Cover Reveal: Life’s Too Short for Leftovers

Non Fiction
Date Published: July 23, 2015
Part inspirational rallying call, part first-person, autobiographical narrative, part eulogy for a treasured friend and mentor, “Life’s Too Short for Leftovers” takes the reader on a highly personal journey of self-discovery. Best-selling author Michael Ditchfield’s  “9 Lessons from a Third World Kitchen” – cleverly presented as courses on a menu – conveys a singular perspective on what it means to be human, and what is required of us as individuals to be active, engaged participants in humanity.
With delightfully dry wit and profound understanding, Ditchfield introduces us to Chef Noel Cunningham – his guide and teacher – along with a kitchen-full of congenial and extraordinarily noble real-life protagonists that have served as both lightning rods and light posts in the author’s relentless (albeit sometimes reluctant) pathway toward personal transformation.
Ditchfield is a master storyteller, and his conversational style skillfully relates timeless philosophies to contemporary challenges and opportunities that face Third World countries today. Based on his extensive experience in Africa, Ditchfield brings a generous portion of lucid insights and aha moments to the table, leading the charge toward improved, positive outcomes – in our own lives, and in the lives of others. “Life’s Too Short for Leftovers” is a stimulating and memorable must-read for students of Life.
EXCERPT
Bon Appétit


“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
~Albert Schweitzer
I have surrounded myself with Chef ’s nurturing wisdom every day since his ghostlike face appeared before my sheepish eyes on that memorable evening in 1992. I am forever grateful to Noel for keeping me close, transforming the course of my life. He welcomed me into his kitchen as a friend and “closet chef” to learn the finer touches of his culinary expertise … and to understand his deeper mission. I learned how to scramble eggs without using any utensil except the pan, and I endeavored to give of myself to help him offer the children of Africa a better tomorrow. He was my mentor and friend on a much deeper level than anyone else in my life. As a mentor, he schooled me for hours on end; and as a friend, he scolded and embraced me with equal vigor.
For many years, I was a student in Noel’s kitchen of wisdom, where the apron of his profession had become the very fabric of his life. The kitchen that we both shared was not limited to this country, but boiled over into the Third World, where every child has a right to live, to have enough to eat, and to be respected as a human being.
I will never graduate, because there is no graduation ceremony; I will never receive a diploma, because there is no diploma. But what I achieved in Noel’s kitchen is a degree of hope that I can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others—after changing my own life first. I took a sharp knife and burst the bubble that had become the gilded cage I’d lived in since my arrival from the shores of Jolly Olde England. Since then, I’ve made a point of surrounding myself with people wiser than me.
This book intends to illustrate how changing our lives enriches our lives. Think of the times when we sit for a long period of time and one leg starts to fall asleep; we adjust our bodies to feel more comfortable. In the big picture, life is no different. We usually only change when we are uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Some cooks only replace a menu item when it’s run its course. But the great chefs are always changing their menus. Whether because they are tuned in to seasonal influences or because they know they so much more to offer, they are not afraid to add or remove something. They believe in themselves enough to make those kinds of decisions.
Changing when we’re comfortable means taking responsibility early enough to avoid discomfort. We can change even when things are going well. We can’t change yesterday’s menu; we can only change today’s.
“Only a fool trips on what is behind him.”
~Proverb
Of course, there are some things that stand the test of time, like Chef Noel’s Penne Bagutta with Chicken, Mushrooms and Broccoli, or Life with Integrity, Accountability, Love, and Decency. Both are abidingly satisfying.
The nine lessons set forth herein pertain to the emotions and interactions that we all face in our daily lives. The lessons evolved as a result of me sitting down around the fire with people of the Third World, listening to their voices that collectively resound with wisdom and love. Like most of us, they want better lives for their families, and are prepared to do what it takes to get there. It’s just a little more difficult when they are dealing with the particular challenges that
life has put on their table.
These lessons slice across the cutting board of life—from the relationships we have to ourselves to the relationships we have with others.
By taking a hard look at your motives and the motives of others in Read the Recipe to observing the temperature at which you’re functioning as you Preheat the Oven, you will begin to understand. In learning patience, forgiveness, and tolerance as you Simmer, Don’t
Stir, and in overcoming procrastination as you Clean Your Plate, you will begin to understand. In simplifying your life as you Just Add Water, you will continue to understand. You will begin to exceed your seeming limitations as you Bring to a Boil, and offer life’s riches to others as you Pass the Butter. You will discover that you can make a difference in your world by getting to
know your own kitchen … and then inviting others in, who are part of the world we share.
These nine lessons are ones that matter. They will have a quiet way of sneaking into everyday life. We will never go hungry if we accept personal responsibility, and neither will the people around us. We may not see now that change is on the menu, but we will find ourselves ordering it. We’ll never know how far the ripples will travel or how many lives we might touch unless we drop the first potato into the water. Whether it’s the taste of our own enriched lives or that of others, it’s a dish that we’ll order time and time again. We should spice our own lives the way we intend them to taste—we have all the right ingredients, and we are about to learn how to use them. With these lessons, we can choose a life the way we would choose a meal: wisely
About the Author


