Monday, December 12, 2011


Lots of great eBook giveaways and a Grand Prize $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


So here it is the end of the big birthday bash for my blog.  It’s fitting the last stop is on the blog of an author that helped me out from the beginning.  I owe a lot to Val Maarten.  She’s co-admin over on my page, she’s given me solid advice ever since we first met.  She always keeps us in mind when there’s a freebie or a good deal she sees. 

The next couple days will be deciding winners for contests.  Honestly, I’m glad this is over.  Not in a bad way, in a I think I should plan for huge disasters sort of way! My GOD could anything worse have happened?  Of all things my back started acting up again.  Maybe if I plan for a tsunami or an earthquake, that’ll make things go smoother.  After all, they say plan for the worst and hope for the best!

I think it has went out with a really cool bang.  I’m giving away a lot of awesome stuff today.  Things that should have went up before this had things gone as planned.  It’s okay’s like a grand finale in a fireworks show or something.  Only at the end, I’m gonna collapse in a great heap and go whew!

People have been saying that I put an insane amount of effort into this and some of them wonder why.  Well, you only turn 1 once.  But I’d still push myself anyway because authors and readers have made my blog THE PLACE to be.  We have our fingers firmly on the pulse of this awesome time.  Scott Nicholson just said to me today that there’s so many good reads out right now that he feels bad for new writers trying to start out.  I told him I’m loving it, because right now is a GREAT time to be a reader.  I will never say no to an author for the same reason he mentioned.  I might miss something great to pass on to you guys.  I’ve given you a large variety here with this two week shindig.  You’ve gotten some things I’ve read and loved, my absolute favorites and some things I’m looking forward to getting to.  Believe me when I say that when I get to them, I’m going to love discussing them with you.

So here’s to a new year for The Top Shelf.  Here’s hoping that we manage to soar even higher in year two.  Because it is of course my style to outdo myself. 

I leave you all with a question and a giveaway..  but question first!

What would you like to see happen at TTS?  What authors would you like to see?  What books would you like reviewed? 


I’m giving away two e-book copies of The Gift of Joy on Val’s own blog.  Why?  Because it’s almost Christmas, I can and I thought it would be funny!  All you have to do is leave a comment by Sunday December 4th at 8pm eastern.  And ya know what?  I’ll let Val pick the winners however in the heck she wants to.

When Joy Tate was just a naive, little girl who still believed in dreams and wishes, she had only wish for Santa Claus.  It was a selfish hope that caused her to lose the most important person in her life.  Now all she wishes for is...THE GIFT OF REDEMPTION

Gabriel Hawthorne spent his entire childhood ignoring the sad, lonely girl from across the street, but could never fully keep her from his thoughts.  But after reuniting with her, he's impressed with the strong, fierce advocate she's become.  And when he's with her, she gives him the greatest gift of all...THE GIFT OF JOY


Catrina Taylor, Author


Two minds meet by accident. Two lives intertwine despite the war around them.  One teaches, the other learns. Both grow, both survive to find there is more in this war than either expected. Betrayal, misunderstanding, love lost and lives lost lead to desperation beyond words. When a second chance presents itself, can the bridges be built to overcome the past? Can lives be changed despite the pain? Is it possible to let such desire for peace to reach out to their worlds? Find out in the new release Birth of an Empire by Catrina Taylor.

In a mult-site launch announcement, Catrina Taylor has included an incredible and fun Scavenger Hunt.

Scavenger Hunt

Here’s how to play:

Read the questions and the samples at the bottom of the posts, then go to and/or and answer the 5 questions OR the 2 bonus questions accurately and win a free copy of Xarrok’s first novel, Birth of an Empire part 1.  The Top 3 responses will each win a copy.

At the end of the sample on each site will be a link to another post and one to the home of the Scavenger Hunt.

Now, onto the short interview segment:

If we can't understand something in your book, is it magic or science?
It’s science. It may be undiscovered science, but there is always science behind anything they do, encounter, and participate in.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee… always coffee.

Chocolate or cheesecake?
Can I have both? Chocolate cheesecake tastes great with coffee

Who designed the Cover?
The Writing Network

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Morning person… early morning person.

Is there another book coming?
Book two will be out early in 2012, with many origin stories being created along the way.

Excerpt of Birth of an Empire Book 1 - Chapter 2

~Good. Now, tell me how you ended up there.~ Yatrell projected, trying to hide the concern from his voice.

~I told you. I was sold.~ She reached in her pocket and found the now comforting feel of the listening stone. She was glad that none of the trainers had discovered it on her.

Astonished, Yatrell projected, ~Sold? To the military? That sounds wrong even for a Xenonian.~

~No. My master is expecting a wedding announcement.~ She paused briefly and then corrected herself, ~My former master. My new master is something of an enigma to me.~

He shuddered hearing that, still not able to get used to that idea. ~How long have you been there?~

Her projection even stuttered when she thought about it, ~A week.~

Instantly his face turned downward, ~A week and you still can’t move with your team? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?~ He found it difficult to hide his frustration with her when he projected, ~You need to be paying attention to what your instructors are telling you. Not to the minds around you. They don’t know what you need to know, your instructor does. He will be the reason you survive your first battle and your next and every battle after that.~

Flustered and trying not to cry, Kala, projected back to him, ~Yes, I believe this too. I… am … just not cut out for this. I …can’t do this.~

Yatrell asserted confidently, ~Yes, you can. You have no choice now Kala, you must.~ He wished he felt as confident about that as he sounded.

Kala looked at the others, still holding onto the listening rock in her pocket, she told them she didn’t want dinner tonight. Phil acknowledged her and continued to the common area. Kala walked right back to her room. Henessa and the rest of the team went to the common area after Phil for dinner.

Once Kala was in her quarters and Yatrell was done explaining why she needed to do what she knew she needed to do, she began to cry. ~I didn’t want this. I can’t do this. I’m not built to fight people, Yatrell. What is … what am I goin to do?~

He listened to her words, finding it hard to deny what she said but forced himself to do so anyway, ~Anyone can train and work and learn anything if you dedicate yourself to doing it.~

~I’m trying. I’m… lost Yatrell. I don’t belong here.~

~No, you don’t, Kala. Of all of the people I know right now, you belong there the least. That doesn’t change the fact you’re there and need to get yourself together.~

She remained silent as the tears streamed down her face. She clutched onto the listening stone tightly and projected, ~I… can’t. I don’t know how.~

~Keep practicing what you’re told and taught.~

~Ok. I am. My roommate helps me before lights out. I’m trying Yatrell.~

~Kala, you can’t avoid of your training. You need it … or you won’t survive six months.~

Kala remained silent as she laid on the bed. She curled up into a ball and tears flowed down her cheeks freely soaking the pillow. Henessa walked in with a tray of food and sat at her desk with it. She picked at one dish while watching Kala in silence.

Yatrell realized he’d been lecturing her and he softened his tone, ~I just don’t want to lose the only other sane mind in this craziness. I’m … sorry I’m lecturing. If you need anything I can help with, please tell me. I… should go now. Anara is here to visit. We’ll talk soon.~ Without another word, the two let their link go silent.

You can find the book through major retailers including the ones listed below.

Learn more about the universe around Xarrok at  (check the intelligence page for the questions)

Your next stop for the scavenger hunt is right here:

You can find Catrina on Twitter as @TheLadyWrites or you can visit the Facebook home of Xarrok