1/16/18

Seven Precautions when Planning a Road Trip with Kids


If you are planning on getting your kids in the car and taking a cross-country trip, you will need to think ahead and make sure everyone is safe and ready for the challenge. It is hard enough to get your kids ready on time and make them pack everything they need for the big trip, but you need to have the safety mindset. Driving while the children are arguing at the back can be stressful, therefore, you need to stay calm and start off well prepared. Below you will find a few tips on keeping your family safe on the road when going on road trips.


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Get Enough Snacks.  When children have to travel for hours and stay put in the back of the car, they will get bored, and try to find an excuse to get out and run around. You can prevent them from nagging you to stop for food every few miles if you give them enough snacks that will last the trip. Try to get some carrot sticks and apples in a cooling bag instead of buying cookies and big bags of sweets that will take their appetite away.

Plan Your Route and Stops.  You need to make sure you know your route and everything is planned. Try to stop every few hours for a toilet break. If you are traveling with a baby, you might need to stop more often to feed them and change their diapers. Find country parks and small attractions with a toilet and recreational area where your kids can stretch their legs and roam freely while you check the road ahead and get some light bites.

Provide Entertainment.  If you have a built in DVD player in your car, apack some of your kids’ favorites. If not, it might be time to get a tablet holder attached to the back of the seat, so your kids can play and watch movies while you focus on the road. Keeping your kids busy can help you make the most out of your journey, and you will find that time goes faster. You will not have to keep on talking to the children, so you can focus on the traffic.


Image by Tyndall Air Force Base - AF.mil

Adjust Car Seats and Head Restraints. Before you set off, you should check the condition of the child seats and adjust the head restraints. In case of an accident, the head restraint that is adjusted properly can prevent some serious injuries. You will also have to check the seat belts every time the kids get back in the car. In case you are involved in an accident, you will need to prove that you made the necessary precautions to keep your kids safe, and if you need to get legal help with personal injury, this is the first thing your lawyer will ask about.

Travel Sickness Tablets.  Most young children develop travel sickness at one point, and this can be extremely stressful for you and them as well. Don’t let them eat much before you set off, and give them a travel sickness tablet just in case. Have bags and wet wipes ready just in case. You might be the smoothest driver when your kids are at the back, you have little or no control over traffic conditions.

Stay In Charge.  Don’t let your kids dictate when you stop and where you have lunch. You need to stay in control, unless there is an emergency. Explain them the route and how long they will need to stay in the car for, and keep updating them on your progress. Don’t wait until they start asking “are we there yet?”.

Have an Emergency Kit in the Car.  You will be surprised what kids can be up to at the back of the car when they know that you are focused on driving. Always keep an emergency kit in the car. They might run and fall when you stop at a park, or suffer insect bites that need immediate attention. If you need to brake suddenly, they might also suffer minor injuries that you have to treat on the spot.

Traveling with kids can be challenging even for the most experienced driver. Make sure you have everything covered, and get them to understand safety rules. Keep them entertained and informed, stop regularly, and stay in charge. Check up your car’s safety equipment and child seats before you set off on a road trip, and you will enjoy taking your family out on day trips.


Asleep From Day Book Blitz & Excerpt


This morning, we are featuring a contemporary, adult fiction novel from author, Margarita Montimore.  Check out Asleep from Day, read an excerpt from the novel & learn about the author!

Contemporary/General Fiction
Date Published: January 10th, 2018

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Astrid can’t remember the best day of her life: yesterday.

A traumatic car accident erases Astrid’s memories of September 9th, the day she spent with an oddly charming stranger named Theo. Ever since, she’s been haunted by surreal dreams and an urgent sense that she’s forgotten something important. One night, she gets a mysterious call from Oliver, who knows more about her than he should and claims he can help her remember. She accepts his help, even as she questions his motives and fights a strange attraction to him.

In order to find Theo and piece together that lost day in September, Astrid must navigate a maze of eccentric Boston nightlife, from the seedy corners of Chinatown to a drug-fueled Alice-in-Wonderland-themed party to a club where everyone dresses like the dead. In between headaches and nightmares, she struggles to differentiate between memory, fantasy, and reality, and starts to wonder if Theo really exists. Eventually, she’ll need to choose between continuing her search for him or following her growing feelings for Oliver. Astrid might go to extreme lengths to find what she’s lost . . . or might lose even more in her pursuit to remember (like her sanity).


