Category Archives: Musings

8th Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Book Fundraiser

Keith Milano Memorial Fund @ American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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For the eight year running, an amazing group of authors have generously agreed to donate, in Keith’s name, a portion of their May book sales to help raise awareness for mental health.

A message from Keith’s Sister Denise

 

How do you thank a community that has helped you keep your brother’s spirit alive—a community that helped you keep a promise made to him after he passed.

15 years ago when we lost Keith, we decided he would not go quietly, that we would fight for mental health awareness, fight to bring mental illness out of the darkness in his name. At the time we had no idea what that would mean, where our journey would take us or that this community would embrace the cause and join us in the fight.

This event was born organically out of us sharing Keith’s story and our family’s mission and we are humbled at how his story has resonated with so many. We continue to share his story and hope you will join us in making mental health a priority. By sharing your truth, the dialogue can continue to help others feel less alone and more likely to get help.

Our family is so touched by how this community has embraced this cause.

With Deepest Gratitude,

Denise Milano Sprung

Here is how you can help raise money and awareness for mental health:

  • Purchase a book from the amazing books listed below! We hope you will #1click4charity a number of these amazing books! Please note that although below are Amazon Kindle links, the portion of sales is from any platform: digital, print and audio.
  • Share the image below or any of the custom photos the participating authors share on social media to raise awareness and to show your support.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation directly to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at AFSP.

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8th Annual Mental Health Awareness Book Fundraiser Author List

Author

Book(s)

Buy Link

Alice Archer

The Infinite Onion

https://amzn.to/2Kas0P3

Alison G Bailey

Lip Smacker

https://amzn.to/3a72DrS

Alyson Santos

Night Shifts Black (NSB #1)

https://amzn.to/3cmFzHb

Tracing Holland (NSB #2)

https://amzn.to/2RFB02K

Viper (NSB #3)

https://amzn.to/2VApmHL

Limelight (NSB #4)

https://amzn.to/2Vcd0qj

An NSB Wedding (NSB #5)

https://amzn.to/3bowRZ3

NSB Boxset

https://amzn.to/34G9KXd

Rising West: A Turner Artist Rocker Novel

https://amzn.to/3eoS7zs

Falling North: A Turner Artist Rocker Novel

https://amzn.to/2RHaDtk

Haunted Melody: A Ghost Story

https://amzn.to/2RHUVxZ

Young Love

https://amzn.to/3cmKgAC

High Tide

https://amzn.to/2VArgIp

Traitor

https://amzn.to/2V9qy5Q

Amy Lane

Fall Through Spring

https://amzn.to/3eotJxT

Brenda Rothert

Anton

https://amzn.to/2xwKeHJ

Luca

https://amzn.to/3aghmAF

Victor

https://amzn.to/2yVQM2T

Knox

https://amzn.to/3emxUKF

Alexei

https://amzn.to/3bcYNP7

Easy

https://amzn.to/3abm4jn

Cara Dee

Path of Destruction

https://amzn.to/3cjZZAp

Power Play

https://amzn.to/2RACg7l

Carly Phillips

Dare to Resist

https://amzn.to/2KkzgYR

Danielle Pearl

ReCap

https://amzn.to/2K8nMr8

Okay

https://amzn.to/2K4RTzP

ES Carter

Favourite Hello. Hardest Goodbye.

