Friday, August 30, 2013

How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month, Selling My Kindle eBooks by Cheryl Kaye Tardif


During the past few months, I've read a LOT of ebook marketing guides. Some good and some not so good. And all too often, guides that were just an excuse for an author's own self-promotion.
The best eBook marketing guide that I've found to date is by Canadian novelist extraordinaire:
Cheryl Kaye Tardif:
Cheryl is a best-selling author with a large and loyal international following of readers. She knows what works and what doesn't, when it comes to eBook marketing. And there is a lot to learn. I'm finding that out, as I continue along with my own eBook journey.  
Her guide is filled with practical and doable suggestions, how indie authors can best use their time, to get their eBooks noticed online and moving up the charts.
The information is provided in a concise and well-organized manner; not just a lot of rambling tips and tidbits that can be found all too often in other eBook marketing guides.
Cheryl has been an author for many years, first with traditional, print publishing and now as a best-selling eBook author. She has published 12 eBooks and 9 print books, to date.
Stop by Cheryl's site to find out more about all her books and her amazing rise to the top of the eBook publishing lists at Amazon and other major book sites. I'm currently reading her beautiful novel: Whale Song and just love it so far!
What a appreciate most about this guide is that Cheryl's personality comes through ever word.
She is a down-to-earth, gutsy and outspoken woman who shares her own publishing story in an honest and upfront way. She not only talks about her many successes in eBook publishing but also the lean years and the countless hours spent on tweaking her own marketing plans and coming up with what worked and what didn't.
This guide cuts through so much of the "fluff" out there on the topic of eBook marketing and gives the reader realistic and not too time-consuming suggestions to get their own books launched and moving forward.
Some of the chapters in this eBook include:
-Chapter 2: Fake It 'til You Make It!
-Chapter 6: My KDP Select Experiment
 (FYI: KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing)
-Chapter 19: Do You Know Where Your Readers Are?
-Chapter 21: All the World's A-twitter
to name but a few of the topics discussed in this guide.
If you are an indie author just starting out or perhaps are further along in your publishing journey but still in need of some marketing ideas that REALLY work; check Cheryl Tardif's wonderful eBook marketing guide out today.
Overall rating for this book: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Spice House (and another free promo too!) :<)

Don't you just love when you unexpectedly find something exceptional online? :<)

A few weeks ago, I was doing an online search for "organic file powder" to add to a vegetable gumbo recipe that I was working on.
Not only was file powder not available anywhere I looked locally; but finding organic file powder (organic always being my preference) was just another bonus, when I clicked through to:

Established in 1957, The Spice House carries a wide variety of:

Top-quality herbs, spices, unique seasoning blends, kitchen accessories, gluten-free products, books and lots of great gift ideas too.
In addition to their attractive site, they also have 5 retail locations in the US in: Milwaukee and Illinois.

To backtrack a minute re: the file powder, in case you are not familiar with this product, it is an essential ingredient in true southern style gumbo.
Gumbo file powder is an essential ingredient when cooking authentic Creole or Cajun cuisine. Gumbo file powder is the powdered leaves of the sassafras tree. When ground, they have a rich, cooling smell, reminiscent of eucalyptus crossed with juicy fruit gum. 

A little goes a long way and file powder should be added to gumbo close to the end of the cooking process, for best results. A 1/2 C. shaker jar of Organic File Powder is only $4.49 at the Spice House, so very reasonably priced too.

I took a good long browse over at their site, after finding the file powder and was amazed and delighted to find all kinds of culinary treats, that I wasn't expecting, including this amazing mixed herb blend:
Sunny Paris is an unique seasoning blend that's rich in very expensive freeze-dried shallots, which provides a "salt-like satisfaction" to the taste buds. Add in the Mysore green peppercorns, top-quality French herbs and a blend of premium seasonings and it's no surprise that this blend has a loyal following with many of their customers.

