Monday, December 22, 2014

Closing Out the Year with a Big Bang

How fast does the time go? It seems like a couple of seconds ago when the year 2014 rolled in.

As always, we would like to thank all of our visitors, subscribers and supporters who have made this year a memorable one. We especially want to thank the authors who have given us the opportunity to host their books during their Virtual Book Tours and to all the guest bloggers who have submitted memorable and informative articles.

We are looking forward to bringing you more exciting news, articles and featured authors for your pleasure.

We are taking a well-deserved break and will return on January 5, 2015.

In closing, we want to wish everyone a healthy and safe holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Is Sending a Thank You Note Becoming Obsolete?

It is a nice gesture to say thank you when a person gives you a gift. Furthermore, it is a sign of your appreciation and respect if you take the time out of your demanding and fast pace schedule to write a personal note or send a card of gratitude. Writing a thank you note does not have to be the great American novel. A simple Thank You for the Gift will suffice. Of course, to acknowledge the receipt of any gift is a point that should be made early in life. If a child never learned to say thank you for what is given to him or her, then chances are when that child becomes an adult, he or she will never give thanks for anything.

I do not know if this is a growing trend, but for the last forty years, I have attended many weddings and have always presented the bride and groom with a gift, either in person or by mail. However, I can count on one hand or better yet on half a hand, the number of notes of appreciations, which I have received.

In many cases, weddings can be a big production. Couples are under a lot of stress during this period. A great deal of time, energy and money go into planning that perfect and unforgettable event. Nowadays, the average wedding can cost up to $50,000.00. A bride would never forget to purchase her wedding gown, nor would the groom neglect to buy or rent his tuxedo. A couple will plop down a certain amount of money for their rings, food, drinks, flowers, music, video and photography and on many other products and services. Yet, many couples, for one reason or another, never remember to take time out to send a simple thank you message. After all, the giver has taken the time out of his or her hectic timetable to purchase a present for the bride and groom.

You may ask who is responsible for sending out the thank you notes. In my book, it is both the husband and wife’s responsibility. A person can never be too engaged to be grateful. One of the couple’s main priorities should be to acknowledge the giver of a gift. It is imperative to be courteous and appreciative.

So the next time someone gives you a gift, whether it is for a wedding, birthday or any occasion, have the decorum to send a thank you communiqué, because it lets the person know that you have placed great importance on the giver and the gift.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Books That Make Wonderful Last Minute Gifts

With the holidays upon us, we thought we would list some great novels, memoirs, and short stories representing a myriad of authors and genres. And if you are looking for some last-minute gift ideas, you may want to consider giving one or more of these memorable reads to the special people in your life. To purchase any of these books on Amazon, just click on the title. Enjoy and happy reading.

My Heart in Seoul and its sequel, Meet Me Under The Lavender Sky by Sydney Arrison - Touching romance stories.

The Racketeer by John Grisham - A page-turning plot with a blend of murder, suspense, and righteousness.

Hold Me in Contempt by Wendy Williams - An engaging and compelling interracial romance novel.

Cross My Heart by James Patterson (The Alex Cross Series) - A page-turning psychological thriller.

Little Green by Walter Mosley (The Easy Rollins Collection) - Urban fiction at its best.

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup - A must read memoir.

In Strict Confidence by Dwayne Joseph - A cat and mouse crime novel.

Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith - An intriguing suspense tale.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - A realistic crime story.

A Daughter’s Rage by Ronald Gordon - A spellbinding paranormal tale.

Dead on Arrival by Dorothy Simpson - A whodunit murder mystery.

66 Million $ Fiction by Brenny Foster - A well written short story with a powerful message.

Hunting Badger by Tony Hillerman - A murder mystery bringing together two Navajo detectives.

NeuroLoveology: The Power To Mindful Love & Sex by Dr. Ava Cadell - A great reference to Understanding Love, Sex and Intimacy.

The Screen Conspiracy by Maxwell Black - A crime story linking politics, law enforcement and the tech world.

The Black Count by Tom Reiss - A well written biography on Thomas-Alex Dumas, who The Count of Monte Cristo written by his son, Alexandre Dumas, is based on.

Deception in Plain Sight by Vivienne Diane Neal - A crime story with a twist.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Tips for Smart Holiday Shopping

With the holidays here, many of us will be purchasing gifts for our family, friends and business associates and using debit or credit cards to make these purchases. Most of us will be shopping either online or at brick and mortar establishments. However, with debit and credit card use, comes credit card fraud and identity theft? Because consumers are so preoccupied during this time of the year, individuals may tend to let their guard down when it comes to using their credit card or debit card. Following are some simple tips to safeguard you from credit card fraud and identity theft.

Never give your credit card number to anyone who calls you without verifying his or her identity.

Always keep your PIN (Personal Identification Number) private. Never give it out, and never keep it on you.

Some establishments have been caught adding digits to credit card slips after consumers sign them. For example, you think you are paying $25.00 for an item, but when you look at your credit card receipt, you will see $125.00.

After a purchase, make certain the card you get back is yours.

You should report cards, which have been lost or stolen immediately. Credit card companies can freeze your account and issue you a new card without delay.

Review your monthly statements promptly and carefully for unauthorized purchases.

Merchants, who accept payment by credit card, must also disclose any limitations on the use of that card. Disclosure must be conspicuous at the entrance to the store and in any ads, which indicate the credit card acceptance. New York State law prohibits surcharges on credit card purchases.

Retailers who accept payment by credit card cannot set a minimum purchase amount for credit card use.

If you use a debit card to withdraw money from an ATM machine, make certain you take your receipt with you and review it for accuracy. Never leave or discard the receipt in a public receptacle.

Avoid using ATM machines that are located on public streets or in remote areas. Try to use an ATM machine in a bank lobby during banking hours.

If you are shopping online:

Never purchase items on sites that do not have the secure icon, usually located at the bottom window at the right side. The address bar that carries the https is securer than the http prefix.

Try to shop at reputable e-commerce sites. A good clue is to look at the copyright year; if it says © 1999 and the current year is 2014, select another site or check out the company with the Butter Business Bureau. You can also send an email question to the company. If they do not respond within 48 hours, select another site.

Never give your social security number to any site.

If you suspect fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission at, and order a copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit agencies and once a year from

Happy Smart Holiday Shopping!