Saturday, October 18, 2014

'Active Appreciation: How to Develop Employees Who Exceed Expectations' by Paula Schwartz


Blurb:

A person who feels appreciated will exceed expectations.

"Conversations build a culture. Culture builds a company. There are few conversations more powerful in building a strong, engaging culture than the conversations of active appreciation."

"In accounting, the term, "active appreciation" refers to an asset's increase in value. In this timely, common sense leadership guide, Paula Schwartz explores active appreciation as a means for increasing the value of an organization's greatest assets, it's people."

http://amzn.to/1wgn0JI


About the author:

Paula Schwartz is the owner and founder of HSE Performance Solutions in Houston, Texas. Her expertise is garnered through her interactions with hundreds of workers, managers, and executives mostly in the offshore and land drilling industries, and also in the finance and manufacturing sectors. She is honored to work with the people who take on the responsibility of providing the world’s energy. Her writing is inspired and driven by the risks they take to do so and devoted to their success, safety, and quality of life.

Active Appreciation is written to inspire growth, innovation, and contribution to the people and businesses who strive for such.

Paula lives in Katy, Texas, and appreciates every opportunity to take her work to different parts of the world, with recent projects in Brazil, Scotland, Norway, Australia, Canada, and Angola.

Friday, October 17, 2014

'Say Nothing of What You See' by Christy Effinger


Say Nothing of What You See
by Christy Effinger

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.

Chloe plans to train as a medium but it's Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.

Then one winter's day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother's dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil's deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost...betrayal.

Read an excerpt:
I remember the way she fell.

I remember, too, the moment just before it happened, when I came home from my summer job at the snow cone stand and found the house empty.

Aunt Charlotte had not set foot outside her bedroom for days, and now suddenly she was gone. She left a candle burning on the kitchen table, a damp towel on the bathroom floor, an empty shot glass on the nightstand. Her bedroom smelled of rose lotion and whiskey.

One of her straw sandals lay in the living room. The other lay on its side in the hall, as if she had hastily kicked it off on her way out the door. It meant trouble, all right, if Aunt Charlotte was barefoot. She never did anything sane when she was barefoot.

I picked up the sandals and stepped outside. A fat bumblebee ascended from one of the peonies by the porch steps, drunk with nectar. He banged stupidly against the screen door once, twice, and then careened around the house, clearly annoyed.

My gaze swept across our small yard and down the country road to the grain elevator. From somewhere far away came the discordant wail of a train. I glanced along the tracks and out into the cornfield before turning back to the grain elevator. What I saw there made me drop the sandals.

Buy links


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Christy Effinger’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in various print and online publications. She lives near Indianapolis. Her website is www.christyeffinger.com.

Links:
Facebook: http://facebook.com/christyeffinger

Twitter: http://twitter.com/christyeffinger

Tumblr: http://christyeffinger.tumblr.com

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/christyeffinger

Christy will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find your thrills with the works of Paul Kyriazi

Looking for a new thriller? Check out author Paul Kyriazi. Many of these also come with a free audio book download with purchase on Kindle. Click on a book cover for more information!


CIA agent James McKnight has three problems...amnesia...the Mafia ...and his addiction to the ultimate woman. Can he trust her?

Includes a free link to download the 3.7 hr. audio-book narrated by Frank Sinatra Jr. Performed by Robert Culp, Nancy Kwan, David Hedison, Henry Silva Alan Young, Gary Lockwood, Edd Byrnes, Don Stroud, H.M. Wynant & Barbara Leigh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty-eight year old Julia Rodriguez loves her young boyfriend, Robert. He loves living the high life with her. But when her money runs out and the glamorous trips end, he walks out on her. Soon after, Julia runs into her old friend Vicki Hawkins, who's now dealing blackjack in Las Vegas. Vicki also needs money and has a plan to scam a casino, so she invites Julia to go partners with her. The two women descend into a terrorizing situation where Julia's dubious past survival skills are put to the test.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Casino Caper, (also included as a novella) happened in 1977 when EDD Kookie' BYRNES, (Grease, 77 Sunset Strip) won three million dollars in Las Vegas. Immediately, he was stalked by a thug for his winnings. In this memoir, Edd finally reveals what actually happened.