Ingredients: Hand mixed from: freeze-dried shallots, ground Mysore green peppercorns, dill weed, freeze-dried scallions, French basil, French tarragon, French chervil, finely minced parsley flakes.

This is a seasoning blend that can be used on all kinds of savory dishes.
 I tried it recently on my Toaster Oven Focaccia and loved it!

If you like shallots and/or onions and scallions, you will love this versatile seasoning blend!

 In addition to adding it to main and vegetable dishes, I like to add a sprinkle of Sunny Paris to top omelettes. Looks so nice too, it has a vivid green color.

Spices and herbs can add so much to all kinds of recipes.

I love to experiment with all kinds of spice and herb combos. It's great to come up with something new, that adds that "just right finish" to a recipe.

Using premium spices and herbs like those available at The Spice House can make a big difference how a recipe turns out. You can take an ordinary dish and turn it into something special, just by adding the right combination of quality spices and herbs.

Keep in mind that any spice or dried herb loses it's flavor in a relatively short period of time. If you don't use a particular spice or herb on a regular basis, buy small quantities to insure optimal flavor.

And if you haven't used a particular herb or spice in a 12 month period, it's probably time to discard it and buy fresh.

 I use a LOT of herbs and spices in my cooking, so that is a problem I seldom encounter. :<)

If it's time to give your own spice/herb collection a purge, perhaps time to restock a particular spice/herb or if you are looking for a new seasoning blend to perk up your meals, check out:

I am so happy I found them via my initial file powder search. Their products are top-quality and reasonably priced too.

Another perk, excellent customer service too. All my questions were answered promptly and completely, by their knowledgeable and friendly staff.
As for the FREE PROMO, coming up this weekend: August 31-Sept. 1 my new cookbook:

The Groovy Green Kitchen (Volume 1) Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker

will be available as a free Kindle download at!

Stop by then to get a free copy and do share this free promo with your friends and family too.

And if you were tempted by the photo above for the Toaster Oven Focaccia, it's one of many side dish recipes that are included in this book.

Quality spices and herbs go hand in hand with superior cooking results. You really can't have one without the other. ;<)

Stop by The Spice House if you love (or even just like) to cook! You'll be glad you did.

Overall rating for this company: Excellent. 5 out of 5.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Late Summer Book Launch and Free Promotion!

My new novel:

 My new cookbook (first in the series):
 Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker

As many of my regular readers already know, I've been working on several book projects during the past couple of years.
 I'm happy to say that my two newest books are now available at :<)
Both are available in Kindle and print formats.
You can read more about both of these books by clicking the links above.
I will be having ongoing promotions for all of my books, starting with a free promotion for Third Chapter, Second Chance on August 24- 25 (this coming weekend).
Stop in at Amazon this weekend, to download a free copy of Third Chapter, Second Chance!
And do check back on a regular basis at my Amazon Author's page for a upcoming promotions, for all my books
I am also reissuing Kindle editions of my two poetry books:
Haiku Reflections: The Four Seasons
My Poetic Path
If you enjoy poetry, these books will now be available in Kindle versions too.
I've also added some photos to Haiku Reflections for the Kindle version.
Both of these poetry eBooks will be available before the end of August at Amazon.
If you'd like to be notified by email about my upcoming new books and some of the future promotions I'll be having, send an email to:
mypoeticpath @ my way . com  
 (spaces removed)
subject line: SUBSCRIBE
and I'll add you to my mailing list.
Note: my email mailing list is currently sent via a account as I have several email addresses, that I'm combining contacts from, for my book promotions.
But I will have my name in the subject line so you'll know it's from me! :<)
And I promise, you won't be inundated with tons of emails!
I hope you enjoy my two new books, my reissued poetry kindle editions and future work too.
I have several new book projects in progress, including the second volume of The Groovy Green Kitchen and an Ebook formatting guide for Word 2013.
It's all been a lot of work but so rewarding too.
And I've had a lot of help and encouragement along the way.
My sincere thanks to: my novel beta readers, recipe testers, friends, family and blog-readers at all my blogs. And a special thanks to the established authors I've been fortunate to correspond with over the past few months, who have helped me tremendously.
 You all know who you are and I've thanked you personally already.
But just to say again: all of the help, encouragement, constructive criticism and good wishes have been most appreciated.
If you do enjoy my books and eBooks, reviews at would be great! :<)
And do share this post with your blog, Facebook, Twitter readers, family and friends too.
Thanks so much!
Happy Reading and Cooking!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Colora Henna Powder