 “A compelling and original take on the classic amnesia tale . . . The narrative bursts with detailed, vivid characters . . . The dialogue is expertly crafted.” – The BookLife Prize

“Simply riveting from start to finish... a captivating, literary piece that winds a path somewhere between mystery, romance, and psychological thriller.” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


Excerpt from Asleep from Day

What’s the last thing you remember?

A rumble, a static rush, the world on a dimmer switch.

Outside, everything was gray.

But inside, a galaxy of color and light. Fireflies behind my eyes, neon in my bones. A nerve net of bioluminescence.

Radiant with hope. Glorious.

Do you know where you are?

In the heart of a storm. Give me lightning. Give me the flood. I’ve bled the sky of pigment, devoured its clouds. They remain like honey on my tongue, crystalized with promise. Nothing was ever sweeter.

What happened?

Something incredible.

Something terrible.

No more color. Fade to grey.

I’ve been robbed of this elation.

Stay with me.
---

I have the weirdest taste in my mouth. Metallic, like I’ve been sucking on pennies, and spicy—no, not spicy. Stinging. Blood. What the—? I move my tongue and feel tiny pebbles. They’re sharp, cutting my gums and the insides of my cheeks. Not pebbles. Teeth? No. Glass.

I turn to spit out pieces of broken glass, but there’s something around my neck and I can’t move it. Okay, don’t panic. I push the glass out of my mouth with the tip of my tongue and pieces roll down my chin on a trail of saliva and blood. Now let’s turn on a light in here.

I open my eyes. Huh.

What is this place? There are shelves of equipment, strange monitors, dials, wires. Some kind of . . . storage room? The image blurs and wobbles. If my head is a handheld camera, whoever’s operating it has a serious case of the shakes. I can’t get a steady picture and I have no idea what this place is.

Have I been kidnapped?

That thought should trigger some modicum of fear. But it’s like I’m trapped in a block of ice and fear is on the other side of it. I can barely muster any curiosity to figure out where I am. The rest of it—how I got here, if I’m safe, hurt, etc.—will have to wait.

So let’s see. The room is tiny, and moving, and noisy. There are beeps, the hiss and tinny chatter of a walkie-talkie, the looped bellow of a siren.

Seriously, where am I?

Nowhere good, a black whisper warns, and a fog in my mind parts, clearing a path for fear, the belated guest.

The image finally snaps into focus and it registers: an ambulance.

Why the fuck am I in an ambulance?

I sit up with a—nope, I can only lift my head maybe an inch.

Why aren’t you panicking more?

Because it’s getting foggy inside my head again and blurry outside of it. I could really use a nap. It’s so chilly in here. And bright. Might as well close my eyes and deal with this in the morning. Ah, the dark is much better.

Hang on. Let’s get some questions answered first, maybe make sure I’m not missing any limbs. I try to sit up again and a hand on my shoulder prevents me from rising any further. No, it’s not just the hand. I’m strapped in.

“Nice to see you coming around, but don’t try to sit up. My name is Leo and I’m a paramedic. Do you know today’s date?”

I squint but can’t make out the face above me.

“September ninth, 1999,” I mumble.

“It’s actually September tenth,” he corrects me. Close enough.

“What happened? Am I hurt?” Of course you’re hurt, genius. I doubt you’re tied to a gurney, with a mouthful of glass, just joyriding in an ambulance.

“It’s going to be okay, Astrid, we’re almost at the hospital.”

How does this guy know my name? Why am I going to the hospital? Because that’s usually the drop-off destination of ambulances. Try to keep up here. What happened to me?

My head is so damn heavy. Back down it goes, more blood, more spit trickling out of the corners of my mouth. I form words but can’t speak them. I manage a garbled whisper, but it’s drowned out by sirens, rattling noises, and the tapping of heavy rain on the ambulance roof.

I need to take stock. I’m mostly immobile, but am I paralyzed? I try to wiggle the toes. Okay, those work fine. Fingers? The ones on the left hand move then seize up in pain. Blinded? Obviously not, but my vision is still fuzzy at the edges. Obviously, I can’t move my head much, but I shouldn’t anyway, in case I have a concussion. Or worse. Go away, black whisper, I don’t need you scaring the shit out of me right now.

Back to my self-assessment. Do I feel pain anywhere else in my body? Now that I mention it, hell yes. Where? Everywhere, especially my left side.