Justice is Mine, by Paul Kyriazi, concerns a bizarre Hollywood studio accident that leads a man to a mysterious woman. In Wicked Players, also by Kyriazi, two women team up to scam a casino blackjack game.

Included in this 3 novella book, is a free download of the 77 min. audio-book My Casino Caper, performed by Edd Byrnes, Alan Young, David Hedison, Michael Callan and Henry Silva.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Changing lives since 1998, this is the original course taught at The Learning Annex & SpyFest, now expanded & updated for 2012. With 354 pages of information to upgrade all areas of your life.

Chapters include: Re-invent Yourself, Bond Symbols for Change, Your Base of Operations, Your Appearance, The Bond Personality, Bond and His Cash, Your Bond Car, Bond Girls, Resort Hotels, Bond on the Job, Casino Gambling, Your Mission, Upgrading Your Image, The Greatest Adventure, The Ultimate Secret of Women, & much more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


About the author:

Paul Kyriazi has directed 22 movie stars in his six feature films and five full-cast audio-books; including Rod Taylor, Robert Culp, Adam West, Russ Tamblyn & George Chakiris. He has a BA in Film from San Francisco State University. He wrote and directed the movie 'Omega Cop' starring Adam 'Batman' West. The audio-book productions of his novels have film-quality sound effects and music, making them 'audio-movies' of sorts.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Author Paul Kyriazi on Frank Sinatra, Jr. recording his audio book 'McKnight's Memory'



After my producer, Larry Metzger and myself had finished recording all the actors and dramatizations for our audio-book McKnight's Memory, we still needed a narrator.

Larry had heard Frank Sinatra Jr's audio commentary his father's movie, Robin and the Seven Hoods and was impressed with his voice and articulation, as well as Frank's respect for character actors, so Larry asked me, "What about Frank Sinatra Jr for the narrator?" I said ,"It would be great to get him, but maybe impossible."

Larry got in touch with Frank's office and pitched the deal for him to record with us, even though other Hollywood agents and casting directors had told Larry that he could never get Frank as he was too busy and would have to go through too many people who would stop Larry before he ever got to Frank. However, Larry finally got the information to get in touch with Frank's management office and then to Frank.

It turned out that Frank was coached for voice work by the great voice actor Paul Frees. Frank also collected recordings of some of the great actors reading books, such as James Mason and Charles Laughton, listening carefully to them, so as to perfect his narrating technique. Thusly Frank told Larry that he was very much interested in doing his first audio-book with us.

In his live concerts, Frank Sinatra Jr is known for his great story telling on stage, so it was an easy jump for him to do the narration for a story. Larry asked him why he waited so long to do an audio-book. Frank said, "This project is a 'story well told', so I decided to do it."

Frank requested his recording be done at night as that is when most singers feel their voice is the best. He gave a concentrated performance, only taking one break during the three hours as he wanted to stay 'in character'. On my other audio-novel I had Rod Taylor (The Time Machine, The Birds) do one take on his narration. Basically a continuous read unless he was unsure of a line, then he'd ask a question.

Frank however, wanted to read a one minute section of the text and then do two more takes of that same section, so I'd have a choice when it came to editing. After we finished he said, "Most of the best takes will be the third take." And with a couple of exceptions that turned out to be true when I got to the editing the next day.

Frank found a few places where he asked if he could change the words, as I wrote the text I encouraged him to do so. All his additions were great. For example, there is a line that read, "The hit man was dead before his 200 pound body crashed to the floor." Mr. Sinatra changed it to: "The hit man was dead before his 200 pounds crashed to the floor." When I heard that, I was overjoyed that this subtle, but powerful change had happened.

"Okay fellas," Frank said to Larry and I in the control room, "I'll read it as written so that you'll have a choice." But we knew right then which reading we would use. This happened a few other times as well. Larry and I were in awe of his annunciation and how he sometimes ended a paragraph in an upward tone, leaving it hanging as if more will come. We didn't know what that's called, but we loved it.

During our breaks, he talked to us about the sets that he visited of some of the now classic movies, such as Journey to the Center of the Earth and Them.

After hearing the final test product with sound effects and music. Frank said he had some additional ideas and worked with Larry and I for three more nights adding a lot more effects and music. The end result was so much more powerful. Frank has the Music Supervision credit on the project.

