Tag Archives: support

International Day of Awesomeness

Hi, gang. A little something special for you today. Sally Cronin has been a huge supporter of mine, both here, and at the Story Empire blog. She’s always there to share my new releases, and to review my books.

I’ve sold books on days when Sally posts a review or shares my newest news. She’s a very active blogger, and someone every author should get to know.

She also bundles up her promotions and posts a Weeky Roundup which gives authors a second bite at the apple. She does all of this without being asked, and never asks for anything in return.

She also covers such diverse topics as cooking, health, music, and more. She’s traveled the world, and lived in an interesting few sections of it. She’s also hosted her own radio show. Through it all, she’s managed to publish over a dozen books of her own. I don’t know how she keeps up with it all, but she does.

What I’m getting at here, is that Sally is a very interesting person.

Someone smarter than I am thought it would be wonderful to do a surprise blog blast on her behalf. I couldn’t agree more.

She’s benefitted my career, and helped us grow the Story Empire blog.

It’s the least we could do to try driving some of our traffic back her direction. I think Sally is someone you should get to know. Won’t you visit her site today, leave her a comment, and check out all she offers?

Just click this link, to visit her site.

This link will take you to her Amazon Page.


Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized

Meet Natalie Ducey #RRBC

As part of the Rave Reviews Book Club, I occasionally get to host authors on their spotlight tours. The most supportive authors are chosen for this spot, and Natalie is a super supporter. I want you guys to give her a warm welcome, and don’t be afraid to use those sharing buttons at the bottom.


Thank you for joining me today on this fourth day of the “Spotlight” tour!

Today, I’d love to share an extension of my poetry that is very near and dear to my heart.

When passion and purpose collide.
Did you know that the simple act of piecing together a jigsaw puzzle can offer therapeutic benefits? It can, and the promising findings were impossible to ignore. While stimulating the brain, it also acts as a form of meditation, allowing the mind to relax. This simultaneous action has shown promising findings for people living with dementia, and can be a valuable source of reprieve for individuals living and coping with mental illness, including PTSD.

My twin sister (Nicole) and I are both proud wives of long-serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces. We didn’t plan it that way. But we are blessed beyond measure.

We all know the devastating impact of PTSD.  It hurts everyone. The man or woman suffering with it, their spouses, partners, children, parents, siblings, friends, relatives, and even their pets. Everyone is impacted.  Many of those who are suffering with PTSD are military, police, paramedics, and firefighters. They are our first responders. In their selfless acts of service, they have suffered. It’s painful to see.

We have immense respect for those who serve, those who suffer, and those who struggle to find peace in their minds and hearts. If we can contribute even a small piece of peace, it is our privilege and honour to do so.

It is this inner call to action that Peace by Piece Puzzles was born.

We both have had fulfilling careers in business (Nicole) and counselling (me). Through our work and personal journey, we have witnessed the remarkable power of the human spirit. Equipped with empathy and compassion, we are eager to make a difference. We believe that every act of kindness, every gesture of love and understanding, is an infinite gift of grace. Let’s never underestimate its power, for it is a precious and always timely gift.

What is a Peace by Piece Puzzle?

Along with a beautiful, tranquil image, every Peace by Piece Puzzle carries an inspirational verse, a message of hope and love. The verses are written by me and come from a heart of gratitude. Through my words, I aspire to offer solace and hope, love and understanding.

In our face-paced, dynamic, and often complex lives, a gift to oneself or a loved one is special.  A Peace by Piece Puzzle is a gift from the heart; it is permission to quiet the mind alone, or come together with a loved one in a shared experience. During those moments when words are sometimes hard to find, a Peace by Piece Puzzle can be your voice.

There are eight verses/puzzles available:

o A Mother’s Love

o A Father’s Love

o Mighty Heart

o Into the Light

o To My Sister

o From Me, To You

o Our Story

o Still Me
Today, I would like to share with you the verse “Mighty Heart.” I wrote this piece as a tribute and testament to the power and resiliency of the human spirit. This poem is included in my second and recently published poetry collection, The Heart’s Lullaby.

I believe mental wellness should not be a convoluted concept; it’s an essential piece of our lives. A daily promise to ourselves that we are worthy to be free of inner turmoil, free to love and be loved. Piece by piece, step by step, we can do this. We are all in this together.

Please visit our website, view our puzzles, and share with others.


Mighty Heart

We admire another’s courage

While doubting our own

Yet we’ve prevailed mighty hardships

Battles waged and won.

We hold no trophies or medallions

No headlines speak our name

We rose from the ashes

And piece by piece we built again.

Our scars tell a story

We braved the fiercest storms

For we’re both the pioneer and vessel

That ventured into the unknown.