https://amzn.to/3benDy7

J.R. Gray

Unscripted

https://amzn.to/2KaeB9M

Ginger Scott

Wild Reckless

https://amzn.to/2XCOXlO

Drummer Girl

https://amzn.to/2VbjdCN

Cowboy, Villian, Damsel, Duel

https://amzn.to/3eoVfeG

Jennifer L. Allen

Our Moon

https://amzn.to/3bdoYFE

Hearts in the Sand

https://amzn.to/3ckIpwd

Wildflowers

https://amzn.to/2VctM8y

Here Without You

https://amzn.to/2Vcq6E0

Say Something

https://amzn.to/3ae2kLX

K Bromberg

Faking It

https://amzn.to/2RF9pig

Kandi Steiner

On the Way to You

https://amzn.to/2RFJFlD

Karen Booth

Rock Starred

https://amzn.to/2RDvcXG

Love Plus One

https://amzn.to/34DGqR7

The KISS Principle

https://amzn.to/2K73huV

Kelly Jensen

Chaos Station

https://amzn.to/3eoCWpX

and Jenn Burke

Lonely Shore

https://amzn.to/2xAKPZ1

Skip Trace

https://amzn.to/3bd12Cf

Inversion Point

https://amzn.to/2VaBAYj

Phase Shift

https://amzn.to/2XEYB7q

Kindle Alexander

Forever

https://amzn.to/3cj9pME

Laurelin Paige

Sweet Liar

https://amzn.to/3equhU8

Leylah Attar

Moti on the Water

https://amzn.to/3cmtEcl

M. Jayne

See Me

https://amzn.to/2VBbeh8

Melanie Harlow

ONLY YOU

https://amzn.to/2Vz5Ivo

Melanie Moreland

Changing Roles

https://amzn.to/2XCBYk1

The Summer of Us

https://amzn.to/2z7c91z

Vested Interest Books 1- 6

https://amzn.to/2XEUB7a

The Contract Series (3 books)

https://amzn.to/2VaMjSy

Natasha Madison

Southern Chance

https://amzn.to/2XEUCbe

Nicole Edwards

The Walkers of Coyote Ridge series

https://amzn.to/2wHEA5f

Curtis

https://amzn.to/2VaENXP

Jared

https://amzn.to/2RIDGNb

Hard to Hold

https://amzn.to/2RIjF9g

Hard to Handle

https://amzn.to/2XEUGYw

Beau

https://amzn.to/2XFdUgC

Rex

https://amzn.to/2VaCfJh

A Coyote Ridge Christmas

https://amzn.to/3bcaDcB

Mack

https://amzn.to/3ck45bW

Piper Rayne

Flirting with Fire (Blue Collar Brothers #1)

https://amzn.to/34GJw6J

Raine Miller

Puck Money

https://amzn.to/2Ka5iXm

Sarina Bowen

Sure Shot

https://amzn.to/3esoUUj

Sawyer Bennett

Wylde: Arizona Vengeance

https://amzn.to/34Cr92S

Sierra Simone

Priest

https://amzn.to/3cmRODs

Virna De Paul

Going Deep Football Series

https://amzn.to/3baEemI

Down Deep

https://amzn.to/3bddW31

Royally Deep

https://amzn.to/2K4SqSl

Deep Inside

https://amzn.to/3er0lHB

Deep Desire

https://amzn.to/2z74X5z

Keith Milano Memorial Fund

140 Adams Ave, Suite B-12

Hauppauge, NY 11788

Facebook

Twitter

Direct Donation

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund was established to help raise awareness about the devastating and deadly disease that is mental illness.

Keith’s spirit and laughter is kept alive through our efforts to increase awareness about mental illness and to raise money for education and imperative research.

Keith often struggled with society’s perception of mental illness. Our hope is that by having the strength to say that Keith was Bipolar we can strip away the stigma and help others to be more open about their disease.

If you want to know more about Keith or why Denise does what she does, here is short video/interview that explains. The Keith Milano Memorial Fund benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

At the end of the event, participating authors pay AFSP directly.AFSP is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.

AFSP is a fully accredited 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization incorporated in the state of Delaware with primary offices in New York City. Federal tax ID # is 13-3393329.

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My Best Books of 2019…

…okay so it’s more a round-up of the books that stood out for me this year as I’ve read almost 400 and (while that’s a load down on the last two years) I was lucky to not have many ones I failed to connect with.

Sooo, in no particular order at all, honestly, there isn’t an order, it’s the ones which sprung into my head and stayed there, I give you My Best Books of 2019 (and quite a few bonus festive entries at the end).

TMAABB-f900Lily Morton’s The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings blew me away. Totally different from one of my favourite authors, a paranormal romance in the beautiful surrounds of the City of York.