The McKnight's Memory cast includes Robert Culp, Nancy Kwan, David Hedison, Henry Silva, Don Stroud, Barbara Leigh, Alan Young, Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, Gary Lockwood, and others. Produced by Larry Metzger. Directed by Paul Kyriazi.


Book Blurb:

CIA agent James McKnight has three problems....amnesia...the Mafia...and an addiction to the ultimate woman. Can he trust her?

http://amzn.to/1wtOISV
This kindle edition includes 'The largest production in audio-book history'. 4 hrs. narrated by Frank Sinatra Jr. and performed by 10 stars as you can see on the cover. It comes as a FREE download with the $2.99 Kindle purchase from Amazon.


About the author:

Paul Kyriazi has directed 22 movie stars in his six feature films and five full-cast audio-books; including Rod Taylor, Robert Culp, Adam West, Russ Tamblyn & George Chakiris. He has a BA in Film from San Francisco State University. He wrote and directed the movie 'Omega Cop' starring Adam 'Batman' West. The audio-book productions of his novels have film-quality sound effects and music, making them 'audio-movies' of sorts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Author Paul Kyriazi on directing Robert Culp in the audio book adaptation of 'McKnight's Memory'


When Robert Culp walked into the recording studio he was carrying his marked up script for Rock Star Rising and a whole lot of TV and film history. I always make it a point to not immediately go into the work at hand, but to welcome the actor and mention my favorite parts of films they did.

I also try to have something of one of their films to give them. And not as a conversation piece, but as coming from a true fan. Since Mr. Culp was in three Outer Limits shows, I gave him the DVD box set. I mentioned to him that I had heard that the The Outer Limits episode Demon with a Glass Hand was the number one watched hour program in the history of television. He said, "That's right and also the highest cost to profit ratio in the history of television."

After looking over the episodes on the back of the box, Mr. Culp got right into questions about the character he would record for my Rock Star Rising multi-voice audio-book. His character was that of a shady agent for the rock star Shane. He had made notes in his script and we went through them.

As Mr. Culp is a writer as well as actor, I knew I'd better have good answers to his questions. Robert Culp started off in Broadway, and then jumped to starring in the TV western, Trackdown for two years where her began witting scripts which he wrote from "Gunsmoke" and The Rifleman, as well.

His big break came with I SPY on TV and then for movies with Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice. He started directing in the second season of "I Spy" as well as for other TV programs, and the feature film Hickey and Boggs appearing with Bill Cosby again. He appeared on countless TV shows including co-starring on the series The Greatest American Hero, while still appearing in features such as The Pelican Brief as the president. After going over his script notes for Rock Star Rising, he got into the recording booth for his first scene with a actress playing a reporter.

Then most of his other scenes were with James Darren playing Shane. However, I told the to actors that when Kevin McCarthy showed up, that we would jump to the scene between him and Mr. Culp.

At one point, Mr. Culp's character had to make a long speech, selling a new concert. He asked for me to wait a few moments. So outside the booth, me and the mixer waited for what seemed to be a long time, maybe 5 minutes only, as Mr. Culp, made notes, changes, additional lines, as he stood with his script in front of him. "All right. I'm ready", he said. And then went on to give a brilliant speech, better than I had written or imagined.

Following the script in front of me while recording, I would sometimes quickly look into the glass door and see Culp standing by the mike, waving his arms, and doing other physicality to keep him in character and deliver a superb performance in every scene. He seemed to really be enjoying himself. At the end of the day, he confirmed it by saying to James Darren, "This is the first one of these I've done and it was really fun."

After James Darren left the booth for a break, Mr. Culp motioned me inside the booth with him. I wondered what this was going to be. He said, "Paul, I feel I now know you well enough to say........." Now I'm really thinking, what favor is he going to ask me?" Mr. Culp continued, "If you for any reason need any of these lines re-done, let me know and I'll come back with no charge." Wow ! I thought. "Thanks", I said. "It's good to know because I often worry about what happens if I missed something."

When Kevin McCarthy arrived, he adjusted his quick rhythm that he had with James Darren, to the more thoughtful, methodical, and also effective rhythm that Mr. McCarthy had. Mr. Culp really gave to Mr. McCarthy, allowing him to warm up and get up to speed. Then the two of them performed a brilliant cat and mouse negotiating scene. I had chosen Mr. McCarthy, not only because I'm a big fan, but who else could intimidate I SPY's Robert Culp, but the man that save us all from the "Pods" in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

When Mr. Culp finished with both actors, it was time to say good-by. I told him, "The next time you see Hannie Caulder listen to the way you say my favorite one word line, "Winchester" when your are surrounded by bandits and want Hannie to throw you your rifle without them knowing it." He said, "Okay, I will. and thanks for the DVDs.", waved and headed out the door. You can see Robbet Culp on the upcoming NBS comedy pilot Early Birds.

