When my American friend, Don Hutcheson, asked me to join him on skype for an audio interview I was puzzled: what could I possibly tell him which could sound interesting? And, especially, how could an English - speaking audience appreciate anything uttered in my awkward English? I know my accent is definitely foreign to mother-tongue speakers' ears, so I was worried and a bit scared and couldn't make my decision easily. Once he sent me his questions and the description of the aim of his new podcast site, I was even more worried and more scared. 

Discover Your Talent ~ Do What You Love is a daily podcast series hosted by Don Hutcheson. Every day of the week Don interviews someone from around the world who has discovered her true talents and abilities and figured out how to use them doing work she loves.
 The podcast series is designed for people of every age and background who are looking to build a life and career that uses the best of who they are to enjoy a life of success, satisfaction and freedom.
Don has been a pioneer in the field of education, career and life planning for 35 years as an inventor, entrepreneur, author and coach:

"Every one of us is born with unique talents and gifts. They are hardwired into us. We don’t learn them and we can’t ignore them. They are just a part of who we are—our DNA.

“Some of us discover our talents at an early age, some much later in life. Whenever we discover them and use them in our lives and careers, we do not merely survive, we thrive in every way possible.”  



Children of Darkness
The Children of Darkness, book one of the dystopian trilogy, The Seekers by David Litwack

"But what are we without dreams?" A thousand years ago the Darkness came--a time of violence and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with "temple magic," eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything. Childhood friends, Orah and Nathaniel, have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo. 

When their friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his "teaching"—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds the young to the Light—they barely recognize the broken and brooding man the boy has become. Then when Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel follows in a foolhardy attempt to save her. In the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy. 

For hidden in the keep awaits a truth from the past that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might release the long-suppressed potential of their people, but they would also incur the Temple’s wrath as it is written: "If there comes among you a dreamer of dreams saying 'Let us return to the darkness,' you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light."



Every family has secrets they’d prefer to stay hidden, but where is the line between protecting the ones you love and simple self-preservation? The theme of Melanie Dobson’s sweeping new novel, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor (Howard Books) is how the choices of a few can impact generations.

Hello and welcome, Melanie! In your latest book, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, we meet 19-year-old Maggie — innocent in many ways — but she finds herself in an unwed pregnancy during a time period when that was socially unacceptable. What does that situation mean for her and her family?

Maggie lost her biological parents during World War II, and her beloved younger brother died in an orphanage after the war. Heartbroken and scared, Maggie was raised by foster parents near Bristol, England. In the 1950s, British mothers often told their children that a midwife or a stork brought each new baby, so many young women were naïve about the facts of life. Maggie and her foster mother never discussed where babies came from.

Maggie craves love at the beginning of this story, but the father of her baby has sailed away from their coastal village, and she knows this unexpected pregnancy will humiliate her foster family. Since she has no place else to turn, Maggie begins to contemplate suicide, thinking it will be better for her child to be cradled in heaven rather than dying slowly in an orphanage like Maggie’s brother.

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor spans four generations of women, slipping back and forth between a past and contemporary story. Why do the three older women keep secrets from their daughters? How far are some people willing to go to cover the shame of their past?

Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated. This relationship can be one of the closest a woman might experience, but it can also be one of the most hurtful. In both the past and present parts of the story, the mothers kept secrets from their daughters in order to protect them, but as these secrets are passed down through generations, they almost destroy their family.



There are millions of grammar enthusiasts in the world. Do you fit the profile compiled by Grammarly? You are one of them, then!



Zions Call Zion's Call by Jeremy Maughan

1830's LDS Historical Fiction Howard Egan has left his life at sea to try his hand at the new America. A dream of owning land and a better life for himself. More than anything he wants to find a woman to spend this new life together. To his surprise he finds her on his first day on shore. He just didn't expect her to be so beautiful or to be so harsh. Thrown into the middle of a political firestorm between a Mormon missionary and local business men. Tasked with being the Mormon's Bodyguard Howard has to find a way to secure his love, fulfill his duty and keep himself and the Mormon alive.  

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Read an excerpt 

Howard spoke up. “Ladies.” The three turned to face him. The woman in the center gave him an exasperated look. “Pardon me?” she asked. “Did you speak to us?” She looked him up and down. She gave a little click of her tongue and looked on unapprovingly. Howard was taken aback by her harsh tone. He struggled to get words out, “Yes. “He stammered, “I wanted to meet you.” he said slowly so he could be understood. He cursed his swollen tongue. The girl on the left giggled a little, the one in the middle gave her a rueful glance before looking back at Howard. She frowned. “Do you always speak like you have a mouth full of marbles? Are boots a foreign concept from where you’re from?” Howard started to turn red. He didn’t expect to be talked down to by this woman or any other. His anger started to rise. “I just wanted to meet you and get your name.” “A little forward aren’t you sir? I don’t think you gave me yours, for starters.” “My apologies ladies. I am Howard.” He said putting



Tudor England is a great setting  for an historical novel. I've asked Elizabeth Fremantle, bestselling author of three intriguing novels set in that era,  a few questions to discover more of its allure.