Why can’t I remember how this happened? I keep asking the paramedic, but he won’t tell me. Why won’t he answer me?

Oh yeah, because he can’t actually hear me. Because my lips are barely moving and no sound is coming out.

It’s an effort to form any more words or keep my eyes open. Is there a cold, heavy blanket over me? Uh-oh, those blurry edges are going dark. It’s like someone pushed me into a deep well and I’m falling in slow motion.

“Try to stay awake, Astrid.”

Fingers snap in front of my face.

Cut it out, ambulance man. You’re messing up my nap. It’s so much nicer with my eyes closed. All you do is boss me around with “Don’t sit up” this and “Stay awake” that. The darkness is quiet and doesn’t make annoying demands.

“Astrid. Astrid!”

His voice is like a megaphone in my ear. Where is your mute button, ambulance man?

I think I found it. It’s here, further down in the dark.

I hear two voices, growing fainter as they speak.

“She’s out again, but vitals are stable.”

I’m not out, yet, ambulance man. Give a girl a break, would ya? It’s not my fault I have anvils on my eyelids. Besides, the light in here is too bright. And you are too loud. But I can still hear you fine . . . Mostly . . . Kind of . . .

“You’d think people would know not to drive like assholes in this kind of rain.”

“What is this, third one today?”

“Fourth. You hear about the wreck by the BQE? Five cars and a motorcycle. Two fatalities.”

“This one got lucky.”

“So to speak.”

“So to speak.”

“Want to get breakfast after this?”

“It’s lunchtime.”

“So? I want breakfast. Couldn’t you go for some French toast or pancakes?”

“Maybe eggs. Some strong coffee, bacon . . .”

“Extra bacon.”

How about taking my order, ambulance man? I’ll have—

Darkness.






About the Author

Margarita Montimore received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. She has blogged for Marvel, Google, Quirk Books, and XOJane.com. When not writing, she freelances as a book coach and editor. She grew up in Brooklyn but currently lives in a different part of the Northeast with her husband and dog.

Connect with the Author

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RABT Book Tours & PR

The Black Parade Series Spotlight & Book Giveaway


This morning, we have an urban fantasy / paranormal romance series in our book spotlight!  Check out the books of The Black Parade Series, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of Back to Black, the 3rd book in the series.

The Black Parade
The Black Parade Book 1
by Kyoko M
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
347 pages

Jordan Amador. 21. New Yorker. Waitress. Mild alcoholic. Murderer.


Two years ago, Jordan accidentally shot and killed a Seer: a person who can see, hear, and talk to ghosts with unfinished business. Her crime came with a hefty price, too. She has two years to help a hundred souls cross over to the afterlife or her soul is bound for hell. Tough break. 

As if that weren’t bad enough, two days before her deadline a handsome pain-in-the-ass poltergeist named Michael strolls into her life. His soul is the key to her salvation, but the cost just might be more than she can handle. Solving his death puts her right in the crosshairs of Belial: a vain, bloodthirsty archdemon who won’t rest until she’s his slave. Can she rescue Michael and save her own soul, or will they both be dragged down into the clutches of the eternal black parade?

Ranked #5 in Amazon's Top 100 Bestselling Novels in the Occult Horror category and #9 in the Paranormal Demons and Devils category on June 19, 2014.


**FREE at all retailers!**



The Deadly Seven
Stories From the Black Parade Series
227 pages

Michael O'Brien. 24. New Yorker. Musician. Archangel in charge of Heaven's army.


It's been centuries since Michael stayed on Earth for an extended amount of time. Now he's here because of Jordan Amador--a Seer who helped him restore his life and memories and thwart the archdemon Belial from taking over the city. With Jordan on Belial's hit list, Michael decides to stick around and live out life alongside her as her friend and temporary bodyguard. But as the days pass, he finds it harder to resist the seven deadly sins that tempt all men. Especially as he and Jordan grow closer fighting the demons that want her almost as much as he does...

This collection takes place in the two month period in The Black Parade between Chapters 15 and 16. She Who Fights Monsters is the second novel in the series sequence.

Ranked at #3 in Amazon's Top 100 Bestselling Free Books in the Paranormal Romance Angels category and #9 in the Top 100 Free Books in the Multicultural & Interracial on June 21, 2014.