Humanitarian Michael Ditchfield—bestselling author, sought-after speaker, entrepreneur, and former professional athlete, is committed to addressing the humanitarian plight of developing countries. Ditchfield speaks widely on how to inspire change and promote empowerment among cultures and individuals.
He has worked extensively with children in Africa using sports and culture in furthering the peace process. He remains dedicated to transforming lives by advocating for human dignity across the globe.
Contact Link
 
 
 
 
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Cover Reveal: Alawahea

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Romance
Date Published: 7/16/2015
Tamara Carrington always felt different. One event in high school left her wondering if maybe she really was a freak, although she’d managed to leave that experience in the past—buried deep in her psyche. With the arrival of the exchange students from the planet of Azelle to her college, Tamara’s long buried memories threaten to erupt. As Tamara’s emotions build and her friendship with the Azellians grows, so does the knowledge of secrets within her own family.
With the deterioration of her mother’s health, Tamara doesn’t know where to turn for answers or solace. What has her family been hiding? Why does she feel inexplicably drawn to the Azellians? What will happen if she unleashes her long-suppressed passion? Will she survive or even recognize herself afterwards? Wanting answers, yet being afraid of what she might find, Tamara wonders if it would be better to remain asleep.
EXCERPT
As they turned to comply, the ambassador walking away with them, Tamara studied the newcomers surreptitiously. The three young men and one young woman all had an air of comfortable confidence quite at odds with their new status here. The young man closest to her was a redhead. His features, even in profile, were delicate and chiseled—his nose a fine, straight blade on his face as he leaned over the table in the far corner. He rested an ol­ive-skinned, tanned arm on the table, the muscles in his forearm etched in sharp relief by the pressure he exerted on his arm. Gen­erous lips pursed as he read the card in front of him. His broad shoulders and chest, well-defined under a white t-shirt with some type of writing on it that she could not see, tapered down to a nar­row waist and slender legs encased in light blue jeans.
The second young man leaned over the table facing her. San­dy-blond hair fell over a high forehead into amber brown eyes as he read—a slight frown between them. His features were much heavier than his companion’s, with a slightly too-long nose and a jaw that was almost too strong. A good four or five inches shorter than the redhead, his dark blue t-shirt stretched across a well-muscled chest that, despite being stocky, had no spare fat on it at all. As he wrote on the card with his left hand, she observed that he was less tanned than the redhead. He nevertheless bore the same basic olive complexion. The dark-haired young man next to him nudged him and said something she couldn’t hear. The one who spoke suddenly grinned—his wide, generous mouth flashing straight white teeth. Black hair fell into his blue eyes, and he tossed his head, catching Tamara’s expression as she looked at them. He winked and returned his attention to the table in front of him.