One year later I hired Mr. Culp to co-star with Nancy Kwan in my audio-book thriller McKnight's Memory narrated by Frank Sinatra Jr. 'As he was the lead it took two long days to complete. The first day I arranged to have Mr. Culp do all his scenes with the other male actors who played the CIA chasing him. Mr. Culp was in the recording room at one mike and I had the other actors in the green room standing by, as I moved them in and out of the recording room depending on which scenes were coming up.

The next day Mr. Culp had many scenes with his romantic lead Nancy Kwan.As he played a CIA agent and sounded just like he did when he was age 40, he had many scenes reminicent of I SPY. Once again, he greatly enjoyed himself. He came up with some great text editing ideas as well as encouraged the actors that worked with him.

Mr. Culp really enjoyed listening to the final results of the 3.7 hour production once it was complete with music and film quality sound effects. It was was great time for all of us and I feel privilaged to work with him twice.

Book Blurb:

CIA agent James McKnight has three problems....amnesia...the Mafia...and an addiction to the ultimate woman. Can he trust her?

http://amzn.to/1wtOISV
This kindle edition includes 'The largest production in audio-book history'. 4 hrs. narrated by Frank Sinatra Jr. and performed by 10 stars as you can see on the cover. It comes as a FREE download with the $2.99 Kindle purchase from Amazon.


About the author:

Paul Kyriazi has directed 22 movie stars in his six feature films and five full-cast audio-books; including Rod Taylor, Robert Culp, Adam West, Russ Tamblyn & George Chakiris. He has a BA in Film from San Francisco State University. He wrote and directed the movie 'Omega Cop' starring Adam 'Batman' West. The audio-book productions of his novels have film-quality sound effects and music, making them 'audio-movies' of sorts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

'The Wolf's Torment' by Stephanie Burkhart


The Wolf’s Torment
by Stephanie Burkhart

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

It's 1865 and Moldavia is a country nestled against the shores of the Black Sea. Lady Theresa travels from Austria to this country that's haunted by tales of vampires and werewolves. She's going to marry the Crown Prince, but she harbors her own unspoken secrets.

Prince Mihai has just returned to Moldavia to discover he's a witch. He's intent on being a good husband and modernizing his country, but he must find a balance with his supernatural heritage. His best friend, Viktor, accompanies Mihai and marries Mihai's sister. In an unfortunate twist of fate, a werewolf bites Viktor.

Viktor's transformation threatens everyone around him, including his wife's safety and Mihai's happiness, but he's especially dangerous when he's near Theresa. Can Mihai save his family from Viktor's lies and deceptions?

Read an excerpt:
Theresa wrung her hands together, worried. Sonia was in her eighth month and her baby was nice and round. Sonia reminded Theresa of when Victoria had given birth. She hoped that wasn't happening now.

"She's not going to have the baby, is she?" asked Theresa.

"No, the pain is in the wrong place. I'm going to get Dr. Stanza and the willow bark pills."

"Hurry."

"I will." Mrs. Nocesti rushed out the door.

Theresa knelt next to Sonia, rubbing her hand over Sonia's hair. "This is so sudden. Did the baby kick?"

"I don't know...Theresa...am I bleeding?"

Theresa shivered at the thought, but visually checked Sonia's dress. "I don't see any blood staining your dress."

"Thank God. Theresa, it hurts."

"I'm sorry. I wish I could do something."

"Hold my hand."

Theresa offered Sonia her hand. Sonia gripped it so tightly, Theresa's knuckles turned white. Her own pulse accelerated. Spots appeared before her eyes. Theresa's breathing grew rapid. Theresa saw the baby in the womb, kicking the spot of Sonia's discomfort. The baby struck the blood barrier. It was weak, and because of that, was causing Sonia pain.

"Baby, no, don't kick your mother there. You're hurting her. Please, don't kick. Turn around, please, turn around," Theresa said, gasping for air as sweat trickled down her brow. The baby turned. It was a boy.

