Ultimate Guide to More Joy and Less Stress

In case you haven’t heard, the folks at Ultimate Bundles have just released the Ultimate Guide to More Joy and Less Stress, a self-improvement workbook with 15 video lessons. Each lesson is designed to be completed in less than 15 minutes. These are are simple but effective strategies you can implement immediately to find more joy and reduce your stress. It’s only available from October 5 until October 9, so don’t wait!

Ultimate Positive Mindset Guide 2020

Finding Happiness After COVID-19 by Pam and Peter Keevil

Self-quarantining has taken a lot out of me, as I’ve sure it’s done to you. The ups and downs of new cases, anti-maskers, death rates, and vaccine prognosis keep me from finding any sort of equilibrium on a daily basis. When I saw Finding Happiness After COVID-19 by Pam and Peter Keevil, I decided that it might be just what I needed. And, in the end, it certainly was. 

Many of the concepts in the book were familiar ones. I have been working through some CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) courses, after all, this year. However, it really helped to see how these actions and thoughts can be applied to the current pandemic situation, and more particularly, my own life right now. 

Happiness builds on itself. It is reflected in all aspects of our lives. And yet, sometimes, like right now, it’s hard to find even a glimmer of a silver lining in the situation. This book was exactly what I needed to refocus on reframing what I have now as being enough instead of focusing on what I can’t have just now. 

Since happiness is subjective, I can’t say which sections will resonate with you personally. However, I can say that you’ll have plenty of useful information with which to rethink your life as you work towards finding happiness after COVID-19. The concepts are clear. The examples are helpful. The self-assessment questions are enlightening.

I recommend Finding Happiness After COVID-19 by Pam and Peter Keevil to everyone struggling with the current global pandemic situation. Really, what have you got to lose?

Survival Tips, Tricks and Traps by Wanda Priday and William Priday

I’ve read dozens of prepper books over the years and found most to belong to the tin foil hat club. That is to say, the authors expect you to subscribe to their conspiracy theories which they go to great lengths to explain before they knuckle down and get to the practical stuff. I was delighted to find that Survival Tips, Tricks and Traps by Wanda Priday and William Priday was not that sort of book. 

Instead, it was chocked full of useful tidbits that you can apply to emergency situations, whatever that may be. In fact, the book is so practical that the last few pages are “firestarter” pages making it the perfect book to tote around on your hunting or camping expeditions, as well as keeping a second copy in your bug-out-bag.  

There are nine chapters that cover fire, water, tools, weapons, navigation and traps. Each chapter gives sensible tips to help you best survive whatever the situation you find yourself in, from a sudden WROL (without rule of law) scenario to a plane crash. 

I totally agree with the thought the authors present that your skills are what will keep you alive in any SHTF situation, not the stockpile of shiny prepper items you have stockpiled in your bunker. To that end, this book isn’t an all inclusive survival book, but tips meant to increase the chances of your survival. It includes some checklists, a few tool suggestions, ways to practice your prepper skills in everyday life, and reams of good advice.

As I mentioned, I’ve read a plethora of prepper books, and am passionate about the practical value of the plant life that surrounds me. However, there were some things mentioned in this book that were completely new to me including the phenomenon of spalting rocks, the versatility of potassium permanganate, and the nutritional value of earthworms among others.

My favorite chapter, if I had to pick one, focused on tools. Did you know you could open a can without a knife or can opener? Or that your walking stick should be taller than you for safety reasons? How about the many uses of inner tubes, towels, condoms, tampons and cigarettes in a survival situation? 

The final chapter on traps is extensive. It details several types of animal traps specific to the type of animal you are hunting and the materials you have on hand, complete with illustrations. I may never need to use that information, but should I find myself in a situation where I do, I’ll certainly be glad I picked up a copy of Survival Tips, Tricks and Traps by Wanda Priday and William Priday.

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

Your Next Chapter: Re-Writing Your Life Success Story by Evelyn Watkins

Click on the cover for a preview.

If the summer of 2020 were a book, I’d be tempted to skip ahead. Not much is happening in my life. I haven’t been able to go out and have adventures. Civil unrest, pandemics, looming financial collapse are not pleasant bedtime reading.  

After reading Your Next Chapter: Re-Writing Your Life Success Story by Evelyn Watkins, I realized that I was doing myself a disservice by trying to speed things along. The story will progress at its own pace, and I am responsible for writing the next chapter of my life. There is no time like the present to begin. 

The author urges readers to create a life mission statement. Then to design a life that is true to that statement. It requires careful planning, a vision board, some sacrifices, perhaps some pruning and a whole lot of patience. The alternative is to accept the life you’ve always lived, which is poor consolation when it could be so much more. 

The book contains small but meaningful actions you can take during this planning period in order to create the life you want to live moving forward. This movement for change calls for you to rethink how you perceive failures, deciding what your core values are, and finding a supportive network. 

What are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to rewrite your next chapter!

The Green Reaper: Memoirs of an Eco-mortician by Elizabeth Fournier

Click on the cover for a preview.

After Elizabeth’s mother died, she became a little obsessed with death. Her Barbies had elaborate funeral processions, and she became the go to girl when a beloved pet needed a proper send-off. Teenage Elizabeth could often be found relaxing in the cemetery or funeral crashing. 

She was in seventh-heaven when she landed a gig as a graveyard caretaker in college. She moved up to the big leagues as an assistant director at a funeral home chain and bought her first hearse she christened Lucrezia. Dealing with the recently departed and their loved ones wasn’t the place she expected to find love, but there it was, in the form of the cremator who worked in the basement.  

The two madcap undertakers took a leap of faith when Elizabeth opened her own eco-friendly funeral home in what was formerly a goat barn in the middle of someplace or other. You’ll adore Elizabeth’s look back at how she developed her green funeral options, despaired at the leaky roof, and gave birth to a fairy child who could talk to the dead, named after the Catholic Patron Saint of Widows and Widowers.

The concept of death has become so sterilized over time that we’ve forgotten how to approach death with respect and awe. We’ve also lost our sense of self, as part of the larger whole. After all, “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19 KJV) The author candidly shares the struggles she overcame to bring to life her vision of a proper service and burial unique to each grieving family. You’ll laugh, roll your eyes, and shed a few tears as you read this amazing memoir, The Green Reaper: Memoirs of an Eco-mortician.

Elizabeth Fournier is also the author of The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial.

Click on the cover for a preview.

Significance: How to Refocus your Life on what Matters Most by Paul Hannam

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I don’t know about you, but COVID-19 has changed how I am spending my time this year. I wake up some days with determined productivity in mind, only to barely manage the essentials that day. Other days, it just seems pointless to try and get anything done. So when I picked up Significance: How to Refocus your Life on what Matters Most by Paul Hannam I was delighted to find how relevant the information in the book was to our current global situation. 

The author extorts the reader to take this time to reflect on where we are and where we want to be in our personal development and life fulfillment. When restrictions ease and we go back about our business again, it should be with renewed purpose, not despair that we’ve returned to the same old rut. 

Finding significance to our lives doesn’t have to be complicated. We already intuitively know what it is that makes us happy. However, we’ve been conditioned to put that aside, and instead, take up the yoke of employment, marriage, and responsibility. What if we could break free from what no longer serves us? Imagine what we could accomplish!

Because our mortality has been thrust before us like no other time in our lives, it really is the time to reconsider what it means to be fully, wonderfully alive. Significance: How to Refocus your Life on what Matters Most by Paul Hannam can help you do just that.

Success Redefined: Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss by Monique Alvarez

Click on the cover for a preview.

Although the borders remain closed, and nomadism is at a standstill, there is still the opportunity to change how you’ve been doing things up until now. Success Redefined: Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss by Monique Alvarez can help you do that!

The focus of this book is how to create an unlimited version of yourself by setting goals and tapping into your adventurous side. Personal narrative alongside practical guidance make this book a timely read, even if you won’t be traveling out of the country this year. 

There is no reason to stop dreaming about a different sort of life. Success Redefined can help you find work online, foster a rule-breaking mindset, and create a support network now so that when the time comes for you to hit the road, you’ll be ready.

In 2020, COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we think about school. The heated debates on whether it is safe or not to open in August need not concern you if you start making adaptations in your life now to accommodate homeschool, unschooling, online schooling or whatever combination best works for your family. Success Redefined: Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss can help with this process too!

If you are searching for a better way to live, then you’ll want to pick up your copy of Monique Alvarez’s book and start your planning!

Blog to Book Project–Advanced Reader’s/Reviewer’s Copies (ARC)

ARC stands for Advanced Reader’s (or Reviewer’s) Copy. It’s a copy of your book that you give to someone before your official book launch. The idea is for these reviewers or Beta readers to have access to your writing so that you can gather testimonials, feedback, and even reviews before your book is published.

So how do you get an ARC copy if your book isn’t published yet? Well, it depends on the publishing platform you are using and the formatting template you chose.


Amazon allows you to order a publisher’s proof before your print book goes live so that you can check for formatting errors. The publisher’s proof is exactly how your book will look once it’s released, provided you don’t make any changes, except there is a message on the cover that states it is a proof and not for resale. As an author, you can purchase up to five copies at a time. You’ll be able to send these as gifts to Beta readers, reviewers, or book bloggers.

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If you are using Pressbooks as your book formatting template, you have a few digital options. You can download your book in PDF, EPUB, or MOBI format to your computer and then just send the file via email. You can also provide the link to your webbook. The address of your webbook is what you see when you click on “Visit Book.”

If you are using Microsoft Word, you can also download a .docx or PDF version you can send to reviewers. Honestly, these are my least favorite format to receive when reading books. When I can, I take the time to use a converter to change the file to MOBI for easier reading on my Kindle. I use Zamzar, which is free online.

You could also publish your book but not publicize the fact. This technique is known as a soft launch. You can gift books to reviewers, or set up a free promotion so that readers can get a copy without buying it just yet. Remember, though, for the review to carry weight with Amazon, it needs to be a verified purchase.

So, another way to provide the book at a discounted is to set the price at $0.99 during the time you are looking for reviews. Then when you are ready for your official book launch, change the price to what you usually would be asking for your book. That way, those reviewers you purchased your book at $0.99 will be able to publish a verified review.

When sending out your advanced reviewer’s copies, be sure to ask what format the reader would like to receive their copy of the book. Also, be sure to include launch day information, so readers have an idea of how long they have to read the book, and any testimonials and reviews will be ready before then. A reviewer should always disclose the fact that he or she received an ARC in their review.

Remember, you can’t force someone to leave a review even if you have given your book away for free. A few reminder emails are ok but don’t start badgering people. Nor can you control what a person might write in a review. You may get some bad reviews. Decide if what the person says is valid or not, then either do some editing or let it go.

Assignment: Decide how you will distribute your ARC.


ebook cover
Click on the image for a preview!

Blog to Book Project — Blog Tours


A traditional book tour is when an author takes his or her book on the road stopping at bookstores, coffee shops, and libraries to do presentations or book signings.  A blog tour involves your book being featured on different blogs and websites over a specific time period. The dates are set in advance like a book tour, and each article or post is unique to the site or blog hosting it.  A related idea is the blog blitz. This is when your book is featured on different blogs or websites, but on the same day.

Book bloggers are an excellent choice to include in your blog tour. Reedsy has a large list of book bloggers you can find here. Other places you might consider are websites that are in your niche. For instance, if you write about health topics, perhaps a health blogger would be interested in featuring your book.

You can provide an ARC (advanced review copy) to bloggers and website owners that would like to review your book. You also could provide promotional information or an exclusive excerpt for those that don’t have time to read it before your launch date. Don’t forget about podcasts, giveaways, or author interviews as potential promotional material for your blog tour.

You should organize your blog tour about six weeks before your book launch so that bloggers and web site owners have time to schedule your feature post during the time immediately before and after your launch.  Make sure to include how readers can purchase your book as well as sharing the post on your social media channels. Take the time to visit and comment on the blog or website that is hosting your blog tour that day.

Assignment: Plan a blog tour.


ebook cover
Click on the image for a preview!