I've been experimenting with more natural alternatives to hair coloring for the last couple of years. I refuse to use the chemically-laden "nightmare" mainstream hair coloring products that I did years ago, now that I've become more knowledgeable about the many health concerns re: their long-term use.
I used henna many years ago when my hair was still all an even light-brown color and only for conditioning purposes at that time. That type of henna is colorless and leaves no color on the hair, it only conditions. But now I need something to even out my "patchwork" color of hair: brown, white, grey- so I decided to revisit henna, this time using one that would add color.
I had read a lot of pros and cons about henna use.
Yes, it can be messy but so are regular mainstream hair color products, especially if you apply them yourself at home.
I also read that henna doesn't cover grey or white hair very well but I found a solution to that problem too. By mixing the henna powder with regular coffee instead of water, and allowing it to stand for 24 hours before use, I've been able to use it on my own mix of  hair colors with good results and not too much reddish tinge either, another complaint of some users.
Colora Henna Powder is a natural organic hair color that does not contain any added chemicals or questionable ingredients. Some henna products out there do, so it pays to read the ingredient and information about any henna product you might decide to try, carefully. 
The only ingredients that Colora Henna Powder contains are: henna, and may also contain indigo, centaurea, rhubarb and beetroot- depending on the shade you chose.
Here's a close-up pic of the top of my head, without any hair coloring on it
 and before using Colora Henna Powder:
and here's an after picture:

One of the many things I like about using Colora Henna Powder is that it leaves highlights in your hair, not just one flat color, like some other hair color products do.
My hair in the front has always been quite a bit lighter, than the back of my head and the henna picks up the different shades, making for more natural finished results.
In the picture, I've used Colora Henna Powder in Ash Brown (mixed with coffee) but I've also used the Brown previously, with good results.
I leave it on my hair for 2 hours, covered with a plastic bag,  before shampooing it out.
This product comes in 14 different shades including various blonde, red and brown shades and black.
Colora Henna Powder is very reasonably priced at less than $10. for a 2 oz. package.
I have thick, medium-length hair and I get two applications from one box.
 I noted at Amazon that it's on sale for only $4.99 right now so a great time to give it a try.
And what a relief it's been not to have to worry about getting any hair coloring product in my eyes or on my skin or scalp. Mainstream hair coloring products can be very dangerous in this respect and something that always made me cringe when I used them years ago.
Here's an interesting article from the Truth in Aging site about henna. As they also explain, it's important to read what's in a henna product as they aren't all the same.
And the henna pastes that some people apply to their skin (as a tattoo effect) can contain harmful ingredients too. Not that I have any interest in tattoos, the henna type of otherwise!
If you've been looking for an alternative to mainstream hair coloring products, you might want to give Colora Henna Powder a try. I'm glad I did!
Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Face Yoga DVD

After sharing my thoughts on the Prime of Life Yoga series a few days ago (click to read review) I thought it would be a great time to tell you about another exercise program I recently found out about:
This is another winner! :<)
The Happy Face Yoga DVD is a facial-exercise training program that really works.
I must admit, for a long time I was (very) skeptical about any facial toning/strengthening exercises. My mom often talked about trying facial exercises years ago and I would laugh and tell her not to waste her time (sorry mom!!!) But I've changed my mind and in a big way since I tried:

 Happy Face Yoga.
I've been doing the exercises on a 6 day a week basis, for less than 3 months.
 Already, I think there's been quite a significant change in my facial tone.
You be the judge:
Here's a photo from a couple of years ago:
and one taken a couple of days ago:

-My chin line is firmer already.
-My cheekbones are more defined, giving my "jowls" quite a nice lift too.
-Forehead lines above my nose are less noticeable.
I've also been getting a lot of compliments recently about how good I'm looking and that's always nice. ;< )
And as I've said already, this is after less than 3 months of doing these exercises!
The DVD includes complete instructions for 18 exercises.
 No, you don't need to do them all to see results but you do need to do them on a regular basis (daily if at all possible).
  I worked through all of the exercises to begin with to try them out and then picked out ones specifically for my own "problem areas".
Now, I do these 8 exercises from the DVD:
-The Lion
-Happy Face Lifter
-Forehead Smoother
-Furrow Remover
-Neck Smoother
-The Joker
-Lower Face Firmer
-Lower Face Lifter
and it takes about 30 minutes to complete them. A small investment of time for something that's this worthwhile. They're kind of fun too.
The DVD comes with suggestions how to get the most out of the program along with nutritional and lifestyle tips to improve your overall health.
When I look at some of the horror stories about plastic surgery online, I'm amazed that more people (including those celebs with oodles of $$) don't give facial exercises a try first, before taking such drastic steps. The changes with: Happy Face Yoga are gradual but significant in only a short period of time, with none of the dangers or expense of surgery. And IMO, a lot of those celebs look worse after they've gone under the knife, not better. How can that be a good thing?
Gary does a great job of demonstrating and explaining each exercise, along with a couple of his students. I would suggest though, if you try this DVD to focus mainly on Gary. At times one of the woman on the DVD (sitting behind Gary, on the left of the screen) is not in synch with what he is doing and that's rather distracting. But this is a small complaint about this DVD and one that can be easily ignored.
Gary recently moved to Chicago and teaches classes in the area. He is knowledgeable and passionate about his work and provides a wealth of information at his website, including a video clip explaining more about the program and why it's different and more beneficial than a lot of other facial exercise programs that are available.
If you're tired of looking at sagging jowls, lines on your forehead, maybe the start of a double chin... Or if you just want to keep your face looking toned and prevent/slow-down the pull of gravity on your face (and it happens to everyone eventually!) give Happy Face Yoga a try.
You'll be glad you did!   
Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5


