Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BOOK TOUR: Loreena's Gift by Colleen M. Story

Book Description:


Loreena Picket thinks she knows herself. A blind young woman who lives with her uncle, a reverend at a small-town church, she's a dutiful niece and talented pianist for the congregation.

But they're both hiding a terrible secret. Loreena can kill people with the touch of her hand.

While her uncle sees her as an angel of mercy, helping usher the terminally ill members of his flock into the afterlife, Loreena has her doubts.

Torn between doing her uncle's bidding and the allure of the fleeting moments when her eyesight returns on the journey to the other side, Loreena cooperates with her uncle until her troubled older brother returns to town. When she reveals her power by saving him from a local drug dealer, she is drawn into a sinister and dangerous world that will test the true nature of her talent and force her to consider how far she is willing to go to survive.

An exciting debut that crosses fantasy and literary fiction, Loreena's Gift is a thought-provoking meditation on life and death and what ultimately lies beyond this world.
Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Book Depository  ~  Chapters Indigo

My review:

Let me start by saying WOW!! This was a great book. I could not put it down, I couldn't sleep needing to know what happened next so got up and read some more.
  Loreena has a gift or a curse depends on who you ask.  If she touches the palm of hand to your hand you will die. Loreena delivers you to your afterlife. 
  When Loreena was 9 she lost not only her mother but her sight in a tragic car accident. Her older brother and her went to live with their Uncle Don who is a preacher. When Loreena was around 15 she thought something was wrong with her hands. They always smelled like sulfur no mater how much she washed them. She really did not know about hr gift until one day she took the hand of a friend and he passed away, and she delivered him to his afterlife. Her Uncle Don convinced her to help people who had terminal illnesses. He would set it up and take her. 
  One day while helping someone her Brother shows up, he has been gone for 3 years after a fight with Uncle Don. In tow is his Girlfriend, who is also the Daughter of the person she had just helped. From there everything in Loreena's life gets turned upside.
  Now that you have had a peek into the story you must read this book to find out how everything turns out.

Author's Bio:

Colleen M. Story writes imaginative fiction and is also a freelance writer, instructor, and motivational speaker specializing in creativity, productivity, and personal wellness. Her latest novel, "Loreena’s Gift," was released with Dzanc Books April 12 2016. Her fantasy novel, "Rise of the Sidenah," is a North American Book Awards winner, and New Apple Book Awards Official Selection (Young Adult). She is the founder of Writing and Wellness ( a motivational site for writers and other creatives.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~ Twitter  

Guest Post by Colleen M. Story

3 Ways Essential Oils Make it Easier to Be Creative

I noticed that Teresa has quite a few articles about essential oils here on her lovely blog, so I thought another might be welcome!

I’ve been a health writer for over 17 years, and during that time I’ve learned quite a bit about natural oils and how beneficial they are. There’s a reason we’re seeing more and more of them in skin care products these days—the skin loves them! Even those who have trouble with acne can often use natural oils to enjoy deep hydration and anti-aging benefits.

But today I wanted to focus on three ways that writers (and other creative folks who spend a lot of hours at the computer) can use natural oils to make life just a little bit better.

1. Tend to dry, rough hands.
Writers (and other creatives) rely on their hands for their work. But we often suffer from dry, tight, and rough skin that makes our hands uncomfortable.

Plus who wants hands that look dry? Especially during a book signing! I know women, in particular, are becoming more and more concerned about the condition of their hands, because they can so readily reveal our age—oftentimes even faster than our faces do. Yet it can be tough to know just what to do to make them look better.

Here’s where natural oils can really help. Your standard everyday hand lotions don’t do much. They’re made up of synthetic ingredients that may make your skin feel better for about five minutes, but then you’re right back where you started. (Some even make your skin dryer over time.)

I’ve found that it’s worthwhile to invest a few more dollars in a natural hand cream that contains goodies like jojoba oil, honey, shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, triglycerides, vitamin E, and other similar items. Natural oils tend to penetrate more deeply into the skin and the effects last longer.

Ointments, balms, and butters are also better than lotions, usually. I’ve been using Windrift Hills “Goats ’N Oats” Body Butter lately, and I love it! It’s made with goat’s milk, mango butter, and shea butter, along with natural oils like apricot kernel, coconut, jojoba, and almond. It smells heavenly and works great.

2. Boost focus and creativity.
What we smell can affect how we think and feel. You’ve likely experienced this when detecting an old smell from your childhood, like that of homemade bread or your grandmother’s quilt.

We can use this connection to increase our focus and productivity when we need to. When sitting down to write, for example, a few drops of peppermint, citrus, lavender, basil, or rosemary simmered in a small pot of water on the stove can help get you in the mood to focus and concentrate. Bergamot or frankincense blended with a carrier oil and spritzed in the air (or on your skin if you’re not sensitive) can help relieve stress and get you into that calm, creative mode. Cypress, jasmine, and basil are other good options for creating an atmosphere conducive to creativity. Any of these can work well in a candle diffuser if you want to limit the effects to just one room.

We all need ways to transfer ourselves from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives into the “flow” of creativity. For me, that means getting into the setting where my characters are—literally slipping into another world. In addition to music and rituals (such as making a favorite cup of tea), essential oils offer a great way to open that door.

3. Use them to get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is extremely important to everyone, but particularly for creative folks.

Recent studies have shown that when we get less than five hours of sleep a night on a regular basis, our risk increases for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more. Some studies have even found that chronic insomnia can take years off our lives.

Creative people need that good night’s sleep even more. Think about it. If you don’t get much sleep, you can probably still clean the house or cook a meal or drive to work. But just try sitting down to a blank page and creating something new. Your eyes will droop and you’ll find it more of a struggle than a joy.

Essential oils can help you relax and fall asleep. Lavender is a favorite for this purpose, but ylang ylang, vetiver, chamomile, cedarwood, bergamot, and sandalwood are also good options. Try these methods of application:

  • Mix a few drops with your favorite carrier oil (like coconut, almond, or jojoba) and then rub on the back of your neck before sleep, or use as a massage oil.
  • Try a cold-air essential oil diffuser, like this one. Don’t use a heated diffuser when going to sleep to reduce risk of fire damage.
  • Add a few drops to a warm bath before bed.
  • Add a drop or two to a cotton ball and place near your pillow before sleep.

Please let us know if you have other ways to use essential oils to encourage creativity!

Book Trailer:


Win a signed copy of Loreena’s Gift. One winner will also get a $15 Amazon GC (Open int’l)

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