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review 2017-12-29 15:58
"Secret Asset - Liz Carlyle #2" by Stella Rimington
Secret Asset - Stella Rimington

Secret Asset" is a credible, competent but unexceptional spy thriller. It eschews melodrama but doesn't have much to put in its place other than counter-espionage procedures that are interesting but not exciting.


The audiobook is four hours long, split into four one hour chapters.  This structure disciplined the exposition in a way that made me feel as if I were attending a briefing: Context, Problem, Problem-solving, Denouement.


I enjoyed the clever way the ghosts of the Troubles in Northern Ireland where linked to modern-day home-grown Islamic terrorism.  I thought the characterisation of the main players was more deftly done than in the first Liz Carlyle book, "At Risk".


I didn't figure out the plot. I did believe the politics, or at least the Irish side of it that I am familiar with. "Secret Asset held my interest for four hours but it won't stay in my memory long.

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text 2017-12-02 14:53
5 Quick Steps to Improve Your Finances in 2018


Losing weight and improving one’s finances are almost always at the top of most people’s lists of New Year’s resolutions. It makes sense to look out for your physical and financial health so you can enjoy life to the fullest. Following through on your resolutions is usually the tough part — it takes changes in certain behaviors, discipline and time to experience and maintain the results. This is as true for financial planning as it is for losing weight.


If improving your finances is one of your New Year’s resolutions, here are five steps you can take starting Jan. 1:


Immediately Pay Down Holiday Bills and Credit Cards.


Many people splurge on holiday gifts, parties and travel in December, but the bills will come due in January. Resolve to pay down those debts quickly to avoid large interest charges on your credit cards.


Set a goal to pay off the total amount on one card within a few months, if not sooner. If you or your spouse expects a bonus check from your employer in early 2018, use at least some amount from this check to pay down debt. Finally, start by paying off the credit card with the smallest balance. Even though this card may not have the highest interest rate, paying off the total amount on one card will provide the motivation to keep paying off the others.


Build an Emergency Fund.


Everyone should have at least three to six months of their living expenses set aside in a cash savings account. This number should be higher when you are retired, such as one to three years of spending needs, and should be coordinated with your overall investment mix. In order to accomplish this goal when you are working, set up an automatic draft from your paycheck into a separate savings account. This account can be used for emergency car and household expenses and will help avoid piling up new credit card debt on top of the existing debt from the holidays.


I personally use an online bank for my savings account. Online financial institutions often pay higher interest rates on cash and CDs than traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Here’s another tip: Consider using different banks for your savings account and your checking account. It’s a little less tempting to access your savings account when the spending impulse strikes if it’s not at the same place as your checking account.


Increase 401(k) Retirement Plan Contributions.


The amount each person can contribute to a 401(k) retirement plan is increasing by $500 in 2018, to $18,500 for individuals under age 50 and $24,500 for people 50 and older. Everyone who is working should resolve to save an extra $500 for retirement this coming year.


If you are getting a raise going into 2018, increase your 401(k) savings rate by the amount of your raise if you are not funding your 401(k) to the maximum already. This is a discipline I have followed since receiving my first paycheck at age 22 — I kept increasing my 401(k) savings rate each year until I was able to reach the savings limit, and I’ve never looked back.


Let’s say you are getting a $5,000 raise in 2018. If you save this amount annually over the next 10 years, and at an average annual investment return of 5%, your retirement savings can be over $60,000 higher. That could buy you a shiny new car in retirement.


Rebalance Existing 401(k) and Retirement Account Investments.


In addition to adding to your retirement account, review your existing investments in January to ensure a reasonable mix of stocks and bonds. With equity markets at all-time highs, the percentage of your funds in stocks may now be higher than you planned. Over time, an investment account that is overweight in stocks can grow substantially, but during a recession or stock market downturn your balance can suffer, too.


If retirement is right around the corner for you, it’s especially important to consider the amount of stocks or stock mutual funds you are comfortable owning. Finally, while you are logged into your retirement accounts, check to see that your beneficiary designations are correct and up to date.


Review Home and Car Insurance Policies.