Monday, August 5, 2013

Larry Payne's Prime of Life Yoga DVD series

As any of my regular blog readers already know, I love yoga!
I've been practising hatha yoga (the physical branch) on and off for over 20 years. Yoga has helped me in so many ways and continues to do so.
In addition to the significant physical benefits of a regular yoga practise including: increased flexibility, better breathing, improved balance and overall fitness; yoga also makes me feel calmer, more focused and even more creative. Big benefits and for such a small commitment of time.
I took yoga classes for many years and practised on my own at home, doing the same routines. But sometimes it's nice to have a DVD to follow along with and recently I found out about a wonderful yoga series:
Prime of Life Yoga was developed with people over 40 to 70ish in mind. As Larry Payne says, this is a large group of the population that is under served in so many ways, including when it comes to fitness.
But IMO, this series is for everyone at any age, who want to explore all the long-term benefits of a regular yoga practise. So many people still think that yoga is only for the young and flexible and not something to even consider starting to do, later in life. NOT true!
Yoga is a great way to improve your overall fitness and sense of well-being at any age. Yes, if you've never practised yoga before, if you have physical need to be careful, especially when you begin. Check with a trusted health care professional if you have any concerns. 
And don't expect headstands that first week. ;<)
On the plus side it is amazing what can be accomplished, if you stick with it.
After a long hiatus, I got back to yoga practise a few months ago and to begin with, it was hard to do even simple poses. I felt stiff, had some aches and pains...I was discouraged how much "ground" I had lost when it came to my overall flexibility.
But after a few weeks of perseverance, I not only got back to where I was previously with my yoga practise, I started to progress too. And a big part of that continued improvement is thanks to Larry Payne's excellent yoga DVD series.
I use the Immune Booster Level One DVD on an almost daily basis and it is so enjoyable and rewarding.
  • Larry does a great job explaining each yoga pose thoroughly and in an easy to understand way.
  • The pace is slow and relaxed throughout.
  • The woman who demonstrates the poses in the DVD has a lovely, peaceful countenance and moves through the poses with grace and expertise.
  •  Background music is soothing and calming and believe me, this is an important consideration when choosing a yoga DVD. Some of them leave a lot to be desired in this respect.
  • Larry narrates the DVD and again, gentle and soothing, when it comes to his voice and how he speaks.
The Immune Booster Level Two DVD is more advanced. I've used it a couple of times already and found it a bit challenging right now. But  I am working towards using this one on a regular basis too.
Yoga is not about being competitive. As Larry so wisely says: "challenge yourself, don't strain yourself". 
 But I do like to feel like I'm progressing when it comes to all my fitness pursuits and to be able to follow the Level Two DVD is one of my goals.
If you've never practised yoga before or perhaps like me, have been on a hiatus from it for a long time, I recommend starting with The Classic Beginner's Program from the Prime of Life series.
This is a gentle and easy way to ease into yoga practise and again, each pose is explained in a clear and concise way.
Dr. Larry Payne is a renowned yoga expert and has been an inspiration to thousands of people wanting to improve their overall fitness and well-being with yoga, for many years. You can read more about Larry's work, including classes, DVD's and watch several excellent informational videos at his website: Samata.Yoga. 
Yoga means union.
If you've been feeling a lack of harmony and well-being in your life, you might want to give yoga a try. The overall benefits might astound you.
Yoga really is like nothing else. It's had a profound and positive long-term impact in my life.
Overall rating for these products: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mary's Organic Crackers

I've been transitioning to a lot more gluten-free products over the past few months. Although I am not gluten-intolerant, I do feel better when I don't eat as much wheat and other foods that contain gluten. I've also effortlessly dropped 5 pounds, nice bonus! ;<)
I've always been a big fan of crackers; unfortunately many of these products do contain wheat. And a lot of the new gluten-free products of this type leave much to be desired.
When I tried Mary's Organic Crackers, I knew I had found a winner!
I LOVE these crackers.
They have a nice crunchy texture, a nutty, pleasant taste and are good on their own or topped with peanut butter, hummus (my fav topper choice), jam or cheese.
Here's some more good news about these crackers from the Mary's Gone Crackers website:
We have combined organic, gluten free, whole grain brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds into an organic gluten-free cracker with a rich, nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch. Delicious on their own or with your favorite topping Mary’s Original Seed Crackers are a staple in
households all over the US!
  • Organic
  • non-GMO
  • Vegan
  • Dairy Free
  • Wheat Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Whole Grain
  • Kosher
  • No hydrogenated oils
  • No trans-fats
  • Made With Love
Contains 450 mg. of omega-3 fatty acids per 1oz serving.
Manufactured in our own dedicated gluten free, dairy free, nut free facility. Made in the USA
That's my kind of list!
Mary's Organic Crackers also come in: Onion, Caraway, Black Pepper and Herb flavors. I've only tried the Original so far but I'm looking forward to giving these others a try soon.
Mary's Gone Crackers (how's that for a catchy company name!) produce a variety of other products including gluten-free cookies and pretzels. Check out their complete product line, company history and product standards information at their attractive website.
My only suggestion to the company would be to find a better way to package this product to avoid breakage. It happens with most crackers and these were no exception. Several "casualties" at the bottom of the box that were broken. But I did use them crushed up for a crumb topping on a casserole recently, so at least not wasted!
Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5.
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