She Who Fights Monsters
The Black Parade Book 2
386 pages

The dynamic supernatural duo of Seer Jordan Amador and her husband the archangel Michael is back in the sequel to the bestselling urban fantasy novel, The Black Parade, trying to solve a deadly case. Someone is methodically hunting down and murdering Seers one by one. After six months with no leads on the killer, Jordan and Michael are forced to work with their worst enemy—the archdemon Belial: a self-professed Prince of Hell who is dead set on stealing Jordan for himself. However, with the archdemon’s help, they pick up on the trail of the serial killer and plan to stop him no matter what the cost. 


When the shocking truth behind the murderer’s identity is revealed, Jordan begins asking herself if she is still fighting for the good guys or has she become one of the monsters she is desperately trying to stop?

She Who Fights Monsters is the second novel and third book in the Black Parade series. It follows The Black Parade and The Deadly Seven: Stories from The Black Parade.




Back To Black
The Black Parade Book 3
153 pages

Seer and demon slayer Jordan Amador has had it rough lately: separated from her husband the archangel Michael, hated by the angels who think she betrayed them, hunted by demons who want her dead or enslaved, and rejected by her friends and family for lying to them. Disgraced and miserable, she’s all but ready to lay down and die until another Seer named Myra Bennett saves her life. Myra gives Jordan a new mission: to wipe out a nest of demons that are terrorizing her family as well as the innocent people of Houston, Texas. Jordan goes undercover to infiltrate the demons’ nest and figure out how to eliminate them. Meanwhile, she’s locked in a deadly game with the archdemon Belial, who constantly visits her night after night in her dreams to convince her to give him her soul. Between the insanely gorgeous, but dangerous archdemon poking around in her head and the vicious creatures surrounding her, she’s not sure how much longer she can survive.


Back to Black takes place between She Who Fights Monsters and The Holy Dark in the Black Parade series.




The Holy Dark
The Black Parade Book 4
463 pages

Sarcastic demon-slayer extraordinaire Jordan Amador has been locked in a year-long struggle to hunt down the thirty silver coins paid to Judas Iscariot. The mere touch of these coins is enough to kill any angel.


Jordan's demonic opposition grows more desperate with each coin found, so they call on the ultimate reinforcement: Moloch, the Archdemon of War. Moloch puts out a contract on Jordan as well as her estranged husband, the Archangel Michael. Now Jordan and Michael will have to find a way to work together to survive against impossible odds and stop Moloch's plan, or else he’ll wage a war that will wipe out the human race.

The Holy Dark is the third novel and fourth book in the Black Parade series, following The Black Parade, The Deadly Seven: Stories from The Black Parade series, and She Who Fights Monsters.




Kyoko M is a USA Today bestselling author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm Georgia night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!




The Mer Chronicles Series Spotlight & Swag Pack Giveaway


This morning, I am featuring the Mer Chronicles in our book spotlight.  Check out this paranormal romance series, learn about the author and enter for a chance to win a themed swag pack in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Updrift
The Mer Chronicles Book 1
by Errin M. Stevens
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Since her father died, Kate Sweeting’s home life has been in the pits, her well-being on life support. Her future looks desolate until she and her mother, Cara, make another plan: abandon their shriveled existence for more promising prospects on the coast, where Cara can play small-town librarian-bachelorette and Kate can figure out what’s up with that secretive Blake family from the beach.
Everyone is eerily captivated with Kate and her mother, and Cara is the first to figure out why when the man of her dreams arrives all dripping and devoted and closed-mouthed about what he intends. Kate is willing to go along with their subterfuge for a while, but eventually makes a charge for the water to learn what her mother is hiding. Gabe Blake is there waiting for her…and so is someone considerably less friendly. By the time Kate navigates her way home, everything will have changed for her—what she feels, what she wants, and what she’ll risk to be with the man she loves.





Breakwater
The Mer Chronicles Book 2

The sirens of Griffins Bay are in trouble, and the recent slew of royal suicides looks to be the least of their worries.

For one, unless a blood relative of the queen shows up, no one's around to staff the monarchy. Well, except for a whack-job bureaucrat and he seriously won't do. Worse is the community unrest threatening siren society, a problem caused by too many humans in the pool, which means Simon and his off-limit girlfriend will have to run and hide if they want to make more of their flirtation... 


The solution doesn't inspire confidence at first, but the Blakes have everything at hand to set their world to rights - namely, a hidden queen, a dead prince, and a facility for human manipulation. Once they find their sea legs, they'll restore order, distribute smart phones, and drive that conniving bureaucrat to a grisly, satisfying end.