Not wanting to get caught staring, Tamara looked away. Af­ter a few minutes, she snuck another peek at him. His face re­minded her of someone’s, but she couldn’t place where she’d seen those features before. Relatively small and straight, his nose had a slight flare to the nostril. His jaw was fairly prominent, making his face look long. The generous mouth softened the hard, mascu­line features of his face. He wore a vividly colored t-shirt tucked into a pair of long safari shorts. His thighs were quite heavy and muscular. His upper body was broad and unfinished looking, a little more muscular than the redhead but not as stocky as the blond. Her eyes traveled around the table to the young woman. The same height as the blond, she bent over the table with her back to Tamara. She had wavy brown hair that was cut in an at­tractive, shoulder-length bob and swept behind one delicate ear as she bent over the paper. Tamara couldn’t see her features from that position, but her lithe, slender body looked athletic.
Tamara’s cautious regard swept on to the final member of the group. Standing at the head of the table, the ambassador leaned forward to answer a question posed by the woman. His expression intent on what the young woman was saying, Tamara got the op­portunity to study him more closely. Taller than the other young men, the ambassador in his suit revealed less of his body structure than their jeans, t-shirts, and shorts. She had a moment of disap­pointment. Then, as if he noticed her attention, the ambassador looked up, caught her looking at him, and dodged around the desk to come up to her. Hastily, Tamara dropped her eyes to her desk as he approached, feeling the furious blush crawl up her face.
“You are a student here?” he asked in that musical voice.
Tamara looked up, her cheeks burning. She had a hard time meeting his eyes but forced herself to do so anyway. “Yes. Uh, my name is Tamara Carrington.”
The ambassador leaned against the desk. “Carrington? Would you be any relation to James Carrington?”
“He was, uh, my grandfather.”
“Ah, this is wonderful! We in the diplomatic corps know Am­
bassador Carrington well.” He paused, then continued, “Was? Is he not still alive?”
Tamara ducked her head. “He passed away a few years ago.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” The ambassador straightened and bowed to her, placing his hand on his chest as he did so. “He was well respected on Azelle. We knew he had been ill, but we had no idea he had actually transitioned.” He rested his hands on her desk. Leaning forward, those dark eyes appeared intent on her. He gave her a charming grin that might have even melted her grandmother’s cold heart. “Well now. Do you mind if I ask what you are majoring in?” Usually feeling fairly secure in herself, she wondered why she was suddenly blushing.
Tamara swallowed hard as she tried to regain her compo­sure—and her ability to speak. “I am, uh, in diplomatic studies. Or I will be when I declare my major this year.”
His grin widened, and he looked at her from under thick lash­es. “Any specific planet you might be interested in?”
Dizziness assailed her as she struggled to remain calm. An odd pressure built behind her eyes and she lifted her hand un­consciously to rub the bridge of her nose. “Azelle is, um, inter­esting. I know more about it than my teacher does sometimes, mainly because my grandfather used to share stories with me. All the other planets are really great, too. I really like learning about other places. I’m not positive I want to be a diplomat like he was, but I do want to learn about other cultures and planets, and diplo studies is the best place to do that.”
The pressure vanished abruptly just as it edged into pain. “Would you be willing to come to the embassy for a welcome party for these students tonight? It would give you an opportunity to mingle with embassy members and get you prepared for a possible diplomatic career.” One side of his mouth lifted higher than the other as his voice took on an almost wheedling tone. “I can also get you access to other diplomatic embassies. I have several contacts in both the Atheran and Dorbin embassies.”
Tamara hesitated only briefly. “Sure, that would be great! I’ll come to the party tonight.”
