Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom To READ....Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Freedom to Read giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Today on my blog I am giving away a free signed copy of my novel The Alias as well as a $10 gift card to

After a long and difficult divorce, Jacey is sure the worst is over. But when the FBI reveals some disturbing information about her ex-husband, she is forced into hiding to protect herself and her son. In the process, she risks losing her identity, her future, and her heart. Thrilling and suspenseful, this novel is an edge-of-your-seat read.

To win just follow these rules below:
1) Follow this blog
2) Follow me on FaceBook
3) Leave a comment letting me know which steps you have completed, and don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you win :).

That's it! I hope you enjoy the hop, and don't forget to enter for a chance to win more prizes below.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Waxing Moon

Publisher's Notes:

A faraway kingdom.
A brave warrior.
An unexpected danger.
An ancient secret.
A desperate plan.

Fear is running rampant in Bariwon. The people of a small village near the northern mountains have vanished. Newly commissioned royal guardian Snapdragon is sent with a scouting party to investigate. His responsibility is to protect the non-soldiers, including Seraphina, a stunning young nursemaid. When the party arrives, they make a shocking discovery. During the chaos that follows, Snapdragon discovers his feelings toward Seraphina are more than protective. Soon, he is forced to make difficult choices that will impact the future of everyone in Bariwon.

Mandi's Review: For those of you who have read J. Lloyd Morgan's The  Hidden Sun, the long-awaited sequel if finally here.  Filled with intrigue, adventure and a little romance, The Waxing Moon will leave you reading long into the night. When the inhabitants of a small village in the north suddenly disappear, the people of Bariwon are left feeling uneasy. Trying to discover the fate of the townspeople, King Rayne sends a scouting party to investigate, but when the party discovers a secret passage hidden deep within the formidable mountains they discover things are worse than they feared. When the scouting party is attacked by a band of ruthless warriors, Snapdragon, a newly appointed Royal Guardian, is Bariwon's only hope. As he unravels the mysteries of the tunnel, he learns of an ancient secret that could change the kingdom of Bariwon forever.  I have to admit, I don't usually read books in this genre, but I loved The Hidden Sun, and when asked to review The Waxing Moon, I was ecstatic. The characters are very well-developed. Snapdragon is definitely a surprise. In the beginning, his character is full of flaws. He's reckless, easy to anger, and trying much too hard to prove himself to world. But as he begins his journey, his growth and change are evident. His character develops in a way that will leave you cheering for this young hero and anxiously hoping for his success. The story-line is paced to perfection, and the plot is very well developed.  I give J. Lloyd Morgan five-stars and can hardly wait to read the next book in the series (The Zealous Star, coming 2013). 

Makin' Suds

DIY Soaps, Cleaners and Shampoos

 Look what we labels aren't exactly the cutest because I was in a hurry, but I made my own dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, hand soap, soap scum killer, carpet deodorizer, baby shampoo, and all-purpose glass cleaner. The kids helped, and we had a ton of fun trying to decide what scents we wanted. We ended up with grapefruit scented laundry detergent and carpet deodorizer (smells just like Tide...mmm), peppermint hand soap, lemon dishwasher detergent, lavender baby shampoo, and lemon glass cleaner..... For weeks now, I have been collecting recipes for DIY laundry soaps, dishwashing soaps, and shampoos and I finally put them all to the test. In one day, my children and I made our own laundry soap, dishwashing detergent, glass cleaner, hand soap, soap scum remover, carpet deodorizer and even our very own baby shampoo. The cost to purchase the supplies to make all of this was easily under $30 (this price includes the essential oils) and I still have enough supplies left to make several more batches. As it is, I ended up with 2 gallons of baby shampoo, 3 gallons of laundry  detergent, 40 loads of dishwasher detergent, 3 gallons of hand soap and 2 full bottles of glass cleaner, carpet deo, and soap scum killer. I am AMAZED! And my children and I had a ton of fun  making all of this. So I thought I'd share my thoughts on each of these products and share the links I found. 

Here are the links to the homemade soaps and cleaners. I can't take credit for any of these recipes. I've googled these or found them on Pintrest. But so far, I'm enjoying how they work and the cost to make it all is AMAZING. 

****I used Ivory soap in place of Castile soap. But if you are looking for a more pure recipe, they suggest Castile. Ivory is comparable, but not quite as pure. 

Home made Baby Shampoo

* I tripled the recipe. I also added 2 bags of chamoile tea to the water as it was cooling in a separate triple batch. I have to admit... the chamomile tea/lavendar is my favorite by far.

Home made Baby Wipes

*I haven't done this yet, but it looks fun.

Home made Hand Soap

* I love this. It works great, and we used peppermint essential oils. It doesn't suds up like regular soap, but my hands feel really clean and soft.

Home made Glass Cleaner

* This is by far my favorite recipe. It stinks. I'll be honest, but it leaves my mirrors looking fantastic. There are a few other recipes, but scroll to the bottom and you'll find the Alvin Corn Cleaner. You'll need to shake your bottle before each use because of the corn starch, but it's worth it!

Home made Laundry Detergent

*I have tried both the powdered and liquid. The liquid is my favorite, but the powdered worked well too. We added grapefruit essential oils and it leaves my clothes smelling so fresh.

Home made Dish Washing Detergent

* I actually tweaked this recipe. I add 3 drops of blue dawn dish soap per TBS of the mix. ( 20 TBS = 60 drops of liquid dish soap) Shake and mix it up with a fork or spoon really good. It does clump the first few times, but just keep breaking it up. The dish soap really adds to the cleaning power and it doesn't ruin your dishwasher because you are using such a small amount. I only use 1 TBS per load. Also, I use plain white vinegar for my rinse agent. My dishes look a lot better.

Home made Soap Scum Remover

* This is seriously great stuff.

Home made Carpet Deodorizer

* I just sort of mixed this together one day and it worked great.

Fill an old Parmesan cheese container most of the way with baking soda. Add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender and grapefruit are my favorite) replace lid and shake until well mixed. Sprinkle across carpet. Let sit for an hour or two then vacuum. 

Re-use old dryer sheets

* I haven't tried this, but it sounds like it would work.

DIY Carpet Stain Remover

* I haven't tried this either, but I have a friend who swears by it.