Tal Bauer’s Soul On Fire was stunning. Especially considering the background to the book, which was written in a month and based on reader suggestions for all aspects of the narrative.

Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott’s Ignite saw one of my favourite pairs of authors taking another step in the Unbreakable Bonds universe and giving me my fave MM book boyfriend Rowan Ward creating more Mayhem with boyfriend Noah.

Tibby Armstrong’s Taste The Dark I was gutted when Random House cancelled Tibby’s Boston After Dark series, so the news she was going to self-publish book two in the trilogy was wonderful. The book itself lived up to all expectations. Now I really, really need Nyx and Isander please Tibby 😁 ♥

Allie Therin’s Spellbound a new author for me and a wonderful debut historical novel set in an alternative 20s Prohibition Era New York. Prince of Killers Ebook

I could have gone for a number of Layla Rayne books but I picked Prince Of Killers for the brilliant opener to what turned out to be a fabulous assassin/Government agent enemies to lovers romantic suspense.

RJ Scott’s Single, book one in her new series focusing on single dads was an absolute triumph for me and catapulted its warmth and its compelling characters to the top of my list of favourites from her.

Spicy, steamy, beautifully and unashamedly erotic, I absolutely loved Roe Horvat’s Adam Only.

Jackie Keswick’s step into fantasy land resulted in a triumphant Healing Glass, one of my absolute favourite reads of all of 2019 with its well written and detailed world building .

Perennial favourite Lucy Lennox broke my heart (and then fixed it again) when she finally wrote Doc and Grandpa’s romance in Wilde Heart. I’d been waiting for this since we first met this bunch of amazing characters, and it didn’t disappoint.

Close-up portrait of a handsome young man with brave manly face.

Cara Dee challenged trope expectations with If We Could Go Back and smashed through the “no cheating” rules with a stunningly emotional tale of a romance long in the building.

Charlie Adhara hit her third 5* rating from me for her Big Bad Wolf series with book three, Thrown To The Wolves,  which saw Cooper and Park’s relationship strengthen as they investigated more whodunits.

Easily the most brilliantly named book on my list, Lyn Gala’s Earth Fathers Are Weird was an original, fabulously executed Sci-Fi mPreg alien romance and I utterly adored it.

Davidson King provided an epic closure to her fabulous Haven Hart Universe with Poe’s tale and Raven’s Hart was a perfect way to sign off on this romantic suspense saga.

Kat and Agnes Merikan brought their insanely brilliant paranormal motorbike club series to an end with In The Arms Of The Beast, which saw the Kings of Hell MC battling demonic entities in this jaw-dropping wft-ery of everything!

Elin Gregory soothed my historical romance loving heart with book two of The Carstairs Affairs, Midnight Flit in which Miles and Briers are dropped into Europe at the start of the madness leading up to the Second World War in the early 1930s.

Redeem Cover

My favourite cover model turned up again on Christina Lee’s Redeem (and yes, I will use his picture again exactly for that reason!) with a redemption arc romance which pleased every bit of my aching heart.

With Prince of Death (co-written with W.M. Fawkes) Sam Burns cemented her place as one of my absolute favourite paranormal/urban fantasy authors. I could have picked any of the trilogy but the opener set the scene for what was to come perfectly.

And, speaking of urban fantasy, next up is the bloody brilliance that was Hailey Turner’s All Souls Near & Nigh. Book two in what I believe will be a six (or more) book series, this one took the reader on an epic ride into South America with the Aztec Gods – Quetzalcoatl and Tepoztēcatl, the Mexican/Catholic death cult Goddess/saint Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, as well as the Native American trickster God Coyote or Altse Hashke.

Epic fighting was on the cards in my next pick, Rachel Reid’s Heated Rivalry, an insanely hot enemies to lovers ice hockey sports romance featuring an All American dreamboat and his Russian rival in the arena.

Back to the urban fantasy/paranormal for this second instalment in MA Grant’s excellent series The Darkest Court. The Marked Prince played around with the Seelie/Unseelie Courts and Irish mythology for a superb slow burning but compelling tale.