He straightened. “Seven o’clock, in the main lobby. Bring any of your friends too who you think might be interested in diplo­matic studies.”
Tamara blinked. A slight headache throbbed between her eyes. She managed to ignore it as the young woman stepped up to the desk carrying the eight cards. She smiled at Tamara. “Thank you. Here are the cards you asked us to complete.” The words flowed out of her mouth more heavily accented than the ambas­sador’s, although with the same musical lilt.
Tamara smiled back and collected her thoughts. “Now you need to go to the Dean of Students’ office and get your room as­signments.”
The five Azellians left and the room suddenly seemed empty, as if there had been a lot more than just their bodies in the room. Ta­mara shivered, her head pounding. She flipped through the cards, reading the personal information listed there as she tried to figure out which was which. The only one she successfully identified was the woman, Mellis, since she was obviously the only female in the group. If Tamara attended the welcome party that night, she was sure she’d be introduced to the others—Greg, Justern, and Alar­in—and learn who was who. Pushing aside her curiosity, Tamara focused on entering the data into the computer and tried not to wonder more about them. She’d probably get the chance to find out more, if she actually took the ambassador up on his invitation.
As soon as the five of them walked out of the office, Mer­ran reached out to Greg on his private level so he could converse with him telepathically without the others hearing. Did you pick up that she sensed me?
I caught that she was becoming rather uncomfortable. I think you were hurting her. As a Healer, with a highly specialized sensi­tivity to others’ suffering, Greg often could tell things about peo­ple that everyone else missed. Is that even possible? Do humans even have psi?
Theoretically, yes, they do. We talked about it a little bit in my training. I’m surprised Healers don’t talk about this in theirs.
Healers aren’t exactly all that interested in humans … as you know … considering the challenges I faced getting permission to come here. Back to Tamara Carrington. What did you pick up?
She was open on the surface, but her deeper levels are heavily screened by a very thick shield. When I pressed on it, it resisted me with surprising force.
Is that normal?
I don’t know. I haven’t run into a human with psi before. Wheth­er they normally have it or not, Tamara certainly has a shield, at least on the deeper levels.
Greg was silent for a moment. Shielded, huh? So, you actually think she’s psi?
Sure, why not? I think she very well could be.
Hmm. Maybe I should keep an eye on her.
Merran glanced at him. Is she giving off a Call? He had been friends with Greg long enough to know the Healer responded to things that Merran himself couldn’t sense, but that those some­times odd decisions and directions were important.
Not really. I just have a gut feeling.
I’m not one to argue with a Healer’s gut feelings. Go for it.
Heads up, humans headed this way, Alarin sent on the public level, bringing their attention back to the group. Three women walked past them, laughing and talking, casting an admiring glance at the group of Azellians.
All five Azellians heard the comment
About the Author
Sara L Daigle has been creating stories since she first forayed into the world of writing at the age of eight. As an avid reader, growing up in a small town without much access to a library, and before the birth of the Internet, Sara devoured her mother’s extensive stack of science fiction and romance novels to keep her literary thirst quenched. Soon afterwards, she began writing her own stories and entertaining her friends by composing plays for them to act out.

