of this book and every book after in the series will have a percentage that goes to The National MS Society and True Colors United!

So, yes, this series has become close to my heart in many ways. It is helping me deal with my dysfunctional family and realize who my family is and help me heal old wounds—but it allows me to continue to educate and to learn from readers as well. The most amazing thing of all is being able to give back to help others in need!

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where DEATH takes a delicious turn!
Thanksgiving is here, and Jolie Tucker has had quite the year! She is ready to sit back and relax with family and friends. But this is Leavensport, OH—so get ready for intense therapy sessions, dysfunctional family holiday gatherings, uninvited guests, and an inner-city teen advocate found DEAD—stabbed in the ear with the turkey baster!

Links to purchase book:
All other e-platforms:

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers, educational writing, marketing consultant work with authors, and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her eight cats. 

FB Author page: @authorjodirath or
Twitter: @jodirath

Newsletter link to A Mystery A Month—sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive a free Mystery a Month and a chance to win prizes for those who guess the right answers!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Bright and Wicked by Mageela Troche #historical #romance


Please join my in welcoming Mageela Troche to Wicked Wednesday. She's all about a wicked good time in colorful Scotland.

One question that has been put to me is why did I choose to set my historical romances in medieval Scotland? The answer is easy. It was a wicked good time in Scotland. Thirteenth century Scotland was a golden age for this nation. Alexander III, King of Scotland, was still alive and full of health and vigor. No one could imagine what lay ahead.

That wickedly bright time brimmed with hope while I’m writing characters that feel as if everything is falling apart or coming to an end. I like that twist and I believe that readers can relate to that feeling. Have you ever been at a New Year’s Eve party where everything appears blinding bright yet that is one emotion you are not feeling?

That is exactly what my hero, Laird Niall MacLean, and heroine, Ermina Bruce of The Chieftain’s Secret are dealing with emotionally while existing in golden age Scotland. It’s spring on the Isle of Mull, the fields are being planted, flowers are blooming and the weather is warming up. Yet, Niall is heartbroken and mourning meanwhile Ermina, hand-fasted to Niall and pregnant, she believes with her whole heart that she will die in childbirth. So off they go on their romantic journey to discover love and hope and what better place to do that than in Scotland?

Author Bio

An Air Force brat, Mageela Troche has lived throughout the world then landed in New York City. She wanted to leave the same day she arrived. Yet, with her stubbornness, Mageela learned to like the place and the libraries were the main reason. Since she was a little girl, Mageela wanted to be an author and an actress, however, once in college, she changed her life plan in the pursuit of money. After all, college loans must be repaid.

With life’s twists and turns, she returned to writing and focused on the romance genre. Mageela Troche’s first break came when she sold a short story to a magazine. She sold two more before the publication of her historical romance novel, The Marriage Alliance. She has gone on to write four more novels and a novella.

Mageela is currently writing in the cramped corner of her Big Apple apartment. She is the proud owner of a Black-masked lovebird named Boobula. She loves to hear from her readers and can be found online at

Blurb for The Chieftain’s Secret:
On a windswept Scottish Isle…
Many objects wash up on the shores of the rugged Isle of Mull. The Laird of Lochbuie never expected a pregnant wife to be included in that. Honorable Niall MacLean was wed to his childhood love when she died in childbirth. Now a widower, he struggles to get beyond his grief. Then a dear friend, Ermina Bruce pleaded for his help. His protective instinct came alive and he handfasted with Ermina to save her from an unsuitable marriage and one drunken night has led to forever after and a repeat of his past heartbreak. 
The bonds of friendship…
Noble Ermina Bruce has loved Niall MacLean since he first fostered in her uncle’s home. But he loved another so she settled for the deep bonds of friendship. When her family arranged a marriage she didn’t want she knew Niall could save her from that miserable fate.
One night of passion…
That one night in Niall’s arms led to her pregnancy. Ermina has not told Niall of their secret baby. But his reaction isn’t her greatest fear. Her fear is even greater than the brave laird’s wrath. Every woman in her family has died in childbirth and all know the same fate awaits her. Once again, Ermina knows Niall is the only one who can save her. And if he fails, her last days shall be with the man she has loved since childhood.
Will love have a chance to come alive?
Purchase link:

Monday, November 4, 2019

Snuggle Up Book Event...Wow! #giveaway #readingcommunity

Calling all readers! Fill your library with N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Snuggle Up With These Books Readathon picks. 56 books from multiple genres featured plus a chance to win one of the following:

Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My book, The Power of Love and Murder, will be featured on November 25. I even talk about my what I’m thankful for this year. You won’t want to miss it.

Bookmark this bookish party and tell your friends: