Thursday, August 26, 2010

Meredith Cagen: Virtual Book Tour Hosting

Meredith Cagen's Model

Title:  A Size 8 in a Size 0 World
Author: Meredith Cagen
Genre: Women Contemporary Fiction/ ChickLit/NYC ChickLit
ISBN: 978 1440169748
Copyright: 2009

Meet Lindsay Chandler--a 32 year-old New York City working wife and mother with old-fashioned values who thinks she's living a fairy tale life (she's not). She's too busy navigatingbetween her job, husband, home, children, friends and other obligations to acknowledge her loneliness. Then an unexpected friendship with her upstairs neighbor (he is smart, successful, sophisticated and sexy-- she's not) unleashes her passion and re-ignites her sparkle.

This liaison causes her to realize what she is missing. Yearning for a storybook ending, she decides to make changes in her life, embarking on a quest for self re-invention in this hilarious, witty, heart felt story.

In the tradition of Sex and the City, Size Eight in a Size Zero World, is a modern-day story of a good girl trying to do the right thing and the wrong thing simultaneously, while remaining true to herself, whoever that is.

With the help of a believable cast of characters, Lindsay embarks on a plan to better herself and plight. This novel is a wickedly funny social commentary on the lives of average women in New York City's posh Upper East Side.

What happens when the road to happily ever after takes an unexpected detour?

Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go
When I was younger, I had a relationship that broke my heart.  Adverbs, adjectives and accolades did not do him justice. He was the perfect man.  No matter how many times he showed his true colors, I was steadfast in my belief that he was perfect.  I languished in my illusion (actually delusion) of his perfection. I was in love.

I didn’t know what to do.  There was no expert who could guide me.  No published Q & A pertinent for my situation.  I searched for a plan, a guidebook, and a path to success: how I can get the storybook ending with Mr. Perfect.

Every “what not to do while dating” offense a girl can make, I embarrassingly made.  I was available for him.  Running to see him when he beckoned, accepting last minute dates, and accepting last minute cancellations.  I telephoned him, I initiated contact, I showed I was interested.  I accepted his lies, I had no self respect. I threw myself at him. I was insane!  Where were my friends when I obviously needed them?   An intervention was called for but no one restrained me.

Unwilling to consider the possibility of his rejection, I changed myself to meet his requirements.

Yes, Mr. Perfect had criteria.  His personal preference was models, blonde skinny models.  His office was loitered with photographs of Mr. Perfect with his choice of arm candy. It was a shrine to his ability to attract these trophy girlfriends.  A medium height, curvy size eight brunette didn’t seem to be a worthy enough prize for a man of his considerable talents.

I tried my best to meet his standards.  I dieted, exercised, groomed, involved myself in his interests. I told him and showed him that I wanted him…………………and then I committed the biggest sin a girl can.   A don’t so whopping that I am banned from giving advice forever.  A mistake so huge, there is no known recovery.  I committed a felony. I told him, I was in love with him.  Yup, the girl police should have come and thrown me directly into prison or a padded cell on the spot.  No trial was necessary.  I was guilty of extreme stupidity and whatever else is beyond.

My idiocy haunted me for years.  If only I had a second chance.  What could I have done while staying true to myself.  In my fantasies, I would still be me, but smarter.  What was I thinking during this period of being in love?  How did I permit myself to act like a fool?

One day, I looked back at my past actions, those silly schemes, idealistic beliefs that if I loved him with a pure heart, he would love me back. I started to laugh.  It was funny, very funny. Telling this story would be my second chance and shot at redemption.

My reality hit me as I lay pen to paper, Mr. Perfection was my upstairs neighbor, he was The Man Upstairs.
That was the original title for my book, The Man Upstairs, but people thought it was a religious book.  Next title was What Was I Thinking? To this day, I am uncertain what was going through my head during that dark period of time.  Maybe I wasn’t thinking?  People thought that was a self-help book.

I will never fit into his model sized world.  I wasn’t who he wanted.  My size (thin not emaciated) didn’t matter because it is what is on the inside that truly matters. It’s a cliché but true.  Over time looks fade, have you ever swooned over an eighty year old?  You need that intellectual/emotional connection.  The older I get, it’s my sense of humor that gets me through the days.  I was/am a Size Eight in a Size Zero World.  And very happy about it!

Author's Bio:
Meredith Cagen is a working wife and mother living in New York City.  She works as a freelance writer and registered nurse.  Her family has awarded her the “Queen of the Multi-taskers” title.  In her free time she goes to the gym and out to eat.

Meredith returned to school to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Nursing.  Finding the subject dry, technical and boring, she had a difficult time focusing on her studies.  Easily distracted, and prone to daydreaming, she wrote Size Eight in a Size Zero World.  

This book is everything Sex and the City 2 should have been -- smart and witty with a lot of heart! I've already bought a bunch of copies for so many friend who could relate to Lindsay.

This is Meredith Cagen's debut novel and I hope she writes more. A LOT more!

As soon as I read the first page, I knew I would love this book! Size Eight in a Size Zero World: A Novel by Meredith Cagen is written in a voice that resonated with me. The author's smart, witty style moves along at a good pace and it kept me turning the pages. I could relate to the conflicted heroine and I kept hoping she would wake up and smell the coffee.

Lindsay Chandler is thirty-two, a working wife and mother, who lives in New York with her family. In the highfalutin' Manhattan society, she's an oddity, a woman who has a real day job, does not have a nanny and does her own cooking and cleaning. Lindsay's life looks perfect on the outside, but she's miserable on the inside. Her husband Grant, a divorce attorney, treats her like a servant, ignores their two kids and is an overbearing jerk.

One day Lindsay gets into the elevator of her building and meets a man who gives her goose bumps. They strike up a friendship. He appreciates her, asks her for advice and befriends her kids. Lindsay falls hard. She loves the way they interact; he seems to accept her, perceived flaws and all. The more she sees him the more she realizes all that she's missing in her marriage. She questions her life with Grant and decides to reinvent herself and make some changes. It all leads to a satisfying conclusion.

A wonderfully witty social commentary on the New York scene, this is also an endearing story or relationships, love and infidelity. The characters are believable and many women will be able to see themselves in Lindsay. Sometimes I wanted to scream at her and sometimes I wanted to cheer her on, but always she kept me reading. I highly recommend it.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Arlene Crenshaw: Authors Supporting Authors Tour

For as long as I can remember, I witnessed the men in my momma’s life abuse her mentally and physically, these were men she swore to love, honor, and obey till death do them part. I was the third to the oldest of my momma’s eight children, and I started noticing the abuse on my momma when I was around four or five years old.

Domestic Violence (love shouldn’t hurt)

What is it about hurting someone that you claim you love? There are women and children that suffer everyday by the hands of someone who claims that they love them. There are women who are preyed upon daily by men who want to control every aspect of their lives.

Some of these women who find themselves in situation like these are women who at some point in their life dealt with some form of mental or physical abuse.

There are men that prey on these types of women. They look and seek out women who can’t protect themselves. They look for women that are venerable in many areas in there life. Such as loneliness, low self-esteem, mental or even physical problems.

Why do they do what they do?  I’d say “control,” abuse is abuse and no one has to tolerate this type of treatment from anyone.  Love shouldn’t hurt; domestic violence is a big problem in our world today.

Not only are women suffering but children suffer as well. What a women may go through who has children, then children hearing and watching their mother being abused effects these children in ways that it can follow them for the rest of their live.

Results from seeing these types of behavior are daughter growing up with dominant men controlling and abusing them, and sons growing up being abusers.

I feel everyone who is in relationship deservers to be treated with the utmost respect. Children should be able to sleep at night, learn and play throughout the daytime. We all as individual look forward to being in healthy relationships, not dysfunctional relationship and if you are in a relationship that isn’t healthy remember love doesn’t hurt. “Stop and put an end to Domestic Violence.”

By Arlene R. Crenshaw

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Karen Kostlivy: Author Supporting Authors Tour Stop

Genre: Children's Books/Adventure
Publisher: 3L Publishing
ISBN Number: : 0615362265

Mason Witt, a skateboarding American teenager, catapults himself into the greatest adventure of his life after reading the plight of a new Cyber Writer from Africa. Lutalo knew he would come so he sent Mason an urgent plea for help. His village has lost its precious Zebra of Life -- and his father has gone missing in the pursuit of the evil men who stole it. Here begins this thrilling adventure of two boys, a smart-talking panther, and an amazing zebra that sustains life.

Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life is a book that takes middle grade students on an entertaining journey through Africa where talking animals and magic arrows help the young readers track thieves to try to save the village.   At the same time, the kids are learning the value of friendship, teamwork, trust and exercise.  They are also learning a lot about Africa.

This book is the first of a series of books that hopefully attract reluctant readers to reading.  At the same time they will be learning a lot and having fun doing it.  Each book in the series will be set in a different country and involve Cyber Writers having the adventure of their young lives.   My dream is that my website: will become a hub of learning for students and their teachers whether in traditional classes , personal enjoyment, or home schooling.  I wanted to have games and puzzles on my site, and lesson plans to go with my book. Little did I know that it would become so much more.

  When the idea of promoting my book became a bit daunting,  I hired  a virtual authors assistant,  Janis Friesler   (  to help me.   Janis is a retired teacher who started her company really to help a childhood friend of hers also an author.  She liked doing the work so much that she took in other authors and a new company was born. Then she took in a former student of hers to take over the website part of the company.   Being a former English teacher with an advanced degree in computer science, Janis really got what I was after in my book series and my website.  My ideas of puzzles and lesson plans were expanded in the vastness of her experience and imagination.

 Now my website has the start of being a real hub of learning.  Although my puzzles are still there, Janis integrated a whole project based on best practices, integrated learning , complete with video, lesson plans, interactive activities, research, maps, national standards, learning targets and more.  She took my adventure book for middle school aged kids and gave them a doorway to participate actively in the adventure while opening a pathway to deeper thinking and skill strengthening.  Now my series has been put on the path that I hoped for and my website will become an extension of all my books.  I hope all of the readers and authors here especially those that are teachers or parents will visit my site to see why I am so excited about what it has become.   Please visit my site and go to the "Just For Kids" page.

Karen Kostlivy was born and raised in Northern California. She graduated from the University of California Davis with a degree in Rhetoric and Communication. She enjoys spending time with her family and listening to her two sons Camron and Masson play guitar. After a successful career in the private and public sector, Karen decided to return to a former passion, writing and creating stories for readers of all ages. She is currently happily residing in Yuba City California with her husband Davis and son.
My Book can be purchased on and my site

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“I give Cyber Writers and The Zebra of Life ***** (5) Stars,  Daniel Dietz,  children's book reviewer for BK Walker Books.”  Read the full review by clicking the link.
Daniel Dietz , B.K. Walker Books

“The first thing you notice is the careful character name selection that has been put into the names of some of this book's characters. I absolutely loved it.

She mentions a cute family tradition, which of course, would never work in my home -- paying for small favors with hugs and kisses.

This is a very creative and adventurous book, with emails, penpals and a trip to Africa. It's a wonderful exploration of pieces of another culture.There's even a surprise of a little magic involved.

A fun adventure and great unexpected new friends in this must have great read. A real page can't wait to see what will happen next. Your child's book collection cannot miss this book.”

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥
A Moment With Mystee

“This was a cute young reader/middle grade book! The author created a world intertwined with fantasy and a little magic that kids are sure to enjoy. This is probably a good one for those reluctant boy readers since there is plenty of "action!"

I enjoyed watching these characters come together despite their differences to save a village. It had a great message of working together to overcome obstacles. I think kids will definitely find this one exciting and entertaining!”

Kris, The Cajun Book Lady

“Often times, young boys dislike reading. It’s a sad truth. If given Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life, young boys would likely actually enjoy reading! This is just such a cool story about a young boy who is magically transported to Africa and undertakes a heroic adventure with a friend found through Cyber Writers, an electronic penpal circle. The pair (Mason and Lutalo) take on the African jungle and dangerous kidnappers to save Lutalo’s father and the magical Zebra of Life.

This story is full of imagination and would easily transport a young mind straight into the heart of Africa puts the reader right in the action. I would easily recommend this book to any boy…likely ages 8-13 would enjoy it best…or any young reader for that matter. Parents, if your son is reluctant to read, try handing him this book and watch as he finds out what a book can do for a young mind.”
Lindsay Chung, Lindsay Reviews

Hello, fine friends! Thank you so much for your patience with the Blogger fiasco yesterday. Very glad it's not today as I have a LOVELY guest author I'd like you to meet! Here's something I didn't really grasp until recently... Middle grade fiction... sounds like it means... you know, somewhere between literature and pulp, ne? In actuality, it is literature for the MIDDLE GRADES. Who knew!? These are the bridge between 'kids books' and YA—the 8-12 range, depending on your reader. (and I know SEVERAL of us have kids that age--I've got my own 11...)  Karen is my first Middle Grade guest... meaning guest who writes for middle grades... not that she is any less that TOP grade quality... if youknowwhatImean...
Hart Johnson

Karen's book is the first of a series of children's adventure books geared to children who are in the middle grades.  Click the link to read the full interview:

If anyone wants a book to attract their middle grade boy to read, buy this book. It has everything that boys like, adventure, skateboards, humor, friendship, exotic locale, familiar situations, computers, magic and fantasy. The best thing is that it is the first book in a series. This one is set in Africa, but each one will have a different country as a setting from what I understand.  As a teacher, I can see my students talking about this book.

Janis Friesler, Middle School English Teacher

“Karen Kostlivy spins a fine yarn that your son or nephew or daughter or niece are going to love. She knows young people, and she knows how to tell a story. Young readers will adore these action-packed adventures that have something for everyone -- including parents.”
Timothy May, Professor of English

“Middle-grade fiction -- that genre between early readers and young adult novels -- must accomplish an often difficult task; engage reluctant or struggling readers. Cyber Writers, by Karen Kostlivy, does just that. Teenager Mason Witt teams up with a fellow cyber writer for an incredible adventure through the heart of Africa. Kostlivy’s rich descriptions put the reader into the story as Mason and his friend experience the true meaning of friendship, loyalty and the strength of family. But the best news about Cyber Writers is that it’s the first of a series.”
Denise McDonald