WATCH THE LADY is set in the Elizabethan Age. What is the allure of Tudor England on modern readers?

It’s hard to say why the Tudor period has captivated modern readers so much more than other periods. I am personally fascinated by the state of political and cultural flux that came with the Reformation and the exploration of the New World, which coincided with an unprecedented half-century of female rule. England was late to the renaissance but in the late sixteenth century with writers such as Spenser, Sidney and Shakespeare there was a great literary flourishing that continues to have relevance today.

What is the most intriguing aspect of that age to you,  instead,  both as a historical researcher/writer and a reader?  

My particular interest lies with women writers and this was the time when they began to take up their pens. My first book QUEEN’S GAMBIT is about Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, who few know was one of the first women to publish an original work in the English language. The period is filled with intriguing and powerful women whose stories continue to captivate modern readers, some of which, like Penelope Devereux’s in WATCH THE LADY, have been forgotten by history and merit re-expooration. 

Writing historical fiction must be challenging. How much do you work on research and how important is historical accuracy to you?

In my novels I like to remain faithful to the historical record but I am not under the illusion that it is possible to achieve absolute accuracy when dealing with the distant past.  Often history contradicts itself, in differing points of view, and the truth remains elusive but there is usually a framework of known fact that I will work to.



In the last couple of days, these summer tasks went viral. They were posted by an Italian teacher, Cesare Catà, on his facebook page  and from there they made it to the national press and were spread all over the Net. What's special in them? See it for yourself.  I've translated them for you. Useless to add, I'd sign them myself.

In the mornings, sometimes, go and walk along the seashore in complete solitude: look how the sunlight reflects on it and, thinking about what you most love in life, feel happy.

Try to use all the new words we learnt this year: more things you can say, more things you can think;  and more things you can think, more free you are.

Read as much as you can. But not because you must. Read because the summer inspires adventures and dreams and  reading you feel like flying sparrows. Read because it is the best form of rebellion you have (for good reading advice, ask me)

Avoid all things, situations and people that make you negative or empty: look for stimulating situatuations and the company of friends who can enrich you, understand you and appreciate you for what you are.



Do you like writing?  Here is a new chance for you to get published or win money! Meryton Press is conducting a contest to find the best short stories. The theme of the contest, “Holiday Romance,” represents the season from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. The interpretation of the theme is left to the writer’s imagination; the story may have the season as an incidental backdrop or may highlight the warmth and goodwill of the holidays. It may be a romance set entirely before a fire on a cold winter’s night, the plight of a young couple hosting their first family Thanksgiving, or the mystery of an anonymous holiday philanthropist with a reporter hot on his tale. So many holidays, so many stories: Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve…
Any genre is acceptable as long as there is ROMANCE. Austenesque is a plus but is not required. In other words, so long as there is a commonly accepted or acceptable interpretation of the theme embedded in the plot, it works for us. However, this contest is not for children’s stories. Our target audience is readers over 18 years old.
The contest will be open for submissions from 9:00 a.m., June 15, 2015 (US Pacific Time) until 11:59 p.m., July 15, 2015 (US Pacific Time)



In the latest days I have been writing two very different pieces which contain reflections connected to my job. They are about students and teachers, not about methodologies or technicalities. In fact,  what I am most interested in in my job is the chance we have to build relationships, to communicate and interact with young people. 

The bad or ... they say it is because they are bored

My husband comes into the kitchen, sees my laptop on - I'm writing final reports for the end of the school year - and he just drops there: when you have a moment, google "baby doccia" (Italian for "baby shower"). Why? What is it? I ask, but he takes his coffee and goes away without adding one word more. He knows me well. I immediately stop, whatever I'm doing, and google those words apparently meaningless together. I click on the first link and I'm immediately disturbed by the picture. I don't want to see a video of young people having sex in a toilet! But I start reading the article and it announces a TV programme about teens and sex...at school. Ok, now I understand my husband's suggestion.  I work with teens and he knows how interested I am when it comes to school and education.
This is a shocking report from a woman journalist which will be on a Sky Tg 24. It's not the first one, there have been similar ones recently.  It's the story of a few girls (14-year-olds),  going to a private school in Milan and having sex between lessons in the toilets with any boy who asks them via txt messages. Baby prostitutes, not for need but for their own choice, for fun they say, because lessons are too boring. Not enslaved, nor bullied, nor forced.



Descent to Hell

It’s been a long ride, a journey in which I didn’t expect I would invest so much emotionally. It’s only a TV series I know, but it is Outlander, the show acclaimed as the bravest on TV this year, as a milestone which will change the history of TV series. Love it or hate it, what you can't do is ignore it. 
To know in advance and in detail what was going to happen was no protection, didn’t help, didn’t save me from the overwhelming wave of powerful emotions that swept me off my feet. That was more Sam Heughan, you say?

Seriously, now.  It was such a gripping experience! It had been some time since I was last so enthusiastically committed and involved in a TV series.