Sonia let go. Theresa's link with the baby disappeared.

"What did you do?" whispered Sonia.

Buy links


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE: http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL: http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart/


Stephanie will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Paul Kyriazi talks about directing Nancy Kwan in the audio book adaptation of 'McKnight's Memory'



Nancy Kwan came to fame co-starring with William Holden in The World of Suzie Wong and then with James Shigeta in Flower Drum Song. She's appeared in 36 movies and numerous TV shows, as well as producing commercials in Hong Kong.

In my audio-book McKnight's Memory, Robert Culp plays a CIA agent that is obsessed with, who he thinks is, 'the ultimate woman'. For that part I needed an actress to match Culp's star power, as well as performance power. Plus she would need a voice that lived up to the role of being sensuous, strong, and independent.

And, even though not a movie, it wouldn't hurt to have an actress that could visually live up to the role in the minds of the listener as well, not to mention her photo on the cover that would also add to the realism of the story. Well, Miss Kwan filled the bill beyond imagination.

At almost four hours long, and with numerous scenes with Robert Culp as well as with David Hedison, Miss Kwan had a demanding day's work lined up for her. She arrived full of energy and a hello for all the actors and sound mixers. I had already discussed the part with her in person a few weeks before, so there nothing more to do, but record with her and Mr. Culp

Unlike a movie, we had the luxury of being able to record the story in continuity. It was great to hear the relationships of the characters grow as the mystery of the story is revealed.

For most scenes Miss Kwan and Mr. Culp, looked over what was coming up in that scene for a few minutes, talked about what they would do with overlapping dialogue and interpretation, and then did the scene in one take.

We had recorded for an hour and I didn't have to give any of the actors any direction, but I felt I had to say something to Miss Kwan beside what the next scene was and 'action'. So I pushed the talk button and said, "Miss Kwan. You are doing a perfect blend of voice and performance." She said, "Thank you", and Mr. Culp added, "Yes, you really are."

There was one scene that went on for a full seven minutes with the two characters, arguing and yelling at each other. Even though there were difficult long speeches in it, they made it through perfectly in one take. When they finished that scene, I pushed the talk button from the control room and everyone in there applauded their performance.

I only gave Miss Kwan one piece of directing. That was during a scene where she was to call on the phone and pretend to be a business woman, so as to get information from someone. She started a light rehearsal and then I interrupted her to tell her to make her voice sound a little more 'officious', so it sounded as she was trying to fool the other person. She hit it perfectly as she continued her rehearsal without missing a beat.

During the breaks we talked about the various movies that they both worked on as well as how great it was for the two of them to act together for the first time.

It was a long and productive day. When the last scene came, which was the last scene in the story as well, I felt a big sense of accomplishment, yet a little sad that it was over. But there was still work to do in the days ahead with Frank Sinatra Jr recording the narration and tons of sound effects and music to put in.

When Miss Kwan heard the final product she told me in person what a great story and production it turned out to be. Even bigger than when she had read it.

When I was in the Air Force making $150 a month, I happened to see the Life magazine issue with Nancy Kwan on the cover as the character of Suzy Wong. It was displayed by itself in the window of a movie art store in LA's Westwood Village. I wanted to buy it badly, but since the $30 price tag was a week's pay for me, I sadly had to let it go and merely looked at it through the window.

After working with Miss Kwan, I bought that magazine on Ebay and had her sign it. Some dreams are only delayed, not denied.

Book Blurb:

CIA agent James McKnight has three problems....amnesia...the Mafia...and an addiction to the ultimate woman. Can he trust her?

http://amzn.to/1wtOISV
This kindle edition includes 'The largest production in audio-book history'. 4 hrs. narrated by Frank Sinatra Jr. and performed by 10 stars as you can see on the cover. It comes as a FREE download with the $2.99 Kindle purchase from Amazon.


About the author:

Paul Kyriazi has directed 22 movie stars in his six feature films and five full-cast audio-books; including Rod Taylor, Robert Culp, Adam West, Russ Tamblyn & George Chakiris. He has a BA in Film from San Francisco State University. He wrote and directed the movie 'Omega Cop' starring Adam 'Batman' West. The audio-book productions of his novels have film-quality sound effects and music, making them 'audio-movies' of sorts.