BE KIND & KEEP WRITING…KEEP READING

Must we go over this again?

Some of you Indie Authors and Readers need to throw your “New year, new me”bullshit right out the window!

Why am I still seeing Indie Authors being mean to one another, and why Oh why am I seeing readers still complaining that 99 cents is too much for a book?

Why the jealousy and backstabbing between Authors?

Why the disconnect with readers?

Supporting another author does not extinguish your flame.

And 99 cents for a book is a bargain, even if you don’t like the book. Even if you don’t finish reading the book.

I don’t have the answers.

The true answer is within each individual.

Writing is hard work.

Reading is a treasure.

In a crazy unpredictable world, can we all join together to at least make the Indie World a peaceful place?

This has gotten beyond ridiculous.


Technology thriller! “ADVOCATE OF THE TRUTH” ~by ADRIAAN BOS

 

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This gripping novel paints a grim picture of what the future may have in store for us.

When Thomas, a former partner of a prestigious law firm, promises his best friend Sam to keep his groundbreaking Spider technology away from mankind, he has no clue what awaits him.

A chilling scenario unfolds when Thomas is plunged into a web of greed, corporate espionage, politics, organized crime and murder. As he finds signs pointing to a high-level conspiracy, a mysterious and deadly virus originating in Europe sweeps across the earth. Frightened politicians take advantage of the panic, with populism hitting fear buttons worldwide. A pandemic is looming, and so is anarchy.

Suddenly Sam’s Spider technology has life-saving potential, raising profound ethical questions:

  • Do we allow fear, greed and status to overrule the natural bonds between people?
  • Should the privacy of individuals be sacrificed to the illusion of safety?
  • How do we prevent technology from casting a dark shadow over the future?
  • And ultimately: is mankind nearing its expiration date?

His tense search for the truth leads Thomas to the medieval Italian city Assisi, oppressive boardrooms, back alleys, dimly-lit churches and a former monastery overlooking the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, he has two women vying for his heart: Sophia, a sensitive violinist who cared for his father in the final days of life, and Juliëtte, an alluring and intriguing Parisian he meets by chance in Tuscany.

Advocate of the Truth is a novel about the digital dragon that feeds on our privacy and the serious implications of nanochips registering and managing human behavior. On a more personal level, it is a deeply moving novel about friendship, love and the compassion Francis of Assisi stands for. This thrilling literary novel prompts you to reflect on wisdom from the past and ethics for the future. It is an intense struggle between good and evil that hits home in today’s society.

MY THOUGHTS

This is a must read, especially if you are curious or even fearful of the advances in our technology.

A very touching story about friendship as well, which only makes this book more realistic.

Well written and gripping. I could not put it down.

I received this book from Amsterdam Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

 

NATIONAL SOUP DAY CONTEST! ENTER YOUR SOUP RECIPE TO WIN!

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National Soup Day Contest – Win A Free Private Cooking Lesson & Have Your Soup Recipe On The Menu

Enter for a chance to have your favorite soup recipe featured on the Joel Palmer House Restaurants Menu & win a private cooking lessons with Chef Christopher

Send your favorite soup memory and recipe to info@joelpalmerhouserestaunt.com by 1/31/17 to enter.

CONTENT

The chill of midwinter always revives the tried and true soup recipes that we keep stashed away for “those days” that feel just right. Days that welcome memories of running inside after a long day of jumping in snow piles and being greeted with the silkiness of creamy tomato or gobbling down bowls of chicken noodle. Being the comfort food that it is, soup is so deeply personal and tells a story in a way that no sandwich or salad ever could.

Chef and fourth-generation restaurant owner, Christopher Czarnecki, has many fond memories of soup recipes handed down from grandfather to father to son. To celebrate these honored family traditions, Chef Christopher and the Joel Palmer House restaurant are sponsoring a soup contest throughout January (which is National Soup Month) and in honor of National Soup Day on February 4th. Chef Christopher and his team will be collecting soup recipes and the memories that make them special until January 31st. The winner will be announced on Feb. 4 to celebrate National Soup Day. The winner of the competition will have their recipe featured on the Joel Palmer House’s menu for a week in February and also enjoy a one-on-one Cooking and Q&A session with Chef Christopher Czarnecki to gain tips and tricks about cooking and creating that fine dining experience at home.

The Joel Palmer House is a fine dining restaurant nestled in the magical forests and rolling hills of Oregon’s wine country in the Willamette Valley. The dishes are creative and inviting as Chef Czarnecki makes his own mark on family recipes that have been passed down through 4 generations of Czarnecki Family chefs. The menu showcases the wild mushrooms and truffles unique to the Oregon region that are known for their alluring smell and subtlety they bring to each dish. One dish that highlights both the family’s history and Oregon’s local ingredients is the hearty and vegetarian Joe’s Wild Mushroom Soup.

The Pacific Northwest region’s wild mushrooms and Pinot Noir are a “match made in heaven” for the menu at the Joel Palmer House as the wine’s natural earthiness connects directly with the menu’s theme.