Errin Stevens writes paranormal fiction and reads practically everything she can get her hands on. She's currently working through the Time 100 with all her rabid reader buddies at Carpe Librum, and will think about posting reviews if she can get to it... Her first novel, Updrift, debuted Nov. 2015; and the sequel, Breakwater, released Nov. 2016.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





1/15/18

Smart Ideas For Traveling In Large Groups


Traveling with friends and/or family can be a wonderfully fun experience. Not only do you get to see the world and spend quality time with all of your favorite people, but you can also save a considerable amount of money on flights and accommodation.

However, as anyone that has ever traveled as part of a large group will attest, it can also be an incredibly stressful experience. To ensure your group vacation or breakaway goes as smoothly as possible, here are some awesome planning tips and smart ideas on how to make the best of your trip. Let’s get started with some of the basics.


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Start planning yesterday.  Group travel requires a buy-in from everyone at a very early stage. And yes, that does include money!  Once you have sent out invitations, it’s vital that you get a financial commitment as early as possible, or ultimately, there is more than a chance that a few people will drop out and leave you and the other travelers left paying extra.

When people have fronted a decent sized deposit, the reality is that they will be much more likely to commit - it’s that simple.

You will also find that booking the trip will give you access to all the early bird deals that vacation companies offer, so you should save a considerable amount of money, too.

Be mindful of the power of groups. When you are traveling away in a large group, it’s important to remember how you might be perceived by other people. As www.huffingtonpost.com discuss, big groups of people can be intimidating, and if you are, say, in a hotel setting, there’s a good chance you might make others feel uncomfortable.

To avoid any complaints or confrontations, try to establish some rules amongst your companions - such as keeping the noise down in the evenings. Better still, look into finding somewhere that you don’t have to worry about anyone else - renting a large house, for example.

Hiring a boat is another option. As www.boat.me points out, boats can be perfect places for everything from group and large family travel to hosting raucous parties - and you won’t disturb a soul. It’s very easy for people to get carried away when they are in a group, so keeping yourselves in a suitable environment will ensure that you avoid any type of trouble!

Understand democracy. The reality of traveling in a large group of family and friends is that not everyone will want to do the same thing every day. The simple solution is to hold votes on the ‘must-do’ activities you intend to try - and preferably long before you travel.

Don’t plan your itinerary to keep yourself busy all through the vacation, either. It’s important to give people the space to do what they want and have the occasional break away from the group if they need it.

You’ll find that it puts less strain on everyone’s relationships, and makes proceedings far more convivial.

Keep it simple.  Finally, try to avoid overcomplicating your trip away by taking on complicated or difficult activities.

The reality is that getting everyone out at the same time is a difficult enough task in itself, and the last thing you want is the extra stress of people management in a tight time frame!

Out of Character Book Spotlight & $15 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


This morning, we are featuring an inspirational, contemporary romance in our book spotlight!  Check out Out of Character by Molly Zenk, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Out of Character
by Molly Zenk
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Inspirational
238 pages

After the loss of her brother, actress Harmony Jones struggles with daily life. Landing the lead role on the hit faith based living history show, 1700s Life, might be the perfect way to reconnect with her faith and be her big acting break. 


Tired of hiding his strong faith and convictions to get secular roles, David Hawkins jumps at the chance to play the curate on 1700s Life. It's the perfect vehicle to spread God’s word.

Elliot Banes’ career needs an image makeover, so he accepts the naval hero role on 1700s Life. Getting away from his overbearing mother is an added bonus. His true hope is to learn to speak his mind instead of always fading into the background.

When a scripted love triangle between Harmony, David, and Elliot becomes a real life love triangle, Harmony must make a difficult decision. . She hoped to find her wavering faith, she didn't count on finding love as well. If that was her only obstacle, the role would be a breeze. Unfortunately, there’s an on-set spy intent on causing drama. Can Harmony see through all the lies and secrets to the truth in her heart, or will she end up falling for the wrong man? 

Goodreads * Amazon

MOLLY ZENK was born in Minnesota, grew up in Florida, lived briefly in Tennessee before finally settling in Colorado. She graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL with degrees in Secondary Education, English, and Creative Writing. She is married to a Mathmatician/Software Engineer who complains about there not being enough "math" or info about him in her author bio. They live in Arvada, CO with their young daughters, 1 dog, and 1 cat.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!




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