A passionate interest in astronomy, anthropology, and linguistics, coupled with this early background in science fiction and romance, led Sara to merge the two fields and create a series of interlinked stories built around a fictional planet’s culture and its interaction with ours.
Sara currently lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and three very loving but energetic dogs.
Novel Twitter: @Alawahea
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Cover Reveal: Jack Gets His Man

Romantic Comedy
Date Published: July 1, 2015

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Jack’s life is awesome. His store is making money hand over fist and his best friend has found love. So what if he’s feeling a bit restless and put out about his upcoming birthday and his ex is being a pain in his fabulous behind? That’s nothing he can’t handle. But then his smoking hot new bookkeeper discovers things at the store aren’t actually as they seem. Someone is playing fast and loose with the finances. Jack’s bestie and his gal pals, the gray-haired knitting detectives, jump at the chance to solve Jack’s problems. When they aren’t re-enacting scenes from spy thrillers, they’re setting Jack up on dates and generally insinuating themselves into his love life. They’re determined to find love for Jack as well as his missing money. Will Jack catch a thief or find love? Either way Jack’s going to get his man.
EXCERPT
“Hands in the air. Drop to your knees,” was shouted at them. Blinded by a flashlight, it was impossible to identify the speaker.
Martha huffed. “There is no way I’m going to my knees, young man.” She yelled at the light.
“Me either. I’ll never be able to get up again.” Ally agreed and put her hands on her hips in protest.
Jack shook his head but quickly dropped to his knees. Only he would get caught while snooping with two grandmas who refused to listen to the police. He hung his head and pretended he was somewhere else, anywhere else.
The cop lowered his flashlight and brought out a pair of cuffs. He started walking towards the group but stumbled when he took in Ally and Martha. He shook his head. “Are you ladies willing to go quietly into my squad car?” He asked.
Ally and Martha took one look at the cop and nodded. “Wherever you want to go officer,” Martha responded. Oh great. Now they were flirting with the arresting officer. Jack waited patiently on his knees until the cop reached him. He was cuffed and then dragged to his feet.
“Come on ladies,” the officer stated while pulling Jack to the cop car.
There were two squad cars in Damien’s driveway. Betty, Rosemary, and Rose were already sitting in the backseat of the other car. They waved as Jack passed with Ally and Martha in tow. Jack shook his head at them and looked for Izzy. She sat in her car and mouthed sorry but didn’t make a move to help them. Jack knew it wouldn’t help anything if Izzy got out of the car. She’d just get arrested as well but still he stuck his tongue out at her. The cop scanned the area to see where Jack’s tongue was pointed. Izzy immediately started up the car and, with a squeal of the tires, took off. Jack chuckled.
“Aren’t you going to turn on the siren,” Martha asked once the cop was back in the patrol car and they were headed to the police station. Ally bobbed her head in excitement. Jack hung his head.
The cop chuckled. “Normally perps don’t like the siren on.”
“Why not?” Ally leaned forward to get a better look at the officer.
“They don’t want to be seen being hauled to the police station,” was the officer’s perfectly acceptable answer.
Ally and Martha huffed. They leaned back and crossed their arms across their chests. “Well, that’s just boring,” Martha said to Ally. Ally nodded in agreement.
The quiet didn’t last long. “So, officer,” Martha began. “Are you single?” Jack tried to make himself disappear at this point but unfortunately closing his eyes and wishing he was anywhere else in the world but in the back of a cop car that smelled like piss with two elderly troublemakers turned matchmakers was a bust.
“I’m single ladies,” the officer readily answered. “But don’t get your hopes up for your granddaughters. I’m also gay.” Jack prayed for a hole in the floor of the sedan to open up and swallow him whole.
Ally and Martha clapped in glee. The officer turned around in surprise before quickly returning his attention to the road. The quick look was all Jack needed. It appeared that he’d been arrested by a man hot enough to be Mr. January in the police calendar. Although it was dark in the car, he couldn’t miss the curly brown hair and eyes the color of rich chocolate. He’d bet the man was made of muscles as well. He nearly sighed but caught himself just as he saw Ally and Martha looking at him for a response. He buried his face in his chest. Luckily, they had arrived at the police station.
About the Author


I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but think I’m a European. After spending my senior year of high school in Germany, I developed a bad case of wanderlust that is yet to be cured. My flying Dutch husband and I have lived in Ohio, Virginia, the Netherlands, Germany and now Istanbul. We still haven’t decided if we want to settle down somewhere – let alone where. Although I’ve been a military policewoman, a commercial lawyer, and a B&B owner, I think with writing I may have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. That’s assuming I ever grow up, of course. Between tennis, running, traveling, singing off tune, drinking entirely too many adult beverages, and reading books like they are going out of style, I write articles for a local expat magazine and various websites, review other indie authors’ books, write a blog about whatever comes to mind and am working on my sixth book.