Over the last five years, the consumer price index for auto insurance has gone up over 20%, compared with the overall CPI of 4.5% during this period. Many insurance companies raise auto and home insurance premiums each year, and even small increases can add up over time.


I recommend sitting down with your insurance agent every three years to make certain you are taking advantage of any discounts available, and that you have proper coverage, given changing asset values. Managing risks and protecting your assets is an important part of financial planning. Also, review the deductible amount on each of your auto and home policies. This move can significantly lower premiums now. If you have an adequate emergency fund built up, you should be able to cover a higher deductible in the event of a loss.


It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions stick. Look out for your personal and financial well-being this coming year. You’ll find that making small progress will empower you, and motivate you to reach your goals. And the following year you may just resolve to keep your 2018 resolutions going!

Source: donavangroup.blogspot.sg/2017/12/5-quick-steps-to-improve-your-finances.html
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review 2016-12-14 00:00
Acquired Asset
Acquired Asset - Z.N. Willett Acquired Asset - Z.N. Willett description


I tried. I really did, but these two characters have to be THE most annoying two people to ever live in Romancelandia. I swear I have a headache from listening to them screech in my head...*lol*

I had to put a stop to the madness before I injured someone or something...


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text 2016-11-06 13:58
RELEASE BLITZ & #GIVEAWAY - Acquired Asset by Z.N Willett
Acquired Asset - Z N Willett
In the business world, Christopher Colby is a force to be reckoned with—admired by many, he's an intelligent, confident, smooth-talking COO who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.


To Quinn Cordell, Christopher is a demon reincarnated—a sexy, self-centered, cocky bastard who is trying his damnedest to take over her family's company.


Normally, Quinn handles men like that very well—with precision and tactics of her own.

Quinn understands Christopher's type.

But what Quinn doesn't understand is, why she allowed Christopher to grope her in a supply closet?


Source: archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/2016/11/release-blitz-giveaway-acquired-asset.html
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text 2016-10-20 08:13
Friends and family not an asset for this writer

When it comes to my writing and friends and family I've established clear boundaries. Here they are:


- I don’t talk about my writing even if asked. Those inquiring are usually only doing it to be polite and aren't really interested. In any case, listening to someone talk about their writing is profoundly boring – even for me and I’m a writer.

- I don’t solicit reviews or ratings from them. I try to avoid even the faintest hint of conflict of interest in the support and criticisms I get.

- I very rarely give them my books. If they’re interested they can buy one.


I once went to a birthday party where a friend’s partner had rented a gallery and had a show professionally mounted of her paintings. Needless to say, most of those attending bought some of her art. She was thrilled.


This to me was not a measure of artistic merit. I didn’t buy anything, in fact, I was surprised and not a little offended. This was hardly better than a Tupperware party.  


I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to take advantage of my friends and family. I don’t want to demean myself and my work.


The independent publishing industry is rife with nepotism, gimmicks, and chicanery – all geared toward reaching bestseller status. I don’t care if I’m a bestseller, but I do want to become a better writer. I think these practices prevent that from happening by creating a false sense of accomplishment.


You think you’re good, but your not. You’re delusional.  


I don’t know if this stand has hurt my sales or not. If it has it hasn’t been significant because I’m just not that popular – with friends or family.


I've also developed guidelines for social media.


I don't solicit followers on Twitter, don't "friend" people on Facebook, and don't appeal to viewers to "like" or "subscribe" to my YouTube channel.


I do encourage comments and criticisms which I faithfully respond to and hopefully learn something from.


Amazingly, some people chose to follow me which is gratifying because it definitely is not reciprocated.


I had one expert tell me "social media is not for you". Really? Maybe just not her kind of social media, the kind where friends and followers are little more than meaningless numbers and bare no resemblance of reality.


I still believe a social media following can be built by someone who has something interesting and original to say regardless of whether he's a friend, follower or subscriber.


Later this month I'll be waiting with Linus in the pumpkin patch.



Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs






Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at



Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding my books



Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ


Cover Art of books by self-published authors at



More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin


View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/


Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music







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