We are not of myth or legend

Our hearts know the burden well

We bore, sustained, and survived

For into the fray we sailed.

Fear shall not cage nor define us

Here we stand on vast, shaky ground

So, let’s never doubt our courage

Dare this mighty voyage … both noble and proud.
© Natalie Ducey


In celebration of my “Spotlight” tour, I’m delighted to say my second and recently published poetry collection The Heart’s Lullaby is currently available for .99 cents!

With a BA in Psychology, Natalie has worked in the Counselling field for 15 years. Through her work and personal journey, she has witnessed the remarkable power of the human spirit. Now, as an author and poet, she is passionate about stories that touch the heart and awaken the soul. Through words, she aspires to offer solace and hope, love and understanding. Natalie is the Co-owner and Writer of Peace by Piece Puzzles. She is the Owner/Writer/Designer of Whispers of the Heart (printable art/poetry/verse). She was born and raised in beautiful Newfoundland, Canada, with her two brothers and twin sister. She now resides in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a Soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces, and their little dog, Bella. She loves kayaking and the freedom and serenity of being one with water. She is an avid reader, passionate writer, and seeker of tranquility along life’s mystifying journey.

You can connect with Natalie on:

Website/Blog – www.natalieducey.com

Facebook – Whispers of the Heart

Twitter – @NatalieDucey

Pinterest – Natalie Ducey

Author Page – Natalie Ducey

Google +1 – Natalie Ducey

GoodReads Author Page – Natalie Ducey

LinkedIn – Natalie Ducey


Filed under Writing

Requiem for the Status Quo, on #LisaBurton Radio

“Hello, caller. You’re on the air with Lisa Burton. What can we do for you today?”

“I don’t think I’ve met you, Lisa, this is Patrick Quinn, can you please put my daughter, Colleen, on the phone?”

“Sorry, Patrick I think you’ve got the wrong number. I’m actually a radio talk-show host, Lisa the robot girl.”

“Robot girl? What can I do for you?”

“Well, Patrick, you called me and I’m glad you did. Now that we’re on the air, what would you like to talk about?”

“If I had my druthers, I’d like to talk about and to Connie. She’s my wife. She died a few years ago. Let me tell you about her … did you say your name is Laura?”

“Close, it’s Lisa.”

“Let me tell you, Lisa, that wife of mine was a firecracker, she sure kept me on my toes but a few years ago now, she got her wish to die in her sleep. Let me tell you, that’s a wish that I’m sorry came true.”

“I’m sorry about your wife’s passing, Patrick.”

“Me too, and you see, it used to be that I felt I could communicate with her, you know, even though she’s in whatever and wherever the afterlife has to offer, but I don’t seem to be able to reach her anymore.”

“You’re saying you can’t talk to her anymore? I’m sure she’s still there somewhere, Patrick, I bet she still hears you.”

“Well, that’s good to know, thanks for saying so. Just wish I could hear her. Ya’ see, it seems my brain isn’t exactly tuned in to her anymore. Colleen, did I tell you she’s my daughter? She understands all about that, she’s a darn good caregiver for her old man as well. The last thing I ever wanted was to be a burden to her, she deserves to have a life of her own, ya’ know.”

“Wait a minute, your daughter’s your caregiver, does this mean you’re not feeling well?”

“Nice of you to ask, Miss Laura, um Miss Lisa? Anyway, other than my prostate that’s acting up something fierce, I’m feeling fine, I just can’t remember things as well as I used to because of a dementia thing I’ve got. The Doc says it’s Alzheimer’s plus something else, I can’t remember the something else…well, I guess it’s no surprise I can’t remember. So when Colleen and I met with the Doc, now he’s a real smart guy, let me tell you, he’s a brain doctor so he’s gotta be…um, what was I saying?”

“You and your daughter met with a smart doctor.”

“Right, so the Doc, he says there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s so Colleen and I knew right away that wasn’t good news at all, which, let me tell you, didn’t sit at all well with either of us. I said to the doctor, I said, “Look Doc, there must be a pill or two I can take, isn’t there?” Then I said, “They’ve got a pill that can give a man a four-hour erection, can’t they give me a pill that’ll take care of my withered brain?” Get it, withered?”

“Um, yeah, that’s kind of funny.”

“I thought so too, but the doctor didn’t laugh, I guess he was supposed to be serious and all, but I thought the erection comment would lighten the mood.––”

Give me that Dad, who are you talking to? Hello, who is this?”

“I’m Lisa Burton, the robot girl. I was just having a pleasant conversation with Patrick. Who are you?”

“I’m his son, Jonathan, I have to apologize about my dad, he’s not exactly right in the head…”

“I don’t know, he made total sense to me.”