Beth Bolden made me cry with Terrible Things, the first in her rock band series and a beautiful reconciliation, second chances romance which is well-worth a read. It doesn’t follow the usual tropes.

After BenAnd Con Riley also had the tears flowing with the divine After Ben, first in her Seattle Stories series, which is being re-published. It remains one of my favourite books dealing with moving on after the death of a long-term partner.

Next up. Garrett Leigh went paranormal and OMG it was EPIC. Like seriously good, a new interpretation of shifters and werewolf society and full of the usual Britishness which typifies her work. Grab your copy of Fated Hearts if you’ve not read it yet.

And while we’re on with the werewolves, Annabelle Jacobs turned to them once again for her latest series, absolutely different from the Regent’s Park Pack series which is one of my all-time favourite shifter works. Escape was daringly different, menacing and not entirely unlike the political shitstorm occuring in the UK right this minute.

Copy of GentlemanWolf_300Joanna Chambers also gave me werewolves, but with a glorious historical twist and a bit of a cliffhanger in the first of her duology Gentleman Wolf. Set in 18th Century Scotland, it’s an epic tale of mystery, heartache, adventure, and suspense with a seriously nasty villain and a stunning cast of characters.

Merlin and Lancelot reincarnated (which bizarrely is also the plot of one of the books I’m writing atm!) take the stage in Victoria Sue’s Twelfth Night, which plays not only on Shakespeare’s title but with Arthurian mythology to craft a thrilling urban fantasy.

My last recommendation before I get to the Festive Recommendations is Kasia Bacon’s ridiculously brilliant in less than 28 pages Rago. A dragon shifter fated mates snippet set in her excellent Order Universe.

~

This is by no means my only exceptional reads of the year. I could also add about another 50 books but then we’d be having to scroll down for days.

I could include Aimee Nicole Walker’s Wicked Games, which might be my favourite book of hers so far full stop (although I’m massively falling for Locke and Key in her latest series so who knows!)

I could also include Nicholas Bella, Lane Hayes, Felice Stevens, Keira Andrews, Rick R Reed, K.c. Wells, V.L. Locey (both individually and with RJ Scott), I want to put Annabeth Albert on here (she’s on my Christmas recommendations I’ve nicked from RJ – keep reading) along with Eli Easton.

Sneaking on would also be E.J. Russell’s fab Supernatural Selection series, May Archer,  Eden Finley, Neve Wilder, Nora Phoenix, and K.M. Neuhold. I’d go on but then I’d forget someone and I’d be annoyed and worried I’d upset them.

So just clicky here and read all my reviews for all the amazing authors who’ve delighted me with books during 2019.

And let me just say a huge thank you to all the authors who’ve entrusted me with their ARCs to beta, proof or review during 2019.

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege. Now, onto the first month of the new year!

~

Festive Romance Recommendations

I think I may just totally cheat here and point readers to RJ Scott’s most excellent Facebook post on her favourites 😁

You can find that here: https://www.facebook.com/author.rjscott/posts/2578736988876034

Best-Books

 

A Very Merry 2019 Christmas To All

Happy-Christmas-2019-Me

As the title says, I’d like to wish everyone who follows my blog a peaceful festive season and offer my thanks for all your support.

See you on the other side after the food’s been eaten, the presents have been opened and the drink’s been drunk.

And for those who find this time of year to be painful or stressful, my inbox is always open and I’ve got big shoulders and non-judgy ears.

International Transgender Day of Visibility

The lovely Elin Gregory wrote this on her blog today so I’m sure she won’t object to me sharing it:

By clicking on the picture above you will be taken to the website of the Human Rights Campaign and a page of information, resources and interviews for and by and about transgender people worldwide.

Some of it is very interesting and uplifting, some of it is heartbreaking, all of it is worth watching/reading.

And it’s a really good reminder that, while today is THE day to look across at our transgender friends and say “I see you and you’re admirable,” we should be putting the suggestions for how to be a good ally into practice EVERY day.

Of course there will be times when we fall short, through ignorance or thoughtlessness, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try again to do better.