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Release Blitz: Every Choice


New Adult
Date Published: June 13, 2015

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Red.
Red is everywhere.
Not just red, blood.
Blood is everywhere.
It is all over me.
Cassie Whitlock has relived that day countless times in her dreams for the past four years. It left more than just physical scars, it has caused her to close herself off to everyone. She no longer believes in love. Love only ends in pain.
That’s why when she meets Luca, she is surprised by the immediate and undeniable attraction between them. She doesn’t want complicated and she knows he’s about to make everything complicated. As their lives become more intertwined, it becomes harder to hide her secrets, and harder to resist him, but when she discovers he has secrets of his own, she begins to question everything. Cassie has to make a choice: hold on to the ghosts of her past or be brave enough to imagine a future.
Excerpt
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.
Luca smirked. “You tell me that a lot. But the way I see it, I know exactly what I’m talking about and you don’t like it. You can’t stand that I get under your skin and you can’t stop thinking about me.”
He was closer now and I desperately needed him to back up. He was right about everything, and when he was that close, it made my brain stop working.
“You are an arrogant son of a bitch.”
“Throwing insults at me won’t make me oblivious.” He leaned in closer and whispered in my ear. As I felt his breath move the small hairs falling onto my cheek, a tremor ran the length of my body.
“Don’t think I haven’t noticed how your body reacts to me.”
“Fuck you,” I spat, although it came out breathier than I had intended.
“You wish, Cassie,” he laughed quietly as my mouth hung open. He ran his thumb along my bottom lip as his fingers lifted my chin. “But I meant what I said before, I don’t do emotions.”
His touch went straight to the spot between my legs and I was suddenly thankful that the door was at my back, propping me up and keeping me from becoming a puddle at his feet. It took all of my energy not to arch off the door and push our bodies together. My hands were trapped behind my back so they couldn’t reach out and pull him to me. My body was a battlefield of turmoil; I despised this man yet I couldn’t think of anything that would feel better than him at that moment.
His eyes had grown darker in the past few minutes, becoming a dark navy that wanted to swallow me whole. Just when I thought I wouldn’t be able to last another second, he stood up and started to turn back to his things by the stairs.
I felt his loss instantly and without permission, a strangled cry broke through my lips, “Luca!”
My shout still echoed in my ears as he pounced and my back hit the door with a loud thump. The breath that was knocked out of me at the impact was swallowed up by Luca as his lips crashed into mine. I opened my mouth without much resistance and let his tongue invade. I wasn’t thinking anymore, I couldn’t think. Every part of my brain had shut down except the part that was tuned in to Luca and what his touch was doing to me.
I felt as if energy was exploding at every point where we were connected. His hands grabbed my cheeks as he tilted them sideways, completely in control. His fingers tangled in my hair and pulled slightly to get my head tilted up higher. He was so much taller than me, but it didn’t matter at that moment because we fit together perfectly.
My small fingers wrapped around his wrists as if holding on to them made it seem like I still had some control over what was transpiring. Every moan I unconsciously made was claimed by Luca and only seemed to spur him on. It was as if I had been starving for days, years even, and a banquet dinner was displayed in front of me with everything I had ever wanted. Something in the back of my mind told me I was going to regret gorging myself like this, but it was silenced as Luca’s hand slid from my hair down to my breast.
My nipples were tight and pushing against the silk of my bra uncomfortably. He pinched and a shot of pain ran deliciously straight down. He seemed to know exactly how to push my buttons to have me begging in no time. Everything I swore I would never allow myself to do with him was suddenly all I could think about doing.
His teeth tugged on my swollen bottom lip as he broke off the kiss without warning and dropped his hands from my body. I was pretty sure I made a whimpering noise that I should have been embarrassed about but again, that part of my brain had been shut off.
 Breathing as heavily as I was, he looked me straight in the eye and a small smirk played on his red lips. “If you decide to forfeit the war, you know where to find me. Otherwise, your move, sweetheart.”
He turned his back on me, picked up his bag from the floor, and disappeared through his door without a backward glance. I was frozen in disbelief. It was the second time Luca had blown my mind without much more than a kiss and then left me wanting.
And it was the first time I realized I was going to inevitably lose the war.
About the Author

Samantha Rey graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia with a degree in theatre and a Master’s in elementary education. While her full-time job is currently teaching third grade just outside of Washington, D.C., her love of theatre, entrancing characters, and never-ending drama has not subsided. She has always loved creating stories and the Every series is culmination of a lot of hard work and following her dreams. When she is not writing, she is reading way too much, choreographing musicals, grading papers, and spending time with her husband and their dog, Paisley. You can follow Samantha on Twitter @authorsamrey, on her website, samantharey.com, or on Facebook, facebook.com/authorsamantharey.
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Twitter: @AuthorSamRey
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5 Kindle copies of Every Choice