Czarnecki’s ability to take these wild, gnarled, “diamond in the rough” looking ingredients, and reveal its true character in intimate recipes is what makes the Joel Palmer House the unique food destination that it is.

Christopher Czarnecki began his food journey at a very young age, making whipped cream in 4th grade and starting to learn the art of hospitality and how to properly serve food at the family restaurant in Pennsylvania in the 5th grade.

“I literally grew up in the restaurant business,” said Czarnecki, as he recalled his time spent living above their restaurant as a child.

He continued explaining that he had always enjoyed cooking for himself and the joy it brought him to see others appreciate his food. Czarnecki stepped away from the restaurant business to join the United States Army and was deployed to Iraq, but upon his return, his father asked him to carry on the family business.

His days now starts at noon planning the evening for the restaurant where Czarnecki and his sous chef begin to plan the menu and discuss dish development. From there they begin preparing dinner as guests arrive for dinner between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Once the dinner rush is over, they shut down the restaurant and are home by midnight to get some sleep and prepare for another busy day.

On cold and cloudy days Czarnecki shared that he finds joy in a bowl of rich and creamy clam chowder.

“Days like that I enjoy being able to sit down on the couch with my wife, eat, and enjoy each other’s company.” said Czarnecki.

In case you’re taking notes to try and gain and edge in the competition, French Onion soup is another favorite of Czarnecki’s as well as the wide range of possibilities that are available for Gazpacho.

With respect to pursuing your own culinary adventure and deciding which soup recipe to submit to the competition, Czarnecki advises to be creative and “…don’t let your fear of failure hinder you. Learn as much as possible. You should experiment! Whatever it is that you had at a restaurant, try making it at home. Look up 20 different recipes before you start and see what they have in common. From there you can get creative.”

This sage advice, Czarnecki says, comes from his time spent in the “culinary school of Nanny and PopPop” and his own journey in taking traditional Polish food and intertwining it in a dance with modern cooking methods, beautiful local ingredients and local Oregon wine pairings.

Share your own story through your favorite soup recipe at  http://www.joelpalmerhouse.com/soup-contest-2017 before Jan. 31, 2017 to be considered for the contest.

More information about The Joel Palmer House and their menu can be found at http://www.joelpalmerhouse.com/

GUEST POST by VIV NEWMAN

 

 

Assignations at the Astoria Hotel Brussels, Belgium

August/September 1914

 

When war broke out in August 1914, women everywhere were desperate to “do their bit” for the War Effort.  Amongst them were a British aristocrat and a German Doctor of Political Economy.  Larger than life characters, both were temporarily resident at Brussels’ luxurious Astoria Hotel following the city’s fall to the Germans in late summer 1914.  The ruthless German Governor of Brussels, Field-Marshall Colmar von der Goltz had little idea of what awaited him when these two women, independently, set about battering his defenses.  Who were they and why exactly were they there?

 

In August 1914, 47-year-old Millicent Duchess of Sutherland, an internationally renowned Society hostess, volunteered the services of the Millicent Duchess of Sutherland’s Hospital Unit to the Belgian Red Cross.  Having established a makeshift hospital in a convent in Namur, they were soon in direct and continuous line of fire of German heavy artillery.  When Namur fell on August 24th, they were trapped behind enemy lines.  Hastily burying one of her revolvers under a tree, tucking the other into her bloomers and, throwing all convention to the wind, Millicent laid siege to the German commander General von Bülow demanding her staff and their patients’ release.  In mid-September, no longer able to withstand the daily ducal bombardment, he ordered the imprisoned Unit to proceed to Brussels.  Let the Governor-General of the Belgian capital deal with the woman once dubbed “Meddlesome Milly”.  Ensconced (at German expense) in the Hotel Astoria, amused by the two sentries posted at the door of her suite, delighted by the excellent poached eggs and toast and her well-appointed bathroom (after the Spartan convent one), Millicent resumed the tactics she had used so effectively in Namur and demanded constant audiences with von Goltz.  Eventually the German Commander capitulated, contacting the Kaiser himself for advice about what to do with this woman who was running up a very sizable hotel bill and seemed determined not to understand that Germany faced more pressing concerns than what to do with a small voluntary Hospital Unit.

 

Perhaps having seen the bill, the Kaiser ordered the Unit’s release.  He foresaw endless trouble and expense if Millicent remained a prisoner.  Better, he felt, to save Germany the inconvenience and, to make ensure their immediate departure from their superior prison quarters, he underwrote the cost of the petrol of their return journey to England.

 

In her account Six Weeks at the War, Millicent warned, “spy fever rages on the Continent.”  However, the British authorities were dismissive, “I was told I was overstrung!”  Time would prove Millicent right.  Unbeknownst to her, another Astoria resident was poised to become a key player in the murky role of espionage.  As resolute as Millicent, she too had bombarded von Goltz.  Although he and she were on the same side, he would have been forgiven for doubting this.  Her name: Elisabeth Schragmüller.