“He’s got Alzheimer’s so that would be a first, him making sense. It’s pretty difficult for everyone, I mean …”

“Well, Jonathan, I would imagine it must be more difficult for your wonderful, father, wouldn’t you say?”

“I know, you’re right, it’s just that Colleen, she’s my sister who I hope will be back soon from a support group meeting she attends, she’s the one who is more involved with him so I’m not used to when he asks the same question over and over again. And the other day, he was at my wife’s and my house for dinner, and even though my wife told him what type of soup we were eating several times, it was squash soup, he kept forgetting. It was pretty embarrassing, I know that sounds harsh, but I’m just being honest.

“Oh, and the other day, Dad walked to a restaurant near his house to meet up with some Korean war buddies of his and he got lost and he forgot to put his house keys in his pocket. Colleen had put a Contact list of people in his wallet, you know, her and me, so the police were able to get in touch with someone who had keys to help him get home. We thought he was still able to live on his own without getting into trouble but Colleen and I are going to have to figure something out, and soon.”

“Jonathan, do you ever attend the support meetings?”

“I don’t really need that kind of crutch, and besides, anything I need to learn about my dad’s disease I can find on the internet.”

“How’s that working out for you?”

“I only go to websites I know are professional so I get all the correct information.”

“What I meant was, how’s that working for you, not getting support from people going through the same thing as you are? Maybe hearing how others handle stuff related to their loved one’s illness would be good for you. Sometimes the textbook answers aren’t as good as the real-life ones. Maybe the medical journals don’t adequately address the person inside the diseased body, how they feel, what they need from a personal perspective. I don’t know, I guess what I’m saying is it couldn’t hurt, right?”

“I’ll think about it…just a sec, my dad’s saying something.”

“Jonathan, what happened to that nice lady who called me. Did you find out what she wanted?”

“Dad, I’m just saying goodbye now. Sorry, Lisa, I have to go, and, uh, thanks for listening.”

“How about it, listeners. Have any of you ever had to care for a family member or friend with dementia? My author, Craig lost a grandparent to this horrible disease, and while he wasn’t the caregiver, it was hard on his entire family.

“You can learn more about Patrick, Colleen, and Jonathan in the novel, Requiem for the Status Quo, by Irene Frances Olson. I’ll post all the purchase links and other pertinents on the website.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton. Please use those sharing buttons to help Irene spread the word. The book is available today for the first time, so I’m honored to be part of Irene’s and Patrick’s release day events.”


Family caregivers are oftentimes ruthlessly challenged by uninvolved family members who are quick to condemn, but reticent to offer assistance. Such is the case for Colleen Strand, a widow who recently found her own footing who takes on the task of caring for her father, Patrick Quinn, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Her older brother, Jonathan, criticizes Colleen at every turn and verbally abuses the father when he has the gall to exhibit symptoms of his disease. In short, Jonathan travels down the road of denial, leaving Colleen to deal with all matters regarding their father’s care.

Connected tenuously to a father who barely remembers her and a brother who has become an enigma, Colleen faces the moving target that is Alzheimer’s disease, determined to clothe her father with the dignity he deserves, while struggling to squeeze every minute of time she can from him.


Purchase Links:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Black Rose Writing Books-A-Million Indiebound

Irene Frances Olson writes from passion and experience. She was her father’s caregiver during his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Having previously worked in memory care, she was not new to the disease, nor was her family immune. Irene hopes to make a difference in the lives of others by writing novels that encourage and support those who just might need another person in their corner.


You can also find Irene on the following social media sites:

Author website

Twitter: @Boomer98053

Facebook: @RedmondWriter

Instagram: irenefrancesolson



Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

I’m a day late, but still participating.

Yesterday was recruitment day at the Rave Reviews Book Club. I did a tiny lead in as the host for our Spotlight Author, Rebecca Reilly. I won't short one of my guests on their allotted day, so I'm posting this a day late.

I've mentioned before that I'm a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club. I can attest to the effort this group puts in when it comes to promoting independent authors.

For myself, I've been blessed with multiple promotional pushes including:

  • Two different Push Tuesdays, most recently last week. The members push my books across multiple social media accounts on my selected day. On Twitter alone, I must have reached a million accounts. They are still pushing today, because that's the kind of members we have.
  • I was invited to be a guest on Blog Talk Radio. This was a cool experience, and the shows are archived so they keep getting action.
  • I won a Spotlight Author slot in a contest once. This came with an all expenses paid blog tour, and an interview with our president, Nonnie Jules. These interviews are archived too and continue to get action. This tour also came with a live Twubs chat, and that was fun too.
  • I get to host some awesome blog tours, including our Spotlight Authors. This always brings a bunch of traffic to my blog, and I gain followers every time.