X-Clacks-Overhead:GNU Terry Pratchett

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Three years since DEATH came on Binky to take Pterry on his final journey.

If you’ve never read any of Sir Terry Pratchett’s work, can I suggest you rectify that immediately. My favourites are Carpe Jugulum and Maskerade but you could pick up any of his more than 70 works – of which the Discworld made up just 41 of those.

The Tiffany Aching series are perfect for older teenagers, while his Bromeliad Trilogy, featuring tiny people who live in the carpets of peoples’ houses (not as creepy as it might sound!) is a great jumping point for  younger readers.

And – given the impending Amazon Prime/BBC production of Good Omens which is due out next year – this collaboration with Neil Gaiman on an alternative “apocalypse” is, without shadow of a doubt, one of my most often re-read and recommended books.

My Weight Loss Journey Begins

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As anyone who’s read my More Me piece knows, 2014 was a catalytic year in which I nearly died – twice – because of Swine Flu and was left paralysed for six months after a five-week induced coma.

During the near nine months I was in hospital, I lost a lot of weight, through being unconscious and nose tube fed and also because I had to learn how to eat all over again and I just really didn’t want to eat and had no appetite.

Unfortunately, during the now three years post discharge, due to being officially disabled and incapable of walking more than 20ft without my right hip displacing and having to do so while in incredible pain throughout my body, I’ve put an awful lot of weight back on.

I’ll be 48 next year so, if I don’t take things in hand now, it’s only going to get worse by the time I hit the big 5-0. But, instead of doing a “diet” as such, I’ve set up an account with MyFitness Pal to start tracking what I’m actually eating.

This gives me a daily calorie target to eat and, if I stick to that, I should lose weight even if I can’t do anything else. It’s an eye opener really to truthfully and honestly track what you’re eating and it’s made me appreciate that I need to look at portion sizes and drink more water!

I’m also hoping I can start regularly going to the local hydro pool which is a 20 minute session in which I can freely move without pain and which I hope will let me tone up while losing weight at the same time.

Unfortunately, I need a carer to come with me to that because I can’t get washed and dressed without aid. In the meantime, I’m trying to find small exercises I can do at home. I have a set of stretching exercises my physios have given me over the past three years, so I’ve been doing those as well as a bit of walking and going up and down the stairs (which is a real trial for me).

I used to walk a lot and I want to reach a point where I can do that again, even if it’s in pain, so that my nearly 10-year-old son has a mother who can be active in some way with him.

So there you have it, a slightly different blog from me today.

Some Musings for November

dunkirk poppies

The Royal British Legion’s #RethinkRemembrance campaign has seen the poem In Flanders Fields laid out at seven locations synonymous with conflict including this at Dunkirk beach.

Each year in November I take the time to have a think or two on the Royal British Legion’s annual Remembrance Day campaign 

I check out their website, I look at what they’ve sent me through the post, I either get a Poppy or I give a donation online and I reflect on those I know. . .

My grandfather, at Dunkirk in 1940, now considered to be a victory in defeat because of the efforts of the Little Ships in rescuing almost 340,000 Allied Forces but, for him, the one experience in all his wartime escapades he would never speak about.

Other family members who didn’t see conflict but who “did their duty”, friends who served in all three branches, family who are still serving now, historical figures in the past who made their mark in some small – or very large in one case – way.

This year the Legion is asking people to #RethinkRemembrance. To look at the annual appeal in a different way as the wars which it originally commemorated move further into the past and yet the numbers it helps wane not.

In recreating one of the most famous First World War poems – Canadian John McCrae’s In Flanders Field – across six UK (and one French) locations, the Legion hopes to encourage people to consider the meaning of the poppy as a symbol of both Remembrance and hope for the Armed Forces community, past and present.

In Flanders Fields was written after poppies bloomed on the battlefields of the First World War, despite the death and destruction around them. It’s that life force growing in the most difficult of circumstances that connects the poppy with a message of hope.

  • The poem lines are located at Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, on Dunkirk Beach, on the White Cliffs of Dover, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, in Cardiff Bay, at Salford Quays in Manchester and outside the Sage in Gateshead.
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