 

In 1908, despite few German universities accepting women students, Elisabeth entered the Fribourg-en-Brisgau university.  An able linguist, she proved so brilliant that she was reluctantly allowed to continue her studies.  The first German woman to earn a doctorate in Political Economy, her wealthy family considered her outstanding brain an inconvenience for a female.  Dubbed ‘Fraulein Doktor’ Elisabeth began social work amongst what she termed ‘the broad strain of the population and with the working-class; this increased her knowledge and understanding of human psychology, skills she would put to excellent use in the service of her beloved Fatherland.

 

When war broke out, cursing fate that she was female, she hastened to German-occupied Brussels.  Her sister who was performing a suitably feminine role as a nurse, begged her to do nothing that might endanger the family’s reputation.  Residing at the Astoria, Elisabeth daily waylaid von der Goltz demanding a job.  As worn down by her as he would be by Millicent, he shunted her off to a backwater, a military office handling mail confiscated from Belgian soldiers.  Her ability to pick out every vital nugget of information and create a bigger picture to provide military commanders with an accurate overview of troop morale and movements drew the attention of Walter Nicolaï, Head of the German Intelligence Bureau.  He sent her to be trained in military intelligence.  His staff were outraged when they discovered that she was to head up the entire anti-French Intelligence Bureau.  Unheard of for a woman working alongside members of the German Army, she was placed in charge of the recruitment and training of agents as well as de-briefing them after their mission across the entire Western theatre.  To her, every aspect of intelligence gathering was a ‘mind game’ which she relished and played to the very best of her superb intellectual abilities.

 

She set high standards for those whom she recruited.  What Millicent had termed “systematic espionage”, was a skill which could be taught and learnt, not an adventure to be undertaken for cheap thrills and a quick buck.  From her brief career in social work, she realized that a good spy can be found in unlikely places.  An illiterate florist and a music-hall artiste in Marseille proved amongst her most effective agents, responsible for sinking thousands of tons of Allied shipping and contributing to France’s defeat on the Chemin des Dames.

 

What of the Astoria itself?  Having accommodated the highest echelons of the German Army between 1914 and 1918, in 1919 Brussels’ premier hotel resumed its glittering pre-war life where anyone who was anyone went to be seen.  Its distinguished guest list for the 20th century includes the Crown Prince of Japan, the Shah of Persia, Winston Churchill, David Ben Gurion, Arthur Rubinstein and of course, Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland and Fraulein Doktor Elisabeth Schragmüller.

 

Read about more extraordinary women during World War One in historian Viv Newman’s books:

We Also Served: The Forgotten Women of the First World War

Pen and Sword: http://tinyurl.com/zwjvqep or Amazon http://tinyurl.com/jzbmflt

Nursing Through Shot and Shell: A Great War Nurse’s Story

Pen and Sword: http://tinyurl.com/z42l7pq or Amazon http://tinyurl.com/gpol9v9

Tumult and Tears: The Story of the Great War Through the Eyes and Lives of its Women Poets Pen and Sword: http://tinyurl.com/j295t6y or Amazon http://tinyurl.com/ju4d7wu

Singer, Siren, Spy: The Undercover World of Agent Régina Diana will be published by Pen and Sword n November 2017

Visit www.firstworldwarwomen.co.uk

Trends in book titles

In 2016, I saw many books with Light or Air in their title. I also saw a lot of “50 shades of…”

This year I am seeing a lot with water in the title. Interesting to me. Curious as to how authors come up with their titles.

I am not a reader of Romance novels, and I no longer read (or at least I don’t review) Erotica, but I am sick to pieces of seeing “50 Shades of…” in the title.

Even if I did read Romance or still reviewed Erotica, the lack of originality in the title would turn me away from buying that book.

I’m sure the sales numbers on these books would disagree with me, but I am seriously sick of the “50 Shades” trend. And yes, I got caught up in the excitement of The 50 Shades of Gray noise. I read the first one, skimmed the second one, and barely glanced at the third one.

I did not enjoy them at all. There are WAY better stories out there than 50 Shades of Gray. The BDSM lifestyle was not portrayed accurately at all, in my opinion.

But again…the sales for those books and movies, will be in disagreement with my opinion, and that is okay.

At this point, anything with “50 shades” in its title makes it feel gimmicky to me.

How do you feel about this trend?

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January Gray Reviews is an Independent blog and is not affiliated with any Publisher, Agent, Promoter or Book Seller. January Gray Reviews does not make any guarantee to increased exposure or an increase in book sales due to reviewing/blogging and sharing your book(s), Author Spotlights, Cover Reveals, Giveaways and anything else associated with the exposure of your book. January Gray Reviews gives unbiased reviews and does not receive any form of payment or gift from the Author, or anyone requesting the review. Receiving a free book in exchange for review does not influence nor bias the opinions or reviews posted. This exchange of free book-free review (including blog posts and social networking posts), is considered fair and even trade by both the Reviewer and Author (and/or other involved party requesting review.)

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