They do a lot of fun things too. They publish an anthology every year, and members are encouraged to submit some short fiction. We held a gigantic blogging event in September last year with prizes and things at each stop. My traffic went through the roof.

The club chooses three books of the month, and there is a President's Pick. (I was a President's Pick once too.) Members are encouraged to read and review these books, and there is a chat where everyone gets together and discusses the books later.

There is a Member of the Month slot, and members are encouraged to read that author, post reviews, and promote across social media for the month for this person.

We recently started a WhatsApp chat room where members can promote free and 99¢ books. This is a great place to find some new titles if you're on a budget.

This is a club on the move. They keep coming up with new promotional ideas, and are always trying new things to help us spread the word.

Members have a few obligations. The annual membership fee is $25. I've paid more for some advertising that produced absolutely nothing.

Members are also required to read and review one member book per quarter. We're looking for honest reviews, and this isn't a club that exchanges five star reviews. All authors know how important reviews are. We have a large catalog, and it still takes some effort to get noticed, but my odds are much better here. If you have a hard time choosing, I can suggest seven different titles. (Joke.)

Some of the finest authors I know are members here, and the club even offers a mentoring program. If this sounds like the kind of support you might like, consider joining us. Here is the link Rave Reviews Book Club.

If you still have questions you can ask me.


Filed under Uncategorized

Consider the Rave Reviews Book Club

Regular readers know that I am a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, and have been for some time. I joined to broaden the exposure for my books. Today they are holding a membership push. I usually post something on Wednesday night, but held off until today.

If you are an author, I encourage you to read this to the end. I'm about to tell you how I personally benefitted.

The club was established to help indie authors accumulate reviews. These are honest reviews, and not all of mine are five star reviews. It's grown into so much more. They promote across all kinds of social media, and schedule some fun events from time to time.

Those who participate more get more support. This is as it should be. Many clubs devolve into a few folks who do all the heavy lifting, while others benefit from their efforts. This isn't one of those clubs.

They provide enough opportunities for everyone to participate at their own pace. I'm not the most supportive member of the club, but I try to pull my weight.

Every week we support one author on what we call Push Tuesday. The club makes a massive push across all social media to boost that member's book. I always support via Twitter, and they send me a nice email reminder. My first benefit came from being a Push Tuesday recipient. They decided to push Panama. I sold books that day, and they really didn't stop pushing until Friday.

Last year they held an event similar to this one. We were all asked to promote the club on our blogs. They turned it into a contest, and I won it. My prize was a member of the week slot. This included a week long blog tour, and an interview with Nonnie Jules, our President. We moved a bunch of books that week.

I chose to participate in the Rave Reviews Book Club Back to School Book and Blog Block Party. This involved picking a day and hosting a party where we promoted our wares and gave away prizes. Regular readers might remember Lisa and I hosting a party at the writing cabin. My blog stats spiked that day, there were reblogs galore, tweets, and I'm sure other social media were involved too.

This was just before the mid-point of my own big push. Lisa was all over cyberspace promoting my Experimental Notebook. During this push, I was chosen as member of the week. The support that week was phenomenal. It couldn't have happened at a better time.

I was invited to appear on a blog talk radio program last week called Beyond The Cover. This is something relatively new for members. The club has +/- half a dozen shows, and invite supportive members to promote their wares. It was easy, it was fun, and I'm sure I reached readers. Since the show is archived and available to anyone, I'm sure I'll reach more.

Just this week, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack was chosen as the President's Pick book. This involves singling out four special books, three books of the month and one President's Pick. Members are encouraged to read, review, and push these books. I've already seen a bunch of Twitter action, and noticed a few sales on Amazon.

All of this is for a guy who considers himself a moderate supporter. We are going to be voting on the annual Rave Awards very soon. The cover for Arson was nominated last year, but didn't win. I have hopes that someone nominated Will O' the Wisp, or Experimental Notebook this year. I think their covers are incredible. Even better would be a nomination for the writing inside one of them.

They produce an anthology every year, but I've never submitted. They also have the occasional writing competition, and I've not participated in one yet. I do what I can, but don't have time to take advantage of everything they offer.

I signed up to host authors who get a promotion week like the one I had. This brings blog traffic, and I benefit by helping others with their promotions. It isn't hard at all. The club sends me the data and I post it.

They offer an extensive catalog of member's books on the website. I will occasionally tweet out the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal link. I have six books in that category. It's a good source for readers too.

I think very highly of this club, and I've expanded my footprint because of it. If any of you think you might benefit, please check out these links:

About the Rave Reviews Book Club

How we Profile, Promote, & Propel

Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy category. Because why not? I'm trying to take over here.

Join here! Tell them Craig sent you.


Filed under Writing