Monday, May 24, 2021

❀Book Cover Review❀ MU: THE GRIMM CASES COLLECTION PART ONE by Lyla Oweds #BookCoverReview

Tada! Another book cover review from moi! Look at this...beautiful cover! This is MU: THE GRIMM CASES COLLECTION PART ONE by Lyla Oweds. Love the gold with the burgundy, but I'm getting ahead of myself - full review below!

Hold on a second...let me see who made this cover. Whoa...independently published. I must email the author to find out who did it because whoever it is surely knew what they were doing. So who is the woman, you suppose? She looks gutsy. An in charge sort of woman. From what I understand, this is a young adult paranormal. Is the woman a ghost? Who is she? From the blurb - "But the spirit haunting my professor’s house is definitely trying to tell me something, and I’m the only one who can see it."  Okay, she must be a ghost seer! Beautiful cover; excellent job goes toward the cover artist.

Lyla Oweds has millions of books out - well maybe not millions but an awful lot. There's Origins, Ghost, Blood, Hidden, and Balance. These all appear to be in the Mu: The Grimm Cases collection. And she has more books! All appear to have beautiful covers so maybe she used the same cover artist?

In summary, Mu definitely deserves my 5 stars!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

❀Book Cover Junkie with Thriller Author Amy Rivers ❀

Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She's been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about. Visit her at


Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?

My professional and educational focus has been violence prevention, particularly when it comes to sexual assault and abuse. Complicit is the story of a woman who has run from trauma by returning to the safety of her hometown only to discover that safety is an illusion. Kate Medina, a former forensic psychologist, is pulled into a murder investigation despite her misgivings. She’s also dealing with a mountain of family drama, including the impending death of her father and her volatile relationship with her sister.  

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?

A few years ago, I decided that self-publishing was the right publication path for me. That being said, when I made that decision I did so with the understanding that I would adopt many of the same practices as a traditional publishing, including bringing in the professionals needed to help make production and promotion as successful as possible. I am very grateful to the editors, book cover designers, and marketing/promotion companies I have worked with over the years. Being able to delegate those tasks to some degree ensures that I have time to write. 

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?

I can write a whole book, but coming up with a title is my Achilles’ Heel. Luckily, I am surrounded by people who are willing to brainstorm titles until we get it right.  I sometimes have an idea about the title before I start writing, but usually I have to wait til the end—til I see where the story goes—before a title sticks. Complicit was suggested by a fellow author and it stuck. 

Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?

I work with the most amazing cover designer! I tell him about the book and its themes, and he magically turns it into a brilliant, eye-catching cover. With my previous book, All The Broken People, I told him about my obsession with kudzu and he created an award-winning design that is more beautiful than anything I could have imagined. With Complicit, I gave him less to work with and the design is perfect, which reinforces my theory that I should keep my paws off that process. 

Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?

Carl Graves at Extended Imagery did the original covers for my last two books and redesigned the covers for my first two books. He was recommended to me by J.A. Konrath who was the keynote at a conference I attended a few years ago. Best referral ever! 

How was your experience working with the designer?

Working with Carl is a breeze. I send him information about the book—synopsis, themes, etc.—and he sends me concepts. We communicate via email to tweak the designs. He sends me the ebook cover early so I can start promoting, then finishes up the full cover once I have blurbs and back matter. 

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?

Readers love the cover. In fact, I was on a podcast a few days ago and the interviewer raved about it. I’m in total agreement. 

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer? 

Do your research. Find a person who designs covers in your genre and make sure you’re seeing examples in their portfolio that speak to you. Don’t expect a cover designer to abandon their style to meet your needs. You’ll be disappointed and they won’t be happy with the work either. What you want is to develop a relationship with a designer who gets what you’re trying to do and knows how to bring that vision to life. Then, make sure that expectations and timelines are clear. 

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

Complicit is the first book in Kate Medina’s journey, and I’m so thankful to my readers for taking this stroll with her. The topics can be dark at times, but I hope you will also find the hope and the joy. Thank you for reading. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

❀New Memoir Release Alert❀: 'Reflections from Both Sides of the Glass Ceiling' by Stephanie Battaglino

Author: Stephanie Battaglino
Publisher: L’Oste Vineyard Press
Pages: 286
Genre: Memoir


For Stephanie Battaglino, her lifelong journey of self-discovery closely paralleled her daily grind of  trudging up the corporate ladder. Amidst the successes and failures of working as a male in the corporate world, Stephanie finally realized that the only path to career fulfillment was to embrace her true self once and for all. That it resulted in her becoming the first officer in the history of New York Life to come out on the job as transgender is not surprising. What was surprising was her abrupt introduction to that generations-old nemesis of working women everywhere, the Glass Ceiling. What she quickly realized was that her embrace of her authentic self came with a price: the loss of male privilege.

Reflections from Both Sides of the Glass Ceiling: Finding My Authentic Self in Corporate America is part memoir, part cautionary tale of what it is like to experience a career on both sides of the gender divide. Stephanie’s unique and very personal experience provides a powerful trailblazing story of inspiration, self-discovery, and triumph – for ALL women.

KEARNY, NEW JERSEY LIES EIGHT MILES DUE WEST OF New York City. I had a clear view of the city’s skyline, across the Meadowlands,from my high school. I like to say that I grew up in the shadow of the city, and in many respects, I did—both literally and figuratively. It was a place where I found out that feeling different from everybody else meant hiding in the shadows at a very young age. For me, hiding wasnan option. was a natural extrovert. On the playground, in school, and at family gatherings, I was always the center of attention—and I enjoyed the spotlight. So, instead of retreating to the shadows, I hid in plain sight. 

God, I wanted to get out of that town as fast as I could. By the time I attended high school, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my future—whatever it was going to look like—was most definitely not going to take place in Kearnyfeared that if didngo awato college, I would be resigned to a life of pumping gas and on the weekends hanging in some dive bar. But that only sounded good in conversation with friends. I was going for the laugh—and I usually got it. The real reason that I was running away was that I was running from myself. Wearing a mask every day was exhausting. 

Leaving home meant that maybe I could finally leave behind the dirty little secret I held onto for so long. In my most private and intimate moments, when no one was around, and I could retreat from being the center of attention, I felt like a girl inside, not a boy. I realize now that it was the first of many attempts to eradicate this “sickness” inside me. It was a pseudo-sickness that I would battle in a series of epic failures both in the workplace and my personal life for the next twenty-seven years. 

My socialization process as an overachieving male in the workplace and society was well on its way. My acquired machismo gave me a sense of competitiveness that fueled my successes and failures as a manager, executive, and a male in corporate life. My desire to compete and win has been a part of my personality my entire life, even after I transitioned. It is a trait that ultimately chaffed my male colleagues who were convinced that women should not act that way. 

During that first part of my life, I had no one and nowhere to turn to with my feelings. There was no outlet for me to share my deepest feelings. No support group. No internet. So I just lowered my head and so journeyed on, thinking that if I worked hard enough and did all the things that “manly men” did, I could destroy all traces of this horrible sickness. 

L’Oste Vineyard Press →


As the founder and owner of Follow Your Heart, LLC  ( Stephanie is an internationally  recognized speaker, workshop presenter, trainer, author and  workplace diversity & inclusion consultant. She currently sits on the  Board of PFLAG National and is the Chair of their Business Advisory  Council.

Here’s what critics are saying about Stephanie Battaglino:

“From all of us – for your brilliant words and thoughts . . . And heart.”
-Diane Sawyer, ABC News

“You were just outstanding . . . with your presentation and guidance during our learning and discussion. Thank you for providing such important and current information. We appreciate you and what you do.”
May Snowden, Senior Fellow & Program Director, Human Capital Practice, The Conference Board

“Thank you Stephanie for joining us today during FMC Corporation Pride Month celebration. Your personal story was educational, informative and inspiring.”
-Subarna Malakar, Director and Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer, FMC Corporation

“I have had the pleasure of working with Stephanie on an enrichment event at our company and got to know her further at the following Out & Equal Workplace Summit. I’ve found her honesty and heartfelt way she tells her story to be very meaningful to me. She played a large role in introducing me t – and our entire company – to transgender issues and what I believe is the next frontier in creating diverse and accepting workplaces. I now proudly count myself among the allies for the transgender community.”
-Heather Gill, Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Land O’Lakes

 “I would like to extend a most sincere thank you for your inspiration, and for joining our company’s’ diversity efforts in support of the LGBTQ community. I have received several messages from executives who were present and had great feedback to share!
-Juan Camilo Romero, Manager, Diversity & Inclusion Strategies, Macy’s, Inc.

“It is with great pride that Deena and I announce the formal launch of the Trans Toolkit project that you so generously collaborated on with us this past Spring. We truly would not have been able to do this project without each and every one of your thoughtful contributions. We thank you for your time, your passion and your contribution to this project.”
-Beck Bailey, Director of Employee Engagement, Workplace Equality Program, Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

“The feedback from the Commissioner and the entire Executive staff has been overwhelmingly positive! Everyone here is excited about the possibilities of doing more to develop the Agency’s Transgender Rights and Inclusion competence. There is no doubt that the Executives would love to have Stephanie back to train the entire 5,400 person workforce if it were possible and practical. I would not be surprised if they started a petition for Stephanie to present full-time, but I digress.”
-James L. Hallman, Chief Diversity & EEO Officer, New York City Department of transportation